Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Please note that all times are shown in the time zone of the conference. The current conference time is: 22nd Jan 2022, 01:27:41pm EET

Session Overview
Date: Tuesday, 15/June/2021
11:00am - 5:00pmStudents' Forum: Interdisciplinary Creative Methods in Social Work
Location: Parallel Session 1
Kersti Kriisk
Reeli Sirotkina
11:00-12.00 Workshop 1: Community-based Approaches and Social Work 12:00-13:00 Workshop 2: Benefits of Animals and Nature in Social Work 13:00-13:30 Lunch break 13:30-14:30 Workshop 3: Inertia of Movement in Active Social Work 14:30-15:30 Workshop 4: Creative ICT Solutions and Social Work 15:30-15:45 Break 15:45- 16:45 Panel discussion: The future of interdisciplinary creative methods in social work 16:45-17:00 Closing words
WORKSHOP 1: Community-based Approaches and Social Work In addition to traditional social work models, considering the current situation in the world, there is a critical need for creative community-based approaches. Community empowerment is a process that highlights the resources and inner strengths of each individual while providing opportunities to support and help each other within the community. In the community-based approach workshop, we will focus on the different opportunities and good practices in various countries that empower the community and its members. Different examples that promote mutual assistance will be introduced in the workshop, as there is a very clear need today for such methods in order to provide support and assistance to every member of the community.
WORKSHOP 2: Creative ICT Solutions and Social Work Modern times require new skills and smart approaches. Already in 2020, industrial surveys indicated that 90% of all jobs require an elementary command of ICT. Estonia has set itself a target of 95% computer literacy by 2023, and large investments are being made into renewing the technologies available in schools, improving internet accessibility and providing digital books. At the same time, providing quality services and support to the public in a cost-effective manner remains the biggest challenge in the social sphere. Smart technologies and automated work processes can be used in a variety of settings from client security, wellbeing and entertainment to easing workloads and optimising efficiency. This would allow more time for the most important things – being human and being there for your clients! To thrive in the global digitalization race, Europe must quicken the pace at which new technologies are employed and widen the spectrum of activities in which they are applied. In this workshop, we will take a closer look at new technologies and their applications in the social sphere, with insights from specialists in the field and good practices from Estonia and around the world. The last section of the workshop will provide the participants the opportunity to debate the possibilities and limitations of ICT with our panel of specialists, practitioners and academia.
WORKSHOP 3: Inertia of Movement in Active Social Work In this world, we are surrounded by sounds of nature and voices of people. Similarly, we are surrounded by constant movement, our vital motion through the cycle of life. Most people have some awareness regarding its basic concepts, which are not completely understood, but we can learn their importance and practice them. We realize now that music, dance and movement are very important for maintaining our mental health. Thus, we are glad to introduce you to some interdisciplinary methods in social work. The project is aimed at all age groups at various points in the cycle of life. Our mission is to show how to use music therapy and movement and dance in social work practice. For that, we are preparing two thematic workshops involving students from various countries and specialists working in Estonia. Each workshop includes overviews of various methods, discussion on the topic and narration of experiences by Estonian experts in their respective fields. The methods we plan to use are empowerment, encouragement and therapeutic creativity. These are important for our project because creative methods are not generally considered to be science-based, even though they can be very effective. Some of the examples of Estonian music therapy and movement and dance approaches in social work are as follows: Estonian Music Therapy; Tai; Autism Movement Therapy; Dance therapy. Through the social work pre-conference workshops, we intend to bring into focus several theories and methods. Our effort is to create and convey a better understanding and development of interdisciplinary methods used in social work in general. Participants can explore our ways and work through problem-solving processes. To confirm the effectiveness of our methods, we seek help of international research and studies and other academic sources. We have structured these workshops in three stages – presentations by group members and, hopefully, by international students, along with specialist comments/discussion around spoken topics.
WORKSHOP 4: Benefits of Animals and Nature in Social Work Social work is traditionally human-centred in practice, even though for many the bond between humans and animals and nature is the most fundamental of daily-lived experiences. This workshop intends to reflect on the predominant humanistic basis of social work and to consider the growing evidence for developing a wider perspective to incorporate the human–animal–nature connection into social work practice. The workshop is divided into two main themes – animals in therapy and nature hikes (including virtual travelling). It is scientifically proven that animal therapy programs can improve motor skills and the movements of joints, increase verbal communication and self-esteem, lessen depression, decrease boredom and reduce anxiety. Another excellent way to reduce stress and anxiety is to take up hiking to let your mind ‘switch off’ and just listen to the sounds of nature and let yourself relax. Our goal in this workshop is to give an introductory presentation on the above activities, analyze and give real-life examples from existing practices in Estonia. We are eager to explore new opportunities and look forward to hearing examples from various countries. We will end the workshop with a panel discussion that will focus on ‘Why Companion Animals are Beneficial during COVID-19?’ in which we will be joined by both students and working professionals.
Parallel Session 1 
12:00pm - 3:00pmEarly Career Researchers Network: Social Work+ in a Globalised World
Location: Parallel Session 2
Sandra Holtgreve
Nina Westerholt
Social Workers are challenged to find (often) local answers to complex global problems. As we witnessed not only with the CoVid 19 pandemic but also climate change, political crisis forcing people into migration and displacement or genderised and racialised violence, it has become evident that crises are not restricted by borders. Respectively, our special interest group intends to provide an academic forum for young researchers on how Social Work and its related fields (such as the Applied Cultural Sciences; Critical Diversity Studies; Educational Sciences a.o.) relate to the intersection of the profession’s purposes and global processes. The SIG opens a space for early career researchers to meet peers, share their work and produce knowledge on this topic together. Possible ways forward in this regard are (a) explore theoretical foundations from globalisation, world society, post-/decolonial studies, and transnationalisation (a.o.) for Social Work; (b) collect empirical research examples about the challenges and impacts of global entanglements for Social Work; (c) reflect upon methods of Social Work and develop suitable approaches for Social Work research in these settings, (d) research on innovative teaching practices to equip students with competences to address social problems, and (e) find new ways to look at the emergence of the profession from a global history. Our focus lies on the exchange and development of collaborative research: We want to elaborate innovative perspectives to study how our globally connected world shapes the profession and discipline, and inquire about coherent theories and methods. Subject areas that nurture this intersection are (a.o.): Migration, mobility, citizenship and border regimes; Anti-Racism and intersectional forms of violence (e.g. racialised gender violence); Post- and decolonial studies, social movements and resistance; Inter-, transnational and transcultural forms of society and community development; Global crises and Anthropocene (environmental degradation/food supply/climate).
Parallel Session 2 
Date: Wednesday, 16/June/2021
10:00am - 11:00amOpening Ceremony: Welcome to ECSWE2021!
Opening Ceremony speakers: Local host, Chair Prof. Karmen Toros, Tallinn University TLU Vice-Rector, Katrin Niglas Minister, Ministry of Social Affairs – Signe Riisalo EASSW President, Assoc. Prof. Teresa Bertotti, University of Trento IASSW President, Prof. Annamaria Campanini, University Milano Bicocca ESWRA Chair, Assoc. Prof. Alessandro Sicora, University of Trento IFSW Europe, Dr Rory Truell, IFSW Secretary-General Power us, Prof. Peter Beresford, Brunel University London
11:00am - 11:45amKeynote Speech 1: The Necessity of Critical Theory and Pedagogy: Revisiting the Purpose of Social Work Education During Times of Uncertainty, Prof. Christine Morley
Session Chair: Karmen Toros
11:45am - 1:15pmPaper Presentation Session 1: Social Work Practice and Crisis Work/Management
Location: Parallel Session 1
Session Chair: Andrés Arias Astray
Parallel Session 1 

The map of social group work in Spain. Group initiatives provided by the registered social workers.

Andrés Arias Astray1, Yolanda Domenech2, Neus Caparrós3

1Faculty of Social Work. Complutense University, Spain; 2Department of Social Work. Alicante University. Spain.; 3Department of Law. University of La Rioja

In this piece of work we analyze the initiatives of social work with groups led by professionals of social work associated with the 37 Spanish professional associations of social work. With the help of the Spanish General Council of Social Work, an online survey was distributed in which 1588 social workers participated. 367 completed and valid responses were obtained in which participants reported on the group projects they had led or have had noticed. The results show that the practice of social work with groups in Spain is infrequent, fragmented and not continuous over time, and that informative groups and non-systematic practices abound. Few professionals have received adequate practical training to plan, carry out and evaluate social group work projects in a satisfactory manner. The consequences of all of this are explored and a series of recommendations are offered with some keys about the modification of the curriculum and teaching necessary for schools of social work to contribute to the improvement of the future practice of social work with groups.

Impact Assessment of the COVID-19 Outbreak on Albanian social workers' practice

Giulia Mascagni, Erika Cellini, Giorgia Bulli

Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche e Sociali (DSPS), Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy

The pandemic has highlighted the centrality of the principle of equity in all life spheres, as well as the increased need to protect fundamental rights: the right to health, to a social-economic well-being, to education and to access to social services. New democracies with underdeveloped Welfare systems experienced major problems in granting these fundamental rights during the current crisis. In the Balkan region, Albania was the first country to introduce lockdown measures (Dyrmishi 2020). The spread of the pandemic contributed to emphasizing the long-lasting problem of poor governance of social protection system in the country (Dauti et al. 2020) and revealed the need to reinforce the social and professional role of Social Workers.

The paper presents the first results of an action research that aims at investigating the self-perception of Albanian Social Workers during the Covid-19 emergency and at reflecting on the urgent need to invest in their professional education and in the promotion of their role in the Albanian society. It will do so by: i) presenting the results of 15 in depth interviews and of 6 remote focus groups with Social Workers of the municipalities of Tiran, Shkoder and Elbasan (planned between January and March 2021; ii) reflecting on the need for a co-construction of a new professional awareness, also in the light of the emerging literature on the challenges of the Social Work in Albania (Dauti et al. 2020).

The research has been carried out within the activities of the Erasmus+ Capacity Building Project T@sk Towards Increased Awareness, Responsibility and Shared Quality in Social Work in Albania (2017-2020). The project supported a reinforcement of the Higher Education Institutions in Social Work in Albania and promoted a professional networking between social, political and education stakeholders. The data presented in the paper highlights that this investment is even more urgent at times of crisis. A widely recognized role of Social Workers, along with a growing level of professionalization and an increasing investment in their professional skills, is a precondition to face the current Covid-19 crisis and new challenges that might affect the Albanian society in the future.

Social services in Pandemic era. Voices from Italian frontier social work professionals

Maurizio Esposito, Elena Addessi

University of Cassino e Lazio Meridionale, Italy

In a very short time the infection from SARS-CoV-2 spreads throughout the world, Italy is reached on February 21, 2020. The pandemic has significant health and social consequences as it disrupts daily life and collective identity by generating a fracture in the balance of each person. Therefore, the Social Services in Italy have activated initiatives to support and respond to the needs of frail people; they have strengthened already existing professional experiences by modifying, in a flexible way, their methods of intervention in a social innovation path.

In this paper, we will present the first results of semi-structured interviews carried out with social workers from central Italy, from the health sector and local authorities, on the issues of their professional experience in the pandemic era, with specific focus on the organizational side and on the risk management issues.

Among the most interesting results, the collected narratives have identified the social workers who, like small silent spiders, have slowly but inexorably woven the web that today allows people to ensure the continuity of emergency interventions. By reorganizing their services, they have implemented innovative forms of closeness to individuals, families and the local community by creating and strengthening social networks. In networking, social workers have a connecting role in creating links and synergies between various formal and informal resources in order to promote the well-being of the person. The modus operandi of social workers is constantly evolving, promoters of the change process, and architects of new best practices that shape, with new professional awareness, the social and historical context marked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Catastrophe intervention and the approach of social work

Carlos Rocha, Maria Inês Amaro

ISCTE-IUL, Portugal

Throughout the human history, catastrophe and sceneries of exception, nature-based as well as (more and more) human-based, have been a constant presence in the life of societies. Today, facing the impacts of such events, we might understand ours as a risk society. These risks are connected and have a different impact according to specific vulnerabilities and social inequalities, requiring a specific intervention from social workers.

Not until recently, social intervention have filled a space in this field as a response to the growing global risks and its impacts over polity, economy and society. These context poses new challenges to social intervention, regarding the uncertainty and the unpredictability of the events causing suffering and needs upon people.

Within such a context, it gains relevance the development of a sound knowledge base to frame the social intervention approach. As it is widely accepted today that different agents of civil protection should be considered to act in sceneries of exception, it makes sense the development of a framework for the role of social intervention at this regard, its contributions and potentialities.

The presentation aims at establishing the steps of social intervention in context of catastrophe, identifying phases and designing the cycle of catastrophe (prevention-preparation-response-recovery) in order to contribute to a model of action in this field.

To this end, an analysis of the existent legal frameworks and organizational structures in this area will be carried out for understanding the field of professional work, how it is performed, which constraints and strengths are identified, what are the aims of the intervention processes and what kind of problems are tackled.

A series of interviews will be conducted and analysed with social workers in this field, other professional actors and decision-makers. We expect to conclude with clues for education and training for this new important field of intervention for social workers.

Stress-Related Coping Strategies as Contributing Factors to Turnover Intentions among Social Work Student Supervisors: A Longitudinal Study

Anat Freund1, Galit Guez1, Amit Zriker1,2

1University of Haifa, Israel; 2Bar-Ilan University

Objectives: Social work profession is based upon theoretical studies and practical experiences. The literature shows a widespread recognition of the importance of the supervision process in the professional socialization of social workers, and research have shown the main role of supervision and the skills required to implement it. Despite it, there is a high supervisors' turnover rate each year, approximately 15%-20% every year in Israel. The highest dropout rate was found to occur at the end of the first year of supervision. This phenomenon is encouraging academic institutions to invest resources to identify, recruit and train new supervisors. This reality has led to a situation where the quality of supervision is threatened by the high supervisors’ dropout rate. Therefore, this study intent to examine stress-related coping strategies as contributing factors to turnover intentions among social work student supervisors in their first year of supervision.

Method: A total of 168 social work supervisors in 10 academic institutions in Israel, during their first year of supervision, answered questionnaires at the beginning (T1) and the end (T2) of their supervisors’ training course.

Results: Findings indicate that the most significant predictor of supervisors' turnover intentions at T2 was turnover intentions at T1. This interesting finding shows that the supervision course does not necessarily address the issue of long-term commitment to supervision, and it is crucial to pay more attention to this issue. Furthermore, we also found a significant contribution of organizational climate at T1 and of role overload at T2.

Conclusions: The main concern is that the basic forming of beneficial or positive attitudes among supervisors or potential supervisors is not being adequately addressed in current courses and social work agencies. This issue requires much more attention during the first year of supervision, and also in regard to social workers who intend to become supervisors in the near future. In the supervision courses, most of the methods and theories address students’ educational, developmental and personal needs, but not enough is taught about supervisors’ more complex issues, such as feelings, overload, dissatisfaction, dilemmas and perceptions.

Local networks in response to the crisis context: Collaborative and integrative approaches in Social Work

Cláudia Maria Garcia1, Maria Inês Amaro2

1ISCTE, Portugal; 2ISCTE, Portugal

The COVID 19 pandemic triggered a need for responses to emergency that is articulated with the local level. It reflects the tendency towards the territorialisation of social policies.

Hence, it is essential to reflect on the relevance and actuality of integrated and collaborative approaches in Social Work as enhancers of concertation of individual and collective interests, with social workers being key players in promoting communities not only in intervention in the context of crisis, but also in responding to territorialisation of social policies.

The location, its specific context, the specific relationships to each community, are all inputs to be considered in the design of alternative responses to social problems, with a special focus on the networks of formal and informal actors and the urgency and emergency of governance practices that coordinate this multiplicity of actors in favour of common objectives.

So, throughout an exploratory study and a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods of response employed by third sector entities for the COVID 19 pandemic in the city of Lisbon, It is intended to promote a constructive and critical reflection on the practices of a Social Service. Especially on its implementation / concretization and elaboration of social policies, the development of programs / intervention projects to promote personal and social empowerment (Carvalho, 2015). It will consider the case study method but above all value a collaborative and integrated intervention, being a “democratic process of acting on concrete reality, acting on the means, mentalities and behaviours of the most disadvantaged” Mouro (2006: 173) with a reinforcement of the relationships individual-context, immersion-intervention and the collective dimension of the problems. Amaro (2012); Gonçalves (2018; 2017).

11:45am - 1:15pmPaper Presentation Session 2: Crisis, Ethics and Digital Society
Location: Parallel Session 2
Session Chair: Daniela Gaba
Parallel Session 2 

Internet at our service in times of pandemic: ethical challenges in a «new world»

Antonela Filipa Spínola Jesus1, Rita Cláudia Barata2

1Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Portugal; 2Iscte-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

The current pandemic context has posed a number of challenges for social workers. If, on the one hand, we deal with teleworking models resulting from an entire experience of confinement and a suspension of social life, on the other, SW (re)assumes fundamental contributions in responding to the needs and rights of people, as well as in the production of knowledge that provides ways to bridge and overcome the social inequalities generated and/or reinforced in this scenario (Redondo-Sama et al. 2020).

It is in the complex relationship “Teleworking versus Professional Commitment” that SWorkers describe several ethical challenges such as the construction and continuity of professional relationships, characterized by trust and privacy; prioritization of resource allocation when needs are growing and responses are scarce or nonexistent and diagnostic assessments are brief; follow the policies and guidelines outlined and the use of professional description; and manage emotions as well as exhaustion (Banks et al., 2020).

Thus, based on the guidelines presented in the study by Banks et al.(2020) we intend to analyze in the context of the portuguese social work: i) the main ethical challenges from the perspective of social workers, identifying specificities arising from the pandemic context; ii) limitations in the capacity to respond to the needs of vulnerable publics; iii) the (re)definition of action strategies that counter the constraints encountered; iv) the contributions and limits of the “peer-work” in overcoming such obstacles.

Data collection takes place with an online survey, with open and closed questions (according to the dimensions identified), and participants will be recruited from social networks. The data obtained through the survey's closed questions are subject to treatment and quantitative analysis, with descriptive statistics. Qualitative data are analyzed using the content analysis technique.

The aim of this investigation is to launch clues for the innovation of practices in SW, reflecting on the potentialities and constraints associated with the use of technologies, the challenges for ethically based responses and the “traditional” and “innovative” responses to overcome these situations. It also concludes with the implications for education, with lines of debate and practices to (re) think about the curricula.

Social work, Digital Society and Ethical Training in Times of Uncertainty

Gabriel Di Francesco

Università "G. d'Annunzio" Chieti-Pescara, Italy

Description of the research area: The proposed theme intends to investigate the themes of ethical training in the light of the radical transformations taking place and in progress in digital society also in the face of the need for professional interventions in the great uncertainty caused by epochal events, such as the Covid-19 pandemic. This unexpected event has invested, as can be expected, the mental habits of the operators, their approach to work, with almost always uncritical and unconscious adherence to lifestyle changes and the revision of the reference principles.

Research methods used: In the light of these phenomena, reflection develops through the analysis of theoretical and professional practice assumptions, trying empirical evidence and retracing the principles, methods and techniques of the Social Work. In methodological terms, three main areas can be specified relating to the historical perspective, to the evidence of the changes that have taken place and to the future evolutions.

Results and implications for the practice of social work: Stopping or slowing down the process of rapid and continuous transformation of the social, typical of the digital world, is almost impossible. Particular attention must therefore be paid to the reading of what impact this modification may have on consciences and in the scientific-professional approach. Science and conscience are not immutable categories, but have always varied in an almost symbiotic way with the changing of concepts, operating styles, vision of the other, starting with the management of information flows and individual protection in the face of an increasingly wider audience of possible access to communication systems and possible analysis distortions produced by the diffusion of the so-called fake-news.

Finally, a model is required that allows to take note of these transformations and to constantly reflect on ethics, on the adequacy of conduct and on the respect for the fundamental values of the person and human life, also updating the format of the reflective professional at the basis of the Donald Schön's considerations and analysis.

Social work between emergency, ethics and digitalization

Francesca D'Atri

Municipality of Chieti and President of the order of Social Assistant in Abruzzo Region, Italy

The Covid 19 emergency represented a completely new, unexpected and unpredictable event for our society. The history of humanity has always been characterized by pandemics, but certainly the unpredictability of this emergency is unprecedented and has resulted in inevitable repercussions at the health, socio-economic, relational and psychological level for the entire world population, and in particular for the most fragile people, highlighting on a global level the need to reshape social work, its organization, approaches and methods of intervention.

The challenge of the emergency has highlighted the ethical and deontological need to implement social policies and social interventions capable of guaranteeing equal access to services to citizens, adequate care for situations of greatest vulnerability and maximum social cohesion, through the promotion of a welfare system with support measures that can be implemented, easily usable and responding to people's needs.

It was possible to implement this by combining two study and intervention plans, namely that of social service in disasters and that of personal and family emergencies. Both have allowed the development of a new cultural and professional environment: the work of the emergency-urgency social service, as a specific professional and disciplinary sector, based on its own method, with a definition of a precise process and with orderly operational sequences.

The job of the social worker is a humanity job based on the relationship with the other people, which has been maintained in the pandemic crisis also with digitalization that allowed not only to implement interventions at a distance, but to avoid social isolation and the loneliness of the people.

This has allowed the rediscovery of the deepest values of our society: cohesion, solidarity, the sense of individual and collective responsibility.

The synergy between political decision-makers, professionals and communities has allowed the construction of an effectively inclusive system of services, with people capable of contributing, according to their abilities, even residual, to the collective well-being for a rebirth of people, from relational, socio-economic and health care.

Francesca D’Atri

Social worker specialist - Municipality of Chieti

President of the Order of Social Assistants in Abruzzo Region (Italy)

Pathways toward the digitalisation of social work for crisis preparedness: The case of Romania

Anca Mihai1, Florin Lazăr2, Daniela Gaba3, Georgiana Rentea4, Alexandra Ciocănel5, Shari Munch6

1University of Bucharest, Romania; 2University of Bucharest, Romania; 3University of Bucharest, Romania; 4University of Bucharest, Romania; 5University of Bucharest, Romania; 6The State University of New Jersey, USA

At the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, many social workers found themselves relying more than even before on internet devices for communicating with clients. While this unexpected reliance on technological tools in performing daily work raised many ethical challenges, such as privacy and client-social worker trust issues (Banks et al., 2020), their existence made it possible for social workers to continue integral parts of their work during the lockdown. The extent to which this increased use of technology can impede or depersonalise the client-social worker relationship is influenced by the level of digitalisation of social work agencies and the digital skills of the social workers and their clients. There is a need to review the technological development of social work systems and fast-forward processes of improvement and innovation at the organisational, practice and educational levels.

The aim of this paper is to analyse the digitalisation of the Romanian social work system and to estimate its capacity to support social work in crisis situations from the perspective of workers. We conducted a national online survey (N=1105) amongst licensed Romanian social workers inquiring about workers’ views concerning digitalisation, finalised in 2017.

The findings show that social workers have similar workplace access to computer devices and internet in both rural and urban areas. However, roughly 33% of respondents had no computer and no internet connection at work when the study was conducted. Compared with those who work in the public sector, those in non-public settings had more access to multiple types of devices. While some believed that efficient digitalisation is possible, most social workers considered the digital literacy of their clients to be limited.

Future developments of the digitalisation of social work should consider local disparities in the access to digital tools and their variety across different types of organisations and locations. To better support the client-worker relationship in crisis situations, innovative approaches to social work digitalisation should consider lessons learnt from COVID-19. SWE can contribute to this process through targeted programs aimed at developing the digital skills of social workers and at adapting practice environments to the requirements of the “new normal”.

Technology for social good: the evaluation of a Digital Social Work Lab

Mara Sanfelici1, Andrea Bilotti2

1University of Trieste, Italy; 2University of Siena

This presentation discusses the findings from a research project carried out to evaluate the output and the impact of a Digital Social Work Laboratory.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated an inevitable process of digitalization. Networked communication and digital technologies have been changing the way in which people access and generate knowledge, and a challenge for social work is to harness technological advancements for social good. A recent survey on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Italian social services found that the use of digital technologies was helpful to counteract the negative effects of “physical distancing”, allowing to create new ways of staying connected and empowering social networks. However, limited infrastructures, lack of training, and social work’s traditional reliance on face-to-face communications have been frequently reported as obstacles. Moreover, issues related to both “digital divide” and “digital inequalities” raised ethical dilemmas.

To reflect on potentials and issues involved in the use of digital technologies in social work practice, the University of Siena and the University of Trieste organized a Digital Social Work Lab, activated during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Laboratory involved social work students, professionals and academics in a process of co-construction of knowledge about the use of social media technologies for digital advocacy and macro social work practice. The task was to design and implement technology-infused interventions, that included specific evaluations of the effect of technologies on practice. The participants worked in small heterogeneous groups to conduct an analysis of a targeted issue, draft an intervention and an evaluation plan, and to implement the project. Data collection and data analysis on the emerging potentials and issues were related to four areas: a) social work techniques to foster engagement and active participation b) knowledge and skills for the use of digital technologies c) ethical and legal issues d) the service users experience.

The laboratory was considered as a space for self-learning, reflexivity and learning by doing. The final evaluation is based on indicators to assess the increase of competences in digital advocacy, digital communication, practice evaluation, and the participants’ level of engagement and motivation in digital social work practice

Building Core Competencies and Commitment among social work students through social work skill laboratories to work with marginalized sections of the society

Pradeep Jare

CSRD-Institute of Social Work and Research, India

The present paper is based on the innovative teaching practice followed by presenter at the institute which discusses the importance of social work skill laboratories in professional development of social work students.

Social work profession deals with human being. The main purpose of professional social workers is to help individuals, families, groups and communities for their smooth functioning in society. It is very necessary for social workers to have sound knowledge of social issues and reality, commitment towards social issues, sensitivity about the various marginalized sections of the society and skills to intervene. Social work education in particular and profession in general is going through ups and downs which lead to many challenges for its existence and identity especially in Asian countries. One of the main important aspects in social work profession is students’ professional development as they will be upholding the identity of social work in forth coming future.

Hence, it becomes necessary for us to inculcate proper value system and competency among the students. This value system and competency will bring efficiency and efficacy among students to overcome from the challenges of social work education and profession. All these will be developed if the social workers have strong base of values, principles and awareness about themselves. It is very necessary for social work students to develop their values, principles and self- awareness before going for social work practicum.

Social Work Skills Laboratory sessions helps student social workers to develop their personal and professional self by practicing, analyzing and reflecting their own value system and personal beliefs to strengthen themselves as professional social workers. It also develops an understanding among student social workers about the social work profession. Various aspects in social work skill laboratories lead to develop self- awareness, sensitivity among student social workers and make them aware about the social reality and issues of society.

11:45am - 1:15pmPaper Presentation Session 3: Crisis and Resilience
Location: Parallel Session 3
Session Chair: Sorina Daniela Dumitrache
Parallel Session 3 

Strengthening the resilience of social workers

Monika Punová, Pavel Navrátil, Jitka Navrátilová

Masaryk University, Faculty of Social Studies, Czech Republic

In the early days of building social work, the focus was on the client and the client’s needs, with the social worker helping them deal with difficult situations in life. As the discipline has gradually established itself, more attention is also paid to the worker. This change of perspective is accompanied by questions such as: “Who is mindful of the needs and well-being of the social worker?" and “How can the social worker deal with the demands of their profession?” This shift in perception reflects the fact that the social worker is now seen as a human being and a key instrument of assistance; like their clients, the worker also pursues goals (whether personal, professional or social), has needs, perceives and experiences situations uniquely and lives in a social context that affects them and influences their actions.

Social work is a very challenging profession with high demands on the resilience of the workers. The perspective of resilience represents developmental processes, thanks to which the workers are able to cope with the difficulties of their profession and achieve the desired level of well-being, even though they may have experienced a difficult situation in connection with their performance. This conrefence paper answers the question: “How to strengthen the resilience of social workers?” It will include a presentation of research on the resilience of social workers in the Czech Republic. The research examined the relationship between personality and resilience of social workers in the realization of their profession. The issue of personality dispositions is considered in terms of the so-called five-factor model of personality (the “Big Five”). We have found that each type has a potentially positive and negative impact on the resilience of the performance of the profession. Finally, the research implications for the practice of social workers are presented. We emphasize the strengthening of practitioners' resilience through the development of self-knowledge of their own personality, the cultivation of their personal growth, the development of knowledge about post-traumatic growth and the ability to focus on the development of resilience strategies.

How to acknowledge and address the evolving ecological cum climate crises? Reflections from social work teaching and research

Satu Ranta-Tyrkkö

University of Jyväskylä, Finland

The climate crisis, with the current 1.2 degrees global warming since pre-industrial times and the immense challenges to keep the warming within 1.5 or even in 2.0 degrees, shakes the foundations of social work education and practice together with other ecological, social and economic crises. While the fear is that in the worst case, combined these crises may destroy much of the achievements, as well of preconditions, of social work, for the time being social work practice and education remain largely stuck to the national order of things and issues of the day. Social work ethics discussion, for example, focuses predominantly on moral dilemmas in worker client relations in a given time and place, whereas responsibilities towards future generations, or towards people at risk due to a train of events aggravated by the climate crisis or ecological degradation, are not necessarily seen as social work concerns (although their repercussions may). Troubled by this, my paper asks how to (re)think social work’s commitment to protect the poor and the vulnerable at the current historical moment particularly in view of the climate cum ecological crisis. In my paper, I draw insights both from the interdisciplinary future and global ethics discussion, as well as from my more than two decades long experience as a social work educator and researcher interested in the social-ecological and local-global continuums and interfaces in social work. My central conclusion is that in order to enable social work to broaden its horizon, there is an urgent need to develop social work future/ intergenerational and global ethics, which is currently oddly non-existent.

Resilience in Social Work Field Education

Monika Punová

Masaryk University, Faculty of Social Studies, Czech Republic

This conference paper focuses on supporting resilience in the field education of social work students. The resiliency concept focuses on finding new ways and new adaptation mechanisms despite challenging conditions. The term "resilience" in field education is a concept that includes dynamic relationship-development processes through which the student can adapt and thus achieve well-being, despite having a difficult life situation in connection with their field practice. We speak about the importance of resilience-building in those settings where interactions between subjects and their environments imply the risk of adversity or where adversity occurs. The conference paper will aim to answer the question: "How to strengthen the resilience of students of social work in field education?" To answer this question, a theoretical analysis is used, specifically the results of international empirical studies that deal with the application of the resilience concept to the education of social work students. The author introduces the principles of the curriculum of practical education of social work students.

The professional identity of students cannot fully form only through reflection on literature and attendance of lectures and seminars but needs confrontation with the pitfalls of practice, where the student steps out of the safe space of theoretical teaching and experiences the everyday reality of social workers. For some students, navigating this difficult reality is a touchstone of their professional identity, which needs to go through this strenuous test in order to be able to rest on the realistic ground. If this shaking of the foundation of professional identity through field education and supervision is not sufficiently reflected in educational curricula, it can affect the student's personal life and, in extreme cases, lead to the student even choosing a different career. The resilience enhancement should be part of social work education.

The author is the main protagonist of the use of resilience in social work in the Czech Republic. She draws on her many years of experience as a supervisor and coordinator of students' fieldwork at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic.

Social Work teaching existential risk and catastrophe psychology in the era beyond sustainability

Pieter Lievens

Karel de Grote University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Antwerp, Belgium

Studies on climate, biodiversity, resource depletion, water scarcity, forced migration and global inequality point towards severe challenges for wellbeing of the global society and even more for future generations. Acting in synergy, those global challenges have the potential to disrupt societies in a very fundamental way and cause an existential risk to humanity. Teaching this to young students questions their current ‘manage and control’ and ‘progress’-oriented worldview. Facts on global challenges and the expectations of radical transformations of local and international development under anticipated ecological circumstances have a disruptive effect on their mental wellbeing. The confrontation with an eco-centered worldview (mostly dominated by regression) causes cognitive dissonance. This phenomenon is a barrier to learning and to the contribution of their social work practice in adapting under rapid anthropogenic environmental change. How can social work contribute to address the moral and psychological challenges inherent to these times of deep uncertainty and social upheaval as global society moves towards an era beyond sustainability? How to teach ecosocial work that includes existential risk and ecosystemic disservices? What can we learn from the responses to the Covid-19 pandemic (as being one of those disservices) in regard to the future of development and in regard to the preparedness of Social Work Education (SWE) for disaster, upheaval and catastrophic (climate) events? What methodologies can be used to overcome the psychological barriers to exept risks, invite students to take an ecosocial perspective and learning beyond a progress oriented worldview?

Agents of social change - policy practice and political participation of social work students and professionals in Switzerland

Tobias Kindler

Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland

Social work and policymaking are closely interrelated. The pioneers of the profession were convinced that social problems were not a consequence of individual mistakes or personal negligence but rather resulted from insufficient social conditions. As such, they advocated for social change and the adoption of better policies for the people they worked with (Cummins, Byers and Pedrick, 2011, pp. 26–31; Pritzker and Lane, 2018, pp. 10–16). Today this type of intervention on the policy level has become a key dimension of social work practice and social work education, supported by the international definition of social work (IFSW, 2014) as well as by various national Codes of Ethics (AvenirSocial, 2010; BASW, 2014; NASW, 2017) and academic publications all around the globe (Benz and Rieger, 2015; Gal and Weiss-Gal, 2013; Haynes and Mickelson, 2000; Jansson, 2018).

While contemporary professional associations, social work practitioners and scholars agree that the profession should engage in policy-related activities, there is still a dearth of empirical data on the actual policy involvement of social work students and social workers. It remains unclear as to what extent, and in what forms, social work students and practitioners are involved in policy processes and what factors influence this kind of engagement (Weiss-Gal and Gal, 2020).

This contribution suggests reporting findings from the first quantitative study on social work students' and social workers' policy engagement in Switzerland (Kindler, 2019). With its federal structure and pronounced decision-making competence on the local level, this country offers interesting insights for research in this specific field. The empirical data of the study was collected by means of an online survey in which 1815 social work students and professionals from all the Swiss cantons participated. The results showed a rather low level of political participation, but in comparison with the Swiss population, it can be classified as average. Hypothesis testing procedures revealed six main factors influencing political engagement of social work students and social workers: (1) political interest, (2) number of memberships in mobilization networks, (3) internal political efficacy, (4) support of political social work, (5) strength of party preference and (6) strength of political ideology.

Building resilience/preparedness for practice of social work students through an experiential art-based group

Sorina Daniela Dumitrache, Florin Lazăr

University Of Bucharest, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, Romania

The field of social work implies working with the most vulnerable populations (e.g. victims of different types of abuse and neglect, poverty, exposure to traumatization and pain, marginalization etc.), which can generate a lot of pressure and emotional distress on the specialists who assist those in suffering in pain (e.g. countertransference, compassion fatigue, vicarious traumatization) and can affect the specialist's quality of their professional interventions. Therefore, managing their own emotions, feelings, thoughts and behaviors connected to the diversity of the beneficiaries' problems is an important skill for future social workers.

Through this presentation, we aimed to describe an art-therapy personal and professional development course and its impact on the third year social work undergraduate students in their preparation process to activate in the social work field after graduation.

The students participated in a 12 meetings art-based experiential course. Each meeting had a specific theme and objective and different experiential techniques have been used: meditative guidance with art-therapeutic support; drawing, psychodrama and drama-therapy, cinema-therapy, movement and dance-therapy, therapeutic cards, collage technique, creating/working with puppets; self-reflection personal diary.

Our results showed that participating in the self-reflection art-therapy based program creates a space of positive dynamics and cohesion, emotional containment, empathy, reciprocal trust, allows personal growth, generates meaningful insights, as well as a deeper understanding of their life, their potential and future possibilities along with professional maturation. The participants shown an increased ability to manage personal reactions towards external realities and stimuli.

Through this paper and the program we developed we wanted to emphasize the need for an increased interest in such ways of supporting social work students' abilities for a good practice with appropriate and healthy intervention for their future beneficiaries and with fewer negative effects for their own wellbeing.

11:45am - 1:15pmPaper Presentation Session 4: Children and Ethics in Social Work
Location: Parallel Session 4
Session Chair: Ilze Trapenciere
Parallel Session 4 

Ethical considerations in child and family social work practices: case of Lithuania

Roberta Motiečienė

Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania

This presentation is about the context of Lithuania and the daily work of family social workers’ practices with children and their parents by focusing on their home visits and commentary about professional experiences. Child and family social work is a prevalent public discourse, but family social workers’ voices are minimally heard in Lithuania. In order to explore this topic, twenty-five family social workers were invited from the three largest cities Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda to construct everyday child and family social work practices together. The research question: “What kind of ethical questions must family social workers consider when providing social services in the client’s homes?” Research findings open the gaps between micro-social work practices and social policy in Lithuania. Family social workers are facing difficulties due to structural problems within society and are burdened to act with ethical considerations while lacking external resources. Family social workers construct their everyday work experiences while working with the child and parent at the individual level to understand the meanings of what is going on in the practice field. Family social work daily work practices were recognised in the framework of the neoliberal model, where individualism performs the primary role, and social services efficiency is highlighted. Family social workers thus feel pressured to be as efficient as possible without any consideration of how this could be achieved, especially when a society is lacking resources. During interviews, family social workers were easily able to disclose how they act in the field when asked, but it became more complicated when talking about specific methods applied to their practice. Data revealed that family social workers’ creativity and personal resources sometimes become a way to help a child and their parents. Families’ right to live dignified lives in contemporary society should not be questionable and the discourse regarding the efficiency of social services or universal services development for families in the context of Lithuania should be highlighted.

Ethical Dilemmas of Child Protection Workers during the Pandemic –Contribution to Discussion about Future Challenges of Social Work

Izabela Teresa Kamińska-Jatczak

University of Lodz, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Social Pedagogy, Poland

The speech is oriented towards two objectives. Firstly, the aim is to present practical examples from the child protection social work referring to specific ethical dilemmas that child protection workers deal with during the pandemic. The dilemmas are connected with:

- Formal regulations introduced by decision-makers in aid institutions on various management levels

- Practitioners’ individual perception of their professional role

- Relations inside the institutions that have impact on the quality of provided aid.

The presented experiences were collected during free-form interviews conducted online with assistants who agreed to talk to the researcher about their reflections, dilemmas, and hardships connected with the period of pandemic. The researcher contacted the assistants through workshops organised during an e-conference related to child protection work, which were devoted to reflection on one’s own professional practice. The researcher also used publications that are part of the ongoing discourse devoted to social work practice in the times of the pandemic in Poland.

Secondly, the aim of the paper is to initiate a discussion concerning the challenges that child protection social work practitioners face in the pandemic and post-pandemic time. It is worth discussing the presented problematic professional situations in a wider context of challenges confronted in the present and future social work practice. The paper will relate to local (Polish) context of struggle with the pandemic, as well as supralocal (European)context,from the point of view of challenges that social work faces in the 21st century. It is worth considering the conclusions that can be drawn from the times of the pandemic for further development of social work practice. This presentation aims to trigger such reflections. This is the intention of the speaker who will try to find links between local and individual experience, and wider context of supralocal and group experience in the pandemic.

Social participation on life’s edge. The Movement of Children’s Palliative Care as an impulse generator for participatory and inclusive Social Work

Agnieszka Maluga

University of Applied Sciences Augsburg, Germany

Palliative Care is a core part of the social work profession and discipline, but is hardly recog-nised as such by the social workers themselves. The death of a relative presents one of the biggest challenges a family is forced to cope with. This challenge becomes even greater if it is the parents, who must bury their child. The natural generational order of life and death is put into reverse, confusion and uncertainty disrupt daily life. This uncertainty even extends to friends and society, distancing themselves from the affected families.

To cope with this situation, a network of psychological, spiritual, and pedagogical support is needed.

In the early 90s, as a civil society movement against putting death under taboo, it was the affected parents, who established the first organisational structures for Children’s Palliative Care. Critically ill and dying children and their adult attendants shape this difficult phase in life together. Through dedication, the German hospice movement revolutionised society and politics. It drew attention towards a new pedagogical domain and created innovative approaches for participation and inclusion.

One 20th century pedagogical thinker develops an innovative pedagogy, that includes death as inherently natural part of life: Janusz Korczak. In his Children’s Right Charter, death is addressed in the first fundamental right. It is the child’s rights to his or her own death, to live in the present and to be him- or herself, that define his education. With increasing legal demands for inclusion, social work is prompted to meet both chances and challenges, that arise from the encounter with children at the end of their life.

How do we want to shape our life together with children, that embraces death as a funda-mental part of it? How do we provide children with education and participation on life’s edge?

Children Palliative Care provides an answer. It allows for valuable experiential space for both adults and children. This in itself is highly innovative compared to the well-established (social-)pedagogical practice.

The nexus of human needs and children's rights in social work interventions

Sharon du Plessis-Schneider

University of Applied Sciences Vorarlberg, Austria

This presentation provides insights for social work education to locate and explain the underlying causes of social problems and develop science-based action guidelines for professional practice (Geiser, 2015). For this purpose, a problem and resource framework, the w-questions, is introduced and discussed.

The w-questions framework facilitates the development of theory driven social work interventions, i.e., to develop action guidelines in response to social problems in a series of theoretical steps comprising of the following: 1) concrete facts that describe the problem, 2) hypothesis and explanation/s of the problem and its causalities, 3) value questions to forecast the problem trajectory without social work intervention, 4) formulating the objectives for problem reduction, and 5) developing interventions. The steps are illustrated using a case study that features an accompanied child asylum seeker residing in Austria, referred to as Amira, obstructed from achieving the equal right to education due to socio-cultural and economic barriers. This in turn exacerbated Amira's social marginalisation by depriving her of membership in the different social levels of school. Social marginalisation further thwarted her biopsychosocial and socio-cultural need realisation and resulted in her feeling friendless and alienated at school.

When children such as Amira are hindered from relieving their biological and psychological need tensions, they are unable to restore their bio-values (Obrecht, 2009, p. 27). This leads to social problems, which indicates a possible violation of children's rights as enshrined in the UN Convention (CRC) (United Nations, 1989). The CRC is a human rights framework in the context of multi-level governance child protection policies with implications for social work theory, ethics and practice (du Plessis-Schneider, 2020). Social workers have a triple mandate that focuses on the linkage between human need realisation and the CRC entitlements (Staub-Bernasconi, 2018). The framework of the w-questions translates to social workers being equipped with analytical and advocacy skills that foster critical thinking and creativity in the juxtaposition between child self-determination, autonomy and protection. The tentative conclusion is that knowledge and practice models that link human needs and children’s rights equip social workers with the expertise to strengthen children’s self-determination, autonomy and protection.

Well-being of children left behind

Ilze Trapenciere1, Shelomi Perera1, Lolita Vilka1, Guntars Bernats2

1Riga Stradins University, Latvia; 2University of Latvia, Latvia

Authors examine the phenomenon of well-being and hurt of children left behind and their carers in Latvia. The phenomenon has been reported in literature since 2005 when EU labour market became opened to economic migrants from Eastern Europe. Part of economic migrants left their children behind, promising them to unite soon.

In Latvia, many teachers realised that some good pupils suddenly changed their behaviour, becoming deviant or depressive, showing less interest into school subjects, missing school, etc. Discussions with a social worker showed that those children have been left behind by their parents to older siblings, grandparents, neighbours or by themselves.

The research deals with the social, economic and psychological well-being of children left behind. The research is based on qualitative methodology – analyses of documentaries on divided families, case study on children left behind and interviews with social workers, school teachers and substitute family members. The authors have researched the well-being of children and the substitute families from economic, psychological and social perspective. The theoretical basis of the research – E.Allardt’s theoretical approach on well-being (having, loving, being) and Puroila A.M. perspective on well-being of children.

The research results do not demonstrate high level of having dimension (material, economic and financial) well-being of children and their substitute families, indicating different perspectives of economic well-being to children and their parents. In some cases, even very limited material resources are reported by grandparent substitute families who are taking care of left behind children.

The data analyses on loving dimension demonstrate poor psychological well-being of children and substitute grandparent families, based on fragmented (or missing) verbal communication between children and parents, and fragile attachment among family members. The interview analyses showed that life uncertainty and fragmented reality is a risk factor of psychological well-being of children.

The data on the being dimension of well-being of children do not support the idea of positive social well-being of children. In many cases, social distrust to parents and society has been developed to children left behind.

The findings have implications for school teachers and social workers to help reduce hurt of children left behind and increase well-being.

Online sexual harassment among youth in Albania

Veronika Duci, Dhëmbo Elona

University of Tirana, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work and Social Policy

The increased use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the past decade has led to the rise of a new form of Gender-Based Violence (GBV). For most young people the internet plays an essential role in their friendships and relationships, providing positive opportunities for communication, connection and self-expression. Sometimes, online sexual harassment is embedded in their digital lives, being something expected or even normalized. However, due to the escalating use of technology and the internet, girls and women are more vulnerable than ever to abuse and violence. Women face multiple forms of technology-related violence including non-consensual intimate images (NCII), doxing, blackmail, bullying, stalking, and sexual harassment.

The aim of this research is to provide a comprehensive exploration and understanding of the incidence of online sexual harassment among youth in Albania, through a gender perspective. Findings presented for this paper are part of a larger study on Intimate Partner Violence among youth in Albania. Quantitative research methods were employed for data collection and a questionnaire was designed, adapted and piloted to the Albanian context. A national survey was conducted in Albania, based on a proportional to size sampling. The total number of survey participants were N = 1063 participants of 20 to 24 years old.

To date, data collection is conducted and data entry is in process. Data analysis will be conducted in SPSS and it will include descriptive statistics (frequencies, percentages) and relational statistics such as cross - tabulations and correlations. Recommendations will include the need for social work education and practice to take into consideration these new forms of GBV, to have a better response to emerging needs, particularly in the era of Covid – 19.

11:45am - 1:15pmPaper Presentation Session 5: Ethics and Vulnerabilities/Inequalities
Location: Parallel Session 5
Session Chair: Melanie Plößer
Parallel Session 5 

Ethical Approaches to Differences in Social Work

Melanie Plößer

University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld / Faculty of Social Work, Germany

Since the middle of the 1990s, the subject of ‘difference’ has been dealt with intensively in international social work theory. Especially such studies, that are closely related to social movements like gender studies, disability or postcolonial studies have shown that differences are constituted in relations of power and dominance. They have also made clear that social work risks to (re-)produce existing inequalities and discriminations by ignoring differences as well as by referring to differences unquestioningly. Thus social workers are faced with the ethical dilemma of having to refer to differences like gender, ethnicity or class to counter inequalities on the one hand. And on the other hand, social workers risk to (re-)produce stereotypes and discriminations by unreflected approaches to differences. The ethical question of how social work can deal with differences without producing new inequalities and exclusions can be understood as an important topic in training social work students.

In my paper I would like to talk about ethical approaches of dealing with differences in social work. With reference to a case study from youth work, I will start with presenting three understandings of difference. First, I would like to work out, that differences are powerful. Secondly, I will talk about social constructive perspectives on difference as something that we do. Thirdly, I will present deconstructive concepts, that understand differences as effects of powerful discourses. Because each theoretical understanding of difference leads to a particular approach of dealing with these differences, I will then discuss three ethical approaches to difference: first, the recognition of difference; second, the critical reflection of “doing difference” and third, the critical inquiry, or in other words, the deconstruction of binary oppositions and rigid norms. Finally, it should be made clear that there is no approach to otherness and difference that is able to avoid the epistemological and social effects of power. Though there are ethical approaches which will help social workers to minimize the risk of exclusions and discriminations.

The gender stereotype in social work. Outcomes of a national survey on social workers in Italy.

Marta Pantalone1, Roberto Dalla Chiara1,2, Carlo Soregotti1,4, Vittorio Zanon3

1University of Verona, Italy; 2Local Health Authority, Veneto Region; 3Municipality of Verona; 4Azienda “Socialis” Suzzara (MN)

The women’s overwhelming majority within disciplines and professions related to social care are notorious as well as historical. Social Work finds its roots in charity organizations activities and practices traditionally associated to female features. The reflection on the scarcity of male social workers is not recent. In 1976 Kadushin raised the issue of gender segregation in social service by addressing the ‘problem’ of men in the profession, highlighting how gender issue was already widely debated.

In Italy, the prevalence of female social workers it’s something obvious: male social workers are less than 7% of the total.

This contribution aims to investigate the perception caused by the gender difference between social workers, in terms of skills, characteristics and perspectives, and how this difference is detected in different work contexts. We checked whether and how gender stereotypes are reflected in the perception that social workers (male or female) have of themselves, their abilities and their characteristics. We performed an online survey, on a sample of 1616 Italian social workers and social work students.

The research shows that most of the skills and sensibilities needed to be a good social worker are considered gender-neutral, but also that some features (e.g. the expected women’s greater sensitivity or men’s greater desire for a career) are likely to bring out a gender stereotype that seems to be introjected by social workers themselves. Here, the maternal help relationship seems to be a female feature, more accentuated in particular areas (women victims of violence, separated women, adoptions); while on the contrary, more complex relationships, with aggressive and/or threatening people, are characterized by the demand for a greater presence of men, a space in which women social workers themselves report an absence.

The conclusions lay the basis for further reflections, that could help both in understanding the causes of this unbalanced gender distribution and its implications for citizens, social workers and their institutions. It also wants to address possible strategies to arise men’s interest in social work, facilitating the deconstruction of stereotypes that possibly prevent men from being actively responsible for their communities’ social needs.

Covid-19 and Care Homes for Older People in Europe: Deaths, Damage and the Violations of Human Rights

Janet Anand1, Sarah Donnelly2, Alisoun Milne3, Holly Holly Nelson-Becker4, Blanca Blanca Ayala Deusdad5, Emmeli Vingare6, Giovanni Cellini7, Reeli Sirotkina8, Riitta- Lisa Kinni1

1University of Eastern Finland, Finland; 2Univeristy College Dublin; 3Univeristy of Kent; 4Brunel University; 5Rovira i Virgili University; 6Linnaeus University; 7University of Turin; 8Talinn Univerity

Throughout Europe the most damaging consequences of the coronavirus have fallen disproportionately on older people who live in care homes. While advanced age, and its associated health-related comorbidities, is linked to a higher mortality risk from COVID-19 this, of itself, does not explain the high rate of death, and serious harms, experienced by older care home residents. A significant contributing factor to the excess number of deaths is the abject disregard of older people’s human rights. Using the framework of the European Convention on Human Rights (1950) this presentation draws on examples of human rights violations, namely the right to life, liberty, security, family life, integration and prohibition from torture and discrimination, in care homes from six European countries. A critical review of evidence relating to violations of human rights of care homes residents during the pandemic was conducted to support claims made. A range of materials and examples were analysed, including peer reviewed articles, grey literature, publicly available ‘official’ documents (e.g. government reports) and data, and written and online media (e.g. newspaper articles). The authors, a group of social work academics, call for an urgent re-examination of the human rights in older people in care homes, a rapid response to the failing systems of aged care evident across many countries, and acknowledgement of the abuse of trust that has occurred between European states and older people in care homes. This crisis should also act as a ‘call to arms’ for social work in response to human rights violations, abuse and institutional ageism. This paper throws up new questions and challenges as to the human rights and ethical mandate of European gerontological social work. It is therefore necessary to learn from the pandemic, look for new strategies and consider what kind of profession social work should be?

Social Work with young offenders: learning strategies that upset ethics

Laura Pinto

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy

In our action and preparing to act as social workers in the field of juvenile justice, we underestimate the fact that dealing with offenders upsets the ethical and foundation values of SW.

In order to work with offenders, studying and applying a methodological approach for involuntary clients is not enough.

Recognition of emotions and worldviews around justice is needed as much as deviance and how it is intertwined with drug use, violent action, sex, power.

In order to face offenders it is necessary to implement and rethink the application of ethical dictates on the acceptance of the other and, in reality, to act, although lightly, the opposite way from the rhetoric of unconditional acceptance of the other's diversity.

In the SWE’s field it is essential to encourage a learning process using workshop, with tools such as interview simulations, court hearings and critical writing exercises.

For this type of work it is essential to sense the indignation and go through it giving words to explain to the other the existential nature of the consequences of his gesture: not only damage, but widespread fear, anger and distrust.

To really meet the individual offender you need an empathic judgment based on fears that lurk in society and in common sense and, at a later stage, you need to speak to the author (who had no words) in order to describe with him the consequences for himself as well as what happened (loneliness, mistrust, marginalization, judgment).

Giving dignity to the perpetrator is a process that must go through the indignation and fear of the other, with a work that helps to re-describing and re-giving a sense to events using words.

If this step is avoided, the risk is that the nature of the relationship with the person remains closely linked to the degree of collaborative and "gratifying" attitude towards us (emanation of the power of the judge).

The presentation will refer to a four-year teaching experience in the social work degree course at the University of Eastern Piedmont and to a research on the reports produced by the students of the last three years.

Ethic codes and the new ecosocial paradigm: Lessons for social work teaching

Ingo Stamm

Kokkola University Consortium Chydenius, Finland

The presentation focuses on the importance of environmental justice and sustainability in national ethic codes and ethics education in social work. It is based on a study on the ethic codes of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Finland. The research examines the occurrence and significance of terms and concepts such as ecology, natural environment, environmental justice, sustainability and sustainable development in these documents. The findings show that even though the international social work organizations IFSW, IASSW and ICSW have emphasized the relevance of the natural environment for social work ethics during recent years, this connection plays currently only a minor role. Even if the natural environment or sustainability are mentioned, the ethic codes do not make the link to social work practice and what it would mean for an ethical behavior of social workers. The implications of sustainability and environmental justice for an ethical social work practice stay at best cloudy. The results coincide with other recent studies, for example on the ethics codes of Australia, the US and the UK. The position of the social work profession towards the environment is also here mostly vague. The profession could make use of conceptual work and social work research during the last 20 years on ecosocial work and get impulses from (new) social movements such as the environmental justice movement in the US or the Fridays for Future movement. In times of climate change the profession finally needs to take a stance regarding the environment and further develop a clear idea what sustainability means in social work practice in cooperation with clients. This should also be reflected in social work education. The revision of national ethics codes and the implementation of the environment in ethics education in social work are first steps towards that direction.

Thinking Trans in Human Service Organizations: A Summer Course

Sofia Mikaela Smolle

Mid Sweden University, Sweden

Currently, most of Sweden’s social work and psychology education lacks in-depth, knowledge-enhancing initiatives about gender identity and gender expression. Transgender people in Sweden – Proposals for a stronger position and better living conditions (SOU 2017:92), a report by the Swedish Government, indicates major shortcomings in the treatment by health professionals of trans people in primary health care, psychiatric facilities, youth clinics, elderly care, student health centres, social services, schools, etc. Furthermore, limited knowledge and a lack of professional skills are factors that have negatively impacted the ability of health professionals to meet the demands of those in need. Social workers and psychologists who receive the necessary in-depth training can contribute to the increased visibility of trans people and their potential needs, and will be better equipped to meet the demands as they arise. This could be particularly significant at the present time – given the political developments that are heading in a direction that is negatively impacting human rights and trans visibility in Europe.

Based on the background provided above, a summer course was initiated at Mid Sweden University. The course was called Gender Identity and Expression in Human Service Organizations (7.5 credits) and contained several interdisciplinary elements in order to meet the needs of the wide variety of professionals who work in a human service organization. 150 students were accepted for the course, which was originally introduced in June 2020. Prior to the start of the summer course, a survey was sent out to all the participating students. The survey comprised questions about the students’ occupation and educational background, why they had applied to the course, how they perceived their own knowledge of trans issues prior to the course and what aspects (social, legal, organizational, psychological etc.) they considered to be particularly relevant to learn more about during the course. A total of 108 survey responses were received.

The purpose of the present study was to summarize the work process of the course. This summary was intended to act as an aid for sharing and exchanging valuable experiences with others who are interested in developing similar courses.

1:15pm - 1:30pmCoffee Break
1:30pm - 3:00pmWorkshops 1-2: Pandemic ethics: applying practice lessons to social work education; How to deal with the pandemic in professional relationship training. Methodology and ethical dilemmas in the Italian scenario
Location: Parallel Session 1
Parallel Session 1 

Pandemic ethics: applying practice lessons to social work education

Sarah Banks1, Teresa Bertotti2, Jane Shears3, Michelle Shum4, Ana M Sobočan5, Kim Strom6, María Jesús Úriz Pemán7

1Durham University, UK; 2University of Trento, Italy; 3IFSW Ethics Commissioner (Europe Region); 4Hong Kong Baptist University; 5University Of Ljubljana, Slovenia; 6University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA; 7Public University of Navarra, Spain

This workshop will explore lessons learned for social work education from the ethical challenges faced by social workers during Covid-19. Radical changes to practice during this period caused social workers to rethink their notions of right and wrong. An action considered ‘unethical’ in normal times might be judged to be right in pandemic conditions (e.g. restricting family visits to dying relatives, leaving children in inadequate foster placements, meeting service users in gardens, or breaking bad news over the internet). These are examples from social workers’ everyday practice reported in a survey conducted by the authors with the International Federation of Social Workers during May 2020.

The pandemic disrupted usual ways of working, in which professional ethical values are embedded, such as: private in-person meetings with confidentiality assured; regular in-person assessments based on service users’ rights to participate in decision-making; or services for homeless people that treat them with dignity and respect. In pandemic conditions, it is important that the ethical components of these practices are identified and abstracted, and new ways of implementing them as well as possible are sought. During a pandemic, how can social workers treat people with as much dignity as possible, accord them respect and choice, and ensure confidentiality and privacy where feasible? How do social workers weigh these principles against preserving the health and safety of individuals, families and the public? The pandemic has brought to the surface the ethical underpinnings of social work for re-examination. It has also shown the importance of high levels of ethical awareness and competence to carefully think through the ethical implications of different actions, inactions, attitudes and approaches.

This workshop will explore the ethical challenges experienced during Covid-19, and how ethics teaching might take account of learning from the pandemic. We will use case studies from practice in small facilitated groups to draw out key issues, considering new ideas for preparing students through developing ethical vigilance, ethical resistance, enhanced ethical reasoning, decision- making, ‘empathy within reason’, and strengthened professional ethical identity.

How to deal with the pandemic in professional relationship training. Methodology and ethical dilemmas in the Italian scenario

Giovanni Cellini

University of Turin, Italy

The emergency of the pandemic, which hit hard the Italian social services system, required new ways of professional intervention, and generated new training needs for social work students.

Physical distance has led social workers to change and redefine professional practices in the field, in order to maintain the professional role. Building and maintaining relationships with clients, in physical distance, seems to be one of the most important challenges for social work at the time of the pandemic, which has very significant implications for professional ethics. This challenge involves social workers in the field as well as students and teachers.

Social workers in Italy have represented their resilience in the pandemic through written reports on the websites of professional associations and open access non-scientific journals.

At the same time, universities have tackled the problem of distance learning and teaching through many initiatives, taking advantage of their institutional web sites. Universities had to redefine the social work training courses, using distance learning methods and facing the difficulties of carrying out social work internships in social services.

The paper identifies some ethical dilemmas on social work education in the pandemic, through a review of social work methodology and the presentation of first results of a qualitative research, based on the analysis of documents available on the institutional websites of Italian Universities. A sample of degree courses in social work was selected, in order to identify how the Universities have redefined training tools, especially in field work education, for the learning of relational skills in forced physical distance.

1:30pm - 3:00pmSymposium 1: Critical Approaches to Racism and Colonialism in Social Work Education: Response to Sceneries of Exception?
Location: Parallel Session 2
Session Chair: Nina Westerholt
Parallel Session 2 

Critical approaches to racism and colonialism in Social Work Education: a response to sceneries of exception?

Chair(s): Nina Westerholt (Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences, Germany), Sandra Holtgreve (Bielefeld University, Germany), Lisa Mends (University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt, Germany)

Discussant(s): Omar Mohammed (University of Birmingham, U.K.), Nina Simon (School teacher, Germany)

The symposium unravels the entangled debates of critical approaches to racism and diversity in Social Work education (SWE). The solidarity with "Black lives matter" and "Rhodes must fall" movements as well as responses to the political crisis, which forces people into displacement, refugee status and precarious living conditions in Europe, have extensively put critical approaches to racism and diversity on the agenda of SWE. For educators, these examples leave little question that the normative view of acknowledgement of diversity and oppression is a key attitude for Social Workers. Our symposium aims at delivering a balanced assessment of the merits and shortcomings of this normative view. How far can the discussion on the deconstruction of racialized power hierarchies within SWE go and to what extent can its key insights be translated into curricula and classroom practices?

The contributions in this session combine a theoretical discussion of anti-racist approaches, a semantic analysis of its broader conceptual landscape, and an empirical analysis on how critical perspectives on racism are addressed and studied in the frame of a research seminar in Social Work. Together they assess the potentials that critical approaches to racism offer Social Workers to respond to the crises of worsening social and historical injustices of our time; question current 'global' debates on the approaches and their impact on the design of Social Work study programs; and explore practical ways, challenges and opportunities when implementing the approaches in teaching.

Lisa Mends will discuss the relevance of critical perspectives on racism for the social work profession responding to current crises and the possibilities of integrating these approaches in SWE. Sandra Holtgreve will map out the semantic landscape of decolonization in the IFSW discussions on the Global Agenda and argue for a more nuanced discussion. Nina Westerholt uses the research seminar “An anti-racist analysis of SWE in Germany”, to reflect on the process of teaching and researching about racism with a critical mindset. She provides empirical examples from teachers' and students’ experiences of the course.


Presentations of the Symposium


The relevance of anti-racist perspectives in Social Work and Social Work Education

Lisa Mends
University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt, Germany

This paper is to explore the need for anti-racist perspectives in social work in times of crisis, it analyses its implications for the profession and social work education.

Crises of our times have in common that their existential character jeopardizes social justice and poses the risk of exacerbating existing social inequalities and injustices (e.g. Beltrán et al. 2016; Ioakimidis et al. 2014; Zavirsek 2017). In today’s world with postcolonial and post-migrant societies, the question who has to suffer from inequality and injustice is still determined by racial lines and power dynamics, therefore it is important to examine root causes, forms and consequences of crises with a critical perspective on racism. The “migrant crisis“, e.g., being political, humanitarian and social crisis combined, can be seen as “an unresolved racial crisis“ in postcolonial Europe (De Genova 2017). The principle and aim of achieving social justice and challenging discrimination being a core identity of Social Work (ISFW 2018; ISFW/ IASSW 2014), calls the profession to live up to the ambition of deconstructing racialized power hierarchies and empowering marginalized groups most affected by the consequences of a crisis.

In this talk, I will outline the various interconnections between racism and social work. I will give an overview of possibilities how to put critical approaches on racism into practice within the SWE context, from lecturers and students to curricula and universities infrastructure. Racial discrimination is a crucial life experience of clients in social work and is therefore a topic of concern for the profession. However, social work itself, with its institutions, actors, history, theories and practice, is embedded in societal structures affected by racialized power hierarchies, discourses and actions. Social Workers, being part of society and structure, can display internalized racist ideas, communications and practices within the professional context too (Melter 2015, 2018). Anti-racist perspectives and attitudes must therefore be a substantial part of the training and role of future social workers (Hunner-Kreisel/ Wetzel 2018; Prasad 2020). It is needed to implement and expand self-reflexive approaches and critical perspectives on racism and its implications, targeting the involved actors and institutional structures (Gutiérrez-Rodríguez et al. 2016).


Semantic landscapes of ‘decolonization’ in the Global Agenda 2020-2030

Holtgreve Sandra
Bielefeld University, Germany

In this presentation I will outline how post- and decolonial approaches are embedded in the discussions of the Global Agenda 2020-2030 and how this debate may affect social work education in the coming years. In July 2020 social workers from all over the world discussed the new Global Agenda of the profession at the conference of the International Federation of Social Workers. In these discussions, the colonial dimension of social work came to the fore: they highlighted how historical injustices permeated the profession and accepted decolonization as an undeniable goal. At the same time, the narratives remain vague about what this normative standpoint on decolonization of social work implies and how educators can prepare social workers for this task. A corpus driven lexicographic analysis of the IFSW2020 conference program, the new Global Standards for Training in Social Work and the five regional live panels on the Global Agenda will reveal recurrent semantic patterns of how post- and decolonial approaches are addressed and interpreted in the discussion of the Global Agenda. By tracing this semantic landscape, it becomes clear that the narratives of decolonization in the Global Agenda overlap disproportionately with the idea of knowledge plurality in social work. The lecture invites to promote a more nuanced discussion on the tasks and competences that future social workers will need in order to promote decolonization across the many potential fields of vocational training and show the variety of potential fields of application of post- and decolonial thought that is underrepresented in the discussion of the Global Agenda.


Teaching and researching about racism in BA courses of Social Work: a teacher’s and students’ analysis

Nina Westerholt
Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Continuous and dynamic processes of migration (Destatis 2020) have drawn attention to critical and sensitive approaches to differentiation and racism in German Social Work education. Social work re-produces differences and power structures through its practice and research (Schramkowski/Ihring 2018; Mecheril/Melter 2010). Therefore, a critical approach in SWE towards migration and racism is needed (Hunner-Kreisel/Wetzel 2018: 6). Many scholars consider this debate highly relevant (Blank/Gögercin et al. 2018). Yet, the discussion about sensitivity to racism in higher education institutions in Germany is just beginning (Karakaşoğlu 2018: 1). So far higher education research focusses on a deficit-oriented perspective on the “Other”. Institutional and structural mechanisms, racist power structures and the privileges of people, who benefit from racism, remain mostly unmentioned. By this a systematic analysis of racism and whiteness is missing within the current higher education research (van Lück 2020: 194 f.). There is a gap in research studying universities as a place of (re-)production of white knowledge archives and white realities of life (Aslan 2017: 753).

In my talk, I will present the results of the research seminar “Anti-racist analysis of SWE in Germany” for BA social work students. Moreover, I will discuss the process of teaching and researching about racism with a critical mindset, both from my perspective as a “white“ teacher but also from the students’ perspective based on their written reflections.

In the research project the students will perform a discourse analysis of course descriptions (syllabi) of courses about racism in German BA programmes of Social Work. Furthermore, the students are asked to reflect on their own role and position within the research process. During the teaching and research, we will discuss questions of power asymmetries. The theoretical framework of the course is inspired by aspects from educational migration research, othering and hegemonic white knowledge production.

Afterwards, there will be room to discuss the challenges and opportunities of critical approaches to racism in SWE with colleagues from international, interdisciplinary, theoretical and practical perspectives.

1:30pm - 3:00pmSymposium 2: How Ecosocial Work is Part of the Curriculum at European Higher Education Institutes
Location: Parallel Session 3
Session Chair: Pieter Lievens
Parallel Session 3 

Symposium on how ecosocial work is part of the curriculum at European Higher Education Institutes.

Chair(s): Pieter Lievens (Karel de Grote University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Belgium), Satu Ranta-Tyrkkö (University of Jyväskylä), Elvi Chang (University of Gävle)

Discussant(s): Arnaud Morange (IRTS Normandie-Caen), Helena Belchior-Rocha (ISCTE, Lisboa, Portugal), Kati Narhi (University of Jyväskylä)

*The first part of the symposium is an overview: each partner (Sweden, Finland, Belgium, France and Portugal) will present in a brief overview: How is ecosocial work embedded in the curriculum? What is the main ‘body of knowledge’ ? How is the course on ecosocial work didactically build (training or lecture, advantages and disadvantages of this approach? What are the most recent developments in teaching ecosocial work (ex. corona-crisis)?

*The second part of the symposium is a comparison: What are the main differences and similarities? What can we learn from each other? What content from the body of knowledge is mainly missing? What other conclusions can be drawn from the presentation of local educational practices in ecosocial work?

*The third part of the symposium is a discussion with the audience. What was inspiring? What is similar with or recognizable from your own background? Which other practices of knowledge in teaching ecosocial work did this presentation not cover? What actions can promote ecosocial work in SW-education? What expertise and content needs further to be developed or exchanged? What can be the role of the SIG-EASSW-ECOSOCIAL WORK in doing this?


Presentations of the Symposium


example 1: Ecosocial work in Belgium

Pieter Lievens
Karel de Grote University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Belgium

Ecosocial work on the macro-level, focus on social work dealing with global challenges


example 2: Ecosocial work in Finland

Satu Ranta-Tyrkkö, Kati Narhi
University of Jyväskylä

Social Work in Ecosocial Transition, focus on the links between sustainable development and environmental and economic issues in social work, and that ecological sustainability is crucial for transgenerational, local and global responsibility in social work


example 3: Ecosocial work in Sweden

Elvi Chang
University of Gävle

The person-in-environment approach, focus on environment as a dynamic and interactive system


example 4: Ecosocial work in France

Arnaud Morange
IRTS Normandie-Caen

Social work initiatives and ecological transition, focus on integration of ecological dimensions in assisting service users


example 5: Ecosocial work in Portugal

Helena Belchior-Rocha
ISCTE, Lisboa, Portugal

Environmental sustainability training, focus on transversal competence in the soft skills lab.

1:30pm - 3:00pmSymposium 3: Social Policy Education in Social Work – Innovative Approaches
Location: Parallel Session 4
Session Chairs: Sarah Lonbay & Marija Stambolieva
Parallel Session 4 

Social Policy Education in Social Work – Innovative Approaches

Chair(s): Sarah Lonbay (Sunderland University), Marija Stambolieva (University of Applied Sciences Osnabrueck)

Discussant(s): Jonas Christensen (Malmö University), Joachim Thönnessen (University of Applied Sciences, Osnabrueck)

Social Policy is a broad field of research. In recent years, the literature has been especially interested in adjustments or reforms of the welfare state or of certain social policy areas because of the global economic crisis and other perceived challenges like migration, aging societies, changing world of work etc. Discourses range mainly from retrenchment to the social investment perspective. A growing body of literature has been addressing social innovation through entrepreneurship, organizational reform, forms of collaboration, technology etc. What we know little about is the relationship between social policy research and social policy education. We are aware that differences in social policy traditions, national systems as well as educational contexts may have an impact on the focus of social policy education.

Discussions in our symposium will focus on the educational context of social policy and its implications for social work professionals and community practice, while also considering the aspect of possible occupational change and lifelong learning. We particularly aim to explore the curricular content and educational practices that exist to integrate social policy into study programmes. Within this, we intend to examine the role of social policy within the context of social work education and its relationship to actual experiences of professional practice.

As such, we will explore the following questions: What are students’ actual learning outcomes at the end of a social policy course and at graduation? What possible impact do changes in social policies have on the social work profession and is that considered in current social policy education? How do we train social workers to influence social policy? How can education support a critical understanding of the role of social workers in policy-making in a sustainable way? Do evaluations of teaching experiences and student perceptions give us indications about the advantages and disadvantages of certain approaches? Do transnational collaborations and student exchanges bring added value and how does recognition of qualifications in social policy function? Additionally we wish to explore new approaches that have possibly emerged because of the COVID-19 related adjustments to online learning.


Presentations of the Symposium


The re-awakening role of social workers in policy making following a global pandemic: lessons for education and practice

Panagiotis Pentaris
University of Greenwich

Social workers have largely contributed to policy analysis and planning since the rise of the discipline’s professional identity. It is through lobbying, policy advocacy and macro-practice that responses about human rights and social justice are crafted and integrated in international and transnational social work practice. Yet, these roles have for a while been supressed in an attempt to standardise and confine the profession in the limits of a given nation’s legal and social status. Public crises like the recent novel virus COVID-19, come to force us to rethink what has been the role of social workers before such crises. Are we well prepared to take on these roles again, when for a long while education and practice has shied away from them, leaving contemporary practitioners in a predicament situation? This paper will explore both challenges and opportunities in social policy, arising from COVID-19, and will argue the need for re-emphasising on the social workers’ role in social policy, with the intention to make recommendations for education and practice.


Social policy in social work curriculum in Estonia - a mission impossible?

Reeli Sirotkina, Kersti Kriisk
Tallinn University

Social work and social policy are quite often seen as separate study programmes/areas, having a clear curricula for both fields. In Estonian situation social work has a strong position in academia and applied sciences but social policy has been even more hidden into BA (and MA) curricula's and academic hierarchies than social work. If we look at the curricula's in both academic universities in Tallinn and Tartu we have noticed and experienced that social policy as a topic is not very popular among social work students. Reasons for this are several starting from misunderstanding of concepts like 'policy' and 'politics' and ending up with a narrative “research methods in social policy are always quantitative and social work use qualitative methodology and the last one is easier”. Our aim is to analyse the communication between and inside the datasets. We aim to understand and critically analyse “How social policy is represented and positioned in academic education in social work curriculum development process during 1991-2020?”. Quantitative analysis of student questionnaires and interpretative phenomenological analysis of curricula's gives us a scenery of how social work is seen nowadays by students and how social policy has been changed or remained the same in curricula's. Using (critical) discourse analysis of one to one interviews and student open ended questions with illustrate how the scenery enriches bringing out the contradictions in societal level as well as in science and educational policy.


Professionalization in low-threshold drug aid – between managerialism and practitioner knowledge

Joachim Thönnessen1, Christiane Westerveld2
1University of Applied Sciences, Osnabrueck, 2Caritas

At the end of the 80s the drug help practice experienced a significant phase of change. Open drug scenes, in which the consumption of illegal drugs took place under mostly catastrophic conditions, and the minimal scope of the previous offers of help called for reforms. In the course of this reorientation, alternative, acceptance-oriented approaches were developed which, among other things, contributed to the establishment of low-threshold drug help as an integral part of the help system. At about the same time, social-work and non-profit organizations (NPOs) have been increasingly applying business management concepts and instruments and employing professional managers. Today social work organizations and NPOs are faced with the question of whether and how they can benefit from management techniques, or what alternatives they have considering this emerging managerialism. Although considerable progress has been made in the development and application of management tools in social work, and although there are explanations for the reasons for the proliferation of management ideas, there are surprisingly few studies on how managerialism influences social work (seen both as an institution and as a concrete practice). We will discuss what effects and undesirable (side) effects managerialism can have on the everyday work of practitioners in social work. We will give examples from the everyday world of low threshold drug aid to exemplify a situation, which we describe as ´dilemma between managerialism and practitioner knowledge´.


Cooperation in Social Work and Policing: A Curriculum for Vocational Training

Günter Stummvoll
European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research

In this paper we report on the recent development of a vocational training programme that brings together social workers and police officers to discuss better cooperation in public order management. A curriculum for a 5-day course has been elaborated by researchers and practitioners in Austria, Portugal and Belgium with funding from the programme "ERASMUS+ Strategic Partnerships for Vocational Training". A draft curriculum has been tested in pilot trainings in all partner countries and can now be applied by police academies and schools of social work. Management of social order in public space has become a shared responsibility of authorities and welfare institutions. However, the collaboration of stakeholders is often marked by severe tensions, as organisations often differ in their strategies and approaches to public order. Vulnerable groups, such as drug users, homeless people and refugees are often confronted with divergent professional work-ethics. Participants in this training have worked out solutions together to increase health and safety for the benefit of marginalised persons in urban space. The answer to social problems in public space extends beyond immediate reactions and requires careful planning of preventive approaches that emerge from cooperation of police and social workers. Although there may be many other thematic overlaps between the professions of social work and policing, this training is dedicated to situations of disorder in public space. The themes selected for this training are 1) substance use among young people, and 2) the problem of homelessness. This training turns away from a conventional teacher-student relationship with its one-way education process. Instead, the training pursues a participatory approach as lecturers give a thematic impulse and then moderate discussions. This setting offers a democratic platform for communication and exchange between practitioners from both sides. This paper discusses the learning processes, challenges and outcomes of this vocational training that is now on offer to become a regular part of teaching and training schedules in both professions. It reflects upon the impact of the training on both professions and on social policies alike.

1:30pm - 3:00pmSymposium 4: Ethical Considerations for Social Work Education and Research in Africa: COVID-19, White Privilege, Structural Inequalities and Its Implications for European Social Work
Location: Parallel Session 5
Session Chairs: Tanja Kleibl & Ronald Lutz
Parallel Session 5 

Ethical considerations for Social Work education and research in Africa: COVID-19, white privilege, structural inequalities and its implications for European Social Work

Chair(s): Tanja Kleibl (University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt), Ronald Lutz (University of Applied Sciences Erfurt)

Discussant(s): Robel Afeworki Abay (Humboldt-University of Berlin)

The current pandemic forces parts of social work practice, research and education to reinvent itself. Alongside new online formats and blended-learning models, new ethical questions and dilemmas arise. Those include issues of resources, control and power, access, accessibility, mobility and rising inequalities, positionality of researchers, data protection and the duty of care in social scientific research and education with migrants and other vulnerable populations. While individual-oriented models have arguably been a hallmark of the European social work practice come to its limits in the pandemic, communal practices and local self-organized support systems come to the forefront. Can the North learn in the crisis from Southern approaches?

The symposium draws on this notion of joint learning and raises important questions about the (im-)possibility of equal research partnership during times of worsening structural inequalities. The papers presented draw on social work-related research projects in cooperation with partners in Uganda, Ghana and Nigeria. The situatedness of the research projects has direct implicit and explicit implications for ethical questions to be considered in postcolonial settings. The first perspective focuses on critical whiteness in research practice and pandemic-related challenges regarding field access and exchange opportunities. The second paper calls for situated ethics based in transnational multi-site research with migrating persons. Drawing on the theory of Social Work as a human rights profession in a global context, the final paper then moves to emphasize the mandate of social work researchers, practitioners and education to consider the perspectives of those unheard and unseen in the current discourse. The range of papers point towards the dilemma of a predominantly white Northern Social Work profession that is only slowly reflecting upon and researching its own role in upholding and reproducing the colonial matrix of power. Suggestions are made how to work towards an ethical space of engagement in which power imbalances are recognized and an in-between space, in which one can in fact only stumble forward together, created.

Tanja Kleibl and Ronald Lutz will moderate the discussion. As a discussant, Robel Afeworki Abay reflects on intersectional and postcolonial analysis of labour market participation of disabled BIPoC.


Presentations of the Symposium


Ethical dilemmas in international Social Work research: Experiences of a PhD project of a European Social Worker in Ghana

Franziska Neureither
University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt + Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt

The PhD project presented in this symposium is concerned with the intersections of Social Work and ‘indigenous/traditional’ helping systems in Ghana. Particularly relevant in this context is the critical examination of myself as a European white researcher in a formerly colonized country; especially because formal Social Work in Ghana was established by the colonial power and still today it can be spoken of a hegemony of western knowledge in the Social Work context (Apt & Blavo 1997; Kreitzer 2012).

The field research I conducted in December 2019/January 2020 was scheduled to be followed by further stays in 2020, which, however, were unfeasible due to the pandemic. Another field research trip is planned for February 2021; Whether this can take place, however, remains dependent on the outlook of the pandemic.

An accompanying research project, with the aim to analyse the Social Work curricula in Kumasi (Ghana) and Würzburg (Germany) from a postcolonial perspective could not take place either and is currently postponed to 2021. It remains to be seen whether this exchange programme with students from Ghana and Germany will take place physically or if it will be carried out online. If the pandemic does not allow us to travel and exchange cannot happen in person, all involved partners need to find alternative ways of creating a space where joint learning is possible.

The article presents the research project on Social Work in Ghana as well as the exchange programme and related ethical questions: Why is it necessary to critically scrutinise our own positions consistently in the research process? (How) is it possible to do research as a white researcher without (unwittingly) reproducing colonial patterns of thinking? Critical Theory, Postcolonial Theory and Critical Whiteness Studies provide relevant perspectives in that context.

Additionally, the pandemic-related challenges are presented in relation to planned field trips and the exchange programme. The difficulties in two-pronged preparation are shown and strategies to overcome these challenges will be discussed.

Key words: post-colonial Social Work research, Social Work curriculum, self-reflexivity, critical whiteness


Towards a situated ethics of social work research with migrants: politics, technology and the duty of care

Petra Daňková
University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt

Migrants experience social and structural vulnerabilities that present particular ethical challenges in doing research with these persons. The topic of migration is at the center of contested political discourses that also influence research agendas with their “destination country bias” or sustained focus on certain groups of migrants. In the context of the Covid 19 pandemic, there has been a rise in the use of internet technologies in research and social work teaching, including in practice projects. These technologies present a host of ethical issues from questions of self-determination of research participants to data security or the openness of research to unexpected discovery. The pandemic also exacerbated the vulnerable situations of migrants and rekindled debates around the “duty of care” and the balance between possible harm and benefits of social science research with migrating persons.

The presented paper draws on the author´s PhD research, which examines in a multi-side design the subjective attitudes to work of migrants from Nigeria to Germany. Additionally, the paper draws on the authors experience in teaching practice projects in an international master program “Social Work with migrants and refugees” as well as accompanying Social Work interns in various locations in the global South and global North in the 10 years of practice experience as a social worker.

The paper argues that Social Work research and education in the field of migration must mainstream robust ethical analysis in preparing and carrying out research and practice projects. Rather than a rigid “one size fits all” approach, a “situated ethics” must be developed. Attention must be paid early to how social work students engage with ethical questions in their practice and research projects. In the author´s experience, practice projects in social work education are often used as a “bridge” to qualifying research projects and must therefore from the beginning introduce research ethics reflection.

Key words: situated ethics, migration, internet technologies, duty of care


Social Work research with vulnerable populations in Eastern Uganda during the COVID-pandemic: on access and accessibility and Social Work research education

Anna-Lisa Klages
Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich + University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt

In March 2020, when the corona pandemic spread across the globe, many junior and senior researchers abruptly returned from their field studies, including the author. Many have remained tied to their desks ever since. Initially, the seemingly most urgent questions focused around being able to return to the field for data gathering, and around how to hold on to research designs. Quickly however, it became clear that the pandemic would increase (social) inequalities. The voices of those who had already been pushed to the margins (e.g. people with low socio-economic status, people who live in very remote regions, people with little education and limited or no access to digital technologies, individuals with disabilities, individuals with psychological challenges, minorities) prior to the pandemic now became unreachable.

Social workers addressed the potential consequences of this scenario early on during the first lockdowns. They feared not being able to reach their addressees and warned about the high costs for individuals, families, communities and societies at a whole. A new ethical dilemma arouse; should social workers and researchers return to the field and potentially increasing the risk of infection among their addressees, or should they restrain and maintain distance, thereby risking overseeing the needs of their addressees who are already not being able to make their voices heard? Common methods of Social Work practice and research suddenly did not seem to be applicable nor appropriate, demanding for substantial changes in methods and approaches used.

The presentation focuses on the ethical dilemma addressed above, thereby drawing on Staub-Bernasconi’s notion of social work as a human rights profession in a global context (2009: 139). This understanding demands social workers to consider human rights violations of individuals, groups, neighborhoods, communities, etc., and to move beyond analysis and critique through action. The paper draws on the author’s Ph.D. research with actors of the creative industry and artisan collectives in rural Eastern Uganda, thereby emphasizing ethical questions on access and mobility, and its implications for Social Work research education, which bridges theoretical studies of Social Work and practice.

Key words: mobility; silenced positions; access to technologies; rural Uganda

3:00pm - 4:00pmLunch Break
4:00pm - 4:30pmEASSW Book Presentation
Nino Zganezc & Marion Laging
4:30pm - 6:00pmPaper Presentation Session 6: COVID-19 and Social Work Education
Location: Parallel Session 1
Session Chair: Effrosyni Kokaliari
Parallel Session 1 

Shifting to remote instruction. Perspectives of US graduate social work students during Covid-19 times

Effrosyni Kokaliari1, Christy Tronnier2, Ann W. Roy3, Joyce Taylor4

1Department of Social Work - Springfield college; 2Department of Social Work- Springfield college; 3Department of Social Work -Springfield college; 4Yale School of Medicine

The restrictive measures imposed at the outset of COVID-19 severely impacted all aspects of peoples’ lives. As students were unexpectedly required to transition to remote learning, this disruption in the educational experience has been keenly felt. This paper reports on a study exploring the perspectives of graduate social work students in the USA (N=78) when switched to remote education during 2020 spring semester due to Covid-19. Students responded to ten open-ended questions that, among others, inquired about the experience of remote education, the perceived level of preparedness of instructors, the impact of social isolation on their studies, and the struggles and coping strategies they utilized. Finally, students were asked to report on pedagogical interventions they experienced as helpful.

Inductive thematic analysis was utilized. The following preliminary themes emerged: students appreciated the convenience of online education and safety; however, they found it hard to complete assignments and remain motivated, and teleconference fatigue and faculty competency with online teaching affected how they experienced their courses. When asked about areas with which they struggled as they shifted to online, overwhelmingly they reported difficulties with concentration and task completion. Isolation also had an impact on students’ productivity as they did not have the energy or concentration to focus on their studies. As well, many students reported feeling anxious, agitated, and worried about their future. When asked about what they found helpful, students’ reported they appreciated faculty who facilitated wellness check-ins, who maintained face-to-face class structure, and who were flexible and clear with deadlines and expectations. They recommended weekly or biweekly assignments instead of longer papers, the use of online platform/software, and fewer hours on teleconference. Finally, students reported that they very much appreciated faculty’s efforts to adjust considering the circumstances. Implications for future social work education will be discussed.

Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on educational experiences: Perspectives of undergraduate social work students.

Hadih Ahmed Deedat, Brie Radis, Susan Wysor Nguema

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

The novel coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, is an infectious disease caused by a coronavirus that was unknown until its outbreak in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 (World Health Organization, WHO, 2020). On January 30, 2020, the WHO labeled the disease as an outbreak of grave international public health concern (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, 2020). Less than two months following the WHO’s labeling of COVID-19 as an outbreak, the international community, spearheaded by the WHO, declared COVID as a pandemic (Cucinotta & Vanelli, 2020), making the declaration and the gravity of the situation more abrupt and apparent. In social work education, understanding the experiences of students during a typical academic year has always been an important facet in developing and implementing strategies to assure positive student experiences. Disruptions caused by the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic during the spring 2020 semester only magnified the imperativeness of knowing and understanding student experiences during the unprecedented spring 2020 semester (the early stages of the pandemic that saw nationwide lockdowns), especially as research on the impact of pandemics or crises on the experiences of social work students is very limited. Forty-two undergraduate social work students at a large public state university in Pennsylvania, United States, participated in this quantitative research study. Participants responded to survey questions pertaining to their educational experiences during the COVID-19-impacted period of the spring 2020 semester in, where face-to-face and/or hybrid teaching formats were replaced by remote instructional modalities. Just under half (47.6%) of the participants found academics as a stressor during the pandemic, with work/life balance (85.7%), academic workload (71.4%), and grades and financial burden (50% each) as the top stressors. Respondents identified friends, family, pets, educators, and faith and spirituality, in that order, as their main support systems during the pandemic. Implications for social work education from these findings are explored in this paper.

Social work professional identity and the implications of Covid-19

Fran Wiles

The Open University, United Kingdom

When making comparisons transnationally, the meanings and status of social work vary according to factors such as roles, training and status, as well as political, economic and social contexts. This context may now require consideration of responses to the global Covid-19 pandemic. Social work in the United Kingdom (UK) is increasingly focussed on statutory duties such as assessment and protection from abuse. In other countries, social work frequently includes community and development work, therapeutic interventions, social pedagogy and counselling. Thus it might be expected that professional identity carries different meanings according to national variations in role.

This paper reports the methods and published findings of a workshop which used a Rich Picture methodology to explore how a group of social workers from nine different countries conceptualised social work professionalism and professional identity, including the effects of transnational and cultural contexts. The research findings will be contextualised in the light of social workers’ experiences of working in the Covid-19 pandemic. The findings suggest that a collective identity is shared across national boundaries. This shared identity is rooted in a sense of passion and deep commitment. Tensions in identity were also revealed, linked with changing organisational roles and expectations.

Throughout the pandemic, social work practitioners and students have been resourceful in responding to unprecedented situations and adapting their practice to the challenges of an unknown and unfolding crisis. Despite this, there is some indication in the UK that their contribution may be under-valued and not always recognised. Drawing on recently published accounts from social workers, students and social work educators, tentative suggestions will be offered about the implications of Covid-19 for professional identity; and the vital role of social work educators in supporting the development of professional identity.

Resilience in Social Work Students: Effects of a pandemic (in the Social Work curriculum)

Ana Maria Oliveira1, Antonela Jesus2

1Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Portugal; 2Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Portugal

The current pandemic context poses a serious challenge for us all. If, on one hand, we deal with social, psychological and economic effects that are still (somehow) unknown, grounded in a social experience of confinement and a (almost) non-existent social life, on the other hand, humanity’s adaptation and overcoming needs have been demanded at unprecedented levels. Social Work authors like Kinman & Grant (2011) tell us that there are few studies that address the development of resilience in Social Work students. As a competence promoted on a daily basis by social workers to their service users, there is an urgent need to reflect on how the new generations of Social Work professionals develop themselves and place at service their own strengths, skills and potential (Oliveira, 2016; Saleebey, 2005). Indeed, it is our objective (i) to understand the construction process, the meanings and challenges attributed to the development and consolidation of «resilience» during the course of Social Work training, challenged by an experience of confinement and on-line classes; (ii) analyze the attributions to the training and pre-professional contexts in the construction of the “resilient spirit”; (iv) explore the challenges associated with developing resilience as one of the central skills of the social worker. Methodologically, we are guided by a multi-method approach of inductive logic, operationalizing the data collection process through the application of an online questionnaire survey addressed to undergraduate students in Social Work launched on social networks, and the realization of two focus group with students and professors, whose collected data will be treated and analyzed using the SPSS and MaxQda software. With this communication we intend to contribute to a reflection around the educational strategies to be implemented for the development of a resilient attitude in future Social Work professionals.

Use of a trauma informed approach in social work education: A successful strategy during COVID-19

Dana S Smith1, Liza Barros-Lane1, Dawn McCarty1, Sandra Perez2, Leslie W Sirrianni3

1University of Houston-Downtown; 2University of Houston-Downtown-Alumna; 3University of Texas-Austin

Our BSW program is in a coastal area prone to tropical storms, hurricanes, and flooding. Thus, we know firsthand that a disaster disrupts life, may threaten or kill groups of people, and frequently results in ongoing hardships. Our experiences with disasters in recent years have led us to continually enhance our preparedness plans. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19), though not a weather event, easily fits the description of a disaster. In response to the “COVID-19 disaster”, our social work program showed innovation by using the Trauma Informed Care (TIC) approach to support students in the midst of the pandemic. After several months of employing the TIC approach with BSW students, we designed a study to examine its effect. Using mixed methods and a convergent parallel design, we evaluated the approach used from March through May of 2020. We surveyed students to learn to what extent they believed the program utilized TIC. We also conducted focus groups to learn how the students benefitted from our use of TIC in the early days of the pandemic. Using a 4-point (range 0-3) trauma-informed principles scale, our program had a high score in three domains: cultural responsiveness and inclusivity (M= 2.9; SD = 0.07); environment of agency and mutual respect (M = 2.83; SD = 0.11); and emphasis on strengths (M = 2.79; SD = 0.05). The qualitative analysis yielded the following themes: 1) The program’s swift and proactive response fostered a sense of safety, 2) The program encouraged students’ empowerment and autonomy, and 3) The program created opportunities for human connection and support. These results demonstrate that the TIC approach helped foster student resilience and academic success. This study revealed that social work educators can utilize TIC as a tool to successfully support and retain students during and after COVID-19. Our presentation will provide a description of the activities and practices our BSW faculty employed during the beginning of the pandemic, describe student responses to the TIC approach, and offer recommendations for other programs interested in implementing trauma informed practices in their social work programs.

The effectiveness of online therapy in the COVID-19 Pandemic Era in Israel

Dr. Erga Kapulnik, Dr. Anwar Khatib

Department of social work, zefat Academic College, Israel

The effectiveness of online therapy in the COVID-19 Pandemic Era in Israel


Objective - This study aims to examine the transition from face-to-face (FtF) to online psychotherapy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, to assess the effectiveness of online psychotherapy (OT) in the corona era as measured by the success of therapists in implementing the major components of the helping process, and understand what the factors are that can predict this success.

Method – Participants were 192 psychotherapists recruited through a convenience sample, from three different regions in the country. Participants were asked to assess three measures: the effectiveness of online therapy (EOT), therapists preparedness to online therapy (TPOT) and Attitude toward Telemedicine in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (ATiPP) Questionnaire. Associations between EOT, TPOT and ATiPP , demographic and professional variables were analyzed using univariate analyses. A multiple regression analysis was performed to assess the contribution of independent variables to EOT.

Results - Therapists have reported high levels of EOT. TPOT and ATiPP, as well as years of experience in therapy were found to contribute to EOT.

Conclusions – Increasing exposure to online therapy through education as well as investing in the training and preparation of therapists in online therapy may be a pathway to enhance more effective OT, especially, among those who have little experience.

4:30pm - 6:00pmPaper Presentation Session 7: COVID-19 and Social Work
Location: Parallel Session 2
Parallel Session 2 


Cristina Belén Sampedro Palacios, Yolanda María De la Fuente Robles

Universidad de Jaén, Spain

The situation of disability is inherent to people and the migration process is part of vital development. Therefore, in it the reality of people with functional diversity converges; assuming this a phenomenon characterized by a double situation of vulnerability. In addition, on occasions, the process itself can be a generator of disability, due to the transgressive nature that it can have; as well as the causes that lead to the beginning of this process. Added to all this is the current COVID-19 pandemic, which undoubtedly aggravates the effects of vulnerability in the field of migration.

Traditionally, both realities have been identified as independent, leading to an important omission both in scientific studies and in social intervention. Leaving a gap in terms of quantitative data and analysis of the phenomenon. Which gives rise to a situation in which the scarcity of actions by the institutions, with respect to migrants with disabilities, is notable.

Therefore, the objective of this study is to know and analyze the theoretical / scientific contributions of the field of migration and disability, their evolution and characteristics, and their relationship with the new situations generated by COVID-19. Since social intervention is considered a precursor area in the achievement of an inclusive and diverse society. All through the design and / or proposal of measures that guarantee the equal enjoyment of Human Rights.

Starting from this premise, the theoretical contributions that so far exist regarding the phenomenon of disability in the migratory process are characterized by the lack of quantitative and bibliographic data that address the subject. Even the most common ones in which refugees with disabilities are the object of study are scarce. Ultimately, the research has resulted in a doctoral thesis on superdiversity and disability in the field of migration; financed by a grant from the Ministry of Science and Innovation of the Government of Spain. That allows the maintenance of the investigation today.

Understanding the refugee’s trauma through cultural adaptation of Clinical Ethnographic Interview in Greek: 1a


1HELLENIC MEDITERANEIAN UNIVERSITY, Greece; 2School of Social Work, Springfield College; 3Department of Human Behavioral and Biological Sciences, School of Nursing, Michigan University

The Clinical Ethnographic Narrative Interview (CENI) is an innovative tool that could build knowledge and capacity for the Social Workers to understand and address trauma.Based on theories about the benefits and challenges of narrative after trauma, this paper discusses the pioneering nature of the CENI tool to allow social workers to examine and evaluate the complex interplay between suffering, culture, and help-seeking (Saint Arnault, 2017).

Aim: This paper will present the translation and cultural adaptation of CENI in Greek, its procedure and preliminary findings about emotional, social, cultural and cognitive effects of trauma on the recognition of need, help seeking, recovery, and the use of support networks for refugees living in Greece who have experienced trauma.

Methods and Materials: CENI is a narrative interviewing tool that uses five unique and engaging participatory activities to investigate cultural experiences and barriers to help-seeking, including : a. social network, b. body map, c. lifeline, d. card sort, and e. interviewing the causal interpretations, social significance and help-seeking actions related to those symptoms (Saint Arnault and Shimabukuro, 2012; Saint Arnault, 2017).The translation and cultural adaptation of the CENI into Greek will be conducted according to the principles of good practice by the Translation and Cultural Adaptation group (Diane Wild et al., 2005). A snowball sample of 20 refugee women and men (18-60 years of age) will be used. Inclusion criteria will be: to have lived for the last three years in Greece, be fluent in Greek, and self-identify as having experienced trauma. Thematic analysis will be conducted.

Implications: The study expects: a. to broaden the scope of theoretical knowledge on trauma recovery; establish CENI as an intake tool in community social services; c. to examine the therapeutic impact of the CENI as an intervention to reduce symptoms, increase the use of social support, and promote post-traumatic growth, help-seeking intention and, behavior for the refugees who have experienced trauma. Implications for social work practice and education will be discussed.

Emergency and Social Work: Some Reflections in the Time of COVID-19

Folco Cimagalli, Cristiana Di Pietro, Antonio Panico, Marinella Sibilla

LUMSA University, Department of Law, Economics, Politics and Modern languages - Rome, Italy

The health emergency caused by Sars-CoV-2 had a significant impact on social work, especially as concerns health services at local level. They had to face up to both unusual organizational difficulties and new kind of social needs which could not be managed in the light of consolidated procedural schemes. The pandemic crisis, indeed, pointed out the role that social work can play in emergency, beyond the organizational and methodological issues arising from the unexpected event and the physical distance measures. This is the time for social work to deeply rethink its potential and its scope.

This paper assumes that, although overwhelmed by emergency and unpredictable consequences, social work is able to promote processes of adapting and managing uncertainty by reflecting on priorities and methods and by planning adequate interventions.

Literature has already investigated the ability of social work and, more generally, of the welfare system, not only to act as a means to access resources and / or services but also as a rebalancing factor in uncertainty context. Social work overcomes the linear and standardized schemes of classical welfare and it appears able to design new strategies of reassurance and adaptation (Castels 2003, Beck and Bauman 1999, 2006, Sennett 2004).

It could be interesting, therefore, to push forward the research focusing on the role that professionals play when catastrophic event upsets normalcy bringing about new forms of fear and uncertainty (Cattarinussi, Pelanda 1981; Frudà 1991).

In this perspective, an empirical study started in Italy and Spain aiming to analyse how and to what extent the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted on social and health services at local level.

This paper presents the preliminary results of the study conducted in Italy (Lazio, Puglia and Sicily) by a quantitative survey involving social workers. Three dimensions have been investigated: changing in the organization of services in terms of method and practice; work experience during the critical phase of the Covid-19 pandemic; finally, changing in social needs and new strategies to cope with.

Social work has shown a capacity for organizational resilience, triggering individual and collective coping processes as well as orientation and capacity building.

Mitigating traumatic stress and vicarious trauma through social work collaborative action and community cohesion during the COVID-19 crisis

Daniela Gaba1, Melinda Madew2, Marcin Boryczko3

1University of Bucharest, Romania; 2Protestant University of Applied Sciences Ludwigsburg, Germany; 3University of Gdańsk, Poland

Context: The COVID-19 crisis amplified numerous social risks and generated new ones under the pressure of potentially traumatic stressors, e.g. social isolation, sudden and premature loss of family/friends or unexpended financial strains. While frontline social workers strive to protect the most vulnerable populations during these challenging times, they too are prone to traumatic stress, both directly through their lived experiences of the crisis and indirectly through vicarious trauma. In high risks situations, social work practitioners rely on formal and informal networks of organisational and community support to generate a collective sense of security (Fargion, Sanfelici, Sicora, 2020).

Methods and aims: This paper presents the results of a cross-national qualitative study exploring the challenges faced by social workers in Germany, Romania and Poland during the COVID-19 crisis, both at a professional and personal level. An objective of the study is to examine the experiences of social work practitioners while navigating professional risks in the early stage of the COVID-19 crisis, with potential negative effects on their private lives. The study consists of 30 semi-structured interviews, with an equal share from each country; the sample is purposive and includes frontline social workers with at least one year of work experience in the field, from varying organisational settings and areas of expertise. The interviews are recorded and transcribed verbatim, with a few exceptions for which audio recording was not possible. Transcriptions of interviews performed in Romanian and Polish were translated into English and then a thematic analysis was performed collaboratively by two coders.

Results: Social workers in each context derived informal and formal systems of connectedness from emergency responses. New collaborative mechanisms were developed in unprecedented scenarios, generating resilience within their organisations and increased solidarity at the community level. Some of the themes emerging as catalysts of these collaborative actions are uncertainty mitigation, ethical dilemmas disentanglement and overloaded decision-making processes. These manifestations of solidarity can mitigate the onset of traumatic experiences, shaping professional identity and community cohesion and strengthening the preparedness for crisis situations. Possible implications for social work education during the pandemic and for adapting to “the new normal” are discussed.

Impact of pandemic influence in Albania recovery elderly

Eris Dhamo

Universitry of Tirana, Albania

Albania as all the world has been affected by Covid-19 pandemic, with 50637 confirmed cases and 1040 confirmed deaths (WHO, 18 December 2020). All the adults are in risk, but older ones are at higher risk as World Health Organization confirm, mostly from fear and suffer from infection. 21 .5 % of total Albanian population is above 60 years old and old dependency ratio on 1 January 2020 (ratio of the number of persons above the working age 65+ with the number of persons of working age 15 to 64) has increased from 20.5 % to 21.6 % compared with 1 January 2019, in the same period. As JAMA Newt Open (2020) study conclude households will continue to be a significant venue for transmission of SARS-CoV-2, that’s mean that even if elderly persons will be referred to isolate at home they have a lot of chance to be infected.

This study aim to explore older adult’s experience who has been recovery from Covid-19 with a hospitalization situation. 10 semi-structured interviews were conducted between October 2020 –December 2020, with hospital recovery older adults, aged 65 years and above in Tirana, capital of Albania. Content analysis has been used to analyze transcript interviews in order to identify most frequented themes, which are concern for others and fear to be happy.

All interviewed elderly express fear even cautious, they are afraid to be happy for being alive because the virus is “faithless”, but at the same time they feel compassion for medical personnel and for family member that have been suffer their illness and hospital stay.

Keywords: elderly, Covid-19, hospital, fear from happiness.


Jonathan Lambaerts

Thomas More, Belgium

Many people still associate philosophy with abstract theories and otherworldly discourses. Interesting for personal growth at best but without any practical value. An opinion shared by a majority of social workers who often reduce philosophy to ethics (and ethics to legislation). This common shared opinion is regrettable. Philosophy is above all a method and not a set theories. It is an activity and one perfectly suited for Social work. Particularly because it incorporates the core values of Social work.

Philosophy is the activity of ‘not knowing’ (Socrates) and of searching for reasonable answers to one’s questions. The principle of ‘not knowing’ makes all participants equal to each other. As such it creates a safe haven to speak. There is no authority on what is right or wrong, no authority on what can be said or what needs to remain unspoken. The only goal is that all who partake aspire to be reasonable. By insisting on this, the philosophical method tries to transcend emotions, intuitions, beliefs, … in other words the mere personal. As such the use of reason in philosophy is not only another way of creating equality but more importantly, it creates a common ground that enables people to understand each other and as a result to relate to one another.

Philosophy helps people to put their own life questions into words. This empowers them as it allows them to gain and retain the authorship over their own lives. Social work that takes these questions to heart lives up to the ambitions as formulated in the international definition of Social work (empowering people to address their life challenges and to engage in the strive for social change).

In the bachelor programme Social work at the Thomas More university college (Belgium) future social workers are trained thoroughly in the philosophical method. To the degree that it becomes a part of their professional identity. It is also used as a reflective tool in their development. This workshop aims to introduce philosophy as method to the broad community of social workers and to share our experi-ences using it in the field.

4:30pm - 6:00pmWorkshop 3: The unique challenges for social workers in a global shared traumatic reality – the case of COVID-19
Location: Parallel Session 3
Parallel Session 3 

The unique challenges for social workers in a global shared traumatic reality – the case of COVID-19

Orit Nuttman-Shwartz1, Rachel Dekel2, Silvia Fargion3

1Sapir College, Israel; 2Bar Ilan University , Israel; 3Trento University, Italy

When the novel coronavirus began to spread, many countries mandated lockdowns, quarantines, and social distancing, posing a threat to both service users and social workers and representing a “shared traumatic reality” (STR). An STR is something that may be experienced by professionals and clients during traumatic events such as natural disasters, mass shootings, street violence, and war or terror attacks. With the outbreak of the pandemic, many professionals including social workers moved to “online service,” a mode that decreases the asymmetry between service users and professionals and which might increase the sense of having an STR. To deal with the multiple practical challenges presented by the current global STR and especially with the ongoing consequences of COVID-19, we are proposing a workshop that focuses on the challenges for social work professionals who work in local and global shared traumatic realities. We hope to offer short- and long-term help for both seasoned professionals and novice social workers.

The aim of the workshop is to enhance participants' knowledge of the STR concept, which consists of three aspects: traumatic experience; professional growth and skills; and how to use these skills when addressing people’s needs. In addition, by using participants’ own experiences, we will help them to explore the concerns shared by them and their clients in light of the traumatic reality, as well as to identify obstacles which may limit their ability to create a professional relationship. Finally, we will offer a suitable intervention and how to cope with the STR in order to promote effective intervention. At the workshop’s end, based on the group discussion, the facilitators will relate to the shared experience of feelings of uncertainty, fear, and the risk of isolation. We will also talk about recommended practices intended to promote a sense of professional community and shared resilience that can support and strengthen present and future social workers. These matters will be discussed within the framework of the facilitators' own experiences and the research they have conducted in Italy and in Israel.

4:30pm - 6:00pmSymposium 5: Learning from Researching the Experiences of Social Workers with Asylum Seekers in North Greece and South Italy in the COVID-19 Context
Location: Parallel Session 4
Session Chair: Shulamit Ramon
Parallel Session 4 

Learning from researching the experiences of social workers with asylum seekers in North Greece and South Italy in the covid-19 context

Chair(s): Shulamit Ramon (University of Hertfordshire)

Discussant(s): Shulamit Ramon (university of Hertfordshire), James Cox (Social Work Scotland)

We are conducting currently research on The Challenges of Social Work with asylum seekers in North Greece and South Italy.

This unique study aims to highlight the key issues for social workers at this frontline of European social work. The issues will include barriers, facilitators, challenges and achievements entailed in their work from their own perspective in the Covid-19 context.

Asylum seekers clients are interviewed as to their views on the contribution of social workers to support their transition period within the Covid-19 pandemic .North Greece and South Italy were chosen as European sites with large numbers of asylum seekers.

We aim to interview by phone or online a total of 40 social workers specialising in asylum seeking, and a similar number of asylum seekers.

The study includes also having an advisory group in each site with representatives of social work and migrants organisations

The data analysis of the recorded interviews will follow thematic analysis principles, conducted by local researchers as well as by the UK researchers and practitioners. The analysis will shed light on the underlying dimensions of working within a highly stressful environment for both workers and clients, due to current living conditions, high level of uncertainty concerning the future of each asylum seeker, the political positions of the governments and public opinion of the two countries and EU policy concerning asylum seekers, the and the impact of the pandemic.

Lessons learned from the study pertaining to the achievements, challenges, failures and recommendations concerning near future social work with asylum seekers in North Greece and South Italy, as well as in the rest of Europe, will be outlined.

The presenters and the discussants have considerable experience of practice and research in this field.


Presentations of the Symposium


Learning from researching and experiences of social workers with asylum seekers in North Greece

Theano Kallinikaki1, Roberta di Rosa2, Elena Allegri3
1Democritus University Trace, 2Palermo University, 3Piemonte Orientale

Theano Kallinikaki, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece.

Since 2015, the largest part of the social work practice has been developed to Migrants Refugees practice, not only for social workers who work in services and programs targeted to these groups, but also for those who work in other sectors.

Hence this research took place in North Greece, near the land border between Greece and Turkey from where the refugees come.

Local authorities, as well as national and international NGOs are running programs of hosting and supporting the most vulnerable asylum seekers.

We had skype interviews with representatives of refugees and social workers in housing programs, massive camps, safe zones, youth support centers, shelters for unaccompanied children and vulnerable families, foster care street work, protective custody, and in medical services, in cities and semi-urban towns.

The focus was on the new challenges due to recent governmental migration policy, and of working and living in the context of the Covid19 pandemic since March 2020. The data describe the consequences of the lockdown, for those living in closed camps and housing programs, on refugees life and on the role, the methods, interventions and referrals social workers used to apply before.

Social workers need adequate equipment for remote work and distant contact, including interpreters, to optimize their contribution in this highly challenging context. Policy change which will enable asylum seekers to have the status of refugees and to open the rest of Europe to them has to accompany this change.


Rethinking support relationship in covid-19 times: challenges for social work in the Italian asylum seekers reception system

Roberta di Rosa1, Elena Allegri2
1Palermo University, 2Piemonte Orientale

Roberta T. Di Rosa, University of Palermo, and Elena Allegri, University of Piemonte Orientale, Italy

Social work has played a key role in the attempt to integrate of migrants in Italy. Ever since the first rescue operations, social workers have represented the interface of the Italian reception system, meeting migrants face to face, welcoming them and getting to know their personal histories.

Nevertheless, in the daily practice of social workers there are marked variations in the professional skills involved and in the consistency and effectiveness of the interventions on offer, often required to remedy the deficiencies of existing policies for this high need group.

Critical issues for Social Workers in the migration field are mainly linked to the motivations and skills of the operators; their level of cultural sensitivity; the jeopardized provision of resources and the services’ capacity for inclusion; the pressure created by governmental social policies; and the tough challenge of reconciling the professional and institutional mandates.

The COVID 19 emergency is an inevitable and largely insurmountable challenge for all migrants, but in particular for asylum seekers hosted in the reception system, who experience a high level of uncertainty even before the pandemic. This emergency has increased vulnerabilities and uncertainties, requiring both asylum seekers and professionals to be able to readjust and reshape life plans and aid processes.

Starting from the testimonies and indications on methods and strategies collected from social workers working in the reception facilities, we will share a reflective summary on the redefinition of the helping relationship in times of emergency; the centrality of reflexivity and on the tools tested. In particular, we focus on critical points and resilience strategies of social worker in this demanding field in pandemic times, highlighting effective practices in the support process, thus making a contribution to future development of social work knowledge and methods.

4:30pm - 6:00pmPoster Presentation Session 1: Social Work and Crisis
Location: Parallel Session 5
Session Chair: Raymond Kloppenburg
Parallel Session 5 

The Social workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Greece: From Secondary Traumatic Stress to Vicarious Posttraumatic Growth

Alexandra Tamiolaki1, George Tsouvelas2, Charalampos Korotzidis1, Argyroula Kalaitzaki1

1Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Approaches for the Enhancement of Quality of Life, Hellenic Mediterranean University, Greece; 2University of West Attica, Greece

Background/ Aims: Although social workers are at great risk for suffering secondary traumatic stress symptoms (STS) as a result of the indirect exposure to their patients’ traumatic experiences, relevant studies on the psychological consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are still scarce. Accumulated evidence has emphasized mostly the negative psychological impacts, whereas any positive ones have been largely neglected. Vicarious posttraumatic growth (VPTG), which includes greater sense of personal strength, warmer relationships with others, greater appreciation of life, openness to new experiences and spiritual development could be a potential positive result of vicarious traumatization. This presentation aims to (a) examine VPTG among 78 social workersduring the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic in Greece, (b) the factors that facilitate VPTG, such as STS, and coping strategies.

Results and Conclusions: Social workers in Greece demonstrated moderate to low levels of STS and VPTG during the first lockdown in Greece. STS intrusions and both adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies predicted VPTG. Understanding the factors that promote VPTG is important to guide the development of interventions which protect social workers from the deleterious impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and support them in their process of growth. Caring for the care professionals is of paramount importance principally for themselves and also for their traumatized patients and the quality of care they provide. The results of this study could inform professionals on how to best prepare themselves for trauma work in uncertain times and could have implications regarding how health care organizations can best support their employees and facilitate VPTG in the workplace.

The added value of the capability approach when working with distressed groups

Diana van Dijk, Sandra Johnson

Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands, The

In this presentation, the capability approach (CA) is presented as a useful action- and evaluative- framework for social workers who work with distressed groups, such as refugees. Amartya Sen (1985) developed the capability approach (CA) as a means of evaluating people's well-being. The core of this integral approach is that it not only looks at what an individual does or achieves, but also at that outcome in relation to what people want to achieve, whether they are capable of doing so and whether they are enabled to do so. It therefore potentially helps social workers, in consultation with clients, to increase possibilities and autonomy. It also focusses on if people are able to access resources and support and if they are able to use this for their benefit. The CA is consequently useful to evaluate whether interventions add value to well-being and are really benefitting people in vulnerable situations.

The CA is in line with the core values of social work. People differ in their opinion or understanding of what quality of life or well-being means and these different interpretations and possibilities are what the CA is all about. Respect for diversity is an important value within social work. Empowerment, or supporting autonomy, is central to the CA and a core value of social work. The CA is used in and between different disciplines, such as care or poverty issues. What these different studies and resulting interventions have in common, is the centralization of people's ability to live the life they value.

In this presentation, I will explain the usefulness of the CA for social work and social work education. Based on the stories of refugees, we have made a number of case studies that we use in education to show the application of the CA to students. These case studies not only illustrate the application of the CA, but also contribute to knowledge and skills of (future) social workers to support asylum seekers, refugees and migrants.

COVID-19 pandemic in Greece: Research findings and recommendations for posttraumatic growth interventions by social workers

Alexandra Tamiolaki1, George Tsouvelas2, Michael Rovithis1, Argyroula Kalaitzaki1

1Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Approaches for the Enhancement of Quality of Life, Hellenic Mediterranean University, Greece.; 2University of West Attica, Greece.

Background/Aims: COVID-19 outbreak is an uncontrollable disease that has affected people worldwide. Cumulative evidence suggests that the pandemic and the resultant lockdown have detrimental effects on mental health. However, the psychological consequences can be both negative and positive. Posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD with symptoms of intrusions, avoidance and hyperarousal is a result of the negative mental health effects of COVID-19 whereas posttraumatic growth or PTG with changes in self-perception, relationships, and one’s philosophy of life is a potential positive outcome. This presentation aims to (a) examine PTG among Greek community residents, its association with PTSD, and whether coping strategies facilitate PTG, during the first COVID-19 lockdown in Greece, and (b) provide recommendations about how social workers can foster PTG in the general population with traumatic experiences.

Results and Conclusions: Our results indicated that COVID-19 can be an extremely traumatic experience for the general population. People demonstrated high levels of PTSD and moderate to low levels of PTG. PTSD intrusions, adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies were predictors of PTG. Research findings could direct timely and tailored-based interventions and strategies by the social workers and other social care professionals aiming at helping people who struggle with the COVID-19 outbreak. Special emphasis will be given to those interventions and strategies that have the potential to motivate traumatized people to use intrusive thinking as a means to re-examine the meaning of the COVID-19 threat and to those coping strategies that are useful responses to stress and can reduce PTSD symptoms and improve their well-being.

New values and challenges. Social work education during the Covid-19 pandemic - Polish practice

Marta Mikołajczyk, Ewa Grudziewska

The Maria Grzegorzewska University, Poland

The possibility of studying social work (SW) as a separate field of study was introduced in Poland In 2005. So far, it has been a part of the didactic offer of sociology or pedagogy. This change significantly increased its rank, although SW is still not recognized as a scientific discipline - according to the Polish law (Act on Social Assistance from 2004) SW is still defined as a professional activity. In many universities, SW has been considered as a practical study profile. This means that many teaching hours (e.g. at The Maria Grzegorzewska Universty there are 800 during 3 years of study) are internships in selected centers / institutions related to social assistance. That fact gives a chance for students to prepare them for an important and necessary profession, including for working with various categories of clients, in accordance with the values that they recognize.

The existing way of SW education was disrupted by the covid19 pandemic. It turned out that the existing teaching methods had to be verified. This situation provokes some questions, such as:

- How to effectively teach SW in the new reality?

- How to effectively achieve the assumed educational results?

- How to implement practical items during lockdown?

- How to teach students to respect the values, dignity and individuality of clients in a situation where contact with the practice is limited / impossible?

The poster will present the results of research carried out in October and November 2020 among 100 students of social work from three different universities (100 questionnaires and 12 individual in-depth interviews). The aim of the study was to recognize the differences in SW education before and during the pandemic. In particular, the issues of challenges facing further education of social work and recommendations for the future will be discussed. It is assumed that the covid19 pandemic will not end in the next semester (February 2020). Lecturers' opinions appearing already in Poland suggests to continue some of the classes/ courses online even after the pandemic.The future will showu us if we prepare good specialists in social work this way.

Resilience strategies among social work students

Zuzana Poklembova, Antónia Sabolová Fabiánová, Anna Jašková, Martin Hamadej

University of Presov, Slovak Republic

This paper presents research with the main aim to compare resilience in the group of social work students: before and after Covid-19 pandemic. In the sample of 30 students were data recollected in post-test after more than one year of different activities (social-psychological training, consulting, resilience and mindfulness enhancing techniques), using Brief COPE questionnaire (Carver 1997); The Connor - Davidson Resilience Scale (2003) and The Resilience Scale for Adults (Hjemal, Friborg, Martinussenová, Rosenvinge;2006) Data were analysed in SPSS.

The quantitative part of this research was complemented by individual interviews aimed at confirming and analysing resilience strategies and the preferred resilience factors by students while copping pandemic consequences.

The research findings have important implications for future education and curriculum improvements, including resilience enhancing techniques as a tool of stress reduction among students and also burnout syndrome prevention in future social workers.

Social media’s role during COVID pandemic: co-creating community-based solutions for vulnerable groups

Zsolt Bugarszki1, Katri-Liis Lepik1, Kadri Kangro1,2, Koidu Saia1, Marju Medar1, Esta Kaal3, Marko Medar1,4

1Tallinn University, School of Governance, Law and Society, Estonia; 2Development Centre of Võru County, Estonia; 3Tallinn University, Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School, Estonia; 4Manimal Design and Digital Media Studio, Estonia

Social Media as an accelerator for co-creating solutions for vulnerable groups in COVID-19 context was explored. The FB posts before, during and after the first wave of COVID-19 in Estonia were investigated. The Couldry (2012) model was utilized to analyze the co-creational initiatives in FB from the perspectives of power, affordances, practices and discourses. Findings suggest that social media could be successfully utilized as a tool for sharing call to actions, activating citizens for co-creation of solutions, for supporting the participation of all groups in society. The key factors are informed and conscious utilization of social media tools, building trust and sustainability. The reflections captured the unequal positions perceived in prosocial collaboration in the context of crisis. However social media is the powerful enabler and accelerator for activating and channeling the community resources to support vulnerable groups in the society.

Using critical discourse analysis to research (in-)visibilities of power and race in the internationalisation strategies of Bachelor programmes of social work in Germany

Nina Westerholt

Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Higher education is embedded in postcolonial structures of power (Grosfoguel 2013; Stein et

al. 2020) and the internationalisation of higher education can lead to a continuation of

Eurocentric knowledge production and the reinforcement of western science systems (Dornick

2020: 29). Within the research on international higher education these aspects are just seldom

taken into account (George Mwangi et al. 2018).

In my talk I will present the methodology discourse analysis (Jäger/Jäger 2007; Fairclough

2018) as an approach to make invisible categories visible. My goal is to investigate how the

discourse in internationalisation strategy documents re-produce power and privileges by

enabling and disabling visibility, and by this reinforcing hegemonic structures in the higher

education system. I will apply the theoretical concepts of ‘the west and the rest’ (Hall 2018),

othering (Said 1978; Spivak 1985) and epistemic power (Bennett 2015; Brunner 2020) in the

critical discourse analysis in order to show, how these are used in order to make people and

knowledge in a powerful way (in)visible and by this (re-)produce social inequalities.

International dimensions are crucial to social work (education), due to the effects of

globalisation on people and society. At the same time internationalisation of social work

education risks to make indigenous knowledge and practices invisible, due to the

universalisation of dominant concepts and research from ‘western countries’ (Rasell et al.

2019). The discipline social work contains critical approaches towards questions of social

inequality, power and (racial) construction of difference (Kessl/Plößer 2010). How does this

disciplinary background affect the internationalisation strategies within social work education?

How does social work education locate itself within the postcolonial and neoliberal discourses

of the internationalisation of higher education, which often leads to the (re-)production of


With my presentation I offer insights in the methodological and theoretical perspectives of my

ongoing PhD project in educational sciences.

Mediation competences of family assistants – new role or necessity?

Ewa Grudziewska

The Maria Grzegorzewska University in Warsaw

Contemporary changes in all areas of social life caused by the Covid-19 pandemic define innovative roles for people who support them families in crisis. The group of these specialists includes family assistants, who very often become involved in conflicts of people with whom they provide help and support on a daily basis. Hence, there is a need to teach them with mediation competences that will facilitate their work and increase its effectiveness. It is primarily about improving the process of mutual communication, problem solving and regaining the ability to function satisfactorily in the social environment.

Mediation competences can be defined as “the subjective disposition of an individual enabling him to consciously, due to the needs and effects, resolve conflict situations using the principles of the mediation process and to be responsible for the behaviors manifested. Competences consist of a set of experiences, features, skills and knowledge that contributes to the effective use of mediation in the process of supporting the investigation of the parties to a conflict to a satisfactory agreement. Mediation competences are necessary for the effective performance of an intermediary's work, and in the personal context, to improve his/her psychosocial functioning (A. Lewicka-Zelent, 2012).

The aim of the research is to determine the mediation competences of family assistants. For this purpose, the Mediation Competences Questionnaire (KKM) by A. Lewicka-Zelent was used, which allows to determine in a subjective way the intensity of skills and features that make up mediation competences. Family assistants from all over Poland associated in the Polish Association of Family Assistants will take part in the research. Mediation competences will also be analyzed in terms of sociodemographic variables of the surveyed family assistants, i.e. age, seniority, place of residence and education.

6:30pm - 8:00pmCultural Event and Networking
Date: Thursday, 17/June/2021
9:45am - 10:30amKeynote Speech 2: The Challenges of Social (Policy) Innovation, Prof Yuri Kazepov
Session Chair: Mariann Martsin
10:45am - 12:15pmPaper Presentation Session 8: Learning/Teaching Methods I
Location: Parallel Session 1
Session Chair: Femke Dewulf
Parallel Session 1 

A Culturally-Based Socialization to Social Work: A Longitudinal Analysis of the Professional Preferences of Ultra-Orthodox and Secular Students in Israel

Amit Zriker1,2, Anat Freund2

1Bar-Ilan University, Israel; 2University of Haifa, Israel

Objectives: The ultra-Orthodox society is a religious minority group, representing 9% of the adult Jewish population in Israel. It differentiates itself from the mainstream society in most private and public domains of life. However, in the past decade, there were unprecedented processes of integration of the ultra-Orthodox group in the mainstream Israeli society, mainly in the domains of employment and higher education, such as in social work. In this context, it is important to meet the needs of students from different cultural groups, in order to allow them to integrate. This research was conducted in order to examine the possible changes that may occur during the three years of academic education in schools of social work, by comparing ultra-Orthodox and secular social work students.

Method: Data was collected through a longitudinal quantitative research focusing on the professional preferences of 186 ultra-Orthodox and secular students in the B.A. level. Data was collected in 4 phases: the first two weeks of the 1st year (T1), the last two weeks of the 1st year (T2), the last two weeks of the 2nd year (T3), and the last two weeks of the 3rd year (T4).

Results: In different times, there were significant differences between ultra-Orthodox and secular students: In T1, the willingness of ultra-Orthodox students to engage in individual practice was significantly higher than its parallel among secular students. In T2, these differences diminished. In T3, the willingness of ultra-Orthodox students to engage in management and supervision roles was significantly lower. In T4, the willingness of ultra-Orthodox students to engage in community practice was significantly lower than among secular students.

Conclusions: There are differences between ultra-Orthodox social work students and their secular counterparts. However, these differences are found in different times. In addition, there are similar processes of professional socialization, in the sense that students’ attitudes changed during the B.A. studies. Among ultra-Orthodox students in particular, it is imminent that their professional preferences are becoming more “Western”, since they manifest a stronger interest in individual practice in comparison to other practices.

Professional self-conception in times of Covid-19: Opportunities and challenges for students of social work using the example of the practical phase

Felix Manuel Nuss, Grit Höppner

Catholic University of applied sciences NRW, Germany

Dealing with the corona pandemic challenges students of social work in a special way. Currently, students are not only experiencing insecurity in their private lives. During their studies they also experience changes and further developments of previously known organizational structures and teaching formats. The implementation of a central goal of the study of social work – the development of a professional self-concept of the students – is therefore no longer easily guaranteed.

In this talk we present a teaching format within the six-month practical phase of bachelor students, which contributes significantly to a transfer of theory and practice and thus accompanies a central phase in the development of a professional self-concept of students. This teaching format is characterized on the one hand by a long-term structure, which in the form of preparation, implementation and follow-up of the practical phase in a group of up to 15 students takes three semesters in the BA-program. On the other hand, the students are intensively accompanied by seminars at the university in specific fields of action. In these seminars, lecturers, students and practice instructors work closely together, and supervision is also provided by the university during the practical phase.

This teaching format, which has proven itself over a long period of time, is currently being further developed with innovative elements.

Such an innovative element is a project by lecturers in the practical phase, which will also be presented in the talk. In this project, the pandemic is used productively as an irritation so that students become aware of their own professional self-conception. This project serves to reflect on how to deal with crisis experiences and to supports students in becoming aware of the opportunities and challenges of their own skills, which they can draw on in their future practice. Thus, the project will ultimately address the question of what kind of professional self-conception (future) social workers will develop in a constantly changing world and whether established orientation variables (such as the understanding of "structured openness") can still support the development of a professional self-conception or whether other innovative orientation variables are needed.

Stimulating international and intercultural competences by using rubrics in higher education

Femke Dewulf

University of Applied Science Ghent, Belgium

The UN World Declaration on Higher Education for the Twenty-first Century (UNESCO, 1998) states that “international cooperation and exchange are major avenues for advancing Higher Education throughout the world”. Studies have shown that international exchange experiences have long-lasting positive effects on students and teachers. In order to encourage international exchange and stimulate global awareness HOGENT, the University of Applied Science (UAS) in Belgium, created an international bachelor programme for future social workers.

The starting point of this programme was guided by the Horizon 2020 framework, which advices that by 2020 20% of our graduates must have acquired 10 credits abroad. Therefore, the UAS established European partnerships to build up an ‘international social work curriculum’ for incoming and Belgian students. In this programme, fundamental values of international social work, future proof skills, global awareness and international exchange are key elements. The curriculum resulted in a third year bachelor international module for Belgian students as a mobility window, offering short mobility abroad. For incoming Erasmus students the international social work curriculum was extended to one semester, including the international module together with Belgian students.

To evaluate the learning outcomes in our international module and curriculum, we conducted a pilot study in one of the courses for Belgian and incoming students. Rubrics were used to assess learning outcomes in a formative and summative way. Rubrics have the potential to evaluate and teach students, but also to identify the need for improvements in courses and programmes (Reddy & Andrade, 2010). The learning outcomes were integrated with a set of international and intercultural competences (ICOMs) developed by the University of Leuven and associated university colleges (2012) to evaluate the impact of this course in stimulating global awareness and engagement for future social workers.

The outcomes were overall positive and gave us interesting information to start evaluating our international module, but also to increase and stimulate the development of ICOM’s in all years of our Social Work programme.

Cross-national comparative research in social work

Kathrin Franziska Prof. Beck

Catholic University of Applied Sciences, Munich, Germany

Human beings around the globe are confronting different threats to their well-being. Furthermore, further global pandemics similar to that caused by COVID-19 might intensify existing problematic situations. Therefore, it is valuable to compare certain ways of dealing with similar social problems in different countries to identify similarities and differences, to investigate country-specific context factors contributing to these similarities and differences and to develop recommendations for the countries involved. This lecture provides an introduction to cross-national comparative research in social work. Cross-national comparative studies in social work remain rare to this day, and a lack of knowledge regarding this area of work persists. This lecture will clarify the central questions within cross-national comparative research, namely, why, how and what to compare, as well as the necessity of contextualising research findings to avoid misinterpretations. Cross-national comparative research aims to identify the nature of a phenomenon in one country and to transfer elements assessed positively to another country. Thus, it is possible to learn about others and obtain knowledge about a phenomenon in another country. In addition, alternative social work practices can be recognised that can lead to improvements in one’s own practice. This lecture is interactive and comprises lectures and discussions.

Performative methods for courses of study

Markus Andrä

FH Dresden, Germany

Performative methods from theatre pedagogy might be widely common for so called “warm ups” or “energizers” to start seminars or to fill the gaps between two theoretical inputs. But, can we use them as serious means of education as well?

Like the profession, the scientific discipline of social work is inevitably entangled in normative questions relating to social conditions. Studying social work therefore requires an alert attitude to the state of the world and an open mindedness for a utopian change in it. Thinking about social power relations requires continuous self-reflection and self-transformation as it cannot be carried out from an objective external point of view, since one's own attitude arose within the criticised social conditions and will be further influenced by them.

To give space for such personal development in courses of studies, a Socratic or "maeutic" approach to strengthen progressive ideas or practice that have already been set up can be helpful. However, it is also possible to try out alternative forms of practice in a politically creative and performative way, which have yet to be normatively examined, but which already question the existing power relations (Schrödter, 2006).

Several rationales from philosophy and the social sciences refer to the various opportunities that emerge out of the “magic circle” of a playful as-if-situation. We can find these traces in post-structuralist theories or in Paulo Freire’s (1971) Pedagogy of the Oppressed or in the sociological concept of resonance as well (Rosa, 2017). Coming from this theoretical basis, methods have been developed to question given power relations playfully, most famously Augusto Boal’s (2018) Theatre of the Oppressed. This presentation gives a theoretical introduction into the meaning of play and performative methods for courses of study.

Boal, A. (2018). Übungen und Spiele für Schauspieler und Nicht-Schauspieler. Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp.

Freire, P. (1971). Pädagogik der Unterdrückten. Stuttgart.

Rosa, H. (2017). Resonanz. Eine Soziologie der Weltbeziehung. Berlin: Suhrkamp.

Schrödter, M. (2006). Die beiden Sozialpädagogen: Habermas, der Geburtshelfer und Foucault, der Narr. Widersprüche. Zeitschrift für sozialistische Politik im Bildungs-, Gesundheits- und Sozialbereich, 26 (2), 93-101.

The importance of preparatory programs for refugees to access higher education

Diana van Dijk, Anne Kooiman, Diede Vlemmix

Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands, The

In this presentation, we argue why preparatory programs are essential for refugees to have proper access to higher education and what the essential elements are of such programs. In this explorative study, we analyzed four of these programs in the Netherlands. Lecturers and (previous) participants were interviewed about the added value of the program for their studies and how the program could be bettered.

Pre-programs prepare refugee-students for studying in higher education by focusing on learning Dutch, academic skills, learning about the Dutch educational system and by providing information on study directions. Guidance and support is also provided, as these students often struggle with complex issues. Pre-programs can create social binding with the institution, if provided at the same institution. Challenges are that pre-programs are often general and do not prepare for certain specialistic directions (for example, certain jargon used).

We recommend that the pre-programs focus on strengthening social networks of refugees. This can be done by linking participants, organizing social activities and by matching participants with enrolled students (buddies). Furthermore, lecturers and students from the regular courses should be more connected to these programs. These social linkages help to create a more inclusive learning environment, provides students with a sense of belonging and provides much needed emotional support for distressed refugee-students. Furthermore, peer-mentoring not only helps new students, it equips mentor-students with new skills. Peer-mentoring is about mutual sharing and learning, and both mentor and mentee benefit from such relationships.

10:45am - 12:15pmPaper Presentation Session 9: Learning/Teaching Methods II
Location: Parallel Session 2
Session Chair: Marika Lotko
Parallel Session 2 

Social Work Distance Learning: Teaching Tools and Methods

Marika Lotko

Rīga Stradiņš University, Latvia

In Latvia, the first wave of Covid-19 dates back to the period from 12 March to 9 June 2020 when the state of emergency was declared. Even before the declaration of the state of emergency, the management of Rīga Stradiņš University decided that the study process would take place remotely.

The first question that arose was how to provide the study process remotely so that it was equivalent to face-to-face studies. The strength of the Social Work study programmes, like other RSU programmes, was the previous developments in the provision of e-studies, that was used by teaching staff already before the pandemic and the declaration of the state of emergency for placing study materials, assigning tasks to students, making assessment and undertaking other activities. The time, when the state of emergency was declared, was also the time when graduates had to take the National Examination and students had to start field placement.

Distance learning and teaching were provided using various platforms: Moodle, Zoom, MsTeams, Panopto, Respondus Mundus. Innovative tools such as H5P, e-voting, Wiki, Dictionary, Mentimeter, etc. enabled interactive distance learning and teaching process, variation of the tasks to be assigned for the acquisition of knowledge and skills. New platforms and tools have been mastered even upon starting the academic year 2020/2021, which imposes an additional burden on lecturers and also students.

Reflecting on the distance learning, students have mentioned both its strengths and limitations. The following features were mentioned as strengths: recorded lectures give the possibility to pause the lecture and view it repeatedly as needed; the Zoom platform is considered to be a modern platform for learning study courses; an opportunity taken by lecturers to involve various practitioners in remote lectures was highly valued and also the time saved to commute from home to the University was appreciated. The disadvantages mentioned were the following: the state of emergency generally made it difficult to learn the subject matter; it was not possible to apply theoretical knowledge in practice and a poor Internet connection hindered the study process.

Social work online teaching in English: shared knowledge and internationalization across Finnish universities in times of pandemic

Janet Anand1, Gorana Panić2, Anu-Riina Svenlin2

1University of Eastern Finland; 2Kokkola University Consortium Chydenius/University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Teaching social work remotely became necessary under the global pandemic condition. Teachers and students were challenged by the demands of the pandemics to switch quickly from face-to-face classroom to online education. However, a well-designed online course or a lecture drove by effective online learning is different from remote teaching as an immediate response to the covid-19 crisis.

This paper is based on the results and lessons learned from the recent social work education project Developing online social work teaching in English, implemented in 2019-2020 by the Finnish National University Network for Social Work (SosNet). One of the project’s aims was to contribute to the internationalization of Finnish social work education. The project involved collaborative efforts among social work educators from six Finnish universities and numerous universities across Europe and the globe. As a result, there are six newly created social work online courses and e-learning resources.

In the presentation, we will focus on the questions of purpose and benefits of social work online teaching in English for the involved teachers and students, as well as the social work curriculum, and its pedagogy. The paper is driven both by our reflections on implementing the project and the data from students’ evaluation of the online course “Global perspectives in social work.” We will present our observations and direct experiences as the project coordinators and as the responsible teacher for the course.

Although the project concerns online social work education in the Finnish context, it contributes to the discussion about needs and resources for social work education's own transformation, demanded currently by the global pandemic and other crises anticipated in the future.

Teaching Pandemic Social Work Course in Times of Global Public Health Emergency

Oleksandr Kondrashov1, Jeanne Albutra2

1Thompson Rivers University, Canada; 2Thompson Rivers Universy, Canada

One way to actively respond to the pandemic challenges is to share knowledge about pandemic social work and prepare students to practice social work in a global public health emergency. In summer 2020, the first pandemic social work was offered at the Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, Canada. This course critically examines the social work responses to the pandemic, with a specific focus on COVID-19.

The presenters will share the process of the course design and curriculum development. As part of the course, students learn how to articulate the social worker’s roles during the pandemic, develop adaptive responses to pandemic challenges, and prepare emergency response action plans for human service organizations. Students also learn how to describe what strategies should be used to communicate risk and engage communities to detect, prevent and respond to the pandemic and examine strategies for preventing and controlling pandemic. By participating in weekly Zoom meetings, connecting with practicing social workers, students could also outline social work direct practice skills and hygiene measures to protect community members against the pandemic. Course assignments focused on developing a professional response to ethical dilemmas during the pandemic and how to use online social networks to provide access to credible information and respond to infodemic concerns. Thirteen units of the course with more than 100 learning activities are now fully available online on the course webpage: and through e-course pack.

Critical Realism or about what to study even though we can not see

Sandra Mendes1, Sara Melo2

1Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal; 2Instituto Superior de Serviço Social do Porto, Portugal

This individual presentation addresses the creation of the Social Work scientific project based on the sociohistorical analysis of its emergence in academia, in Portugal and in the USA. Its central themes are the institutionalization of Social Work in graduate training as well as the creation and development of the PhD as advanced training. To this end, we explore the institutional determinants guiding the American case and the implementation of the same for the Portuguese case, based on documental analysis of the reports produced by the Agency for Evaluation and Accreditation of Higher Education (A3ES). We intend to show the plausibility of the use of critical realism as an alternative epistemology to social work education.

Rapport building as an entry to the communities: Exploring Service Users involvement in community work education

Ishari Gunarathna1, Bhagya Jayawardeene2

1National Institute of Social Development, Sri Lanka; 2Western Sydney University, Australia

The professional social workers are entitle and committed to evidence based practice, empirical practice with their clients at all the interventions incorporate with individuals, families, groups and communities. Such practice demands the students to equip with knowledge, practice and skills to match with the client’s needs.The entry to an unknown community by a Community Social Worker is crucial and strategic in terms of trust, legal or formal acceptance and professional recognition. Being a part though theoretically explained in Social Work Knowledge base, the application is varied and complex in different community contexts. Therefore this study has attempted to explore the experience of service users who associated with community social work projects and elucidate their perception on community social workers skill practice in rapport building at the preliminary phase. The focus of the study geared on five distinct functional and geographical community work projects in Sri Lanka and community members recognized as the main source of data. Accordingly the perceptions will be extracted through interviews with service users from selected communities and the unique approach at the entry made by the community workers will be critically examined to derive recommendations for best practice. Moreover the findings derived from the on-going study are expected to add knowledge to the existing body of Social Work knowledge and sharpen the skill practice to effective community work engagement in Sri Lanka.

10:45am - 12:15pmPaper Presentation Session 10: Field Placement/Education
Location: Parallel Session 3
Session Chair: Alessandro Sicora
Parallel Session 3 

Field Education in Social Work in the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond. Lessons from the Reactions of Participants to the Italian Digital Internships Activities

Elisa Matutini1, Riccardo Guidi2

1Ca' Foscari University - Venice, Italy; 2University of Pisa - Italy

The European institutions of tertiary education (e.g. Universities) have tackled the COVID-19 pandemic mainly through the switch from face-to-face to distanced activities (e.g. on-line lessons). In this scenario, one of the most serious problems has been about the learning of practice skills which require field education initiatives (e.g. internships) which are usually developed through face-to-face relationships. Being the latter impossible or heavily restricted by the pandemic, lockdown and distancing measures, students in health and human services (social workers, physicians, psychologists etc.) risk not to learn crucial technical and relational skills with potential negative consequences on their future employability as well as on users.

To face this challenge, new and original initiatives of “digital internships” have been designed and carried out in Italy through bottom-up practices from March 2020 onwards. This Paper:

1. accounts for the processes through which two Italian Universities (Venice and Pisa) in different regions of the country seriously hit by the pandemic have designed and implemented these initiatives for BA and MA students in social work;

2. analyzes several aspects of the students’ and supervisors’ participation to the new digital internship activities carried out in 2020/2021 (point of view on these, learning outputs and changes, resources etc.). What fears and uncertainties have accompanied this experience? What new opportunities for reflexivity and learning have been created? What cognitive, relational and emotional resources have been fielded by trainees and social workers engaged in supervisory activities?

Methods are mixed and include brainstorming, focus groups and questionnaires. The analysis allows to enrich the growing debate about the role of ICT in social work education. It namely focuses on the opportunities provided by “digital internships” within and in the aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic.

How to improve practice placements in social work education – social workers’ view

Florin Lazar1, Mihai Bogdan Iovu2

1Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, University of Bucharest, Romania, National College of Social Workers from Romania; 2Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, Babeș-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca, Romania, National College of Social Workers from Romania

Social work education in Romania has a longstanding tradition of more than 90 years, being re-established after more than 20 years of banning during the communist regime. Currently more than 20 accredited universities offer 38 social work education programs. Although more than 40,000 social workers graduated accredited universities in the last 30 years, only about 9,200 were registered in the National Register of Social Workers in December 2019, whilst there is a gap of 11,100 social workers in social services at national level. Social work schools need to prepare students to adapt to a changing labor market and practitioners’ perspective on practice placements is very important.

Thirty-one focus groups were carried out (July-October 2018) with 482 registered social workers within a wider project financed by UNICEF aiming at strengthening the social services workforce. We focus here on the proposals to improve practice placement for students.

The proposals of social workers to improve the practice placement of students were grouped into 3 categories: (1). on the content of learning programs (e.g. adapting curricula to legislative changes, use of real social work tools/forms in teaching, learning new practice methods, better link theory with practice and specialization in a specific area of practice during the last year of study); (2). on the organization of practice placement (e.g. more practice hours and for longer time, promoting internships, payment of practice supervisors from agencies or an interview for the admission as student); (3). for the social service providers/agencies (e.g. designating a practice supervisor, valuing better students’ work, a better collaboration with schools/universities, encouraging registered social workers to supervise students).

Better practice placements could increase recruitment and retention of social work graduates by becoming student-friendly learning environments. Efforts are needed before, during and after the placement, but also by social work schools and practitioners.

Social Work Students’ Placement during the COVI-19 pandemic - Challenges in Republic of Srpska

Vesna Sucur Janjetovic, Andrea Rakanovic Radonjic

University of Banja Luka, Faculty of Political Sciences, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The School of Social Work at the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina) has allocated placements for students throughout three years of their studies, mandatory thee subjects/units specially designed by the Curriculum. During their year three of the studies, students have to complete 120 hours in their placement (practical education) in institutions/organizations whose primary or secondary activities are social work activities. In March 2020, 30 students commenced their placement/practice in different institutions: social welfare, education, health organizations and civil society organizations/NGOs. This practical education/students’ placement is planned for the duration of four weeks in March each year, but this year it was interrupted due to the declaration of the State of Emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This paper represents the analysis of all challenges faced by students and academic staff/professors during the process of organizing and realization of the practical education for students of social work during the lockdown period. The analysis includes factors that contributed to the changes regrading students’ placements, as well as presentation of alternative models of support that were introduced due to specific circumstances, through reflective group and individual support provided. Also, the analysis of Student’ Weekly Reports enabled tracking all changes that took place during students’ practical education/placement.

The methods used for the analysis included content analysis of specifically designed Weekly Report Forms, structured observation of the process, and analysis of data collected through structured interview, carried out in focus groups (three groups, each with 10 students).

The main conclusions include the fact that many students had to change their placement organizations/institutions, and many challenges occurred during the lockdown. However, each challenge had to be approached on individual basis and students were provided with all necessary support and finally managed to complete their practice/placement.

Emotions and “bonsai” micro-stories in social work practice and education

Alessandro Sicora

University of Trento, Italy

Emotions have often been described as obstacles to effective social work practice and education. A detached attitude towards service users is still considered by many as one of the fundamental components of being a good practitioner in any helping profession. This idea excessively simplifies a more complex reality in which empathy, intuition and other ‘non-rational’ components appear, on the contrary, key ingredients of many successful helping interventions. Nevertheless many social workers and social work students still consider their emotions as a source of shame rather than a way to enrich their understanding of the world around them.

This presentation aims at highlighting the importance of a mindful and self-compassionate use of emotions in social work practice and education. Basic emotions (anger, fear, disgust, sadness and joy) can be seen “messengers” able to enhance the quality of any reflection process social workers may develop. Using an adapted version of the Gibbs’ reflexivity cycle and a form of synthetic reflexive writing (“bonsai” micro-stories) social workers and social work students involved in workshops carried out in Italy, Israel, England and South Africa have explored the world of their emotions at work. The most significant micro-stories will be presented as examples of the positive outcomes from social workers’ reflection on some of their professional experiences that involved strong emotions. This demonstration of the application of the proposed techniques is intended to clarify the educational value of reflective learning applied to the sphere of emotions in social work field practice. Especially in situation of crises and unexpected events when difficult emotions are more frequent, this promotes the well being not only of the social workers, but also of social worker students, involved in similar form of reflection applied to their field practice, and indirectly of the social work service users.

Politicization as a key topic in Social Work Practice and Education.

Elke Plovie, Peter Raymaekers

UC Leuven vzw, Belgium

In 2018, 1000 participants attended the conference ‘Strong Social Work’: lecturers, researchers, policy makers but mostly social workers active in various social work practices in Belgium Flanders came to Brussels to discuss and identify the common ground of social work. This discussion is necessary as changes in society and policy developments put the final goal of social work, i.e. social justice, under pressure. The current Covid-19 crisis makes this sense of urgency even more visible.

In the report that resulted from that conference, politicization is identified as one of the five major lines for future social work (Vanderkinderen, Roose, Raeymaeckers & Hermans, 2018). We argue that politicization is a necessary response to the current challenges. In the report, politicization is described as follows.

“Social work should ensure that citizens make use of their social rights and benefits. Therefore social work points to the structural mechanisms that contribute towards social injustice and looks for collective solutions to change these mechanisms. Social workers act as public and democratic professionals by expressing their voice, by identifying the social constraints, by challenging dominant patterns and by taking a normative position. Politicization is about putting issues of social deprivation and social exclusion on the public agenda.”

The focus on politicization does not go unnoticed. There are strong supporters but also opponents. It raises questions among social workers and lecturers discuss how to prepare future social workers. Although we discuss politicization a lot, there is limited research on how politicization is put into practice by social workers.

Therefore we initiated a research project whereby we conduct semi-structured interviews with 130 social workers active in the field. In these interviews we are interested in how social workers understand politicization and the importance of it in the social work organization. We want to learn about politicization practices: which issues are put on the public agenda and what is the role of social workers? We also identify the needs of social workers to realize this role.

At the conference we present the results of this research and discuss the implications for the education of current and future social workers.

The Creation of Understanding of Migration-related Developments in Social Work and Social Policy Education in Serbia

Natalija Perisic, Danijela Pavlovic

University of Belgrade - Faculty of Political Sceince, Serbia

The impact of different types of migration on Serbian society has been profound. Migration trends have been versatile: forced and voluntarily, regular and irregular, inward and outward. It can be reasonably expected that all of these will intensify in the near future. As a result, vulnerable populations will be in heightened need of support, and also the concept of the development of society will need to be re-designed. All of the mentioned calls for innovative approaches in social work and social policy education, which have been rather underdeveloped so far from the point of view of their intersections with social work and social policy.

The focus of this presentation is on the impact of a Horizon 2020 funded project MIGREC on the creation of understanding of migration related developments in social work and social policy education in Serbia. The thematic areas of the Project are fivefold: migrant integration, migration governance, migration-development nexus, theories and methods in migration studies and knowledge, debates and representations. By exploring each of the thematic areas and brining them under the umbrella of a Research Centre to be established within the Project, the objective is to develop theoretical, practical and policy knowledge and understanding of importance for social work and social policy education at the PhD level of studies. The social work and social policy education does not have any migration related “lenses” and vice verse: the migration studies in Serbia lack the social work and social policy perspectives. The aim of this presentation is to debate the intersections between education in social work and social policy on the one hand and education in migration on the other hand in order to improve their synergies. The knowledge and understanding of intersections between these fields have been co-created and co-produced in the processes of close collaboration between the stakeholders from various fields (academic and non-academic) and three countries (Serbia, United Kingdom and Greece).

10:45am - 12:15pmPaper Presentation Session 11: Social Work and Migration
Location: Parallel Session 4
Session Chair: Elona Dhëmbo
Parallel Session 4 

The role of social work in social and solidarity economy with migrants and refugees in Southern Spain: challenges and potentialities in terms of transformation

Sonia Hernández Plaza1, Enrique Raya Lozano1, Rosana De Matos Silveira Santos1, Teresa González Gómez2, Eva Juan Toset1, Encarnación Quesada Herrera3

1University of Granada. Faculty of Social Work, Spain; 2University of Huelva. Faculty of Social Work, Spain; 3University of Jaén, Faculty of Social Work, Spain

Building an inclusive society that incorporates migrants and refugees in conditions of equality in the multiple areas of collective life, continues to be a crucial challenge for the present and future of European societies. Social and solidarity economy offers huge potential, not only for its capacity to boost employment, but primarily for its value to promote a socioeconomic model based on principles of solidarity, centrality of people, sustainable development, democracy and common good. It represents a path for alternative social innovation that poses a practical critique to globalized post-industrial capitalism as a profoundly inequitable, unjust and ecologically unsustainable model; as well as a valuable intervention strategy in social realities resistant to social-political action.

In recent years, there has been increasing interest in social and solidarity economy, and a proliferation of practices in this area, with various intentionalities concerning the objectives of social transformation pursued. On the one hand, social innovation and social economy have become fetish concepts characteristic of "entrepreneurial" modes of governance, typical of the hegemonic neo-language of neoliberalism (Alonso and Fernández Rodríguez, 2011; Zubero, 2015). On the other hand, counter-hegemonic and rupturist proposals are growing, either from concepts and theorizations such as the economy for the common good (Felber, 2015), the urban commons (Harvey, 2012), and various forms of social, collaborative and pro-common economy (Peeters, 2017); or from self-managed, collaborative and alternative social practices (Zubero, 2014).

This paper analyzes the role and potentialities of social work in social and solidarity economy with migrant and refugees, based on the qualitative analysis of twelve in-depth interviews with key informants in this field in Andalucía. This study is part of a broader research project, currently ongoing, aimed at developing an innovative approach in the field of social work with migrants and refugees, grounded in the Economy for the Common Good (Felber, 2015), from an interdisciplinary approach that links the perspectives of social work, applied economics, sociology and business management, together with the perspectives of social work professionals and the people involved in social and solidarity economy in this field, paying particular attention to the voice of migrants and refugees.

The Welcome of Migrants: New Skills for Social Workers

Carla Moretti1, Benedetta Polini2

1Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy; 2Università Politecnica delle Marche, italy

The management of the so called “immigration emergency” regards not only the identification of adequate normative tools but also effective welcome practices (Ambrosini, 2017). The Italian policies immigration, the administrative order n.113/2018 then converted in law n. 132/2018, modified modalities and standards of policies immigration. The interruption or the strong limitation of welcome projects modified the role of social workers.

This contribution will present the training course carried out between October 2019 and June 2020 by the Research Center on Health and Social Integration (CRISS) of the Polytechnic University of Marche (Italy), in collaboration with the national NGO-Human Solidarity Group (GUS), concerning themes as the welcome of migrants and innovative projects for social cohesion. The training course was organized with lessons and workshops and it carried out in two different towns in Marche Region. The training course objectives were to improve the awareness of the role of social workers and to acquire skills for community work. The training course purpose was to propose tools for innovative solutions to professional challenges as the achievement of integrate policies to contrast and prevent discrimination and intolerance.

The training course was conducted with participative and cooperative learning tools based on the experience exchange. Moreover, the training course was constructed as knowledge-learning-action sequence (Stame, 2016) and was focused on the reflexivity (Shon, 1993) and self-training.

Partially, the training course was during the first Covid-19 emergency and this allowed to deal with the pandemic challenges.

On the contents side, the attention was on three significative dimensions for the social workers job: the welcome of migrants, the teamwork, the promotion of cohesive communities. The analysis of these dimensions in terms of potentialities, difficulties and actions of improvement allowed to develop innovative practices for the welcome both in relation to the interventions of social workers and to the organization of local social services.

Interdisciplinarity as a lens and professional belonging as a compass: challenges and insights from social work practice with asylum seekers in Italy

Paolo Boccagni, Chiara Denaro

University of Trento, Italy

Far from being a new phenomenon, migration to Europe keeps being a structural feature of contemporary border and migration regimes. In Italy, since the early 90s the presence of people in seek of protection has raised important challenges for social work professionals, and required the inclusion of several innovative components into their daily practice. As already highlighted by practitioners and scholars, the multidimensionality of asylum seekers’ needs has been increasingly addressed through interdisciplinary approaches to case-management. This has mirrored the attempt to keep together the different components of individual needs, and to put the person at the core of assistance pathways, by avoiding the fragmentation of responses. On the other side, social workers operating with migrant and refugee clients have been exposed to the risk of distortion of their role, due both to legal or job-related needs and “priorities” of newly arrived persons, and to the securitarian approach to migration management and its impact onto social work practice. In short, asylum seekers’ needs require an inherently interdisciplinary approach, given their complexity and multidimensionality. Following this premise, our paper investigates how the professional belonging of social workers, and their capacity to stay “anchored” to the constitutive principles and values of their role and mandate may work as a compass in their daily practice. These qualities can orient them through (sometimes) “blurred” legal frameworks and grey zones, with a view to promoting a full access to rights for asylum seekers. The implications of this argument for the education and training pathways of social workers are discussed accordingly.

Recognizing the potential in the Es Refugi homeless shelter users through an intervention from the group's Social Work

Ana J. Cañas-Lerma, Tatiana Casado, M. Elena Cuartero-Castañer

University of the Balearic Islands, Spain

The emergence of COVID-19 has entered our lives as a critical experience. It shares with other traumatic events similar characteristics, but certain peculiarities differentiate it other. The population groups most affected by the COVID-19 crisis have affected people and health personnel and both groups' relatives. However, also those people who had a pathology previous mental.

Homeless people are experts in experiencing critical situations with a greater or lesser degree of self-perception of personal success and overcoming them. If all this is already difficult for those who count on the stability or living conditions that a home gives it, the situation becomes even more critical for those who live without it. Throughout these months of confinement, like the rest of the population, users from the Es Refugi shelter (N = 25)have lived in the same house. All of them were men between 24 and 74 years old, 30% were Sub-Saharan Africa, and 70% Spanish.

The General Objective of the presented project is to promote recognition in a group of homeless people in Majorca, within the Covid-19 critical experience, of potentialities and strengths that allow them to improve their quality of life through a group intervention. Through applied research, from a qualitative approach and a participation-action design, group sessions have been developed.

The results offered a recognition of abilities and potentialities that allowed the coping of how to maintain the habits and daily routines linked to their socio labor integration from a redefinition and adaptation of them to the island's new socio-economic situation.

Researching issues of migration and social protection: challenges and opportunities in a globalised (im)mobile world

Elona Dhëmbo, Veronika Duci

University of Tirana, Albania

Issues of migration have been concerning home, destination, and transit countries for a long time. However, it is only in the last decades that literature has been paying due attention to issues of mobility and immobility. Even more recent is the concern on issues of the nexus between (im)mobility and access to and portability of social protection – be it in its formal or informal forms. Recent intensifications of changes in the scope and scale of infrastructures and policies aimed at monitoring, intercepting, (im)mobilising, and controlling migration have often deepened contradictions between the economic need for labour mobility and the different state’s political need to assert their political sovereignty. Such contradictions became even more challenging under the Covid-19 crisis, all of which with direct implications on issues of safety and protection, particularly for the most vulnerable groups, including migrants. These new developments require new methods in researching, building evidence, and designing policies and services informed on evidence. It is in this frame, that we engage in a critical review of three research projects we’ve been involved with researching issues of Albanian migrants and social protection prior to the Covid-19 crisis, during its emergence and when it was fully-fledged. Tracing the dynamics of the right to freedom of movement and the right to social security, we explore and document challenges and opportunities in tailoring methods of social research in researching issues of migration and social protection of transnational families, and their individual members in a globalised (im)mobile world in times of crisis.

Life in parenting: co-creating services for refugee parents whose access to services is challenged

Natalie Lynette Joubert, Janet Carter Anand, Tomi Maki-Opas

University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland, Denmark

Research question:

How does the lived experience of refugee parents attending mental health services support their integration and engagement with health and welfare services?


To privilege the voices of refugee parents as co-researchers in exploring and defining their emotional and social service needs to promote their personal and family well-being and to support the integration of their child/children into the community.


1) to reduce the service isolation of refugee parents who are frequently marginalised, in their experience of support services due to language and cultural practices

2) to support and strengthen the engagement of refugee parents with available services to support their parenting practices

3) to respond supportively to the voices of refugee parents in relation to the trauma experienced during their migrant journey

4) to co-create services that are responsive to refugee parents and their families’ unique cultural needs

Research design

The design is a participatory action research methodology as follows:

A Focus group held with 8 parents living with refugee status in Aalborg Denmark resulted in the selection of parenting issues explored in interviews with 20 refugee parents in receipt of social services in the Aalborg community. All interviews were audio taped and transcribed verbatim. The transcripts were content and thematically analysed using Bourdieu’s concepts of capital, field, habitus and doxa which provided the conceptual framework for analysis.

The Results were then discussed in a follow-up focus group where a collective model was developed. This has implications for practice to support the engagement of refugee parents in accessing both informal and formal social supports to reduce marginalisation

10:45am - 12:15pmPaper Presentation Session 12: Learning/Teaching Methods III
Location: Parallel Session 5
Session Chair: Benjamin A Feasmen
Parallel Session 5 

Debate over traditional and innovative pedagogy: Maintaining ethical standards in uncertainty

Chamalie Piusha Madusarie Gunawardane, Harshani Wasana Fenando

Department of Sociology, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

The COVID -19 pandemic forced higher education institutions to remote modes of teaching, learning and assessments practice that requested the innovative thinking of social work education within its mission, values and ethical standards. The aim of this study is to critically evaluate how the core values and principles of National Social Work Code of Ethics can be brought into innovative practices in classrooms of social work education. The background adopted to the study was based on e-leaning in social work classes where students are not offered a usual onsite field practice. In this context, educators used their prior knowledge on field experiences to provide the essence of field based social work as innovative teaching learning practice. Methodologically, this study employed interpretive research method. Participant observation was utilized to gather data and thematic analysis was conducted on how innovative education practice used can balance the core values of the social work discipline. Findings highlight that, educators find that using a prior knowledge on field could provide a moderate knowledge on practice and it helped both educators and students to be conscious about the mission of the social work profession. Anyhow, the balance between the innovative and traditional education practices was debated as educators found difficulties in maintaining ethical standards in sharing prior experiences as it involves people, relationship, competence, social justice and integrity in all micro, meso and macro levels. Educator is ethically in a dilemma as revelation of data attached to prior experience can breach the core values of the profession. Students also in a dilemma as they get subtle knowledge about social work filed practices. This contradiction of the real and hypothetically designed social work practice knowledge developed in the classroom question the ideals of ethical practices which all social workers should aspire. The study concludes that the uncertain situations require social work educators and students to maintain the ethics while thinking of a collaborative practice to develop a new set of innovative and ethical based teaching leaning and assessment related to social work discipline.

Teaching to think, perform and act as social worker with integrity: the case of a course on the “Diagnostic Assessment in Social Work”

Anait Mertzanidou, Theano Kallinikaki


The 2008 and 2015 EPAS has identified the field education as social work’s signature pedagogy. The term “signature pedagogy” refers to the characteristic forms of teaching that organize the fundamental ways in which future practitioners are educated to practice and instructed the three critical dimensions of professional work – to think, to perform and to act with integrity (Shulman 2005a,b).

The identification of field education as social work’s signature pedagogy by CSWE is reproduced in the majority of social work literature, while it is criticized by a minority of scholars who question the way (it is not based on a research) and the appropriateness (it does not qualify Shulman’s criteria of uniqueness) of that identification. Some suggest a more broad view of social work’s signature pedagogy, including the teaching in class (Earls Larrison & Korr, 2013:203).

In order to contribute to this debate, we conducted an experimental participatory research in which we observed, analyzed and documented how teaching and learning based on Shulman’s concept of Signature Pedagogy and its related sub-concepts, occur and can be applied in a teaching class. The research process was based on the informed consent and contract with 22, third year Social Work students in the context of the course on “Diagnostic Assessment in Social Work”, having to participate in the total of thirteen 3-hour lectures during the spring term of the academic year 2019-2020 at the Democritus University of Thrace. Unexpectedly, 10 classes were offered online due to the Covid-19-lockdown of the country.

Students’ voice and experience collected via texts on expectations of the course at the first lecture, synopsis and reflections on the teaching and the learning process at the end of each lecture, and on a detailed evaluation at the end of the course. Data were organized in the pre-formulated categories of how to think, to perform and to act with integrity. The analysis shows that teaching in the class should be leading on development of an efficient “signature pedagogy”, and outlines the challenging situation in responding to specific social work practice targets and criteria.

Activation group: Promoting engagement in social work with migrant people.

Tatiana Casado de Staritzky1, Maria Elena Cuartero Castañer2, Ana Cañas Lerma3

1Universitat de les Illes Balears, Spain; 2Universitat de les Illes Balears, Spain; 3Universitat de les Illes Balears, Spain

There has been an exponential increase in people demanding social services, due to the social and economic consequences generated by the health crisis of COVID-19. Social services have been overwhelmed in many countries, and Spain has been one of them. However, there are a significant number of people who were already involved with professional support systems, and who, for one reason or another, were stuck in their process of change. In social services of the municipality of Sa Pobla (Mallorca, Spain), social workers promoted a group intervention project to help these users to move forward. These users presented the following profile: migrant women, with difficulties in accessing the labour market (due to language difficulties, lack of professional qualifications, health problems, etc.); lack of coverage of basic needs; chronicity -they have been involved with social services for months, without substantial changes in their situation-. The group intervention, called“Activation Group”, was carried out between September and November 2020. Throughout12 sessions (twice a week), participants worked on different aspects: motivation, resilience, self-esteem, etc. The objective was to help these people decide where to direct a possible work plan to improve their social and relational situation. A social worker worked with these participants on a weekly base. Besides this, some specialists developed specific contents with the group. Results were measured in different ways. Outcomes were measured weekly with the Outcome Rating Scale (ORS), and the alliance was measured also weekly with the Group Session Rating Scale. Finally, a qualitative assessment was carried out with the participants. Most of them showed an improvement, referring that this group was helpful to reflect about their lives and about their future. Therefore, we believe that this structured group intervention is an effective way to help social service users to overcome blockage in their process of change.  

“Values Building in Social Work Education - challenges and threats in recent times"

Ewa Teresa Kantowicz

University of Warmia&Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland, Faculty of Social Sciences

Ethical competences are an integral part of Higher Education of social work graduates. Anyway, the implementation of the aims of building values through academic education meets in recent times new challenges and barriers.

In my presentation I would like to analyze the part of research data which were focused on expert evaluation of values building in social work education at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn. Research was based on interviews with experts teaching subjects focused on values building in education. Research questions reflected on values which are specifically trained in the process of values building in social work education and the profile of knowledge, skills of a graduate in the field of social work and used didactic methods and techniques in the process of social work education, social challenges and barriers in values building.Summing up only chosen results of interviews with experts in the context of conceptions of values building in social work education they underlined the importance of expected professional competencies and attitudes. The experts underlined that the ethical principles introduced in courses are specific provisions of the code of ethics. Experts agreed that the values of social work and ethics are fully reflected in the directional education for social work and they are focused on the worth of the individual (uniqueness of the client, respect for uniqueness, equality, dignity of the individual, freedom and right to diversity, empowering the client toward responsibility, professionalism of the social worker, client participation in the process), which corresponds to the level of individual ethics.In educating values interviewed experts underline the importance of discussions, case studies and social projects. In their opinion - the aim of the ethical education of future social workers is to learn the sources and place of ethics and philosophy in the context of other fields of science and to raise awareness of the needs of those in need of social support and to carry out tasks in accordance with the principles of ethical conduct.

How can practice educators use motivational interviewing to develop and assess self-awareness in student social workers?

Benjamin A Feasmen

Central Bedfordshire Council, United Kingdom

Despite the importance placed upon practice educators to develop student social workers self-awareness in their field placement, there has been little research or guidance published to support this claim. This presentation makes a unique contribution to address the gap in research, by sharing the research findings of practising English practice educators currently developing and assessing self-awareness in student social workers.

The research findings define self-awareness as both an outcome required of student social workers for safe and effective practice and a reflective process that is a means unto itself.

However, the findings caution that developing self-awareness in students is complex and the quality of the relationship between student and practice educator is paramount. I shall outline the ethical and practical challenges faced by practice educators and the benefits for developing self-awareness in students, locating this within current thinking of practice education. The findings show that Practice educators found it easier to evidencenegative examples of self-awareness in students. Moreover, practice educators felt studentsare not able to be honest with them, due to a fear of being failed. This creates a conflict for practice educators, which the findings suggest reduces both the assessment and development of self-awareness to a passive experience of the practice placement, with practice educators only intervening when there is potential harm to service users.

Motivational interviewing is proposed as a method to address the gap in practice education guidance. Utilising examples from the research data, I will provide an overview of the principles and process of motivational interviewing, using short videos, co-created with students, to illustrate its use as an assessment and development tool in practice education. I build upon existing work by demonstrating how motivational interviewing techniques can create the conditions in which students feel comfortable discussing their developing practice and barriers they may face in this process, including discrepancies between their personal values and the professional ones they must adopt. By working collaborative with the student, the practice educator can evoke motivation to develop behaviours more in line with the profession and empower students to develop self-awareness and the skills to take this forward.

Character Strengths and Virtues of Students in Fieldwork Education:A Comparative Study between Two University Departments of Social Work in Greece

Eleni Papouli1, Sevaste Chatzifotiou2, Charalampos Tsairidis2

1University of West Attica, Greece; 2Democritus University of Thrace, Greece

The present study aimed at identifying and highlighting the character strengths and virtues of social work students required for achievement in fieldwork education. The data was collected from undergraduate students (N=196) of two Greek university departments of social work, who were in their first placement in different field agencies. The study was descriptive in nature and used a questionnaire, the configuration of which was based on the Peterson and Seligman’s (2004) list of 24 character strengths, grouped within six core virtues. The results of the study, derived from both the quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection and analysis, showed minimal differences between the two university departments and revealed six main character strengths as important for success in fieldwork education, i.e. honesty, fairness/justice, love, humour, kindness and perseverance. Also, the results identified four factors of character strengths contained under different virtues and associated with effective fieldwork education: emotional strengths (honesty and perseverance) under the virtue of courage, interpersonal strengths (love and kindness) under the virtue of humanity, civic strengths (fairness/justice) under the virtue of justice and connection strengths (humour) under the virtue of transcendence. The study highlights the interrelated and interconnected nature of character strengths as predictors of fieldwork performance for our undergraduate students. But at the same time, it recognizes the unique nature of each character strength as a professional virtue skill for meeting the requirements of fieldwork education. The results of the study will be used to develop new innovative programs and projects that correspond to the modern trends in fieldwork education. Such fieldwork education is based on the strengths perspective that focuses on student’s abilities and talents and allows them to identify their personal strengths and virtues and at the same time to apply them in practice.

12:15pm - 12:30pmCoffee Break
12:30pm - 2:00pmPaper Presentation Session 13: Ethics and Professional Social Work
Location: Parallel Session 1
Parallel Session 1 

How do future social workers perceive the cause of social problems?

Peter Nelson1, Mick Grant1, Melanie Werner2, Stephanie Vogt2, Holger Spieckermann2, Eva Grigori3, Lotte Andersen4, Merete Monrad5, Maria Carmen Perez Belda6

1Sheffield Hallam University, United Kingdom; 2Technische Hochschule Köln, Germany; 3Fachhochschule St. Pölten, Austria; 4Københavns Professionshøjskole UCC, Denmark; 5Aalborg University, Denmark; 6University of Alicante, Spain

The study reported was motivated by a rising concern for the effects of neoliberalism, globalization and populism. As lecturers of European schools of social work in five different countries (UK, Austria, Germany, Spain and Denmark), we sought to examine how these trends are translated into the attitudes of social work students. We wished to examine students' attitudes towards deservingness in order to understand how future social workers will use the discretion in their work. The aim of the collaboration is to examine the way students resist or incorporate neoliberalism and populism in their worldview and whether the view of deservingness is converging or diverging across students at European Schools of Social Work. In the last 30 years, there has arguably been a fundamental change in welfare systems all over Europe - the care paradigm being replaced by neo liberalism. Social services are not universal; they are intertwined and connected to individual behaviour as well as to criteria of belonging or not belonging. Students of social work grow up in these systems, and it is possible to surmise they will be influenced by these changes – but the question is how. The aim was to find out what impact the neoliberal paradigm and the increase of right wing movements has had on students perception towards service users, how attitudes differ between countries, and what results could be considered as representative for Europe. We undertook an empirical study by developing a questionnaire based on the deservingness literature. The questionnaire was developed in English following which participants from each country translated the questionnaire into their own language. The questionnaire was then completed by respective cohorts of students in the early stages of their professional training. Data from each country was combined and analyzed. Initial findings are presented alongside considerations for social work education in the current European context. The research was s supported by the EASSW grant programme for small projects.

Social workers’ empathy in time of uncertainty: Can empathy be taught?



The concept of empathy is common to many health professionals. Social work professionals, have to develop empathetic skills in order to approach and sensitize their clients, especially those in crisis and vulnerable groups. Social workers who demonstrate empathetic attention in social and economic inequalities are more eligible to influence effectively social and economic justice and general wellbeing. Practitioners’ ability to empathize with others is related to internal and external factors.

Social workers who are aware of their feelings and needs are more eligible to show empathy to their clients. Regular supervision is also necessary for all social workers in order to be able to process their own feelings and to deal with empathy. Empathy can be taught, increased and refined, helping social workers become more skillful and resilient. Creative and art based methods that enable students’ learning through interactive and enjoyable way might have a key role in empathy’s education.

This study presents the results of a research, focused on social workers, who work usually in times of uncertainty, throughout social and financial crisis, with vulnerable and isolated people, in different regions of the island of Crete, Greece. The ways in which social workers perceive and apply concepts of empathy in their clinical practice were examined, using quantitative research methods (King and Holosko’s ‘empathy scale’). The study results highlighted the potential impact of educational programmes on social workers’ empathy as well as the development of self – awareness and emotional regulation via reflective practice.

Exploring Study abroad as a model for developing competencies for International Social Work

Verena Rösner, Chaitali Das

Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Germany

It is well recognised that International exposure to worlds and contexts within the social work program can be a very enriching educational experience for student social workers. They provide a particular impetus for self-reflection through critical incidents as well as to understand and contextualise the different occupational spaces of social work around the world (Das & Anand, 2014; Hunter, 2008; Man Lam, Wong & Tse Fong Leung, 2007; Abram & Cruce, 2007). Thus, internationalisation helps to recognise local social work as well as bring together the different approaches under shared global values of dignity and human rights. However, integrating international experiences within study programs require preparation and pedagogical considerations such that the learning experience is a positive and developmental one and not one that reiterates problematic power relationships (Wehbi, 2009; Razack, 2009; Sherraden et al., 2008).

The paper considers study abroad and international placements in terms of the learning outcomes reported from students as part of an International Bachelor degree in Social Work at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences. Student exposure to international contexts can support students to develop a variety of knowledge, values and skills, such as knowledge about diversity ad different social work frameworks, insight into self, empathy, openness, ability to engage with others and reflexivity, which are central to anti-oppressive practice. Like international placements/visits, study abroad presents an opportunity to enable students to learn to develop essential knowledge, values and skills to be able to work with diverse clients. The international exchange serves to promote social cohesion in an international context as the interaction and shared experience of the students create cohesion among each other and enable social work students to learn together and from one another. Findings outlined the ways in which students reported learning about different kinds and ways of doing social work but also developed values of open-mindedness and a deeper insight into themselves and their privileges. Finally, by way of skills, students can learn how to navigate being different in a different context in organisational terms but also in terms of working in intercultural teams and engaging with difference constructively.

Everything of value is vulnerable

agnes marie verbruggen

university college Ghent, Belgium

In search of integrity : guardianship of the good work.

Based on the theory of communicative rationality of J. Habermas, I developed a framework that helps to explicit and deliberate upon the ethical dimension of professionals working with people and in public domains.

The framework combines insights of sociological, legal, ethical theories ans practice wisdom.

This framework stimulates and gives space to the "ethical awareness", the" soul of the craft" and gives capability to bond and bridge in a vulnerable process of sharing and operationalising the values of the job that go beyond profit and competition.

It helps to go beyond practical solutions , further than the search of doing work well done, it helps in finding what is the good work here? Good work is never found once for always, but always for once. This means that strenghtening the search of the answer is more powerfull than giving answers.

Investigating the dual roles of Social Work Educator & Informal Carer for ageing parents in the fourth age

Alison McInnes

Northumbria University, United Kingdom

This session will revisit a paper and from an autoethnographic/critical reflective biographical approach re-examine seven cultural notions or myths, which may encourage ageism. The Covid 19 pandemic has particularly impacted upon those in the fourth age and innovative ways of working need to be adopted. This is framed within my experiential knowledge of caring for my ageing parents, with the tensions and challenges around problematising the value of expertise based on experience, communication, grief and autonomy and freedom versus safety, which I experienced. The session will emphasise that by analysing the impact of our personal life experiences, we can start to understand both the intended and unintended consequences of policy and practice affecting those in the fourth age. As a social work educator, I want to reflect upon how my tacit experiential knowledge, if made explicit, can impact upon my own and others’ learning and lead to innovative social work practices. The recent death of my father has allowed for a period of reflection on my own caring and indeed my professional social work experience, knowledge, skills and practice. It is argued that the ageing process is unequal as class and socio-economic factors, i.e. geography, age, gender, religion and ethnicity, all play parts in determining how someone ages, and indeed upon the care an individual older person receives. A fuller understanding of negotiating the roles of one stakeholder, that of family carer and social work educator, in the ageing process, will be elicited in the session.

12:30pm - 2:00pmPaper Presentation Session 14: Healthcare Social Work
Location: Parallel Session 2
Session Chair: Maria Elena Cuartero-Castañer
Parallel Session 2 


Maria Elena Cuartero-Castañer, Ana Josefa Cañas-Lerma, Tatiana Casado

Universitat de les Illes Balears, Spain

During the 2020-21 academic year, the framework of the subject "Dependence and Vulnerability" of the Degree in Social Work at the University of the Balearic Islands has carried out a teaching innovation project through the learning and service methodology. University Service-Learning is an educational proposal that responds to current university regulations, which demand that universities effectively combine academic learning with services to the community.

The university's objective was for its students to get closer to the real social situation with people in dependency and vulnerability situations during their undergraduate studies. The health service's objective was to acquire visual material for the dissemination of its work in society.

In this project, the students worked with the medical centers' health workers, who care for people with health-related difficulties. The students had the opportunity to learn about the services, professionals, programs, work methodology, and dependency and vulnerability cases. On the other hand, the health social work team was enriched from an informative audiovisual material. A total of 7 social workers from different medical centers and 56 students participated. Six informative videos were produced on the different programs that the professionals carry out. These were broadcast on the social networks of the university and the local government itself.

The students acquired knowledge about dependency and vulnerability through real practice. Transforming their knowledge through a video allowed them to sensitize the population about their work in health social work. Active learning methodologies and learning and service projects are of special interest to students since they promote intentional learning, develop social responsibility competencies, and provide a high ethical commitment since the special emphasis is placed on understanding social reality and collaboration between entities and the university community.

Teaching Assessment Competence in Social work with Flexible Computer Supported Scripts and metacognitive Reflection Prompts

Mary Opio1, Birgit Dorner2, Ingo Kollar3

1International Doctoral School REASON International Doctoral School REASON (Elite Network of Bavaria) Munich Center of the Learning Sciences ,Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit München, Germany; 2Katholische Stiftungshochschule München; 3University of Augsburg

As E-learning gains prominence in social curricula, there is need for research on how E-learning environments can be designed effectively to equip students with skills for practice.

Computer supported scripts (CSS) are scaffolds (instructional interventions) which provide learners with external guidance regarding when, how and in what sequence to perform certain activities. Research from the Learning Sciences shows that CSS can be used to support learners acquire domain specific skills .Providing learners with too detailed scripts, however, comes with the danger of limiting students’ autonomy and self-regulated engagement in the learning process

We build on Wang, Kollar and Stegmann (2017)´s research which suggests that adaptability can be used to realize the flexibility of CSS and research of Davis (2003) that argues that much as metacognitive prompting enhances self-regulated engagement, the form of reflection instruction influences how productive students reflect .

The aim of our study is to examine how CSS can be used to teach assessment in social work education and whether their effects can be boosted by aid of (a) granting learners the opportunity to adapt the CSS to their own needs and (b) providing them with different kinds of reflection prompts to help them in their adaptation process. We raise the following research question:

What are the effects of different types of external scripts (adaptable vs. strict) and metacognitive reflection prompts (specific vs. generic) as well as their different combinations on social work students’ assessment competence?

Method. We established a 2x2 quasi experiment, with the independent variables (1) CSS (strict vs. flexible) and (2) reflection prompts (specific vs. generic). In our pre-post-test design, social work students (n=100) received four case vignettes to stimulate their engagement in a child welfare assessment

Results: In our preliminary results, we observe that students in the adaptable script/generic prompt environment conduct better assessments compared to the counterparts in the strict script/generic prompts setting. Reflection in the generic groups is broadly contextualized to include responses on the learning environment ,the process of problem solving and the content of the provided cases.The focus in the specific reflection groups is however limited to single elements.

Navigating "exceptional rafts" to keep family spirits high: a narrative therapy approach to pediatric oncology social work practice

Davide Ticchi

Tallinn Children's Hospital, Estonia

A narrative therapy approach inspired by social workers White and Epston (1990) views problems as separate from people and assumes children and their family as having many skills, abilities, values, commitments, beliefs and competencies that will assist them to change their relationship with the problems influencing their lives. Discourses around cancers and blood disorders can be examined, questioned and challenged in shared, comprehensible terms. Dialogue is in open mode: What do you mean? Why do you think that? Where did these ideas come from? What made you do that? How can you do things differently?

Without viewing diagnosis, treatment and overprotecting parents as the child with cancer's stock-in-trade, using narrative in therapy is an occasion to gain their personal store of remembered material. This would allow to name, externalise and critically examine the problem for its socio-cultural implications, such as parent-child interaction, family context and therapy for its beneficial and harmful aspects. Hence oncology social workers' task moves from the thin and dominant problem story of a child's condition, to entry points for co-creating one re-authored by exceptions that resist ordeals. We thus learn to embark on "exceptional rafts" built out of recounted life events about exceptions to the problem told by the child or parents, with the ability to re-frame their experience overcoming hurdles. We navigate this collaboration with families to their home, where children can learn to value life-affirming opportunities through reflection on the day keeping a diary, studying or playing with parents. The relational nature of this journey provides an accepting, empathic and genuine context for therapy not limited to the hospital, where the therapist is perceived to offer a temporary but central relationship to the child.

Finally, time, space and encouragement cues to explore family problems and move towards change are key to protects us from viewing pediatric oncology social work as a surveillance acted on child's needs. It is in fact a view of the world, life and relationships in narrative form that ultimately make us better see the skills of a child with cancer and their family - both at home and in the hospital.

Working Conditions, Health Behaviour and Burnout Risks of Social Workers

Tanja Mühling

University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt (FHWS), Germany

The high demand for their services - coupled with staff shortages and increasing levels of administrative tasks – can present significant challenges for social workers. This paper examines the relationship between working conditions, health behaviour and burnout levels, using data from an online survey of social workers in Germany.

The study investigates the following central research questions:

- Are there differences concerning the occurrence of health problems among social workers in different fields of practice and settings?

- Which groups of social workers (e.g. executives, lone parents) show an increased risk of burnout?

- How is the health behaviour of the social workers?

Starting in November 2019, a total of 1,273 social workers from various fields of practice participated in the online survey. Around a tenth of all respondents (10.2%) show a high degree of "occupational exhaustion“. Employees in early childhood and elementary education, clinical social work and child, youth and family welfare are most frequently affected by this.

The burnout dimension of "depersonalization" is present to a high degree at over 6%; The social workers concerned perceive in particular that they are becoming more indifferent to their clients and colleagues and are becoming emotionally hardened. An above-average number of social workers engaged in work with the elderly and in health care report this.

As a pattern, it becomes clear that the satisfaction with all areas of life (health, family life, friends and acquaintances, personal leisure time, personal income, professional activity) is lower, the higher the measured burnout level of the respondents. Moreover, high burnout levels also correlate strongly with the number of health complaints.

In addition to the work-related burnout level, the private life situation is also central to the health status of the social workers: The respondents with relatives in need of care are among those who rate their own state of health as very good less often.

Intimate Partner Violence during the Covid-19 Pandemic: Enriching the Role of Social Work Professionals

Alkauthar Seun Enakele

Masaryk University, Czech Republic

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a coercive behaviour pattern designed to exert power and control over a person in a close relationship. Women and men both experience it. Due to the COVID-19, the home has become a dangerous place for IPV victims during the quarantine. Social workers have increasingly voiced concern about COVID-19 that has increased domestic violence because many victims and survivors of IPV are now forced to be at home with their abusers, run the risk of new or escalating violence. Social work is one of the elements that cannot be separated from the life of individuals, families, and groups of people most disadvantaged, disabled, the elderly and those who require the services of social workers, especially the victims of abusive relationships. Social workers are often faced with numerous challenge, yet it is a rewarding profession to help the most vulnerable groups of people. Within this situation is the sense that, the capacity of social work to define its methods and undertake analyses for prevention is a need that called for more and more actions to take place. The world is facing a global crisis of coronavirus. Therefore, social workers are required to implement intervention which will confront their sense of their skills and values, either in new forms of practice or else towards the resolution of a new area of professionalism. The paper aims to answer the following research question: How do social workers prevent Intimate partner violence (IPV) and intervene more effectively during the COVID -19 pandemic and what are the innovative intervention approaches likely to improve the role of social work practice intended for people affected by IPV, particularly for men victimization?

New responses to new needs: Home-based social services for the elderly in the context of Romania

Nicoleta Neamțu

Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania


This paper try to analyze the home-based social services for the elderly using the perspective of social innovation success criteria and the levels of innovation as a framework for mapping the degree of change introduced by those services, in the context of Romania after 2000 and with a special focus on social work practice changes during the pandemic of Covid-19. The logic model is applied for designing and evaluating two specific public services from the field as illustrative case studies.

The main criteria selected to evaluate the success of innovation in social services include: novelty, improvement and sustainability. The levels of innovation taking into account as a framework for analysis are: organizational level, regulamentory and legislative level, interactional level – connection and cooperation (partnership, networks, governance), professional level (social work methods and practices), users level, conceptual level and values, public policy level (policy framework, programs and social policies), financial and economic sustainability level (and scaling-diffusion-transferability of innovation) and evaluative level and attention to quality (quality standards).

The conclusions of the presentation consider that the home-based social services for the older people, in the Romanian context after 2000 and during the pandemic in 2020, are innovative al least because they have introduced: new forms of service, new forms of outcome and new ways of delivery/process

12:30pm - 2:00pmWorkshops 4-5: Rediscovering Personal and Social Resilience from a Developmental and Political Perspective - A Biographical Research Workshop Using the Timeline Approach with Social Work Students; @EMPRSocialwork: Bridging and empowering social workers through social me
Location: Parallel Session 3
Parallel Session 3 

Rediscovering Personal and Social Resilience from a Developmental and Political Perspective - A Biographical Research Workshop Using the Timeline Approach with Social Work Students

Heike Stammer, Annette Franke, Melinda Madew

Protestant University of Applied Science, Ludwigsburg, Germany, Germany

“Resilience” is defined as the psychological adaptation to adverse circumstances and/or critical life events. It represents a dynamic and individual constellation of risk and protective factors persons develop or get from their environment over the life course. Timelines as a stimulating visual tool in life history research, assist social workers in exploring important life events and social contexts within themselves, as well as that of their clients. The timeline method enables individuals to create their personal chronological lifelines in relation to specific questions which disclose personal and social resources – hence forming their resilience. From a social work perspective, it is also necessary to address the historical and political dimensions of resilience. This presentation will introduce how an online resilience workshop was undertaken in 2020, using inclusive interview methods in life history research. This timeline workshop proceeded in three phases with more than a hundred students from eight international universities as they dealt with family, education and career prospects. The effectiveness of this participatory workshop succeeded in eliciting personal and social resources that were necessary in dealing with individual and societal obstacles. This presentation will likewise provide examples in using the timeline approach as these have been developed and tested as educational tools. A Resilience model to support the analysis of the timelines will be demonstrated.

@EMPRSocialwork: Bridging and empowering social workers through social media in times of pandemic.

Ani Dingamtar1, Oleksandr Kondrashov2

1Thompson Rivers University; 2Thompson Rivers University

Harnessing technology to increase community connections and social participation are the modern challenges that social work educators and practitioners need to address effectively. One way to become more familiar with digital technologies is to use them for professional and personal reasons. As we become more digitally connected, social media's role in social work education and practice needs to be explored. Social media provides social workers with unique opportunities to communicate with colleagues in Canada and around the world. Through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, social work practitioners, and educators, educators can share information and resources in real-time, particularly in times of pandemic.

To help social work educators become more familiar with these technologies, we have created a 90-minute practice-oriented, interactive session to illustrate a set of techniques for creating and managing Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts through the use of @EMPRSocialWork campaign. EMPRSocialWork is a social media campaign to engage social workers and allies worldwide to collectively create a list of individual empowerment tools through the use of images and story-telling and to disseminate them effectively among social work communities of practice. The campaign aims to break down distance barriers amongst social workers through the use of empowerment tools. Empowerment tools are personal growth activities that are used over time to create a sense of self-worth, personal and professional accountability, and generate power within an individual.

The learning objectives of the interactive workshop will be

• to examine empowerment tools and how they can be shared via social media

• to empower oneself through creating relevant social media posts; and

• to utilize social media for resource dissemination and connection building amongst social work students, educators, and practitioners in times of pandemic.

During the workshop participants will learn how to create posts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using Canva and Buffer apps and share those tools to empower social workers locally and globally. Please bring your laptop to the session to practice the use of tools to enhance your social media digital literacy.

12:30pm - 2:00pmWorkshop 6-7: Some observations on the reception of the GSWSEP in Flanders; The ethics of global-solidarity in social work: two steps forward, one step
Location: Parallel Session 4
Parallel Session 4 

“Some observations on the reception of the GSWSEP in Flanders”

A. Denoix Kerger

artevelde university of applied sciences, Belgium

“Some Observations on the Reception of the GSWSEP in Flanders”

Presenting Author: Kerger Denoix, Artevelde university Ghent Belgium

Abstract Workshop (45’)

As a consequence of the revisited Global Definition of Social Work, the IASSWS reviewed the Social Work Ethical Standards and principles (2001) and after consultation with social work organizations from all over the globe, finalized in 2017 in the new document: Global Social Work Statement on Ethical Principles (GSWSEP). We were involved in the consultation before the finalization of the document and published a translating of the document in Dutch on the IASSW website.

In this workshop we want to present:

(1) A short introduction on our research and background of the choices made in the GSWSEP by presenting a short overview of 5 preceding IASSW-IFSW Ethical and Deontological Codes from 1975 on. These 5 snapshots show how dynamic and contextual social work is and can be used in training students.

(2) Some remarks on the exercise of translation, not only concerning Dutch but also comparing the French, and Spanish translation.

(3) In 2/2020 we will discuss the GSWSEP with trainers and researchers Social work from the Flemish Schools for social work, some representatives form Social Work organizations and social workers in the field concerning the possibilities, the difficulties and challenges the GSWSEP poses. The IASSW allows local adaptation of the statement.

(4) In general, the GSWSEP confronts European Social Work with global issues, transnational issues, shared vulnerability, the issue of decolonization, the impact of globalization and neo liberalism, the issue of Human Rights and Social Justice with some challenging suggestions. These are not only issues concerning the life of ‘clients’ or ‘users of social work services’ but challenges the formers views on ‘professional identity of social work’ (and ergo the problem of social work curriculum), the relation with the governments or (in case lack of government) and aims at the heart or DNA of social work 2020.

The ethics of global-solidarity in social work: two steps forward, one step back

Chaitali Das1, Janet Carter Anand2

1Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Germany; 2University of Eastern Finland

While the ‘global’ tends towards standardization and the transfer of ideas transcending boundaries, the ‘glocal’ tends towards the localization of these ideas. As Niemczyk (2019) suggests, the local is the site where global becomes operationalised. In social work, Lyons and May-Chahal, (2017) suggest that in an increasingly interconnected world, the concept of ‘Glocal’ has been introduced to examine the interconnections between the global and the local.

For Healy (2008), glocal includes the need for solidarity across different local sites towards addressing global issues of inequality and oppression. The importance of solidarity has also become clearly visible in both local and global communities with the current ongoing pandemic. Indeed, for the year 2020 – 2022, the first theme chosen by the IASSW, IFSW and ICSW is ‘Ubuntu: Strengthening Social Solidarity and Global Connectedness’ within the Global Agenda for 2020 – 2030 (IFSW, 2020).

However, this solidarity is not straightforward and access to opportunities for solidarity is uneven and unequal. This workshop would like to introduce the concept of global-mindedness in this context to think about the ways that the local can interact with the global critically (Anand and Das, 2019). In this workshop, we want to consider the possibilities and limits of this solidarity between the local-global interfaces using different questions, examples (fictive, historic) and engaging in a discursive dialogue to explore the nuances of global solidarity and both the possibilities and limitations of such action.. Questions include:

- What are the opportunities and risks of global solidarity?

- How does global solidarity interact with democratic processes (using both positive and negative examples)?

- Should global solidarity enable us to speak about all issues in all other places?

o What are the implications of such solidarity on local spaces where these issues arise?

o To what extent are local concerns, ideas and issues sidelined within globalized discussions

o What role do neo-colonial power structures play in such calls for global solidarity

12:30pm - 2:00pmPaper Presentation Session 15: With and for Services Users
Location: Parallel Session 5
Session Chair: Anna Broka
Parallel Session 5 

“This really forced me to think!” Knowledge Construction and Utilization in Social Work Education in Simulation-Based Learning Environments with Standardized Clients

Carolin Auner1, Sabine Pankofer2, Birgit Dorner2

1International Doctoral School REASON - Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany (Elite Network of Bavaria); 2Katholische Stiftungshochschule München, Germany / University of Applied Sciences (KSH) Munich


Social work is characterized by highly dynamic and complex situations which is often overwhelming also for professionals but is especially demanding for social work students. Universities have adapted different methods in their curricula to equip students with skills relevant for professional practice with service users. Connecting the knowledge gained in theory to the social work´s diverse practice scenarios remains a challenge for many social work students nonetheless. Knowledge application in realistic scenarios is important for the develop-ment of complex skills and simulation based learning has been found to be effective in bridging this theory-practice gap. In simulation based learning an opportunity for meaningful application of knowledge to professional problems is ensured. There is however paucity of research on how social work students construct and use scientific knowledge during practice.

We raise the following research questions in our study:

1. What problem-solving strategy do social work students pursue with Standardized Clients in Simulation-Based Learning Environment?

2. Which types and which quality of knowledge do they apply?

3. What other factors influence the process of problem solving?


Sample: n=24 Social-Work-Students (B.A.) / 4th to 7th semester, Age: 18-40 years,

Learning Environment: Live- and Video-Simulation, Case Vignette: District Social Work, Initial Consultation of the Client with the Social Worker, follow-up meeting with individual feedback.

Research-Design: Questionnaire on prior experiences, recorded Live- or Video-Simulation with a trained actress, focused interviews, think-aloud-memos and recorded additional interviews.

The whole research follows the Grounded-Theory-Methodology


Based on our preliminary findings and on research, we observe that students largely have difficulties in dealing with clients´ emotions during the counselling sessions. Problem solving strategies, knowledge construction and use as well as professional attitudes differ amongst participants: objec-tives, strategies, processes and the contextualization of clients problem situation during the assess-ment are quite diverse. It appears that the constant balancing between the emotional level, the search for support offers and individual insecurity are closely related to the development of conversation skills.

"Growing Pains": Predicting the Adjustment of Youth Volunteers by Their Personal, Environmental and Organizational Resources

Amit Zriker

Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Objectives: The phenomenon of volunteering among adolescents is drawing a great deal of attention from scholars and practitioners. Among adolescents in particular, the volunteering casts an additional purpose, which lays in its contribution to their personal and social development in a critical life-stage. In this study, we aspired to expand the current knowledge of the contribution of personal, environmental and organizational resources to the adjustment of youth volunteers. Furthermore, we ought to investigate the changes in these variables on the course of time, through comparing their levels among the adolescents at the start of their volunteering, and several months after that. During that time, these adolescents are experiencing, perhaps for the first time in their lives, a prolonged period of volunteering for the sake of others.

Method: The study was a quantitative one, and was based on questionnaires distributed to 112 adolescents who volunteered in a center of therapeutic riding in Israel. This center offers a unique interaction between social workers, instrucors, volunteers and clients. Therefore, it may symbolize an innovative role of social workers in a NGO. Data was collected in two time-periods. Data in T1 was collected a month after the volunteers first started their volunteer action. Data in T2 was collected after roughly 7-8 months.

Results: We found significant improvements in the levels of all adjustment variables (Subjective Well-Being, Future Orientation, Leadership Ability). We also found positive correlations between these three variables and self-evaluation, sense of mastery, growth, social support, and organizational factors. Attitude of instructors was found correlated only to subjective well-being and future orientation, but not to leadership ability.

Conclusions: The volunteering of adolescents is contributing to the development of subjective well-being and future orientation, and several other important attributes in the adjustment of adolescents, such as leadership abilities. Hence, the volunteering of adolescents combines both personal and societal development, and as such – the social contribution of volunteering is manifested in building a strong and sustainable base of the future generation as active and involved citizens.

Improving Service users’ participation in the education of social workers: a win-win situation for both social work students & service-users

Marian Van der Sypt

Arteveldehogeschool, Gent, Belgium, Belgium

Background and purpose:

The general aim of the Erasmus+ project “Social workers’education and Service users’participation: sharing experciences and improving skills” is to create a framework of service user participation in Social Work education. We explore how the participation of service users in Social Work Education can be a win-win for both parties (not only the students, but also the service users themselves). We depart from the theoretical framework of empowerment of service users on the one hand and the development of professional identity of students on the other hand.

Methods: (a) Literature research and (b) qualitative research with representatives of service user organisations by means of interviews & focus groups and (c) participating observation of good practices in which service users are involved in education in Belgium, Sweden and France.

Findings: (1) Diverse theoretical models will be outlined that provide a framework for the implementation of service users’ participation in education. (2) Qualitative research findings will be available about the potential gains and potential pittfalls of involving service users in Social Work education. What types of interventions do have the biggest impact? What do service users learn from it? How does it have an effect on the personal frame of reference of students (as part of their professional identity)?

Conclusions and implications: Based on these findings, we will be able to give recommendations about how to structurally implement service users’ participation in Social Work Education in x regions (Belgium, France, Sweden…)


“Je Binnenste Buiten. Over professionele identiteit in organisaties.” Manon C.P. Ruijters (Red.) en collega’s, 2015 Vakmedianet, Deventer, ISBN 978 94 6276 0318

“Met Passie naar Professionaliteit.” Bertus Leijenhorst, Uitg. Boom Lemma Uitgevers, Productcode (EAN): 9789462363779

Social work students call Experts by experience during Covid-19 pandemic. A research on an experiential learning activity

Elena Cabiati, Camilla Landi, Laura Pinto

Catholic University of Milan, Italy

The involvement of service users’ knowledge into social work education programs is a long-standing experience at the Catholic University of Milan and Brescia (Italy), and most activities are performed through direct face to face interactions between EBE and students.

For many years, Full day meetings represent the first in depth experience that first-year students have with EBE. At the core of the Full day meeting program is a two-hour face-to-face conversation between undergraduate student and EBE randomly matched. The activity usually takes place at the University.

In the spring of 2020, due to containment measures adopted by the Italian Government to face with Covid-19 pandemic, direct face to face Full day meetings between social work students and Experts by experience were suspended for the first time in ten years. This concrete impediment, together with the desire to continue to expose students to the experiential knowledge of service users and carers, encouraged educators in developing a new initiative named «Social work student calls Expert by experience». Participants were 119 social work students and 69 Experts by Experience. The experimental activity consisted of a telephone or video call between a single student and a single Expert by experience. The experience was researched. After the call, students were invited to fill in an online format, describing the lived experience through a short story to an imaginary friend. From the content analysis of the students’ stories, carried out by MAXQDA 2020 software, emerged tree main themes: the learnings that students feel they have acquired through the activity; students’ feelings before, during and after the call with EBE; students’ opinions about the proposed activity.

Findings show that the telephone conversation had an impact on social work students, in particular on learnings and motivations to become social workers.

Authors will present the rationale, the methodology and the findings of the activity to contribute to the debate on the participation of Experts by Experience in social work education programs via new media, as telephone or internet.

Challenges and barriers of adventure-based learning as a method of youth work

Anna Barbara Jarkiewicz

Univeristy of Łódź, Poland

Two main purposes of the presentation are to introduce the appliance of adventure-based learning as a method of youth work elaborated within the educational international project Empowering Youth – Successful youth practices in Europe (EMPYRE)), and to present research findings focusing on the empowering potential of outdoor learning in terms of social participation, employability, and equality. It will discuss and reflect upon the empowering opportunities that arise as well as the limitation. The basic aim of the research conducted within EMPYRE is to reconstruct of youth work in selected institutions and its participatory transformation. In order to reconstruct of the subjective perspective of youth, teachers and managers in the study a bottom-up approach was taken. Data were collected through 3 group interviews in 3 countries (Poland, Finland and Wales). All of the group interviews were kept small (four-six participants), and they took the form of informal discussions.

EMPYRE is an educational international project conducted as part of the ERASMUS+ programme Key Action 2: Strategic Partnerships in 2019-21. The project has been funded with support of the European Commission (Grant Number 2019-1-FI01-KA205-060668). Project participants include both academics from the following institutions: University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria (Austria); XAMK University of Applied Sciences (Finland), University of Łódź (Poland), Bangor University (Wales, UK) and practitioners from the following organisations for youth: Centre of Expertise for Municipal Youth Work Kanuuna (Finland); Planetarium (Poland); GISDA cyf (Wales, UK). The project focuses on work with youth that for different reasons (social, economic, cultural etc.) is at risk of social exclusion. The basic aim of the project is to explore, evaluate, develop, and disseminate effective social and educational practices that emphasise social empowerment, increasing chances on the labour market, increasing social participation, and preventing social exclusion.

“I am not just a user”: innovative social work teaching practice and the co-creation of knowledges

Anna Broka1, Anette Nielsen2, Doris Scheer3

1Tallinn University, Latvia; 2University College South Denmark; 3Diakonie Schleswig-Holstein

Globalisation is a major driving force for the economisation and privatisation of social services (Beck,1986; Bauman, 2003 etc.). European societies are facing many different challenges, i.e., pressure on social coherence, socio-economic and public health. These challenges call for transformative (Illeris 2009) and innovative approaches to social work practice, incl. a change of perspective. This entails innovative teaching and learning strategies for teachers of social work, social work students, social service providers and service users as it questions professional identities and set frames of habitual behavior of all parties involved (Mezirow,1990; Illeris, 2014; Brookfield, 2005). In the Interreg Baltic Sea Region project SEMPRE, we – a consortium of sixteen different partners around the Baltic Sea, tested a range of participatory tools as well as an action learning approach to learning and teaching empowerment to social work students and on-the-job for professionals (SEMPRE Guidebook for Empowerment Training). In this contribution we want to share and reflect our project-based insights into the co-creation of knowledges and offer a draft for an empowering social work educational agenda which is informed by reflective practice (Carr & Kemmis, 1986). We understand ‘empowerment’ (Freire, 2000) as encouraging processes of self-enabling and managing and deciding one’s own affairs (Herriger, 2014). It can be viewed as a bottom-up approach to enrich and improve social work and services with knowledges and insights gained from the receiving end of social support – from social service users. We developed Action Learning as a way of working with empowerment (SEMPRE Guidebook for Empowerment training). We will present a critical approach to Action Learning (Trehan 2011) as a method of the co-creation of knowledges which bridge the barriers between students, social workers, users and educators. We will contribute with practical examples and discuss dilemmas, advantages and disadvantages.

2:00pm - 3:00pmLunch Break
3:00pm - 3:30pmMaster Class on Academic Writing I
Jane Fenton, Richard Ingram
Social Work Education: The International Journal
3:30pm - 5:00pmPaper Presentation Session 16: Learning/Teaching Methods IV
Location: Parallel Session 1
Session Chair: Stavros Parlalis
Parallel Session 1 

An international perspective on the use of journaling to promote social work students’ transformative learning and resilience during COVID-19

Michael Wallengren-Lynch1, Marta Blanco Carrasco2, Einav Segev3, Henglien Lisa Chen4, Nishi Mitra vom Berg5, Tara Earls Larrison6, Beth Archer-Kuhn7, Rose Parkes8

1University of Malmö, Sweden; 2Complutense University of Madrid, Spain; 3School of Social Work, Sapir College, Israel; 4University of Sussex, United Kingdom; 5Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India; 6School of Social Work, University of Illinois, United States of America; 7Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; 8Department of Social Work, Highland Collage Jersey

This ongoing pedagogic research project aims to understand student’s experiences of using reflective journaling during a social work term as a part of an online and/or blended learning approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project explores student perceptions of journaling as a teaching and learning strategy that facilitates (or not) transformative learning and how journaling can help to integrate student’s current life experiences with that of their social work education. The sample consists of social work students from eight countries: Canada, India, Israel, Spain, Sweden, U.K, Jersey Island and the U.S.A. The expected sample is between 250-300 students.

The research questions are:

• How does the use of reflective journaling method with social work students promote transformative learning in the blended and/or online setting during COVID-19?

• How does the use of reflective journaling help social work students frame their life experiences during COVID-19?

• In what ways does the practice of reflective journal help to foster the student’s professional identity and development as an emerging practitioner?

The research team are using a mixed-methods design, specifically, Sequential Explanatory, as phase two, is informed by phase one (Creswell & Clarke, 2018). Phase one is a 60-question long online survey available in four languages. The second phase is four online focus group interviews with representatives from each participating university.

It is anticipated that the research team will be able to present preliminary findings from the initial data analysis phase.

This project is supported by the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW)


Irena Zemaitaityte, Raminta Bardauskiene, Jolanta Pivoriene, Agata Katkoniene

Mykolas Romeris university, Lithuania

The goal of presentation is to discuss new trends in the development of competences of future social workers needed in turbulent time during implementation of European Joint Master programme in Social work with Children and Youth (ESWOCHY).

ESWOCHY is a project (619857-EPP-1-2020-1-LT-EPPKA1-JMD-MOB) funded by Erasmus Mundus in 2020 and it is implemented by four Consortium partners: Mykolas Romeris university (LT), Riga Stradins University (LV), The Catholic University in Ruzomberok (SK) and ISTCE - University Institute of Lisbon (PT). ESWOCHY is built on three pillars: humanistic perspective, intercultural communication and digital technologies in social work. It seeks to prepare highly skilled professionals, supporting human dignity and cultural heritage, focusing on human creative power which provides leadership for service to society on national and international level. ESWOCHY learning outcomes are based on the analysis of EU documents and research data that highlights the main areas for increasing competences of social workers in working with children and youth: empowerment of children and youth, development of social and intercultural as well as digital competence. New technologies emerge rapidly. Digital literacy plays a crucial role as part of modern-day citizenship and modern life in general. There are a lot of social work practitioners who lack the digital skills or attitudes to fully benefit from the opportunities created by digital technologies for delivering quality youth work. Many social workers see digital media only as social media. Their understanding of the possibilities of digital media and technology should be widened (European Commission, 2018). EC identified a set of innovative practices in both delivering digital social work and also upskilling social workers' digital competences: using social media in sharing information, online youth counselling, supporting digital literacy, enabling participation with digital tools, supporting cultural youth work online, supporting the development of technological skills, using digital games in youth work etc. (European Commission, 2018).

The presentation shares experience and reflections of Consortium partners and discusses in depth how competences of future social workers are developed in European Joint Master in Social Work with Children and Youth.

Diaries of Social Work Students: Life In A State Of Emergency

Frank Sowa

Nuremberg Tech Georg Simon Ohm, Germany

How did social work students at the Nuremberg Tech Georg Simon Ohm experience the lockdown in the summer term 2020? This question was the subject of a spontaneously launched teaching research project. Shortly after the lockdown, students participating in the course began to write a diary for six weeks in order to put their perceptions of an extraordinary disaster on paper. The subjective records of everyday life in quarantine were written daily, as nothing is as fleeting as one's own memory. The focus was on a detailed description of everyday, interpersonal situations, subjective experiences, (self-)observations and (self-)reflections. These personal, sometimes “unfiltered” or “uncensored” protocols of reality were analyzed with the help of sequence analysis in small research teams via zoom. The application of sequence analysis showed the students that even during the pandemic there are socially recognized rules, latent structures of meaning that can be reconstructed from personal diary entries. The student analysis work revealed that the corona pandemic was accompanied by an enormous loss of security and routine. The articulated new uncertainties focused on the fear of infecting other family members, on existential worries about the future due to job loss in the family, on role conflicts (fight for gender equality), the stability of (love) relationships and the creation of a daily structure that is considered to be meaningful. The difficulties of maintaining a student identity took up a large part of the writings. In order to escape the omnipresence of the pandemic discourse and to practice a humane way of dealing with restrictions and requirements, the diary-writing students developed legal and illegal coping strategies that gave them new security. In addition to the scientific findings, students recognized that writing and interpreting the diary can be an effective coping strategy for a life in a state of emergency in order to create security, stability and a sense of community.

Social workers’ ethical challenges on foster care practices during pandemic

Stavros Parlalis, Demetris Chatzicharalambous

Frederick University

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people’s daily life all around the world. Under these conditions, social workers’ work has also been affected to a certain extent. In first place, social distance measures did not allow social workers to meet their clients face-to-face. Meetings, interviews, home visits, counseling sessions, supervision sessions and other activities had to be modified according to the health protocols and official procedures. Moreover, social workers faced many challenges in order to adapt their work towards the new standards, whilst ethical challenges were the most common between them. As it was reported by IFSW (2020), the main ethical challenges were the creation of trust and empathic relationship, the prioritization of service users’ needs and demands, the balancing service users’ rights, the use of “inappropriate” policies and handling emotions under difficult conditions. These challenges will be further explored and discussed regarding their adaptation into the Cypriot context of foster care policies and procedures. In brief, social workers lost their contact with service users, postponed all of their arranged activities for a period of four months (meetings, supervisions, prospective foster care parents’ trainings, etc.) and literally their work stopped. Social workers had to face these new circumstances and find new ways of working such as by using new technologies, make assessments via phone or internet and handling difficult situations through phone. Special references will be provided on how social workers managed to overcome the ethical challenges raised by these conditions and how they could be prepared for similar challenges in the future.

‘People are struggling daily to survive’: What can we learn from social workers’ experiences of volunteering with refugees overseas and how can this impact on our practice with unaccompanied minors in the UK?

Kirstie Louise Baughan

Central Bedfordshire Council, United Kingdom


Unaccompanied minors have often experienced challenging and traumatic journeys from their home countries, with heavy reliance on Non-Governmental Organisations to survive (UNHCR, 2018; Chiarenza et al, 2019; Doidge & Sandri, 2019). The media can often dehumanise these experiences, which can influence society views those seeking asylum (Bhatia et al, 2018). Significant learning can be gained from the experiences of volunteers who have worked on the frontline with asylum seekers, on the borders of France and Belgium. This study investigates the experiences of social workers who have volunteered with refugees overseas. The aim is to share volunteer experiences with social workers, to increase their knowledge of asylum seekers’ journeys through Europe in order to enhance their practice with unaccompanied minors


Three semi-structured interviews were undertaken with social workers employed within children’s services in the UK. Each of these social workers also had experience of volunteering with refugees and asylum seekers overseas, in Europe. Though the small sample size has some limitations, it has enabled me to gather rich and meaningful data, which has been analysed using a grounded theory approach.


This paper summaries the key experiences of unaccompanied minors prior to arrival in the UK, the barriers they face within the UK and learning for social workers in their practice. The key areas include poor living conditions for asylum seekers in France, negative interactions with authority forces, feelings of isolation and lack of access to mental health services. For social workers, the key messages are to react to issues of power, remain empathetic and to expand knowledge of this topic, away from the media, in order to effectively advocate for a marginalised group. Each of these areas will be explores in greater depth as part of my presentation.


This study concludes that it is of great importance that social workers understand the experiences of unaccompanied minors prior to arrival in the UK and acknowledge the barriers for them upon arrival. It is also fundamental that social workers continue to educate themselves on these experiences, whilst remaining reflective and strongly advocating the need for anti-oppressive practice.

Different types of supervision in social work

Florina Pascu

Babes-Bolyai University, Romania

Social workers are one of the professional categories subject to the risk of high levels of professional stress due to the specifics of the activity. In crisis situations, such as the one experienced with the 2020 pandemic, there is a legitimate need to protect social work practitioners and provide them with effective ways to manage post-traumatic stress.

A well-established way to approach post-traumatic stress is to provide support in the context of professional supervision meetings. Starting from the fact that supervision is a function performed mainly by people in managerial positions of an organization, the question arises of their availability to provide support and achieve supervision, given that crisis situations require them in the role of leadership.

What to do when managers are also overworked in crisis situations? How and in what way can be provided the necessary support to social assistance practitioners? This paper purpose is to highlight a review of the literature about the many ways in which supervision can be performed. It aims to offer more options to classical supervision by changing the one-to-one approach with group supervision. In a group process, the presence of a supervisor is not required and can be carried out in the form of offering mutual support by social workers in similar positions in the organization or employees who face similar traumatic situations (peer supervision).

3:30pm - 5:00pmPaper Presentation Session 17: Social Work Program/Curriculum I
Location: Parallel Session 2
Session Chair: Matthias Stefan Kachel
Parallel Session 2 

"Nobody taught us that, we just did it ourselves" - the state of civics education in Social Work programmes in Germany

Matthias Stefan Kachel1,2

1Katholische Stiftungshochschule München, Germany; 2BayWISS Promotionskolleg Sozialer Wandel

There is an ongoing debate in German Social Work theory if Social Work is, can be, or should be a political profession. There are three opinions among scholars that answer either with a wholehearted “yes”, a skeptic “yes, but…” and a resounding “no”. And even if the answer is yes, political activity of social workers is often described as “Einmischung”, which can be translated as “interference” or “meddling” and therefore undermines the critical role that social workers play in the welfare state. This debate is not only affecting scholarly debate, but also the education of social workers throughout Germany. There seem to exist many different approaches to teaching – or not teaching – social work students civics and political skills as there are schools of social work – thus, political knowledge and interest, practical skills, preparation and ability to speak politically can differ dramatically among social workers – which, in turn, affects the ability and readiness for political action. This is also visible in the low numbers of German social workers that are organized in unions.

For my doctoral thesis, I am currently comparing ten different Social Work curricula at as many Schools of Social Work in Germany. My goal is to find out if and how future social workers are receiving – or are at least able to receive – training for political situations and political work and if the skills taught are the ones that are needed in practice. As work on my thesis progresses, I let students of social work and social workers discuss my findings about “their” study programme in focus groups while also asking if the skills taught on paper are also the ones that are taught in reality – and if they are the ones that are needed in practice. I wish to present my findings so far in my presentation.


Aila-Leena Matthies

University of Jyväskylä, Finland

A sustainable social foundation for human life can only develop in an inherent interdependence with the overall ecological ceiling and regenerative economy. How this relates to social work education, will be discussed in this presentation. This paper presents a new unique doctoral training project ASTRA (2020-2024) funded by the European Commission in the frame of the H2020 program, involving 15 Social Work doctoral students around the world.

ASTRA paves the way for a radically new approach to tackle the major societal challenges faced in the practice of social work. This is done by combining transdisciplinary sustainability transition research, policies and practices in social work. The combination creates a novel scientific domain and establishes new transformative standards of social work doctoral training in Europe. Within this frame, the recruited doctoral students focus in their research on the challenge of social inclusion of young people in precariousness situations as well as people with a migration background in vulnerable communities. In participatory research with the target groups, social work methods are co-created as steps of the transition towards sustainable and inclusive society. The potential of the following methodic models are investigated: nature-based well-being, environmental justice, circular and solidarity economy, sustainable food policies with vulnerable communities, ecosocial innovations and contributive justice. The practice-research methodology of social work is applied by the ASTRA consortium, which consists of leading European social work academics involved in sustainability transition research and two non-academic research organisations for environmental and economic sustainability. The diversity of the outstanding partner organisations working on sustainability transition in practice deepens the transdisciplinary approach. The innovative practice-related solutions and fundamentally new types of research-based knowledge will have a long-term impact not only on social work but on society and science at large. ASTRA offers the ESRs novel career perspectives in transdisciplinary research, cross-sectoral policy-making and new economic models at the local, national and European level.

Education of Social Workers in Bosnia and Herzegovina for activities in extra-ordinary situations – between (no)experience and needs for capacity development

Draško Gajić1, Vesna Šućur-Janjetović2

1Faculty of Political Sciences, Bosnia and Herzegovina; 2Faculty of Political Sciences, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Experiences in dealing with extra-ordinary situations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, first of all, dealing with floods in 2004, and now dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, are clearly showing that we need a better preparation of social workers for activities in extra-ordinary situations. Up to present, Social workers in Bosnia and Herzegovina have shown, within the frame of legal and professional obligations, more or less a profound readiness and have been successful in their activities, good cooperation with other agents obliged to act within the system of social protection and saving people lives at the level of local communities that were flooded.

Up to present experiences of social workers employed in the local Social Welfare Centers, can be problematized through a simple question, such as: Have we, and to what extent, prepared for reaction in extra-ordinary situations? Do we have necessary knowledge with regard to activities in extra-ordinary situations? What have we leant from the previous situations? The experiences and such questions led us towards acknowledging the fact that we need to plan and prepare better for extra-ordinary situations. Better preparation includes changes of curriculums in education of social workers, meaning that knowledge on professional positioning, organization and activities in newly faced extra-ordinary situation, must be included.

As a final result of the above-mentioned academic activities, the faculties in Bosnia and Herzegovina that are educating future social workers have started the process of establishing a new subject/unit whose learning objective is to prepare students/future social workers for organizing and acting within the system of social welfare, in extra-ordinary situations. The starting point of this new subject is conceptualized through a holistic perspective in risk management, which should ease the work of social workers and other employees in Social Welfare Centers, when it comes to their positioning, in line with the normative, institutional and professional actions in extra-ordinary situations.

Education as a response to Migration Challenges: Innovations in Curricula on Protection of Children Affected by Mixed Migration

Violeta Markovic, Anita Burgund Isakov, Nevenka Žegarac

Faculty of Political Sciences University of Belgrade, Serbia

Contemporary society is facing with a rise in migration – children are moving for a variety of reasons, voluntarily or involuntarily, within or between countries, with or without their caretakers, and that places them at increased risk of economic or sexual exploitation, abuse, neglect and violence, therefore, the needs to educate social workers on these issues is inevitable. This paper discusses gains and challenges in developing, conducting and evaluating course on protection of children faced with mixed migration in era of restricted physical contacts due to global pandemic challenge in search for the ways to continue the process of teaching and learning at Universities in a meaningful way.

Since 2015 Serbia has experienced refugee and migrant crisis with more than 1 mil of people transiting, out of which every third a child – many of them in need of humanitarian assistance and protection. As one of the ways to respond to these challenges, Department for Social policy and Social Work at University of Belgrade developed a course Protection of Children Affected by Mixed Migration. The course was developed as a result of thorough literature review and consultations with relevant front-line professionals and policy makers, and also with refugee and migrant children in Serbia. Innovative course is part of a wider project “Co-Creation of Knowledge and Building of Expertise for the Protection of Children Affected by Migration and Forced Displacement”.

Protection of children affected by mixed migration is multidisciplinary course with the aim to enhance the capacities of students as well as practitioners working with children affected by mixed migration. It contains 8 modules covering topics related to social protection, child protection (CP), gender-based violence (GBV), the international and regional framework around mixed migration. The course is piloted with students of third and fourth year of bachelor studies of social work and professionals form different agencies and services engaged in work with those children. The results will be analysed after piloting the course, in line with evaluation from course participants and professionals working with migrant and refugee children in Serbia.

Involving Urban Residents in an International Blended Learning Course: Challenges and Opportunities for Social Work Education

Mieke Schrooten1, Sirppa Kinos2, Erik Claes1, Hugh McLaughlin3, Peter Hendriks4, Judit Csoba5

1Odisee University of Applied Sciences, Belgium; 2Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland; 3Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom; 4HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, the Netherlands; 5University of Debrecen, Hungary

Background: Throughout Europe (sub)urban areas are facing complex challenges. These challenges manifest themselves in an accumulation and intersection of conflicts and fracture lines between individuals, groups, cultures, classes, communities, networks, but also between groups and their institutional and political environments (governments, criminal justice systems, schools, social service providers, youth care, et cetera).

Objectives: In the ongoing Erasmus+ project ‘Urban diversities: challenges for social work’, five European schools of social work seek to co-create a fresh understanding of urban complexities and tensions and to identify, co-produce and refine skills for educating social workers to recognize and effectively work with these complexities and tensions.

Methods: The project brings students, residents of superdiverse urban neighbourhoods, social service providers and teachers together in a joint learning process. By working towards co-production, we aim to fully invest in the agency and capability of all stakeholders to contribute to the resolution of current and future urban complexities, to play an active role in democratic life, foster social cohesion, enhance intercultural understanding and sense of belonging to a community.

Results: Concretely, we are developing and implementing a blended learning course, consisting of a community service-learning trajectory at the local level, combined with transnational exchange on a digital platform. The pilot of this course took place in the current academic year. In this paper, we first situate the background of the project. Then we present the design and the guiding principles of the course.

Discussion: We end by discussing our experiences and reflections on the rollout of this course focussing on the involvement of urban residents in the transnational exchange on the one hand and piloting the course in the current COVID-19 situation on the other hand.

Between the lockdown of universities and the new reality: students reflections for the co-creation of a social work curriculum in the 21st century

Rita Cláudia Oliveira Barata1, Antonela Jesus2

1Iscte - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Portugal; 2Universidade Católica Portuguesa

Online education is consolidated in several countries, although the involvement of social work with technological innovations is late and complex due to its relational nature introducing tensions in a context of distance learning (Siebert & Spaulding-Givens, 2006). The closure of universities and the transition to online education due to the COVID-19 crisis, led to a period of change in contexts characterized by face-to-face education (McFadden et al., 2020). This transformation underlies a reflection on the mixed results regarding online teaching in this discipline (Lee, Hernandez & Marshall Jr., 2019), including the problematization of the impacts felt by students in the current context, the least satisfaction with the face-to-face model (Dinh & Nguyen, 2020) and the deepening of their preferences (Groton & Spadola, 2020). With this background, this study explores the perspectives of social work students of the bachelor's degree in Portugal on experiences in the online teaching-learning process, through the deepening of the following aspects: i) difficulties and advantages associated with the transition to online format in accessibility, flexibility and structuring; ii) overall levels of satisfaction of online education, in terms of organization, content, pedagogical practices, involvement and interaction between peers and teachers; iii) levels of satisfaction and importance attributed to different teaching methods, identifying typologies and prevalence; iv) good organizational, pedagogical and peer practices that demonstrate innovation or that can recommend suggestions for the reconstruction of curricula and practices. Data collection was carried out with an online survey, with open and closed questions (according to the dimensions identified), and participants were recruited from social networks. The data obtained through the closed questions of the survey are subject of treatment and quantitative analysis, with descriptive statistics, with the SPSS software. Qualitative data analysis was conducted through content analysis. We conclude the presentation with the implications of the students' perspective to identify innovative practices and the possibility to rethink curricula and practices for the post-pandemic future and eventual moments of crisis.

3:30pm - 5:00pmPaper Presentation Session 18: Social Work Program/Curriculum II
Location: Parallel Session 3
Session Chair: Diletta Mauri
Parallel Session 3 

Higher Education of Social Workers in the Czech Republic - Time for Change?

Tatiana Matulayová1, Oldřich Matoušek2

1Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic; 2Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, the higher education of social workers was restarted after 1990. Over the past 30 years, it has gone through various stages of development. The aim of the paper is to critically reflect on the current situation. The paper is based on the results of a nationwide research of the state of professionalization of social work. Another source is a set of job descriptions for 36 most frequent job positions, occupied by social workers in the Czech Republic. Research was based on mixed methodology. A questionnaire survey (N=698) and 13 focus groups (N=78) were conducted. The respondents were social workers. The research results show that it is desirable to profile education according to the defined professional qualifications of social workers, innovate existing education standards and reform the field education. At the end of paper, we propose recommendations for educators and the others, involved in higher education policy.

The Integrated Behavioral Health Scholars Program at the University of Texas at Austin

Diana M. DiNitto1, Bethany Wood1, Integrated Behavioral Health Scholars Leadership Team N/A2

1Steve Hicks School of Social Work, UTAustin, United States of America; 2UTAustin, United States of America

This presentation describes the Integrated Behavioral Health Scholars (IBHS) Program at the University of Texas at Austin (USA), an innovative, interdisciplinary, cross-campus collaboration of Dell Medical School, the Steve Hicks School of Social Work, School of Nursing, Department of Psychology, and Texas Child Study Center. Its goal is to build a diverse behavioral health workforce with expertise in delivering culturally sensitive, integrated behavioral care, particularly to those who are underserved. Integrated care focuses on addressing both physical and mental health conditions to significantly improve overall health, and social workers have a key role. Scholars also learn to identify social, economic, and environmental factors that contribute to major health disparities and are prepared to become leaders in better serving patients/clients and the community. Currently, the program has a Standard track and an Addiction and Recovery track focused on prevention, treatment, and recovery for individuals with substance use disorders, and in particular, opioid use disorder. In addition to meeting the requirements of their respective degree programs, IBH scholars participate together in an evidence- and competency-based curriculum including a seminar series and additional training focused on developing skills in integrated care (e.g., Motivational Interviewing), interprofessional practice (team-based care), and culturally relevant services (to meet the needs of diverse populations). An essential program component includes hands-on practicum/internship training. Practicum sites include federally qualified health centers that meet needs in underserved communities and substance use treatment programs. The IBHS program receives funding from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration and the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. Scholars receive a stipend during their field practicum. The program appears to increase scholars’ knowledge of and skills in integrated behavioral healthcare, interprofessional practice, and cultural sensitivity/humility across disciplines. Graduates generally go on to work in underserved communities.

Implementation of Service - Learning in Social Work master´s degree program

Pavlína Jurnickova, Tatiana Matulayová, Natasa Matulayova

Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic

Service-Learning teaching strategy is widespread in many countries of the world in the field of higher education, not only within education of social workers. In the Czech Republic, however, it is essentially unknown strategy. Based on the knowledge and experience gained within the project Erasmus + Service-Learning in Higher Education - fostering the third mission of universities and civic engagement of students, we began with the implementation of this strategy in the master's degree program in Social Work. The aim of the paper is to present the results of a research reflection on the benefits of Service - Learning from the perspective of both the students involved, teaching organizations and clients. For these purposes there has been used a mixed - methods design. The results of the research show that all stakeholders involved consider Service-Learning to be beneficial. The main benefits are as follows: the development of partnerships between the university and organizations in practice, the co-creation of new knowledge and the opportunity to verify the possibilities of introducing social innovations in practise. Students confirmed when doing the final assessment that they perceive they made some progress in many key competencies. The development of competencies and the benefits for teaching practice were also claimed by the teachers involved as very useful.

Social Workers as Agents of Social Change: Factors Influencing the Political Participation of Social Workers in Switzerland and the United States

Tobias Kindler1, Jason Ostrander2

1Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences - School of Social Work; 2Sacred Heart University - School of Social Work

A primary characteristic of the social work professions across the globe is its dual emphasis on the individual and the environment; including the social, political and economic structures and actors that impact clients daily. However, the understanding of social work practice with clients varies greatly. A few researchers have used standardized methods that provide some comparison between countries, such as in Egypt, the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and others. But still: There is a significant research gap when it comes to the political engagement of social workers, especially in a comparative approach. This presentation will compare the United States (US) social workers to those in Switzerland (CH) regarding their political behaviors and attitudes. Two surveys were administered at a similar time (US N=2756 and CH N=1242) in 2018 and use common measures to compare these two similar but different countries. The three research questions this presentation will address are:

(1) How does political engagement differ between US and CH social workers?

(2) How does political efficacy (internal and external) differ between US and CH social workers?

(3) How does political ideology differ between US and CH social workers?

Several major findings were discovered: US social workers have higher levels of internal (t(4014)=13.076, p=.000) and external political efficacy (t(4005)=19.234, p=.000). Also, US social workers engage in many types of political participation at higher levels than their CH counterparts, such as vote higher in state (t(3739)=5.008, p=.000) and federal (t(3733)=14.324, p=.000) elections; work for pay on political campaigns (t(3744)=6.216, p=.000); and voice their opinion to the media (t(3740)=13.294, p=.000). However, CH social workers discuss current policy at significantly higher levels (t(3734)=-23.341, p=.000) and are more left/liberal (t(3844)=12.385, p=.000) than their US counterparts.

When care leavers become teachers. A project to enhance chances of participation for children in care

Diletta Mauri, Silvia Fargion, Angela Rosignoli

Università di Trento, Italy

Recognizing and giving space to children’s agency is a crucial and highly discussed issue in the context of child protection: in this area children are often involved without having a choice and sometimes, at least initially, against their will. Research has shown that the relationship with the social worker can play a crucial role in opening spaces for participation, but even evidenced that for this to happen professionals need to develop a new attitude towards children.

The training project we present aimed at improving the meeting between children and social workers, through a program led by care experienced young people. In this presentation we will illustrate the potential of such a project but also the problems that can arise, as they have been identified by the project team formed by a group of care leavers, social workers and academic.

The first and main issue we have identified is connected to the fact that this training is an emotionally intense experience for all participants as its goal is precisely to question ideas and prejudices that often guide the professional practice. At the same time social workers facing the narratives of care leavers, could feel for the umpteenth time criticized and blamed and there was a risk that this would enhance defensive attitudes instead of more open ones. From the side of care leavers the main risk we saw was connected to the fact that they were exposing themselves, their stories and vulnerable sides and this could became a cathartic experience or a disturbing one depending on how it was conducted.

These reflections have prompted a thorough organization of a preliminary phase involving on one hand focus groups with social workers exploring their expectations and feelings towards such a project, on the other hand a training session with the care leavers who would become teachers.

The feedback from participants illustrate how these trainings can play an important role in the development of truly emancipatory interventions, and at the same time the need of organizing regular initiatives of this sort to have a stronger impact on social workers competences supporting children participation.

3:30pm - 5:00pmWorkshops 8-9: Teaching innovations and the social work perspective of agency leadership, management, supervisory roles, and direct service tools in the digital age; Engaging students online
Location: Parallel Session 4
Parallel Session 4 

Teaching innovations and the social work perspective of agency leadership, management, supervisory roles, and direct service tools in the digital age.

Joyce Lee Taylor

Yale School of Medicine, United States of America

Social workers have an imperative role in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, and are more effective with new technology. As social workers are preparing for leadership positions they are interested in applying technology to their practice courses and fieldwork, and benefit from reflections from real-world experiences of agency leaders.

The presenter will describe teaching approaches with an advanced generalist perspective of a broad range of information technology in social work. There are advantages as well as ways of avoiding the pitfalls, related to client access, engagement, collaboration, documentation and court preparation, and ethical and risk management concerns, management of performance goals, efficiency and financial costs and cost-savings, staff satisfaction, and retention. Participants will receive a tour of a variety of high-tech tools that have been useful for student instruction in class and fieldwork: apps, case notes, real-time documentation, case management records, artificial intelligence, applied analytics, portals for teens, caregivers, and support teams, and ground-breaking artificial intelligence to support increased clinical understanding, assessment, and critical thinking for case decisions. The presentation is based on reflections from the applications of technology from various agencies in Florida and New England.

Engaging students online

Esther Stahl

University of Applied Sciences Merseburg, Germany

Teaching the art of working with people is already a challenging task. Doing so via digital tools seemed impossibly or at the least unattractive for most teaching staff in the field of Social Work. Now that a pandemic invited us to challenge our believe systems we find ourselves looking at our own video reflection, blank student screens and listening to the sound of Zoom silence.

In this 90 minutes workshop we will experience ways to engage students online. How do we get them to turn on their mics? How do we convey people skills through a laptop screen? How do we create content that has a lasting effect?

Even for the time a. c. (after covid) some of the tools and skills we and our students learn may be of use for our classes or in working together with partners in the field of Social Work. We will create ideas of how to make use of these new teaching and learning possibilities in our respective fields.

3:30pm - 5:00pmPoster Presentation Session 2: Teaching/Learning and Social Work Practice
Location: Parallel Session 5
Session Chair: Zuzana Poklembova
Parallel Session 5 

Evaluation of Used Distance Forms in Teaching Social Work

Sabina Zdráhalová, Daniela Květenská

University of Hradec Králové, Faculty of Arts, Czech Republic

Due to the complexity of social work, it is necessary to acquire not only theoretical knowledge about social work, but also practical competencies. For this reason, the teaching of social work is built on an interaction process. Due to the extraordinary measures ordered by the Government of the Czech Republic and the prevention of the danger of the emergence and spread of COVID -19, teachers had to provide social work instruction in a distance manner. The aim of the article is to present research investigations focused on distance forms of education in the teaching of social work in the Czech Republic. The main goal of the research is to find out which form of distance learning in the Czech Republic was used and which form of teaching is evaluated as the most suitable.

Improving the self-care competency among social work students

Zuzana Poklembova1, J. Jay Miller2, Beata Balogova1

1University of Presov, Slovak Republic; 2University of Kentucky, USA

In recent years, Associations of Social Workers in different countries increasingly recognize the importance of their members’ self-care. There is a burgeoning self-care movement afoot. This movement, in part, has been predicated by increasing recognition that helping professionals, in general, and social work practitioners, specifically, are at increased risks for compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, secondary traumatic stress, and professional burnout. Recent studies have issued clarion calls for additional attention to self-care.

With this context in mind, for the better part of the last decade, there has been increasing consideration to examining the role that social work education plays in ensuring students matriculating into the profession have the requisite knowledge, skills, and values to engage in adept self-care practices. Despite this consideration, there is nominal research in the area of social work education and self-care. Of particular paucity are curricular initiatives aimed at explicitly improving the self-care competency among social work students. This study contributes to addressing these limitations.

This paper presents self-care courses for social work students in two different universities: Kentucky University and University of Presov. comparing used methodological approaches and main target competencies, while addressing self-care challenges .

This analysis contributes to an empirical knowledge base pertaining to the self-care practices, thus addressing a significant dearth in the current literature. As well, this presentation will offer pragmatic education and research implications associated with improving self-care practices among social workers.

Suitability of Distance Learning in Social Work at the Time of Extraordinary Measures - the View of Teachers

Daniela Květenská, Sabina Zdráhalová

University of Hradec Králové, Faculty of Arts, Czech Republic

During the first coronavirus crisis, various forms of distance education began to be used at universities - such as self-study, e-learning systems, online communication tools, etc. The article focuses on evaluating the use of distance learning tools by teachers of social work in the Czech Republic. The article evaluates opinions on distance learning, and answers the questions of whether distance forms of education can replace full-time teaching for future social workers and how the teacher evaluates the suitability of distance learning for future social workers.

“Can you hear us?”: recognition of voice in social work teaching practice

Anette Nielsen1, Doris Scheer2, Anna Broka3

1University College South Denmark, Denmark; 2Diakonie Schleswig - Holstein, Germany; 3Tallinn University, Estonia

As the social workers and educators we follow the ethical principles of social work as laid down by the IASSW and the IFSW:

“Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work […]”. (IASSW and IFSW, 2014)

These principles underline the social work mandate to stretch beyond nation states and to strive for change, justice and recognition.

In the transnational project “SEMPRE Accelerators for Service Co-Creating” (SEMPRE ACE) we strive to act according to the values of these ethical principles. The SEMPRE ACE project supports eight microprojects in eight countries around the Baltic Sea in becoming sustainable. The microprojects are user-driven with empowerment as their core approach. Some microprojects particularly facilitate possibilities of ‘Voice’ for users. This is done in mutual learning processes between users, social workers, students and social work educators. Recognition is seen as a core value in this context.


We understand ‘empowerment’ (Freire, 2000) as encouraging processes of self-enabling and managing and deciding one’s own affairs (Herriger, 2014)


• Respecting the rights (national and human rights level),

• Respecting and meeting personal needs

• Esteeming capabilities and knowhow (based on Axel Honneth 1995)

Voice: In our understanding of “voice” we refer to Paolo Freire (2000) and “the power to name” and to Honneth’s three dimensions of recognition.

On the poster we will present examples of mutual learning processes in practice from the SEMPRE ACE project. We will show examples of users voicing their narratives: through educating students and deploying different virtual formats, through students facilitating users in the process of constructing their own narrative with the help of interviews organised as special learning processes.

A Social and Scientific Elucidation of Global Ecological Justice in Rural Eastern Europe

Matthew Diner, Ushana Persaud

CUNY York College, United States of America

This poster presentation presents the outcomes of an interdisciplinary research endeavor between social workers and environmental scientists in Eastern Europe testing water quality and health outcomes. This poster will introduce and briefly review the schemata of global environmental social work and interdisciplinary research collaboration amongst social workers and environmental scientists. It will present the literature review, methodology, and outcomes produced by the researchers. In addition, additional resources for social work educators will be provided to enhance pedagogies and teaching methodologies for environmental social work.

Human flourishing and capabilities. Educating social workers from a social justice perspective.

Michel Tirions, Sven Svensson, Geert Marrin

Artesis Plantijn University of Applied Sciences Antwerp, Belgium

This poster takes you along in the interesting search for the application of the capability approach in the development of a bachelor curriculum for social work, anchored in social justice and human rights, at AP-Hogeschool Antwerpen.

In the development of the new curriculum we are inspired by the rich capability knowledge framework. The capability approach stands for a scientific approach to human well-being and freedom. It offers an ethical basis for reasoning about human development, social justice and the ambition of people to live their life in freedom. The basic concepts of the approach, originally developed by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum, are inspirational and useful in thinking about and shaping social work education, research and practice.

In the development of the curriculum we start from the global mission of social work, as embedded in the Global Definition (IFSW-IASSW 2014). In doing so, we use the realization of human rights as the horizon and the building of a socially just society as the goal of training social workers. From the capability perspective, social justice and human rights can be seen as two birds of a feather. Both the individual and collective freedoms of people in their living environment and the structural social conditions for development are pivotal.

This poster and the accompanying handout make it clear how we can use the capability approach to clarify and legitimize our vision on education, on research and on our societal role and position. We also demonstrate how it can give shape to our teaching principles, in which participation and cooperation are at the hearth. Through the capability lens we highlight the added value of diversity and the transnational dimension in the training of students. We emphasize the importance of promoting democratic-participative processes in our learning community, in our interdisciplinary collaboration and in our cooperation with the professional field and with service users.

'I am because we are'. The Ubuntu principle does right to the idea that, from the perspective of human dignity and human flourishing, the training of social work students can contribute to a more socially just world.

New directions in supporting parenting – the experiences of model programs targeting the development of child resilience and parental skills in Hungary

Andrea Rácz1, Andrea Homoki2

1Eötvös Loránd University - Department Of Social Work; 2Ferenc Gál College, Institute of Health and Social Sciences

In Hungary, three cycles of a model program have been implemented already, with the implication of a broad range of child protection professionals, social work training institutions and researchers. The aim of the program is to ensure proven and efficient tools in family and child welfare services, child protection services, and for professionals of the social field involved in complex child protection programs, which help them to work more efficiently, to manage problems within a family, and to encourage better the families to pursue changes. Another aim of these programs is to develop parental skills, thus to make the relationship between parent and child less conflictual, to ensure that in case of removal, the parent and the child remain in contact, and in case of placement, to support the return of the child to their family with more efficiency. The broad enhancement and multilateral development of parental skills is grouped around 3 main topics: 1) intense family care; 2) community development; 3) complex assistance including family therapy and mental hygiene. By measuring parental skills and child resilience in deprived families included in the pilot programs, we assessed the results and impacts of the programs; in order to better understand their experiences, we conducted interviews with the target groups and the professionals. The poster presentation concludes the findings of a research on the efficiency of innovative, complex services aiming at preserving the family’s unity, which were piloted by professionals of family and child welfare centres and child protection institutions located in various settlements in Hungary in 3 cycles between 2018-2020. In our presentation, we outline the directions of Hungarian child protection development on the basis of the experiences of the model programs and the results of the assessments, which should be in line with the endeavours of social work training to design a curricula which promotes an advanced assistance system able to react to the challenges of late modernity and complex family situations.

Awareness of the School Social Work among Social Workers in the Czech Republic

Barbora Faltova

University of Pardubice, The Czech Republic


Introduction: The school has not only its educational function, but also its social function. Every one of us may face an adverse social situation due to many various circumstances. If the social difficulties aggravate the educational process, there is a school social worker within a multi-disciplinary team, who takes care of those student´s social problems. Social workers and health social workers are part of such a team in social and school facilities; they deal with the person’s social situation including his or her social environment. In the Czech Republic, the position of school social worker has an insufficient support and the concept of school social work is forming only gradually.

Objective: To map the awareness of school social work among social workers and health social workers in selected social and school facilities.

Method: The sample of respondents consisted of 127 social workers and 31 health social workers working in social and school facilities on the territory of four Bohemia Regions. The research study was conducted using own questionnaire and descriptive statistics were used to process the study results.

Results: The profession of a school social worker is not known among respondents exactly. They miss the knowledge and its sources. At the same time, respondents consider the profession of school social worker as an underappreciated by society, which may have a detrimental effect to society as a whole. Due to the respondent´s practices, they consider the profession of school social worker necessary to become more widespread in the Czech Republic. They find it beneficial for both teachers and students. Respondents also welcome more cooperation between schools and social workers.

Conclusion: The awareness of the school social work among social and health social workers is limited by their lower knowledge about this profession. The educational process faces certain barriers, which could be reduced by multi-disciplinary cooperation. Based on this study, I would consider it valuable to recommend continuous improvement in the quality of educational process involving social environment connected with school, with emphasis placed upon careful preparation of the school social work concept.

Making links – a pilot model of integrated case management between local social work services and employment services

Izela Tahsini, Veronika Duci

University of Tirana, Albania

Based on the new law for social services in Albania (2016), municipalities have been charged with new responsibilities in offering local social work services, while facing strong budgetary and capacity challenges in this regard, with interagency cooperation being one of the weakest points. Building on these developments, creating links between local social work services and employment services, through the preparation of an operational protocol for effective communication of the two services, while fully responding to the needs of the citizen, would be a much needed step, especially in face of the new challenges related to employment because of COVID-19. The aim of this paper is to present the designation and piloting of a model of integrated case management between social work services at municipality and local employment services in Albania, to respond to the adult economic aid beneficiaries (especially returning migrants), a group of service users with multiple psycho-social and health needs, which ask for an intensive individual approach, to ensure their empowerment and facilitate their integration to the labour market. The methodology is based on primary data, through interviews and workshops with relevant actors in the field, and secondary data, through desk review of relevant legal and policy framework, studies and reports. The main instruments used for data collection and assessment were semi –structured interviews and focus groups, tailored around a list of main indicators aiming to assess the systems and existing gaps, and to define the features of the model. 14 interviews were conducted with two representatives of the National Agency for Employment and Skills Service, two directors and two specialists of local employment services, two directors of municipality social services, and six social workers of municipality social services, at Elbasan and Lezha municipality. Two focus groups were conducted with the mixed teams at each municipality, for validating the pilot model of integrated case management. The model was piloted in both municipalities. The following and last steps includes analysis of results of piloting, and finalization of the model of integrated case management.

5:00pm - 6:00pmMaster Class on Academic Writing II
Rudi Roose
European Journal of Social Work
6:00pm - 8:00pmGeneral Assembly
Date: Friday, 18/June/2021
9:45am - 10:30amKeynote Speech 3: Participatory Approaches with Children in Child Protective Services: Tokenistic Presence or Not? Prof Karmen Toros
Session Chair: Merike Sisask
Although participatory approaches have gained considerable popularity in discussions regarding child protection internationally, it remains a complex area of practice ― research indicates that children’s voices are only partially visible during assessment and decision-making. Nevertheless, previous research suggests that children in child protection system want to be more heard and understood, with their opinions being taken into account. In order to identify the child’s needs and to act in the child’s best interests, the child’s views of the situation and his/her opinions and wishes are crucial. It is believed that children are given a central position, not as objects for decisions but as subjects and experts in relation to knowledge of their lives, including needs and therefore, children needing to be acknowledged and treated as experts on matters involving their lives. It stresses that children are competent social actors with valuable views on their daily life. Furthermore, the importance of the participation of children in terms of the beneficial outcomes of the intervention-related decisions, impacting their lives. However, practitioners tend to underestimate children’s capacity to participate and make meaning of their needs This presentation focuses on several questions: Are children competent enough to know what they want? Is engaging children in participation protecting children or causing harm? Where do we go from here?
10:45am - 12:15pmPaper Presentation Session 19: Social Work with Children, Young People and Their Families
Location: Parallel Session 1
Session Chair: Silvia Fargion
Parallel Session 1 

Supporting Resilience in Youth (ages 16-23) Transitioning into Adulthood

Marte Wiersma, Roel Van Goor, Mark Van Dijk, Judith Van Vliet

Inholland University of Applied Sciences

The transition to adulthood can be a challenging and turbulent time in the lives of young people. Without adequate support, some of these youngsters are at risk of developing severe problems in multiple domains of their life. The way formal support and care is currently organized in the Netherlands, however, fails to provide the support they need. Available youth services are fragmented, problem oriented, and often interrupted when turning 18.

In our research project ‘Supporting youngsters on their way to adulthood’ we try to establish which factors contribute to youth services that match the specific needs and characteristics of young people in transition to adulthood. In the past two years we conducted over 140 interviews and collected 600 questionnaires from youngsters aged between 16 and 23 years old growing up in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Haarlem. All respondents appeal to youth support services. In this presentation we focus on the results of 44 interviews with youngsters aged 16 and 17.

In analyzing our data we used Michael Ungar’s ecological approach on resilience for structuring and interpreting the results in terms of three types of resources that youth can turn to and deploy when confronted with challenges, i.e.: individual, relational and contextual resources. We conclude that:

- Individual resources are motivation and confidence that help youngsters to take matters in their own hands and deal with problems.

- Relational resources are the emotional and practical support from parents, close family and friends.

- Contextual resources exist in the availability of a supporting structure of social workers that are easily accessible, have excellent relational skills and are intrinsically motivated to accompany young people during this crucial life stage.

- The young people in our study report being especially helped by social workers who present practical information and solutions, and have a mandate to actually contribute to realizing these solutions crossing disciplinary and sectoral boundaries within the current formal support system.

Our findings show that for young people who are in need of any type of support, schools play a crucial role in finding or being directed to the right kind of care or support.

Child-centred Approach in the Context of Shared Parenting: Parents’ Experiences with Bird’s Nest Parenting Arrangement

Rafaela Lehtme

Tallinn University, Estonia

The number of children affected by family dissolution is increasing worldwide. Growing number of parents who wish to stay active in their children’s lives post-separation has remarkably raised the practice of shared care. Though a positive phenomenon, it has brought along new dilemmas, like the controversy of travelling children – “visitors” moving back and forth between parents’ households. This trend is strongly linked to decreased child well-being, further deepening various problems. The article describes empirical results of a qualitative study on Estonian parents using birdnest arrangement – a form of shared parenting, where children stay in one place and parents take turns living with them, adapting to children’s needs. While considered a uniquely child-centered solution, the topic is still academically underresearched. Therefore, the aim of the study was to explore experiences of nesting parents, to gain insight of nesting’s supportive factors relating to child’s best interest. Parents were recruited through purposive sampling; in-depth semi-structured interviews were used to gather data in 2020.

Findings indicate that nesting was guided by parents’ will to act in best interest of children, who should not suffer when parent do not want to live together at home anymore. Preserving familiar environment and minimizing adjustment problems were perceived as main strengths. Physical setting was found to have a profound impact on all aspects of child’s health and well-being. The arrangement was perceived as beneficial for the whole family and had proved suitable both short and long-term. Parents’ inner balance with open-minded and forgiving mindset, financial independence and equal sharing of expenses were crucial in functioning of the arrangement.

Societies need to acknowledge vast disruption divorced children are exposed to and strive for more child-friendly solutions. Though seemingly an idealistic utopia, nesting nonetheless appears to be a viable alternative for divorced families.

"The construction of a social integration model with Unaccompanied Foreign Minors and Young Adults within the Juvenile Justice in Italy"

Laura Pinna, Ilaria Coppola, Nadia Rania

University of Genoa, Departement of Education Sciences, Italy

The Italian Juvenile Criminal Justice services, which also deal with probation, have the task of accompanying every minor who enters the criminal circuit on a path of help and social reintegration. This should support him towards a rapid exit from the criminal circuit, from a context of deviance and build an adequate life path, through a work of co-construction of alternatives and possibilities, also involving the family and the social network to which he belongs. The situation of Unaccompanied Foreign Minors is in itself a situation of disadvantage and vulnerability. For the social workers who take care of them it can be a source of greater stress, burnout or a sense of helplessness with respect to potential projects or interventions towards such minors who they are often more relevant to minors with more regular living conditions, such as Italians or second generation minors. We want to bring the results of the research conductedwith social workers and Unaccompanied Foreign Minors within the Italian Probation Services. The experience of the social workers who work in the Italian Juvenile Justice services, but also how they face the challenge of building a path of help with unaccompanied foreign minors who have no family, social or emotional references in the context of reception, a path that goes beyond the predictions of the above-mentioned “standard” situations can highlight the awareness of starting parallel paths, different but also similar to what is done with accompanied boys and girls.

Representations of parenting in high conflict families: professionals and parents views

Silvia Fargion, Teresa Bertotti, Giulia Moretto, Diletta Mauri

Università di Trento, Italy

High conflict in divorce and separation, presents huge challenges to all subjects involved, as well as to all professionals engaged in supporting parents and their children in such circumstances. Research has little explored the issue of how, on one hand, parents face their tasks when in such a relational turmoil, and how, on the other, professionals are cognizant and in contact with parents’ experiences. In our presentation we intend to discuss the first outcomes from a research project, “Constructions of parenting on insecure grounds”, which aims to be a contribution to filling this void and to provide an understanding of parents’ perception of their role, and to compare parents' and professional representations.

Referring to a participatory approach, the study, conducted in Italy, was designed with the support of an advisory board of 5 parents. By now it has involved 37 professionals in semi-structured interviews and focus groups, and 33 parents, both mothers and fathers, in in-depth qualitative interviews.

The first analysis of interviews’ transcripts, using a grounded theory approach, shows how there are relevant clashes in perspective between professionals and parents. Interviews with parents highlight the social pressures that parents perceive, the high level of anxiety in relation to children, the complexities of dealing with the daily tasks of parenting, and particularly the role played by the gender dimension. Comparing parents’ perceptions with those of professionals, we found that the professional approach is affected by a sort of ‘tunnel vision’, as they seem to consider only what is related to the conflict, but are mostly blind to the anxieties, worries and pressure perceived by parents.

On one hand social workers think that their main task is to deal with the conflict, and because of that they feel the necessity for further preparation on this, on the other hand, parents express the need of being supported in raising their children.

Considering this gap in perspective, our research highlights the importance of a shift in social work approach. The paper will highlight the main points of this change relevant for social workers’ training and the value of involving parents in this training.

New Ways Towards an Integrative Child Protection from the Paternalistic Child Protection

Andrea Rácz

Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary

We have limited information about the relationship between the quality of the social and child protection system and the chances of social mobility and how the social system can contribute to improving the well-being of the clients and how the system limits it with exclusionary procedures in Hungary. The core aspect of the child welfare and protection thought focusing on the family, and channelling community resources, is that in order to preserve the unity of the family, it is necessary to widely introduce from the local community the services into the family’s life, thus mobilizing the internal resources of the family, and acknowledging parenting, as a social value. Integrative child protection is a multidisciplinary and multidimensional process. The research examines how the Hungarian child protection professionals in child welfare services and centers, child protection institutions and foster care system reflect on the professional work. It focused on the family concept of child protection professionals and their views of the clients that can be deducted from this concept. The research also examines the notion and functions of the family as children, young people and their parents themselves perceive these.

The research results show that due to the diversity and complexity of the problems of families in the purview of the child protection system one cannot reflect on professional solutions along types of problems. Successful functioning and efficient child protection relies rather on revealing individual and specific needs. All this indicates that child welfare and child protection work is possible only with clients and families with personal storie.

(This research was supported by OTKA Young Researcher Fellowship with the following research projects: Domonkos Sik: Solidarity in Late Modernity and Eszter Berényi: Being left behind by the state and leaving the state behind – privatization, exit strategies, white flight in education and in other public services in early childhood.)

The role of family relationships and peer pressure on binge drinking among adolescent girls and boys

Adrian Emanuel Sârbu, Adrian Lavinia Bulumac, Florin Lazar

University of Bucharest

While binge drinking among adolescents is a significant problem in Romania, there has been little recent research into protective and risk factors in the Romanian context. The quality and type of relationships with family and peers contribute, together with psychological traits to the onset of risk behaviors among urban adolescents.

A representative sample of 15-16 years old students from Bucharest (n=2595, 1257 boys and 1338 girls) completed a paper-based questionnaire in November 2016. Two multivariate logistic regression analyses for girls (Model 1) and for boys (Model 2) were performed to identify risk factors associated with binge drinking (Nagelkerke R square = 0.364 for Model 1 and 0.470 for Model 2). The study specifically explores factors such as family structure and management, parental tolerance of drinking, parenting and parent-child relationship, peer attitudes on alcohol use, peer deviance and greater identification with friends that use alcohol, self-esteem and gender differences risk factors and their association with adolescents` binge drinking (5 drinks for boys and 4 drinks for girls in about 2 hours).

Results indicated there are significant gender differences and similarities as well. Among the similarities we find the age they have first got drunk as a significant common predictive factor for binge drinking. Boys binge drinking behavior depends on the age they have first tasted alcohol and the delinquent activity they have had the last 12 months, while among girls the most significant predictors for binge drinking are the number of friends who drink alcohol and the parents’ reactions on them getting drunk. Whilst for boys, parental rule setting was the most significant family-related protective factor, for girls it was parental monitoring which prevented them from binge drinking. Peer influence seem to be most important for girls, whilst for boys engaging in a delinquent behavior is a risk factor for binge drinking.

The findings suggest that those working in the area of adolescent alcohol abuse should pay more attention to parental monitoring and parental rule setting, as these appear to play an important role in youths binge drinking behaviors, but also take into consideration gender differences to better tailor their interventions.

10:45am - 12:15pmSymposium 6: Anti-oppressive Social Work: Researching Professional Practices in Significance to the Future of Social Work and Social Work Education
Location: Parallel Session 2
Session Chair: Elena Allegri
Parallel Session 2 

Anti-oppressive Social Work: Researching Professional Practices in Significance to the Future of Social Work and Social Work Education

Chair(s): Elena Allegri (Department of Law, Political, Economic and Social Studies, University of Piemonte Orientale (Eastern Piedmont), Alessandria, IT)

Discussant(s): Shulamit Ramon (School of Health and Social Work, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK)

The proposed symposium will focus on recent researches findings on anti-oppressive and anti-racist social work. It aims to look at building innovation in teaching social work and co-constructing knowledge among academics, professionals, services users, students on challenges, dilemmas and practices. The first paper and the second paper discuss the findings from a mixed-methods study undertaken by academic researchers and members of the Council of Social Workers in Italy, whose aim was to explore the processes of oppression and discrimination within the social services In the first stage of the research, in 2020, ten focus groups were organized, involving about 100 social workers employed in different settings to analyze structural and professional conditions that may induce or prevent anti-oppressive practices.

The second paper focuses on the results of the second stage of the study, in which quantitative data were collected through a national survey on social workers’ representations of their professional mandate and engagement in actions for social justice and anti-oppressive practices. The final sample includes 4200 respondents, which is 10% of the total population. The research findings are being used to build an innovative method of teaching in social work education, debating and co-constructing knowledge to promote social justice.

The third paper presents the initial findings from a collaborative international research project involving Italy, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Jersey. This project is exploring the experiences of social work academics in teaching anti-racism in undergraduate and postgraduate courses and will report on the initials findings from an online survey conducted in the spring of 2021.

The fourth paper focuses a participatory action research project is being constructed, the goal of which is structural empowerment of disadvantaged and oppressed neighborhoods (communities) in Poland. The conclusions will be also grounded in some research projects, especially the Empowering Youth - Successful youth work practices in Europe with partners from Poland, Austria, Wales, and Finland, 2019-2021.

The discussant of this symposium will be looking at the findings from different countries, highlighting similarities and differences, and their significance to the future of anti-oppressive practice in social work and in social work education.


Presentations of the Symposium


Anti-Oppressive Social Work: researching professional practices in Italy

Elena Allegri
Department of Law, Political, Economic and Social Studies, University of Piemonte Orientale (Eastern Piedmont), Alessandria, IT

Some authors (Dominelli, 2002; Thompson, 2003; Strier e Binyamin, 2013) highlight the importance of analyzing the relationship between the State and social services, both to uncover how social policies, organizational structures and practices are arranged to protect and extend the privileges of dominant groups, and to show how social workers within these organizations risk to reproduce forms of oppression.

To deeply analyze this topic, a team of academic researchers and members of the Council of Social Workers in Piedmont (a Northern Italian region) carried out a national mixed methods research.

This paper aims to present and discuss the main qualitative research results.

Phase one of the study entailed a brief questionnaire administered to a sample of about 900 social workers, asking if they had ever assisted or stood up for an oppressed person as part of their work. This phase was followed by running 10 focus groups with 100 social workers employed in different settings (child protection, health services, and others).

On the basis of the first two phases' findings, a questionnaire was developed to explore social workers’ representation of oppression in social work and anti-oppressive practices. 4200 social workers responded to this phase, a figure that highlights the centrality of this issue for Italian social workers.

The final findings - especially qualitative ones- of this study, that will be concluded during the Spring of 2021, will be presented at the symposium as well as the analysis of their significance to the issue of implementing anti-oppressive practice and the lessons learned for both the profession and social work education


Anti oppressive social services. Findings from an Italian survey

Mara Sanfelici1, Barbara Rosina2
1University of Trieste, IT, 2Piedmont Council of Social Workers, Turin, IT

This paper discusses the findings from a quantitative study, included in a wider research on anti-oppressive practice in social services in Italy.

Anti-oppressive social work has become a central topic among social work scholars, guiding the analysis of practices, services and policies. Both theoretical and empirical studies highlight the importance of raising awareness about the multiple and sometimes conflicted mandates of social workers, guiding a process of reflexivity on challenges and dilemmas, and think collectively on the ways to promote social change.

Since in Italy both the debate and the literature on AOP are still scanty, the University of Eastern Piedmont and the Regional Council of Social Workers carried out a research, whose aim was twofold: 1) analyzing the processes of oppression and discrimination within the social work agencies 2) contributing to the development of knowledge that can support professionals and students to plan and promote actions against discrimination and oppression.

An online survey was administered to all the Italian social workers, obtaining a 10% response rate. The questionnaire was composed by 60 Likert scale questions to explore three main areas: a) the social workers’ representations of the professional mandate b) their engagement in action for social justice and social change, at the micro, meso and macro level c) the characteristics of the social work agencies and practices that either can trigger processes of discrimination and oppression or promote social inclusion. The research findings are being used to build an innovative method of teaching oppression and diversity in social work education, debating and co-constructing knowledge among academics, professionals, services users and students on challenges, dilemmas and innovative practices to promote social inclusion in a time of continuous and rapid changes.


Back to the Future

Rose Peta Parkes1, June Taitt2
1Social Work, University College Jersey, CI, 2College of Human and Health Sciences, Swansea University, Swansea, Wales

Radical and critical social work has been a part of our profession with a distinct focus on anti-racism from the 1970s. This agenda was superseded with valuing diversity and difference as part of anti-discriminatory practice. Whilst there have been legislative changes that have sought to uphold human rights and protect certain characteristics, the murders of Trayvon Martin, (shot dead by George Zimmerman under ‘stand your ground’ laws) and George Floyd (who suffocated whilst police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds) has led to global protest movements to challenge the structural and endemic racism in our communities.

This paper will discuss the initial findings from a collaborative international research project involving colleagues in Italy, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Jersey. Online survey and focus group data gathered in the spring of 2021 seeking to uncover the experiences of social work academics engaging in anti-racist practice will be presented. It will consider the myriad of ways that social work academics have sought to revise and reinstate an anti-racist social work curriculum and how their pedagogical approaches have been applied in the classroom.

It will conclude with a consideration of the extent to which earlier efforts by the profession to address anti-racist practice have been hampered by the policies and practices of education providers.

The role that individual academics can play in shaping innovative curricula to challenge racism within broader educational environments that are, predominantly, built on elite and exclusionary paradigms, will conclude our presentation.


Anti-oppressive community work in the process of urban regeneration: towards Participatory City Revitalization

Mariusz Granosik
Department of Social Pedagogy, University of Lodz, PL

Urban regeneration is usually promoted as an effective way to reduce social problems. The question of oppression to which the inhabitants of unprivileged urban communities are subjected as the effect of that process is rarely raised.

The specific collective oppression mentioned here is not physical, usually not even visible, and takes more sophisticated forms (discursive, conversational/persuasive, etc.) It deserves special attention from social scientists, as its discovery requires advanced interpretative structural analyzes.

Old, often neglected neighborhoods are very often the salt of the city, the center of its original culture and the area of an authentic neighborhood community based on the traditional values as value of work, loyalty, multi-generational family, community and independence, etc.

On the basis of negative diagnoses, a project of participatory action and learning is being constructed, the goal of which is individual and structural empowerment of disadvantaged neighborhoods (communities). We do hope the locality development makes communities more effective in resistance to the oppression of large municipal investments. The plan assumes a joint action (academics, practitioners, students, city officers, inhabitants) of rebuilding the historical and social pride of the communities and then including them as active and important elements of the city also in terms of labor market and political power. Another important goal there is a participatory model of social work education (field engagement, collaborative action learning, outreach education, participatory workshop, etc)

The conclusions presented at the conference will be grounded in four research projects: Critical discourse analysis of the urban investment arrangements in the city of Poznań (conducted in 2016), Conversational analysis of the practices of “unwanted” participants degradation in consultation meetings accompanying the urban regeneration of Łódź (2019), ‘Small’ revitalization of backyards in Łódź (ongoing project, PAR approach, coproduced with 4 neighborhoods since 2019), and Empowering Youth - Successful youth work practices in Europe (international ERASMUS+ project with partners from Poland, Austria, Wales, and Finland, based on BIKVA methodology, 2019-2021, the research is conducted in 11 youth work organizations, another 16 organizations are scrutinized as added sample).

10:45am - 12:15pmPaper Presentation Session 20: Learning/Teaching Methods V
Location: Parallel Session 3
Session Chair: Caterina Filareti
Parallel Session 3 

Relational cartographies. An experiment on narrative regarding notion of gift and reciprocity for social work students and teenagers

Anna Maria Rizzo, Caterina Filareti, Matteo Jacopo Zaterini

University of Salento, Italy

Introduction: The project, started by local Oncology Pediatric Hospital (Lecce) and its linked charity organization, involved the students of social work bachelor and the third year of the secondary school. The project aims at introducing a space-time setting for reflection on the theme of gift (Mauss, 1924). The project enhances the use of specific training devices, others from the frontal lesson, able to encourage the active participation of students and to facilitate reflective processes, generative of new thoughts, new discourses, new practices (Freire, 1971).

Description: Specifically, students have been involved in participatory and co-creation of geographical maps that will describe the space of the city as a continuum of stories inhabited and built it. The intent is to overcome the isolation produced by the current crisis with the exchange of stories for the re-discovery of a territory not on the scale of men and women but made up of men and women who have inhabited and modified it over time through the creation of links.

Objectives: The project will focus on the creation of “geographical maps”, i. e. multimodal objects that tell the multidimensional history (stories) of the territory, creating stories that transcends the barriers of personal identity and personality and becomes collective and participatory. the social writing incorporated a constantly ‘moving cartography’, redesigned from experience. This created an immersive ‘talking cartographies’ about the city and its relation to the concept of gift, the concept of wonder and the concept of connection. Social work students have been involved in co conducting the process and in a second step, worked out how this notion could be embedded in their future practices. The presentation will describe the steps of the work done.

To gain an inside perspective by using radio documentaries and fiction in teaching

Kristina Collén

Örebro University, Sweden

According to 1 chap, Section 9 of the Higher Education Act, some of the targets in social work education is to develop students' ability to independently integrate and apply knowledge and to develop students' ability to handle complex phenomena, issues and situations.

One way to equip students for these complex issues through teaching is to create different teaching methods. By taking part in people's life stories, through, for example radio documentaries, students can gain an inside perspective on what it is like to be in a vulnerable position. An inside perspective can be used to supplement other knowledge, or to highlight perspectives that are otherwise difficult for students to gain. In this segment, students´ use the documentary material to construct analyzes by using theoretical concepts.

The aim of the presentation, is to describe and discuss these teaching methods and how they relate to the knowledge targets in social work education. The aim is also to describe the students´ perceptions of these methods, and how they develop their understanding of complex life situations by getting an inside perspective of difficult life conditions.

Training the trainers virtually: An evaluation of delivering a social work practice education module online

Diane Apeah-Kubi

Middlesex University, United Kingdom

In March 2020, England went into 'lockdown' - a state where people could only leave home for essential shopping, or to care for vulnerable people. This was due to an outbreak of covid-19. Self-isolation and ‘social distancing’ became government policy and the primary public health response to reduce the risk of virus transmission. The pandemic presented a world-wide crisis, presenting health and social care workers with numerous challenges around how to maintain services when there was a need to reduce physical contact with others to an absolute minimum. This requirement, along with the lockdown led to a quick move to widespread online / remote working, including the implementation of online teaching / distance learning.

This study reports on the author’s experience of delivering a practice education module online. Twenty-seven student practice educators working in various public and private organisations across London were enrolled on a practice education programme at Middlesex University. This study will focus on the first of the two modules - Practice Education (stage one), which comprise the programme. The module would normally be delivered via classroom-based learning, however due to the need to maintain social distancing, the teaching had to be adapted for online delivery.

The author will report on her experiences of developing the module content which included both synchronous (‘live’) and asynchronous (pre-recorded) teaching sessions, as well as sharing students’ feedback. The author will describe the process of making the transition to online delivery and the impact it had on her pedagogy. The advantages and disadvantages of this mode of delivery will be briefly discussed, including feedback from the student practice educators, as well as learning points for the future.

Reflective learning as a tool for teaching in turbulent times of pandemic and earthquake

Kristina Urbanc

Department of Social Work, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, Croatia

A main goal for the practice teaching for social work students is to provide a guided experience of contemporary social work practice and to facilitate students' reflection of these processes. The main goal of student supervision is to enable students, in protected and safe environment, to develop their ability to reflect, but also a place where students can bring their questions, fears, ideas and share their experiences. During last academic year these goals were challenged for master level students at the 5th year of their study, at the Department of Social Work, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb. At the very beginning of their practice teaching course, in March 2020 two major crises have interrupted students' long expected placements: (1) due to CORONA 19 all courses had to switch to online teaching and all centers for social work, elderly homes, children residential units and other units of social care system were closed; (2) only ten days after there were several strong earthquakes in Zagreb, capitol of Croatia. Many inhabitants of Zagreb were affected by these two major crises,including teachers, students and their families. Although, priorities have changed in a short time, it was important to go on with teaching to enable students to „get back“ their lives, to get personal and professional support from their teachers and supervisors. Also, it was more than ever important to facilitate student supervision groups as a safe place for reflection, for learning, for sharing and for growing resilience of future social workers. The author present a model of practice learning and student supervision in turbulent times during the first three months of pandemic and earthquake crises in Zagreb. The model identifies the importance of reflective learning and support providing for all learning partners in order to reach learning outcomes in a time of crises. It also gave us, teachers, a chance to learn with our students and from them on this turbulent „journey“.

Women’s group therapy: A way of becoming resilient and healthy throughout lifespan and regardless of unexpected events



Women, because of their multiple roles as caregivers, mothers, husbands and employees, have an important role to play in the family and society especially, throughout lifespan and unexpected events.

Health, according to the social model, depends on is the comprehensive development of their personality and it is determined by the socio-economic environment in which they live. Women's participation in a personal development group, for their personal and social empowerment, can improve their health and enhance them against crises, disasters and unexpected events.

The aim of the present research study was to assess women’s views, who participated in a group therapy, in terms of the validity of group on the improvement of their health (according to the social model of health) and reinforcement of their resilience throughout crisis and unexpected events.

The women's personal development group took place in a municipality of the island of Crete, in Greece. It lasted about four years and a total of 50 meetings lasting about two hours each. Eight women, aged 35-45 years, participated in the group therapy. Through unstructured, informal interviews, group therapy in women's lives was evaluated. The interview guide developed was based on from the theoretical background of the personal development groups, the social model of health, women’s empowerment and resilience.

The women of the group supported that through this process they have enhanced their personal and social skills and have developed new, more effective ways of coping with stress, unexpected events and crisis. They learned to listen to themselves, improved their self-esteem and were able to recognize and manage their emotions. Overall their health and resilience have been enhanced due to their participation in the personal development group.

Teaching about Gender Based Violence against (Un)accompanied Children in Migration Studies

Katarina Loncarevic, Natalija Perisic

University of Belgrade - Faculty of Political Sceince, Serbia

Systems of gender roles always include hierarchies, marginalization and violence. Those systems are based on domination and subordination, and as such, they are present, although in different forms, in all societies. Patriarchal structures in different shapes and embodiments are persistent and pervasive in the countries of origin, transit and destination of migrants. Gender inequalities, injustices and violence that have already existed in the countries of origin, and particular vulnerabilities children have been suffering from in the countries of origin follow the children and could be even intensified during the migrant routes.

When teaching topics such as gender based violence (GBV), especially focused on children on the move, either accompanied or unaccompanied, it is important not to generalize and universalize their versatile situations, and to be very knowledgeable about political, economic, social, and cultural specificities and patterns in the origin countries and communities. In addition, theory of intersectionality gives us powerful tools to understand gender identities and roles not as formed through one axis of formation, but many of them, including, sexual orientation, class, religion, disability, race, etc. These approaches (which take into the account cultural/political/economic etc. specificities and the theory of intersectionality) provides us with a coherent, comprehensive and holistic approach to migrant children (boys and girls) which results in unbiased understandings and insights, as well as recommendations that are in the best interest of children.

On the other hand, teaching about GBV against children on the move must include the most important principles and approaches of social work with children: rights-based approach, with a focus on children rights, as well as equality between sexes and prevention and prosecution of mental and physical violence. Therefore, teaching about GBV against children on the move includes awareness of the vulnerability of children, gender inequalities, injustices and violence in the states of origin but as well on the migrant routes and is especially sensitive to children who belong to sexual and gender minorities.

10:45am - 12:15pmWorkshops 10-11: The international exchange revisited: from a ‘traditional’ study trip to an ‘online’ study trip; Taking it online: working with service users to assess students’ readiness for practice
Location: Parallel Session 4
Parallel Session 4 

The international exchange revisited: from a ‘traditional’ study trip to an ‘online’ study trip

Maajke Callebert1, Inge Van Delst1, Per Westersø2, Per Svanholm2, Jens Eistrup2

1Karel de Grote University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Antwerp, Belgium; 2VIA University College, Aarhus, Denmark

Going on an international study trip with a class used to be a perfect opportunity for students to look beyond social work practices in their own country. Visiting institutions abroad beside interaction and discussion with fellow social work students from a partner university on topics related to labor market and policy, used to learn students to compare facts and figures and to understand why labor market participation and inclusion of vulnerable groups differ from one country to another.

Climate impact, the financial burden of travelling and – of course – the corona crisis forced us to rethink the whole concept of the ‘traditional’ study trip. The solution? A ‘digital’ study trip, named Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL)!

In this workshop we take you through our journey of developing a successful COIL by the social work departments of KdG from Antwerp in Belgium and VIA from Aarhus in Denmark. You will discover how COIL is designed and what opportunities it offers. Starting point is a handy checklist which we used as a format to set up our COIL exchange. We will guide you through the different steps in setting up a COIL project and give you interesting tips and tricks based on our experience. Last but not least: this is a workshop, so we build in interaction from the start and will take time to answer all practical and other questions.

Maajke Callebert is lecturer in Social Work with a focus on Labor Market, Inge Van Delst is E-learning expert and lecturer Social Work with a specialization in Training and Development.

Per Svanholm Christensen, Jens Eistrup and Per Westersoe are all lecturer and researchers in social work within the labor market area.

WORKSHOP: Useful methods for collaborative action research (training) with students and service users. Exploring inclusive analog an digital approaches.

Michaela Moser

FH St. Poelten University of Applied Sciences, Austria

Traditional interviews or group discussions are not necessarily the most helpful approaches when doing collaborative action research including students and service useres.

In order to foster lively communication and to help co-researchers facilitating such processes there is a need for more interactive and inclusive methods, especially when including people who have language or learning difficulties ore are not very used to talking in (larger) groups.

The workshop will introduce a number of inclusive analog and digital methods that have proven to improve and foster good conversation in groups of various sizes, encouraging and enabling the involvement of all participants. The methods presented, which are also known under the umbrella term of „Art of Hosting“ will include “Appreciative inquiry” (D. Copperrider et al), “Dynamic Facilitation/Wisdom council” (J. Rough et al) and will be supplemented by a number of digital tools that haven proven to be useful for implementing “analog” methods such as storytelling, brainstorming or mindmapping in new ways.

All the methods presented have proven to be useful to bring about change processes and help people move towards action and activism by focusing on and unveil their strengths and experiences, ideas and possibilities. Pros and cons on applying the methods in research training including students and service users will be discussed, thereby drawing on examples and experiences of their implementation in projects with excluded communities and neighbourhoods in Austria as well as with civil society activist groups and citizen participation projects. This will be combined with training elements in order to get a concrete idea and first hand experience on how to apply the instruments and methods for future projects.

10:45am - 12:15pmWorkshops 12-13: Human rights education in social work – European perspectives; Integrity as a shared professional craft
Location: Parallel Session 5
Parallel Session 5 

Human rights education in social work – European perspectives

Ingo Stamm1, Alexander Klein2, Nivedita Prasad3, Jeroen Knevel4

1Kokkola University Consortium Chydenius, University of Jyväskylä, Finland; 2Saxion | University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands; 3Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin, Germany; 4Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands

Human rights are one of the guiding principles of social work. Social work ethics are based on human rights and social justice. The workshop presenters are long-standing experts in human rights education in social work from different European countries. Despite the fact that human rights are nowadays widely accepted as an ethical basis for social work, a further development of human rights education is still needed. Therefore, the workshop follows an international exchange on the link between social work education and human rights. The aims are to develop a better understanding of different concepts of human rights education in social work teaching and to promote the implementation of human rights in social work curricula in Europe.

The workshop will start with an overview. Each partner will present a short summary. The following questions will structure the presentations: What are the main characteristics of the social work concept of human rights and how is it integrated in the curriculum? What are the most important foundations regarding knowledge and skills and how are they implemented didactically in teaching (trainings, workshops, lectures)? How is this translated for social work practice?

In the second part of the workshop the different perspectives are brought together along a number of guiding questions: Where do differences and similarities lie? What can we learn from each other? What other conclusions can be drawn from the presentation of educational practice concepts on human rights and social work? What impact does the national framework of the study program have?

The third part of the workshop will provide space for discussing the presented perspectives with the participants of the workshop: What was inspiring? What is similar with or recognizable from one’s own background? What important concepts, skills or practices were not considered? Finally, the purpose of the workshop is to discuss the benefits of a Special Interest Group on human rights and social work within the EASSW. We want to further explore the potential role of an EASSW-SIG and clarify what such a group could contribute to improving human rights education in social work teaching around Europe?

Integrity as a shared profesional craft

agnes marie verbruggen

university college Ghent, Belgium

Working with people always includes normative aspects, making choices with ethical implications. How can these professionals make decisions and be accountable for these decisions? In this workshop we present and practise a guideline, based on the theory of communicative rationality of J. Habermas, that strenghtens a shared search for these answers with craft brothers en -sisters. Starting by expliciting the moral intuïtion, the guideline provides a frame work to develop a dialogue and structures the communication in it. The guideline integrates practice wisdom and insights of sociological ,legal and ethical theories.

It is used in the curriculum for education of social workers at the University College in Ghent and is proved in supervision in the workfield

It helps to go beyond practical solutions , further than the search of doing work well done, it helps in finding what is the good work here? Good work is never found once for always, but always for once. This means that strenghtening the search of the answer is more powerfull than giving answers.

It is the underlying structure of the lessons professional ethics in our curriculum - University College Ghent, professional bachelor in social work - and in the "existential supervisison ' I give in the field of social work. The feedback is positive: the most common reaction is:

’ I know again why I do this work!’

Teaching and using this multidisciplinary model in the real field opens possibilities for real dialogue and critical thinking. It bonds -again- with the very existential meaning of the work.

12:15pm - 12:30pmCoffee Break
12:30pm - 2:00pmSymposium 7: History, Current Situation and Future Directions of PhD Studies in Social Work in the Nordic-Baltic Region
Location: Parallel Session 1
Session Chair: Merike Sisask
Parallel Session 1 

History, current situation and future directions of PhD studies in social work in the Nordic-Baltic region

Chair(s): Merike Sisask (Tallinn University), Lena Hübner (Stockholm University)

Discussant(s): Lars Uggerhøj (Aalborg University), Riina Kiik (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

The symposium will be organised by the Nordic-Baltic Doctoral Network in Social Work (NBSW), a joint network of the doctoral schools, universities and other institutions in social work in seven countries from the Nordic-Baltic region – Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The aim of the symposium is to promote PhD studies in social work in general and the NBSW summer schools in particular.

The NBSW was established in 2007 by Prof Tarja Pösö (Finland) with the aim to strengthen and improve postgraduate studies in social work, to create a forum for planning a long-term Nordic-Baltic research training agenda, and to establish possibilities to develop professional network of young scholars. The rationale behind the idea was that none of the postgraduate research training forms on a national level is able to advance PhD studies as well as joint actions. These joint actions may help join together the different paradigms of social work research, enrich the theoretical and methodological training, establish links between the Nordic-Baltic research traditions regionally, and promote international dimension in social work post-graduate education. One of the most important and popular joint actions of the NBSW have been summer schools that has attracted PhD students both from the Nordic-Baltic region and also beyond (e.g., Czech Republic, Iceland, Turkey).

During the symposium the history, current situation and future directions of PhD studies in social work in the Nordic-Baltic region will be discussed. The PhD programs and their peculiarities in different countries at Nordic-Baltic region will be introduced. Former PhD students will share their experiences from the NBSW summer schools.


Presentations of the Symposium


Social work doctoral studies in Finland: the nature and impact of international cooperation

Helena Blomberg-Kroll, Christian Kroll
University of Helsinki

The aim of this paper is to give an overview of doctoral studies in Finland with special regard to the impact of Nordic, Baltic and (other) international cooperation. The paper will focus on 1) the general structural/institutional conditions for co-operation, 2) the actors, drivers, the mobilisation of necessary (material and social) resources and 3) forces obstructing the co-operation process (e.g. opposition and/or obstacles of various kinds).

The practical and institutional conditions for academic co-operation between Finland and the other Nordic countries seem to have been favourable during the late 1970s and the 1980s. During these decades, the Nordic public welfare services expanded and, as a part of this development, professionalisation of social work through academisation (and research training as a part of this process) was an important goal. In this general societal development, common to the Nordic states, a need for co-operation in order to strengthen the academic basis for social work, and for learning about and from other Nordic countries, was perceived as important for academic, political and administrative actors alike. In the following decades the aim was to engage in e.g. Nordic-Baltic researcher training and to ‘go international’ in an even broader sense.

Today international co-operation within the field of Finnish doctoral studies have become diverse and multifaceted. At the same time, universities are trying to define which international activities are valued and which are not, a development often constituting a major obstacle to new (or old) types of curiosity-driven international co-operation within the field of research and researcher training.


Social work doctoral studies in Denmark

Lars Uggerhøj
Aalborg University

Denmark does not have a doctoral school in social work. In fact, Aalborg university doesn’t allow doctoral school s for specific academic professions. But Denmark does have PhD’s in social work and PhD’s in social work have been important in the development of social work as an academic and research field.

The first doctoral student in Denmark started in 1991 as an experiment. Before that research in social work was carried out by other academics – mainly sociologists – sometimes (but seldom) including social workers as research assistants. In 1992 the first master programme in social work was established and has since then had approximately 5000 students. During this period the number of PhD students in social work grew - between 1995 and 2010 quite few and from 2010 quite many. The number of researchers in social work at Aalborg university has since 1990 been growing from a handful to now 50.

In this rapid development of social work as an academic field the doctoral programme – at Aalborg university called ‘Doctoral school of Social Sciences – has made a serious contribution. Without the doctoral programme it hasn’t been possible to develop research and academia in social work. But it goes both ways. Without a long history of undergraduate programmes and without the development of the master programme the doctoral programme wouldn’t be possible. Bachelor and master programmes, research and doctoral schools are intertwined and support each other in the development of each element and joint development.

There are PhD courses in social work, but they must be open to other students within social sciences. The Nordic Baltic Doctoral Network in Social Work has supported the development of doctoral courses in social work in Denmark as the first courses came out of the summer school courses in the network. But the summer school courses have also helped PhD students to establish international network and strengthen the social work identity.

The described history of social work on an academic level and the necessity of having context based and diverse approaches to building up doctoral programmes and research in social work will be presented and discussed.


Social work doctoral studies in Norway

Riina Kiik, Inger Sofie Dahlø Husby
Norwegian University of Science and Technology

In Norway the first doctoral program in social work was established in 1974 at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). During the last ten years the higher education structure has been dramatically changed in Norway. University colleges have been emerged with universities or with other universities’ colleges with the main aim to have robust and solid environment to develop research and education. How these changes have influenced curriculum will be touched. The Nordic Baltic Doctoral Network in Social Work has supported the development of doctoral program in social work but also helped young scholars to establish international network and strengthen the social work identity. The NBSW summer schools have also been important to develop PhD candidates’ professional career. The described history of social work on an academic level and the necessity of having own doctoral program but also some new challenges in running the PhD program in social work will be presented and discussed.


Social work doctoral studies in Sweden

Lena Hübner
Stockholm University

The aim of this paper is to give an overview of doctoral studies in Sweden with regard to research themes, methods and the format of the theses. To be able to sketch a timeline from the late 1990s and onwards, a historic perspective will be included. The first doctoral thesis in social work in Sweden were published in the midst of the 1980s and since then a lot has happened with regard to the three aspects; themes, methods and format, especially since 2005.

Currently, there are 115 doctoral students in social work in Sweden. They are distributed unevenly over 13 universities, although a majority studies in the bigger cities at universities which also has many students on bachelor and advanced level in social work. Common research themes are: social child care, substance use and misuse, elderly care, disability research and intimate relations violence. The relevance of these themes for the practice field of social work are high, these themes correspond to the areas in which a majority of social workers are employed in Sweden.

The number of doctoral students in the different departments of social work varies greatly, from 28 students at one university to 2, at another, smaller university. The possibilities of giving special courses for the doctoral students are thus very different as well, due to this uneven spread.

A national research school in social work (RSSW) was established in 2008 with the ambition of giving relevant courses in social work for all doctoral students all over the country, to enable doctoral students at the smaller universities to participate and be a part of a bigger whole. So, lastly, the paper will include a discussion on if, and in that case these ambitions have been fulfilled.


Curriculum, doctoral schools, networks and internationalisation: Social work doctoral studies in Estonia

Merike Sisask, Kersti Kriisk
Tallinn University

The aim of this paper is to provide an in-depth overview of social work doctoral studies system in Estonia by analysing and sharing personal experiences from PhD studies’ curriculum, academic networks and internationalisation.

The social work PhD study programme at Tallinn University was first registered in 1997 and this is the only PhD level study programme in social work in Estonia and in Baltic states. In 2014 the Tallinn University was granted the unconditional right in Estonia to teach in the field of social services at the PhD level.

The objectives of the study programme are: to create opportunities for acquiring the highest scientific qualification in social work; to support development of competencies for professional career as an independent expert in the field of social work; to create pre-conditions for the development of a new generation of researchers and lecturers with independent research skills for institutions of higher education and for social welfare and health institutions.

The study programme contains four modules: (1) General courses (e.g. research methodology; philosophy and methodology in social sciences; academic writing; seminars on research methods) (2) Core courses (e.g. research and development in social work; interdisciplinary doctoral seminars of social sciences; research seminar on professional terminology; research seminar on public health); (3) Individual courses (e.g. seminars, trainings, summer schools etc on specific research designs and methods); (4) Doctoral thesis.

The crucial keywords in PhD studies and writing doctoral thesis are internationalisation and academic networking. These involve (international) doctoral schools and networks as well as studying abroad opportunities. Firstly, the study programme belongs to the Nordic Baltic Doctoral Network in Social Work (NBSW). The NBSW organises annually summer schools on specific subjects relevant to social work. In 2018 the summer school was organised by Tallinn University (topic: “Multi-disciplinarity and multi-positioning in social work research – balancing closeness and distance”). Secondly, social work study programme belongs to the national network of the doctoral school of behavioural, social and health sciences. Thirdly, PhD students are encouraged among others with scholarships to broaden their individual academic networks by participating in international courses, conferences and studying abroad.

12:30pm - 2:00pmSymposium 8: Transferring Innovative Teaching Approaches to Social Work Education: Preparing Social Work Students for practice with Computer Supported Scripts (CSS) and Standardized Client Simulation in Germany
Location: Parallel Session 2
Session Chair: Birgit Dorner
Parallel Session 2 

Transferring Innovative Teaching Approaches to Social Work Education: Preparing Social Work Students for practice with Computer Supported Scripts (css) and Standardized Client Simulation in Germany

Chair(s): Birgit Dorner (Katholische Stiftungshochschule München)

Discussant(s): Mary Opio (International Doctoral School REASON (Elite Network of Bavaria) Munich Center of the Learning Sciences / Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU)), Carolin Auner (International Doctoral School REASON (Elite Network of Bavaria) Munich Center of the Learning Sciences / Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU))

Integrating research and practice is a challenge for helping professions much as there is consensus that this is a crucial element to navigate sensitive work environments with people in challenging life situations. Opportunities to foster skills relevant for practice with scenarios close to real life are rare but much needed.

In this symposium, we would like to present empirical findings from two projects that aimed at teaching practice skills by aid of case-based learning. While one project used standardized clients to stipulate active engagement with service users, the other used vignettes and computer-supported scripts to guide students through the cognitive process of assessment.

With its origin in medical education, simulation based learning provides an opportunity that puts service users at the center of social work interactions. It is a promising approach to provide training and room for reflection (on the intensive learning experience) thereafter, both of which are relevant for practice with real service users.

The origin of computer-supported scripts (css) is in the Learning Sciences and Instructional Design. Scripts offer an opportunity of guiding students’ focus to the most important aspects of an assessment. They have been proved to be effective in teaching complex domain skills.

Both studies were conducted is Bavaria, Germany, and the participants came from 6 schools of social work education. In both studies, students engaged with cases from the field of family and child welfare.

Teaching with simulation is at its early stage in Germany. Learning with computer-supported scripts is similarly novel to the field of social work. While appreciating the benefits of successful approaches from other fields, we would like to discuss the challenges and ethical dilemmas of adapting these in social work education.


Presentations of the Symposium


Knowledge Construction and Utilization in Social Work Education in Simulation-Based Learning Environments with Standardized Clients - a Qualitative Study.

Carolin Auner1, Birgit Dorner2, Sabine Pankofer2
1International Doctoral School REASON, Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität München, 2Katholische Stiftungshochschule München

Social work is characterized by highly dynamic and complex situations which is often overwhelming also for professionals but is especially demanding for social work students. Universities have adapted different methods in their curricula to equip students with skills relevant for professional practice. Connecting the knowledge gained in theory to the social work´s diverse practice scenarios remains a challenge for many social work students nonetheless. Knowledge application in realistic scenarios is important for the development of complex skills and simulation and case based learning has been found to be effective in bridging this theory practice gap. In simulation based learning an opportunity for meaningful application of knowledge to professional problems is en-sured. There is however paucity of research on how social work students construct and use scientific knowledge during practice.

We raise the following research questions in our study:

1. What problem-solving strategy do social work students pursue with Standardized Clients in a Simulation-Based Learning Environment?

2. Which types and which quality of knowledge do they apply?

3. What other factors influence the process of problem solving?


 Sample: n=24 Social-Work-Students (B.A.) / 4th to 7th semester, Age: 18-40 years

 Learning Environment: Live- and Video-Simulation, Case Vignette: District Social Work, Initial Con-sultation of the Client with the Social Worker, follow-up meeting with individual feedback.

 Research-Design: Questionnaire on prior experiences, recorded Live- or Video-Simulation with a trained actress, focused interviews, think-aloud-memos and recorded additional interviews.

 The research-design, sampling, data sources, process and data-analysis follows the Grounded-Theory-Methodology


Based on our preliminary findings and on research, we observe that students largely have difficulties in dealing with clients´ emotions during the counselling sessions. Furthermore problem solving strategies, knowledge construction and use as well as professional attitudes differ amongst participants. For example: objectives, approaches, strategies and especially the contextualization of the clients’ specific problem situation during the assessment process are quite diverse. It appears that the constant balance between psychosocial and professional aspects, the appropriate level of emotion and empathy, the search for possible offers of support and the students' own insecurity are challenging the systematization of the consultation situation.


Teaching Assessment Competence in Social work with Flexible Computer Supported Scripts and metacognitive Reflection Prompts

Mary Opio1, Birgit Dorner2, Ingo Kollar3
1nternational Doctoral School REASON (Elite Network of Bavaria) Munich Center of the Learning Sciences ,Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit München, 2Katholische Stiftungshochschule München, 3University of Augsburg

As E-learning gains prominence in social curricula, there is need for research on how E-learning environments can be designed effectively to equip students with skills for practice.

Computer supported scripts (CSS) are scaffolds (instructional interventions) which provide learners with external guidance regarding when, how and in what sequence to perform certain activities. Research from the Learning Sciences shows that CSS can be used to support learners acquire domain specific skills .Providing learners with too detailed scripts, however, comes with the danger of limiting students’ autonomy and self-regulated engagement in the learning process

We build on Wang, Kollar and Stegmann (2017)´s research which suggests that adaptability can be used to realize the flexibility of CSS and research of Davis (2003) that argues that much as metacognitive prompting enhances self-regulated engagement, the form of reflection instruction influences how productive students reflect .

The aim of our study is to examine how CSS can be used to teach assessment in social work education and whether their effects can be boosted by aid of (a) granting learners the opportunity to adapt the CSS to their own needs and (b) providing them with different kinds of reflection prompts to help them in their adaptation process. We raise the following research question:

What are the effects of different types of external scripts (adaptable vs. strict) and metacognitive reflection prompts (specific vs. generic) as well as their different combinations on social work students’ assessment competence?

Method. We established a 2x2 quasi experiment, with the independent variables (1) CSS (strict vs. flexible) and (2) reflection prompts (specific vs. generic). In our pre-post-test design, social work students (n=100) received four case vignettes to stimulate their engagement in a child welfare assessment

Results: In our preliminary results, we observe that students in the adaptable script/generic prompt environment conduct better assessments compared to the counterparts in the strict script/generic prompts setting. Reflection in the generic groups is broadly contextualized to include responses on the learning environment ,the process of problem solving and the content of the provided cases.The focus in the specific reflection groups is however limited to single elements.

12:30pm - 2:00pmWorkshops 14-15: Covid-19 pandemic from social work perspectives: practical approaches, case studies and novel techniques; Rethinking and reorganizing social work field placement in the Covid-19 era
Location: Parallel Session 3
Parallel Session 3 

Covid-19 pandemic from social work perspectives: practical approaches, case studies and novel techniques

Darja Zaviršek1, Teresa Bertotti2, Junko Wake3, Anna Metteri4

1University of Ljubljana, Slovenia; 2University of Trento, Italy; 3Tokyo Metropolitan University, Japan; 4University of Tampere, Finland

The workshop will present four academic summaries on the Covid-19 pandemic from a social work perspective and provide an opportunity to share practical approaches in social work related to improving equity and support for individuals, groups, and communities during the pandemic, with a special focus on social work education. The goal of the workshop is to learn from social work interventions, as well as their lack in different countries. Workshop leaders will give a 10-minute literature review from different social justice fields and social work perspectives, and then invite participants to share their own practical experiences, case studies, and new approaches adopted during the pandemic.

Participants will also be invited to share experiences of injustice and the lack of social work interventions.

The background knowledge of the workshop is a global literature review of various social work interventions during Covid-19, with a particular focus on mental health and disability issues, violence against women, social work education, and the needs of social work students in times of lockdown. The Covid-19 pandemic raised several ethical concerns that are being discussed in the context of Global Ethical Standards of Social Work of the IASSW and IFSW. It also raised questions about how prepared social work is for disaster management and whether people in vulnerable contexts can access the support they need. These issues will be addressed during the workshop.

Rethinking and reorganising social work field placement in the Covid-19 era

Francesca Maci, Paolo Rossi

University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy

The first wave of the spread of Covid-19 was contrasted by many countries through a severe lockdown that had a strong impact on academic activities. This implied an interruption of teaching and field placements too. One of the solutions for preserving the continuity of teaching activities was the adoption of different forms of remote-teaching. A similar “translation” has been adopted by many universities for re-organizing field placements. However, since field placements rely on the direct participation of students in the activities performed in the organizational settings where a social worker operates, this shift was particularly challenging. Moreover, this dynamic of remote interaction hinders the possibility of observing the distinctive rlational dimension of social work.

We present a case study that examines the process of the re-organization of field placements enacted by the bachelor course in Social Work at the University of Milano-Bicocca discussing how students, teachers, and supervisors were affected by and involved in this unexpected event. The new structure was composed for four parts: - remote field placement; - panel of webinar held by field placement supervisors; - internal remote field placement; - deepened understanding of the impact of coronavirus on the social services system and social work profession.

We propose a preliminary assessment of this experience, reflecting around the positive and critical aspects of the forced reorganization of field placement, considering the trade-off between the resilient dimension of the initiatives and their potential innovative value. Finally, picking up the notion of single and double-loop learning from the literature of organizational learning (Argyris, 1976,1978), we discuss whether this process can be the driver of a mechanism of double-loop learning, leading towards an enrichment of teaching and learning activities rather than a temporary adaptation to a contingent need.

12:30pm - 2:00pmWorkshops 16-17: Research for Empowerment; Philosophy as Method for Social Work
Location: Parallel Session 4
Parallel Session 4 

Research for Empowerment

Teresa Wintersteller, Shenja Vasanthi Kumari Danz, Mariam Malik

University of Vienna, Austria

In our workshop we want to present participatory action research as a tool for social work to collaboratively work with service users about existing measures and offers they are attending to. Participatory Action Research with youth has a long research tradition in combining life-world experiences of young people as well as their knowledge and problem definitions with approaches of scientific analysis to empower those who are most affected by social policy measures and give a voice to people who are usually not listened to.

To illustrate how to do hands on research with young people, we draw on our experience in the Horizon 2020 project “CoAct – Co-designing Citizen Social Science for Collective Action” (funded by the European Commission). In our study we conduct participatory research with young people who are Early School Leavers and are placed in social policy measures to continue some sort of education in form of trainings or preparatory courses to promote their employability. To a high degree youth of educationally disadvantaged backgrounds, young people affected by language barriers because of histories of migration as well as youth with mental health difficulties and familial problems are affected by these policy measures.

We will talk about the topic of young people as service users and how they are put to the margins of the educational system and the labour market. We elaborate on our theoretical and methodological approach, show materials and outcomes of the research with young people (e.g., videos, collaboratively developed policy measures, techniques for teaching social science research) and try out activities with the conference attendants themselves. Therefore, we will choose some methods from our toolbox developed in the course of doing research with young people. The goal of the workshop is to stress the importance of participation of service users and to offer concrete tools that are applicable in everyday social work practice.

12:30pm - 2:00pmWorkshops 18-19: Teacher stay in front of your blackboard!? Embedding Community Based and Engaged Learning in curricular practice: inspiring examples and useful tools
Location: Parallel Session 5
Parallel Session 5 

Teacher stay in front of your blackboard!?

Maajke Callebert, Pieter Lievens

Karel de Grote University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Belgium

*This contribution draws on a participatory observation, type action research, conducted in 2019-2020, a period of strong climate movements in Belgium. It draws on the experience of a Social Work Teacher participating in grassroots movements in dealing with local environmental issues. This is an amazing story of a 2-year process of legal action, strong social actions and frontline battles on tackling an unprecedented petrochemical investment (for plastics) by Ineos in the harbor of Antwerp.

* What conclusions can be drawn from this experience? What lessons needs to learned and how can social work and social work teaching bond with civic and grass roots movements at the frontlines to promote environmental justice or to combat systems of injustice and predatory capitalism (like mining, polluting factories or fossil fuel industry)? What can or should Social Work Education learn from indigenous perspectives in dealing with actors of an economic system and a political ideology that is destroying life on earth? Can or should Social Work (Education) embrace these struggles for justice around the world?

*This workshop has a strong emphasis on discussion. It aims to share interactions of teachers that have experience with legal action, social actions and frontline battles against companies or governments. This workshop invites you to exchange your practices in participatory research or other involvement in local environmental movements, being service users of collective and community action for more just and more sustainable choices in society. There will be special attention to making links with teaching social work and learning outcomes of students (like political and societal awareness). Also indirect effects on students and colleagues of visible participation of teachers among service users in legal action, strong social actions and (mediatised) frontline battles will be discussed.

Embedding Community Based and Engaged Learning in curricular practice: inspiring examples and useful tools

Geert Marrin, Sven Svensson

AP University of Applied Sciences and Arts Antwerp, Belgium

In Community Based Learning the strengthening of academic competences, practice-based and experiential learning and reflection always go hand in hand (Cress 2005 ). This didactic concept is not a new educational approach and has a solid tradition in Anglo-Saxon countries, among others. Community Based Learning has been gaining ground in Europe in recent years.

With a view to stimulating active global citizenship among all its students, AP University of Applied Sciences and Arts Antwerp places Community Based Learning at the heart of its new mission, vision and strategy. Community Based Learning is also a spearhead for AP in its policy on internationalisation. Finally, this socially oriented form of education is becoming increasingly embedded in the curricula, including the Social Work programme.

The structure of this 45-minute workshop is as follows:

- We will elaborate on Community Based Learning as a didactic concept. We place Community Based Learning on a continuum with embedding relevant examples from the professional field in lessons at one end and project-based ‘Community Engaged Learning’ at the other. Workshop participants learn to place their own educational practice on this continuum. (10 minutes)

- Using a number of inspiring examples, we will show how Community Engaged Learning - through extensive cooperation between university lecturers & students, social organisations and service users - produces social added value for vulnerable groups in our local community. We also show how Community Engaged Learning can actively contribute to educational innovation in the context of higher education through a focus on interdisciplinarity. (10 minutes)

- We provide participants with ideas and tools to further develop and anchor all kinds of forms of Community Based Learning in their curricula. Together with the workshop participants we reflect on the value of Community Based & Engaged Learning in higher education. (15 minutes)

- Finally, through this interactive workshop we are looking for connections between international good practices. In this way we hope to contribute to an international learning community aiming at the further development of Community Based & Engaged Learning as a dynamic educational approach. (10 minutes)

2:00pm - 3:00pmLunch Break
3:00pm - 3:30pmEASSW Groups
3:30pm - 5:00pmSymposium 9: Reconceptualising the Refugee Experience for Social Work Research and Practice: A Cultural Psychology Perspective
Location: Parallel Session 1
Session Chair: Mariann Martsin
Parallel Session 1 

Reconceptualising the Refugee Experience for Social Work Research and Practice: A Cultural Psychology Perspective

Chair(s): Mariann Martsin (Tallinn University, Estonia)

Discussant(s): Mariann Märtsin (Tallinn University)

Contemporary lives are increasingly characterized by periods of intense uncertainty, experiences of which are being constructed by historically shaped collective imaginations about what uncertainty is and when, how and by whom it could and should be experienced. In this symposium, however, we move away from examining uncertainty as a ’critical’ life-period related to personal or societal moments of rupture and change, and instead focus on the experiences of refugees for whom uncertainty is a common feature of their everyday life. In doing so the symposium builds on the conceptual framework of cultural psychology that directs our attention away from crisis and trauma and towards the everyday meaning making practices of refugees. For it is through these everyday practices that refugees start to integrate their experiences and imagine pathways out of uncertainty, that they can then pursue in their lives. The three papers in this symposium examine these issues in three different contexts. Shapiro, in her paper, examines the everyday practices of Syrian families as they move through different contexts of asylum and reception in Denmark. Her analysis explores how parental care is shaped and challenged by continuous disruptions and changing conditions for everyday family life while stressing the reciprocity between children and parents. Omland and Andenæs, in their paper, turn their analytic gaze towards the context of foster care of unaccompanied minors in Norway and examine how foster parents and the young people in their care carry out relational negotiations about who they are and can be for each other. Samuel, in her paper, examines the experiences of refugee women in Estonia, building on data from photo-elicitation interviews and discussing, among other things, what can be gained from using such alternative methods when working with refugees. Together the papers suggest that by turning away from conceptualizing refugee experience as centered primarily on crisis, trauma and uncertainty, and focusing instead on everyday meaning making practices, the resilience, resources and relationships in refugees’ lives can be foregrounded and explored. The papers thus open up alternative ways of working with refugees that can support and enhance social work research and practices.


Presentations of the Symposium


Parental care in trajectories of forced migration – continuous disruptions, hyper-precarity and rebuilding of everyday family life

Ditte Shapiro
University College Absalon, Denmark

Forced migration has a major impact on family life while increasingly restrictive immigration and integration regimes make everyday life of refugee families hyper-precarious. Critical events and changing conditions of everyday life on personal, social, societal and global levels call for innovative research questions and methods enabling the development of conceptualizations in order to grasp the complexity of the current social reality of refugee families and social workers alike. Most social work and psychological research on parental care in refugee families draw on a deficit perspective focusing on the parent-child relationship based on attachment and trauma theory. Some research points to a spiral of multiple loss and consequential limited socio-economic resources that seriously challenge parents in the process of rebuilding everyday life, but without offering new conceptualizations concerning parental care. With this gap in research concerning parenting in light of forced migration in a contextual and social psychological perspective, the paper will pursue the following questions: How is parental care being shaped and challenged in the disruptive trajectories of forced migration and demanding processes of rebuilding everyday family life in Denmark? The paper explores this process empirically and by unfolding an analytical understanding of parental care as part of different structures of social practice shaped by the participation of family members in different contexts. By drawing on a subject-theoretical perspective on the mutuality of family members and others, the analysis shows how parental care are molded by multiple disruptions in trajectories of forced migration and hyper-precarious conditions in Denmark. The analysis draws on an ethnographically inspired practice research study conducted in cooperation with five Syrian families while they were awaiting asylum and during their first year with a temporary permit in Denmark. The paper offers empirical insight and unfolds a conceptualization of parental care to strengthen the focus on the reciprocity of children and parents in the light of everyday challenges of refugee families in social work.


Expanding notions of family-based care for unaccompanied refugee minors? An exploration of relational negotiations between foster parents and unaccompanied foster children in Norway

Guro Brokke Omland1, Agnes Andenæs2
1Bjørknes University College, Norway, 2University of Oslo, Norway

How do unaccompanied refugee minors living in foster homes in Norway, re-create their lives and futures in exile? This paper explores some of the challenges these young persons have to handle to create a livable everyday life and sustainable futures, and the kinds of developmental conditions foster care arrangements may constitute for the young persons. In Norway, daily care is, for most of the unaccompanied minors, delegated to residential care institutions, and only for very few, to foster care. For children who cannot live with their parents, foster care is considered to be a more adequate care arrangement than residential care because it is supposed to facilitate individualized care and stable relationships. Foster care is even less common for unaccompanied minors than for children from the majority population in Norway. This situation has been linked to the older age distribution of the unaccompanied minors and the difficulties in recruiting foster homes for older children as well as finding a foster home with a so-called 'good match'.

The authors explore ways of 'doing' foster care and the expectations of both foster parents and the unaccompanied children to the foster care arrangement. Building upon the notion of "relational negotiations" (Ulvik, 2007), the paper presents an analysis of the variation of notions about who the foster children and foster parents possibly can "be for each other" within this arrangement. The analysis is based on an interview study conducted with unaccompanied refugee minors and their caregivers in Norway during the resettlement phase. The data material consists of transcribed qualitative interviews with those of the young persons who lived in foster care, and their foster parents, comprising of four cases. The analysis underlines the importance of transcending family-centered notions of foster family practices and elucidates the relevance of elaborating alternative conceptualizations of how foster care can be «done» in ways that facilitate the young persons' well-being and sustainable development. The study contributes to social work practice by inviting to think creatively and innovatively about how care for unaccompanied young persons can be practiced and conceptualized.


Looking for new ways of working with refugees in social work research and practice

Annela Samuel
Tallinn University, Estonia

The refugee research field is dynamic and interdisciplinary. Depending on the specifics of the target group, alternative research methods may also be needed to open up and understand the experiences of this group in academic inquiry of social work. The analysis presented in this paper focused on the migration experiences and adaptation of female refugees from Islamic countries living in Tallinn, Estonia, explored from the viewpoint of cultural psychology, especially the theory of symbolic resources. The study used photo-elicitation interviews with women to enter their unique life-experiences and engage them in joint meaning making about these. The results suggest that in order to understand and support refugees, it is important to study their specific, unique and idiosyncratic experiences and trajectories as these unfold in their everyday life. These everyday life experiences, which to us may seem ordinary and unimportant, can in reality help us to transform the “invisible” world into “visible” and understandable, and also see refugees from a different perspective. By exploring the women’s everyday experiences in this study, it became clear that the women were connected through a constant rethinking and repositioning of their own migration experience, which transformed all of their experiences unique. The study results show that the changes in the personal culture of each woman due to the experience of forced migration were unique, affected by the person’s past life-events and in turn influencing their future. The use of art-based methods in this study greatly supported the analysis and suggested that these kinds of methods can be useful not only in academic inquiry, but can also support social workers in their everyday work.

3:30pm - 5:00pmWorkshops 20-21: Participation, Involvement, and Activation in Online Learning; Useful methods for collaborative action research (training) with students and service users. Exploring inclusive analog an digital approaches
Location: Parallel Session 2
Parallel Session 2 

Participation, Involvement, and Activation in Online Learning

Mare Leino1, Carolina Silin2, Stina Persson3, Bengt M. Wenstøb4

1Tallinn University, Estonia; 2Novia University of Applied Science, Finland; 3University of Trollhättän, Sweden; 4Høgskolen i Østfold, Norway

Client participation is important both in social work and in social pedagogics. In order for university students to understand the meaning of participation it is important that they experience participation and involvement during their studies: once students themselves have experienced participation they will better equipped to promote participation among clients.

Our workshop will focus on how to enable involvement and activation in online learning. Those are important elements in learning processes in general, but even more important in online learning. There is a big risk for students to become passive consumers of education, when they follow lectures online.

The workshop will consist of a introduction of the topic, some cases describing our experience in online student participation and group discussions. Methods will be illustrate through cases. In discussions the workshop participants can share their experiences and come up with new ideas for how to activate and involve students in their online courses. We will conclude the workshop by summarising the most central insights from the group discussions.

Taking it online: working with service users to assess students’ readiness for practice

DIANE APEAH-KUBI, Matthew Quaife, Carl Chandra

Middlesex University, United Kingdom

In March 2020 England went into lockdown due to an outbreak of covid-19. Self-isolation and ‘social distancing’ became government policy and the primary public health response to reduce the risk of virus transmission. The pandemic presented a world-wide crisis, presenting health and social care workers with numerous challenges around how to maintain services when there was a need to reduce physical contact with others to an absolute minimum. This requirement, along with the lockdown led to a quick move to widespread online / remote working, including the implementation of online teaching or distance learning.

Students on an accelerated postgraduate-level qualifying Social Work programme are required to successfully complete an assessment of their readiness for direct practice before they can begin their first placement. This assessment would ordinarily consist of a student participating in a 10-minute role play with an actor playing a service user. The students are assessed during the role play by a panel including academics, practitioners and service users, however due to the impact of the Corona virus, all teaching and assessment had to be delivered virtually. The social work team had to think creatively about how to continue to incorporate service users within this key assessment point of student social workers.

The aim of this workshop is to share the experiences of students, staff and service users of conducting assessments of students’ readiness for direct social work practice virtually while maintaining service user input. We will also discuss how academic staff went about adapting the readiness for direct practice teaching for online delivery and the lessons that have been learnt.

3:30pm - 5:00pmWorkshops 22-23: Social Entrepreneurship; Innovation is key, but not when taking care of people
Location: Parallel Session 3
Parallel Session 3 

Social Entrepreneurship

Wim Wouters1, Harald Bolsinger2, Winfried Weber3

1Thomas More University of Applied Sciences, Belgium; 2University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt; 3Hochschule Mannheim University of Applied Sciences

Social entrepreneurship is defined by doing business for a social purpose. Social entrepreneurs don’t measure their success in terms of profit alone. To social entrepreneurs, success is measured outside the social start-up in a way they have improved the world and have had a positive impact on society based on the common good. Impact entrepreneurship focuses on developing new types of purpose-driven businesses and organizations, which measurably create sustainable impact in various ways. When social and impact entrepreneurship go together, they create potential to scale up for the sake of improving lives of as many people as possible. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, is pointing out a broad perspective for social innovation and global human centered development. Social workers as well as academics of other future oriented fields of work are well prepared professionals to respond to the emerging complex social and ecological problems in any country and could contribute to solutions for all of the seventeen UN goals. Social entrepreneurs balance organizational economic and social goals and find solutions in an entrepreneurial and innovative way, that work on its own in the long run – without grants after the starting phase. Within VirCamp, a cooperation of 6 European Universities, an online pilot course has been developed that will run in Spring 2021 and offered to social work students. This course allows students in various countries to learn from each other and to share information, knowledge, skills and values about social innovation. The course brings together diverse professional and cultural backgrounds of students, who will cooperate and learn from each other and together. In this workshop experiences on issues related to this online pilot course will be shared and discussed such as the way entrepreneurship can contribute on realizing social work practices related the global definition and ethical principles of social work, the way social entrepreneurship opens possibilities for innovative practices and the pedagogical approach that is used to take students through a topic that seems less self-evident for social work students.

3:30pm - 5:00pmWorkshops 24-25: The Natural World as a Healing Factor in Social Work Practice with Individuals and Groups; The Nine Genders
Location: Parallel Session 4
Parallel Session 4 

The Natural World as a Healing Factor in Social Work Practice with Individuals and Groups

Michelle Willoughby

New York University, United States of America

Social work practice must broaden the understanding of a person’s environment to include the natural world. Ecosocial work asserts that the human environment is inclusive of the natural world, and acknowledges the interconnectedness of humans and nature. Research has indicated that the natural world can act as a healing factor for physical and mental health. Persons impacted by trauma may find restorative benefits through contact with animals and nature. Viewing nature has been found to be beneficial for persons impacted by physical pain. Biophilia and deep ecology can be integrated into social work practice with individuals and groups to encourage connections with nature. E.O. Wilson described biophilia as humans’ innate tendency to connect with nature. Using a biophilia framework, social workers can incorporate nature into practice. The Norwegian philosopher, Arne Naess’ development of deep ecology provides a framework for social workers to integrate environmental concerns into social work practice. Deep ecology is a rejection of anthropocentrism and addresses the interconnectivity of the natural world. It is the aim of this workshop for social work practitioners to increase their knowledge of ecosocial work, biophilia and deep ecology, and how these terms enrich social work practice. Steps to take to enhance social work practice will be addressed include participation in green spaces, creation of biophilic spaces, and supporting urban community gardens. This workshop will address how to incorporate nature into direct work with individuals and groups. Elements of nature can be added in intervention spaces with clients such as plants and pictures of nature. Direct practice should include space to discuss the client’s relationship with nature including plants and animals. Research has demonstrated the healing benefits of animal assisted therapies. The workshop aims to provide guidance on how to address the interconnectedness of an individual or group to the natural world in direct practice. Human well-being is connected to our awareness of our surrounding natural environment. The more we establish an affinity to our surrounding natural environment the more we will be moved to care for it.

The Nine Genders

Michael R H Parsons1, Gayle Pruden2

1Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, Canada; 2Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, Canada

Gender is one of the most influential determinants of health internationally recognized, and gender roles—what a person says and does to assert whether they are male, female, Two Spirit etc. — can affect their health. Evidence increasingly demonstrates that social work interventions—including health promotion—are more effective if they are designed with gender in mind. (Denton, Prus, & Walters, 2004).

Drawing on critically reflexive Social Work, our workshop will be modeled after a traditional teaching circle—a wholistic approach to learning that uses Indigenous knowledge, literature and scholarship and is informed by land-based education. Further, our theoretical background, Indigegogy engages Indigenous methodology such as circle work and lifts up traditional teachings, ceremonies and practices.

The goal of this workshop is to introduce the concept of Nine Genders and the practice of Circle Work to practitioners of Social Work. Circles are wholistic in that no one who participates and/or shares in the circle is above or below anyone else. As one person speaks, they pass on knowledge to other people participating in the Circle

Our workshop will begin by sharing the Nine Genders teachings in order to orient workshop participants to the concept and teachings. The example of Nine Gender application will be offered and some workshop participants will be invited to share their stories that can be connected to the teachings of Nine Genders.

3:30pm - 5:00pmWorkshops 26-27: Using Literature to Help Students Connect to the Lives of Service Users in the Context of an Interconnected World; Exploring the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on your professional identity: an interactive workshop
Location: Parallel Session 5
Parallel Session 5 

Using Literature to Help Students Connect to the Lives of Service Users in the Context of an Interconnected World

Yolanda C. Padilla1, Nadia Kalman2, Quynh Nhu {Natasha} La Frinere-Sandoval1

1University of Texas at Austin; 2Words Without Borders

There are things that others can’t imagine for you. Through literature, we see life through the eyes of other human beings, in the unique socio-geographic-political and cultural contexts of their lives. “Literary experiences create emotional tensions that can later be assimilated in actual experiences,” according to Literature as Exploration by Louise Rosenblatt. Moreover, narrative literature has been shown to be more effective in motivating empathy, ethical reasoning, and critical thinking than factual expository literature (facts, theories, analyses) alone. As such, literature offers a powerful avenue to meaningfully connect social work students to the lives of service users.

We introduce a piloted teaching method that uses international literature to help prepare social work students to connect with service users in the context of a globally interconnected world, which we are developing at the Council on Social Work Education in the United States. We are teaming up with Words Without Borders Campus (WWB Campus), an organization that makes contemporary international literature in translation accessible to students and educators. WWB Campus curates books and short form literature, including memoirs and other narrative non-fiction and fiction. Although using literature to teach about social issues and interculturality is used in other disciplines, it has not been widely applied in U.S. social work education.

Step-by-step teaching procedure for student learning module:

Step 1. Read stories about confronting social barriers, such as immigrant/refugee stories. The most effective learning approach is to allow students to choose their readings among a subset curated by the instructor.

Step 2. Explore multi-media learning resources provided for each reading (a) author bios, socio-geographic-political and cultural context, maps, and images, which are on the WWB Campus web site and (b) supplementary resources with direct applications to social work practice that we have compiled and linked to each reading.

Step 3. Engage in various learning activities intended to (a) motivate empathy, ethical reasoning, and critical thinking, and (b) gain skills in interculturality, such as those introduced in the UNESCO Guidelines on Intercultural Education, involving the ability to listen, to wonder, and to dialogue.

Step 4: Participate in a student pre- and post-test evaluation.

Exploring the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on your professional identity: an interactive workshop for social work practitioners and educators.

Fran Wiles

The Open University, United Kingdom

Has the Covid-19 pandemic changed your professional identity as a social work practitioner, student or educator? I invite you to join me in an exploration, through drawing and small group discussion, of the different ways in which we conceptualise social work professionalism and our professional identities. This will include the opportunity to reflect on how this identity might be affected during an unexpected national or global event. The workshop method models a teaching activity which social work educators could adapt to use with their students.

The workshop begins with a brief presentation of my own research and teaching about professional identity. Developing an individual and collective professional identity appears to be important for social workers’ resilience and motivation. In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, I am interested in social work’s response and the potential implications for professional identity. The terms professionalism and professional identity are conceptualised differently (and for different purposes) according to the varied perspectives of social workers, employers, politicians and professional organisations. In developing their professional identities, therefore, social workers and students draw on a wide range of discourses transmitted through the curriculum, workplace learning, regulatory and public expectations. This professional identity is not always straightforward or easily achieved. Social work has frequently struggled - and in some situations continues to struggle - to be accepted as a professional occupation and as an academic discipline. Social workers can also feel ambivalent about the profession’s role and status. Despite these challenges, my recently published research (produced with a colleague) found that regardless of variations in social work roles and practice settings, there is a shared collective identity which transcends national boundaries.

In the main part of the workshop participants will be invited to share their perspectives on professional identity, using a ‘rich picture’ approach in small groups; and to reflect on the factors that have influenced and sustained their professional identities, including experiences of the pandemic.

Finally, participants will be asked to share suggestions and techniques for supporting social work students to learn about their own professional identities as a source of collective strength and resilience.

5:00pm - 5:15pmCoffee Break
5:15pm - 6:15pmPaper Presentation Session 21: Social Work Training and Practice
Location: Parallel Session 1
Session Chair: Andrea Nagy
Parallel Session 1 

Occupational Aspirations of Care Leavers and their Pathways to Autonomy (OCAS)

Andrea Nagy

Free University of Bolzano, Italy

The research project in progress examines the experiences of transitions to work and the associated challenges

for the agency of young people leaving residential care institutions in South Tyrol/Italy. The concept of agency

focusses on individual opportunities for action and ways of influencing the own life. From a relational perspective

those opportunities are produced in changing social constellations depending on the contextual conditions.

Social work services that accompany care leavers' transitions to an independent life after care are part of the contextual conditions,

and there is an urge for innovation in those services to better respond to the needs of care leaver in their transitioning processes.

Quick transitions into a job and the experience of related conditions as precarious employment situations with

low career prospects are more common, than the choice for higher education in order to have more career prospects,

higher income and more job security in the long run. Fostering factors for the transition into the labour market are education,

financial support, and one’s social background, as well as a close relationship to professionals in the care environment and a

reliable, extended private and professional support network (Zeira, Refaeli, & Benbenishty, 2019; SOS‐ Villagi dei Bambini Italia 2017).

The presented first results draw from qualitative in depht interviews with young adults who have left the child and youth welfare

system and with professional social workers who accompany individual projects with care leavers.

They allow insights into the unfolding transition processes and in the experiences of care leavers from the perspective of a

later point in their careers. The analysis offers a base for reflective awareness of the prevailing shifts and

‘distributed agency’ of care leavers, that can positively influence the practice of

transition and inspire new approaches to the lifespan and the way practitioners intervene

throughout the lifespan.

SOS‐ Villagi dei Bambini Italia (2017). Report italiano della ricerca:

Una risposta ai care leavers: occupabilità e accesso ad un lavoro dignitoso.

Zeira, A., Refaeli, T. & Benbenishty, R. (2019). Aspirations toward higher education:

A longitudinal study among alumni of public care in Israel. Journal of Youth Studies, 1‐18.

Working in Spaces of Encounter parents-children (« Espaces de Rencontre) in France : what occupation in social work, with what training? Reflections from a large qualitative study

Arnaud Morange

Institut Régional du Travail Social Normandie-Caen, France

We will present here the functioning of the (« Espaces de Rencontre) in France to question the practices of social work in this system. This social divice is a court order for situations of conflict between parents or the inability of a parent to fulfill their parental obligations. This allows the parent who does not have custody of the child to see him regularly for a few hours in a neutral place, under the responsibility of social workers. This particular system, which exists in different forms in Europe, disrupts the practices learned in social work training institutes.

We will present a vast study that we have carried out in 12 meeting spaces on the French territory (2018-2020). The research method was immersion and observation within structures

and more than 100 interviews with professionals and parents. Part of the analysis shows that professional practices in these Encounters Spaces are variable and require harmonization. Moreover, we observed that social workers in meeting spaces must work in multidisciplinary teams (specialized educators, psychologists, social workers, etc.) and they must constantly adapt between the achievements of their initial training and the realities of work in this practice. This raises the question of how they are trained and the question of continuing training.

"Social Work vis-à-vis the middle class: challenges and opportunities”

Catarina Vieira da Silva1, Francisco Branco2

1Universidade Católica Portuguesa,Catolica Research Centre For Psychological, Family and Social Wellbeing; 2Universidade Católica Portuguesa,Catolica Research Centre For Psychological, Family and Social Wellbeing

Globalization, transformations in the world of work and economic financial crises, since the last decades of the XX century produced profound changes in the structure and social balance and gave rise to the emergence of new processes of vulnerability and impoverishment.

This reality occurs not only among the so-called traditional poor, but also in social groups that once knew upward trajectories of mobility and social integration. It is in this context that, for these new phenomena and social dynamics, new analytical categories are advanced by the social sciences, as is the case of “new poverty” reflected in the impoverishment of the middle class.

The present paper entitled "Social Work vis-à-vis the middle class: challenges and opportunities”, has the purpose to analyze the vulnerabilities that affect middle class citizens, pursuing the comprehension of the dimensions related to economic crisis, income and family breakdown, social disqualification and social suffering. In this context, we have also analyzed the approaches used by Social Workers in the assistance of new differentiated publics that increasingly search for social support.

From the point of view of social workers intervention, the current changes in the relationship between social worker and the middle-class publics are expressed in a greater capacity by the latter group in the analysis of social policies, in the perception and evaluation of services, and in higher levels of understanding the mechanisms and procedures.

In this context, social workers are challenged by new publics, new social problems and new ethical dilemmas that clamming for appropriate interventions at psychosocial level and policy practice field. Likewise, middle class families social and economic vulnerability and suffering is relativity unknown by social work students suggesting the need of the development of social work education in order to create opportunities for the students to approach no conventional social publics and forms of social exclusion and their political and ethical implications.

Social work education and the COVID-19 pandemic: Drawing on lessons from the pandemic to build a stronger profession

Marsela Dauti, Erika Bejko

University of Tirana, Albania

One of the lessons that we have learned during the COVID-19 pandemic is that social workers should have a stronger influence in political decision-making – push for policy changes that address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals, families, and communities. But do social work programs equip students with knowledge and skills on how to push for policy changes that address the long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic? We address this question in the context of Albania where the profession of social work is relatively new, and – within its short history – little emphasis has been placed on pandemics and more generally crises. We bring together two types of data: first, how social service providers and users are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and their policy priorities, and, second, the extent that social work education equips students with knowledge and skills to engage in policy change processes and address the priorities of service providers and users. The first type of data is based on a recent study that we have conducted with social service providers and users in 18 municipalities during September – October 2020, and the second type of data on our examination of the curriculum taught in the Advanced Social Work program – social policy, community organizing, and clinical social work specializations. In bringing the two types of data together, our goal is to provide suggestions on how to strengthen the social work education in Albania and prepare social work students for greater policy influence in times of pandemics and in the aftermath of pandemics. The case study of Albania will advance our understanding of how the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic can help us strengthen the social work profession and advance the social justice agenda on a global scale.

5:15pm - 6:15pmPaper Presentation Session 22: Future and Sustainability of Social Work
Location: Parallel Session 2
Session Chair: Helena Belchior-Rocha
Parallel Session 2 

Social Work and DeGrowth - a paradigm towards sustainability

Helena Belchior-Rocha1, Inês Amaro1, Jorge Ferreira1, Komalsingh Rambaree2, Pieter Lieven3

1ISCTE-Institituto Universitário de Lisboa, Portugal; 2University of Gävle, Sweden; 3Karel de Grote Hogeschool Antwerp, Belgium

In the context of societal transformation, it becomes important to explore ways in which sustainability can explicitly and effectively address one of the root causes of social and environmental degradation, namely, the practice of economic growth. The Degrowth perspective opposes a model of society that focuses on infinite economic growth and the exploitation of the planet's resources at all costs. Striving for a self-determined life in dignity for all, includes deceleration, improvement of social well-being and equity. it is a critical and alternative proposal to a model that has exceeded its environmental and social limits and suits the ethical principles of Social Work, mainly Ecosocial work. We find that sustainable degrowth can be a complementary way and a process to regulate, in a healthy way, ecologically sustainable development. The global definition of SW explicitly mentions that our profession does not subscribe to conventional wisdom that economic growth is a prerequisite for social development. SW is aware that the relation between social wellbeing and economic welfare is not linear. But we don’t know what leaving economic growth means for the profession, therefore this communication aims to present an alternative approach based on the concept of eco-neighborhoods and the Ecosocial model for Social Work showing how social workers can effectively articulate Degrowth in their practices

Social Cohesion Processes: the Opportunities of Social Farming

Carla Moretti

Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy

Social farming provides a new model of agricultural development, with a strong ethical and social connotation, it also identifies new skills regarding social workers and new welfare scenarios. Social farming offers to the community many services: socio-health, social cohesion and job placement of vulnerable people, even in the most disadvantaged areas.

Experiences in different countries show a heterogeneous situation of social farming in Europe (Hassink, 2009); in Italy the law n. 141/2015 is an important national regulatory reference. The Italian situation is characterized by an approach that sees the private sector of farms and social cooperation more engaged.

This contribution will present the results of a research carried out in 2019 in the Marche Region, Italy. The research is aimed at investigating the characteristics of social farming experiences in territorial welfare systems and regional planning in this area.

The study provided for the conduction of questionnaires addressed to all the coordinators of the social territorial areas, furthermore some interviews were carried out addressed to the managers of the Agriculture Service and of the Social Policy Service of the Region.

The research detected the type of initiatives implemented, the subjects involved in the community and the beneficiaries, the strengths and critical points of social farming, as well as the areas of intervention of social workers.

The results show that social farming represents an opportunity to offer services for the territory, aimed at fostering resilience processes, the growth of relational good, the values of reciprocity, the development of sustainable contexts. The research also notes the need for specific training courses for students and social workers, in a multidisciplinary perspective, with the involvement of all those who work in this area. It is important to pay attention to the acquisition of new skills, aimed at creating living environments capable of promoting social cohesion and the well-being of people and the community.

Who Speaks for Whom about What to Save the Environment?

Yari Or, Chaitali Das

Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Germany

The presentation explores inclusivity as a challenge of the emerging field of European ecosocial work. In this presentation, we attempt a critical analysis of contemporary European social work engaged for environmental justice and ecosocial transition. In drawing on postcolonial theory and decolonizing methodologies, we ask who speaks for whom about what. We focus on the issue of inclusivity and voice in the building of a field, and explore developmental blueprints as well as possible alternatives for the formation of this important emerging field of social work research and practice.

Ecosocial social work has for some years challenged structural social work to include sustainability, environmental justice and ecosocial transition as goals and practices of the profession (Dominelli, 2011, 2012, 2018; Lysack, 2007, 2008; Tidball et al., 2014). Given the global ecological crisis, a rapidly growing field is starting to emerge that will likely gain importance and scale.

Environmental justice is defined by questions of global interconnection, social justice, and inclusivity. However, there is much evidence that the discussion around environmental justice is Eurocentric and framed by Western hegemonic thought, language, and voice. Those who speak and who are heard are typically positioned in eurocentric spaces, and - in the quest for environmental justice - they tend to speak about and for everyone, including societies of the global South. Non-dominant (BIPOC) voices from Europe as well as voices from the global South are marginalized in the discussion and the field. It is, however, also clear that the impact of climate change will have a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable (poor, women, indigenous & minority groups, elderly) (Hethrington and Boddy, 2013) and many call for social workers to play an active role to mitigate this (Molyneux, 2010; Närhi and Matthies, 2001). Thus, one may argue, at this point structures and practices of exclusion permeate ecosocial work’s quest for justice. In the presentation, we explore the structures that enable or disable certain voices and suggest possible openings for a de-centering of European ecosocial work.

5:15pm - 6:15pmWorkshop 28: The Child´s Right to Be Heard – Listening to Children’s Voices in Child Protection Practices
Location: Parallel Session 3
Dr. Asgeir Falch-Eriksen
Prof. Karmen Toros
The idea of the workshop is to have a discussion on how the child’s right to a freedom of expression works during what has been dubbed street-level practice in Child Protection Services (CPS). We aim to introduce an upcoming open access book (published in early spring 2021 on Routledge). The book will use the right of expression in administrative and judicial proceedings, which is a right granted a child through the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Article 12, as a point of departure to explain what practices of the CPS must look like to uphold and enforce the rights of the child. The rights of a child that is subjected to detrimental care depends upon professional practitioners knowing how to enforce them. Research literature documents extensively and across countries how Art.12 is implemented either with a lack of hearing the voice of the child, or having a proforma/tokenistic approach to listening to the child throughout CPS-practices. This book will move one step further. Professional practices within CPS must be able to justify how Art.12 is enforced no matter where that practice is located in the course of any child protection case. Art.12 is comprehensive to CPS-practices as a child affected by any type of CPS-practice must be provided “the opportunity to be heard” in any administrative practice. As there is a lack of any detailed research-based knowledge on how to enforce Art.12 throughout CPS-practices, it is correspondingly hard to justify that the child has de facto rights. This book will be a step to remedy the lack of literature on professional rights-based practice pertaining to Art.12. The book will also seek to contribute to the ongoing research-agenda combining an interest in developing knowledge-based professionalism in social work pertaining to the rights of the child.
Parallel Session 3 
5:15pm - 6:15pmWorkshop 29: Listening to Professionals' Voices as to Develop Tools for Assessing and Determining the Best Interest of Children
Location: Parallel Session 4
Prof. Christos Panagiotopoulos
Dr. Anna Plevri
Dr. Ioanna Katsounari
Protecting vulnerable children is always a challenging and difficult task at the same time. Many of the challenges stem from the nature of the difficulties that children come across in their life and especially from the duration of time they have been exposed to. At the same time, we come across problems due to lack of working protocols amongst agencies, lack of common understanding on how we determine and assess children best interest. In particular, the last parameter occurs as agencies and consequently professionals do not work neither within a common framework nor they use tools as to determine and assess best interest of a child. Therefore, this study, commissioned by the Ombudsman of Children in Cyprus, explored through the focus-groups with all involved agencies (governmental and non-governmental) a) the understanding of the determination and assessment of a child by all involved agencies in Cyprus b) procedures that are currently in use in order to guarantee children’s best interest and finally c) suggested a methodology on how to develop tools for ensuring the best interest of the child. Results of the study indicated gaps in working together synergies, lack of common understanding amongst professionals on how to ensure children’s best interest and need for setting up a common framework. Therefore, in this workshop, experiences and good practices will be shared and discussed focusing in particular on children’s involvement on decision making and on the use of tools that define and assess children’s quality of life.
Parallel Session 4 
6:15pm - 6:30pmCoffee Break
6:30pm - 7:30pmClosing Session

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