Oliver Raud answers us with this interesting article to our three questions. Oli is Strategic Funding Manager at Plymouth College of Art
Can you explain what a Creative Jam is?
A Creative Jam is an event, as well as a process that provides participants the opportunity to bring ideas to life, prototyping products and services that respond to an identifiable challenge/issue/problem, based on a selected theme. In the AYCH project, we have chosen a number of themes that include challenges linked to sustainable development, social innovation, environment and climate change, circular economies, waste, mobility, mental health and (un)employment, among other societal issues of our time. As all partners of the AYCH project share borders, we also share a responsibility to develop new solutions centred on human and natural capital that will benefit us and future generations. The Creative Jam is the place to explore this, take risks and create agency among our young people to be the change that is needed in the world. The ultimate ambition for partners is that the Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs Creative Jams will launch the ambitions and careers of a new generation of socially and environmentally responsible young people seeking to tackle societal issues of the future, placing creativity and design at the heart of place-based development and regeneration, empowering them to pursue careers or educational pathways in the Creative Economy and beyond.
What are the benefits that activities like this can bring for the youth of your city?
The benefits are manifold. Through the Creative Jams, as well as the wider project, we teach Key Enabling Technology (Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) are a group of technologies that have a wide range of product applications such as developing low carbon energy technologies, improving energy and resource efficiency, and creating new medical products. They have huge potential to fuel economic growth and provide jobs) and Social Enterprise skills that expose young people to emerging economic opportunities, jobs and growth. This not only helps young people to learn digital, design and creative skills that are increasingly the driver for innovation it also brings them together, collaborating in teams with colleagues from across the Atlantic area. They can learn from one another and build connections, in a fun, dynamic and energising environment, whilst having fun and making new European friends. With a strong link to employers and industry, both delivering workshops and forming part of the judging panel during the Creative Jams, participants are able to speak to, interact with and learn first-hand from experts and entrepreneurs to build aspirations and break down the hierarchies that often impede young people’s progress – it gives a face to employers and young people can better understand the routes into (self)employment and education. Employers also act as mentors and support the personal and professional development of project participants, nurturing the workforce of the future that will need to be adaptable, collaborative and tech-savvy. For the city, it can build a bottom-up movement of young people that are looking to support the development of their local area and a pipeline of talented people that can actively support the growth of local economies and communities. “This project is not just about Smart Cities, it’s about Smart Citizens”.
In what way can an event like this influence the education of a young European?
The learning of these skills enables young Europeans to develop and gain a closer insight into Higher Education and Skills, enterprise and what is needed to gain those valuable attributes that can support their careers and lives. However, as technology is increasingly democratised and easy-to-access – 3D printing, IoT, VR etc. all of which are being taught as part of AYCH), so must education be. A major driving force of AYCH is the development of an education programme, that takes the ethos, values and elements of what is delivered among Higher Education but it is brought out of the institutions and delivered in non-formal settings, thus making it no longer the reserve of just fee-paying students. We believe this is the way that the most change can be affected, for the most amount of people and really gives credence to the notion that education is for all and in an knowledge economy, a skilled and creative workforce and citizens is arguably our most important asset. We want to give agency to our young people and empower them to make positive contributions to society, using an educational programme that is inclusive, entrepreneurial and rich in design-thinking theory, creativity, technology and media. We are looking for people to join us, on this journey, so please feel free to get in touch if you feel can contribute to any of these aspects of the Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs project.