College's 'brave spaces' get international audience

Nick Koral, Bradford College's lead for the safeguarding and wellbeing of young people

A youth work expert from Bradford College has shared the college’s approach to minimising the risk of radicalisation with an international audience.

Nick Koral, who is the college’s lead for the safeguarding and wellbeing of young people, spoke at a conference in Albania.

The conference, titled “Building Young People’s Resilience Against Violent Radicalisation”, was held in Tirana, the country’s capital, and was attended by youth work professionals from 19 countries. The Bradford College academic had been invited to present his paper ‘Brave Spaces and difficult conversations’ by the organisers SALTO-YOUTH stands for Support, Advanced Learning and Training Opportunities for Youth, which works within the Erasmus+ Youth programme, the EU programme for education, training, youth and sport. 

He spoke about the importance of having 'Brave Spaces' in educational settings where students can speak freely about difficult and sensitive topics that they may not feel comfortable discussing in traditional classroom settings or formal sessions. At Bradford College, the Brave Space is its Student Base, which is led by qualified and experienced youth workers as opposed to teachers or tutors.

The Base’s work is in addition to and enhances the work already delivered to students through the curriculum around the government’s anti-radicalisation strategy known as Prevent.

He said: “I talked about how Brave Spaces in educational settings can complement the Prevent work that is embedded in the curriculum.

“I argued that some young people do not have the confidence or choose not to engage in dialogue in traditional classroom settings and need other spaces to do that.

“Brave Spaces provide a haven to engage in difficult and risky conversations where respectful challenge and can be applied.  The Brave Space is flexible, people-centred and non-judgemental, providing an opportunity for the reframing of behaviours, attitudes and beliefs in a sported space. It is my belief that they are often more appropriate spaces that enable difficult and challenging reflection.

“The conference provided a great opportunity to share with colleagues from across Europe the experience and best practice we continue to develop at Bradford College.”