Our study is exploring practices of care and intimacy using the ESRC Timescapes project data as an example.
Timescapes was a five year programme of research and methods development funded under the ESRC Changing Lives and Times initiative (2007-12). It was designed to advance qualitative longitudinal research, archiving and the re-use of QL data. The study involved a network of seven empirical studies carried out across five UK universities:
- Siblings and Friends tracked the lives of fifty children from mid-childhood to young adulthood.
- Young Lives and Times followed young people into early adulthood.
- The Dynamics of Motherhood looked at what it means to be a mother in the 21st century.
- Masculinities, Identities and Risk explored the change involved in fatherhood.
- Work and Family Lives explored the ways families reconcile work and family lives over time.
- Intergenerational Exchange generated insights into how grandparents support and care for their grandchildren in a low income area.
- The Oldest Generation was concerned with the dynamic nature of older people’s relationships and identities.
The seven studies were connected by their exploration of people’s personal lives and their family relationships and, in particular, how these relationships unfold across time, and across the life course. Collectively, these studies have amassed a wealth of information about change and continuities in relationships, identities and how these are experienced in different social, economic and historical and cultural contexts.
A remit of ESRC Timescapes was to develop a Qualitative Longitudinal Data resource for sharing and reusing the data collected. The Archive was developed over a three-year period and opened to users in 2010. This unique, multi-media archive continues to grow, with the incorporation of further QL datasets.
For more information about Timescapes visit the project website: www.timescapes.leeds.ac.uk