Graeme Tiffany

Independent education consultant and scholar, trainer, lecturer & researcher in informal & community education, community development & community philosophy.

Contact me to discuss your training needs.


I offer training of all kinds, but have a particular interest in that related to youth work (and especially detached youth work), informal and community education, and community development. Please do contact me so we can have a conversation about what you need; my preference is always to listen carefully and discuss training that is context-appreciative.


I have spoken at hundreds of seminars and conference across the UK, continental Europe and even further afield. As with training, I like to discuss precisely what you are looking for so I can frame my contribution in the context of your event’s aims. I like to use images, stories, and humour in my presentations, which are always engaging and thought-provoking.

Workshop Facilitation

Sometimes what’s need to is minimal input, just someone who is able to help groups learn from themselves. I have good facilitation skills, a product of specific training. I often use philosophical tools, methods and activities to help people learn, such as concept mapping and Community of Enquiry methodology.

The demise of ‘reconnaissance’ in detached youth work and associated risks.

Historically, detached youth workers have employed a four-stage model that starts with a period of reconnaissance, prior to contact-making, intervention and development work. ‘Reconnaissance’ (in more recent years also referred to as ‘community profiling’ or simply...

Thoughts, including those related to time and space, on intra and intergenerational relations

Recently I was asked to contribute a ‘Think Piece’ to an international event organised in conjunction with an ongoing project designed to explore intragenerational relations. The preamble to the event suggested these relations might be viewed as “powerful potential...

Blue Lights, youth work and the quest for peace.

The central characters in BBC 1’s recent crime drama Blue Lights are three police recruits; two are easily identifiable as ‘young people’. The challenges they face including engaging with those of a similar age, many of whom hold a deep antipathy toward the police....

Community Philosophy, Philosophy Walks and Citizens’ Juries: exploring different methodologies for discussing climate change.

On a recent philosophy walk a participant introduced himself as being responsible for some of the citizens’ juries designed specifically to discuss climate change. It was clear from what he said that facilitating this process can be a struggle; indeed, he and I have...

Space, Place … and Mobility … in the Community of Enquiry

A recent episode of the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Sunday’ (that considers the ethical and religious issues of the week) included a news story about “the great church-goers’ schism of the 21st century.” Braced for something of the culture wars I was surprised instead to...

Notes from a youth work ‘Round Table’

There was a relative absence of enquiry into the structural problems that youth workers are facing. And, indeed, the structural pressures being experienced by young people and their families, such as The Cost of Living Crisis. In terms of our response, needs are far...

David Amess and the need for a radical participatory culture

On Tuesday of this week I was again banging my drum for Community Philosophy. I facilitated a Community of Enquiry that decided to explore the question: “When is it acceptable to break the law?” It always surprises me that when folk have the freedom to discuss...

From Heritage to Youth Work: the Quest for Meaning and Value

The recent announcement from UNESCO that Liverpool would be stripped of its World Heritage status was widely reported, with varying attitudes expressed about the decision made. These ranged from it being a harsh decision to many simply asking: ‘who cares?’ Others,...

More thoughts on Targeting and Voluntary Association

Having previously written about targeting I was surprised at the reaction to a recent Tweet. I’ll mention this later, but first let me outline the key points I made in my blog of last October. Remember, this was a time when the government was resisting Marcus...

Defining Mental Health: the issue of language

Occasionally (not often) I tune in to commentary, whether on the radio, in a book, or on the telly etc., where I think ‘that’s precisely what I’ve been thinking for a while now’, and in some cases exploring and speaking about in...

Detached Youth Work: COVID-19

Here are three documents related to detached youth work in the context of COVID-19:

All are available on the Federation for Detached Youth Work website

WEB OF THE STREET: International Digital Forum of Social Street Workers

Other Services

Contact me to discuss your needs; I work across the informal – formal education spectrum, with a particular focus on youth work and detached youth work. I provide training tailored to your needs (see ‘context-appreciative training), workshop facilitation, support for research and evaluation, consultancy, and professional supervision for workers. Follow the link for a list of the work I’ve done.

Training and Workshop Facilitation

I provide training for a wide range of individuals, groups and agencies. I work with the statutory and voluntary sector (including universities), charities, and civil society organisations. Most are part of the community and youth work sector, but I also support services and companies with community dimensions to their work, like Housing Associations and social enterprises.

A particular focus of my training is Detached Youth Work

I have been training detached youth workers for many years, across the UK and Europe. I also run workshops, present at conferences and seminars, evaluate projects, conduct research and provide consultancy, including on the management of detached youth work. I am the author of several publications on detached and street-based work, including the book Reconnecting Detached Youth Work. I have been involved with the Federation for Detached Youth Work for more than 20 years, currently as an advisor. I represent ‘the Fed’ in Dynamo International (the world-wide network of social street workers) and am also a member of Dynamo’s Expert Group

Sometimes, workshop facilitation is a more appropriate intervention; I have extensive training and experience if helping people learn from one another, which is the aim of facilitation. I often use methodology associated with Community Philosophy, with its emphasis of on Critical, Collaborative, Creative and Caring thinking.


My consultancy work is diverse in nature, from conducting research (often in collaboration with others), to undertaking both formal and informal evaluations, supporting project development, providing professional and non-managerial supervision, and direct delivery with young people and adults. The duration of this work is similarly wide-ranging, from one to several days, or even longer; I have worked on some projects on a part-time basis over a number of years. As with my training, I like to work in a ‘context-appreciative’, developmental, way; so, I prefer work where I can develop relationships with people. As such, I often take on project work, where I support, collaborate and partner with groups and organisations in short and longer-term ventures.


As an independent scholar, I’ve written a wide range of articles, academic papers, book chapters and Reconnecting Detached Youth Work. Much of this is accessible on this website. I’ve also got a blog and see Twitter as form of micro-blogging. I regard writing as an essential communication skill in community and youth work and run training courses for practitioners about this. Writing also means thinking critically about language and what words mean (especially in policy); have a look at my work in Community Philosophy for training on this too. 


“Your discussion was very impressive and lively”

Matej Blazek

Covenor, Royal Geographical Society seminar on Youth In/civilities.

“Just contacting you to say how much I enjoyed reading your project report on Community Philosophy – a superb piece of work that should be compulsory reading for those training to be youth and community workers, adult educators, community workers and others. I like the blend of theory, practice, evaluation, and the general tone – persuasive and in parts reflective, and not didactic.”

Dr John Bamber

Senior Lecturer in Community Education, University of Edinburgh / Principal Fellow – Community Development, Centre for Effective Services

“The evaluations we’ve received about your contribution to our event have been glowing”

Gary Buxton

Chief Executive, Young Advisors.

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