Cardiff University hosts an annual ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) Festival of Social Science to celebrate and raise awareness of outstanding social science research. This year the Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE) held an exhibition event co-produced by the CASCADE Voices research advisory group called ‘My Creative Voice: Young people’s priorities for research, policy and practice’. CASCADE Voices is run in partnership with Voices From Care Cymru and made up of care-experienced young people that advise on research from design to dissemination. The young people worked with artist Lucy Dickson as part of a day long workshop to create Protest Art and to share their priorities for research.

The artwork was exhibited on the 4th November in Cardiff city centre. An evening event was held to talk through the artwork and hear from two researchers whose projects related to the priority areas set out by the young people. Dr Jennifer Lyttleton-Smith discussed her Talking Changes project and Matthew Howells presented his PhD research entitled ‘Exploring the Impact of Crime on Young Homeless People: A Young Person’s Perspective’.

The messages and themes highlighted by the young people present have been used to develop or support research ideas within CASCADE.

Since the exhibit in November, we have taken the artwork to share at other events including the ExChange Wales ‘All you need is love’ conference, incorporating them into our workshop co-developed with young people that explored their experiences of love in the care system.

The final stop for the exhibit was the North and South Wales Voices From Care Cymru ‘Proud to be Me’ conferences in February 2020. This time the artwork was used as inspiration in a ‘Protest Art’ stigma workshop. Here attendees were given the opportunity to create their own Protest art, coming up with slogans around stigma.

The artwork will now find its permanent home at the Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre – CASCADE offices, but the messages and priorities set out by the young people will continue to be used within our work.

For more information on CASCADE Voices or related work please contact Rachael Vaughan, CASCADE Engagement worker, at