School of Education and Social Work

Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth (CIRCY)

Welcome to the Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth

CIRCY was launched at the University of Sussex in 2012, bringing together research, scholarship and expertise on childhood and youth. It is an interdisciplinary and cross-university centre, with a membership that includes researchers from the social and life sciences, arts, humanities and professional fields including social work, law, education and health.

Our aim is to create a space for dialogue, collaboration, creativity and capacity-building - supporting new research and knowledge exchange. CIRCY provides a stimulating environment for doctoral students working in the area of childhood, youth and family studies and a destination for visiting academics and opinion formers.

We aim to become an internationally recognised centre of excellence in the field of researching children, young people and families. We are outward-looking, committed to working with policy-makers, professional colleagues, young people and their carers in order to share expertise, promote good practice and to exchange knowledge.

CIRCY nurtures synergies between research activity and the teaching curriculum through an undergraduate course - the BA in Childhood and Youth: Theory and Practice - and the Masters course - the MA in Childhood and Youth Studies. We also provide training in research methods with children and young people.

CIRCY is directed by Professor Rachel Thomson and Dr Janet Boddy, and supported by a steering group that includes  Professor Robin Banerjeeand Dr Sevasti-Melissa Nolas.

Don't Miss...

New 'Good Sex' films released by ESRC-funded research project

Sussex Research Fellow and Lead Researcher on 'The Good Sex Project’, Dr Ester McGeeney, has been involved in a participatory film-making project with young people and the sexual health charity Brook. The films are based on Ester’s PhD research and feature young actors re-telling research participants’ stories about their early sexual experiences.

The focus of the ‘good sex project' is the building of evidence-based practice around 'sex-positive' approaches to sexual health service delivery and finding new and creative ways of working with young people on the topic of ‘good sex’ and sexual pleasure. 

You can see the latest films on The Good Sex Project blog and find out more information about the project on The Good Sex project web page.

New project to record a digital day in the life of modern childhood

A new digital archive of children’s lives, using the material they themselves have produced, is being created by CIRCY researchers. Curating Childhoods is a 12-month study that will involve pupils at schools in East Sussex submitting their own multi-media accounts – including videos and photographs - of a day in their life. The material will be housed in the University’s Mass Observation Archive. 

The project is one of ten being funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in the UK as part of its new Digital Transformations theme, aimed at looking at the creation and interpretation of ‘big data’ in arts and humanities research. Lead researcher and CIRCY Director, Professor Rachel Thomson, will be working on the project alongside Dr Liam Berriman, Research Assistant, and Mass Observation’s curator Fiona Courage following and building on the soon-to-be-completed Face 2 Face project.

Final report available for 'new frontiers' study

The final report is now available to download for CIRCY research project New frontiers in qualitative longitudinal methods: definition design and display. This project was funded by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) and brought together parties central to different histories of QLR in five separate events, along with a new generation of researchers for whom temporal perspectives enable a range of interdisciplinary and emergent research practices.


The Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth is a new inter-disciplinary research centre at the University of Sussex.

RT @SolentSHP: #ScaryStoriesIn5Words SRE is still not compulsory #PSHEBill @BrookCharity @sex_ed_forum @CarolineLucas @NickyMorgan01 #health #SRE #CSE

#coffeyreport police,CJS,social services "often inherently(albeit unconsciously) prejudiced against vulnerable teens"

RT @BrookCharity: "We must never allow CSE to become the new social norm in any community" - @Simonablake on the #coffeyreport…

New blog post on CIRCY membership and the challenges of working interdisciplinary written by our GTRA Elsie @ELRW91…

RT @ELRW91: Very Excited to start working with @BrookCharity for my #PhD @SussexCIRCY gonna be lots to do this week to get going finally! #myfirstTweet

Visit SussexCIRCY on Twitter


CIRCY Director:
Professor Rachel Thomson
T +44 (0)1273 876689

CIRCY Co-Director:

Professor Janet Boddy
T +44 (0)1273 872768

CIRCY Research Fellow:

Ester McGeeney

Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth (CIRCY)
School of Education and Social Work
Essex House
University of Sussex
Falmer, Brighton