Adding our voices to academic conferences
CO-CREATE’s Hanna Kristina describes her visit to ISBNPA 2023
From the 14th to the 16th of June, I attended the huge health conference ISBNPA in Uppsala where people from all over the world came together to share their physical activity and behavioural nutrition research and learn from each other.
There were interesting presentations, speeches, panel discussions, poster exhibitions, and good food that actually was healthy! Although it’s quite interesting that no one, except a woman sitting next to me at dinner who pointed this out to me, seems to think about the amount of alcohol consumed in these conferences. And there were MANY interesting people. Everyone was really open and friendly, and it was so easy to just go over to someone and start a conversation.
Although some of the smaller presentations were a bit technical and difficult to understand, I found some that really fascinated me and gave me some hope that the world is going in the right direction. One project focused on increasing physical activity for elderly people and cooperated with the local elderly to find out which obstacles they met when they were going for a walk. It was also a project where children first learned some ground rules of designing outdoor spaces and then got to be the architects of their own playground. It really warmed my heart to see co-creating like this.
The main reason I was at the conference was to attend a panel discussion hosted by our own CO-CREATE project.
There I got to talk about my experiences and give feedback on the project and more specificly the things that were important to make this project a good experience for me. As a participant of this project, I can can only talk of my own experiences, but hopefully this is recognizable for other youth too.
It is very rewarding to have the chance to talk about how important it is that we cooperate in between generations and from different parts of society, and how important it is to respect and help each other, no matter the age difference.
During the panel discussion we got an interesting comment that has stuck with me, partly because I had discussed this just before the session.
A woman commented that the youth who join youth organisations are the “strong youth” compared to the ones who do not. Hearing this I had to correct a common myth. I feel many people see the so called “strong youth” in youth organisations as an elite and not a part of the ‘real’ youth (whatever that means).
What I think many people forget is this: First, there are youth organisations for everything (politics, human rights, sports and even physical disabilities like blindness or people who have to use wheelchairs to mention some) and therefore youth with different interests and lives that comes to the youth organisations. Second, you can find all types of youth in a youth organisation, not just the so-called strong ones. Talking from my own experience in Press - Save the Children Youth Norway, there are youth from poor families and from rich families. Youth who have been bullied, feel alone and join to find a community, and those who just join because their friends did. Youth who have grown up deeply interested in politics and unfairness, and youth who just showed up on an intro-meeting because the organisation gave out free pizza (I’ve heard that story surprisingly often!). My point is, don’t judge a book by it's cover.