International Seminar on Youth Work Education, Birmingham – September 20


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

or to book a place contact Carol Ferrran on

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.



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 if you want to check anything out.


Conference of the European Research Network of Open Youth Work – call for papers

Pauline Grace, a member of the IDYW Steering Group, but wearing the hat of Chief Editor, the International Journal of Open Youth Work, sends this message, calling for contributions to this forthcoming event. If your proposal is accepted it is likely your flights from the UK will be covered. It’s short notice, but it would be great to see involvement from workers on the ground.


Conference of the European Research Network of Open Youth Work: ‘Theory and Practice Understanding Youth Work’ and Launch of the International Journal of Open Youth Work 19 – 20 January 2017

In the Inaugural Conference of European Research Network of Open Youth Work issues of how to bring theory to life through practice and how to interrogate practice via theory will be discussed, shared and explored. The conference aims at critical discussion about the responsibility of youth work research. The focus of youth work will be challenged by questioning the instrumental emphasis and methodological premises of youth work. The key issues addressed in the conference will include youth work and the response to the radicalisation agenda, issues related to the young asylum seekers in Europe, as well as the everyday life and the future opportunities of youth work in a variety of national realities. We wish to encourage youth work practitioners and researchers to explore young people’s agency and participation under challenging circumstances.

The conference includes a wide range of working groups. We welcome contributions related to the conference’s theme as well as other current themes in youth work.
Proposals are invited for:
• Self-organised sessions: groups may propose to organise a full session of 60 minutes including presentations (3 individual papers and discussion), or a round table discussion.
• Individual paper presentations: 15 minutes including discussion.
• Poster presentations: sessions will be set up for conference participants to interact with poster presenters.

Please submit the abstracts for presentations by 14th of December in this application or by email to


Working groups:
1. Youth work research
2. Research methods and ethics
3. Youth migration and mobility youth work response
4. Youth cultures, leisure and youth activities
5. Youth policy impact on youth work
6. Participation
7. Youth Services
8. Social movements, politics and radicalisation
9. Virtual youth work and digital data
10. Youth work education and Training
11. Youth political engagement
12. Open session

Partners of the conference:
– Newman University, UK
– Politikos tyrimų ir analizės institutas, Lithuania
– Malmö University, Sweden
– University of Iceland, Iceland
– Poywe (Professional Open Youth Work in Europe), Austria / Europe
– Ungdom og Fritid, Norway


LOGBOOK – new platform for professional open youth work


Message from POYWE, of which IDYW is a full member, particularly through the brilliant work of Pauline Grace. More to follow. 

We proudly present our new platform for professional open youth work – LOGBOOK. It offers a video channel featuring experts about different aspects of youth work and an E-Magazine that takes up relevant trends, challenges, methods and opinions of/for the field. Soon to come there will also be webinars where we invite all of you to join the discussion. It is a product of our Strategic Mapping Partnership, who today launched the new service at our meeting in Helsinki, Have a look, listen in and enjoy!


The first edition of LOGBOOK Magazine takes up the issue of radicalisation and extremism among young people and discusses the role professional open youth work might have in this, presents an insight in the current state of affairs in Croatia, England and The Netherlands, interviews youth workers and young people and asks experts for their opinion. Have a look and enjoy reading!

Feeling shattered, proud and even hopeful

Howard Williamson summing up

Howard Williamson summing up

The Second European Convention closed yesterday. Is that of any consequence for youth work in the UK and perhaps especially England? We’ll try to say more about this next week. In the meantime this is an initial reaction from Pauline Grace, who I can vouch hardly stopped for breath over the four days.

So far this week I’ve managed to rekindle my passion and commitment to political, social, economic and philosophical debates within and about Youth Work. I’m exhausted and I’m not even involved in the huge task of trying to capture the conventions thoughts to be written up in the shape of the declaration – hats off to the dedicated hard working group that will be working through the night on that one! But I am tired, tired because I’ve spent almost every waking hour since Monday immersed in the narrative and discourse of youth work. Is that really hard work? Well I suppose I’m no manual labourer so to equate this experience to hard work might be slightly disingenuous.

Hard work in this European Youth Work Convention 2015 context means Intense full-on days full of guest speakers, politicians, workshops and declaration preparations minimum 12+ hours per day and that’s without the ‘networking’. That even whilst eating or on coffee break the conversation continues and there is little space or time to contemplate other aspects of daily existence.

For me it is essential that we have this wide ranging exploration of youth work at a European (Global) level if we in England are ever going to survive the culling of state funded youth work. We are going to need the allies of our European colleagues and friends to help us maintain a sense of purpose and direction.

In these depressing and sad times when good youth workers have been made redundant, young people have lost access to youth work projects and processes, missing out on the incredibly positive experience of learning about themselves and others, about the world and where they fit (or don’t). It is even more important to find collective shared narratives to remind us of why we are bothered at all.

Youth work for me has always been more than a job, it’s been a vocation. Which I guess in some people’s eyes makes me a very sad bunny!

But so far I’ve met with some amazing fellow travellers, people who have dedicated their whole life to working in a democratic liberatory and emancipatory way with young people. Workers committed to working with and alongside young people, workers who are on young people’s side, who consciously and deliberately seek to support young people in the face of moral panics and stereotyping.

I’ve meet researchers, activists, policy makers, high flying Eurocrats, ordinary volunteers and all with one thing in common…. A deep felt commitment to young people and youth work.

Feeling shattered, proud, enthused and hopeful!