Book review: Art based methods in youth and social work

The MIMO-project has published a very interesting publication about art based methods in youth work. It gives a lot of thoughts and ideas on how to use art as a method working with youth in different fields. The main idea is closely connected with the Forum theatre project: how to activate young people to express themselves and how to encourage them to become active citizens. Moving In! Art-Based Approaches to Work with the Youth is the first publication in the MIMO project series.

You can download the publication for free here:  http://loki.turkuamk.fi/PublishedService?file=page&pageID=9&groupID=269&action=viewPromotion&itemcode=9789522162250

The first part of the publication gives an overview on youth work done in Finland as well as adolescent psychology. The first three articles are about youth work and its objectives through legislation over recent decades in Finland, art and cultural education in Finnish youth work, and considerations of youth as an important phase of life.

The second part of the publication presents a variety of art based working methods. Digital Storytelling is a method that can be used in reflecting one´s experiences, identity and important current themes. This comes very close to our Actvise project. In our project we also use different kinds of digital methods to go through dilemmas and forum plays.  An interesting part of the report is one article where dance is seen as a way to challenge the whole person to participate and through that it can create more compassionate, emphatic and socially competent young adults.  And what about the article which examines the potential of puppets and object theatre as a social art through which adolescents can explore issues such as identity and alienation.

Finally the epilogue introduces the steps to multiprofessional teamwork where youth workers and artists as well as social and health care professionals share expertise in everyday work with challenging youth. In the Actvise Forum Theatre project we have also tried to develop a method to work together with artists, youth workers, teachers and counsellors. This publication gives a lot of tools to achieve that goal.

The publication can be used as a teaching material at universities at degree and continuing education levels. It is targeted both at professionals and future professionals who work with youth or are interested in working with them.  It is well suited for art, health, social and youth work professionals and others who wish to understand the starting points of these fields in multiprofessional work. The writers represent a variety of disciplines and have long professional experience as pedagogues and researchers.

MIMO is a three-year research and development project with EU funding from the Central Baltic –program (Central Baltic INTERREG IV A 2007–2013). The project develops multi-professional team work models and art based methods for the use of social and youth work by carrying out various workshops for the target group of 13 – 17 year olds. The project gives special emphasis to activities targeted to youth at risk of alienation from society. HUMAK is one of the partners in this project.