by Xosé L. Garza (Chair of Communication)

Good morning Hilda. Thank you very much for being with us today, we have contacted with the aim of know more about the imminent premiere of AYCH’s book that will take place next Monday the 8th online.

I would like to start this interview with a small review, where do you come from, what do you do, how do you get to AYCH…

I come from Venezuela. In my country I trained as a social psychologist and then I had the opportunity to do a doctorate in Sustainable Development at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. I am currently a teacher at the Nantes Atlantique School of Design (one of the French partners of the project) and I am also an independent researcher. Florent Orsoni suggested that I accompany him as a researcher on the AYCH adventure. From the beginning of the project I had the pleasure of contributing to the creation of creativity tools to work with the youth of AYCH and to write for the Toolkit.

It is said that in life you should have a child, write a book and plant a tree; What’s left to do?.

Hehehe, well it depends, is it okay if I have planted little plants or does it have to be a big big tree? The tree, I am missing the tree.

How do you manage yourself, what have you felt, faced with the challenge of making a book, and making it the final publication of such an important project for youth?

When we set ourselves the challenge of writing the book, I don’t think I was fully aware of what it involved. It all started with a lot of enthusiasm and a draft of a page that we shared online with the project partners. The book began to take shape, paragraph by paragraph as we exchanged ideas and stories about the project. At that time, no one was sure what the final result would be like, but we shared a kind of vision of how it should be and I felt great mutual trust in what we were doing. I had great support from the partners, the participants and Oenone Thomas, with whom I could constantly clarify doubts and share ideas.

A super important moment of the process was having an outside look at what we were writing. When the book had enough content and meaning, Dr. Natalia Eernstman of Plymouth College of Art did a critical reading of the manuscript. This step allowed us to give more coherence to the entire text and avoid redundancies.

Many of us know the project, but what did you intend to show in the publication, what were your priorities?

The most difficult and at the same time the most interesting thing for me was discovering and rediscovering AYCH and its people as we wrote the book. It is an incredible project that works in different cities in Europe that combines rigor with great sensitivity, which intervenes locally on global issues, that promotes experimentation and the right to make mistakes among young people when it comes to building a professional future…

I wanted to show that sensitivity and complexity in an accessible way. For this, it was essential to give a voice to the young participants. Young people tell their real stories, with their ups and downs, told with emotion and with good sense. For this very reason, we asked 4 young AYCH ambassadors to endorse the book as a preface.

We imagine that you have had to coordinate many people to make this publication, have they been collaborative? And how have you done it?

I sent many, many, countless emails. Fortunately, collaborative online editing platforms exist. During the first months of writing, partners were able to view and suggest changes directly to the manuscript, saving us a lot of time. AYCH members have a great sensitivity and openness that is manifested not only in the way they work with the young participants but also in their exchanges with me during the writing process. I couldn’t be more grateful…

I am very curious to know what you think this book will contribute to Atlantic Europe, to those countries that value supporting their young people with projects like these.

The book in general celebrates the ability of the young participants to build and shape their professional future from creativity. More specifically, I believe that the book provides the how, how AYCH partners managed to accompany these young people locally, in different contexts, individually and through collective and multicultural experiences. The book explains the key role of prototyping and enabling technologies such as 3D printing and virtual reality in the creative process; but above all, it talks about the importance of empathy, the need to connect with the other and with the complexity of current problems so that young people can make sense of the solutions they are creating.

Finally; what do you have left, what does this publication leave in you, besides work?

I am eager to continue contributing to projects like this and hope, much hope in the future of education through creativity and entrepreneurship.

Once again Hilda, thank you very much for opening this series of interviews where we intend to talk with the protagonists of our European project.