Since 2015 a Strategic Partnership project called “European Research Network on Open Youth Work” is working on creating new arenas for debate between practitioners, stake holders and academics in the field of youth work. The aim is to bring all players together, foster mutual understanding and develop new ways of shaping the narrative of open youth work.
One product of the project will be an International Academic Journal on open youth work that takes a new approach by encouraging youth workers and academics to co-write articles and inviting youth workers to join the pool of peer-reviewers. This all aims at combining the knowledge of practice and theory for a more coherent and diverse picture on open youth work of today.
This new way of cooperation needs a good preparation for producing high quality results and useful inputs for all involved parties. Therefore on February 14th -19th, 2016, supported by EU programme Erasmus+ an international training course “Bridging the gap – co-writing and peer reviewing” was held in Vilnius, Lithuania.
The training course set the open stage for discussion, for getting to know different youth work and youth research realities around Europe, provided the opportunity to combine different approaches and good practices. The youth workers and researchers focused on slightly different learning outcomes.
combining the knowledge of practice and theory for a more coherent and diverse picture on open youth work of today
The youth workers learned about research, both the purpose of getting more research about their field of practice, and about the limits, possibilities and perspectives of the researchers. More importantly, they learned to work systematically with academic papers, learned basics of analysis and writing.
The researchers became more aware of the youth workers perspectives, and focused on the process of co-writing. By the end of the training course, the participants were more confident to contribute to the development of the academic journal in different capacities, be it co-writer or peer reviewer.
Even one month after the training motivation is running high, drafts of abstracts and articles are circulating in the co-writers pairs and the network.
This newly established network of co-writers and peer reviewers will seek to “translate” research findings into usable results for the practitioners and policy-makers.
Some voices from organisers, trainers and participants of the training course:
Pauline Grace (Newman university, UK)
The training of youth workers and academics in co-writing and peer reviewing is essential if we are serious about creating a space which privileges youth work narratives. The process of co-writing can be a complex one, but well worth the work. What we have managed to achieve is a phenomenal start for the international journal of open youth work. We started off with youth workers some of these were fearful of ‘academic’ writing, and academics some of whom were unconvinced about co-writing, and ended up with pairs of people ready to write about practice, informed and viewed through the prism of theory.
Heidi Anderssen-Dukes (Ungdom of Fritid, Norway)
Training of youth workers in academic writing, actually gives them an opportunity to shape the reality through their own stories. For us in Norway, the reality of youth workers is invisible, as they usually never speaks up or write, except with their peers. This training gives them an open microphone, we hope they use it wisely.
by Marius Ulozas
Marius Ulozas is a director of Institute for Policy Research and Analysis, active in youth policy and youth work development, policy analysis. Expert in democracy, participation issues, education adviser to Council of Europe, European Commission
© Title: Cămărașu Ionuț-Cristian, other: Marius Ulozas
© poywe/Alexandra Beweis
Inese Subevica (LJP / National Youth Council, Latvia)
Training course was definately usefull! We had a chance to look at co-writing and peer reviewing from various angles. Some of these techiques will allow us better communicate importance of youth work and youh polic yin Latvia. Opportunity to contribute to Academic Journal is the chance to share Latvian experience to international audience, on other hand, to advocate for stronger support for youth work in Latvia. This was great training and the sustainability of result and long term impact can be clearly seen.
More information about the training can be found here
More information on the Strategic Partnership and the International Journal of Open Youth Work can be found at: