Again ahead of our conference which will be tangling with dilemmas posed by a fractured landscape of youth work and a fragmenting workforce or profession, POYWE [Professional Open Youth Work Europe] has produced its latest impressive e-magazine, Logbook 3. Its theme is youth work as a profession viewed theoretically and through the prism of examples in practice from Croatia, Lithuania, Finland, South Tyrol and across the ocean, Indianopolis. It also includes interviews with youth workers undertaken by our own Pauline Grace.
As it happens it contains also a typical rant from me about neoliberalism’s impact on open youth work.
Hence it’s never been keen on the questioning, improvisatory and unruly world of open youth centres and projects. It fears a dialogue that fosters critical thought. It mistrusts a space, where young people create their own autonomous groups and agendas. It is deeply suspicious of an unpredictable process, which refuses to guarantee its destination. Above all it is impatient. It has no time for time, no time for the uneven pace of making conversations and relationships.
And so on and so on! The managing director of POYWE, Marc Boes is not impressed. He responds in a complementary opinion piece, implying that we [I] fall into the trap of simply complaining about the ‘Other’ rather than reflecting upon ourselves.
What is interesting about this is that youth work in times of cuts has the same reflex. It is all the fault of the “enemy” and we are definitely not going to take a hard look at ourselves. The point is that youth work always will be influenced by politics on which youth work has almost no influence. It is called democracy. A majority of the voters wanted to have the budget cuts, plain and simple.
Anyway see what you think, but more importantly find time to explore the diversity of excellent articles, which challenge our often insular British outlook on youth work. In addition to those mentioned above there is a discussion on developing detached work through European cooperation and a summary of young people’s and students’ expectations of open youth work.
Finally the e-magazine contains POYWE’s Declaration of the Principles of Open Youth Work, around which we hope to organise an IDYW seminar.
Read the whole magazine in full at LOGBOOK 3. Well worth the trouble.