I’ll preface this post by mentioning I have a stinking headache at the moment – but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot to say!

Anyone in and around London, the Social Work Action Network which describes itself as ‘a radical campaigning network within social work’ has a conference this coming Saturday at the London Metropolitan University on 4th July between 9.30an – 4.30pm.

They describe themselves as

a loose network of social work practitioners, academics, students and social welfare service users united in their concern that social work activity is being undermined by managerialism and marketisation, by the stigmatisation of service users and by welfare cuts and restrictions.

It sounds very tempting and registration is still open, indeed, it seems that it will be taken on the day.

I had thought to go and still may although I hope it doesn’t sound too negative when I say that from where I am at the moment, in the middle of one of the busiest weeks I can remember for a long time, to then attend a conference all day Saturday might be a bit too much for me all in one week.

I’m generally very interested in the aims and goals though. I have been following (from afar) the scope of SWAN and it seems to me, to be somewhat focussed on academic social work which is not always as closely tied to the front line work or those practising as they might want to appear to be. It’s much easier to be radical in a library.

To be fair, they do have a practitioner speaking on Saturday and it does sound interesting so I’d like to be more wholehearted but feel I might just have to see how I feel on the day..

I do want our profession to garner greater respect and to be more proactive in taking those reins back from the naysayers. I believe strongly in the values of social justice and feel it is important for us to stand united together. I just need a bit of brain-recharge time at the weekend too sometimes.

In any case, I’ll be interested in any feedback.

4 thoughts on “Conference

    • Um.. arranged a couple of conferences at universities.. written lots of articles about how things should be.. I might have to explore their site further!

  1. Was just that for them to describe themselves explicitly as ‘a radical campaigning network within social work’ begs the question, radical in what ways?

  2. Generally Radical Social Work is about grass-roots community-centred work and challenging paradigms of class (that’s my basic and somewhat fudgey recollection from university) – it emerged from the 1970s and remains beloved of university lecturers. Without wanting to be too cynical, while having worthwhile aims, it doesn’t really address the frontline practice.
    So producing academic papers about how awful the systems are is an easy way of promoting radical social work. I am a little cynical although genuinely think there are some useful points to take. I sometimes get a little frustrated that the ‘academic’ social work is so very detached from the practice.
    More seriously, I think social work education would be richer if there were more people with more recent front line experience teaching it.. but that’s slightly off the subject!
    I’m not even sure if I answered your question now…

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