Session: Engaging Youth Voice: Participatory Strategies for Achieving Equity and Justice (Society for Social Work and Research 22nd Annual Conference - Achieving Equal Opportunity, Equity, and Justice)

90 Engaging Youth Voice: Participatory Strategies for Achieving Equity and Justice

Friday, January 12, 2018: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Independence BR C (ML 4) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Adolescent and Youth Development
Katie Richards-Schuster, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Samantha Teixeira, PhD, Boston College, Astraea Augsberger, PhD, Boston University and Linda Sprague Martinez, PhD, Boston University
The social work profession has seen increased interest in research that uses participatory approaches to better understand the strengths and needs of populations at risk. In this roundtable, we will engage participants interested in using participatory research approaches with youth in a discussion of youth empowerment, participatory research and engagement strategies, and the role that youth can play in social work research. We will focus specifically on addressing the Grand Challenge of achieving equal opportunity, equity, and justice through youth-led research and argue that young people must have a seat at the table, and that their voice is needed if we are to develop prevention strategies and programming that are aligned with their lived experience. This is imperative in communities of color and in low-income communities that have been systematically marginalized.

Participatory approaches are a particularly strong tool for ensuring that youth, who are traditionally marginalized in the research process, are active members of research teams. Participatory approaches encourage not only participation, but leadership, which allows youth to develop autonomy as co-researchers and creators of knowledge. They can use their own language to share their findings and engage with the research in meaningful ways that allow them to share their own unique expertise. Participatory approaches also place a great deal of emphasis on the power of the research process and the importance of collective action and advocacy as a result of the research.

There are numerous participatory strategies, from research focused approaches to broader efforts that incorporate community organizing and policy advocacy. This roundtable will use case studies from the presenters' work to illustrate efforts along this continuum and engage attendees in a discussion of how they might incorporate these strategies in their own work. Case study examples include 1) a youth led community health assessment in five US cities; 2) a youth led participatory budgeting process in Boston, MA; 3) a youth engaged participatory community assessment in Boston, MA; 3) and a large-scale, youth-led policy and social justice effort in metropolitan Detroit, MI. Our goals for this roundtable are to stimulate a conversation about incorporating youth voice into research using participatory strategies and to build a community of scholars committed to promoting equity through meaningfully engaging youth in research and practice.

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