End of project, please stay updated via jiscmail

Hello all,

The Childhood and Youth Studies Network will no longer be hosting any events at the University of Edinburgh, primarily as I (Sarah) will be completing my PhD in the coming months and this project will therefore come to a close. However, I will be continuing to send out events, conferences and funding announcements sporadically via jiscmail as and when I receive them which may be of value to the Network, so if you are not part of that listserv and are interested please sign up. Thank you all for your support of this project, especially to those who were able to attend last year’s Young People’s Transitions Conference.

Best wishes,

Sarah Weakley


The 7th Childhood Studies Jamboree, Wednesday 28 February — join us!

The University of Edinburgh will be holding its 7th Childhood Studies Jamboree on Wednesday 28th February 2018 — we would love for you to be a part of it!
When: 2- 5 pm, Wednesday 28 February 2018
Where: Chrystal Macmillan Building, 15A George Square

The Jamboree gives us a chance to hear and learn about cutting edge research that our colleagues are carrying out with children and young people. It is a fun opportunity to meet other childhood/youth studies students and early career researchers, and try out methods of working with children and young people through interactive workshops. This year we once again have wonderful workshop choices, from engaging children as co-researchers to the ethics of ethnographies. It is another international array, from those undertaking research in Scotland to those working in Armenia, China, countries in Africa and elsewhere.

Spaces are limited so please book now to secure your place. Your booking can be made via Eventbrite here.

Should you have any questions about this event please get in touch with Stacey via the following email address: s0233887@ed.ac.uk.

‘Exploring Children’s Rights and Participation: Conference Presentations’ – join us on 10 January 2018

On January 10 at 3 pm the Network will be hosting a seminar of three PhD candidates as they prepare conference presentations on the issues of child rights and children’s participation. Bekkah Berheim, Yan Zhu and Amelia Alias would love if you would come along to hear about their work, particularly if this if your area of interest! Please see the abstracts below for more information.

When: 10 January 2018, 3 pm

Where: 21 Buccleuch Place, Room 2.02 (map)


Benefits and Disadvantages of Internet Parental Mediation Strategies
Amelia Alias


There is growing concern over the lack of recognition of children’s rights in the online environment, mainly regarding participation and provision rights. This article has filled in this gap by combining the discussion of elements of children’s rights, i.e. protection, provision and participation, with privacy and autonomy. This was done by comparing the benefits and disadvantages between the five Internet parenting mediation strategies (IPMS) in terms of the above elements. The IPMS are: active mediation, active co-use, restrictive mediation, monitoring mediation and technical mediation.

This discussion draws on findings from a study conducted to better understand children’s and parents’ perceptions of online privacy, through semi-structured one-to-one interviews with 26 pupils, aged 9 to 11 years old, and 8 parents. Additionally, 10 focus group sessions were also conducted with 57 pupils in one of school in Scotland.

Findings showed that between these five IPMS, active mediation is seen as the ideal Internet mediation strategy, as it is able to balance children’s privacy with supporting the development of children’s trust of the other actors on the Internet, and fully supports children’s development of autonomy in terms of making decisions about their participation and provision in the online environment. However, the study also recognises that this strategy may not be appropriate for very young children and may not be palatable to many parents until they are comfortable that their children have developed at least some of the necessary skills to navigate the online environment safely on their own. As such, this study suggests that the IPMS should be seen as a continuum, from the less autonomy-supporting strategies to more autonomy-supportive strategies; the active mediation strategy should be seen as a final end-goal for parents.

Student leader system in Chinese school’s organizing system:
A child participation practice with a risk of causing children experiences of unbalanced power relation in peer relationships

Yan Zhu

The idea of encouraging ‘child participation’ is increasingly accepted and applied by many countries as an important approach to contribute the development of children’s rights. However, in different contextualized cases, child participation practices need to be carefully examined to ensure the positive result of empowering children in different contexts. Based on the data collected in a 5-month ethnographic fieldwork with forty-nigh P5 children in a rural boarding school in China, this paper aims at discussing children’s experiences of ‘student leader’ system – one widely used child participation practice in many Chinese schools.

This paper firstly introduces the function of ‘student leader’, and the close relationships between high-able children’s advantage of the academic performance, the role of ‘student leader’, and the power amongst peers. Then this paper focuses on showing the positive results of involving a group of children as ‘student leaders’ to support teachers to manage other children from the perspective of child participation. The third section of this paper involves the idea of ‘power-oriented instrumental friendship’, which is a type of friendship found between these P5 children with a significant characteristic of highlighting friendship’s instrumental function of providing a chance to share friends’ power. In the end, this paper aims at pointing out the problematic unbalanced power relation between children involved in the ‘power-oriented instrumental friendship’ to disclose the risk that children with more power, such as student leaders, might take advantage of their power to marginalize and exploit children with less power. In fact, this paper believes that this risk experienced by children with relatively weak power amongst peers in classrooms could raise a call that it is important to count in the equality of every child’s school life experiences when employ and evaluate any child participation practices to simultaneously promote the ideas of child participation and child protection.

The Impact of Culturally Informed Conceptualizations of Childhood on Research and Policy Direction in Armenia
Rebecca Bernheim 

In modern Armenian society, girls are marginalized. The patriarchal nature of Armenian society excludes girls’ experiences from the policy landscape, and little research exists representing their views. The Syrian Crisis led to the exodus of ethnically Armenian Syrians back to Armenia, including many girls. This paper critically reflects on the challenges I encountered researching the socio-cultural integration of Syrian-Armenian girls displaced to Armenia by the ongoing Syrian Crisis. The research was an exploratory study, and included a brief documentary analysis, interviews with local stakeholders, and a focus group for Syrian-Armenian girls. Of particular interest in this paper is the reaction of local stakeholders, who met my decision to focus on girls’ experiences with a mixture of curiosity, confusion, and abject dismissal which then affected data collection. This paper seeks to address to what extent local cultural definitions and understandings of childhood should drive the direction of international children’s rights research and policy.

This paper fits within the scope of a growing corpus of cross-disciplinary research documenting the experiences of researchers doing qualitative research with children and young people internationally. The meaningful inclusion of children’s views, the recognition of power imbalances between children and adults, and multiple understandings of childhood are just a few of the considerations frequently discussed in this literature. This paper also interrogates how cultural and language differences, and varying conceptualization of childhood among local stakeholders, children, and researchers, can influence data collection, research findings, and subsequent policy development. The dual challenges arising from the international scope of the research and the complexity of accurately and ethically researching with children and young people necessitates a critical and reflexive approach to the research process.


Our Next Seminar, 7 December 4 pm: ‘Living the Neoliberal Global Schooling Project: An Ethnography of Childhood and Everyday Choices in Nepal’

Our next network seminar will be featuring the PhD research of Katherine Baxter, a PhD Candidate in Sociology. This presentation will share some of the key findings of my PhD research at the University of Edinburgh titled, Living the Neoliberal Global Schooling Project: An Ethnography of Childhood and Everyday Choices in Nepal. For all those interested in education in non-Western contexts, ethnography, and researching with children, this presentation is for you!

When: Thursday 7 December, 4 pm
Where: Practice Suite Room 1.12, Chrystal Macmillan Building

After introducing the research and briefly discussing each of the key findings (30-40 minutes), Katherine will discuss her ethnographic process with particular emphasis on ethics, consent and some of the unique challenges that emerge when doing ethnographic research with young people. At this point the audience will be encouraged to join in the discussion, reflecting on their own experiences and challenges they may have encountered when doing research with young people.

Key Findings:

This research focuses on young people’s livelihoods and everyday choices, bringing attention to their work, school and play routines and the creative, intimate ways they navigate the multitude of pressures, expectations and opportunities they face on a daily basis. The research argues that the promises and ideals contained within initiatives such as Education for All and its broader neoliberal global schooling values are often experienced as contradictory, exclusionary and illusively aspirational. The ethnography of the stories and lives occurring in one particular neighborhood in Nepal suggests, firstly, that those universalist aspirations contained within schooling and development practices transform childhoods and reconfigure everyday hopes and horizons in ways that can be exploitative and hegemonic, and that can even further deepen existing inequalities. The fieldwork also suggests that the drive for—and expectations attached to—private, English schooling undermine and devalue other ways of knowing, being and spending time, and thereby have the effect of marginalizing many of the unique capabilities, talents, virtues and skills that young people possess. In short, they can structure feelings of worthiness in ways that are reflective of neoliberalism.


YouthLink Scotland Policy Seminars Planning Group – looking for participants like you!

New Opportunity – YouthLink Scotland Policy Seminars Planning Group

In 2018 YouthLink Scotland will host for the first time a series of Policy Seminars. The Policy Seminars will provide high quality themed inputs from experts within the chosen subject matter, facilitated networking and free-thinking time for policy connections to be made, and provide a national platform for sector leaders to illustrate and discuss their policy activity within a youth work context. The audience for these events will include: senior youth workers/managers, chief executives, policy professionals, civil servants, strategic planners, academics and funders.
To make these events happen YouthLink Scotland is establishing a new Planning Group. We are looking for enthusiastic forward thinking individuals who would like to contribute to shaping these events. There would be a commitment for members of the Planning Group to attend meetings in Edinburgh (once every two months) and to support the YouthLink Scotland team virtually between meetings.

The first meeting will take place on 22 November 2017 from 2pm to 4pm.

We are looking for individuals with previous experience and skills in areas including (but not limited to):

  • Youth Policy
  • Youth Work
  • Research
  • CPD planning and delivery
  • Evaluation and impact

For more information about this opportunity or to express interest in joining the Planning Group please contact Susan Hunter – shunter@youthlinkscotland.org .

Our next seminar 2 November: ‘All views matter: Critically exploring the process and outcomes of child-led research in conflict prone and other complex environments’

*For those of you who missed this seminar, Pato has kindly agreed to share his slides (with references!) for those interested in his work.

You can access his work here

Our next Network seminar on 2 November will feature the research of Patricio Cuevas-Parra, a PhD candidate in Social Policy and Senior Global Policy Adviser for Child Participation and Rights with World Vision International. In particular, he will delve into one of the case studies in his thesis, titled “All views matter: Critically exploring the process and outcomes of child-led research in conflict prone and other complex environments’. For those interested in child rights, child participation, and researching with children, this is for you!

When: Thursday 2 November 2017, 4 – 5 pm

Where: University of Edinburgh Medical School, Teviot Doorway 3, Teaching Room 1, G.204 (map)

About this seminar: Patricio will discuss a case study about a group of Syrian refugee children who have led their own research on issues affecting their refugee situation. These refugee children identified violence, bullying and harassment at the schools and communities as one of the major issues affecting their lives. The presentation will discuss issues related to ethics and methodology, along with an analysis of how the research conducted by refugee children could be translated into practice as part of an advocacy agenda that aims to improve the condition of refugee children. The session will explore whether the engagement of children and young people in their own research was a useful practice to explore issues of violence and thus contributed to a better understanding of issues in conflict situations. The presentation will argue that refugee children were capable of engaging in their research as a vehicle to participate and to generate knowledge. However, the aim of influencing decision-making remained partially unanswered as the young researchers lacked sufficient evidence to prove the impact made by their research.

Profile: Patricio Cuevas-Parra is the Senior Global Policy Adviser for Child Participation and Rights with World Vision International and is responsible for leading strategies and programmes to ensure the voices of children are heard and acted upon in high-policy debate particularly those in global capitals such as Brussels, Geneva and New York. His research project “All views matter: Critically exploring the process and outcomes of child-led research in conflict prone and other complex environments”, was conducted in Jordan, Lebanon and Bangladesh. He will discuss his methodology and ethics procedures for conducting child-centered research.

Social Policy Seminar Series presents: ‘Democratic Devolution in the wake of Brexit: Youth Citizenship in Greater Manchester’

On Friday October 27th the University of Edinburgh Social Policy seminar series will host Dr Andy Mycock of the University of Huddersfield, who will share his recent work on youth democratic engagement and citizenship. I would encourage all those with an interest in youth citizenship, politics and participation to come along, where Dr Mycock will present for about an hour followed by a drinks reception.

‘Democratic Devolution in the wake of Brexit: Youth Citizenship in Greater Manchester’
Dr Andy Mycock, Reader in Politics, University of Huddersfield

When: 27 October, 15:00 – 18:00

Where: Chrystal Macmillan Building Staff Room, 6th floor, 15A George Square, University of Edinburgh

Abstract:  Brexit has left many young people who were not able to vote in the EU referendum feeling democratically isolated, excluded, and powerless to have their voices heard and influence political debate. Devolution within England offers young people new opportunities to learn about, engage with, and participate in existing and new local and regional polities. Drawing on the case of Greater Manchester, Dr Andy Mycock will discuss current research which explores the extent to which English devolution has enhanced youth citizenship policy-making in the wake of Brexit. He will explore the formation of a new regional ‘Youth Combined Authority’ in Greater Manchester and its impact on youth democratic education, engagement, and participation.

For more information please head to the Social Policy website here.