Aych Ambassador: Kay Nicholls

by Anna Szlendak

Today we are talking with Kay Nicholls, who is an AYCH ambassador in Plymouth College of Art.

 You took part in an incubation process.  How did it look?

For me as a mature student it was really nice to participate with younger students. I think that is was a bit unfortunate because of my age I wasn´t able to participate in the exchange abroad, but apart from that I can’t prize the whole course enough. Workshops we did where really important, we had an opportunity to speak to specialized people, we also had an opportunity to work in groups, to help and assist each other and I think the best thing is to have all this information in one space.

So, what did you do exactly through your incubation programme?

Through the incubation programme I settled for social enterprise company for predominately recycling household textiles.  I´ve been holding a workshops for what we called in UK hard to reach communities, so that are people on low incomes, low-wage families,  that could be single parent or single people in general who for some reason don´t have good disposable income. With local council we discuss in that moment possibility of run a workshop to encourage the recycling, promote circular economy. Hopefully each person will learn skills which may help them to save money. With my skills I can show them how to prolong lives of their clothes. So I start with basics, get them to know how to use sewing machine, to control a power of the sewing machine and take them forward with projects and if this is that what they want to do. It is like an open dialog. I go with sewing machines, I talked to them, introduce myself and tell them what I hope to do with them, then I asked them for any tipe of comments, they always do. Then I have this positive or negative feedback and I tell them how important it is to express their thoughts, even if there is something that I don´t like, because in that way I can improve that or think of alternative way to help them to learn.

What does being an ambassador mean to you?

For me I become an ambassador so I can help any potential people who wants to go to the programme to have them understanding that it´s a working progress, it´s a group as well as singular so you can go to do things on your own, it´s up to you. By speaking with people, networking and sharing ideas and concepts they may have an addition to their ideas. As an ambassador I would like to share a potential of the programme. I hope some of the younger students will get some tips from my experience.

How would you describe AYCH programme?

I think this is invaluable which for me is more than important, because of different elements which are in different countries. A connection between different countries through creative jams and different visits, it is not  only opportunity to share experiences of individuals but it is a network, you built of that an ability, a network of contacts. Through that you also learn about other cultures and get different experiences in various countries.


by Danae Vélez de León - Interior Designer at Ikea México

Starting to create new ideas is always a complicated step, whether it´s to create a product, project, business, etc. Design can be a potential tool to shape an idea and be able to communicate it to others in a particular and essential way. The concept of “design” is often used in the context of arts, architecture, graphics, among other disciplines, precisely because design implies a visual representation of an idea. However, what is the role of design in the creative process and how can it influence a project or business?

Apart from being a way to visually communicate an idea, design is also a tool that guides our thoughts towards possibilities. One of the methodologies most used by companies is called “Design Thinking”, which, by using essential elements for a design, such as empathy and experimentation, can lead to innovative solutions.

This methodology was created at Stanford University in California, however, it was the design consultant IDEOU who first applied it to commercial projects. Initially this methodology was only related to product development, but today it is also used for the development of services, processes, experiences, business models, etc.

Using design tools makes it easier to identify what is currently desirable, from a user / customer-centered point of view, with what is technologically feasible and economically viable (1). This methodology inspired by the design process, can be divided into 6 actions:

  • TO EMPATIZE. The first step is to understand the context in which our problem arises, and to be clear about for who the idea, product, service, project, etc. is for, in order to analyze their needs and aspirations.
  • TO DEFINE. To filter the information collected about our context and user/client, in order to define the problem and understand the possible reach.
  • TO DEVISE. To generate ideas that can solve our problem no matter how crazy they sound, always keeping our user/client in mind.
  • TO PROTOTYPE. This will help us quickly convert an idea or concept into a physical and tangible form. At the same time that will allow us to identify the technological scope of our idea.
  • TO TRY. It is advisable to test the prototypes with real users/clients, to be able to improve all versions for their final release.
  • TO IMPLEMENT. To put the vision into practice.

A case of business success through “Design Thinking” is the example of Airbnb, which in 2009 did not generate much profit. However, whe

n one of its founders (Joe Gebbia) learned about the methodology at the Rhode Island School of Design, they began to focus more on the user´s experience, improving the quality of the photos, and modifying the star rating system by hearts, a week later the profits were doubled (2).

Contrary to popular belief, design is much more than aesthetics and colours. It also involves functional and technical issues, by solving problems through a process that allows to understand and to connect with the user/client in order to generate innovative ideas to create or improve projects, services, experiences and/or businesses.


  1. IDEO. www.ideou.com
  2. Díaz, Javier. Negocios y emprendimiento. Airbnb, un caso de éxito del Design Thinking. Enero de 2017. www.negociosyemprendimiento.org.
  3. Nielsen Norman Group. What Is Design Thinking, Really? www.nngroup.com.

AYCH contra COVID-19

por Pablo Castro

Los servicios de salud en diferentes países, como se puede ver en la imagen, de la Zona Atlántica ya están recibiendo las viseras protectoras creadas en los diferentes FabLabs del Proyecto Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs.

Socios del proyecto como Plymouth College of Art a través de su FlabLab “FabLab Plymouth” y Space * en el Reino Unido; Grand Angouleme a través de “AngouLab” en Francia y Vida Láctea a través de “Lug Open Factory” y Gijón a través de “Medialab” en la Universidad de Oviedo, en España; Están trabajando duro para crear y distribuir material protector de una manera altruista.

Esta iniciativa surgió como resultado de la decisión tomada por varios grupos de fabricantes de 3D en todo el mundo, que tomaron la decisión de imprimir viseras y otros equipos de protección en ausencia de recursos del sector de la salud. Después de estudiar la situación y ponerse en contacto con iniciativas de fabricantes como CoronaMakers y Coronavirusmakers Galicia

en España, el Proyecto Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs decidió poner sus impresoras 3D y expertos a disposición de la sociedad, para fabricar los materiales necesarios. Esta actividad se casa a la perfección con los valores que el Proyecto Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs difunde entre los jóvenes europeos, destacando la necesidad que tiene la solidaridad en situaciones como las que estamos viviendo hoy. La puesta en marcha de la solidaridad y la cooperación entre socios y jóvenes del proyecto como aprendizaje de esta situación que nos abre a futuras actividades que se realizarán de manera diferente, ya que aunque gran parte de la actividad del proyecto se mantiene a distancia (formaciones, incubaciones, etc.), se ha decidido dar a los fablabs de los diferentes socios un carácter más solidario , centrando estos recursos en la fabricación de material de protección.

Las viseras se imprimen en PLA o ABS para luego incrustar una hoja de acetato de tamaño A4 y una goma para la fijación; más tarde se entregan a las autoridades y centros pertinentes que necesitan dicho material. Con esto, el Proyecto AYCH quiere contribuir no sólo a salvar vidas, sino también a avanzar hacia una Europa más unida.

En la foto, una enfermera con nuestras pantallas, tan necesario para su trabajo!

AYCH against COVID-19

by Pablo Castro

Health services in different countries, as it can be seen in the picture, of the Atlantic Area are already receiving the protective visors created in the different FabLabs of the Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs Project.

Project partners such as Plymouth College of Art through its FlabLab “FabLab Plymouth” and Space * in the UK; Grand Angouleme through “AngouLab” in France and Vida Láctea through “Lug Open Factory” and Gijón through “Medialab” at the University of Oviedo, in Spain; They are working hard on creating and distributing protective material in an altruistic way.

This initiative arose as a result of the decision made by several groups of 3D Makers globally, who made the decision to print visors and other pieces of protective equipment in the absence of resources from the health sector. After studying the situation and getting in touch with maker initiatives such as CoronaMakers and Coronavirusmakers Galicia in Spain, the Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs Project decided to make its 3D printers and experts available to society, to manufacture necessary materials.This activity marries perfectly with the values ​​that the Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs Project spreads among European youth, highlighting the need that solidarity has in situations such as those we are experiencing today. The enhancement of solidarity and cooperation between partners and youth of the project as learning of this situation that opens us to future activities that will be done differently, since although a large part of the project activity is kept at a distance (formations, incubations, etc.), it has been decided to give the fablabs of the different partners a more solidary character, focusing these resources on the manufacture of protective material.

The visors are printed in PLA or ABS to then embed an A4 size acetate sheet and a rubber for fastening; later they are delivered to the relevant authorities and centers that need said material. With this, the AYCH Project wants to contribute not only to saving lives, but also to advance towards a more united Europe.

In the photo, a nurse with our screens, so necessary for her work!

Local Jam as a local event aimed to energize Youth

On December 12th, 2019 at the University of Corsica took place a local jam called Artificial Intelligence. 25 people participated in the event: professionals and tech companies, students and university teachers. Students of the sustainable city design lab were invited to animate this business challenge by using a variation of Stranger jobs – a game produced in Brest in September 2019.

Stranger Jobs game

Stranger Job draws on the collective intelligence of a group to imagine, question and create unexpected jobs of the future. Participants follow a series of steps which help them to imagine, create, and tell a story that takes place in April 2045. The main goal of the game is to exchange ideas with other participants and develop their creativity. It is a great tool for engaging young people (on a collective reflection around the future of work & jobs). As it invites participants to challenge conventional ways of thinking about jobs, it puts all teams in a prospective and completely creative mindset.

Stranger Job presented at the University of Corsica was based on this main framework of the game, however some elements were changed and reworked to allow participants to identify issues related to artificial intelligence, presented during a conference by Yves Demazaud.

Example of a change made in the game  


Game dynamics 

Session starts with a video produced by Benjamin Garnier and Jules Riché to set the mood of 2035. It is quite prospective and plays the role of an icebreaker.

The idea is, first of all, to work on the transitions, and thereby to question them. This allows participants to freely discuss the conference delivered in the morning. A 20 minute brainstorming session is offered to open the subject. Next step focus on impacts and possible solutions of transitions on professions in different sectors.


Later, participants describe jobs and skills of those professionals.

Finally, all those elements are synthesized on a “wall”, including the challenges and issues, the jobs, and also the skills and values of professionals.


The workshop brought up questions and interesting scenarios for development. Two of those scenarios turned toward an all-powerful AI (humans at the service of AI), three others towards a co-management ( an AI at the service of humans). In these scenarios, two main trends appear. No matter if AI ​​frees up or we put ourselves at the service of AI, there is a risk that this entails.  The game raises awareness of an issue and provokes questions. It is a tool created more to encourage discussions, questions, rather than carrying real progress on the subject. However, the game has made it possible to identify interesting avenues linked to the evolution of the professions.


Aych Ambassador: Patryk Swiatczack

by Anna Szlendak

Today we are talking with Patryk Swiatczack, who is an AYCH Ambassador in Plymouth Collage of Art.

Hi, Patryk. How did you discover AYCH?

I am on third year of my studies, making  now two movies for my graduation project. I am also doing some photography work and other smaller projects on a side. I worked for AYCH last year, I captured the creative jam in France for them with my camera. For AYCH it was kind of advertisement at that time and I covered my professional practise that way.

What do you think about that Creative Jam?

I think they are doing fascinating things, they allow young people to come out with their projects and ideas. They contribute to creative industries by bringing those projects and ideas to life, by presenting those ideas as prototypes. I am amazed by how a lot of technology they use to develop the project. I remember that from my university one of the students worked during that Creative Jam on a robotic arm, it was really interesting.

How would you describe a role of ambassador?

I think the role of ambassador is to promote AYCH in any way I can, so for example by our conversation right now.  Unfortunately, I am not so active ambassador, there are definitely more active people, but now I am more focus on finishing my studies. However I still think that what AYCH do is great, because they just make things happen.

What do you think about the project?

I can say that I witnessed all those small AYCH projects around. I participated in Creative Jam in France and in another local one in Plymouth. I think there is a lot of young people interested in those jams, the warehouse where the local jam took place was packed, so there were so many young, creative people out there.


Atlantic Europe has spent some time at home worried about the future that will come after the global pandemic caused by COVID-19. This is a good opportunity for us to do many that we would like to do and have never done for lack of time.

Our Atlantic youth observe through their digital windows a world passing by day by day, and from time to time they look out the windows of the reality of their places, their towns, their cities.

We want you to teach us what you see from your windows, we want to teach the world what we see through our windows in this moment of isolation: loneliness, a passing dog, the sun, the street … whatever you want.
And what will we do with those photographs?

We will first publish them on our social networks.

And then we will print them and it has occurred to us to make a traveling exhibition in four countries: France, Portugal Spain and the United Kingdom.

Do you like the idea? … Participate!
Who can participate?
The activity is open to young people between the ages of 16 and 30 who live in the Atlantic Cities of Portugal, Spain, France, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
How can you participate?

You only need to send a photograph through the mail: aych.communication@vidalactea.com or in Aych Club platform.

Or privately on our social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, accompanied by your name, your age and the town where you live.

IMPORTANT: the photograph must be current and taken from your window.

* Note: Only one photograph per participant will be registered.
Activity regulations:

Photographs need to meet the following requirements:
→ Have a minimum creative and aesthetic quality.
→ It cannot be retouched.
→ Format: JPG, JPEG, PNG


The prize will be to participate in the Atlantic Youth Summit to be held in Brest (France) in 2021.


Transnational Jury: The Jury will be made up of one member from each country of the AYCH Project [Spain, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom].

By entering our Atlantic Windows, you agree to make public the photograph you entered and the competition results.

We will receive photographs until May 1, 2020

(*)In case of receiving photographs that do not belong to young people between the established ages, we will publish them but they will not participate in the contest.

MARIA MONTOIRO: Project Coordinator in Atlantic Cities

by Anna Szlendak

Today we are talking with Maria Montoiro who is a Project Coordinator of AYCH in Atlantic Cities.

Hi, Maria, can you tell as a little about yourself?

I am a jurist, specialized in business law, but since I discovered the European Affairs at Atlantic Cities ten years ago, I could not stop to move forward in this area as I am a European passionate. In fact, the European Union offers us a big framework of opportunities for European citizens. These benefits range from free movement across its borders to social rights or skills empowerment. It should be also noted, all personal development opportunities the EU offers for citizens of all age ranges, notably in the framework of youth as is the case in AYCH project.

You are project coordinator in Atlantic Cities. How looks your work?

In fact, I am in charge of EU funded projects focused on territorial development from diverse thematic approach:

  • youth
  • innovation
  • sustainable development
  • entrepreneurship empowerment under gender equality approach.

Different topics but a common goal: involve youngest generations for the future of our territories and citizens wellbeing.

Indeed, all these thematic try to cope with our daily lives’ threats and thus, by involving youth we can get a new insight to develop green and sustainable future cities, as it is scheduled for the upcoming AYCH International Creative Jam.

What is the best part of your work?

Approach the European Union (EU) to citizens, explain them all opportunities the EU offers to them and how they could benefit from it. In fact, so many European programmes are focused on youth, but usually, youth do not know how to access them.

On the contrary, my job also allows me to approach citizens’ concerns to the EU institutions. In fact, our main aim is to make aware the European Union on real citizens needs and thus, improve citizens wellbeing.

Moreover, it should be stressed that working in multicultural environment such as Atlantic Cities allows to growth my personal grounds and this is very motivating.

What do you think about the project?

I think AYCH project offers a unique opportunity to youth from all background, helping them to develop their creativity under a multicultural environment. In fact, this international experience would be otherwise impossible to imagine for youth from vulnerable backgrounds.

As for this Multicultural Atlantic experience in the framework of AYCH project, gives them the opportunity to moves forward and to learn from each other experience in order to contribute to their personal development and create future opportunities for them.

What can  AYCH offer to Atlantic cities?

AYCH offers the opportunity to reinforce the development of Atlantic Cities Atlantic Futures programme. In fact, Atlantic Futures is a programme addressed to increase employment opportunities among young people within the Atlantic Arc, an area specially touched by high level of unemployment rates, notably within youth.

At this moment, Atlantic Futures is present in six different projects developed by Atlantic Cities network and therefore it counts with different funding sources. Concerning AYCH project, Atlantic Futures programme allows youth to approach to labour markets real needs, improve labour mobility, promote social entrepreneurship under equal opportunities framework.

Also, allows the development of AYCH Kids drawing contest, a contest which main aim is to involve kids to think in a sustainable and resilient future. To this extent, make aware the future generations from their first life steps to think in an innovative and creative way to offer future solutions for citizens wellbeing.


What does Atlantic Cities offer to AYCH?

Atlantic Cities as a transnational association which represents local authorities ‘priorities and initiatives all along the Atlantic Arc, offers to AYCH a unique European scope by bringing together almost 400 municipalities and embracing 4 million citizens from Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal.

Notably, this year Atlantic Cities celebrates its 20th anniversary, 20 years in 2020, 20 years of work and experience at European level, by approaching to Europe citizens’ real needs and by working at local level to strength development opportunities for all. Notably, by creating youth opportunities as is the case of AYCH project. Indeed, AYCH project background dates from Jules project, a project personally created by Atlantic Cities Secretary General, Tamara Espiñeira, aimed at creating job opportunities for youth from all the Atlantic Arc.

Create future opportunities for all within the Atlantic Arc is the core work of Atlantic Cities.

What would be your message to young people in your country?

As Atlantic Cities represents 4 countries all along the Atlantic coast, I would like to let all Atlantic Youth the enriching cultural heritage they have, to take advantage of it and to take the opportunities this entire Arc offers to them, to develop new skills and job opportunities in this multicultural environment by sharing experiences, at the same they preserve their endogenous values.

AYCH AMBASSADOR: Fernanda Pasos Warttmann

by Anna Szlendak

Today we are talking with Fernanda Pasos Warttmann, who is an AYCH Ambassador in Santo Tirso.

Can you shortly introduce yourself? How did you discover AYCH?

I´m a fashion designer for about 3 years now, although I have been working with fashion for a long time. I have always loved everything that involves fashion even when studying and working in other areas I have always had fashion as a passion. I loved creating my own unique and personalized clothes, I like to draw attention to this aspect. What I value in my work as a designer is just that: creating unique pieces. Give the consumer freedom to interact with the piece, co-create it. I believe that there is a much greater connection between the user and the clothes. Clothing in my opinion should be used as a tool for creativity and not be that fixed thing that defines how you always are. One day we are more in the mood for more basic clothes and the next, who knows, we are more in a mood to incorporate the romantic muse inside us, right? We have to have the freedom to interact and permeate between our wardrobe and be whoever we want, whenever we want.

I discovered AYCH by chance. I saw a post I think on Facebook and I thought the initiative was incredible. As I already had these ideas of creating a brand with all these premises, I thought it would be a good time to take the project out of the drawer and take it forward. I was very happy when my project was selected for the Program and I went head on!

What is AYCH for you?

AYCH for me is a very good program, it made my project go up in a way that I didn’t think it would be so fast. Of course, the opportunity comes only when we really want it to happen. I entered the Program with great desire that everything went well and did everything to make it a success, I knew how to use the tools very well and resulted in the launch of my brand. The opportunities that the Program proposed were very useful and enriching in addition to being a great initiative for young people who have an idea and do not have much knowledge of how to start and organize everything correctly. This type of youth initiative is wonderful, and gives us hope of being great entrepreneurs and being able to exercise our creativity with the know-how of those already in the job market.

What do you think about the project?

International cooperation was a great asset for the Project. It is an excellent opportunity to expand networking and hear what other young people have to say about your project and also about your own projects. Nowadays the world is super connected, so there must be this international “bridge”.

And how do you understand the role of Ambassador?

As an ambassador, I believe my job is to spread my success on the Project and encourage other young people to do the same. There is no point in being afraid of being slapped by the world. We young people have a broader and more connected world view than before. We are able to think of incredible projects with solutions to real problems. There is now the possibility of having intellectual support and that can provide us with a preparation for investors. I think the fact that my project has taken on real proportions and left the paper, makes me a great example of what can work, and that is a great incentive.

How do you see your role in the project in near future?

My role with my project in the future is essential. I will still be present at all stages of the processes that make up my brand. I am currently a one-person company, I do absolutely everything from all sectors. With the launch of the brand, growth will come. Soon I will increase my team and delegate functions, but I will always be together, even if it gets to the point where the company has legs to walk alone. I do not want the essence of the brand to be lost, which has everything to do with the values ​ of sustainability in its production and development.

Marion Lobé-Elémé: Brest Project Manager

by Anna Szlendak

Today we are talking with Marion Lobé-Elémé, who is AYCH project manager at Brest Metropole.

Marion, how did you get in AYCH?

I’ve been in the project for a month and I’m still discovering all the great activities that have been done for the past two years. This is my first job and I’m really excited to begin my work career with a project as complete as AYCH is. There’s still a lot to do for this last year! That works for me, because I’m a very active person so I like when there’s a lot to do and a lot of challenges! I’ve been studying law and European studies in different cities in France and I came back in Brest for my internship and now my job. I’ve always been really interested in youth and in European projects. I’m also really interested in culture and I’ve always wanted to do a job that makes sense. AYCH gives me this feeling.

I think the strength of this project is that it gathers several actors from different fields and that young people have the opportunity to be in contact with so many other people and therefore able to concretize their projects. I’m so amazed by the creativity and the originality of young people and the diversity of their projects. I think it’s really important to focus on youth, because it’s the future.

Nowadays everything is organized in a way that everyone should be able to make their business but I had the impression that it was not so much about the culture and creative field and not so much about all young people but reserved to people studying business for instance. I find it very important to also give young people the key to start a business in a field that they like because I really think you are more successful when you are really into your job. I think the ambition of this project is really to show that it is possible to be successful in the creative field even if it takes time.

You are Brest project manager. How does your job looks like?

My job is basically to coordinate everything that is related to youth and business in Brest. It is very large. I have to make sure that everything is going well for the incubation and that all local actors are well connected. I also have to think about new actors to include to the project and to promote the project in order for it to be successful and for people to get to know it and to allow them to benefit from international opportunities the project is creating such as Creative Jam or residencies in another European country!

Therefore, I’m often on the phone or meeting actors from the creative and cultural field to think how we can collaborate.

The objective is for young people to be able to think that Brest is the perfect place for their creative business to emerge.

What do you think about the project? What would be your message about the project to young people in your country?

I think the project is wonderful, it helps people who sometimes have no idea what they want to do in life but are very talented a vision for their future. The aim is to be inclusive and to tackle all kind of youth, no matter the education. It also shows that you don’t have necessarily to be in the bank field to be successful and that success can be found anywhere when you are determined and well accompanied. I would like to say to young people who have an idea, don’t give up, sometimes it can take time and not all the people were successful immediately but when you persevere you have great chances to make it! Don’t hesitate to talk about your project everywhere you go and make as much connections as you can.

What is the best part of your work?

The best part is to meet all the different actors with different interest and working in very different field due to the huge diversity of the partnership. I really like contact and meeting with people. I think the best part is to understand what the project brings to people and to see the progress young people are making.