Gaming as Youth Work: Exploring the Role of Gaming as a Creative Tool for Fostering Social and Emotional Learning among Socially Isolated Young People
Applications are invited for a two-year, full-time, funded Masters through research exploring the role of gaming in youth work. This project is a partnership between IT Carlow and Carlow Regional Youth Service (CRYS). Funded by IT Carlow’s President’s Fellowship Scholarship and by CRYS, the student will have their fees paid and will receive a stipend of €26,000 (€13,000 across each year of the programme). In addition to an academic qualification, the successful candidate will receive direct, hands-on youth work experience.
Youth work is a form of informal education which uses flexible methods to support young people’s social and personal development. Despite youth work’s demonstrable success in engaging a diversity of young people, there remain a cohort of young people who do not participate in traditional youth work formats because of communication, learning or mental health difficulties. Such young people may experience significant social isolation. For youth workers, innovative ways to engage such young people are required. Research suggests that gaming may offer one such approach (Stewart, 2013; Dunlap and Rivers, 2018). While ‘games in isolation do not provide in-depth emotional bonding … they can serve to facilitate relationships’ (Dunlap and Rivers, 2018: 141). Games can also integrate skills such as communication and cooperation, and provide safe spaces for experimentation and risk-taking (ibid.).
The aim of this interdisciplinary study is to work collaboratively with youth workers and a targeted cohort of 20 young people from the Carlow region in order to answer the following research questions:
*Can gaming be used to build relationships between youth workers and socially isolated young people, and if so, in what ways?
*Can gaming contribute to young people’s social and emotional learning, and is so, how?
The research will result in a resource pack for youth workers which will be disseminated throughout the sector. The successful candidate will be based in Carlow Regional Youth Service (CRYS) for part of the week and will work alongside its staff in the development of the project.
The student will be co-supervised by the director of SocialCORE, IT Carlow’s applied social research centre, and the director of GameCORE, IT Carlow’s research centre for interactive applications, software and networks. He/she/they will be also required to undertake two hours teaching per week.
The successful candidate will:
-Be a youth work graduate, or a graduate of another discipline with at least five years’ youth work experience;
-Have a minimum 2.1 honours degree;
-Be available to work/study full-time;
-Have the ability to engage with diverse young people using youth work pedagogy;
-Have very good writing and analytical skills;
-Be committed to the principles of youth work;
-Be interested in gaming as a tool of youth
Technical knowledge of gaming or coding is not a requirement of this project, though some experience of using games is desirable.
To apply, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the title of the project in the subject line, a CV and a statement (c.500 words) of why this project is of interest to you.
Deadline for applications: August 16 2018.
For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Niamh McCrea, at email@example.com.
[sorry for the short timeline – blame the holidays!]