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Past event

Challenging heteronormativity in and through youth work

This event has now been postponed. To be kept updated on when this will be reschedule for, please email

While LGBTQ+ youth work has a long history, the quality of these services, their impact, and the views of workers remains under researched (Formby, 2013). Research and practice has also focused on work with LGBTQ+ youth, rather than on interrupting heteronormativity more generally (Seal, 2019). Formby (2013) found that while challenging blatant discrimination, many workers also display heteronormative assumptions in other areas such as adoption and the family.

LGBTQ+ issues in education are again prominent and political, as evidenced by prominent media debates about the wider public role of education in the interruption of heteronormativity and its relation to multiculturalism, faith and the identities of marginalized groups. Recent controversy around sexuality and relationships education in schools have been sensationally reported across the media with a dominant framing of traditional, regressive, values of minoritised groups versus the promotion of British values of liberal tolerance. We wish to critically explore such narratives, and how young people can be effectively worked with around heteronormativity. The intention is to develop a number of these contributions into an edited book. We already have publisher interest.

We invite proposals which address ‘Interrupting heteronormativity in youth and community work and informal education ’ in relation to, for example, policy; the democratic values, practices and community spaces of youth work; working with the initiatives such as Prevent; practice contexts and intercultural education. Sharing of creative pedagogical approaches would be particularly welcome. We welcome proposals from individuals and groups, from academics and practitioners and LGBTQ+ and community activists

Proposals are welcomed in the following formats:

  • Paper presentations
  • Workshop/discussion
  • Panel discussions

Acceptance notification: 16th March 2020


09.30 Registration
10.00 Plenary 1
 Prof Mike Seal; Prof Máirtín Mac an Ghaill
10.45 Parallel Session 1
11.30 Break
11.45 Parallel Session 2
12.30 Lunch
13.15 Plenary 2
Dr Elsie Whittington and Janet Batsleer; Ester McGeeney
14.15 Break
14.30 Parallel Session 3
15.30 Plenary 3 – Panel Discussion
Prof Mike Seal; Prof Máirtín Mac an Ghaill; Dr Elsie Whittington; Janet Batsleer and Ester McGeeney
15.55 Completion of evaluation forms
16.00 End of event