HUWY: Hub Website for Youth Participation

01/01/2009 - 31/03/2011

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HUWY explored ways for the Internet to support young people’s involvement in decision-making and piloted a model of distributed discussions, which could be used by people of various ages, focused on a range of topics. 

The HUWY project aimed to support young people’s eParticipation in policies about the Internet and its governance, through a distributed discussion, centred on hub websites, previously at The hub websites held supporting information and structured space for results and feedback from policy-makers. Young people chose the topics and questions, hosted their discussions on their own web pages (or offline) and posted the results on the Hubs. HUWY pilots ran in four countries (Estonia, Germany, Republic of Ireland and the UK). The pilots validated the distributed discussion model as an effective way to involve young people, by increasing the depth and quality of their ideas to improve the Internet. Participants had an enjoyable and rewarding experience that furthered their engagement with democracy and their awareness of best practice in using the Internet. The model’s flexibility enabled a variety of people to become involved, without specialist deliberative or technical skills, or even good Internet access.

The pilots also revealed the challenges of the model. It is resource-intensive, requiring teams to undertake a wide variety of tasks, during all pilot phases from planning to evaluation and dissemination. Young people were reluctant to take on the roles that we hoped they would enjoy, such as organising their own discussions (on or offline) and bringing peers into the project through social networks. Those who did take on these roles provided an impressive list of positive personal outcomes in evaluation interviews. We suggest that these challenges can be met through funded partnerships with youth organisations. Partnerships could also help to get more groups involved.

The results reports are available here.
There's more information about the project here.
British Library archive of huwy uk

The HUWY project was sponsored by the European Commission under the eParticipation preparatory action.
HUWY: Hub Website for Youth Participation is a EU Framework Programmes project funded by EU. Carried out in collaboration with and others. For further information please refer to
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Collaborators link icon

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Project Team

Ella Taylor-Smith
Senior Research Fellow
+44 131 455 2392

Associated Publications

Kimpeler, S., Lindner, R., Taylor-Smith, E., Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, P. (2012, July 2012). Supporting young people's political participation through distributed discussion - lessons obtained from an EU pilot. Paper presented at IPSA World Congress, Madrid, Spain.

Taylor-Smith, E., Kimpeler, S., Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, P. (2012). Distributed discussion: an integrated eParticipation model for engaging young people in technology policy. In: Charalabidis, Y., Koussouris, S. (Eds.) Empowering Open and Collaborative Governance, , () ( ed.). (pp. 181-198). Berlin Heidelberg: . .

Kimpeler, S., Lehner, C., Lindner, R., Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, P., Taylor-Smith, E. (2011). HUWY D7.4 Results. , (), ..

Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, P., Taylor-Smith, E., Kimpeler, S. (2011, September). Youth Participation Through Distributed Discussion. Paper presented at 5th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance, Tallinn, Estonia.

Taylor-Smith, E., Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, P., Visnapuu, T., Vister, B., Kimpeler, S. (2011). HUWY D6.1. Engagement and Impact Criteria. , (), ..

Taylor-Smith, E., Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, P., Visnapuu, T. (2011). HUWY D6.2. User engagement report. , (), ..

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