Mapping a youth cultural project
Since the youth network is not yet structured and organised, mapping seemed a good way to literally "put everything on the table" and start the ideas from there. The aim of the meeting in Berlin was to gather all our ideas and thoughts together and from there start building an organisation with clear roles and tasks. But firstly, we had to come up with a common mission, vision and role of the Y-ECP.
The team was split into two groups of 7 people. Firstly, they each had to come up with key-words that characterized the values of the Y-ECP. These keywords were placed on the compass of the map. Afterwards, starting from these values, the two groups thought of different projects that matched the values they identified. The next step was to identify people, organisations, and tools that are needed for the projects. This imagination exercise helped us identify the resources that are available for our organisation.
After mapping all these ideas, it was time that each group had the chance to view their opinions on the others' map. A few items were locked on the map before presenting the result to the other team. Likes, bombs and threats were identified and marked on the map. In the end, each group presented their map.
Luckily, both teams had similar views on the values of the youth network. European identity, education, dialogue, democracy all came up as central points. Therefore projects were proposed that encourage dialogue between the arts, promote tolerance and diversity, as well as create a framework for sharing and cooperation. The red group stressed the importance of research as a base for dialogue. Therefore they proposed to involve cultural policies reseachers and establish a very good connection with universities and research centers, as well as the Ministeries of Culture. In this sense, the Y-ECP could become a hub for people wanting to develop cultural projects, a hub of resources and best practices. We all agreed that better communication is essential to making Y-ECP a known and valuable organisation, a voice on European cultural policies, and is something that must be definitely improved. Fund-raising is also a very important task for the youth network, as it has no sources of funding. The Youth in Action programme or the European Cultural Foundation all came up as viable funding organisations.
The red team also chose action as a core value: the youth network of ECP shouls also do projects, and not only discuss and debate - which is currently the situation in the ECP. The network should also be an open one: both in terms of its members and open-minded. A few threats were identified by the green team: firstly, the red team mapped new media as an important tool in collaborating and promoting our project. A green member warned them that taking care of blogs and Facebook pages require a lot of time and dedication, so a clear strategy is needed before opening another web-page. A bomb was placed on the word quality: it's a very tricky term, and it always brings up the question of who are the ones evaluating the people/projects and stamping them as quality.
In the feed-back session, the green team liked the idea of boosting the value of arts and culture throughout Europe. They also sensed a threat when discussing about European identity, It is such a used term, that it's hard to point exactly its meaning. Furthermore, the concept of European identity seems to be very often used against immigrants or different culture. The term European Identity must be used together with tolerance, otherwise its meaning can be hijacked.
Concluding, the two groups had the chance of visualing their ideas and resources. After the mapping session, the team carried on with a workshop on writing the mission and vision of the youth network of the European Cultural Parliament.