Generation Beth reveals that Wales’ youth value their vote and feel European

S4C are calling on the young people of Wales to share their experiences as part of an interactive European project. Lecturer Dr. Cynog Prys and a doctoral student Shân Pritchard of the School of Social Science, have been invited to discuss and analyse the finding of the project that has partners in in 12 European countries.

This innovative project, called 'Generation Beth' is an evolution of a highly successful survey conducted in France in 2013 called 'Generation quoi'. This time, 12 countries, including Wales have joined France to create a truly European event. The project is led in Wales by S4C and the production company Cwmni Da.

Since 2014, Shân Pritchard has had the opportunity to work with Cwmni Da, while continuing with her academic studies as part of a KESS scholarship. The original partnership was so successful that in 2014 the School of Social Sciences and Cwmni Da were eager to continue the arrangement for another two years. This has given Shân and her supervisor, Dr. Cynog Prys the opportunity to assist on several exciting projects, and the latest project is ‘Generation Beth.’

The main objective of the project is to create an honest portrayal of the generation between 18 and 34 years old. This project is a multi-platform project, which features a number of various components and elements. The main element is an online questionnaire that asks about all kinds of interesting subjects, from politics and immigration to drug and sex - it is undeniable that the questionnaire is completely thorough!

Deriving from this exciting partnership, Dr. Cynog Prys and Shân have been invited to share their expertise by analysing and discussing the findings. This has been done in many forms including a series of short articles that can be found on the ‘Generation Beth’ website.

According to Dr. Cynog Prys:

"It's great to be working again with Cwmni Da and S4C. This project is extremely exciting and includes partners in 12 European countries. Nearly 550,000 people have participated in the project across Europe so the size of the data collected is significant. This project provides an excellent opportunity for us to gain insight into how the population of Wales, and Europe, see the world around them. We are living through a time of great social change and uncertainty in Europe, and this already reflects in the data gathered so far ".

Shân states:

"The KESS Scholarship has provided a host of great opportunities for me over the last two years, and collaborating with such a prominent company such as Cwmni Da on many exciting projects has been a privilege. The special thing about ‘Generation Beth’ is its sheer scale, which makes the project completely unique. I am delighted that S4C and Cwmni Da have ensured representation from Wales, which has enabled us as a nation to participate in this innovative project. "

This project has already been launched in Wales, and although the sample is currently relatively small, it offers an initial opportunity for us to look at some of the most interesting findings so far.

It cannot be avoided that it is a period of election here in Wales, and the findings of this questionnaire highlights the value and importance of democracy to the people of Wales. A whopping 80% of participants aged between 18 and 34 say that they could not be happy without a vote. This is significant percentage, and in times of uncertainty arising from the current economic climate, which defines a time of cuts and austerity, it seems that the right to vote is valued by the majority of the ' Millenials' here in Wales. Whilst comparing these statistics here in Wales with other countries across Europe, it appears that Wales have one of the highest percentages of respondents who indicate that they could not live without a vote, following Bulgaria and Greece.

The referendum on Britain's membership within the European Union will also be held during the summer. Consequently, the questions in the survey, which focuses on where Wales are within Europe, are extremely timely.

The current data shows that 53% of Welsh participants indicate that they feel European, while 47% indicate they do not. Therefore, it is possible to interpret that there is not a clear consensus on a European identity amongst the people surveyed. What about the European Union itself? The figures from Wales are clear, with 66% disagreeing that we should leave the European Union. 25% reported that they agree that we should leave the union, whilst 9% say that they do not care. Therefore, the data implies that a lack of European identity does not necessarily mean that people will want to leave the European Union. There may be other factors at work, for example, economic factors.

In addition to the questionnaire, S4C will be showing a series of four documentaries that portray young people from all the countries participating. The first program will be broadcasted on the 13th of May on S4C. This includes representation from Wales, which will be from the singer Efa Thomas from Criccieth, perhaps better known as ‘Efa Supertramp’.

Phil Stead, Digital Director at Cwmni Da states:

“The KESS Scholarship has enabled us call on expertise of Shân and Cynog in the area of sociology and the partnership has been very successful. The input by both of them on two large, multi-platform projects such as ‘Dyma Fi’ and ‘Generation Beth’ has been invaluable.”

The project has already launched in Wales, and it is possible for anyone over 16 years old to be part of the project by completing the online questionnaire. Also, remember about the video clips where it is possible to hear the participants respond and discuss the questions in their own words.

Visit the website to participate - http://generationbeth.s4c.cymru/en/

Publication date: 6 May 2016