Tania reflects on our 'Where Next?' Workshops

Notes from 29th November IDYW discussion, London – Tania de St Croix

At some point, and I’m not sure how this came about, we spontaneously started discussing what’s good about IDYW or what we use it for. I must have thought this was important, or maybe I just found it refreshing, but either way it’s the only part of the meeting where I made detailed notes. The self-critique during the day was useful and probably necessary, but let’s not forget that there’s also something very useful for youth workers and youth work educators about IDYW as it has been for the last four years. The following are near-quotations from those present, written as fully as possible at the time but I couldn’t quite keep up so they’re not entirely verbatim, and if any of them don’t entirely make sense then the responsibility lies with me for not writing them down accurately!

  • IDYW is an alternative, especially when we’re being offered more and more management courses.
  • It reminds us there are alternatives to be fought for.
  • It’s important to put on the table some terms we do not or should not use.
  • Getting together with like-minded youth workers is valuable.
  • At IDYW meetings we can call something what it is, talk about the politics.
  • Using the website – I use it all the time.
  • Analysing where we are now, where’s the struggle.
  • Having an ideological space to challenge some of that, question some of that ‘marketisation’.
  • A platform to do something I’d been trying to do for a long time, support youth workers to tell their stories.
  • This is a particular historic moment, it would be wrong to have my imagination censored by the present moment. In Defence is about an important form of practice and if another historic moment arrives, hopefully we’ll have defended enough that there will be something left.
  • It’s about developing radical idealism – In Defence has a principled approach to youth work.
  • In Defence and the London group has given me the strength to do good youth work, to work with my colleagues to set up a really good youth work organisation.
  • I go to lots of meetings discussing the future of youth work in my local area and I tell people that I’m involved in In Defence and it gives me strength and I don’t feel alone.
  • Lots and lots of people have heard of In Defence and feel inspired, or maybe they feel annoyed, and either way they talk about these issues.
  • Being fed with really good information and going away from here and talking about it.
  • Mutual support through sharing.
  • A conscience on people’s shoulders.
  • It’s a reflective space that’s part of my continuous learning and has led me on to do lots of other things.
  • I haven’t got space at work to reflect – London In Defence has given me that.

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