Young People’s Transitions Conference: thank you and materials from keynotes & presenters now available

Thank you to all of those who attended the Young People’s Transitions Conference two weeks ago at the University of Edinburgh. We had a great day hearing from PhD and early-career researchers on their ongoing work, with a fantastic team of academic discussants to lead audience members in thoughtful discussions. We also want to extend our thanks to the three keynote speakers, who spoke on three different and important topics in the field of youth transitions. The variety of topics and discussions made this a unique and enjoyable day.

If you have not taken a look at the compendium of briefing papers we released on the day of the conference please take a look at those now. We’ve also now made available the slides from our three keynote speakers and the PDFs of the four posters that were displayed during the day.

Take a look at all these materials now!  

Keep an eye out for an upcoming document covering what we heard from the day’s participants in the Listening Session — coming soon!


TODAY! The Young People’s Transitions Conference — briefing papers now available

Today we welcome over 100 delegates from academia, government and the third sector to the University of Edinburgh for our Conference ‘Young People’s Transitions: Dimensions, Difficulties and Diversity’. We are so pleased to get this day underway with all of our delegates and our partners at the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships!

To see what we’re up to today, check out the conference programme or follow some of our friends who will be tweeting today with #yptconf2017.

For those who are unable to attend the conference, our 8 PhD/ECR presenters were gracious enough to write briefing papers that we have compiled into a compendium for you to view. These papers are short works that cover key aspects of their research they will share with delegates today.

Access the briefing papers here

We also plan to create a document synthesising the discussion of today’s Listening Session, which will be up on the Network website in the coming months. Thank you all for your support of this project, and we look forward to staying in touch about this work and others in the coming months.

Young People’s Transitions Conference — full conference programme now available!

In just two weeks the University of Edinburgh will welcome 150 delegates from a variety of disciplines and sectors for Young People’s Transitions: Dimensions, Difficulties and Diversity on April 21st. In preparation for the Conference, and for those unable to attend but who would like to know more about the day’s events, the full conference programme is now available. This includes bios and abstracts for our three keynote speakers, and abstracts for all eight of the PhD/Early-Career Researcher presentations that will take place throughout the day.

Please take a look at the Conference Programme here.

A few days before the Conference we will also be publishing on the website a compendium of eight briefing papers from the PhD/ECR presenters on the work they will share at the Conference. This will allow for those unable to attend the Conference (or delegates not able to attend all presentations) an opportunity to access all the great research from our presenters. Stay tuned!

Next event, Wednesday 5 April, 4pm: ‘Love, Passion and Professionalism: The Early Years Lead Professional’

The Network’s next presentation will be given by Jane Malcolm, a PhD Candidate in Education, on ‘Love, Passion and Professionalism: The Early Years Lead Professional.’

When: Wednesday, 5 April 2017, 4:00 – 5:00 pm

Where: Charteris Land, Room 4.02, Moray House School of Education, Holyrood Road, EH8 8AQ University of Edinburgh


Murray (2013) talks of an internal view of professional self-being crucial because it is based on individual values and informs practice. She argues that this internal view is what allows the Early Years Lead Professional to practice their profession with integrity.  This raised a question concerning whether having the freedom to care with passion and love is critical to inspiring professionalism (Moyles, 2010) and whether personal values and principles are an integral part of their development of professional identities. Research tells us of the importance to development of love; Zeedyk (2016) argues that “young human brains are wired: for relationships, for love” and Bowlby (1953:240) describes love in infancy and childhood as being “as important for mental health as are vitamins and proteins for physical health.” My research boldly argues that love should be recognised as a professional standard. In response to a recent review the Scottish Government has redesigned the inspection methodology to take account of measuring “softer” outcomes, such as love and care, (Scot Gov, 2015:10). At present it would appear, through the data collected for this project to-date, that interpretation of these “softer outcomes” amongst Professionals varies. Although all Professionals interviewed agreed that relationships and love were important.

My research therefore seeks to pose questions and stimulate discussion, through interviews and reflective practice diaries, around how professionals engage with the “softer outcomes”, e.g. of love and passion, in their work. And what “softer outcomes” mean for professional standards and the delivery of services to children and families.

Key words: love, professionalism, early-years, values, relationships.


Bowlby, J (1953) Childcare and the Growth of Love. Open University: Middlesex.

Moyles, (2010) Passion, Paradox and Professionalism in Early Years Eduction. Early Years: An International Research Journal. 21 (2) 81-95

Murray (2013) Becoming an early years professional: developing a new professional identity. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal. 21 (4) 527 – 540.

Scot Gov, (2015) Scottish Government Response to an Independent Review of the Scottish Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) and Out of School Care (OSC) workforce. The Scottish Government: Edinburgh.

Zeedyk, S (2016) How childcare Policies are undermining our children’s capacity to love. Blog Entry,

The Network’s next event, Monday 6 March 4 pm: ‘Listening to the Views of Children with Autism.’

The Network’s next presentation will be given by Juliet Scott-Barrett, a PhD Candidate in Education, on ‘Listening to the Views of Children with Autism.’

When: Monday, 6 March 2017, 4:00 – 5:00 pm
Where: Practice Suite (Room 1.12), Chrystal Macmillan Building, 15 George Square, University of Edinburgh

Listening to the views of children with autism

Children with autism hold important, perceptive, and thoughtful views and ideas . Researchers, practitioners, peers, and policy-makers stand at a disadvantage by not having access to, or listening to, the views of children with autism . Autism is a condition that may affect how an individual is able to navigate communicative interactions, and may influence how someone wishes to express their ideas . Children with autism experience barriers to actively engaging with research that elicits their views , and it is the researcher’s responsibility to address those barriers.

This research project looks into the techniques and approaches that help researchers elicit views in ways that aim to be meaningful for both the researcher and the child with autism. The project is a two-study research design to integrate perspectives from both essential contributors in a research encounter: researchers (Study 1), and participants (Study 2). The first study works with ten researchers with diverse expertise and experience in listening to children and young people with autism. The second study will work with children with autism using Lego and photography, to develop understanding about how to make research more meaningful for younger children with autism. This presentation will discuss the methods and data of my first study; I will discuss researchers’ perspectives on issues encountered whilst negotiating informed consent with young people with autism, and managing focus groups with young people with diverse communication preferences.


Conn, C. (2015). Essential Conditions for Research with Children with Autism: Issues Raised by Two Case Studies.Children & Society, 29(1), 59–68; Ellis, J. (2016). Researching the Social Worlds of Autistic Children: An Exploration of How an Understanding of Autistic Children’s Social Worlds is Best Achieved. Children & Society.
Humphrey, N., & Lewis, S. (2008). `Make me normal’. The views and experiences of pupils on the autistic spectrum in mainstream secondary schools. Autism, 12(1), 23–46.; Preece, D., & Jordan, R. (2010). Obtaining the views of children and young people with autism spectrum disorders about their experience of daily life and social care support. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 38(1), 10–20.
Baron‐Cohen, S. (2009). The empathising‐systemising theory of autism: implications for education. Tizard Learning Disability Review, 14(3), 4–13..
Lewis, A. (2009). Methodological Issues in Exploring the Ideas of Children with Autism Concerning Self and Spirituality. Journal of Religion, Disability & Health, 13(1), 64–76.; Preece, D. (2002). Consultation with children with autistic spectrum disorders about their experience of short-term residential care. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 30(3), 97–104.
Nind, M. (2009). Conducting qualitative research with people with learning, communication and other disabilities: Methodological challenges. Retrieved from

6th Annual Childhood Studies Jamboree 1 March 2017 – register your place now!

You are invited to the 6th Childhood Studies Jamboree on Wednesday 1st of March 2017. The session will run from 2-5pm and will be followed by some refreshments.

The Jamboree is an event organised by Listening to Children students and conveners, with support of the UoE Childhood and Youth Studies Network. We are finalising our location – which will be in the University of Edinburgh George Square area.

You will 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 2 interactive workshops. This year we once again have wonderful workshop choices, from engaging children as co-researchers to the ethics of ethnography. It is another international array, from those undertaking research in Scotland to those working in China, Columbia, Jordan and elsewhere.

Spaces are limited so please email  by the 20th February with any particular requirements or dietary needs to confirm your place.

What participants said last year about what they learnt:

“The nitty-gritty of the research process. Practical tips and candid responses and reflections have really inspired my research interests.”

“Many ideas for creatively and genuinely seeking children’s perspectives and involving them in research. Many wonderful ideas for resources which can be used. An understanding of the ways in which research with children and young people can influence policy and practice.”

“Ideas about how to listen to children creatively and how to integrate what you have heard into campaigning for policy change (brilliant and really helpful session).”

Young People’s Transitions Conference: Registration now open!

**Registration is now currently at capacity for this conference. However, we encourage you to get on the waitlist if you are interested in this conference. There will likely be registrants who are no longer able to attend and tickets will be released as they are made available. 

Registration is now open for Young People’s Transitions: Dimensions, Difficulties and Diversity, a free, one-day conference for youth researchers, policymakers and practitioners on Friday 21 April 2017 at the University of Edinburgh.

The Conference seeks to explore, illuminate and interrogate the complexity of young people’s lives today and ask questions relating to the myriad factors that shape the youth phase. Studies of young people making life transitions across the youth period (age 10 to 24) give us a deeper and more nuanced understanding of how different aspects of young people’s lives interpenetrate – in employment, health, family, peer relationships, media, housing, culture, poverty, disadvantage and more. This area of research is nothing if not multidimensional and multidisciplinary, so we seek presenters and participants that encompass diverse viewpoints from the academic, policy and practice communities that engage with young people.

Head to the Registration page now via Eventbrite or learn more about the Conference in the webpages here. Registration will be limited to 100 delegates, but the Conference will be running a waitlist. Please register as soon as you can!

Until Monday 13 February we will be seeking Conference abstracts from PhD or early-career researchers from a variety of disciplines to present at the Conference. Send in your abstract now or forward to your colleagues —  see  Call for Abstracts.

Please share this event with your colleagues at your University, in government or in the practitioner/third sector who may be interested in this Conference. We can’t wait for you to join us at the Conference in April!

Any questions or concerns please email Sarah Weakley at