May 2022: We are delighted to let you know about two new resources, which share policy and practice recommendations emerging from our study – please feel free to use them, share them, and get in touch if you want to discuss them further:
Policy briefing: Our new policy briefing sets out seven evidence-based messages for policy makers and other decision makers on:
- The value of youth work
- The evaluation of youth work
- Supporting youth work to flourish
Practice resource: Our new practice resource raises questions for reflection to support youth workers and organisations to develop their youth-centred, participatory, anti-oppressive evaluation practices. While it is primarily for youth workers and youth work managers, practitioners working in related settings may also find it useful, as well as students, trainees and trainers. It includes:
- Questions for reflection on young people’s perspectives on evaluation.
- An introduction to our short film made by young people, The Value of Youth Work, and suggested discussion questions.
- Examples of evaluation methods that can work well, from the point of view of youth workers and young people, with questions for reflection.
Spring 2022: We are busy writing and pulling together additional impact and practice resources as well as a policy briefing. Details and links to follow soon!
And we are also so excited to share a lovely blog written by our amazing placement student Sorele Cohen- Reflections on Rethinking Impact: Acknowledging the magic of youth work by rethinking its evaluative frameworks
Winter 2021: We are so excited to have our most recent article published in the winter edition of Concept (The Journal of Contemporary Community Education Practice Theory) – There’s a cupboard full of pasta! Beyond sustenance: reflections on youth work and commensality
And don’t forget to look at our short film on the Value of Youth Work, made with young people and Mouth That Roars (previewed at the conference) and share far and wide! Check it out here
Autumn 2021: We are busy planning our free online conference for youth workers, managers, funders, decision makers, and anyone else with an interest in impact, evaluation and accountability in youth work.
When and where: Thursday 4th November 10am-3:30pm, online.
Book your space here
The conference will be a space for discussion, interaction and debate, and sharing our research findings as we come to the end of our three year study. The conference will take place as part of Youth Work Week 2021 and will be a chance to:
• hear about the research and our recommendations for practice, policy and funding;
• discuss youth work and its value and evaluation through a facilitated deliberative workshop;
• see a new short film made by and with young people on the value of youth work;
• and take part in a choice of thinking and practice workshops.
A full programme and details on contributors and workshops will follow.
Practicalities: The event is free to attend. As an online event, and mindful of the dangers of being ‘zoomed out’, we invite you to take time out of your busy lives to join us for all or part of the event. If you are able, maybe you can make a day of it – put your out-of-office on, dress in whatever way makes you feel comfy / inspired, and plan a nice lunch or break.
Running up to the conference we are hosting a series of deliberative workshops for those involved in policy and practice in youth work to engage in dialogue on the findings of the research. These are small group workshops, externally facilitated using community philosophy methodology. Spaces are limited. Please contact us if you would like to attend, specifying which workshop you would like to come to:
• Managers – 04.10.21, 10am-12pm
• Frontline youth workers – 04.10.21, 2pm-4pm
• Policy (policy makers and influencers, youth sector organisations) – 25.10.21, 10am-12pm
• Funders – 25.10.21, 2pm-4pm
Summer 2021: We are currently working on more interviews and focus groups for the final data collection part of our project, focused on exploring a USA perspective on impact, evaluation and accountability in youth work. We are also working on a participatory film project with young people in three youth organisations across England. We are supporting these young people to create a short film with the help of a film company who specialise in youth participatory film making- Mouth That Roars. The short film will be inspired by our data and young people will be sharing their thoughts on the value of youth work in these diverse settings. The filming will take place throughout August 2021 and editing in September. Once the film is completed we will be having some workshops and screenings to share and to offer more opportunities for young people to get involved in the discussion.
We have also been working on writing and analysis; met with our advisory group and had the pleasure of hosting two BA students on work placement as co-researchers.
Spring 2021: We presented Re-imagining evaluation in youth work and beyond at the British Sociological Association (BSA) Annual Conference 2021, a link to the programme, and our abstract (p.56) is available here. We also took part in a podcast hosted by Ian McGimpsey for BERA with fellow academics, (Bianca Baldridge, Deirdre Duffy & Sinead McMahon), collectively discussing and thinking around the themes of impact, evaluation and accountability in youth work. We will post a link when it becomes available.
Winter 2020: Tania published an article Re-imagining accountability: storytelling workshops for evaluation in and beyond youth work in Pedagogy, Culture & Society- you can read it here. We have continued with our data analysis and been working with youth workers and young people on some ‘research design workshops’, exploring, discussing and thinking about a new, follow-on research project.
Autumn 2020: In September we took part in the BERA webinar: Thinking critically about impact, evaluation and accountability in youth work. You will find a recording of the event, including our and other panel speakers presentations as well as the Q&A session here.
Summer 2020: While continuing with our Rethinking Impact research, we are also planning ahead for a potential new research project that would collaborate with young people and youth workers to investigate the long-term impact of open youth work. See this summary for more details and get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any feedback or suggestions: New research project summary(v2)
Spring 2020: We worked with the Policy Institute at King’s to develop a policy brief which makes fifteen research-informed recommendations for investing in youth services.
We are also doing in-depth fieldwork (including youth participatory research) in two youth work organisations (incorporating youth club, detached and online youth work).
October & November 2019: We have published our first article for Youth and Policy- The everyday and the remarkable: Valuing and evaluating youth work, where we reflect on the tensions in measuring and evaluating youth work.
We have also been busy at various events such as the ‘Young Leadership Alliance Forum’ and ‘Celebrating Children’s Rights at UCL’, sharing our research and facilitating workshops with young people. Tania also spoke on a panel at the Centre for Youth Impact gathering.
Autumn 2019: We are gearing up for ‘Phase three’ of the project where we will be doing some in-depth case studies in two youth organisations in England.
July 2019: We hosted our first practitioner event on 8th July 2019 – details here. It was an excellent event attended by a wide range of practitioners, academics and youth work ‘allies’.
Spring 2019: Louise and Tania are on ‘Phase two’ of the research, spending time with eight youth work organisations, spending time in the organisations and getting to know their work, as well as engaging in focus groups and interviews with young people, youth workers and managers.
March 2019: We have recently published a blog post for Policy Press: Valuing young people, valuing grassroots youth work
January 2019: Phase 1 of the research involved researching the policy context, including interviewing key people involved in youth impact policy, development and debates. We are currently working on ideas for a potential publication based on our findings from this aspect of the research. We presented initial thoughts at Kings College London recently and one of the participants, (Melissa Glackin) responded with a blog post on how the analysis resonated with her work in environmental education. Read it here.
September 2018: Louise and Tania presented the research and discussed its international relevance at the Transformative Youth Work International Conference 2018, in Plymouth. You can listen to it here. Tania presented the research at the Czech Streetwork Association’s conference in Prague, and spoke at Lancaster University.
July 2018: Our project was featured here in a Children and Young People Now special issue on youth work impact. For a more in-depth discussion, Tania’s open access academic article in the peer-reviewed Journal of Education Policy draws on her previous research to discuss ‘Youth work, performativity and the new youth impact agenda’. Tania has also written blog pieces on youth impact here and here.
Watch this space for future writing, events and collaborations!