With the project 9 months old, the teams from across 16 partner universities came together in the secluded surroundings of Moorside Grange Hotel, high in the moors at the edge of the UK’s Peak District national park.
There followed two and a half days of hard work, some intellectual debate and discussion and some low comdey, in the form of an unwelcome early wake up cal from the fire alarm (keen to dispel rumours that this was a ruse to ensure an early start, the project manager graciously allowed a 15 minute delay to the start of the day’s meetings).
With the meeting largely focused on the serious business of refining the key research instruments for MYPLACE, it was perhaps more apparent than ever that we have set ourselves a huge challenge. MYPLACE’s aims are nothing if not ambitious.
With the intensity of the hard planning to be done, it is only too easy to lose sight of the reasons we’re doing all this work. With that in mind, it was particularly refreshing (and important) to have some time to relax and reflect. An informal evening session on the second evening, provided an opportunity to do just that. Held in an otherwise quiet hotel bar, MYPLACE teams (with or without a glass of wine) discussed their experiences of youth movements, actions and protests which they had experience of. Some of these topics have already been explored in this blog, others we will seek to add in the coming weeks. A variety of cases were discussed and, amid a lively debate, what shone through above all else was the passion and commitment of those present to understand and explore not only what young people are doing, but their reasons for doing it and what it means to them.
For MYPLACE, with all the hard work still to come, this is what brought the project together, and this is what will make the hard work worthwhile.
The project next meets in Riga in May, where research instruments will be finalised. It is to be hoped that the enthusiasm of the team is maintained. We will also hope for less fog, and definitely fewer fire alarms….