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 Banerjee, Dr Sevasti-Melissa Nolas, Professor Jo Moran-Ellis and Dr Hester Barron.

Curating Childhoods and the Mass Observation Archive jointly host events in May

This May, the ‘Curating Childhoods’ project (Professor Rachel Thomson and Dr Liam Berriman) and the Mass Observation Archive (Fiona Courage) will be jointly hosting two events that encourage children and young people to create and share digital diaries of their everyday lives.

1. On Tuesday 12th May, children and young people from across the country are invited to share a digital diary of their day with the Mass Observation Archive. The diary can be recorded using sound, video, photographs, pictures, or even in writing. This will be a fantastic opportunity for children and young people to show what an ordinary (or extraordinary!) day in their life is like and to deposit it in an archive that has diaries dating as far back as 1937.
A special film has been created featuring children and their parents describing why they think young people should get involved.

2. On Saturday 23rd May, a free family event will take place at the Mass Observation Archive [The Keep, Wollards Way, Brighton, BN1 9BP) from 10am-1pm. Children are encouraged to bring along their day diaries and find out more about documenting and archiving a record of their day. The event will include games and activities led by the members of the ‘Everyday Childhoods’ project and ‘Cameraheads’ from the Youth Photography Project.

More information about both events can be found on CIRCY's 'Everyday Lives' blog.

For more information about the Curating Childhoods project, contact Dr Liam Berriman.

Curating Childhoods is funded by an AHRC Digital Transformation award and joint work with the EPSRC’s Communities and Culture Network+. Mass Observation is supported by funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.


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

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

CIRCY Co-Director:

Professor Janet Boddy
T +44 (0)1273 872768

CIRCY Graduate Teaching/Research Assistant:

Elsie Whittington

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