This is part of L-Net’s ongoing support of Professor Maki Hiratsuka’s (Faculty of Sociology, Hosei University) project ‘Comparative research of social environments surrounding youth work (workers)’. In this final year of the project, the Japanese team organised a seminar in Sapporo, Tokyo and Kyoto on 8th, 14th and 16th respectively. L-Net has been supporting the five-year project, promoting meaningful collaboration with the British counterpart. The purpose of the project is to illuminate roles and functions of social environments which develop and support youth workers’ professionalism. The project team comprises both researchers and youth workers. Inspired by the activities of In Defence of Youth Work in the UK, the Japanese team has introduced story-telling as a methodology in developing youth workers’ professionalism in Japan. They invited the two British youth workers to the seminars, who have been the collaborators of the project as the members of the In Defence of Youth Work. L-Net’s role this year was to contribute to the planning of the seminars, as well as to act as an interpreter. In each seminar, real ‘stories’ of youth work were introduced by both the British and Japanese youth workers, and some key themes were discussed in the latter part of the seminar. All three seminars were attended very well, receiving a number of comments and questions during and after the seminars. Extra activities including the visits to youth centres in each city enriched the exchange between the two parties. In the post-seminar reflective session, the Japanese team and the British collaborators discussed concrete ideas for future collaborations. L-Net is committed to supporting this collaboration in the field of youth work which is extremely important.

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