From 7th to 11th 2016, the 10 teams of the PARTISPACE project met in Manchester (UK) for the 4th consortium meeting. The objective was first to assess the progress of the research so far and to reflect and prepare the forthcoming steps. Advisory board Members Jill Robinson, visiting Fellow at the Centre for Critical Inquiry into Society at Aston University, Enzo Mingione, sociologist from the University of Milano, Davide Capecchi, Research and Youth Policy Officer at the EU-CoE Youth partnership and Lasse Sjobeck from the Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions (Obessu) also joined the meeting. Their role was providing external feedback regarding the directions taken, the practical relevance of the research process and assisting with regard to the dissemination process.
The main work package addressing the local case studies (WP4) has been mostly discussed among the different partners.
The second phase of the ongoing fieldwork consists in conducting six case studies per city.
Up to now, teams are exploring participation practices in formal non formal and informal contexts by means of participatory observation, group discussions, expert interviews and document analysis. During the meeting, each team presented their six case studies providing first emerging issues and categories for the analysis both of the local constellations of youth participation and on a comparative and thematic level across cases, cities and countries (WP6).
Most of the teams have already started to conduct first biographical interviews in a way to understand how individuals are motivated for involvement in specific participatory practices. Narrative interviews with young people from different settings (12 per country) will allow for analyzing and reconstructing practices, meanings, relationship and dynamics of different forms of youth participation.
Biographical, narrative interviews ask for the whole life story. In PARTISPACE this is essential because we want to understand individual motivational constellations which lead young people to get in contact with a participatory practice. During the meeting, partners had the opportunity to discuss methodological issues related to the conduction of biographical interview, data collection and data analysis.
The different steps of the fieldwork will be documented and analyzed in forthcoming national case study reports (due end of April 2017) the structure of which was discussed during the meeting.
Apart from local case studies, the project also includes action research with groups of young people (WP5). During the meeting, 3 potential action-research projects per city were presented in order to introduce discussions about partner’s needs and requirements with regards to the implementation of action-research projects. The aim of the action research is to support young people as co-inquirers working with the research team in inquiry, analysis, sense-making and reflection about their participation. Groups of interested young people will be invited to conduct their own action research projects to deepen understanding about social and political engagement of young people focused by their own issues and priorities. The primary objective is ensuring openness for issues beyond what researchers have identified as relevant and participatory while at the same time allowing young people to influence the research process. Supported by members of the research teams young people will identify issues and questions in order to gain new understandings and possibilities for change such as ‘What influences whether and how young people are socially and politically engaged?’ ‘What might make a difference in my everyday life?’ These ‘mini projects’ will involve young people researching and learning from the experience.
Finally, the organization of an ethics advisory board has been discussed consisting of consortium members as well as members of the general advisory board. The ethics advisory board will aim at raising ethic issues going related to all steps of the project. While ethical issues will be discussed at every meeting, the ethics advisory board provides recommendations and support on the ethic state of play and difficulties that appear all along the project life.
The next meeting will be held in Bologna from 9th to 12th May 2016.
To be continued!