Informal Education as Freedom

Re-considering youth and community work through a Capabilities Approach

  • Frances Howard
  • Sarah Louise Livingstone
  • Summer Talbot
Keywords: Informal education, Youth and Community Work, Capabilities Approach


Austerity policies have failed to recognise and account for the value of youth and community work. Against a backdrop of excessive cuts since the 2008 financial crash, youth services have been disproportionately affected, with a growing emphasis on measurement, outcomes and, ultimately, performativity (de St Croix, 2018, Youdell and McGimpsey, 2015). In their recent research project, Louise Doherty and Tania de St Croix have highlighted tensions in measuring and evaluating youth work, and argue that the way practice is recognised and valued by young people and youth workers is disconnected from the way it is measured, monitored and evaluated. They argue that, rather than seeking to ‘measure’ practice, a grassroots democratic approach to accountability would attempt to create the conditions in which high quality practice can be nurtured and developed' (Doherty, 2019).

Author Biographies

Frances Howard

Dr Frances Howard, Nottingham Trent University

Sarah Louise Livingstone

Student Researcher, BA (hons) Youth Studies, Nottingham Trent University

Summer Talbot

Student Researcher, BA (hons) Youth Studies, Nottingham Trent University

How to Cite
Howard, F., Livingstone, S. and Talbot, S. (2020) “Informal Education as Freedom”, Concept, 11(3), pp. 1-8. Available at: (Accessed: 20May2024).