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Panel 1

i. Kate Wilson, Managing Director at Nosy Crow, and Elizabeth Jenner, Nonfiction Editor at Nosy Crow and author of ‘Coronavirus: A Book for Children’: Making it Fast and Making it Free - "Coronavirus: A Book For Children"

To view the book, visit:

ii. Helen Patuck, co-founder of Kitabna children’s books, creative consultant to the United Nations and Norwegian Refugee Council, PhD candidate at SOAS University of London, and author and illustrator of the Inter Agency Standing Committee's ‘My Hero is You’: “My Hero Is You”: Using storytelling to package mental health advice in 130+ languages during the pandemic

To view the book, visit:

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iii. Jennie Bristow, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology, Canterbury Christ Church University, and Emma Gilland, Year 11 secondary school student, co-authors of ‘The Corona Generation’: Coming of age in a crisis

‘The Corona Generation’ book synopsis, by Jennie Bristow: It is already clear that the Covid-19 crisis will have huge social and economic implications. This book considers its effect on the generation currently coming of age: the demographic currently known as ‘Generation Z’. A generation that was already considered to be teetering on the brink of an uncertain political, economic, and environmental future now finds itself entering an adulthood in which nothing can be taken for granted; where continuous crisis management is already presented as the ‘new normal’. This situation raises some urgent questions for young people themselves, and for the adults steering them through this crisis. In raising these questions, this book attempts to map an initial understanding of the experience of ‘the Corona generation’, as we work through this discombobulating moment. As a sociologist of generations, I argue that this moment will prove decisive in bringing about a distinctive generational consciousness: it will mark these kids for life. But I also caution against seeing this as the end of their world – rather, it is a new chapter in a story of economic and institutional crisis that was already unfolding, and one that young people will have a significant role in shaping. Hence the ‘Corona generation’ – named for a crown, not a virus; a social shock, not a natural disease. I write, also, as a mother, in lockdown with teenage daughters, who suddenly find themselves with nothing to do, nowhere to go, and a keen desire to make some sense of things. With the help of my daughters and their friends, I aim to give voice to the way in which some of our young people are processing this experience, and to promote the need for open and constructive dialogue between the generations over the months and years to come. My work to date has critiqued the ways in which social, economic, cultural and political conflicts have been (mis)represented as conflicts between the generations: and the temper of the reaction to Covid-19 indicates that there is a danger of that happening here. How we handle that as a society will depend on our ability to promote solidarity both within and between the generations.

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Panel 2

i. 0-100mph: from physical to virtual school in three days - First year of headship. A school with one of the longest-running unfulfilled academy orders in the country at 5 years in its second bout of special measures. A community abandoned by all those who should have been responsible for it – and that’s from the OFSTED report. Coronavirus hits – and three days later we embarked upon the most surprising run of events. We took a school online in 3 days – and learnt more about what we were capable of over the last few months than we thought possible. Our story is perhaps unique, and definitely surprising. Global pandemic? It would have been nice to warm up on a snow day closure!

Daniel Wright: I’m in my 16th year in secondary education. I originally graduated M.A. (Hons) in French and German from the University of St Andrews in 2002, before a year working as Lecteur d’Anglais at L’Université de Paris IV, La Sorbonne. I studied for my P.G.C.E. at Homerton College, Cambridge and later for my M.Ed at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, with a thesis on Leadership in faith schools: how leaders' unique values shape the culture of their schools. St Anne’s is my fifth school and my first as a Headteacher. 

ii. The centre cannot hold: Primary teachers, futurity, and Covid-19 - This paper focuses on how primary school teachers conceptualise the future as being at the centre of their teaching practice. As part of a wider research project conducted in 2019, primary teachers were asked to rank various teacher responsibilities and characteristics in terms of importance. Teachers showed a high level of attachment to the future, and struggled to perceive education as disassociated from preparedness. Early in 2020 the future was suddenly interrupted: phonics tests and SATs were unceremoniously cancelled as part of a quarantine strategy to halt the spread of Covid-19. In this paper, I look back at the voices of my teacher participants to illuminate a future-orientation which I argue the teaching community should reflect on in the light of recent events. I conclude with data from an ongoing research project focused on the effect of lockdown on teachers’ work and relationships, and show that some teachers are already starting to re-orientate their assumptions regarding the purpose of education as a result of the Covid-19 episode.

Kathryn is a PhD researcher and associate lecturer at the University of Worcester. Her PhD research explores how new teachers working in primary academy schools position their professional identities in response to government policy. She is primarily interested in how language and identity interact, drawing on theorists including J. L. Austin, Michel Foucault and Judith Butler. Prior to studying for her PhD Kathryn worked as an early years teacher in primary schools around the UK.

iii. Focusing on wellbeing through the Better Learning Program - The Better Learning Program (BLP) is the Norwegian Refugee Council's (NRC) flagship education in emergency Psycho Social Support (PSS) and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) intervention for children in crisis-affected communities. It supports children’s recovery from the traumatic events experienced during conflict and displacement by improving conditions for learning. The programme mobilises a child’s support network of caregivers, teachers and counsellors - encompassing a multi-layered approach to restore a sense of normality and hope. NRC will present the resources used to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic within the BLP framework.

Camilla Lodi is the regional PSS/SEL Adviser in the MERO NRC office - she is an education specialist with 19 years’ experience in delivering education assistance in countries affected by conflict and crisis. Ms. Lodi has managed complex education in emergencies programmes in some of the world’s hardest hit countries, including Somalia, Jordan, Liberia and Burundi. Her expertise lies in the provision of high quality education for vulnerable children and youth, including internally displaced persons and refugees. In the past two years she has been managing and providing technical guidance to the implementation of the regional psychosocial support ‘Better Learning Programme’ (BLP). BLP aims to help children recover their lost or reduced learning capacity, strengthen resilience and promote well-being through a school-based intervention combining psychosocial and educational approaches.

iv. Lucy Jenkins, National Coordinator of the MFL Student Mentoring Project, and Claire Gorrara, Professor of French and Dean of Research Environment and Culture at Cardiff University: Supporting post-16 language learners online: a multi-lingual approach 

v. Loredana Polezzi, Professor of Translation Studies, School of Modern Languages, Cardiff University and President, International Association for Translation and Intercultural Studies (IATIS) - COVID-19 and multilingual education: opportunities and challenges


Panel 3: Childhood heroes: storytelling survival strategies and role models of resilience to Covid-19 in the UK

Kiera Vaclavik will begin with a very brief outline of our proposed project which aims to mitigate the immediate and longer-term educational, social and mental health impacts of Covid-19, and the marginalisation of children’s voices. Nineteenth-century children’s magazines promoted multi-medial, interactive virtual learning through leisure: an early form of distance learning and social mobility through times of crisis. They also modelled behavioural templates to children via ancient heroes and published creative responses to form virtual communities. Rachel Bryant-Davies will discuss her planned collaboration with a children's magazine, and how historical magazines could provide models and strategies adjustable to social and educational challenges posed by Covid-19: overturning stereotypes regarding unheard children, they captured children’s responses, overcame isolation, and served as proxies for direct experiences, promoting social mobility. In the next part of the presentation Lucie Glasheen will explore a selection of the panoply of books on Covid-19 for children that attempt to create a narrative of the pandemic. She will consider what models of individual and collective heroism are presented by narratives such as Even Superhereos Stay Home (McGaw 2020) and Nuttah and Kitchi, Project: Protect our People (Samatte and Grafenauer 2020) and how children are encouraged to participate in them, while emphasising the need to document these potentially ephemeral texts for future research.

Dr Rachel Bryant-Davies is Lecturer in Comparative Literature at Queen Mary University of London. Her research focuses upon adaptations of classical myths and texts for new contexts. Recent publications include Troy, Carthage and the Victorians: The Drama of Ruins in the Nineteenth Century Imagination (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and Victorian Epic Burlesque: A Critical Anthology of Nineteenth-Century Theatrical Entertainments after Homer (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018).

Dr Lucie Glasheen is a Teaching Associate at QMUL and Independent Scholar. Her doctoral thesis was entitled ‘Children’s play, urban spaces and the transformation of East London in text, image and film, 1930-1939’ and her publications include ‘Bombsites, Adventure Playgrounds and the Reconstruction of London: Playing with Urban Space in Hue and Cry’, The London Journal, 44:1 2019, pp.54-74 and ‘“The Casey Court House Builders”: Nineteen-thirties children’s comics and the material transformation of East London’ in Jason Finch, Lieven Ameel, Richard Dennis, and Silja Laine (eds.) The Materiality of Literary Narratives (London: Routledge, 2020).

Professor Kiera Vaclavik is director of the Centre for Childhood Cultures at Queen Mary University of London. Her own research focuses on children’s literature from the nineteenth century to the present day, often in conjunction with other cultural forms. Her latest monograph is Fashioning Alice: The Career of Lewis Carroll’s Icon, 1860-1901 (London: Bloomsbury, 2019).


Keynote: Beyond the pandemic: what should we start, stop and continue in our schools?

Andy Hargreaves is Research Professor in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, Past President of the International Congress of School Effectiveness and Improvement, recent Adviser in Education to the Premier of Ontario, and currently to the First Minister of Scotland, founder of the Atlantic Rim Collabatory, and author of, among others, What's Worth Fighting for in Education?, The Fourth Way: The Inspiring Future for Educational Change, and Moving: A Memoir of Education and Social Mobility.

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Panel 4

i. The pandemic and housing-distressed children - Much attention has been given to individuals deemed to be at high-risk of contracting the coronavirus and Covid-19. In particular, the focus has been primarily upon individuals who are considered elderly, who have health problems, or who live in residential nursing home facilities. Children who are in high-risk categories have been noticeably absent from the conversation.

This presentation will explore how children who are in housing-distressed living situations are especially vulnerable to catching the disease and how their chances of recovery are markedly reduced as a result. This presentation will focus on children and youth who are homeless or in housing-distressed situations. My presentation will focus on a) contributing factors to their homelessness and housing distress; b) their exposure to the virus; c) the identification of Covid-19; d) treatment of the virus; and e) recovery chances.

This presentation concludes that while there is a pandemic of the coronavirus, there is also a pandemic of insensitivity of the impact of poverty and dislocation on children. If children received the care standards as outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the epidemic of the virus would not attack them as heavily, and if it did there would be adequate resources to assist in their identification, treatment and recovery.

Yvonne Vissing is Professor of Healthcare Studies, Salem State University, Founding Director of the Salem State University Center for Childhood & Youth Studies, Child Rights Policy Chair for the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child from the international Hope for Children Child Rights Policy Center, and author of, among others, Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Homeless Children in Small Town America, Changing the Paradigm of Homelessness, and How to Keep Your Children Safe: A Guide for Parents.

ii. Primary research into children’s behaviour during lockdown and community activities for children in Tubas, the West Bank, Palestine - The Alukhowah Club Organization was founded in Tubas, West Bank in Palestinian occupied territories at 2012. The field work of the association focuses on children's activities, in addition to sport, and social, educational, environmental, scout and cultural activities. The Alukhowah Club Organization seeks to instill a spirit of public service and promotes volunteer work. This presentation will reflect upon the recent findings of the organisation with regards to children's wellbeing during the pandemic.

Presenters: Maram Abdelaal, Psychologist, Mohammad Daraghmeh, Social Worker, Abed Ezzat, Co-ordinator, all of the Alukhowah Club Organization, and Elayen Sawafta, Translator.

iii. Gabriella Conti, Associate Professor in Economics in the Department of Economics and in the Department of Social Science at University College London: Supporting parents and children in the early years during (and after) the Covid-19 crisis

iv. The importance of effective communication with children about illness and death - Parents would do anything to protect their children from distress, but during the Covid-19 pandemic, children are inevitably exposed to large amounts of information about the virus and high levels of stress and anxiety in the adults around them. Research evidence indicates that effective communication with children about both the factual and emotional aspects of serious illness has an important long term impact on the psychological wellbeing of children and families. Louise and Elizabeth will discuss children’s understanding of illness and death and the critical role of communication for children’s long term psychological health.

Presenters: Louise Dalton, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, and Elizabeth Rapa, Post-doctoral Researcher, both at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford.


Panel 5

i. Chiara Cappelini, Evaluation Manager, and colleagues, at the National Literacy Trust, UK: Primary research into children's literacy attitudes and behaviours during the lockdown

ii. Rosie Allison, e-Bug Project Manager, Public Health England, and Tanyella Evans, Executive Director, NABU: My Back to School Bubble: Strategies to help UK school children understand new Covid-19 protective measures and tackle anxiety about returning to school

iii. Literacy loss in kindergarten children during Covid-19 school closures - By April 15th, 2020, more than 1.5 billion students worldwide experienced school closures in an effort to slow the spread of a novel coronavirus, Covid-19, during a worldwide pandemic. These interruptions in formal educational experiences cause irreversible consequences on school-age children’s literacy skills. Comparing children’s literacy during the time with or without formal education, we concluded kindergarten children will lose 67% of their literacy abilities during Covid-19 school closures. Reading books daily to children mitigates 10.5% of this loss. Educators and policy makers can promote this simple solution to slow literacy loss during school closures, which may be a common occurrence as nations see the public health benefits of physical distancing for future pandemic outbreaks.

Presenters: Xue Bao, PhD student at the SAiL Literacy Lab, and Tiffany Hogan, Director of the SAiL Literacy Lab and Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the MGH Institute of Health Professions, USA.

iv. Leveraging the neuroscience of now to help students learn and thrive in tumultuous times - This workshop will interrogate what it means to teach for purpose, empowerment, and liberation. How do we leverage the neuroscience of now to help our students learn and thrive in turbulent times? We will also examine the theoretical framework and practical implications of trauma-informed pedagogy and social emotional learning.

Mays Imad is a neuroscientist and the founding coordinator of the teaching and learning center at Pima Community College where she studies stress and emotions and their effect on students’ learning.


Panel 6: What does children's literature say about Covid-19, and what does Covid-19 say about children's literature?

Madeleine Hunter will discuss how children’s media and entertainment industries more broadly are attempting to grapple with the mass migration of children’s social, educational and leisure activities online occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic. From the relaxing of copyright around children’s books, to the re-ascendency of the family television within the home to the transformation of toy brands into digital play hubs, this talk aims to give whistle-stop tour of how those in the “kids” industries are responding in a moment when every consumer-facing product and service has suddenly found itself in the kids and family market. Gabriel Duckels and Amy Ryder will consider the formal and political context of new children’s literature about the pandemic, exemplified by the abundance of free electronic picturebooks. These works undermine conventional routes of publication and what constitutes ‘good’ children’s literature: freely downloadable, electronic, and including non-traditional authors such as Molly Watts, the self-publishing intensive care nurse. As a global pandemic, Covid-19 has bolstered global borders; yet Covid-19 picturebooks are globally read, with IBBY translating several Chinese picturebooks for circulation around the world. Thus, while Covid-19 picturebooks destabilise the definition of children’s literature, they also encapsulate its role in solidarity across cultures and borders. To conclude, Stella Pryce will examine the potential for children’s literature to materialise experiences about quarantined, confined and displaced young people. Stella’s PhD thesis applies the literary theory of spectrality and haunting to children’s texts. She argues that children’s literature has come to imagine itself as a medium through which the ghosts of the historical past might be channelled to the children of today. Using this model, she will consider how extant children’s literature engages with many of the same challenges children face in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, including: isolation, illness, loss and loneliness.

Gabriel Duckels is a Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholar at the Centre for Research in Children's Literature at the University of Cambridge.

Madeleine Hunter is a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge and a member of the Centre for Children's Literature at Cambridge. Her research focuses on how new media technologies are reshaping divisions between child and adult cultures in the context of twenty-first-century children's media.

Stella Pryce is a PhD candidate and ESRC scholar at the University of Cambridge.

Amy Ryder is an MEd student at the Centre for Research in Children's Literature at the University of Cambridge.