Virtual Cafe 15 May: How is it to be young in this crazy world?

youth
subculture
empathy
belonging

#1

Attending were @Richard, @Jirka_Kocian, @natalia_skoczylas, myself and the lovely Ellen, soon to be on the forum too!

Intros: most of us are part of the team at Wellbeing in Europe. We use these calls as both an open team coordination and an opportunity to meet new people who can learn about our community research and share their story.

Ellen: a youth trend researcher who joined Civic Innovators Network (CIN in Brussels) 2 years ago. At the moment doing the job as a freelancers. 'From CIN we evolved into Brussel Avenir (transl. Brussels Future) - an organisation developing a participatory way to construct new narratives for the future of Brussels. We also experiment a lot with crowdsourcing narratives. It’s how i learned about the project. I find your future narrative and how you present the vision very attractive.

We each share where we are with our stories:

Richard: just posted my story: How do you say Aaaaaaagh in German, about health care provision to migrants from the time he was in Berlin. Got me thinking to people in worse situation than myself.

Ellen: What I’ve been intrigued by in the last years is tribes of youngsters who dont go in their own classrooms at the moment, they have their own online communities, facebook but also gaming chats and others. They’re sort of growing up and forming their identity - it leaves a big role for them. They’re experimenting a lot with their physical and their mental health, quite extreme: before, it used to be that the weird ones were the ones from rural areas or what not. Nowadays, everyone is experimenting.

Some examples:

  • the Blue Whale Challenge started 2 years ago; facebook group where many young people joined, the comm leaders starting challenging them, for example to wake up in the middle of the night… challenges became bigger and bigger, and addictive. To the point where they would ask you to scratch a whale in your arm and commit suicide.

  • in Slovakia, Catholic communities are very popular and cool among young people - catholic rock concerts, the way they use their social media, same as spirituality and belonging played a big role in that. Same as we had many people leaving for the Caliphate.

Jiri: they’re young people, but not much younger than us. Thanks maybe to the online space as a matter of acquiring this sort of information. Gaming community - you dont know the age of people there… those dynamics are very specific.

Ellen: On one hand, it’s fascinating, but also scary that these platforms are diversifying and the way the interaction is happening is hyper diverse. As a youth researcher, it becomes more difficult every year to find access to those platforms. We had Schild en Vrienden in Ghent - this group of youngters not visible, and shocking everybody. Or you have girls and boys with anorexia and exchanging ids to starve themselves. Not only for research purposes important, but for ways of reaching out to them.

At Brussel Avenir, we want to bring the concept of futures to citizens. We live in such a diverse city that we need hundreds of different strategies to reach all those communities. The world becomes super complex to study.

Noemi: How would you see those narratives being told?
We are in the process of developing this tool - a persona / profiles of the populations in Brussels, and we have them around the table all the time. If we think about how we get them engaged, how we involve this person sitting on the table with us (metaphorically). Making stories that speak to the people.

Noemi: I find the angle through which we approach a group important. Was particularly impressed by this podcast on telling the story of a redeemed incel guy in two radically different ways. It matters so much for how we see groups that are somehow special:


Liked this conversation? Do you know of groups who tell us curious things about this changing world? Join us for the next Virtual Cafe or directly share your story:

  1. How are you or others you know providing care?

  2. How do you manage to stay morally and psychologically well? Are you spiritual?

  3. How do you access work and prosperity? How does it work in your community?

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