As part of Dr Nina Maxwell’s CASCADE research project, seven peer researchers from Peer Action Collective (PAC) based in Media Academy Cymru (MAC) were invited to ‘sbarc|spark’.  The aim of the day was to learn more about their youth violence prevention research and explore ways to that we can work together.

PAC is an exciting research project which aims to engage, inspire and motivate young people from Wrexham, Newport, Cardiff and Swansea into discussions about society and communities in which they live. The project consists of a project co-ordinator and 12 peer researchers with experiences of the criminal justice system, being looked after or from any community overrepresented in the criminal justice system. T

he day started with a quick game and tour, centred around Cardiff University’s new sbarc|spark building. Much like PAC, this building was designed with the mission to develop innovative solutions to societal problems through collaborative research activity.

Sbarc | Spark, Cardiff

The tour was followed by an introduction to Nina’s research on child criminal exploitation and an interactive session to explore how parents and practitioners should engage with young people. This led to the development of the Youth Charter.

“I really enjoyed having the opportunity to sit down with practitioners and help develop the Youth Charter. We looked at different topics and then went into different reasonings for having certain things for young people. The Youth Charter really gave power to the young people, and we felt empowered by it. I feel that having this opportunity has helped to show things from a young person’s perspective and I truly look forward to continuing our work with CASCADE”

Molly, 20, Peer Researcher

In the afternoon, PAC provided an overview of their research to senior and experienced staff from the School of Social Science.We then divided into small groups so that the peer researchers had the opportunity to talk with staff and learn from their experiences of undertaking research and making an impact on policy and practice in Wales.

“Having the chance to visit CASCADE researchers at the ‘sparc|spark’ building had a big impact on how we, as peer researchers, conduct our own research and making sure our research has the reach that we need, to make a real difference. We were able to have useful conversations with established and experienced researchers, who were able to give us some advice on conducting our own research, as well as the challenges they face as researchers. It was also useful to get advice from them when it came to promoting our research findings to politicians and those in power, as those people are the ones with the ability to make immediate change that could benefit young people.”

Callum, 24, Peer Researcher

The day was a huge success, in part down to the crispy sliders and chips at lunch… But, more importantly, we were amazed by the maturity and focus of the PAC team.

So much so that we will be inviting them back soon…