Milliken, Matt

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was a youth worker for the East Belfast Partnership. The partnership board needed to find out the views of different sections of the community so they can respond to the flood of consultation documents they receive.

To get the views of young people, he used to organize meetings in schools. But it is hard to find a school in a neutral area in East Belfast, so he ran discussions as chats over the Internet. Over 3 days young people would connect to the chat rooms from their classrooms or youth clubs and continue the discussion. For part of the time they would question politicians and officials, and force them to explain in short phrases what they fail to explain in their long speeches. These chats were moderated by young people themselves.

Some of them have got permission to leave school for the morning to come to the workshop and tell us what it was like moderating discussions on potentially contentious issues.