We kicked the month off splendidly by hosting our long awaited seminar – Youth on the Move. A day packed with inspiration, new insights and networking would be a neat way to sum it all up and we are glad to have been able to share our work with a receptive and enthusiastic audience. Their astute engagement and feedback aided us in seeing other angles to our current projects that we might otherwise have missed.
In the spirit of being inclusive, we invited everyone to voice an opinion on what we can do with our projects to raise the benchmark a few notches and revitalise those parts of our work that have grown stale or too restrictive. In a World Cafe format, the participants discussed the following questions:
- Inspired by presentations/inputs from this morning and in general what project activities would you recommend for IUC and similar organisations over the next years?
- What pedagogies, work methods, tools would you recommend for IUC activities? What should be the balance between “old-fashioned” political work methods and new ones?
- In what ways can civil society organisations be instrumental in setting and discussing relevant agendas and scenarios for EU in the years to come? How should we balance between established institutions and civil society organisations?
To make it brief, what follows is a condensed form of the lively discussion that ensued. A common thread in all conversations appeared to be the need for more improvisation and spontaneity in our activities as stubborn insistence on rules stifles creativity and predetermines the outcome. This is not to negate the importance of organisation and preparation as the latter are critical to how a project unfolds. We shouldn’t, however, lock ourselves in too rigid timeframes or expectations, but instead seek a more open frame of expression where participants are given greater leeway in shaping the end result. Another central theme underpinning the discussion revolved around the excessive focus on the outcome whereas it should be the process itself and how it is documented along the way that drives the agenda. The question of how do we better tailor our projects to the local community’s needs was briefly touched upon as well as the need to translate the output of project activities into essentials that work in the mundane world.
The seminar ended on a positive note with the acknowledgement that significant strides in our project work can be more handily made through some slight adjustments of current methods and the incorporation of additional elements that add novelty and a spark of creativity.