Cath Larkins

Name Cath Larkins
Job Title Co-Director of the Centre for Children and Young Peoples Participation
Organisation University of Central Lancashire

Cath seeks to develop new understandings of children’s aspirations and experiences. She does this by working with marginalised children and with the adults who support them. She supports children in their goals for positive change by: influencing practice, policy and academic audiences, producing research outputs in a variety of accessible formats, encouraging policy makers and practitioners to adopt participatory and rights based approaches, developing theories of children’s citizenship.

Cath is Co-Director of the Centre for Children and Young Peoples Participation and a member of the Children, Young People and Families Research Group. She is also an associate of the Connect Centre for International Research on New Approaches to Prevent Violence and Harm

As Co-Director of the Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation, Cath leads national and international research projects producing international peer reviewed articles and capturing research council and European funding. Her research interests relate to theories and practices of participatory research and children’s lived and social citizenship. This focus crosses the boundaries of practice engagement and theory building, supporting children and young people (particularly those in contact with health and social care services) to bring about positive changes in their lives whilst furthering theoretical understanding in the field of childhood studies and linking local experiences to European contexts. Cath’s current research projects include:

  • PEER youth: A nine nation study with by and for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Young People’s participation and empowerment (EU funded – Lead Researcher) see
  • Stories 2 Connect: A young person initiated research project to collect and share stories between children receiving social and welfare services  (AHRC funded – Co-Applicant) see

Within all of her research, Cath works alongside children and young people to support them taking on roles as researchers, advisers and co-creators of knowledge, developing a wide variety of creative techniques for conducting and disseminating engaging research findings to other young people, local decision makers, national government ministers and international academic audiences.

Cath’s career as a researcher, participation consultant, advocate and children’s rights activist has spanned 20 years, mostly taking place in Wales, where she has worked for Save the Children, The Children’s Society, Action for Children, Forest School Wales, Local Authorities and the Welsh government. More recently her research and consultancy activities have expanded to include working for the UK government and with academics, NGOs and young people in France, Finland, Spain, Cyprus and Romania.