My Life Now is a digital exhibition that narrates stories of children who have a parent in jail and presents the work of Monash researchers Dr Catherine Flynn and Dr Cameron Rose.

A child’s mental health, social behaviour and educational prospects can all be impacted by having a parent in jail.

This project was inspired by a conversation between a young man, Dan, and Social Work researcher Dr Flynn from the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. As Dan described the feelings of isolation he experienced as a result of his mother’s incarceration,  Dr Flynn conceptualised a way to capture stories from other children like Dan.

For many of these children, their parent’s incarceration is one of the most challenging situations they have had to face. Emotional trauma, social stigma, and a disrupted family life, which occur as a result of having a parent in jail, can often have an immense impact on children. The telling of these stories through animation illustrates to other children in similar situations that they are not alone, assistance is available, and that they can come out the other side.

Communication Design students, in collaboration with Dr Flynn and Dr Rose (Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture), animated the research findings in a variety of styles for distribution by SHINE for Kids, a non-profit organisation that assists and advocates for children with parents in prison. All identities were protected and the animations have been welcomed by the organisation as a good way to communicate with children in the same situation.

See the digital exhibition at Caulfield Library, or visit shineforkids.org.au/mylifenow