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Research Activities


Childhood Research Image

Our History

This group has been functioning as a research group since Sept 2003. It has 55 members from several departments in the University, drawing its core membership from the School of Social Sciences.


Our Mission

Our overall aim is to maintain, support and develop the diversity and quality of childhood research (theory, method and policy) within the School of Social Sciences and develop and strengthen research links with other research groups and departments in the field of childhood studies. Membership includes research associates/fellows, masters/doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows and academic staff.


Inclusive, Inter-disciplinary, International

Taking the UNCRC's definition of 'childhood' (0-18) the group encompasses research with children from 'infancy' through to 'adulthood'. The strength of this group lies in its interdisciplinary membership both within the school of social sciences (education, social work, criminology, sociology, psychology, cultural studies) and across other departments within the university. The current membership has undertaken research activities in Wales, across the UK and internationally.


Current and Recent Research Projects

For further information, please visit our members page.


Group Activities

Childhood research group activities include some of the following:

  • Theoretical reading group
  • Develop and support research proposals for staff and doctoral students
  • Disseminate draft chapters/papers for discussion
  • 'Data analysis' workshops
  • Seminar programme  (presentation of research findings, work in progress, ideas for future research)
  • Themed day conference (academics, professionals and practitioners).


Childhood Research Image

Childhood Doctoral Research Group

The childhood doctoral research group runs alongside the activities of the childhood research group, but is focussed more on the specific issues faced by doctoral students conducting research. The group is intended to provide an opportunity to share ideas and experiences in a supportive, informal way. All PhD students whose research is related to children, young people or families are welcome, as are ESRC 1+3 students in their masters year.

We meet monthly, on every third Thursday of the month, at Cardiff Arts Institute on Park Place at 5pm (directions can be found here: Each session is organised around a broad theme, with a different speaker leading the discussion each time. 

If you'd like more information on the group, please contact Hayley Collicott (


Researching with Children @Cardiff

The group has much empirical experience of research with children, using a range of methodological approaches. We have core expertise in participatory research and creative multi-media research methods are key interests of many of the group members.


Theorizing Childhood

Research and writing by group members is theoretically eclectic drawing upon a range of perspectives including: phenomenology, poststructuralism, posthumanism, feminism, queer theory, critical social psychology, psychoanalysis and social constructionism.


Childhood Policy

As a group we have a strong record of policy relevant research, particularly, but not exclusively, in the fields of child welfare and education. Recent and current examples of policy relevant research include a study of advocacy services for children across Wales, research with black children in the Valleys, children's roles in Family Group Conferences, research on assessment in children's welfare and a number of projects relating to 'looked after' children, gender-based and sexual bullying in schools. Further information about social work research in Cardiff, much of which relates to child welfare, can be found here.


Substantive Topics

The following topics represent some of the substantive areas of research by members of the group in a range of different contexts (e.g. institutional, familial, public) paying close attention to the dynamics of intra-generational (between children) and inter-generational (between children & adults) relations:

  • Child Welfare and Well-being
  • Youth Justice
  • Children's rights, citizenship and advocacy
  • Children's subjectivities/identities, cultures and intimacy
  • Children's transitions, temporality and development
  • Children and religion
  • Children's use of public space
  • Child Poverty

We are very interested in hearing from potential doctoral students interested in exploring any of the substantive topics listed below (contact group convenors Sally Holland and Emma Renold).


Beyond the Academy

Current activities include: close engagement with social work practitioners, managers and policy makers in terms of providing training, research dissemination and consultancy. Membership of National Assembly for Wales working, reviewing, advisory and cross-party groups.


Research Group Lead

Dr Sally  Holland

Prof Emma Renold