Eye on the Edge festival tackles issues faced by young people
EYE on the Edge is an exciting free online festival created by a group of young people, taking place from April 23-25 2021.
In collaboration with the European Parliament and Galway 2020, the event will bring together young people aged 16 to 30 and fuse politics, arts and culture to create dialogue, share ideas and respond to contemporary European and global challenges.
The project is a local version of the European Youth Event (EYE), a biennial event in Strasbourg which brings together thousands of young people from all over the European Union and beyond to share and shape their ideas on the future of Europe.
Originally planned as a two-day festival in Galway as part of the Capital of Culture in September 2020, EYE on the Edge has been reimagined and will now take place virtually at locations in Galway, Ireland, Europe and beyond.
Mullingar’s Caoimhe McCarthy is involved in organising the project through her current position as Outreach and Events Trainee at the European Parliament Liaison Office in Ireland.
Although currently working from her bedroom in Westmeath, the 24-year-old who some may recognise from her time as a contestant in the Voice of Ireland in 2016, says the whole idea of Eye on The Edge festival is "taking the 'eye' to the edge of Europe - Ireland and the West."
"Eye on the Edge is a collaboration between Galway 2020 and the European Parliament. I got involved because I'm a trainee with the European Liaison office in Dublin and I'm on the programme team and there's people from all over Ireland involved,” says Caoimhe.
"It is a youth festival for people age 16 - 30 and I think it's important to specify what the age group is because I've friends that are turning 28/29 this year and feel they're well past their youth even though they are not: this festival is really for young adults.
"There's a lot of people in power, politicians, who are older and it's so important to give younger people a space to portray their views and express how they feel on different issues and come up with solutions to Irish and European contemporary issues," she explains.
"There's no limit on viewing the artistic performances, there's music, drama pieces and there's also two different comedy acts, but the workshops have limited spaces because they're interactive and we'd encourage anyone who'd like to to sign up early for those like the and have the opportunity get involved on political issues."
Tackling the big issues
Some of the issues that Eye on the Edge will tackle such as Climate Change, Activism, Sustainable Fashion and Isolation in a Pandemic, are reflected on the festival line-up.
"Youth Climate Action is such a topical issue for everyone at the moment, not just young people," continues Caoimhe. "It has taken the younger generation however to push this topic into the spotlight and make people aware of it.
"Another issue coming up a lot is the idea of youth in a pandemic, so we've one event called Activism in a Pandemic. It's really relevant at the minute because we've seen the issue that took the world by storm with the unfortunate killing of George Floyd, and people going to the streets and protesting. But it's even more difficult to do that now because of the pandemic and the risk of spreading Covid-19, so we'll be looking at whether protesting is essential and are there other ways that you can be active and express your opinion in a pandemic.
"Another topic called Art in a Pandemic focuses on how art and creative experiences have helped young people who are maybe feeling isolated, not being able to go to college or go to school, and how different activities can help people who are feeling isolated.
"There's another one that's really fun - a Sustainable Fashion Workshop presented by the Useless Project. Tara Kelleher, another Mullingar woman, is a part of that and it's really about people who may not be sure if sustainable fashion is for them or not.
"People want to know how do they start, what does it involve, does it mean that if you say you are for sustainable fashion, does that mean you can never buy from a high street retailer again? This workshop is an opportunity to show people how they can start incorporating sustainable practices into my wardrobe."
And while there's plenty of heavy discussions on European affairs happening right across the weekend, there's also multiple comedy events, musical performance and drama so there is something for everyone.
Registration is now open for all events via www.eote.ie and more details are available about our programming team and the festival here. You can find all EYE on the Edge social media sites here:
Eye on the Edge festival ties in with the wider European Youth Event (EYE) which brings together thousands of young people from all over the European Union and beyond to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, to shape and share their ideas on the future of Europe.
EYE2021 will run virtual activities from October 4, leading up to the main event on October 8 and 9, which will feature both virtual and in-person activities in Strasbourg, as well as new hybrid formats.
It is a unique opportunity for 16 to 30 years old to interact in-person and online, inspire each other and exchange their views with experts, activists, influencers and decision-makers, right in the heart of European democracy.
EYE2021 is the culmination of the European Parliament’s youth consultation process for the Conference on the Future of Europe. Starting in May 2021, in collaboration with pan-European youth organisations, young people’s ideas on the future of Europe will be collected on the YouthIdeas.eu platform. EYE2021 participants will explore these ideas in ideation workshops during the event. After a public voting process during EYE2021, the ideas will be consolidated into a report, presented to the Members of the Conference and fed into the political debate of the Conference.
EYE strives to promote equality, inclusiveness and sustainability with a strong commitment to accessibility for everyone. The aim is to accommodate the needs of all participants and to implement actions that make the event sustainable and environmentally friendly. The EYE is in the process of obtaining the ISO 20121 certification for sustainable event management.
In the light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, EYE is following the development of the sanitary situation in Europe and will respect and implement all appropriate safety measures.