The youth of today: yobs or future leaders?

Tuesday 3 March 2009

Should we dismiss the youth of today or look to them as future leaders? Teenagers are already forming thoughts and opinions on how policy should shape the society of tomorrow. Events during the Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC) Festival of Social Science (6 - 15 March) will showcase the views, ideas and motivations of young people in our society.

Issues to be discussed by teenagers around the country include environmental sustainability, organ donation and migration. Young people will also be invited to take a leading role in research activities to find solutions to violent behaviour in the UK, by drawing on their own experiences and understanding of violence as well as the surrounding problems. 

Whether there is biological evidence to explain why teenagers are linked with undesirable behaviours will be the focus of an event on 11 March. Drawing on cutting edge research evidence from leading experts the discussion will look at whether a better understanding of the biological and evolutionary development factors of teenagers could be used to help prevent or better manage these undesirable behaviours. 

Rather than just being discussed, teenagers will actively contribute to each of these debates debate both on their own behaviour and the adult population.

The Festival of Social Science encourages young people to discuss, discover and debate at exhibitions, talks and workshops. It gives young people the chance not only to learn about themselves but to see future potential and get involved with social science as well as wider society. 

For further information contact

ESRC Press Office:

Notes for editors

Events aimed at young people include:

  1. Violence: what it means to young people

    The aim of the workshops is to explore what violence means to the young people of Liverpool. By drawing on their experiences of violence; the messages they impart; the issues surrounding this problem; and the impact on individuals, the family and community and how they think violence could be prevented. 

    • Dates: Friday 6, Monday 9, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12, Friday 13 March
    • Time: 17.00 - 19.00
    • Venue: Parklands City Learning Centre, Liverpool, L24 0TY
  2. Generation 2012

    Generation 2012 celebrates the creative and linguistic diversity of London youth in partnership with the BBC World Service via an Open Day which will inaugurate a series of multilingual broadcasts to be produced by young Londoners on the day and in the lead up to the London Olympics of 2012.

    • Dates: Friday 6 March - Sunday 15 March
    • Time: Various times
    • Venue: BBC World Service, Bush House, Strand: Series of events, London, WC2 4PH 
  3. Role model platform for young scientists

    A one day event to raise awareness and promote the take up of STEM initiatives, grants, and awards amongst science teachers and pupils. The event includes: exhibition of successful projects; exposure to role models; and Q&A with a panel of experts.

    • Date: Tuesday 10 March
    • Time: 11.00 - 16.30
    • Venue: Business School Conference Suite, Newcastle University Business School, St James Boulevard, Newcastle, NE1 4JH  
  4. In and out? Youth views on organ donation

    In response to the recent government announcement that primary and secondary schools are to receive an extremism toolkit this event seeks to explore youth views on "radicalisation and extremism in society". A series of interactive events will help participants contribute to policy discussions in this area.

    • Date: Monday 9 March - Friday 13 March
    • Time: TBC
    • Venue: University of Central Lancashire, Fylde Road, Preston, PR1 2HE
  5. Can technology fix climate change?

    A debate between two teams of sixth formers, one arguing for a technological fix for climate change, the other for behavioural change as a solution to the problem. This promises to be a lively and interesting debate and will offer the opportunity to meet with key players from groups working on climate change and environmental issues.

    • Date: Wednesday 11 March
    • Time: 15.00 - 17.00
    • Venue: SPRU, Freeman Centre, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9QE 
  6. Biological aspects of teenage behaviour

    The event is focussing on teenagers, using biological evidence to explain why adolescence is often related to undesirable behaviours. The conference brings together leading experts from the field, and consists of talks and discussions by researchers, service providers, and members of the public.

    • Date: Wednesday 11 March
    • Time:13.00 - 17.00
    • Venue: Lecture Theatre B- Liverpool Hope University, Taggart Avenue, Liverpool, L16 9JD
  7. Intercultural communicative competence and global citizenship from young age

    The event aims to provide an opportunity to critically evaluate experiential learning as a method of developing intercultural communicative competence and global citizenship among young people. Through an interactive seminar and demonstrations, it brings together organisations and charities working with young people, share good practice and debate on the key issues associated with experiential learning. 

    • Date: Friday 13 March
    • Time: 09.30 - 15.30
    • Venue: 43 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PD
  8. The Festival of Social Science is organised by the Economic and Social Research Council, and runs from March 6 - 15, alongside National Science and Engineering Week. It celebrates some of the very best British social science research, as well as highlighting the ways in which social science makes a difference to everyday lives. Press releases detailing some of the varied events are available at the Festival website or for more information please contact the ESRC Press Office.
  9. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest funding agency for research and postgraduate training relating to social and economic issues. It supports independent, high quality research which impacts on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC's planned total expenditure in 2008/09 is £203 million.  At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and research policy institute.