Institute of Youth Work National Conference, November 10 ‘on the coast’

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In the Service of Youth 2018: Making Waves in Youth Work

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10th November 18 | University of Brighton

Adam Muirhead reports:

This year’s IYW conference is taking place in Brighton, it will be an opportunity to both celebrate Youth Work Week and our conference theme: coastal youth work. The conference is being co-hosted by the University of Brighton, and consequently one of the aims of the conference is to create a short paper on the unique nature of coastal youth work. For example, how does the documented deprivation, higher unemployment and lower pay affect our work? Are we recognising in our practice the reported higher rates of mental ill health? What has been the local youth policy response to statistically high drug use in seaside communities? How is youth work tackling county lines operations that target coastal areas? We hope to create a positive and affirming conference that takes the opportunity to showcase opportunities the coast presents to deliver exciting and innovative youth work. It is then our hope to share the conference paper with Youth & Policy and the Professional Association of Lecturers in Youth and Community Work (AKA TAG) and present it at their Policy and Practice events. The day will also be an opportunity for coastal Youth Workers to network, reflect and share their great practice, although youth workers from anywhere in the country are of course extremely welcome to be part of the conversation.

Keynote Speaker

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Lloyd Russell-Moyle

MP – Brighton Kemptown and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Youth Affairs

Further info and tickets at https://iyw.org.uk/iyw-conference-2018/

NEW IDYW ORGANISING ARRANGEMENTS

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Following an IDYW Steering Group meeting in Plymouth  and the withdrawal of Tony Taylor from the coordinator role, the following arrangements are now in place.

Administrating/Coordinating Tasks

It was agreed that the following people would share these, acting primarily as a contact point.

John Grace [January – April]

Malcolm Ball [May – August]

Naomi Thompson [September- December]

The new generic email is indefenceyw@gmail.com

Please use this address to get in touch with IDYW

Story-Telling Workshops

Bernard Davies to continue to coordinate. Watch this space for a fresh launch of the workshops.

Web Site

A small editorial group will now take over maintaining the site.

National Events

There is a commitment to holding at least two national events each year, one of which will be a Spring national conference. Malcolm Ball and Diane Law will coordinate.  We are looking to hold more immediately a national event during the NYA Youth Work Week in Birmingham, November 5 – 10. More details as soon as is possible. This gathering will provide the opportunity to sharpen up our collective input into the Labour Party consultation process.

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National Conference 2017

Other local and regional gatherings will be encouraged, noting the success of our ‘Is the tide turning?’ initiative. However, the arrangements, including writing up reports, sharing feedback, will be firmly in the hands of the specific organisers.

Facebook and Twitter

Sue Atkins, Pauline Grace and Diane Law will take over the FB Admin duties, whilst the Twitter account will be taken over by a member of the Steering group.

Finance

Our balance stands at £1700.00 after paying Tony Taylor £200 towards travel expenses. This was agreed.

Future Meetings

The question of how best to organise steering group meeting was raised. Sue  Atkins will organise a Doodle poll re date of next meeting.

 

Transformative Youth Work and Impact Evaluation – a contradiction in terms? A Challenging Conference tackled the tensions.

Transformative Youth Work International Conference

Developing and Communicating Impact – 4th September – 6th September, Plymouth Marjon University

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Rob White from the University of Tasmania opening the conference

I arrived in Plymouth, weary and a trifle sulky. A delayed flight, the teeming London hustle and bustle plus a tortuous journey on an ageing dysfunctional train, all seemed to add to my despond. Blaming neoliberalism didn’t seem to help much. However, in the early hours, my spirits arose, courtesy of a jovial and helpful night porter. The next morning witnessed the continuing revival of my demeanour as the student ambassadors, administrative and kitchen staff went out of their way to be hospitable. And, the conference itself, bringing together workers from across the globe,  proved to be challenging, critical and contradictory, but above all uplifting.

I won’t say much more as Jon Ord’s address below captures the atmosphere of the memorable proceedings. However, I hope, if the mood calls, to take up some of the issues emanating from the debates in future posts on my revived blog, Chatting Critically, including Tony Jeffs’ eloquent soliloquy on the demise of youth work in the UK.

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Jon Ord addresses the conference

Jon Ord, Associate Professor
University of St Mark & St John,

Apologies for not being able to bring myself together to make the closing address – I have found the experience of enabling such a rich and rewarding experience for so many people genuinely humbling and was more than a little overwhelmed… Below is what I wished to say:

Closing Address

I would like to say a few words to draw the conference to a close:

If I truly honest my best hope was that we averted a disaster… however, if I am to believe the kind words that many of you have shared with me over the last couple of days perhaps I can safely say it may have been somewhat of a success.

On more than the odd occasion, as some of you know, over the last year or so I had wished I had not had such a ‘bright idea’ but the feedback many of you have given me and seeing how much people seemed to have got out of meeting up here over the last few days it has genuinely made it all worthwhile – so I would sincerely like to thank you all for your involvement in the conference – in particular the spirit in which you have engaged in conversation and debate – it is you that have made it the success that it has been.

In particular, I would like thank to all those who have come from far and wide – here in the UK we really do not want to cut ourselves off from our neighbours and distant friends – despite what you may read and see… It is certainly the diversity of experiences in no small part that has enriched the 3 days.

I would also like to especially thank the speakers, chairs & panel members, there has been a really high standard of papers. And on that point, I would like to draw your attention to the possibility of submitting a paper for a special issue of a journal, either the Journal of Open Youth Work or the Journal of Applied Youth Studies.

On the subject of diversity of keynote speakers, I was left in an unfortunate position, as I approached seven people to speak at the conference – four women and three men. The four women all declined, so I was left with the three men. The original intention for the panel was two women and two men, one of the women could not be persuaded and was replaced by a man as he shared her perspective.

Two other points in terms of moving forward. Firstly given how much people seemed to have enjoyed the event it occurred to me that we may try and put on another event at some point – there no guarantees but it seems to be something that would be worth looking into.

Secondly, we have tried to capture all the talks on ‘Panopto’ (voice recording and slides) if this has been successful, we will firstly check if anyone objects to their talk being made public and then will upload them on to the post-conference website and it can then form a resource.

Finally please provide any feedback on the event directly to me at jord@marjon.ac.uk

By way of thanks, I would like to mention Clayton Thomas and Mercedes Farhad for their help with the programme, both of whom went the extra mile to produce such a high-quality programme – Mercedes even came in when she was ill and about to go on annual leave, to ensure we got it to the printers on time. I would also like to thank Mark Leather for sharing some of the lessons learnt from the hosting of the European Outdoor Education Seminar last year. Thank you also to the student ambassadors who have helped to ensure the smooth running of the conference and to catering for producing such fine ‘English’ fayre. I would also thank my Erasmus partners for their support.

There are two people who do however need special mention – firstly Tony Jeffs who has so generously shared the many years of experience that he and his colleagues Naomi Thomson, Tania de St Croix, Paula Connaughton and others at Youth & Policy have gleaned from organising and running conferences for many years – this event stands on both his and their shoulders.

One person needs singling out in particular however – for there is really only one person without whom this conference would never have taken place. It was somewhat foisted upon her and she had little say in whether she was to be involved. Furthermore, the timing was terrible as it clashed with the preparations for the biggest event of the year – graduation – however, she has always been 100% behind the project and does everything with a smile. Her attention to detail is exceptional, her organisational skills exemplary and as a colleague of mine Aaron Beacom said to me recently – she is totally unflappable. I would like you to show your warmest appreciation for Helen Thewliss.

I now declare this conference closed and wish you all a safe journey.

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The Impact of Youth Work in Europe: A Study of Five European Countries

This book is the culmination of an Erasmus+ funded project which aimed to independently identify the impact of youth work in the UK (England), Finland, Estonia, Italy and France. It applied a participatory evaluation methodology entitled ‘transformative evaluation’ which collated young people’s own accounts of the impact of youth work on their lives – collecting their stories. Over 700 stories were collected in total over a year-long process.

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Speakers from the five countries presenting the research findings to the conference

Find an e-book version of the study on this link

https://www.humak.fi/en/julkaisut/the-impact-of-youth-work-in-europe-a-study-of-five-european-countries/


 

Thanks to Stephen Dixon of Marjon for the photos.

Last Acts as Coordinator – No Surprises

As indicated earlier I’m withdrawing from my role as IDYW Coordinator and taking something of a back seat. One of my last acts will be offering a workshop and contributing as an ‘expert’ panellist [a debatable notion] at the Transformative Youth Work conference in Plymouth this week – see this post on my revived blog, Chatting Critically.

Two Years On and still trying to resist neoliberalism’s embrace

The IDYW Steering Group is meeting during the conference and we will publish details of new organisational arrangements next week.

Thanks to everyone for their support, comments and criticism.

The struggle for an open, process-led, improvised young people centred youth work continues!

And, as we say, in another eccentric part of my life – Best Foot Forward!

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Taylor on an impact evaluation exercise last year in Leicester

International Seminar on Youth Work Education, Birmingham – September 20

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Newman University Youth and Community Work team are pleased to announce an international seminar on teaching youth work in higher education. The seminar is a result of a two year international Erasmus + funded strategic book editing partnership between Estonia; University of Tartu – Viljandi Culture Academy, University of Tartu – Nava College and the Estonian Youth Work Association. Finland; HUMAK University of Applied Social Sciences, and Newman University.

Friday, 21st September 2018 from 10.30-3.30 at Newman University, Birmingham UK

The seminar will focus on authors’ sharing of chapters and working methods in the morning and then move onto an afternoon of identifying inspirational moments in teaching youth work via a world café structure. Participants are invited to apply for a place at this seminar.  There will be a small charge of £5 to cover light lunch etc.

The seminar will bring together a range of experts from across Europe, to showcase the latest research on the education of Youth Work, including publication of the textbook (due April 2019) from Youth Work education in UK, Finland, Estonia.

This will be the first major International seminar to specifically address the issue of youth worker education from the three partner countries. The purpose of the seminar will be to promote the textbook and to stimulate debate and discussion about the process of youth work education within the higher education field. The seminar is open to youth workers; youth work academics and trainers as well as policy makers.”

for more details contact Pauline Grace on p.grace@newman.ac.uk

or to book a place contact Carol Ferrran on c.ferran@newman.ac.uk

Reviving Youth Work as Soft-Policing: Labour Party Policy?

Spare me the lecture on pragmatism, but my heart sinks. To resuscitate the youth service as primarily a ‘soft-policing’ agency with crime reduction ‘targets’ flies in the face of our history and philosophy, whatever its own contradictions.

The first of our Starting Points for REVIVING YOUTH WORK AND REIMAGINING A YOUTH SERVICE  published a few months ago declared:

Youth Work’s fundamental aspiration is profoundly educational, political and universal. It seeks to nurture the questioning, compassionate young citizen committed to the development of a socially just and democratic society. It is not a soft-policing instrument of social control.

Meanwhile,

Labour announces plans to make provision of youth services compulsory to tackle violent crime

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Ta to the idleman.co.uk

 

Announcing Labour’s plans for youth services, Mr Khan said: “As violent crime continues to rise across the country, it’s more vital than ever that we get tough on the causes of crime, as well as crime.

Of course, I protest too much the writing was on the wall at Prime Minister’s Questions back in early June.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle (Brighton, Kemptown) (Lab/Co-op)

Q7. Last year, a quarter of young people thought about suicide, and one in nine attempted suicide. Young people are three times more likely to be lonely than older people. Knife crime is up, and gang crime is up. There are fewer opportunities for young people than ever before—68% of our youth services ​have been cut since 2010—with young people having nowhere to go, nothing to do and no one to speak to. Is it now time for a statutory youth service, and will the Prime Minister support my ten-minute rule Bill after Prime Minister’s questions? [905633]

At the time I commented:

I’m probably illustrating how out of touch I am, but I continue to disagree with the line taken by Lloyd in his question to Teresa May. Arguing for a Youth Service on the grounds that an alarming number of young people have felt suicidal or that knife and gang crime is rising does not offer, in my opinion, a convincing and sustainable basis for renewing universal, open access, informal education provision, which remains valuable in its own right, whilst being humble about its part in tackling social dilemmas rooted deeply in an alienating and exploitative society.

Out of touch indeed!

 

 

NHS at 70: Defending the Common Good Together

                                                             #NHSwontletgo

NHS at 70

Thanks to Sue Atkins for the collage

In our proposal,

REVIVING YOUTH WORK AND REIMAGINING A YOUTH SERVICE

our final point signals our solidarity with the struggle to defend the National Health Service on its 70th birthday.

The renaissance we urge hinges on a break from the competitive market and the self-centred individualism of neoliberalism and the [re]creation of a Youth Work dedicated to cooperation and the common good.