“The waves are really strong today and surfers are making the most of it.”

“Even when they are knocked over or wiped out they still get up and continue to surf.”

“This relates to the strength of resilience, even when we are knocked down, we are able to get up again. This strength exists because we have been brought up with many challenges in our lives ... one of the main strengths among today’s young people is resilience.”

“We can support those who are experiencing challenges and provide them with the support they need to overcome the problems that they might face to help build their resilience.”

Photographer: Liz Solly

This photograph featured in the Youth Booth exhibition showcasing the work of 10 Victorian young people produced over the 2019-2020 Australian summer. Their work captures their collective experience: being digitally savvy, the stress of study, influence of social media, climate change and the impact of poor mental health. These perspectives, along with our video series produced alongside this, allow us to see the complex situations that impact the youth experience of education.

For schools, teachers, parents and policy-makers it highlights the importance of listening and collaboration with young people, particularly when developing policies and implementing practice to build more inclusive communities. For researchers, we hope this exhibition highlights one way to use participatory visual research methods to support and strengthen the voice of youth.

The exhibition adopts a rights-based perspective which emphasises the importance not only of listening to youth, but actively and authentically collaborating on matters that directly affect them.

The study was conducted by researchers Dr Christine Grove and Louisa Trainer in 2019-2020 at Monash University and is funded by the Monash Education Small Grant Award.