News Archive 2016

Appointment to Taiwanese government expert panel

Professor Laura Lundy has been invited by the Taiwanese government to sit on an expert panel that will review Taiwan's compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations but wishes to mirror the state party reporting process of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.  Along with other leading children's rights experts, Laura will visit Taipei in November 2017 to receive evidence from government and civil society organisations and to produce a set of observations on the state of children's rights in Taiwan.

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Children’s Rights and Brexit

The Centre co-organised a conference on children’s rights and Brexit on 6 December, with the Children’s Law Centre.  The guest speakers were: Professor Helen Stalford from the European Centre for Children’s Rights at the University of Liverpool; Dr Simon Hoffman from the Wales Observatory on the Human Rights of Children at Swansea University; Tanya Ward, Director of the Children’s Rights Alliance of Ireland; and Claire Archbold, Deputy Director in the Departmental Solicitors Office. Attendees included civil servants, politicians, lawyers, academics and the children’s sector. 

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International Children’s Day event

The Centre’s annual event to mark International Children’s Day was held on 19 November.  Staff and students shared their successes and activities in the last academic year.  Dr Claire Cassidy from the University of Strathclyde was the keynote speaker and gave an interesting and well-received talk on the topic of childhood, citizenship and children’s rights. Dr Cassidy also met with the children’s rights reading group where she demonstrated her innovative approach to practical philosophy. 

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Keynote at Educate Together conference in Dublin

Professor Laura Lundy was the keynote speaker at the Educate Together annual conference in Dublin on 26 November. She spoke to an audience of 180 teachers from Educate Together schools across Ireland on the topic of ‘Children’s Rights, Ethics and Education’.

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Children's participation in budgeting processes

The Centre for Children's Rights at Queen's University Belfast and Plan International are looking for meaningful and workable examples of child-participatory budgeting processes at national, sub-national, municipal and local levels. We are seeking contacts for some research on these initiatives and would be grateful if those who have good examples contact Chelsea Marshall ( or complete the questionnaire below in the relevant language. 

This research project seeks to identify the existence, perceived effectiveness and enabling factors of child-participatory budgeting initiatives at national, sub-national, municipal and local levels. We will be conducting a scoping study via an online questionnaire for anyone who has experience of child-participatory budgeting initiatives to share learning. The project will also include a small number of in-depth case studies of initiatives that worked particularly well or provide a particularly useful model for replication and adaptation elsewhere. The study will include initiatives in which children and young people were involved in any stage of the budgeting process (e.g. allocation, expenditure, monitoring and review) at any level of governance (e.g. national/regional youth parliaments, local councils and public institutions, such as schools, etc). While the focus will be on initiatives related to public spending, the study may include strong examples of child participation in non-state budgetary processes.

While there is growing attention to the importance of involving children and young people in budgetary decision-making, little research has explored how this is done effectively and what enabling factors support this work. This study aligns with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child's development of a General Comment on Public Spending and will support its implementation by highlighting lessons from initiatives around the world.

Please feel free to contact me, Chelsea Marshall ( or tel: 9097 5939), with any questions.


Child Participatory Budgeting


Budgétisation participative des Enfants


Los procesos de presupuesto participativo con niños, niñas y jóvenes

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MSc Children's Rights Studentship (2016/17)- Apply Now

The MSc in Children’s Rights is now in its third year and the School of Education (with the Improving Children’s Lives initiative) is offering a bursary of £1500 to one student taking up a place on the course in the academic year 2016/17.  For more information, eligibility and criteria visit the School's Scholarships page.

Closing date for studentship applications: Friday 29 July 2016 (4pm)

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Seminar at the Institute of Arts, University of Uberlandia, Brazil

Stefania Giannakaki gave a seminar at the Institute of Arts, University of Uberlândia (Brazil) on 17 June, where she discussed with local students, school teachers, and academics, the participation of children as co-researchers in the study 'Teachers' Educational Beliefs and Children's Voice Practices in the Island of Ireland'.  The study is funded by the Centre for Cross Border Studies and Stefania is the principal investigator. The study is being conducted in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin and Stefania's visit to Brazil was funded by Santander Universities UK.

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Education law and policy in Sweden and Korea

The law school at the University of Stockholm and the Korean Institute of Legal Research held a one day symposium in Stockholm on 21 September to discuss education legislation. Professor Laura Lundy of the Centre for Children’s Rights was the keynote speaker and opened the conference with a reflection on the children’s rights implications of legislating for schools, with a particular focus on children’s development, safety and well-being. 

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Centre research informs new General Comment of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

Research conducted by Laura Lundy, Karen Orr and Chelsea Marshall has directly informed a new UN General Comment.  The study of almost 2,700 children’s views on public spending in 71 countries was commissioned by and conducted with the support of all the major international children's rights organisations in order to inform the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child’s recent General Comment on Public Budgets for the Realisation of Children’s Rights. This research has directly influenced the content of General Comment 19. 

General Comments are an important source of legal interpretation of international human rights treaties.  They are used widely by governments in implementing their human rights commitments and by NGOs and children in advocating for the promotion and protection of human rights. The General Comment will also be used to inform monitoring of States Parties’ progress in the five-yearly periodic reviews of every signatory to the UNCRC.  The General Comment is available here.

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British Association of International and Comparative Education Thematic Forum on Children’s Rights

Professor Laura Lundy was a guest speaker at the BAICE thematic forum on children’s rights at the University of Cambridge on 3 October 2016.  Her talk focused on the challenges and opportunities of conducting global consultations with children, drawing on the recent research conducted by a team at the Centre for Children's Rights (Karen Orr and Chelsea Marshall) on public spending.

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Education law and policy in Sweden and Korea

The law school at the University of Stockholm and the Korean Institute of Legal Research held a one day symposium in Stockholm on 21 September to discuss education legislation. Professor Laura Lundy of the Centre for Children’s Rights was the keynote speaker and opened the conference with a reflection on the children’s rights implications of legislating for schools, with a particular focus on children’s development, safety and well-being. 

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Contemporary Childhoods Conference, University of Strathclyde

Professor Laura Lundy was the keynote speaker at the Contemporary Childhoods conference on 1 September, organised by the University of Strathclyde.  Laura opened the conference with a  talk reflecting on the need for further work to ensure ‘influence’ in relation to children’s participation and proposing a new duty-bearer ‘contract’ which would aim to make their feedback meaningful.  The conference attracted scholars from across the world interested in child rights and citizenship. 

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Centre Members present at event on children’s rights and Brexit

Professor Laura Lundy and Dr Bronagh Byrne were invited speakers at an event organised by the European Children’s Rights Unit, University of Liverpool which was held on 14 September. The aim of the event was to consider children and young people's views about Brexit, identify key concerns and priorities relating to the Brexit process from a children’s rights perspective, and explore how professionals can work alongside children and young people to ensure their needs are met during the Brexit negotiations. Laura and Bronagh highlighted the potential implications of Brexit for Northern Ireland.

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Research Grant awarded by Unicef UK

The Centre for Children’s Rights has been awarded a research grant by Unicef UK. The project team consists of Dr Bronagh Byrne (Principal Investigator), Dr Siobhán McAlister and Dr Katrina Lloyd. The project will undertake a detailed study and process evaluation of the Child Rights Partners pilot programme. Child Rights Partners brings together Unicef UK and local government to put children’s rights at the heart of public services. The programme, launched as a three-year pilot in November 2013, is a partnership between Unicef UK and a small number of UK local authorities in Derry/Strabane, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle and Tower Hamlets, London. Through the project the team with work with advisory groups of children and young people to find out what child friendly services means for them and how these can best be measured. The team will also carry out interviews with representatives from local authorities in the pilot areas currently taking part in the programme. The findings and recommendations from the study will be used to inform subsequent stages of the programme.

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Workshop: Digital Storytelling and its use in research and teaching

Linda O'Sullivan from the Institute of Art Design and Technology (IADT) in Dublin delivered a really engaging and practical workshop to staff and students on the use of digital story-telling and its  use in research and teaching.   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.   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. 

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Equity through education at Massey University New Zealand

Professor Laura Lundy was a keynote speaker at the Equity Through Education Symposium organised by the Institute of Education, Massey University on 17 February 2016. The symposium focused on identifying challenges and solutions for achieving equity through education, and on identifying a future research and advocacy platform in New Zealand that will address these important challenges. Laura’s address focused on the ways in which equity is defined and delivered through the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on issues such as school admissions, discipline and curriculum.  Professor John Smyth from the Australian Federation of Universities, well known for his seminal work on student voice and marginalised students, was also a keynote speaker.

The symposium included presentations and roundtable conversations with practitioners and researchers from centres and schools, The Ministry of Education, NGOs and private providers about topics like culture, families, health, poverty, and ability and disability.  A new research initiative on Equity through Education was launched and Laura has been invited to be on its international advisory board.  Interested individuals are invited to join this initiative. Further details, including how to apply to be a member are available on its website:

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Summer School: Children’s Rights-Based Participation

1-3 June 2016

The Centre for Children’s Rights at Queen’s University Belfast is hosting a Summer School on children’s rights-based participation. The Summer School will be led by Centre director and deputy director, Professor Laura Lundy and Lesley Emerson, who have developed a pioneering approach to children rights-based research and consultation, implementing it at local, national and international levels. Centre 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).  The sessions will be practical and participatory. For more information about the Centre, please see

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;
  • writing ‘child-friendly’ documentation.  


The Graduate School, Queen’s University Belfast.

Queen's University is located in the city of Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland. Our historic campus is based in south Belfast, 15 minutes' walk from the vibrant city centre.  Please see for information on travelling to Belfast.

Is accommodation available?

For information on hotels, hostels and other accommodation around Queen’s campus, please see  Popular hotels close to campus include Dukes Hotel, Ibis and Tara Lodge.

How do I register for this event?

The Summer School fee is £300.  This excludes travel and accommodation which will be the responsibility of the student. Attendees will also be responsible for obtaining their own visas.

The closing date for registration is Thursday 12 May 2016.

Lunch will be provided and there will be a social event with dinner on 2 June.

Please register via this Worldpay link:

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Civil and political rights – questionnaire for children

The Centre for Children's Rights and Save the Children are asking children aged between 12 and 17 what they think about their role in bringing about change on issues that they feel strongly about. The issue doesn’t matter – it might be not having enough equipment in school or wanting to end child marriage. What are children’s views on how they interact with decision-makers, such as government officials or school leaders? Can they say what they think freely? Can they meet and organise in groups? Are they listened to?

The questionnaire is part of a research project looking at how children are enabled (or not) to exercise their civil and political rights. Do you know a group of children who'd like to fill in the questionnaire?

It can be accessed directly by children and completed anonymously. It takes about 15 minutes.

Please complete at this survey link.

For more information, please contact Dr Karen Orr – - or Dr Lucy Royal-Dawson –

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PhD student required for research in Parents' and Children's Rights

The Centre is looking for an excellent PhD student to conduct research on the relationship between parents' rights and children's rights.  See Rights research for further details.  Funding may be available from Faculty DEL scholarships.  The closing date is January 29th.

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