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Past events


Please note: this event was cancelled.

This unique national conference arose out of a collaboration between historians, social workers and lawyers. It was intended to examine the themes and patterns in the history of failure in child protection in the UK (and to include international comparisons), the opportunities to learn from them and the range of possible remedies.

Presented by WillisPalmer and History & Policy in association with:
• Association of Child Abuse Lawyers
• Association of Lawyers for Children

Parenting and the Law

Centre for Gender History Public Engagement Workshop

University of Glasgow, 22 May 2017

This one-day public engagement workshop, hosted by the Centre for Gender History, explored the allocation and legal regulation of parental rights and responsibilities, past and present at Glasgow Women's Library.

It explored the ways in which family law (in theory and/or practice) might either redress gender inequality or contribute to it. Potent stereotypes, with deep historical roots, remain in place about men and women’s ‘natural’ or traditional roles and obligations in the family. Gender norms have heavily shaped the processes of entitlement and discrimination associated with fatherhood and motherhood which can be linked to the unequal distribution of resources and opportunities both within the home and in the workplace. The law also plays a crucial role in determining parental status and rights in relation to adoption, child custody and reproductive technology.

For more information, contact: or the Workshop Organisers: Rebecca Mason and Hannah Telling

Scoping Meeting between History & Policy Parenting Forum, and AHRC network on the Risks of Childbirth

13 June 2017, University of Warwick

Organised by Dr Adrian Wilson and Dr Tania McIntosh, the AHRC network on 'the risks of childbirth' combines the disciplinary approaches of historians and midwives to investigate the concept of childbirth "risk" from a historical perspective.

The group says that, "The concept of risk stands at the heart of childbirth-management in Britain today, and seems to provide a suitably objective measure to guide practice and policy; yet the hegemony of that concept is open to challenge on a number of grounds. It is relatively novel historically, and post-dates most of the great advances in the technical management of birth; its theoretical meaning is problematical, as has been widely discussed in the social sciences; and in practical terms its application has led to paradoxes, such as the concentration of normal births in obstetric units designed to deal with difficult cases."

In this scoping event, representatives from the History & Policy Forum on Parenting met with the leaders of the Risks of Childbirth network, to investigate whether we can organise any events or research together. If you are interested in becoming involved with this collaboration or attending this scoping event, please email Angela Davis at (

2 March 2017: Children of Offenders Networking Meeting

With historians from Prisons, Medical Care, and Entitlement to Health in England and Ireland project, prison workers from local institutions, and representatives from local charities working on behalf of prisoners and their families.

Read Angela Davis reflections on this event here.

11 October 2016: Past Perspectives on Child Abuse and Murder

With guest historians Dr Ido Israelowich (Tel Aviv University), Dr Katherine Watson (Oxford Brookes University), and Dr Naomi Pullin (University of Warwick), and local childcare providers and practitioners.


30 Years of ChildLine: A Witness Seminar

In October 2016, ChildLine celebrated its 30th Anniversary. To mark this event, Dr Jenny Crane and Dr Eve Colpus were funded by the Wellcome Trust and the University of Southampton to organise a witness seminar. The seminar was held at the BT Tower on the 1st June, in recognition of the long-standing partnership between BT and ChildLine. Distinguished witnesses included Dame Esther Rantzen (founder of ChildLine), as well as other past and present leaders, counsellors , and researchers from the organisation, including John Cameron (Head of Helplines) and Colin Butler (counsellor, 1986-present). To shed light on the broader contexts, they were joined by David Brindle (Guardian), Sue Minto (NSPCC), Anne Longfield (Children's Commissioner), Professor Mathew Thomson (historian), and Shaun Woodward (former MP and researcher for 'That's Life').

Read articles about this event on the History & Policy Parenting forum blog, and published by the Independent and the Guardian.


These workshops were generously funded by the Humanities Research Centre.

15 December 2014: 'Ethnic Minority Families'

With guest historian Dr Joan Haig (University of Warwick)

16 February 2015: 'Engaging with Fathers'

With guest historian Dr Julie-Marie Strange (University of Manchester)

20 April 2015: 'Non-Parental Carers'

With guest historian Dr Katherine Holden (University of the West of England)

Children’s Benefit or Burden? Using Young People to Promote Ideas of the Future

3 September 2015, King’s College London

What can be learnt from historical research into the use of children as symbols of the future? This workshop brings together historians, archaeologists, NGOs, policy makers and museum professionals to discuss the mobilisation and portrayal of young people in society’s interests, from Vichy France and Britain during the Second World War, to poverty alleviation and child welfare today. Featuring new historical research and NGO expertise, the event will investigate the representation of children and its effects.

Agents of Future Promise, an AHRC-funded project, seeks to understand the causes and consequences of the ideological use of children in culture and politics in Britain and France, 1880-1950, and the implications for policy and practice today. The project is led by Dr Laura King (Leeds), Dr Vicky Crewe (Cardiff) and Dr Lindsey Dodd (Huddersfield) in partnership with Save the Children and War Child.

Contact Laura King ( for further details.

Working Parents and Childcare: A Historical Perspective

15 July 2015, IAS Seminar room, University of Warwick

Contact Angela Davis ( for further details.

Reproduction and Ethnicity Workshop

9 July 2015, Wolfson 1, Wolfson Research Exchange, University of Warwick

Contact Angela Davis ( for further details.


5 December 2014: Parent-Child Relationships Past and Present'

10.30am - 5pm St Cross Room, St Cross College, Oxford

Organised by the University of Oxford (UK), the University of Warwick (UK) and Karolinska Institute (Sweden) Contact Angela Davis ( for further details. Progamme here.

Births and the Collective Provision of Welfare: The Long View, c. 1550 - 2014

18 September 2014, 5 p.m., University of Leeds

Professor Simon Szreter, co-founder of History & Policy and Professor of History and Public Policy at the University of Cambridge, gave a public lecture at the University of Leeds on 18th September 2014. This was in association with History & Policy Parenting Forum, and sponsored by the School of History, University of Leeds, and Leeds Centre for Medical Humanities. It was part of a conference entitled 'Birth: Personal Stories to Population Policies'.
Professor Szreter has published widely on fertility, sexuality and birth, leading the way in research into demographic, social and economic history, and creating new ways of thinking about why history is important and should have an influence today. His numerous publications include Fertility, Class and Gender in Britain 1860-1940 and Sex before the Sexual Revolution: Intimate Life in England 1918-1963 (with Kate Fisher), and in 2009 he was awarded the Viseltear prize for outstanding contribution to the history of public health. This lecture is entitled ‘Births and the Collective Provision of Welfare - the long view, c.1550-2014’.

Poster here, or download the podcast of the lecture here .

Learning from Past Social Policy: The Family and the State in 1970s Britain

14 July 2014, 12:00-14:00, IAS Seminar Room, University of Warwick

- Thomas Bray (University of Warwick): The Precursor to Radicalism: The Role of the Family in Social Work’s Encounters with the State from the mid-1960s to the late 1970s

- Jennifer Crane (University of Warwick): Governing Childhood: The State and Child-Rearing in 1970s Britain

- Claire Sewell (University of Warwick): Obligation or Duty?: The Emergence of the Family Carer as an Object of Social Policy, c. 1971-76
Our speakers will present short papers on their research into the family and social policy in 1970s Britain followed by time for discussion and debate on how this might inform current policy and practice.

Fathers, birth and bonding

1 July 2014, 18:30-20:00, Room 2.31, King's College London

Angela Davis and Laura King from the History and Policy Forum on Parenting will present their research on 'Fathers, birth and bonding' at a British Pregnancy Advisory Service open evening seminar.

Launch Workshop

30 January 2014, Wolfson Research Exchange, University of Warwick Library

In this launch workshop of the History & Policy Forum on Parenting, Angela Davis and Laura King, founders of the Forum, outlined the current aims of the network. The workshop included a short presentation on Laura and Angela's latest research into men's changing roles in family life since the 1950s to explore how this research could, and perhaps should, have an impact on policy and practice today.

birth poster