Reporter 403, 2 June 1997

New Centre for Research on family, Kinship and Childhood

The Academic Development Committee has approved the creation of a new Centre which has the aim of drawing together colleagues who are carrying out research on family life, kinship relations and childhood. The idea for the Centre grew originally from work being carried out in the School of Sociology and Social Policy but the aim was to widen the scope of this work to include perspectives from Law, Education, Psychology and other disciplines. The main focus of the Centre is research - both funded and personal - and we propose to create a supportive network for colleagues and postgraduates and to provide an encouraging environment for initiating new proposals of a cross-disciplinary nature. In particular we want to pool our resources and experiences to create a dynamic context for the development of new theoretical perspectives, innovative methodologies and policy agendas in this field. We are planning a series of seminars with internal and external speakers to take place over the next academic year which will begin to establish this intellectual terrain more firmly.

Members of the Centre are already heavily involved in funded research. Louise Ackers in Law has joint funding from the European Commission and the Nuffield Foundation for a project on Children, Citizenship and Internal Migration in the European Union. The Nuffield Foundation is also funding Clare Furniss' project on Family Contact Centres and Parents in Conflict in the Department of Law, as well as the Post-Divorce Childhoods project in Sociology and Social Policy led by Carol Smart and Bren Neale. The ESRC is funding two projects within the new Childhood Initiative both of which started in May. These are on Life as a Disabled Child led by Tom Shakespeare, Colin Barnes and Mark Priestley, and on New Childhoods led by Carol smart, Bren Neale and Amanda Wade - all in Sociology and Social Policy. The formation of the Centre will help to consolidate this work and will help to develop an international reputation for our work at Leeds over the next few years. We have already established contacts with researchers overseas and we plan to establish firmer research links and possibly cross national studies.

Further information on the Centre can be obtained from the Director, Professor Carol Smart, email or the Deputy Director, Dr Jennifer Mason, email j.mason@leeds.


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