The Interdependence and Indivisibility of the UNCRC: Implementing and Understanding the Right to Play and the Convention
Please find the full list of speakers at the bottom of the event page, underneath the Programme.
Notes & Changes
This event will be hybrid, taking place at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights and on Zoom, apart from panels which are marked as *in-person only*. This event is an open event. Please register to enable us to monitor expected numbers.
Please register here to attend the symposium in-person.
Please register here to attend the symposium via Zoom.
The child’s right to play has historically been overlooked in favour of other children’s rights. Yet, children’s rights are interrelated and interdependent. This symposium looks to investigate the relationship between the right to play and the Convention on the Rights of the Child as a whole. It will explore how implementation of the right to play assists in the implementation of other convention rights, and vice versa. This symposium is the first of its kind, applying the right to play to the broader children’s rights framework and reflecting on the impact this may have for advocacy, implementation and realisation of the right to play.
The symposium includes contributions from academics, non-governmental organisations, advocates, and policy experts from across the globe, including the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Contributions will provide recommendations for policy and practice, as well as critical academic debate. The event will foster relationships for future collaboration and impact. Topics discussed will include: Education, Health, Street Children, Disabilities, Planning and Urban Development, Identity Rights, the Digital Environment and AI, Environmental Rights and Climate Change, Intersectionality, and more!
Wednesday 14th June 2023
- Welcome: The Interdependence of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Implementing the Right to Play (13.00-13.30)
Dr Naomi Lott (University of Oxford)
- *In-person only* Children’s Voices on their Right to Play (13.30-14.45)
- The Right to Play and the Right to Education (15.00-16.45)
Chair: Professor Leon Feinstein (University of Oxford)
Dr Jonathon Sargeant (Australian Catholic University)
Michael Follet and Niel Coleman (OPAL)
Futhi Mbongwe (Play Africa)
Professor Sonali Nag and Hannah Simmons (University of Oxford and the TalkTogether Project)
- KEYNOTE: Tim Gill (Independent Scholar) (17.30-18.30)
‘Getting Serious About Play: How can we build the public policy case?’
Drinks Reception and Speakers' Dinner (18.30)
Thursday 15th June 2023
5. The Digital Domain and Children’s Play (9.15-10.45)
Chair: Dr Six Silberman (University of Oxford)
Professor Ton Liefaard and Professor Simone van der Hof (University of Leiden)
Dr Faith Gordon (Australian National University)
Professor John Potter (UCL)
- The Right to Play and the Right to Health(care) (11.00-12.30)
Chair: Professor Imogen Goold (University of Oxford)
Adrian Voce OBE and Dr Sandy Cabrita Gulyurtlu (Starlight Children’s Foundation)
Kelsey Graber (University of Cambridge)
Seamus Byrne (Leeds Beckett)
- New Challenges and Opportunities for the Right to Play: Climate Change, Identity, Social Security, Child Activism (13.30-15.30)
Chair: Lara Ibrahim (University of Oxford)
Dr Fiona MacDonald (Open University)
Dr Tristan Cummings (University of Cambridge)
Dr Daniel Ogunniyi (University of Hull)
Professor Aoife Daly (University College Cork)
- The Right to Play and the Urban Space (15.45-17.15)
Chair: Dr Ed Kirton-Darling (University of Bristol)
Imogen Clark and Susannah Walker (Make Space for Girls)
Alice Ferguson (Playing Out)
Professor Antonia Layard (University of Oxford)
Chair: Professor Jonathan Herring
Dr Naomi Lott (Author; University of Oxford)
Professor Philip Jaffé (Member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child)
Professor Helen Stalford (University of Liverpool)
Chelsea Wallis (University of Oxford)
Friday 16th June 2023
10. Marginalised Groups and their Right to Play (10.15-11.45)
Chair: Dr Shreya Atrey (University of Oxford)
Dr Claire Raissan (NUI Galway)
Professor Sally Atkinson-Sheppard (University of Westminster)
Dr Louise Forde (Brunel University London)
11. Looking Ahead: Reflecting on where we are, and planning for the future (12:00-13:00)
Naomi Danquah (UNICEF UK Child Friendly Cities Initiative).
Dr Naomi Lott is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Faculty of Law, funded by the ESRC. Her primary research interests are in the field of children's rights, with a particular focus on children's economic, social and cultural rights, and particularly the right to play. Naomi has also recently conducted research for the ILO and IOM examining the intersections between the fields of modern slavery and children's rights. She has recently published her monograph on The Right of the Child to Play: From Conception to Implementation, with Routledge.
Dr Jonathon Sargeant is a Senior Lecturer and Researcher in Child Rights Education, Inclusive Education and Classroom Management. Dr Sargeant has published widely in the area of children's education rights, student wellbeing and ethical research with children. His current research focus is on student voice, children's lives and their futures. He is particularly interested in developing better educational provision that incorporates young people's perspectives through ethical practices.
Michael is founder and director of OPAL Outdoor Play and Learning. Drawing on his experiences as a playworker, teacher and school improvement officer, Michael established OPAL in 2011 as a Community Interest Company. It has grown into the UK’s leading organisation providing support to schools in the transformation of all aspects of play. He is author of ‘Creating Excellence in Primary School Playtimes’ JKP 2017. Michael also has worked on initiatives based on the OPAL programme in New Zealand, Canada, Spain, France and Poland.
Neil joined OPAL at the beginning of 2012, having previously worked as the Project Officer and organiser of the National Play Design Forum at Play England. Neil has extensive experience gathered from supporting more than 100 schools down the eastern side of England, from the Humber to the Thames and beyond. Neil is familiar with every type of school, from small rural village gems to suburban five-form entry schools with large fields, and from PRUs to inner-city sites with tiny vertical playgrounds.
Futhi Mbongwe is an Interim Managing Director at Play Africa (an interactive and inclusive children’s museum and education makerspace based at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, South Africa that champions and advocates for children’s rights and access to safer spaces.works with children from birth to 10 years of age. Prior to this he was has served as an Operations Manager and Programme Manager at Play Africa and has been with the organisation from its early early years.Outside of Play Africa he has held programme management positions in the business education sector with one of South Africa’s leading business schools GIBS as well as various NGOs and enterprises in the entrepreneurship development space.
Dr Sonali Nag is Professor of Psychology and Education and Education Fellow of Brasenose College. Sonali investigates child learning within diverse settings. Her research is comparative with a focus on languages, writing systems, cultural settings and levels of socio-economic status. She uses a wide variety of methods including surveys in schools and home settings, child assessments, corpora analysis, secondary data analysis, and narrative reviews. Her work seeks to develop a nuanced, contextually grounded understanding of child development. Her research can broadly be categorised into the study of child level factors and contextual factors.
Hannah is a Research Officer at the Department for Education, University of Oxford. Prior to joining TalkTogether, Hannah worked at the intersection of education and international development. Her work focused on designing and evaluating interventions and programmes targeting children, teachers and parents in low- and middle-income countries.
Professor Ton Liefaard is Full Professor of Children’s Rights and has been serving as Vice-Dean of Leiden Law School since September 2018. He holds the UNICEF Chair in Children’s Rights at Leiden University. Ton Liefaard teaches children’s rights from an international and comparative perspective and has published widely on the meaning of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and related international and regional instruments for the position of children at the national level. Ton Liefaard is a deputy judge at the Court of Appeal The Hague (though not currently active in this role). He served as a deputy juvenile judge at the District Court of Amsterdam from 2010 until 2017.
Professor Simone van der Hof has been associated with the Centre for Law and Digital Technology (eLaw) as a full Professor of Law and Digital Technology since October 2011. The thread running through her research and education is the influence of technology on the legal position of the individual in various capacities (e.g. citizen, child, patient, and consumer) and the interaction between legal, technical, and social regulation in safeguarding and strengthening his position.
Dr Faith Gordon is an Associate Professor in Law and Deputy Associate Dean of Research at the ANU College of Law. She has previously held academic positions at Queen’s University Belfast, University of Westminster and Monash University. Faith is the Director of the Interdisciplinary International Youth Justice Network which she established in 2016 and a co-founder and co-moderator of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology's Thematic Group on children, young people and the criminal justice system. She is also an Associate Research Fellow at the Information Law & Policy Centre, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London and Justice and Technoscience Lab, School of Regulation and Global Governance. Faith has international expertise and research experience in youth justice; media representations; children’s rights; criminal law; digital technologies; media regulation; climate action.
John is Professor of Media in Education at the IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education & Society, based at the UCL Knowledge Lab. He is Director of the ReMAP research centre (Researching Media Arts and Play) and Associate Director (Media) of the UCL Knowledge Lab. His research, teaching and publications are in the fields of new literacies, media education, play on and offscreen, theories of curation and agency in social media, and the changing nature of teaching and learning in the context of digital media.
Adrian Voce is the founder and director of Playful Planet. Adrian is a playworker, writer, consultant, and advocate for children's right to play. He is currently the interim head of policy and public affairs at Starlight Children’s Foundation and an associate board member of Playing Out. As founding director of Play England, Adrian was the main architect of the £235m Play Strategy (2008-11), advising the UK government, drafting and commissioning guidance documents and directing the support services for local authorities.
Dr. ‘Sandy’ Gulyurtlu FRSA, is Head of Insights and Impact at Starlight Children’s Foundation. She has a PhD in Social Policy, MSc in Childhood Studies, and a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and Physiology. Sandy has long worked for the voluntary sector and academia, conducting research into rights, welfare, safeguarding and well-being to create better outcomes for children and young people. Throughout her career she has developed pioneering research on policy, innovation, and civic action, understanding vulnerability and inequality and how people across society are working to make change happen which has led to changes in legislation, policy, and practice. She was previously Head of Research for the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England.
Kelsey is a fourth year PhD student supervised by Paul Ramchandani and Christine O’Farrelly. Having worked in hospitals both in the US and the UK and with a background in psychology, her research interests are at the intersection of children’s physical and mental health. During her doctoral studies, she will explore the role of play in healthcare, with a specific interest in the impact of play for children with chronic or severe illness.
Seamus is Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University. Prior to joining Leeds Law School as a Senior Lecturer in Law, Seamus held positions at the University of Liverpool and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. Seamus is also a qualified Barrister having been called to the Irish Bar in 2009. From 2009-2014, he practiced law full-time in the areas of civil, criminal and family law. Seamus' research expertise lies in the area of children's rights, education rights, socio-economic rights and the law surrounding children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Fiona joined the Open University in June 2022 as a Lecturer in Law within the Central Academic Team. She is currently involved with modules covering a range of topics including, Criminal Litigation, EU law, Land law, and legal study skills. Recently Fiona’s research has been centred on children’s rights, with her PhD thesis focusing on international implementation and incorporation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (University of South Wales 2020). Her current research includes exploring children’s environmental rights under the UNCRC framework. Her interest in children’s rights steams from working as a Magistrates’ Legal Advisor in the adult and youth criminal courts and the family courts, seeing legal interaction and decision making around children’s lives.
Tristan Cummings is the Sir John Baker College Assistant Professor at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge. Previously, he worked as a Stipendiary Lecturer at Merton College, Oxford where he is also a PhD researcher in law. His current research focuses on the intersection of family law, human rights law and religious freedom with a particular interest in the regulation of religious family law through a systems theoretical and reflexive law model.
Daniel Ogunniyi is a Lecturer at the Wilberforce Institute and the Law School, University of Hull. His research interests lie in the areas of modern slavery, children’s rights, climate-induced displacement, human rights, and international law. As a graduate student, Daniel interned at the Office of the Legal Adviser, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), The Hague, Netherlands and later joined the UNICEF Office of Research in Florence, Italy to coordinate the Best of UNICEF Research (BOUR) project. Daniel has also held various consultancy positions including working as a Legal Consultant to the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI).
Prof. Aoife Daly teaches law, and specialises in human rights law. Aoife's research focuses on human rights based approaches and children's rights in areas which include environmental rights, climate activism, and access to justice. She is at present researching children/youth and how their environmental activism is impacting human rights law. She is a member of the Global Network of Human Rights and the Environment, and UCC's Environmental Research Institute. In 2023 she secured a European Research Council Consolidator Grant to build a team to carry out a large scale research study on child/youth climate justice - inside and outside the courts - around the world.
Imogen Clark is a Co-Founder and Trustee of Make Space for Girls. In addition to working for Make Space for Girls, she is a trustee of a local food bank and chairs the board of a London based campaigning charity; and reckons that if we want to challenge the unfairness we see around us, we need to campaign for structural change.
Susannah Walker is a Co-Founder and Trustee of Make Space for Girls. Susannah Walker's varied career has included working in museums, as a tv producer for the BBC and Channel 4 and writing several books. She became outraged when she realised that not only had her local council only provided outdoor facilities for teenage boys, they didn’t propose to do anything about it either. She particularly enjoys gathering data and finding great examples of spaces for teenage girls from other countries.
Alice is one of the co-founders of Playing Out - a movement reclaiming children’s right to play out on their doorstep, based around the resident-led ‘temporary play street’ model that has spread to well over 1,500 street communities across the UK. In her new ‘Associate’ role alongside Ingrid Skeels, Alice will now focus on projects, development, strategy, advocacy, campaigning, public speaking and writing work towards the long-term vision and aims of Playing Out. Alice has a particular interest in the relationship between the built environment, community activism and children’s freedom and has published several research papers including this overview of the Playing Out movement in Cities and Health.
Antonia is a Professor and Tutorial Fellow in Law at St Anne’s College Oxford. Antonia’s research interests are in law and geography where she explores how law, legality and maps construct space, place and ‘the local’. She has particular interests in ‘urban law’, and the legal provisions and practices involved in highways, mobilities and buses. She is currently writing a book, the Paradox of Public Space, which considers how the lack of consistent legal definitions for public space produces tensions for their management, surveillance, privatisation and sites for contested heritage.
Philip D. Jaffé is a Full Professor at the Center for Children's Rights Studies (CCRS). In 2018, Switzerland proposed his candidacy for membership to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and he was elected in New York by the States Parties. His academic and professional interests are wide-ranging and eclectic, with a focus on child protection, in particular relating to child maltreatment, as well as children's participation in the justice system.
Helen Stalford has been a member of the academic staff at Liverpool since April 2000 and was appointed as Head of the Law Department in 2021. Helen is a leading expert on children's rights, having researched and published extensively in this area. She has led projects on behalf of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency and the Council of Europe to develop children's rights indicators, and has acted as expert consultant to the Council of Europe, the European Commission and UNICEF on issues relating to child friendly justice, child protection and the children's rights implications of EU enlargement. In 2016, she was appointed as Special Adviser to the House of Lords EU Home Affairs sub-committee for their inquiry into the UK and EU's response to the plight of unaccompanied children in the current refugee crisis.
Claire holds an LL.M in International Human Rights Law and Public Policy and is currently a PhD researcher at the Irish Centre for Human Rights. The primary focus of her research is on intersectional discrimination against unaccompanied migrant children, in the context of reception in European states. Claire was awarded the NUI Travelling Studentship in International Human Rights Law in 2018. In 2019, she co-authored a report commissioned by the International Bar Association, A Child Rights Response to Child Migration and Migrant Children at Risk. She was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford in 2022.
Louise is a Lecturer in Law at Brunel University London. Louise holds a PhD in Law from University College Cork, awarded in 2018. During the course of her PhD, she was awarded a Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship from the Irish Research Council, and the President James Slattery Prize in Law from the School of Law in UCC, for her research entitled “’Welfare’ and ‘justice’ in Irish youth justice: A Children’s Rights Analysis of Diverse Approaches to Youth Justice”. Her research interests lie primarily in the areas of youth justice and children's rights law.
Chelsea is a DPhil candidate in Law, researching how feminist jurisprudence can be applied to domestic abuse in First Nations Australian communities and amongst women with disabilities. She serves on the Law Faculty Equality and Diversity Committee and the Editorial Board of the Oxford Human Rights Hub. Chelsea teaches at University College, Oxford and is a Graduate Teaching Assistant on the BCL options Comparative Equality Law and Comparative Human Rights. She also convenes the Bonavero Graduate Research Forum, the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, the Feminist Jurisprudence Discussion Group and the Criminal Law Discussion Group.
Leon Feinstein is the Professor of Education and Children’s Social Care and Director of the Rees Centre. Leon is a Fellow of the British Academy of Social Sciences, a Visiting Professor at LSE and the University of Sussex, a Trustee at the What Works Centre for Social Care and a Member of the Youth Endowment Fund Grants Committee and the NSPCC Research Advisory Group. Leon has written, edited and reviewed various publications, including books, journal special issues and special sections, practitioner and policy journals, published research reports, discussion papers and reports for government departments and agencies.
Michael ‘Six’ Silberman is a postdoctoral researcher in the iManage Project at Bonavero, contributing to research on regulating algorithmic management. Silberman has previously been a software engineer and trade union official, and was co-founder with Lilly Irani of Turkopticon, a client reputation system used by workers on Amazon’s ‘Mechanical Turk’ crowdsourcing platform. Silberman has contributed to research on environmental issues in information technology, the working conditions and rights of workers on digital labor platforms, and ecological economics. Silberman holds a PhD in Information and Computer Sciences from the University of California at Irvine.
Imogen is Professor of Medical Law at St Anne’s College, Oxford. Imogen Goold studied Law and Modern History at the University of Tasmania, Australia, receiving her PhD in 2005. Her doctoral research explored the use of property law to regulate human body parts. She also received a Masters degree in Bioethics from the University of Monash in 2005. From 1999, she was a research member of the Centre for Law and Genetics, where she published on surrogacy laws, legal constraints on access to infertility treatments and proprietary rights in human tissue. In 2002, she took up as position as a Legal Officer at the Australian Law Reform Commission, working on the inquiries into Genetic Information Privacy and Gene Patenting. After leaving the ALRC in 2004, she worked briefly at the World Health Organisation, researching the provision of genetic medical services in developing countries. She is now examining the impact of moral arguments on the regulation of IVF and also writing a book based on her work on body part ownership.
Lara Ibrahim is a DPhil in Law student at the University of Oxford. Her research focus is on International Human Rights Law obligations in the context of climate change. She is supervised by Professor Lavanya Rajamani and Dr. Ekaterina Aristova. Lara is a Research and Events Assistant at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights for the academic year 2022/23 and a Non-Stipendiary Lecturer in Law at Oriel College. She also co-convenes both the Feminist Jurisprudence Discussion Group and the Oxford Business and Human Rights Network. Lara is an incoming Judicial Fellow at the International Court of Justice, working alongside Judge Sebutinde.
Shreya Atrey is an Associate Professor in International Human Rights Law based at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights. She is an Editor for the Human Rights Law Review and an Official Fellow of Kellogg College. Her research is on discrimination law, feminist theory, poverty and disability law. Her monograph, Intersectional Discrimination (OUP 2019), which won the runners-up Peter Birks Book Prize in 2020, presents an account of intersectionality theory in comparative discrimination law. Her work has been cited by the South African Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of India. Shreya is currently working on project on 'Equality Law in Times in Crisis' funded by the British Academy. Previously, Shreya was based at the University of Bristol Law School as a Lecturer in Law. She was a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute, Florence and a Hauser Postdoctoral Global Fellow at the NYU School of Law, New York.