How often do we get a chance to listen to what “Young People “ think? Not just as individuals but by way of a reasoned and creditable survey? I was pleased that the excellent charity, Partnership for Young London collaborated with the Museum of London to hear from GenZ about their concerns and how they would impact the Museum as it plans its future - and shapes our London of the future. The report is here on the Museum of London website.https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/collections/about-our-collections/enhancing-our-collections/curating-london/calling-change-young-londoners-views-sustainable-future-their-city
As a Governor of the Museum I am interested in how we present ourselves on our new Museum site in West Smithfield. We want it to be a Museum for London and for Londoners and so we cannot afford to miss the generation bubbling up with ideas on our doorstep. The survey is part of a wider engagement but this element focussed on creating a sustainable London. The results showed that this group do not consider London is yet a sustainable City. They want more pedestrianisation with fewer cars and more cycling infrastructure and better air quality. Whilst they view the main movers with responsibility as Government (national and local ) and business; they want to get involved directly. There are barriers to their involvement around time and money, but I was most struck by the answer that there is a fear of repercussions by others on their views and activity. A big gap for many young people is the lack of formal education on topics around climate and the environment. Left to glean this from social media and the internet may lead to the wrong or biased information being provided. Young people want to have sustainable employment but there is a lack of clarity around the type of employment that they might be able to get. From the Museum’s point of view it was good to hear that the participants felt that the arts and cultural spaces have a role to play and a responsibility to educate on environmental issues in the widest sense. Gen Z want the Museum to call on them to co-produce programmes to meet these needs; to offer more hands-on learning and truly represent their views and values.
Let’s hope not only the Museum, but also the rest of society, can start to address the wider points raised by GenZ as to a proper educational programme that can help us all address these pressing issues; weighing up the consequences and providing a location and passion for discourse as well as providing our next generation with employment that will address the needs of our net zero future.