CCY logo

What is the Centre for Children and Youth (CCY)?

The Centre for Children and Youth (CCY) is a specialist, multidisciplinary research centre which focuses on the lives, experiences and needs of children and young people.

Established in 1997, CCY has a strong local, national and international reputation for research with children, young people and families, in diverse contexts. CCY has conducted funded projects for more than fifty agencies, charities and service-providers.

Areas of interest

The Centre for Children and Youth has research interests in six areas:

  • Children and young people’s everyday lives
  • Evaluating services, spaces and policies
  • Qualitative, visual and creative research
  • Participatory research and consultation
  • Quantitative evidence reviews
  • Conceptualising childhood and youth

Recent projects

New Urbanisms, New Citizens

ESRC logo

Dr. John Horton was a Co-Investigator on this major, four-year study which investigated the experiences and issues of children and young people growing up in new and rapidly-expanding housing developments in south-east England. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), this was an interdisciplinary collaboration with Prof. Pia Christensen (Principal Investigator, University of Leeds) and Prof. Peter Kraftl (University of Leicester).

The project built upon CCY’s longstanding research about children and young people’s everyday lives and their participation in relation to contemporary social/ policy contexts.

The project gathered a major new body of qualitative, ethnographic data about young people’s issues and experiences of living in new and rapidly‐expanding communities. The project also used innovative GPS and mobile phone based research methods to develop new visualisations of young people’s mobilities in contexts of urban change. The project team worked with young people, planners and policy-makers to develop a range of evidence‐based guidance to foster young people’s participation and citizenship in contexts of urban planning, design, decision‐making, community cohesion and sustainability.

On completion, the project was awarded a prestigious ‘outstanding’ rating by ESRC. For more details, please visit the project website.

Pupil Participation in School (Re)design

AHRC logo

In collaboration with Prof. Andrée Woodcock (Coventry University) and Prof. Peter Kraftl (University of Leicester), this project explored pupils’ participation in the design and refurbishment of eight UK school buildings and classrooms.

This project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Download our guidance for planners, architects and Local Authorities involved in school design/construction projects or guidance for schools undertaking design/construction projects are available to download.

Impacts of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

DofE logo

CCY was commissioned to undertake the first ever national evaluation of impacts of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme for young people. CCY researchers conducted a major national survey and in-depth research with current and former participants, leaders and stakeholders involved in the Award. A range of reports, resources and recommendations can be downloaded from the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award website.

Experiences of disabled staff in Higher Education

The Higher Education Academy logo

In this project, which was funded by the Higher Education Academy, CCY researchers consulted with 75 academic higher education staff who define themselves as having some form of disability.

The project gathered data about the ‘silently discriminatory’ nature of academic workplaces, careers, institutions and disciplines for people with diverse disabilities. For example, the project was able to explore problems faced by higher education staff with undisclosed or partially-disclosed mental health conditions.

Copies of a findings report, plus other draft publications, can be obtained from

Educational attainment of BME children

BME children study

CCY has a strong record in research regarding equality and diversity and widening participation in educational contexts. For example, research by Prof. Andrew Pilkington has interrogated data on ethnic differences in educational achievement and identified both continuities and changes over time. For more information about this project, please contact

Current projects

‘Spaces of Childhood and Youth’ book series

Routledge logo

Dr. John Horton is one of the Editors of a major new book series on ‘Spaces of Childhood and Youth’, to be published by Routledge. The intention is to publish 20+ new research-focused books under this broad, multidisciplinary heading betweennow and 2020. The series will publish original, multidisciplinary, international research about children and young people. Proposals are currently sought for books relating to the following themes:

  • Children and young people’s identities, subcultures and popular culture
  • Children and young people in the Global South
  • Children and young people’s participation, citizenship, politics and activisms
  • Research and participatory practice with children and young people
  • Spaces of education and learning
  • Children and young people and conflict, war and civil unrest
  • Children and young people and social (in)justice, inequality and exclusion

If you and/or colleagues have plans to undertake a book-length project (monograph or edited collection) which may fit within the series, please do contact for an initial discussion.

Understanding Agency and Resistance Strategies (UNARS)

EU and UNARS logos

Professor Jane Callaghan is leading this major, two year, four nation research project which aims to understand how children and young people cope during and after living in situations of domestic abuse. The UNARS team brings together academics and practitioners specialising in the fields of domestic abuse, policy and public health. Partners are based in Valencia, Umbria and Puglia, Thessaloniki, and Northampton.

Of particular interest are the strategies children employ to help themselves and their family members cope, and the ways they build a positive sense of self despite difficult family circumstances. The project will develop an intervention, focused on working with young people, to develop and strengthen these abilities in children dealing with domestic abuse.

UNARS is funded by Daphne III, a European Commission funding stream that is focused on the protection of women, children and young people from forms of violence.

Children’s Geographies journal

Dr. John Horton is one of the Editors of Children’s Geographies, an international, peer-reviewed academic journal published by Taylor and Francis. The journal publishes leading edge research and scholarship on all aspects of the geographical worlds of children, young people and families. The journal is multidisciplinary in scope and provides a forum for new empirical, theoretical, methodological or policy-oriented work.

For more information, including guidance on preparing manuscripts for publication, please visit the journal’s website.

Sharing Futures / Partilhandø Futurøs

Sharing Futures logo

CCY is a partner in this exciting ESRC-funded knowledge exchange programme which will bring together Brazilian Engineering Scientists and British Human Geographers. The programme focuses on public engagement with innovative water and energy engineering projects. CCY will be participating in a range of international, interdisciplinary collaborative activities to develop new research methods, learning/teaching resources and training materials to be trialled with leading Engineering scientists in São Paulo.

For more information, please visit the project website.

New Urbanisms in India

ESRC logo

Dr. John Horton is Mentor on Dr. Sophie Hadfield-Hill’s major ESRC-funded research project investigating experiences of children, young people and families living in contexts of very rapid urban and economic transformation in India. Through qualitative, ethnographic and app-mediated research in a major new urban development in India, the project will:

  • investigate the everyday lives of families in a rapidly-developing case study community
  • develop innovative tools for conducting community-based research in rapidly-developing urban environments
  • develop academic and practitioner understandings of how principally Western models of urban design are being transferred to other contexts and communities, considering with what successes and limitations new urbanism can be internationalised

For more information, please visit the project website.

Evaluations of Sure Start Children’s Centres

Sure Start logo

Since 2005, CCY has completed a wide range of evaluative research for seven different Sure Start Children’s Centres in the East Midlands. CCY develops bespoke evaluations to meet individual Centres’ needs.

Projects to date have involved diverse qualitative and quantitative research with staff, parents, carers, young children and ‘non-users’ at Sure Start Children’s Centres. In addition, CCY has compiled baseline data reports detailing neighbourhood characteristics, mobilities and ‘population churn’ within Centre catchment areas.

More broadly, CCY is resourced to undertake evaluations of any kind of service, intervention, policy or space relating to children, young people and families.

CCY Staff

Researchers working with CCY include:

Dr. John Horton, Associate Professor in Human Geography

Dr John Horton
01604 892990

Dr. Jane Callaghan, Associate Professor in Psychology

Dr Jane Callaghan
01604 892102

Jo Alexander, Research Assistant

Jo Alexander
01604 893442

Dr. Faith Tucker, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography

Dr Faith Tucker
01604 892580

Prof. Andrew Pilkington, Professor of Sociology
01604 892745

CCY Students

CCY has been the base for eleven successful PhD completions. Current students supervised by CCY researchers include:

Rebekah Ryder

Bekah’s research focuses on the experiences of young people living in new mixed tenure housing developments in the UK.

Rana Saad Hassan

Rana Saad Hassan

Rana is conducting a major study of young women’s cyber-activisms, citizen journalism and political empowerment in the context of the Egyptian ‘Arab Spring’.

Wendy Turner

Wendy’s research explores the ways in which diverse young people engage with information about health and wellbeing, and develop ‘health literacies’.

Tolulope Eboka

Tolu’s research seeks to understand processes and outcomes of cultural violence against young females in Nigeria.

Umar Faroq Kyari

Umar is investigating young people’s engagements with diverse forms of social media during the ‘Arab Spring’.

Rev. Tim Curtis

Rev. Tim Curtis

Tim’s work explores the development of innovative, participatory forms of intensive community engagement tools in the context of neighbourhood policing in the UK.


PhD opportunities

We would be very interested to hear from potential research students with research interests coinciding with the areas of interest outlined above. Please contact

Studentship opportunities shall be advertised as they become available.

Working with CCY

If you are interested in working with CCY please contact


Select a recent output below or view all research outputs on NECTAR.