Participatory research project maps the stories of multicultural youth in the Italian city of Prato

As part of a new international project, a diverse group of young people in Prato recently collaborated with researchers to produce an exhibition that creatively tells their stories of life in the multiethnic Italian city.

Image from 'Youth in the City' exhibition in Prato, Italy

Above: Students involved in the 'Youth in the City' project open a pop-up exhibition at Officine Giovani, Prato, Italy on 5 October 2019 (image credit: Francesco Ricatti)

Debates surrounding culturally diverse young people that circulate on social media and in public discourse are often missing a key voice: the perspectives of youth themselves. A new international project is re-centering the experiences of multicultural youth, working with a diverse group of young people in Prato to create a digital map of the city that reflects their own stories and experiences.

Youth in the city: one place, many cultures’ is a new, international research project funded by National Geographic Society (NGS-56467E-19) and the Scanlon Foundation, featuring researchers from the Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre (MMIC), Aalborg University and Human Ecosystems Relazioni. The research team recently met with 48 high school students from eight local high schools in Prato for a series of workshops, where students began to creatively map out their experiences. The workshops also included walks through the city, where students used various equipment to record video, text, images that reflected their experience.

After several days of producing a range of creative work, preparation got underway for a pop-up exhibition at Officina Giovani where students would present their work. The students themselves were responsible for inviting and welcoming guests (including the mayor of Prato) and contacting local media to publicise the event, which was very well attended and received.

The research team is now assessing how lessons from these recent events can be used to promote the self-representation of multicultural youth in cities around the world, with the aim of countering the xenophobic content that can easily spread on social media and in public discourse.

To find out more about ‘Youth in the city’, head to the Language, citizenship and inclusion portfolio page on the MMIC website.

Image from 'Youth in the City' exhibition in Prato, Italy

Image from 'Youth in the City' exhibition in Prato, Italy
Above: Work exhibited in a pop-up exhibition at Officine Giovani, Prato, Italy on 5 October 2019 as part of the 'Youth in the City' project (image credit: Francesco Ricatti)