The main goal of the first part of the EU24 Engage for the planet project was to discuss the results of research on UE political parties programs, youth opinions and participation practices to develop a new quality formats of debate in which topics concerned with climate change and sustainability are highlighted. As a result of the conference Climate Crisis – Youth – European Elections 2024 video summaries of the four themes of the blended debate formats were produced:
Participatory exercise – Articulating a vision
The debate method used for the Mobility Group is called Facilitated Participatory Exercise. The purpose of this debating method is to find out the problem, visualize the future and try to work out together how to reach that future without illusions.
Evaluation of the method
Methodology test brought together participants from diverse backgrounds, including people living in capital cities and remote villages. Despite their different realities, they identified common problems such as over-centralization, unreliable public transport and affordability issues. Importantly, there was a consensus among the participants, with no disagreements observed throughout the process. However, the method itself was found to be somewhat static and it is suggested that a more dynamic approach could be beneficial. One recommendation is to better specify the future time frame (e.g., by dividing it into shorter (e.g. 5 years) and longer (e.g. 25 years) intervals), allowing for more nuanced discussions and the development of two or three well-articulated recommendations. In addition, incorporating group dynamics and using a facilitator in a conference setting could further enhance the effectiveness of this method. Overall, the testing of the Articulate a Vision debate method provided valuable insights into pressing mobility issues and allowed participants to collectively envision a more sustainable and accessible future. By considering feedback and incorporating improvements, this method can be further refined and used in different settings to encourage engaging and productive discussions among participants.
Classic Mindfulness Lead Debate
It is a set of rules that foundation the Mindfulness concept that might help to organise space and the participants’ attitudes in a certain way. It includes verbalising intention before starting the session indicating to everyone the intention for the whole debate (kind & curious interest (towards others but also towards yourself), to be open-minded, non-judgmental, open awareness), and meditation.
Evaluation of the method
The technique takes away the competition from the debate and creates space for some deeper thinking. The reminder about mindful listening was helpful, as we very often have a tendency to speak our minds instead of being present with another person talking. Saying our names before voicing our thoughts made participants feel more engaged in the conversation. Some participants felt that the topic of food production was quite difficult and technical, and they felt that they could not contribute much to the subject. They suggested that maybe having some experts to talk about it would be quite helpful. This method was found to be engaging and allows deeper reflection. The participants valued the fact that they had the chance to first self-reflect and only later move on to group discussions. The meditation at the beginning of the session helped people to ground themselves. It also helped to ignore the noise and distractions around and focus more on the debate. It seems that this method would work fine also online.
The main idea of this method is to divide a group in two: one group in the bowl, second group outside of the bowl. The participants in the bowl had an open conversation about the long term vision on energy. Participants switched places during the conversation (facilitated by the moderator) so they were in and out the fishbowl. While outside the fishbowl participants made notes on their observations during the conversation. After the first round in-depth reflection on the conservation among the observers and the participants, there was no clear outcome but many suggestions were raised related to long -term energy vision, the importance of a global approach, equal access to energy, sharing knowledge and alternative energy resources.
Evaluation of the method:
The method was rated as very effective. However, it is necessary to have strong facilitation which might also mean removing too ‘talkative’ participants from the fishbowl and inviting those being on stand-by. Participants who were on ‘stand-by’ enjoyed listening to the fishbowl discussions also because some of them had a chance to revisit their own opinions. This method seems more fitted for off-line interactions rather than online or hybrid ones.
It is a technique that facilitates conversation in small groups and then brings the small groups together to integrate their ideas on the topic. First, participants silently reflect on a question or issue (1). Then they share their reflections in pairs (2). After 5-10 minutes, two pairs join up (4) and continue with the conversation as a group. Finally, everyone gathers together to sum up their main conclusions. Our modification: Due to the small size of the group we modified the group sizes. After the individual reflection, we discussed in groups of 3 and afterward all together.
Evaluation of the method
This method was found to be engaging and allows deeper reflection. The participants valued the fact that they had the chance to first self-reflect and only later move on to group discussions. It seems that this method would work fine also online. Participants also agrees that the method is inclusive (everyone has a chance to express their opinion), engaging (working in pairs and small groups means everyone takes part), safe (participants reflect first alone, they have time to clearly formulate their
thoughts, the aim is to reach a solution and come up with it together), tolerant, representative, has easy language, leads to conclusions (several rounds of discussion each time in a bigger group helps to narrow down the ideas) and it gives a possibility to collect questions as well anonymously (the initial part could be anonymous, written down and then discussed in groups).