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Children &
Young Adults
Trinity College Dublin

September 2011




The Children and Young Adults e-zine was initiated by the Children’s Research Centre (CRC) in TCD to inform interested groups and individuals about the contribution Trinity is making to improving the lives of children and young adults - through a rich array of research, educational and outreach activities.

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Gift to Obama Celebrates Children's Role in National Culture

Of the many gifts given by the Irish Nation to President Barack Obama to mark his visit to Ireland on 23rd May, a children's book - a first edition of Padraic Colum's Tales and Legends of Hawaii (1924) - was considered unique and important enough to be mentioned by Taoiseach Enda Kenny during the nationally televised morning press conference. The gift was the brainchild of Trinity College's lecturer in children's literature Dr Padraic Whyte. Padraic's idea for the gift was brought to the Taoiseach's attention thanks to the help of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald T.D. Within a couple of hours, Padraic found himself being provided with a beautiful custom-built preservation case for the book by Trinity College Library's Head of Conservation, Dr Susie Bioletti. On being told about the book, Obama's response was 'Well, it just goes to show, if you want something important written, get an Irishman to do it'. It was an amazing moment for children's literature in Ireland.

For more information on why the gift was so appropriate, please visit:

PhD Student Graduation

On Friday 1st July 2011, four doctoral students based in the Children's Research Centre graduated with PhDs at the Commencements ceremony. They are:

Nicola Carr, lecturer in Social Work in QUB. Supervisor: Professor Eoin O'Sullivan

Mary-Louise Corr, Research Associate in the Research Institute for Social Sciences, Claus Moser Research Centre, Keele University. Supervisor: Dr Paula Mayock

Jennifer Cronly, living and working in Holland. Supervisor: Dr Paula Mayock

Carmel Smith, lecturer in Humanities and Social Studies in Carlow College. Supervisor: Professor Sheila Greene.

All their colleagues in the Children's Research Centre join in congratulating them on their achievement, and wish them continued success in the future.

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TCD Academic Presents Paper at Una Global Biennial Conference

Dr Philip Curry, lecturer and Research Fellow in the School of Social Work and Social Policy, TCD, presented a paper entitled: "A systematic review of the use of Cooperative Learning to enhance cross-ethnic relations in schools" at the Una Global Biennial Conference, 'Building Peaceable Communities: The Power of Early Childhood', which took place in Amsterdam in May of this year.

Una: The Global Learning Initiative on Children and Ethnic Diversity is a global, inter-disciplinary network of leading researchers and practitioners committed to reducing racial and ethnic divisions and building socially inclusive communities through the promotion of effective early childhood programmes.

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Research Reveals Link between Abnormal Body Weight in Children and Bullying

Children who are overweight or obese are more likely to be victimised by bullying when compared to children who are not overweight. The study, conducted by researchers at TCD's Department of Public Health and Primary Care, explored the links between abnormal body weight and obesity in nine-year-olds and its associations with chronic illness and bullying.

Using a sample of 8,500 nine-year-old children and their families from the first wave of data collected from the Growing Up in Ireland study, a national study led by TCD and the ESRI, the researchers found obesity more prevalent in girls, and that children - particularly boys - with an abnormal weight had a significantly higher rate of ongoing chronic illness.

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Growing Up in Ireland to Launch Qualitative Key Findings from the Child Cohort

On Thursday 22nd September 2011, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald, T.D. will launch the Growing Up in Ireland Qualitative Key Findings from the Child Cohort (at 9 years). The event will take place at 10.00 am in the Long Room Hub, TCD.

This latest research from Growing Up in Ireland draws on in-depth qualitative interviews conducted with 120 nine-year-old children and their parents. These families are participating in, and were selected from, the larger GUI Quantitative study which is tracking the lives of 8,500 nine-year-old children. These children and their families are currently taking part in a follow-up interview now that the children have turned 13 years of age.

Workshop on GUI Data at IQDA

The event will also mark the archiving and availability to researchers of the Anonymised Qualitative Data from Wave 1 of the Child Cohort (at 9 years) now lodged in the Irish Qualitative Data Archive (IQDA). The initial launch event will be followed at 11.30am by a workshop session outlining the method used in the data collection for this phase of the study, as well as a presentation on how researchers can access and use the data.

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Launch of Report: 'Developing Early Years Professionalism'

On 30th May 2011, Ms Frances Fitzgerald T.D., Minister for Children and Youth Affairs launched 'Developing Early Years Professionalism', the evaluation of the Early Learning Initiative's (ELI) professional development programme for community childcare settings in the Dublin Docklands. The evaluation, which was funded by Pobal Dormant Accounts Funds, was carried out by Dr Michelle Share, Liz Kerrins and Professor Sheila Greene of the Children's Research Centre and is one element if the CRC's overall evaluation of ELI's child and family programmes.

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Public Lecture by Dr Mary Racelis

On 12th September 2011, the Children's Research Centre - along with TCD's School of Social Work and Social Policy, the Trinity International Development Initiative, and the Institute for International Integration Studies - were pleased to welcome Dr Mary Racelis, Research Scientist at the Institute of Philippine Culture, Ateneo de Manila University, who delivered a public lecture entitled 'Growing Up in Informal Settlements: Options for Urban Poor Children and Youth in Developing Countries'.

To see a copy of Dr Racelis' presentation, and to listen to an audio recording of the lecture, please visit:

Intergenerational Solidarity and Justice in Ireland

A study looking for the first time at solidarity between generations in Ireland is getting underway, involving collaboration between researchers in the Social Policy and Ageing Research Centre (SPARC), School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin, and in the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, at the National University of Ireland, Galway. In-depth interviews with 100 people at four different life stages, including young adults in late teens and early 20s, will form the basis of the research. The findings will contribute to a national dialogue on how we relate, support and engage with each other across generations, and generate principles to foster greater solidarity and justice across generations. Learning from the project is intended to inform and guide the work of interest groups including those representing children, youth and families.

A project website will be launched at in early October. Meanwhile please contact for more information.

PhD Student Receives Funding under OMCYA Scholarship Programme

Congratulations to Mark Ward, PhD student, who has been awarded funding under the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Research Scholarship Progamme to undertake PhD study under the supervision of Dr Evelyn Mahon. His study, 'A Multilevel approach to understanding childhood overweight and obesity in Ireland: Informing the response to a growing epidemic', is investigating the myriad of causes and consequences associated with childhood overweight and obesity in Ireland. Analysis will focus on the Child Cohort (at nine years) from Wave 1 of the Growing Up in Ireland study.

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Secondary School Students Experience TCD Life

In February 2011, the annual Trinity Access Programmes (TAP) Shadowing Programme saw over 100 second level students pair up with current TCD undergraduates for two days of hands-on activities designed to help them make informed decisions about their future education. This event allows 5th year students from TAP linked schools to experience firsthand the academic, cultural and social aspects of student life in TCD, as well as 'shadowing' TCD students who are studying the course that the young pupil is interested in pursuing at third-level.

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TCD Academic Delivers Invited Keynote Paper at Interdisciplinary Conference on Gender and Child Welfare

Dr Stephanie Holt, lecturer in Social Work and Course Director of the Masters in Social Work (MSW) course, delivered an invited keynote paper entitled 'Mothering in the context of domestic violence' at the Gender and Child Network: 4th Interdisciplinary Conference held in the National University of Ireland, Galway, on 15th June 2011. The paper considered the impact of living with domestic violence for mothers and their children, both pre- and post-separation, and from both a gender and child welfare perspective.

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TCD School of Medicine signs Strategic Partnership with National Children's Research Centre

In February 2011 Trinity College Dublin's School of Medicine signed a strategic partnership with the National Children's Research Centre in relation to paediatric research into children's illnesses and diseases. As part of the agreement, the National Children's Research Centre, funded in its entirety by the Children's Medical & Research Foundation (CMRF), has awarded €5 million in funding to the new research programme in Paediatric Immunology.

Commenting on the significance of the partnership, the Director of Research at the National Children's Research Centre, Professor Carlos Blancos stated: "In line with our policy this new immunology programme will target world class research on the early origin of disease. Through research we will drive improvement in the care and treatment of children."

To download the report please visit:

TCD School of English Launches New M Phil in Children's Literature

This new taught Masters offers the opportunity to study a broad range of children's literature in English, with special attention paid to the role of the Irish contribution to the development of children's literature in English. The course is uniquely supported by the Pollard Collection, the bequest of more than 10,000 children's books left to the College by Mary 'Paul' Pollard in 2005, and by the College's deposit library. It's the only full-time one year taught Masters course in children's literature in Ireland.

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Bridge21 Venture Between TCD and Suas Educational Development

The Bridge2College programme - a joint venture of Trinity College Dublin and Suas Educational Development - has recently re-branded as Bridge21. Over 2,500 young people have passed through the doors of Oriel House since opening in 2007, and their overwhelmingly positive experiences have confirmed the potential of the learning model as a vehicle for education reform in Ireland. The new Bridge21 programme now has three strands:

- The Bridge2College outreach programme - a team-based experience for young people to explore learning through technology, creativity and problem-solving.

- A partnership programme with schools nationwide to scale and adapt the learning model for use in the formal classroom.

- A learning and research centre in Oriel House, to innovate, evaluate and refine the 21st century learning methodologies.

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'Cumulative Harm: The Effect of Chronic Child Maltreatment' Seminar

In June 2011, the School of Social Work and Social Policy, TCD, were pleased to welcome Professor Leah Bromfield, Associate Professor and Deputy of the Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia, who presented a seminar entitled 'Cumulative Harm: The Effect of Chronic Child Maltreatment'.

In light of recent reports about child neglect, and particularly in the context of child protection and welfare reforms in Ireland, there is an imperative to better understand the issue of cumulative harm on children and young people. Professor Bromfield presented her research on chronic maltreatment and cumulative harm and discussed its implications for practice in Ireland and elsewhere.

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New Book on Inter-Ethnic Relations Among Irish Primary School Children

A new book by Dr Philip Curry, Professor Robbie Gilligan, Lindsey Garratt and Jennifer Scholtz will be launched in September 2011. The book is based on the largest qualitative study of inter-ethnic relations among Irish primary school children to date.

The research explored the ways in which cultural and other differences between migrant and local children impact on their social interaction. A characteristic feature of such interaction is a desire among children to stay with what is familiar and avoid contact with other cultural groups. More powerful forms of hostility, including racism and racial bullying, also occur.

It is argued that there are serious challenges to be faced but no easy answers. Progress will depend upon commitment to a realistic process for generating solutions and being open to evaluating their effectiveness.

The book is entitled 'Where to from here? Inter-ethnic relations among children in Ireland' and is published by Liffey Press.

Secondary School Students Receive TAP Educational Achievement Awards

In May 2011 over 325 second level students received Educational Achievement Awards organised by the Trinity Access Programmes, in recognition of their academic excellence and hard work in school. The Educational Achievement Awards are given to Junior Cycle and Transition Year students (13 - 16 year olds) in schools linked to the Trinity Access Programmes (TAP).

The event, which took place in the Dining Hall at Trinity College, featured guest speakers and legendary broadcaster Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh who delighted the students, their parents and other guests with tales of sporting heroes, Irish poetry and words of wisdom from Irish seanfhocal.

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Recent Publications in Children's Literature and Culture from TCD

Dr Padraic Whyte, Irish Childhood: Children's Fiction and Irish History. (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011). This book illuminates both the manner in which children's texts engage with complex cultural discourses in contemporary Ireland, and the significant contribution that children's novels and films can make to current debates concerning Irish identity. For more information, please visit:

Valerie Coghlan and Keith O'Sullivan eds. Irish Children's Literature and Culture: New Perspectives on Contemporary Writing. (London: Routledge, 2010). This book is essential reading for those interested in Irish literature, culture, sociology, childhood and children's culture, and looks critically at Irish writing for children from the 1980s to the present. This book is written by two colleagues at our sister College, the Church of Ireland College of Education, and includes four essays from TCD academics working in children's literature.
For more information, please visit:

Dr Anne Markey, ed. Children's Fiction 1765-1808 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2011) Substantial critical attention has been paid in recent years to the ways in which English-language children's fiction of the long eighteenth century reflected the diverse adult anxieties and social concerns. In order to encourage research into the Irish dimensions of this topic, the present volume by Anne Markey, adjunct lecturer in the School of English, offers a selection of stories for young readers that were written by Irish authors and published between 1765 and 1808. For more information, please see:

Professor Sheila Greene Retires

Her many colleagues in Trinity College, and more widely, wish Professor Sheila Greene, Professor of Childhood Research and Director of the Children's Research Centre who retires at the end of September, a long and happy retirement. Sheila was first appointed as a Lecturer in Psychology in 1973, having previously worked in Boston and London. She was a versatile teacher, but her particular interest lay in the field of developmental psychology. In 1995, she co-founded the Children's Research Centre with Robbie Gilligan, now Professor of Social Work and Social Policy. She went on to hold the Chair and Directorship of the Centre since 2004. She was centrally involved in winning the contract for, and then managing, the joint ESRI-TCD Growing Up in Ireland study, for which she has served as Co-Director from 2006 to 2011. Among her many publications are her well received books 'The Psychological Development of Girls and Women: Rethinking Change in Time' (London: Routledge, 2003), and 'Researching Children's Experiences: Approaches and Methods' (London: Sage, 2005), which was co-authored by Dr Diane Hogan. Throughout her career she supervised 30 doctoral students to successful completion. She also served as Dean of Arts (Humanities) from 1992 to 1996, and as Senior Lecturer (Chief Academic Officer) from 2001 to 2004.


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Edited by:
The Children’s Research Centre, TCD
Tel: +353-1-8962901
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Last updated 30 September 2011 by The Children′s Research Centre (Email).