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Book will showcase global research into how young people can play a bigger role in shaping society

10 July 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

UCLan holds official launch

Researchers from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have teamed up with young people from around the world to produce a book highlighting ways that will allow children and young people play a role in helping to shape a ‘good society’?

The book, Participation, Citizenship and Intergenerational Relations in Children and Young People's Lives: Children and Adults in Conversation, has been published on the back of a conference held at UCLan in 2012 which brought together over 200 researchers and young people to discuss international perspectives on the nature of childhood in the modern world.

It was the second conference of the International Childhood and Youth Research Network (ICYRNet) and the first time UCLan has hosted the international event through its Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation. The conference discussed world-leading research on young people based on a wide range of themes including public perceptions of young people, citizenship and participation.

Some of the research presented was carried out by children and young people themselves and the book consists of chapters written by some of the presenters at the conference, plus commentaries from children and young people.

Two strategies for promoting children and young people’s fuller participation in society are suggested by authors in the book. The first is recognising the potential of ‘protagonism’, where young people are supported to act directly as change makers in their own lives and the lives of others, alongside at times asking others to help bring about change. The second is searching for and grasping opportunities for access to people and structures that welcome being influenced by children and young people’s views.

"We are delighted to announce the publication of this book. The event really captured the energy and ideas from young people and we want to build on that."

At the book’s official launch at UCLan, Nigel Thomas, Professor of Childhood and Youth Research at UCLan, said: “We are delighted to announce the publication of this book. The event really captured the energy and ideas from young people and we want to build on that. The book contains many excellent ideas for how children and young people’s active participation in society, and in key decisions that concern their lives, can be promoted and extended. Those ideas come both from adults and from children, and from the conversations between adults and children that were such a memorable feature of the conference.”

Alongside the book launch, the Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation also invited two speakers, Dr Nicola Ross from the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia, and Dr Anne Crowley from the Childhood Research Group at Cardiff University. Dr Ross examined how children’s lawyers in the New South Wales child protection system think about their practice and formulate their approach to the representation of children and Dr Crowley spoke on the importance of participation when it comes to keeping children in care safe.

Participation, Citizenship and Intergenerational Relations in Children and Young People's Lives: Children and Adults in Conversation was edited by Joanne Westwood, Cath Larkins, Dan Moxon, Yasmin Perry and Nigel Thomas. It was published by Palgrave Macmillan in April this year.

Book Launch