2023 RECE Conference

Manchester Metropolitan University

Manchester U.K

Manchester Metropolitan University at night

29th Annual RECE Conference

Pathways: Where We’ve Been, Where We Are, Where We Want to Go

Manchester Metropolitan University • Manchester U.K • September 7-10, 2023

Important Information

Registration and Fees

Please click here to access registration packages for RECE 2023. Please become a RECE member to access Member fees


Please click here to access the conference program. The program will be consistently updated at this link.



Please click here to access accommodation website

Booking procedure for delegates: Delegates may book online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; alternatively, Marketing Manchester is also happy to take telephone bookings or booking requests via email during office hours – Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm (excluding Bank Holidays): abs@visitmanchester.com 


Delegates can secure their booking by credit/debit card, with payment being made upon arrival/departure at the hotel or by requesting an invoice where payment is made prior to arrival.


Conference Dinner
The conference dinner will be hosted on Saturday, 9 September. Please click here to register for the conference dinner. 

If you have any questions about visa related to invitation letters for presenters and attendees at the RECE conference, please contact Martin Needham at m.needham@mmu.ac.uk

The conference theme “Pathways: Where we’ve been, where we are, where we want to go” reflects our recognition of the vital role of place in learning, acting, being, and becoming. Considering place as both the physical landscape within which we are engaging and as the historical and contemporary social, economic and political forces that shape our landscapes and our places within a landscape, meeting in the place of Manchester, England has specific resonances and entanglements.

Place Matters

Manchester’s location between the Pennine Hills and the Mersey Ports is the focal point of ancient pathways used by people across the history of the land. Human occupation of Manchester dates back until at least the Bronze age. It has been home to Celtic tribes and is the site of a first-century AD fort from which Roman occupiers sought to control mineral and trade interests on ancient waterways and newly created roads. In the post-Roman era, the confluence of the rivers Irwell and Irk–lined with watermills and fisheries– became the new center of Manchester. Through the subsequent invasions of the Saxons and Normans, Manchester developed as a market town for livestock and wool arriving along the old drovers’ roads over the Pennine Hills and Cheshire Plains onto the waterways via Liverpool to the world beyond. This geography put Manchester at the heart of the industrial revolution, its developing textile processing technology and voracious demand for cotton and labor contributing to the acceleration of global colonialism, exploitative trade practices, transatlantic chattel slavery, worker exploitation, a rise in child labor, and the simultaneous growth of wealth and poverty. 

These injustices in turn gave birth to great resistance movements in Manchester, including the rise of the Manchester radical abolitionist movement and fair-trade cooperatives. Manchester is the site of the 1819 Peterloo massacre, where an armed cavalry attacked citizens fighting for voting reform, inspiring many more to join the cause. The first Trades Union Congress was held in Manchester in 1868. Friedrich Engels, who spent much of his life in Manchester, made it central to his text, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 and wrote parts of the Communist Manifesto along with Karl Marx, a frequent visitor to Manchester, at Manchester’s Chetham Library. The British women’s suffrage movement was born in Manchester under the leadership of Mancunians Emmaline Pankhurst and Lydia Becker, fighting under the motto “Deeds not words.” More recently, huge numbers of protesters rallied in 1988 in Manchester to fight the blatant homophobia of Margaret Thatcher’s Section 28 policy. Manchester was the site of vibrant queer spaces that continue to function today as places to push boundaries and contest identities. Contemporary activists in Manchester are engaged in fighting policing legislation that severely limits rights to protest and in anti-racist activism. Direct action environmental activism has been powerful in Manchester, including fights against the building of high-speed roads, train lines, and a new runway at Manchester Airport, all projects that threaten ancient woodlands. Today, Manchester is a racially, ethnically, and religiously diverse international city, home to 2.5 million people, including speakers of more than 200 languages.  

Manchester, in other words, sits at crossroads that radiate along global pathways, traveling across centuries and into the present and future. The contradictions and conflicts that frame Manchester’s history are no less our own struggles. Heather McGhee, in The Sum of Us, writes: “Wealth is where history shows up in your wallet, where your financial freedom is determined by compounding interest on decisions made long before you were born” (2021, p. 227). There are few RECE participants whose lives and family histories and presents have not been touched in some way by events that have been shaped in Manchester and the wider UK. Recognition of where we have been, where we are, and where we hope to be, involves our grappling with these histories and their contradictions to attend to where we are stuck in ruts, as well as our shaping efforts to harness the dynamism and creativity of the past and present on our path to finding better futures. 

The Pathways Theme

The 2023 conference theme recognizes the diverse pathways that have shaped global economies and histories and also the literal and metaphoric pathways that challenge and enliven our lives. Consistent with the history of RECE, we think about the diverse pathways of children’s lives, families, and communities, the pathways children follow and create, and the many convergent and divergent paths taken in our historical and current understandings of the concept of childhood.

We think of traditions of walking and regions around the world crossed by walking paths and animal paths. We think of the mycelial networks that make life on earth as we know it possible. We consider the paths of ocean and wind that sustain and – now disrupted – change the earth’s climate. We think about the history and present of treks and journeys that serve as rites of passage, as healing practices individually or communally, or conversely, as forced marches or flights that happen in the context of hunger, water shortages, climate disasters, war, and genocide. We acknowledge the denial of nomadism and forced settlement. We consider the passages of trails and trains that have long connected communities and that contributed to the driving of many Indigenous peoples from their lands. 

We think about the path less traveled, of lines of wandering, lines of flight, flights of fancy and creativity that are required to move us from overused, unsustainable, inequitable pathways of moving, thinking, and doing toward ones that are more diverse and sustainable. We imagine Indigenous pathways, working our way through the dense bush to come out to the clearing and then following ancient pathways which have grown over, forcing us to do a bit of digging around and looking for signs, ahead and overhead, within and across lands and seas. 

For the 29th conference, we seek to engage the idea of pathways as a provocation to consider reflective and refractive interconnections among events, places, humans, and more-than-humans. We invite work that explores the histories, economies, traditions, and policies that create and challenge, contain and revolutionize the children and adults with whom we work and the conditions of our work. We also invite reflections on the contradictions that frame our work, the conditions of limitation that give rise to direct action, protest, and reform. We look to explorations of children’s pathways. We invite participants to reflect on the messy, contested, destructive, wonderful, and empowering stories of where we’ve been, where we are, and where we want to go. 

Throughout its history, those presenting at RECE conferences have walked a shared path in at least one sense: we welcome all whose work challenges traditional assumptions about children, childhood, and dominant practices of early education and care. We travel many routes to get there. As always, the program committee welcomes papers and workshops that highlight the intersections of theory, collective activism, and reconceptualizing practices in work with children, families, and communities. RECE is a unique space to safely share, receive feedback on, and extend work that falls outside of other academic and neoliberal spaces.

Program Committee

Mere Skerrett (Co-Chair)
Gail Boldt (Co-Chair)

Host Committee

Martin Needham (Chair)
Rachel Holmes
Kate Pahl
Kate Bacon
Laura Trafi-Prats
Samyia Ambreen
Christina Macrae
David Shannon
Alexandra Melrose
Josephine Gabi
Jayne Mugglestone

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