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The history of Vital Voters | LAUNCHES APRIL 2020

Vital Voters is a People’s History Museum (PHM) project that will harness the inspiration behind ideas worth fighting for and combine it with an exciting digital approach to engage young people with the power of democracy.

Image of Vital Voters @ People's History Museum

PHM is creating a dedicated area of the museum website, where young people can learn about the past, present, and future of democracy.

Vital Voters launches in March 2020 and here’s what you can expect to see:

Vital Voters past – Voting is vital.  Want to know why?  Our Vital Voters vloggers will be looking at the history of democracy in Britain to discover why we all need the right to have our say.

Vital Voters present – Confused about how voting works and what parliament does?  You’ll find the answers to all your questions here.

Vital Voters future – A platform for young people to let the world know about the issues that matter to them; the next generation of voters.

The Vital Voters project is funded and supported by Nesta, The Speaker’s Art Fund and UK Parliament Education and Engagement.


Free Workshop!

As part of our Vital Voters project, People’s History Museum is inviting schools to take part in our FREE Your Voice Counts workshop.


Want to see where our Vital Voters journey has taken us so far?  

Here Petra Wilcockson, Vital Voters Project Manager documents the project and shares the story so far.

Wednesday 4 December 2019

Today we met our new Vital Voters vloggers for the very first time.  Daniel, Sam, Kayleigh, George, Rhiannon and Jonah from The Westleigh School in Leigh, Greater Manchester.  As these students will be the co-creators of our Vital Voters vlogs, it was essential we found a team that could work well together and whose characters would shine through as the stars of our series.  After working with these young people, it’s clear they fit the bill!

The Vital Voters vloggers are clear on how people of their age group want to be communicated with.  They are confident that the vlogs they produce will not only be informative but will also use exciting elements of youth culture to make learning entertaining and relevant to the audience they are for.  Each vlog will feature an item from PHM’s collection which in some way tells the story of the development of democracy in Britain.  We can’t wait to see what they come up with!

As part of the day, the vloggers also worked with graphic designer, Katie-Mae Jones, to develop visuals for the project.  They identified the styles and colours that most appealed to them and then later gave feedback on the designs that Katie created.

Watch the team working with graphic designer Katie-Mae Jones
Image of Left to right - Vital Voters vloggers Jonah, Kayleigh, Rhiannon, Ellie, George and Sam © People's History Museum

Tuesday 14 January 2020

The Vital Voters vloggers enjoyed a fantastic first day of filming at People’s History Museum today.  The story of Thomas Bangbala, who migrated to Manchester from Lagos in the 1920s, highlighted the fact that changes in the nature and makeup of society continually bring new challenges to equality and democracy that need to be addressed.  Democracy it seems is not fixed, but constantly evolving to meet new needs.

During his lifetime, Thomas kept all his letters, documents and certificates safely filed away for purely practical reasons, little knowing that one day they would become a piece of social history at People’s History Museum.  As a collection, these documents tell the story of Thomas’s life and the difficulties he faced as an immigrant and person of colour trying to make a life for himself in England.

As well as exploring Thomas’s collection in PHM’s archives, our vloggers found new ways to make learning fun.

Here’s a fly-on-the-wall insight into what they got up to on their first day of filming.


See the vloggers first day of filming
Image of Vital Voters vloggers, National Football Museum © People’s History Museum

Friday 24 January 2020, morning

Our Vital Voters vloggers stumbled across a piece of sporting history in their investigations at People’s History Museum – Viv Anderson’s England shirt!   So our vloggers went along to the National Football Museum in Manchester to talk to the former Nottingham Forest, Manchester United and England Defender Viv Anderson MBE about his experiences as the first black England international football player.  Although they are all far too young to remember Viv’s international debut back in 1978, racism in football remains a topical issue even now.  Food for thought as they discover more about the history of migration in Britain and issues of equality surrounding it.

Later, our vloggers pitted their football skills against Viv in a penalty shootout.  It turns out the England legend has still got what it takes!


Watch the Vital Voters vloggers interview with Viv Anderson MBE
Image of Viv Anderson prepares to take his penalty © National Football Museum

Friday 24 January 2020, afternoon

Back at People’s History Museum, our vloggers were invited to speak to Vital Voters project partners the UK Parliament Education and Engagement Team at their community away day.  In spite of having very little time to prepare, they didn’t disappoint and shared an early iteration of one of the vlogs they have been working on.

Free workshops!

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