Change Makers! A youth platform to promote social and political change
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 received funding from XR Stories to collaborate 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, to create new journalism content from their perspective. They are encouraged to develop a life-long connection with politics and society at a grassroots level. 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.
Change Makers! was awarded follow-on funding by XR Stories to continue with the next phase of development. This enabled Joi Polloi to create a market-ready pilot for the project and develop journalism skills amongst young content creators from the Youth Work Unit in Leeds. As part of the pilot project, they have created a live site which features articles written by young people.
Jason Devoy, delivery director at Joi Polloi, says:
“The project has strengthened our links with local universities and, I hope, proved that we are sensitive to the needs of diverse and underrepresented groups.”