Practice and ‘spiritual experiments’
Commenced: September 2018
Planned publication: November 2019
Young people are more usually expected or invited to take part in Christian practices after they identify as Christian: whether that’s prayer, service, reading scripture or hospitality. But some communities, churches and projects turn this around, and actively make spaces for young people to participate in these practices regardless of where they are on a spiritual journey. We are interviewing youth workers and other leaders who are inviting young people ‘to try out’ Christianity, about their experience - in order to understand this better. We hope that this exploratory study will stimulate further conversation and research about the role and value of Christian practice within mission. If you are interested in being interviewed, please contact [email protected]
OPEN HOUSE CO-RESEARCH PROJECT ON YOUTH LONELINESS
Commenced: May 2019
Planned publication: January 2020
#OpenHouse is an eight-week cooking course that seeks to give young people the tools, trust and confidence to deal with feelings loneliness in their lives. The course culminates in the group preparing a community banquet for another local group known to struggle with isolation, such as the elderly. The Co-op foundation has now funded the Centre for Research to undertake research that explores the impact of #OpenHouse in terms of the potential of social action to reduce youth loneliness. Ten young people who have been through the course have been recruited as co-researchers and are being trained and supported to help us design, undertake and disseminate this research. #OpenHouse and the research are part of the #iwill campaign, which brings together a group of organisations who contribute funding to embed meaningful social action into the lives of young people including The National Lottery Community Fund, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the Co-op Foundation.
SEX AND RELATIONSHIPS EDUCATION IN SCHOOL AND FAITH COMMUNITIES
Commenced: June 2019
Planned publication: May 2020
As well as directing the Centre, Lucie Shuker is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Bedfordshire. In that capacity she is spending some time working for the International Centre: researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking. The project involves reviewing existing research, conducting a survey and running some focus groups with young Muslims and Christians, to explore their experiences and perspectives on talking about sex and relationships in school and faith communities. The work is commissioned by Faiths Against Child Sexual Exploitation, a coalition of Muslims and Christians in Luton. Research Assistant Gry Apeland is supporting the project, and the findings will inform the development of Youthscape’s own work on SRE.
SUSTAINING THEOLOGICAL REFLECTION IN YOUTH MINISTRY
Commencing: October 2019
Planned publication: September 2020
The Centre for Research is excited to be partnering with St Mellitus College to conduct a small-scale research project into the factors that enable or hinder the practice of theological reflection beyond a youth work/ministry degree. Theological reflection can be very powerful for shaping youth ministry practice and is part of a number of undergraduate ministry courses. However, it is not clear whether or how the practice survives amidst the pressures of life and ministry. The research will explore how reflection is experienced, framed and practised within the day-to-day work of youth ministry in Anglican churches, via a survey and focus groups. The project is funded by Durham University under the Common Awards Seedcorn Grant programme.
ONLINE SUPPORT FOR YOUNG PEOPLE WHO SELF-HARM
Commenced: July 2019
Planned publication: November 2019
Alumina is Youthscape’s online programme for young people struggling with self-harm. Each six-week course engages six young people in exploring and better understanding their self-harming behaviour. The course happens in an online forum where young people can be supported while maintaining a level of anonymity. The Centre is evaluating the Alumina model by running online focus groups for those who have gone through the course and asking them about their experience. By better understanding the value and impact of this model of online youth work, we hope to inform the development of support for other vulnerable groups of young people.
RELIGION, FAITH AND SPIRITUALITY IN JNC YOUTH WORK PROGRAMMES
Commenced: March 2019
Planned publication: TBC
We are working with Dr Naomi Thompson (Goldsmiths University) to survey leaders of JNC-validated courses about where religion, faith and spirituality feature in youth work training programmes. The initial survey explores the topics that are covered, the ways they are covered and course leaders’ perceptions of the role of religion in their courses.