Study on young people, social inclusions and digitalisation

In his role as a member of the Pool of European Youth Researchers Coordinated by the partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe in the field of Youth, PDCs director Dan Moxon was recently involved in producing a study on Young People, Social Inclusions and Digitalisation. The study aimed to understand how the youth sector and youth policy needs to think about social inclusion in the online world and space, and explore current practices and approaches to working with marginalised young people through digital tools. You can watch a live stream presentations of the study in the video , as well as accessing the study results here

Online Q&A on youth participation

People Dialogue and Change director Dan Moxon recently took part in an online Q and A on youth participation for SALTO Participation and Information alongside Cristina Bacalso

SALTO PI is a resource centre which forms part of the Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps programmes, who develop strategic and innovative action to encourage youth participation in democratic life, as well as working intensively on media literacy, critical thinking and sense of initiative and communication.  PDC's Dan Moxon and Corina Pivrulescu have been working with SALTO PI to develop a youth participation strategy for the E+ and Es programmes across Europe as well as a soon to be launched resource hub on youth participation. You can watch the Q and A by clicking here.

Online hangout on tools for working with young people online

To try and provide some support for youth workers in the UK and beyond during Corrona, we hosted on online hangout to create space for youth workers to share their experiences of digital youth work.

 At People Dialogue and Change we DON'T consider ourselves to be experts in Digital Youth Work. (For that please check out people like Game Over Hate, Verke, and well, pretty much everything in Estonia). However, we do use digital tools regularly in our work with young people, and it seemed like we might be an a good position to support.

The hangout was inundated, and 100 people took part, with many more trying to get in. This made it a bit tricky to facilitate, as our Director Dan Moxon was the only facilitator. (For large meetings it's good to have team)! Special thanks need to go to Emily Niner and Josephine from Ambition About Autism, and John Taylor from High Life Highland who all shared their experiences with everyone who attended. Thanks also to the NYA, the Mix and UK Youth pulling together a single point of access for youth work support over  Corona on which the hangout was promoted.

We have re-recorded the main presentation, which you can see in the video below.

We also have an edited version of the  whole webinar here - where you can hear John, Emily and Josephine as well notes that the groups made live during the breakout groups here and video of their feedback here.

Finally, don't forget to  check out and add to our padlet on digital youth work below

Made with Padlet

Capacity building patient organisations

At People Dialogue and Change we have been doing an increasing amount of work to support Patient Representative organisation to train and support a generation of young patient activists. As well as our long standing work with the European Patient Forum, where we we have been supporting the Summer Training for Young Patient Advocates programme for over three years, PDC has recently begun supporting the International Bureau for Epilepsy and the European Platform on Multiple Sclerosis. We have been working with all of these organisation to develop the leadership and advocacy skills of the young people in their ranks, and ensure that young people can be fully part of the patient advocacy movement.

It is now widely established that young people are less engaged with formal representative structures than in previous generations. Some in the youth sector have responded by re-focusing projects on so called alternative forms of participation such as social movements or deliberative democracy.  However, our work with the patient representative community highlights that alongside this there is still need for a continuous focus on involving young people in representative civil society structures. For people, with long term health conditions these structures provide a vital way of promoting and advocating for patients rights, and raising awareness of specific issues affecting communities of people that are relatively small and spread out. 

All the things we have been doing in one post.....

Life at PDC has been getting busier and busier, so much so that we never seem to have time to update our website posts....anywhere here's just a taster of the things we have been involved in recently.

  • Our director Dan Moxon has recently led a review of NSPCC's approach to youth participation on behalf of the National Youth Agency 
  • For a third year Ed and Dan are supporting the European Patient Forum delivering their Summer Training for Young Patient Advocates.  This combines a mixture of online and offline learning and gamification techniques to enable young patients to be leaders in the patient community.
  • We are working with UK Youth to help develop The British Councils approach to youth participation within their  internationalism ambition for UK Young People
  • Through his role at UCLAN Centre for Children and Young People's Participation, Dan is supporting Preston Community Gateway Housing Association to run a piece of youth led research around housing in Preston 
  • We are developing a train the trainer package for Manchester City Council on youth engagement and participation.
  • Dan is working with researchers from the Pool of European Youth Researchers coordinated by the partnership between the European Union and the Council of Europe in the field of youth so help design the new youth dialogue process on behalf of the Romanian Presidency of the EU. 
A final we are very pleased to announce the publication of a new study which Dan co-authored with other members of Salto Participation and Informations Think Tank on Youth Participation on inclusive participation in the EU youth strategy. Read the the paper online or download it from here.

New does not always mean better

This month PDC’s Director Dan Moxon was invited to be an “inspirational speaker” at the Erasmus+ National Agencies annual European TCA meeting coordinated by Salto Training and Co-operation, on the topic of new and alternative forms of participation. (You can watch the full keynote in the video below)

The term “new and alternative” is rapidly becoming a  buzzword. After the publication of the European Commission's new youth strategy proposal which had the term featured all the way through it, we certainly noticed in increase in downloads of the research Dan and Anne Crowley conducted on the topic.
But as the research argued, new does not automatically mean better… simply Sometimes new ideas are an improvement on the old ones,  sometimes new ideas are worth testing but ultimately don’t offer improvements (Google Glasses anyone?). Sometimes it’s somewhere in between, and we can pull out the learning and move on to the next idea.

So whilst new forms of participation such as online approaches certainly offer a lot of potential for improving participation, it’s time we got serious about identifying and evaluating what we hope to achieve by adopting new methods. We need to move beyond abstract claims about how some forms are better or worse than others. Instead we should define what we are hoping to improve and evaluate both old and new methods alike, moving towards the more successful ones. This is how we can make sure we improve the opportunities young people have to influence and engage with the world around them, rather than simply just doing something different for the sake of it.

So instead of talking about new and alternative forms of participation let's start talking about 
  • New and more inclusive forms of participation,
  • New and more influential forms of participation,
  • New and larger scale forms of participation. 

New and Innovative forms of Youth Participation

The way young people are relating to public institutions is change. Voter turnout is falling, party membership is dropping and trust in public bodies is low.  But since a land mark LSE study the idea that this is caused by a lack of interests in politics amongst young people has been put to rest. Instead it's clear that young people are very interested in shaping the world around them ...its just the way they want to engage in public debate, and with political discourse has shifted.  

Since then, a zeitgeist has developed across Europe to find innovative new ways for young people to participate ...but that means is unclear...and is a social shift amongst young people the same thing as the development of innovative forms of practice by participation workers?

A study into this area was recently commission by the Council of Europe Youth Department, and Undertaken by Dan Moxon, PDC's director, along with Anne Crowley from Red Kite Consultancy.

Within this piece of work, which surveyed over 300 participants from across the Europe, we examine notions of what innovation within youth participation really means, and look for examples of innovation within the sector.  You can read the full report here

PDC providing research support to the EU presidency

People Dialogue and Change has been appointed to provide research support to Estonian, Austrian and Bulgarian EU presidencies.

The work, which will be carried out by our director, Dan Moxon, is based on supporting the 6th Cycle of Structured Dialogue  - an 18 month mechanism to enable young people to influence the 2018 EU Youth Policy.  This process involves three conferences over a period of 18 months and an EU wide youth consultation.

Dan's role will be to work with the conference facilitators to design a research style process for gathering information on priority topics to young people. Following on from this the work will then involve designing the consultation questions and methodological tools to conduct the youth consultation.The consultation itself will be conducted in each of the EU member states and is expected to receive between 60 -70,000 responses.

Dan has undertakes this role as part of his recent appointment to the EU - Council of Europe Youth Partnership pool of youth researchers alongside colleague Ondřej Bárta

You can watch a video about the 2015 conferences below: