Concept <p>The Journal of Contemporary Community Education Practice Theory. Concept offers a lively independent forum for critical debate and exchange of ideas in contemporary Community Education. Community Education is seen in the broadest sense to include community work, adult education and youth work and takes place in a range of settings and agencies. We see the concept of community education as dynamic and diverse and do not seek to reflect a fixed view.</p> University of Edinburgh en-US Concept 1359-1983 <p><img src="//" alt="Creative Commons License"> <br> This is an Open Access journal. All material is licensed under a <a href="">Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)</a> licence, unless otherwise stated.<br>Please read our <a href="/about/policies#openAccessPolicy">Open Access, Copyright and Permissions policies</a> for more information.</p> Community Engagement Two poems by Jo McFarlane <p>All my grassroots experience of community engagement has been as an activist – someone from within the community being ‘done to’, or ‘done for’ in some cases. My particular area of involvement is mental health activism. Having been a psychiatric patient for 27 years, I know only too well what it is like to be on the receiving end of power, and the culture of dependence that can come from that – where any scraps from the rich man’s table are welcome. So co-option, the process by which we become subsumed into the agenda of those in power in order to legitimate their policies and decisions, is a very real danger. As community workers supporting people to effect change, it is something you have to be particularly aware of, and to make explicit when you see it happening. Knowledge is power and to acquire that knowledge we have to retrace our steps and identify what went wrong and, most importantly, what we can learn from it. So that is what these poems are about.</p> Jo McFarlane ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2017-12-19 2017-12-19 8 3 4 4 Community Development and Co-production: Thinking Critically About Parameters and Power <p>As the work of community development practitioners is to some degree influenced by social policy, it is important to think critically about the parameters a particular policy discourse may construct. In this paper I propose using Gaventa’s (2006) ‘power cube’ as a framework for analysing the possible parameters which co-production constructs for community development workers, specifically where it situates them in terms of the power they have access to.&nbsp;Firstly, I will explore where one might initially assume community development finds itself situated in the context of co-production and will highlight some of the opportunities this offers practitioners, specifically the potential for renewing democracy, using an asset-based approach and the opportunities to facilitate empowerment. I will then pose a more critical analysis of the parameters that co-production creates by exploring an alternative view of where co-production might situate community development and the dilemma this may pose – that of furthering the global reach of neoliberal ideology. I will conclude by suggesting the ways in which community development workers can continue to carry out meaningful, radical work – regardless of the parameters created for them by a particular policy discourse – by continuing to be critically reflective.</p> Hannah Bradley ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2017-12-19 2017-12-19 8 3 10 10 Community Engagement: What’s the Problem? <p><em>Transcript of the introduction to a Seminar and Launch on 22 September 2017 at the University of Edinburgh</em></p> <p>Today’s seminar is both a launch of the <em>Community Engagement: A Critical Guide for Practitioners </em>and an opportunity to consider the problematic nature of community engagement in practice.&nbsp;&nbsp;It is not an information or motivational day on how to do community engagement; nor a decision-making or strategy-forming forum, though it may provoke some follow up activity.&nbsp; Neither is it representative of any particular interests or arguments.It is intended as a forum for questioning, critique and the expression of constructive skepticism; a chance for people to come together in what we hope will be a stimulating and convivial atmosphere; an opportunity to meet friends, old and new, and allies – to feel refreshed and renewed.</p> Mae Shaw ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2017-12-19 2017-12-19 8 3 4 4 Creating Space For Thinking Together <p>The purpose of this afternoon gathering was to celebrate the launch of <em>Community Engagement: A Critical Guide for Practitioners</em>. The event was well attended by a diverse group of practitioners, activists, academics and students, all bearing their own understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing contemporary community engagement, and all willing to listen to the thoughts and views of others. This Guide is a timely resource and makes an excellent contribution to the field of practice; it has the potential to play a major role in helping us unpack the challenge we face to foster the type of community engagement that can help us to address some of the inequalities within our communities. The Guide can be used in its entirety to encourage dialogue and discussion or as stand-alone sessions. As well as being a really useful resource for those working with community groups, it also challenges practitioners to bring a critical lens to the nature of their own practice.</p> Diann Govenlock Emma Crawshaw Gary Fraser ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2017-12-19 2017-12-19 8 3 6 6 Community Engagement: A Critical Guide for Practitioners <p>As practitioners, one of the seminal aspects of our work is establishing that all important relationship with those around us. It is the ubiquitous concept that facilitates meaningful work and, whether figuratively or literally, ensures the door is not shut in our face. In my opinion, it is the commitment and value placed on this relationship that unifies and under- writes all aspects of the community education field and in my role as a Family Support Worker cannot be down played. In this chapter, Jim Crowther and Mae Shaw highlight this dynamic, its tensions and the necessity for this relationship to be one of educational purpose.</p> Mel Aitken ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2017-12-19 2017-12-19 8 3 10 10 Community Engagement: A Critical Guide for Practitioners <p>When asked to write an introduction for one of the chapters in <em>Community Engagement: A Critical Guide for Practioners</em> it was the first chapter on ‘Thinking Politically’ that leapt out at me. Sometimes in the field of practice it can be easy to get caught up in having to react, often quickly, to the complex and contradictory forces that are at play within community education. Chapter One brought me back to key fundamental but political questions and issues in relation to Community Engagement that one should never lose sight of such as what is its purpose plus why and what is it funded for? As practitioners, it’s important to take time to draw on theoretical ideas and concepts in order to make some kind of sense of the dynamics and tensions that can exist between policies, politics, power, the people we work with and their lived experience, plus our own values and stances as workers.</p> Neil Saddington ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2017-12-19 2017-12-19 8 3 6 6 Review: Shaping the Future: A New Radical Learning Network <p>On Thursday 9th November 2017 I travelled through to the University of Glasgow for the&nbsp;<em>Shaping The Future: A New Radical Learning Network</em>&nbsp;launch and networking event.&nbsp; Hosted by Dave Beck, Lecturer in Community Development, and with a 3-hour running time, the event was pitched as&nbsp;‘an opportunity to decide what we want to be as a network, what we can do together, and the ways we can get involved’. This article is a summary of the proceedings, along with a handful of my own reflections.</p> Luke Campbell ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2017-12-19 2017-12-19 8 3 3 3 Review: Nick Srnicek, and Alex Williams (2015) Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work <p>My desire to read ‘Inventing the future’ emerged after happening upon a short provocation called the ‘Accelerationist Manifesto’, also written by this book’s authors (political theorist Nick Srnicek and sociologist Alex Williams) in 2013. These are both polemical works which, whilst not directly about education, surface a number of debates pertinent to educators working for social justice. Accelerationism—a peculiar mix of sci-fi and political theory—starts from the premise that a moribund left must learn to let go of its anachronistic tendencies (the authors label these tendencies ‘folk politics’), by counter-intuitively embracing the breakneck speed of life and labour under neoliberal techno-capitalism. This, as I understand it, is a speculative response to capitalism’s ‘moving contradiction’ of labour, ‘both source of value, and squeezed out by the machine’ (Noys, 2014, p. 97), which it attempts to burst through by embracing full-automation as one necessary condition of a post-capitalist, post-work utopia.</p> Callum McGregor ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2017-12-19 2017-12-19 8 3 6 6 Review: Laurence Cox and Alf Gunvald Nilsen (2014) We Make Our Own History: Marxism and Social Movements in the Twilight of Neoliberalism <p>This is a book about social movements. Unlike most such books, it seeks to understand the phenomenon of social movements with a view to assist them (us) in discerning a way forward in the current political context of neoliberalism. The authors, who are both movement activists and academics, argue that neoliberalism is mortally wounded and seemingly unable to reinvent capitalism. This presents an opportunity for social movements. What they provide is not a blueprint or road map but rather a tool kit - a set of analytical resources which movement activists can use collectively to consider how to act, and which strategies might help to deliver another world.</p> Eurig Scandrett ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2017-12-19 2017-12-19 8 3 4 4