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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences

PhD students drive forward public engagement with young people

Published: 25 October 2013 Origin:  Politics and International Relations

Students from local schools seized their chance to find out more about issues that matter to them at the Southampton Youth Debate organised by postgraduate researchers in Politics, Education and Geography.

The 78 teenagers learned more about research in politics, geography and education at the University of Southampton and discussed the key issues at a workshop. The day ended with a debate involving Parliamentary candidates Flick Drummond and Rowenna Davis and Solomon Curtis who is the member of the Youth Parliament for Hastings.

Nine PhD students in the faculty talked about their research in a key element of the day. They included Geography researcher Ellie Tighe who spoke about the garment industry in Bangladesh, Tudor Vilcan in Politics who is probing the UK government’s response to climate change and Yolanda Liu from Education who is exploring political trust and education.

Emily Rainsford led organising the event with Rebecca Ridley , an Education research student focusing on active citizenship. Emily says she was impressed how the young people made the most of the day: “We had a very lively debate and they really engaged with the questions, feedback from the schools has been very positive. We hope we have inspired many of them to study these subjects at university.”

Schools taking part were Sandown Bay Academy on the Isle of Wight, Crestwood College for Business and Enterprise Southampton, Redbridge Community School Southampton, Oasis Academy Mayfield Southampton, Henry Cort Community College Fareham and St George’s Catholic College Southampton.

Fifteen year old Gemma Turner from Crestwood, who plans to study law after her A levels, says: “It was a great day, everyone had a chance to have their say in the workshop and the panellists spoke very passionately about their subjects.” Outreach officer at Sandown Bay Academy Janet Cass says “We always like to broaden our pupils’ outlook by bringing them to events like this, it was excellent.”
The Southampton Youth Debate is one of a series of outreach events organised by students across the Social, Human and Mathematical Sciences at the University. Funding comes from the Faculty, Outreach at the University and the Economic and Social Research Council’s Doctoral Training Council.

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