Manchester Metropolitan University

Centre for Childhood, Youth and Community

The Centre for Childhood Youth and Community is a hub for Community Engagement and Education within the Faculty of Education. 

It links the Faculty of Education with work in the community and voluntary sector; playwork and youthwork, Early Years initiatives, out of school projects and with everything involved in developing learning and education throughout lifetimes, across generations.

Our work includes applied research and evaluation; development of Professional Development courses tailored to particular groups of staff or organisations; practitioner research partnerships to develop excellent models of practice. We can undertake desk top research and plan and conduct empirical enquiries into specific issues.

All our work is developed in partnership and we work with an open-minded and critical approach, seeking to uncover new insights that can strengthen practice. In particular we seek to amplify voices and perspectives which are less often heard or taken seriously within current education settings, including those who are regarded as ‘deviant’ or ‘problematic’ in some way. We draw on such research in order to contribute to the reconfiguring of a more just and generous education system for people of all ages and from all backgrounds and communities.

Current activity:

  • Work with the Louise DaCaCodia Trust in support of the Getting Ahead Project and Black History Month, focusing on Black Achievement.
  • Work with CVAT Oldham and Tameside developing models of Community Development and offering tailored Professional Development courses.
  • Developing gender and sexuality conscious work and research about ‘looking after yourself’ in the world on on-line and actual relationships, linked with the Feminist Webs project.
  • Work on possible models for Youth and Play Trusts.
  • Using narrative and story-telling approaches to generate evidence about learning in informal communities.
  • Running the Partispace project, a study across eight European Cities, of young people’s social, cultural and political participation.

Resource Book: Sustainable Livelihoods

An Assets bases Organisation Evaluation Tool for Small Voluntary and Community Groups

The Centre is committed to increasing understanding and improving the lives of children and young people by drawing from a variety of social sciences and connecting with a range of disciplines to reflect on how social groups create differing childhoods and thus different developmental opportunities for children and young people. 

Call us on +44(0)161 247 2909 or email


The Centre is engaged in support for families and family activities examples of which include the evaluation of Greater Manchester’s early intervention strategy, and working with children’s centres around our Cheshire campus.

Young Children

Through projects such as “two curious”  the centre seeks to challenge perceptions of the capabilities of young children by exploring with local nursery schools the nature of what it is to be two and how place and practice shape that being.

Children and Gender

The issue of how gender identities are shaped in the interplay between mind, body and society is a central shared interest in the group. The group works closely with many gender aware groups hosting several important national and regional events.

Young People

Centre members are committed to acknowledging children’s rights, empowering young people in shaping their communities. Partispace, for example is a trans-European study of the spaces and opportunities cities create for young people.

Communities of professional practice

The Centre is involved with knowledge exchange projects that promote the development of critically reflective professionals who are skilled in empowering children and young people. The group has played an important role in shaping Youth and Community workers, Early Years Teachers and Higher Level Apprenticeships in the UK. The Centre is engaging internationally in European forums as well as in Hong Kong, Kazakhstan and Nigeria to share experiences of developing professional’s roles.

Learning Spaces

There is considerable experience within the centre in exploring and promoting the learning that takes place within particular spaces within Museums, Galleries, Schools, Stay and Play, Youth Groups, Women’s Prisons.