by Dr Paul Reilly, Senior Lecturer in Social Media & Digital Society

Anti Irish Sea border banner. Sandy Row March 2021, by Whiteabbey

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts characterised the disorder in Northern Ireland over the past few weeks as being ‘at a scale not seen for years’.

Police sources have ruled out the involvement of loyalist paramilitaries in orchestrating the violence, despite earlier analyses to the contrary. The demonstrations were nominally a manifestation of loyalist anger at the Northern Ireland Protocol, which created a border down the Irish Sea.

However, like the flag protests eight years ago, these street protests have articulated increasing loyalist…


By Dr Paul Reilly

“Hands Across the Divide” sculpture in Derry, from Wikimedia Commons

As far back as the late sixties, Johan Galtung, Founder of the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo predicted that the rapid growth of media technologies would favour associative peace building approaches, which increase contact between warring parties, rather than dissociative ones that kept them apart. The assumption was that strategies to keep antagonists apart would likely fail due to the quicker, more efficient modes of communication like digital technology, bringing them closer together.

Since then, there has been a multitude of literature on cyber spatial technologies and whether the internet can facilitate intergroup contact within…


by Dr Caroline Hart, School of Education at the University of Sheffield

‘It’s important to remain hopeful and to create spaces for dialogue about how we not only help children to survive and recover from the Covid-19 pandemic but also how we engage them in meaningful dialogue, decision-making and action regarding their futures and those of generations to come.’

Stock image from piqsels.com

In England, the experience of the Covid-19 pandemic has created an opportunity for us to develop greater resilience, self-reliance and self-regulation.


by Dr Paul Reilly

Royalty free image from piqsels.com

On 6 January, four people lost their lives after rioters stormed the US Capitol Building in an ultimately unsuccessful bid to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 US Presidential Election. Millions across the globe watched as Trump supporters smashed windows, looted the offices of lawmakers, and posed for selfies in the House of Representatives. One of the many extraordinary images captured by the television cameras during these events showed a pro-Trump rioter grinning as he walked away carrying a podium from the chamber.

There has been widespread condemnation of Donald Trump for…


by student Chi Linh Doan Tran

It is indisputable that the significance of economic growth in Asia attaches to the region’s key developments such as in health, education and other welfare for children who are between 0 and 8 years old. BMAU/UNICEF, once, states that during the span between 2010 and 2014, on average, more than 75% of the budget allocation directly affects children.

In Vietnam, the positive impacts of the increased flow of FDI, which boosts the country’s economic growth result in the country’s recorded high concentration on Early Childhood Development (ECD). Indeed, 4500 children 6–23 months were provided…


by student Matthew Rees

July 2019 was recently confirmed as the hottest recorded month of all time. The inaction taken towards the climate crisis has fuelled protests around the world, led mostly by young people looking to protect their futures by calling on governments to reject the over-reliance on fossil fuels.

However, located in Southeast Asia, the nation of Bhutan is already ahead of the game. It is unique in the fact that it is the only ‘carbon negative’ country in the world, absorbing 6.5million tonnes of carbon dioxide, whilst producing only 2.2 million tonnes. Having had their model consistently…


by Megan Boyce

On the 4th December 2019, I was fortunate to have been positioned as rapporteur for the invitation only ‘High-level meeting of Parliamentarians and Ministers/Vice-Ministers for Early Childhood Development (ECD)’. This meant that I was able to witness the discussions of leading officials and hear the key drivers for change in this field.

I sat in awe as I observed high level representatives from 11 countries present honest, critical accounts of the status of Early Childhood Development (ECD) in their home nations. Each representative was awarded the respect of the room as they unveiled the successes and challenges…


by Ceri Simpson, second year student at the University of Sheffield

Economic growth is placed 8th on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, above climate action, reducing inequalities and creating sustainable cities and communities. These are all admirable goals but we need to be aware that economic growth can lead to economic equalities growing as well.

source: https://news.un.org/en/story/2015/12/519172-sustainable-development-goals-kick-start-new-year

ARNEC lessons

I had an amazing time at the ARNEC conference. Being a witness to international discussions promoting climate recovery and Early Childhood Development (ECD) programs was invigorating, especially seeing how they can be culturally translated to local areas. …


by Jorge Solozabal Zapata — ARNEC Conference 2019, Hanoi, Vietnam 4–6 December 2019

Image credit: Rafael Gonzalez via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

“It is not only the right thing to do but it is the smart way to act”. The words are those of Karin Hulshof, UNICEF Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific, at her opening speech of the 2019 ARNEC Conference in Vietnam.

To put this quote in context, Mrs Hulshof was referring to the great importance of local governments and organisations to join forces so as to address the severe issues related to Early Childhood Development (ECD) in the Asia-Pacific Region. As she later mentioned…


by Beth Grice

The increasing industry in Vietnam has produced a new phenomenon where workers are moving from rural areas into industrial zones in order to find work in the growing number of factories. Many of the migrant workers are young women, with a considerable number of them bringing their children with them. With long working hours for the parents, the children need to be looked after. For children of migrant workers, home-based care centres are often the only option as no family are local and as non-locals, they are denied access to state kindergartens and no free childcare is…

Human: Putting the Social in Science

The latest social science thinking at The University of Sheffield. World class research, making a difference. http://sheffield.ac.uk/faculty/social-sciences

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