CfP for Children, Youth and Families Research Group (GCYFRG) sponsored sessions at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2019

The Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference will take place from Wednesday 28 to Friday 30 August 2019 at the RGS in London.

Conference Theme: ‘Geographies of Trouble / geographies of hope ’. For more information please visit Annual International Conference.

The Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group (GCYFRG) is pleased to announce the following call for papers of the research group’s sponsored sessions:

1. Young Peoples’ Social Navigation: the Intersection of Aspirations and Socio-Spatial (Im)mobility

Sonja Marzi (London School of Economics) –
Ruth Cheung Judge, (University College London/ Rutgers Camden) –

Session Abstract:
This session explores the interrelationship between aspirations and the socio-spatial(im)mobilities of young people in both the Global South and North. ‘Aspirations’ has become a prominent notion in scholarly, political and practitioner discussions of young lives. Aspirations may refer to young people’s hopes, goals and future-oriented motivations (Hart, 2016), and spatial mobility is often a key strategy to pursuing them. However, aspiration has also been criticised as ‘neoliberal form of hope’ (Brown, 2013), in that internalising and performing aspiration can be central to politics which individualise efforts towards social mobility, and result in young people’s expansive dreams meeting painful structural blockages.

Spatial and social mobility are deeply entangled in the aspirations ofand for young people. Spatial mobility in all its forms – including everyday mobilities within the city, national and international migration – are caught up with aspiration. Mobility may be part of young people’s hopeful escape from dangerous and troubled geographies, young people’s attempts at ‘social navigation’ (Vigh, 2006), agentive and flexible moves in volatile and constrained environments, the chance to become someone by going somewhere (Crivello, 2011), or their hopes to acquire social, cultural and economic capital for themselves and their families. Young people’s (im)mobilitieswithin and between places may be acts of resistance or resilience, considered inappropriately aspirational or not aspirational enough. This session seeks to explore and theorise how aspirations and mobility are interconnected in the hopeful or troubled politics of young lives.

We invite papers that address issues including, but not limited to:

  • Gendered, racialised and classed experiences of the aspirations-mobility intersection
  • How mobility and immobilitydrive, alter or constrain young people’s aspirations
  • Interconnections between macro and micro scales – and multiple forms – of mobility in relation to aspirations
  • How aspirational politics take shape through metaphors and practices around place, space and mobility
  • How the politics of mobility and migration shape young people’s aspirations
  • Explorations of young people’s aspiration and mobility which highlight intergenerational, material, infrastructural, emotional or affective dynamics

If you are interested, please send a title250-word abstract and author details to Sonja Marzi ( and Ruth Cheung Judge ( by 8thof February 2019.


2. Children’s Common Worlds in Times of Climate Change

Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw (Western University),
Mindy Blaise (Edith Cowan University)

Session Abstract
Exploring children-climate relations, using creative paradigms,is significant at this time given the growing recognition of global ecological challenges and increasing awareness of the climate-related risks children face (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2014; UNICEF, 2007, 2015).  There is an urgent need to explore how adults can learn fromand withchildren (Kraftl, 2015), and to identify creative and situated responses to support children’s sustainable living now and as they grow – without perpetuating the colonialism and anthropocentrism of the Anthropocene (Taylor, 2017). This sessionwill address these needs through innovative and creativepapers that investigate children’s engagement with climate change related issues in creative, hopeful and generative ways.

The salient theoretical construct for this session is common worlds (Common Worlds Research Collective, 2018). Children’s common worlds consist of the full gamut of complex relationships, traditions, and legacies that they inherit in the places in which they grow up (Taylor, 2013, 2017). Children’s common worlds include children’s relationships with their immediate natural and built environments, with the other human and nonhuman beings that share these same environments, and, in settler societies, with complex cultural, colonial, and environmental historical traditions and legacies. This inclusive feminist framework, developed by geographer Affrica Taylor, resists the nature/culture divide and situates childhoods within entangled human and nonhuman, social and environmental issues and concerns. Unlike the idealized natural worlds usually associated with Romantic Euro-Western traditions of nature and childhood, common worlds are the actual, messy, unequal, and imperfect worlds real children inherit and co-inhabit along with other human and nonhuman beings and entities (Taylor, 2013, 2017).

The session brings common worlds empirical and theoretical discussions into conversation with those of geography to enrich narratives of climate change.  Specifically, we invite contributions that engage situated, hopeful, and speculative stories for livable futures within multiple childhood contexts.

Organization of session
15min presentation, with 30min question period at the end of the session.

Please submit a proposal – including 250 word abstract; names, affiliation and contact information of presenters-  to no later than January 30, 2019. 


3. Workshop title: Let’s get crafty. Using stories and crafts to creatively engage children, young people and families.

Tracy Hayes (University of Cumbria),
Caroline Larmour (University of Cumbria),

This innovative session takes a practical, hands-on approach to exploring the use of stories and crafts as multi-sensory methods for engaging children, young people and families with learning and research in a range of spaces – indoors and out. There will be a mix of discussions and hands-on activities and the artefacts we create together will be gathered together to weave a storied creative record of the session. Through participating in a range of creative activities, we will consider methods that enable us to share experiences, so that we can learn from and be inspired by each other. We agree with Bingley and Milligan (2007, p.295) that “practical methodologies encourage the ‘use of imagination’ through the opportunities, space and time provided for multi-sensory engagement with experience and expression”.
There is a long and nuanced history of using creative methods in Children’s Geographies, see for example: Horton and Kraftl, 2006; Woodyer, 2008; Wainwright and Marandet, 2011; Hayes and Larmour, 2015; Von Benzon, 2015; Hayes, 2016; Coen et al, 2018). By providing this practical opportunity for participants to be geographically crafty, we hope to develop and share insights, ideas and skills in a way that is “… enjoyable, creative and pleasantly challenging…” (Ibid, p.296). Practical multi-sensory methods reflect perspectives and experiences in a way that enable us to illuminate and problematize practices, whilst also enabling inclusivity for participants, practitioners and researchers. We will share ways of using this approach, whilst exploring the reasons underpinning this method, aiming to encourage further practice.

We invite practical contributions using stories and/or crafts (for example: poetry, collage, stories, paper crafts, photography) relating to:
• Research methodologies for eliciting data;
• Methods for sharing and dissemination of research;
• Pedagogy, learning and curricula;
• Influencing policy and practice within and outwith academia;
• Working across disciplinary boundaries.

Please submit a 250-word outline of your contribution to the session, including a preliminary title, to Tracy Hayes ( and Caroline Larmour ( by Friday 8 February 2019.


4. Intergenerational and family perspectives on mobility, migration and care

Matej Blazek, Newcastle University,
Ruth Cheung Judge, UCL,
James Esson, Loughborough University,

Intergenerational care is a central aspect in numerous forms of mobility. For instance, the care needs of ageing populationsdrive worker movement (Anderson and Shutes 2014; Connell and Walton-Roberts 2016). Negotiations over the appropriate allocation and distribution of care for children and the elderly underpin family migration and transnational family arrangements (Baldassar 2016) and reflect the way mobility is deeply implicated in the constant renegotiation of kinship norms. Notions of care and family are central to transnational policies in areas such as child protection (Hoang et al. 2015). Thus, the politics of inequality, interdependency, exploitation or progressive change often coalesce around how intergenerational care and mobility are experienced, governed, altered and negotiated (Maksim and Bergman 2009).

This session invites further examination of connections between care, transnational mobility, and intergenerational and family relations. It asks how material and intersubjective power relations – and social and physical spaces – are maintained, produced and transformed at the intersections between these forces. The session will speak to and draw connections between these issues in both global North and South. We invite papers analysing how intergenerational and family care – understood as culturally produced rather than universal notions – shape mobility within and across national borders; and how methodological and theoretical insights on the experiences of mobility can generate fresh perspectives on the politics of family relations and care. In doing so, the session hopes to bring scholarship on care, mobility and migration, and the family into closer conversation for fresh perspectives on troubled and hopeful politics.

 Specific themes to address include, but are not limited to:

  • In-family and intergenerational care commitments as drivers of insecure migration
  • How immigration politics challenge or are challenged by the politics of care
  • Racialised, gendered and aged experiences of mobility and immobility driven by family care
  • Family ideals, life-course aspirations, and intergenerational contracts as central to theorising mobility and migration
  • Multi-scalar links between the intimacy of intergenerational caring relationships and global mobilities and migrations
  • Political economies of family care mobilities
  • How spaces and places are materially and socially (re)made through care mobilities

Proposed Session Format:
We anticipate two timeslots of 4-5x papers in each.

Please submit a 250-word outline of your contribution to the session, including a preliminary title, to Matej Blazek ( and Ruth Judge ( by Friday 8 February 2019.


5. Rural to where? Rural young people’s geographies in mobility, learning, trajectories and hopefulness

Tracey Skelton (National University of Singapore),,
Jessica Clendenning (National University of Singapore),

Co-sponsoring group: Developing Areas Research Group (DARG)

Session Abstract
Rural young people, compared to their urban counterparts, are relatively understudied or misunderstood in academic discourse and policy debates (Panelli et al. 2007; Jeffrey 2008; Punch 2015). These trends may be shifting as major development organisations focus on ‘youth’, and some examine rural development, youth and gender dynamics more closely (e.g., CTA and IFAD 2014; UNESCO 2016; UN Women 2017; FAO 2018). This session builds upon both ‘troubled’ and ‘hopeful’ foci in policy and academic studies on rural youth transitions and mobility (e.g., Chant and Jones 2005; Crivello 2010; Woronov 2016; Chea and Huijsmans 2018) to understand rural young people’s educational pathways for navigating opportunities, challenges and precarity. The session examines details about how these pathways affect localized and informal learning (e.g., Katz 2004), and the choices and alternatives young people have in education, training, and making a living.

This session explores how rural youth use and access various forms of mobility, education or training (e.g. vocational, technical, formal) to improve their skills for work, self-employment, further migration, etc., and the outcomes or consequences of such investments.  Questions for analysis may include:

  • What are rural young people’s pathways for education and training, and where do they lead?
  • What are the formal or informal skills rural young people acquire from these pathways; how are they used in their everyday lives to find work?
  • What are the effects of these investments in mobility, education and training on their families, natal villages, land uses and forests?
  • How does ‘home place’, along with other social factors such as gender, ethnicity and age, affect their in/ability to become mobile, access education or employment resources?
  • What are the spatialities of where schools/training centres are based, subject areas, and types of student populations (e.g., vocational or tertiary; rural or urban)? What is learned, gained and un/successful?
  • How do differing types of migration (distance, time, type of work) affect connections to families, villages, labour and knowledge in natal land?Please submit a 250-word outline of your contribution to the session, including a preliminary title, to Tracey Skelton,, and Jessica Clendenning (National University of Singapore),  by Friday 8 February 2019.


6. Geographical perspectives on the nature connection – wellbeing – health nexus

Session Convenors:
Frances Harris (University of Hertfordshire),

Session Abstract:
There is growing interest in the potential for nature-based solutions to deliver ecosystem services in the context of supporting health and wellbeing, for example the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) (Reid et al., 2005) , theUK National Ecosystem Assessment (Watson et al., 2011), and 25-year environment plan (DEFRA 2018). There is a rapidly growing field of academic work in this area, spanning across many disciplines, including psychology, health, geography, environment and sustainability. Underpinning this work is recognition that the natural environment can provide an arena for personal, social and emotional development to combat modern societal problems, including promoting healing, a sense of well-being, restore calm, and address anxiety, stress and aggression.

Geographers have a role as the nature connection – health – wellbeing nexus can be informed by studies of how people value nature, how people access and engage with nature, and regional disparities in geographies of health. Further, urban geographers and planners may play a role in influencing how development and management of greenspace, through planning and landscape management, can influence peoples’ interaction with natural environments. Children’s experiences, through education (including school trips, or opportunities to engage with nature through youth groups and associated activities) can provide early experiences, which it has been suggested influence engagement with nature later in the life course.

Therefore this session seeks to encourage papers outlining the geographical contribution to these debates.

Please submit a 250-word outline of your contribution to the session, including a preliminary title, to Frances Harris,, by Friday 8 February 2019.


7. Renewed questions of ethics in research with and for children and young people

Session Convenors:
Matt Finn,University of Exeter, 
Sophie Hadfield-Hill, University of Birmingham,

Session Abstract:
Responding to Elsbeth Robson’s (2018) call for continued reflection on ethical research with and for children and young people, and a decade after a significant special issue on the topic in Children’s Geographies (Hopkins and Bell, 2008), it seems apposite to revisit and extend reflection on questions of ethics.  There are three points of departure for a renewed focus on ethics.  First, in relation to the diverse range of methodologies which Children’s Geographers are now employing in their research with children and young people, from mobile apps and technologies (Hadfield-Hill and Zara, 2018) to multisensory and multispecies methods (Taylor and Pacini-Ketchabaw, 2015).  With methodological innovation comes new ethical questions.

Second, as Children’s Geographers we are faced with new ethical issues in relation to researching phenomena that extend beyond unaided human perception and lifespans –  plastic childhoods, climate change, nuclear fuel dependencies, waste and the Anthropocene (after Kraftl). Ongoing challenges around economic change (Pimlott-Wilson and Hall, 2017), racism, xenophobia (Horton and Kraftl, 2017) and the rise of the far-right highlight challenges about the ethics and politics of speaking for and with children, young people and families especially when what is vocalised by children and young people may reinforce oppressive conditions.

Third, the shifting research landscape should also prompt ethical questions. Changes in the academy have seen children and young people geographies become more established, and in some cases more mainstream in research and teaching (Philo, 2016Mulvenna and Searcey, 2018). Funding for such research remains fraught in the context of the politicisation and re-colonisation of knowledge production (Noxolo, 2017) [cf GCRF where a number of the focus areas imply an attention to children’s lives and livelihoods].  With new funding opportunities come new ethical challenges.  Then, at an institutional level there remain divergent practices in what kind of research is approved by ethics committees – particularly at the undergraduate level – raising questions about institutional processes, training and the experience of the children and young people who do take part in research. Indeed, what do we know about the long term benefits or harms on those who have taken part in research – where in many cases the children are now of adult age?

This session invites papers that consider questions of ethics in relation to research with, for and by children, young people and families. We hope that it may result in a special issue in a journal.

If you are interested, please send a title, 250-word abstract and author details to: Matt Finn at and Sophie Hadfield-Hill at The final deadline for submission is Friday 8th February 2019.


8. Panel Discussion: Edited collections are dead. Long live edited collections!

Session convenors:
Nadia von Benzon, Lancaster University, Catherine Wilkinson,

Session Abstract:
Increasing institutional pressure for demonstrable, quantifiable, success has resulted – in many universities – in a drive for the production of unequivocally high quality research outputs. Within the context of research assessment exercises (REF, ERA, VQR, HCERES, PBRF, to name a few…) the neoliberal university is required to prove its worth against a series of numerical, comparable, metrics. Whilst of course, not problematic in its own right, the drive for recognition of quality becomes problematic if this limits the outlets for publication that are considered appropriate ways of demonstrating quality scholarship. In other words, for many of us, publishing peer reviewed academic papers may become fundamental to career progression. With competing pressures of teaching, administration, grant capture, research – and for those of us in precarious work, umpteen job applications – this means very little time for other sorts of publication, or the administrative work of editing collections.

This session seeks to celebrate the edited collection as a continuing site for meaningful intellectual discourse and and as a product of academic value. Drawn together through their relationship to the newly released edited collection Intersectionality and Difference in Childhood and Youth: Global Perspectives (Routledge, 2019), the panel will discuss their experience of edited collections, as editors and contributors. Do come along for a relaxed discussion around the pros and the cons (and the pros again) of editing and writing for this threatened but persevering writing form. And if that doesn’t sell it to you – there will be cake.

One session sought for a panel discussion (5×5 minute oral presentations, max – followed by questions/group discussion)

Panelists already agreed: Sarah Marie Hall, John Horton, Peter Kraftl – we intend to invite one panelist representing Routledge and one ECR.


9. Panel Session: ‘Launching the Geographies of Children and Young PeopleMajor Reference Work: reflections on youthful geographies of hope/ trouble

Tracey Skelton, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore,

Young people around the word are frequently perceived through a particular binary formation; as representations and actors of hope, or as instigators and creators of trouble. Hence an examination (and celebration) ofthe Springer major reference work, Geographies of Children and Young People,the largest edited collection of work focusing on children and young people, provides a strong context for exploration of the Conference themes. The series comprises 12 volumes published between 2016 and 2019. It was created and managed by Tracey Skelton as the Editor-in-Chief. The volumes cover the full range of geographical sub-disciplinary scholarship. Starting with the foundations and genealogical facets of children and young people’s geographies (vol.1) and the methodological and ethical research practices and innovations for working with younger people (vol. 2). Engagement with geographical theories, concepts and approaches are explored through elements such as space, place and environment (vol. 3); subjectivities and identities (4); families, intergenerationalities and peer group relations (5); mobilities and movement (6); politics, citizenship and rights (7); global issues, changes and threats (8); recreation and well-being (9); labouring and learning (10); and conflict violence and peace (11). Volume 12, Risk, Protection, Provision and Policyis dedicated to raising the visibility and inclusion of children and young people into areas of planning from which they are usually excluded. In this panel, the invited editors of the volumes of Geographies of Children and Young Peoplewill introduce the focus, scope and content of their volumes. They will reflect on the stock of knowledge produced and indicate the impact their particular volume has generated in relation to geographies of hope/ trouble alongside the contributions and challenges these volumes raise for the wider discipline of Geography.



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