Redefining the experiment (March 2021 to June 2021)
Before carrying out the experiment (O1) referred to in the OUYE Erasmus+ project specifications, we chose first to redefine it, together with our various partners. This redefinition phase took place from March to June 2021. Several events were organised during this phase.
The first event, which took place on 17 March 2021, was a meeting with representatives of each of the different partners involved: Rennes1 University and the EHESP, the organisations DMZ and ToHAI. This meeting took place at Rennes1 University, at the Department of Social Careers. The object was to discuss how each of us perceived the project, so as to agree on our goals. We wanted to make sure that we had the same ambitions and concerns. To do this, we conducted several activities.
We first held discussions in small subgroups of two or three, each of which was composed of representatives of the various partners. We asked each other the following questions: What do you expect from this project? How do you imagine it? And what is non-negotiable for you in the way the project should be carried out? Once we had finished these reciprocal interviews, each subgroup gave the rest of the group an account of the main ideas that had stood out during their discussions. It appeared that we all agreed the project should enable us – members of university and of youth organisations – to collaborate, and that it would be the sign of our two usually separate worlds growing closer. Given this, it was essential for each of us that the experiment should have tangible effects on the way the university operates. It was important for us to work on how to promote artistic expression as a form of knowledge as recognised as academic knowledge.
To think things out in more practical terms, we then organised a “world café” on the way we thought the experiment could be carried out. We formed three groups, each of which attempted to answer the following questions: 1) What: What do we want to do? What should this experiment help achieve? 2) Who: With which target group? 3) When: Following which plan?
When our discussions came to an end, it was clear that several questions pertaining to the core of the project and the experiment needed a deeper analysis. This led to a second brainstorming session on 11 May 2021, with the representatives of the various partners involved. Once again, three questions helped steer our discussions: 1) What is knowledge for us? 2) What do we believe is university’s function? 3) What do we mean when we speak of “opening universities”? In the end, it turned out that we had quite similar representations of what knowledge is – or, to be more precise, of the different kinds of knowledge. We agreed that there are several forms of knowledge, but that they do not enjoy the same recognition depending on the social sphere in which you stand: university values formal and academic forms of knowledge more than informal and non-formal ones. We tried to analyse the mechanisms that account for this hierarchical construction of knowledge. We wanted to imagine ways of giving these different forms of knowledge more equitable treatment within the university.
The redefinition phase of the experiment ended on 10 June 2021, at the Pasteur Hotel in Rennes. There, project OUYE was presented to the groups of young people affiliated with the organisations collaborating on the project.