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Empowering young people for a healthier future

Empowering young people to imagine better futures is at the heart of a new training programme “Creative Futuring for Health” being developed by a group of AUT researchers and partners from The Southern Initiative and Healthy Families South Auckland. The project is part of the AUT Health Futures funding scheme.

“We know young people care deeply about the world around them and the issues they face, but all too often their ideas are not sought, and not developed,” says Associate Professor Ricardo Sosa. “Creative Futuring will connect young people in years 8 and 9 with the environment and tools to develop their creative ideas into innovative solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of their communities.”

During the weeklong programme, the participants will connect with industry partners to work on real world challenges. The ideas they imagine and prototype over the week will be presented to industry and community partners who collaborate with the research team.

“Play has a crucial role in wellbeing,” says Professor Andrew Gibbons. "The programme draws insights from the fields of design, health, and education. The importance of play connects these fields and focuses the programme on developing and applying creativity, resilience, and contribution. We expect this programme to benefit these students in all parts of their lives, including their learning and leadership in school.”

The pilot programme and accompanying research will take place between 2021 and 2024, with total funding of $500 thousand, and the intention of scaling the programme for roll out around New Zealand and around the world.

“We know young people often find it challenging to envision their future. Creative Futuring puts the tools for changing their world in their hands and aims to create meaningful outcomes,” says Senior lecturer Amabel Hunting.

AUT researchers

  • Associate Professor Ricardo Sosa, School of Future Environments
  • Dr Amabel Hunting, School of Art and Design
  • Dr Loïc Le Dé, School of Public Health and Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Professor Andrew Gibbons, School of Education

External collaborators

  • The Southern Initiative
  • Healthy Families South Auckland
  • Baruk Jacob
  • Jacqui Yip