For the love of cuddly toys

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This essay reflects upon a particular moment at the end of Chris Philo’s Children’s Geographies lecture [see Philo 2016. “‘Childhood is Measured Out by Sounds and Sights and Smells, Before the Dark Hour of Reason Grows’: Children’s Geographies at 12.” Children’s Geographies 14 (6): 623–640. doi:10.1080/14733285.2016.1187896], when discussion turned to cuddly toys. I recall a particular mood constituted in and by this moment: of apparent bashfulness, hesitancy, things-left-unsaid, and disinclination to discuss cuddly toys within the formal space of an academic conference. I suggest that this incident might be understood as indicative of three sets of silences which, still, characterise a great deal of work within the fantastically vibrant sub-disciplines of Children’s Geographies and Cultural Geographies. This argument is accompanied by photographic portraits of three particular toys: Angus, Arnold and the B.B.D. I hope that the presence of these portraits helps bring to the surface something of the often-silenced geographies–of memories, affects, intimacies and vulnerabilities, of play, fun and care, and of material and popular cultures–upon which my argument is focused.




Horton, J. (2018). For the love of cuddly toys. Children’s Geographies, 16(4), 446–454.

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