The Fictional Onscreen Depiction of Looked-after Young People: “Finding someone just like me”

John Hickman

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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While there is significant interest in the lives of looked-after young people, little attention has been given to the way these young people are depicted onscreen. The aim of this study is to explore looked-after young people's perceptions of these fictional depictions and the impact these depictions have on them. Drawing on Freire’s seminal text, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, I adopt a participatory approach throughout. Research methods involved viewing and discussing TV and film content depicting looked-after characters with a group of young people in care, followed by semi-structured interviews with group members. The data is analysed using a modified Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis protocol. My research highlights that these young people perceive onscreen fictional depictions to be “unrealistic” and negative. These depictions have significant impact, particularly in terms of “presumed media influence”, on how these young people perceive negative depictions to influence others. The young people offer a range of suggestions in terms of better depicting looked-after characters, drawing on their own experiences of care. My research also highlights the benefit of utilising a Freirean empowerment model, in terms of raising critical consciousness, for a group of looked-after young people.
Original languageEnglish
  • Jack, Gordon, Supervisor
  • James, Deborah, Supervisor
  • Heslop, Philip, Supervisor
Publication statusIn preparation - Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


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