This section is a brief introduction to the project: Learning from the margins. Our hope is that you, after reading “About the project”, will feel well informed about the basics.
Marginalised youth in European urban areas display low levels of inclusion and participation in the societal arenas. At the same time, it is clear that on the professional level we are more or less checkmate compared to working with precisely the inclusion of the most marginalized young people. This is partly due to societal inequality structures, but it is also because the professionals are not yet trained in understanding the extent of the young people’s situations, which are particularly complex in urban settings. In this project by professionals we refer to all those working professionally with marginalised youth in urban areas — social workers, pedagogues, social educators and teachers.
A central understanding in this project is that the lack of professionalism is because until now it is not common practice to understand social and educational work as a matter of planning individual, social and contextual (including sociospatial) solutions concerning young people at risk.
The overall goal of the LEMA project is therefore to develop a sustainable pedagogical model for working with extremely marginalised youth – a model for Participatory Social Planning (PSP), which includes:
In this project it is significant that the marginalised young people are key partners in the development of new innovative solutions. They are the real experts, and learning from their marginalised position is essential to the innovative solutions of this project. The target groups of the project are thus both youth at risk in urban areas and the professionals and educators working with them.
The project partners are higher education institutions and organisations working with marginalised youth in three different urban contexts: University College Copenhagen and 3B Housing Association in Copenhagen, Denmark; Malmö University and Malmö City in Sweden; University of Malaga and the NGO Asociacion Marroqui in Malaga, Spain (see further under partner presentation).
The methodological approach of the LEMA project is thus participatory strategies that create space for involving both young people and the professionals. Developing the knowledge and skills of the professionals are important parts of innovating the field of social inclusion of highly marginalized young people. Developing a set of tools based on the analyses done by professionals, researchers and marginalised young people will strengthen the repertoires of practice of the professionals and create new ways being a professional by learning from the margins.