Contact Details

Childhood, Transition and Social Justice Initiative School of Law
28 University Square
Belfast
BT7 1NN
E: s.mcalister@qub.ac.uk

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Seminars

Background

The Initiative is holding a Seminar Series over two years to explore key issues affecting the lives of children and young people in Northern Ireland with a group of researchers and NGO representatives with whom we have established working relationships. The themes of each two-day Seminar are: Living in a Divided Society; Health, Well-being and Support; Media Representations of Children and Young People; Regulation and Criminalisation of Children and Young People; Gender, Sexuality and Power; Children’s Rights and Ways Forward.

Each seminar includes an overview of context, discussion of specific topics, and opportunities to share experiences and consider implications for research, policy, practice and lobbying.

The programme focus provides opportunities to:

  • consolidate and expand understanding about the contexts that underpin the lives of children and young people in Northern Ireland;
  • hear directly from young people about their experiences;
  • develop alternative, critical discourses around children and young people;
  • explore and connect theory/ policy/ research/ practice;
  • reinforce critical analysis of policy and practice;
  • reflect on ways of working and on challenges and how these might be addressed;
  • exchange information.

Participants

The Seminar Series involves 20-25 core participants who attend and contribute to all seminars. While the seminars are closed, and by way of invitation, a larger open conference will be held at the end of the two years. All participants have been invited on the basis that they:

  • work with children and young people within a rights-based framework;
  • have established links with the Childhood, Transition and Social Justice Initiative;
  • are committed to critical analysis and development of alternative discourses reflecting the views and experiences of children and young people;
  • engage with voluntary/community groups and community-based work with children, young people and their families;
  • are keen to disseminate information and debate from the Seminars within their own organisation;
  • make a commitment to attend the 2 days of each Seminar.

Invited presenters

The Seminars include invited presenters with policy, research and/or practice expertise in specific topics. They focus on the key challenges in their area of work, barriers to effective practice and how they have responded to these, lessons learnt and implications for policy/ practice. They are also asked to pose questions to be considered during discussion. The first day of each Seminar also includes an input by young people, who present what they consider to be the main issues relating to the Seminar topic and facilitate small group discussion.

Seminar 1: Living in a Divided Society

The Initiative held the first of its two-year seminar series on the theme 'Living in a Divided Society' on 12-13 April 2010. Issues explored included: racism and sectarianism; play, leisure and territoriality; education; identity. Two young people involved with Shankill Alternatives attended the event to talk about the issues facing them within their communities. 

Seminar proceedings are available by clicking here.

Seminar 2: Health, Well-Being and Support

The second seminar in our series on the theme 'Health, Well-being and Support' was held on 28-29 June 2010. Issues explored included: mental health and well-being; poverty and standard of living; sexual health and relationships; parenting and family support. A group of young people from 6th Sense spoke on the work they do and the issues affecting young people with disabilities in relation to health and well-being.

Seminar proceedings are available by clicking here.

Seminar 3: Media Representations of Children and Young People

The third seminar in our two-year seminar series on the theme 'Media Representations of Children and Young People' was held on the 13-14 September 2010. Issues explored included: the demonisation of children and young people; the impact of the media on policy, law and community; the regulation of risk and vulnerability; how the media operates and the culture of journalism. Young people from Headliners Foyle and WIMPS gave presentations on how they use the media to educate and inform other young people, and to challenge negative perceptions of young people. Find out more about the work of WIMPS here; and Headliners Foyle here.

Seminar proceedings are available by clicking here.

Seminar 4: Regulation and Criminalisation of  Children and Young People

   

The fourth seminar in our series on the theme 'Regulation and Criminalisation of Children and Young People' was held on 24-25 January 2011. Issues explored included: policing and community; custody; early intervention and prevention; alternatives to criminal justice. A group of young people from Include Youth discussed what they consider to be the key issues concerning the regulation and criminalisation of children and young people.

Seminar proceedings are available by clicking here.

Seminar 5: Gender, Sexualities and Power

The fifth seminar in our series 'Gender, Sexualities and Power' took place on 18-19 April 2011. Issues explored included: gendered identities; sexualities; gender and the Conflict; interpersonal violence. Young women from YouthAction's 'Out and About' group discussed the issues for them of being gay, lesbian or bi-sexual in Northern Ireland. 

Proceedings from the seminar will be available to download soon.