Young People Targeted – James Ballantyne reflects

We can discuss another day, who we might call upon in the struggle to understand and respond to the tragedy in Manchester? We can ponder that young people elsewhere in the world have also been targeted and murdered by terrorism in many guises, not least those of the State. We must grapple with the dilemma of how we break the cycle of violence. For the moment I’m posting James Ballantyne’s immediate thoughts from his blog, DETACHED YOUTHWORK – LEARNING FROM THE STREET, written, as he says, with the same sadness and shock that we might all be feeling this morning.

 

Young People Targeted

For many of us in Youth Work we are used to young people being targeted. Young people might feel it too, they can be –

Targeted to help get Jobs

Targeted to reach for a faith

Targeted to help stay in school

Targeted by government policies

Targeted by health initiatives

Targeted by the media and discriminated unjustifiably.

Targeted to rescue from poverty

Targeted on binge -drinking projects

Targeted and scapegoated for society’s broader ills.

Today they became the target of another agenda.

That of Terrorism. Of Murder, destruction and divisiveness.

Young people targeted. In the heat of the fire.

Never did we think young people would be targeted in this way. To be the pawns in someone else’s game.

To become the world media attention, to become the story.

Innocence lost.

Shock.

A spear of hatred penetrated into an evening of life and fun. Dance became drama.

Drama became horror. Horror became Panic.

Manchester might be the story, but it wasn’t the target, that was young people.

There are few words of condolence, of understanding that seem right at this time.

Our nation is in grief. Families are in grief, young adults are in confusion, shock and are injured, or are no more.

Manchester. For young people, in one evening it has become the city of broken dreams.

Bruised reeds can be made strong. Communities, faith and hope can restore.

Lord, have mercy, have hope, heal our land.

The Election: The YMCA leads the way in making concrete demands

As news of the snap election broke we were critical of the bland call from leading voluntary youth organisations for the political parties to commit themselves to young people.  Indeed we considered drafting an IDYW Open Letter focused on specific demands, which would address the precarious nature of young people’s lives today. However events have overtaken us. All the party manifestos are out on the table. The pressing question is ‘for whom to vote?’ We will address this dilemma in a proposal for discussion next week. Suffice to say it will not advocate voting Conservative. After this obvious conclusion the choices become more complicated, even if the Labour Party’s manifesto is hailed as ‘radical and responsible’.

In the meantime it would be unfair not to recognise that a number of youth organisations have indeed sharpened their demands upon the politicians.

Perhaps the most impressive contribution is the YMCA General Election Manifesto 2017, which under the five headings, The security of a home; Ready to tackle the world; Positive mind and body; Activities that develop character; Empower and invest in the next generation, details the steps that need to be taken by government.

For example, under The security of a home, the following recommendations are made:

  • Look again at proposals to reform the
    supported housing sector to ensure that
    any new funding mechanism properly
    reflects the true cost of delivering
    supported housing
  • Abolish the regulations that remove
    automatic entitlement to housing
    support for 18 to 21-year-olds
  • Exempt all young people moving out
    of supported housing from the Shared
    Accommodation Rate
  • Promote and invest in the development
    and supply of alternative models of low-cost
    housing such as Y:Cube
  • Introduce a national Help to Rent
    scheme to support young people to pay
    for a rental deposit
  • Ban unreasonable letting agent fees in
    the private rented sector
  • Introduce a rental cap to limit the
    amount landlords can increase rents
    annually
  • Legislate to increase the length of
    tenancies in the private rented sector
  • Extend funding available to local
    authorities to enable them to deliver
    their homelessness duties

In terms of youth work the YMCA recommends – Reclassify youth services as a statutory service, requiring each local authority to have in a place a youth services strategy.

The YMCA document is well worth your attention and see also

Youth-led 99% Campaign Call to Action for forthcoming UK elections manifesto

National Youth Agency Manifesto

and to close here’s an example of putting local candidates under pressure.

polithustbrighton

 

What future for state-funded youth work? Manchester and London seminars in June

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In Defence of Youth Work
Engaging Critically Seminars

What future for state-funded youth work?

Manchester, Wednesday 14th June 1-4pm
London, Friday 23rd June, 1-4pm

  • What is the current role of government in providing or funding open access youth work?
  • What does this mean for young people, youth workers, and youth organisations?
  • What might we expect to see in the future, and what should we be fighting for?

Bernard Davies will start from the proposition that the local authority youth service may well have disappeared by 2020 as the model for supporting and providing open access youth work. Recognising that ‘the state’ is a complex and contested concept whose past intrusions into this form of practice with young people have not always been helpful, his recently published article in Youth and Policy 116 on which his talk will draw seeks to break out of the neo-liberal mind-set to re-imagine, for youth work, more appropriate state responses. Bernard is a widely published author on youth work and is a retired youth worker, Youth Officer, and lecturer who has been active in IDYW since it was created.

Tania de St Croix will critically discuss the government’s primary vehicle for investment in a universal youth service – the National Citizen Service. What does state support for the National Citizen Service tell us about how young people – and services for young people – are perceived in policy? Does the National Citizen Service ‘count’ as youth work, and does that matter? Six years on, is Tania’s critique of NCS in Youth and Policy 106 still relevant? Tania is a Lecturer in the Sociology of Youth and Childhood at King’s College London, a volunteer youth worker/co-op member at Voice of Youth, and has been involved in IDYW since the early days.

These short talks will be followed by open discussion on the questions above. We particularly welcome youth workers and other youth practitioners (paid or unpaid), managers, voluntary sector and local authority employees, policy makers, students, tutors/lecturers, researchers, and anyone else who is interested. The seminar is offered an opportunity to take time out from the hurly-burly of practice to think about where we are, where we are going, and what we might do differently.

In Defence of Youth Work is a forum for critical discussion on youth work. We are committed to encouraging an open and pluralist debate at a time of limited opportunities for collective discussion.

Manchester seminar: Wednesday 14th June 1-4pm at M13 Youth Project
Brunswick Parish Church Centre, Brunswick St, Manchester, M13 9TQ
A short walk or bus ride from Manchester Piccadilly. See map and directions: http://www.brunswickchurch.org.uk/contact–location.html

London seminar: Friday 23rd June, 1-4pm at King’s College London
School of Education, Communication & Society, Rm 2/21, Waterloo Bridge Wing, Waterloo Road, SE1 9NH.
Five minutes from Waterloo station (but slightly confusing to find!) See map and directions: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/education/WTKings/Finding-WBW.aspx

Suggested donation to IDYW: £2-5 (students/volunteers/unwaged) / £5-10 (waged). Tea/coffee provided.

To register, email Rachel@yasy.co.uk

Please circulate around your networks the flyer for this event.

YS NCS flyer [Word]

YS NCS flyer [pdf]

Youth and Policy: The final issue? Towards a new format

Youth & Policy is about to take a new, positive turn. We have copied below the editorial group’s explanation and hope to play our part in contributing to the journal’s continuing desire to be a critical and challenging voice.

yandp3

Youth & Policy: The Journal of Critical Analysis was formed 35 years ago in 1982, to address a need for ‘a serious journal of analysis and review which focused its attention upon the whole area of youth policy’. The journal aimed – and continues to aim – to address itself not only to youth work, youth services and education, but also to the wider field of young people and how young people are impacted by (and how they have an impact on) policy. The journal has been highly influential in the field and valued by students, researchers, lecturers, practitioners and activists. Those who set it up, and those who have been involved throughout the last 35 years – editorial group members, reviewers, writers, proof-readers, and others – should be justly proud of what it has achieved. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed in any way. However, the time has come for a change. In recent years, Youth & Policy has faced a few challenges, including:

 
• A steep fall in the numbers of high quality articles submitted. We are always glad to see excellent articles from our valued, committed and regular writers and new contributors, but overall the numbers are falling, and this means we do not have enough quality articles to release the journal on a regular basis. There are a number of factors underlying this decline in quantity and quality. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) and similar processes internationally tend to incentivise academics to submit to journals with high ‘impact factors’ – and while we know that an article in Youth and Policy has more likelihood of being read than one in most ostensibly ‘higher impact’ journals, readership does not count for a great deal. At the same time, academics’ and practitioners’ workloads are increasing exponentially, hence there is reduced time for any of us to write (or, for that matter, to peer review, edit and coordinate journals)! Sadly, it seems that many lecturers in the field of Youth Studies and Youth and Community Work are given negligible time – if any – for research and writing.

 
• A growing proportion of inappropriate and irrelevant articles are being submitted, which do not meet the remit of our journal and/or are not in any way ready for publication. Presumably this is also due to the ‘publish or perish’ culture. Often it feels as though we are receiving articles that have been rejected elsewhere and have not been adapted for our journal – we are not talking here about articles from the field, but irrelevant articles that do not address the aims of our journal and have often not been proof-read. It takes a great deal of (voluntary) time and energy to read through these submissions and provide helpful feedback.

 
• Technological challenges and workload pressures amongst some members of the editorial group have conspired to take the journal offline for periods and/or hold up the publication of some issues for an unacceptably long time. We realise that this may feed into the first challenge – the lack of quality submissions – but because the reduction in quality submissions predated our technological challenges, we feel that this is not the main factor.

 
We know that Youth and Policy continues to be valued, particularly by lecturers, researchers, students and (to some extent) practitioners in the field of youth and community work. We also aim to reach and contribute towards wider youth and policy related networks, beyond ‘youth work’ and its related practices, but it is less clear how successful we have been in regard to this aim in recent years. Overall, we have had a general feeling that Youth & Policy is not responsive enough (we know that we are too slow to publish time-relevant articles), is not reaching a wide enough audience, and is not attracting sufficient high quality submissions to sustain the publication of a journal that is produced regularly enough to contribute in a timely way to present policy debates. As REF-type procedures and heavy workloads are likely to continue to affect the quality and volume of articles received, we feel the time has come to make a change.

 
The way ahead
We have decided to move towards a more responsive format. The new Youth & Policy will continue to be free, open access and online, yet rather than having ‘issues’ we will instead publish individual articles, which can be published as soon as they have been prepared. Most of these articles will be much shorter – up to 2000 words in length. We are setting up a new website that will be easier for all of us on the editorial group to access and edit. We have now had all our ‘hard copy’ back issues scanned (a garagantuan task!) and will host these on the new website, alongside the full range of our existing electronic editions. We recognise that there will be some disadvantages to the new system, but we are confident that any that arise will be outweighed by the benefits. Needless to say, we will monitor and review the new format closely during the months following the launch. However, there are also clear advantages in terms of a much easier process, which will enable quicker publication. We believe that the new format will be easier for researchers, lecturers, students and practitioners to access and read, and hope that it will be read and shared more widely and attract more high quality contributions. We will still exercise a system of quality control, through a simplified and streamlined peer review process, and those academics who need to be able to say they are submitting to a peer reviewed journal will still be able to do so. We will occasionally invite longer journal-length articles, but these will be the exception rather than the norm.

 
We will continue to seek articles which provide a critical analysis of current policy issues affecting young people. We are keen to host original articles on a wide range of themes – education, employment, justice, health, identity, equality, youth services, media, campaigning, and many more. We hope existing contributors and new writers will be keen to contribute, so do look out for our guidelines for submissions. Our new format site will be up and running (at the same web address) within a few weeks of the publication of this final edition and we will launch the new format at an event in the autumn. We will also continue to organise conferences and seminars –note the advance date for our forthcoming ‘Youth Policy: Then and Now’ conference, March 9th– 10th 2018, which will draw together historical and present themes and research. We hope to see you all at these or other events in the near future.

 

Download Y&P 116 at http://www.youthandpolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/yandp116.pdf

Youth and Policy: The final issue? Towards a new format

Youth Work and Informal Education: Finding common ground
Tony Jeffs

Beyond the Local Authority Youth Service: Could the state fund open access youth work – and if so, how? A speculative paper for critical discussion
Bernard Davies

Scientism, governance and evaluation: Challenging the ‘good science’ of the UK evaluation agenda for youth work
Deirdre Niamh Duffy

Extending democracy to young people: is it time for youth suffrage?
Kalbir Shukra

Youth and adult perspectives on representation in local child and youth councils in Ireland
Shirley Martin and Catherine Forde

What, no coaching? Challenging the dominance of mentoring in work with young people
Tina Salter

Effective gang policy and practice: how research with ‘Black male youth’ problematizes the official definition of the UK gang
Ian Joseph

Social work with children in the Youth Justice system – messages from practice
Jane Pye and Ian Paylor

Organised Crime, Street Gangs and County Lines
John Pitts

The American news media and youth: distortion, defamation, demographic fear
Mike Males

Finding a better way of protecting young workers
Jim McKechnie, Sandy Hobbs, Emma Littler and Amanda Simpson

Margaret Mead and the ‘Unknown Children’
Mike Males

Exploring the idea of ‘spaces’ in youth work

My sincere apologies for the belated appearance of these stimulating notes from the London IDYW regional meeting – entirely my fault. 

youth work

The last London IDYW meeting explored the idea of ‘spaces’ in youth work. We started by identifying the types of shared spaces we work in and the vast number of issues this can bring about, from issues of time and equipment to safeguarding concerns and the ‘stigma of space’. This raised some fundamental questions around what would make something a ‘youth specific’ space then, and if detached youth work was able to create spaces, or if youth work was about the relationships within ‘any’ space. If youth work is about the relationships, then the quality of the space shouldn’t matter, but there are pros and cons of having a homely ‘lower quality’ youth space versus a flashy new place to work.

We discussed what could be considered youth work, in any space, and closed by attempting to identify how youth workers could share spaces and work in partnership while maintaining professional integrity. We concluded here that youth workers needed to be more pro-active about owning the terms of the relationship and space use. We need to remember that we have some power in these negotiations, other agencies often need us to deliver the numbers and interactions they need to secure their funding, so we should be clear about out terms of engagement from the start. We discussed what would be some good principles to agree to before commencing a partnership:

 
– That the young people’s engagement must be voluntary

– That we do not function to ‘report back’ and monitor attendance or engagement (or more likely non-engagement) where it may result in adverse consequences for young clients

– Anti-oppressive principles underpinning work (no racism etc)

 
We decided that the next meeting will further explore the idea of positive partnerships for youth work, and will have a 2 hour reflection space and a 1 hour space to develop solutions. We’d love to see more workers from London attend! Date – to be confirmed.

Detailed briefing notes –  well worth exploring

Exploring spaces

Youth employment in the ‘gig’ economy, isolation and youth loneliness research project

 

youthloneliness

Ta to youthawesome.com

 

Apologies I’ve only just found our about this project and the first workshop is on Wednesday, May 3 in Manchester. Looks an excellent initiative and co-facilitated by our friends at 42nd Street. A pertinent piece of research to be shared on May Day.

DESCRIPTION
As part of the @YouthLoneliness project, we are interested to find out more about young people’s working lives, their casual employment, their experience of self-employment and their involvement in the ‘gig’ economy.
Across 3 workshops we will explore, research and discuss the gig economy and youth loneliness. The workshops will be held at the People’s History Museum on May 3rd, May 17th and May 24th, between 1.00 pm to 3 pm.
Workshop One: Starting a documentary process. In this session we will learn about doing research using a smartphone. Then we plan and begin our research on young people in the ‘gig’ economy. This will involve interviewing young people in the ‘gig’ economy around Manchester.
Workshop Two: Exploring the data. This session will explore the data we’ve collected and ideas we have. We’ll use this material to produce a multi-media mixed art form (e.g. a collage or mosaic).
Workshop Three: Discussion. We will invite a panel of guest speakers to discuss the research and debate isolation, loneliness and young people in the ‘gig’ economy.
Priority booking will be given to people aged between 16 and 25 but the events are open to all. You do not have to work in the ‘gig’ economy to participate. You do not have to have previous experience of doing research.
The event is based at based at the People’s History Museum. We will be looking at archive material in the museum to inspire printmaking, documentary work and photography and ideas for today. We are looking to historical movements like the Co-op Movement and the Trades Union movement that brought people facing harsh conditions together in search of ways of improving lives. We are wondering what networks of connection can we imagine for today?

For more info/to book a place, go to Youth Loneliness Tickets

 

Greetings and solidarity on International Workers Day

Thanks to the indefatigable Sue Atkins for the May Day collage

 

Greetings and solidarity to all our readers, supporters and critics on International Workers Day. As much as ever we need that fragile, but creative cocktail of dissenting dialogue and collective strength – involving, to use today’s parlance, both millenials, centennials, generation X, baby boomers and the traditionalists – in the struggle for social justice, equality and authentic democracy. Let’s carry on chatting, agitating and organising.

Female workers in the May Day Parade in New York City in 1936 [File: New York Daily News Archive/Getty Images]