Chatting about youth work

Creative margins photo
Thanks to for the image

Chatting is a vital part of youth work – getting to know a young person, approaching a group on the streets, encouraging good banter, bringing up a tricky issue, and knowing when to shut up. But how often do we have the chance to chat amongst ourselves? Youth workers often feel there is too little chance these days to chat – debriefs are taken up with paperwork or data entry, team meetings are too often a time to be ‘told what to do’, supervision is about whether you’ve met your targets, and nobody has time to hang around after sessions. At the same time, the sector as a whole has less resources, and this means less events, training, workshops, conferences and the like.

So it’s all the more important when we do get a chance to chat together, and we wanted to mention a few recent and upcoming events (and we hope to share our own event soon). We have already mentioned the recent international conference, Transformative Youth Work, which some of us were lucky to attend in Plymouth. Our own Tony Taylor spoke eloquently (and briefly!) on a panel about the politics of youth work and evaluation – and shares his input here on his blog, aptly named Chatting Critically

A hugely impressive archive of this and many other talks from the Plymouth event is now available on the conference website here – perhaps we will reflect further on some of these in the near future. It’s a great resource, whether you were able to make the conference or not.

We also want to draw your attention to a series of events from Creative Margins, a network of folk interested in how the arts and youth work sectors work together, the barriers and opportunities, and how we can do things better. It’s really good to see the centrality of the political here, and the creative approaches included in the events themselves. Previous events include ‘Class: the elephant in the room’, and ‘Co-production, collaboration and the rebalance of power’. Have a look and book your free space – note that the Brighton event is this coming Friday!

The politics of space, Brighton, 12th October

Time and trust, Cardiff, 5th November

London, 28th-29th November (as yet un-named?)

Other upcoming events that some of us will be going to:

NYA Youth Work Summit, London, 31st October

Institute for Youth Work conference, Brighton, 10th November

And we haven’t yet had a chance to share reflections from the fascinating Centre for Youth Impact gathering in September… and we are probably forgetting other past and future events… more to come, including our own…

Do feel free to share other events at which youth workers can chat collectively, politically, reflectively, creatively, thoughtfully… especially if they are free or affordable. And if you’ve been to an interesting event, workshop or gathering, it would be great to hear about it, so do send us anything – a photo with caption; a paragraph; a blog; an artistic reflection… whatever you think our readers would be interested in – to

Here’s to chatting!


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