Metamorphic Spaces in Children’s Literature and Culture, International Conference On Children’s Literature And Culture

Department of Art and Culture Studies, University of Jyväskylä
Closing date for submissions: 
31 August, 2007
Event dates: 
17.01.2008 - 19.01.2008



The Metamorphic Spaces in Children's Literature and Culture conference will take place 17th -19th of January 2008, in Jyväskylä, Finland. The conference is organized by the Department of Art and Culture Studies at the University of Jyväskylä, the Network for Cultural Studies, and the Finnish Institute for Children's Literature. The language of the conference is English.

The main aim of the conference is to study how children's literature and other cultural products targeted at children represent childhood and children's spaces textually and visually.
What, according to the culture produced for this age group, is the place and space of children and childhood in contemporary culture, and in what ways do texts, images, and media maintain the specificity of the "child"? What possibilities are offered for children and young people to act as competent, creative social agents rather than as merely passive consumers and recipients of culture?

One aim of the conference is to develop media culture research concerning children and young people, which is still a rather new and developing field of research. Children and young people have lived in the digital culture all of their lives, and in this sense some beginning and ongoing transformations concerning media-use habits can be seen in the lives of the younger generations. For example, different media forms are increasingly offering spaces in which to publicly 'exist'. This is especially so on the internet. Indeed, the borders between childhood, youth, and maturity/adulthood are being blurred by both the content and use of such media to the extent that toddler-aged children are already being molded as 'media users'. The need to enhance media literacy is more pressing than ever before.

Despite their often high quality, children's literature and other cultural products for children have not been seen as important as other branches of literature and arts research. With this in mind, new projects and domestic and international networking are needed to strengthen the field.

Invited plenary speakers include both Finnish and foreign experts in this field of research. In addition to the lectures there will be workshops for researchers.

Confirmed invited speakers: Clare Bradford, Deakin University, Australia; Hans-Heino Ewers, Johann Wolfgang Goethe - University of Frankfurt/Main, Germany; Sirke Happonen, University of Helsinki, Finland; Una Margrét Jónsdóttir, Reykjavik, Iceland; Reeli Karimäki, University of Helsinki, Finland; Kirsi Kunnas, author, Finland; Lena Kareland, University of Uppsala, Sweden; Maria Lassén-Seger, Abo Akademi University, Finland; Helena Linna, Finland; David Rudd, University of Bolton, UK; John Stephens, Macquarie University, Australia.

There is a day dedicated to each of the conference's themes: 1) Metamorphoses of Childhood, 2) Spaces of Power and Anarchy, and 3) Ludic and Scary Spaces.

We invite proposals for papers on the following themes:
* childhood and youth as spaces of metamorphoses
* spaces of freedom and power
* spaces of joy and fear
* imaginary worlds
* open and closed spaces
* spaces and places of darkness in genres in literature, media and films
* phenomenology of perception
* an odd child and a strange world
* metamorphoses of genres
* new forms of literature and culture for children.

Other proposals for papers that are relevant to the themes of the conference are also welcome. Research groups are invited to organize their own sessions: please contact the organizers if you are interested.


The presentations will be delivered in 30 minute slots (20 minutes for presentation and 10 minutes for discussion).

Please send your proposal (max 300 words in RTF-format) by August 31, 2007 to or Leena Kaukio, Department of Art and Culture Studies, P.O Box 35 (Par), FIN-40014 University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Electronic submissions are encouraged. Please include your contact info and details with your abstract (first name, last name, email address, organization, field of research, address, telephone). Please indicate if you are a student. Please also mention what audiovisual technology you need.

Acceptance will be notified personally via email by September 20, 2007. Accepted abstracts will be published on the conference website. Complete papers are due by January 2, 2008, so that they can be distributed to the participants of the session in question before the event.

A fully detailed programme will be published on the conference website in late November 2007.


Registration for the conference starts on the 1st of August 2007. If you are intending to present a paper your registration will be automatic after you have sent your proposal. Those participants who are not intending to present a paper should register separately.

Pre-registration is required:
* by August 31, 2007 (participation with paper, submit your abstract, see instructions above and participation fees below)
* by November 30, 2007 (participation without paper) to (the online registration form will be available later on the conference website). Please provide your details by registration (first name, last name, email address, organization, field of research, address, telephone). Please indicate if you are a student.

Participation fees:
Students: free of charge
Others: 50 EUR
Participation fees will be invoiced in November/December 2007. Please specify payer's name/participant's name, payer's full address/participant's full address by registration.

The realization of the conference depends on funding, the status of which will be confirmed before autumn.

The conference is aimed at scholars of children's literature and culture, teachers of arts, mother tongue and literature and everyone who is interested in the subject.

Organizing committee:
* Leena Kirstinä, chair (University of Jyväskylä)
* Leena Kaukio, coordinator (Network for Cultural Studies/University of Jyväskylä)
* Kaisa Ahvenjärvi (University of Jyväskylä)
* Pauline von Bonsdorff (University of Jyväskylä)
* Sirkku Kotilainen (University of Jyväskylä)
* Tarja Pääjoki (University of Jyväskylä)
* Kaisu Rättyä (The Finnish Institute for Children's Literature).

* Department of Art and Culture Studies, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
* Network for Cultural Studies, Finland
* The Finnish Institute for Children's Literature, Tampere, Finland.

If you have any further questions, please contact us at .
The conference website will be opened in August 2007 and it will be updated regularly.

Please feel free to forward this information to your colleagues.

Looking forward to seeing you in Jyväskylä in January 2008!


Leena Kaukio
Conference Coordinator

Metamorphoses2008_Call_for_papers.doc34 KB