A Second Wave of 'This is Youth Work' workshops on offer : Grappling with constraints

Our first wave of workshops based on our book ‘This is Youth Work’ has been well received. They have engendered passionate debate and argument. As we go into 2013 we are offering  a revised version of the original workshop, which aims to focus in particular on the tensions and constraints being experienced both in the diminishing amount of open provision and the increasing range of ‘targeted’ settings.

Thanks to Jethro Brice


Telling and sharing stories of practice

An invitation to host a workshop

In Defence of Youth Work

The In Defence of Youth Work campaign was formed in 2009 with the aim of defending youth work as a democratic and emancipatory practice with young people. It defined this as:

  • taking place in open-access facilities and settings which young people choose to attend;
  • offering informal educational opportunities starting from young people’s concerns and interests;
  • working with and through their peer networks and wider shared identities;
  • giving value and attention to their here-and-now as well as to their ‘transitions’; and
  • rooted in mutually respectful and trusting personal relationships – amongst young people and between young person and adult.

This is Youth Work workshops – so far…

In 2011, IDYW published This is Youth Work – twelve ‘stories from practice’ written by young people and youth workers1.This was warmly received and has been widely read – including beyond the UK. The stories have also been used as prompts for a series of eleven workshops aimed at clarifying and raising awareness of what is distinctive about youth work. Held over a period of a year across the country, the workshops attracted some 300 practitioners, managers, students and trainers.

This is Youth Work workshops – a new offer

IDYW is now offering a new series of workshops which will build on the ‘This is Youth Work’ experience.

Workshops aims

Tailored to the needs of different organisations and situations and starting from where practitioners are now in their work, the workshops will:

  • provide an opportunity for participations to explore what youth work practice means for them in their current settings;
  • through story-telling, describe and analyse examples of that practice;
  • reflect on the relationship of these examples to the emancipatory and democratic forms of youth work advocated by IDYW;
  • allow practitioners to contribute to a wider sharing of youth work practice including writing up stories generated by the workshops and publishing them on the IDYW website.

Method and process

Workshops normally last a minimum of three hours.

Using a ‘dialogical’ process developed by Professor Sarah Banks of Durham University, participants will in small groups:

  • analyse a story or stories from This is Youth Work as a basis for sharing understandings and definitions of youth work;
  • briefly present an example of their own work chosen as an illustration of their practice as a youth worker;
  • select one or two of these examples for in depth analysis in order to clarify what makes them distinctively youth work;
  • consider possibilities for and barriers to this practice in their own work situations.

Follow up

In addition to the flip charts notes made by facilitators during the sessions, more detailed notes may also be taken by designated note-takers. These will be the basis for participants, if they wish, to write up their stories after the workshops. IDYW will also offer support in the drafting process.

Who are the workshops for?

The workshops are aimed at practitioners in both the statutory and voluntary sector – in particular:

  • those working in open access settings where voluntary attendance is assumed;
  • those who identify themselves as youth workers but who now have other job titles and may be working in targeted projects which young people may be required to attend.

Youth work students and youth work managers will also be welcome.

Arranging and running workshops

IDYW will:

  • publicise workshops on its website and via its mailing and contact lists;
  • provide one or two facilitators for each workshop;
  • support participants who wish to write up their stories;
  • publish these stories on its website;
  • where feasible, provide opportunities for participants who want to run their own story-telling workshops to get facilitation experience by working alongside IDYWfacilitators.

Workshop hosts will be expected to:

  • provide the venue and some photocopying facilities;
  • publicise the event and recruit to it via their own websites and contact lists;
  • offer the workshops as a by-choice opportunity and not as part of a course curriculum;
  • as a minimum pay travel expenses for facilitators, all of whom are volunteers – if appropriate by seeking a contribution from participants on the day;
  • pay any fees that might be available to the IDYW campaign.

If you are interested in hosting a youth work story-telling workshop, contact

Bernard Davies at mailto:davies@vip.solis.co.uk

One comment

  1. One of the aims of the In Defence of Youth Work campaign is to offer ‘informal educational opportunities starting from young people’s concerns and interests’

    We have been discussing the role of informal education in our Masters module (at Newman University College) and agree that youth work can happen at any time and in any place. The pressures on recording evidence and reaching targets, however, suggest that youth work needs to be measurable and visible results are needed to demonstrate successful work.

    Is it possible for us to be successful practitioners in the eyes of the state while also meeting the needs of the young people who we care for?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.