Children’s traces - One day colloquium: Centre for the History of Childhood

Children’s traces


One day colloquium: Centre for the History of Childhood

Magdalen College, University of Oxford

Friday 29 June 2018 9-5pm

This one-day colloquium on the theme of ‘Children’s traces’ examines the politics of visibility. All historians work with traces of the past, but some people leave larger and more long-lasting archival imprints than others. Children are notorious for being difficult to ignore in the present, but hard to find in our historical record. The colloquium brings together papers that direct a spotlight on how age shapes the visibility of historical actors, across time and place. Which children made themselves (or were made) visible in the historical record? Whose voices do we fail to hear? And what do the shifting contexts in which children made their mark tell us about the society, culture, economy and politics of which they were part? Each paper will use new scholarship on young lives in a particular historical context to draw out wider methodological and historiographical insights about the visibility of children in the past.


The colloquium focuses not only on what made children archivally or textually visible, but also on the new approaches that researchers are taking to uncover and interpret this evidence. Papers will illuminate ways of working with a wide range of sources. These might include children’s diaries and letters, drawings and material objects made by children, published writing by young people, or case files and court records about the young. We will also examine questions of how we share insights that emerge from these traces with diverse readerships and audiences. How can we use these archival fragments to form compelling narratives about children’s lives in the past, including when we have no sources penned by children themselves? We encourage the participation of archivists, exhibition curators, broadcasters, and film-makers, as well as those who write and publish history books about children’s lives.  



Online registration is open until Monday 25th June 2018:


Registration is £20 waged and £10 unwaged, which includes lunch, coffee, and tea.



Laurence Brockliss

Nick Stargardt

Siân Pooley

Siân Pooley