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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Centre for Childhood Cultures

Formed in 2016 and based at Queen Mary University of London, the Centre for Childhood Cultures fosters ground-breaking research on children’s everyday lives and experiences, with a special focus on creativity, forms of literacy, and the links between different aspects of childhood culture.

Director

Professor Kiera Vaclavik, Professor of Children’s Literature and Childhood Culture, Queen Mary University of London.

Steering Group

Dr Rachel Bryant Davies, Lecturer in Comparative Literature, Queen Mary University of London.

Abigail Fine (Postgraduate Representative), PhD student in Comparative Literature, Queen Mary University of London.

Dr Lucie Glasheen (Early Career Representative).

Dr Kathleen McCarthy, Lecturer in Linguistics, Queen Mary University of London.

Professor Alastair Owens, Professor of Historical Geography and Head of School of Geography, Queen Mary University of London.

Professor Margaret Reynolds, Professor of English, Queen Mary University of London.

St Margaret’s House Representative.

Storytime Magazine Representative

Dr Hedi Viterbo, Lecturer in Law, Queen Mary University of London.

Affiliated Researchers

TBC.

Contact us:

For information about the Centre for Childhood Cultures please contact Professor Kiera Vaclavik k.e.vaclavik@qmul.ac.uk

To be added to the Children’s Literature Children’s Lives mailing list please contact childlitchildlives@gmail.com

 

Activities

Children’s Literature Children’s Lives

The Centre for Childhood Cultures hosts the research seminar series Children’s Literature Children’s Lives. Seminars are given by academics and practitioners and recent events have included Children Behind Bars (railings and reformatories), Children’s Literature and Environmental Citizenship and architecture in children’s picture books. For more information and our upcoming events please visit the Children’s Literature Children’s Lives website or join our mailing list: childlitchildlives@gmail.com

Centre for Childhood Cultures Postgraduate Discussion Group

The Centre for Childhood Cultures holds a Postgraduate and Early-Career Discussion Group which meets monthly to discuss examples of childhood culture and organises research trips. To find out more about the group’s activities please read our blog.

Rethinking Childhood Studies Today: links to recordings are archived under 'sessions held in 2021' below

There were three events, Understanding Experience: Approaches to the Histories of Children and Youth’ (guest speaker Dr Simon Sleight, KCL; respondent Professor Alastair Owens), ‘How to think about Children: Kinship-Model Approaches to Agency’ (guest speaker Professor Marah Gubar, MIT; respondents Dr Rachel Bryant Davies and Professor Kiera Vaclavik) and ‘Putting “Children First”? Tentative Explorations of Alternative Imaginaries’ (panel with Dr Rachel Rosen, UCL and Dr Hedi Viterbo, QMUL) with a final invite only workshop. Full details listed under Events.

Events

Being Human Festival, 11-20th November

Queen Mary is holding a series of events as part of Being Human Festival. These include Reimagining my city, a zine-making workshop for 7-13 year olds drawing inspiration from historical magazines created by East London children on the 13th, and How Queer Everything is Today!, a museum-wide programme of events at the V&A engaging with the world of Lewis Carroll, organised by us (Lucie and Kiera).
Other relevant events reflect on the publication of child poetry anthology Stepney Words in 1971 and subsequent school strikes, and the premier of a new film by young writers from Barking and Dagenham. The full programme of events is available on the Queen Mary and Being Human Festival websites.
All events are free but need to be booked via the links above.

Centre for Childhood Cultures Annual Lecture, 9th May 2022

Professor Erica Burman
Putting 'Child as Method' to Work?
Queen Mary University of London venue tbc, 6pm.
In this lecture, Prof Burman will outline the conceptual resources informing 'Child as method', an analytical approach she has developed. Drawing on postcolonial and migration studies, 'Child as method' explicates the necessary inscriptions of 'child' and 'development' across economic, sociocultural, and individual trajectories that position children and childhood as a key contributor to, and reflection of, wider geopolitical dynamics. In addition, Prof Burman will offer some examples of the interpretive and methodological possibilities of 'Child as method', alongside some further discussion of its other analytical contributions.
Save the date, further details and how to book will be circulated nearer the time.

Rethinking Childhood Studies Today

The Centre for Childhood Cultures, along with the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, is supporting the 2021 Early-Career workshop series Rethinking Childhood Studies Today. This series will be dedicated to the subject of ‘Childhood Studies’, broadly conceived. Through this thematic lens, this series will bring into focus issues relating to children and childhood, ranging across geography, anthropology, sociology, education, politics, law, children’s literature and modern languages. These issues will be contextualised within, and examined in light of, wider societal, methodological, and theoretical challenges.

There will be three events, Understanding Experience: Approaches to the Histories of Children and Youth’ (guest speaker Dr Simon Sleight, KCL), ‘How to think about Children: Kinship-Model Approaches to Agency’ (guest speaker Professor Marah Gubar, MIT) and ‘Putting “Children First”? Tentative Explorations of Alternative Imaginaries’ (panel with Dr Rachel Rosen, UCL and Dr Hedi Viterbo, QMUL) with a final invite only workshop.

Online Seminar Series (via Zoom)
Queen Mary University of London, April-June 2021

poster for rethinking childhood series with image of children holding megaphone

 

Co-sponsored by the Queen Mary Institute for the Humanities and Social Science and the Queen Mary Centre for Childhood Cultures the research seminar series Rethinking Childhood Studies Today, is dedicated to the subject of ‘Childhood Studies’, broadly conceived. Through this thematic lens, this series will bring into focus issues relating to children and childhood, ranging across geography, anthropology, sociology, education, politics, law, children’s literature and modern languages. These issues will be contextualised within, and examined in light of, wider societal, methodological, and theoretical challenges.

All events are free but please book via Eventbrite.

Download the poster: poster for CCC rethinking childhood studies today [PDF 134KB]

 

Research conversation

Understanding Experience: Approaches to the Histories of Children and Youth

Dr Simon Sleight

Thursday 22 April, 4-5.30pm

poster for rethinking childhood series event one with photo of children carrying papers

 

In this research conversation, Dr Simon Sleight (Department of History, King's College London) will join Professor Alastair Owens, Department of Geography, Queen Mary, to discuss means and methods for exploring histories of youth from the late nineteenth century to the present. Looking beyond categories of 'agency', the concept of 'experience' is proposed as a conduit for productive understandings, and a variety of source types, settings and concepts are assessed to help scholars recover the feel and fabric of the past.

Download the poster: Poster for CCC Rethinking Childhood Seminar 1 Sleight [PDF 184KB]

Listen to the recording here

 

Research conversation

How to think about Children: Kinship-Model Approaches to Agency

Professor Marah Gubar

Thursday 6th May 4-5:30pm

poster for rethinking childhood seminars second seminar including photo of two children, one with arm round the other's shoulder

 

In this research conversation Professor Marah Gubar (Department of Literature, MIT) will join Professor Kiera Vaclavik and Dr Rachel Bryant Davies, (Department of Comparative Literature, Queen Mary) to discuss themes relating to the kinship-model approach to agency.

Book via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/marah-gubar-how-to-think-about-children-tickets-145474513185

Download the poster: Poster for CCC Rethinking Childhood Seminar 2 Gubar [PDF 116KB]

Panel Discussion

Putting 'Children First'? Tentative Explorations of Alternative Imaginaries

Panel: Professor Rachel Rosen (UCL Institute of Social Research), Dr Hedi Viterbo (Law, QMUL), Dr Rachel Humphris (Sociology and Politics, QMUL)

Thursday 24th June, 4-5:30pm

poster for rethinking childhood 3rd event with photo showing a group of children walking past encampment

In this panel discussion Prof Rachel Rosen (Education, University College London), Dr Hedi Viterbo (Law, Queen Mary) and Dr Rachel Humphris (Politics and International Relations, Queen Mary) will critically reflect on policies that ‘put children first’. The discussion will focus on issues in child migration and youth justice policies, while considering possible implications for other child-related areas.Putting 'Children First'? Tentative Explorations of Alternative Imaginaries

Book via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/panel-discussion-putting-children-first-tickets-145484370669

Download the poster: Poster for Rethinking Childhood Seminar 3 Rosen [PDF 238KB]

Listen to the recording here

 Brave New Worlds: YA Creative Writing Workshop and launch of YA novel Folked Up

Charlotte Byrne (in conversation with Abigail Fine).

Tuesday 3rd March, 5:30 – 8pm. St Margaret’s House.

The Centre for Childhood Cultures launched Charlotte Byrne’s debut novel Folked Up.

Charlotte led a 60-minute creative writing workshop followed by a reading from the novel and Q&A. Full details on the Children’s Literature Children’s Lives website.

 

 

Attendees at Creative Writing Workshop and Folked Up book launch, 2020. ©Yellow Ladybird Photography.

All images ©Yellow Ladybird Photography.

Annual Lecture

“Dare Boldly”: Children's Literature and Environmental Citizenship’

Prof Karen Kilcup, Elizabeth Rosenthal Excellence Professor of English, Environmental & Sustainability Studies, and Women’s & Gender Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro

13 June 2019.