Centre for Innovation & Research in Childhood and Youth

Interdisciplinary, international & in the real world

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Spending stars

By Isabella Wells, 1st year BACY student


bridgeI didn’t have any idea of what Rotterdam would be like, all I knew was that the Dutch have a friendly reputation and their educational system has been rated positively. When I arrived in Rotterdam I was surprised by how modern the city is, everywhere you look you will be mesmerized by a structure or building. The exchange University fulfilled their reputation by making us feel welcome, always making sure we have a tea and coffee in our hand and generally making sure we were ok.

I’m going to speak about one of the two work places that I experienced with Nikki and Ollie, as this day was the most eye opening for me. Continue reading

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We’re All Going To MMU…

A couple of summers ago a colleague mentioned that she’d been to the Summer Institute in Qualitative Research at MMU and had found it hugely stimulating. I remember at the time regretting that I had not been sharper in making time to go. So when a couple of colleagues mentioned that they’d signed up this time around, I decided to commit.

I could misrepresent what has happened since. I could massage a narrative that suggests that we all – with some gendered empathetic synchronicity – agreed that we would love nothing more than to offer ourselves en masse as a ‘Sussex Symposium’ to present at the event. In reality it happened a little differently and involved me unashamedly imposing my will upon the group in terms of a kernel of an idea I’d had of what we might do and how we might do it. Continue reading

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What you can do with a bit of space

By Steven Crowe.  2nd year BACY student


On our trip to Rotterdam we witnessed a variety of different areas of social care and social work, and the university had kindly set up visits to a variety of different organisations and settings to get a feel for some of the work that is being done in and around Rotterdam. For myself as a residential worker, the prospect of going to see how residential care can be delivered in the Netherlands was too tempting an offer to miss. So we made our way to Alphen Aan Den Rijn (that’s on the Rhine to you and me) To a place called RijnHove, run by an organisation called Horizon.

What immediately struck me from the beginning was the sheer scale of space in the environment. Continue reading

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The ‘social’ in social work

By Ollie Mills, Social Work student


The Education and Social Work trip to Rotterdam was fascinating and enjoyable from beginning to end. That being said, as a social work student, I have to say that day three was my personal favourite. This was the day that two students of Childhood and Youth Studies and I had the opportunity to shadow a social worker in her office and district (something like a London Borough) and later visited a school to see the integration of social work in an educational setting.

We were introduced to Mariam and she kindly gave us a tour of the office and a rundown of her time in social work. Mariam is a part time student, balancing her studies with a demanding social work role and very real responsibilities. Her remit is quite specific as she works in a youth team, primarily with parents/children who have mild/moderate intellectual disabilities. Within her office, there are many professionals, all bringing specialised skills/backgrounds with them Continue reading

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Henk Oosterling’s lesson: Responsibility starts early

Further reflections by Alina


Next, the University of Applied Sciences, Rotterdam, offered us a lesson to remember. With hints of John Dewey, and a flavour of social pedagogy, Henk Oosterling’s TED talk about a more contemporary battle was simple but powerful. Using the example of London riots, the philosopher stressed the importance of up-bringing, of educating children to avoid violence, and on reshaping educational structure so that children learn to be responsible for their acts. Oosterling’ s answer to the social problems affecting Rotterdam, neighbourhood violence in particular,  was “skills city”.

He criticised how the educational system discourages children from being interested when natural curiosity is embedded in their nature. Continue reading


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Falling for Rotterdam

By Alina Chirila 2nd year BACY student


It is not very hard to fall in love when you’re a pretty accurate version of Don Quixote. On this occasion, in my own search for meaning and beauty, I hoped to fall for the Dutch, and God, it really did happen. Black tulips, libertine coffee shops with their magic mushrooms and all sorts of curiosities, clogs and gouda cheese have nothing to do with my own falling in love and believe me, I’m not just a fool.

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This story begins with a particular charm infused by the town of Rotterdam, and its riverside setting, very 2015 chic-industrial look, artistic at the same time. People there seemed very to the point, saying what they mean and meaning what they say, and not really up for talking about the weather. Our university exchange was not long, but Continue reading

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A visit to Rotterdam: integration, segregation and assimilation

By Elsie Whittington


In the last two years Sussex’s Education and Social work department have played host to two groups of social pedagogue students from Rotterdam.  Russell Whiting and Janet Boddy have been the key contacts and involved the students in classes, taken them on visits to social work placements and provided the students with a flavor of Brighton. This week my self and Russell have traveled over to Rotterdam, with 6 students from the BA in Childhood and Youth and the BA in Social work and tha MA in Childhood and Youth, to enjoy part two of this exchange.  I hope that the next few posts will be contributed to by these students – reflecting on what they have learnt about pedagogic practice in Rotterdam, and our experiences of the exchange, visiting work places and traveling around the city. Eline Bouwman who teaches on the social pedagogy course at the university of applied sciences in Rotterdam has created a programme for us that will give us a good idea of who social pedagogy is taught and practiced in the Netherlands and especially how it fits within the city. For now I will reflect on our first day.

For those of you who don’t know about social pedagogy it the theory (and practice) about the education and upbringing of children.  As Janet has taught us in the BACY module on European Perspectives: Social Pedagogy and Work with Children and Young People (which I was lucky enough to sit in on this year), Social pedagogy is ‘education in the broadest sense’.  It is about the up bringing of the child as the responsibility of a whole community not just of the parents and immediate family. Continue reading

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