25 Days of CoDI : Day 7

On the seventh day of CoDI, I heard them yell at me… Keep the Kids Out!


Jenny Wood ft Anna Gaffney: Keep the Kids OutDSC_0404

So who is this Jenny Wood? and why is she telling me what to do with my Kids I hear you ask. Or maybe you love the idea of your city no longer being littered with pesky meddling kids? Well let’s see what Jenny has to say for herself…


In August 2014, I embarked on an exciting experience into the world of performing at Edinburgh’s festival fringe. With my colleague, David, from community engagement charity PAS, we set about exploring just how to Keep the Kids Out(side)! Returning to the fringe again, myself and Anna (also from PAS) will take to the stage once more. We shall consider what our built environment says about children. Whether, and how we exclude them from the outside world, and what direction to take in the future. Do we want to keep the kids out of more things? Or do we want to encourage them to go outside and explore the real world?


We’re still to answer all the questions, and for such an important topic, we still need your help!


My research, is on children’s rights in the built environment, with a specific focus on the Scottish planning system.

Therefore I look at what I deem to be children’s participation rights in the context of the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The UK Government ratified this in 1991, and thus has promised to meet children’s rights through a range of legislative and policy instruments.  The rights I am most concerned with are Article 12, which states that children should be heard in the matters that affect them, and their views be respected, and Article 31, which denotes that children have the right to play, rest, leisure, and access to cultural life. With this, I frame each as the right to participate in the process of planning, and the right to participate in the outcomes of planning.


Despite a purported commitment to facilitate children’s rights, the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child, various charities, and academic reports consistently criticise the government’s track record. Each proposes that we all need to take children’s rights more seriously. For instance, children’s play is not an unnecessary pursuit, but the foundation of all human culture! In planning for the modern demands of society, children’s needs and views are being cast aside. This even occurs when policies and practice focus on children’s lives!


What I am exploring therefore, is how the rhetoric of considering children can match up with the reality of their experiences, and produce outcomes that allow children to be children, restore them some of that freedom previous generations were allowed.


Jenny and Anna’s show takes place on Wednesday 10th August, Stand in the Square (Venue 372), 3-4pm, £8 (£6)

Purchase tickets at: http://www.outstandingtickets.com/show/105/performance/1540/book-tickets

Jenny Kids