Photo: The Base Youth Project (via

Introducing our speakers for Child in the City World Conference 2022

Photo: The Base Youth Project (via

An outstanding line up of children’s experts and champions will be sharing their expertise at the forthcoming 10th Child in the City World Conference.

This year’s theme is Making Connections, and it is indeed a perfect title for this flagship Child in the City event in Dublin in October, as it brings together some of the finest minds around, and all dedicated to furthering the opportunities and rights of children wherever they live in the world.

These five themes form the basis for our conference:

  • Connecting the present with the past
  • Connecting green and play
  • Connecting children’s (mental) health and play
  • Connecting children’s participation to urban policies
  • Re-connecting children to society after COVID-19.

So those are our themes, but who do we have lined up for you? Our first keynote speaker on day one of the conference will be Dr Carol Barron (below), Assistant Professor at Dublin City University. Professor Baron will share a historical perspective on the changing play practices which have taken place in the host city. She will highlight how, over time and space, children’s play and games can be viewed as a process of continuity and change, stability and variation, dynamism and conservatism.

Differing play activities and games can be stopped and restarted at any point in time. In addition, Dr Barron will talk taking children’s agency ‘as a starting point and acknowledging children’s ability to alter their play worlds’ – how did the increased ‘suburbanization’ and urban sprawl of Dublin influence their play? She will explore this question in relation to outdoor play and street play such chasing games. Crucially, this study is able to access the child’s perspective on their own play in Dublin city, long before the agency of children rose to prominence.

Giving a ‘green perspective’ on day one meanwhile will be Helen Woolley, Professor of Landscape Architecture, Children’s Environments and Society at the University of Sheffield. Her key question is: ‘Green is good: Why? Where? How?

‘Most cities have various green spaces for children to play in’

In her presentation, Professor Woolley (pictured below) will draw on research to stimulate discussion about why green space is good for children’s play; where such green space might be found in a city; and how it can be provided and improved. She will say how both past and contemporary research from various disciplines answers the question of why green space is good for children and their outdoor play.

In addition, during the pandemic, the reasons why such outdoor spaces are good for children have become more complex because children’s daily lives, including their school routines, family and social networks, play and recreational activities, were and for some continue to be disrupted.

Most cities, she will argue, have a variety of different types of green spaces that children can use for play. Some may be constructed spaces with the sole purpose for children to play and some may not be constructed for play, but for other activities, but are found spaces where children perceive and actualise the affordance for play. Within the different types of green spaces that exist in a city the distribution and quality of them, especially for children’s play, may be variable.

‘Inspirational programme of presentations’

Therefore, it is important to consider not only how much green space there is but where it is and what it is like: so not only quantity but also accessibility and quality are important.

These are just two of the speakers we have lined up – click here to find out more about who will be presenting. Indeed, over the three days there will be an inspirational programme of presentations from over 100 speakers on children’s issues, along with interactive parallel sessions and thought-provoking field trips to related projects throughout the city.

And all of this in and around the beautiful city of Dublin, which is hosting our 10th anniversary event thanks to the participation of Dublin City Council, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, and of course, the Child in the City Foundation and its Scientific Programme Committee, which has put together the programme.

We are publishing regular news, features and interviews about Dublin 2022 – and look out soon for a special Q&A with one of our high-profile speakers – but you can already secure your spot for October by registering to attend.

Follow our updates on the website and also on Twitter @Childinthecity1 or under the hashtag #childinthecitydublin2022

Author: Simon Weedy

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