Events Archive

Children's Rights and Wellbeing - a joint event hosted by the Improving Children's Lives Wellbeing Special Interest Group and the Centre for Children's Rights

DATE: Tuesday 24th June
TIME: All day event, exact times TBA
VENUE: Great Hall, QUB
SPEAKERS: Professor Ferran Cassas, University Of Girona  and Professor Helen Stalford, European Children's Rights Unit, University of Liverpool
REGISTRATION: This is an open and free event, to register place contact

For the flyer please click here

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Building student capacity to co-govern in the classroom: vested interests, vantage points, and competing values

DATE: Friday 20th June
TIME: 1230-2pm
VENUE: Senate Room QUB
REGISTRATION: This is an open and free event, but for numbers please RSVP to; sandwich lunch at 12.30pm.
SPEAKER: Emily Nelson, Eastern Institute of Technology, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

This seminar presents findings from Emily’s research ‘Is this student voice?’ Teachers and students re-negotiate power through governance partnerships in the classroom.  The presentation highlights the slippery nature of enacting student/teacher classroom governance partnerships against a backdrop of elusive power dynamics and competing co-construction and accountability agendas.  It promotes a power analytic frame developed for the research to examine the nuanced workings of power on possibilities for teacher and student pedagogical decision-making.  It also explores implications from this examination for scaffolding student influence in decision-making within classrooms as a matter of social justice.

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The right of a child to cultural identity

DATE: Thursday 3rd April 2014
TIME:3pm - 4.30pm (Start time changed from 11am)
VENUE: 69-71 University Street/Room 0G/007A
REGISTRATION: This will be an open and a free event but for numbers please register with; Tea & Coffee at 3pm
SPEAKER: Alexandros Stylianidis, University of Vienna

This seminar aims at answering a principal question: Is there in international law a right of a child to cultural identity? According to Article 8 of the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child "States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference". Could this provision be considered to include cultural aspects, alongside nationality, name, and family relations, and/or could such a right of a child to preserve his or her cultural identity  be discerned by interpretation from the international instruments?

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Workshop for Researchers: Children researching children using action research.

TIME: 10am – 4pm
DATE: 29th January 2014
VENUE: Old Staff Common Room (Lanyon/0G/36)

This full-day workshop will explore the practicalities, ethics, benefits and challenges of implementing research studies with children and young people as co-researchers, with a focus on action research methods.

For more information see attached flyer

To attend please RSVP to  Harry Shier

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'It's about relationships': valuing children and young people's perspectives on 'emotional wellbeing'

TIME: 12.30 -14.00
DATE: Thursday 12th December 2013
VENUE: 69-71 University Street/Room 0G/007

Speaker: Vicki Coppock is Reader in Social Sciences: Childhood Studies & Mental Health at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, Lancashire, UK. 

She is also a qualified and experienced psychiatric social worker.  She teaches in the areas of social work studies, mental health, childhood studies and gender and sexuality.  She has a research and publications record in the critical analysis of theory, policy, legislation and professional practice in the field of mental health, with a particular emphasis on asserting a positive rights agenda for children and young people in mental distress. 

Her presentation at this seminar draws together evidence from qualitative research studies in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia to disrupt prevailing adult-centred, professional discourses of childhood and mental health, revealing the central importance of agency, community, togetherness and the relational in children and young people’s narratives of their subjective ‘wellbeing’.

This is a free and open event but for numbers please RSVP: Jan Speer
Sandwich lunch will be provided


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Applying a children’s rights-based approach to research projects: from grant proposal to dissemination and impact

Invitation to One Day Workshop

Facilitator: Lesley Emerson, Deputy Director, Centre for Children’s Rights, QUB
DATE: Tuesday 10th December 2013, 9.30 – 4.30 pm, Senate Room, Q.U.B

For further details please see flyer here.

Please RSVP to Elizabeth at

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Why Children’s Rights Matter

TIME: 9am – 4pm
DATE: 26th November 2013
VENUE: The Great Hall, Queen's University Belfast
SPEAKER: Prof John Tobin University of Melbourne (Further speakers to be announced)

The purpose of this event is to further develop understanding and awareness of children’s rights in Northern Ireland. It should be of interest to anybody working with Children and Young People in voluntary, community, statutory and academic organisations.

The speakers will be experts in children’s rights issues and UNCRC reporting mechanisms.  This event is co-hosted by ICL, CCR, Save the Children, Children’s Law Centre, CiNI and others.

 It is a free and open event but availability is limited.  Please register for this event, by contacting David Piekaar 


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Janusz Korczak - The Father of Children's Rights

TIME: 12.30 - 14.00
DATE: Thursday 21st November 2013
VENUE: Cathcart Room 69/71 University Street, 0G/007

Speaker: Prof. Michael Freeman, renowned Children’s Rights Scholar will be visiting the Centre for Children’s Rights in November.

Please RSVP to Jan

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Children’s Rights in Schools: What not to do

TIME: 17.00
DATE: Wednesday 20th November 2013
VENUE: Great Hall, Queen's Univeristy Belfast

Speaker:  Prof. Laura Lundy will give her Inaugural Lecture on Universal Children’s Day. 

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Big Breakfast Launch

TIME: 09.15 -10.30
DATE: Wednesday 6th November
VENUE: St. Ita's School, Belfast

The ‘Big Breakfast’ event will be held to disseminate the findings from Kids Life and Times Survey. The 2013 survey included two modules of questions – Children’s Rights and Nutrition – that were developed by a Children’s Research Advisory Group (CRAG) of Primary 6 children in conjunction with staff from the Centre for Children’s Rights (CCR) in the School of Education at Queen’s University Belfast.

Findings from these two modules will be presented by the CRAG at St. Ita’s School in Belfast, and will incorporate a ‘Big Breakfast’ featuring some of the healthy breakfast options suggested by respondents to KLT in the Nutrition module.

To RSVP please contact Elizabeth Welty

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Participation and the Construction of Inequality in Finnish Preschool: Bourdieusian Approach

TIME: 12.30 - 14.00
DATE: Thursday 24th October 2013
VENUE: Canada Room & Council Chamber, Lanyon Building

Speaker: Mari Vuorisalo, a Post-Doctoral Researcher in Early childhood education at the Department of Education in the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, will be joining the Centre for Children’s Rights at Queen’s University Belfast in October. Her research concerns children’s everyday-life and participation in a preschool setting. In her PhD study (2013) she has utilised Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of practice, especially concepts of field and capital.

Please RSVP to Jan

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Child Safety and Community Partnership Models and Challenges

TIME: 13.30 - 15.00
DATE: Thursday 17th October 2013
VENUE: Old Staff Common Room, Lanyon Building

Speaker: Yvonne M. Vissing Director, Center for Childhood and Youth Studies
Professor, in the Department of Sociology, at Salem State MA will be visiting the Centre for Children’s Rights in October.

Please RSVP to Jan

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Economic and Social Rights: Budgets and the UNCRC

DATE: 20th June
TIME: 2.30 – 3.30pm
VENUE: 20 College Green Room 0G/005

SPEAKER: Aoife Nolan, Professor of Law at the University of Nottingham has been appointed as a visiting professor in the Centre for Children’s Rights.

Recent years have seen an explosion in methodologies for monitoring children’s economic and social rights (ESR). Key examples include the development of indicators, benchmarks, child rights-based budget analysis and child rights impact assessments. The Committee on the Right of the Child has praised such tools in its work and has actively promoted their usage. Troublingly, however, there are serious shortcomings in the Committee’s approach to the ESR standards enshrined in the CRC, which threaten to impact upon the efficacy of such methodologies. This article argues that the Committee has failed to engage with the substantive obligations imposed by Article 4 and many of the specific ESR guaranteed in the CRC in sufficient depth. As a result, that body has not succeeded in outlining a coherent, comprehensive child rights-specific ESR framework. Using the example of child rights-based budget analysis, the author claims that this omission constitutes a significant obstacle to those seeking to evaluate the extent to which states have met their ESR-related obligations under the CRC. The article thus brings together and addresses key issues that have so far received only very limited critical academic attention, namely, children’s ESR under the CRC, the relationship between budgetary decision-making and the CRC, and child rights-based budget analysis. 

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Advancing the education rights of socially disadvantaged children

Date: 8th May 2013
Time: 4pm
Venue: Cathcart Room (0G/007), School of Education 69/71 University Street.


Dr Katherine Covell is a professor of psychology and executive director of the Children’s Rights Centre at Cape Breton University. She also represents North America on the International NGO Council on Violence Against Children. She is the author of numerous articles, reports, and book chapters, and 6 books on children’s rights and child development.

Dr Brian Howe is professor of political science and director of the Children’s Rights Centre at Cape Breton University. He is published widely on human rights, children rights, and education on children's rights. Among his many publications are 6 co-authored books. His most recent book (co-authored with Dr Katherine Covell) is Education in the best Interests of the Child (2013, University of Toronto Press). To RSVP for this free event please e-mail Jan

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Student Rights in the United States: Religion, Discipline and Free Speech

DATE: Friday 12th of April
TIME: 4 - 5 pm
: Cathcart Room, School of Education, 69 - 71 University Street.
SPEAKER:Professor Charles Russo from the University of Dayton, Ohio

Brought to you by the Centre for Children's Rights.  Refreshments to follow!

Professor Charles Russo will explore the relationship and tensions between religion, discipline and free speech in the context of schools within the United States.  Offering a foundation on the legal and educational systems within the United Sates, various cases will be used to illustrate this interesting relationship and the impact they have on student’s rights.

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Launch of Education Reform in Northern Ireland – A Human Rights Review

DATE: Monday 8 April 2013 at
TIME:  10.00am – 12.30pm (light lunch provided)
VENUE: Canada Room, Queens University Belfast

SPEAKER: Minister John O'Dowd

The report, authored by researchers from the Centre for Children’s Rights at Queen’s University Belfast, provides a comprehensive review of the human rights considerations relevant to all areas of policy and practice in the formal education sector.

Please contact to register for this event.   For more information on speakers please see Flyer.

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Educational Research at Queen's: How we're making an impact

Date: 15 March 2013
Time: 10am - 1pm
Venue: Riddel Hall, Stranmillis Road, Belfast BT9 5EE

This show case event by four leading researchers will allow you to hear first hand about the School of Education's ground breaking work. The event will give you the opportunity to learn more about some of our key programmes of research within the School and the impact we are having not just in Northern Ireland but nationally and internationally. We will be showcasing the work of our four research centres. Each centre is led by an eminent international authority in their area. Under their directorship, the four centres are taking forward impressive and highly innovative programmes of research.

What unites the four centres is a commitment to impact and to ensuring that our research leads to real change in transforming the lives of learners and educators.  This event will give you the chance to hear specific examples of how this is being done in practice and also to learn about our ambitious plans for the future.

Everyone welcome.

Download the event programme here.

RSVP to Jan Speer (TEl: 028 9097 3041,

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“Imagining the Future”: Seamus Heaney Lecture on children, youth and participation on 8th April

Seamus Heaney, Ireland’s only living Nobel literature laureate was educated at Queen’s and lectured here in the 1960s. An annual public lecture series that bears his name, is held at St Patrick’s College at Dublin City University. The theme for the 2013 Seamus Heaney lectures is “Imagining the Future”, and on 8th April in Dublin, two members of the Queen’s University Centre for Children’s Rights will be on a panel of speakers imagining a future for children and young people’s participation in Ireland, and sharing some insights on how to make their imagined future a possible reality.

Professor Laura Lundy will discuss how her model of child participation based on Article 12 of the UNCRC has been and can be used by educators for the advancement of children’s rights. Applying lessons learnt from his work with child coffee-plantation workers in Nicaragua, Harry Shier will look at what adults need to do in order to ensure that children and young people’s participation both empowers them and influences others. The panel will also include Dr Dympna Devine of University College Dublin School of Education and Dr Barry Percy-Smith of the Centre for Action Research & Participatory Development at the University of the West of England, and be chaired by Dr Susan Pike of St Patrick’s College.

More information: click here
or contact:

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Seminar 2: Children’s Rights-Based Research Methods (Lesley Emerson)

Date: Tuesday 19th March
Time: 10am - 12:30pm
Venue: Room 0G/007  (Cathcart Room), School of Education, 69/71 University Street

Ms Lesley Emerson, School of Education

This seminar will introduce participants to the key principles of a ‘rights-based approach’ and explore the implications of this for working with children as both co-researchers and participants in research. Practical examples of how this approach has been applied in a wide range of research projects will be used to illustrate these principles. Participants will also be given the opportunity to consider how this approach might be applied in their own research.

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Seminar 1: An Overview of Children's Rights with Prof Laura Lundy

Date: Monday 4th March
Time: 10am - 12pm
Venue:Room G6 (now 007A) , School of Education, Queen's University Belfast

This short seminar will introduce key terminology in relation to human rights/ children's rights, outline core aspects and principles of the UNCRC and describe how it is implemented in practice. Participants will also be shown how to research UN human rights treaty databases.

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Assessment for Learning – where are we now? 
Professor John Gardner  (University of Stirling)

Date:  Friday 1st February 2013
Time: 4pm – 6.15pm
Venue: Riddell Hall, Stranmillis Road

Introducing discussion on the outcomes of the Consulting Pupils on the Assessment of their Learning 2 (CPAL2)

RSVP: Jan Speer

Click here for the CPAL2 event flyer .

Research Seminar on the key issues arising in the NIHRC :'Education Reform in Northern Ireland: a Human Rights Review'

Date: 10th December 2012
Time: 2.00pm - 3.30pm
Place: Cathcart Room, School of Education, Queen's University Belfast

A presentation of key issues arising from a recent review for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: ‘Education Reform in Northern Ireland: a Human Rights Review’ (by Lundy, L., Emerson, L., Byrne, B., Lloyd, K. and Yohanis, J.)

The seminar flyer is available here.

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20 & 21 November 2012 - Launch of report for UNICEF UK: ‘Implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child’

November 20th Launch of report for UNICEF UK: ‘Implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child’ (Lundy, L., Kilkelly, U., Byrne, B and Kang, J.) at House of Lords, London

November 21st Launch of report for UNICEF UK: ‘Implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child’ (Lundy, L., Kilkelly, U., Byrne, B and Kang, J.) at Welsh Assembly, Cardiff

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Alison Cook-Sather - Student Consultation as a Right in Secondary Teacher Preparation

Date: Monday 11 June 2012
Time: 10.00am - 1.00pm
Place: School of Education, 20 College Green (Room G005), Belfast

Taking as a premise students’ right to have their experiences and perspectives inform the preparation of future teachers, this Master class has two parts: a lecture that outlines one programmatic approach to honoring that right, and a workshop that affords participants an opportunity to think through developing such practice in their own contexts. The lecture, “Student Consultation as a Right in Secondary Teacher Preparation,” presents an overview of the theoretical underpinnings for student voice work, the programmatic structures that support the positioning of secondary students as teacher educators to undergraduate students seeking secondary certification, and outcomes for prospective teachers and students who participate in the program. The workshop draws on Learning from the Student’s Perspective: A Sourcebook for Effective Teaching (Cook-Sather, 2009) and invites participants to explore some guiding principles for undertaking student voice work, steps in partnering with students and teachers in secondary schools, and approaches to researching such partnerships.

For more information about Alison Cook-Sather please click here.

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UNCRC - A Tool for Change

DATE: 13th November 2014
TIME: Registration 9am
VENUE: The Great Hall, Lanyon Building, Queen’s University Belfast
REGISTRATION: By invitation only
SPEAKERS: For further event details please see programme here
Sandwich lunch will be provided at 1.30pm

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Seminar: Challenging school dress codes: what's all the fuss about?

Speaker: Professor Daniel Monk, Birkbeck, University of London

Date: 15 December 2017, 12.30-2.00pmVenue: Room TR6, Graduate School, Queen's University Belfast

Stories about school dress code disputes appear frequently in the media. Rather than taking sides in these conflicts this paper explores what they collectively might be able to tell us about contemporary childhood. The main argument is that while school dress codes, on one level, are not an urgent issue, they nevertheless provide a rich site for understanding shifting cultural and political concerns and fault-lines about religion, sexuality, gender, class and the roles of the state, head teachers, parents and, of course, children. In examining what a ‘children’s rights’ perspective can offer the paper includes a critical reading of two cases where children successfully challenged dress codes and the paper concludes by sketching out possible research methods for developing a conversation between political discourses and personal experiences.

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Seminar: Exploring the intersections of violence, learning outcomes and educational practices: towards a new conceptual model

Speaker: Dr Gillean McCloskey, University of Edinburgh

2 October 2017, 1.00-2.00pm - room TR4 in The Graduate School

A range of socio-ecological factors and structural determinants influences the dynamics of violence against children, with particular cultural manifestations shaped by distinct political, social and economic histories and inequalities in countries (Parkes, 2015). However, these intersections between structural determinants of violence, everyday experiences in school and learning outcomes are still too little understood.

Dr Gillean McCluskey's research, teaching and writing focuses on two related fields of endeavour; a) restorative practices in education and b) exclusion from school. Restorative practice (RP) examines relationships and conflict in school and represents a rapidly developing field of international interest. Her work aims to contribute to understanding the impact of inequalities in education by advancing first, our understanding of exclusion from school and, secondly, the role that RP may have in mediating this. She has worked in mainstream schools and alternative settings with young people in trouble and at risk, and maintains a close interest in the lived experiences of schooling, and the importance of listening to young people. 

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Child Rights Education: what, where and why (and why not)?

SPEAKER: Lee Jerome, School of Education, QUB
DATE: Tuesday 10th March
TIME: 1200 – 1.30pm
VENUE: C2K Room, School of Education, 69/71 University Street, Queen’s University Belfast
REGISTRATION: This is an open and free event, but for numbers please RSVP

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child established children’s right to an education which promotes human rights, and established a duty on states to ensure children are informed about their rights. Taken together this provides a warrant for introducing some form of child rights education (CRE), that is, an education which teaches children about their rights and enables them to assume the role of rights holder. Drawing on a recently completed survey of 26 countries and seven more detailed country case studies, this paper reflects on the nature of CRE (what is it we want to achieve exactly?), the extent of implementation (what is, and is not, happening within the education systems of these countries to promote CRE?) and how progress can be secured (how have advocates made breakthroughs to promote CRE?). The answers to these questions provide enough glimpses of developed CRE that we can tease out a set of benchmarking statements, to help educators measure their progress against the best that is being achieved.

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Digital Storytelling Workshop for staff and postgraduate students

This will be an introductory workshop for those interested in using digital stories in their educational or research work with children.  Participants will work through the process involved in creating a digital story, from initial idea, to a simple storyboard, to production and editing of story and audio elements. Additionally the workshop will point towards resources for further private study for any participants interested in exploring the broad scope of approaches, formats, styles and uses of digital stories.

The workshop will be led by Linda O'Sullivan.  Linda has worked as a development executive, writer and script editor in children's broadcast media for over ten years with broadcasters including RTE, BBC and Disney Channel, and subsequently using digital media to enable children with reading difficulties through the Reading Bridges project.  She has worked in designing training on the creative process and digital media with Screen Training Ireland for industry practitioners and more recently with teachers.  Since joining IADT, she has managed research projects funded by UNESCO, Irish Aid and ERAMUS+.  She manages the FÍS (Film in Schools) and School in a Box programmes, supporting and developing digital skills of communities of practice working with children, young people, marginalised communities and disability in Ireland, Europe, Asia and Africa.  She is currently completing a D.Ed in TCD.

Venue: Room 69.01.012, 69 University Street, Belfast 

Date: 26 April 2016, 12.30 – 2.30pm

Lunch will be provided.

Contact: Laura Lundy:

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Seminar: Children and Digital Rights: Northern Ireland Case Study

Speaker: Dr Faith Gordon, University of Westminster 

Date: Friday 3 November 2017, 1.00-2.00pm
Venue:  69 University St, Room G.007


The digital world offers many positive opportunities for the current generation of children and young people but there are also significant risks.  Children and young people have identified issues they experience.  Two significant issues are the content they are exposed to online and the continued use of their social media content, without permission. 

This paper draws on focus groups with over 170 children and young people, as well as interviews with media journalists, editors, broadcasters, children’s advocates, politicians and police officers.  It employs socio-legal analysis to assess the court’s judgment in a recent case in Northern Ireland relating to pre-charge identification of a minor who had been accused of involvement in a high profile national ‘hacking’ case.  This demonstrates the negative impact of the lacuna in the current legislation in relation to pre-charge identification of minors and is an area in which urgent reform is required, as further delay is resulting in breaches of children’s rights. 

A further case study relating to journalists’ use of imagery and comments taken from children’s and young people’s social media accounts, raises questions about who should have access to these images and what are these children’s rights to them?  The paper recognises that one significant task for researchers, advocates and policymakers is the complexity of balancing children’s digital participation with their right to protection in the digital age.  The paper concludes by presenting several recommendations for policy, regulatory and legislative change in order to ensure that children’s rights are of paramount importance in the digital age.

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Centre for Children's Rights Seminar

Children’s Voices in Childhood Research
Wednesday 20 June, 10.00am-1.00pm
Room 01/037 in 6 College Park*, School of SSESW

*in building marked V on map

(Registration is NOT required)

Levels of truth: reaching ontological depth through young researcher use of fiction and critical realism to voice the unsaid – Dr Cath Larkins

Drawing on three studies this presentation explores the hierarchies of voice, analysis, fiction and knowledge that interweave in participatory research with children and young people. Two of these research studies were initiated by young researchers. Two concern children’s rights. All three involved children or young people in data analysis, supported or directed by adults. This paper presents the tools used in these data analysis processes and demonstrates how child and adult researchers contribute layers of voice and silence when they comment on, interpret and prioritise findings.

Exploring the Fullness of Children’s Voices: From Uttered Speech to Silence – Professor Spyros Spyrou

In this presentation, I will offer a critical perspective on children’s voices, not to dismiss them or downplay their significance in research, but rather to suggest critical ways for engaging with them. Given the preoccupation with children’s voices in childhood studies and the unexamined assumptions about the authenticity and truth that children’s voices represent, I will try to illustrate the importance of considering children’s voices in relation to the institutional contexts in which they are embedded and the discursive contexts which inform them. I will use silence as an illustrative example of children’s voices to show how attending to such features of voice may provide for more sensitive and ethical accounts of children’s subjectivities.


Cath Larkins is Reader in Children’s Citizenship at the School of Social Work Care and Community, University of Central Lancashire where she co-directs the Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation.  

Spyros Spyrou is Professor of Anthropology at European University Cyprus and Director of the Center for the Study of Childhood and Adolescence. He is the president of the International Childhood and Youth Research Network and the Deputy Chair of the Commission on Children, Youth and Childhood of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences.   


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Seminar: Child perpetrators and child victims: the scope of international standards for children’s rights

Speaker: Dr Nessa Lynch, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria, Wellington

5 September 2017, 1.00-2.00 pm - venue to be confirmed

International standards for children’s rights are increasingly influential on domestic practice. The most widely applicable is the Convention and its associated standards, but regional standards such as the Council of Europe’s Child Friendly Justice Guidelines have also been developed. There is by now considerable academic and practice on the application of such standards in national youth justice systems. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of this literature focusses on the child who is in conflict with the law; the child as suspect, defendant or offender. There is, rightly, much discussion of how such children may often be more appropriately categorised as victims themselves, as a result of parental or state abuse and neglect, mental and physical health problems, lack of education, and poverty.

Nonetheless, there has been much less consideration of the application of international standards to another group of children who are affected by the youth justice system: the children who are victims of crime. Cases of offending by child perpetrator against a child victim, particularly in serious sexual offending cases, are amongst the most difficult issues which a youth justice system must resolve, and raise complex questions of balancing of rights and interests.

This article seeks to develop a conceptual framework for the rights and interests of the child victim of child-perpetrated offending. What guidance can international standards offer? How do child-specific standards such as the Convention interact with other international standards such as the victims’ rights standards? How do children’s rights standards conceptualise the public interest and the child victim’s interest safety. Whose best interests?

Nessa is originally from Ireland and a graduate of the National University of Ireland, University College Cork (BCL, LLM) and the University of Otago, New Zealand (PhD).  She is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Her research is broadly based on the interaction between the individual and the state in the criminal justice system, with a particular interest in children’s rights. She is the author of a monograph Youth Justice in New Zealand, which examines theory, legislation and practice in the New Zealand youth justice system. She has published journal articles nationally and internationally on youth justice, children’s rights and restorative justice.She is a regular contributor to youth justice policy and practice, advises government and non-governmental organisations on children’s rights in justice proceedings, and is a member of the Youth Court Education Committee of the Institute of Judicial Studies of New Zealand.

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Too Gay to Foster

DATE: Thursday 18th September  2014
TIME: 12 30pm - 2pm
VENUE: 18 College Green/0G/008
REGISTRATION: This is a free and open event but for numbers please register with
SPEAKER: Daniel Monk, Birkbeck University
Sandwich lunch will be at 12.30pm

Daniel Monk will present a paper on the experiences of a gay couple who were rejected as foster parents because they were in an open relationship.  He will examine different understandings of child welfare and the limits to equality.

A gay couple is welcomed by a progressive local authority as potential foster parents.  But then the authority discovers that the couple are in an open relationship. What happened? What should happen?. This paper takes this real life story as a starting point for exploring a number of contemporary concerns: the limits to formal legal equality for gays and lesbians; shifting understandings of ‘the best interests of the child’ and adult sexuality; and the uses of ‘childhood’ in social policy.

Daniel Monk is a Reader in Law at Birkbeck, University of London and Director of the Birkbeck Institute for Gender and Sexuality. His research has explored children’s rights, home education, school exclusions, homophobic bullying and, most recently, inheritance.

For the flyer please click here

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Seminar: The 'collaborative advantage'? A rights perspective on children's research into their experiences and views on disadvantage

Speaker: Professor Phil Jones, Institute of Education, UCL

Date: 6 December 2017, 4.00-6.00pm 
Venue: 69/71 University Street, Room 0G.007

Recent years have revealed new perspectives on the complexity of children and adults trying to work together in research. On the one hand, good intentions about children's participation rights, or user involvement can dissolve or become distorted. On the other, we are increasing our insight into positive ways in which children and adults engage in the process. This presentation is offered in the spirit of adding to such insight.   The paper will report on a pilot, funded by LankellyChase, which offered the opportunity for children and young people experiencing disadvantage to train as researchers and to develop projects to explore their own, and other children’s, experiences and views. It involved the formation of a group of children as a reference group for the pilot and collaboration between University College London and four different partner organisations working with children experiencing disadvantage.  The young researchers received training, devised research to explore the theme of disadvantage based on their own responses to the term, were supported in implementing the research and made decisions about how they wanted their findings to be disseminated. The presentation will include material from the four projects and review the work of the pilot. The analysis will combine concerns drawn from the new sociology of childhood’s response to participation and participation rights with theoretical perspectives on collaboration, particularly Huxham’s (2003) theory of ‘collaborative advantage’.

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Seminar: Supporting Children’s Participatory Rights in Local Government

Speaker: Associate Professor Kylie Smith, University of Melbourne, Melbourne Graduate School of Education

Venue: Room G.007, 69 University Street, Queen's University Belfast
Date and time: 5 November 2018, 1.30 to 2.30pm

For more information, contact Bronagh Byrne,


This seminar will draw on two Australian research projects to show how very young children were supported to actively engage with the evaluation, planning and implementation of policy and practice within two local governments, in Victoria.

The seminar will explore how children’s views and experiences provided valuable insight into the natural and built environments they were living in or travelled to for care and education. Further, the seminar will show how governments reported back to children on how their views were listened to and where this information created change within the organisation.

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Seminar: Seeking the Child’s Voice in Healthcare Research

Speakers: Sonya Clark and Matt Birch
School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen's University Belfast

Date: Monday 23 October, 12.30pm-1.30pm
Venue:  20 College Green/0G/005


This seminar will highlight the development of a cartoon based iPad app data collection tool using Sprinkles Cupcake and Ronaldo Football. It will provide a brief synopsis of the study and highlight the contribution made by the Child Research Advisory Group (CRAG) to co-develop a child centred data collection tool for children in hospital.  We will then provide a creator perspective, which details the pragmatic process of developing the cartoon tool via an iPad as well as the researcher perspective on the realities of using the tool in clinical practice. We will conclude with the positives and negatives of developing an innovative and original data collection tool with a CRAG.

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6th Children's Rights Research Symposium - Children's Rights: theories and methodologies

We are delighted to host the 6th Children’s Rights Research Symposium (CRRS) for doctoral researchers and their supervisors on 4-5 October 2018. The symposium will be held at Queen's University Belfast and this year’s theme is Children’s Rights: theories and methodologies.

Despite the progress made in the field of children’s rights, there are those who believe that children’s rights have failed to secure a comprehensive intellectual base, and who criticise the apparent under-theorisation and conceptual foundations for such rights; there is need for a fuller theoretical justification. This reflects calls – particularly in Childhood studies – for more innovative methodologies to correspond with the messiness of children’s lived experiences.

Through a combination of paper presentations, poster presentations and plenary sessions, this year’s symposium wishes to focus attention on the theories which underpin children’s rights studies. We are thrilled to welcome Professor David Archard as guest speaker to explore and draw out these underlying theories, and look forward to examining how these theories relate to methodologies in the children’s rights literature across disciplines. We wish to examine how researchers traverse both theoretical frameworks and methodologies in the broad range of disciplines to which children’s rights pertain.

Call for Papers

We invite doctoral researchers from the children’s rights field to present on their research by submitting an abstract of no more than 250 words. Proposals should address the theoretical and conceptual framework utilised in the study, and how this has influenced chosen methodologies to make space for conversations between both theoretical and methodological frameworks and open up opportunities for reflexive consideration of the future of children’s rights studies. Deadline for submission is 31 May 2018.

Successful applicants will be contacted for an elaborated abstract of 1000 words following the review process.

Abstracts should be emailed to Amy Brown at

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Summer School: Children’s Rights-Based Participation at the Centre for Children’s Rights

1 June 2016 9:00AM - 3 June 2016 5:00PM

The Centre for Children’s Rights at Queen’s University Belfast is hosting a three day summer school on children’s rights-based participation. The Centre’s expertise and pioneering rights-based approach to research has been much in demand from international agencies and academics. This course will provide those interested in developing their skills in this area with an opportunity to network and learn with and from others interested in this approach.

The Centre’s Director and Deputy Director, Professor Laura Lundy and Lesley Emerson, have developed a pioneering approach to children rights-based research and consultation, implementing it at local, national and international levels. Staff have conducted consultations for and/or provided training on child participation to bodies such as:

  • the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
  • Child Rights Connect
  • Plan International and
  • the Council of Europe Children’s Rights Unit.

Drawing on this expertise, the summer school has been designed for all those who would like a better understanding of the theory and practice of children’s right to participation.

Speakers include a range of international child rights scholars based at the Centre, including Professor David Archard, Dr Bronagh Byrne and Dr Karen Winter as well as child participation experts Gerison Lansdown and Anne O Donnell (Head of Citizen Participation at the Irish Department of Children and Youth Affairs).

Topics to be covered include:

  • working with children’s advisory groups;
  • child-led consultation;
  • developing online questionnaires;
  • ethics and child protection;
  • working with young children and those with learning disabilities;
  • employing new technologies;
  • convincing duty-bearers;
  • and writing ‘child-friendly’ documentation.

The sessions will be practical and participatory.

Course fees: £300. The closing date for registration is Thursday 12 May 2016.

Travel and accommodation costs are the responsibility delegates. Attendees will also be responsible for obtaining their own visas. Lunch will be provided and there will be a social event with dinner on 2 June.

Please register via this Worldpay link:

Venue: Training Room 7, The Graduate School, Queen's University Belfast
Booking info: Course fees: The course fee is £300. Travel and accommodation costs are the responsibility of delegates. Attendees will also be responsible for obtaining their own visas. Lunch will be provided and there will be a social event with dinner on 2 June.
Book online

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The right to education for disabled students in New Zealand

DATE: Friday 22nd May
TIME: 12:30pm to 2pm (light lunch from 12:30pm provided)
VENUE: Room 0G/007 (Cathcart Room), School of Education, 69-71 University Street
SPEAKERS:  Alison Kearney, Massey University, New Zealand

New Zealand is a country of 4.2 million people with a record of meeting and often exceeding human rights standards, and of contributing to the development of international human rights treaties and covenants (New Zealand Human Rights Commission 2013). Despite this however, exclusion both from and within education is a reality for some children from minority groups, and in particular, disabled students (Kearney, 2011; MacArthur 2009; New Zealand Human Rights Commission 2010). This paper examines disabled students’ right to education in New Zealand, highlighting barriers to the realisation of this right. Results from an online survey of parents of disabled students who had been excluded and/or marginalised from school are reported and discussed in light of national and international literature.

Alison Kearney is an Associate Professor at Massey University in New Zealand and was the head of the School of Curriculum and Pedagogy from 2009 to 2013. She began her career as a primary school teacher and also spent time working in special education. Her teaching and research interests include inclusion and exclusion, children’s rights and inter professional practice. Alison has served on numerous Ministry of Education advisory groups and been involved in national policy evaluations.
REGISTRATION: This is a free and open event. Please RSVP to

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Annual Centre for Children’s Rights Seminar: The Right to Education

DATE: Tuesday 25th November
TIME: 4:30pm to 6pm
VENUE: Council Chamber/Canada Room, QUB
REGISTRATION: This is a free and open event but for numbers please register with
SPEAKER: Mr. Kishore Singh, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education
Refreshments will be served following the seminar

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Seminar with Professor Karl Hanson, University of Geneva

The right to do wrong? Children's rights and criminal responsibility

Tuesday 22 March, 12.30-2.00 pm
School of Education
69/71 University Street
Room 0G.007

RSVP Deirdre Davies

Karl Hanson is Professor in Public Law, University of Geneva, Swizerland and Deputy Director
of the Centre for Children's Rights Studies.  He is a member of the Directive Committee of the ENMCR.
He is an editor of the journal Childhood.

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Seminar: Inclusive Education: Interpretation by the Committee on the Rights of the Child

We are delighted that Gerison Lansdown, international consultant on children’s rights and disability is presenting this seminar.  Gerison was directly involved in drafting the General Comment on Inclusive Education and in the drafting process of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

DATE: Thursday 1 June 2017

TIME: 3.00pm - 4.00pm

VENUE: 6 College Park, Room 1.35

Registration: For numbers, please register with Deirdre Davies

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Youth Justice and Conflict Transformation: What is the Future Following Devolution?

This event is jointly organised by the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Youth, Conflict and Justice and Include Youth.

Bringing together academics, rights advocates and those working with and for children and young people in conflict with the law, this half-day public seminar will critically examine the state of youth justice. Featuring keynote speakers - Professor Lesley McAra (University of Edinburgh) and Koulla Yiasouma (Northern Ireland's Children's Commissioner), contributions will focus on the themes of youth and social justice, youth justice and conflict transformation and the implications of devolution.

Register online

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Seminar - Engaging Young People: Human Rights Discourses in Children's Literature

Speaker: Professor Jonathan Todres, Georgia State Univ College of Law

Date: Friday 23 February, 12.30pm

Venue:  Room G.007, 69 University Street



Despite the proliferation of human rights treaties and the tireless work of countless advocates, human rights violations remain prevalent around the globe. Children are frequent targets of these abuses. Although all rights violations demand an immediate response, there is also a need for sustainable initiatives that can help foster rights-respecting communities so that we can prevent rights violations from occurring in the first place. In this presentation, Professor Todres examines the role of human rights education in building rights-respecting communities and explores strategies for engaging young people in dialogues about human rights. Using children’s literature as a case study, he argues for the importance of mainstreaming human rights education and meeting children where they are, in order to foster greater recognition of and respect for the rights of all individuals.



Jonathan Todres is Professor of Law at Georgia State University College of Law in Atlanta, USA, and a Fulbright Scholar in residence at University College Cork School of Law in Ireland (Spring 2018). His research focuses on children’s rights and child well-being. He has authored numerous publications on child trafficking and other forms of violence against children, the implementation of children’s rights law, and legal and cultural constructs of childhood. He is co-author of Human Rights in Children’s Literature: Imagination and the Narrative of Law (Oxford University Press, 2016). Todres serves as a regular advisor to nongovernmental organizations working to address various children's rights issues. He is also a member of the Board on Children, Youth, and Families of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Todres holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School and a B.A. (International Development) from Clark University.

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International Children's Day on November 20th

DATE: Friday 20th November
TIME: 4.30pm – 6pm
LOCATION: School of Education, 69/71 University Street, School of Education, QUB.
REGISTRATION: Please RSVP to Professor Laura Lundy ( if you are able to attend.  Parking will be available on main site from 4pm on.

To mark International Children's Day on November 20th, the Centre for Children's Rights will be hosting a reception and short presentation of our work this year.  This will include a showing of a short video on child sexual abuse and exploitation that we worked with a group of children to design in collaboration with the Council of Europe.

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Seminar: From Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to Votes at 12

Speaker: Professor Michael Freeman

DATE:   Wednesday 8 March 2017
TIME:   4.00 – 5.00pm
VENUE: room G.007 in 69/71 University Street

Despite children and young people having the right to participate in decision-making processes ‘on matters affecting them’ under Article 12 of the UNCRC, they continue to be denied the right to vote. This seminar will explore the debate surrounding children’s right to vote and whether the voting age should be lowered.  Professor Michael Freeman is a Visiting Professor with us at Centre for Children’s Rights, Emeritus Professor of English Law and Founding Editor of the International Journal of Children’s Rights. He was editor of Current Legal Problems and has published in the areas of Family Law, Child Law and Policy, Children’s Rights, Medicine, Ethics and the Law and Medical Law, Jurisprudence and Legal Theory, and other areas of law and policy.

Registration: For numbers, please register with Deirdre Davies

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The legal needs of children and young people: the perspectives of young people and adult stakeholders

SPEAKERS: Lesley Emerson and Karen Orr, School of Education, QUB
DATE: Tuesday 31st March
TIME: 1230pm – 2.00pm
VENUE: Cathcart Room, School of Education, 69/71 University Street, Queen’s University Belfast
REGISTRATION: This is an open and free event, but for numbers please RSVP

This research, carried out on behalf of the Department of Justice, set out to explore the need for legal services for children and young people (CYP) in Northern Ireland (NI). Interviews were carried out with key stakeholders with direct experience of the legal needs of CYP, a wide range of focus groups with CYP and an online survey of post-primary school pupils to ascertain their knowledge and understanding of their legal rights and needs. The research indicates that the vulnerability of children and young people and their relative dependency on adults brings about specific legal needs, such as, inter alia: accurate assessment of competence; appropriate communication skills for adults engaging with children and young people; the recognition of children as rights-holders with the particular right to have their views sought, listened to and taken seriously; adequate time for cases so that meaningful consultation can occur at each stage of the legal process; need for legal specialism in relation to the issues faced by children and young people; age appropriate treatment by police; child friendly facilities and age appropriate court proceedings.  In particular the seminar will focus on fundamental barriers to meeting the legal needs of children and young people:  their lack of knowledge and understanding of their legal rights; their lack of confidence in relation to safely exercising their legal rights, for fear of repercussion; and their lack of willingness to exercise rights because they feel it would make little difference. 




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