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  • 2022WareingPhD

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Co- designing Opportunities with Young People and Organisations in the North West of England

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Publication date2022
Number of pages796
Awarding Institution
  • Dunn, Nick, Supervisor
  • Rodgers, Paul, Supervisor, External person
Thesis sponsors
  • North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership
Award date20/07/2022
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This practice-led research presents an understanding of how collaborative approaches to co-design can be applicable and valuable in providing support for young people in left behind and overlooked communities across the North West of England in partnership with a range of organisations based in the region. The study provides new knowledge on how co-design approaches can be used to address place-based disparities, such as employment and learning opportunities in the United Kingdom. The research is part of a doctoral research training programme funded by the AHRC called Transformation North West.

An action research approach and case study structure were applied in four projects with publicly funded organisations who specialised in design, arts, education, and youth support. Each case study focuses on utilising co- design approaches in a specific geographical location in and close to the North West of England, in areas where young people face significant barriers to work opportunities. The research included the design of workshops, structures, and tools to engage local young people and organisations, and explored the design of interventions to connect young people to opportunities and local support. Data on the design, application,impact, and perceived value of the approaches was reflected upon and captured during and after the projects. A thematic analysis process was carried out to generate theory and understanding of the approaches.This research has multiple contributions to knowledge including detailed evidence that co-design approaches can be used as a tool to address geographical inequalities in opportunities for young people in partnership with local organisations and deliver a range of socio-economic outcomes. It contributes knowledge on the design of co-design approaches aiming to address complex socio-economic challenges, generate long-lasting social change, as well as the challenges and opportunities of co-design application in this context. The study provides timely evidence that co-design approaches can deliver value to communities who have been overlooked, making a difference to lives, as well as fostering conditions for a sustainable and inclusive economy.