21 Jul 2016

The new edition of the Radical Community Work Journal has been released.

This edition of the journal is titled 'Radical Practice in Uncertain Times'. It features articles from the USA, Australia, Ireland and the UK:

  • a discussion piece on Neoliberalism and Radical Practice by Rod Purcell
  • Soul, soul-force and 'soul of the world': community work with hospitality, hostility and holism by Peter Westoby
  • (In)formal interactions and interfaces - implications for practice by Alison Gilchrist
  • Re-seeing and re-naming the world: community development and prefigurative democtratic work by Dave Beck
  • How Radical can you be in formal education by Lindsay Simondet
  • Drama as a Learning Tool by Marion McPherson
  • Stories of Resilience and Resistance: developing a community work response to climate change and climate justice by Jamie Gordon
All this and more can be found here

If you are interested in submitting an article about practice, theory or other aspects of radical practice, please email us at editors@rcwjournal.org

23 Nov 2015

Next Issue of the Journal

You may have noticed that our website has been down recently, this was due to major technical problems which our service provider was experiencing. We are glad to say that things are now fully functional. However, it does mean that we will have to reschedule the date of the next issue.
One of the benefits of this is that you still have time to submit an article!
The new timeline is as follows:
Date for submission - 27th May 2016
Date of publication  - Mid June 2016

If you have an idea for an article about the theory and / or practice of community development just email us at editors@rcwjournal.org

5 Oct 2015

Final Call!

There is still time to submit articles, practice reports, discussion pieces, book reviews etc to the Radical Community Work Journal. 

Drop us an email if you are planning, or considering, to submit to RCW. For the next edition the submission deadline is November 30th. 

If you are thinking about writing for a future edition let us know your ideas. We are also happy to chat about possibilities.

Contact email

Sign up to the RCW Journal

The Editors

2 Oct 2015

Community Development posts at Glasgow University

There are currently 2 lecturing posts in Community Development being advertised at the University of Glasgow. Application from those outside of the UK are welcome.

If you are interested here are the details:

8 Apr 2015

April Update from RCW

With the first edition of the journal now published we are moving on to a range of new activities. 


The second edition of the RCW Journal will be published late 2015. We are open to ideas and submissions covering discussions of practice, academic debate, policy critique, book reviews and related reviews from exhibitions, conferences and events. If you are thinking about making a submission please contact the editors


As already reported the first seminar exploring what we may understand by radical practice was held at the University of Glasgow in February. The second in this rolling series of discussions will take place at the University of Dundee later in 2015. This is a rescheduling of the event planned for May due to the Margaret Ledwith event (see below).

We are in discussions to hold radical practice seminars in the USA to explore what radical practice means in a North American context. More news on this in due course.


Margaret Ledwith the much acclaimed academic and author on Community Development will be speaking at the University of Dundee on the 4th June. More details to follow.

RCW editors will be attending the Community Development Society conference in Lexington, Kentucky in July. If you are going to be there come and say hello. If you want to write for the journal we are happy to meet and discuss your ideas.


RCW have develop a three day participative training programme on Popular Education for Community Development. The programme explores the basic ideas of Paulo Freire, and how they can be applied in a community development context. In addition the programme links Freirean practice to understanding the nature of the spaces and the politics of everyday life within which people live their lives.

This programme is delivered on a commissioned basis. Contact us for further details


In addition to the Journal RCW have plans to publish a range of books and discussion papers linked to radical practice. The first of these is slated for 2016. If you have a publishing idea we are happy to talk to you.

13 Mar 2015

Music and Social Change

Sitting here in RCW Central and thinking about how music can bring people together for progressive action. Running through a list of songs that work in this way. First on the list  is Redemption Song. We thought about the Bob Marley original, then the Johnny Cash / Joe Strummer version but have gone with the Playing for Change version.

Do check out the Playing for Change website

The other song of the moment is Glory by John Legend and Common from the Selma movie. 50 years after Selma the drive to help minority communities vote continues. The song links Selma to Ferguson - we still have much to do.

Check out selmamarchon.com

And I thought I would add Chimes of Freedom. Not Bob Dylan who travelled the south of the USA singing this for Civil Rights groups, but Bruce Springsteen in East Berlin in 1988 a year before the wall came down..

1 Mar 2015

23 Feb 2015

Radical Practice Seminar - Glasgow

The first in a series of discussions exploring what we might mean by radical community work practice and the implications from this, was held at the University of Glasgow on Friday 20th February. The event was co-hosted by the Centre for Research and Action in Adult and Lifelong Learning (CRADALL) at the University of Glasgow, the University of Dundee and the Radical Community  Work Journal.

The discussion explored radical practice from the perspectives of Ideas and Action. The main themes emerging from the discussions were:


  • Collective Action
  • Challenge Culture
  • Support Networks
  • Economics
  • Personal Change
  • Learning - Reflection - Debate

  • Challenging Language
  • Social Justice
  • Models of Practice
  • Understanding Power
  • Critical Reflection

There is a follow up meeting to further explore these themes at The University of Dundee on 28th May. Details from Dave.Beck@glasgow.ac.uk

19 Feb 2015

First Edition of the Journal

We are very pleased to announce that the first edition of the Radical Community Work Journal in now available online

Main articles

In this edition we have five articles. The first Community Development: political process with radical intent by Jean McEwan-Short. This paper explores how community development can develop effective radical practice within a neoliberal context. The core argument is that effective practice is underpinned by clear and conscious application of values based on a belief in democracy and a striving for social justice. Values are of course a socially constructed entity, and the values you adopt and the resulting practice you deploy are of course ideologically driven. The paper explores how competing analyses of society and community development practice have played out and what we can learn from this.

The second article is Everyday Experience and Community Development Practice by Dave Beck and Rod Purcell. This paper explores the social construction of everyday life, how it is shaped by the conflict between how the spaces we live and work in are controlled and the individualised response to this to try and make life more livable. It goes on to explore a range of methods to understand the everyday experience, and how Freirean practice can help to reflect on daily life to enable a process of change to take place.

Thirdly, Fernando Fernandes and Andrea Rodriguez explore the “lost generation” and the challenges in working with marginalised groups. Learnt lessons from Brazilian Favelas. In this paper the authors focus on the lives of marginalised youngsters in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. The authors suggest that new practice approaches need to be developed that are based on reflexive prcocesses in which the practitioner challenges their own professional identity, values and interpretation of social reality.

In Opportunities and Challenges of Devolution:  Lessons and Warnings from the USA, Canada, and the United Kingdom Wade Rathke explores the ideals and reality of devolution in Scotland and the USA. The author points out that devolution offers the ideal of local control over political power with the potential for positive social change. Reflecting on the experience in the USA Rathke warns us that a range of outcomes from devolution are possible and that successful organising and promoting change can become less, rather than more likely. It is possible that devolution simply shifts power amongst the ruling elite rather than promotes the empowerment of the ordinary citizen.

Finally, Helen Sheil in Education has a critical role in community being the answer outlines a transferable model of community engagement developed from practice in Australia. The paper takes us through how the model was developed, the social and political context in which this took place, and discusses its impact on and benefits for participants.

Commentary from practice

In the first article Dharmendra Kumar discusses Street Vendors strive for dignified, safe and secure livelihood in India. The author provides a concise and informative summary of the importance of street vendors for Indian society and their vulnerability in the face of economic development. He outlines the result of successful campaigning including support from ACORN International.

In the second discussion Roz Adams reports on Creating a Compassionate Community of Parents in Gorbals – From Furious to Curious. This article explores a Bridging the Gap project in Glasgow that works to develop nonviolent communication to create quality relationships between people. In doing so it equips participants with the space and skills to build a more productive relationship with their children, and other aspects of their lives.

4 Feb 2015

First RCW event - 20th February

To coincide with the launch of the first edition of the Radical Community Work Journal, we are co-sponsoring the following event with the University of Dundee and the Centre for Research and Development in Adult and Lifelong Learning at the University of Glasgow..

Radical Practice: What Can Be Done?

20 Feb 2015, 10am – 4pm, Sir Alwyn Williams Building, 

The University of Glasgow

·      The workshop will explore the challenges facing community development practice in the UK if it is to effectively contribute to the empowerment of communities.
    The objective is to reflect on the current situation and identify routes towards a practice which is more effective at delivering sustainable social change.

Position Statements

When you register for this event submit a half page or so…no more than one page answering the following:
·      What do consider to be radical CD practice?
·      What are the biggest challenges that you face?
·      What could you (or us together) do to enhance your practice or practice across the board?

We will work with those statements in small groups to develop consensuses of understanding and starting points for action


Themes we may explore:
Role of formal and informal learning Models of organizing
Where are the leaders? Identity and Culture
In and Against (radical practice in non radical organization)


Each group will produce a Statement of Intent which will indicate their thinking on the issue and their ideas for future action

Recall Day

A recall workshop will take place on 28th May 2015 in Dundee to discuss progress and to plan the next steps.

Sign Up!

To book a place for this FREE event email Frances Gaughan Frances.Gaughan@glasgow.ac.uk – remember to attach your position statement.

First issue in 2 weeks.

Good news....

The first issue of the Radical Community Work Journal will go live on 20th February. There will be substantive articles on practice in the USA, UK, Australia, India and Brazil. There will also be practitioner commentary from India and Scotland.

Watch this space for further news.

16 Dec 2014

Oh Dear!

You may have noticed that the Radical Community Work Journal web site is not working just now. It's a technical problem that will be fixed soon. In the meantime if you want to contact us just send an email to: editors@rcwjournal.org

The first edition of the journal will be released in early February, and we have other exciting news for 2015 for you in early January.

Happy holidays to everyone....

29 Oct 2014

Update for November

It's a busy time for RCW as we put together our first issue. This should be on-line in early 2015. 

We have other exciting plans for 2015 including:

  • Co-publication of a book which explores issues around working in the community

  • Supporting a seminar at the University of Glasgow that explores the current issues surrounding the development of more radical models of practice. This is a 2 part part event. The first day on 20th February aims to unpack the issues that inhibit and promote radical practice. Unlike many such events we are looking for participants to leave with their own commitment to specific actions. In May there is a recall day where participants from day one share experiences of developing new forms of action. We hope this will become a continuing series of action and events. Our partners for the February event are the Centre for Research and Development at the University of Glasgow and Community Education (CRADALL) colleagues from the University of Dundee. Enquiries for this event to Rod Purcell at CRADALL

  • We are asking participants of the February seminar to produce short summary papers on their views regarding radical practice. RCW Journal will publish some of these papers.

More news soon......

17 Sep 2014

Update - September 2014

Things are moving ahead here at RCW. We have received a number of submissions for the first issue. There is still time to submit an article. Remember that it can be from practitioners, activist and academics. Or indeed anyone with an interest in radical community practice. If you have an idea you want to discuss email us at editors@rcwjournal.org

We will announce the launch date of the first issue shortly.

17 Mar 2014

Wanting to be involved?

In the run up to the launch of the Radical Community Work Journal in the autumn, we are looking for active participation from the field. There are three things you may wish to contribute:

1. We are looking for the first papers for the Journal and we are particularly interested in people writing about effective practice. Please see below for what we mean by radical practice. If you have an idea you want to discuss with us please email.

2. To coincide with the launch of the journal we are producing an edited book where a diverse range of thoughts on the current condition of practice, an exploration of what radical practice might be and how it may be achieved can take place.

Would you be interested in contributing to this book?  We are looking for 4,000 to 5000 words covering your views on:
  •         The current state of community work practice in your country
  •         The challenges facing community work
  •         Your view on what radical practice might be
  •         How radical practice can be achieved.

If you would like to contribute to the book please email us back. We are looking for submissions by the beginning of June.

We are contacting practitioners and academics in the USA, UK, Australia, South Africa and India to contribute to the book. However, we are interested in submissions from other countries. If you have suggestions of people who may be interested please let us know.

3. We also want to make available key exisiting publications on radical practice. If you have ownership of suitable material, or can point us in the direction of such publications please let us know. Clearly, we will only publish material that is in the public domain or where the rights holder grants us permission to do so. There can never be too many channels for distributing important work.

What do we mean by radical practice?

Of course radical practice can mean a variety of things and we want to explore as diverse range of ideas, approaches, methods and experiences as possible. For example it could include experiences from community organizing in the USA or elsewhere, Freirean or popular education practice from Asia, Africa or Latin America, new models of living and working as a response to austerity in western countries, developing social movements in the global south, a theoretical discussion of new ways of working or conceptualizing practice, or simply the experience in your community that adds something new