Engaging with Future Social Scientists: BSA Youth Assembly, February 2018

The BSA is set to welcome up to 150 young people aged 14-18 to an inaugural Youth Assembly. Over the last year the association has worked with a range of schools and universities in the North East of England to pilot a potential model for youth engagement. The aim of the Youth Assembly is to bring together young people from a range of schools who have an interest in social sciences at GCSE, A level and beyond. Young people have determined the content of the Youth Assembly. We have engaged with young people in the region over the year and they have offered suggestions on topics of interest as well as prioritising . Based on this consultation with the young people, topics at the youth assembly will include:

Girl-Kind North East

This session will look at the question: What are the challenges and opportunities of growing up as a girl in the North East? This is the question researchers asked 35 Year 10 girls from two schools at the start of our Girl-Kind project. This session is the story of what happens next.

Crime and inequalities in the experiences of crime

This session explores how children and young people experience crime and criminal justice in contemporary Britain. It considers how their experiences differ depending on their position within social structures characterised by inequality and oppression. In particular, the session focuses on how inequalities structured by class, ‘race’ and gender divisions intersect to shape the following: children and young people’s participation in crime; their risk of victimisation; and their treatment by the police and criminal justice system.

Youth Transitions

This session will draw on a range of research projects undertaken by Robert MacDonald and colleagues, since the 1990s (some of which now feature in the A-level Sociology curriculum). All have been located in the deindustrialised neighbourhoods of Teesside NE England, all have used qualitative methods to investigate youth transitions to adulthood and all have engaged critically with fashionable theories and policy ideas (e.g. such as: about the 'underclass', about 'cultures of worklessness', about 'the Precariat').

Other topics covered at the event will be: ‘Gender, sexualities and identity’ and ‘Young people and music’.

Presidential Feminism Event Bursary Presentations

In addition to this the BSA has set up a regional competition to young people to win a bursary to attend the Presidential Feminism Event in London. The bursary winners will also give a presentation at the Youth Assembly.

All the universities in the immediate vicinity have offered input with advice, colleagues to initiate sessions with short inputs including visual and physical activities, and post graduates to work across the sessions to facilitate small group work. Support from members across the region in developing the programme has also furthered links with schools and prospective students.

The Youth Assembly will be held at the Hancock Museum in Newcastle and is free to students with support for travel costs.

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Following the Youth Assembly, we will be evaluating the planning, preparation and day of activities with young people and developing guidance to share with universities and members in other organisations as they wish to develop wider engagement. In coming E News, we will update on the Assembly event and the guidance.