Editors: Catherine Ann Cameron, Claudia Stella

Thriving Across the Lifespan and Around the Globe: Day in the Life Visual Research Approach

eBook: US $39 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $66
Printed Copy: US $47
Library License: US $156
ISBN: 978-1-68108-881-5 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-68108-880-8 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2021
DOI: 10.2174/97816810888081210101


Thriving Across the Lifespan and Around the Globe: Day in the Life Visual Research Approach is the result of several decades of international, pan-disciplinary research-team collaborations using quasi-ecological visual methodologies to investigate the psychosocial development of children in diverse communities. The initial studies highlighted in this work involved filming a ‘Day in the Life’ of toddlers and primary school children, their families, and schools in diverse communities in Asia, South and North America, and Europe. Filmed in their homes and communities for an entire day, the youngest participants were commonly seen to be thriving in diverse psychosocial domains, such as in their security strivings, emergent literacy and graphic representations, and musicality. Research shows that the nature of a child's development can vary in as many ways as there are diverse contexts. Thriving in the transition from home to primary school is a second developmental milestone investigated in the research.

The book serves as an account of the lived experiences of thriving children,among their families, their schools and their communities. The contents give an invaluable insight into the psychology of early childhood while giving the reader an opportunity to understand the resilience of mobile early teenagers as well as independent older adults. The contributions in the book also provide an additional layer to our understanding of visual ethnography by covering such phenomena as agency and communitarianism, spirituality, and the place of humour in the context of challenges encountered across the lifespan. Through presenting quasi-ecological experimental approaches, this reference enhances the reader’s insight into the texture and nature of thriving in situ, in natural contexts.

Audience: Child psychologists, social workers, researchers, educators and scholars in the field of cultural studies, social sciences, anthropology, ethnography and allied disciplines.


This book is the welcome product of the dedication of a host of research collaborations around the globe. Pan-disciplinary teams of investigators have examined the daily lives of individuals across the lifespan in diverse locations. The book was initiated in Brazil where colleagues, under the leadership of Claudia Stella, adopted the Day in the Life (DITL) visual research approach to investigate the successful transition to formal schooling of mobile primary school-aged children living in Sao Paulo. This team of scholars developed fascinating case studies of the children they filmed and scrupulously notated as they followed them throughout a full day in their lives, interviewing their caregivers and teachers, and observing them and in situ in interaction with family and friends, going about the very dailiness of their lives.

This work had been inspired by visual qualitative research in many diverse communities around the world, where other children in transition to school were filmed, observed, and celebrated. Their emergent literacy and graphic representations, their transitional capacity to form connections between home and school, their zest for learning and communicating in story and song were celebrated. In collaboration with Ann Cameron, the Brazilian team invited other Day in the Life investigators to set the stage for a book in Portuguese that would tell the story of the strength of the quasi-ecological techniques of filming and detailed note-taking, in revealing the wide range of circumstances and responses to them of thriving children that speaks for the diverse human capacity to find strength of purpose in enacting common basic psychosocial functions.

The international teams responded with chapters not only describing primary school children in entering the school door, but harkened back to the strengths of the seven little toddler girls investigated in the first applications of the DITL approach. These investigations were also followed and reported by investigations of resilient mobile adolescents and a newer cohort of studies of flourishing older adults who live independently in diverse global communities despite their advanced ages. The capacity to use humour to compassionate advantage, to demonstrate agency in challenging circumstances, and to extend a communitarian hand to those less fortunate seem to be hallmarks of flourishing human development from cradle to grave. A detailed history of the development of the approach is provided in the Appendix.

Chapter 1 details the methodological adaptations that demonstrate the flexibility of the methodologies to accommodate and celebrate strengths-based investigations of healthy human functioning in diverse contexts around the globe and across the lifespan. Chapter 2 provides a brief history of trends in audiovisual research. Chapter 3 reports on an illustrative application of the approach. Chapter 4 offers reflections on researchers’ experiences capturing audio-visual data, and Chapter 5 reports on touch as a communicative and exploratory medium.

In Chapter 6 we proceed to highlight the importance of family in the transition to school in Brazil, originally written in Portuguese; Chapter 7 provides a counterpart bridging of home and school, originally written in English about a study conducted in Canada; and Chapter 8 reports on a study conducted in Brazil about the benefits of cultural transitions to educational success. Chapters 9 and 10 describe studies of the social skill adaptions pairs of Brazilian students and the learning through imitation that Italian children make (originally written in Portuguese and English, respectively). Chapters 11 and 12, both reporting on studies in Brazil describe intergenerational musicality and cultural transitions through heritage cultural mediation. We conclude our journeys around the globe with Chapter 13, a consideration of humour as a mechanism for thriving across the lifespan in diverse communities of flourishing toddlers through to the very elderly; and Chapter 14, a case study of the spirituality of a thriving older adult in Brazil (these chapters were written originally in English and Portuguese, respectively).

Across all these studies shines through the power, effectiveness in knowledge; the zest, vitality; the sense of worth and the sense of connection of these striving people no matter their circumstances. It is with gratitude that we present this book That we dedicate to our enthusiastic participants.

For a short overview of our Day in the Life research approach see this 4-minute video: Legend: “Day in the Life Research Approach (https://youtu.be/ehC_pDU2Mzg)”.

Catherine Ann Cameron
Psychology Departments University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC & University of New Brunswick
Fredericton, NB