Project Overview

Brum Youth Trends connected with 1,500 young people. They consulted on Beatfreeks’ flagship research project, which delves into their experiences of living in the city; what works for them and what doesn't, what they’re positive about, and what they’re anxious about.



  1. Communicate the wealth of data collected and trends spotted for Brum Youth Trends to multiple audiences

  2. Empower people to respond to the report and its findings through ‘pledges’ so that they might reflect on how the data impacts them, and how they can impact the data


Brum Youth Trends has been posing the question 'Who Runs Brum?’  

No singular person does, or should; it's clear that modern complex cities require 21st-century leadership. This leadership involves a plurality of voices and it's this intersection of perspective that keeps moving Birmingham’s cogs ever 'Forward'.

Fuel conversation. Engage gears. Ignite action.

'Cognitive Thought’ represents how small changes together can make a movement.

'Cognitive Responses' are thoughts that occur as we hear people tell stories or share ideas.



Cognitive Thought featured four series’ of interconnected cogs. Each set of cogs related to a ‘trend’ within the BYT report. Within each set of cogs, each individual cog had several pieces of data or information on it.

Participants were invited to turn a crank wheel, which changed the information displayed on the first cog, and in turn changed the information on several consequent cogs, demonstrating the interconnected nature of our findings, and a visual representation of a ‘theme’ for the summit which asked the question ‘who runs Brum?’ and concluded that no single person or voice ‘ran’ the city, but that it is indeed a shared responsibility.

Our data capture installation Cognitive Responses helped us to explore the ‘do’ element of our practice by challenging audiences and participants to ‘pledge’ changes they would make to their work, practice, or everyday habits based on the findings of the report.

In keeping with the industrial theme (a gentle nod towards Birmingham’s industrial heritage), participants were invited to attach a pledge to a ‘pledge wall’, and use alan keys, nuts and bolts, to secure them to the wall; a tactile and concrete demonstration of their commitment to their pledges.



400 people explored the Cognitive Thought installation

2 collaborators

60 pledges to change behaviours based on the findings of the report