Anu Gretschel

Anu Gretschel

Senior Researcher


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Anu Gretschel works as a senior researcher in the Finnish Youth Research Network. Her special interests are evaluation in youth work and youth participation.

In 2018, Gretschel is working on several research projects:  

"Young people not in education, employment nor training and their views of the future, democracy and public services – a Youth Barometer special sample" is funded by the Foundation for Municipal Development, the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southwestern Finland and the Prime Minister’s Office.

The 'Youth Wiki' is Europe's online encyclopaedia of national youth policies. Gretschel is composing the Finnish material for Youth Wiki with Karla Malm. The database was first published in December 2017 and will continue to be updated over the course of several years.

When it comes to developing the evaluation of youth work, that measure is carried out by the Game Time project, organised by cities Oulu and Tampere. The project offers dynamic group-work based coaching for young people who are outside of education and training, with concern to their strengths in the gaming industry, regardless of how these skills are acquired - whether through informal or non-formal practices, or as a part of a formal education. The role of the researcher is to assist in finding out what kind of impact the programme has had from young people’s perspective.  

Equally as important is the two year Erasmus+ co-funded  ENRYP - European Network of Regional and local Youth Platforms development project dealing with local and regional youth participation in different European countries. Researchers Anu Gretschel and Tomi Kiilakoski are included in this process as supportive experts.

Gretschel's research career started in 1996 in youth centres where young people were offered the opportunity to develop their living environment. Her doctoral thesis 'Municipality as an engagement arena for young people' (including an abstract in English) was published in 2002 in the University of Jyväskylä. Gretschel’s interest in youth participation, youth work, welfare policy, action research and public services evaluation has taken her to a variety of contexts from local to virtual environments and European-wide co-operation.

Three recent publications concerning evaluation in youth work include:

1. The Finnish, Slovenian and Estonian Youth Centres project co-funded by Erasmus+ 'Boost your possibilities!', see the final report from April 2017 'Studying the Impact of International Youth work.'

2. Guidelines for defining and evaluating the youth affairs sector (with Pirjo Junttila-Vitikka and Anne Puuronen)

3. 'Successful model for multidisciplinary work with young people - An evaluation of the impacts of the `Everyone goes to school project.' (with Noora Hästbacka). The latter two include an abstract in English.

Youth Participation has also been an important theme in Gretschel’s publications, such as 'Municipalities of children and young people' and 'Lessons in Democracy' (both in Finnish, edited with Tomi Kiilakoski) and an article in English: 'Whose arena the EU youth policy is?', (Young; republished in Finnish Youth Research Anthology 1999-2014) (with Sofia Laine).

Researcher profile in Finnish

Profile in Researchgate

Profile in Academia.Edu



Publications in English


Gretschel, Anu (in editing) From Groups to a Network – Using the Speech Act Theory in the Development of Cross-sectoral Youth Policy Measures in Local Level in Finland. Tulossa teokseen Dunja Potocnik, Marti Taru et al. (eds) ’Cross Sectoral Youth Policy’. Council of Europe.

Cooper, Sue & Gretschel, Anu (in editing) Evaluating Youth Work in its Contexts. Tulossa teokseen Pam Alldred, Fin Cullen, Kathy Edwards and Dana Fusco (eds.) The SAGE Handbook of Youth Work Practice. SAGE.

Juha Nieminen & Anu Gretschel (in editing) The Social in Youth Work: Excerpts from Finnish Youth Work Policy and History. Tulossa teokseen Williamson, Howard et al. (eds.) Connections, Disconnections and Reconnections – the Social Dimension of Youth Work, in History and Today. The History of Youth Work in Europe 6. Council of Europe. 


Kiilakoski, Tomi & Gretschel, Anu (2014) Challenging Structured Participation Opportunities. In Perspectives on Youth: European Youth Partnership Series under the topic “2020 – what do YOU see.” Partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe in the field of youth.

Gretschel, Anu & Kiilakoski, Tomi & Laine, Sofia & Levamo, Tiina-Maria & Mäntylä, Niina & Raisio, Harri (2013) Report on New Ways of Youth Participation, Spesifically in Local and Regional Levels. In co-operation with The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and Partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe in the field of youth or Finnish Youth Research Network. Helsinki: Nuorisotutkimusverkosto/-seura.  (Published also in Russian)

Feldmann-Wojtachnia, Eva & Gretschel, Anu & Helmisaari, Vappu & Kiilakoski, Tomi & Matthies, Aila-Leena & Meinhold-Henschel, Sigrid & Roth, Roland & Tasanko, Pia (2010) Youth participation in Finland and Germany. Status analysis and data based recommendations. Finnish Youth Research Network, Bertelsmann Stiftung und Forschungsgruppe Jugend & Europa am CAP, Ludwig-Maximili­ans-Universität München. also in Russian)

Laine, Sofia & Gretschel, Anu (2009) Whose arena the EU youth policy is? Young participants’ involvement and influence in EU youth policy from their own points of view: Case of EU Presidency Youth Event in Hyvinkää, Finland. Young 17 (2), 191–215. Republished in Lynne Chisholm & Siyka Kovacheva & Maurizio Merico (eds.): European Youth Studies – Integrating research, policy and practice. Triangles Series, M.A. EYS Consortium, Innsbruck, 179-193. Republished in (2016) Tommi Hoikkala & Meri Karjalainen (eds.) Finnish Youth Research Anthology 1999-2014