Innovation, Current Trends and Developments in Youth Work in Times of Disruption and Change
31 May – 3 June 2022, Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
The 2nd edition built on the experiences of the first EAYW event, but it went a step further by putting emphasis on learning about the mechanisms that can spark, sustain and support innovation in youth work as a response to the challenges and fast-changing realities faced by societies and young people in Europe today. It took into account the outcomes of the recent Study on Innovation in Youth Work undertaken by the EAYW and the series of webinars on the topic of “Learning in times of disruption and change” carried out between November 2021 and April 2022.
The 2nd EAYW event brought together over 150 professionals from the European youth work community of practice for knowledge-building through peer learning and exchange, and networking, in particular:
TRENDS: To jointly explore what are the main challenges and trends in and of relevance for youth work that are calling for and leading to new, innovative and creative approaches and developments;
RESPONSES: To showcase and mainstream innovative practices, approaches and strategies developed in response to these challenges and trends;
INNOVATION: To find out more about how innovation evolves in youth work, and which conditions are needed by young people, youth workers, organisations working with young people and other relevant stakeholders to spark and sustain innovative and impactful approaches, practices or strategies and
FUTURE SUPPORT: To produce outcomes of the reflections and discussions during the event, which will help to build knowledge as a field and support further developments related to innovation in youth work.
The EAYW aimed to be inclusive and participatory in its approach and to give a voice to contributions representing the diverse levels, environments and stakeholders in youth work. Furthermore, it promoted cross-sectorial and multi-perspective approaches involving youth work practice, research, and policy, which have proven vital to successfully address identified developments or challenges. Reflection based on different perspectives should help to identify responses to trends that could be taken up by different roles.
The 2nd Academy was carried out in a hybrid format. While most participants joined the residential event in Slovenia, a group of participants and some contributors and speakers took part in the event online.
At the end of each day, participants exchanged in smaller groups (“Learning tribes”) on what they experienced during the day and what they were learning about how innovation in youth work could be understood and what actions might be needed to further support it.
Finally, participants got a glimpse of what innovation is all about, through informal and fun moments and spaces for sharing, experimenting and seeing things from a different perspective…
Content-wise, we were looking at innovation from different angles, highlighting those aspects that have been found to be essential to support innovative thinking and developments:
- the central role of young people as contributors and target groups of innovation,
- how to support a “culture of innovation”, i.e. the ‘cultural factors’ and conditions within an organisation that foster innovative thinking and the development of innovative youth work practices,
- the way youth work connects with larger trends and is supported by the wider environment, which plays an important role in fostering or hindering innovations,
- last but not least, digitalisation and the potential consequences of this development on the core of youth work, its principles and values.
Pilot initiative: Be part of the European Academy on Youth Work 2022!
The 2nd edition of the European Academy on Youth Work offered groups of students in youth work or related fields to join the Academy.
While the on-site conference was primarily aimed at professionals in youth work, groups of students in youth work and social work or social sciences from identified universities in several European countries were be able to attend selected sessions digitally and thus gain insight into topics and developments in European youth work and get to know actors in the field. The programme included participation in the plenary session on the topic of “digital youth work – is the core in danger?” and a subsequent reflection&practice seminar for students on 2nd June 2022.
For this pilot initiative, EAYW was cooperating with the following universities: MU Department of Applied Social Studies, Maynooth University, Ireland; University of Applied Sciences UCLL, Belgium; Humak University of Applied Sciences, Finland; IU International Highschool Dresden, Germany.
Insights gained from reflections and discussions during the 2nd edition of the EAYW will be coordinated and channeled into outcomes in a way to further support innovative approaches in youth work.
The 2nd residential EAYW event follows the successful 1st pilot edition, which was organised in May 2019 in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, and brought together around 170 professionals from youth work practice, research and policy, including institutions supporting youth work at different levels. More information and the final report of the 1st EAYW event are available here.