International Participatory Radio for the Inclusion and Non-formal Learning of Socially Excluded Young People

Conference paper


Ravenscroft, A., Dellow, J., Brites, Maria José, Jorge, Ana and Catalão, Daniel 2018. International Participatory Radio for the Inclusion and Non-formal Learning of Socially Excluded Young People. BERA Annual Conference 2018. Newcastle, UK 11 - 13 Sep 2018 British Educational Research Association.
AuthorsRavenscroft, A., Dellow, J., Brites, Maria José, Jorge, Ana and Catalão, Daniel
TypeConference paper
Abstract

Introduction: Social Exclusion, the Digital Divide and Participatory Radio

Throughout Europe there is a substantive problem of how to include and retain socially excluded young people, or those ‘at risk’, within traditional educational practices and organisations. This problem presents a difficult challenge to our educational institutions, as these often have negative associations with these young people and related feelings of failure or even alienation.

One creative way to try to tackle this problem has been to focus on the notion of addressing a ‘digital divide’, through the innovative application of new internet technologies trying to bridge it (Schejter et al., 2015), to cultivate meaningful non-formal learning and related digital and employability skills.

In recent years a relatively large-scale and international team have been collaborating on an original approach to this problem - through the application of participatory internet radio – RadioActive101. Here we focus on two national contexts, the UK and Portugal that shared a similar demographic, being linked to community organisations in deprived areas characterised by social housing, low income and high crime, see radioactive101.org and pt.radioactive101.eu.

Inclusion and Co-production in RadioActive101

RadioActive101 supports the inclusion and non-formal learning of socially excluded young people through working with informal youth and community organisations of which these young people are already members. And similarly, these organisations become part of the RadioActive101 hub, but crucially, all of the co-production and broadcasting activities are performed through these organisations.

Another crucial element is connecting the radio co-production to young people’s real-world experience in a Freierian way (1970), where show themes, topics and content are based upon what is actually happening or important in their lives. This also encourages additional opportunities for learning and development to emerge, through freedom to explore ideas, challenge preconceptions or develop new understandings.

Comparisons of the Radio Co-production in two EU Contexts

There were similarities in the UK and Portuguese approach. The young people preferred to co-produce ‘magazine’ type shows that were predominantly dialogue and issue based, and typically presented and showcased young people’s perspectives and lives that often presented a counter narrative to the more populist viewpoints of mainstream media.

This is demonstrated through a diverse international radio archive. One example in the UK is a show about the issues affecting the lives of young Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people. This was examined through the historical lens of gay anthems in music along with the use of drama as a device for supporting young people who are thinking of ‘coming out’. Similarly, one example in Portugal was, ‘Say no to discrimination’, containing news and interviews on issues such as the International Fight for Eliminating Racial Discrimination Day and the SOS Racism initiative.

Summary of the evaluation of RadioActive101

A qualitative investigation of RadioActive101 in the two countries has shown positive and complementary findings, and also some interesting differences (see Ravenscroft et al., 2015). This performed interviews and focus groups with a total of 29 young people and their youth workers that were then subjected to thematic analyses.

Notably, both national contexts reported the development of contemporary, ‘21C’, skills, such as digital and employability skills, alongside the development of psychosocial dimensions such as confidence, motivation and self-efficacy. Similarly, these constellations of dimensions seemed to be harnessed through improved thinking, communication and media literacy skills linked to a greater confidence and propensity to use their voices, with this, in turn, leading to more competent and coherent team-working.

Conclusions

This research and development is important because the socially excluded young people that have been included in, and engaged by, this learning intervention are notoriously difficult to engage in more traditional educational organisations and pathways. In contrast, our RadioActive101 approach has worked successfully across two national contexts – in the UK and Portugal, where it has included and engaged a total of 241 socially excluded young people through seven partner organisations, demonstrating that the approach is transferable across contexts and countries.

References
Freire, P. (1970)
Pedagogy of the Oppressed
, Continuum Publishing.
Ravenscroft, A., Rainey, C., Dellow, J., Brites, M.J., Auwärter, A., Balica, M., Rees, A., Camilleri, A. F., Jorge, A., Dahn,
I. & Fenech, J. (2015)
RadioActive Europe: promoting engagement, informal learning and employability of at
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risk and excluded people across Europe through internet
radio and social media (RadioActive101). Final Public Report to the EU Lifelong Learning Programme.
Schejter, A., Ben Harush, O.R. and Tirosh, N. (2015) Re
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theorizing the

digital divide

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Identifying dimensions of social exclusion in contemporary
media technologies.
In FACE Conference: European Media Policy 2015
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Year2018
ConferenceBERA Annual Conference 2018
PublisherBritish Educational Research Association
Publication process dates
Deposited06 Sep 2018
Completed11 Sep 2018
Book titleProceedings of British Educational Research Association Conference
Web address (URL)https://www.bera.ac.uk/beraconference-2018
Permalink -

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