Zooms

A 'zoom' tells in brief about an activity, e.g. a workshop, an event or a particular approach:
how it was carried out and why it was valuable.

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Working through social media

Organising a network

Being geographically dispersed, we worked with various social media platforms for communicating, organizing and sharing.

We organized ourselves through groups on Facebook. The main group, ‘Codesign in Kosovo’, was created for everyone involved in the project, and we also created smaller task specific work groups, e.g. for the ones who were responsible for the communication strategy of the project. The Facebook groups were used for various tasks: planning and inviting to meetings, workshops or events (see “Making a dialogue cinema”), sharing summaries, exchanging photos from our everyday and sharing common project photo albums that we put together on Flickr. We also used the chat functionality of Facebook, together with instant messaging services like Viber and WhatsApp, to do long distance interviews between Denmark and Kosovo. This allowed the Danish codesigners to ask follow up questions to the snapshots taken by the students from the University of Prishtina in the beginning of the project.

“It’s important to have everyone share bits of their everyday life, so we can see different perspectives of youth in Kosovo.”
– Edvin, University of Prishtina

Why is this valuable?

The people involved in this trans-disciplinary project had different ways of being involved and different stakes: Some were involved professionally, some through interest and others through studies. This mix called for a dynamic and volatile way of organizing ourselves that maintained a degree of transparency for everyone involved, somewhat independent of physical presence and across geographical distances, in order to support a sustained participation. Social media platforms are widely used by young people in Kosovo, so the various platforms were well known and relevant to establish as co-working spaces, both in relation to participants and the topic of youth engagement.
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Exchanging snapshots

Using social media to share everyday life photos

We utilized digital media to get an insight in each other’s everyday. The result was a collage of concrete personal images and statements on young people’s aspirations and concerns.

Modern technology allows young people to constantly document and share their everyday through digital platforms. The codesigners from KADK acted on this by inviting the University of Prishtina students to share images from their everyday life. In response, the codesigners from KADK would send similar pictures to the students from their everyday life in Copenhagen. The challenge was prompted with opening questions such as; “Where are you together with friends?”, “What do you do together?” and “How do you use your local neighborhood?”. Our photos were sent through email and social media and shared within our fellow Facebook group.

“I think that seeing the snapshots we could see that engagement is not really missing.”
– Trina, University of Prishtina

Why is this valuable?

We had to let the project grow from “what was already there” by asking concrete questions. The resulting collage functioned as the first concrete material in the project, full of stories, aspirations and concerns, and it was later used in both the “City walks” and the “Everyday stories as a game of domino” workshop. Sharing everyday glimpses within a network of young people using digital platforms is a good way of getting to know each other also to establish a working process in which everyone can contribute. The activity also functions as a way of carrying out ethnographic research together, creating a reflective perspective on everyday life.
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City walks

Exploring public spaces related to youth engagement

We went on explorative walks throughout Prishtinë/Priština, Podujevë/Podujevo and Gjilan/Gnjilane, and together we captured concerns and aspirations about public space in Kosovo.

The codesigners from KADK invited the students from University of Prishtina and young people from both Podujevë/Podujevo and Gjilan/Gnjilane for a series of three-hour walks in their cities to talk about public places. Throughout the walks we shared the process of documenting the places and conversations with each other by taking turns holding the camera. In some cases, the walks led to places of recreation, some being hidden or secret from the rest of the public. In other cases, the highlighted places represented a missing link or a concern, e.g. an empty library, high-fenced public buildings etc. We later used the material from the Prishtinë/Priština city walks as the basis for the “Everyday stories as a game of Domino” workshop.

“When we walked through the city we were inspired by what we saw, and got a new perspective on the real problems.”
– Florent, University of Prishtina

Why is this valuable?

Going for a walk together through public spaces, or other places of interest for that matter, can be seen as a method to let a conversation emerge from issues in the surrounding environment. Suddenly, public places are not only a common ground for people to meet and engage in different activities together, but also a starting point for discussions relating to concrete societal concerns or aspirations. Sharing the camera during city walks let us record multiple angles on a subject and lessens the ”tunnel vision” that a single viewpoint can create, and the filmed material can subsequently be the foundation for new discussions.
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Making the process transparent

Establishing a work practice for multiple, diverse participants

The codesigners from KADK were mindful of the common work practice to ensure that all the different partners could be involved successfully.

Throughout the project, the codesigners from KADK focused heavily on creating an open and transparent environment for all partners. This included communicating regularly through a central Facebook group and having the UN common premises as the center of the project and as a place where students from University of Prishtina were also invited in, even when the codesigners from KADK were not present. Events and materials of the project were always visible during our different meetings: Pictures were printed out and put on display at tables so that everyone was able to get an insight into the subject material. We could refer to specific pictures in discussions and rearrange them to create new meaning.

“Can the UN common premises be used for more youth engagement? Is the UN common building user friendly for this kind of work?”
– Shpend, UNKT

Why is this valuable?

This kind of practice might seem trivial, but with a multitude of partners involved in a multitude of activities in a month-long project, the overview can easily get lost if the communication is confined to text and speech. Making the process visible supports the inclusion of partners and gives everyone the possibility to form their own understandings of what has happened, which can provide new insights and interpretations of the problem area.
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Everyday stories as
a game of domino

Making sense together

A tangible and visual game, inspired by dominobricks, was presented for discussing Kosovo and Danisheveryday concerns and aspirations.

“Pick two domino cards that tell something important. Present your picks to the group, and make sense of the issues by combining all your cards on a poster.” With these simple rules we worked together in groups combined of five people from KADK, University of Prishtina and the UN. A domino card consisted of two halves: a photo and a snippet of text or quote related to the photo. The photo and text on the domino cards were the very material we had produced ourselves from “Exchanging snapshots” and the “City walks” around Kosovo, and the material could be combined in new ways when the cards were placed like domino bricks. Through the game, we transformed the unsorted pile of stories and photos into four posters, one for each group, that pointed towards issues of vacant public space, libraries as youth spaces and much more that could be explored in the following parts of the project. Each group presented their poster and issues for the rest of the participants.

“By combining the domino cards, different groups came up with the same ideas related to public spaces.”
– Bardha, University of Prishtina

Why is this valuable?

The simple, flexible format of the cards enabled the workshop participants, across disciplines and occupations, to combine and create new, shared understandings of everyday issues concerning youth in Kosovo from concrete stories, discussing what could be through working with what is already there.
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Youth engagement on film

Turning stories of youth engagement into small films

We made five 2 minute long documentaries that each tell about real life Kosovo youth engagements.

We realized that it is difficult to talk about youth engagement without concrete examples of what it can be. We went looking for already existing stories or activities and asked the question “Could this be youth engagement?”. Equipped with camcorders we visited the young people and sites of the specific activities that we had come upon through our prior activities in Gjilan/Gnjilane and Prishtinë/Priština. Together, in short 2 hour sessions, we recorded material about the specific story or activity, e.g. a protest at the university or local bloggers. Afterwards, we edited the material into short, concrete examples of youth engagement. The documentaries were shown at the dialogue cinema in Gjilan/Gnjilane (see “Making a dialogue cinema”).

“With the films, we suddenly had rich and concrete stories of youth engagement to talk about. Before we did not really know what it could be.”
– Rasmus, KADK

Why is this valuable?

We turned something that can otherwise be very volatile and abstract into a series of sustained snapshots of something that we consider to be youth engagement. These films worked as rich, communicative tools that allowed our sense making to ‘travel’ and be shared, enabling others to engage in the issue.
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Making a dialogue cinema

Gjilan/Gnjilane youth sharing their stories of engagement

We engaged more than 100 young people from Gjilan/Gnjilane to join us for a night of films and shared stories of youth engagement.

The codesigners from KADK, University of Prishtina students and the Gjilan/Gnjilane students transformed the local sports hall in Gjilan/Gnjilane into a temporary cinema and showed five films about youth engagement (see “Youth engagements on film”), followed by a documentary about Kosovo rural life from the 70’s. With the documentaries as an inspiration, the audience, who counted more than 100 young people, shared their own stories of engagement on pieces of paper and hung them for display around the cinema screen. The process of engaging the audience with dialogue cards was facilitated by Bardha from University of Prishtina. The result was 24 different stories of youth engagement in Gjilan/Gnjilane.

“I hope people can see that they can do something simple. I think we tend to over-complicate youth engagement”
– Bardha, University of Prishtina

Why is this valuable?

The term ‘youth engagement’ can be both abstract and complex and therefore difficult to talk about. We used the cinema as a format that was both well known and had connotations of something social and fun. We made the subject of ‘youth engagement’ approachable through telling the concrete stories of local young people and anchor the event in a local setting transformed to serve a new purpose. This served as a foundation for the audience to reflect on their own everyday activities and share their own stories of engagement. The collection of stories is also a great tool for the UN in regards to broadening their horizon of what youth engagement can be.
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Inviting with engaged,
local partners

Being personal and present in the invitation

With the help of the students from Gjilan/Gnjilane, we invited young people in Gjilan/Gnjilane to participate in the dialogue cinema.

It was crucial for us to have a broad audience of young people attending the dialogue cinema with their inputs on youth engagement. Joined by the Gjilan/Gnjilane students, some of which were featured in the micro-documentaries, we promoted the event by setting up flyers and posters at high schools, universities and hangout spots in the city. This also enabled us to talk directly to people about the event. An online Facebook page was also created to spread news of the event through the network of the already involved people.

“It’s important to have dedicated people, ready to help.”
– Alban, University of Prishtina

Why is this valuable?

Having the Gjilan/Gnjilane students help the codesigners from KADK spread the word on the streets of Gjilan/Gnjilane was a natural progression of their involvement in the project. The codesigners from KADK would never have been able to reach a large audience without local involvement.
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Events have to resonate

Something has to be at stake

A planned event centered on building a temporary hangout space had to be cancelled when it was clear that it did not resonate.

One outcome of the “Everyday stories as a game of domino” workshop was a proposal to create an event in public space centered around building a temporary hang out space: “Buildnic” was the working title. Some of the students from University of Prishtina had invited a circle of friends to take part in a planning meeting a few days prior to the event, together with the codesigners from KADK. Plenty of ideas were proposed, but in the end it was clear that none of the participants at the meeting had a personal stake in the event. Compared to the dialogue cinema, where the Gjilan/Gnjilane students and their projects were featured in films that were shown at an event they themselves were helping create, the Buildnic event was lacking a purpose and a reason for engaging. Therefore, the codesigners from KADK decided to cancel the event.

"I think it is difficult to see a clear purpose with 'Buildnic'. Why should people show up?"
– Maria, KADK

Why is this valuable?

The codesign process has to be driven by people with something at stake. Ideas and suggestions can easily emerge without a concrete purpose, but for them to materialize, they must resonate with or evoke concerns and aspirations within a network.
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