We are a community of people who share an ambition to improve the mental health of young people. We have read lots of reports saying youth mental health in the UK is getting worse, and that support available doesn’t always work. We think now is the time for research and practice approaches that offer a radically different way of doing things.
Informed by our understanding of resilience, defined as ‘beating the odds whilst also changing the odds’, we believe that activism has the potential to offer this radically different way of preventing, addressing and reducing mental health problems through building resilience. We call this ‘Activism for Resilience’ (A4R). We have undertaken a piece of research to explore this idea funded by the MRC/AHRC/ESRC Research Councils titled “Nothing about us without us: civic activism as a mental health intervention”.
The Blackpool Activist Alliance
For young people who face major challenges, taking part in community projects and social action may be even more successful than than traditional services in improving our mental health. The Boingboing Foundation is therefore working to bring together young people and our allies in Blackpool to form an Activist Alliance; a collective looking to learn, teach, organise, campaign, fund and disrupt to make change big and small on the issues affecting us and our communities.
So, what is activism? What you see and hear in the media might not always be the full picture. The Activist Alliance is currently working together in the following ways, it could be more your thing than you know:
Join the Alliance
- Follow us on social media
Skills and knowledge exchange
Blackpool Activist Alliance hosts free workshops for young activists and community organisers wanting to learn and teach how to ‘do’ activism. The Skills and Knowledge Exchange events are a space to meet with like-minded local people, share knowledge, skills and take steps together towards making change on the issues we care about. Whether you’re a complete newbie or seasoned activist, you’re welcome.
We facilitate opportunities for people facing systemic disadvantage to take seats at the table in research projects that aim to tackle structural inequalities and social injustice. This disrupts power imbalances in research spaces, away from traditional sources of knowledge and towards those of us who are experts by experience. Co-research also gives the communities being studied ownership of the gathered evidence and insights. Disseminating this learning across the Activist Alliance, we aim to provide a direct route from community research to community action.
Activist in Residence Project
The Activist in Residence project is a paid opportunity for young people in Blackpool aged 16-24 develop and deliver an activist campaign based on their own ‘hope for change’. To make this happen, young people are matched with a host organisation seeking to promote youth voice and leadership either internally or in the wider community. The host organisation in return offers the resources, support and/or scaffolding for the campaign.
Read more about our activism:
In this blog Joe Bulman shares his experiences about his first project as a youth co-researcher on the ‘Nothing About Us Without Us (NAUWU) Project’ and introduces some of the resources they have created.
Youth activism in Newham; working as a Co-Research Team on the Nothing About Us Without Us research project
In part 2 of this blog Ishrat, Amanda Sarah and Laurie share some of their learning from taking part in co-produced research working alongside co-research teams in Blackpool, Cornwall and Newham as part of the wider ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ research project.
Youth activism in Newham; reflections on a co-produced research project undertaken during a global health pandemic
In this blog Ishrat and Amanda share their reflections on taking part in co-produced research working alongside co-research teams in Blackpool, Cornwall, Newham and Brighton as part of the wider ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ research project.
This document has been co-produced by the Blackpool Youth Climate Group and research partners from Boingboing and the CRSJ to explain how the group has been created and what they hope to achieve as Blackpool’s dedicated Youth Climate Group.
The potential for a well-crafted e-mail to disrupt unhelpful systems can sometimes be underestimated. In this blog young co-leaders of Resilience Revolution share tips on how to craft activist emails for achieving positive change.
Here in the Boingboing / CRSJ / Resilience Revolution community we encourage each other and our pals to write to our MP’s when we think important changes need to happen in our communities. To help you to give it a go, we’ve put together this guide on how to lobby your MP.
Co-produced with young people who are part of the Blackpool Resilience Revolution, this research examines how climate change affects the mental wellbeing of young people as well as co-developing resources that aim to increase resilience during climate change.
In this blog the co-leaders of the Resilience Revolution’s pilot in Blackpool share news about how things are going with the exciting new ‘Nothing about us without us’ project that a group of us including Boingboing, Brighton Uni and the Centre of Resilience for Social Justice (CRSJ) were lucky enough to win funding for in September 2020.
This blog is co-authored by Charlotte, 24 and Caitlin, 20 who teamed up with Nathan from the Resilience Revolution in Blackpool to share experiences and perspectives of being a care leaver in the pandemic.
Throw together Fashion Communication students, a CRSJ PhD student, youth and adult co-leaders from the Resilience Revolution in Blackpool, craft materials, social justice inspiring publications and…. oh yeah, a Global Pandemic, and what do you get?
We are doing a survey to explore how young people between the ages of 11-18 feel about themselves, their environments and their resilience. You can find out more about the survey and download the information sheets here.
A guest blog by Dr Amanda Taylor-Beswick about making ethically sound digital technology choices to become a digital odds changer and help challenge digital social injustice.
The Same Pay for the Same Day campaign is part of the Resilience Revolution, and aims to raise awareness of the difference in wages that young people earn in their workplace compared with other colleagues, simply based on their age.
Selogadi Mampane travelled all the way from Pretoria to give the Resilience Forum a live preview of her arts activist approach for young people, which is being used as part of the Patterns of Resilience to Drought project taking place in South Africa.