Afua-T-D.jpgDr Afua Twum-Danso Imoh

Lecturer in the Sociology of Childhood

(BA, MSc, PhD)

Telephone: 0114 222 6444 (external), 26444 (internal)
Room: Elmfield, B06e


Afua joined the Department as a Lecturer in the Sociology of Childhood in September 2008. Drawing upon an interdisciplinary background, her research focuses on children’s rights and social and cultural norms; parent-child relations and the implications for children’s wellbeing and rights; the impact of historical developments and more recent social changes on constructions of childhood and child rearing practices; and children’s participatory rights. Much of this research has concentrated on Ghana and Nigeria in particular. Afua holds a PhD in African Studies from the Centre of West African Studies at the University of Birmingham, a MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and a BA (Hons) in History and Sociology from the University of Manchester.


Afua's ESRC-funded PhD research study focused on eliciting the perspectives of local communities on children's rights, the construction of childhood and the socialization of children and exploring the implications for the implementation of the United Nations 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in two inner city communities in Accra, the capital of Ghana. The premise of the thesis was that there is a need to move beyond the universality vs. cultural relativity dichotomy and, instead, identify a middle ground between community perspectives and dominant children’s rights discourses. The research approach was interdisciplinary and drew heavily on the fields of human rights law, anthropology social policy and sociology and further highlighted the need for more synergy between these disciplines on issues of children’s rights.

Following on from her PhD, her research continues to draw on a range of different disciplines, namely anthropology, history, human geography, sociology and social policy.

Her current research interests include: children’s rights and their implications for social norms and values; parent-child relations and the implications for children’s welfare and rights; the impact of social change on children’s roles within families and on child rearing practices; the role of social change and historical transformations on shaping contemporary childhoods in the South; and the impact of local and global structures, forces and dynamics on children’s lived realities. Much of this research has concentrated on Ghana and Nigeria in particular, and, over the years, has received external funding from a number of sources.

Growing up Colonial in the Gold Coast (Ghana)' (2018) funded by the British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship.

This film was produced as part of a project funded by the British Academy’s Mid-Career Fellowship Scheme. The primary aim of the project was to examine the impact of British colonial rule on constructions and understandings of childhood in contemporary Ghana. To this end, archival research was conducted in the UK and Ghana and drew upon the official papers of colonial government and native authorities as well as the documents and private papers of missionary organisations and individuals. As it was important for this study to also understand how individuals reacted to various colonial and missionary efforts, it sought to access the voices of those whose experiences may not have been captured in archival documents: - i.e. those who experienced childhood during this period. Hence, interviews were conducted with 18 individuals who, at least, started primary school before the end of the colonial period in 1957. Of these 18 respondents, 6 agreed for their interviews to be recorded for this documentary.

More information about the project can be found in the Funded Research Project list below

Funded Research Projects
Date Sponsor Details
April - December 2019 British Academy Writing Workshop

Successfully obtained funding for a project which seeks to develop the writing capacity of early career childhoods studies scholars based at West African institutions through writing workshops and a mentoring programme in order to ensure that there is an increase in the uptake of childhoods-related articles written by academics based in the West African sub-region in high impact journals, which are mostly based in Europe and North America.

(PI: Afua Twum-Danso Imoh; Co-Is: Dr. Peace Tetteh, the University of Ghana-Legon, Ghana; Dr. Joshua Aransiola. Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria; Project Title: Foregrounding the Perspectives of West African Scholars in Childhood Studies Discourses; Grant Amount: £19,999)

January 2019 - July 2020 British Academy Tackling the UK’s International Challenges Scheme

Awarded funding for a project which aims to explore the politics of children’s representation through the analysis of existing data collected from Ghana, India, Belgium, Sweden as well as from transnational organisations focusing on children’s rights

See press release of project launch here.

(PI: Dr. Afua Twum-Danso Imoh; Co-Is: Professor Yaw Ofosu-Kusi, University of Energy and Natural Resources, Ghana; Professor Bengt Sandin, Linkoping University, Sweden; Dr. Jonathan Josefsson, Linkoping University, Sweden; Dr. Sarada Balagopalan, Rutgers University, USA; Professor Karl Hanson, University of Geneva, Switzerland; Dr. Didier Reynaert, University College Ghent, Belgium; Project Title: Children’s Rights and Perceptions of Justice, Rights and Equality: the Challenge of Children’s Representation; Grant Amount: £49,996).

March-September 2018 University of Sheffield Festival of the Mind 2018

Obtained a grant to collaborate with to collaborate with a Sheffield-based Ghanaian musician, Kweku Sackey, who is the front man of the Afro beats group KOG and the Zongo Brigade. The proposed collaboration seeks to disseminate, to a broader audience, the findings of a project which explores the impact of British colonial rule and missionary activities on the construction of childhoods in Ghana during both the colonial and post-colonial periods.

(PI: Afua Twum-Danso Imoh; Project title: Childhoods at a Cross Roads in Ghana: Growing up in the Shadow of Colonialism; Grant Amount: £4,500)

January-December 2018 British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship

Awarded a British Career Mid-Career Fellowship for a project which seeks to: explore the implications of developments to ensure a 'proper' childhood for all children in 19th century and early 20th century Britain for indigenous populations in the British colony of the Gold Coast (present-day Ghana); explore the reactions of colonised subjects in the Gold Coast to encountering this 'proper' childhood in their contexts; examine the legacy of these efforts for our understanding of contemporary Ghanaian childhoods. Data, collected through archival and qualitative research methods, will result in a number of publications and conference papers, a website and a documentary film which will be exhibited in Ghana and the UK.

(PI: Dr. Afua Twum-Danso Imoh; Title of Project: Travelling concepts: Exporting a 'Proper' Childhood for All from Britain to the Gold Coast; Grant Amount: £119,477)

2016-17 Hope and Homes for Children, the Sheffield Institute for International Development and the Faculty of Social Science, University of Sheffield

Successfully obtained funding to recruit a post-doctoral fellow to conduct secondary research on the institutionalised care of children globally. The findings of this secondary research will feed into Hope and Homes for Children’s programming in their target countries and will be used as a basis for discussion with key partners such as DFID as well as with other academics and researchers

(PI: Dr. Afua Twum-Danso Imoh, Grant Amount:£23,000 from Hope and Homes for Children; £17,534 from SIID and Faculty of Social Science; Total: £40,534)

2016-17 British Academy Rising Star Award Follow-On Funding

Awarded further funding from the British Academy to further develop the network I had established as part of my Rising Star Award. This particular pot of funding was used to organise a workshop and network development meeting for childhood studies scholars in Brazil, in partnership with colleagues at the University of Sao Paulo and the University of Paraiba.

(PI: Dr. Afua Twum-Danso Imoh; Exploring Childhood Studies in the Global South; Grant Amount £5,000)

2015-16 British Academy Rising Star Award

Awarded one of a number of British Academy Rising Star Awards for a project which sought to bring together researchers exploring childhood and children’s lives in diverse contexts in the Global South to engage in theory development using the various empirical studies that have been produced on Southern childhoods as a starting point for dialogue and action. This was achieved through two initiatives.

  • A three-day workshop which will aim to stimulate discussion was organised for 30 childhood researchers with various levels of experience working within diverse Southern contexts including those based within institutions in the South.
  • In order to broaden the dialogue beyond the workshop participants, a website was developed which hosts a virtual network of childhood scholars to continue the discussion that was initiated during the workshop:

(PI: Dr. Afua Twum-Danso Imoh; Exploring Childhood Studies in the Global South; Grant Amount, £14,998)

2013-16 British Academy International Partnership and Mobility Scheme

Awarded funds to undertake a project which seeks to foster collaboration between academics in the department of sociological studies at the University of Sheffield and the department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Cape Coast. Most of the activities that comprise this partnership (including capacity building workshops for early career and postgraduate students in both the UK and Ghana) centre on the development of a research study which aims to explore the development of sexual identities amongst children and young adults in Ghana and the implications for their understanding of gender roles, issues of power and oppression in relationships and sexual violence.

(PI: Afua Twum-Danso Imoh, Co-I Professor Mansah Prah, the University of Cape Coast, Ghana; Project title: The Impact of Sexual Identity Acquisition on Children and Young People's Views and Understandings of Sexual Violence, Power and Oppression in Ghanaian Society; Grant Amount, £30,000)

2012 The University of Sheffield Collaborative R&D and Partnership Scheme

Awarded funding from the University's Collaborative R&D and Partnership scheme for a project conducted in partnership with Stepping Stones Nigeria (now known as Safe Child Africa) on children’s participation within child-focused NGOs in the Niger Delta of Nigeria.

(PI: Afua Twum-Danso Imoh; Project title: Facilitating Children's Participation in the Niger Delta; Grant Amount: £45,975)

2009-2010 Nuffield Foundation

Awarded a small grant to explore children’s perspectives of physical punishment in Ghana.

(PI: Afua Twum-Danso; Project title: Eliciting Children’s Perceptions of Physical Punishment in Ghana; Grant Amount £7,547)

2009 The University of Sheffield Knowledge Transfer Rapid Response Grant

Obtained an internal knowledge transfer grant for a project which sought to explore children’s participation within child-focused organisations in the South Yorkshire region.

(PI: Afua Twum-Danso; Project title: Children’s Participation: Beyond Rhetoric, Confronting Reality: 20 Years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Yorkshire; Grant Amount: £9,964)


The theories underpinning Afua's teaching approach can be broadly defined as constructivism. The student is put at the centre of the learning process as students construct their own learning on the subject with support from me as the module convenor. She does this by working to ensure the active participation of students who must seek out the information necessary to solve problems, and become independent learners. Hence the modules Afua convenes are divided into components led by Afua and those that are student-led – be it in small groups or on an individual basis. Where possible, Afua provides opportunities for students to identify topics which interests them for the purpose of exploring these in more detail for presentation to the entire group or in an essay. She firmly believe that this enables students to claim more ownership over the learning process. The majority of Afua's teaching is research-led as her modules tend to draw on my own areas of research such as children’s rights, global childhood, parent-child relationships, amongst others.

Afua currently convenes the following undergraduate modules:

  • SCS 1013 - The Globalization of Culture: Persistence and Change
  • SCS3012 – Soutern Childhoods: Rights, Policies and Practices

Afua is also involved in the supervision of students taking extended essays and dissertations at undergraduate and postgraduate levels on the following modules:

  • SCS3001 Dissertation in Sociology
  • SCS3002 Dissertation in Social Policy
  • SCS3003 Extended Essay in Sociology
  • SCS3004 Extended Essay in Social Policy
  • SCS6330 Dissertation in Social Research

See our Undergraduate degree and Postgraduate taught degree pages.

Postgraduate Supervision

To find out more about our PhD programmes, go to:
Studying for a PhD in Sociology


Publications since 2005

Twum-Danso Imoh, A. (forthcoming 2019), ‘Situating the rights vs. culture binary within the context of colonial history in sub Saharan Africa’, in Todres, J. and King, S. (eds.), Oxford Handbook on Children’s Rights Law, Oxford University Press.

Twum-Danso Imoh, A (2019), ‘Terminating Childhood: Dissonance and Synergy between Global Children’s Rights Norms and Local Discourses About the Transition from Childhood to Adulthood in Ghana’, Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 41 (1) pp. 160-182.

Twum-Danso Imoh, A., Bourdillon, M. and Meichsner, S. (2018), ‘Introduction: Exploring children’s lives beyond the binary of the global North and global South’, in Twum-Danso Imoh, A., Bourdillon, M. and Meichsner, S. (eds.) Global Childhoods Beyond the North-South Divide, New York: Palgrave (P).

Bourdillon, M., Meichsner, S. and Twum-Danso Imoh, A. (2018), ‘Reflections on binary thinking’ in Twum-Danso Imoh, A., Bourdillon, M. and Meichsner, S. (eds.) Global Childhoods Beyond the North-South Divide, New York: Palgrave (J).

Twum-Danso Imoh, A., Bourdillon, M. and Meichsner, S. (eds.) (2018), Global Childhoods Beyond the North-South Divide, New York: Palgrave (265 pages) (P).

Spyrou, S, Cordero Arce, M, Eßer, F, Rosen, R and Twum-Danso Imoh, A (2018) ‘Emerging scholars of Childhood Studies’, Childhood: A Journal of Global Child Research, Vol. 25 (4) pp. 422-442.

Twum-Danso Imoh, A. O. (2016). From the Singular to the Plural: Exploring Diversities in Contemporary Childhoods in sub-Saharan Africa. Childhood, 23(3), 455. doi:10.1177/0907568216648746

Twum-Danso Imoh, A. O. (2016). Tackling the Physical Punishment of Children in Resource Poor Contexts: The Utility of a Community Starting Point Approach for Action and Intervention in Children’s Rights Programming. The International Journal of Children’s Rights, 24(2), 469-487. doi:10.1163/15718182-02402005

Twum-Danso Imoh, A and Ansell, N. (eds.) (2014), Children’s Lives in the Era of Children’s Rights: The Progress of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Africa, Oxford: Routledge.

Twum-Danso Imoh, A (2014), ‘Realising children’s rights in Africa: an introduction’, in Afua Twum-Danso Imoh and Nicola Ansell (eds.), Children’s Lives in the Era of Children’s Rights: The Progress of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Africa, Oxford: Routledge.

Okyere, S and Twum-Danso Imoh, A (2014), ‘Making the case for a broader definition of child participation: evidence from the Niger Delta of Nigeria’ in Afua Twum-Danso Imoh and Nicola Ansell (eds.), Children’s Lives in the Era of Children’s Rights: The Progress of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Africa, Oxford: Routledge.

Twum-Danso Imoh, A (2013) ‘Children’s Perceptions of Physical Punishment in Ghana and the Implications for Children’s Rights’, Childhood: A Journal of Global Child Research Vol. 20 Issue 4, pp. 472–486. doi: 10.1177/0907568212471404

Twum-Danso Imoh, A (2013), ‘Rites vs. Rights: Female Genital Cutting at the Crossroads of Local Values and Global Norms’, International Social Work, Vol. 56, No. 1, pp. 36 - 49. doi: 10.1177/0020872812459068

Twum-Danso Imoh, A (2012), “‘This is how we do it here’: The Persistence of Cultural Practices in the Face of Globalized Ideals: The Case of Physical Punishment of Children in Ghana” in Afua Twum-Danso Imoh and Robert Ame (eds.), Childhoods at the Intersection of the Local and Global, Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Twum-Danso Imoh, A and Ame, Robert (eds.) (2012), Childhoods at the Intersection of the Local and Global, Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Twum-Danso Imoh, A (2012), ‘From Central to Marginal? Changing Perceptions of Kinship Fosterage in Ghana’, Journal of Family History, Vol.37, No.4, pp. 351-363. doi: 10.1177/0363199012440081

Twum-Danso Imoh, A (2011), ‘Searching for a Middleground in Children’s Rights in Ghana’, The Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 10. No. 3. pp. 376-392. doi: 10.1080/14754835.2011.596067

Twum-Danso, A (2011), ‘Assessing the Progress of the 1998 Children’s Act of Ghana: Achievements, Opportunities, and Challenges in its First Ten Years’ in Robert Ame, DeBrenna Agbenyiga, and Nana Apt (eds.), Children’s Rights in Ghana: Reality or Rhetoric? Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Twum-Danso, A (2010), ‘The Construction of Childhood and the Socialization of Children: the Implications for the Implementation of Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Ghana’, in Nigel Thomas and Barry Percy-Smith (eds.) The Handbook of Children’s Participation, Abingdon: Routledge.

Twum-Danso, A (2009), ‘Situating Participatory Methodologies in Context: The Impact of Culture on Adult-Child Interactions in Research and Other Projects,’ Children’s Geographies, Vol. 7, No. 4. doi: 10.1080/14733280903234436

Twum-Danso, A (2009), ‘Reciprocity, Respect and Responsibility: The 3rs Underlying Parent-Child Relationships in Ghana and the Implications for Children’s Rights’, The International Journal of Children’s Rights, Vol. 17, No. 3, pp.415-432. doi: 10.1163/157181809X430337

Twum-Danso, A (2009), ‘International Children’s Rights’ in Heather Montgomery and Mary Kellet (eds.), Children and Young People’s Worlds: Developing Frameworks for Integrated Practice, Polity Press.

Twum-Danso, A (2003), Africa’s Young Soldiers: the Co-Option of Childhood, Pretoria: Institute of Security Studies.

A full list of publications can be downloaded by clicking the link on the right of this page.