Young people’s perspectives on culture, identity and cultural participation on the island of Ireland today

The Cultural Policy Observatory Ireland and Queen’s University Belfast hosted a conference entitled ‘Spaces To Belong To’ on Friday 15th September 2017 at the Brian Friel Theatre, Queen’s University Belfast, N. Ireland. This event, curated by Molly Goyer Gorman, explored young people’s perspectives on culture, identity and cultural participation on the island of Ireland to-day. Cultural participation is defined here as the involvement of young people (ages 12-25) in artistic, sporting, social and other leisure activities. This encompasses both state-funded and non-state funded youth activities. The event was covered by Northern Visions TV. The full video is available here

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The conference included shout-outs from young people aged 16+ and presentations from researchers, policymakers, and community, youth and arts and cultural workers who engage with young people (ages 12 – 25) from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The keynote address was delivered by Colin Bradie, Time to Shine Programme Manager at Creative Scotland, and young leaders from the Scottish National Youth Arts Advisory Group (formerly Youth Arts Voice Scotland). The day ended with a discussion about how topics and insights from the conference might be translated into further action. Biographies of all presenters are available here.

Northern Visions TV was there on the day and captured some fantastic interviews from event participants.

Conference Welcome and Theme

Academic Papers

Victoria Durrer (Lecturer in Arts Management, Queen’s University Belfast) ‘What Counts as Culture? Understanding Young People’s Views’


Michael Barron (PhD Applied Social Studies, University of Maynooth), ‘LGBTI Youth Coming in from the Policy Margins?’


Dan O’ Sullivan (PhD Education, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick) ‘Positive Youth Development and Resilience in Early School Leavers; Challenging the Cartesian Daemon’


Molly Goyer Gorman (PhD Drama, Queen’s University Belfast) ‘Once a Young Farmer, always a Young Farmer: Culture and Identity in Glarryford Young Farmers’ Club’


Keynote presentation: Spaces to Belong to
Colin Bradie (Creative Scotland), Grace Green & Daniel Mc Cormick (National Youth Arts Advisory Group, Scotland):‘Where We Want to Be’. It is a principle of Scotland’s national youth arts strategy to place young people at the centre of its aims and ambitions. Through the strategy’s delivery, key initiatives have been supported to develop the breadth, depth and quality of youth engagement. This keynote will offer a background to the application of this principle with two young people from the National Youth Arts Advisory Group sharing their experiences, and their aspirations for the future of the arts for them in Scotland.