Taking emotions seriously: Fun and pride in participatory research

Laura H.V. Wright*, Kay Tisdall, Niamh Moore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article focuses on emotions in participatory research with children and young people. We approach emotions as a generative site for exposing assumptions about participation, as well as participation rights more widely. Our reflections emerged out of revisiting two participatory research projects involving young people (aged 14 to 25) and identifying the significant, but under-articulated importance of emotions in this work. Research is often planned and described in emotionally ‘neutral’ terms, although participatory research necessarily relies on building relationships and engaging emotionally in a research process with others. In our own projects we retrospectively identify and trace the circulation of two salient emotions of fun and pride. We identified fun as an explicit emotion often invoked in the research process, but often under-theorised, and treated almost instrumentally, as something necessary to make the research process flow. The project with young queer women drew our attention to questions of pride, and the role of pride as a transformative emotion which draws our attention to what matters in young people's lives, particularly when it is not anticipated. We argue for the analytical value of emotions, not only as a key component of participatory research design, but also as a site for analysis and knowledge production, if we are to explore seriously research that is intended to respect and support children and young people's participation rights.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100836
Number of pages7
JournalEmotion, Space and Society
Early online date24 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • children's participation
  • children's rights
  • emotions
  • fun
  • participatory research
  • pride
  • queer politics


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