TOWIE: Radical Citizenship

Young people taking part in the project

Making a difference

How the project achieved HLF’s outcomes for heritage

  • Working collaboratively with the Bishopsgate Institute archivist, young people chose collection areas to research and interpretative themes for a guide, blog and heritage scrapbook. This led to a Spring School where five trainees collaborated to curate a public temporary exhibition.
  • Young people helped to better record the heritage in the Archive through learning how to catalogue, record oral histories, conduct local research and ethical enquiry. In partnership with the archivist they used ‘keywording’; an innovative method to help make the collection easier to research.  

How the project achieved HLF's outcomes for people

  • A core of 20 young people developed heritage care, research and interpretation skills through training workshops. With this foundation they moved onto developing a professional skillset including engaging communication, negotiation and evaluation to build their confidence and prepare them for paid employment.
  • Consultation with local secondary schools identified they were struggling to deliver the Citizenship curriculum.  The project helped 10 paid Young Heritage Facilitators to build their confidence and skills to develop and deliver peer-centred curriculum-linked activities inspired by the archival heritage. The Facilitators delivered six creative workshops to 180 pupils, empowering them to explore implications of citizenship.
  • Radical Citizenship challenged the view of some young people that they cannot affect the world around them. The project was designed to support them in imagining a style of citizenship that could voice their ideas and vision for the future.
  • Paid Young Heritage Producers worked together to design and deliver a dynamic physical and digital programme for their peers and local communities. Each of the six events attracted 50-100 young people. For example, Young Heritage Producers in Lewisham developed the Fresh Foxtrot Fusion event aiming to challenge the divide between young and older people in their community. 

How the project achieved HLF's outcomes for communities

  • The Radical Citizenship project enabled a wider range of young people to engage with the heritage of the Mondicivian Republic archive. Every aspect of the project was designed to address barriers to young people participating and it aimed for 40% of participants to be Not in Education Employment or Training (NEET) from across Greater London and from a wide range of backgrounds.
  • “Access and experience are invaluable opportunities for young people, especially in a sector that feels so closed off and exclusive.” Shreya, participant. 

Lessons learnt

  • Three creative consultation events provided a platform for young people to have a meaningful input into the project planning stages.
  • Drawing from the young people’s experience of previous projects they proposed that the Radical Citizenship project be delivered not as one programme but in three distinct phases: archive and heritage skills training; professional skills training; then paid employment. This format, and providing a wide range of activities, made it easier for participants to commit to the project in advance. It also gave enough lead time for participants to generate audiences for events.
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