Centre for Social Work Innovation and Research

Past Events 2017/18

Learning from Experience: The Highs and Lows of the Psychosocial Research Encounter - 20 November 2017

Time: 10.30am-2pm
Venue: Ground floor meeting room, Essex House

A collaborative workshop presented by Dr Gemma North (Research Fellow, Sociology) & Esther Ramsay-Jones (Doctoral researcher, Open University and Birkbeck, University of London + Specialist Counsellor / Psychotherapist in palliative care)

Esther recently completed her PhD on the relational field in dementia care at the Open University and Birkbeck, University of London. She currently practices as a Specialist Counsellor/Psychotherapist in palliative care. She previously worked in dementia care, training and developing services, as well as in frontline care. She has most recently been published in the anthology ‘Absent Mothers’ [Demeter Press] and has been published in academic journals such as Dementia and Psychodynamic Practice.

Esther and Gemma hosted this workshop which constituted an innovative and collaborative space within which psychosocial methods could be discussed and developed. The event included a presentation of Esther's research which considered some of the benefits and difficulties of conducting psychosocial research. A ‘Baliant Group’ formed the basis of group activity and participants were encouraged to bring their own research data. 

What Happens in the Making of an Adoptive Family: Rethinking matching in adoption from care - 27 April 2018

Time: 11am-12pm
Venue: Room 327, Silverstone

A Research-in-Progress Seminar presented by Louise Sims, Social Work and Social Care PhD researcher

This presentation drew on Louise's PhD research exploring 'matching' in adoption. Through matching the state seeks to make an entirely new family. Matching is understood as a collaborative process involving a child (or children, a range of practitioners, decision-making forums, foster carers and their families, prospective parents and sometimes - albeit rarely - birth family members.

In her multi-modal ethnographic study exploring this process, incidences of physical and mental collapse, memory loss, ‘flashbacks’ and problems with speech when recalling experiences were commonplace. Drawing on the concept of a ‘liminal hotspot’ and the juxtaposition of different (sometimes conflictual) perspectives spanning two decades, Louise considered the features, costs and generative potential of the matching process.

Quality over Quantity: Interaction can enhance research use in social work (and it may not have to be time and resource intensive!) - 31 May 2018 ** EVENT CANCELLED **

Time: 4-5.30pm
Venue: Room G35, Jubilee Building

An open research seminar presented by Dr Milena Heinsch, Lecturer in Social Work, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia

Interaction between researchers and practitioners has been highlighted as a crucial factor influencing research use in practice. However, the research utilisation literature has emphasised the time and resource intensive nature of this kind of interaction, as well as the challenges of inadequate support, time pressures and demand overload experienced by both practitioners and researchers. These factors are key reasons why researchers and practitioners find it difficult to engage in joint activities that foster research use.

In this seminar, Dr Heinsch reported on the findings from a study which explored the experiences of social work researchers in engaging with practitioners for the purpose of facilitating research use. examined how researchers conceived, explained and experienced the research utilisation process, with the central aim of identifying how engagement can best lead to research use in social work.

The event offered a valuable forum for interdisciplinary and interprofessional discussion to consider the relevance and application of these findings in the UK context.

** Due to Milena being ill when due to present this research seminar, the event was cancelled. Her presentation Powerpoint can, however, be viewed here: Quality over Quantity: Interaction can enhance research use in social work [PPTX 2.44MB] **

Caring About Care: Promoting successful trajectories through the development of more human-scale systems - 3 July 2018

Time: 10.30am-3.30pm
Venue: Gardner Tower Room, Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (ACCA), University of Sussex

This event was hosted by the Centre for Teaching and Learning Research (CTLR) and supported by the Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth (CIRCY) and the Centre for Social Work Innovation and Research (CSWIR)

This event brought together researchers, academics, practitioners and other stakeholders with a commitment to improving the trajectories of care experienced young people within education systems. It highlighted the ‘endless small steps [that] fall out of the long term goal of university’ and the importance of approaches that put young people’s lived experiences at the centre.

  • Dr Louise Gazeley & Dr Tamsin Hinton-Smith (University of Sussex):
    HE ChampionsCoaching Programme for Looked After Children
    Evaluation of a near-peer coaching model for young people considering entry to university, underpinned with therapeutic expertise.
  • Dr Maggie Inchley (Queen Mary University of London) & Dr Sylvan Baker(Royal Central School of Speech and Drama):
    The Verbatim Formula
    A participatory action research project based at Queen Mary University involving the gathering and sharing of the personal testimonies of care-experienced young people, foster carers and social workers.
  • Dr Fidelma Hanrahan (University of Sussex):
    Against All Odds
    A cross-national research project under taken in England, Norway and Denmark that aimed to challenge negative perceptions of the lives of young people and adults who have been in care and build more positive understandings of their experiences

Other speakers discussed the wider support systems inside and outside Higher Education, including Matthew Blood (Virtual School Head for Children Looked After, Safeguarding and Family Support, Children’s Services, Islington) who talked about the role of the virtual school and the concerns that motivated the development of the HE Champions Coaching programme.