A former youth worker, Dr Charlotte Dean devotes her professional life to working with young people. She is at the forefront of embedding Citizen Inquiry (Citizen Science + Inquiry-Based Learning) at the University of Hull. Working with a range of public and community stakeholders, she explores the barriers and challenges faced by those who want to get involved and tackle issues that affect their lives. Can young people lead the debate and offer solutions? Charlotte thinks they can.
Charlotte uses participatory techniques to co-create solutions to some of the major challenges of our time. For the Evolving a Circular Plastics Economy project, she has been exploring issues around single use plastic with young people. The aim was to make new products, educational resources and campaigns to educate and involve adults and young people alike. Plastic Citizen combines a Citizen Inquiry approach with everyday technology such as mobile phones, opening up the work to young researchers.
Young people designed the research methodology including an open source survey, using the NQuire platform. Much of this work is done online with resources and activities which are supplied to schools. Social media sites such as Twitter have also played a part. Young people made various digital products during the project and also a film about plastic waste.
And plastics are not the only focus of Charlotte’s work. Other projects include working with the University of Hull’s Inclusion and Social Justice Research Group(scroll down), to co-create with young people in care, an animated film and accompanying teaching resource pack which explores the educational experience of young people in care. Charlotte and colleague Lisa Jones worked with local arts company My Pockets and the East Riding of Yorkshire Children in Care Council to produce an animated film to help educate teachers about some of the issues faced in school by young people in care.
The Just Like Our Lives film, which was co-created with the East Riding Children in Care Council, gives these young people a voice, has had over 2650 views, and was shortlisted for the World Health Organisation Health for All, Scout, Making a Positive Difference and Lift Off international Film Festivals.