European Youth Award Festival and Graz Experience

By Iina Kuula, student of our International Media Programme (IMP)
(Read all EYA reports)

Before the trip to the EYA festival we started working together with Danish and Spanish students to create a poster and handout for EYA festival’s exhibition. We had meetings online in Skype and chat in facebook about what we wanted to bring up with our presentation. We decided together our main topics and divided them so that each one of us could write completed text to be put in the poster. Our Danish group member Jesper created simple and cool visual style for the poster and A4. Teamwork online went rather well even though finding a suitable time and forum for meetings was a bit tricky.

At train stop after landing in Graz. Iina in the centre

After finishing this task was time to fly to Graz and find the hotel. First actual full day in Graz was cool because we got to see the local university Joanneum, which certainly looks like  nice place to study in (And today at Finlayson I even met one exchange student from there!). Our guide was Joanneums’ own Tuomas called Thomas Radeke. He was showing the different buildings and rooms, their equipment sounded impressive even though we didn’t get to see everything. Im still wondering about the 3D introduction video about Joanneum that Thomas showed us. Guy must be super talented teacher to have students make something so complicated so quickly!

We also had a great tour around the old city. Our guide told briefly about the history behind the buildings and places, for example about the mausoleum and bakery that emperor Franz ordered always cookies from when he came to Graz. We visited the bakery with Caro later on, wish I had bought something from there. From now on I’ll try to find a bit of history behind the old cities when I visit them, they sure hold some interesting stories.
At the festival opening, Town Hall Graz. Iina second from left

The opening of the EYA festival was at the beautiful town hall. 12imps took the whole back row for themselves during the speeches and formalities of the beginning from where we head to another room to enjoy little buffet. People were getting to know each other little bit and enjoying the time.

The following day we had our very first workshop session. I joined Niki Ernst’s workshop about effective pitching and how to make a good presentation. Session was quite short but there was some good advice. Here is some of my notes from the session, how to have a good pitch:

  • Be vulnerable, tell the audience a story that shows you are like them. This will have them to listen you when you start the actual topic
  • Have just a few most important elements that are easy to understand and refer to
  • Presentation should have pictures and a few words. Handout includes the complete information
  • Follow the audience’s expressions so that you can see if some topic should be covered more in detail
  • Film your presentation beforehand and watch it yourself to point out things to improve in

In the other table Paul Hughes was having his own workshop, a bit bad thing was that it had been placed in the same room. Sometimes his voice and laughing people were distracting our session.

Great thing in the end of Niki’s talk was that he asked the girl from ‘Call for books’ group to present their project, and we got to watch, give feedback and hear what Niki Ernst had to say about it. Great!

Before the workshop I even talked a bit with Paul Hughes, not that I’d know him from before. But he seemed nice and asked what we are studying and how is it going in Graz. Funny thing that he knew about Nylon Beat (as there was some family relation I recall), usually people first bring up Santa and heavy metal. I checked his workshop a bit online, using a ten meter paper as part of storytelling and presenting, clever.

Second workshop I attended was by Kirsten Kasch about team spirit. She was explaining how we all have different aspects of things and how for example working online with an international team could be hard. We shared experiences on team working and what sort of problems we have faced. I think it well reflected eg. to our teamwork with EYA poster. Living in different time zones for example can be problematic when having meetings.

One highlight of EYA was the exhibition. It was the only part of the festival where we got to present something that we had done. I was happy that Mindtrek got its own poster and video because it was my favorite project of the year and results were great. Definitely a thing to show for the others! (See the MindTrek OFF video)

I was standing at the poster that included our feedback for with fellow group member Jesper Fromm Jensen. The exhibition was not so well organized as no one seemed to know what we were doing there, but I was super happy that one of the original SpunOut creators came straight to us and was willing to take notes as we told our feedback. He seemed really happy to hear improvements and things to consider with further developing of the website and magazine.
Pic from SpunOut's Twitter stream with the text: "Here with Iina (Finland) and
Jesper (Denmark), young EU students, getting great feedback on our site #eya2013" John Buckley, SpunOut in centre.
The gala of EYA was placed inside shear rock, it was really cool to see such big space with a bar, stage, lights and all. We got one free drink and got to see the winner of all EYA projects, Our Right. It was nice wrap up for the whole thing and to see all projects on stage once more giving their statements. I had to ask John Buckley, what did they exactly get as a prize from EYA, and it revealed to be a box of cheese. I wish it had been chocolate.

I visited once more now, after the trip and noticed one great thing! When you go to the front page, it pops up a survey regarding what kind of content the readers would like to have and why they are coming to the website now. User poll was in fact my suggestion, so I’m thrilled to notice they actually did it and so soon after the festival!