Institute for Social Renewal

Children & Young People

Children and Young People


This theme explores the way our society is changing for children and young people, and looks for ways to equip them to thrive.

From children's rights to youth political participation, this theme explores the many aspects of renewing society for the young. Have a look at the tabs to see examples of activity under this theme.

The Children and Young People Research Hub was established in 2014 following a networking event organised by Professors Kathryn Hollingsworth and Liz Todd in June of that year. The event brought together researchers from across the University whose work involves children and young people to discuss common interests, methodologies and theoretical approaches.

The aim of the Research Hub is to provide a focal point for the multitude of research that takes place across the University on and with children and young people.  It has an internal purpose (to allow researchers to come together, to swap ideas and best practice and to explore the possibility of establishing inter-disciplinary research projects) and an external purpose (to allow those outside the University - fellow researchers, NGOs, charities, government organisations, schools, and others - to more easily identify academics with expertise in research relating to children and young people). Visit the website to find out more. 

Theme ChampionProfessor Kathryn Hollingsworth, Professor of Law, Newcastle Law School

Students looking at portraits in the Inspirational Women of the North East exhibition in Northumberland College.

Foundling Hospital

The London Foundling Hospital: Impact and Legacy, 1750-1850

Professor Helen Berry is working on a two-year project examining the impact and legacy of the Foundling Hospital in London during the first one hundred years of its existence.

The London Foundling Hospital was the 'darling project' of an irascible West Country philanthropist, Captain Thomas Coram and emerged as a response to the social problems that developed during the rapid changes of the 18th century (new attitudes to money-making with the growth of the city of London's global financial institutions such banks and the stock market, at the same time as high-density housing, over-crowding, disease and population growth, and an ever-growing number of London's urban poor, raised huge contemporary concerns).

Professor Berry’s research charts how the original vision of the Foundling Hospital's founder, governors and benefactors was taken over, and nearly derailed, by direct intervention and funding through parliament as a result of the Seven Years' War (1756-63).

Unlike previous studies, it considers in detail the fate of London's foundlings after they left the Hospital.

Children's rights

Children’s Rights Judgment Project

Professor Kathryn Hollingsworth is co-convenor, with Professor Helen Stalford of Liverpool University, of an innovative new project entitled the Children’s Rights Judgments Project.

The two-year project will bring together legal scholars to rewrite existing law judgments from a children’s rights perspective (drawing on developments in theory and knowledge from empirical studies to better inform legal decision-making). There will be a series of six workshops (the first held in Newcastle in January 2015), three of which will also involve practitioners (lawyers and judges), NGOs, and young people who will feed into the process by advising on the feasibility and viability of the rewritten judgments.

The project’s ultimate goal is to inform the practice of law so that it is developed in a way that is more consistent with children’s rights.

Kathryn announced the launch of the project at a seminar held at leading human rights/public law chambers Doughty Street on 20 November 2014, which had been organised by children’s rights barrister Caoilfhionn Gallagher to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Disability and sport

What are disabled young people's perspectives on sport?

Professor Janice McLaughlinSchool of Geography, Politics and Sociology and Dr Jacqui RodgersInstitute of Neuroscience, held a workshop on disability and sport with disabled young people from across the region at The Sage Gateshead on the 12th of October 2013. The workshop was put together as part of the European Academy of Childhood Disability (EACD), an international annual meeting of healthcare professionals and researchers who work on disability.

The workshop had been designed with the input of disabled young people and was the first time the EACD included a workshop involving young disabled people. Under the theme ‘Being Active, Keeping Healthy’, young people at the workshop debated what was important about sport to them, what sometimes made it difficult to participate and what key 3 messages they wanted to get across to people involved in organising sporting access and opportunities.

The workshop also saw presentations by disability sports regional and national practitioners, Dr Hilary Cass, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and former and current Paralympians, including Steve Miller and Josef Craig - the current BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year. The workshop was made possible by funding from the RCPCH and the ESRC via Janice McLaughlin's current project on Embodied Selves in Transition: Disabled Young Bodies.

The workshop also saw the launch of 3 films made by disabled young people, facilitated by Beaconhill Arts. The films were funded by NISR. The films will soon be made publicly available online and each delegate (over 600) received a copy of the film at the EACD conference.