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Sell-out youth work event energises practitioners

A research-informed professional development workshop for youth workers, researchers and managers organised by King’s College London provided a much-needed space for discussion around youth impact

Tania and Louise 800px

A research-informed professional development workshop for youth workers, researchers and managers organised by King’s College London provided a much-needed space for discussion around youth impact

During the event on 8 July, Dr Tania de St Croix and Louise Doherty shared some of their thoughts and emerging findings from the first year of their three-year research project ‘Rethinking Impact, Evaluation and Accountability in Youth Work’.

Those attending also took part in a workshop on equity, equality and power in relation to youth impact, evaluation and accountability, introduced and facilitated by Farzana Khan (Voices That Shake). Other event contributors included Bernard Davies (In Defence of Youth Work), Sydney Church (Centre for Youth Impact) and Sally Baxter (Mary’s Youth Club).

Participants used the day to develop their skills; network; and evaluate their day-to-day youth practice:

"I don't have space at work to really pull apart, critically think and re-evaluate our youth practice and I loved learning from other youth workers from different and diverse backgrounds and experience."

Others appreciated the opportunity to discuss issues that could be taken back to their own teams:

"I think it's really important to take these discussions back to the youth team in my organisation. We need to ask ourselves about the impact of the youth work on young people and in their communities."

The research: ‘Rethinking Impact, Evaluation and Accountability in Youth Work’

Over three years, Louise and Tania’s qualitative research seeks to investigate how impact tools and processes are experienced and enacted by young people and practitioners in youth work settings.

The research project involves young people, youth workers, funders, policy makers and policy influencers in sharing, discussing and developing approaches to evaluation and accountability that are congruent with open youth work practice. It aims to:

  • find out whether and how the impact agenda is shaping everyday practice and the overall provision of open youth work
  • explore differences with related fields of practice, and with youth work in other countries
  • explore and share approaches to evaluation and accountability that are congruent with youth work practice.

To find out more visit the research project website.

Biographies

Dr Tania de St Croix is the principal investigator on the ‘Rethinking impact, evaluation and accountability in youth work’ research project. Tania is a lecturer in the sociology of youth and childhood at King’s College London, and worked as a youth, play and community worker for over twenty years. She is also a founder member and steering group member of ‘In Defence of Youth Work’.

Her book Grassroots Youth Work: Policy, Passion and Resistance in Practice was published in 2016, and she has written and co-written several articles, book chapters and non-academic pieces on youth work and youth impact.

Louise Doherty is a research associate based at King's College London working on the ‘Rethinking impact, evaluation and accountability in youth work’ research project.

She has over 20 years professional experience in youth work as a youth work practitioner, artist educator and youth project/team manager in a wide variety of settings. Louise lectures on the MA Applied Anthropology, Community and Youth Work at Goldsmiths University.

With special thanks to: the research participants; the project’s Advisory Group; and to everyone who contributed to this event. The research is funded by ESRC, ref. ES/101800X/1. The event and bursaries were funded by King’s College London’s School of Education, Communication and Society.

I think it's really important to take these discussions back to the youth team in my organisation. We need to ask ourselves about the impact of the youth work on young people and in their communities– Event participant