International child and youth studies conference looks to engage local practitioners

Leading researchers and practitioners will examine the state of child and youth studies at an international conference to be held at the University of Lethbridge in May.

Mapping the Landscapes of Childhood II will be held in Markin Hall, May 8-10, 2015, and is hosted by the U of L’s Institute of Child and Youth Studies (I-CYS). It will bring together scholars and practitioners from a wide variety of academic disciplines including the sciences, arts, humanities, social sciences, policy studies, social work and education in an effort to share knowledge and create collaborative opportunities.

“Conferences like this are important in that they promote and empower new ideas,” says Dr. Kristine Alexander, I-CYS co-director and a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Child and Youth Studies. “Bringing a wide spectrum of people together – academics, community members, practitioners – will allow for a broader understanding, and creation of, new knowledge and the opportunity to ensure that new ideas are considered by those who work with youth.”

All interested parties are invited to attend the conference and take in the multidisciplinary panels, scholarly presentations, poster sessions, keynote events, practitioner sessions and feature film screening. Registration and conference details can be found at

The conference builds on the understanding of the inaugural event held at the U of L in 2011 that attracted an international group of 125 scholars. That conference was a catalyst for the creation of I-CYS, which is now directed by a group of seven primary researchers.

Mapping the Landscapes of Childhood II features keynote addresses by three international speakers:

- Tim Gill (British children’s advocate): From Protection to Resilience: Why and How We Should Reframe our Approach to Risk in Childhood.
- Dr. Katie Hinde (Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University): Food, Medicine, & Signal: How Mother's Milk Shapes Infant Development.
- Dr. Karen Wells (Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies, Birkbeck University of London): Theorising Transnational Childhoods: Networks, Capital, and Social Reproduction.

Additionally, Dr. Jane Humphries (Professor of Economic History, All Souls College, Oxford) will host a discussion following a screening of the BBC4 documentary, The Children Who Built Victorian Britain, based on her book, Childhood and Child Labour in the British Industrial Revolution.

Practitioner workshops that pair academics with professionals such as teachers, social workers, policy makers and others will also take place at the conference. These workshops include:

- Moving the Mountain: Brianna Olson & Wallis Kendal (iHuman Youth Society, Edmonton).
- Making the Most of Individual Differences in Education: Applications from the Montessori Method: Zahra Foroud & Dr. Afra Foroud.
- Practical Advice for Fostering Healthy Brain Development: Dr. Robbin Gibb, University of Lethbridge.
- Bridging Cultures: Engaging Aboriginal Learners in Culturally Relevant Ways: Dr. Michelle Hogue & Ira Provost (University of Lethbridge).

The U of L’s Institute for Child & Youth Studies is a multidisciplinary research institute committed to examining what children and youth mean as social, demographic, artistic, legal and existential categories. While strongly grounded in the humanities and social sciences, I-CYS connects scholars working in all disciplines and faculties at the University of Lethbridge and beyond.

I-CYS is also a community-building project. Through events, an e-newsletter and website, the group fosters conversations and collaborations that cross the boundaries of traditional academic disciplines, while creating links between scholars, practitioners and community members. The group aims to foster innovative, cross-disciplinary research – both curiosity- and policy-driven – about young people.