‘Hardcopy or #Hashtag?’ - Student Innovators Hope Apps, Maps And Forums Can Help Young People to Engage With Parliament
Students from 15 schools and youth groups from around the UK will descend upon Westminster on Monday 17 November to pitch their ideas to a panel of experts on how digital technology can be used to increase youth engagement with Parliament.
Digital maps, apps and forums are just some of the platforms that students have suggested could be utilised to help their peers better engage with Parliament. The event, “Hardcopy or #Hashtag?” is a culmination of a series of workshops organised by the Political Studies Association in UK schools and universities between 8 September and 20 October, 2014 as part of this year’s Parliament Week initiative.
Led by actor and film maker Femi Oyeniran, the panel of experts who will consider the students’ projects will also include Emma Mulqueeny (Founder and CEO of Young Rewired State), Aileen Walker (Director of Public Engagement, House of Commons) and Drew Thomson (Founder of Starcount). After all of the schools have presented their ideas to the panel, an audience of young people, digital experts and academics will be asked to choose the best overall idea via an interactive vote using audience response handsets.
The ideas presented at the event form a key part of the theme of this year’s Parliament Week on Do Democracy - a national social media campaign asking 16-24 year olds to share the issues that matter to them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Additionally, some ideas discussed will be fed back to the Digital Democracy Commission set up by the Speaker of the House of Commons earlier this year.
Dr Cristina Leston-Bandeira, of the University of Hull, one of the architects of the event and also a Commissioner on the Speaker’s Digital Democracy Commission, commented:
“We've been overwhelmed with the enthusiasm young people, schools and universities have shown in this far-reaching initiative. It has encouraged universities to work closer with schools, displaying how politics can be taught in both practical terms and in a creative manner.
“It has also suggested that Parliament is not about boring procedures. Parliament Week gives an excellent opportunity to explore politics in a different set-up, where we can communicate to a different audience and engage them with parliamentary politics.”
As part of their Stand Up, Be Counted campaign, Sky News have agreed to live-blog from the event which will take place in the Attlee Suite, Portcullis House from 1.45pm to 4pm. Follow #PSAPW for live updates on Twitter.
Photo: Students at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College, Darlington, compete to come up with the most innovative ways of using digital technology to increase youth engagement.