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Aug. 27, 2021

University of Kent to collaborate on £3.9M childhood research project

University of KentA professor from the University of Kent is collaborating on a new £3.9 million research project on the impact of adverse childhood experiences.

Professor Nicola Shaughnessy – the Professor of Performance in Kent’s School of Arts – and a team of post-doctoral researchers from the University of Kent will collaborate on the Attune Project with the University of Oxford and Falmouth University.

The Attune Project aims to bring together diverse creative-arts, digital and health experts to investigate how adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can affect adolescents’ mental health. The purpose of this research is to develop new approaches to intervention and prevention. ACEs include abuse, neglect, loss events, poverty, discrimination, racism, and relational problems at home. Children who suffer multiple ACEs are much more likely to develop multiple social and developmental problems, including mental health difficulties as young adults.

Professor Shaughnessy explains, “We do not fully understand what makes an adolescent vulnerable to, or protected from, mental health problems following adverse childhood experiences, nor how best to protect and support affected young people, many of whom struggle to find and engage with care services.”

She continues, “This research aims to address these gaps in knowledge and support by placing a diverse range of young people’s lived experience and a participatory peer research approach at the centre of learning and planning via creative arts and writing, performance, film, music and state-of-the-art games technology.”

The team from the University of Kent team will lead on one of the project’s research themes of neurodiversity, investigating the impact of ACEs for neurodivergent young people. The team will also contribute to research on the role of place in relation to ACEs, working with refugee community groups to explore their experiences through creative workshops.

The research project is funded by the Medical Research Council of the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council.

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Content added on 27th August 2021. 

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