WawaLab – wide-ranging new media program for Polish youth
WawaLab was a meeting. First of all, a meeting with the city, its energy, its people, its space and history. Secondly, it was a program that made the paths of several groups of the people of Warsaw cross: young people described by experts as „digital natives” and urban activists, representatives of formal and informal organizations and institutions. To the project we invited 30 participants from Warsaw aged from 12 to 19. We met once a month throughout half a year. Each of the meetings had a separate subject – from history, to the citizens, to urban activists. All topics were connected by the fresh and personal point of view on Warsaw and by the search for places, stories and people who try to change their surroundings for the better, take responsibility and actively shape their space with the use of new media.
Our goal was to interpret the topics related to Warsaw with the use of specific tools of the new technologies – from audio-visual tools, to simple software and apps, to the tools of new technologies. The results – short videos, podcasts, visual materials etc. were marked on a map on the project website.
Producing this specific „hard” evidence of our workshops was one of our goals. Equally importantwas familiarizing the participants with significant Warsaw-related current topics of social interest – with the ways the city changes and how active citizens contribute to that change.
We have invited institutions, organizations and personalities who are models and benchmarks in promoting grassroots civic thinking about the city to collaborate with us. They became guides for our participants and presented the fields of their work and invited the participants to take part in civic activities for the city.
Experts from the field of media and new technologies facilitated the meetings. Using digital tools in the frames of very specific topics and working with our participants proved an important experience for them. We hope they will draw from it in their future activities. The project resulted in 5 video tutorials for the youth on how to use new technologies for social change, as well as a manual, addressed to international audience, showing how to prepare a similar project in a context of a different city.
The biggest Polish daily, Gazeta Wyborcza, the main media partner of the project, posted the multimedia materials that result from the workshops on its Internet platform, reaching over 300,000 viewers.
The project was a joint initiative of the Evens Foundation and the Association of Creative Initiatives Ę. In 2016 nd 17 it will be continued in a new form, embracing few Polish cities.