[Summary: Registration open for the 2009 unConference on youth engagement in a digital age]
Some point just after the first BarCampUKGovWeb back in 2008 I floated the idea of a BarCamp, or an unConference to explore the ways in which organisations whose work involved young people could make the most of social media and new digital technologies. After a few false starts, that turned into UK Youth Online* – a gathering of over 60 fantastic folk one Saturday at the offices of DIUS in London where we had explored all sorts of elements of online youth engagement: tools and technologies; issues of safety; participation online; implications for youth workers; the social media game; and loads more. That event led to the growth of the Youth Work Online ning network, currently fairly quiet, but helping to carry on the conversations from our face-to-face event.
Since the 2008 unConference I’ve met a whole load of fantastic people working to explore and use social technologies in youth work, youth participation and outreach work with young people. From software developers and central government policy makers, to local authority web teams and front-line youth workers – and of course, many young people themselves – as volunteers, activists and innovators. However, in all these meetings, I’ve not come across a forum that brings together practitioners, social entrepreneurs, developments, policy makers and young people to get stuck into sharing their learning and building the sorts of informal and formal networks that will drive forward greater and more effective uptake of social technologies to make a difference in the lives of young people.
So – I though it might be time for another unConference. And this is the rather roundabout way of announcing: Connected Generation 2009 – unConference – exploring youth engagement in a digital age.
So, erm, get registered if you can join us, and spread the word!
More details below…
If your work involves young people, then understanding and engaging with social media and online technologies is a must. This event is an opportunity to explore big ideas, and practical realities of weaving the web into work with young people.
As an unConference, the exact programme is created on the day by the participants, who will convene conversations, provide demonstrates and share their insights. However, themes that are likely to be explored include:
- Communicating with young people online – from promoting youth services and positive activities, through to hosting two-way dialogues with young people in online spaces.
- Social networks & youth participation – how can Facebook, Bebo, MySpace and Ning be part of the participation workers toolbox? And how does social networking have the power to change the face of participation?
- Digital inclusion for young people – making sure that all young people have the access to technology and the skills they need to get on in the digital age;
- Practical action – how to make sure online engagement is based on safe-and-sound foundations; getting policies in place; and making sure the technology and staff skills are available to make the most of online engagement;
- Hands-on learning – exploring different social media tools that you can use in your work, and sharing tips with other participants about the best way to use them;
Bring your own sessions!
An unConference is created by the participants – and it works best when everyone comes prepared to offer a session. Your session could be a short presentation of a project you have recently worked on using digital media for youth engagement; or it could be a topic for discussion; or an issue you want to get the insights of others on.
When you register you have the opportunity to suggest a session you may offer.
How the day works
If you’re never been to an unConference before and are wondering what to expect – here is a rough outline of what the day might look like:
- 10.00am – Arrive, coffee and introductions
- 10.30am – Suggesting Sessions – participants will be invited to announce and introduce sessions they would like to run during the conference. These will be assigned to a time-slot and break-out room. There will probably be 6 break out rooms, allowing 30 different sessions to take place during the day.
- 11.00am – Parallel Session 1 – some of the sessions just announced will take place and you can choose which to take part in.
- 11.45 – Parallel Sessions 2 – more sessions taking place
- 12.30 – Lunch
- 13.15 – Parallel Sessions 3 – more sessions taking place
- 14.00 – Parallel Sessions 4 – more sessions taking place
- 14.45 – Break and review – A change to check if any new ideas for sessions have arisen throughout the day so far, and to plan in a few extras
- 15.00 – Final sessions
- 15.45 – Wrap and close
You will get to take part in at least five sessions on key topics in youth engagement and new technology. If you find a topic you want to discuss is not being covered, you have to opportunity to suggest a new session to explore it – and the facilitators will do their best to make your new session idea take place.
We’ll probably end the day at a local coffee shop or pub for those who can stay in London a bit longer.
Who is behind it?
The 2009 unConference is being organised by Tim Davies as a voluntary project.
The venue has been kindly supplied by DIUS, arrange for by Steph Grey.
Other volunteers will be involved on the day. Check http://www.connectedgeneration.info for more details.
We welcome sponsorship to help us cover the costs of the event. Sponsors have the opportunity to display materials at the event and to place items in the conference bag – as well as to feel good about making a great event take place!
If you’ve got any questions then drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org
or give me a call on 07824 856 303
*Note: The 2008 event was not associated in any way with the charity UK Youth, and at their request we are not longer using the ‘UK Youth Online’ title for future events.