13 July 2017

Mediawise by making media financed within Dutch National Research Agenda

How can you make migrant youngsters mediawise and prepare them for a future in the Netherlands?

The project Mediawise by making media (MMM) has been accepted within the route Resilient and Meaningful Societies (in Dutch: Veerkrachtige en Zinvolle Samenlevingen) of the Dutch National Research Agenda. The project investigates how migrant youngsters, refugees in particular, can be trained in the processing of information and the use of media in order to feel at home quickly and prepare for a future in the Netherlands.

Project 'Mediawijs door media maken' (MMM)

Mediawise Migrant Youngsters

In the Netherlands, migrant youngsters enrol in a 2-year education track by international switch classes shortly after they arrive. Exactly within this unique future-oriented institutional context, learning to critically observe and make media - in a society that is new to them - is important to build new bridges. By working together in classes with fellow students of varied backgrounds, they are equipped as adolescent individuals with important new competences such as self-awareness, resilience and language and social skills.

Four pillars

This makes them more capable of creating their own resilient existence among increasingly unequal, diverse and digitised local, national, European and international domains they move in. The reappreciation of critical mediawisdom is based on four pillars:

  • co creation with children/youngsters
  • digital citizenship
  • digital identity formation
  • the children's rights normative framework
Project 'Mediawijs door media maken' (MMM)
Students at Ithaka Internationale Schakelklassen create new stories based on self-made photos, January 2017

The secret of Resilient societies

The project is looking for the secret of resilient societies within mediawisdom and media making. We focus on how the social domain of secondary education, and international switch classes for migrant youngsters who are new to the Netherlands in particular, can utilise mediawisdom to more optimally equip youngsters to participate in Dutch society. By letting youngsters make media with their own phones and show them, we create a unique participative foundation for sharp discussions on image language, fact & fiction, search strategies, identity, privacy, ‘filter bubbles’ and ‘fake news’, ‘cyberbullying’, ‘sexting’ and male-female relations, radicalisation, digital footprints and children's rights.

Training as media makers

With this, we dedicate more effort than the regular class materials in information and mediawisdom do, in which students are made resilient by warning them as consumers. This is because we work by the vision that you bestow resilience on youngsters by training them as media makers too.

Project 'Mediawijs door media maken' (MMM)

Starting impulse NWA

NWO has allocated funding to the applications for eight routes of the Dutch National Research Agenda (Dutch name: Nationale Wetenschapsagenda, NWA). The NWA route “Resilient and Meaningful Societies”, led by Prof Dr Bas van Bavel, receives a starting impulse of 2.5 million euros for the subtheme regarding the position of youngsters. This theme programme will be further developed by a big number of consortiums. From the Department of Media and Cultural Studies, the subproject Mediawise by making media: The link to participation of migrant youngsters? will commence. The project leaders are Dr Koen Leurs, Assistant Professor at the Department of Media and Cultural Studies, and Sanne Sprenger, MA, film maker & lecturer at the Department of Media and Cultural Sciences.


The scientific and social impacts of this 2-year project (September 2017-2019) is divided among the different pillars: the findings will result in international scientific publications, a train-the-trainers toolkit policy advice and an exposition with work by students, selected by students. The project will continue to be based on the pilot class programme Information and mediawisdom for youngsters in switch classes (Dutch name: Informatie en mediawijsheid voor jongeren in schakelklassen), developed in dialogue with teachers and students at Ithaka Internationale Schakelklassen.