Youth Work, Youth Studies, and Co‑design: Sustaining a Dynamic Nexus to Progress Youth Participation

Ben Arnold Lohmeyer, Joel Robert McGregor, Bronwyn Elizabeth Wood

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Youth work practitioners and youth researchers both share a keen interest in the lives, experiences, and well-being of young people; however, the skills and expertise held by practitioners and researchers have not always been mutually valued leading to tensions and a research-practice gap. The rise of co-design methods that prioritise relational skills and ethics appears to mark a moment for closing or reducing this gap. Rather than accepting this convergence at face value, in this paper, we examine some of the key tensions around (1) relational ethics and decision-making, (2) holding multiple roles and expertise, and (3) structures that constrain or sustain participation to argue for sustaining a dynamic research-practice nexus. Drawing on our experience and practitioner-researchers, we argue that rather than simply overlooking the practical and ethical tensions between practice and research, sustaining a dynamic nexus comprising of continuing dialogue and collaboration can foster and progress co-design methods in pursuit of the aims of youth participation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Applied Youth Studies
Early online date24 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Apr 2024


  • Participation
  • Youth work
  • Youth studies
  • Research
  • Practice
  • Ethics


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