Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997

About the 2019 Republic of Childhood & Youth Forum

The Ottawa Writers Festival is partnering with Carleton University, the University of Ottawa, the Ottawa Carleton District School Board, Windmill Development Group, RBC Wealth Management, the Goethe Institut, the Ottawa Children’s Festival, and the Conference Board of Canada to launch the Republic of Childhood Youth Forum. Funded by a Connections Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), this collaborative community-based project called “The Republic of Childhood: Imagining the Future of Children’s Rights” will bring together children and youth from Canada's Capital Region with local writers, researchers, policymakers, and community organizers from Canada, the United States and Germany. This year, our writing workshops will engage a diverse group children and youth in Ottawa and beyond in learning about children's rights and imagining a future informed by the voices and visions of young people. The student participants will work with acclaimed local authors and graduate student facilitators to develop their own creative pieces. The participants' original works will be published as chapbooks, and, between November 20-22, 2019, the young writers will be a part of the youth forum, where they will share their visions for the future and discuss the pressing challenges for and concerns of Canada's children and youth. The proceedings of the summit will be captured on video and published here on our website, along with the published work produced by the youth participants.


For an overview of this project, download the Project Brief and Curriculum Guide.

New Ways of Teaching and Learning

This project is guided by a children's rights perspective that honours the participation of children and youth by organizing a network of stakeholders who can support children and youth in expressing their views and drive decision-making processes that impact their lives. The 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (November 20, 2019) provides a unique opportunity to launch this innovative outreach activity that will facilitate deeper relations between the research communities and stakeholders in the field of child and youth education. The Forum will highlight the importance of creativity and critical thinking in discovering new ways of teaching and learning. 

The Rights of the Child

This project emerges from the tenets of five Articles of the Convention: Articles 12, 13, 15, 24 and 29. Article 12 establishes the right of participation, which acknowledges the right of children and youth to express their views in all matters affecting them. Article 13 recognizes the right to freedom of expression, which includes the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of choice. Article 15 acknowledges freedom of association, the right to meet with others and to join and form associations. Article 24 guarantees the child’s and youth’s right to the highest standard of health including the right to nutritious food, safe drinking water and protection from environmental pollution. Article 29 is related to the child’s right to information on environmental health issues and defines environmental education as one of the goals of education.  

Social Justice for Children and Youth

By bringing together academics, educators, teachers, children's and young adult writers in a celebration and examination of the Rights of the Child, we hope to build a network around an annual event that will provide timely insights into the role of children and youth in creating a more just society. This outreach activity will build bridges between leading international academic institutions, think tanks, school boards, public libraries and international literary festivals. 

2019 Writers and Classrooms

Republic of Childhood Authors: 2017, 2018

S.K. Ali
Joel Bakan
Jo Becker
Mary Branley
Alan Cumyn
Charles de Lint
Cherie Dimaline
Deborah Webster Kigjugalik
JonArno Lawson
Amal El-Mohtar
Jael Richardson
Jo Rioux
Jamaal Jackson Rogers
Kevin Sands

Republic of Childhood Youth Forum Guest Presenters

Cindy Blackstock

Claudia Mitchell

Cornelia Remi

Kathleen Gallagher

Maya Shetreat, MD

Rubén Gaztambide-Fernández

Wendy Luttrell


Writing Workshops


Connaught Public School

Fisher Park Summit Alternative School
Glashan Public School

Hillcrest High School
Kitigan Zibi Kikinamadinan - Elementary & High School
Woodroffe High School

York Street Public School

Ottawa Public Libraries

Rosemount Branch
Sunnyside Branch
Vanier Branch

Carleton University

Digital Storytelling for Children’s Writing with Ali Arya

Community Houses

Banff Avenue Community House