Welcome to the website of the Leeds Centre for Interdisciplinary Childhood and Youth Research (L- CYR). L-CYR is an interdisciplinary research centre that serves as a focus for research and innovation in the fields of the ‘new social studies’ of childhood and critical youth studies. Read more about our work here.
I have recently graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in Sociology. I am now studying a Masters in Childhood Studies, and then hope to become a social worker. I am passionate about challenging social inequality, particularly where children and young people are concerned. My dissertation for my undergraduate degree researched food poverty and inequality, with a particular focus on stigma. This was my first extended research project and was something I really enjoyed doing. My dissertation tutor, Kim Allen, brought the Child and Youth Poverty Conference to my attention. The conference was the first I have ever been to, and so I was very excited to attend.
As a second year PhD student at Leeds, researching child food insecurity, I recently attended and presented at the LCYR conference on child and youth poverty. In this blog post I reflect not so much on the content of the conference but rather on my experiences as a postgraduate student reaching that daunting milestone of presenting your first academic conference paper.
To be totally honest, the spectre of my first academic conference hung over my whole summer. Actually, it didn’t so much hang, but was more like a little tiny knot in my stomach that was ever present, except for about 15 minutes whilst I attempted to body board in the North Sea. I got used to public speaking in my 20s, then had a decade of not needing to (very little call for it when you own a restaurant and live music venue). And so when I received the email confirming my abstract had been accepted for the LCYR conference it became a BIG issue. The thought of standing up in front of people made me want to be sick on the floor. But practice makes perfect and so I recently got used to speaking to activists and non-academic people through my voluntary campaigning work. But in terms of having academics listening to every word I say? Ugh. I am still waiting for them (not sure who ‘them’ is, but they loom large) to find me out as an imposter, and kick me out of the University. So this is why I had that tiny knot in my stomach over the summer holidays. However ……
Despite what felt like the end to the summer weather, it didn’t stop the delegates arriving at Devonshire Halls of Residence for the LCYR's first ever conference. What a lovely setting for the conference. The organisation of the rooms and catering was fantastic and as a student helper it was wonderful to meet so many different people and have the opportunity to take part in this, the first of such conferences. Having never been to anything like it before I was a little unsure what to expect. I had nothing to worry about. The speakers all presented their papers in an accessible way and I realised that what I had learned during my first year studying on the BA in Childhood Studies at Leeds with regards to academic writing and presentation skills will be useful in the future.
The conference theme of child poverty had been the subject of one of my assignments last year and so I felt I knew a little about some of the issues some children in poverty face. However, throughout the sessions as the speakers put forward their research I found myself stopping to think about this topic in new ways......
Professor Alan Prout was invited by Mary Ellen Macdonald and Franco Carnevale of McGill University, who had organised a day long Panel discussion on the theme of “Pediatric Palliative Care: Rethinking the ‘Pediatric’ in Pediatric Palliative Care: An Interprofessional Examination of the Child in Research and Practice”. Professor Prout spoke on the theme “What Is the Voice of the Child and How Does it Matter?”.
This seminar series, funded by the Leeds Humanities Research Institute, brings together psychologists, education specialists and linguists to explore issues related to the assessment of bilingual children's proficiency in the language of schooling, how to measure the amount and quality of bilinguals' experience in each of their languages, the complex relationships between language proficiency, cognitive development and well-being and intervention programmes aiming to support bilingual children's language development.
Presentations given at the one day conference Enduring Inequalities and New Agendas for Widening Participation in Higher Education: Student Access, Mobilities and ‘Success’ are now available to download