Change Makers! A youth platform to promote social and political change

Project partners: Joi Polloi, University of Huddersfield and Youth Work Unit

Sheffield-based Joi Polloi is a double BAFTA-award winning, independent studio specialising in creating compelling digital experiences, bespoke platforms and innovative products. 

Joi Polloi collaborated with the University of Huddersfield and the Youth Work Unit (YWU) to explore a new web platform, Change Makers! 

The Change Makers! platform is aimed at young people between the ages of 11 and 16 to promote social and political change through education, advocacy, inspiration and support from their peers and decision-makers around the country. 

Users can engage with the web platform to express their views and debate with other young people in a way that is natural and nurturing and create new journalism content from their perspective. They are encouraged to develop a life-long connection with politics and society at a grassroots level. Users will also be able to enter into healthy debate, connect with and mentor other users, engage with content, participate in polls and petitions, and learn about events and issues happening in their area. Inspired by the story of Greta Thunberg, Joi Polloi’s goal is to empower young people to understand how and why the world around them works, engage with it and shape it. 

During the R&D project, Joi Polloi conducted a comprehensive review of existing platforms to inform the design of Change Makers! Two focus groups were conducted with the support of the YWU and Dr Andrew Mycock of the University of Huddersfield. These groups provided valuable insights into the type of platform that would engage young audiences. 

The project has identified the potential opportunity to bridge the gap between engagement and activism, providing a safe space where young people can learn about and discuss issues that interest and affect them. The BBC has expressed an interest in commissioning content which could form part of a series. The Guardian has also offered places on their masterclass series to several young people who will be creating articles for the new platform.

Change Makers! has also recently been awarded follow-on funding through XR Stories to continue with the next phase of development, which includes creating an editorial board of young people, developing journalism skills amongst young content creators and publishing a range of content on the web platform.

Jason Devoy, Delivery Director at Joi Polloi, and industry partner on this project, says:

“We are delighted to have been awarded follow-on funding from XR Stories to progress the Change Makers! project to the software development and content creation stage. This funding will enable us to work towards a market-ready minimum viable product which we plan to pilot at a regional level. The Youth Work Unit (YWU) will continue to be a project partner and provide us with valuable consultancy, insight and access to a youth user testing group.

YWU are also setting up a youth editorial group who will work with us on the creation of content relevant to young audiences. Providing young people access to work experience in the sector will support the regional growth of the broadcasting and media industries and nurture digital storytelling talent.”

Categories: Technology