Youth and Culture Conference Call for Papers

CALL FOR PAPERS: PhD students and Early Career Researchers

Young people’s perspectives on culture, identity and cultural participation on the island of Ireland today

Deadline 5 July 2017

The Cultural Policy Observatory Ireland and Queen’s University Belfast are seeking papers from PhD students and Early Career Researchers engaging in research regarding young people’s perspectives on culture, identity and cultural participation. Work will be presented as part of a conference entitled ‘Spaces to Belong to’, which takes place on Friday 15th September at the Brian Friel Theatre, Queen’s University Belfast. This event will bring together young people aged 16+, researchers, policymakers, and community, youth and arts and cultural workers who engage with young people (ages 12 – 25) from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The event aims to:

  • Share new insights about the relationship between young people’s cultural participation and their sense of cultural identity on the island of Ireland
  • Provide a space for young people’s perspectives on cultural identity and cultural participation to be heard by professionals whose work affects them
  • Create cross-sectoral, cross-border connections and open up fruitful conversations about young people, culture and cultural participation with a view to facilitating further exchange
  • Engage young leaders in conversations with youth practitioners and relevant policy-makers
  • Provide a platform for the work of PhD and Early Career Researchers in this field

We understand ‘cultural participation’ to mean the involvement of young people (ages 12-25) in artistic, social, sporting and other leisure activities. This encompasses both state-funded and non-state funded activities.

Papers might address, but are not limited to, the following questions in relation to the island of Ireland (or a particular area in Ireland or Northern Ireland):

  • How do young people interpret culture? Do they see it as something which they inherit, or which they make for themselves?
  • How do young people participate in culture? Where, with whom, and in what formats? What is the motivation for this engagement?
  • At a transitional time of their lives, and in an increasingly unpredictable political climate, what is the role of cultural participation in making spaces for young people ‘to belong to’?
  • What is the relationship between young people’s cultural participation (particularly in the fields of artistic, social, sporting, digital technologies, and other leisure activities) and their sense of identity?
  • Is young people’s cultural participation challenging or reinforcing dominant social and political narratives – such as, for example, the ‘orange vs green’ politics in Northern Ireland?
  • How do the ideological objectives of state-funded cultural activities compare with young people’s lived experiences of these activities?


Please submit a bio (50 words maximum) and an abstract of approx. 350 words. Please consider:

  • Abstracts should describe the paper’s overall argument
  • Abstracts should indicate how the presentation will be accessible to our diverse audience
  • Papers need to be a maximum of 10 minutes in length
  • Work that has directly engaged with the voice of young people will be prioritised
  • Case studies of the work of particular organisations or programmes are welcome

Deadline for Submissions: 5 July 2017

Send to: Victoria Durrer, Lecturer in Arts Management and Cultural Policy at

Conference made possible by the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation, Queen’s University Belfast.