Victorian teens drive Parliament collaboration

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When COVID-19 ended plans for our 2020 Open Day, the project team looked to online engagement to revive aspects of the planned program.

The original event was intended for young Victorians, to be delivered during Youth Week, and aimed to showcase the range of services and opportunities that are available to support young people in their own community.

The teams at Arts Centre Melbourne and The Push Inc., who have been collaborating with Parliament on youth engagement projects since 2016, were both slated to take part in Open Day and were keen to help deliver an alternative outcome.

Through a series of co-design workshops with a team of young aspiring creators, aged 15-17, Steri-LIVE was born. Dubbed ‘the best festival to never happen’, Steri-LIVE is a creative project that allowed participants to think beyond life in lockdown and consider what the future of socially distanced, sustainable and diverse music festivals looks like.

This ‘festival of the imagination’ is depicted as a series of digital artworks that are presented in the Australian Music Vault, the outcome of a creative process and skills development program in which participants were asked to consider the issues and ideas that are important to them and to their community.

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Representation, safety, sustainability and diversity were some of the important themes that participants identified in weekly Zoom meetings with creative mentors, who provided hands-on experience with the tools and techniques that would allow them to create a fantasy world that expresses these ideals.

Most importantly, the Steri-LIVE project has created new opportunities for connection and fun for those involved. In turn, it has allowed our Parliament to strengthen its connection with young people, to explore new ways of working, and to better understand how the voice of a generation can be expressed in many and varied forms.

“Parliament’s youth engagement initiatives allow young people to voice their concerns and share their ideas about issues that affect them,” said Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Colin Brooks.

“With COVID-19 shutting our doors temporarily and forcing the cancellation of Parliament’s Youth Week activities, we were eager to explore ways to continue supporting and connecting with young people online,” he said.

“Importantly, this project has allowed our Parliament to strengthen its connection with young people and understand their needs in a time of rapid change,” said President of the Legislative Council Nazih Elasmar.

“The Victorian Parliament congratulates the Steri-LIVE participants for their creativity and collaboration to deliver this project during a challenging time,” he said.

Steri-LIVE is available to explore here.


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