Lee Talley (2019)

Having experienced the dynamic intellectual community of Lethbridge’s Institute of Child and Youth Studies at its inaugural conference, Mapping the Landscapes of Childhood (2011), I was eager to return. I found the community I remembered as vibrant as I recalled, but larger and more established. The conversations I had with faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates were lively and illuminating, helping me hone my ideas within the contexts of other disciplinary perspectives and methodologies. The office provided, a space within ICYS main cluster, afforded a distraction-free zone in which I could focus on my writing. Presenting my research also helped me work through a complex structural issue of the manuscript, work that could not be done alone.

My project, “‘I thought you’d like to know the story from the inside’: How British Child Evacuees Composed Themselves in Writing During the Second World War” examines how many of the 3.5 million evacuees used writing to author themselves as well as claim their power. Part of contemplating how they compose themselves in writing involves thinking about the emotion work letter writing entails as well as how these young citizens both adhere to and depart from cultural scripts of the grateful (and happy) evacuee. Conversations with scholars from Childhood Studies, Education, English, History, and Sociology enabled me to refine my thinking about children’s agency, understandings of childhood, and the history of emotions. 

The space/time of the ICYS fellowship enabled me to make real headway on my project; I highly recommend it to all scholars from junior researchers to more established academics. Thanks to Kristine Alexander and Elizabeth Galway, my time at ICYS was the highlight of AY 2019-2020.