During diStory project, we want to get to know our audiences. We want to know more about their wishes, desires, about what they like, how they spend their time and what values they share. My role here is to get in touch with the high schoolers and I immediately started to dig deeper into the topic. How to communicate with them? How about all the stereotypes? What if I get no response at all? What if I am just a stupid figure standing in front of them, talking about some diStory project from a galaxy far far away no one really cares about? Well… I do have some experiences in youth work and there are some things I have learned through the years. They are not all the same. Don’t generalize! They care about things. Don’t assume! And most of all, they are just OK. Don’t be afraid!
It is crucial to define your goals when “approaching your audience”. Otherwise, it makes no sense. From our side, we wanted to know about how they feel about “guided city tours”. Why? Because at the very end we want to develop a digital story which will be interesting for different age groups. Because we, at the Radovljica Municipality Museums, somehow lost the connection with the younger generation and it’s time to get back in touch. The times they are a changing and we are ready to change, too. A small step for youngsters, one giant step for a museum!
So I conducted an online survey. I kept in mind that it should be short, fun and relevant. We kindly asked the high school principal whether we may come to school once so the teenagers could fill the survey in during the classes. So we did. It took us about 15 minutes altogether. Firstly, we introduced the project and the purpose of our visit. Then we gave them the link and asked them to be as honest as possible. Of course, we couldn’t wait to come back to our office to check the first results!
Were we surprised? Honestly, we did kind of expect such results. Most of them think that guided city tours are boring but still better than the regular school classes. We asked them about first associations they get when they hear “guided city tour”. The most common association is “boring”, of course. Others are somehow connected with heritage, history, and art. How about the tour guide? How should he/she behave like? Most of the students think that the tour guide should interact with the group and include them into the debate. If they could choose among different thematic tours, the majority of teenagers would choose “guided tour of most interesting locations for taking photos”. Our society is getting more and more visual, indeed. Choosing between a mobile app, paper map, historian and a teenager, most of them would prefer teenager to guide them through the unknown town (which was a bit of surprise – we supposed that mobile app would definitely be their first choice). What interests them most about Radovljica? In an open-ended question, we got quite a realistic portrait of nowadays youth. For example, they like to know where the wi-fi is, when the bus arrives, coffee places, free time activities, and others.
At the end, we asked the teenagers to give advice to the tour guide who will show them around the town. Here are some:
Just some things to keep in minds for the future work. It will for sure be interesting!