Youth Summit Live

On Monday and Tuesday next week I'll be at the Youth Summit co-ordinating 'Youth Summit Live' – an online space for capturing input from the conference, and opening up the conference to a wider audience and range of inputs.

The billing for the Youth Summit sets out a big challenge:

The Youth Summit will herald the new era of service provision for young people with emerging priorities from the Government’s ten-year strategy for children and young people and the Comprehensive Spending Review. The event will explore the Government’s ‘youth offer’ and map out the policy landscape for outcome-driven services for young people and their communities. It will hear directly from a wide range of young people as experts by experience.

This two-day event will bring together Government Ministers, senior officials, leading policy makers, service providers and a panel of 100 young people from across England, forging dynamic links between young people, communities and government. Delegates will take an active part in moving from words to action to help ensure improved services and outcomes for young people.

ScreenshotAnd the plan is that Youth Summit Live will create a platform to capture the mapping, whilst also recording and opening up to wider dialogue, plans for action.

The platform itself is a quickly put together Drupal website set-up with four types of content which both those at the summit and interested parties who aren't there on the day can contribute to:

  • Blog posts – inviting narrative and free comment
  • Where are we now? – Assessment of provision for young people at present (linked to the workshop discussions on day 1)
  • Where do we want to be? – Space to identify priorities for action (linked to the workshops on day 2)
  • Supporting Evidence – Additional content which can inform the dialogues at the Summit

The Summit itself is structured around the Every Child Matters (ECM) outcomes framework, with workshops taking place on each of the five ECM outcomes on both the first and second day. Content submitted to Youth Summit Live can therefore be categorised by ECM outcomes and the plan is to pull out all the content under each heading at the end of day 1, and make as much of it as possible physically present in the workshop rooms for day 2.

I'm also on the look out for good visualisations that can be projected up on walls to help the information collected make a big impact straight away. Suggestions on that front welcome. I'm making use of the timeline widget for drupal, and news bubbles, and I'm exploring some RSS screensavers – but I've so far failed to find an easy-to-implement system to convert rss feeds to newsmaps.

One of the challenges we face is that the conference centre WiFi is too expensive to be made available free to delegates, so we have relatively conduits for content input and output. We've got paper versions of some of the 'Where are we now?' and 'Where do we want to be?' input forms – so we can capture content directly from workshops and then convert it into a digital 'live' record – and we'll be running a small blogging station when laptops are not being used by workshop fascilitators – but we are limited in the chanels through which we can invite input and share live feeds of content from the Youth Summit Live site. That said, we will have a team of young roving reporters with us at the event creating an overnight newsletter – so that should provide some extra space sharing the outputs of Youth Summit Live – and I'm off to explore mobile-phone enabling the website…

Whatever the challenges, Monday and Tuesday are certainly set to be really exciting (if exhausting…). We've got over 100 young people taking part in the Youth Summit, and we've got a number of digital and social media activists joining us, including DK from Mediasnackers, Steve Moore from Policy Unplugged, and a group of young people from a radio project linked to the Ministry of Justice. There is a lot to go into the mix – and, as the youth summit billing says, we quite probably are on the edge of “a new era of service provision for young people”