Research project exploring young people, climate change and migration ends with intergenerational workshops and new creative resources

Young People at a Crossroads, a research project led by SCI Honorary Researcher Catherine Walker, has drawn to a close with intergenerational workshops in Manchester and Melbourne, and the launch of a set of creative resources for schools.

Event participants look at project resources with YPAC team members Catherine Walker and Kit Marie Rackley at the intergenerational workshop in Manchester

Young People at a Crossroads (YPAC) explored how migrant-background young people and their families are learning and talking about climate change in Manchester and Melbourne. We are often told that ‘humanity is at a crossroads’ in relation to climate change, yet this is not the only crossroads in young people’s lives. 

For those who migrate, this experience marks a significant crossroads. YPAC began from this intersection between personal and societal crossroads in relation to migration and climate change, exploring what and how migrant-background (and other) young people are learning about climate change, and how this connects to their families’ experiences of growing up in countries where people have greater experience of adapting to climate change.

The research, conducted in partnership with researchers at University of Melbourne, involved 40 young people aged 14-18, 16 parents and grandparents, and 14 teachers. Young people were invited to become ‘young researchers’ on the project. As young researchers, they interviewed family members about their experiences growing up and into the present and wrote reflections for a beautifully-illustrated creative book entitled ‘Young People at a Crossroads: Stories of climate education, action and adaptation from around the world’.

Project resources on the table at the intergenerational workshop in Manchester

The research team produced a follow-on resource, ‘Educators’ guide to the YPAC book’, which is designed to support secondary teachers in their teaching on climate change by making connections between curricular requirements in the UK and Australia, and the stories and perspectives shared by YPAC young researchers and their families.

The intergenerational workshops that marked the formal end of the project in December 2022 (Melbourne) and January 2023 (Manchester) presented a chance to continue intergenerational conversations and learning that had developed over the course of YPAC by celebrating diverse knowledge and experiences and their value in addressing climate challenges. Education is widely recognised as a key to tackling climate change, and at the workshops young people, together with teachers, researchers, community educators and local councillors, discussed how climate change education can be more hopeful, inclusive and action oriented. 

The resulting report, ‘Moving beyond the crossroads: a practical guide to having hopeful, inclusive and action-oriented conversations about climate change’ complements and extends the YPAC creative book and educators’ guide.

The three reports, along with workshop materials and a video introducing the creative book can be accessed at the YPAC project resources webpage.

Dr Catherine Walker has now taken up a new position as Research Fellow at Newcastle University and remains an Honorary Researcher at the SCI.