As practitioners of Citizen Science, community-based research and youth engagement, researchers used this series of webinars to create space for discussing important questions of Y-CSS, mobilise feedback on the YouCount framework and start building a community of interest around Y-CSS. Participation is open to everybody and free of charge. The webinars were organised by the Working Group on Empowerment, Inclusiveness & Equity at the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) and the Living Knowledge Network (LKN) together with the YouCount EU project.
The YouCount project has multiple, locally rooted case studies to research social inclusion across Europe. Methodologies applied in the case studies are various, but what is common in the local cases is that researchers involve young co-researchers from stakeholder youth groups.
Young people in Europe are facing many challenges with regard to social inclusion (e.g. social participation, employment, social belonging). There is a pressing need to develop more knowledge and innovation to create more inclusive and youth-friendly societies. One way to contribute to this is through Citizen Social Science with young people – Youth Citizen Social Science (Y-CSS).
This series of webinars aimed to mobilise feedback and inputs for setting up the YouCount project. Members of the project are developing a framework for Y-CSS for setting up case studies in several countries in a good way, i.e. to translate Y-CSS into practical research and innovations.
They presented their concepts and sought feedback on how the local projects can be designed including: How to work in inclusive ways with youths and local stakeholders? What are dos and don’ts? How to co-evaluate outcomes and impact of local projects?
The webinar provided room for jointly reflecting on 4 case studies and the methodologies they are designing and planning to implement within the project.
(1) Co-Evaluating citizen social science – across cases and countries and across citizens and professional scientists.
Isabelle Freiling & Jörg Matthes, University Vienna
Facilitator: Baiba Pruse, Ca’Foscari University of Venice
(2) How to do inclusive communication from the start?
Barbara Mihók, ESSRG
Facilitator: Alexandra Czeglédi, ESSRG
(3) How to create inclusive spaces and relations for young people from diverse backgrounds?
Suzanne Wilson, UCLan
Fortuna Procentese, UNINA
Facilitator: Julie Ridley, UCLan
(4) Engaging with young people for YouCount webinars – how to build on what we have learned so far?
Reidun Norvoll, YouCount coordinator, OsloMet & Sumaya Ali Isse
Facilitator: Sara Berge Lorenzen, OsloMet
Common Signs Living Lab at Szeged, Hungary
Barbara Mihók is co-organising the Common Signs Living Lab in Szeged, Hungary. The case study builds a local network of stakeholders through the Living Lab to further assist the hard-of-hearing research group members.
Co-researchers, students and cultural workers of the research group are working toward meaningful institutional changes locally and within the online setting of YouCount project. Implementing the transcript function on Zoom is one step closer to preparing a sensitive digital and research infrastructure for hard-of-hearing youth and co-researchers.
The webinar organisers and YouCount researchers have gradually been adopting the needs of all participants. Live transcriptions of online discussion have undoubtedly prepared the base of a genuinely inclusive and safe digital infrastructure. This way, the YouCount project, beyond encouraging local-level changes, also aim to adapt to various needs and diversify its communication channels as the first step toward an expanded inclusive conversation and research process.
At the beginning of her presentations, Barbara demonstrated in a couple of minutes to the participant how it is not to be able to hear a monologue. She kept unmuting herself on Zoom and talking and articulating without giving any hint about the purpose of her performance. Later on, the participants, including me, realised that her unexpected intervention put us in a situation slightly similar to her hard-of-hearing co-researchers. Confusions and misunderstandings emerge for hard-of-hearing youth when one does not apply the appropriate and inclusive communicational method. Meaningful inclusion, in this case, can be interpreted as a “safe place” function, which provides the experience of being truly seen and heard for vulnerable groups.