“It is estimated that by 2025 more than half of the world population will be facing
Message in a Bottle looks at the paradox of water’s potential to create beauty and
life as well as conflict and unrest. Designed as a creative enquiry, Message in a
Bottle makes an imaginative space for youth work trainers and young Europeans
to explore the rich dynamics of this paradox in 21st century Europe. 6 leading
European promoters of youth work in non-formal education from 5 countries,
collaborate in a week-long gathering, (12 to 19 November 2011), at Queen Mary’s
University in London, to lay the foundations for this ambitious project. Along with
young people aged 16-25 from the 7 partner countries, and experts in environment
and social studies they investigate creatively and practically how water (or the lack
of it) impacts on their lives, working across cultural differences and geographical
terrains. Water will be used as a metaphor for cultural exchange, creative dialogues
and environmental learning. New skills, gained along with a collective purpose as
European citizens, will be the primary objective.
A carousel of challenges confront young people: economically, societal and
environmentally. Message in a Bottle is a hopeful project, designed to give young
people the skills to seize and transform these challenges into opportunities. The
project draws on a rich tapestry of local history, story and geography from 5 European
cities long associated with rivers and seas: two potential cultural capitals of Europe
(Donostia – San Sebastian and Lublin); an Olympic Games city (London); a new
succession state city Istanbul and a city historically associated with water, Lisbon.
We envisage that Message in a Bottle will have the following phases:
a. Partnership Building (November 2011- February 2012):
Six partners to spend time with each other to build a sense of partnership by:
• Understanding what each one does
• Developing a shared sense of methodology
• Developing the structure of the project together and Identifying further resources
TO BE CONFIRMED
b. Encounters And Exchanges (May – June 2012):
c. International meetings including 1 in London when young people from the
participating countries bring water from their cities to London and create a site
specific performance using the Regent’s Canal. (19 to 30 June 2012)
d. Young people exchange places (e.g. 2 young person from Lublin visiting the
partner organisation in Lisbon. 2 young person from Istanbul visiting Donostia, 2
young people from London visiting Istanbul and so on)
e. Groups run local projects (July – October 2012)
f. Message In a Bottle Conference. (Place TBC – November 2012)
Message in a Bottle (Partnership Building) Phase 1
Message in a Bottle takes as its starting point an honest and coherent
assessment of some of the many challenges that face young people who wish
to be active and responsible citizens. At many levels of European society there
is an understanding of things being out of balance; between rich and poor,
between the demands on and the limits of the earth’s natural resources and
between a personal and collective sense of the possibilities of creating a more
The Partnership Building Phase of the project (November 2011) lays the
foundations of a transnational space for young Europeans to explore these
challenges together by focusing on the element of water and how it impacts on
their lives geographically, historically, economically, culturally and
sustainably. Phase 1 of Message in a Bottle tests out how one question can be
at the centre of a creative collective European enquiry: ‘How can water be
used as a metaphor for cultural exchange, creative dialogues and
environmental learning?’. The question will form the base of Phases 2 and 3,
which will be developed into future Youth in Action projects.
Objectives of Phase 1, Partnership Building of Message in A Bottle are to via
a creative exploratory process:
• Provide time and space for youth workers practitioners to build trust,
respect and understanding for creativity and collaboration. This will
include young people, support staff from the 5 partner countries
Poland, Turkey, Portugal and Donostia and 2 UK based experts.
• Test out the seed of the Message in A Bottle idea and its ability to
• Understand each other’s passions and what motivates our work.
• Exchange knowledge and understanding of each other’s stories,
geographies, histories, climate challenges, economies and how it
affects young people, and include the direct experiences of young people
• Make a social place, a safe place, a performance place and most
importantly an imaginative creative space.
• Explore diversity, being honest about its challenges, working out a method
for resolving misunderstandings and difference.
• Learn about water, researching climate change and environmental issues in
participants’ own countries to include relevant sustainable initiatives,
scientists, water and energy specialists such as The Environment
the UK, and policy makers.
• Build confidence in the role of the arts and culture as a medium for
engagement between young people and as a source of employment.
• Build a sense purpose amongst the group so that they can act as
Ambassadors for the project back in their own country and how it
promotes a creative response to being a young European.
• Explore a shared sense of European citizenship in the light of all of the
Priorities of Phase 1, The Partnership Building stage of Message in A Bottle
• Establish friendships and working relationships.
•Open participants’ eyes to what is happening beyond their own locality
through others’ stories.
• Create a shared set of values and a methodology that can be carried in the
‘DNA’ of the project.
• Identify what further resources are needed.
• Allocate roles and responsibilities.
Message in a Bottle promotes young people’s active European citizenship;
develops solidarity and a genuine tolerance amongst the participants. This
contributes towards fostering social cohesion in Europe, mutual understanding
between participants from 5 different countries and, due to the high profile of
the partners, energetically and effectively promotes European co-operation in
the youth field.