Reimagining civic education at NECE Campus

Imagine if democratic systems acknowledged that all creatures capable of feelings and experiences, not just people, had rights. It would mean treating all living beings with consideration and respect, understanding that they have the capacity to feel joy, pain, and other emotions, and ensuring their well-being is considered in decision-making. How can this be reflected in civic education?  

Critical ChangeLab recently led a workshop at the NECE Campus to address these questions. Entitled ‘Reimagining Civic Education by Cultivating More-Than-Human Care’, the participatory workshop was aimed at those working at the vanguard of civic education. Together the participants and Critical ChangeLab team envisioned how we can cultivate relations of care that go beyond anthropocentrism.

The Critical ChangeLab team consisted of a cohort of transdisciplinary researchers and practitioners from across the consortium, with contributions from Niccolo Milanese (European Alternatives), Caitlin White (Trinity College Dublin), Andrew Newman (Ars Electronica), Eva Durall, Yusra Niaz, Tuija Cornér, Heidi Hartikainen, and Marianne Kinnula (University of Oulu).

Bringing a fresh and creative perspective on how we can best support youth-led civic interventions

Through role-play strategies that combined futures methods and more-than-human approaches, the workshop aimed to equip participants with practical knowledge and skills to act as agents of change in citizenship education.

The workshop was well received by participants, who described it as “bringing a fresh and creative perspective on how we can best support youth-led civic interventions”.

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Workshop Facilitators

Eva Durall Gazulla is Academy postdoctoral researcher at the INTERACT research unit at University of Oulu, Finland. Her expertise areas include media and technology, design and learning using critical approaches as well as participatory design and futures techniques to engage participants in research. Currently, she is involved as research leader in various projects exploring democratic values in technology design and use with young people (co-PI in Critical ChangeLab and PI in Critical DataLit projects). 

Niccolò Milanese is director of European Alternatives, a transnational civil society organisation promoting democracy, equality and culutre beyond the nation state since 2007. 

Caitlin White is a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Education at Trinity College, Dublin, where she works on the EU-funded Critical ChangeLab project. She holds a PhD in Public History from Trinity College and is interested in using the past to envision the future. Other research interests include modern Irish history, critical literacies, commemoration, memory, global citizenship education, and workshop design.

Andrew Newman is focused on fostering transdisciplinary cultures as a producer for the European Platform for Digital Humanism at Ars Electronica. He is responsible for projects aimed at bringing artists and scientists together (STUDIOTOPIA), creating STEAM learning experiences (Critical ChangeLab, Open Science Hub, Creative School and STEAM INC), and promoting citizen science (European Union Prize for Citizen Science and IMPETUS). He previously co-founded the Research Institute for Arts and Technology in Vienna where he focused on integrating artistic research methodologies into technology research and development. | Linkedin

Yusra Niaz is a Doctoral Researcher at the INTERACT Research Unit at University of Oulu, Finland. She is a member of the research team working on the EU funded Critical ChangeLab project. Her doctoral research focuses on the relations young people make when they participate as design protagonists to design future technologies within this more than human centered design world. Other research interests include participatory design, critical approaches to learning and futures techniques.

Tuija Cornér is a PhD researcher at the University of Helsinki. In the EU-funded Critical ChangeLab project, she is part of a research team at the University of Oulu. Her doctoral research focuses on continuous learning and collaborative learning processes. Her research draws from applications of cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT), such as the Change Laboratory method, expansive learning and transformative agency.

Marianne Kinnula is an Associate Professor in Human-centred design and digitalisation, and the research unit vice-leader of INTERACT research unit in University of Oulu, Finland. Her research is in the fields of information systems and human-computer interaction with inter- and transdisciplinary approaches. Social sustainability of technology in terms of social inclusion, empowerment, and ethical stance in technology development and use at different levels, individual, organizational and society level, are in the heart of her research. 

Heidi Hartikainen is a postdoctoral researcher in Child-Computer Interaction at INTERACT research group in University of Oulu in Finland. She is interested in the themes of activism and empowerment through technology, especially concerning youth safety and security online. In her work she draws from critical and participatory methods when engaging youth to critically examine emerging technologies and envision our technological futures. Website