"It ain’t possible that it’s a prison"

Children’s drawings from Judit H. Sas’s research


A sárkányfiaztató belsejében   
Ódon pára, merev büdösség  
Elszürkült csokoládé 
(Erdély Mikós: A sárkányfiaztató)

On the exhibition
In 2011, while the the Institute of Sociology was moving from one place to another, disorderly documents of various old research projects surfaced from its archives. Among the 40 boxes that had been saved, we discovered more than 5,000 pieces of A3-sized children’s drawings. What we found was the collection from Baranya County; research of similar dimensions is supposed to have been carried out in Miskolc as well however, unfortunately, those materials have disappeared.

Based on the labels and contents of the boxes as well as correspondence with Judit H. Sas, the following facts could be reconstructed: the research was carried out between 1976 and 1978, the data being collected by the Research Group of Education Research.

Children attending grades 5-8 were asked by the researchers to draw pictures about:

where they live at the moment
where they will live in 2000
where they want to live in 2000.

The drawings were prepared during home room classes, no researchers being present. Eventually, the children’s works were not investigated. The pictures often have titles (like: “This is where I live”, “Our house in 2000”, etc.), the name of the child, which school he or she attends, his or her class, home address, the names of the parents, their level of education and profession.

Somewhat earlier, Gábor Csanádi, Zsuzsa Gerő and János Ladányi conducted a similar research project. They made children prepare about 1,000 drawings in the 18th district of Budapest between 1974 and 1977. This research was also carried out at the Institute for Public Education and the Research Group of Education Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Surprisingly, both Judit H. Sas and János Ladányi recall the two research projects as being separate initiatives, although the methodologies were extensively discussed by the researchers at the time. 30 years later, in honor of Zsuzsa Gerő, Csanádi and Ladányi analyzed a part of the drawings from the point of view of social mobility. Beyond this, nothing has happened with the drawings, thus the two – already digitalized - collections await to be researched by someone, some day.

To address the images and make them more appealing, we quoted from contemporary Hungarian poets and writers.

Selection of images and texts: Virág Erdős
Curator: Éva Kovács
Contributed in organizing the exhibition: Anna Lujza Szász
Arrangement of the complete collection: Judit Gárdos, Éva Kovács, Anna Mirkó, Enikő Osváth, Tímea Tibori, Máté Zombory

The exhibition was funded by OTKA (Hungarian Scientific Research Fund)