Teen-led project highlights the pandemic's effect on youth

TheMuseum’s youth council is shedding light on the experiences of young people affected by the pandemic.

Youth Council working on documentary-style exhibition

Namrata Mishra, left, is co-chair of the council. Payton Mackey, right, is leading the documentary-style exhibition. (Submitted by Namrata Mishra/Payton Mackey)

TheMuseum's youth council is shedding light on what it's been like for young people to weather the pandemic.

The group, which was formed last year, is made up of teenagers up to 17-years-old who have a passion for their community.

They're now working on a documentary-style exhibition that will feature voices of young people across Canada between the ages four and 24. Participants will have the opportunity to share how the pandemic has impacted their lives.

 Project lead Payton Mackey, 17, said the purpose is to give Canadian youth a voice.

"We get the opinions of the media, politicians and adult speakers, but there hasn't been a chance for younger groups who may have been affected more directly. So it's really trying to fill that gap," she said.

"It's almost necessary in our world today to get everyone's opinions … so we can get a fuller understanding of how people outside our circle are experiencing the world and also create empathy," she added.

Mackey says she lost her job and had a vacation cut short due to the pandemic, but her biggest concern was changes at school. When it comes to education, she says "it's not so easy to get a do-over."

Exhibitions next summer at museum and online

Namrata Mishra, co-chair of the group, said it's important the general public learns from the youth perspective.

"We can resonate with younger children … at the same time, we are at a critical time in our lives where we are making major decisions … with that in mind, we can connect with mature audiences too," she said.

The youth council is seeking submissions all month long and plans to touch base with participants in the coming weeks to conduct interviews for the exhibition.

The experiences will be reflected in two exhibitions: visually in a physical exhibition at the museum and a virtual one online. The youth council plans to unveil the exhibitions next summer.


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