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International Education Conference Exploring Play and Voice in Education to be held in MIC

Mary Immaculate College (MIC) will host a major international education conference exploring play and voice in education on 5 October 2019. Organised by a team from MIC, Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and University College Cork (UCC), the event will focus on the potential for “play” and “voice” to revolutionise education settings from early childhood to post-primary level.

According to Professor Emer Ring, Dean of Education at MIC and member of the conference steering committee: “Research continues to demonstrate that embedding play-based practice in education contexts from early childhood to post-primary level contributes substantially to all children’s learning and development. Equally research suggests that maintaining a focus on environments where children believe their voice is valued and listened to significantly impacts on children’s self-esteem, social compe­tence, resilience and overall achievement. Critically positioning both play and voice at the heart of education promotes a rights-based approach in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989.”

Continuing she said:Believing that the potential for embedding ‘play’ and ‘voice’ in education remains under threat from perceived pressure to introduce more formal and directive approaches, this conference is focused on presenting research-based approaches to support the inclusion of ‘play’ and ‘voice’ in policy and practice. We ask a wide range of international and national experts to tell us in 2019, how we can sup­port, in the words of Dolores O’Riordan, ‘a different way to be’ in our early childhood and school contexts. The theme of the conference also aligns well with the work of the National Council for Curriculum Assessment on curriculum across the education spectrum.”

Confirmed keynote speakers at the event include Professor Laura Lundy (QUB), Dr David Whitebread (formerly Cambridge University) and Adam Harris (CEO of
Professor Lundy is Co-Director of the Centre for Children’s Rights at QUB. Her expertise is in law and children’s rights, with a particular focus on children’s rights to participate in decision-making. Dr David Whitebread is an internationally renowned expert on play, particularly in the context of early childhood and primary education. While Adam Harris is the Founder-CEO of, an organisation committed to building a more inclusive and autism-friendly society.

The event will close with a performance by the choir from Corpus Christi Primary School, Moyross, Limerick, who will perform their magical rendition of Dolores O’Riordan’s song Dreams. The choir performed Dreams to national and international acclaim on Up for the Match, to celebrate Limerick’s achievement in getting to the All-Ireland Hurling Final in 2018. 

The conference steering committee is comprised of Professor Eugene Wall, President of MIC; Dr Maurice Harmon, Head of Department of Learning, Society and Religious Education (Acting), MIC; Dr Lisha O’Sullivan, Head of Reflective Pedagogy and Early Childhood Studies (Acting), MIC; Professor Emer Ring, Dean of Education at MIC; Professor Laura Lundy, QUB and Dr Domnall Fleming, UCC.

Early bird booking for this event is open now. More details here.