Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth


I was involved with the Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth at the University of Sheffield firstly, as a doctorial student attending seminars, reading groups and other events hosted by the Centre, before taking on the role of Co-Director with Prof Penny Curtis when I took up a lecturing post at the University. The Centre which has now disbanded was an exceptionally supportive environment for mentoring me as an early career academic, in aspects of interdisciplinary collaboration, bid writing, academic publishing and more. 


Founded in 2002, CSCY is an inter-disciplinary centre that brings together researchers from across the social and health sciences, arts and humanities. Understanding the complexity of contemporary childhoods requires an interdisciplinary approach to research, which learns from the past, values the present and optimizes the future.

As a centre of excellence for research into childhood and youth, CSCY researchers explore the challenges and opportunities for children growing up in the 21st century, with an eye to the past as well as to imagining possible futures.

CSCY has a strong commitment to fostering the next generation of researchers, and creates lively, collaborative spaces for debates, conferences, exhibitions, and meetings of minds. Our aim is to break new theoretical, ethical and methodological ground in childhood and youth research that can inform practice, policy and academic debates.

Through our international research collaborations and partnerships with policy and user communities, children’s lives are placed centre stage in our research.


Childhoods Today was a free e journal that was started by CSCY with a specific focus on publishing doctoral research. The peer review process had an emphasis on providing supportive and constructive reviews to help early career academics. 

Research Groups

CSCY was home to a number of research groups. Each focused on a specific theme connected to researching childhood. Groups tended to meet monthly and hosted events, joint publications, book reading groups etc.  For example, on March 2nd CSCY held a book launch for two edited collections that have arisen directly from two of the Centre’s research groups.

The first book ‘Visual Methods with Children and Young People: Academics and Visual Industries in Dialogue’ derived from the CSCY Visual Research Group. The editors of the book, Eve Stirling and Dylan Yamada-Rice described to attendees of the launch how the book had come about through their backgrounds in art/design related subjects and then into the social sciences. As a result they, with other members of the visual research group, became interested in thinking about visual research that specifically relates to children and young people across the two fields.

Before I became the Co-Director of CSCY I convened the group on visual research methods. It was the starting point for what would go on to become the FOCUS network for visual and experimental research methods. 

Other groups included: Children’s Spaces and Places, Health, Bodya nd Wellbeing, Infants and Toddlers and Global Childhoods

CSCY International Conference

6th International Conference: The Social, the Biological and the Material Child
5th-7th July 2016

Biannual Summer school

The biannual summer school helped researchers deciding their next steps by providing a mix of methodological sessions and careers sessions. Post graduate researchers attending the summer school are currently involved in projects covering a wide spectrum of childhood issues including outdoor education, migration, cancer radiation therapy, sexting and youth justice.

Annual Public Lecture Series

This was an event organised and hosted by CSCY and open to the public. Lectures included:

The experiences of Child Refugees in the UK 
Dr Lisa Doyle, Head of Advocacy at the Refugee Council
13th January 2016 

Workshops & Seminars

Research Methods for Exploring Children’s Experiences of Museums
27th May, 2016

Things children shouldn't know? Children and the Digital Workshop
Monday 8th June, 2015
This event presents inter-disciplinary research on how children engage with, use and make sense of the digital in their everyday lives.

What is interactivity: A social semiotic approach to picture book apps
Sumin Zhao
18th November 2015
Childhood and Food
4th February 2016
Children's understanding of family financial resources and their impact on eating healthily/Hannah Fairbrother, University of Sheffield
Developing wide-ranging food education: Social media and food practices in adolescents' everyday lives/Kristiina Janhonen, University of Helsinki
The social context of food in primary schools in England/Caroline Hart, University of Sheffield
Food education at Washingborough academy - tackling childhood obesity/Jason0'Rourke, Head teacher Washingborough Academy

Several CSCY members, myself included, took part in the filming and production of a MOOC on Play, which successfully reran six times.