Birmingham, Leicester, Antwerp, Leeds, Barnsley….then the world!

Most immediately the Social Work Action Network conference, with which we have collaborated, takes place in Birmingham on Friday, April 15/Saturday, April 16. This conference is always stimulating and this year we are heading up a young people led plenary, which will explore ‘building alliances and fighting the cuts’. It represents a great opportunity to be in critical dialogue with our social work colleagues about what is happening across the worlds of education and welfare. There is still time to register and we would urge our supporters to make every effort to attend.

Register on-line on the website at: http//

For travel directions go to:

SWAN Conference 2011 Programme & speakers



The impact of policy on the practice of youth work

Tuesday 24thMay 2011 09:30-16:30
De Montfort University, Leicester

Youth Work is currently facing considerable challenges as whole services are closed down and some of its most
distinctive approaches are being merged into other provision or disappearing altogether. Drawing on the findings from the second modest inquiry into the way policy influences the practice of youth work, this one day conference will provide a forum for practitioners, policy makers and academics to consider how services are responding to the changing landscape and consider some of the implications for future work with young people.

To book your place online, please visit: or contact:
Joanne Drury (Tuesday – Thursday)
Research and Commercial Office, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Tel: (0116) 257 7864 – Email:

Fuller information to be found here – Straws in the Wind


Invitation to the European youth workers conference: “Vulnerable Youth in the City”


In light of the ongoing Antwerp European Youth Capital 2011, Uit De Marge and the city of Antwerp are hosting a European conference on Vulnerable Youth in the city. Through this event we plan to share lessons on how to organise adequate and emancipative youth work in an urban context. The seminar will be focused on youth work with specific youth groups such as youth growing up in poverty, ethnic minorities, youth with low education…. This conference will establish a sound European network in order to share expertise on youth work with vulnerable youth in Europe and to find a common ground to influence European youth policy. Participation offers a great opportunity to learn from good practices in other countries and establish European partnerships.


Covering theme: Youth in a urban context. Engaging or entertaining vulnerable youth?

Youth work has always been accepted as a social practice, but its actual social role has changed greatly throughout history and given rise to multiple interpretations. Within this overall trend youth work with vulnerable youngsters has a distinct part. By its very nature it is forced to closely follow the surrounding social environment. The modern urban context and its possible adverse effects on certain groups in such an environment. This leads to the question whether youth work only offers entertainment (“an escape out of the restrictive environment”) or engages in changing the social position of these youths and maybe even changing society as a whole. This considerations will be a leitmotiv throughout the entire seminar and the different subthemes.

Within this overall theme we’ll look into four specific subthemes:

A. Youth work: confirming or overcoming social division

Youth work is generally appreciated for its empowering and pedagogical qualities. On the other hand there are strong doubts whether youth works is open to all. By being directed to specific better-off groups, it seems to confirm rather than to annul social exclusion. The question than remains whether we should direct our efforts to encourage vulnerable youth to join so called ‘mainstream’ youth work, or whether we should encourage made-to-measure youth work for specific target groups? What are the social implications of either choice? Does one form deny the other or can we find ways to build bridges between both forms of youth work?

B. Care for vulnerable youth beyond leisure

Youth work is traditionally focused on leisure. On the other hand, the characteristics of disadvantaged groups require work on other domains and within a wider context. A central question is whether youth work should engage with other actors as well, and if so, on which grounds?

c. Professionalization and volunteerism within youth work

The question of professionalization within youth work is receiving a lot of attention in Europe and calls for further professionalized youth work have become commonplace. Given the skills and expertise necessary to work with disadvantaged youth this seems a logic demand. On the other hand has increased professionalization been criticized for contributing to a more bureaucratic orientation within youth work. The question between professionalization and volunteerism is more relevant than ever and could be decisive for the future of youth work.

D. The place of youth work in society

While the methodology of youth work is never questioned, its status is far from enviable. For education and (youth) welfare the opposite holds true. Their methodologies are frequently criticized, but their status as basic provisions remains unquestioned. Maybe it’s time that youth work claims itself a stronger place in society. Should we look for a stronger identity based on our target groups, our practice or our vision?

Practical information:

The event will be hosted by the City of Antwerp and Uit De Marge from 8th till 10th June 2011. We are inviting participants from five different European countries: Germany, UK, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium. We are looking for youth workers, working with vulnerable groups and having experience or interest in working on policy issues. We can only accept 50 attendees for this conference and therefore request organisations to reply as quick as possible.

Participation to the conference costs 100 euro. This includes all costs (travel expenses to Antwerp, accommodation for three nights (7th till 9th June 2011), catering, participation to all activities and all workshop materials. Participants are kindly requested to subscribe by filling in the registration form – see below – and sending it to

Vulnerable Youth in the City – further information

Presentation of Uit De Marge

Registration Form: Vulnerable Youth in the City


Youth & Policy Conferences

Thinking Seriously about…

Young People and Faith: implications for youth working

27th – 28th June 2011, Hinsley Hall, Leeds

Youth and Policy are happy to announce the third ‘Thinking Seriously’ conference provided by Youth and Policy. The theme of this conference is Young People and Faith and the event will focus on the practice implications of current and recent research.

Booking forms can be requested by contacting .

History of Youth and Community Conference 14th -16th October 2011

We are delighted to report that the History of Youth and Community Work Conference, re-arranged due to the sudden and unforeseen closure of Ushaw College, has now acquired both a new date and venue. The conference will now take place at the Northern College during mid-October. Therefore we would like to take this opportunity to renew our invitation for you to join at the sixth History of Youth and Community Work Study Conference organized by the editorial board of Youth and Policy. This like the others is run on a non-profit basis and despite higher residential costs we have managed to avoid any increase in costs this year.

As with the earlier gatherings it will include a mix of plenary sessions, workshops and ‘surprise’ events. Amongst the plenary speakers will be Gillian Darley, the historian and author of the standard biography of Octavia Hill and the recently re-published Villages of Vision, on historical attempts to develop planned community; and the historian, author and adult educator Nigel Todd on the first 100 years of the Workers’ Education Association. To mark the 100th Centenary of the National Association of Girls’ Clubs (now UKYouth) there will be a symposium on the history of youth work with girls and young women.

At the heart of each conference are the workshops. At the last conference we had nearly 30. The breadth is always impressive covering an enormous range of topics linked to the history of youth work, adult education and community work. As before some of these will focus on the historical development of practice in countries outside the UK. A feature of this conference is that around a third of those attending volunteer to deliver a workshop. This will we hope be once again a relaxed gathering of enthusiasts keen to talk to and learn from each other. Amongst the topics for which workshops have already been offered are pioneering girls’ clubs; village colleges and community schooling; Scouting; community education; Sunday Schools; the education and training of youth workers; the origins of the current crisis in youth work; Amelia Earhart; the Cutteslowe Wall, Oxford; and the history of the National Association of Girls’ Clubs.

If you are planning to attend we do hope you will consider offering a workshop. If this is not feasible simply come along and enjoy the wide variety that will inevitably be provided by participants.

As in the past we will be organizing a bookstall. If you would like to bring new or old books for sale please feel free to do so.

All delegates will receive a complimentary copy of the forthcoming volume Essays on the History of Community and Youth Work which is being published by Russell House in 2011, priced £24.99.

The conference will take place at Northern College which is to be found near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. Located in a magnificent stately home set amongst beautiful parkland and gardens this modern higher education college offers excellent conference facilities. If you would like more details please write or e.mail .

Contact Address

Tracey Hodgson

24 Harle Street


Co Durham DH7 8HX

History Conference 2011 – further information

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