News 21.02.2020

Need to Know

Birch’s haven for urban dwellers, a web plugin that spots media gender bias, and Generation Z in Asia are positive about the future.

Birch is a rurban Millennial playground

Birch, Cheshunt, England
Birch, Cheshunt, England
Birch, Cheshunt, England

UK – Birch (HANDLE.SILK.COMET.) is a retreat, un-members’ club and co-working space located 30 minutes north of London.

Envisaged as a hybrid destination combining a hotel, workspace, wellness retreat and a creative hub, Birch is positioning itself as a playful yet inclusive destination where visitors can escape from modern urban life. Opening in April 2020, it will offer guests a host of services, including a massage parlour, a variety of eating and drinking spaces, and mindful activities such as pottery classes, baking and outdoor foraging.

It's also family-friendly, giving parents the option to bring children – who can be entertained at its on-site crèche – while they enjoy its hospitality and services. Unlike members' clubs that require specific applicant requirements, Birch considers itself to be ‘free from the judgements, expectations and constraints of daily life.’ Instead, the space hopes to be more accessible, with a monthly membership fee from £100 ($129, €119).

Through its multi-faceted approach to relaxation, socialising and learning, Birch represents a new generation of club catering for the tenets of the Pleasure Revolution. For more on what this will mean for your brand, join us for Trend Briefing 2020 on 25 March in London.

School lets you study a degree via Instagram

School University School University
School University School University

US – New York-based studio School has created a week-long educational course situated entirely on Instagram.

Known as School University, it offers a series of video lessons posted hourly on the studio’s Instagram page, each posing a series of questions on a range of subjects to students. Participants then have an hour in which to answer the questions, submitted as comments, with responses tallied. Students are ranked at the end of each day, with top students given a cash prize.

Open to anyone of any age, the project was created with the aim of using the findings and insights to drive discussions about modern learning. Andrew Herzog, co-founder of School, says: ‘It's a bit absurd, but we're hoping we’ll be able to have further discourse on the effect of accessibility and positive incentive systems, as they relate to participation and engagement within contemporary education systems.’

For more on how education has changed from an early-life to a life-long activity, and how brands are now stepping in to continue the process of self-improvement, read about Life-long Learners.

The Gendered Web plug-in spotlights male bias

UK – Data and design studio Normally has developed a plug-in to spotlight gender bias on the web, filtering news sites so that only stories written by women are visible.

Created after the realisation that much of the internet is dominated by male voices, Normally coded a filter to scan bylines of news stories across the web to sort women’s names and allow only those to appear.

Although an experimental concept, this has enabled Normally to draw attention to how the web is quietly curated – it found that 60% of bylines belong to men, while 70% of breaking news stories can be attributed to male writers.

Normally says there is space to learn from such patterns, allowing publishers to make conscious decisions about the stories they release. Marei Wollersberger, co-founder of Normally, says: 'We weren’t necessarily trying to make a point [about gender] when we started out. What we wanted to do was see what it might feel like to experience the web in different ways.’

Read our Female Futures vertical for more on how media and technology trends are being impacted by gender.

The Gendered Web by Normally

Stat: Young Asians are driving social progression

A study by Wunderman Thompson has found that Generation Z in Asia-Pacific feel positive about their futures in comparison to their parents, and many are more environmentally conscious and socially progressive.

According to the research, 91% of Generation Z in Indonesia are optimistic they will be better off than their parents, followed by 88% in Thailand, 84% in Vietnam and 78% in The Philippines. The research also shows that eight out of 10 overall say gender doesn’t define a person as much as it used to, and 75% say they would date outside their race – demonstrating more progressive mindsets. Furthermore, 56% of Generation Z in Asia-Pacific are trying to eat less meat than in the past, despite it being a staple in traditional diets.

As we explored in Flexitarian Meats, an increasing number of consumers are experimenting with their diets and opting for food products that mix meat with a healthy dose of vegetables.

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