In late 2014, MCYS convened the ‘Contesting Youth’ strand of Manchester Met's 2014-15 Humanities in Public Festival. This series of events contested mainstream (and often negative) narratives of young people in the UK.

Understanding the complexities of young people’s lives today, and the historical roots of cultural attitudes which so readily dismiss or ignore their needs, is essential if the lazy stereotypes which continue to stigmatise the young are to be challenged, and young people’s energy and potential are to be realised. In 2009, UNICEF described the United Kingdom as the most ‘child-unfriendly’ of 21 major industrialised nations. Current political and media preoccupation with young people has developed alongside a problematic economic and political context, which has led to the appearance of the UK on a number of ‘leagues of shame’.  For example, England has higher child poverty rates than other developed European countries, with London being dubbed ‘the child poverty capital of Europe’.   At a time when services for young people have been severely cut or undermined, the need to create platforms on which to influence policy decisions and contest often deeply ingrained popular prejudices against young people is immensely important, not only for the present but for the future.

Watch the video round up of 'Contesting Youth' featuring legendary DJ and author, Dave Haslam, London Metropolitan University's Professor Bill Osgerby, and Kids Company charity founder Camila Batmanghelidjh CBE. Video by Neil Harrison.

You can read more about each event, via the links below: