Christine Morley

Christine Morley is Professor and Head of the Social Work and Human Services Discipline in the School of Public Health and Social Work, and Deputy Director of the Centre for Justice at Queensland University of Technology. She is also Adjunct Professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast. She is a passionate advocate of critical social work and has published extensively on the application of critical theories to social work education and practice including books: Practising Critical Reflection to Develop Emancipatory Change (Routledge 2014), Engaging with Social Work: A Critical Introduction, (author with Phillip Ablett & Selma Macfarlane, Cambridge, 2nd Edition 2019) and most recently, The Routledge Handbook of Critical Pedagogies for Social Work (editor with Phillip Ablett, Carolyn Noble and Stephen Cowden, 2020).

Presentation title and abstract:

‘The necessity of critical theory and pedagogy: Revisiting the purpose of social work education during times of uncertainty’

During recent history, we have witnessed and experienced multiple local, national and global states of emergency, creating widespread panics, hardship and uncertainty. This adversity, rooted in the contradictions of global capitalism, manifests in diverse forms, including the escalating impacts of climate change; the current COVID-19 global pandemic; the election of many, destructive, right-wing populist governments; and the widening of global economic and social inequalities. This creates a challenging terrain for social workers, who must respond to both old and new social problems emerging within rapidly changing, complex, divided and uncertain contexts. In addition, the cumulative effects of four decades of neoliberal policy in most Anglophone countries, has fundamentally changed the nature and purpose of mainstream social work. While social work as a profession remains formally committed to challenging injustices and promoting collective responsibility; most social workers are nevertheless employed by the state, paradoxically captured by its dominant discourses and recruited into the technologies of neoliberal governmentality. Within this context, it is difficult to imagine a more crucial time for social workers to develop a political and moral consciousness capable of activating practices of agency, hope and resistance (for the people we work it and ourselves). But how can social work make a worthwhile contribution to safeguarding social justice, human and ecological rights, democracy, and progressive social change? And, what is the important contribution that social work education must make to this endeavour? This paper presents research that points to the fundamental importance of critical social analysis, critical reflection and critical pedagogy to inform social work education in order to effectively prepare practitioners for future as advocates of justice.

Karmen Toros

Karmen Toros is a Social Work Professor and the Head of Social Protection at the School of Governance, Law and Society, Tallinn University. She is one of the establisher of the Centre for Advanced Research on Integrity, Rights and Inclusion of the Child (CIRIC). CIRIC aims to improve the quality of services that children and families receive through a research-focus on the rights of the child and professional practice. She is actively involved in social work education and training of child protection workers. Her research focuses on the assessment of children in need in child protection system with a particular interest on child participation. Her recent projects include studying effective participatory discourse in the context of child protection assessment practices and editing a book on children’s right to express themselves during decision-making and assessment process in child protection services.

Presentation title:

‘Participatory Approaches with Children in Child Protective Services: Tokenistic Presence or Not?’

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?

Yuri Kazepov

Yuri Kazepov is professor of urban sociology and comparative social policies at the University of Vienna. He has been Jean Monet Fellow at the European University Institute (1995-96) visiting professor at the University of Bremen (DE), Lund and Växjö (SE), Leuven (BE) and ARC distinguished fellow at the Graduate Center CUNY in New York (USA). He is a founding member of the Network for European Social Policy Analysis (ESPAnet) and past president of RC21 of the International Sociological Association. His fields of interest are urban governance, citizenship and urban quality of life, social policies in comparative perspective. On these issues he has been carrying out extensive comparative research and evaluation activities for many national and international agencies. Among his publications we have (2005) Cities of Europe. Changing contexts, local arrangements and the challenge to social cohesion, Blackwell, Oxford (ed.); (2010) Rescaling social policies towards multilevel governance in Europe, Ashgate (ed.); (2018) Western Capitalism in Transition. Global changes local challenges, Manchester University Press: Manchester (editor with A. Andreotti and D. Benassi). (2020) Local social innovation to combat poverty: a critical appraisal, Policy Press: Bristol. (editor and author with S. Oosterlynck and A. Novy); (2020) Italian Youth in International Context: Belonging, Constraints and Opportunities, Routledge, New York. (editor with V. Cuzzocrea and B. G. Bello). He is currently editing for Edward Elgar the Handbook of Urban Social Policy to be published in 2021.

Presentation title:

‘The challenges of social (policy) innovation’