Boundless Theatre


Image of young people for Youthquake post
18 December 2017

Boundless Op-Eds: Politics

YOUTHQUAKE: the word of 2017
A significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people

It’s official, 2017 was the year of the Youthquake! We love the fact this word has been selected to represent the last year and think it couldn’t be more appropriate as we look back at the last 12 months here at Boundless Theatre, and reflect on the boundless spirit and impact young people are creating around the world. As described by the Oxford English Dictionary, this is “a rare political word that sounds a hopeful note”.

‘Youthquake’ has popped up increasingly over the last year, with a fivefold increase in usage since 2016. The word was often used to describe the impact of young people on the UK general election result, with an unexpectedly high level of engagement, demonstrating young people’s potential to drive change. The word was then picked up in New Zealand to describe increasing engagement by young people as they elected their youngest ever female leader. Next, the word was used to describe increasing youth engagement in the Australian referendum on marriage equality. We’ve known for a long time that young people are driving significant change, and are keen to see where the next Youthquake will take place.

We can thank Vogue’s former editor, Diana Vreeland for brining the word in to popular use when she used it to describe sudden changes in fashion, music and attitudes, in a photo-filled article entitled Youthquake:

“Youth… is surprising countries east and west with a sense of assurance serene beyond all years. First hit by the surprise-wave, England and France already accept the new jump-off age as one of the exhilarating realities of life today. The same exuberant tremor is now coursing through America—which practically invented this century’s youth in the first place”.

As the Oxford English Dictionary says, the word represents “Hope that the damage we’ve done to our institutions will enable the next generation to rebuild better ones. Hope that our polarized times are creating a more open-minded electorate that will exercise its voice in the times ahead”.

As our vision states we believe in the unlimited potential of young adults, their boundless spirit and power and believe that young people will change the world for the better.