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Dr Victoria Cooper

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Snr Lecturer (Childhood & Youth Studies)
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies
  • School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport
  • Childhood, Youth and Sport
  • victoria.cooper

Professional biography

I am a Senior Lecturer in The Faculty of Education and Language Studies at the Open University. I am Co-Director of the Children's Research Centre and Co-Chair of KE206 Making a difference: Working with Children and Young People. 

I graduated from the University of Warwick in 1989 with a BA in Psychology and Education. I completed my PGCE (primary) a the University of York in 1991. I have taught across a range of ages including early years, primary, further and higher education since 1992. I completed my PhD in 1998 at the University of Bristol. I was particularly interested in quasi-markets in education and applied the Habermasian principles of lifeworld and system to analyse the colonisation of education.  My post doctoral research broadly falls into two areas: professional development in education and identity.

I joined the Open University on a part time basis as an Associate Lecturer and have taught a number of undergraduate and postgraduate modules in social science, education and psychology, including DD100, E835 and ED840. I took up the post of Staff Tutor in Education at the Open University in Birmingham in 2002. I joined the Centre for Childhood, Youth and Sport in 2011 and have chaired a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate modules in education, psychology and childhood studies, including ED840, ED841, E807, EK313 and E124.

Research interests

Areas of interest

  • Children and young people’s identity development
  • Childhood and adolescent mental health
  • Qualitative research methodologies – developing participatory, responsive approaches

Current research projects

My current research combines a number of small ethnographic projects across education and care settings (including primary and secondary schools, as well as youth clubs and after school groups) in Gloucestershire making up an on-going study of 210 children and young people since 2011. The principal focus of the research is to explore different ways of engaging with children and young people, including the analysis of different data collection instruments, as means to examine childhood and youth identity.

The Children’s Research Centre in partnership with Hope

The Children’s Research Centre led by myself and Jane Payler has been awarded funds from Hope Support Services. The aim of our research is to raise public, media and stakeholder awareness of the scale of need nationally for Hope Support Services (or similar) and awareness of the work Hope is currently doing with a view to securing funding to carry out further research and extend services. The research will synthesise information from open data sets, information held by Hope and new small-scale research with Hope children and young people to tell individual stories. The initial aim will be met within a one-year time-frame and consist of an indicative research report and launch event. 

The Children’s Research Centre in partnership with the Field Studies Council

Under the structure of the Children’s Research Centre (CRC) myself and Trevor Collins from KMI have been collaborating with the Field Studies Council (FSC) since 2013 to co-produce tools and resources for student-led enquiry-learning related to the secondary curriculum. Over the last two years Trevor Collins and myself have developed a Geographical Investigations key (i.e. a fold-out guide) for A Level Geography students, and we are currently developing a companion booklet for practitioners facilitating student-led enquiry. This collaboration draws directly on OU research publications into student-led research (developed within the CRC), and technology-enhanced learning (from the ESRC/EPSRC funded Personal Inquiry project). 

Current projects

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s Health Kick

  • Academic support for a new BBC production
  • Website launch in Jan 2017
  • Series launch in June 2017

Forthcoming publications 

Journal publications

Cooper, V. L. (2017) Lost in translation: Using photo-elicitation to explore childhood identity, in Children’s Geographies, http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/6nJJ9p3NpGWwgYRDriUY/full. 

Books

Cooper, V. L., Montgomery, H., A. and Sheehy, K. (2017) Parenting: What type of parent do you hope to become? London: Penguin publications. Forthcoming

Chapters in Books

Cooper, V., L. and Kellett, M. (2017) Listening to children, Palgarve:  Forthcoming. 

Teaching interests

Following my early career in primary education I have taught within the social sciences both in further and higher education. Since joining the Centre for Childhood, Youth and Sport I have principally focused on teaching in childhood studies and educational research methods.

I have taught on a variety of undergraduate and post graduate modules in early year’s education, psychology, social science and educational research methods. I have also chaired a number of undergraduate and post graduate modules within the university and have externally examined at a number of external higher education institutions.  

Research Activity

Externally funded projects

Research into extent of need for HOPE Support amongst children and young people (CYP)

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01/Apr/201730/Nov/2017Hope Support Services (HOPE)
This small scale research and dissemination project aims to raise public, media and stakeholder awareness of the scale of need nationally for Hope Support Services (or similar) and awareness of the work Hope is currently doing with a view to securing funding to carry out further research and extend services. The initial aim would be met through a rapid, indicative research report and launch event within a one-year time-frame.

Publications

Lost in translation: exploring childhood identity using photo-elicitation (2017)
Cooper, Victoria L.
Children's Geographies ((Early Access))
Listening to children (2017)
Cooper, Victoria and Kellett, Mary
In: Payler, Jane; Moyles, Janet and Georgeson, Jan eds. Beginning Teaching, Beginning Learning in Early Years and Primary Education ((In press))
ISBN : 9780335226962 | Publisher : Open University Press/McGraw Hill | Published : Milton Keynes
Children's developing identity (2014-11-30)
Cooper, Victoria
In: Reed, Michael and Rosie, Walker eds. A Critical Companion to Early Childhood (pp. 281-296)
ISBN : 9781446259269 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London
Education and the impact of schooling (2014)
Cooper, Victoria
In: Farrington-Flint, Lee ed. An introduction to childhood studies and child psychology (pp. 143-164)
Publisher : The Open University | Published : Milton Keynes
Designing research for different purposes. (2013-12-10)
Cooper, Victoria
In: Clark, Alison; Hammersley, Martyn; Flewitt, Rosie and Robb, Martin eds. Understanding research with children and young people
ISBN : 9781446274927 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London
Ethnographic practitioner research (2011)
Cooper, Victoria and Ellis, Carole
In: Callan, Sue and Reed, Michael eds. Work-based Research in the Early Years: Positioning Yourself as a Researcher (pp. 47-61)
ISBN : 9780857021755 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London
Extending practice: promoting participation and evaluating professional roles (2011)
Whalley, Mary; Cooper, Victoria; Callan, Sue and Drury, Rose
In: Drury, Rose and Paige-Smith, Alice eds. Extending practice: promoting participation and evaluating professional roles (pp. 0-5)
Publisher : The Open University | Published : Milton Keynes
Supporting children’s personal, social and emotional development. (2011)
Browne, Naima; Paige-Smith, Alice and Cooper, Victoria
In: Drury, Rose and Paige-Smith, Alice eds. Book 1: Extending reflective practice: Leadership, learning and environments. (pp. 135-220)
Publisher : The Open University | Published : Milton Keynes
Distance learning and professional development (2009-10-29)
Cooper, Victoria
In: Reed, Michael and Canning, Natalie eds. Reflective Practice in the Early Years (pp. 143-155)
ISBN : 9781848601628 | Publisher : Sage Publications | Published : London
Children's Identity (2008)
Cooper, V.
In: Collins, J. and Foley, P. eds. Promoting Children's Well-being: Policy and Practice
ISBN : 9781847420596 | Publisher : Policy Press in association with the Open University Press | Published : Bristol, UK

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