The current COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important digital assets have become to our economies and how basic and advanced digital skills sustain our economies and societies. Although already 85% of citizens used the internet in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 crisis. Therefore, having an internet connection is not sufficient; it must be paired with the appropriate skills to take advantage of the digital society. Digital skills range from basic usage skills that enable individuals to take part in the digital society and consume digital goods and services, to advanced skills that empower the workforce to develop new digital goods and services. (DESI, 2020).
We believe that creativity is a mandatory skill necessary for every cycle of human life and non-formal education play a key role in fostering and developing people’s creativity and innovative capacities for further learning and their working lives. In this way, creativity and innovation play a very important role in order to better face the economic, environmental, and social crises we are facing. Recent policies require the enhancement of Europe’s innovative capacity and the development of a creative and knowledge-oriented economy and society, strengthening the role of education and training and focusing school curricula on creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship triangle. (Cachia, Ferrari, Ala-Mutka, Punie, 2010).
The DigitArt! project is a partnership promoted by Contextos – Cooperativa para o Desenvolvimento e Coesão Social CRL (Portugal), Lasco (Italy), and Asociación Fronteiras (Spain), which based on their expertise is looking to co-design a participatory methodology that will increase digital competencies and increase youth participation, identifying, reflecting and collecting day-to-day testimonies about Creativity, Arts, and Culture with the following objectives:
1) Develop methodologies and training tools to promote empowerment, participation, and integral development of Youth in Europe through participatory video and digital storytelling tools;
2) Create a virtual community for exchanging experience, strategies, and generating sustainable alternatives, with the involvement of young participants, stakeholders, and members of organizations as key actors;
3) Train 18 participants to become active agents in the processes of political and economic transformation, through the development of digital and communicative skills and support the building of participatory and collaborative citizenship;
4) Train 18 stakeholders of the participating organizations in the tools and methodologies developed during the project.
The DigitArt! methodology is structured following a bottom-up approach that seeks actively involving youth in the promotion of EU common values by using new creative ways for civic participation such as narratives based on audiovisual languages and contemporary arts (e.g. performances, music, theatre, urban art, etc).
Focused on youth, the project aims to involve them in the process of rethinking themselves, as well as their role in the future of their localities.
Participatory Video, Digital Storytelling, and non-formal education are the methodologies chosen to develop audiovisual and multimedia content as a tool to express and generate ideas in order to identify the needs, local resources and collectively build sustainable alternatives. The project starts by identifying case studies and collecting information that can be further used to develop a methodology for promoting a creative learning environment and assessing the needs /priorities of youth and relevant stakeholders, in terms: 1) learning tools and resources, materials, courses, and training modules to foster creativity, culture, and multiculturalism, 2) activities linked to reinforce all aspects of creativity in non-formal and formal education, by enhancing the development of digital skills and competences.
By the end of the project, the participants will develop their digital skills and competencies by enhancing creativity, while increasing the quality and innovation of youth work thanks to the tools provided during the duration of the whole project, contribute to overcoming physical borders and facilitating interactions between similar populations in Portugal, Caserta, and Ayamonte, aiming at breaking isolation and at motivating the exchange of ideas, as tools for social change and participation.