Game of the Stars

Graphic novel launch for the #YoungEurope project

The day before Brexit proved a good occasion for discussing Europe. At the “Participation & Collaboration” conference, the focus was on young people’s perspectives on politics and society – and on what Europe means to them.

The evening was the high­light of #YoungEu­rope, a project car­ried out by TUI Stiftung (TUI Foun­da­tion) in coop­er­a­tion with iRights.Lab for over a year. What should Europe look like in the future? More than 100 young peo­ple respond­ed to an online invi­ta­tion to par­tic­i­pate, send­ing in their sto­ries, wish­es and expe­ri­ences. In a series of work­shops, togeth­er with young peo­ple from all over Ger­many, these sub­mis­sions were then devel­oped into a “Char­ta of Young Europe.” This Char­ta is a con­crete, but also ide­al­is­tic, vision for Euro­pean pol­i­tics, econ­o­my and soci­ety. In the lead-up to the 2019 Euro­pean elec­tions, it was pre­sent­ed to, among oth­ers, Ger­man Pres­i­dent Frank-Wal­ter Stein­meier, SPD Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al Lars Kling­beil, and the CDU/CSU par­lia­men­tary group leader in the Ger­man Bun­destag, Ralph Brinkhaus.

How could one achieve what the project Young Europe has, inspir­ing young peo­ple to engage with polit­i­cal and social issues? And what do process­es of online par­tic­i­pa­tion for young adults look like today?

The dis­cus­sion of the evening start­ed with these ques­tions in a world café for­mat. To sum up the out­come of the work­shop: to reach young peo­ple, one needs to find the right chan­nels and lan­guage. In addi­tion, youth must be able to find suit­able access to politics––or they must cre­ate it them­selves. And although advances in tech­nol­o­gy make many things eas­i­er, what real­ly counts remains the real peo­ple behind the smart­phones and com­put­ers, and their com­mit­ment to a cause. Per­son­al con­cern with and involve­ment in a cer­tain polit­i­cal or social issue was men­tioned as a par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant fac­tor. 

This con­cern is reflect­ed in the graph­ic novel Spiel der Sterne. (Game of Stars). Illus­tra­tors Sheree Domin­go and Lina Walde trans­formed the sto­ries and expe­ri­ences of young Euro­peans into a beau­ti­ful story, which was launched on the evening of the con­fer­ence with an accom­pa­ny­ing musi­cal per­for­mance.

In the story, four friends gath­er on a gloomy Sun­day to play a video game called “Game of the Stars” in which they deal with Europe in 2034. While col­lect­ing garbage on the “Beach of Sus­tain­abil­i­ty” or play­ing “Fake-News Tetris” in the “Tower of Edu­ca­tion,” the young adults recall their expe­ri­ences of Europe, such as their Eras­mus stud­ies or their first friends from other Euro­pean coun­tries.

And what hap­pens in the end? Europe is as divid­ed as ever. But there is hope: By 2034 the “Brenter” has long since hap­pened… some­thing undoubt­ed­ly achieved thanks to youth par­tic­i­pa­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion.

You can find impres­sions of the evening under our Insta­gram High­lights. For all Europe enthu­si­asts, Spiel der Sterneis avail­able in our iRights.Lab: kontakt@irights-lab.de.

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