Young People and Heritage (10 March, 2016)

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Getting young people involved with heritage is one of our priorities at HLF, but what is the best way to go about it?

Join us to discuss the subject in a live chat right here on Thursday 10 March from 12.30-1.30pm.

I'll be joined by Justine McLisky from London's National Portrait Gallery, Kelly Robinson from the Geffrye Museum, James Davies from Llyn Maritime Museum, Nefyn, Rob Bushby from the John Muir Trust, and my HLF colleague, John McMahon. They're all experts in working with (and/or being!) young people, and will share their experience as it relates to the heritage sector, from both organisational and practical points of view.

So please follow along, ask questions, and share your own experiences.

View Amy Freeborn's profile Amy Freeborn Mar 7 2016 - 11:14am
  1. Hi,

    I'm part of the Community Engagement Team at National Museums Scotland (Christine is my manager) and I look after the museum's youth team - The Young Demonstrators (aged 14-22). Their aim is to engage other young people with the museum and it's collection through tours, activities and events. They group have only been together for 8 months but already they are a strong team. They are currently carrying out a survey into what young people want from the museum.

    Lynsey  

  2. View Lynsey McNab's profile Lynsey McNab
    Offline | Last seen: 2 years 8 months ago
  3. Does anyone have any advice on engaging harder-to-reach young poeple with heritage, ie those who are not already members of Clubs, youth groups or have a specialist interest in a particular subject?  We have contacted various youth organisations and support services, with some success, but we know there are still young people out there who are quite isolated and not aware of or confident of getting involved with the range of activities we can offer.

  4. View Christine McLean's profile Christine McLean
    Offline | Last seen: 6 months 3 weeks ago
  5. in reply to

    Does anyone have any advice on engaging harder-to-reach young poeple with heritage, ie those who are not already members of Clubs, youth groups or have a specialist interest in a particular subject?  We have contacted various youth organisations and support services, with some success, but we know there are still young people out there who are quite isolated and not aware of or confident of getting involved with the range of activities we can offer.

    Christine McLean

     

    Now, onto Christine's question from earlier: Does anyone have any advice on engaging harder-to-reach young poeple with heritage, ie those who are not already members of Clubs, youth groups or have a specialist interest in a particular subject? 

  6. View Amy Freeborn's profile Amy Freeborn
    Offline | Last seen: 2 hours 15 min ago
  7. More often than not, open minds, enthusiasm and a passion for new experiences; sometimes, apathy and a healthy scepticism. It’s for all of us who engage young people in heritage to work with them ‘where they are at’ and to ensure as positive an experience as possible. E.g. recent teacher comment: “All were surprised that conservation wasn’t boring and were amazed at the difference they could make.”

    In terms of specific ‘work’ outputs, there is a huge amount of volunteering, expertise and endeavour across the country. We captured ‘Conserve’-related outputs throughout 2015, which adds up to 36,200 days of action for the environment and valued at £1.3m, mostly by young people, in our Conserve Audit https://www.johnmuirtrust.org/whats-new/conserve-audit-2015

    Citizen Science - the participation of the public in the collection of scientific information and data (including heritage-related) – is on a roll in a curriculum context thanks to the likes of OPAL http://www.opalexplorenature.org/ and BioBlitz http://www.bnhc.org.uk/bioblitz/ . Here is a fantastic Citizen Science overview from Education Scotland http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/Images/CitizenScienceAndCfE_tcm4-874…

     

     

  8. View Rob Bushby's profile Rob Bushby
    Offline | Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
  9. Welcome to the chat, Christine & Lynsey! And hi also Debs and Nicki - we'll come back to that question (about continuity funding) further on in the chat.

    Another question, now:

    What do you think about the heritage sector's current 'offer' to young people generally (and what one tip would you offer for improving this)?

  10. View John McMahon's profile John McMahon
    Offline | Last seen: 6 months 3 weeks ago
  11. There is an exciting increase in the practice of developing fantastic youth activities across heritage organisations and a growing awareness of the value of working with young people. However sustainability of youth engagement programmes can be an issue especially in smaller organisations where often resources can be wasted repeating one off short term funded projects with no legacy or lasting outcomes.

    My advice would be to not work in isolation, make links with local third sector organisations, schools and colleges and your local authorities, and also remember the value of internal partnerships within your organisation and learning team. It is worth recognising that a young person is not just a young person, they are a family member, a school, college or university pupil, a young adult and a general visitor. Make links across programmes and share resources with the aim that the youth programme is not an added on short term funded extra but that it becomes an embedded and a natural part of the organisation. 

  12. View Kelly Robinson's profile Kelly Robinson
    Offline | Last seen: 2 years 3 weeks ago
  13. Picking up on Kelly's comment above, about progression routes and accreditation, this is also key - young people not just contributing to a project but also to the organisation itself. Whether it's a one-off 'takeover' of a role (eg front of house) or social media, or internships or paid employment, this is a way that young people can get work experience but also work alongside Gallery staff - we've had NEET young people come from never participating in culture, to joining in on programmes, to being in Youth Forum - to documenting sessions and gaining work experience. This then feeds back into the organisation's planning and programmes in a really rich way.

  14. View Justine McLisky's profile Justine McLisky
    Offline | Last seen: 2 years 8 months ago
  15. For young people heritage provides learning opportunities, social opportunities, personal development opportunities and employability opportunities. From my own experience, the heritage sector should provide greater trust in young people allow them to have opportunities to make an impact. For example by providing opportunities to represent the organisation at conferences and events both locally and nationally. One likely result of this is that young people get the opportunity to make contacts- essential to their future employability especially in the ‘small world’ that is heritage. For example I now do freelance consultancy for the interpretation design company who worked for the museum. Other areas include opportunities to organise events and manage projects, this allows them to make a visible meaningful impact- be it through an exhibition, new research or an event. Thereby not just being a name on the day to day volunteer rota.

    From a CV point of view, volunteer opportunities through a HLF funded project develop administrative skills in organising events and their marketing, attending committee meetings and undertaking research e.g. communication, media, writing and social skills.

    I mentioned my experience that of ‘digital volunteering’. This is something which is starting to be recognised for example the increase in crowdsourcing and crowdfunding. However there should be greater opportunities for more practical ‘digital volunteering’ such as managing social media and undertaking research etc.

    Finally, whilst it is accepted that funding for youth engagement is often within short term timescale, developing long term relationships is essential- this could be through free membership in return for volunteering, providing job references or nominating them to become committee members or trustees. Young people are our future, and all that…

  16. View Jamie Davies's profile Jamie Davies
    Offline | Last seen: 7 months 1 day ago
  17. I agree with Kelly.  Project funding brings fantastic opportunities to expand and increase the ambition of our offer with young people, but sustainability can be an issue.  Also, in terms of 'one tip', I come back to the issue of how to engage those who are really beyond current participation in heritage. 

  18. View Christine McLean's profile Christine McLean
    Offline | Last seen: 6 months 3 weeks ago
  19. Hi,

    Catherine Townsend, Project Manager for Takeover Day – a day where Kids in Museums support museums, galleries, archives, heritage sites and  historic houses to let children and young people have a meaningful role within these places for the day - November 18th 2016 will be the next one in England.

    This project has seen how museums and young people have benefited from this connection with heritage. Giving the young people aspiration to continue to be connected with heritage and the organisation the chance to review and refresh their approaches to their work with fresh ideas. 

    They are our future audience after all!

  20. View Catherine Townsend's profile Catherine Townsend
    Offline | Last seen: 6 months 3 weeks ago

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