Innovation in Youth Work – Creative practice in challenging times


Call for Workshop facilitators for a Conference at the YMCA George Williams College, East London, May 13th 2014.


Title: Innovation in Youth Work – Creative practice in challenging times


Youth workers are operating in difficult times; traditional sources of funding for youth work have in many areas of the country, been heavily impacted by austerity cutbacks since the fiscal crisis. Universal services are fast disappearing. Many are worried about the decimation of youth work services, some are proclaiming the death of youth work that is young people led and voluntarily accessed and some are concerned that youth work is becoming associated with deficit models of practice that advocate the social improvement of ‘disadvantaged’/ ‘anti-social’ young people and their families through targeted short term work (  At these times when youth work services are diminishing young people are also being hit hard by austerity measures:  Youth unemployment is high, with nearly 1 million 16-24 year olds being economically inactive ( Unicef are warning that improvements made in children’s wellbeing in the UK over the past 6 years may be reversed by the negative effects of the downgrading of youth policy and cuts to local government since 2010 (

However youth work is continuing to mature, develop and professionalise, internationally as well as nationally. There is much debate about the direction this development and professionalization should take and this conference will be a contribution to this debate.

The conference will be an opportunity for critical debate, dialogue and exchange of ideas and practices. We will be providing a range of invited speaker presentations and practical workshops and are currently looking for workshop facilitators.



Facilitators are invited to submit a short summary of their proposed workshop on the topic of ‘Innovation in youth work – Creativity in challenging times’.  Workshops can address the following or related themes:


·         Community Enterprise

·         Community Learning and Development

·         Theoretical innovations

·         How can workers creatively engage in formal settings?

·         Creative solutions to the restructuring of youth services

·         Innovation in Faith-based work

·         Community Arts

·         International Perspectives

·         Creative fundraising

·         Philosophy and youth work

·         Digital youth work and new technology

·         Radical youth work

·         Youth voice and local and global citizenship



We are very keen to accommodate diverse contributions, and would like to encourage participation from practitioners, academics, activists and other interested parties as well as partnered facilitation between academics and practitioners. Each workshop will be expected to include practical activities and be written up in under 1000 words for a post-conference publication with each write-up including a practical tool or resource for practitioners to use.


Please send an outline (of no more than 250 words) of your ideas for workshop contributions to by April 4th. A selection of workshops will be chosen and facilitators of the chosen workshops will have a free place at the conference. We regret that we may not be able to accommodate all proposed workshops


Details on signing up for this conference will be circulated separately in due course.

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