Calling for Change: Young Londoners’ views on a sustainable future for their city.
What does a sustainable London in 2035 look like for young Londoners, how do we get there, and what role might museums play in engaging young people in the process?
London, in a sustainable future, 2022
This multi-part question formed the basis of the work by the five peer researchers — Syeda Shakila Islam (17), Yanis Fekar (18), Joss Harrison (23), Halima Mehmood (24) and Guyanne Sinon (25) — who participated in and led on this report titled ‘Calling for Change: Young Londoners’ views on a sustainable future for their city’.
The findings detailed in this report represent the experiences, suggestions and views expressed by both survey respondents and focus group participants. Over 1,000 young people aged 16–25 who live in London participated in the research between June and September 2022.
From the very start of the research process, the researchers discussed the extent to which it was possible for Londoners of all socio-economic backgrounds to be sustainable. This concern was borne out in the data, which demonstrated that the extent to which young Londoners feel able to take specific actions on the environment differs depending on race, gender and whether they have a disability. The group, therefore, hopes that policymakers and organisations will put intersectionality at the heart of their efforts to combat environmental issues and engaging young people, as opposed to adopting a one-size-fits-all approach.
As part of this process, the peer researchers were inspired by objects from the Museum of London’s collection, reinforcing the fact that reflecting on people’s actions in the past can often help us make better decisions about the future.
The report was commissioned by the Museum of London as part of the Arts Council England-funded Curating London programme, which is working with London’s communities to enrich understanding of the city and its people, including young Londoners who have been underrepresented in museum collections and the stories we tell for too long. Alongside the ‘We are the Youth of Today’ research, which was commissioned in 2020, this report will be invaluable in driving forward transformation into the kind of museum young people want to be part of.