How can we prevent youth radicalization? How can we support youth work and cultural practitioners to address this issue with young people?
The CULTURAD initiative aims to enhance civic engagement and address the risk of radicalisation among youth through arts and creative practices and co-creation methods. It will increase cross sectoral and transnational cooperation, stimulate knowledge exchange and peer mentoring and encourage youth civic engagement in order to prevent radicalisation. This responds to the EU Member states call to address low youth civic engagement by exploring new ways of involving young people.
Within this context, KideOn, the social and educational inclusion research group of the University of the Basque Country (Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea – EHU) organised an online focus group on the 28th of March, with more than 10 professionals from 4 organisations who work directly with young people in Spain, in addition to KideOn and Rinova’s representative. These included the Basque Youth Observatory, Bizitegi, Entrenando Emociones and Cultumetria as well as a freelance cultural mediator working in Bilbao.
The discussion touched on a number of questions prepared by the CULTURAD team, which included:
- Has the risk of radicalization increased among young people, according to your experience?
- Do young people in your community participate actively in civic life?
- How can creative and artistic activities be used for youth engagement and the prevention of radicalization?
- Do you know any examples of such activities in your community?
To start with, participants discussed the connotations of the term “radicalization”, how it refers to going back to the root cause of something, and how it does not have to be strictly negative. The practitioners spoke about the importance of peer learning and giving young people space to make their own voice heard. The problem with fake news and the lack of access to cultural resources for the wider community came up as issues to tackle urgently.
Overall, participants expressed a need for more exchange about these topics, and were happy to hear that the CULTURAD initiative was going to develop more activities and resources.
The specific objective of the CULTURAD initiative are the:
a) Development of training on European arts and culture pedagogies to increase civic engagement and lower radicalisation risks;
b) Capacity building of 60 youth practitioners and CCS professionals and training 100 young people at risk of exclusion;
c) Virtual transnational roundtables with 40 relevant stakeholders, for co-creation of Policy and Practice Recommendations Guide;
d) Dissemination including social media campaign, local events, short videos and final conference to reach 250,000 EU citizens.
Expected results are to enhance the capacities of youth practitioners and strengthen transnational and cross-cultural collaborations in the field of preventing radicalisation and stimulating civic engagement. Additionally, young people at risk of exclusion will be provided with artistic and cultural opportunities and experiences to enhance their active citizenship by becoming aware of common EU values, the principles of unity and diversity, all of which will positively impact their civic engagement and reduce risks of radicalisation.
Updates will be available soon on the dedicated website: https://culturad.eu/.
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The CULTURAD project has been co-financed with the support of the European Union’s ERASMUS+ programme. Its contents and materials are the sole responsibility of its authors. The Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. It will be implemented from November 2022 to October 2024. (Funding ref. 2022-1-ES02-KA220-YOU-000088228).