Objects, Places and Stories of Transformative Youth Work

Taylor, Mark. 2017. Objects, Places and Stories of Transformative Youth Work. Irish Journal of Applied Social Studies, 17(1), pp. 17-27. ISSN 1393-7022 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

If researchers are sympathetic to the view that young people take an active part in creating their histories, they have to be vigilant to not only what young people say, but also to the resources they employ in constructing their narratives. This paper examines the implications of former participants of a youth work organisation unexpectedly employing objects on display in the organisation’s meeting room to tell stories of transformative youth work encounters. These objects were pictures of young people receiving a civic award and candles co-created by young people and youth workers. The paper explores the practical and symbolic functions of these objects in the lives of young people. The paper also considers how a meeting room changes its meaning as a result of youth workers displaying objects linked with young people. Specifically, the meeting room may become a kind of liminal place where young people can reflect on their past, present and future lives. The paper concludes by reflecting on the implications for youth work practice arising from former participants of a youth work programme investing objects on display in a youth work agency’s meeting room with symbolic significance.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):



Objects; Places; Youth Work; Storytelling

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)


17 May 2017Published
20 April 2017Accepted

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

02 May 2017 11:22

Last Modified:

27 Feb 2019 15:40

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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