Developing Youth Leadership in UK Youth Work: An Ethnography

  • Emily Gradisar

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Youth-led provision within organisations that serve young people is not a new concept. However, the majority of youth-led work is project-based or within educational institutions, and little research exists regarding systemic youth-led work within non-educational youth organisations. This research followed a youth centre in North West England during its transition from a practitioner-led model to a more youth-led model. The aims of this research were to identify and analyse the logics and rationalities, practices and processes, and relationships that facilitated and/or hindered the process of change at the centre. The research began as a participant action research (PAR) project, which concluded abruptly mid-way through data collection. In collaboration with the youth centre, it morphed into an ethnography that examined youth-led work in the wider centre. The first contribution to knowledge is the analysis of the process of change using a complexity framework, which found that certain kinds of interactions heavily influenced the character of the centre and thus the process of change. The second contribution is in illustrating the way in which young people can realise their ability for youth leadership as an organic process rooted in context of their own interests and priorities.
Date of Award10 Jan 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorTHOMAS COCKBURN (Director of Studies), DEIRDRE DUFFY (Supervisor) & VICTORIA FOSTER (Supervisor)

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