Young people leading social and political transformations in their communities: creating inclusive spaces

Victoria Jupp Kina, Julia Cancia

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Despite the range of terminology to describe participation there remains confusion over what constitutes truly empowering participatory practices. Issues of power and control are complex and theoretical frameworks often fail to capture the challenge of transforming participatory principles into genuinely empowering and protagonist practices. This paper will provide an example of a project in which multiple layers of youth participation combine together to provide space for protagonist actions to emerge. Working in a school with the highest rates of interpersonal violence and exclusion rates in the neighbourhood of Diadema, São Paulo, the Youth in Action project employed young people (between 15 and 17 years old) as workshop facilitators who, with support and training, provided a series of workshops to younger students (between 13 and 14 years old) on local economic development, sustainability and well being. The youth led workshops culminated in the younger students developing their own ideas for activities that impact positively on their own lives and the lives of those around them. A second stage of the project then provided the necessary support to enable the students to realise their projects through a programme of coaching. This ongoing support proved to be crucial in creating an inclusive space that enabled young people to develop protagonist actions. This paper will highlight the importance of understanding the adult’s role, focusing on the need to know when and how to offer support.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2017
    EventPromoting Inclusion Transforming Lives (PITL) International Conference 2017 - University of Dundee, Dalhousie Building, Dundee, United Kingdom
    Duration: 14 Jun 201716 Jun 2017 (Link to Conference website)


    ConferencePromoting Inclusion Transforming Lives (PITL) International Conference 2017
    Abbreviated titlePITL 2017
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


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