William Stephens PhD


"We have to create conditions to enable young people of all backgrounds to become protagonists in the generation, application and dissemination of knowledge."

William Stephens is a postdoctoral researcher in the domain ‘Becoming Adults in a Changing World’.  He has a foot in both the worlds of academia and practice, having over a decade of experience of working with youth and their families in neighbourhood settings, and a research agenda focused on the influence of social and political institutions on youth development.

He is especially interested in how policies and systems, including formal and nonformal education systems, shape youth identity, purpose, and motivation. Different assumptions about the role of youth in society, talent and talent development, and issues of (in)justice come together in policies, systems, and practices that shape the environment in which young people are undertaking the work of defining themselves and their place in society. Understanding the (unintended) impact of these policies, systems, practices, and how youth navigate them plays an important role in assisting in the development of arrangements that can best support youth development. He is particularly committed to involving youth in the generation of scientific knowledge through participatory methods.