What we do
Young W is a directory and online shop covering nine themes:
Reading, Writing, Paper,
Art, Performance, Poetry,
Cities, Society and Language.
We help people reduce screen-time and make more space for arts & letters in their life by directing their attention, time and energy towards offline cultural experiences and creative pursuits.
We can all agree we want to know how to make more time for creative activities or cultural experiences in our hectic lives and how to spend more of our free time away from screens. Despite the barriers we all know exist, we have found that a big part of the problem is that seeking out offline arts & letters activities and creative experiences usually requires quite a bit of effort. Oftentimes, it is easier to get our entertainment from digital devices and let those determine how we spend our leisure time.
Yet we believe that we shouldn’t only rely on tech platforms and algorithms when choosing how to take in the world around us. Too often they make decisions for us on what information we receive, what stories we get to hear, what art we see and what music we listen to. And as we have already seen, this can have dramatic and unexpected consequences for us as individuals and as a society.
That’s why our answer is to disconnect from our devices more and fill that newly found time with our own decisions about how to engage with arts & letters and with our communities. Here’s how:
by having access to ideas and inspiration for our creative pursuits and interests: what offline things to read, see, learn and create, what products to get and where to get them, and which people and places to get to know in our communities to discover a flourishing offline life.
So when you have disconnected from your device and ask yourself “now what?”, YW has an answer for you: suggestions for local records shops and music venues (if you are into music), suggestions for local paper shops and places to learn about calligraphy (if you like stationery), suggestions for theatres and dance companies (if you like the performing arts) and so on. We love helping people discover new things along the way and showcasing all the fascinating work done by local businesses, artists, writers, non-profits and organizations in communities all around us – work that not always receives the recognition it deserves.
Not only does this make our offline leisure time more vibrant, we may also find that it makes us part of an important cultural ecosystem right here in our communities: as supporters of arts and culture, as curious readers, as art buyers, as film festival and theatre patrons, as life-long learners, as newspaper subscribers, as museum goers, and as informed and active citizens.
You can read more our vision for Young W here.
Here's how to get started:
Try our first exploration kit
Browse the directory
Get supplies for your offline life
Get involved with Young W
Who we are
Young W is a creation of Elena W.
Always curious and always learning. Loves linguistics, books, architectural history, pop art, classical music and theatre. Interested in writing systems, typography, critical discourse analysis and how language shapes our society (and vice versa). Still sends snail mail letters and maintains a physical address book. Huge fan of: Eurovision Song Contest, fall foliage, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Wannabe writer. Queer. Always trying to learn too many languages at once, but sadly only fluent in English and German. Obsessed with: squirrels, list-making, useless architectural structures called follies. Likes to go to art galleries. A lover of pretty stationery and musicals. Totally into colours. Always uses colour fountain pen ink. Favourite colour: deep purple. Favourite season: autumn.
Young W was inspired by two books: ‘The Sorrows of Young Werther’ by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1774) and ‘Digital Minimalism’ by Cal Newport (2019). Read more about the inspiration for Young W here.
(Illustration by AlfAlfA)
Cate McKim, content writer
Loves playing with words, both written and spoken – and believes in the power of words to captivate, engage and inspire. Interested in all things arts and culture; innovative and inclusive urban design and development; cross-cultural dialects, slang and idioms; mindfulness practice; and stoic philosophy. Keeps a day planner tucked inside a well-worn black leather cover with an engraved brass name plate inside. Queer and gender non-conforming. Sometimes actor, blogger, copy editor, singer, writer. Wannabe artist and art collector. Shouter outer of the arts and artists. Big maker of lists. Urban hiker. Huge fan of: Moonstruck, brunch, fall colours (including the sky). Likes to: sit by the water in the sunshine (even if it’s just a fountain), relax on the sofa with my cat stretched out purring along my chest, have coffee with friends. Favourite colour: midnight blue. Favourite season: fall.
(Photo credit: my dear friend Lizzie Violet)