By Jessica Messenger | Research Excellence Assistant
Earlier this year the University received funding through Kent County Council’s schools programme to run a Youth Summit on campus, the idea being to reconnect young people in Kent to their learning after two years of missed activity. Although the plans for the event were exciting and ambitious, we still needed to put a lot of work into realising our ideas and to make them happen.
I’m pleased to say that, with a lot of hard work by a lot of people across the University, including a reschedule of the date from the summer to October, those early ideas have developed and those plans have been firmed up. Not only that, the programme has proved to be popular beyond what we could have hoped for with more than 800 young people coming to our campus over three days next week.
Take a look at the programme and you’ll see a wide range of exciting and innovative sessions, including workshops exploring maths through natural and everyday objects, exercises that combine drumming with movement, a ‘multilingual Tempest for our times’, opportunities to take part in a court trial in a fun and interactive way, stand-up comedy workshops, sessions to create environmental land art, workshops on cyber security, the showing of a contemporary Ukrainian play called The Grain Store, and much more.
Each day there will be a plenary session including a UN-style debate on Monday led by our Humanities and Social Sciences Division on key challenges facing our young people, an interactive film called ‘Anthropocene’ on our changing environment and KMTV will deliver a Generation Genome event that aims to inspire young people to delve deeper into the world of genomics. It all amounts to what we hope will be an incredible festival of learning for our young people who have missed out on so much over the last two and a half years.
Every Division has been involved in helping to come up with the programme, and our Signature Research Themes have been in the thick of developments, contributing some of the highlights of the week. Students too will be on hand to help deliver the learning activities and make sure things run smoothly.
One of the key objectives of the Youth Summit was to give our young people a voice and a platform to tell us about their hopes and ideas for the future. So we’ll be eliciting their ‘ideas for a better world’ to compile and to make them available in different formats to send to MPs, council leaders, headteachers and other senior figures in the region as a clear statement about what our young people want for their future.
I hope as many of you as possible will drop by between 3 and 5 October to take in the atmosphere of the Youth Summit, follow it on KMTV or through our comms channels. It promises to be something special.