The Sage Handbook of Youth Work Practice: ‘a casket of thoughts for the 21st century’

I’ve a lovely book of Parlour songs, ‘A Casquet of Vocal Gems’, which I know reveals my age. However, looking forward not backward, it is my feeling that this SAGE handbook has more than its fair share of analytic gems from practice. At this moment I’ve simply listed the contents of the handbook to give you a sense of its range and diversity. It has already been pointed out in a Facebook thread that a notable number of contributors to the book are supporters and critical friends of IDYW. We will take that very much as a compliment. In the near future, we hope to review at least some of the book’s delights and indeed would welcome your responses to both individual chapters and the whole.

The SAGE Handbook of Youth Work Practice
Edited by
Pam Alldred Brunel University London
Fin Cullen St Mary’s University Twickenham London
Kathy Edwards RMIT University
Dana Fusco York College, City University of New York
The SAGE Handbook of Youth Work Practice showcases the value of professional work with young people as it is practiced in diverse forms in locations around the world. The editors have brought together an international team of contributors who reflect the wide range of approaches that identify as youth work, and the even wider range of approaches that identify variously as community work or community development work with young people, youth programmes, and work with young people within care, development and (informal) education frameworks. The Handbook is structured to explore histories, current practice and future directions:

Part One: Approaches to Youth Work Across Time and Place
Part Two: Professional Work With Young People: Projects and Practices to Inspire
Part Three: Values and Ethics in Work with Young People
Part Four: Current Challenges and Hopes for the Future


Introduction by Pam Alldred, Fin Cullen, Kathy Edwards, and Dana Fusco
PART 01: Approaches to Youth Work Across Time and Place
Chapter 1: Defining Youth Work: exploring the boundaries, continuity and diversity of youth work practice by Trudi Cooper

Chapter 2: How to Support Young People in a Changing World: The sociology of generations and youth work by Dan Woodman and Johanna Wyn

Chapter 3: Looking over our shoulders: Youth work and its history by Anthony Jeffs

Chapter 4: Some conceptions of youth and youth work in the United States by Dana Fusco

Chapter 5: Youth Work as a Colonial Export: Explorations From the Global South by Kathy Edwards and Ismail Shaafee

Chapter 6: Let Principles Drive Practice: Reclaiming Youth Work in India by Roshni K. Nuggehalli

Chapter 7: The Impact of Neoliberalism Upon the Character and Purpose of English Youth Work and Beyond by Tony Taylor, Paula Connaughton, Tania de St Croix, Bernard Davies, and Pauline Grace

Chapter 8: Youth Work in England: A Profession with a Future? by Helen M.F. Jones

Chapter 9: Precarious Practices with Risky Subjects? Policy and Practice Explorations in the UK and Europe by Fin Cullen and Simon Bradford

Chapter 10: Undoing Sexism and Youth Work Practice: Seeking Equality, Unsettling Ideology, Affirming Difference – A UK Perspective by Janet Batsleer

Chapter 11: Intersectionality and Resistance in Youth Work: Young People, Peace and Global ‘Development’ in a Racialized World by Momodou Sallah, Mike Ogunnusi and Richard Kennedy

Chapter 12: Youth Work and Social Pedagogy: Reflections from the UK and Europe by Kieron Hatton

Chapter 13: 21st Century Youth Work: Life Under Global Capitalism by Hans Skott-Myhre and Kathleen Skott-Myhre


PART 02: Professional Work With Young People: Projects/Practices to Inspire

Chapter 14: Participation, Empowerment and Democracy: Engaging with Young People’s Views by Philippa Collin, Girish Lala, and Leo Fieldgrass

Chapter 15: Faith-based Youth Work: Education, Engagement and Ethics by Graham Bright, Naomi Thompson, Peter Hart, and Bethany Hayden

Chapter 16: Together we Walk: The Importance of Relationship in Youth Work with Refugee Young People by Jen Couch

Chapter 17: Screaming Aloud from the da old plantation down-under: Youth Work on the margins in Aotearoa New Zealand by Fiona Beals, Peter- Clinton Foaese, Martini Miller, Helen Perkins and Natalie Sargent

Chapter 18: Promoting Children First Youth Work in the Youth Justice System and Beyond by Stephen Case and Rachel Morris

Chapter 19: Critical Street Work: the politics of working (in) outside institutions by Michael Whelan and Helmut Steinkellner

Chapter 20: Youth Work, Arts Practice and Transdisciplinary Space by Frances Howard, Steph Brocken, and Nicola Sim

Chapter 21: Fringe Work – Street-level Divergence in Swedish Youth Work by Björn Andersson

Chapter 22: The Alchemy of work with Young Women by Susan Morgan and Eliz McArdle

Chapter 23: Supporting Trans, Non-Binary and Gender Diverse Young People: UK Methods and Approaches by Catherine McNamara

PART 03: Values and Ethics in Work with Young People

Chapter 24: An Ethics of Caring in Youth Work Practice by Joshua Spiers and David Giles

Chapter 25: Relationship Centrality in Work with Young People with Experience of Violence by Daniel Jupp Kina

Chapter 26: Reflective Practice: Gaze, Glance and Being a Youth Worker by Jo Trelfa

Chapter 27: The Challenges for British Youth Workers of Government Strategies to ‘Prevent Terrorism’ by Paul Thomas

Chapter 28: The Politics of Gang Intervention in New England, USA: Knowledge, Partnership, and Youth Transformation by Ellen Foley, Angel Guzman, Miguel Lopez, Laurie Ross, Jennifer Safford-Farquharson, with Katie Byrne, Egbert Pinero, and Ron Waddell

Chapter 29: Coercion in Sexual Relationships: Challenging Values in school-based work by Jo Heslop

Chapter 30: Youth & Community Approaches To Preventing Child Sexual Exploitation: South African and UK Project Experiences by Kate D’Arcy, Roma Thomas, and Candice Wallas

Chapter 31: Allies, Not Accomplices: What Youth Work can Learn from Trans and Disability Movements by Wolfgang Vachon and Tim McConnell

Chapter 32: The Challenges of Using a Youth Development Approach in a Mental Health and Addictions Service for Young People by Mark Wood

Chapter 33: Gaze Interrupted: Speaking back to Stigma with Visual Research by Victoria Restler and Wendy Luttrell

Chapter 34: The Ethical Foundations of Youth Work as an International Profession by Howard Sercombe

Chapter 35: Youth Work at the End of Life? by Rajesh Patel

PART 04: Current Challenges, Future Possibilities

Chapter 36: Youth Work Practices in Conflict Societies: Lessons, Challenges and Opportunities by Ken Harland and Alastair Scott-McKinley

Chapter 37: Popular Education and Youth Work: Learnings from Ghana by Marion Thomson and Kodzo Chapman

Chapter 38: Roma Youth and Global Youth Work by Brian Belton

Chapter 39: Community Development with Young People – Exploring a New Model by Helen Bartlett and Adam Muirhead

Chapter 40: Returning to Responsive Youth Work in New York City by Susan Matloff-Nieves, Tanya Wiggins, Jennifer Fuqua, Marisa Ragonese, Steve Pullano, and Gregory Brender

Chapter 41: Uncomfortable Knowledge and the Ethics of Good Practice in Australia’s Offshore Refugee Detention Centers by Judith Bessant and Rob Watts

Chapter 42: The Evolution of Youth Empowerment: From Programming to Partnering by Heather Ramey and Heather Lawford

Chapter 43: Towards a Shared Vision of Youth Work: Developing a Worker-Based Youth Work Curriculum by Tomi Kiilakoski, Viljami Kinnunen, and Ronnie Djupsund

Chapter 44: Evaluating Youth Work in its Contexts by Sue Cooper and Anu Gretschel

Conclusion by Dana Fusco, Pam Alldred, Kathy Edwards, and Fin Cullen

July 2018 • 617 pages • Cloth (9781473939523) • £120.00

Obviously, the book is expensive, although Adam Muirhead argues [tongue in cheek?] that it works out at a reasonable £2.72 per chapter! Certainly, we should make every effort to get the handbook into academic and workplace libraries. Rumour is that already some teams of workers are clubbing together to meet the cost. Collective spirit rises from the ashes.


Mind the Gap : Youth Work Combatting Gender-Related Violence

GAP Work


Thanks to Fin Cullen for this revealing insight into the work and implications of of the GAP initiative. 

Mind the Gap: Youth work combatting Gender-Related Violence

Recent media coverage has highlighted public and policy concerns around the sexualisation and sexual exploitation of young people. This emphasises the need for youth work to continue its long legacy of feminist and LGBTQ work for social justice. It also highlights the need to recognise the everyday challenges faced by front-line workers in working in this area, and the need to think critically about how to maintain and develop services and youth work practice at a time of financial uncertainty.

January 2015 sees the completion of a two–year, four-nation project (UK, Ireland, Spain & Italy) supporting youth practitioners to tackle gender-related violence (GRV) by developing free training and resources. This innovative project was co-funded through the EU’s DAPHNE programme to eradicate violence against women, children and other minorities, and it was led by the Centre for Youth Work studies, Brunel University London. Key to the project’s success was recognising the important role youth workers and youth work has in supporting young people in promoting gender and sexualities equalities.

The aim of the project was to begin to close some of the ‘gaps’ in provision to support young people facing violence because of gender and/or sexuality. These ‘gaps’ included:

  • Separate support services for adults and for children;
  • Specialist victim-support services and everyday professional contact;
  • The need to support those affected and intervening to challenge violence;
  • Actions focussed on dating violence or on homophobia.

The national actions included developing and designing free training sessions resources to begin to bridge these gaps and explore issues such as gender identity, homophobia, heteronormativity, machismo, domestic violence and sexual exploitation – in order to support and equip youth workers and other young people’s practitioners to develop their work with young people. In the UK over 128 youth practitioners came together in London and the Midlands for the three-day training sessions- which were led by a team which comprised an experienced youth worker, experienced UK lawyer and sexual health trainer.

Participants spent time reflecting on their own experiences of practice, the issues facing young people and ‘action-planning’ ways to ensure that gender-sexualities issues remain on the agenda, that gender-related violence is taken seriously, and that colleagues and services are aware of agencies and other resources to support this essential work. As part of this project, the team developed resources aimed at youth workers and other professionals -including teachers- to support professional and organisational learning within their settings and to support their practice. In the UK this included a legal guide designed by the feminist legal organisation, Rights of Women. This free guide is an essential tool in understanding legal dimensions of GRV and young people, and it is written to support practitioners to support young people and understand issues of peer-on peer abuse, domestic violence and sexual exploitation. This essential guide can be found here:

In addition, a Cascade resource is available as a free downloadable PDF and includes activities, scenarios, thinking points, legal pointers and a resource directory on thinking about how practitioners can develop and design activities and work around these issues to build capacity in their organisation. You can find these three booklets at:

If you are interested in the project’s initial evaluation findings and the different actions in the four nations – including downloadable resources- please see:

Follow us at Twitter at:

See some of the participants speaking about their experience here:

For more information on the GAP WORK Project please see our website:

Or contact Pam Alldred ( or Fin Cullen (


Against Gender-Related Violence conference for youth practitioners, October 24, London



Gap Work Project Findings Conference

24th October 2014, London

The aim of the Gap Work project is to pilot training that ‘improves the interventions against Gender-related Violence and referrals made by those who work with young people. Training has been developed and piloted in Italy, Ireland, Spain and the UK during 2013 and 2014.

This one day Findings Conference will present the training models that were designed and tested in the 4 EU countries, share reports of the experience, identify lessons from the evaluation studies and invite commentary on the research.

The event will combine presentations of quantitative and qualitative data and comparative reports, of interest to researchers in the field of gender related violence, and interactive development of ideas for the implementation of these findings, particularly in the training and education of those such as teachers, youth workers, social workers and health professionals who work with young people.

The event will be of interest to two main audiences:
– those delivering education and training for practitioners who work with children and young people
– researchers, lobbyists and policy makers

Speakers will include academics from the 5 participating Universities and training experts from the 6 training partners. See our project partner section for the full list of institutions and people.

The event is funded within the project, but registration is essential as places are limited.

Thanks to Fin Cullen for the link. Loads more information at GAP WORK PROJECT, including how to register, venue and programme.

Challenging Heteronormativity : Practice, Activism and Impact

News of a fascinating conference in a couple of weeks time at Brunel from Fin Cullen.


I hope you may be interested in this forthcoming event CYWS & BGSRC to explore youth and LGBTQ issues.

Bridging policy, practice and research

May 14, 2013 from 1:30-5:30pm• Mary Seacole building, BRUNEL UNIVERSITY, UXBRIDGE

Michael Barron (Belongto)
Prof Ian Rivers (Brunel)
Jay Stewart (Gendered Intelligence)
Amelia Lee (LGBT YOUTH NW /Schools OUT)

Mark International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia at a half day event exploring how activists, youth practitioners and academics can work together in combating homophobia and challenging heteronormativity in work with young people.

Though presentations and discussion the seminar explores:

What lessons can be learnt from activism/practice?
How might youth research and theory on LGBTQ issues be used to challenge gender/ sexual inequalities in schools, colleges, youth settings and beyond?
What are the new areas of research collaboration where academics and activists can work together?
What are the opportunities and challenges in influencing policymakers on LGBTQ youth issues?

ALL WELCOME. For more details email Fin Cullen (

The day will start at 1:30pm on 14th May. The eventbrite to book a place is here:

The poster is here:

Please get in touch with any queries. Many thanks again in advance.
Warmest regards,


What is heteronormativity?

What is heteronormativity?Heteronormativity is a term used by social theorists in order to discuss the way in which gender and sexuality are separated into hierarchically organised categories. It has become one of the most important ways of thinking about sexuality within the academic study of sexuality. Theoristshave argued that a discourse or technique of heteronormativity has been set up, and subsequently dominates, social institutions such as the family, the state and education.Heteronormative discursive practices or techniques are multiple and organise categories of identity into hierarchical binaries. This means that man has been set up as the opposite (and superior) of woman, and heterosexual as the opposite (and superior) of homosexual. It is through heteronormative discursive practices that lesbian and gay lives are marginalised socially and politically and, as a result, can be invisible within social spaces such as schools.

Theorists have become interested more recently with bisexual, transgender and intersex lives. If one is able to exist between gender and sexual categories of identity, then one provides a counter argument to the idea that gender and sexuality are fixed and/or natural human characteristics and provide a way to challenge or ‘queer’ our understandings of these categories. Bisexual and transgender identities are able to be read in this way because law, science and education often talk about gender and sexuality as fixed, immovable and pre-ordained human characteristics that fit into either oppositional group (male/female and gay/straight). Political rhetoric also often follows this script. The idea that people can live in a different gender to the one they were born into, or refuse to identify as either male or female, or that people can have intimate sexual relationships with men and women and reject the gay or straight classification, demands that we re-think the way we understand gender and sexuality, what they mean and what they are and can be.

Emily Gray

Taken from Gender and Education Association