Children, youth and families living in the city

Institute of Australian Geographers Annual Conference, Adelaide

June 29th – July 1st 2016

Call for Papers

Session Sponsors: Cultural Geography Study Group

Session Organisers: Susannah Clement and Kiera Kent, University of Wollongong

What is a child friendly city? How do families create space in the city? How might we include the experiences of young people and families in research?

This IAG session focuses on the everyday experiences of children, youth and families living in urban areas. This session aims to show the diversity of children, youth and family geography research coming from Australian and international contexts.

Where do the children play. Children play at darling Harbour in the spiral fountain. Photo Brendan Esposito smh,news,021207

Where do the children play in the city? Photo: Brendan Esposito

As Cloke and Jones (2005) argue, children are often positioned as problematic in urban (adult) spaces because they challenge the boundaries placed on them and create disorder. Work by Children’s Geographers (e.g. Holloway & Valentine 2000; Matthews & Limb 1999) have engaged with the ‘New Social Studies of Childhood’, which has opened up a social and cultural understanding of how cities are experienced from a child, youth and family perspective.

Child Friendly Cities

UNICEF’s Child Friendly City Initiative

We invite papers that engage in this scholarship and challenge adult-centric representations of the city. Holloway (2014) challenges children’s geographers to grow further in interdisciplinary, and encourages new ways of thinking. We would like to create a discussion that explores children, youth and family life in the broader city context and reflect on the experiences of these individuals and groups. Papers could explore anything from social-material encounters, notions of gender, life-course, ethnicity, class, ‘other’ childhoods, mobility, play, learning, governance, and ‘child-friendly cities’.

Abstracts are due 25th March 2016 (extended from 11th March) and can be submitted via the IAG Conference 2016 website.

Feel free to contact us with any questions:

Susannah Clement (

Kiera Kent (



Cloke, P., & Jones, O. (2005). ‘Unclaimed territory’: childhood and disordered space(s). Social & Cultural Geography, 6, 311-333.
Holloway, S.L & Valentine, G. (2000). Children’s geographies: playing living learning. London: Routledge.
Holloway, S.L. (2014). Children’s geographies Annual Lecture 2013: Changing children’s geographies. Children’s Geographies, 12, 377-392.
Matthews, H., & Limb, M. (1999). Defining an agenda for the geography of childhood: Review and prospect. Progress in Human Geography, 23, 61-90.

Susannah and Keira are PhD Candidates with the Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research and School of Geography and Sustainable Communities, UOW. You can follow them on twitter via @SusannahClement @KieraKent


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