» Posts tagged: ‘conference

Children and Youth among the themes in the upcoming ISS Development Dialogue.

The PhD community at the Institute of Social Studies in the Hague, Netherlands, is organising its 11th Development Dialogue; a conference specifically organised for and by PhD candidates and young scholars working in the field of development. This year’s conference theme is ‘Bridging Voices‘, and is scheduled for 10 and 11 October, 2013.

The call for papers is now open (closes by 15th May 2013). Research on/with children and youth in the context of development is included in the list of topics put forth by the conference organisers. Limited funds are availabe to (partially) cover travel expenses and accommodation of researchers outside of the Hague and the Netherlands (for details see HERE).

The 2013 annual conference (28-30 August) of the Royal Geographical Society with IBG is shaping up to include some interesting sessions concerning children and youth. Below three calls for papers:


Call for Papers, Royal Geographical Society with IBG Annual Conference, ‘New geographical frontiers’, London, 28-30 August 2013
Organised by Matt Benwell (Keele University) and Peter Hopkins (Newcastle University)

(Sponsored by the Geographies of Justice Research Group)

The lives of children and young people around the world are inextricably connected to geopolitical events and often receive considerable popular attention. The shooting of a 14-year-old activist campaigning for girls’ access to education in north-west Pakistan in October 2012 is a shocking reminder of how children and young people can be implicated in regional and global geopolitical disputes. Children here are not simply the victims of state and non-state violence but are active in the creation of ‘alternative geopolitics’ (Koopman, 2011). While events of this nature dominate media coverage, children and young people in less extreme situations are also engaging with geopolitics in diverse ways.

Geographers have started to shed light on how children and young people’s everyday lives are linked to distant geopolitical events (Hopkins, 2007; Hörschelmann, 2008; Pain et al., 2010). This work has not simply shown children and young people to be subjects or passive receptors of geopolitical discourses but as agents with informed and sophisticated perspectives (Benwell and Dodds, 2011). Notwithstanding this growing body of work, Skelton (2010) has suggested that the adult-dominated world of Political Geography continues to marginalise the ways in which children and young people play a part in geopolitics.

This existing work has explored the emotional geographies of global geopolitical events at the local scale, yet other scales have received far less attention including the regional and national (Hopkins and Alexander, 2010). How might children and young people engage with regional territorial disputes? Moreover, Harker (2011) has called for alternative approaches to geopolitical scholarship and associated understandings of power and violence by exploring, for example, family spaces and spacings in Palestine. How might we broaden understandings of what it means to ‘do geopolitics’ from a narrow focus on statecraft and elites to encompassing the actions of children, young people and families? These interventions hint at some of the potential directions for a critical geopolitics interested in the lives of children and young people.

This session is an opportunity to continue the dialogue between critical geopolitics and children’s and young people’s geographies to bring about a more variegated geopolitical scholarship (Harker, 2011). We seek contributions that engage with – but are not limited to – the following topics/issues:

• Children, young people and alter-geopolitics (e.g. non-violent geopolitics)
• Children, young people and popular geopolitics 2.0
• Diverse groups of children and young people’s engagements with geopolitical representation & practice
• Children and young people’s geopolitical engagement in diverse geographies: embodied, domestic, educational, urban, rural, national, regional and so on
• Researching geopolitical issues with children and young people
• Critical geopolitics, ethnography and participatory research
• Connections between critical geopolitics and emotional geographies of children and young people
• Children, young people and territorial nationalism (e.g. in Polar Regions)

Please email a 250 word abstract and/or expressions of interest to Peter Hopkins: Peter.Hopkins@newcastle.ac.uk by 1st February 2013.


session title: Migration, Mobility, Border Spaces and Affective Childhoods

Sponsored by the Children, Youth and Families Research Group and the Social
and Cultural Geography Research Group

Stuart C. Aitken and Sam Cortez

Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Youth ad Space (ISYS), San Diego
State University, California

This session explores how material borders and youthful mobilities give way
to young people’s experimentations with cultural, social and political
change.  We seek papers that highlight the capacities of children to
revolutionize thought and practice through creative re-imagining of
boundaries, borders, events, circumstances, and family and community

In what ways are child migration and mobility patterns changing?  How are
youthful mobilities contextualized by local and state violence? What
frontiers of youthful imaginations counteract these constraints and
contexts? In what ways do young people engage in political and civic life
and how do those practices shape policy making?  How are authoritarian
borders blurred or transgressed through youthful mobilities?  What are the
implications for citizenship?

What are the implications of these questions for geographers?  In what ways
should we be reconsidering spatial relations and the work of childhood?  What
kinds of policy interventions are apposite at this time?

Papers are invited on – but not limited to- the following themes:

*child mobility and child rights


*unaccompanied minors (independent child migrants)

*child mobility as a catalyst for  political change

*border spaces and revolutionary imaginations

*child labor and mobility

*migration and safety

*national policies on child movement and state violence

*child migration and citizenship

Please send title and abstract (c. 300 words) to Stuart C. Aitken, Center
for Interdisciplinary Studies of Youth and Space (ISYS), San Diego State
University, CA 92182, USA (saitken@mail.sdsu.edu) by Feb. 4, 2013


session title: Bridging the divide: Researching children/ young people and sexuality

Sponsored by the Space, Sexualities and Queer Research Group and the Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group


Joe Hall (University of Hull)

Nelly Ali (Birkbeck)

The sub-fields of children’s and youth geographies and geographies of sexualities often deal with intersecting themes that cross-cut the (seemingly) mutually exclusive nature of these fields. In our proposed sessions we aim to bring these themes to the forefront and bridge the divide between these geographical sub-fields by prompting a stimulating discussion between children’s and youth geographers (and scholars of childhood and youth more broadly) and researchers of sexuality. We hope this long overdue interaction will kick start a rich and rewarding dialogue that may continue for years to come.

We are seeking abstracts for a methodologically focused paper session that we hope will address the practical aspects of conducting research with children/ young people around issues of sexuality. This may include papers given by early career researchers who have, or are about to explore a topic of sexuality with children/ young people in contrasting socio-cultural contexts. It may also include papers by experienced researchers who may be able to offer insight and practical advice for conducting ethically sound research with various types of children/ young people. We also welcome papers that explore innovative approaches to data collection and analysis.

Please submit proposed titles and abstracts of not more than 250 words to Joe Hall (j.j.hall@2005.hull.ac.uk) and Nelly Ali (nelly.ali@gmail.com) by 8 February 2013.

We plan for the paper session to be followed by a panel session of invited speakers who will provide more opportunity for discussion and exploration of these themes.

Session title: Geographies of Youth Work

Session Co-organisers:Matej Blazek (Loughborough University), Luke Dickens (Goldsmiths, University of London), Peter Kraftl (University of Leicester), Sarah Mills (Loughborough University)

Sponsored by: Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group

It is now a decade since Moss and Petrie (2002) called for creation of “social spaces for childhood, as part of life, not just preparation for life” (Moss and Petrie, 2002: 123 original emphasis) in response to the overwhelming neoliberalisation of policy directed towards the provision of children’s services. They argued for policy directed towards providing organic, everyday and creative ‘opportunity spaces’, “where new relationships, ways of being and new futures can be nurtured” (Percy-Smith, 2010: 116), and which are deemed essential for enabling children and young people to participate more holistically as citizens in wider society (see Hart, 1992, 2008; Jans, 2004; Moss and Petrie, 2002).  This session is interested in work that updates on the extent to which this vision for such spaces – and the broad range of ‘youth work’ behind creating and sustaining them – has been established through current policy and practice. In other words, this session seeks to ask – in an age of related crises, austerity measures and neoliberal imperatives, what are the frontiers of contemporary youth work?

Moreover, the present era is defined by youth work as a growing and diverse sector, entering into the lives of children, families, and communities in an increasing multitude of capacities. The establishment of such provision has occurred through a series of phases in response to state restructuring, and the impacts of economic and political crisis, where at different times various constellations of local authority, third sector and community agents have undertaken youth work. It is also increasingly clear that there is a long history of youth work extending beyond its formalised and defined conception, particularly through the pioneering work of the pre-welfare state organisations, institutions, community organisations and individuals (Mills, 2013). This session seeks responses that address this longer history, and to question what were the pedagogic, professional and scholarly frontiers that were addressed in the formulation of modern forms of youth work as a distinct practice/praxis.

At the heart of our interest here is an attempt to be clear on the purpose of youth work, who it is aimed at, what it is hoped to achieve, and, especially, where. Further, this line of enquiry implies a need to be clear on the definitions of ‘youth’ itself, and how the category of youth is understood and positioned within the social world. This requires exploring the policy imperatives that lie behind it (e.g. Kraftl et al., 2012). For example, the role of youth work has been marked by heated debates over the instrumental (undertaken to achieve goals) or intrinsic (as a benefit in and of itself) nature of youth work, a situation that has exposed many competing and conflicting agendas between those agents variously charged with undertaking youth work on or with the young. Current policy seeks to implement youth work within a context of reduced funding, and tends towards short-term ‘interventions’ targeted at disadvantaged young people. Is policy on youth work something that should follow such deficit models of social improvement of the disadvantaged, or can/should more holistic practices be undertaken with all young people?

Finally, we are interested in the practice of youth work, asking who does it, who is the subject of it, what is the practical, everyday nature of youth work and the how are the individual, embodied agendas behind it shaped (Blazek and Hraňová, 2012; Dickens and Lonie, in press). Alongside seeking to (re)define youth, this approach asks further questions of the spatialities, politics, power, and emotional labour involved in the development of youth/youth worker relationships. Much youth work has drawn on practices of mentoring, peer-learning and so on, which in turn raises the possibilities of young people themselves undertaking ‘youth work’.Youth workers are also leading proponents of participatory, inclusive and creative practices, thus offering fertile common ground with researchers with similar interests. What is the nature of this common ground, or what can youth workers and researchers interested in space, place and spatiality learn from each other? Indeed, given relatively little interaction between scholarship by geographers and youth work scholars/practitioners, what opportunities exist for the opening-up of new research agendas, theories and methodologies – new disciplinary frontiers – if these two disciplines were to engage in more sustained dialogue?

Papers are invited on these and other related topics, and may address the following themes in relation to youth work (albeit broadly conceived): 

  • Professional/informal
  • Intrinsic/instrumental
  • Practitioner/researcher
  • Child/youth/adult (life course, transitions, intergenerationality)
  • Past/present/future
  • Youth work policy/politics
  • Emotional, affective, everyday, and/or material constituents of youth work policy/practice
  • Youth work in different geographical contexts around the world
  • Youth work spaces beyond the local

We are very keen to accommodate alternative contributions, rather than just standard papers. We also wish to encourage participation from practitioners and other non-academics. There might be an opportunity to hold the session in an open space if there is enough interest. Please get in touch to discuss any of this.

Abstracts of no more than 250 words or any other ideas for contribution should be sent to Matej Blazek (m.blazek@lboro.ac.uk) and Luke Dickens (l.dickens@gold.ac.uk) by Thursday 7th February.


Blazek, M. and Hraňová, P. (2012) ‘Emerging relationships and diverse motivations and benefits in participatory video with young people’,Children’s Geographies 10 (2): 151-168.

Dickens, L. and Lonie, D. (in press) ‘Rap, rhythm and recognition: lyrical practices and the politics of voice on a community music project for young people experiencing challenging circumstances’, Emotion, Space and Society.

Hart, R.(1992) Children’s Participation: From Tokenism to Citizenship. Florence: UNICEF International Child Development Centre.

Hart, R. (2008) ‘Stepping back from “the ladder”: Reflections on a model of participatory work with children.’ in Reid, A., Jensen, B., Nikel, J. and Simovska, V. (eds.) Participation and Learning: Perspectives on education and the environment, health and sustainability. Dordrecht: Springer, pp.19-31.

Jans, M. (2004) ‘Children as Citizens: towards a contemporary notion of child participation’, Childhood 11 (1): 27-44

Kraftl, P., Horton, J. and Tucker, F. (eds.) (2012) Critical Geographies of Childhood and Youth: Policy and Practice. Bristol: Policy Press.

Mills, S. (2013) ‘“An Instruction in Good Citizenship”: Scouting and the Historical Geographies of Citizenship Education’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 38 (1): 120-134

Moss, P. and Petrie, P. (2002) From Children’s Services to Children’s Spaces: Public policy, children and childhood. London: Routledge.

Percy-Smith, B. (2010), ‘Councils, consultations and community: rethinking the spaces for children and young people’s participation’, Children’s Geographies 8 (2): 107-122.


Session Title: Economic Change and Children, Youth and Families: Current Experiences and Future Frontiers

Session Organisers
Helena Pimlott-Wilson (Loughborough University) and Sarah Marie Hall (University of Manchester)

Sponsored by the Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group (confirmed) and the Economic Geography Research Group (TBC)

Session Theme
The global financial crisis of 2007-2009 has had catastrophic impacts on global, national, regional and local economic geographies. These impacts continue to play out in the form of job losses, pay cuts and short-hours working, depressed housing markets, public spending cuts and the rising cost of everyday goods, meaning that, for many people, the future remains somewhat bleak (JRF 2012). In particular, the impact on children, youth and families is noteworthy (see Edwards and Weller 2010), and yet commentary on the recent economic crisis and period of austerity has tended to focus more on impacts to government, financial markets and business.

In November 2012, the UK Government launched a consultation on the measurement of child poverty, moving away from principally economic assessments to include social factors. Despite political attention focusing on this contested area of measurement, there remains a paucity of research exploring the lived experiences of children, youth and families in austere times.  In this session we aim to explore the breadth and depth of such economic change as experienced by children, youth and families, as an often neglected area of study (MacLean et al. 2010) in relation to the frontiers of the past, present and future. We are interested in how children, youth and families cope during such turbulent times, and how they draw on the past, present and future to do so. We are also interested in how experiences, perceptions and understandings of the future and futurity according to children, youth and families has been shaped by recent economic changes, and likewise how they feel about the future in relation to past and on-going events.  We conceive of ‘frontiers’ in a variety of ways; including those that are abstract, experiential, imagined and tangible. While the frontier might a point in time, it might also be events of economic change, or be existing or new kinds of frontiers that emerge or loom as a result of such change, such as frontiers of poverty, partnership dissolution and unemployment.

We therefore welcome 15 minute papers relating to (but not limited to) the session themes, including:

• Impacts and experiences of economic recession (past and recent);

• Future and futurity;

• Employment, unemployment and job insecurity;

• Coping strategies during, and experiences of, economic change;

• Understandings of these above issues according to children, young people and families.

Being Involved
Please send your title and abstract of a maximum of 250 words by Monday 4th February 2013 to Helena (H.Pimlott-Wilson@lboro.ac.uk) AND Sarah (sarah.m.hall@manchester.ac.uk).


Session title: Unruly Subjects: Governing Young People

Sponsored by the Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group
Conveners: Jo Pike, University of Leeds; Gill Hughes, University of Hull; Pia Christensen, University of Leeds; Peter Kelly, Edge Hill University

Session abstract
For many young people, growing up in the 21st century presents significant challenges. Contemporary youth is characterised by greater levels of risk and uncertainty, notably, but not exclusively in relation to education and employment. Such experiences are shaped not only by economic factors in the wake of the global financial crisis, but by increasing levels of uncertainty brought about by political instability, conflict, climate change, global threats to health, and technological and cultural change. Reflecting some of these concerns, geographers have engaged with the ways in which locally produced cultures of childhood and youth are shaped by global forces highlighting the absence of considerations of childhood and youth from discussions related to the global financial crisis (Morrow, 2011).  While young people themselves have responded to these ‘crises’ in a variety of ways including protest, resistance and riot, there are further implications for the ways in which young people’s ontology and sense of self are forged within discourses that paradoxically position them both salvation and threat. This highlights what some have called the ‘ambiguous agency’ of children and young people who disrupt normative and prescriptive ways of being young in the 21st Century (Bordonaro and Payne, 2012).
In this session we call for papers that explore the tensions surrounding young people’s agency and new spaces and methods of governance that have materialised in response to contemporary crises of childhood and youth. In particular we are interested in work which seeks to gain a broader understanding of efforts to shape, mould and transform the hopes and aspirations of children and young people and that engages with the variety of methodological, theoretical and/or empirical challenges and opportunities, limits and possibilities that these governmental ambitions present.
Papers are invited that engage but are not limited to the following

•       Young people’s engagement with practices of self governance
•       The relationship between aspiration and young people’s sense of self
•       Geographies of transformation  and resistance
•       Children, young people and agency
•       The relationship between affective/emotional geographies and practices of governance

Please send abstracts of no more that 250 words to Jo Pike at j.pike@leeds.ac.uk by Friday 8th February


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