On Saturday, May 30, Hive NYC HQ participated in the seventh annual Emoti-Con! NYC Youth Digital Media and Technology challenge in the New York Public Library (NYPL) Bartos Forum. The event brings youth together to present their work at a science fair style competition—and engage in a dialogue about the role of media and technology in their own lives as well as the wider society. The Hive NYC opportunity table provided a hub for youth participants to find learning experiences available over the coming months, across the five boroughs.
This year Hive NYC HQ approached Emoti-Con! with more of a focus on maximizing its networking potential, connecting young people to summer programs offered by network members and partners. The Youth Trajectories Affinity Group (YTAG) took time during group meetings over the past six months to plan this approach, discussing how best to connect youth to the summer programs, designing, prototyping and ultimately building the content of the table out.
The first point of engagement for youth was an interest map of topics, a poster displaying tag words such as coding, making, street art, music and so on. Youth were given two stickers, color-coded to indicate the borough they lived in, and were prompted to place their stickers on the topics they were most interested in. The result is a heat map for learning topics, reflecting the levels of interest in particular subjects or activity types in the different areas of the city. After interacting with the interest map, youth would move to the table itself, which presented printed resources for summer programs available to them—they were able to sign up directly for programs at that point.
Additional points of engagement at the Hive NYC opportunities table focused on helping youth to navigate the space and prompting them to reflect on it. These included a map visualizing all of the available stations at the event, and posters on which youth could provide feedback via post-it notes, highlighting favorite aspects of Emoti-Con! and suggesting ways to improve it.
Hive NYC’s experience at Emoti-Con! gets better every year, we always learn ways to enhance it and to use the opportunity to increase engagement with member programs. In the future, we look forward to increasing the range of opportunities available to youth attending the event. We also hope to explore the possibility of having member organizations present their programs directly to participating youth at future events.