The Association was hosted by the University of Hull for the 2017 annual conference in the year Hull is celebrating its status as the UK City of Culture. The City is curating four seasons of culture and July marked the beginning of the City’s summer seasonal theme of ‘Freedom’ with events that ‘ celebrate Hull’s rebellious streak and its freedom of thought, unbound by convention .’ The City is setting out, in its third season, to:
'not only explore the pivotal role Hull played in the emancipation movement [notably through William Wilberforce] that helped to ignite the still unfinished global journey towards equality and social justice for all; but also to look at broader interpretations of freedom as a platform to create and debate, share and enjoy, reflect and reimagine.'
The Association’s Annual Conference embraced this seasonal theme by revisiting the role of youth and community work as emancipatory practice. A principle that has underpinned the youth and community work movement since its fledging activities in the 1800’s and is, perhaps, all the more urgent in the 21st century when so many young people and communities are increasingly disenfranchised, marginalised or ‘left behind.’
The conference drew together over fifty academics, educators and agency partners involved in youth and community work. It was a memorable few days and a welcome opportunity to engage with colleagues that share a strong identity in the field of practice. As one delegate commented:
'Thank you for the excellent conference in Hull. I have to admit that I have never experienced such a friendly network of academics and professionals'
The conference itself was opened with a key note from Barry Knight, an adviser for the Global Fund for Community Foundations, Executive Director of CENTRIS (The Centre for Research & Innovation in Social Policy and Practice) and author of ‘The Society We Want’. There followed three seminar streams over two days that addressing ‘Expressions of Freedom’, delivered in partnership with BERA SIG (British Education Research Association Special Interest Group) Youth Studies and Informal Education.
The conference also included policy and practice updates in youth and community work from across the 4 UK Nations and our international associates; visits to community led services in Hull; a conference dinner with dinner reception address from WISE (Hull University’s ‘Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation’) and opportunities to tour the City of Culture.
You can find links to conference resources and presentations by following this link to our dedicated Post-Conference Resources Page