Call for Papers: Children's Voices in Contemporary Australia - Interdisciplinary Study Day

Date: September 9, 2016. Presented by the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions and The University of Melbourne with the support of The Dax Centre.


This one-day public symposium explores the status of children's voices and their ability to tell their own stories in contemporary Australia. The event will bring together researchers, practitioners and professionals who work with and support children, families and carers, as well as children and young people with lived experience to contribute to a cross-disciplinary conversation about:

  • what it means for a child to have a voice
  • what is at stake in the ability to narrate one's own experience
  • whether all children in contemporary Australia have this capacity to tell their own story

The symposium will share interdisciplinary and inter-perspectival knowledge about children, their voices, and their stories in contemporary Australia. It will work towards formulating a collective response to the following questions and concerns:

  • the concept of "voice" as an instrument of personal and political empowerment
  • the literal, embodied and non-verbal voice
  • the relationship between ownership of a voice and the role of narration in forming and maintaining a sense of self
  • Is the ability to tell one's own story universal (trans-historical) or tailored to a specific socio-cultural moment?
  • Does neuroscience provide insight into storytelling, especially from the perspective of child development?
  • How might embracing the concept of neurodiversity impact upon our ability to assist children not just to be heard by others, but also to make sense of their own experience through narrative skills?
  • Who listens? How do we ensure flexible, robust and supportive responses to unconventional, unexpected, or disturbing forms of narration from children?
  • What is the impact of not hearing or witnessing a child's story?
  • How is respect connected to the act of listening? How culturally and historically specific is it? How does this ethical stance interact with the emotions of storytellers and listeners?

We invite abstracts of 250 words for papers (20 minutes in length)and a short biography. We also welcome other forms of presentation, of varied length, if significant insight into the areas of inquiry can be demonstrated.

CFP submissions due: 15 April 2016 to email Melissa Raine.

Notification of Acceptance: 30 May 2016

For more information, please email Melissa Raine or vsit the Children's Voices in Contemporary Australia web page.