The egg is pounding on the door
By Mark E. Taylor
“Marker” is a regular column in Coyote, hoping to encourage debate, questions and a certain regard.
The title of this “Marker” is roughly translated from the well-known Turkish slang: Yumurta kapıya dayandı. It means, basically, that something is urgently about to happen or needs to happen.And, of course, eggs in themselves are symbolic in many ways: what is going to come out of the egg? Does it already have a name? How will it develop and grow?
Coyote through the ages
As one of the key communication organs of the EU-CoE youth partnership (and one of its first eggs, indeed!) almost throughout its history, Coyote has covered important issues and some of the main youth events at European level. Even though the first “partnership” concerned only training and curriculum development, a quick glance through the online archive of everything since issue #0 shows how the magazine has always encouraged dialogue between practice, research and policy. It has certainly come a long way since the youth partnership management requested a small team of four to produce a magazine to be called “educational link” back in 1999! (Interestingly, what would become known as the “T-Kit” series was originally to be called “Educational Binders” – also found to be a little unexciting by the team responsible at the time!). Of their time, but often timeless, it is really worth going back through the Coyote pool of articles.
Coyote readers going through changes
Nowadays as the website proclaims: “Coyote is a magazine addressed to trainers, youth workers, researchers, policy makers and all those who want to know more about the youth field in Europe”. Sounds quite impressive, doesn’t it? Spreading a wider net than its original target audience of relevant organisations, institutions and trainers. Still, I get the feeling that one of those urgent issues to be discussed more is that of the dangers of categorisation of people, especially in simplistic ways. Recently Dan Moxon opened up a debate on the Book of Face about just that! (Dan was involved in carrying out a research project collecting voices of young people which led to the construction of the European Youth Goals together with Ondřej Bárta). So, he’s “a youth researcher”, right? Yes & No!
I'm finding it increasingly limiting to be described as a youth researcher in some settings, and a youth worker in others (maybe even mistakenly as a youth policy maker in others). It seems that all of these terms place a box around what activities it is assumed I engage in and support, and come with a lot of preconceptions and expectations that aren't always accurate. In reality I try to be somewhere between undertaking research, informing policy work and utilising youth work practice. I need a new term.......any suggestions.....can I be a triangular worker?
Dan Moxon, (19 February 2019), Facebook post – reprinted with permission.
How do we manage to describe people and their different hybrid capacities in a way which opens minds, rather than closing them down?
Spiffy through the ages
Although Spiffy, Coyote’s mascot, had a distinctly masculine identity at the beginning, they became more gender fluid as time went on! They also went through a whole range of adventures with the concerns of trainers well to the fore. Certainly they do arouse some emotions. In a Coyote readership survey a few years ago there was a small minority calling for Spiffy to be imprisoned and even cremated. These fraught souls were massively outnumbered by those who loved the designs and were happy to see such serious matters (like non-formal education or gamification) woven into a rich tapestry of light-hearted mini stories. It may well be that we will see Spiffy return in an increasingly wise fashion in the future!
Form, fauna, fun, function and filosophy
As you can tell from a glance through the archive, Coyote’s three editors each had a concern to make the magazine attractive to the eye as well as having stimulating written content. One of the distinctive features has been the presence of different animal illustrations. A non-exhaustive search results in all sorts of figures being found: ape, snake, lions, rabbit, chickens, egg, sheep, goldfish, bear, tiger and sparrow. Special mention must go to our friend the penguin who appears in often the most unlikely places and pieces. Which one is your favourite? Any you would like to suggest for future inclusion?
Sounds and reflections
Aurora (2019), Full Performance, (live on KEXP)
R.E.M. (1987), It’s the end of the world as we know it , I.R.S.
Marc Ribot (2018), Songs of Resistance, ANTI-Records
Scott Walker (1995), Tilt, Drag City Records