The Children’s History Society holds a major international conference every two years. You can view information about our previous conferences below, including lists of speakers and selected recordings.

Children and Young People Speaking Up and Speaking Out (2020)

Children's History Society Conference, 17-19 June 2021, hosted online by Manchester Metropolitan University.

Conference website

Conference programme

Children and Youth on the Move (2018) 

Children's History Society Conference, 21-23 June 2018, University of Greenwich, London.

Conference website

Conference programme

Horrible Histories? Children’s Lives in Historical Context (2016)

Children's History Society Conference, 16-18 June 2016, King’s College London.

Keynote Lecture - David Pomfret

Podcast Panel Recordings

Conference Programme


Third Biennial Conference

Children and Youth Speaking Up and Speaking Out

Manchester Metropolitan University, 17-19 June 2021

The last two years have seen some of the most powerful youth protest movements in decades. Greta Thunberg’s school strike calling for climate action inspired a global campaign among millions of school children. In the United States, March for Our Lives saw hundreds of thousands of young people demonstrating against gun violence in one of the largest youth protests in US history. From possessed and prophetic children, to young people participating in industrial disputes and school strikes, to violent gangs imposing themselves on their peers, the young have endeavoured to convey their own feelings and views, while adults have tried to explain and interpret them. Young people speaking up and speaking out raises questions about how the youthful voice has been conceptualized in qualitative historical research and what is meant by children’s rights. ‘Speaking up and speaking out’ has not necessarily taken a verbal form and not all children and young people have been able either to speak up or speak out, given a variety of constraining forces. Conversely, collective action has taken many forms, from the Children’s Crusade (1212) to traditions of ‘misrule’ and role-reversal.

This third biennial conference of the Children’s History Society consequently seeks to explore the challenges and possibilities of researching how children and young people have resisted, confronted or acceded in societies that have rarely valued their voices, in the face of adults who have tried to restrain them and enforce silence in different historical settings and eras.

The conference was generously supported by the Manchester Centre for Youth Studies and the History Research Centre at Manchester Met. We would also like to acknowledge the generosity of our tireless conference organiser Dr April Pudsey.


Watch videos below from our biennial conference thanks to the History Research Centre & Manchester Centre for Youth Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University


Keynote Addresses 



The following YouTube Playlist features our three keynote addresses from the conference. These include:

Reading and Rebellion: The Narrative of the Radical Child

By Jane Rosen (Imperial War Museum), Michael Rosen and Professor Kimberley Reynolds (Newcastle University, UK)

Experiences Writing With and For Young People by Alex Wheatle MBE

'Obscure, Plain and Little': Orphan Girls in 19th and 20th c. Literature by Professor Judith Evans Grubbs (Emory, US)


Day One



The following YouTube Playlist features twenty-two papers from our first day of the conference.

It begins with Carla Pascoe Leahy's paper: "Nothing Else Matters: Environmental Activism in the Age of the Anthropocene".

Other speakers include Bjorn Lundberg, Felix Seibert, Karen Sands-O’Connor, Claudia Soares, Laura Harrison, Claire Phillips, Michael Lambert, Margaret Beetham, Susannah Wright, Jasper Heeks, Charlotte Slark, Mary Clare Martin, Susan Deacy, Lisa Maurice, Heather Shore, Miranda Sachs, Elizabeth Dillenburg, Helen King, Sarah Minslow, Jessamy Carlson, Gillian Lamb and April Pudsey.


Day Two


The following YouTube Playlist features twenty-two papers from the second day of the conference.

It begins with Beate Müller's paper: "War Children, Generational Discourses: West German Student Essays on the Nazi Era".

Other speakers include Laura Tisdall, Anne Luke, Denise Arzuk, Samir Hamdoud, Simon Sleight, Mischa Honeck, Ville Vuolanto, Sonya Nevin, Rachel Bryant Davies, Owen Hodkinson, Antoine Burgard, Ana Carden-Coyne, Kirsten Kamphuis, Jack Hodgson, Yinka Olusoga, Sophie Heywood, Rachel A. Neiwert, Lois Burke, Boaz Cohen, Tali Berner and Zehavit Schenkolewski.


Day Three



The following YouTube Playlist features fifteen papers from the third day of the conference.

It begins with Elizabeth Well’s paper: “‘Rights of Boys’: Pupil Insurgency in English Public Schools in the Age of the French Revolution”.

Other speakers include Catherine Freeman, Richard McElligott, Riona Nic Congáil, David Niget, Isaac W. Larison, Kimberley McFall, Sophie Handler, Elizabeth Dillenburg, Emma Gooch, Holly Nielsen, Dorota Michulka, Denechere, Elizabeth Raine, Mary Ikoniado and Vassiliki Vassiloudi.


Masterclasses


Masterclass 1: Material Cultures of Childhood

Dr Sally Waite (Archaeology, Newcastle University) and Andrew Parkin (Keeper of Antiquities, Hancock, Great North Museum, Newcastle) present a Masterclass on material cultures and artefacts for studying childhood in the classical Graeco-Roman world.

Masterclass 2: The Autistic Labyrinth: Anyone May Enter…

Dr Cora Beth Fraser (The Open University) presents a Masterclass on using Classical Myths, such as the Minotaur in the Labyrinth, in learning with autistic children.

Masterclass 3: Colonial Pasts / Cosmopolitan Futures

Dr Chole-Germaine Buckley (Manchester Met) presents a Masterclass on YA literature and historical writing.

The Children's History Society is a non-for-profit society promoting the history of children and youth in the United Kingdom and the world.
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