Involving children in the planning and implementation of measures and facilities that directly affect them is something we often take for granted today. However, in many cases this involvement only scratches the surface. Therefore, SOS Children's Villages and CARE (Centre for Applied Research in Education) have decided to organize a conference focusing on a detailed exchange of information on the subject "Participation of Children in Generating Knowledge".
In other words: Participation must go beyond merely involving children in designing playgrounds or classrooms. At the conference "Researching Children", which will take place at the University of East Anglia in Norwich/Great Britain from 26 to 28 June, the discussion will focus on what we need to involve children in processes which generate knowledge and, consequently, science - for instance by having them participate in the evaluation of the programmes and taking their feedback seriously.
Questions that will be dealt with at the conference are: What prerequisites and framework conditions are necessary to put into practice the high-quality and effective participation of children in terms of the generation of knowledge? In what contexts does this make sense? What ethic standards do we need? We have invited both scientists and people working in the field from all continents. The exchange will take place in a varied framework of lectures, workshops and open space meetings and will form a prelude to further conferences on this topic.
We expect that this conference will become a basis for creating networks and building working teams to elaborate more detailed aspects and, perhaps, to develop one or the other project. We deliberately did not invite children to this first conference: instead, we will discuss on how to involve children in future conferences in a way that is both useful and effective, preventing them from being mere decoration or alibi participants in the way that happens quite frequently.