Engaging young people in heritage

Since 2018, YouthLink Scotland has worked in partnership with youth groups across Scotland to ensure young people are at the forefront of citizen science and research. 

So far, we've worked with 15 youth groups, 30 youth workers and 150 young people to research heritage and environmental issues in their local communities. 

We have developed a youth-led research approach which means that young people are supported to conduct research in line with the essential features of youth work: 

  • Young people choose to participate 
  • The work must build from where young people are 
  • The young person and youth worker are recognised as partners in the learning process. 

Through Scotswummin and Youngwummin, we have provided training to the early career youth workers in youth work, youth-led research and heritage skills. They have then used the knowledge and skills they have developed to work directly with young people. The focus of the last couple of years has been inspirational women and the impact of WW1 on young women in Scotland.

More recently, our On Our Wave Length programme encouraged young people from coastal communities across Scotland to research the environmental impacts being felt in their local community, whether that be through climate change, industry, plastic waste, pollution and the impacts on wildlife.

This resource is intended for use for anyone working with young people who would like to engage them with heritage using a youth-led research approach. We have shared all our learning materials, top tips, examples of final outputs from the young people’s research, sessions plans and activities as well as our reflections on how these worked.  This resource can be used to engage young people in any subject area but will be based on our learning of exploring women’s history.

We hope you find the resource helpful and you have as much fun as we did engaging young people in heritage and bringing history to life.


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We would like to thank Sarah Blackie and Rebecca Duffell from Cheviot Youth in the Scottish Borders, National Library of Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund for all their help and support in creating this resource.

Logo for the Glasgow Women's Library
Logo for the Heritage Lottery Fund
Logo for the National Library of Scotland
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