Authoring Our Own Stories is a national project exploring young people’s regional identities. The work is spanning 5 years, is arts-based and provides an opportunity for young people to take the lead in investigating the ways their peers define their identities. Outcomes may include tools for the workforce and national data to inform the development of more relevant and accessible youth services for more information visit the follow link –

For this year (2024)

The young leaders/peer researchers would like to talk to young white males (11-25) who live in an ex-mining or ex industrial community. We will work with a range of projects in the Yorkshire and The Humber region. To attend sessions between March to November, are willing to attend a youth advisory board, contribute to a Regional and National Steering Group for the project and share feedback from the research with youth workers. This is an opportunity to build friendship groups locally and nationally and develop cross sector networks with young people and professionals.

More information can be found here  Young leaders Recruitment Pack and Provsional dates Year Three

How we began

In 2022 the YWU worked with young leaders, artists and 100 + young people with SEND, to explore Civic Identity. The groups created a range of art works to share their ideas and the young leaders created a website to host it on Authoring Our Own Stories ( – do visit to hear their Rap, see their Aspirations and watch their film.

As part of the project ‘Authoring Our Own stories’ the SEND Alliance carried out a piece of research in 2022, the findings from the project and the feedback from the SEND young people who took part in year one, highlight some of the specific barriers SEND young people experience when trying to access support and careers advice, gain employment, access training opportunities, and improve their skills. Their report can be found here AOOS Year One written report-final

Year two targeted young people living in ex mining and industrial areas, referring to the theory of social haunting-why the ghosts of yesterday still haunt these areas today (report attached). This year we are specifically working with young men; to further investigate the lack of white working-class young men accessing youth services and informal education settings; barriers to accessing employment, training, and skills; exploring the concept of civic identity, community, and masculinity. We are currently in our recruitment phase looking for young men with lived experience to lead the project. Their report can be found here AOOS 2023 End of year report

Delivered in partnership with Partnership for Young London and funded by The National Lottery Community Fund