Heavy Childhoods Conference 2025

deadline for submissions: 
March 1, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Ruth Barratt-Peacock University of Huddersfield

Heavy Childhoods 2025



Ingrained social constructs of the child and childhood as a time of innocence, imagination, and wonder limit our understanding of other aspects that constitute childhood’s representations and experiences. Constructs such as the child-as-future, childhood as a linear progression from deficiency to proficiency, childhood as a walled-garden etc. work to gloss over the complexities of class, race, and geography as they intersect with childhood. Further, ‘the child’ is too often excluded from academic enquiry on epistemology, affect, emotions, and subjectivity outside of specific disciplines like childhood studies. In this inaugural interdisciplinary conference, we discuss the complexities of representation, crossings, and the cultural work “the child” does in a broad range of texts, contexts, and spaces. We invite interdisciplinary and post disciplinary approaches from academy, industry, and not-for-profit sectors. 


Heavy Childhoods Conference February 2025 invites delegates to explore “heaviness”, broadly defined, in relation to childhood. We explicitly encourage contributions from outside the global north, as well as transcultural research. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Sonic heaviness in children's entertainment media
  • Heavy, dense, poly-textured modalities and aesthetics in children's entertainment media
  • Children in real-world heavy spaces (music festivals, concerts, factories etc.)
  • Children and the (heavy) sonic architecture of place (postmodern approaches to the child and transport, school buildings, urban planning and neuro-divergency, for example)
  • Heavy aesthetics and the child in public communications (advocacy, charity, government)
  • Audio-visual signifiers of childhood and children in adult targeted audience media
  • Weighting history through the child in film, literature, and tourism
  • Intersections of affect and discourse
  • Queering childhood
  • Childhood's forbidden affects and emotions


Creative, short form, and other alternative methods of engagement with the topic are welcome. We are also committed to breaking down barriers to participation, such as passport inequality, time zone incompatibility, funding inequality, and inequality faced by caregivers. We are therefore offering a hybrid online and in-person format.

The live conference will take place at the University of Huddersfield UK from the 10th to the 11th of February 2025 in the form of themed round-table discussions and workshops based on the conference papers. We will also facilitate simultaneous live online participation in these round tables.


We are currently planning publication outcomes related to this conference. Please stay-in touch for updates. Expressions of interest in hosting panels and/or chapter proposals for the edited collection, are open now. Deadline for formal conference paper abstracts is 01.03.2024. Please send abstracts to: heavychildhoods@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you!