Welcome to the world of one-place studies! Twenty-six of our members are sharing something in their particular place for this year's A-Z Blogging Challenge. We're betting there's some young people in your place and Janet Few challenges you to involve them in your one-place study.
Researching can sometimes be a solitary affair. Even if we work as part of group, society or community archive, those involved are often exclusively adults. If we want the next generation to take an interest in their heritage and to continue our good work, we have to begin to inspire them sooner rather than later. If you want young people to become active participants in your one-place study, you will need to do the groundwork. They will not arrive as fully fledged, dedicated one-place researchers. This means beginning by surrounding small children, perhaps those in your own family, with a sense of the past. Earlier this month I gave a presentation on this topic at Who Do You Think You Are? Live. This focused on very young children, perhaps those under the age of seven. If you would like to access the handout for this talk it can be downloaded from my website.
It may be possible to work with a nearby school, perhaps as an after hours ‘club’, or with a youth group or uniformed organisation, many of whom work for local history awards. Remember that working with young people is a skill not to everybody’s liking. You must also expect to undertake safeguarding checks before projects of this kind.
If you stage a local history event, can you include a young person’s element, perhaps in the form of a competition or treasure hunt? The important thing to remember is that any activities involving young people have to be on their terms, to appeal to their own interests. Involve technology is therefore normally a winner! Children will usually want to find out about things that are relevant to them. In a one-place context, this means, their family, their house, their school. Even if what emerges is not intrinsically useful to your one-place study today, it is important that young people have positive experiences of history and heritage, in that way they are more likely to become the one-placers of the future.
If you want more ideas, why not take a look at the video of our Hangout-on-air about involving young people, that was held in 2015.