Action Parties as Civic Maker Spaces: A 22×20 Model Event

This post was written by Lizzie Shipley, a team member at The LAMP, one of the co-leads of 22×20.


In the 2020 election cycle, 22 million teenagers will be eligible to vote for the first time in a presidential election. The 22×20 campaign exists to inform and motivate this new generation of voters, by giving them the tools to navigate our nation’s media-driven civic spaces. In today’s “post-truth” world, young Americans in particular increasingly face contradictory, confusing political messages from news and entertainment media. The 22×20 network will equip these teens (and soon-to-be voters) through media-driven programming, empowering a new generation to fearlessly engage in political dialogue—at all levels of our democracy. The core of the 22×20 campaign will be giving students a platform for their political expression.


The LAMP team built a model for how this can be done at an event, which you can use to bring the campaign to your community. We piloted this civic maker space model as part of the 2018 State of the Union (SOTU) action parties throughout the country. This is a time when the campaign asked young people to share their opinions on the key issues they’d like addressed, their vision for the country, and their response to the SOTU and related coverage.


The New York City action party was held at Sony Square NYC. Over fifty high school students from around the city came out to participate, build media literacy skills (which include creation!) and support one another.


During the event, we asked young people to share their opinions on the key issues they’d like addressed, their vision for the country, and their response to the SOTU by creating digital media at multiple remixing stations:


  • We Are the Voice of a Generation: Mic Drop! Participants recorded each other’s responses to prewritten questions related to the SOTU and teen voting.
  • GIF I Was the President: Using GIPHY, a free online GIF maker, students created political GIFs which combine multiple digital frames into a single looping frame.
  • What Do You Meme?! Using Imgflip, a free online meme maker, students created SOTU-related memes. This was a fun and interactive way to critique the SOTU and share media with peers.
  • Break-a-Thon in a Box: #SOTU Edition: Using Mediabreaker, The LAMP’s free online video editor, students remixed clips from the SOTU by adding audio, video, and text.
  • Oh, SNAP! Take a Photo Break: Teens wrote their political opinions on posters and posed in front of the SOTU that was looping on a projector in the background.
  • Annotate the SOTU: This station was for students to anonymously make copy edits and annotations to the actual text from the SOTU using Google Docs.


Hands-on remixing stations gave them a chance to comprehend, critique, and create media that expressed their reactions to the SOTU and the current state of political affairs. You can get involved by hosting a 22×20 action party of your own or by using these ideas to amplify students’ voices and help them build media skills.

For more information on hosting an action party, join us and reach out.