This report from the Wise Guys prompts questions about how much consciously critical work with young men is going on? It would be enlightening to hear from workers about what they’re up to in their day-to-day practice.
Wise Guys Training Workshop “Understanding and Engaging Young Men” at Lancaster CVS 21st July
This was our first workshop as part of the Wise Guys Training venture, started by ourselves, Geoff Brand and Charlie Bluglass. The venue for this half day session was kindly donated by Lancaster CVS
The session was aimed at adult staff from local agencies involved with children and young people. Our nine participants (7 female and 2 male) came from 6 different local organisations:
Lancaster City Housing Homeless Unit
Lancashire County Council Wellbeing Prevention and Early Help Unit
More Music in Morecambe
Barnardo’s Moving on Project
Lancashire Youth Challenge
We provided a range of practical activities which included exploring what we mean by masculinity, looking at stereotypes of ‘traditional’ masculinity and emotions that are acceptable for young men to display. Compared to running the same exercises with groups of Year 10 young men, there were some notable differences in perception about what the ‘ideal man’ looked like. This made for some useful discussion and learning. Cultural differences in what is seen as masculine were also discussed, for example in Turkey it is acceptable for heterosexual men to kiss on meeting, but not to wear earrings.
The emphasis all the way through was on activities and techniques that practitioners could run with their young people. The session wrapped up with a chance to problem-solve and receive peer feedback on solutions to any challenges that were being experienced in the field.
Feedback on the workshop was very positive and has also helped us tighten up a few elements. A couple of ideas were sparked off for us. One of these is that we would love to run a workshop jointly with staff and young men, as this could support workers to be even better allies and further develop empathy and understanding on both sides. Is there anyone out there interested in seeing if we can make this happen?