Children's Voices in Contemporary Australia symposium call for papers extended

This one-day public symposium to be held at The Dax Centre on September 9, 2016 explores the status of children's voices and their ability to tell their own stories in contemporary Australia. Call for papers extended until April 26, 2016.

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.

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.

Specifically, we are seeking presentations on Australian childhood history, and models of (first person) narration in contemporary children's fiction.

Call for papers submissions due: 26 April 2016 to email Melissa Raine.

For more information, please email Melissa Raine.

Children's Voices in Contemporary Australia symposium web page.