Outcome of Mission Baltic Discussions

work in progress…

Most important points from the Mission baltic discussion so far

  • we need to yank ourselves out from continuing to regard employment as the centre of our existence
  • we need to radically rethink the chain: “you need an education, in order to get a job, and then be able to feed yourself, house yourself, and have value in the eyes of others”
  • two tactical approaches surfaced as game changers: one is to ignore the status quo by self-organizing into parallel social systems that have no relation with the institutional arrangements (eg Parallel Polis); the other is plunging straight into the status quo and change it with its own weapons (the case of the United Estonia anti-establishment party)
  • innovation should be encouraged not just in ways to substitute for employment, but in transforming those into sustainable, institutionalized and large scale accepted solutions; governments need to be partners in this, they’re still the ones carrying on a big weight of what it means to live just above the floating line and have minimum security and health
  • there is a need to liberalize types of work that include decentralized production and generation of knowledge.
  • technological tools and the kind of media exposure today are in themselves supportive of change as they seem to be having this generation’s values embedded, but the extent and use of tools is at our control, and can backfire

Relevant trends:

  • transition into full time work is fragmented through short term opportunities, and certain forms of employment are more frequent today than ever before: self-employment, part time or underemployment, or free labour in the form of unpaid internships
  • Difference in perspective on work and value. It's not just the content and context in which we work has changed, but also cultural understandings of what we deem as valuable work; most often value is given by metrics such as contribution to community and personal satisfaction, irrespective of the monetary value attached to it
  • a new culture of working is very much tied to a new culture of living by making a difference; validation and prosperity no longer come in the form of social status, but in the relationships and meaningfulness of interactions, and in shared value systems with those around, like being part of a community of change
  • many young people are off in a quest to change the world, and in order to do so they find themselves doing radically innovative, groundbreaking work, with very limited support, especially finances and time that needs to be invested in creation of knowledge
  • working on own projects, testing and trying out things with small probability to win the jackpot is a constant in professional lives that are more divergent and fast changing
  • if young people are pushed into menial jobs at the cost of their real expertise, there is a danger of wasting vast amounts of talent, innovation and entrepreneurial mindset
  • there is a need for better balance between working time and personal lives, especially investment in time spent with others and quality of relationships

​Broad themes that emerged:

  • Fragmentation of social groups as they have traditionally been defined vs. tokenistic efforts towards social inclusion for specific groups in general
  • Effect of objectification of Youth on policy design and intervention: Categories of “problems” to be solved by us vs  capable and creative solution finders whose help we need?
  • Need for post-ideological institutional consensus on definitions and meaning of value: Existing policies and labour market norms fail to value contributions to society (and thus, directly or indirectly, the economy) that do not conform to current definitions of ‘work’.
  • Effectiveness of encouraging engagement in existing, designated political spaces and processes vs. Creating spaces and processes for different kind of democratic participation: where you can highlight new issues, frame the discourse, and or fix the problem directly i.e. social innovation as the new politicial participation
  • Many lessons learned from current protest movements and United Estonia: [More to come]
    • Adding here
  • With what do we fill the gap of meaning that comes with unemployment?
  • The need for a theory of socio-political change: How do we effect change in our societies? How does change happen? Within complex systems?

Goals to work towards together:

  1. Realising Concrete Projects: Like one of the concepts for projects? Set up a group on Edgeryders and get the thread going by writing about the idea. We’ll help you get more Edgeryders aware about the project and help spread the word about it. It does generate results, this is how e.g. the unMonastery project was kick started :)
  2. Building interest, support and involvment from many more people:
    • Outreach: Inviting more people to the online conversation
    • Community event: buildlng a participatory event, \#LOTE in Poland this summer
    • Community management and network weaving : keeping track of the activity on the platform and connecting people who should know each other
    • A Collaboratively produced book, the equivalent of Stephane Hessel's Indignez vous!
    • ​In order for Edgeryders to be able to continue supporting the community members work and all the great things that come out of it, Edgeryders needs to  secure stable sources of revenue over the next year. We think setting up a social venture is a good way to do this and will be posting more information about this for discussion in the near future.
  3. Conducting Transnational Reseach: Drawing a road map for a new kind of bottom-up demand driven transnational research project with improved integration between citizen engagement, research agenda-setting and research activities. How do we get there? By sharing responsibility for doing the following:
    • Characterizing a first batch of new approaches towards making sense of youth non-employment that can be formulated in the light of the Mission Baltic findings. Suggested research: [Add yours below]
      • in depth studies of the social impact of non-work
    • Collecting a backdrop of academic research against which to set the findings from the discussion on and off the online platform and other data.
    • Putting a together a fundraising team to identify upcoming funding opportunities and shape funding applications based on them.
    • Drive work in building partherships around proposals through events organised in collaboration with e.g. ESF.

In order for this to happen we need someone to take charge of each process. This is time consuming work, so we should secure some resources to cover some of those persons time. If you are tied to an organisation in Europe, or have contacts, perhaps you have some institutional resources, someone who does this kind of thing where you work who could help with this?

Ways for continuation of discussion/ collaborations:

  • a. An informal network with a few partnership-building meetings this year
  • b. Developing Ideas / partnerhsips for application for social funds, Swedish institute applications etc.  for in depth studies of the social impact of non-work
  • c. Use ideas in the book of ideas
  • d. Possible colaborations for policy interventions at national or european level in a diversity model for social innovation. Using storytelling in bridging the gap between countries, generations, ethnic and religous groups,  gender.
  • e. look for green identities?
  • f. models for filling the gap of meaning that comes with unemployment/non-employment meaning-creation and post-summer meetings.
  • g.Putting up a discussion in Almedalen.
  • h. Take the educational approach to Europe.