What is youth work? An IDYW dialogue event, 2nd November

All welcome to our next event! Friday 2 November, 12:15 – 4.45
Birmingham Association of Youth Clubs, £10 (students £2).
Youth workers in discussion

“Do we still need to discuss what youth work is?” Well, probably, yes! Defining youth work is political, and there are valid reasons for its definition to be discussed and debated. In Defence of Youth Work has long been interested in this debate; in fact, the watering down of the distinctive nature of youth work over the last decade, and its incorporation into soft policing and social casework, is one of the reasons for our existence. It is our view that youth work is a distinctive educational practice founded on a voluntary relationship with young people and shaped by their agendas; we are committed to defending a democratic youth work practice based on our cornerstones. Yet the question ‘what is youth work?’ remains contentious; and at times, some of these cornerstones are even contested among our own supporters!

There is rarely enough space to discuss these issues, so when we heard that this year’s Youth Work Week theme is “What is youth work?”, we wanted to hold our own event. All welcome, whatever your views, and whether you are new to these debates, or whether you have a strong view that needs to be heard. Just last week we were saying there aren’t enough chances to chat as youth workers. Well, this event is for youth workers, community and youth work students, and anyone else who would like the chance to think, discuss, debate and reflect. It would be great to see you there.

The flyer is available here if you’d like to print it out – details copied below.


An IDYW ‘Dialogue’ event

Friday 2 November 12:15 – 4.45

At Birmingham Association of Youth Clubs, 581 Pershore Rd, B29 7EL


NYA’s prompt questions:

  • What is youth work… when delivered in schools?
  • What is youth work… in early help services?
  • What is youth work… in detached settings?
  • What is youth work…?

Plus IDYW’s questions:

  • So… what is open access youth work?
  • Why do young people still value and need it?
  • If the political tide is turning – how can we re-imagine ways of reinstating it?


An opportunity to:

  • Explore and debate key current questions facing youth work and youth workers.
  • Share critical responses to the NYA and IDYW questions.
  • Identify proposals for supporting and reinstating open access youth work to submit to NYA and for circulation within the youth work field and to policy-makers more widely. 


Brief opening plenary to outline the plan for the day and its central themes. Self-chosen small groups focused on key issues and questions.

(Suggestions welcome by 26 October – to Bernard Daviesdavies@vip.solis.co.uk)

Final plenary to identify key messages from the day for inclusion in a feed-back paper.

Teas, coffees and soft drinks available – please bring your own lunch.

Please book your space: contact Rachel at rachel@yasy.co.uk

Directions to the venue: Train via Birmingham New St: Take Station Street exit, down steps, to 45/47 bus stop (opposite Han Dynasty restaurant). C.10 mins to the Selly Park Tavern (the stop after the Conservation and Wildlife Centre). BAYC opposite. Parking available in nearby streets.

COST: £10 (Students £2).


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