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Our Rebel Researchers Graduate

Published: 24 Sep 2014


Twelve young Black, Minority and Ethnic (BME) women from in and around Tower Hamlets graduated here at Toynbee Hall on 24th September 2014, after completing a landmark project researching young people, politics and voice.

‘Rebel Researchers’, a joint project with Oxford University, and an extension of Toynbee Hall’s long and ongoing history working with young people in the East End of London focussed on looking at whether young people felt they had an opportunity to exercise power, speak and be heard.

The project was led by the young people who acted as social researchers; picking the research theme, questions, leading the interviews with their peers, analysing the findings and each delivering presentations at academic conferences up and down the country. The project also gave them the opportunity to be awarded accredited training and qualifications.

By calling themselves the Rebel Researchers, the group wanted to highlight the difference between themselves and ‘traditional’ academics. Aware of their marginalised status as BME young women from highly deprived boroughs, they gathered the thoughts and opinions from their peers and specifically tried to explore whether national, local, online or ‘personal’ politics is perceived as more or less inclusive, and what barriers prevent young people, like themselves, from taking-up opportunities within these potentially political spheres.

The research findings showed that there is a clear perception amongst young people that politics is too far removed from (their) age, class, gender, location and grades. The peer-to-peer approach that the research took clearly put young people at the front and centre of the project, ensuring their voice is the one that is heard and the results are truly a reflective of their views.

“Before the project began I wasn’t interested in politics at all. But now that has all changed. I have joined a political party and have already been out campaigning with them. Thank you for helping me to do this and get involved"


“I am still more interested in politics back home in Iran. My parents and family talk about it more than UK politics. I can’t fully justify or explain why I am more interested in Iranian politics, but I am.”

Read more about the Rebel Researchers project and read their blog.