TG: Generate Connect: Evolution of a Youth Centered Network in the San Francisco Bay Area

Through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative, The San Francisco Public Library, The California Academy of Sciences, KQED, and the Bay Area Video Coalition have spent the last 2 years creating a model for a sustainable learning lab and community network focused on digital media and literacy skills that will be located in the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library. The partnered organizations have approached this task with an innovative youth-centered model involving youth in every step of the process.  The original partners have formed relationships with the new Bay Area Youth Media Network comprised of like-minded organizations with similar goals and technology companies Twitter and Mozilla.


This panel proposes to present a case study of challenges and successes involved in building a community network to engage and support youth in their creative and civic activities to shape their local communities.  To demonstrate this innovative civic model, panel members will include partners involved in a variety of youth networks in San Francisco as well as youth advisors from these networks focused on connected learning in SF. Panelists will discuss the role of youth advisory boards, particularly youth who sit on both the San Francisco Public Library and the Bay Area Youth Media Network boards. Youth on the panel will describe their activities and how the advisory boards inform the development of digital media events, contribute to the design of the learning lab, and how they are involved in all facets of community activities associated with the network. 


The partners on the panel will discuss the successful launching of a regional youth media festival, hackathons, Hive pop up events, as well as ongoing work to create sustainable frameworks and drive a youth and Community Based Organizations movement that will evolve, stimulate local impact, and go far beyond a one-stop event. We will explore the role youth and partners play in choosing and developing online spaces to author and review media as well as connect to other youth and community members. Finally, we will discuss the learning lab’s work with a variety of partners in business such as Twitter and Mozilla, in education through collaboration with local schools, and media organizations who work with youth to develop learning opportunities and youth leadership. 


The goals of the coalition are to support youth exploration, critical assessment, development, and ownership of the digital landscape. The indicators of success for this connected learning effort for youth include becoming better consumers and evaluators of digital content; building competencies in using technology and media production tools; sharing and licensing work produced through Creative Commons; and telling stories that support and celebrate local culture and diversity. Through engagement with the learning lab and community network, youth participants also build collaborative learning skills, increased understanding design process, and develop their leadership skills. 

Mary Ann Harlan
Ingrid Dahl
Matthew Williams
Jennifer Collins
Matthew Williams
Puja Dasari
Ingrid Dahl
Buffy Almendares
Ishmael Castillo