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Our future is open: into a future imagined by and for young people

In January 2024 we embarked on a remarkable journey with a group of young people from across the UK; a voyage of discovery into a future imagined by and for young people and future generations. Listen to their journey.

“It’s hard to put the experience into words. It has changed the entirety of how I think and go about things.”


This journey formed part of Kinship Discovery – a programme of exploration, research and insight-generation run by Paul Hamlyn Foundation to inform a major new funding initiative focused on young people and hope for the future. We co-created it with the brilliant Northern Soul for a diverse group of young people from all four countries of the UK and from many different backgrounds. 

Over three days we held space for the crew to examine and articulate what young people are facing in the UK today – from a political system they see as offering them no plausible alternative for their future, the cost of living crisis and declining spaces in which they can meet and create, to the deepening climate and ecological crises, disconnection and alienation. 

From here, we worked together to identify the things we want to preserve and keep in our sights from among our current ways of living, and what we want to reclaim and rekindle from our cultures and histories. We shared glimmers of hope: examples of projects rooted in different value systems that point the way ahead and show us what alternative futures could look like. And we dreamt and felt into bold visions for beautiful futures, ones imagined by and for young people and future generations. 

Together we articulated a set of principles to orient towards in pursuit of such a future: a beautiful constellation of hope and possibility animated by seven kinds of love. From putting people and planet over product and profit, to amplifying the wisdom in children, to creating collective cultures of family (and much more), the principles painted a vivid picture of the beautiful futures young people dream of. They also showed us how far these are from what is offered to young people at present.

We believe there is an urgent need for experimentation, creativity and courage. The future is open and as much as we see very significant challenges ahead, we also see extraordinary possibilities for action, for imaginative solutions and for hope.

Tony Hall, Trustee, Paul Hamlyn Foundation

These principles will live on as inspiration and direction for the crew who journeyed with us, and will also feed in to Kinship Discovery to inform a major new funding initiative at Paul Hamlyn Foundation focused on young people. You can read more about Kinship Discovery here and sign up for updates here.

The wonderful crew who journeyed with us were Amira Hayat, Cassie Robinson, Charli Ivy Perkins, Dami Fawehinmi, Ella Greenway, Felix Miller, Gage Oxley, Halima Ali, Jane Hamlyn, Jason Wong, Kaya Birch-Skerritt, Lilia Hakem, Moira Sinclair, Nathan Holmes, Nirushan Sudarsan and Olivia Gable. Special thanks to Ruth Ibegbuna and India Morgan of Northern Soul for lovingly co-creating this journey with us.

“The whole experience taught me two things. First, on a personal level that I have things to offer the world that are helpful and powerful. And second, that it’s possible to find community anywhere. With the way the world feels right now, to know there are people out there that I can create a family with and connect with, that comforts me.”


Listen to the Audio Encounter made with participants of the journey here: