“Thinkathon” Brings Young Minds Together in McCauley

  • Participants in Edmonton at the Thinkathon. Paula E. Kirman

  • Edmonton participants working in a small group. Paula E. Kirman

  • Paula Kirman speaks to the participants in Edmonton. Supplied

On November 29 and 30, Studio 96 became home for about 30 young people, mostly in their late teens and early 20s, who took part in a 24-hour “Thinkathon.”

“Our Digital Future, C’est Ici” was organized by the Goethe-Institut Montreal, as well as the Goethe-Institut Toronto, Edmonton’s NextGen, European Union in Canada, and the CJD NDG, a non-profit organization in Montreal that helps young people enter the job market.

The Edmonton event was the second in a series of Thinkathons in six Canadian and six European cities between now and the end of 2020.

The project offers young citizens (18-30) an open, inclusive platform for a debate on our digital futures. During the 24 hours, participants co-created videos and social media campaigns, as well as recommendations, for Canadian and European politicians. The work took place both on-site and online, connecting with a group meeting at the same time in Milan, Italy.

The first Thinkathon took place in October in Montreal and Brussels, Belgium on the topic of Digital Citizenship 4.0.

I was asked to be a guest speaker because of my work in community and digital media, as well as community organizing. The fact that the location happened to be in McCauley was a coincidence, but definitely fits the kind of work I am doing here with the paper, which has grown and expanded its readership with its website and social media.

My topics included online hate, and encountering hate groups and bullying in the digital age, particularly how to deal with it and how to protect themselves (and each other) from such behaviours. I was also asked lots of questions about the current state of the media, and how the digital age has changed how we get our information and how we interact with social media and the Internet.

After my talk, the participants broke back into their small groups to work on their projects. I am looking forward to learning about their outcomes.

For more information, click here.

Janis Irwin MLA
Vista Housing

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