Reclaiming Social Work: SW @ Sussex celebrates World Social Work day

By Sevasti-Melissa Nolas

World Social Work day is a great opportunity to raise the profile of what social work is about nationally and internationally, to celebrate successes which go largely unnoticed, to contextualise and learn from failures which are often disproportionately visible, and to publicly debate the values that social work as a professional holds dear including social justice, human rights and social development.

It is too easy for a profession that for the most part is hidden from public view to become defined by its most critical moments. Yet there is something of a quiet revolution going on in terms of the public image of social work started perhaps by the BBC’s recent series Protecting Our Children which gave us a rare view of what social workers do, the dilemmas they face on a daily basis and the ways in which they work with families. World Social Work Day for me represents a counter-moment in the year, an opportunity to reclaim the terms of the debate and to shape public understanding of social work from the inside out.

There is a long tradition in the field of science and technology of science communication and of developing the public’s understanding of science. My aspiration is to create a parallel movement for social work, social care and related social support professions that work behind the scenes with some of the most vulnerable and excluded members of our societies.

Blogging has a huge role to play in this quiet revolution. It is a way to quickly and directly engage with the public, to make visible social work’s everyday practices and to openly debate the many tensions and dilemmas involved in practising social work. This is why I am delighted that with colleagues in the Department we are embracing all that social media have to offer us and launching our ‘socialworkatsussex’ blog today.

During World Social Work week (20-26 March) we will be blogging on various topics near and dear to us. To get us going Michelle Lefevre reflects on how social workers everywhere might promote the United Nations Conventions for the Rights of the Child in their work with children. Sharon Lambley writes about the challenges facing leadership and management in a changing social work landscapes. Cath Holmström reflects on the opportunities that World Social Work Day provides us to pause for thought and reconnect with the global agenda, values and priorities of social work.

You can find out more about World Social Work Day here http://ifsw.org/get-involved/world-social-work-day/

As the blog develops we look forward to receiving contributions from our colleagues in the field, our extensive network of users and carers who support our work, and from our current and former students, as well as from time to time invited guests.

Happy reading, and happy World Social Work day!

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February 21, 2012. Tags: , , , . World Social Work Day. Leave a comment.