International Seminar series: Access to Social and Cultural Rights

Date and time

Wed, 25 May 2022, 06:00 – 08:00 CDT


This seminar is part of the School for Policy Studies – International Seminar Series 2021-2022

Access to Social and Cultural Rights, will focus on children’s, young people and family’s access to social and cultural rights including to family life, cultural activities, play and inclusion into a national community.

Professor Zsuzsa Millei, Reflections on methodological nationalism in migration research concerning children

Professor Debbie WatsonVR Dance: young people at risk of criminalisation accessing cultural rights

Dr Jon SymondsNegotiating rights to family life when parents separate


Reflections on methodological nationalism in migration research concerning children

This presentation considers the intersections of migration research in early childhood /education, and nationalism. I analyse selected articles addressing migration and inclusion in the Nordic states from the perspective of methodological nationalism. The aim is to demonstrate why migration researchers need to apply a critical lens to evaluate the inherent methodological nationalism some migration research can be ‘guilty’ of. I especially highlight the need to rethink the categorizations migration research operates with that keep reifying exclusions based on national grounds and which, with an extension, antithetical to children’s right to non-discrimination and right to identity.

Professor Zsuzsa Millei, University of Tampere, Finland

Zsuzsa is a Professor of Early Childhood Education at the Faculty of Education and Culture, Tampere University, Finland. Her research addresses child politics by exploring how politics (power, government, nationalism, and ideology) intertwine with childhood and children’s everyday life in child institutions, and more recently reconfigured within the Anthropocene. Her comparative studies of nationalism and explorations of childhood memories of (post)socialist societies use post-qualitative and artistic methods and reveal complex matrices of power and seek to decolonize the research imagination and knowledge production. Her special issue on ‘Banal and Everyday Nationalisms in children’s mundane and institutional lives’ is published in 2021 in the journal of Children’s Geographies.

VR Dance: young people at risk of criminalisation accessing cultural rights

In this presentation Debbie will present a current funded project working in partnership with East London Dance company. This is a project working with vulnerable young people in two East London Boroughs where we have combined intensive hip hop workshops with avatar creation and virtual reality to enable alternative narratives of risk and resilience and hopefully have impacts on their overall subjective wellbeing. The programme enables access to cultural activities for young people and provides an experimental methodological space to reimagine their identity in a low-risk virtual world. The presentation will include some film outputs from the project to date.

Professor Debbie Watson, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol

Debbie is Professor of Child and Family Welfare in the School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol and the School Research Director. Her research interests focus on identity and wellbeing for children and families in adverse circumstances including poverty and where children are in state care or adopted. All her research is interdisciplinary, co-produced and she engages with a wide range of creative, arts based and digital research approaches.

Negotiating rights to family life when parents separate

In this presentation, Jon will present current research he is conducting with colleagues that focuses on the experiences of family members when parents have separated. The project draws on ethnographic methods by providing family members with digital cameras to create their own accounts of the separation and of the support they received from services. Combined with interviews, this data will help to build a rich picture of the ways that families navigate their ways towards family life beyond separation and the findings will feed into policy developments to improve both family support services in both the community and the family courts in England and Wales.

Dr Jon Symonds, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol

Jon is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work with Children and Families in the School for Policy Studies. His research interests focus on social work with parents, particularly with fathers, and where there are concerns related to children’s welfare. He uses a variety of qualitative research methods including the analysis of audio and video recordings of professional practice, and videos made by members of families where the parents have separated.

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