A young person-led approach to creating digital projects about their communities.
In 2016 Take A Part worked with community ambassadors and youth leaders in Barne Barton, Plymouth, to create a digital mapping project. The young people created a digital map which not only platformed key sites in the neighbourhood, but also local knowledge such as shortcuts, the best place to buy chips, and even local ghost stories!
The young people also used photography and recorded oral histories to create an interactive map with a wealth of interesting information. This project also mapped which areas that young people felt safe and welcome in, and which they did not - a lot of the Barne Barton neighbourhood is owned by the Ministry of Defence and is off limits to its residents.
The young people worked with a range of specialists, including artist-educator Rachel Dobbs, geospatial technologist Shaun Lewin, web developer Tom Platten-Higgins, and illustrator Chris Mayoh to learn skills around map making and creative projects, all while project managing the work themselves - learning valuable transferable skills. Brendan Sinnott, Bridey Borda, Kaytie Thomas, Nathan Daniel and Chelsea Biddle also supported many younger participants of the Barne Barton youth club to be a part of the project.
Some of the Barne Barton community ambassadors then acted as mentors for a group of community ambassadors in Whitleigh, Plymouth, to work on a digital mapping project in 2017. This peer mentoring offers employment opportunities to the young people that we work with, as well as a way of consolidating and sharing the learning journey.
Mapping creatively allows us to:
- Work creatively with young people where they live so work is relevant to them
- Support communities to have a creative and visual snapshot of their area and its needs/ambitions they can showcase
- Create an investigative model of working that supports the young people to engage with the whole community to create the map
- Is a research based output that can be applied to regeneration initiatives such as Neighbourhood Planning, Master Planning etc.
- Support young people to see creative industries as a career path and gives them the live skills they need to take it forward
This model of taking an Asset Based Community Development approach to commissioning with local Young People has been a pillar of Take A Part’s work since and has been replicated in Whitleigh, in Bristol and, in 2021 we will be working with the Youth Forum of Prime Skatepark on a different digital mapping project where they take the creative and practical lead - watch this space for more information!