Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth


The following are ways that you can currently get involved with the Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth.

Be among the first to hear about new opportunities by following us on Twitter, or by contacting Emily Askew [e.s.askew@sussex.ac.uk] to ask to be added to our mailing list.

Doctoral Researchers

CIRCY welcomes doctoral applications. PhD projects in the interdisciplinary area of childhood and youth within the School of Education and Social Work are likely to be attached to CIRCY. Doctoral projects in other Schools can also be linked.

We see PhD researchers as playing a central role in our research culture, and opportunities will be available to contribute to teaching, research projects, and the planning and running of academic events. To identify potential supervisors, look at the list of CIRCY members. We particularly welcome applications linked to our research themes:

  • Children's Participation
  • Digital Childhoods
  • Emotional Lives
  • Good Childhoods and (extra)Ordinary Children
  • Methodological Innovation

Experience of CIRCY Visiting Doctoral Researcher, Hamide Elif Üzümcü: 25 Feb - 31 March 2019

Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Education and Applied Psychology (FISSPA). University of Padova, Italy

HamideI am conducting ethnographic research on digital childhoods and cross-generational negotiations on children’s privacy within families in Turkey. Supervised by Professor Claudio Riva and Professor Valerio Belotti at the University of Padova, my research aims to explore how privacy relations between children and parents are constructed around digital technologies in their everyday lives.

As a visiting doctoral researcher, I have had an extremely beneficial experience throughout my short but intense visit to the Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth (CIRCY) - as well as the Sussex Humanities Lab. Surrounded by a welcoming atmosphere, I admired the openness to reflect on data and research ethics, and the outstanding value given to the exchange of knowledge among colleagues. The diligent supervision I received from Dr Liam Berriman and Professor Rachel Thomson, the networking opportunities over informal meetings, and the availability of digital sources enriched my understandings of doing research.

While being actively engaged with the highly stimulating series of workshops and meetings held by CIRCY and the Sussex Humanities Lab, I also took part as a speaker at the joint workshop 'Navigating Privacy and Publics: Childhood and Parenting in a Digital Age', together with Dr Victoria Jaynes, Dr Liam Berriman and Evelyn Keryova, where we all presented our research on the intersecting themes of a digital generational divide, privacy and visibility.

I am sad to leave but hopeful to return, and am very glad of my exposure to this reliable research environment which has contributed immensely to my professional development.

Experience of a CIRCY Visiting Researcher Professor, Julia Brannen: 1 Oct 2021 - 30 Sept 2024

Emerita Professor 

Julia BrannenI am delighted to join CIRCY and to regain my connections with colleagues who I have known and cooperated with over many years. I am also delighted to have received such a warm welcome from new colleagues and I look forward very much to discussing their work with them. 

I have spent all my working life in social research, much of it in the same institution - Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education that is now part of UCL. My fields of work have embraced a variety of topics: marriage, the paid work and family lives of parents, household resources distribution and management, children and young people in families, food poverty in low-income families, multi-generation families and migration. 

I have been fortunate enough to carry out research with colleagues in other European countries and developed a particular interest in comparative research. A long record of funded research and co-editing the International Journal of Social Research Methodology has also given me a particular interest in the practice of social research and including qualitative methods, mixed-methods, multi-methods and biographical life story approaches. 

Recent books include:
  • Social Research Matters: A life in family sociology (2019/2021) Bristol University Press
  • Food and Families in Hard Times: European Research. O'Connell, R. and Brannen, J. (2021) UCL Press

Experience of CIRCY Visiting Doctoral Researcher, Fabio Gaspani: 13 May - 12 Dec 2013

Dipartmento di Sociologia e Ricerca Sociale, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

CIRCY Visiting Doctoral Researcher: Fabio GaspaniI undertook a qualitative research project for my PhD, exploring the everyday lives of young people 'not in education, employment or training' (NEET) to understand the role played by institutions in their stories. The focus of the research was on the representations and practices through which these young people relate to their social world, and also on analysing forms of their identity construction.

My study group was located in the metropolitan area of Milan, Italy, and the surrounding province. For a comparison with the UK, I also considered the importance of social context to allow me to investigate the innovative practices of the young people and distinguish them from the opportunities and constraints that different areas offer (ie. education, employment, services, welfare, collective memories, cultutal and social capital, models of transition to adulthood). In so doing, I discovered how invaluable the exchange of knowledge and experiences between academics from different traditions is - with their various points of view shaping the contexts in which their experiences of life and research have taken place.

I spent seven months at the University of Sussex as a Visiting Doctoral Researcher located within the Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth (CIRCY) within the School of Education and Social Work. The opportunity enabled me to discuss my ideas with experts in a stimulating, innovative and friendly environment. I will remember my time at Sussex as a formative and profitable period in my doctoral journey.

Visiting Research Fellows

CIRCY welcomes applications from Visiting Research Fellows, the purpose of whose appointments will be to contribute to the intellectual life of the centre. Fellowships are available to all scholars who wish to spend time in/with the Centre, or establish stronger links with its members.

There is no deadline for applications and fellowships can run for any length of time - from two weeks to three years. Applicants should contact Liam Berriman who will liaise with you and help you complete the School Form: Visiting Fellowship Application Form [DOC 49.00KB] and the School Form: Visiting Fellowship Fees and Workspace Application Form [DOC 101.00KB].

Visiting Fellows should agree in advance what is expected of them during the duration of their fellowship. Commitments would usually include one or more of the following:

  • Giving seminars to faculty and students of the University of Sussex, or guest lectures for CIRCY-related taught courses
  • Producing working papers, or equivalent
  • Advising or engaging in knowledge exchange with students, faculty and research staff working within childhood and youth
  • Producing a collaborative research proposal with a member of faculty

CIRCY can offer Visiting Fellows a vibrant, interdisciplinary context within which to undertake their programme of study or activities. In each term, the centre will host a variety of research-related events, including open papers and lectures by internal and external academics, workshops and lunchtime seminars. Visiting Fellows will be appointed to a sponsor who can facilitate their integration into the life of the centre and that of the School of Education and Social Work.

Visiting Fellows will have access to the University's Library, their own email account, University stationery and postal facilities. Depending on individual requirements and the availability of School resources, they may also have office space and the use of a PC. The University and School's infrastructure and environment will support Visiting Fellows' research activity.

See the School Policy: Visiting Research Fellows [DOC 34.50KB].

NOTE: Visiting Fellowships incur a fee to cover administration and resource costs, although the cost is subject to variation depending on the funding available to, and the perceived/expected contribution of, the applicant, Please contact the CIRCY directors for more details.