The economic and political tempest continues unabated. Battered and bruised, youth work’s supporters have a chance in the coming weeks to regroup – inspired by the struggles of such as the Oxfordshire workers – and fight back. Our campaign is committed to playing a part in the renewal of a collective resistance to the ideological and material onslaught on the youth work tradition.
Below you will find the bare bones of forthcoming events, which afford us the chance to agitate, educate and organise.
THE THIRD IDYW CONFERENCE, October 14
This will take place on Friday, October 14 at the Wybourn Young People’s Resource Centre, Sheffield from 11.00am to 4.00pm. The venue is situated just a tram ride away from the city centre.
The morning session will take inspiration from our new book/DVD, This is Youth Work : Stories from Practice. The afternoon will focus on the implications of ConDem policy for the relationship between the voluntary and statutory sectors with speakers from the national and local level.
The event will be held like the first conference on a ‘bring your own snap’ basis with tea and coffee provided free on site. The conference fee will be 10 pounds, which includes a copy of the book/DVD – likely to be a collector’s item some day!
Further info in the next few days, but please book your place as soon as possible by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
THE Y&P HISTORY CONFERENCE, October 14 – 16
Youth and Policy’s History of Youth and Community Work conference begins shortly after the end of our event down the road in Barnsley. We’re hoping folk might manage both gatherings. And discussing history is no self-indulgence. Thoughtful reflection on our past is central to understanding what’s going on in the present and what might be the possibilities for the future. It’s revealing that leaders of those national youth organisations cuddling up to the government are said to be mocking our references to the abandonment of the Albemarle Report as irrelevant and out-dated. On the final day Bernard Davies and I will provide these neo-liberal sycophants with further fuel for their scorn by leading a plenary on ‘The Neo-Liberal assault on the Albemarle Settlement’. I know you can’t wait!!
Speaking of history we hope you might have picked up on the interview with Gus John revisiting critically the Moss Side Riots of 1981 and the article on the March of the Neo-Liberals by Stuart Hall – both as ever insightful, stimulating and utterly relevant.
THE LAUNCH OF THIS IS YOUTH WORK: STORIES FROM PRACTICE, October 17
From the outset of the campaign we have criticised the ‘new managerial’ obsession with quantitative data as the basis for measuring the success or otherwise of youth work, alongside the increase in the use of pseudo-scientific tick-box questionnaires about satisfaction and happiness! Over the past two years we have worked with workers and young people to bring together stories of practice, which give a genuine insight into the ups and downs of the youth work process; into the need for time and patience if fruitful relationships are to blossom. In our new book a dozen stories of practice are placed in their social context and then unravelled to illustrate threads of common meaning and purpose and inevitably contradiction. The text is complemented by a DVD, which features young people talking about what youth work means to them and which contains narrations of each of the stories in the book. We are much indebted to both UNISON and UNITE for their financial and practical support in this venture.
The Launch of the book and DVD will take place in the Attlee suite within the House of Commons on Monday, October 17 between 6.30 and 9.00 p.m. Given the security checks attendance is by invitation only. If you’re mad keen to be there, get in touch with Tony quickly!
CHOOSE YOUTH LOBBY OF PARLIAMENT, October 25
We’re back in the vicinity of Parliament a week later – hopefully in serried ranks of young people, workers, students and supporters. A few days ago I sent out this perhaps melodramatic note.
The uncertain direction of the real movement of circumstances throws up unexpected opportunities. To be honest, being hostile to the delusions of representative democracy, I was not giddily excited about the Lobby of Parliament on October 25. However the juxtaposition on the same day of the Lobby with the Government’s high-profile Positive for Youth event at the O2 centre turns matters upside down. We are presented with the possibility of countering Loughton’s charade of ‘youth-proofing’, his meeting with 150 hand-picked young people by turning out a Lobby that exceeds all expectations.
Unparalleled support for the Lobby from young people, students, workers, managers and supporters has the potential to draw a clear line between those of us, who defend a democratic and emancipatory youth work and those, who prostrate themselves at the feet of a reactionary government contemptuous of working class young women and men.
Of course this assertion may well be out of touch and you will surely point out the error of my ways. But if there is something in what I am claiming, this is a moment to be seized. It is an historic moment not to be thrown away lightly.
I stand by its sentiment. We should do all we can to build the Lobby. Flyers here
NATIONAL STUDENT DEMONSTRATION, November 9
On 9 November, the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts – in coalition with other groups – has called a new national demonstration against what the government is doing to education and to society. We want to see education at all levels restored as a democratically oriented public service, free and accessible to all – and a reversal of the government’s attacks on school and FE students.
See the full rationale at Students will continue the fight to keep education a public service
We think it is very much the moment for those of us defending youth work – young people, students and workers – to make links with and become involved in the wider struggle to defend a public and pluralist educational system.
Lots to be doing, more of us needed to muck in. And we’ve not even mentioned the mass mobilisation proposed by the public service trade unions on November 30. Together we can turn things upside down. Hope to see you in the coming weeks.