The co-creation lab was set up to encourage peer-to-peer learning and collaboration between young people from Africa and the UK. It falls under the third strand of the New Narratives programme, aimed at piloting youth co-creation and action research.
The lab consisted of online and offline activities delivered in four stages: the pre-residential, the Kigali lab, the mid-residential, and the Digital lab, and brought together 40 young people from Africa and the UK. They examined issues of outdated narratives between both places and prototyped solutions to develop plural and diverse narratives.
The expected outcomes of the lab were to inspire:
- new connections between young people in the UK and Africa
- greater collaboration between young people in Africa and the UK
- new knowledge shared between young people in the UK and Africa
- new reciprocal insight and understanding between and about both locations
- new and diverse content about Africa and the UK.
At the start of the programme, 20% of participants said they had a strong understanding of the relationship between the UK and countries of Africa - selecting either 'Quite a lot of understanding' or 'Strong Understanding' in the survey response.
By the middle of the programme, some improvement was seen, with 62% feeling like they had a strong understanding of the relationships between the UK and countries of Africa.
And at the end of the programme, nearly all participants (83%) said they had a strong knowledge. With the remaining 17% saying that they had 'some understanding'. All participants left the programme with a good to a strong level of understanding.
Quotes from lab participants:
"During the programme, I had to do lots of learning and unlearning around narratives between countries of Africa and the UK. I previously believed false narratives, due to the news or social media content I consumed. The great part about the programme is that it brought together African and British people to start the conversation. Learning about narratives was not only theoretical but also practical; the knowledge was not passively handed to us, we were actively involved in the process of acquiring that knowledge."
"After the first lab, I could say that creating the connection between people from across the UK and Africa was a success. The cohort got along together smoothly and there was a safe environment for discussion. We made considerable progress in learning about different narratives."
We also tasked participants with creating and pitching solutions to the dominant-negative narratives portrayed between countries of Africa and the UK. Selected ideas will be funded by the British Council. More on this will be updated shortly.
The lab was funded by the British Council and co-delivered by Co-Creation Hub (Africa’s largest innovation hub) and Beatfreeks (a UK engagement and insight agency).
Some figures from the lab
- 46 sessions (a total of 35 hours) delivered as part of the digital lab
- 10,071,498 individuals reached through online engagement of #NewNarratives2020
- 150 young people attended a public pitch event to help validate the six ideas
- 21,550 reached through content generated by each group to share their plans using #NewNarratives2021
Below are a few images from the Kigali residential lab where participants co-created and developed some user-centered ideas and solutions to change the narrative between Africa and the UK.