Planet Under Pressure Youth Voice
The aim was to faciliate a way for young people to present their views to an international conference of researchers on environmental change. This was an exploratory project for the Association, who'd not done anything similar before.
Summary of activity:
We invited young people to nominate themselves to a panel of teenagers with an interest in climate/environmental change and in community action. Twelve were selected and invited to a one-day workshop in November 2011, also attended by researchers. In the subsequent four months, the young people consulted their peers and used the findings to construct a ten minute presentation and some poster displays. They gave the presentation and showcased their posters at the Opening Ceremony of the international Planet Under Pressure conference at London’s ExCeL Centre in March 2013. Partners included ScienceWise, Research Coucils UK (RCUK) (especially the Living With Environmental Change programme), the Royal Society and the Planet Under Pressure conference itself.
ScienceWise commissioned an independent evaluation, which included speaking to some of the young people involved and asking delegates at the conference about the impact the young people's communications had had on them. This report is not publicly available at the time of writing (July 2012). The Association also compiled an internal project report, based on their own reflections about the project; this report has been uploaded.
What went well:
1. Positive impact on the conference delegates
2. Positive impact on the young people
3. Quality of the young people's presentations
What was learned:
1. Young people need to be supported (cajoled?), given the various other pressures they face and their limited experience of doing research and collaborating remotely.
Top tips and advice for others
1. Don't underestimate the amount of time (and therefore money) needed to support young people to work remotely to survey their peers, compose a presentation, etc.
2. Establish clear expectations among stakeholders from the beginning about processes and outcomes.
The project report contains more detail about what we did and the reflections which underpin our 'top tips', which may be useful to someone planning a youth voice/youth dialogue project.
The report contains a short section about 'working with researchers' which may be useful to anyone working with researchers (not just on youth voice projects but any kind of youth engagement).
Also in the report is a list of links to information online about the project, including a blog entry by one of the young people and copies of the young people's findings from their peer-to-peer consultation which may be of interest to young people or project managers preparing to explore young people's views of environmental/climate change.