Understanding who we are and where we come from is a basic human need, enabling a sense of belonging and the growth of resilient communities. In many of the most disadvantaged communities, engagement with local heritage is limited. Young Heritage Leaders will create a digital, youth-led local history movement that will increase engagement, develop understanding and enable people to be proud of their local heritage.
Autonomous young heritage groups will challenge communities to be excited about their local heritage through the design and delivery of digital heritage pop-up events. This will link to Plymouth’s history centre, set to open in 2020 and designed to transform opportunities for local people and visitors alike to engage with their heritage.
RIO specialists will work within a proven challenge based learning framework with young people which will provide an opportunity for them to explore different sectors and make a meaningful contribution to their society. Our role will be one of mentor, facilitator and connector to support young people to explore their interests, get connected and innovate.
The Young Heritage Leaders will be researching, collecting and sharing memories linked to the identified areas. The co-designed nature of the project will enable the young people to decide which themes their area will focus on, guided by RIO and the history centre around compelling events and quantity of stories.
For example it is likely the young people will focus on Industrial heritage in Estover due to the abundance of historical and present industrial activities from which to draw. For many in this community it’s likely there will be collections that are relevant to people who have worked or continue to work in industry and will spark conversations about what it used to be; how it has changed; and how new innovations, particularly with the fast progression of technology, will affect young people’s futures.
A majority of heritage activity is perceived to take place in the centre of the city, particularly with a big focus on the new history centre, and Barbican. There are communities on the outskirts of the city, particularly in deprived areas, that don’t access or engage with the city’s rich offer and feel left out. We want young people to research and celebrate history in other parts of the city, own and share their findings in innovative ways. Through the work we do with schools in Plymouth we’ve identified Ernesettle, Ham, Devonport, St Budeaux, Stonehouse, Oreston, Goosewell, Crownhill, Eggbuckland and Estover as areas with interesting heritage but also pockets of disadvantage and disengagement.
Who will we work with?
Over the past year we’ve been asking what young people think of heritage. They have told us that history ‘isn’t relevant to them and is not cool, is boring and all happens in town’. Leaders at the Plymouth city museum have shared with us that engaging teenagers is one of their toughest audiences.
RIO and Our Way Tech (a young enterprise) will work together on the Young Heritage Leaders project aims to address the need for more young people to be aware of and excited by their local heritage, curious to ask more questions and compelled to share narratives with their friends and peers, and create a new energy around local heritage that will make it ‘cool’, ‘relevant’ and ‘connected to their future’.
In the lead up to 2020, Plymouth’s shining year of heritage, we have a responsibility to ensure young people and people from communities on the peripheries are not left behind but have a place in the spotlight; after all they will be the people left once the celebrations have passed.
Who are Our Way Tech?