Passions of Youth is a community project based in Manchester and Salford in which working-class young men in their teens work with historians, youth and community workers and film-makers to acquire new skills in historical research, oral history techniques and film-making. Youth studies and histories of youth have often concentrated on the exceptional and sensational rather than the ordinary and everyday. Passions of Youth uses the everyday leisure passions of ‘ordinary’ working-class young men in their teens to contest the negative stereotypes and assumptions frequently made about them.
Passions of Youth is developing ways of working with working-class young men which celebrate their abilities and creativity. Through involvement in the project, the young men have created their own stories and images about how the leisure lives of working-class young people in Manchester and Salford have changed since the Second World War. They’ve received training in various creative activities such as oral history techniques, filming and archive research. They’ve visited local heritage venues, such as the National Football Museum, the Working Class Movement Library, Salford Museum & Art Gallery, the People’s History Museum and also taken part in activities at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Young people, especially boys and young men, are all too often seen as problems. Passions of Youth aims to develop different ways of working with them, empowering them through creativity.
It recognises and celebrates the expertise they develop outside formal learning and the education system, through their leisure enthusiasms.
This is an intergenerational project brought together working-class young men, historians, youth and community workers, elderly people and local communities, exhibition curators and archivists. It worked with FC United, Collyhurst & Moston Lads Club, Salford Youth Hub, and a Basketball team at The Factory Youth Zone.
ORIGINS AND FUNDING
Passions was inspired by Professor Melanie Tebbutt’s book, Being Boys: Youth, Leisure and Identity in the Inter-War Years, which used everyday leisure activities to examine the masculinities of working-class boys in the interwar years. Research for the book was supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), which provided further funding for this public engagement project, to develop a community-based interpretation of some of the book’s themes.
Passions of Youth aims to develop models of good practice about how creative activities might be used to enhance the self-confidence and self-esteem of working-class young men.