December 1, 2017

Our Work

The Foundation Project

Throughout 2017 we brought together more than 100 participants from community, local government, high schools, the social start-up sector, business and industry and youth organisations to:

  1. Trial, test and scale the stakeholder engagement and co-research process to underpin the ongoing work of the Young and Resilient Living Lab.
  2. Engage Living Lab stakeholders – including young people – in using, testing and adapting a suite of co-research and co-design tools to identify and map the technology and wellbeing needs of young people in Greater Western Sydney.
  3. Integrate the suite of tools with the stakeholder engagement and co-research process.
  4. Connect with international research, policy and practice that deploys collaborative academic-public technology-based processes (e.g. hackathons, public conferences, creative commons works) to inform the development and promote uptake of the co-research platform.

Young and Resilient Themes

The Young and Resilient Network has identified the following five themes that significantly shape the resilience of young people and their communities. Our work is oriented towards investigating, innovating and reflecting on critical issues aligned with these themes.

1. Place and Perceptions

A place is a particular position, point, or area in space. It is a location but it is also a site for identity and belonging. Perceptions refer to the way in which something is regarded, understood, or interpreted. Negative or positive perceptions of a place can impact upon one’s own identity or understanding of self and undermine resilience – the sense that one can transform the conditions of their existence.

 Current Project: Marina de Valencia Living Lab Activation project.

Future Project: A co-designed, youth-led and cooperative media platform that would elevate the identities of young people in western Sydney and communicate their value and knowledge. The platform will actively challenge negative stereotypes and stigma associated with GWS and generate media and communication opportunities for the region’s young people. This platform will also generate valuable ‘data’ about young people’s experiences, views and visions for GWS and with permission will link to our Young and Resilient Virtual Lab.

2. Intergenerational Relations and Transitions

Generations distinguish people who ‘belong’ to a common period of history and are constituted and constitute particular historical conditions. It is different to an ‘age cohort’ – especially because some people across ages have common experiences based on place or class, or even access and adoption of technology. Transitions refers to changes experienced in life including moving from education to employment, financial dependence on family to independence and sometimes into parenthood. Transitions are becoming more complex and drawn out and often overlap. Sometimes we transition back and forth between ‘states’.

 Project: Smart Skilled Hired AND Diverse. In partnership with Navitas English, Philippa Collin, Michelle Catanzaro, Teresa Swist and Sherene Idriss are exploring the training and work experiences and aspirations for young people who have recently arrived, have refugee or refugee-like experiences. This will form the basis of the co-design of an employment program for young people in Western Sydney.

 Future Project: A co-designed, youth-centred platform that would curate a range of information, activities, opportunities and social connections that support education, housing and job transitions and pathways.

 3. Health and Wellbeing

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (WHO, 1946). Relatedly, mental health can be understood as a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her/his community. Health and mental health changes over time for individual and groups and is closely linked to social justice and inequality. These all affect resilience.

Current Project: A new ethics of engagement for adolescent health in digital society.

Philippa Collin, Amanda Third and Teresa Swist will work with a new Centre for Research Excellence for Adolescent Health Services and in engaged research partnerships with young people, youth-serving organisations and networks, non-government organisations, government agencies and health researchers and professionals to generate three significant outcomes: produce a new paradigm for an ethics of engagement with young people and practical guidelines for ‘how to do this’; new ‘best practice’ ethics guidelines for health research with young people and designing for diversity; a dynamic web-based health research ethics ‘directory with precedents for digital and health research with children and young people; and knowledge exchanges between young people, researchers and policy makers that inform major governing bodies including the United Nations, WHO and NHMRC.

 Future Project: Our Living Lab community will further develop an idea for a holistic model of education that promotes young people’s health and wellbeing in a digital society.

 4. Youth Participation and Engagement

Youth is a culturally and historically specific social process, with no universal experience and it is often defined by what it is not: namely, ‘childhood’ & ‘adulthood’. Young people are usually defined as 12 – 25 year olds but now often refers to those up to the age of 30 yrs old as economic changes make it harder to meet traditional milestones of ‘adulthood’ (ex: full time job, independent living, home ownership). Participation refers to acts that aim to shape the kind of society people want to live in (Vromen, 2007). They can be individual and collective, formal (associated with official governance) and informal (voicing an opinion on social media), online or offline (Bell et al, 2008). We think of engagement as the values, cultures and processes for working with diverse individuals and groups to leverage opportunities and actively transform a problem or context.

Project: << Child Rights in a Digital Age >>

 Future Project: The Living Lab community has identified the need to improve ways for adults and authorities to hear what young people are saying. We imagine a tech-based invention that can harvest, organise and visualise what young people are saying online about particular policy issues and make this useful for young people as well, as deliver it to decision-makers.

5. Sustainability and Climate Change

Sustainability refers to “meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” and is a key condition for resilience. It also includes wider dimensions of political, economic, cultural and social life. These are all affected by – and affect – Climate Change which is any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity. Today, Climate Change usually refers to human-induced change, due to industrial activity, globalisation, rising standards of living, increased consumption and carbon and other by-product emissions.

Future Project: Our Living Lab community is interested in connecting with people and organisations who run or would like to run youth-focused sustainability/climate change themed deliberative and innovation processes such as citizens juries, hackathons, community budgeting processes and youth parliaments with the aim of strengthening young people’s voice and agency in sustainability agenda.