Institute for Youth and Community Studies
The Institute for Youth and Community Studies represents a coalition of researchers for whom community practice research is a priority. The centre has traditionally operated a core and networking model. Central activities are sustained by a small core of community education academics in the School of Education and Social Sciences at the University of West of Scotland (UWS). A wider network of collaborators from UWS, partner institutions, and from community practice organisation are also associated with the institute being involved in partnership in discrete research projects, evaluations or funding bids generated though the centre.
The institute is focussed on a commitment to social justice through analysis of community development practices. Research priorities are located at the intersection of community practice research (and in its central interpretative and critical traditions); informed by international perspectives on social responsibility in higher education; and focus on community practice and its impact in grassroots communities.
Critical appraisal of the social and economic context is developed through an engagement with the policies of the Scottish, United Kingdom and European governments.
Guiding principles for the institute are provided by ideals of the civic university and the movement for social responsibility in higher education. These ideals encourages a drive for community engagement and knowledge exchange for the common good. Five core social justice principles underpin the research aims of the institute vis:
- empowerment - increasing the ability of individuals and groups to influence matters affecting them and their communities;
- participation - supporting people to take part in decision-making;
- inclusion, equality of opportunity and anti-discrimination - recognising some people need additional support to overcome the barriers they face;
- self-determination - supporting the right of people to make their own choices; and
- partnership - ensuring resources, varied skills and capabilities are used effectively.