Artisan youth work

What do you picture when you hear the phrase ‘artisan youth-worker’? Where I live, in sunny Devon, the word artisan is a regular feature of everyday life. Most small businesses seem to have jumped on the phrase to describe something a little bespoke, something that a skilled worker has made or something made by hand with high-quality ingredients. I’ve yet to come across the word in youth work circles, but when my colleague Philip remarked in passing that he finds an idea for a new resource every single time he picks up the i daily newspaper, I started wondering whether this artisan approach was at the heart of our work with young people too.

The reason that the word artisan is so popular is that people are sick of the mass-produced, the shallow and the throw-away. They want things to be real,...

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