Announcing a themed issue of MERJ: Media Learning & Engagement in Early Childhood

I’m excited to be guest editing a new themed issue of the Media Education Research Journal (MERJ), alongside Becky Parry, Cary Bazalgette, Ashley Woodfall and Michelle Cannon.

In both dominant research paradigms and public discourse young children’s engagements with media continue to be seen narrowly in terms of the risks or benefits that may be involved. Meanwhile very young children are increasingly engaging with media at home in ways that influence their talk, their play, their developing identities and indeed their orientation to literacy. A growing new body of research also suggests that digital meaning making offers very young children distinct opportunities to explore, experiment and negotiate with assets and resources in an enticingly liminal space. In this ‘elastic’ space, children feel empowered by the extent of their control and are not limited or obstructed by the written form (Potter, 2012; Cannon, 2016). 

If children’s everyday encounters with media texts are marginalised and under valued, opportunities for connected learning are missed, leading to a dissonance between home and school experiences (Parry, 2014) and risking wider inequalities (Scott, 2016). Media education and media literacy research has an important role to play in establishing a bridge between children’s media experiences and their experience of media in schools. This work has the potential to signal opportunities for new ways of using digital tools to create innovative pedagogic spaces for young children.

This themed issue of MERJ offers a platform for such research. We invite both UK-based and international contributions on the following themes:

  • Reports of recent and current research in the field of early childhood engagements with media;
  • Informed and analytical accounts of innovative practice in relation to media learning in early childhood 0-7;
  • Accounts of new methodological approaches to researching young children’s holistic and dialogic engagements with media.

The deadline for submissions is June 30th, 2017. Submissions can be in either full articles or research forum pieces. See the standard MERJ submission guidance at

Becky and I will be speaking more about the themed issue at the upcoming Media Education Summit in Rome (4th and 5th November).

The full call for papers can be found here.


Cannon, M. 2016. Media-making matters: exploring literacy with young learners as media crafting, critique and artistry. Thesis (PhD) Bournemouth: Centre for Excellence in Media Practice (CEMP), University of Bournemouth.

Parry, B. 2014. Popular culture, participation and progression in the literacy classroom. Literacy, 48 (1), pp. 14-22.

Potter, J. 2012. Digital Media and Learner Identity: The New Curatorship. Palgrave Macmillan.

Scott, F. 2016. ‘The C-Word: Understanding children’s home engagement with media as a classed practice’, The Children’s Media Conference, Sheffield, July 2016.