Invitational Summit for Engaging Australasia-Pacific Children’s Voices

Summit banner

Tuesday 8th  – Wednesday 9th  December,
9.30am – 4.30pm
Amy Wheaton Building, University of South Australia, Magill Campus

Purpose: To inform and action transformative research collaborations,  policy outcomes and practices that optimise engagement with young children's voices  across diverse settings in matters affecting their lives.

Children are citizens from birth, with rights among others to participate and have a say in matters affecting their lives. Yet evidence at hand  shows that children's participation is an uneven affair. Some voices are privileged while others are silenced, (conveying the idea that these children have voices but circumstances mean that they cannot express them or be heard), with societal and sometimes precarious circumstances in which children live shaping opportunity for participation. Compelled by the imperative to strengthen children's participation and the benefits it brings our work with and on behalf of children, this Summit explores a number of key questions:

  • What does it mean to authentically engage with the voices of children as active, valued citizens?
  • How do we ensure that all children's voices are authentically heard?
  • How do children's voices inform and benefit the work we do with and on behalf of children?
  • How do we ensure meaningful consequences resulting from children's participation and the sustainability of practices that support and foster participation?
  • How do we evidence benefit of children's participation to children, to those working with and on their behalf, and society at large?
  • How do we work in dialogue together across sectors and disciplines to articulate children's voices with our research, policy and professional work on matters affecting children's lives?

At the heart of these questions is the notion of dialogic encounter with children in and about their worlds in order to influence change – especially children whose voices are silenced.

With its Australasia-Pacific focus, bringing together perspectives from Indigenous Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Singapore, this Summit will foster transnational, cross-sectorial research and collaboration in colonial and post-colonial contexts. Such research will generate understanding and action for authentically engaging with children's voices across a range of circumstances – for better-informed policies and practices and benefit for all concerned.

This Summit gathers an invited delegation of those working with and on behalf of children in various fields of research, policy and practice. The Summit will be participatory, with keynote addresses that provoke and inspire roundtable dialogue around key questions and ways forward. Delegates will have opportunity to display and discuss posters of their children's participation work, which will be displayed for the Summit's duration. Papers arising from the Summit will be published as an edited book.

Key outcomes of the Summit include a collective program for progressing transformative research collaborations, policy outcomes and effective practices that optimise and authenticate children's participation in matters affecting their lives.

Summit Convenor

Pauline Harris


Professor Pauline Harris  
The Lillian de Lissa Chair in Early Childhood (Research)
University of South Australia

Keynote speakers

Anne Smith

Emeritus Professor Anne Smith

University of Otago, New Zealand

Sheela Warrior

Dr Sheela Warrier

Chatsworth International School, Singapore


Ufemia Camaitoga

National President, Fiji Early Childhood Teachers' Association    

Karen Martin

Associate Professor Karen Martin

Griffith University, Queensland


Areas of study and research

+ Click to minimise