2020 has seen us all affected by social distance: physical, emotional, social and spiritual distance alike. This distance has been challenging, but has also birthed new ways for togetherness, and unearthed old senses of community. There have been collective and individual journeys, both trying and transformative, and the role of social pedagogy has never been more pertinent when geographical, demographic, socio-economic and political landscapes have become so evident in their force behind shaping these journeys.
SPPA has gathered a group of speakers from various disciplines and parts of the world to investigate social pedagogy’s role in the global and local navigation of this challenge, and from there, to think about its role in all journeys, from the everyday to the life-long.
This conference offers an exclusive opportunity to take stock, to reflect on our shared and individual journeys, and to look at how we have come together through social pedagogy and what its role is in the future.
We welcome you in shaping this conference with us!
Date and Venue
Our annual conference will take place on September 9th, 2021
This year we will have our annual conference completely online for the first time!
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Lotte and Charlotte are both associate professors at VIA university college Arhus with Lotte specialising in social pedagogy and Charlotte in social work. In their keynote, they will discuss and explore how to handle the paradox that social distance and togetherness are both aspects of social pedagogical work. They examine this practice through the lens of a project they are researching that aims to support homeless people in their city and propose that while relationships are important, social pedagogical help should also be concerned with increasing people’s possibilities to live the life that they choose, creating learning opportunities to support their chosen journey.
Workshops, lightning talks & vlogs
Social Pedagogy and psychological safety with virtual teams
The aim of this workshop is to share learning and practical tools and examples that can support meaningful belonging and flourishing connections when face to face connections aren’t possible. The Covid 19 pandemic has rapidly shifted the way we live and work together, creating a liminal space of uncertainty and challenge but also of opportunity and possibilities to explore new ways of working and connecting. In times of crisis, the liminal space that is created can support the emergence of ideas and creativity and new opportunities for different ways of working.
Social Pedagogy can offer support with a variety of tools and ways of working to help create a space of psychological safety, meaningful belonging and new ways of developing connections when virtual ways of working have become the norm.
This workshop will provide an introduction to psychological safety and offer a welcoming space for participants to:
talk about current experience, using an online poll for participants to contribute to, to gauge how psychologically safe they feel within their workplace
share tools, resources and ways of working that move us towards deeper connections
discuss what changes could be possible and practical within their own workplace
Social borders and pedagogy of togetherness for early childhood and their families during and after Covid
The new bachelor in early childhood education of the University of Roma Tre is reflecting on the competencies of professionals starting their job in COVID era. The theoretical framework of placement during the training should be a starting point to analyse commonalities and specificity at the regional level, looking at the European standards for quality, assuming distance and togetherness as guidelines for social competencies, in relation with and among children and adults, at school and at home.
During this workshop participants will be invited to briefly present ideas or good practices (in training or involving other participants using different media (speech, pictures, short film etc.) to explore distance and togetherness in early childhood spaces and institutions and to achieve a new understanding of professional competencies in “be there” for the children and for their families.
Coming to Save The Day: The Hero Complex in Professional Relationships
The legal and statutory frameworks within which we work shape the relationships we have in very particular ways. The power dynamics contained within these, have a danger of systematically putting us in the ‘victim-saviour’ position that are hard to escape.
Covid has shaken our usual ways of working and using relational practice and much thought has been devoted to understanding this. The aim of this workshop is to assist participants to go beyond describing those challenges and changes, to critically analyse the structural and social aspects of relationships between social worker and child/young person/adult, teacher and student, provider and commissioner. We hope to challenge participants to think of different and new ways that they can escape and resist these powerful structures.
The workshop will be structured around:
Using Superman as an example, we will begin by asking the participants to analyse the relationship and power dynamics within formal structures of the relationship between Lois Lane and Superman.
Transfer this discussion and knowledge to professional relationships that participants have with other people.
Share possibilities to alter this dynamic using social pedagogy theory and Activity Theory and Recognition Theory.
Terminal Uniqueness – colours and carrots. Bringing people together digitally (and occasionally live) to create in a pandemic
Small performance adventures creates workshops, performances and events with people who have been affected by life, currently working with people in recovery. Our inclusive approach includes the use of social pedagogical principles and we worked closely with Robyn Kemp on our last pre pandemic project, The Washing Up – a performance with songs created by fifteen artists in recovery that toured nationally and explored the politics and practice of this every day act.
Terminal Uniqueness is a term borrowed from US recovery circles and is sometimes called personal exceptionalism. In March 2020 we were about to explore this term creatively in person and find out how we might improve our mental health collectively as a challenge to individualism.
Our workshop will chart our journey of taking this work online and creating an international Facebook community of over 800 people who all completed simple video and photograph-based tasks in 2020 to build a connected community. The workshop will be experiential and will also take a glance at the project’s development of artistic commissions for people in recovery in response to the group.
This session will explore how ‘togetherness by Zoom’ has created valued stimulus and connection in the elderly UK Asian community in Leicester during the city’s lockdown.
When the first lockdown came, Bharti was faced with the implications for two particular community groups she had catalysed: a 70-strong wellbeing group and a smaller Happiness and Wellbeing workshop. She hardly knew Zoom and didn’t consider herself technologically-minded but managed to get both of these groups on board for weekly virtual meetings. Gradually she and the community more widely realised possibilities: both from participants’ own ideas and through work with partner organisations, the weekly offer grew. Much had to be done to build people’s confidence – simply to log on, then for a few to help others to log on, and then to work out what worked in ‘building learning communities’ online in which the most marginal and newcomers felt welcome, connected and active participants.
Bharti will describe her efforts to build this togetherness on a scale which, across four weeks in February 2021, saw 4400 attendances at 120 hours of interactive health and wellbeing activities in 17 weekly groups or one-off events.
After discussion, Rob will introduce certain community work concepts to see if they help participants make connections between Bharti’s approach and their own ‘work in community’ in more traditionally social pedagogy settings.
In this lightning talk, June and Mandy will talk about the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF) social pedagogy approach as a suitable option for the delivery of high quality ECEC for settings from poor and disadvantaged families and communities. Currently, social pedagogy in the UK mostly relates to ways of working with foster children and in social work and hasn’t been fully explored as a suitable option for ECEC in the UK. The adoption of social pedagogy affords recognition that early childhood education is a combination of social, pedagogical and political practices and the boundaries between these disciplines must be crossed to provide useful services to children and adults (Stephen, Ellis and Martlew 2009). It is a pedagogy that fits within the concept of regular activities and organisational behaviour and depends very much on the context or setting or as Petrie and Statham’s (2009) suggest is practical and operates with people through the power of establishing and nurturing relationships and never disconnecting pedagogical practices from the social context and functions of education. It is dynamic, creative, and process-orientated rather than mechanical, procedural, and automated.
Share your journey with the International Journal of Social Pedagogy
The International Journal of Social Pedagogy offers an important forum to support the social pedagogy community and highlighting the role that social pedagogy can play in navigating difficult journeys. Through theoretical papers, research contributions and practice articles, open-access publications in IJSP benefit the ongoing development of social pedagogy in the UK and beyond.
In this Vlog, Gabriel aims to briefly outline the journal’s aim and objectives and how they support authors from a variety of backgrounds to contribute to the journal. Gabriel will also invite SPPA delegates to consider submitting their own manuscripts. There will be time for Q&A during this session.
Navigating Complexity with Human Learning Systems
Gabriel Eichsteller & Lowis Charfe
Thempra / ULCAN
With its focus on rehumanising public service and meaningful responses to the complexities of human life, Human Learning Systems offers a radical alternative to New Public Management. In this workshop, we will explore how HLS can benefit social pedagogical practice and support professionals in creating the conditions of the system that create meaningful outcomes. The new e-book ‘Human Learning Systems: Public Service for the Real World’ details how a focus on relationships and being human, on emergent learning, and on creating healthier systems is transforming public services both at the local and national level.
We will provide a brief overview of the HLS paradigm and examples from social care organisations that show how HLS can support us in navigating difficult journeys. To ensure that the workshop is interactive, we will also involve participants in sharing practice situations that reveal similar understandings as well as examine some of the systemic challenges they face in their day-to-day practice. How can HLS help break these down? Join us to explore.
Students' perspectives on social pedagogy
Yvalia Febrer, Marte Bergan, Kelly Gittens & Kingston students
In this vlog, a group of students who have just completed the BA (Hons) Working with Children & Young People: Social Pedagogy programme at Kingston University engage in a reflective conversation with one of the senior lecturers on the programme. The discussion explores what social pedagogy means to the participants, highlighting some of the approaches that resonated with them as well as exploring the transformative impact social pedagogy has had in their professional and personal lives. Inevitably it is almost impossible to escape any reflective discussion without taking into account the current pandemic. So with this in mind, there is a brief segment of the Vlog that explores the role of social pedagogy as we transition into the new normal.
After the video Yvalia and Kelly will open up a Q&A session.
Lotte Junker Harbo
SPEAKERS AND WORKSHOPS Lotte works as an assistant professor in continuing education and research, with a specific focus on social pedagogy at VIA University College in Aarhus. Lotte has a long relationship with the UK & Ireland having practiced and taught here periodically over a number of years. She focuses her research and lecturing on different aspects of social pedagogy and social work, including how the children, young people and adults that social pedagogy and social work is supposed to help, encounter and perceive that help. In that sense, and in a perspective inspired by the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann, she explores help and the borders of help.
Charlotte Vange Løvstad
Charlotte has worked extensively with young people/adults in vulnerable/exposed positions. Listening to people who do not normally speak and supporting their opportunities to be heard and at the same time taking a critical look at the structures and institutional understandings that dominate the social field runs like a common thread through her social work, teacher and research practices. She is particularly strong in researching and working with citizen perspectives and innovative and experimental methods in both, social work and research contexts. She embraces complexity and chaos and has a good eye for both, individual and organizational challenges.
Cath works with Community Circles, a national charity helping people stay connected to the things that matter to them by developing a circle of support around an individual and connecting people through shared interests.
Cath holds MA in Social Pedagogy Leadership from the University of Central Lancashireand (UCLAN). She has also recently written an article that was published in the International Journal of Social Pedagogy where she talks about social pedagogy and psychological safety with virtual teams.
June O'Sullivan MBE is Chief Executive of the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF), one of London’s largest and most successful charitable social enterprises, operating 39 award-winning nurseries in some of London’s most disadvantaged areas. With an excellent track record of initiating and leading innovation and award-winning growth, she created the UK’s first ever Social Enterprise Childcare Group in 2006.
An inspiring, outspoken speaker, author, podcaster and regular media commentator on all things Early Years, Social Business and Child Poverty, June is a tireless ‘disruptor’, seeking new ways to influence policy and make society a better place for all children and their families.
Mandy has worked in early years education for 15 years in a variety of roles including in outdoor education settings, Montessori schools and community nurseries. She holds a Master’s degree in Early Years Education and is currently completing a Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education.
Mandy joined the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF) five years ago and has worked as a Nursery Teacher, Deputy Manager and Nursery Manager. In her current role as Head of Pedagogy, Mandy leads on the high-quality delivery of the unique LEYF Pedagogy across the group of London based nurseries. Mandy is passionate about the importance of high quality CPD as a driver of outstanding early years education and provides LEYF teachers with a variety of training workshops, in addition to leading on the delivery of the pioneering LEYF Foundation Degree.
Anna Aluffi Pentini
Anna Aluffi Pentini is Professor at the University ROMA TRE, in Rome and teaches Social and Intercultural Education, and Educational Counselling. She studied Pedagogy, German, French and Psychology in Rome. She obtained her doctoral degree with a dissertation on Intercultural Education between Theory and Practice. She managed practice social education project, especially in Rome. Since 2017 she coordinates the study course for Early Childhood Education at the department of Education at the University of Roma Tre.
Fabio is a lecturer at the Roma Tre University. He graduated in Pedagogy and obtained his Doctorate in Theory and Educational Research with a thesis on professional recognition of social educators and the testing of a supervision model according to the method of appreciative orientation.
Currently his research and professional topics are educational counseling and parenting support. Fabio is also president of a professional association of educators and pedagogists.
Bharti initially worked in the private sector for 25 years ending up as a lead business analyst before deciding on a career change. Starting as a volunteer she worked with people with learning and physical disabilities and trained as a counsellor. With LAT she now works to Asset-Based Community Development principles as a Community Connector in the Belgrave area of Leicester predominantly with people from a South Asian background where she uses her bilingual ability.
Bharti aims to put building relationships at the heart of her work: developing connections with isolated individuals, within and between groups, between groups and services, and helping individuals connect with themselves, aiming to support their sense of self, development and self-compassion. She is very passionate about Happiness and Wellbeing for all, something she believes we can all achieve at some level.
Rob Hunter is a former local authority Community Education adviser and trainer/consultant who has worked with the concept of social pedagogy in youth work, work with looked after children, and community music settings. Now retired, he is Chair of Leicester Ageing Together, a 16-organisation partnership addressing loneliness and social isolation among the 50+ age group in 5 wards of the city over 7 years funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. He has long been interested in the potential contribution of Social Pedagogy principles and practice to work with older people in a variety of settings.
Kate McCoy is a participatory performance maker, trainer and facilitator who uses theatre to connect people and create playful safe spaces for exploration. She is the founder and artistic director of Small performance adventures, a company creating employment and development opportunities with and for people in recovery Their show “The Washing Up” created with artists and participants in addiction recovery used theatre, storytelling and songs to explore our common experiences through this every day act. It was premiered at Brighton Festival in 2018 and toured nationally in March 2019, alongside an engagement programme that saw community groups with experience of addiction, homelessness and sex work become part of the show. In 2020, small performance adventure’s Arts Council Funded project Terminal Uniqueness swiftly transformed itself from a workshop engagement programme working with ten artists and ten community groups into an online experience with a Facebook group, a set of artistic commissions for artists in recovery and being part of the undergraduate programme for students studying Applied Theatre at Manchester University.
Lowis is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire and joint Course Lead for the MA in Social Pedagogy Leadership. She has run various training sessions around social pedagogy for several Local Authority teams and third sector organisations. She is also the lead for the UK partner team in the Erasmus funded Massive Open On-Line Course (MOOC) project, Social Pedagogy In Europe. Headed by ThemPra, the project has developed a short on-line course looking at the role of social pedagogy across Europe.
Previously she worked as a qualified social worker in a Leaving Care Team, supporting young care leavers to live independently. Her first role was as a Youth Offending Team Officer for the Manchester YOT service. Because of her previous social work experience, she understands the link between social pedagogy and social work and feels excited about the developments within the UK to embed social pedagogy into direct practice.
Cecile is a social pedagogue working with young people in care, and as such she is always interested in the interaction between learning processes and social change. She expands on this in a blog: https://www.mypedagogicalblog.com/
Cecile has experimented with forms of communal living -a very personal form of social pedagogy- and she is currently living in a housing co-operative in London. By living there, she is trying to create a different sense of community, to experience and work with the importance of group processes and to move away from individualistic thinking. Cecile carries some of those themes forward in her PhD, where she explores the attitudes and beliefs professionals working in children’s homes have of the young people they work with.
Cecile is also a SPPA trustee, she joined the Board in July 2021 and has since then been actively engaged in all SPPA matters, showing her passion for social pedagogy at all times.
Gabriel is the co-founder of ThemPra Social Pedagogy, a social (pedagogical) enterprise supporting the development of social pedagogy in the UK through short courses, capacity-building programmes and strategic development. He studied social pedagogy, social work and sociology of childhood in Germany, Denmark, and the UK. His practice experience is mainly in play work, youth work, children’s participation and advocacy, as well as online learning, organisational development and group facilitation. He has been leading the Erasmus+ project developing a Massive Open Online Course in Social Pedagogy across Europe, which is now available on Coursera. Since its inception in 2009, he has been coordinating the Social Pedagogy Development Network, and he is also jointly editing the International Journal of Social Pedagogy. Gabriel is passionate about helping people discover their innate potential and about working together to make this world a place wherein every person can thrive.
Kelly is a registered social worker with over 15 years of experience. He previously worked in the Caribbean, before working in the UK in Local Authority Child Protection Teams. He is a lecturer at Kingston University in the Department of Social Work and Social Care.
Kelly specialises in working with men and is a Caring Dads facilitator. He is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a member of the Frontline Fellowship and holds a diploma in Social Pedagogy.
Kelly also wears another hat; he is a videographer and producer with broadcast experience in Barbados and has produced social awareness documentaries and training materials for various UK Local Authorities.
Yvalia is a registered Social Worker who previously worked in child protection and education welfare in boroughs across East and South West London. She was the founding Programme Director of the Frontline Social Work programme and now leads the BA (Hons) Working With Children & Young People: Social Pedagogy degree at Kingston University.
Yvalia specialises in trauma and attachment and is a qualified Practice Educator and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Authority. She has written for the Guardian Social Care, Community Care, and Jessica Kingsley Publishers, and is an Associate of the Attachment and Relationship Based Practice programme, directed by Professor David Shemmings OBE.
Nicole has recently completed a PhD in social pedagogy at the University of Derby, which explored the influence of social pedagogy on the practice and values of the children’s services workforce in a local authority. She has been published in the International Journal of Social Pedagogy and wrote a chapter titled ‘Where Care and Education Meet?’ which explored social pedagogy of the Children Act (2004) in a postgraduate education text.
Nicole has almost 20 years’ experience working across NHS and local government, including as a service director in children’s services. She was instrumental in developing social pedagogy across a children’s services department and developing a university module on social pedagogy for local authority workers including foster carers, youth workers and residential staff. In her spare time, Nicole enjoys learning how to draw and paint, watching cricket and playing badminton.
Ronan Bodley is a published poet, performer, musician, singer/songwriter and actor.
With Small performance adventures he was a writer and performer for The Washing Up, touring England in 2019. He continues to be involved as an artist and facilitator and during the pandemic took a leading role in the Terminal Uniqueness Project creating artistic videos, mentoring and collaborating with other artists. He runs poetry/song open mic nights for those in recovery. Has worked with Nabokov theatre company's Army of Storytellers for the Brighton festival and at Brighton Dome as a performance poet.
09:30 - 15:30
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