This is where the Young Researchers’ journey commenced – as so many life journeys begin – at home. John Madejski Academy (JMA) students (later to become Young Researchers) discussed and then constructed their conception of an ‘ideal’ home from giant blocks. They engaged a group of young people attending JMA to build an innovative ‘home’ using the blocks to generate a greater and explicit awareness of the place of home in a wider community, establish a core group of young researchers and develop team working skills.

A partnership of several agencies including JMA staff and students, Whitley Researchers, University of Reading and UKCIC and Bewley Homes supported a group of 12 JMA students as they planned and constructed this ‘ideal’ home out of 1500 large blocks. In a single day the home was planned, constructed and dismantled. A productive relationship was established between school, university, community and a local building company – this resulted in closer links between these agencies.

The event emphasised the importance and the value of taking a risk with innovative activities beyond the traditional methods of quantitative research to generate by young people themselves a more qualitative approach. It also helped launch the wider aspiration research project as the young team of builders approached their peers and investigated their ideas and understanding of aspiration.

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