Multi-cultural Toys seminars

Centre for the Study of Play and Recreation
University of Greenwich
Multi-Cultural Toys seminar series

Wednesday, February 26th, 2-3:30p.m. – Dr Marianna Papadopoulou (University
of Greenwich)
Avery Hill Campus, Bexley Rd, London SE9 2PQ

“Intentionality and cultural evolution: young children’s play themes in a
Greek reception class”

This study examines the evolutionary function of childrenąs pretence. The
everyday, cultural environment that children engage with is of a highly
complex structure. Human adaptation, thus, becomes, by analogy, an equally
complex process that requires the development of life skills. Whilst in role
play children engage in Śmimesisą and recreate the ecology of their world in
order to gradually appropriate its structures, role play enables them to
create their group cultures, through which they communally explore and
assign meaning to their worlds and themselves within it.

The research took place in a Greek state school and employed participant and
non-participant observation of the childrenąs role play sessions. The
findings, grouped under four thematic categories, may reflect the playersą
adaptation and evolutionary processes but also the expression of their
deeply rooted, existential concerns at that particular stage of their


Tuesday March 11th, 5 p.m.

Dr Mary Harlow (University of  Leicester/University of Copenhagen)

“Tiny hands, tiny artefacts: did Roman children play with toys?”

Thinking about children in the past is tricky.  For Roman historians it is
additionally difficult as no direct evidence of children’s experiences of
their own lives survive.  Most of our evidence comes from the writings of
upper class men (fathers) or funerary monuments which conform to
iconographic traditions.  There is, however, a lot of surviving material
culture which arguably formed parts of children’s lives. This comes in the
form of ‘toys’, miniature objects, dolls and other like objects.  This paper
will discuss current ways of looking at such artefacts to think about how we
might give children in the past some agency and consider the notion of
childhood in the Roman period.

Please note: This takes place at the Institute of Historical Research,
London, WCiE 3HU

Monday April 7th, 5 p.m.

Professor Gary Cross. Distinguished Professor of Modern History
(Pennsylvania State University)
King William 003, Maritime Greenwich Campus

“Japan, The US, and the Globalization of Children’s Culture,”

This talk will consider why American and Japanese toy and doll makers have
prevailed in the second half of the 20th century over European makers.


Global Learning and Global Citizenship Seminar at the V&A Museum of Childhood

I am writing with details of a seminar on Global Learning and Global Citizenship to be held at The V&A Museum of Childhood on Monday 3rd March 2014.

– Global Learning and Global Citizenship: discussions on the roles of fundraising and campaigning in schools

– Intellectual Frameworks Seminar at the V&A Museum of Childhood
– 3 March 2014

– 5.30pm-7.45pm

This seminar has been convened as part of the AHRC ‘Child in the World’ collaborative programme between the Museum of Childhood and Queen Mary.

The seminar interrogates the way in which ‘Global Learning’ is shaped by campaigning and fundraising activities in schools, and how this impacts on children’s ‘Global Citizenship’. Discussions will focus on NGO approaches, teaching approaches and the progress of the DFID funded ‘Global Learning’ programme in schools.

Speakers include Dr Alex Standish from the Institute of Education, education practitioners from the Association of Citizenship Teaching and the Royal Geographical Society, and NGO practitioners from Comic Relief and Plan International UK.

For more details on the schedule and the speakers, please see:

To book a free place, please e-mail or phone  020 8983 5205

Both campaigning and fundrais in activities linked to NGOs regularly appear within the extra-curricular context of the school community, in the form of special assemblies, form activities and whole-school initiatives. This seminar interrogates the way in which ‘Global Learning’ is shaped by campaigning and fundraising approaches in schools, and what impact this has on children’s ‘Global Citizenship’. – See more at: information, including the seminar programme, is available at:
To book a place, email or call 020 8983 5205

I hope you can come along. Please could you also forward this to any colleagues and students who may be interested, and to any relevant networks.


Post-Doctoral Fellowship – ‘Snacking’ as Social Practice

University of London

Department of Childhood, Families and Health
Post-Doctoral Fellowship (‘Snacking’ as Social Practice Novella Node)

The appointment is available from 1 March 2014 until 2 October 2014.

Annual salary will be at Grade 7 between £30,728 and £36,661 plus £2,323
London Allowance

This 7 month Post-Doctoral Fellowship, funded by the Institute of Education,
will be linked to ESRC’s National Centre for Research Methods Novella Node
(Narratives of varied everyday lives and linked approaches) that is based at
Thomas Coram Research Unit. The Postdoctoral fellow will be expected to
carry out analysis of existing data as part of the Node project, Families
and Food, to produce at least one sole authored and one co-authored paper in
high quality international journals, and to contribute to writing research
proposals for future food related research in TCRU.

You will focus on the topic of snacking in family life and draw on
historical and contemporary data sources to explore the possibilities and
usefulness of conceptualising snacking as ‘social practice’ (Shove et al.,

Research questions would include: How may snacking be defined for the
purposes of this study? What are the elements – materials, competences and
meanings – which constitute snacking as a performance? Which data are useful
for answering these questions? To which other social practices is snacking
linked and how?  When and where can its emergence be located historically?
What opportunities are afforded for social policy in conceptualising
snacking in this way?

Applicants who have completed a doctorate in sociology, anthropology,
history or other relevant social science are encouraged to apply.
Significant experience of the research area and understanding of theories of
social practice are essential. Experience of conducting ethnographic
research and/or re-use of qualitative or historical data would be an

Reference:               7AC-CLCFH-5389

Closing date:          28 February 2014

To apply online please visit or tel 020 7612 6159

We positively encourage applicants from all sections of under-represented

Informal inquiries

Dr Rebecca O’Connell

Job – Postdoctoral Associate in the Social Foundations of Education

Social Foundations of Education

Department of Educational Policy Studies

College of Education

University of Illinois at Chicago


Purpose:  The Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) invites applicants for a one-year Postdoctoral Associate in the Social Foundations of Education.  Applicants with an educational focus utilizing a critical analysis of urban teacher education preparation programs through the lens of postcolonial studies, feminist studies, or critical historiography are strongly encouraged to apply. The Postdoctoral Associate requires participants to teach one course per semester.  This is a full-time position, available August 16, 2014 through August 15, 2015. The Postdoctoral Associate includes faculty health insurance, dental coverage, and support for professional travel. Postdoctoral Associates have access to University libraries, e-mail, Internet, recreational facilities, and cultural and athletic events. Salary is competitive

Requirements: Applications are invited from persons with an earned doctorate prior to August 2014. The successful applicant should demonstrate a professional commitment and interest in Social Foundations of Urban Education and urban teacher education. The applicant’s research focus, background, and scholarship should demonstrate a commitment to the mission of the College of Education (–history).

Setting: UIC is a vibrant urban university located in Chicago’s West Loop.  Currently the University’s commitment to engaged scholarship at the local, national and international level is supported through entities such as the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy (IRRPP), the Social Justice Initiative (SJI) and the Great Cities Institute (GCI).  In alignment with the aforementioned entities, the College of Education is committed to developing new knowledge about education that improves teaching, learning and assessment; informs policy and practice; and is valued by the communities we serve.

The Department of Educational Policy Studies (EDPS) is one of four departments in the College of Education at UIC. Our twelve faculty members are invested not only in their research but also the preparation of teachers, scholars, and school leaders. The signature academic programs of the department are the PhD in Policy Studies that includes separate strands for the social foundations of education and educational organizations and leadership, and the Ed.D. in urban educational leadership, a principal preparation program.

Application procedure:

Applicants should submit a letter of interest, a resume, transcripts for all graduate course work and three letters of  references electronically at no later than March 28 , 2014.

Applicants are encouraged to reference the department website ( for more detailed information.

The University of Illinois is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

CFP: “Children’s everyday life and technology” CSCY conference Sheffield 1-3 July 2014

Call for papers

Children’s everyday life and technology: technological practices and methodological discussions

Technologies are part of children’s everyday life. They have altered how children engage with their physical and social surroundings. This development has been both praised and cursed. While being ‘plugged in’ is often discussed as a major health and wellbeing threat due to the increase of cyber bullying, sexual abuse and more time engaged in sedentary activities, other studies bemoan children’s loss of creativity, face-to-face contact and environmental literacy. In contrast, technologies can also enrich children’s lives by overcoming physical, socio-economic or cultural barriers. Children can maintain relationships with friends and family members located in different cities or overseas, explore virtual landscapes with children from different backgrounds around the world or positively change disabled children’s learning and communication experience. Some of these discussions have been lately connected to a critical engagement with ‘digital citizenship’ and inequalities in access.

Technologies are also used as research tools for gaining new insights in children’s mundane everyday life. Studies followed children with a GPS tracker, videoed children’s way to school, used facebook as a discussion forum and phones to respond to daily surveys. All in all, opportunities to make use of quickly changing technologies in research projects as well as for researching children’s technological practices are diverse.

This session aims to bring researchers together who are interested in children’s daily engagement with technologies and/or the use of technologies in research projects for unpacking children’s mundane everyday life in different contexts and places.

Papers can focus on, but are not limited to the following themes:

  • Children’s place and meaning making through, with and against technologies
  • Children’s (changing) everyday engagement with technologies or their fluid movement between virtual or real worlds
  • Theoretical lenses available for thinking about children’s everyday life and technology
  • Reduction or increase of social and physical disadvantages due to (in)accessibility of technology (sedentary lives, easier participation on society, …)
  • Critical and ethical reflections on the use of technologies in research projects

Please send abstracts of no more than 200 words by 7th March to
Acceptance of the papers will be confirmed by email and they will be included in the conference programme ( Please feel free to contact me with any queries you might have.