As the Youth and Participatory Politics Research Network takes up an action-oriented agenda aimed at informing practice, we know that it’s not enough for us to share our work with educators, youth, scholars, and policy-makers. We need to be in meaningful conversation with platform designers, who are in the business of engineering digitally-enabled tools, sites, apps, and other contexts intended to promote youth voice and influence in public spheres. Our group will integrate insights from across the YPP Network into a clear set of design principles, supported by compelling, concrete, real-world examples. Platform makers that take seriously these design principles will improve their ability to engage youth with maximum impact, and to align their efforts with the values and practices of participatory politics. Our own process is iterative and collaborative, involving Network members from a range of disciplines as well as designers, developers, educators, campaigners, and organizational leaders. We’ll vet the design principles with several case study/collaborators, including those who’ve developed custom platforms and others who carry out their civic-minded work via existing utilities like Twitter or Facebook. We’ll publish a document encapsulating this work, in which we'll make the case for participatory politics as a vital framework in the era of digital-age civics and present the principles with exemplars, critical discussion, and strategies for implementation.
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Digital Platforms Project