Project arose from an initial conversation between the UEA Professor involved in arranging the Planet Under Pressure conference and the British Science Association’s Chief Executive and Director of Education.
One was a professor, two were post-doctoral researchers and two were studying for a PhD. 2 men, 3 women.
Jess to speak Classification: open / restricted internal / restricted external / confidential
Jess to speak Classification: open / restricted internal / restricted external / confidential
Classification: open / restricted internal / restricted external / confidential Quick overview of the evaluation, OPM was asked by RCUK to provide an independent evaluation of the public engagement processes and impacts of the project. The key impacts we considered were impacts on the young people and impacts of the young people’s presentation on the conference and conclusions. For this evaluation, we observed the initial workshop and the young people’s presentation at the conference. We surveyed members of the youth voice project after the initial workshop and after the conference to find about their experiences of taking part in each. We did a survey of delegates – so, the evaluation team, staff from the BSA and members of the youth voice project asked questions to delegates on the day of the conference. I conducted interviews with 3 members of the youth voice project and three stakeholders who had been involved in the youth voice project.
Classification: open / restricted internal / restricted external / confidential From surveys and interviews with the youth voice members the evaluation identified a number of areas which worked well in the process of the youth voice project. Firstly, youth voice members felt supported to prepare their presentation – they felt they were able to lead the process and that the speech contained their ideas and views. The planning workshop was seen as a helpful first step in planning their speech, meeting each other and brain storming ideas, and particularly, using the workshop to develop a clear, detailed timetable of activities and deadlines was seen as particularly useful in helping the young people to feel confident about what needed to be done to develop their speech between the workshop in November and the conference in March. The researchers were friendly and approachable, they helped the young people to understand the issues and the young people felt they learnt from their discussions with the researchers. The young people agreed that researchers allowed the process to be led by them – the researchers didn’t dominate the discussion or use jargon. On-going support and contact from the BSA project manager – particularly when they were working remotely, kept them on track. The young people valued the opportunity to meet and discuss ideas with other young people who had similar interests and also the opportunity to learn and speak to the researchers There was really positive feedback about the experience of presenting at the conference, the majority of the members described it as amazing, it was an opportunity to be challenged and to do something they felt nervous about doing. What facilitated feeling confident to present was practicing in the conference hall before the actual conference.
Classification: open / restricted internal / restricted external / confidential Areas to be improved: Some of the young people felt the sessions held in the workshop were rushed and some felt there was not enough time for discussions. “ Running out of time” was rated as the worst thing about the workshop by a third of the youth voice members. During a project such as this, where members have to work remotely for the majority of the project, it is important to structure face to face activities so there is sufficient time for brainstorming ideas and planning. In addition, it is important to allow sufficient time to support the young people when they are working remotely, and when they are busy with school and other activities, to keep them on track and meeting deadlines. Overall, the young people didn’t find this process of working remotely too onerous or stressful though some felt they would have liked more conversations or ‘face to face’ interaction when preparing the speech so they could have done activities in real time.
Classification: open / restricted internal / restricted external / confidential Young people were really positive about the impacts on them of taking part. T he young people felt that presenting to such a large and prestigious audience had given them increased confidence to do this in the future, even though several of them mentioned how nerve wracking and daunting the experience was. Young people felt the experience of meeting the other young people and researchers at the workshop and of speaking to delegates at the conference had made them more confident in approaching new people. The young people felt that developing their speech and hearing from and speaking to delegates at the conference had vastly increased their knowledge of environmental and sustainability issues. The young people felt they were exposed to new ideas and perspectives from speaking to the researchers and delegates – for example, a couple mentioned learning about the importance of the “communication gap” between scientists and the public. The young people all stated that being involved in the project had made them more interested in environmental change. For a few, this cemented their plans and ambitions to pursue scientific and environmental courses and careers. Improved project development skills: members of the project felt they had gained experience of working independently to research a topic, producing an output based on that and working with others to pull the different strands of a project together. They felt these skills would be useful in their academic careers and also when completing similar extra-curricular activities:
Classification: open / restricted internal / restricted external / confidential Delegates felt that it was important for young people to involve them in the debate about climate change. Young people will be facing these challenges in the future and involvement now was seen as a way of equipping them with the skills and knowledge necessary. A number of delegates described feeling moved by the speech and presence of young people at the opening ceremony. Their presence was seen as an important reminder that the consequences of decisions being made would be inherited by the next generation. Delegates considered it important that the priorities and considerations of young people were heard by the scientific and research communities, and for these views to have the opportunity to inform the direction of research and policy. Whilst delegates had a variety of opinions about the content of the speech, many said they were interested in the content of the speech and mentioned specific points made which particularly interested or were new to them, for example, using the media to promote social messages and the impact of a helium shortage on healthcare. There was some uncertainty about how the youth voice project fed into the conference and conclusions.
Classification: open / restricted internal / restricted external / confidential Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability)
SCC 2012 Youth voice: getting a fresh perspective on your projects; Planet Under Pressure (Jess Wynn)
Planet Under Pressure – Youth VoiceProjectPlanet Under Pressure – Youth Voice Project• Initiated through RCUK bringing together UEA Professor and British Science Association Chief Executive and Director of Education.• Partners: RCUK, LWEC, ScienceWise and Royal Society.• Aim - work with a small group of young people who could communicate their views about climate change to the researchers at the Planet Under Pressure Conference in a way that would be meaningful to both researchers and young people. Supported by the Royal Society
Planet Under Pressure – Youth Voice Project• Wanted to make a meaningful experience for young people and help them develop some skills.• Give them an opportunity they might not ordinarily get.• Get to speak at a high level on a subject they felt strongly about.• Have an impact with the people that they spoke to.• Influence some of the documentation coming out of the conference. Supported by the Royal Society
Student (and researchers) chosen Student (and researchers) chosen• 10-12 young people. • 4-5 researchers.• 14 to 18 years old (or 1st year • Good understanding of Uni). major topics at conference.• Good geographical and • Good with young people. gender representation. • Good age and gender range. Supported by the Royal Society
What they were asked to do What they were asked to do• Attend a planning meeting in November with researchers.• Present their views at the opening ceremony of the Planet Under Pressure conference.• Staff an exhibition stand during Day One of the conference.• The young people would, if possible, be asked to survey and present views from their peers. Supported by the Royal Society
What they thought of the experienceWhat they thought of the experience • Great opportunity to speak to a large and influential audience. • International reach. • Opportunity to meet other passionate young people. • Interesting to attend a major scientific conference. • Improved public speaking skills. Supported by the Royal Society
Overview of evaluationAim• To provide an independent evaluation of the public engagement processes and impacts of the projectMethods• Observations of the workshop and presentation• Survey of youth voice members• Survey of delegates – Interviews by youth voice members, the British Science Association and evaluation team – Question about youth voice in post conference questionnaire• Qualitative interviews – Three stakeholders – Three members of the youth voice project open / restricted internal / restricted external / confidential 6
What worked well• Youth Voice members felt supported to prepare the youth voice presentation – Felt the process was ‘young person led’ – Through the planning workshop and developing a detailed timetable – Involvement of the researchers – Support and contact from the Association project manager• Discussions between youth voice members researchers at the workshop – Opportunity to share views and learn from peers and experts• Experience of presenting at the Planet under Pressure conference – Described as ‘amazing’ by majority of young people – Opportunity to ‘step outside of comfort zone’ and be challenged – Practice in the conference hall beforehand open / restricted internal / restricted external / confidential 7
Areas to be improved• Time pressured – Discussions and planning session at the workshop• Challenges of working remotely – Some young people would have liked more ‘conversations’ or ‘face to face’ interaction when preparing the speech• Opportunities to further maximise the impact – Playing a greater role at the conference – Follow on work and continued engagement with wider groups of young people – Providing more context to the youth voice work at the conference – Providing a forum for delegates to feedback their thoughts about the content of the speech. open / restricted internal / restricted external / confidential 8
Impact on young people• Improved networking, communication and presentation skills“When I got to the conference, I thought it was daunting, but it gives you confidence when you have done your part, gives you a lot of confidence speaking in front of that many people” (Youth Voice member)• Greater knowledge and understanding of environmental issues“I didn’t realise the importance before, of getting the public to know what they can do” (Youth Voice member)• Stimulating interest in environmental change“It really inspired me to go in to research in this area, as it looks really promising and exciting and it definitely encouraged me to take this a lot further” (Youth Voice member)• Increased project development skills“Next year will do the EPQ (extended project qualification) and this is very similar to the youth voice project in terms of the structure, research and the presentation and this will have given me skills” (Youth Voice member) open / restricted internal / restricted external / confidential 9
Impact on delegates and stakeholders• Value in the involvement and presence of young people at PUP – Involving young people in debates about environmental issues• Emotional impact – Young people will inherit the consequences of decisions being made• Interested to hear the views and perspectives of young people – Opportunity to influence and inform policy and research – Some learnt new things from the speech open / restricted internal / restricted external / confidential 10
Impact on the conference and its conclusions• Conference conclusions included a statement from ‘young people representing the voice of youth’ - developed by around 400 students who registered at the conference – The views from the youth voice presentation were acknowledged in this statement, but they did not inform it directly• Youth voice speech has been published on the Planet under Pressure website and Sciencewise ERC website• The young people’s involvement in the conference has featured in a number of newsletters, websites and local press – E.g. the Brave Collaboration website and the STEPS centre website open / restricted internal / restricted external / confidential 11