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Empowering Young Voices: Resources

Teaching Resources

Together with our three professional poets, Phil Wilcox, John Bernard and Joelle Taylor, we have produced a set of teaching resources that will enable teachers and youth workers across the country to help young people discover the power of their unique voices through writing and performing poetry. These resources are free to use, and can be adapted to different contexts, from 50min school lessons to 2h evening sessions.

Our Story

Over the last 5 years and especially since the pandemic, there have been concerns that young people are disengaging from politics and public decision-making. Studies have identified that the key reason for disengagement is that young people lack opportunities to express themselves, and feel isolated in their communities. This reinforces the feeling that people don’t want to hear what they have to say. Empowering Young Voices is about changing that by creating spaces in which young people can speak and be heard.

At the beginning of September, we gave the stage to 7 young people who took part in a series of poetry workshops at Coventry Boys and Girls Club, with sessions delivered by top UK performance poets, Phil Wilcox (Australian Slam Champion), John Bernard (Coventry-Based Poet and Rapper) and Joelle Taylor (winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize 2021 and Spoken Word Artist of the Year 2022). Some of the young people had already been writing poetry or rap lyrics, and there were some who’d never tried it before. It was therefore incredible to see these young people, aged 15-18 yrs old perform incredibly powerful poems about their experiences of life in Coventry.

How it went

Here are just a few of the young people from Coventry Boys and Girls club who attended our poetry workshop series and performed their work at Coventry's Belgrade Theatre, September 2022

Audience response

“Each poet talked openly about issues they had experienced. Mental Health, postcode wars and expectations. The young people of Coventry need to be heard, they are the future”

“Fantastic evening, some powerful messages and voices heard through poetry”

“These students were really impressive in how they expressed awareness of how low economic status and material limitations can seep into self-understanding, while simultaneously fighting that influence and thinking boldly and critically about pressures they face. Even if we can't magically make the material limitations disappear, it seems worth giving young people more chances to reflect on their situation and to try out their creative powers - this seemed indeed to be empowering”

“We need more events like this giving young people the chance to be heard”

Empowering Young Voices

Meet the EYV Team:

Lena Rowlands (UG Research Assistant)

Dr Karen Simecek (Principal Investigator)

Dr Andrew Cooper (Co-Investigator)

Chris Earley (Research Assistant)

In partnership with:

Coventry Boys and Girls Club

Funded by:

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Leverhulme Trust

With the support of:

Warwick Institute of EngagementLink opens in a new window