COVID-19 Recovery Scenarios for Young People in Melbourne’s Inner North

The Problem

The world is currently in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic that is yet to run its epidemiological course. The current, exponentially rising human toll is tragic and devastating. Many parts of the global economy are in crisis, and the variety of government, business and community responses to the crises hint at their scale and possible duration.

Historically, we know that young people carry a particularly heavy burden in the downstream of crises: in terms of their health and well-being, their engagement in education and training, and their transitions into work. We also know that certain places will be more heavily impacted by these crises, certain labour market sectors will be more heavily hit, and certain populations of young people are more at risk in relation to these challenges. 

The Project

You are invited to take part in the research project COVID-19 Recovery Scenarios for Young People in Melbourne’s Inner North. 

The text below is what RMIT University calls a Participant Information Consent Form. It tells you about the research project and explains the processes involved with taking part. Knowing what is involved will help you decide if you want to take part in the research.

Please read this information carefully. Ask questions about anything that you don’t understand or want to know more about. Before deciding whether or not to take part, you might want to talk about it with a relative or friend.

Participation in this research is voluntary. If you don’t wish to take part, you don’t have to. If you decide you want to take part in the research project, you will be asked to click a link to register with McNair yellowSquares. By clicking it you are telling us that you::

  • Understand what you have read
  • Consent to take part in the research project

What is the purpose of this research?

The COVID-19 research project aims to examine the key challenges – in the short, medium and long-term future – facing particular populations of young people in particular places and produce research informed, place-based scenarios for young people’s sustainable futures. The project will deliver evidence informed, provocative, and disruptive solutions to these challenges. We will facilitate ‘surprising alliances’ of academic, community, business, Third Sector, and government stakeholders in developing innovative scenarios in relation to identified contexts/situations, challenges, and possible futures (short, medium and long term). The research has been funded by INLLEN and initiated by the researchers, Dr. Seth Brown and Professor Peter Kelly.

What does participation in this research involve?

You have been sent an initial invitation to participate in this project because you are involved with INLLEN and you work with young people.

Given the scale of the challenges faced by young Australians there is an urgent need to produce research informed, place-based scenarios for young people’s sustainable futures. Using this logic, the project aims to:

(Aim 1) produce research informed, place-based scenarios for young people’s sustainable futures

(Aim 2) identify key challenges – in the short, medium and long-term future – facing particular populations of young people in particular places.


The project will be delivered by an Action Research (AR) methodology/approach that will establish two-four (depending on COVID 19, either face-to-face or via McNair yellowSquare or other social media platform to be decided by INLLEN) AR workshops with you (see attached COVID-19-Research Project Proposal-UNEVOC-Schedule). INLLEN assisted us in recruiting you and in inviting you to the workshops. INLLEN will organise the venue/social media platform (e.g. McNair yellowSquare or another social media platform).

Participant observations

We will facilitate the AR workshops (audio-record the workshops if face-to-face or download the video recorded or other information/data from McNair yellowSquare or social media platform to be decided by INLLEN to a secure RMIT password protected server). The participant observations of your participation in the AR workshops will either be audio recordings or video recordings or other information from McNair yellowSquare or another social media platform of the workshop sessions to capture our conversations and to record field notes/transcripts of the events that transpire. Often, these observations will form part of the materials/discussion documents that are returned in following meetings.

AR is an approach that enables the project to meet Aims 1 & 2 by embedding knowledge creation, stakeholder engagement, and impact into the research logic. 

The persistence and complexity of the significant challenges facing young people have come to be defined by a number of central concepts, including youth as a key stage in the lifecourse, and young people’s individual resilience and enterprise. The design and methods we outline below will mean that initial workshops groups will be structured thematically, and engage with five key concepts:

  1. The moral economies of young people’s health and well-being is framed by this concept (Kelly & Pike 2017), which offers a way for thinking about the choices that are made, or not made, by a range of individuals, businesses and agencies in relation to young people’s health and well-being in the context of a crisis of/for neo-Liberalism. 
  2. Adversity capital: ‘Adversity capital’ is a deliberately provocative concept that is suggestive of the capacity to navigate a changing labour market and workforce uncertainty, and critically engage the contexts, practices and values of work, to challenge wider norms related to working life and life in general.
  3. Cultures of resilience: This concept emerges from research undertaken across Thailand, Bangladesh, India and Australia that identified the importance of cultural practices which shape community ‘resilience’ in the context of chronic or acute shocks (Arvanitakis 2013).
  4. The guerrilla self: Howie and Campbell (2016) have suggested that those young people with ‘entrepreneurial’ skills and sensibilities can imagine a form of youthful selfhood that they call the guerrilla self. 
  5. Urban ecologies: The concept of urban ecologies suggests an alternative, critical, conceptual language for understanding how children’s and young people’s geographies can contribute to new models of resilience and enterprise.

We will collect interview data from young people. You will be invited to assist us with recruitment. The interviews with young people will include topics of COVID-19 and other changes to the economy, work, education, and politics. In the interviews, young people will be asked questions about their health and wellbeing and their educational and training experiences in relation to managing work and life during the COVID-19 crisis. Participation in the interviews with young people, conducted via Video-ask, will be voluntary. The identified participants will be informed about the aim and structure of the interview and their consent will be sought. The data will be collected onto a Video-ask server to later be downloaded to a password protected RMIT server by the researchers.

There are no costs associated with participating in this research project, nor will you be paid.

There will be approximately 60 key stakeholders involved with INLLEN and 60 young people from the inner northern Melbourne suburbs participating in this project.

Do I have to take part in this research project?

Participation in any research project is voluntary. If you do not wish to take part, you do not have to. If you decide to take part and later change your mind, you are free to withdraw from the project at any stage.

If you do decide to take part, you will read this Participant Information and Consent Form and be asked to click a link to register to access McNair yellowSquares.

Your decision whether to take part or not to take part, or to take part and then withdraw, will not affect your relationship with the researchers or with RMIT University.

If you take part in the workshops you are free to stop participating at any stage or to refuse to answer any questions. However, it will not be possible to withdraw your individual comments from our records once the workshop group has started, as it is a group discussion. In this event we will remove any individual comments that you have made and we will not publish them.

What are the possible benefits of taking part?

We cannot guarantee or promise that you will receive any benefits from this research; however, you may appreciate contributing to knowledge. Possible benefits may include improved services supporting young people in the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne.

What are the risks and disadvantages of taking part?

Workshop group discussions

It is advisable that you do not reveal anything too personal or that you may regret later on.

Psychological distress

You may feel that some of the questions we ask are stressful or upsetting. If you do not wish to answer a question, you may skip it and go to the next question, or you may stop immediately. If you become upset or distressed as a result of your participation in the research project, members of the research team will be able to discuss appropriate support for you.

What if I withdraw from this research project?

If you do consent to participate, you may withdraw at any time. If you decide to withdraw from the project, please notify a member of the research team. You have the right to have any unprocessed data withdrawn and destroyed, providing it can be reliably identified.

What happens when the research project ends?

We will provide you with project updates on the Young People’s Sustainable Futures blog where we will provide regular updates on the project including posting edited versions of particular videos of interviews with young people. You will also receive a scenario planning report at the completion of the project.  

The analysis of the young people’s interviews will be used in a number of workshops convened by INLLEN to develop scenarios about young people’s sustainable futures in your community. We may use the interview data for publication and/or presented in a variety of forums, along with the notes of the workshop meetings and any documents that you submit to the meetings.

The research project will involve the establishment of a permanent databank of video interviews. Additional use of the information is contemplated in the next two years when young people will be invited to participate in a follow-up interview. Young people’s consent will be sought for the follow-up interview by clicking on the link to Video-ask.  

What will happen to information about me?

By clicking the link to register to enter McNair yellowSquares, you consent to the research team collecting and using information from you for the project. It is anticipated that the results of this research project will be published and/or presented in a variety of forums.

The raw data from the workshops (audio/video recordings, notes/transcripts, and documents etc.) will be kept in a secure location at RMIT University. The information you provide in the workshops will be identifiable. All data will be stored on a password protected computer, and hard copies will be stored in a locked filing cabinet within Dr. Seth Brown’s office. This data will be kept securely at RMIT for 5 years before being destroyed.

In accordance with relevant Australian and/or Victorian privacy and other relevant laws, you have the right to request access to the information about you that is collected and stored by the research team. You also have the right to request that any information with which you disagree be corrected. Please inform the research team member named at the end of this document if you would like to access your information.

Any information that you provide can be disclosed only if (1) it protects you or others from harm, (2) if specifically allowed by law, (3) you provide the researchers with written permission.

Who has reviewed the research project?

All research in Australia involving humans is reviewed by an independent group of people called a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). This research project has been approved by the RMIT University HREC.

This project will be carried out according to the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007). This statement has been developed to protect the interests of people who agree to participate in human research studies.

Further information and who to contact

NameDr. Seth Brown
PositionChief Investigator
Telephone03 9925 7848
NameProfessor Peter Kelly
PositionChief Investigator
Telephone+61 (0) 428 625 483


Should you have any concerns or questions about this research project, which you do not wish to discuss with the researchers listed in this document, then you may contact:

Reviewing HREC nameRMIT University
HREC SectaryVivienne Moyle
Telephone03 9925 5037
Mailing addressManager, Research Governance and Ethics
RMIT University
GPO Box 247

Acknowledgement by Participant

I have read and understood the Participant Information Sheet. 

I understand the purposes, procedures and risks of the research described in the project.

I have had an opportunity to ask questions and I am satisfied with the answers I have received.

I freely agree to participate in this research project as described and understand that I am free to withdraw at any time during the project without affecting my relationship with RMIT.

If you decide you want to take part in the research project, you will be asked to click a link to register with McNair yellowSquares.