Sheffield's young people have their say

Monday 15 March 2010

A film created by secondary school children from Sheffield is giving them a chance to have their views heard on a topic close to their hearts: the design of their school. The film also offers practical recommendations on how to get children engaged in research findings. A special screening of the film will be held by the Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth, University of Sheffield in collaboration with Sheffield NOW on Wednesday 17 March 2010, as part of the Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC) Festival of Social Science.

Event organiser and Sheffield NOW Creative Director, Lisa Procter, explains: "The event 'Designing Schools' will be of interest to anyone - ranging from teachers to designers - involved or interested in the school design process. The screening will also be of value to those interested in how best to disseminate research findings to young people and how to engage children in the research process."

The event builds on workshops carried out as part of last year's ESRC Festival of Social Science that explored methods for telling young people about research. A key theme to emerge from the 2009 event was the need to make research accessible to all young people, through using a range of digital media. Based on that theme, students this year, with the help of a professional film maker and facilitator, will create a film that informs other students - those who are about to start the school design process - of key research findings in a practical way.

These findings include, for example, that young participants seemed concerned that research results should be accessible to everyone, no matter of age or ability. Young people also stressed the importance of involving a level of fun in telling others about the research, including the making of cartoons with funny jokes, comics and computer games.

Prof Allison James, Director of the Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth, University of Sheffield says: "Our aim is for this event to increase understanding of how young people value being recognised in the school design process and provide insight into different strategies and techniques available to do so. This is an exciting and rare opportunity to hear young people's views on participatory approaches which we hope will leave everyone inspired and motivated to apply this insight into their own work."

For further information contact

ESRC Press Office:

Notes for editors

  1. Designing Schools: participation in practice
    • Organiser: Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth and Sheffield NOW
    • Wednesday 17 March 2010 from 18.00 - 19.00
    • Venue: Interdisciplinary Centre for the Social Sciences (ICOSS), 219 Portobello, Sheffield, S1 4DP.
    • Audience: Young people
    • For further information visit: Designing Schools: participation in practice; Sheffield NOW!
  2. Prof Allison James is Director of the Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth, University of Sheffield.
  3. Lisa Procter is based at Sheffield NOW - a community interest company.
  4. The Festival of Social Science is run by the Economic and Social Research Council which runs from 12 to 21 March 2010, alongside National Science and Engineering Week. Events from some of the country's leading social scientists the festival celebrates the very best of British Social Science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives - both now and in the future. The Festival of Social Science provides insight into research in a variety of formats; from traditional lectures and exhibitions to theatrical performances, film screenings and topical debates. The Festival of Social Science is aimed at a range of different audiences, including policy makers, business, the media, the general public and students of all ages. Press releases detailing some of the varied events are available at the Festival website
  5. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC's planned total expenditure in 2009/10 is £204 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.
  6. You can now follow updates from the ESRC on Twitter (@ESRC), including new funding calls as they are posted, press releases, events and more.