We must begin with a muted apology re the absence of a fulsome and optimistic New Year’s message. We’ve been a tad upside down, reflecting on the possible consequences of the General Election during a period of disruption caused by illness and lightning attacks on our computers.
However our friends at CONCEPT, the Scottish Community Education journal have as ever provided a fillip with the appearance of the latest Winter edition, ‘Forever Young? Youth Work Then and Now’.
Mel Aitken and Mae Shaw, the editors explain:
This is a special issue of Concept which considers the changed and changing landscape of youth work in the UK. It includes contributions which take a backward look in order to locate present day developments, articles which reflect on contemporary themes, issues and practices, and interviews with current youth workers who are striving to manage the contradictions of politics and policy for young people, on the ground.
- Youth Work: A 2020 Vision Editorial Introduction Ian Fyfe
- ‘Open’ Youth Work in 2019: A backward look Bernard Davies
- Youth Work: Converging and diverging responses in Scotland Annette Coburn, Sinead Gormally
- The decline of the Local Authority Youth Service in England: Reflections of an actor in its demise Tony Taylor
- ‘That was another moment where people were like wow! These young people have really done something!’ Christina McMellon
- Relocating Place in the Life of Neo-Liberal Youth Alan Mackie
- On the Ground Interviews with three youth workers Sabrina Tickle, Karen Anderson, Gemma Burn
FULL ISSUE (PDF FORMAT)
Forever Young? Youth Work Then and Now Mel Aitken, Mae Shaw
All of the material is well worth perusing, but I must give a particular mention to the article by Annette and Sinead, which in its sketch of the Scottish youth work narrative puts our English emphasis on Albemarle in its place.
As for my contribution its questioning conclusion written a few months ago is not too far off the mark.
Let me finish, though, on a fanciful if melodramatic note. Given the present political turmoil, it is possible that by the end of the year we will be governed by either an authoritarian, right-wing, populist administration or by a progressive alliance [Labour, SNP, Greens, Plaid Cymru] committed to a social-democratic programme of redistribution and renationalisation. In these contrasting scenarios, what price youth work, what price a Youth Service?
All of which will be discussed at our IDYW Annual Conference at the end of March. More details below.