Remembering the Battle of Lewisham and the involvement of youth and community workers

lewisham

It’s perhaps revealing that in the preparations for the demonstration and on the day itself local authority and voluntary sector youth and community workers, alongside young people, were to the fore. With all its tensions and contradictions, being involved was seen as the ABC of political education.  Forty years later, in working environments where talk of politics is seen at best as a distraction, at worst as a disciplinary issue, how many practitioners would see matters in the same way? Whilst circumstances have changed, racism remains at the heart of our present political turmoil and remains a burning issue in our work with young people.

 

Remembering the Battle of Lewisham 40 years on: Weekend of events 12-13 August

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This weekend is the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Lewisham, when the Nazi National Front were blocked from marching between New Cross and Lewisham town centre. The first time a national NF march had been stopped from reaching its destination.

It is one of the most significant historical events in Lewisham’s history and for race relations in Britain. There is a weekend of events planned to commemorate this event.

Unite Against Fascism have organised a Commemorative March through Lewisham, Assemble 1pm, Clifton Rise, London, SE14 6JW. Event page: http://bit.ly/2hIWFHY
This will be followed by a Love Music Hate Racism event at New Cross Inn, 323 New Cross Rd SE14 6AS. Hip hop artist Logic will be performing at the event. Event page: http://bit.ly/2sGWs90
Remembering the “Battle of Lewisham” community festival: Sunday 13th August

On Sunday 13th August Love Music Hate Racism, Goldsmiths, Lewisham Council and the Albany Theatre are running a community festival commemorating the “Battle of Lewisham”. The free event will include live music, screenings, panel discussions, exhibitions, stalls, food and an evening gig.

The event will begin with the unveiling of a plaque 12.15pm Clifton Rise, London SE14 6JW followed by a festival at The Albany from 1 pm full details here.

FIGHT ELITISM: Stand With Community Development & Youth Work At Goldsmiths College

goldsmiths

Background

  • The management team of the Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies Department (STaCS), have launched an unprecedented attack on the part time staff of its highly successful BA Degree in Applied Social Science, Community Development and Youth Work (BAASSCD&YW) – the only remaining full-time community and youth work degree in London 2016-17.
  • Over the past two years the programme has recruited increased numbers of students and as a result, has generated a substantial increase in levels of income.
  • Under the guise of a ‘staff restructure’ management is proposing to use these resources to replace a diverse group of up to 6 part-time staff with 2-3 full-time staff who are either engaged in doctoral level research or who have completed a PhD, in order to meet departmental research priorities, in particular, to improve grant capture and REF ratings.
  • The BAASSCD&YW course, which has a student cohort of 81% BME students, is being singled out as these departmental research priorities are not being applied across the department.
  • The students are outraged, as they are already challenging management for cutting their contact hours from over 200 hours to 120 hours per year.

 BA programme strengths – values and ethos

The Programme was thoroughly revised last year and has also undergone internal reviews and external National Youth Agency reviews this year – all have highlighted that academic rigour, equality and social justice and relevant professional practice are embedded in the programme and praised the existing diverse staff team, for example;

  • ..changes will strengthen what is already a well-regarded BA Programme…The continued commitment of the teaching staff will be vital in ensuring its future (BA Review Final Report, 2016)
  • The programme team were praised for their academic, community engagement, current practice (NYA Validation Report 2016 section 7, p9)

Both past and present students, also appreciate the diversity of the current staff team’s academic expertise and interests along with their up to date and relevant professional practice.

  • NSS results in 2016 showoverall satisfaction (95%); the course is intellectually stimulating (95%); staff are enthusiastic about what they are teaching (95%); staff have made subject interesting (100%).

Students comments about the programme:

‘I have enjoyed the passion the lecturers have shown for their subjects and the support they have offered. Intellectually prompting lectures,…would recommend this course to everyone and anyone.

The group training has helped me to develop both personally and practically. Lecturers are passionate about teaching and about their own continued work within youth and community.

The CD&YW course has really challenged me to think differently and equipped me with skills to be an effective practitioner.

The tutors have been very supportive.’ (NSS, 2016)

Potential impact

STaCS restructure proposal departs from Goldsmiths’ organisational change policy – management refuses to job match as staff are not on teaching and research contracts and they are not trying meaningfully to mitigate against redundancy. The restructuring is being vigorously challenged by academic staff, students (via the college Student Union) and Goldsmiths University and College Union (GUCU) members – industrial action is likely.

  • Management has presented a flawed rationale and no evidence that the recruitment of such staff on this professionally endorsed degree programme will improve the quality of teaching and learning, or enhance students’ overall experience.
  • The imposition of this untimely and totally unexpected management proposal will disrupt the progress of existing students and those students entering the revised programme
  • It will have an overwhelmingly negative impact on BME staff and BME students who comprise 81%
  • It disregards long-standing, highly regarded academic and professional skills and expertise of existing staff
  • It represents a trend in HE which must be resisted.

Support Requested from Stakeholders

We urge the BAASSCDYW wider community of stakeholders, who have supported the programme over several years, to write to the Warden, (Patrick Loughrey, email: warden@ gold.ac.uk) expressing concern that part time staff are unnecessarily under the threat of redundancies and the potential impact on the programme, recommending that the existing staff (who have been repeatedly refused time to pursue research activities), should be supported to pursue research activities and should be valued and retained. We would also ask that you send a copy and messages of support to gucu-admin@gold.ac.uk.

Keep up to date with news and further actions:

https://goldsmiths.org @Goldsmithsucu #fightelitism #standwithcdyw

Campaign Materials:

PDF copies of this campaign letter are available here

Fight Elitism Campaign flyers are also available – email gucu-admin@gold.ac.uk if you would like us to send you some

Celebrating Youth & Policy 3 – Bernard Davies on ‘youth volunteering – the new panacea’

 

Y&P

There are few people better placed to put today’s interpretations of  volunteering and social action under the microscope than Bernard Davies, author of a trilogy of ‘Histories of the Youth Service in England.’ Drawing on his extensive historical research Bernard seeks to interrogate policy and practice in an arena, which has come to be seen as simply ‘a good thing’.

Youth volunteering: the new panacea?

 

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Bernard in discussion with Jon Ord- Ta to Justin Wyllie for the image

 

He begins:

Governments of all parties have long been keen to get young people to volunteer – that is, to give some of their time freely to a worthy cause or activity. Papers and reports going back at least fifty years have been urging them to offer themselves for what was at the time often called ‘community service’. One of these, from the Youth Service Development Council entitled Service by Youth and dated December 1965, prompted me even then to ask: So – is this another attempt to tame the young? (Davies, 1967).

At one point he poses these questions:

How far, for example, are young people engaging on a genuinely voluntary basis – that is, outside adult authority pressures – given that one survey has suggested that in 2015 nearly 75 percent of the participants found their way into volunteering via their school or college? (Offord, 2015b; 2016b).
How far are the programmes’ educational interventions building from and on the interests and concerns brought to them by the young people who are actually participating?
How far are the programmes starting from the process-focused presumption that, in their own right, relationship-building and interpersonal responsiveness – young person to young person and young person to adult – require at least as much dedicated attention as task- and programme-completion?

I hope Bernard’s piece gets the attention and response it deserves, not least from those, for whom youth volunteering is without contradiction.

 

 

Community Engagement: A Critical Guide for Practitioners

 

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Ta to sustaining community

 

As ever we are more than pleased to draw your attention to this excellent resource, courtesy of CONCEPT, produced by those stalwarts of critical practice, Mae Shaw and Jim Crowther. Speaking personally it highlights the common ground occupied by youth workers, community workers and community educators; underlines our shared values, skills and knowledge base; and crucially faces up to the contradictions of our interventions into the lives of young people and the community. To whet your appetite, find below the introduction.

Community Engagement: A Critical Guide for Practitioners

Introduction

The motivation for this critical guide to community engagement
comes primarily from our experience over many years as teachers on
undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of community education.
These programmes have historically been validated both by the
university and the appropriate professional body, so they are firmly
located at the interface between academic and vocational standards;
between theory and practice. We have found that these di!erent,
sometimes contradictory, demands create a productive dynamic which
has been at the core of our teaching, our writing and our relationships
with the broader field of practice. We consider that an engagement with
significant theoretical frameworks, an awareness of important historical
traditions and an empathetic identification with the social reality of
marginalized groups are all necessary in order to practise critical
community engagement.

One way in which we sometimes characterise this dynamic relationship
is through the notion of ‘theorising practice’. Except in the most
instrumental of cases, practitioners don’t put theory into practice in
any straightforward way. They put themselves into practice! This
suggests a need to think critically and carefully about what role
community engagement fulfils in particular times and places.

It also means that practitioners need to develop the confidence,
skills and knowledge to apply that understanding in practice.
The role of practitioners in seeking to make creative and critical
connections – between personal experience and political structures;
macro-level decisions and micro-level consequences; the potential
for personal agency within constraints of power – should be a core
feature of professional practice as well as of academic study.
The following chapters have been designed to work as one-o!,
freestanding sessions, or as a relatively coherent educational
programme. It goes without saying that they should be modified to
suit particular situations as required. They are intended to open up
discussion rather than to stifle or close it down. In some cases further
efforts will be required by practitioners to make them accessible and
relevant to specific circumstances or groups. Above all, they are
intended to develop clarity about, and consistency between,
educational values, purposes and roles.

Finally, at the heart of this project is the idea of the practitioner as
an active educational agent, rather than simply as an agent of policy.
This position necessarily creates tensions and dilemmas that need to
be confronted, and some of these are presented here. In particular, it
requires practitioners to engage strategically and creatively with the
politics of policy, whilst also attempting to enlarge the democratic
spaces available to communities. We hope this critical guide will
enable people to do this more systematically and more collectively.

Mae Shaw, University of Edinburgh
Jim Crowther, University of Edinburgh
(jim.crowther@ed.ac.uk)
May 2017

Education for Actions Week in the Durham Miners’ Hall : July 1-7

Thanks to Jean Spence for this link to a remarkable range of thought-provoking sessions during the EDUCATION  FOR ACTIONS Gala week in Durham. Given the unexpected shift in the political atmosphere the week might well be one of great optimism that the tide is turning away from private greed towards collective need. And, we do well to remember the explicit commitment of the Community and Youth Workers Union to the men and women of the mining communities during the Great Strike of 1984/85.

 

durham miners1

 

EDUCATION FOR ACTIONS GALA WEEK ACTIVITY PROGRAMME

All meetings, unless stated otherwise will take place in the Committee Room or Main Hall (the Pitman’s Parliament), Miners’ Hall, Red Hills, Durham City. All events and activities are open to everyone and are free. The building is accessible.

 

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The Pitman’s Parliament

SATURDAY 1ST JULY – REDHILLS OPEN DAY

10:00am – 3:00pm: RED HILLS OPEN DAY (No booking required)
Come share and celebrate with us our mining heritage, in this wonderful and unique building. A wonderful opportunity to explore the ‘Pitman’s Parliament’ and beautiful grounds. Guided tours by heritage experts: These will take place at: 10:30am; 12:00pm; and 1:30pm. There will also be an Exhibition of children’s work from Great Lumley Juniors’ School exploring their mining heritage.
Refreshments (Tea, coffee, biscuits, scones, etc.) will be available for a small donation.
For further information or to book a bespoke guided tour contact: education4action@durhamminers.co.uk.

MONDAY 3rd JULY – EDUCATION 4 ACTION

10:00am – 3:00pm: RED HILLS SCHOOLS VISIT
A day long education and arts workshop, working with a local secondary school exploring history, politics, music, trade unions, mining communities and heritage. For further information or if your school is interested in attending or arranging a visit please contact: education4action@durhamminers.co.uk

TUESDAY 4TH JULY – HERITAGE DAY

1:30pm – 3:00pm: THE WORKERS EDUCATION ASSOCIATION: HISTORY & HERITAGE BRANCH
A tour of the building will be followed by a presentation by Kath Connelly on the work of Education 4 Action, followed by a meeting to formalise the constitution of the WEA History & Heritage Branch.
(Committee Room)

3:00pm – 5:00pm: FILM SCREENING: ASUNDER
A film by Esther Johnson. Using archive and contemporary footage and audio, Asunder collages the stories of people from Tyneside and Wearside to uncover just what life was like on the home front, with bombs falling on Britain for the first time, conscientious objectors sentenced to death, and women working as doctors, tram conductors and footballer. The narrative moves from and Edwardian golden era, in which sport grew in popularity and aircraft and cars pointed to a bright new future, to a war that horrifically reversed this progress. In the battle of the Somme, British, French and German armies fought one of the most traumatic battles in military history. Over the course of just four months, more than one million soldiers were captured, wounded or killed in a confrontation of unimaginable horror. (Main Hall)

6:00pm – 7:00 pm. There will be a tour of the building followed by:
The NORTH EAST LABOUR HISTORY SOCIETY Presents:
MICHAEL CHAPLIN: SID CHAPLIN’S DURHAM: A VOYAGE AROUND MY FATHER’
Last year Michael edited a new collection of Sid’s poems, short stories and essays written in the 1940’s when he was a pitman at Dean and Chapter in Ferryhill. It was published in the autumn to mark his birth centenary. Born in County Durham Michael Chaplin is a theatre, radio, television and non-fiction writer and former television producer and executive. (Committee Room)

WEDNESDAY 5th JULY – EDUCATION 4 ACTION

 

10:00am – 3:00pm: RED HILLS SCHOOLS VISIT
A day long education and arts workshop, working with a local primary school exploring history, politics, music, trade unions, mining communities and heritage. For further information or if your school is interested in attending or arranging a visit please contact: education4action@durhamminers.co.uk

THURSDAY 6th JULY – STRIKES, PROTESTS & SOLIDARITY

Join us from 5pm, for evening of literature, music, talks, film and poetry

5:00pm – 6:00pm: BOOK LAUNCH – JUSTICE DENIED: FRIENDS, FOES AND THE MINERS’ STRIKE
This is a timely book written by former miners and radical academic researchers, the majority of whom were participants in the 1984-85 miners’ strike in Britain. It is particularly welcome today as calls intensify, despite the attempts by the establishment to silence them, for a public enquiry into the policing of picketing at Orgreave. Not only is it a marvellous account of the bravery of the men and women and their allies during one of the longest industrial strikes in British history, it is also testimony to the resilience of mining communities in the face of state repression. (Committee Room)

6:00pm – 7:00pm: PIT CAMPS
Flis Callow and Caroline Poland, who were active in Sheffield Women Against Pit Closures in 1984/85, and in the 1992/93 struggle to keep the pits open after Heseltine’s announcement to close 31 more pits, will present and share their experiences of the Houghton Main Pit Camp in 1993. They are currently gathering archive material and stories about Houghton Main Pit Camp in Yorkshire, as well as the other 6 pit camps set up in 1993. This is a little known story they hope to tell in a book written in conjunction with Gary Rivett and Sheffield University’s ‘History of Activism’ project. They will be interested to hear from anyone involved in any of the other pit camps. (Main Hall)

7:00 – 7.30pm: THE NORTH EAST SOCIALIST SINGERS
Hailing from all over the region, the community singers will perform a range of songs, drawing on our region’s rich mining heritage and socio-political history. Expect songs of protest, freedom and solidarity. You are most welcome to join in. (Main Hall)

7:30pm – 9.30pm: MINING THE MEMORIES
The ‘Mining the Memories’ project supported ex-miners and former colliery community members in South Yorkshire to write and produced a series of short films which tell their stories of the 1984/85 miners strikes and the continued legacy the decline in the coal mining industry is having on their communities. In total 5 original short dramas, 1 original animation and 2 documentaries. One documentary focuses on the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign and their continued fight for justice, the other focuses on Goldthorpe, South Yorkshire. (Main Hall)

FRIDAY 7th JULY – POVERTY IS POLITICAL

Join us from 2pm as we explore Red Hills. Followed by an evening of talks, film and lecture exploring issues surrounding one of the most prevalent problems in our society today; inequality. Food and refreshments will be available.

4:30pm – 5:30pm: HUNGER PAINS
Author Kayleigh Garthwaite volunteered with a Teesside food bank for two years, a time which inspired her acclaimed book ‘Hunger Pains’. Kayleigh shall share her work and research exploring food bank culture and poverty within austerity Britain. You are invited to share your thoughts and experiences.
Kayleigh spent two years volunteering in a foodbank in Stockton on Tees as part of a bigger project which looked at health inequalities brought about by the huge cuts in state spending through the Government’s austerity programme. Kayleigh provides a powerful insight into the realities of foodbanks. Trussell Trust data shows that 87,693 people including 35,246 children received three day emergency food from the Trussell Trust foodbanks in the North East of England 2014-2015. 13 million people live in poverty in Britain and over half of these are working families and in a town where a boy born in one of the poorest parts of Stockton can expect to live to just 67, a boy growing up just two miles down the road in Eaglescliffe or Hartburn would expect to live to 84. (Main Hall)

5:30pm – 6:30pm: THE DAVY HOPPER MEMORIAL LECTURE. SPEAKER: KEN LOACH
Education 4 Action presents ‘The Davey Hopper Memorial Lecture’ featuring Ken Loach, acclaimed film director and social commentator, director of ‘I Daniel Blake’, ‘Bread and Roses’, ‘Land and Freedom’ and many more. (Main Hall)

6:30pm – 7pm. THE FORGOTTEN WORKERS: LOW PAID WORK AND MULTIPLE EMPLOYMENT
Dr Jo McBride (Newcastle University) and Dr Andrew Smith (Bradford University) will talk about their concerns relating to low-paid work, wage inequalities, the rise of unstable jobs and in-work poverty. Whilst successive UK governments have attempted to reduce unemployment and make work pay, viewing employment as the best route out of poverty/low-pay, there has been a rise in what is termed ‘precarious work’. We have termed these people the ‘Forgotten Workers’ as they are largely absent from official statistics and policy debates. This is the first ever study in the UK to explicitly focus on low-paid workers in more than one job and to examine their work experiences and work-life challenges. We have discovered issues concerning underemployment, intensification of work, extensification of work, challenges and complexities of juggling work and home, issues with zero hours contracts and the well being of people struggling with more than one job. (Main Hall)

7:30pm: FILM SCREENING – THE SPIRIT OF 45
Ken Loach’s impassioned documentary, tells of how the spirit of unity buoyed Britain during the war years, and carried through to create a vision of a fairer, united society. This session will take place in the (Main Hall)

For more information about the Friends of the Durham Miners’ Gala, please visit our website: www.friendsofdurhamminersgala.org

How did the left radicalism of my Manchester youth give way to Islamism?Kenin Malik ponders.

black star

Back in 2013 we drew your attention to the appearance of a fascinating book, ‘Black Star: Britain’s Asian Youth Movements’, written by Anandi Ramamurthy.  At the time Gus John wrote, ‘we can only hope that young people and their parents, of whatever ethnicity, demand this book is included in the school and college curriculum. It shows that even before the ‘war on terror’ and Islamophobia, South Asian communities needed to engage in a defensive war in the face of a neo-fascist and state terror that was relentlessly visited upon them.’  A later review by Matloub Husayn-Ali-Khan, who was personally involved, underlined the significant role of youth workers in the emergence of the Sheffield Asian Youth Movement, which was initially called the Asian Youth Council. It was born out of a meeting on October 12, 1980 between Bradford and Sheffield activists held at the Attercliffe Youth Centre in Sheffield. He recalls, ‘an atmosphere that brought out a feeling of togetherness, commitment, comradeship; oneness and unity between all those who felt the struggle.’

AYM Sheffield

With the Manchester tragedy very much to the fore in many people’s minds this historical context is revisited by Kenin Malik in ‘How did the left radicalism of my Manchester youth give way to Islamism?’ — After the atrocity, we recall a past when to be young and Muslim was to be engaged in class politics’

To take, but one aspect of his argument, he remembers his ‘real fury at a society that would not embrace [him] as an equal, legitimate citizen. But it was a very different kind of anger to that which many young Muslims feel now and the ways of expressing it were even more distinct. My fury towards Britain was not expressed through the prism of being “Muslim”. Partly this was because I was not religious. But partly, also, because few adopted “Muslim” as a public identity. We thought of ourselves as “Asian” or “black”, but these were political, not ethnic or cultural labels.’

He concludes,

Perhaps the question to ask is not: “Were I 20 today, would I be attracted to Islamism?” but, rather: “Had Salman Abedi or Mohammad Sidique Khan been born a generation earlier, would they have rejected Islamism?” It is impossible to answer, but in asking that question, we can begin to tease out some of the social reasons for the Abedis and the Khans of this world becoming as they are.

I am not suggesting that anyone apart from Salman Abedi (and his co-conspirators, if there are any) bears responsibility for the carnage at the Manchester Arena. The reflex response to anyone digging deeper into the motives of jihadis is to denounce them as “apologists”. Witness the Tory onslaught against Jeremy Corbyn for what was a largely innocuous speech on Friday. What I am saying, however, is that while individuals bear responsibility for their acts, they also act within particular social contexts. If we are serious about combating the scourge of homegrown jihadism, we need not just to denounce jihadis as evil, but also to look at how the shifting social landscape has given them space to act as they do – and at how we can remake that landscape.

How might youth work contribute to such a remaking? As a minimum aren’t we obliged to engage afresh with the politics of our work? Whose political agendas have we been embracing in the era of neoliberalism? Is there the possibility of turning at least some of this world upside down?

 

Spring is in the air with a new edition of CONCEPT

Our friends at CONCEPT inform us that the Spring edition is now online at http://concept.lib.ed.ac.uk/Concept/. Always worth exploring.

Vol 8, No 1 (2017): Spring
Table of Contents
Articles
Feminism: A Fourth to be Reckoned With? Reviving Community Education Feminist Pedagogies in a Digital Age by Mel Aitken

Vulnerable Practice: Why We Need Honest Conversations To Make Change  by Nicky Bolland

The Challenges of Community Planning for the Community and Voluntary Sector in the Current Climate: A Road Well Travelled? by Mae Shaw

Youth And Community Based Approaches to Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls: Reflections from India by Marjorie Mayo, Deboshree Mohanta

On The Block: The Fairer Scotland Action Plan and Democracy  by Jim Crowther

Poetry

Poem: United Colours of Cumnock by Jim Monaghan

Reviews

Review: Peter McLaren, (2015) Pedagogy of Insurrection by Juha Suoranta

Review: William Davies, (2016) The Happiness Industry by Christina McMellon