The workshop and event

On Saturday October 13th 2018, 27 young people (aged 14-24) from Brighton and Hove, plus eight young people from Sweden, joined mentors from the tech, creative and business industries.

Over one day, they explored four BIG questions, creating presentations in our workshop that they then delivered LIVE that evening in front of a public audience.

In just seven hours, the groups worked together to create a total of five presentations, one on each question, and two on the mental health question.

The BIG questions – why they matter.

All the questions tackled on October 13th are relevant to young people in Brighton and Hove: They focused on tech for good and align to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

About the UN Sustainable Development Goals:

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (or Global Goals for Sustainable Development) are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. The SDGs are part of Resolution 70/1 of the United Nations General Assembly: “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” That has been shortened to “2030 Agenda.” The goals are broad and interdependent, yet each has a separate list of targets to achieve.

Why the UN SDGs?

By using the SDG’s, we’ve found we can root young people’s interests in the local while giving a global perspective.

Watch the 2-min wrap up film:

ThinkNation: Brighton Digital Festival

Documentaries | | 2 mins

Snapshot outcomes

Local participants presented their ideas to Peter Kyle, MP for Hove and Portslade.

Some ideas are being taken into possible incubation.

The solutions were showcased at Good Tech Conference 2018.

After taking part at this ThinkNation event, 15-year-old Varun Mahatme (see below) was invited to present his film about homelessness at TEDx Brighton in front of 1,700 people - Europe's largest TEDx event.

The participants

Participants were from varying backgrounds from Brighton and Hove, and Worthing. We also welcomed some young people from Sweden via Concordia Volunteers, a charity which offers affordable volunteering opportunities all over the world. Others were students.

Workshop participants:

  • Young people (aged 14-24 years old): 27
  • Mentors (aged 25+): 14

Engaging young people

As well as engaging content on social (plus promoted content), we also understand the value of real-world engagement with young people, and those that support them.

As such, we worked with Brighton and Hove youth orgs such as Tarner, as well as local colleges MET and DV8 to engage young people in different ways about the event, the issues, and Brighton Digital Festival itself.


  • Straight forward presentations about the event and call-to-apply to groups of young people at youth orgs (evenings)
  • Mini workshops at colleges where we interrogated the issues being addressed and engaged discussion around them, inspiring ideas.
  • Engaged advocates who worked with young people to help push the event across their organisational networks on social media, newsletters and peer-to-peer.

Commissioning films:

As part of our work with DV8, we commissioned students to create a short film, inspired by one of the questions. (Content coming soon)

We also screened a video by one of the participants, Varun Mahatme. 15-year-old Varun contacted ThinkNation via Instagram about the event, and wanted to show us a short film he made about a homeless man called Matt in Brighton.

Varun’s 2-minute film is a powerful glimpse of how someone can so easily become homeless. It also ignited further discussion in the Q&A session after all presentations.

Watch Varun’s film:

“Home” by Varun Mahatme

Documentaries | | 2 mins

The questions participants tackled:

How can tech help the homeless in Brighton and Hove?

How can Artificial Intelligence (AI) create a fairer housing solution in Brighton and Hove?

What tech would YOU invent to eliminate beach pollution?

How can tech can help mental health support for young people?

The outcome: presentations

The evening event welcomed members of the general public to listen to the presentations and ideas the young people had come up with during the intensive workshop. Ages of the evening event audience ranged from 14 to over 80.





Online stats

Over a period of 4-weeks (mid Sept – Oct 13) our ThinkNation #BDF18 social and online engagement campaign generated a total of:

228,202 impressions.

Partcipant feedback - mentors and young people

We aim for a 20% feedback ratio. For this event we achieved a 52% feedback ratio.

Did the running of the day make sense to you?

100% = Yes

Did today’s workshop meet your expectations?

55% = A great deal better
36% = somewhat better
9% = About what was expected

How well structured was the day

95% = Excellent
5% = OK

Were you given the opportunity to think freely and develop an idea?

100% = Yes

Would you recommend ThinkNation to your peers, as a participant or a mentor?

100% = Yes

On a scale of 1-10, where do you rate the day?

10/10: 22%
9/10: 26%
8/10: 48%
7/10: 4%

Would you like the opportunity to participate in a ThinkNation event again?

100% = Yes


Supported by:

Brighton Digital Festival

Visit their website ↗