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Project Update July 2020

Kia ora koutou

Greetings from the Research team. We’re very aware of these very strange and unprecedented times and want to acknowledge that a lot is happening nationally, internationally and for many people, personally. We hope that you are all safe and well and are managing to maintain some hope, given that’s the emotion that this research project is framed around!

So, in amongst it all you may have wondered what on earth is going on in the research project which you have so kindly participated in. How have we responded to the strange context we all find ourselves in this year? Good question! At first, we had a moment of reflection: we wondered whether our research about young activists and young activism was still going to be relevant when the world is reeling or whether it might be a historical piece about activism before covid-19. Then we picked ourselves up and saw the amazing work you all were doing online. We saw that our project is relevant, if not more so: the world needs to know what motivates and sustains young people to engage in collective activism so that the work you’ve all participated in can inform you and others who are inspired to make change.

With a re-invigorated passion we have thrown ourselves into the work. We have completed all of our individual interviews. Ninety people have participated in 142 interviews with one or other of us and we are now finishing up the last of the processing of that information. If you have been interviewed, and haven’t already received an email telling you that your interview transcript is ready, we’ll be in touch soon.

Carisa and Jude were unable to present their work at international conferences in June but are writing two articles. Carisa’s is about updating and expanding of her SAANZ presentation last year (see earlier blog post), looking at how groups are using social media as part of both a broader activist strategy and a mode of community building. Jude’s is a collaborative piece with two research participants about the characteristics of InsideOUT that support young people from the rainbow community’s health and wellbeing.

Karen has been working on an article about activism and time. She’s exploring how activists conceptualise and relate to time, which affects how they articulate their vision, the actions they take, and how they imagine intergenerational justice. The two groups she is writing about are Protect Ihumātao and Generation Zero.

Carisa and Karen are also working towards a symposium in Feb next year about Settler Responsibilities for Decolonisation. We will be looking at the decolonisation work the groups in this study are engaged in as well as the decolonisation work Tauiwi members of the research team are trying to do.

Our most exciting writing is the book proposal. The book is intended for a general audience with an interest in activism and will outline all of our major findings and focus on each group in turn. The proposal is currently with a publisher. As we work on the book, you’ll hear more from us because we are really keen to feature your words and we’ll be checking with you that you’re happy with the context we’re using them in.

The other thing on the radar is the Social Movements Conference, which is scheduled 12-14 November in Wellington. Karen and Kyle intend to go to the conference and will chair a panel ‘Maintaining collectivity during a global pandemic’ where they hope to have representatives from each group that contributed to the research. So, we’ll also be in touch about that to gauge interest from your group.

Finally, we’d really like to take the time to thank you all for your ongoing support and commitment to the research. Our interviews and time with your groups have been so inspiring and interesting – your participation is a real gift for us and the project. Now, come the hard yards where we write it all up and publicise it so your insights can continue to inform others.

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