Borders, Brexit and community resilience – time for a re-think?

Annette Coburn, Sinead Gormally

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

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This presentation examines critical pedagogy as a means of engaging communities in transformational education that is empowering in facilitating social change. Boundary crossing in community practices is identified as a process that facilitates learning about difference and which makes visible historical aspects that persist in maintaining the status quo. Working across social and cultural borders, can enhance understanding of difference. However, an emphasis on, and engagement with, boundary crossing pedagogy can also raise awareness of commonalities that show connectivity among people who are routinely labelled on grounds of, for example, ability, age, gender, race, or sexual orientation.

When applied in youth and community work contexts, boundary crossing pedagogy underpins transformational educational processes that create possibilities for equality and social justice. Yet, contemporary contexts of austerity and Brexit have combined to create a perfect storm of negativity and uncertainty that serves to erode the very foundations of community and youth work practice.

In responding to this pathological storm we should seek possibilities for an alternative discourse that offers a counterbalance to the very real fears, exceptional conditions and inherent uncertainties that a series of public sector cuts have brought to an already hard-pressed workforce. An alternative and counter-narrative is also required in regard to Brexit. It is important to engage in meaningful, forward facing conversation about Brexit but as yet, such conversation has not been collectively established in community and youth work or across its various practice sectors.

Using a new tool that we are developing in partnership with YouthLink Scotland, this participatory session offers space for conversation about practice boundaries, Brexit and a re-imagined youth work as emancipatory practice, set within the context of a post-Brexit world. Participants will consider psychological perspectives on how people can build strengths and improve their sense of well-being in order to prepare for the struggles they face in striving for equality and social justice. Drawing on ideas from positive psychology, discussion will also focus on community resilience as a means of promoting social change through emancipatory practice.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2017
EventThe Professional Association of Lecturers in Youth and Community Work 2017 Annual Conference: Expressions of Freedom: Revisiting the Role of Youth and Community Work as Emancipatory Practice - University of Hull, Hull, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Jul 20177 Jul 2017


ConferenceThe Professional Association of Lecturers in Youth and Community Work 2017 Annual Conference
Abbreviated titleTAG: PALYCW Annual Conference 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • youth and community work
  • youth work
  • Resilience


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