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UNIfy festival: 'How did my childhood shape me?'


Lemn Sissay

Event is a highlight of the University’s UNIfy festival which will run from 12 to 16 April

The University of Bradford is hosting a unique event exploring the significance of a child’s first 1,000 days and how those experiences may or may not shape them as adults.

The event, which takes place online on Monday 12 April 5.30-7pm, will consider factors that can change the context of children’s lives. These include the importance of education, a focus on childhood health, the influence of role models, the environment they are brought up in, culture and family circumstance and more.

Expert communicator, the Bishop of Leeds and previous Bishop of Bradford, Rt Rev Nick Baines will host the event and, in conversation with Lemn Sissay MBE, Bradford’s very own Kirsty Taylor, and entrepreneur and Co Founder and Director of AVIE, Sonya Bachra-Byrne. Bishop Nick will encourage them to reflect on what they know of their childhood and the impact they believe this has had on their life.

Inspiring people

Following the reflective conversation, key contributors, including Rt Hon Justine Greening, Professor Neil Small and Kersten England will each bring their perspective from education, health and the City to outline the importance of childhood to the future health and prosperity of our children and the City.

The event is a highlight of the University’s UNIfy festival which will run from 12 to 16 April. The festival includes engaging events aimed at inspiring people and bringing the city and University together.

Professor Neil Small said “The First 1,000 Days (from conception to a child’s second birthday) are considered to be of great significance in a child’s development. The nurture a child experiences in this time has a profound effect on their development and life chances, as does the environment they are growing up in.

"We need to support parents and carers and address challenges in the environment during these days. But, important as these first days are, the whole of childhood is critical in shaping our future health and wellbeing. Many challenges in children’s lives can be remedied if we consider the whole of infancy and childhood as a time when positive changes can be made and if we recognise that we can all play a part in improving children’s life chances.”

Tremendous potential

Professor Shirley Congdon added “This event provides an important and timely opportunity to remind ourselves of the significance of the early years of life, a time of tremendous potential and enormous vulnerability, and debate how system leadership and partnership working can support healthier and prosperous futures for our young people.”

Created with University staff, students, partners and communities, the UNIfy festival will share knowledge, evoke discussion, inspire ideas and celebrate the University of Bradford in a weeklong programme of events.

Based on the three festival themes of Heritage and Pride, Enterprise and Innovation and Building Resilience, UNIfy aims to deliver an exciting online programme of free interactive workshops, lectures, panel discussions and more.

Book on to the event and explore the full festival programme.