Monday, November 22, 2010

CRAN and Children's Rights History...

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the annual CRAN (Child Rights Academic Network) conference held at Carleton University by the Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights and led by Senator Landon Pearson. The conference is held as a follow up to ‘Shaking the Movers’, an annual youth participation conference which gathers children, teenagers and young adults from across Canada to discuss a number of articles from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in a manner applicable to current issues in their lives, such as the rights to information and protection in the age of the internet and social media. The CRAN conference is essentially an academic response to the Shaking the Mover’s report which compiles and summarizes the issues and perspectives put forth at the youth conference.  Both conference approach issues from a children’s rights perspective. If anyone wants copies of the latest Shaking the Mover’s conference report or the upcoming 2010 CRAN report simply contact the Centre and they’ll be happy to send them to you.

Sadly, this is the last year that the conferences will be held out of the Centre at Carleton or led by Senator Pearson. Fortunately, this does not spell the end of either. They will continue, and hopefully flourish, at the Ryerson University School of Child and Youth Care under the direction of Prof. Judy Finlay.

For a history connection, Landon Pearson has focused much of her life’s work on promoting issues of children and youth from a child rights perspective. Indeed, she has been and continues to be one of the leading figures in the movement. The documents on children’s rights which Senator Pearson has collected in her work since the 1979 UN Year of the Child have been recently archived and catalogued.  While a catalogue it available,  it is not yet online. Regardless, if one is interested in researching the historical evolution of Children’s Rights in Canada and internationally there is now an accessible collection of documents to do so. The collection is located at the Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights out of the Carleton University Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

Almost completely unrelated, though I suppose fitting with the above archival theme, I came across this passage while re-reading The Wars by Timothy Findlay. It struck me, as his books often do, and I thought it was worth sharing for those who haven’t read the book. While sitting in an archives looking over photographs and correspondence the voice muses:

"Spread over the table tops, a whole age lies in fragments underneath the lamps...As the past moves under your fingertips, part of it crumbles. Other parts, you know you'll never find. This is what you have." 

Jordan Kerr

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