MMU BA Y&C course under threat! Advice and support appreciated.

The BA [Honours] Youth and Community course at the Manchester Metropolitan University is facing a precarious future. Against this worrying backcloth Janet Batsleer, Reader in Education and Principal Lecturer, Youth and Community, writes to ask our readers the following question.

What would you design into a Community Education course for the future that builds on the learning of the past 40 years or so? Or would you just close it down?

Your replies should be sent to Janet at J.Batsleer@mmu.ac.uk and would be much appreciated.

 

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Tony Taylor, Jon Ord and Janet Batsleer at the IDYW conference

 

These are indeed troubled times.

Still room at the IDYW conference plus can we measure and treasure character?

On Thursday I’m contributing to a Centre for Youth Impact event, ‘The Measure and the Treasure: Evaluation in personal and social development’ in London. It’s sold out. OK, I accept there is unlikely to be a connection. However I will post next week a report of the proceedings and a summary of my sceptical input into the morning panel debate.

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The Measure and the Treasure: Evaluation in personal and social development

The Centre for Youth Impact is hosting a day-long event on the 16th March 2017 focused on issues of measurement and personal and social development.
The day will explore policy, practical and philosophical debates about whether, how and why we should seek to measure the development of social and emotional skills in young people – also referred to as non-cognitive skills, soft skills and character, amongst other terms. We want to structure a thought-provoking and engaging day that introduces participants to a range of ideas and activities. The day will be designed for practitioners working directly with young people, those in an evaluation role, and funders of youth provision.

Speakers and facilitators include: Emma Revie (Ambition), Daniel Acquah (Early Intervention Foundation), Graeme Duncan (Right to Suceed), Robin Bannerjee (University of Sussex), Paul Oginsky (Personal Development Point), Jenny North (Impetus-PEF), Tony Taylor (In Defence of Youth Work), Sarah Wallbank (Yes Futures), Jack Cattell (Get the Data), Mary Darking, Carl Walker and Bethan Prosser (Brighton University), Leonie Elliott-Graves and Chas Mollet (Wac Arts), Tom Ravenscroft (Enabling Enterprise), Phil Sital-Singh (UK Youth) and Luke McCarthy (Think Forward).

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Then on Friday it’s our eighth national conference in Birmingham. To be honest the number of people registering is disappointing, well down on previous years. Although, obviously, the smaller audience, around 30 folk at the moment, will make for intense debate. This said, we’d love to see you there so it’s not too late to register or even turn up on the day.

Youth Work: Educating for good or Preventing the bad?

Details on this Facebook page or at this previous post.

Facebook thread on Cadets, Militarisation, NCS and Youth Work

There is little doubt that our Facebook page followed by 2,877 people is the liveliest forum of ongoing debate about youth work in the UK. However, not everyone is a Facebook devotee or user. It is though possible to share at least some of the sparkiest conversations by providing a link via this website.

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As a starter, have a look at this thread, which starting from exchanges about further funding for cadet units spills into discussion about youth services, NCS, part-time workers and much more.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/90307668820/permalink/10154586347368821/

Credit to Natalie Ward-Toynton for kicking things off with this comment.

Over the last few daysI feel saddened by some of the responses around the additional cadet squadrons that are being opened up. I feel saddened because it seems to be compared with NCS scheme and that you all believe it’s a downfall of YW. Where actually the new sqns were part of the 2020 plan brought  into cadets in 2012. The cadets are funded by the MOD and these new sqns some additional money. It is also not a short term scheme like the NCS, young people from 12-19 are involved and it is youth work maybe unconventional youth work but it is.
Cadets doesn’t prepare you to join any armed forces it is about giving opportunities to young people with interests in aviation, leadership, adventure training, the list goes on.
Yes it’s sad youth work is always being cut, I am doing a youth work degree so I know  the lack of jobs in our field etc but please don’t hate on something that you may not fully understand the workings of.

Regional Seminar,’Space in Youth Work’, February 24

Flyer for the above event. More details soon re Oldham and Brighton.

STOP PRESS 

IDYW regional seminar is confirmed for Oldham on Friday 24th Feb – 11-2pm
at http://mahdloyz.org
Egerton Street, Oldham OL13SE

Tracy Ramsey Lhu advises: Please just email me to confirm and we will make sure there is a brew for you ramseyt@hope.ac.uk
Everyone welcome – please share far and wide.

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First International Journal of Open Youth Work online. What about contributing to the Second?

A few weeks ago in Lithuania, a group of us had the pleasure [and pain]  of running a session on the impact of neoliberalism on English youth work. Our argument did strike a chord with a mixed European audience. The occasion was the first conference of the European Research Network of Open Youth Work, entitled ‘Theory and Practice: Understanding Youth Work’, at which the International Journal of Open Youth Work was launched.

 

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Tony Taylor looks perplexed, whilst Malcolm Ball and Pauline Grace try to pretend they’ve not met him before!

 

The Journal, whose Chief Editor is our own Pauline Grace [Newman University] “aims to privilege the narrative of youth work practice, methodology and reality. It is a peer-reviewed journal providing research and practice-based investigation, provocative discussion and analysis on issues affecting youth work globally. The Journal will present youth work issues and research in a way that is accessible and reader-friendly, but which retains scholarly integrity.”

In a call to both academics and practitioners the Journal’s editorial group’s “commitment to the co-writing process means that they are taking seriously the notion of practice informed by theory and theory based on practice. The community of practice that is open youth work does not operate in isolation: alliances are formed with other professionals and agencies, often through cross-sectorial work, to ensure that the rights of young people are protected and advanced.”

They conclude:

“In the European context, it is easy to become consumed by our domestic crises: shifting political allegiances; an increase in militarism; ongoing financial restructuring; large-scale youth unemployment; reorganization of public sector services; and a seeming impasse over migration policy. All of these issues impact on the lives of young people and demand skilful youth work interventions. Open youth work is a worldwide endeavour and we hope you will be inspired to tell everyone your stories. We hope you agree that the result is a unique resource presenting thoughtful, multifaceted approaches to youth work, which it is hoped can be better understood and recognised.”

The first edition can be found at International Journal of Open Youth Work

It contains the following chapters, which get the initiative off to an impressive and accessible start.

1. Youth work and mental health: A case study of how digital storytelling can be used to support advocacy – Mariell Berg Huse and Anna Opland Stenersen.

2. Managing hybrid agendas for youth work – Mike Seal and Åsa Andersson.

3. The preventive role of open youth work in radicalisation and extremism – Werner Prinzjakowitsch.

4. The high-tech society, youth work and popular education – Professor Ivar Frønes, University of Oslo.

5. Can youth work be described as a therapeutic process? – Luke Blackham and Pauline Grace.

6. Open youth work in a closed environment – The case of the youth club Liquid – Lars Lagergren and Emma Gustava Nilsson.

7. Group work as a method in open youth work in Icelandic youth centres – Árni Guðmundsson.

8. What can youth workers learn from the ethnographic approaches used by Paul Willis and Howard S. Becker? – Willy Aagre.

Information and guidelines here on How to Contribute in detail.

Contributions to the journal could come from, academic researchers/scholars, youth workers and stakeholders whom is active and/or have a professional or political interest in youth work. The journal encourages joint ventures among them with academic researcher/scholars as one part. The journal consequently opens up for various forms of co-writing where scholars write together with practitioners.

Certainly we would encourage  IDYW readers/supporters to consider seriously telling their stories via this stimulating international project.

Contact Tony at tonymtaylor@gmail.com if you want to check anything out.

 

IDYW Local and Regional Seminars, February 24 – Join in and organise

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Colin Brent is coordinating our effort to encourage you to meet locally and regionally to further reflection and debate

Hi everyone, it’s time to start thinking again about the next round of local seminars/discussions. These provide an opportunity for youth workers, students and friends of youth work to come together and discuss issues that they face. I’m suggesting “space” as the theme for the next one: can we share the ‘safe space’ we create with young people with other agencies and how do we negotiate this; does youth work need its own distinct spaces (youth centres) or can it take place in schools, council offices etc.? The last seminars were  in London and Liverpool, it would be great if other areas could join in the debate.

As things stand Colin is looking to coordinate meetings on Friday, February 24th and promising noises are being made by people in London, Liverpool/Oldham and Brighton. Obviously the onus is on local folk to find a venue and publicise, but it can be very low-key. Simply bringing together a handful of people would be a positive start.

Contact Colin to find out more at birnbaumbrent@hotmail.com

The post-truth pantomime – Nigel Pimlott wonders, ‘what it means for youth work?’

 

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Ta to blog.oup.com

 

Although written primarily for a Christian audience, Nigel Pimlott’s incisive pantomime analogy sheds light on the significance of ‘post-truthism’ for all of us involved in youth work.

He begins:

The annual panto in our village is always great fun and entertainment. There’s a mix of banter, fantasy and miraculous stories played out by outlandish characters. There are goodies, baddies and dubious promises about living happily ever after tugging on our heart strings. Given what has happened across the political landscape in the last few months, you might think that was also pantomime.

 

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Ta to toy theatre.net

 

Our resident panto baddie will bully, threaten and twist things. They’ll be highly selective, cherry-picking facts and manipulating people. They will say whatever it takes to get their own way. They’ll play on the emotions of the vulnerable, unaware and naive. They invoke hysteria and dire consequences if they are disobeyed. They proclaim a populist consensus wrapped up in half-truths, facts taken out of context and fearful predictions. Our post-truth politicians have been found guilty of deploying the same tricks and casting the same spells.

He suggests:

Youth and children’s workers themselves are not immune from the potential bewitchment a post-truth culture casts. It is too easy to fall into the trap of exaggerating things like the number of first-time faith commitments at an event, or bigging-up the impact a project has had. For those who do externally-funded work the pressure to make inflated claims, enhance stories of success and over-state the value of what we do can be overwhelming. Evaluations, reports to church councils, and meetings with line managers can be painted in such a positive light that the truth ends up diminished.

He ends:

We can’t afford to get seduced by post-truth approaches. We mustn’t get caught out by them. So, be aware of pantomime-like claims of magic solutions, ‘too good to be true claims’ and also be aware of political rhetoric about ‘them and us’, promised pots of gold at the end of the rainbow and unsubstantiated tales. They are all likely to be examples of our post-truth culture. Remember – it’s behind you!

It’s smashing and provocative piece with proposals for how we combat post-truth politics. Well worth pursuing in full.

The post-truth pantomime
What does 2016’s ‘word of the year’ mean for youth and children’s ministry? Nigel Pimlott has some ideas…

[Nigel Pimlott is a writer, consultant, facilitator of Messy Church and works part-time for the Methodist Church as a training and development officer.]