Young Lives in the Spotlight: Poverty, Place & Belonging in Balsall Heath

Balsall Heath, Birmingham, The GAP
Wednesday 9 November 2022 (19:00-21:00)
Portrayals of Poverty, Place & Belonging

This event combines participatory interactive art and a panel discussion to explore issues of poverty and celebrate place and belonging.

The evening will be delivered in collaboration with young people living in Balsall Heath, a deprived, inner-city Birmingham neighbourhood which has a higher population of young people than the national average and is home to many communities with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

Presented in collaboration with the GAP Arts Project, a community-based youth arts organisation based in Balsall Heath, this event will showcase the work of local young people participated in an art workshop exploring the themes of poverty, place and belonging and how these themes relate to their lives.

Performances will be followed by a panel discussion consisting of academics, a member of the GAP and a young participant. The audience will be encouraged to share their own views on poverty, place and belonging.

This event will engage with and provide young people from the Balsall Heath area with the opportunity to work with, and be trained by, drama specialists from the GAP to co-produce, explore and express the themes of poverty, place and belonging through arts. The event will also give young people the opportunity to be part of an interactive, participatory panel discussion to express their views and experiences.

The event therefore brings together local people, the GAP and academics who are interested in exploring the issues of poverty, place and belonging and are committed to improving the local area of Balsall Heath – an area which is home to communities stricken by social and structural inequalities based on race, ethnicity, class and poverty.

All welcome to attend, free online registration required

Leading the event:

  • Dr Ozlem Ogtem-Young - Research Fellow and Research Theme Lead (Poverty, Precarity, Savings and Debt) working on research on poverty, precarity, financial insecurity and belonging amongst ethnic and migrant communities within  CHASM - The Centre on Housing Assets and Savings Management at the School of Social Policy and Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham.


  • Dr Gerardo Javier Arriaga Garcia - a lecturer in Research Methods at Ulster University, QAHE and holds a PhD in Social Policy from the University of Birmingham. His current research focuses on the relationship between welfare systems and poverty. He is currently conducting comparative research through secondary data analysis, of conditional cash transfer programmes in Latin America and the UK. His focus is on the extent to which different welfare systems promote or reduce people in poverty´s control of their living conditions, their social relations and their flourishing potential.
  • Dr Lee Gregory - Associate Professor in Social Policy at the School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham, previously University of Birmingham. Lee has particular expertise in poverty, social mobility, LGBTQ+ experiences of welfare and asset-based welfare. Lee is currently completing a project reviewing social needs in the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield on behalf of Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust. He is also part of a collaboration with Stirling University and Sheffield Hallam University exploring Welfare access, assets and debts of LGBT+ people in the UK.
  • The GAP - a youth arts organisation and cultural space based in Balsall Heath, Birmingham. The GAP is driven by its methodology and values to use creativity and culture as tools for making sense of the world and imagining possible futures.

This event is part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science - spanning the months of October and November this range of interactive virtual and physical events will be free and open to the public.