Today we celebrate the end of an era. Some four years ago a small group of us – Sheila Allison, Sue Headley, Herb Seewang, Marta Guerra and I – decided to respond to the federal government de-funding of Youth Studies Australia (YSA) by taking matters into our own hands. We formed a not-for-profit organisation, the Centre for Applied Youth Research (CAYR), as a platform to publish what would become the Journal of Applied Youth Studies (JAYS).
The impetus for this engagement was our strong belief that an applied journal in youth studies was an absolute necessity – not only for Australia, but for our region generally. YSA had been published continuously for some 34 years. We wanted to plug the gap left by its demise. We simultaneously wanted to reinforce certain key values and principles that had underpinned the work of both the Australian Clearinghouse for Youth Studies and Youth Studies Australia. Accordingly, our first editorial stated that:
The Journal of Applied Youth Studies is dedicated to description and analysis that will provide theoretically informed interpretation of youth issues, youth work and community development. Our vision is to publish articles across the practice–research–policy continuum and to be interdisciplinary in orientation. While our initial focus is on the Australasia, Pacific and South East Asia regions, our aim is to be truly international in scope, contributions and coverage. However, we see ‘international’ very much from the perspective of ‘Southern Theory’ – that is, a viewpoint that privileges the voices, interests, needs and insights of the vulnerable, the marginal and those living and working ‘on the periphery’ wherever they might geographically be located.
JAYS will include research-based and/or practice-informed analysis of young people and youth work, and present youth issues and research in an accessible and reader-friendly fashion while retaining scholarly integrity. This is our mission and our promise.
Our team is motivated by a passion to uphold and extend the basic human rights of children and young people, wherever they live, and always from the vantage of social and ecological justice. We are similarly concerned with acknowledging the situational pressures and limits on practitioners as they engage with young people and to providing a forum for discussion of key issues pertinent to their work. We hope to demonstrate our commitment to young people and those who work with young people by ensuring that ‘context’ is front and centre in explanations of youth-relevant phenomena and youth work-related interventions. This, too, is our mission and our promise.
Since this time, we have published two volumes, comprising nine issues of JAYS. This has been a labour of love, and certainly labour it was. During this time, the solicitation of articles, editing, copyediting, layout and design, accounts, and correspondence have been handled largely on a volunteer basis. Moreover, to help garner material as well as finance the publication, we have organised an international symposium and a workshop on working with refugee children and young people, undertaken consultancy research for the Asia Institute Tasmania, and donated considerable time and money into the JAYS project.
Over time, Marta left to pursue other work, and Kate Gross joined the team. We tried to entice others to engage in CAYR and JAYS activities, but with little effect. It was “our show” whether we liked it or not. The Asia Institute Tasmania came on board as co-publisher of the journal, along with CAYR, an arrangement that gave us a shared office, meeting space and administrative support. Nonetheless, our efforts to produce the journal and expand its reach were circumscribed by our lack of resources and additional personnel. The team was getting fatigued.
In recent times, we have approached several publishers with the proposal that they take over the running of the journal. At the time of writing this editorial, we are in negotiations with a prestigious institution and research centre about handing things over to them. It is our hope that JAYS will be able to continue into the future. One way in which this can occur is with present materials being made available to all, in perpetuity.
Therefore, on behalf of all of us currently at JAYS I am pleased to say that our parting gift is to re-publish all four issues of volume 1, and all five issues of volume 2, as “open access”’ articles and content. We are proud of what we have achieved and how we have worked together as a collective over the past few years. This is our legacy and we hope that everyone who accesses JAYS from here on in benefits from the articles and commentaries that we produced during our time at the helm. Farewell and take care.