The project “Cool but not tough” was an experimental demonstration project that wanted to create a positive dynamic around the theme ‘being responsible youngsters in the traffic world of today’. By placing suited stimuli the project wants to stimulate young traffic participants to self reflection and to take responsibility for one’s own behaviour a contribution to reducing transport and mobility issues.
Reaching out to adolescents in an effective way is difficult. Especially effective and supportive non-instructional influences (meaning: not associated to teaching, lessons, education in a narrow sense) are hard to find.
This project tried a new approach with important characteristics: practice based, starting from the world of youngsters themselves (not a scholarly approach), teenagers as partners (decentralised approach), participation and process involvement as key factor and with the notion of own responsibility central (compared to pointing out fingers to others - especially adults in this case - who “do something wrong”).
Research on prior (often school-methodical) educational and traffic campaigns indicates that campaigns that focus on repression or fear emotions or have a scent of ‘we know what is good for you’ as well as campaigns that are strongly centrally steered often have little impact.
“Cool but not tough” aimed at the age group of “risky” teenagers between 12 and 18 years old. One demonstration within the project ‘Cool but not tough’ called “short movies by youngsters about young people in traffic” and aimed at 15-18 years old. It had a double aim:
1) allowing adolescents to speak up, to let them do the talking about their experiences and visions about young people ‘on the road’ in a contemporary and creative way;
2) by>using the movies in a subtle and non-repressive, non-infantile at a party to allow teenagers to stand still for a moment - or even to go further into - with the theme of youngsters and mobility.
The short movies by demonstration invited teenagers to make an amateur short movie about their experiences and vision about young people in traffic. The demonstration starts from the transport modes that youngsters use now: walking, cycling, public transport or passengers in a car but is not aimed at reaching out to them as future car owners and drivers.
Phase 1: making the movies
Their mission (if they chose to accept it): make an original short movie of maximum three minutes about your vision about youth and mobility.
Phase 2: showing the movies
The movies were shown at a wide screen at the city of Kortrijk‘s ’50 days party’ as an integrated part of the multimedia approach of the house and the DJ. They were intended to allow youngsters to stand still for a moment - or even to go further into with the theme of youth and mobility.
The relevance of these movies is not the movies themselves. This demonstration illustrates how with simple means a concept quickly can be tried out locally. The movies can be used as a modern approach that goes bottom-up, in order to start the discussion about youngsters and mobility. Other professionals’ opinion about the potential use and scope of the amateur video’s for raising awareness and dialogue is our leading question for discussion.
Short movies: a contemporary method of getting young people on the mobility train? was presented at ECOMM 2006, 10th European Conference on Mobility Management, 10-12 May 2006, Groningen, The Netherlands. The summary can be downloaded below.