Case study | Building a platform for young people - Museums Association

Case study | Building a platform for young people

Yuen-May Chong shares NML's approach to youth engagement work
Young people
Yuen-May Chong
The NML Youth Engagement Forum is aimed at 16 to 24-year-olds who want to meet like-minded people, share ideas, gain experience and discuss topics that matter to them Pete Carr

Following the success of the International Slavery Museum’s Young Ambassadors Programme, National Museums Liverpool launched the Youth Engagement Forum in November 2021.

The aim was to build a platform for young people across the city to redefine what matters to them when it comes to Liverpool’s history and culture and help us make our galleries and museums more diverse, inclusive and a space for everyone to enjoy.

Working together to develop a programme of events and across our seven museums and galleries, the forum is an opportunity for 16–24-year-olds to meet like-minded people on a regular basis, sharing ideas, gaining experience and discussing topics that really matter to them.

The forum regularly hosts pop-up events inspired by our exhibitions, such as football-related activities, workshops and talks, as well as a tabletop football competition, to coincide with Art of the Terraces at Walker Art Gallery.

Upcoming events include a jewellery-making workshop inspired by Pure Brilliance: The Boodles Story at Lady Lever Art Gallery and a pop-up event to mark International Women’s Day.

“After finishing university and unsure of what career I was passionate about, or wanted to pursue, the forum allowed me to explore a sector of work I had never realised existed as it does. I’ve been able to use my skills, creativity, and love for museums into a meaningful outcome.

Through creating exhibition pop-up events, learning from curators and staff, sharing with others the value museums and galleries have, I’ve been able to connect with other likeminded young people, building connections with a wide range of people and making valuable friendships.

Opportunities have included being part of the Youth Advisory Panel with the Natural History Museum, the Merseyside Youth Association Raise team and the Stopwatch Girls project.

After these experiences, I realised working in the museum/gallery sector was the career path I wanted to follow and secured a Kickstart role within the exhibitions team at Tate Liverpool. The forum has given me connections and friendships, work experience, a career path to pursue and my first job role.”



Topical thinking

The forum also looks at current issues and hot topics. Making a Merseyside Utopia: Changing Perspectives through Storytelling and Art at Museum of Liverpool was a collaboration between the Youth Engagement Forum and the Peer Action Collective.

Through a series of talks, short films and documentaries and creatives workshops, young people considered what would the world look like without youth violence, how we can make a positive change to our community and how we can try to make things better with the voices of young people in our society.

By taking part in the forum, young people gain valuable skills and training through working with creatives and museum professionals, as well as working together as a team – leading on projects that are shaped by their passions and interests. 

With a strong focus on skills and employability, forum members will gain work experience for their CVs, as well as learn how to host activities in a museum or gallery, digital skills, networking and volunteering. 

“The Youth Engagement Forum was an amazing experience and something I’m proud to have been a part of.

Not only was I able to learn more about the inner workings of the museums I was able to help put together events and engage with the public.

I was able to interact with a diverse group of people from different backgrounds and got to enjoy talks and tours about museum exhibits.

I am now working in the World Museum and was able to get my job because of skills that I learned from the Youth Engagement Forum.”



We've already had four young people gain jobs in the arts and museums sector, including one at National Museums Liverpool, and a few more applying for arts degrees at university.

Opportunities within the forum are open-ended; whether you want to learn how to produce, plan and organise events or get involved in researching our fascinating collections, there’s a chance to get involved in a wide range of activities.

Whether you already have a passion for art, science or history or even just want to meet new people, all are welcome. We want to find enthusiastic young people who want to leave their mark on Liverpool’s cultural life. If this sounds like something you want to be part of, contact me on

Yuen-May Chong is the participation producer (young people) at National Museums Liverpool

“I joined the forum because I wanted to get directly involved in arts and culture projects in the Liverpool area, aimed at young people, but also run by young people, reflective of our interests.

I’ve gained experience of working both collaboratively and independently, putting on events and workshops for the public, and improved my skills in facilitation. The forum allows me to socialise with people my age with similar interests, helping build my confidence, develop social and interpersonal skills, and form friendships.

It’s helped me to express and learn about myself, and I’m able to offer support to my peers. It’s also helped me form better connections with people I know who have an interest in museums and galleries outside of the group, such as family members.

I talk to them about the forum and invite them to exhibitions with me or recommend things for them to go and see. The forum is something I am proud to be a part of, I enjoy getting to know members of the group and working with them.

The group leader is encouraging and listens to what each member has to say, and works hard to provide regular opportunities for us to get involved in.”


Comments (1)

  1. Claire Benjamin says:

    May, you are a great asset to the team at NML, and the confidence and growth of the youth engagement forum members this past year has been fantastic to see.

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