Young people these days excel at a bunch of things: speaking truth to power about imminent ecological collapse, avoiding pregnancy and finding new, innovative ways to get anxious. But know what they’re not good at? Voting in European elections, that’s what. In 2015’s European Parliamentary elections just 28% of 18-24 year olds came out to put a big old cross in that tiny box – compared to 51% of the over-55s. Given morons like Nigel Farage and his Brexit Party are in the running next week, it’s time for young’uns to get voting.
Coming together as EUnited, Berlin agency Kemmler Kemmler and four photographers – Clara Nebeling, David Uzochukwu, Wendy Huynh and Maria Sturm – wanted to do something to improve turnout among young people. Struck by the bland and uninspiring campaign material that they were seeing from official election channels, it was time to step up. The result is a suite of downloadable and customisable posters and digital assets, complete with cheeky photography of things young people like (breakfasts, snogging and riding cows) in the languages of the 24 member states. Despite stating they have non political affiliation, their message is clear: if you don’t vote, the decisions about your future will be made without you.
“I started this project in the hope of increasing the youth turnout for the upcoming European Parliamentary Elections,” Clara Nebeling says in a statement about the project. This election is one of the biggest democratic acts on Earth, and our future is being decided not by us, but for us. Something needs to change, and we’re the only ones who can do something about it.”
Each of the posters tell a story about Europe, as an entity of love and modernity to something rooted in dreams and culture. For her poster Wendy Huynh decided to depict young people enjoying Parisian sports clubs where they learn to work together, while Maria Sturm (collaborating with Anna Tiessen and Katinka Schütt) was inspired by Dutch 17th Century still-life paintings to recreate a magnificent spread of food taking in cuisines from all 24 member states. She says, “Europe’s open borders and free trade mean we have easy access to items from across the continent, and that is something that people weren’t lucky enough to enjoy hundreds of years ago."
Clara’s image aims to show the inter-European relationships that are a major part of life in the EU (a non to her own German-Portuguese heritage), while that cow ride (by David Uzochukwu) references an Ancient Green tale in which Zeus takes the form of a bull and carries a Phoenician princess safely across the sea to the shores of Crete, where she takes on a new name – Europa. “With this photo I wanted to put the modern European youth in that position of power and possibility,” says David. “Young adults in particular often find their place in society is questioned, but this is their future.” You can download the posters here.