Practice Education

A passion for Social Work – Joint Social Work Education Conference (JSWEC) June 2023

Dr Orlanda Harvey
Dr Lou Oliver
Tilia Lenz
Professor Mel Hughes
Rosslyn Dray
18th June 2023

In June a number of Bournemouth University PIER (Public Involvement in Education and Research) Partnership members, students and academics attended the annual JSWEC conference in Glasgow. This was kindly hosted by the University of Strathclyde.

The Joint Social Work Education Conference is an annual in person event which has been revived post Covid, aiming to bring together national and international research and contributions to the knowledge base around social work education. This year the theme reflected concern around the ‘turbulent and uncertain times that we are living in.’ Presentations and workshops showcased examples of creative and progressive research to address core professional practice and education themes such as embedding anti-racist practice, strengthening the evidence base of social work, promoting social justice, creating cohesive practice communities and celebrating the unique contribution of social work as a profession. 

The conference created opportunities for BU academics Mel Hughes, Orlanda Harvey, Tilia Lenz, Louise Oliver and Ros Dray, PIER partnership, represented by Samantha Dawson and Christine Bondsfield and BA students, Jasmine Thompson and Emma Gennard, to celebrate and showcase a range of research. This included creative methodology in practice, for example use of poetry for critical reflection to encourage reflexivity in practice. Our presenters also shared collaborations with PIER partnership, showcasing participatory pedagogy which promotes learning from experts by experience and promotes social justice. In pre-qualifying and post-qualifying areas Tilia Lenz presented collaborative work undertaken with Dr Rejoice Chipuriro around resilience and leadership, and Ros Dray presented work to promote the identity of social work through a co-created project with PIER members sharing positive stories about social work.

Exciting opportunities for collaboration and networking were created through conversations about workshops facilitated by academics, PIER members and students. This left us all feeling energised with possibilities. Harry Venning, the illustrator and creator of ‘Clare in the community’ captured for us the term ‘passion-based learning.’ This reminds us all of the value of making connections and re-discovering how our passion for education directly influences professional practice and community engagement.  

JSWEC organisers aim to take the conference to all four nations and different regions. It is a shared ambition that Bournemouth University will host the conference in the future. This could provide an exciting opportunity to showcase research in Social Work and Social Sciences disciplines; showing the diversity of our collective research, and how inclusive, creative and participatory research methodologies provide real engagement with communities, practice and education.  

Meet the author(s)

Dr Orlanda Harvey

Senior lecturer in Social Work
Orlanda is a senior lecturer in the Social Work Team, specialising in Developing Professional Relationships and Leadership. She completed her doctoral research in 2020 exploring men's recreational use of Androgenic Anabolic Steroid Use. Her research interests include: Image and Performance Enhancing Substance Use, Domestic Violence and Abuse, leadership, and reflective practice.
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Dr Lou Oliver

Senior lecture
Louise is a senior lecturer with the social work team, teaching on both the qualifying and post-qualifying programmes. Louise is a qualified social worker who has predominantly worked in children's and families within local authorities.
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Tilia Lenz

Senior Lecturer Social Work and CPD Framework Social Sciences. (She/her)
Tilia is a Senior Lecturer for Social Work and the CPD Framework lead for Social Sciences. She is a qualified Social Pedagogue and registered Social Worker and spent 15 years in front line Children’s Services as a practitioner and manager. She undertook her MA studies in Managing and Developing Services in Health and Social Care at BU with the focus on Organisational Cultures and Staff Performance. She is now undertaking research for her PhD on ‘Relationship Performance Management in Child Protection’. She has a particular interest in practitioner wellbeing and resilience.
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Professor Mel Hughes

Director of the National Centre for Cross-Disciplinary Social Work
Dr Mel Hughes is Associate Professor in Social Work at Bournemouth University (BU). Mel champions lived experience expertise through her roles as Academic Lead for the PIER (Public Involvement in Education and Research) partnership and Deputy Director of the Research Centre for Seldom Heard Voices. Mel is committed to ensuring that those who are most affected by social, economic and health inequalities have a voice in shaping and informing research, education and practice.
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Rosslyn Dray

Senior Lecturer in Social Work
Rosslyn Dray is a senior lecturer in social work and practice learning at Bournemouth University. She has a background in mental health, workforce development and strategic leadership in adult social care. She is a registered social worker, Approved Mental Health Professional, Best Interest Assessor, and counsellor and psychotherapist.
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