Young Voices, Big Ideas

Posted on: 26 April 2024 by Dr Emilia Trapasso in April 2024 posts

Young voices, big ideas logo

Dr Emilia Trapasso is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Public Engagement and Dr Rebecca Geary is a Senior Lecturer, both working in the Health Inequalities Policy Research group in the Department of Public Health, Policy and Systems. The wider research team comprises of Emilia, Rebecca, Dr Shaima Hassan and Laura Winters. Here they share how they are engaging children and young people across Liverpool to enrich the Children Growing up in Liverpool (CGULL) cohort.

Funded by Wellcome, the aim of our public engagement project is to empower a diverse group of children and young people and their families in Liverpool, and foster community ownership of the C-GULL cohort study. We are doing this through several interactive, co-created, arts-based activities in the community and schools, co-produced with the young person’s advisory group and a team of adult public advisors.

A feedback stand (pop up pod) for children and young people to add their comments to

First, we commissioned a Young Voices, Big Ideas ‘Pop-Up’ that asks local children and young people to finish the sentence “My future could be happier and healthier if…” Public advisers were involved in the design and development of the pop-up pod, from the colours and fonts used, to the question asked, working with the creative team at Unfolding Theatre. Children and young people can add their voices through audio recordings, digital messages and hand-written post-it notes (in any language) to promote inclusion. The pop-up has attended community centres, school fayres, family fun days, community parties, youth clubs and city-wide events, such as Liverpool Schools’ Parliament and Meet the Scientists. It will be attending more fun days across the city over the school summer holidays – so look out for us in a park near you! Here are some of the children and young people’s suggestions for making their future happier and healthier…

To make my future happier and healthier if we add more bins in parks and more nature. And we make more places for homeless people like homeless centres.

I want to keep Liverpool heathier and less smoking for people who smoke, and no littering to keep earth safe and clean. I want to help people exercise more because people need to keep healthy. I want to help people eat healthy food because people eat some sugary food. Less wasting gas and water. Keep earth healthy. And stop climate change. Keep everything clean.

Secondly, we have been running a series of workshops in primary schools across the Liverpool City Region since November 2023. These arts-based educational sessions are under an umbrella of ‘changes we want to see for our future’. Children in reception and year 6 participate in a different activity each week, where they discuss topics and get creative. In one workshop children use Lego to help communicate their ideas and build aspects of a healthy city. In another, they ‘make their own microbiome’ and discuss how our lifestyles and environment can influence our microbiome. In the final session we take the pop-up and ask the school children to finish the sentence “My future could be happier and healthier if…”, where they can write their ideas on post it notes and most popularly, record their voices and opinions for others to hear.

Lego builds that children created

The children produce drawings, stories, poems, Lego build ideas and voice recordings which may be incorporated within our final activity, a public installation at the Museum of Liverpool from 18 October to 3 November 2024. Most importantly, we are giving the young people who are currently growing up in Liverpool, a voice, and a platform to be heard. They are given the opportunity to discuss the changes they would like to see in the future, not only for themselves, but for the city as whole.

Pictures drawn by children of what they envisage a happier and healthier future would look like