A group of people working together for some time now met in person (some for the first time) for an intensive Edgeryders workshop in Strasbourg. Different backgrounds and life worlds meet and guess what: good sparks come out. Imagine a smart conversation between Gilda, personalizing Edgeryders’ institutional end, Vinay, a world guru of resilience, Nadia, our charismatic creative director, Lyne the idealistic opengov advocate, network builder Alberto MZ, computer scientist-game-passionate Ivan and Alberto, skilled navigator between institutional and ground realities.
We reviewed Edgeryders purpose and vision and we found out that working in such a complex project requires us to be able to reflect continuously on its goals, on how we present it so that it reasonates with European institutions’ goals, with policy makers agendas, with civil society interested in youth, and particularly with individuals… Gilda spoke about the role that bottom up approaches in participation can have in rebuilding bridges between institutions and moving towards WE governments. She thinks it’s crucial nowadays to transform people’s expression and language into political advice.
I understood, thanks to Nadia, that whereas for some Edgeryders one-on-one interaction has an inherent value and also translates naturally into mechanisms of policy making, others need to feel they understand these mechanisms in order to connect Edgeryders conversation with output. So some of us think it’s important to clarify how Edgeryders can shine light in the opaque space that’s covering institutions at the moment. My question to you Edgeryders would be: to what extent you’re here because you feel it’s useful for you personally? as (not necessarily) opposed to: you’re here because you want to see a real change coming through policy?
A new role for institutions? We reached a consensus on this topic: institutions need to reform so that they can learn to listen and transform output and voice such as Edgeryders’ into concrete action. Our project is an experimental approach, mainly because of matching massive use of internet enabled collaboration with existing institutional frameworks, but also because it says no to top-down approaches of youth in transition, no to speaking of youth in 3rd person, no to use of stigmatizing labels (NEETS or “lost generation”), no to use of prior data in policy without confronting it with ground reality. We believe in the existence of a community that engages in a respectful information exchange with institutions, is willing to listen and be listened. We also found a new metaphor for Edgeryders (thanks Vinay :)) - a fishing rod, because it brings together the strength of governments (the reel) and the creativity of individuals (through angling). And so this means we’re creating a space where legitimacy and true potential meet. If you’re curious to find out more I invite you to participate with comments, and I’ll be able to elaborate more on some topics. If you want to read an extensive summary of our workshop, you can write to email@example.com and we’ll be happy to send it.