To address questions about young people’s pride in place and civic engagement, we attended "Heavy is the Head that Wears the Crown", a creative response project to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 led by the artist Toni Cook. Working with young people aged 11–16, young adults aged 16–23, and adults with learning disabilities across Herefordshire from a range of organisations, the project explored young people’s attitudes to responsibility through creative methods including poetry, portrait and statements, drama and visual art. Their resulting work was shared at community events and venues, culminating in a performance and exhibition at Ledbury Poetry Festival.
The Feeling Towns team subsequently held a follow-up workshop at Close House in Hereford with Toni Cook and 9 young people who participated in the project. It investigated how young people in Herefordshire understand pride in place, and how "Heavy is the Head" had influenced the young people’s experiences of pride in place and civic engagement.
Toni Cook worked with pupils from Aconbury Pupil Referral Unit, young people from Close House Project, The Cracked Slipper Company, Hope Support Services, Hereford City Youth Council, SENDIASS and John Masefield High School. The project was supported by Ledbury Poetry Festival and Close House and partly funded by Arts Council Let’s Create Jubilee Fund administered by Herefordshire Community Foundation.
How do we understand pride in place? What does it feel like?
What does the ‘Herefordness’ of local pride mean for these young people?