1. The role of arts and sports in working with at-risk youth

From education to training, from knowledge to practice

Formal and non-formal education are essential yet often poorly accessible for young people who due to their lifestyle and personal characteristics categorise as at-risk youth. This year’s international conference focuses on the importance of art and sports, which are often overlooked especially as important methodological approaches in education and work with vulnerable youth.

This thematic section will cover contributions related to art, culture and sports. Emphasis should be placed on forms and methods of work as well as different ways and aspects of teaching and working with at-risk youth. Contributions should describe innovative forms of teaching, demonstrate the use of teaching aids or adaptations in the implementation of lessons and individual teaching in the education system. This thematic section also includes informal forms of work in art and sports, presentations of educational projects, specialised programs and approaches of organisations to solving problems in educating at-risk youth.

2. Covid-19 lockdown – new way to open up

Last two years have had a significant impact on education and everyday work with at-risk youth due to the epidemic and all the measures and restrictions related to it.  This thematic section will focus on finding new ways to deal with the consequences of the epidemic in the field of education. We are interested in approaches to individual support as well as support to wider groups.

We expect contributions focused on innovative methods and approaches, new tools, applications and other adaptations, developed for working with at-risk youth during the covid-19 epidemic. The contributions should focus on finding solutions and new methods of work.

Contributions can address the following topics: new approaches to working with at-risk youth, formal or non-formal education, the functioning of institutions as social and local systems during the epidemic, the impact on the family and individuals. Both the systemic aspect of institutional treatment as well as involvement of institutions in the local environment are important. Programs and content that have become a part of empowerment and support to young people in response to changing ways of working with young people will also be appreciated. This section also includes issues related to the professional role of employees in this field, their integrity and autonomy as well as freedom of action, the impact of the epidemic on relations between adults and adolescents in formal settings and its impact on educational functions of institutions and supervision in them.

3. Informal and non-institutional forms of working with at-risk youth

Decades ago, a series of non-institutional programs developed as a modern form of work with young people facing emotional and behavioural difficulties. The reason for the development of this area relates to the question of how to reach at-risk youth and their ability to participate in formalised environments.

In this section, we will discuss approaches and programs that are implemented outside of individual and group forms of institutional treatment and are defined as professional or semi-professional programs. They can be organised as part of formal programs, private organisations or informal forms of treatment and youth movements, but include the aforementioned youth population. As a part of this, we will discuss prevention and intervention programs, as well as therapeutic and curative programs for adolescents.

This section will also include alternative and modern forms of work that are new in the field of working with at-risk youth. Alternativeness and innovation in this case should be supported by non-standard professional or scientific orientation and by implementations that are unusual in the field of treatment and work with at-risk youth either in their form or in activity.

4. Mental health of young people – between community and an individual

The field of professional work with young people noticed a high increase in mental health issues in recent years. Problems young people deal with in everyday life result in new forms of mental distress. In the past young people dealt more with different eating disorders and aggressive behaviour, nowadays mental health issues result in different forms of severe anxiety, self-harm, apathy and mood disorders, various depressive states and mental distress related to sexual identity. Parallel to these changes, a shift in clinical treatment with medical approach happened; there is also an increasing demand for programs that offer functional treatment and psychotherapeutic support.

We invite you to present contributions that address approaches regarding treatment of mental health issues, ways of work in the field of pedagogical counselling as well as contributions directed to innovative solutions to improve mental health of young people. Contributions can present research papers, academic findings and knowledge in the field of mental health, different forms of programs and projects regarding care for the healthy development of children and adolescents. We want to show examples of good practices in the field of prevention, systematic approach and curative in primary environment as well as in the care of the macro-social space, and in a particularly risky cyber environment of young people.