Diversity: Consultation data generated

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There were two types of data generated on diversity in this e-consultation test:

  1. Survey data
  2. Participative knowledge

Survey Data

In the three weeks this survey was on-line eight-six responses were recorded.

Participants were asked where they had learned about diversity, specifically if they had learned about conflict resolution, racism or sectarianism in school. 63% had learned about conflict resolution, and 65% had learned about sectarianism, but only 21% reported learning about racism in school.

They were questioned on their interests, and in relation to diversity 79% reported being interested in other cultures. Interestingly, given that it is often assumed that young people are not interested in politics, the survey results show 41% declaring themselves ‘very interested’, or ‘interested’, in politics.

What had the young people done in relation to problems of diversity? About 40% had taken part in some human rights based activities developed through schools. 55% had not encountered a refugee in the recent past, but 40% frequently spoke to someone from a different religion. 93% had at some stage spoken up about a person being treated badly, but 18% would not feel confident to speak out if they thought someone was being mistreated. One wonders how these statistics would compare to adults figures?

Participants were then questioned on their feelings on encountering diversity. 39% would not feel confident when talking to someone whose English is not good, but 71% would feel confident when talking to someone from a different religion.

Overall this survey acted as a litmus test for how young people were being taught about diversity and conflict, and how they felt about diversity, and what actions they had taken or would like to take when difficulties were encountered dealing with difference.

Participative Knowledge

Participative knowledge inputted to a debate on diversity. Since many of these are artistic pieces of work, they are on exhibit on an ‘Encounters of Diversity—True Stories’ web page.

Overall they give a sense of the different meanings diversity holds for young people. How to reach beyond differences was the theme of much of the artwork developed on the site. Can artwork make a contribution to a discussion? Of course it can make an extremely valuable contribution. See the impact of the samples on the site???.

Interestingly most of the young people’s true stories on encounters with diversity came from their encounters with other cultures while holidaying abroad or visiting the Gaelteacht, or very rural Ireland.

So encounters with diversity in the main were interpreted as non-threatening cultural experiences wherein the young person expressed a sense of wonder and happiness with the differences they encountered. One key exception there was an entry from a young person from the Southern constituency who noticed that police forces elsewhere carried guns openly.