Coastopia 2029

Installation imagining the perfect Scarborough of the future, produced with young people from the town.

A suspended illuminated yellow hexagon etched with the words ‘People have a sense of belonging’ and suspended in a dark space with starlight in the background

“If you could design the perfect Scarborough of the future, what would it be like to live there?” Using this question as a prompt I worked with young people from the Sidewalk Project youth group and researchers from Social Policy & Social Work at the University of York. The group were invited to imagine Scarborough as a Utopia – a community where life is perfect for its citizens.

Focusing on themes including equality, economics and justice we discussed participant’s ambitions for their town. Responses were etched onto acrylic hexagons that were lit by LEDs and suspended to create a walk-through installation. The installation format gave material weight to the ideas offered by the young people, helping both contributors and spectators to recognise their worth. Being able to walk through the installation and read its inscriptions encouraged visitors to reflect on their own role in making the Scarborough of the future a great place to live. Concurrently the project challenged existing negative stereotypes of young people in the area.

The hexagons have subsequently been displayed in local council chambers and used as prompt for discussion between young people and councillors. Their contents have been adopted as a manifesto by the Sidewalk Project youth Group.

Funded by University of York

University of York