What is our collective sense of what is going on for youth work in current circumstances? What are young people saying about how they are feeling? What challenges are youth workers and organisations facing? What are the potentials and possibilities?

Janet Batsleer in collaboration with others has initiated a ‘Citizen Enquiry’ to explore and document for the future what is happening for young people and for youth work and youth workers at this unprecedented time.

Youth workers and young people are invited to contribute diaries for one day per month, starting on Tuesday 12th May 2020.  The idea is to contribute the evidence generated through ‘Citizen Enquiry’ to the wider Mass Observation archive located at Sussex University.  This is the link to the web page for the archive: http://www.massobs.org.uk/.

There will be regular updates and further information about the project as it unfolds but if this project interests you and you want to contribute to this ‘Citizen Enquiry through diary contributions, encouraging others to contribute and/or joining a network of citizen enquirers committed to discussing and analysing contributions made  the get in touch with Janet at: J.Batsleer@mmu.ac.uk.

This is a bottom up, ‘Citizen Enquiry’ it is not run by any university or institution and is hoping to attract wide support from youth workers.

Here is the outline of the ‘Citizens Enquiry’.

Call for a Citizen Enquiry: Youth Work and Young People Now

We propose to host a Citizen Enquiry through the community-based youth work sector concerning what is happening for young people and what is happening to youth work and youth workers now and over the coming months.

To do this we will need a) a network of correspondents in all parts of the United Kingdom and b) a network of citizen enquirers willing to join in discussing and analysing what is emerging.  The main purpose is to find out ‘What is happening here?  And what is happening for young people?’ We do not only want to document youth work but get a snapshot into the lives of both youth workers and young people during this time and the coming months.  So this can include the weather, the atmosphere, the food, the music, the emotions…whatever you want to include you can. We will be making a contribution to the wider picture of what is happening via Mass Observation (www.massobs.org.uk)

We will ask for diary entries each month for at least one day on the first week of the month (starting in May) from youth workers and if possible also with young people they are working with.  We will also join the Mass Observation diary project on 12th May.  In addition, we invite short reports (memos) on the following themes:

  • Vulnerabilities and Precarious lives
  • Who is missing?  
  • How is outreach work happening?
  • Crisis points and meeting basic needs
  • What is happening online?  
  • Improvisation?            
  • Emotions?
  • Community networks? 
  • Fears and hopes for the future of your organisation/youth project?

Then a group of citizen researchers from the youth work sector will meet monthly to consider what has been submitted in their area, join a national meeting to see what is emerging and, after 6 months say , decide on what to enquire into further.

This will be an independent citizen led research project.

Those involved will be invited to submit their diaries via this enquiry to the Mass Observation archive at the University of Sussex who are undertaking a record of everyday experiences of the pandemic.  They will be invited to use the ethical processes associated with Mass Observation and guidance of this will be given when people join the project.  

Janet Batsleer, Manchester: J.Batsleer@mmu.ac.uk (please contact me to join)

Christine Smith, Hull

Tania de St Croix, London

Kevin Jones, Manchester