- Objective: defining the European identity
- Target group: young Europeans
- How: interviews and a workshop
- Where: Finland, Ukraine, Italy, Belgium and Portugal
YourThought.eu- All different and all together aimed to spark a debate with the citizenry by challenging the idea of what it means to be ‘European’. The project encouraged young citizens (aged between 18 and 35) from the outskirts of Europe to question the current notion of European identity. Different perspectives on ‘Europeanness’ were collected throughout the year through interviews in Finland, Ukraine, Italy, Belgium and Portugal, but also thanks to a workshop in Ukraine and via online platforms. Most of the ideas and stories have been showcased on a website and on the project’s facebook page.
- Liliana Caraça (Brussels, Belgium)
- Guia Bianchi (Lavagna, Italy)
- Alex Guzenko (Kiev, Ukraine)
- Milja Rämö (Helsinki, Finland)
- Leticia Diez-Sanchez (Adviser from FutureLab Europe generation 2012)
Why this project?
The European Union has evolved in the last few decades: it includes more countries than ever before, is more politically integrated, puts a stronger emphasis on minorities and it shows that it values young people through programmes like Erasmus+. However, the mainstream discourse on European identity does not necessarily correspond with this evolution. For many people Europe is a far away concept, associated with the EU or with small number of big European powers. Hence, young people from the outskirts of Europe tend to feel excluded and disengaged from the idea of Europe. The project set out to address these issues and create a discussion on European values to define the European identity.
“During the project, we collected a whole range of different descriptions of what it means to be European, written by experts and young people from all over the continent. Their contributions reflect how the ‘European identity’ is not homogeneous but represents a multitude of realities, very personal to each and every one of us. From Ukraine to Portugal, participants all said that to be European is to identify with a set of shared values, such as democracy, justice, freedom of expression and peace” – Liliana Mateus Caraça
The project started with a stock taking of the current academic discourse on European identity through background research and interviews with scholars. After having critically assessed the results, the project team reached out to young people in all corners of Europe, conducting interviews with young citizens in Finland, Ukraine, Italy, Belgium and Portugal. Finally, they presented the results of their inquiry through a website and a related facebook page. They also held a full-day workshop in Kiev (Ukraine) to further reflect on the issue and created Facebook group specifically related to the workshop. These activities greatly contributed to the success of the project and constitute its biggest achievement. The workshop allowed people to interact with each other and exchange views on how they see their European identity.
- Website “Yourthought.eu”
- Research/ interviews with researchers on European identity
- Platform for sharing thoughts and views
- Facebook page
- Workshop with local citizens in Ukraine
- Essay competition on European identity
- Interviews with young people in Finland, Belgium, Portugal, Italy and Ukraine.
Calendar of activities
- Website – since April 2017
- Workshop in Ukraine – 9 September 2017
- Essay competition – to be launched at FutureLab Autumn Conference, EPC, 22 September 2017
- Interviews in Finland, Belgium, Portugal, Italy and Ukraine. – Nov/Dec. 2017
The project is still ongoing: the team is contributing to the YourThought.eu website writing blog posts on a regular basis. Would you like to get in touch? Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.