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Childhood, Care and Coronavirus Conference

Northumbria University & Online


The Childhood and Early Years Studies team at Northumbria University invites contributions to the Childhood, Care and Coronavirus Conference. Covid-19 has fundamentally challenged how we think about childhood and care and opened up new possibilities for Childhood Studies.

The impacts of Covid-19 lockdowns upon children have been widely reported in relation to education, poverty, housing/home (CPAG, 2020), physical wellbeing (López-Bueno et al., 2021) and mental health (Luijten et al., 2021). The emergence of the COVID-19 ‘syndemic’ (Horton, 2020), that not only exacerbates inequalities but is spread faster through them, has underscored our mutual vulnerabilities and interdependencies (Davies et al., 2021; Bambra, 2021), highlighting the importance of an attention to care and how it is delivered, received, and experienced across policy and practice (Williams, 2021).

The intention of care, whether formal or informal, is the maintenance or promotion of wellbeing of others and the world around us (Fisher and Tronto, 1990). Care of children was often a central discourse during societal lockdowns, but children’s own care experiences, practices and relationships have been neglected in policy and academic literatures. Care is often presented, particularly in policy terms, as unidirectional and dyadic, neglecting the complex networks of relations, reciprocity and multidirectionality inherent in care (Milligan and Wiles, 2010), as well as the informal and everyday spaces where it takes place and is experienced.

In response to this, the ‘Childhood, Care and Coronavirus Conference’ seeks contributions that reflect and explore the diversity of care and childhoods in pandemic times across the globe. The conference welcomes papers related but not limited to the following areas:

  • Experiences, practices and relationships of care and childhood during COVID-19.
  • Policy contexts and development relating to childhood and care in response to lockdowns and beyond.
  • Methodological approaches to studying childhood and care during the pandemic.
  • Future directions and theoretical orientations in childhood, care, policy and practice.

This free one-day conference, sponsored by the Social Policy Association, invites contributors from any discipline to present their papers in a variety of formats, including traditional conference presentations of 15 minutes, but also alternative modes of presenting, such as posters, zines, or films to promote inclusivity and accessibility of research. We aim to allow plenty of time for discussion, networking and reflection on future possibilities for childhood scholars and practitioners.

The conference will engage academics at various career stages and includes an online option for attendance to promote inclusion.

Abstract Submission

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words by Friday 2nd September. Please indicate whether you prefer to present online or in person. There are no registration fees to attend this conference. We plan to develop an edited collection from the conference proceedings and would welcome expressions of interest in this.


Please contact Dr Tom Disney ( and/or Dr Lucy Grimshaw ( if you have any queries.

Keynote Speakers

Dr Rachel Rosen University College London

Rachel Rosen is an Associate Professor of Childhood in the Social Research Institute at UCL. Her research focuses on marginalised children and families, especially those with precarious immigration status; the intersection of welfare and border policies which shape their lives; and their practices of sustenance, care, and solidarity. Her current research projects include Children Caring onthe Move and Social Reproduction in the Shadows: Migrant mothers and children with no recourse to public funds. She is co-author of Negotiating Adult–Child Relationships in Early Childhood Research, and co-editor of Crisis for whom? Critical global perspectives on childhood, care, and migration (in press), Reimagining Childhood StudiesFeminism and the Politics of Childhood: Friends or Foes? and Childhood, Parenting Culture, and Adult Child Relations in Global Perspectives.

Leigh Elliot Chief Executive Children North East & Michele Deans Operations Director Children North East

Children North East is a charity which has worked across the north east of England for 130 years supporting professionals and volunteers who have been changing the lives of babies, children, young people and families across the North East for 130 years. Children North East has a strong children’s rights ethos and work for social change with children and young people in the lead. Children North East deliver services, support and initiatives that provide a platform for children, young people and families to work through issues, take action and provide them with the tools to reach their full potential.  These include therapeutic services, mental health support, youth work, family support, domestic abuse services, community-based support, consultations with young people. The Poverty Proofing© team has worked with over seventy schools across the country, reaching over 3,000 students and training staff. The work is being extended into health and cultural organisations.

Further Information 

  • Travelling to Northumbria University
  • Accommodation - The NewcastleGateshead Conference Bureau (NGI) has negotiated preferential rates with local hotels and accommodation for delegates attending this event.
    The link to booking local hotel accommodation is NOW OPEN
  • Registration is NOW OPEN


Event Details

Northumbria University & Online
Newcastle upon Tyne


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