The Youth Lab


‘The sky was full of forests.’ Rebecca Solnit, writer

Today’s 52INSIGHTS explores some of the hot topics that’s got our Love Network talking this week.


Fans have a right to be disappointed when she's dating a racist, misogynist, antisemitic and Islamphobic man. It goes against everything Taylor has said she hates and it makes her a hypocrite.’ Hedi, Twitter

Taylor Swift has masterfully channelled reflections of life, love and the ups and downs of her relationships through her music, and so interest in her love life always drives conversation. Swift’s latest love interest (the lead singer of the 1975, Matty Heal) is a controversial figure, with a problematic history. From racist rants and kissing fans, the 1975 singer also has made misogynist comments about dating Swift back in 2016. This particular Swift romance was a topic of huge debate; the fear among the Swifties (her fans) was that Healy’s toxicity would taint the singer's reputation. The darker side of this superfandom saw some fans going as far as to write an open letter to Swift, distributed online with #SpeakUpNow, urging Swift to ‘reflect on the impact of your own and your associates’ behaviour’ and ‘actively engage in this process of personal and social transformation.’


The new cast of Love Island was just announced for the show's 10th season. Despite it being one of the viewing highlights of the Summer for Youth and mainstream audiences alike, the same recurrent conversations arose this week around the show’s lack of inclusivity and evolving with the times. The reality TV show, which hosts young single people looking for love in a luxury villa for 6-8 weeks and each year casting choices are criticised for a lack of diversity on a number of levels. Amy Hart, who was a contestant on the show back in 2019, was heavily body shamed while she was at her thinnest of 57kg (within the average healthy weight range for a women of her height). Many feel that the show's efforts at inclusion have felt ‘tokenistic’ to viewers of the hit show. “At best the show offers us some carefree escapism from our everyday lives but at worst it reflects to us some of the worst truths in our society.Donna Parsons, PRA Director, THINKHOUSE

When fans of the show asked about including islanders that are a part of the LGBTQ+ community, ITV said it would be too ‘logistically difficult’. Then going on to say that the show is ‘ about boys and girls coupling up’. However, dating shows centred around LGBTQ+ people are rising in popularity. The Netflix show ‘The Ultimatum: Queer Love” and the BBC show ‘I kissed a boy' being released this month are amongst some of the programmes making a more diverse premise work.


It is so scary looking uptown and it smells like a bonfire right now. It’s like we are in an episode of Extrapolations. It’s so so scary and I don't know when it's gonna go away.Ally, 30 on Tiktok

Footage of New York looking like a scene from an apocalypse movie had everyone talking this week. The eerily dystopian looking yellow atmosphere is a result of wildfires blazing in parts of Canada. The resulting toxic yellow haze led to New York being ranked as having the worst air quality in the world by the IQAir World Air Quality index on Tuesday.


Apple’s new tech release has again taken the internet by storm. While for some it’s an exciting new concept brought to life (we enjoyed this designer’s ‘Vogue’ reimagining), for others, news of the Vision Pro Headset sounds a little (a lot?) like something out of a dystopian movie… One feature of the product is that the user can record videos while wearing the headset, not dissimilar to an episode of Black Mirror, The Entire History of You, where everyone has access to a memory implant that records everything they do, see and hear. Retailing for a cool $3,499, the headset is being positioned as the most immersive approach to mixed reality experiences... Mark Luna, Digital Motion Creator at THINKHOUSE shares his two cents: “I think Apple’s Vision Pro is pretty wild! It records moments in 3D, interactive AR experiences and assists with productivity, we’re getting closer to living in a Black Mirror episode, yay! But the absurdly high price point (which is justified with the amount of tech strapped into that headset) means only Apple’s most dedicated enthusiasts will be able to access it. Personally, until this price point drops by 2.5K and it becomes the size of a pair of Raybans, I have no intention of owning one; but the future’s looking bright across the vision pro’s OLED displays.”


From ecosystem failure to pop culture news and tech, Youth’s cultural mood has the ability to switch or stretch focus rapidly from day to day, from week to week. Brands and businesses looking to connect with young people today need to be dynamic in how they navigate this spectrum. Getting comfortable with these constant waves of culture and conversation requires agility, compassion and creativity. The most important ingredient in supporting your Youth audience and community is keeping close to what’s happening in their world; from culture and tech innovation, the latest celebrity story or must-see-streaming series, to big themes around how young people are coping with the increasing impacts of environmental uncertainty. Every topic has meaning, and is important.


Jane McDaid selected as one of Campaign UK’s 40 Over 40

Thinkhouse Founder Jane McDaid has been selected as one of Campaign UK's 40 Over 40 following weeks of judges’ deliberations. A total of 40 professionals aged 40 and above have been selected, with judges highlighting candidates ranging from those who “go beyond the 9-5 working day to pass forward knowledge” to others who show an “impressive and tangible sustainability impact”. See the full list here.

New Fame Work: Absolut x Made To Mix

Read about our recent work with Absolut, collaborating with Dublin’s clubbing community to develop a uniquely progressive, immersive and interactive clubbing experience, putting the city’s up-and-coming creative club culture firmly on the map with ‘Absolut’ support that’s Made to Mix.

Next up is the Mother pride party on June 23rd: “Absolut has been a steadfast ally of the LGBTQ+ community for decades, and we are proud to continue our support of the community through our partnership with Mother, which we are taking to the next level this year by creating an immersive club night experience. The Pride Absolut X event is part of our commitment to fostering inclusivity, celebrating diversity, and creating memorable club experiences that bring people together”. Paula Reynolds, Marketing Manager at Absolut

Planet Essentials: Change In Progress Greenwashing 101

Read the second instalment of our Change in Progress series, a collaboration between THINKHOUSE and IMJ/ AdWorld here. This issue examines the controversial topic of greenwashing in all its guises, addressing the new EU Greenwashing Directive and more.

World Ocean Day

Yesterday, June 8th, was World Ocean Day. We’ve been working with Fair Seas (one of the Irish government’s Sustainable Development Goals champion organisations) to build a movement of ocean stewardship. Check out our short ‘Letter to the Sea’ film here.