Earlier in the year we welcomed the ‘Why Girls’ Work’ conference organised by the North-West Regional Youth Work Unit and the Work with Girls & Young Women Network held fittingly on International Women’s Day at the Didsbury campus of the Manchester Metropolitan University. The programme included: the launch of FeministWebs, a web site dedicated to women and girls’ work, and feminism within youth work; national and international perspectives from keynote speakers; workshops on violence against women; supporting healthy relationships; feminism and girls’ work; identifying young women’s needs and lots more!
At the time we commented that the initiative was all the more welcome given discussions at several Critically Chatting meetings, within which fears had been expressed about the demise of feminist youth work. These concerns mirrored reflections made by Jean Spence back in the mid-90s – see her piece ‘Rethinking Work with Girls & Young Women’ [CONCEPT, Volume3,7: 1997]. We hoped that this renaissance of politicised Girls Work would take wing and that this time round we would be better able to forge links between workers struggling still to defend in a diversity of ways a youth work practice, which embraces the inextricable relationship of gender, race, sexuality and class; that this time round, whilst always being self-critical in an individual and collective sense, we might build a wider and deeper movement of resistance and solidarity across both young people and youth workers.
In this light it is heartening to report that the web site at http://feministwebs.com is up and running. Its contents include sections on the rich history of Girls’ Work; setting up a young women’s group; and a fascinating preview of the questions young researchers want to ask of older feminist workers. This desire to learn from the past resonates with our determination to get youth workers to tell stories. We look forward to reading the first interviews and wonder which brave souls will be the first in line.
HISTORY OR HERSTORY?
Continuing on the historical path [and pausing to remember the heated debates about replacing history with herstory] we must remind you that Youth and Policy are hosting the eighth ‘History of Youth and Community Work’ conference at the Ushaw College, Durham, March 6th-8th, 2009.
Like earlier gatherings this will include a mix of plenary sessions,workshops and ‘surprise’ events. Amongst the plenary speakers will be Gabriel Eichsteller on the history of social pedagogy and Catriona Kelly(Oxford University), author of two major books on the Pioneers and growing up in Soviet Russia. There will be a number of workshops on the Albemarle Report published fifty years ago and at least one to mark the fortieth anniversary of the launch of the Community Development Programme.
Attached you will find a booking form and letter of invitation. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with Tony Jeffs (email@example.com) if you
would like more details or like to discuss offering a workshop.