Leading change with young people in Preston

In November 2022, a group of young people in Preston were invited to training sessions to learn what the YouCount project is all about. The aim was to equip them with the necessary skills to become youth citizen scientists in community research.

The training sessions were held at the Climate Action Emergency Centre in the city centre, which provided a space for the young people to connect with stakeholders. In particular, the training events involved young people gathering information to explore Preston as a place to belong. The aim is that there is a better understanding of the young people's position in society and what can be done to help young people within Preston.

What happened at the training sessions?

Over two Saturdays, the youth citizen scientists took part in activities and conversations to spark dialogue on social belonging and inclusion. Some activities included splotting, a simple drawing method developed by Oslo Met which provides insight into the meaning of places for the youth citizen scientists. The young researchers came up with splots that resonated with Preston.

Garry Cook, a photographer based in Preston who is part of the research team, shared some of his photography with the young people and discussed how to use photography to capture our community. This then encouraged the young researchers to take photographs within Preston depicting their view of belonging. The images were shared amongst the group for reflection on the second day.

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Social science academic and Youth Citizen Scientists. Image credit: Garry Cook
Social science academic and Youth Citizen Scientists. Image credit: Garry Cook

Future steps

The young citizen scientists are working on creating different methods to explore inclusion and belonging in Preston from a young person's perspective. This will be through listening events, literature reviews, photography, questionnaires and interviews with other young people and stakeholders within the community.