Year | 2022
Location | Goldthorpe, Barnsley
Clients | Barnsley Council

‘Storying Goldthorpe’, a project giving a voice to young people in Goldthorpe, has helped develop a new narrative distinct from the town’s ex-mining past. In doing so, the project has worked at strengthening community networks and breaking down misconceptions of people aged 16-24. The Live Project team were tasked by Barnsley Council to create a storytelling platform to amplify the opinions of an underrepresented cohort within Goldthorpe. Over six weeks, the group developed the ‘Story Den’; an engagement device to record stories.

The project involved the community from the offset. The first weeks were spent conducting informal engagement, getting to know Goldthorpe, attending activities and initiating conversations. This was followed by events at the local youth centre, collaborating with local artists to facilitate storytelling through creative output. The team gained valuable insight into engagement with a disparate and disenfranchised group, learning how best to create meaningful engagement events rather than the tokenistic consultation sometimes seen in traditional practice. These challenges were the catalyst for the development of the final output: the device is both a platform for recording stories and a tool for prompting conversations. Collaboration is integral to the device, as the construction was a participative process. The team worked with young people at the youth centre to build boxes that form the walls of the structure, and the final construction process happened at the Autumn Fair, where the public were invited to get involved.

The project engaged with young people in a more holistic way than the council had previously been able. The group expanded on the client’s brief of providing a platform for young people, which they had envisioned would be limited to an online presence. Instead, the project developed a model for engagement, leaving the council with a roadmap for continuing this process.

‘Storying Goldthorpe’ has a set of outcomes alongside the storytelling device. These include a toolkit for further use of the device, a manual for how to reproduce the device elsewhere and a roadmap for how to continue the series of workshops with young people, tapping into a growing database of local artists that the project established. This network will become increasingly valuable as it expands and is repeated. This scaleable nature of the project means that it will continue to be of benefit to all involved: the council, the community and neighbouring communities.


Mentor: Dan Jary
Client: Barnsley Council
Location: Goldthorpe, Barnsley
Students: Chevally Zhao Shyen Lo, Chris Shaw, Corina Zixuan Zhang, Camillo Cavaretta, Cheuk Ling Wong, Jorge Tejerina Nogales, Yara Osailan, Mae Ghali, Martin Veselov, Eleanor Moselle, Jing Lyu, Siqi Shao, Oliver Lowe.