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The Great Outdoors? Children, Young People and Families in Natural and Rural Spaces.

9 Sep 2015 - 10 Sep 2015 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM

Organising committee:  John Horton, Faith Tucker, Michelle Pyer

Keynote speaker: Professor Owain Jones (Bath Spa University)

Venue: Sunley Conference Centre,

The University of Northampton, Park Campus

Boughton Green Road Northampton NN2 7AL

Wednesday 9th September 9.30 to 17.00 with drinks/dinner at 19.00

Thursday 10th september 9.15- to 17.00

This conference marks 15 years since the publication of Matthews et al.’s (2000) ‘Growing up in the countryside: children and the rural idyll’. This anniversary represents a timely moment for reflection on the state of research into children, young people and families in, and in relation to, ‘rural’ and ‘natural’ spaces. We suggest that this anniversary should prompt consideration of the complex ways in which rural and natural spaces have changed over last two decades, recognising the multiple, shifting ruralities and natures which constitute the everyday lives of children, young people and families in diverse international contexts. We also call for continued critical reflection upon the categories of ‘natural’ and ‘rural’ which are perhaps too-often conflated, sentimentalised and idealised in relation to childhood, youth and families.

In a context of growing policy/practitioner concern about the value of outdoor, natural and rural spaces (e.g. for education, play, health and well-being) and on-going conceptual/critical reflections upon ideas/norms about nature and countryside (e.g. via wonderfully rich theorisations of landscape, materiality, vitalities, human-nonhuman interactions, emotions/affects), we invite papers which focus on children, young people and families in relation to the following topics:

  • Managing natural and/or rural environments for children, young people and families;
  • Play and learning in natural and/or
  • outdoor spaces;
  • Rural change and livelihoods in the Global South;
  • Health and wellbeing in natural and/or outdoor spaces;
  • Friendships, relationships and belonging in rural and/or natural environments;
  • Innovative concepts and research methods for exploring rural and/or natural spaces;
  • Community social norms and surveillance in rural and/or natural areas;
  • Participation, activism and citizenship in natural and/or outdoor spaces;
  • Concepts of rural idyll, nature deficit disorder and the great outdoors;
  • Changing contexts of policy and service provision for rural spaces;
  • Rural mobilities, economies and housing

For Conference Timetable

To Register: The Great Outdoors? Children, Young People and Families in natural and Rural Spaces.

If you are a member of UoN staff or a UoN student then can you please contact directly.

Further information:

Location: The conference will be held at Sunley Conference Centre, University of Northampton. Travel Information

Conference registration: standard fee £160, postgraduate students £90.  Fee includes lunch on both days and conference dinner on 9th September.  Accommodation can be booked at Sunley Conference Centre (  Please note that there is an additional charge for accommodation.

Twitter: @CCYNorthampton #ccyevent


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