From 15th till 22nd of Sepetember, 2022 the participants from Germany, Ukraine and Russia met in Weimar to share and decode media trends in the world.
The #DecodingMedia Camps project set to be implemneted in three youth exchanges, has the following aims:
- to help young people clearly understand the role of media in today’s world;
- to assist youngsters in developing their critical and analytical thinking capabilities in the post-truth era;
- to promote pluralism, freedom of press and freedom of expression;
- to address the issue of hate speech online between the participating countries
- to combat populism, radicalisation/extremism, censorship and propaganda in Germany, Ukraine and Russia;
- to encourage youth to critically analyse current national and EU affairs;
- to empower youngsters to create their own independent media outlets/products and further promote critical thinking among their peers;
- to create intercultural learning moments among the participants and between them;
- to enhance participants ́ ICT skills.
Staring from the arrival day, the participants were engaged in porject activties. With the group exercises we have created a comfortable atmosphere so all participants can work together. Besides different name games, icebreakers, team work and group dynamic activities, we have explained how the youth exchnage is using the methods of non-fromal education. It was also imporatnt to introduce the participants to the house rules of the accommodation EJBW.
Afterwards, the participants started to get into the topic of the youth exchange with the group discussion “Where I get my information”. First, they will be asked to work in pairs and answer the question, then united in the groups of four the participants have once again shared their answers and later presented their common outcome. After the discussion the facilitators called everyone into a reflection round.
The morning has tsarted with the presentation of the projects, its history and aims. Then there was a session about hopes, expectations and concerns, whihc helped to re-adjust certain parts of the program. For this the participants were split into three groups, after 15 minutes of work, the group changes to another poster and only one person remained to present the findings. Then we have presented the reflection method – YouthPass, which will also work a recognition tool for this youth exchange. Aftre this we run an exercise on group dynamics with catching chairs.
We have picked up several exersices to run outdoors which had stimulated more dialogue and intercultural understanding. First one was about creating a square with closed with no speaking. The participants were allowed to have a 10 minutes discussion and then carry on the task. The second one was with a string attached between the trees and the task to get every team member on teh other side of the string. Last, “human knot”, when everyone would grab a strtech of the string and then un-wrap as a whole group. Those activities really stimultaed group dynamics and opened up the participants.
After the lunch the participants used “ActionBound” application, a geo-cashing tool, and explore the city of Weimar. The routes, created by trainers, brought young people to the places, which are related to different epochs and the confrontations, existing back in the days. This way, the participants got to know the city and exposed to the controvertial history and tensions between the people, which are still ubiquitous.
The particionats had to present their “homework”, which was about talking how traditional media channels are working in their countirs, what new media outlets are appearing what they see as a trend in every day life of media consumers. Small group discussions, big circle of reflection. Meetings with the team leaders to prepare for the Intercultural Night. The Intercultural Night was an important activity for the participants to share their culture with the group.
The session started with a presentation, prepared by one of the German participants, on the new trends in media and communication science. It provided insights into ongoing research in the broader field of communication studies, currently discussed theories, objects of research, methodological innovations, and research results are relevant topics. The participnats were invited to play a small role-play game, where they were infiltrating a social media network and pursuing their own set agenda by the game. This made them reflect on what kind of users exist now in social networks and what they goals might be.
The afternoon was filled by two workshops prepared by the faciliators from the Russian team. “Can you think critically?” was based on the Abigail’s Tale with more addtions into how the information was spread in the story. The second workshop “Fake or not to Fake?”was about sharing experience of encountering fake news, discovering the nature of them and trying to re-create the chain of reaction of how much news pieces are spread.
On the third program day we had a big reflection circle to get the feedback from the participants about how the youth exchange is running so far. After dinner, the participnats were invited to spend the evening playing board games and talking informally.
The morning started with a short inro session from one of the participants on what is a viral material. Then the participnats were invited to brainstorm together how such content could be made in a spesific case. The case of Wolrd Clean Up Day 2019 was presented to them, when the local youth of Erfurt with the help of Youth Garage e.V. were gathering to clean up the Nordpark in Erfurt. The young people were split into groups to work on Social media content, Poster campaign and Video campaign. Later, we all met to discuss the common strategy, before traveling to Erfurt and shooting it.
The participants got costumes of superheroes and dressed up as them started the shooting. They used the content to produce social media wave – for Instagram Stories and posts, for Jodel and for Facebook. The campaign went straight online and from the budget of Youth Garage e.V. was paid to be promoted in Thuringian region. The participants were invited to define the promotional characteristics of thsi campaign and learn how this system of paid-advertisement works on Facebook/Instagram platforms.
The fifth day started with a movie screening. The well-know documentary “The Great Hack” about the Cambridge Analytica case was a useful intorudction into the topic of how social media can manipulate public opinion. This connected to the previous day experience with setting a viral campaign by the participants.
In the group discussion after watching a snapshot of the documentary, the participants went on to discuss how social media is able to fragmintate the soceity and intal regional identities, which could be manipulated during social/political unrest. The participants reflected on their realities back home and gave examples of radicalisation happening in their networks.
A session preapred by the Russian faciliator to try to differentiate free speech from hate speech. The exercises were based on Compass hanbook of the Eureopan Commission.
The reflection round was important to summarise the intense experience of the last two days and relfect on gained knowledge and insights. It was also the last day in Weimar.
During the 2 hour trip to Berlin the participants were asked to summarise their activities in the blog post and publish it on ther social media channels.
After the arrival to Berlin, the participants had a meeting in the conference room with Bernadette Geyer from Hostwriter.org about their work with independed journalists and recent publication of “Unbias The News”. She shared her professional experiences and answered the questions from the young people.
A short reflection round took place in the hostel, after which the participants had dinner and went to explore Berlin.
The morning was spent with a thorough workshop of Clemens A. Schoell from Berlin School of Journalism on the topic of “Media Freedom in Germany and in Eastern Europe. The participants were eager to listen about the programs implemeted in Germany and Eastern Europe for young journalists and were invited to become part of the network.
In the afternoon, the “Open Space for Your Ideas” took place, where young people suggested what they can offer to each other to learn peer-to-peer. One of the example was – street music, where the participnats went to the streets of Berlin to perform publically.
Reflection with the group leaders. Visit to the Berlin Wall with the history introduction.
The networking session had the method of participants sharing “live” CVs with each other and creating connections of how they would be usueful to each other for providing information.
The final evaluation used several methods: it started with a short description of every day of the activity, video watching from the Crash the Trash campiagn and finally the Pizza Flipchart with categories to evaliate. The group leaders invited everyone to speak up about their experience. The session finished with YouthPass certificate award ceremony.
This activity has been co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, Thuringia’s Ministry for Youth, Education and Sport and the “Meet Up!” Programme of the EVZ Foundation „Remembrance, Responsibility and Future“.