Research Profile

Biography

Micheál joined the School of Applied Social Studies in 2003. Prior to that he worked as a Garda (Irish police), at a variety of locations across Ireland, including 15 years (1988-2003) spent as a Community Garda at Bishopstown, Cork, where he was involved with a wide range of groups and organisations in the community.

While working as Community Garda at Bishopstown he returned to education as a mature student at UCC. He firstly completed the Diploma in Youth & Community Work (1993-1995), then the B.Soc.Sc.(youth & community work) (1995-1998) and M.Soc.Sc. (2001).

His role in the School of Applied Social Studies includes being the Course Director for the BSocSc (Youth & Community Work). He is also involved with course promotion and liaison work for that programme. He is also involved as a member of the Course Team for the MSocSc (Youth Work with Community Arts and Sports Studies). He has undertaken research on older people, volunteering, mentoring at second level, youth work, and is currently involved in research on mature students. His teaching interests include youth work, community work and critical perspectives on ageing.

He acts as External Examiner for the BSc (Hons) Community Youth Work programme at the University of Ulster (2013/2014 - 2016/2017). He continues to have a voluntary involvement with a number of community projects in the Cork area including the Bishopstown Senior Social Centre (Vice-Chair), Bishopstown Security of the Elderly (Chair), Bishopstown Dementia Friendly Community Initiative (Chair), and Bishopstown Community Association (member).

Research Interests

Youth Work; Mature Students; Older People

John Lennon once said that ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans’ and I can’t help thinking of strategy in those sort of terms; as implying that life is something that can be planned, organised, controlled and delivered. Strategy seems to imply that we are part of some greater plan, that there is some meaning and purpose to our activity; is there? It seems likely that the universe, the sun and the earth are finite, and we seem finite too; our life’s journey is to destination death. Pozzo, a character in Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, recognising this, declared that ‘They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more’(p. 57).

The concept of strategy seems to be inextricably linked to the idea of progress, described by Gray (2002) as being ‘only the longing for immortality given a techno-futurist twist’. Gray sees death and the knowledge of death as being ‘the central human predicament – that we must die and know about it’. He challenges our preoccupation with work and planning: ‘since play is beyond us, we have given ourselves over to a life of purposeless work instead’

 

Part of the problem lies in our unwillingness to accept death. Shakespeare’s character Claudio in Measure for Measure makes this point ‘The weariest and most loathed worldly life That age, ache, penury and imprisonment Can lay on nature is a paradise To what we fear of death’, while Bauman (2001), acknowledging our dilemma of being finite while wishing at the same time to deny it, comments that we ‘do all we can to make our natural limits a closely guarded secret’, and he quotes from Ernest Becker (1997):

        

         Everything that man does in his symbolic world is an attempt to deny and overcome his   

         grotesque fate. He literally drives himself into a blind obliviousness with social games,

         psychological tricks, personal preoccupations so far removed from the reality of his

         situation that they are forms of madness – agreed madness, shared madness, disguised and

         dignified madness, but madness all the same.

 

The very nature of youth and community work is contingent. It is more about process than product. This implies a difficulty in specifying exact outcomes – it is much more about the journey than the destination. It tends to respond to the issues of groups and communities as they arise, while retaining an overall mission of social justice, empowerment and anti oppressive practice.

My research strategy, as a result, has tended to gravitate towards trying to see and understand life from the perspective of those who might be seen as ‘outsiders’. I was probably almost always an ‘outsider’ myself, although the full realisation of this has only recently become evident to me. As a result my interests tend to lie with groups and individuals who might also be seen as ‘outsiders’, such as the old, youth, mature students and migrants. Engaging with these communities and groups involves, to some extent challenging the dominant paradigm, the paradigm which institutions such as the university often develop and promote.

My tendency has been to invest more in supporting such communities rather than researching them and my impact on the discipline has been more through my interaction with the undergraduate students and my support for community projects than in published research, although perhaps I need to find a way to be more successful in combining support and research to promote their stories to the world and so challenge the status quo and their excluding and oppressive attitudes. 

 

Publications

Book Chapters

 YearPublication
(2010)'The contemporary relevance of historical trends on Youth Work in Ireland'
O'hAodain, M; (2010) 'The contemporary relevance of historical trends on Youth Work in Ireland' In: Highways, Crossroads and Cul-de-sacs - Journeys into Irish Youth and Community Work. Bremen: Eoropaeischer Hochsschulverlag. [Details]
(2009)'Identifying Youth Work'
O'hAodain, M.; (2009) 'Identifying Youth Work' In: Social Professional Activity: The Search for a Minimum Common Denominator in Difference. New York: Nova Science. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

 YearPublication
(2008)'Challenges in the Education and Training of Youth and Community Workers: Experiences from the Republic of Ireland'
O'hAodain, M. and Forde, C. ; (2008) 'Challenges in the Education and Training of Youth and Community Workers: Experiences from the Republic of Ireland'. Youth and Policy, 97/98 :29-45 [Details]

Published Reports

 YearPublication
(2010)An Evaluation of the Traveller Mentoring Programme in Cork City 2009-2010.
O'Riordan, J; Twomey, P; O'hAodain, M; (2010) An Evaluation of the Traveller Mentoring Programme in Cork City 2009-2010. University College Cork, Cork. [Details]
(2009)An Evaluation of the Traveller Mentoring Programme, Cork City, 2008-2009.
O'Riordan, J., Twomey, P. and O'hAodain, M.; (2009) An Evaluation of the Traveller Mentoring Programme, Cork City, 2008-2009. University College Cork, Cork. [Details]
(2002)Supporting the Volunteer Community in Cork - Towards the Establishment of a Volunteer Bureau in Cork.
Staunton, D. and O'hAodain, M.; (2002) Supporting the Volunteer Community in Cork - Towards the Establishment of a Volunteer Bureau in Cork. YouthLinks Community Development Initiative, Cork. [Details]

Documentary

 YearPublication
(2008)Bishopstown: perspectives on the past, an eye to the future - a documentary film.
Micheal O'hAodain ; (2008) Bishopstown: perspectives on the past, an eye to the future - a documentary film. Documentary [Details]

Unpublished Reports

 YearPublication
(2001)Supporting the Volunteer Community in Cork - Towards the Establishment of a Volunteer Bureau in Cork.
Staunton, D. and O¿hAodain, M.; (2001) Supporting the Volunteer Community in Cork - Towards the Establishment of a Volunteer Bureau in Cork. Unpublished Reports [Details]

Professional Activities

Conference Contributions

 YearPublication
(2010)Pathways to Education Connections Conference 2010,
Twomey, P., O'Riordan, J. and O'hAodain, M.; (2010) You Can Do It! Evaluating the Cork Traveller Mentoring Programme. [Oral Presentation], Pathways to Education Connections Conference 2010, University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology , 28-APR-10 - 29-APR-10. [Details]
(2010)Pathways to Education Connections Conference 2010,
O'hAodain, M.; (2010) Outsiders! Exploring the experiences of some African students (with EU status) at University College, Cork. [Oral Presentation], Pathways to Education Connections Conference 2010, University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology , 28-APR-10 - 29-APR-10. [Details]
(2010)Meeting Youth Needs in the 21st Century: Youth Work, young people and youth policy conference,
O'hAodain, M.; (2010) 'Coffee Houses' and 'Crime Prevention': But it is youth work?. [Oral Presentation], Meeting Youth Needs in the 21st Century: Youth Work, young people and youth policy conference, University College Cork , 12-MAY-10 - 12-MAY-10. [Details]
(2008)New Perspectives on Retention in Further and Higher Education: 3rd Inter-University Colloquium,
Wilson, M., O'hAdhmhaill, F. and O'hAodain, M.; (2008) Access and retention: Developing a Learning Community. [Oral Presentation], New Perspectives on Retention in Further and Higher Education: 3rd Inter-University Colloquium, University of Limerick , 29-SEP-08 - 29-SEP-08. [Details]
(2008)New Perspectives on Retention in Further and Higher Education: 3rd Inter-University Retention Colloquium,
O'hAodain, M.; (2008) Outsider - an 'Outsider' staying the course on the B.Soc.Sc. (youth and community work) at U.C.C. [Oral Presentation], New Perspectives on Retention in Further and Higher Education: 3rd Inter-University Retention Colloquium, University of Limerick , 29-SEP-08 - 29-SEP-08. [Details]
(2007)Work with Young People: Advancing theory, policy and practice,
Forde, C. and O'hAodain, M.; (2007) Challenges in the Education and Training of Youth & Community Workers: Experiences from the Republic of Ireland. [Oral Presentation], Work with Young People: Advancing theory, policy and practice, DeMontfort University, Leicester , 14-JUN-07 - 15-JUN-07. [Details]
(2007)Work with Young People: Advancing theory, policy and practice,
O'hAodain, M.; (2007) Faith, Religion and Reason in Youth Work - The Struggle for Compatibility and Reconciliation. [Oral Presentation], Work with Young People: Advancing theory, policy and practice, DeMontfort University, Leicester , 14-JUN-07 - 15-JUN-07. [Details]
(2007)Directions in Youth Work in Ireland,
O'hAodain, M. ; (2007) Co-Organiser of Conference. [Conference Organising Committee Member], Directions in Youth Work in Ireland, UCC , 01-APR-07 - 01-APR-07. [Details]
(2006)William Thompson Lecture Series,
O'hAodain, M. ; (2006) Will the Real Youth Worker Please Stand Up?. [Oral Presentation], William Thompson Lecture Series, Department of Applied Social Studies, U.C.C , 13-MAR-06 - 13-MAR-06. [Details]
(2005)Community Partnership Network Seminar,
O'hAodain, M. and Whitty, S. ; (2005) Youth Work - Ethics, Core Values & Methodologies - a presentation. [Oral Presentation], Community Partnership Network Seminar, Thurles, Co. Tipperary , 29-JUN-05 - 29-JUN-05. [Details]
(2005)Quality in Youth Work, a National Youth Federation Conference,
O'hAodain, M. ; (2005) Youth Work and the recognition of the Discipline - a discussion paper. [Oral Presentation], Quality in Youth Work, a National Youth Federation Conference, UCC , 12-FEB-05 - 12-FEB-05. [Details]

Committees

 CommitteeFunctionFrom / To
Advisory Committee, Youth Studies Ireland Journal Member of Advisory Committee2008 /
Bishopstown Alarms for the Elderly Chairperson1998 / 1899
Bishopstown Senior Social Centre Vice Chairperson Former Chairperson(2000-2004)2000 / 1899
Bishopstown Community Association Director (Former Secretary)1990 / 1899
Bishopstown Adult Education Network Member2002 / 2003
City of Cork VEC Adult Community Education Forum Member2002 / 2003
College of St. Mark and St. John,Plymouth (Affiliated to the University of Exeter) Extern Examiner for M.A. in Youth & Community Work2004 / 2007

Employment

 EmployerPositionFrom / To
College of St. Mark and St. John, Plymouth, UK. External Examiner01-JUN-04 / 30-DEC-99
An Garda Siochana Garda19-JUL-72 / 31-JAN-03

Education

 YearInstitutionQualificationSubject
1995University College Cork DiplomaYouth & Community Work
2001University College Cork M.Sc.unknown
1998University College Cork Bachelor of Social Scienceyouth & community work

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School of Applied Social Studies

Staidéar Sóisialta Feidhmeach

William Thompson House, Donovan's Road, Cork, Ireland.

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