The Youth Justice Network held its first conference entitled ‘Turning Research into Action: Knowledge Exchange between Young People, Academic Researchers & Practitioners’ which was held at the University of Westminster on 15 June. 

The conference discussed critical social research about youth crime, digital risks and social media, and how the latter can be used to engage young people and communities to create better future policies and training.

The first seminar from the newly established Youth Justice Network in the Department of History, Sociology and Criminology at the University of Westminster saw keynote presentations from Dr Faith Gordon, Lecturer in Criminology and Director of the interdisciplinary group, the Youth Justice Network; Mr Assan Ali, youth and community engagement specialist and Co-founder and Trustee of the Mile End Community Project, as well as Holly Powell-Jones, Deputy-Director of the Youth Justice Network and City University Lecturer.

Dr Faith Gordon concluded the event with a paper which drew on research findings from over ten years of research on children, young people and media representations and media engagement in Northern Ireland.

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The event was a success with a great turnout of participants from the NGO sector, youth sector, Ministry of Justice, academics from other institutions, international visiting research fellows, Undergraduate and Postgraduate students and legal practitioners. 

Holly Powell-Jones highlighted the immediate and long-term impact of the event: "This is the first event that I've presented at where I was able to engage with youth workers, youth organisations and those in the justice system, as opposed to simply other academics. This was an invaluable opportunity to learn from others who are passionate about improving the lives of young people.

“The atmosphere was one of energy and optimism in the face of many challenges in contemporary youth justice, with a sense of a shared commitment across different sectors. I've made some fantastic connections with people I hope to collaborate with.

“Thank you to Dr Faith Gordon and to University of Westminster for their efforts to host this event. The length of time we all stayed behind to continue our discussions and network shows that there is much more work to be done in this area, and so I look forward to the next Youth Justice Network event." 

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