On Saturday 18 January 2020 at the Birmingham Association of Youth Clubs HQ the day commenced with a welcome and housekeeping talk by our host Ed Wright from BAYC, Mike Collyer led us through an ice breaker involving moving around the room making meeting appointments with each other on a clock on a piece of paper. We met with our appointments and explored our memories of our first detached session, our biggest challenges when doing DYW and the best bit of partnership working we’ve done. These conversations continued throughout the day.
There was a buzz in the room and we were very happy to see both some old faces from The Fed, and some new people joining us. Delegates had travelled from Jersey, Birmingham, London, Manchester, Blackpool, and West Yorkshire. Throughout the day we had chatter on Twitter from across the UK.
Graeme Tiffany started his presentation by acknowledging the wealth of experience in the room. Many delegates had long histories of detached youth work, however there were also those who were relatively new to the practice. Graeme facilitated the morning presentation entitled: “Starting out in detached youth work, some basic theories and practices”.
He drew our attention to sociologist Ulrich Beck who suggests moving from a position of “either/or” to “and/also” when faced with binary arguments. Fred Hampton was also highlighted, who said that “theory’s cool, but theory with no practice ain’t s**t”. We explored the idea of cultural theory, and that our ideas come from our own experience. It was acknowledged that dyw is an educative practice, bridging the world of understanding of needs and wants of young people, youth workers, our organisations and communities’ expectations. We also explored the negotiation young people’s power, democracy, critical questioning and space and place.
Kevin Jones chaired the Federation for Detached Youth Work’s AGM where the accounts and annual report were presented. Ruth Ware spoke about her experience of getting involved with the Fed. Six people put their names forward to join the Fed. Special thanks to Emily Collinsbeare and Andy Skinner who have given many years of hard work support, time and energy to the Fed and are stepping down this year. They will both be missed, but we wish them well.
“Dealing with difficult conversations” was the theme of the afternoon session. We participated in an exercise responding to a question that did not have a definitive answer to it - Dyw being democratic process dealing with, and in, difficult conversations. We examined the role of the facilitator in this (i.e. the detached youth worker). Later, we split into groups and explored the significance of the day and how this relates to our own realities in practice. The conversations could have gone on into the night, so here’s an opportunity to continue the conversation in this blog. The Fed is working to create more opportunities to continue these important discussions.
We are very grateful to the input of participants, facilitators and BAYC.
Some things participants said they found most useful about the day were… “Everything – all very helpful both the theory and the practice .”
“Meeting other youth workers from different backgrounds. Some delegates met other workers from outside of their teams for the first time.”
“Refreshment – Theory – Ideas – Plans – Networks – Community.”
Some things participants found least useful about the day were…
“Wanted more knowledge of who was in the room”
The West Midlands Regional Group will be getting underway if you are interested in participating get in contact with Mike Collyer via the Fed website.
Further training opportunities will be coming up this year keep an eye on this website, twitter and Facebook.