Digital Youth Work. Challenges, Tools and Impact.
Alicja Pawluczuk and Juha Kiviniemi, both experts in digital youth work, will share their expertise on how to include ‘hard-to-reach’ youth in digital youth work, discuss best practice examples and address the question of impact evaluation. Click here to register. The event is free of charge and will be held in English.
|Dr. Alicja Pawluczuk (United Nations University)|
|Juha Kiviniemi (Verke, Centre for expertise on digital youth work, Finland)|
|Teresa Wintersteller (CoAct, University of Vienna)|
|Shenja V.K. Danz (CoAct, University of Vienna)|
Agenda and formats
|10||Arrival and Welcome|
|55||Conversation on Digital Youth Work with Dr. Alicja Pawluczuk and Juha Kiviniemi moderated by Shenja V.K. Danz and Teresa Wintersteller|
|30||Q&A and Discussion|
Digital youth work has never before been such an important tool for reaching young people in their life-worlds, for supporting and encouraging them especially in difficult times. Covid-19 and the accompanying restrictions on social contacts have established digital youth work, as an indispensable tool in many countries – some institutions being already prepared for the task and having a history of digital services while others building up a digital service almost from scratch.
But what exactly is digital youth work anyway? As defined by an expert group from the European Commission:
“Digital youth work means to proactively using or addressing digital media and technology in youth work. Digital youth work is not a youth work method – digital youth work can be included in any youth work setting (open youth work, youth information and counselling, youth clubs, detached youth work, etc.). Digital youth work has the same goals as youth work in general, and using digital media and technology in youth work should always support these goals.” (European Comission 2018, 11)
Digital Youth Work supports young people in using online and digital offers, enhances equality in the digital sphere, builds up competences and uses online and digital offers to enhance participation of young people (bOJA – Bundesweites Netzwerk Offene Jugendarbeit 2021). Digital Youth Work has been on the European agenda for some time, also addressing challenges that need to be reflected upon when offers include many digital aspects or even go online. For example, not all young people do have equal access to the internet and social media or to the skills needed for digital technologies (European Commission 2018, 22).
During the last year, the young people we work with as CoAct Vienna, were severely affected by the necessity to work online with their coaches and social workers, to search for internship places with the economy shut down and to stay at home for a long time with often very little space for themselves. We could observe and discuss with the social workers how they tried to set up online tools and social support and tried to provide the technical devices so young people could actually participate in the provided offers. The young people we work with are considered a ‚hard-to-reach‘ group, as a high percentage of them comes from educationally disadvantaged households, are affected by language barriers because of histories of migration, or have mental health and familial problems. With this in mind, the focus of our webinar is on inclusivity of online youth work and the evaluation of impact of specific activities (see below for a detailed description).
Objective of the webinar
In our webinar we will first address the issue of how to include so called ‘hard-to-reach’ youth online. Who are the young people most at risk not (or hardly) being able to participate in digital and online offers and what are the reasons and excluding factors that make participation difficult or even impossible? Therefore, we will look into strategies, tools and approaches that aim at minimizing the digital divide. We will look into practical examples that might be inspiring for local strategies, with stories of successes and mistakes that put theoretical ideas into praxis and provide a peek into other projects in Europe.
Second, we will take up the question of impact evaluation of digital youth work. As this line of youth work will become increasingly relevant in the future, there is a growing need to consider what factors are useful to evaluate youth work for which target group. This question will not just be discussed as a means for gaining and keeping funding, but primarily, as an approach that can reflect the extent to which an offer achieves the set goals and to show the various social impacts a project or an offer can have. Since CoAct is dedicated to a participatory approach, we will also highlight the participatory element when it comes to impact evaluation of digital youth work.
To tackle these two challenges of digital youth work we invited Alicja Pawluczuk and Juha Kiviniemi, who will share their expertise with us and provide insights into their research, practical work experiences and assessments.
After a short introduction and an overview about the project ‘CoAct’, the experts will introduce themselves and their work. An interactive talk guided by questions around our main topics will follow. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions via chat afterwards.
Digital Youth Work, Tools and Impact of Digital Youth Work, ‘Hard-to-Reach’ Youth, Digital Divide.
Dr Alicja Pawluczuk is an expert in youth digital inclusion research and practice. She has extensive experience in digital inclusion community projects design, facilitation, and evaluation. Alicja’s research informed a number of policy-making efforts and recommendations in the context of youth digital inclusion. As a digital inclusion expert, she has participated and contributed to youth-centered initiatives at the European Digital Youth Workers Network, Erasmus+, SALTO, United Nations, UNESCO, and The International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Alicja’s research and community engagement practice are grounded in and driven by intersectional feminism, [digital] human rights, and democratic education. She uses participatory, critical and multidisciplinary approaches to co-examine the power dynamics associated with the digital and data divide. She currently works as an ICTD research fellow at the United Nations University, where her research focuses on girls’ digital inclusion informal educational efforts globally and their evaluation.
Juha Kiviniemi is a Digital youth work expert, maker enthusiast and trainer. He is currently employed in Verke, in the national centre of expertise on digital youth work in Finland. Currently Verke is focusing on supporting Finnish youth work practitioners in adapting their practice to the current global pandemic. Additionally Juha and Verke are involved in supporting the second edition of the European academy of youth work ( https://www.eayw.net/ ), the international tool fair (https://educationaltoolsportal.eu/) and the Erasmus+ strategic national co-operation project on Digital youth work with 16 participating countries. Verke is also developing criteria for Finnish youth work organisations to evaluate the digital youth work skills of their practitioners. When he’s not training youth workers in Finland or abroad or tinkering with robots for fun, he can probably be found at home relaxing with leatherwork, heavy music or science fiction.
Teresa Wintersteller is a social- and cultural anthropologist and social worker. She is an expert in participatory action research with children and youth and focuses on the development of qualitative research methods for collaborative research practices. She is an experienced trainer in political education with young people and aims to combine approaches of non-formal education and scientific research. Her work is oriented towards social equality and empowerment and dedicated to questions of power and marginalization. Currently she is a leading project member of the CoAct team of the University of Vienna working on the topic of youth employment. As an activist she is engaged in LGBTINQ+ organising, community work and political arts.
Shenja V.K. Danz is a social worker, community-based researcher and activist living in Vienna. She is currently pursuing her Master in Gender Studies and writing her thesis on “Gender Aspects of Racial Profiling. Experiences and analyses of women and non-binary persons in Vienna.“ While working on topics such as community organizing and empowerment, knowledge production and intersectional analyses of inequalities, her activist and academic work is influenced by anti-racist, queerfeminist, post- and decolonial concepts and theories. She is currently part of the CoAct team of the University of Vienna, using her expertise to work on the topic of youth employment and participatory action research.
- bOJA – Bundesweites Netzwerk Offene Jugendarbeit (2021): bOJA-Leitfaden. Digitale Jugenarbeit. Retrieved from: https://www.boja.at/sites/default/files/downloads/2021-02/bOJA-Leitfaden_Digitale_Jugendarbeit_final.pdf
- European Commission (2018): Developing digital youth work. Policy recommendations, training needs and good practice examples for youth workers and decision-makers : expert group set up under the European Union Work Plan for Youth for 2016-2018. Retrieved from: https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/fbc18822-07cb-11e8-b8f5-01aa75ed71a1.
On May 5th, 2021 we organised the CoAct webinar: Digital Youth Work. Challenges, Tools and Impact. A discussion about how to create inclusive offers that make a difference. We invited Alicja Pawluczuk and Juha Kiviniemi, both experts in digital youth work, to share their expertise on how to include ‘hard-to-reach’ youth in digital youth work, discuss best practice examples and address the question of impact evaluation.