by Helen Goss
I was very keen to be involved in this conference as I have an active interest in how young people use new technologies to communicate and interact with their communities. I saw this as a chance to observe first hand how young people in Europe are working with other young people, helping them to tackle the issues that are a part of their lives. I also wanted to contribute, wherever possible, a UK perspective and help when any collating of information was needed.
I saw my role in this week of activities as a motivator and presenter of information regarding current research and project work within the field of Social Media and Youth work in the UK. I wanted to inspire and provoke thinking around how and why the participants used these technologies in their everyday work with the young people in their organisations.
My presentation at the beginning of the conference was an overview of the evolution of these new technologies, focusing on how a young person is now able to become the creator of their ‘services’ instead of just a consumer. I hope that I highlighted the necessity as a youth worker, to be aware of this, in order to support young people in developing within this ‘bubble’ of new media. I used my experience of growing up in line with the evolution of this revolutionary technological age as a way into thinking about how young people engage with the technology around them. My role though out the rest of the conference was to assist in gathering the information that came from the investigations carried out by participants so that they could be presented online in a useful way.
At the time of the conference in the UK there was a study being carried out by the Nominet Trust, to investigate ‘How digital technologies can support young people to engage socially and economically with their communities’, now called ‘the Digital Edge’ (http://www.nominettrust.org.uk/knowledge-centre/articles/digital-edge-using-technology-to-support-young-people) which came up with ten messages for exploring digital innovation with young people. The paper resulting from this study is called ‘The Digital Edge, Using digital technology to support young people’ and can be found here (http://www.nominettrust.org.uk/sites/default/files/The%20Digital%20Edge.pdf) It is a provocation paper written for the Nominet Trust by Tim Davies, David Wilcox and Alex Farrow. The technologies suggested for use in this paper are ambitious but the thinking behind the engagement of young people using technologies they come across in their everyday life can be used as poignant starting points. I think with a bit of work, it would be possible to include a simplified and accessible version to the users of Vivo in the context of Youth Work within Europe.
Which brings me on to the issue of working with disadvantage groups, a subject which, the conference sort to address. There were many examples of great films produced by young people, for young people communicating the issues of their communities, this medium is very powerful and accessible. Many projects were already present online making them available for others to use and learn from. There were some thought provoking presentations by the team which, demonstrated how to listen to and engage with disadvantaged and disenfranchised young people in a way that empowered them into action or inspired youth workers to ‘pay attention’.
The conference presented the triangle of social media, youth work and human rights as a way to focus on how European youth work and young peoples issues can be communicated through the use of social and audio-visual media.
I observed many innovative and talented approaches for getting young peoples messages across. The conference helped me to understand what ways social media could assist meaningfully in the communication of these methodologies so that others could benefit from the great work already achieved.
I was very pleased to have been invited and given the opportunity to work with this experienced team, they made me feel very welcome. I loved the easygoing nature surrounding the whole conference, this attitude helped the participants relax and learn in a fertile environment where many things were able to grow! The balance of informal and structured sessions along with the opportunity for participants to attend and deliver workshops was just right. I must mention the Sweded workshop, which was my favorite and will be used in my practice in future. I was also very grateful for the opportunity to mix with the participants in the ‘social’ moments as I learned much about the way people are working with new media in many parts of Europe.
Thank you again for your fabulousness!
Helen Goss – wayout media
more about WAYOUT MEDIA here: http://wayoutmedia.com/
The Video Volunteers project has been funded with support from the European Commission [Education and Culture DG, Youth in Action Programme] and the Council of Europe [European Youth Foundation – Category B]. The publication (communication) itself reflects only the views of the authors, and neither the Commission nor the Council of Europe may be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.