On the Edge of Adulthood
Northumbria University
One Day Symposium, Thursday 12th September 2013,
Northern Design Centre, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, NE8 3DF


On 12th September, Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne held a one day Symposium at the Northern Design Centre on the rights and experiences of children on the edge of adulthood, focussing especially on 15, 16 and 17 year-olds who are not yet in law adults for all purposes though they may be for some.

City Campus East, Northumbria University

The starting point was the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) as experienced by children who are beyond childhood but not yet adults, paying attention in particular to four themes: the protection of children from harm; prevention of discrimination; participation in decisions; and provision of essentials for survival and development (The Four Ps).  What we were particularly interested in exploring with the help of our speakers and discussants in the audience was the ways in which children’s rights for this age group translate into practice: how are they experienced and what are the challenges for ensuring that they are observed and/or protected? We secured some great speakers including Sir Al Aynsley Green (former Children’s Commissioner for England);  Acting  Detective Chief Inspector Shelley Hudson (Northumbria Police); and Professor Aoife Nolan (an expert in Children’s Human Rights) , as well as a number of Northumbria University staff who combine academic and practitioner perspectives and representatives from civic society organisations.

The aim was to bring together representatives of young people, professionals working with them and academics to explore the particular ways in which children’s rights translate into practice within the age group of 15,16 and 17 year-olds (those, ’On the Edge’ referred to in the title); to highlight the challenges which confront any implementation of rights among this group, and to consider ways in which rights’ advocacy for  could be improved.

We particularly invited expressions of interest in attending from individuals who are themselves in the 15 - 17 age group who may like to attend in a personal capacity or as representatives of groups.

Details of the presentations can be accessed via the Symposium website:


Venue, Booking and Registration
Travel and Accommodation
Conference Programme
Presenter Help and Instructions