University of Wolverhampton | Professor & Chair of the Institute for Community Research & Development (ICRD)
Developing inclusive creative economies that promote regional development by encouraging young people to take the lead in choosing, taking part and leading change in the city where they live.
High Streets – or the primary commercial street of most UK towns – are suffering as a whole, and Wolverhampton has been recognized as one of the most unhealthy High Streets in the country.
Wolverhampton has ambitious plans to redevelop and redefine itself as a city. However, young people are often ostracized and underrepresented when it comes to redesigning their hometown. Team Wolverhampton’s work with young people in their city shows that they have creative ideas and ambition. The team plans to promote their ideas and amplify their collective voice to foster more youthful attributes in the city: inventive, dynamic and playful high streets.
“This is a pivotal time to reimagine our high streets and we need to work with young people in Wolverhampton to co-design and co-create these spaces for the future.”
In order to do that, the project team has been spending time listening and learning from young people about what matters most to them, and worked with a local artist, Dan Griffin-Hayes, to visualize young peoples’ ideas. The team has also gathered inspiration from projects across the world that have creatively incorporated more colour, greenery and multi-purpose public spaces into their high streets.
Each partner in Team Wolverhampton have expertise that span youth engagement, research and arts and creativity. As individuals, they work for organisations that have a strong presence in the area and have a good understanding where leverage points lie.
“We want to embed youthfulness in the wider urban redevelopment of Wolverhampton. The connections, support, skills and exposure that Actors of Urban Change offers will be key to triggering the change we want to see: happier and healthier high streets and better recognition for the city as a whole.”
Team Wolverhampton aims to work with local artists to prototype solutions that can be showcased in time for the British Art Show, which comes to Wolverhampton in 2021. The British Art Show is a three-month festival that will provide a platform to showcase young peoples’ work and present opportunities for exchange.