How We Got to Write the Bid

Our story began when a group of boys came into the youth centre one day. Kate (co-author) and Marcus (youth worker) were chatting. The boys began to be a little bit aggressive and also mention some involvement they had in Far Right activities. I was wondering about doing something on fishing and asked the boys for help. Immediately the group became calm and helpful and started to create a shopping list from their own experience of going fishing with uncles and fathers, for what we would need, which we immediately wrote into the bid as follows in the Justification for Resources section:

Other Directly Incurred Costs:

A ?1000 provision has been included for the purchase of fishing tackle to be used during the situated encounters, for use by participants. This sum includes floats (?12), poles (?70), rods (?50), reels (?30), nets (?20), landing nets (?15), keep nets, bait (?50), hooks (?12), a box (?60), keep net (?15), whips (?15), fishing licenses (?35) licenses for under 16’s (?5) and shot (?15) for 6 young people.

This bid was considered at an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) panel meeting and the money was secured. The young people had helped write an AHRC bid. When young people’s skills and expertise are repositioned and valued, they are able to offer things to society. In our fishing project we could look at ideas about hope, resilience, purpose and the meaning of life, but locate these ideas through the experience of going fishing together. Fishing can provide a way of being that calms young people down, and, as Marcus said, ‘they throw away their cigarettes and don’t answer their mobile phones’. The experience of fishing is profoundly calming, as Jean (youth worker) and Kirsty (young person) describe here:

Jean: I can’t describe the tranquillity that comes over you when you sit on that seat. Whatever you are thinking, whatever is bothering you prior to sitting on that bank, it goes that way, and you are sat here, and it is you are in this big bubble...

Kirsty: You just go into your own world.

Jean: Proper special bubble with your own thoughts, ideas, no pressure. I don’t like being in large groups of people. We are just normal people who see things differently. There is no pressure from people, nowt at all, if you catch one it’s a bonus. The school day is so structured. In fishing there is no structure, you just plonk your stuff. So do you think it is the freedom of no structure and no pressure? Total me time?

Here, Kirsty and Jean describe the experience of fishing as being in a ‘bubble’ and providing an unpressured space, that is ‘me time’. It provides a sense of tranquillity in a crowded world.

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