Commentary: New Zealand youth

Bronwyn Wood, faculty of Education, Victoria University of Wellington

Environmental action and New Zealand Youth

New Zealand’s School Strike4Climate [SS4C] movement had been heralded as one of the world’s most successful – led by school-aged passionate young people with little experience in political organising but with digital and social media savvy (Thomas, Cretney and Hayward, 2020). I attended the Strike4Climate protest on 15 March, 2019 with my 17 year-old son along with as many as 20 000 other young people – all leaving their classrooms to demand urgent action on the ecological crisis 

However, that same day, after we came home to cook up lunch together, I received a call from my other 19 year old son – a university student in Christchurch – to say he was locked in down the university gym as a gunman was on the loose.

Read the full article here

“Theatre ignited an appetite in youth to hear their voice in the world”

In a piece published in The Conversation, Dr. Gallagher highlights the importance of art for global youth expression during the pandemic. The Centre for Urban Youth Research team asked Dr. Gallagher a few questions about the role of art, theatre, and other creative forms of expression in fighting injustice for and with young people. 

Dr. Gallagher, in your short piece recently published in The Conversationyou underscore the multiplicity and connectedness of the crisis felt by marginalized youth globally. Based on your extensive ethnographic research with hundreds of young people in drama classrooms from Taiwan to Canada in the past years, could you provide a brief description of the ongoing role of art, especially theatre, in response to the multiple inequalities and injustices emerging in the twenty-first century?

My collaborative, ethnographic study Youth, Theatre, Radical Hope and the Ethical Imaginary: an intercultural investigation of drama pedagogy, performance and civic engagement (2014-2019) methodologically centred storytelling through theatre to position researchers as witness to the stories and understandings the young people we met and worked with in Canada, India, Taiwan, England and Greece wanted to share. What worries did they have about their world? What messages did they want to convey to strangers?

We immersed ourselves in their creative works which revealed the voices of many young people struggling with disenfranchisement in their schools and broader communities, in many cases personally bearing the burdens of economic and political global crises, from Brexit, to racial injustice, to gender and queer oppression, to economic and refugee crises. For the 250 youth we met, it ran the gamut of feeling empowered by theatre and education, as in India, to feeling hopeless under the weight of economic crisis in Greece.Alarmingly, across all five sites, our quantitative data revealed a positive co-relation between age and the diminishment of hope. The older youth get, the less hope they feel; a disconcerting finding.

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Youth Who Have Been Homeless Find Expression in Writing

Leif Harris’s spoken word poem “I am Sam” echoes poignantly through the Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre.

Leif Harris Centre for Urban Youth Research

He is one of eight people who participated in a six-week writing workshop for youth with lived experience of homelessness, and he’s sharing his work at the 2019 Republic of Childhood Youth Forum. It’s the third annual edition of the event staged by the Ottawa International Writers Fest, and this year’s forum celebrated the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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New Social Innovation Lab Aims to End Youth Homelessness

Jacqueline Kennelly doesn’t want to just curb homelessness that plagues up to 40,000 Canadian youths each year and 6,000 on any given night. She wants to eradicate it.

Kennelly, a professor in Carleton University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, is working with the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) to create Making the Shift: Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab, an $18-million, five-year project.

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Carleton’s Centre for Urban Youth Research Involved in Ottawa Writers Festival Youth Showcase

The Republic of Childhood Youth Forum will host the event Write on! Chapbook Showcase and Breakout Sessions. The showcase features the literary work of students from Woodroffe High School, as well as youth with lived experience of homelessness involved with Carleton’s Centre for Urban Youth Research.

The showcase will also feature 2019 Ottawa Book Award winner and Carleton graduate student, Kagiso Lesogo Molope.

Media are invited to attend the student showcase.

When: Friday, Nov. 22, 2019 at 1 p.m.
Where: Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre, 355 Cooper St., Ottawa

After having participated in a series of intensive writing workshops, the young authors will share their literary creations.

The showcase will include guest presentations by Prof. Jacqueline Kennelly of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Prof. Claudia Mitchell from McGill University and Maya Shetreat.

Read the press release here

Working Upstream Receives SSHRC Partnership Development Grant

CUYR’s Jacqueline Kennelly received a Partnership Development Grant. Kennelly’s project, Working Upstream, is aimed at preventing and ending youth homelessness by improving existing policies to create better educational responses.

Her research recognizes that Canada will not be able to successfully address the homelessness crisis if preventative approaches are not integrated into Canada’s policies.

The project has found that adult homelessness often starts in youth. With schools acting as second homes for youth, it’s the place to start preventing adult homelessness before it begins.

“Currently schools do not have homelessness on their radar, at least not officially,” says Kennelly. “Individual teachers or principals might be aware of the situations for some young people who are homeless, but we need to develop provincial standards to ensure that young people are connected with supports as soon as they are at risk of homelessness.”

Working Upstream will build on school-based prevention by asking important questions and connecting children with the best support.

Through workshops, webinars and curriculum recommendations, the project hopes to gather evidence-based resources to inform school professionals about how they can best prevent homelessness.

Read the full press release here

Welcome to the Centre for Urban Youth Research

The Centre for Urban Youth Research is a new research centre founded by Dr. Jacqueline Kennelly and based out of Carleton University in Ottawa. CUYR (pronounced queer) is a hub for critical and justice-oriented youth scholars, activists, and community organizations focused on tackling inequalities experienced by young people in urban centres. With both Canadian and international affiliates, CUYR seeks to provide a bridge for those working towards the expansion of social justice for young people who are most marginalized under contemporary capitalism. CUYR values and prioritizes meaningful youth engagement in research and practice, alongside a deep scrutiny of embedded power relations and the potential for reproducing inequalities.