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The 4Ms project: young people, research and arts-activism in a post-industrial place

Renold, Emma, Ivinson, Gabrielle, Thomas, Gareth and Elliott, Eva 2020. The 4Ms project: young people, research and arts-activism in a post-industrial place. In: McDermont, M, Cole, T, Newman, J and Piccini, A eds. Imagining Regulation Differently: Co-Creating Regulation for Engagement, Bristol: Policy Press,

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This chapter tells the story of a research-engagement project called Making, Mapping and Mobilising in Merthyr (otherwise known as The 4M’s Project). The project explored young people’s sense of place and wellbeing while growing up in Merthyr Tydfil , a post-industrial ex-mining and steel-making region of the South Wales valleys. Merthyr is a small post-industrial town of roughly 58,000 people in the South Wales Valleys (UK). Once a hub of industrial activity and innovation, along with other geographically-close regions, Merthyr has experienced a deep social rupture in recent years owing to deindustrialization and the closure of iron-works, coal mines, and manufacturing industries serving as a cultural link that had underpinned the rhythms and rituals of Valleys life (Ivinson 2014; Walkerdine and Jimenez 2012). Neighbourhoods in Merthyr are experiencing deep political abandonment, reflected in local and national governmental policies and economic regeneration/cuts (e.g. closing youth centres). Our project took place predominantly in a housing estate based on a design inspired by romantic Italian hill top villages in the 1950s. The estate expanded in the 1970s and, by the 2000s, had become dilapidated and a place with high levels of unemployment. In a context of tightening austerity, this housing estate and the people living there have been subject to stigmatising media accounts fuelled by a lucrative and thriving poverty porn industry (Tyler 2015) and, at times, by local residents themselves (Byrne et al. 2015, 2016; Thomas 2016). The ‘realities’ of poverty tend to be portrayed in popular media through no hope narratives of despair (Thomas 2016; Thomas et al. 2018)...

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Publisher: Policy Press
ISBN: 9781447348023
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council, Arts and Humanities Research Council
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2020 14:25

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