Research on Stage

With Research on Stage (RoSt), KeKi contributes to the disclosure of ongoing and recently finalised research about children’s rights. Once a year, we give the floor to one or more researchers to present their work for a diverse audience. Using a methodology that is adapted to the project put on stage, the results and their relevance for policy and practice are analysed and shared. As such, RoSt contributes to the translation of theoretical, mostly academic research to the day-to-day working environment of children’s rights professionals.

I speak so I am – Participation of children and young people in research: impact or formality? - 2019

Children’s Knowledge Centre (KeKi) presented this Research on Stage on  November 13, 2019 – Brussels

Research on Stage exists 5 years! That needed to be celebrated, with a day completely devoted to the participation of children and young people. After 30 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child we took a closer look at the importance of participation of children and young people in research. Can this be more than just a formality? Does the participation of children and young people really have an impact? And what about participation of vulnerable children and young people? Or what if it is about a sensitive topic?



To provide an answer to these questions and more, we invited policy makers, researchers and professionals working with children and youngsters at our Research on Stage on the 13th of November. No less than five researchers discussed their research to which children and young people took part as full participants. We also searched together for concrete methods and inspiring practices to get started on participation. Departing from scientific research and together with professionals, policy makers and researchers we discussed the good practices, guidelines and recommendations that everyone can use.


You can find the programme below:

In the morning different researchers presented their studies focusing on participation:

  • Geweld, gemeten en geteld: Scholenonderzoek 2018- Evi Verdonck, UCLL. Click here for the presentation (Dutch).
  • Participation for Protection – Kindgerichte benadering van minderjarige slachtoffers van geweld – Katrien Herbots, KeKi. Click here for the presentation (Dutch).
  • Vorm geven aan participatie: NCRK-studie Kinderen geplaatst in gemeenschapsinstellingen – Karen Van Laethem, Nationale Commissie voor de Rechten van het Kind
  • Vrije tijd van jongeren in migratie – Lucas Pissens, University of Ghent. Click here for the presentation (Dutch).
  • Kinderen met een beperking in de digitale wereld – Geert Van Hove, UGent. Click here for the presentation (Dutch).

In the afternoon the participants were introduced to participative methods, through different workshops by Kaat Van Acker (Odisee Hogeschool), Eveline Meylemans (UGent), Katrien Herbots (KeKi) en Hannes Vanhee (Uit de Marge). We concluded with some reflections of Children’s Rights Commissioner Caroline Vrijens.

The Research on Stage took place in the buildings of the National Commission on the Rights of the Child - Willebroekkaai 33, 1000 Brussels.


Children, young people and the environment - 2018

KeKi presented this Research on Stage on October 16, 2018

Environment or the surroundings wherein we live. A hot topic that holds the attention of children and young people; a theme that will determine the political agenda of today and tomorrow. What does the Convention on the Rights of the Child say about environment? What are the negative effects of our changing environment? What do children and young people themselves say about the matter? How can we stimulate children and young people to enact sustainable behaviour? These questions were the point of attention on KeKi’s Research on Stage of 2018: ‘Children, young people and the environment’.


Minister (of Culture, Youth, Media and Brussels) Sven Gatz, took care of the introduction and explained the place of environment in the policy area culture, youth and media. An extended resume will be provided in the summary report (only in Dutch). 

Daniëlle Van Kalmthout (UGent and coordinator Rookvrije Samenleving) analyses environmental rights from a children’s rights perspective. She pleads that children are not ‘small adults’, react more sensitive to toxic substances in their environment and are exposed to more environmental factors. This presentation shows that the environment is implicitly embedded in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The question arises if this offers enough protection? Don’t we need more guarantees for the next generations? Are there enough conditions fulfilled and present in order that children can exercise their right to live and develop, or do they just obstruct this?

At different tables, the participants were made familiar with the researches and/or findings of different experts:

Imke Pichal of VVJ (now Bataljong): “How do children and young people experience nature and the environment?”

During this session, participants got an answer to following questions:
How do children and young people experience the environment and nature in their city or town? Which critical points do they address or which solutions do they suggest? The content of this researchtable can be read in the synthesis report (Dutch) ‘Nature and environment through the eyes of children and young people’.

Mathijs Wouters of Globelink: “For sale: opinions of young people”

A story composed by youngsters, a story that you break down to the bone and then rebuild it with the fragments to obtain an inspiring example for organisations and people who work with young people. A session where you learn which possiblities there are to work participatively around the theme environment and sustainability. - PowerPoint (Dutch)

Bert Morrens of the University of Antwerp: “Young people in environmental and health research – the Flemish human biomonitoring”

In this session we introduced participants in the added value of human biomonitoring as research technique to track environmental pollution among young people. Some remarkable research results concerning young people, both from Flemish and local projects, were shared. - PowerPoint (Dutch)

Hayley Pearce of Ghent University: “Green children: how can we use communication strategies to convince children to consume sustainable?”

How can communication be used to realise a change of behaviour among young children? How can children be convinced to consume more sustainable?

Hayley presented the results of her qualitative research in which she questioned children between 6 and 12 years old about their knowledge, attitudes and behaviour concerning energy consumption and climate change. - PowerPoint (Dutch)

Marjolein Moreaux presented the youth climate march in a short pitch. Around fifty youngsters walked from Friday the 5th of October untill Monday the 8th of October from Ghent to Brussels to hand over their personal demands concerning air and climate to as many politicians as possible. Marjolein talked about the successes that they have achieved and the challenges they were confronted with. - PowerPoint (Dutch) 

Do you want a taste of the atmosphere at the youth climate march? Check out the video here.

Based on the roundtableconversations we searched for challenges, good practices and questions that rose among the participants.

Naima Charkaoui of the Children’s Rights Commissariat provided the final word.


We want to thank everyone for being present!

Twitter: #kinderrechtenenmilieu #RoSt2018 @KeKivzw



Interreligious diversity in the classroom - 2017

Dealing with interreligious diversity in the classroom can lead to many questions, misunderstandings, taboos and in some cases conflict. But it can also lead to enrichment for pupils and teachers. How do we get the best out of a diverse classroom? And how can class diversity be a stepping stone to internalising a democratic attitude of criticial citizenship? These questions were central to KeKi's Research on Stage 2017. 

Researchers Lore Van Prague (UAntwerp, Ghent University) and Goedroen Juchtmans (KU Leuven) presented the stories of pupils they interviewed in various primary and secondary schools. How do young people integrate the various worldviews with which they grow up into their identity? Which attitudes of parents and teachers lead to conflict for them? And what role does having a different worldview play in their perception of their educational path? After that, Johan Lievens and Jonas Vernimmen (KULeuven) discussed a number of legal issues about freedom of religion in education in greater depth. Is banning the headscarf banned on the playground in accordance with the constitution? Is it permissible for non-subsidised schools to remove the theory of evolution from the curriculum? Do children with a non-Christian religion have the right to their own religious holidays? Can the hours of religion be filled in by another course?

The focus of this day was on the expertise of the professionals in the audience. On the basis of round-table discussions, everyone looked for inspiring practices and policy recommendations. KeKi combined this input into a summary report that was distributed to the general public, various educational authorities and the competent government bodies. The report (only available in Dutch) contains a series of recommendations:

  • Anchor empirically based scientific research results into decisive policies that reflect the perspective of children and adolescents
  • Create space to implement inspiring practices and make existing rules open to discussion, taking the following preconditions into account:
    • always place the child and the young person in a central position
    • create space for dialogue and strengthen each actor in dialogue competences
    • we need to continously work, to make interreligious and diversity work
    • use the educational principles in the field of 'philosophy' as an inspiration instead of a dogmatic one
    • try connecting the worlds of children and young people

Media and children's rights - 2016

In 2016, two researchers were on stage at the Royal Library in Brussels to share their insights on children and young people and the use of digital media. The studies by Marjon Schols (Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands) and Hadewijch Vanwynsberghe (iMinds/Mediawijs) offer a refreshing view of the actorship and participation (opportunities) of children and young people. Whereas in many studies attention is paid to risks and insecurity and is mainly controlled by a protection reflex, we looked into skills, digital literacy, tips for 'educators'... 

Under the guidance of experts, we translated the most important research results into our own work context:

- Digital skills, Erika COENE (Family Association vzw) and Veronique DE LEENER (Maks vzw) 

- Digital Storytelling, Hari SACRÉ, cultural worker/researcher (Piano factory citylab - University College Ghent) 

- Building resilience among children and young people, Dr. Sofie VANDONINCK (Institute for Media Studies, KU Leuven) 

- Educational support, Dr. Hadewijch VANWYNSBERGHE / Thomas DEWEER (UM4P asbl) 

As a result of this Research on Stage, we also issued a policy advisory report on our own initiative about digital media and children's rights. (only available in Dutch) Based on scientific findings, the assumed general consensus of the child in need of protection is challenged. The policy advisory report gives rise to 11 policy recommendations. 

Youthcare and juvenile justice - 2015

Six researchers from three universities put their research on stage. They discussed different problems or debates in the field of youth care and juvenile justice. Their recommendations were targeted at the gouvernement and the practice. We debated about 6 different topics in working groups:

  • How can we hear the children and youngsters in juvenile court?
  • How can we adapt our social practice to fundamental rights?
  • How do we handle personal files, now and in the future?
  • Do we have to separate the approaches towards children with a problematic situation in their home from those who commited a criminal act?
  • Does our current practice of judging young people in front of an adult criminal court correspond with children's rights?

The event took place in Brussels on October 8th, 2015. All background materials (abstracts of the researchs, the reports of the debating groups and the analysis) can be consulted on our Flemish page

Suicide among children and adolescents - 2014

The first Research on Stage presented a project on suicide among children and adolescents, prepared by the Unit for Suicide Research of Ghent University, and commissioned by the Flemish Child Helpline ‘Awel’. The event took place in Brussels on October 9th, 2014. All background materials (including the research report, the presentations, records of the different roundtables and an umbrella summary report) can be consulted on our Flemish webpage. The RoSt photo album is accessible via the KeKi facebook page.