Academic Literature

Re-Imagining Accountability: Storytelling Workshops for Evaluation In and Beyond Youth Work

2022

Re-Imagining Accountability: Storytelling Workshops for Evaluation In and Beyond Youth Work

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In recent years, investment in youth services has been contingent on the measurement of predefined outcomes as ‘proof’ of effectiveness. However, this approach to impact measurement has been criticised for distorting practice and reinforcing inequalities. As youth work emerges from a decade of spending cuts, there is an urgent need for new approaches to evaluation. This article argues that such alternatives must be rooted in a participatory and democratic vision of accountability. It grounds this argument in critical reflection on one alternative approach: storytelling workshops, as developed by the activist practitioner group ‘In Defence of Youth Work’. It discusses their potential as an inclusive, dialogical method of evaluation that contributes to practice development and moves away from top-down managerial logic. The article concludes by arguing for the re-imagining of accountability in education more broadly, through the use of alternatives such as storytelling alongside a wider democratisation of policy and practice.

de St Croix, T. (2022). Re-imagining accountability: Storytelling workshops for evaluation in and beyond youth work. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 30(5), 697-714. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14681366.2020.1855231

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