Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, Locality,
Biography and Youth in a Transforming Community aims to contribute
to the sociological understanding of young people's experiences
of social, community and economic change through innovative, qualitative
enquiry. The research explores the ways in which young people,
living with and through community transformation and regeneration
make sense of their own life stories, transitions and projected
futures. We are presently working in two key sites - central Cardiff
and Ebbw Vale, each an area of significant and recent economic
Our particular focus is on the relationship between biography
and locality/landscape. We aim to map the interplay of biographical
changes onto physical alteration/regeneration in local settings.
To this end, and unconventionally, the project is generating data
through interviews conducted in public, outdoors and on the move.
Respondents have been invited to take the research team on walking
tours of their local area, linking together sites with particular
social and biographical resonance. We see this as an innovative
and participatory approach, enabling young people to situate their
accounts, physically, within the local and community contexts
that matter to them. Some of our respondents have also taken us
up on the opportunity to create their own visual and sound collages
from their walking tours. These include 'soundscape' pieces composed
using software and skills provided by the project.
It is anticipated that the research will generate an interesting
and unique body of data that will contribute to academic understandings
of youth, biography and locality, as well as being of use and
interest to policy makers and practitioners working with young
Hall is a lecturer in the Cardiff School of Social
Sciences. His background and training are in anthropology, and
his work on youth, homelessness and public space is informed by
a commitment to ethnographic enquiry. He is currently leading
an ESRC funded study into the relationships between youth transitions,
community transformation and local landscape [link], alongside
which he is engaged in ethnographic work with Cardiff's city centre
Amanda Coffey's research
interests span sociology, social policy and education. She has
a longstanding commitment to qualitative and ethnographic approaches,
and to research on young people and the sociology of transitions.
She is currently Director of Qualiti, the Cardiff Node of the
ESRC National Centre for Research Methods.
Lashua has interests in leisure, young people, popular
culture, and especially music and audio production technologies
in relation to questions of creativity, representation, and identities.
Within the current project, these interests produce resonances
with issues of sonic places and spaces, storytelling and soundscape
composition, and 'soundwalking' as ethnographic approach.
to link to the project website