Centre for Social Work Innovation and Research

Past Events 2020/21

Doctoral Research-in-Progress - 12 July 2021 

Time: 2-3pm
Presenter: May Nasrawy, Doctoral Researcher, Social Work & Social Care PhD
Surviving My ‘Online’ Viva: A final test, or a whole new beginning?

In this online presentation, May draws on her personal experience of having recently completed an online Viva to share some reflections on what it felt like to go through the process, how she prepared for it and, most importantly, what she learned from it.

If you have recently completed a Viva, have one coming up, or are just interested in what Vivas actually entail, please join us - for some personal reflections and an online celebration of the end of the 2021 DRiP seminar series!

Reflective Forum: Pandemic-affected Professional Practice - 1 July 2021 

Time: 12.30-1.45pm

Social work practitioners/managers and academics come together to reflect on how the pandemic and its aftermath has - and is - impacting on practice modelling a psychosocial approach called 'Listening Posts'. The three stages of which will be:

  • Stage 1 (30mins)
    A free and unstructured reflective conversation about the forum topic
  • Stage 2 (30 mins)
    A critical consideration of the content of Stage 1 to identify themes
  • Stage 3 (15 mins)
    Development of a hypothesis of what is happening with professional practice that might have wider application and help inform ongoing practice. 
CSWIR/SWIRLS Meet & Greet - 24 June 2021

Time: 8-10am (UK) / 4.30-6.30pm (Australia)

The SWIRLS (Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia) and CSWIR research centres are delighted to be launching their collaborative research partnership with this 'Meet and Greet' event. Faculty colleagues and doctoral researchers are warmly invited to participate in this lively and fast-paced exchange of research interests, ideas and expertise that will mark the beginning of this exciting initiative. 

The event will provide an opportunity for attendees to:

  • hear from faculty colleagues and doctoral students about their current research
  • meet in small groups to share your own research activities and interests
  • begin to establish international research relationships and collaborations 

We very much hope you can join us and look forward to welcoming you into this new collaborative community.

To register, please email:

Looked Afer Children & Care Leavers (KEE 4) - 16 June 2021

Time: 4-5.30pm
Facilitators: Professor Beth Neil & Professor June Thoburn


  • Professor David Berridge
  • Professor Elaine Farmer
  • Professor Gillian Schofield
  • Professor Mike Stein

The focus of this session will be on reunification and kinship care, long-term foster care and adoption, care leavers and residential care.

Everyday Social Work with Children & Families (KEE 3) - 8 June 2021

Time: 4-5pm
Facilitator: Professor Jonathan Dickens & Dr Laura Cook


  • Professor Danielle Turney
  • Professor Harry Ferguson
  • Professor Gillian Ruch

The focus of this session will be on assessment, decision-making, challenges and opportunities in everyday professional social work practice and direct work with children.

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion in Children's Social Care (KEE 2) - 24 May 2021

Time: 12-1pm
Facilitators: Professor Gillian Ruch & Dr Tam Cane


  • Professor Claudia Bernard
  • Professor Rick Hood
  • Professor Anna Gupta
  • Professor Brid Featherstone

The focus of this session will be on inequalities in child care social work and social care in relation to race, poverty and identity.

Children's Social Care Knowledge & Evidence Event (KEE 1) - 18 May 2021

Time: 4-5pm

The Association of Professors of Social Work are holding four on-line Knowledge and Evidence Events which are open to everyone. These hour long, online briefing seminars are specifically designed to inform the Children's Social Work and Social Care sector about the current knowledge of the field, as well as independently contribute to the evidence informing the Department for Education’s Children’s Social Care Review. Each of the four events are based on brief presentations and key messages by leading researchers in the fields of Children’s Social Work and Care. After each event knowledge briefings, developed in collaboration with Research in Practice, will be made available.

The first Knowledge and Evidence Event focused on Service Delivery Models is scheduled to take place on 18 May from 16.00-17.00pm (UK time).

The three presenters within this event, facilitated by Professor Ray Jones, have all undertaken major studies and reviews of children’s social care, social work and child protection:

  • Marian Brandon, Emeritus Professor of Social Work at the University of East Anglia, who will be drawing out the lessons from her overview reports on serious case reviews.
  • Eileen Munro, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy, London School of Economics. It is the tenth anniversary of the Munro Review into Child Protection. Eileen will be focusing on key messages from the Review and from international comparisons on arrangements for children’s social care and social work.
  • Nicky Stanley, Professor of Social Work, University of Central England, who will reflect on the major study she led on independent social work practices within services for children and families.
Ageing Well: Changing the Conversation - 10 May 2021

How do we resist inequalities in the new normal? Shaping the future of ageing care and the care workforce

The impact of Covid-19 on ageing care is a story of two halves. On the one hand, it has magnified some of the key problems in caring for older people such as underfunded ageing health & social care, ageing inequality and an inadequate ageing care workforce and care resources. On the other, it has accelerated the transition of care into the digital age, pushing remote care practice as well as online education and training.

This global reset has created an opening for change that seemed unthinkable a year ago, including the opportunity to shape what caring for older people will look like in an uncertain future.

This webinar was co-hosted by the Centre for Social Work Innovation and Research (CSWIR)Centre for Innovation and Research in Wellbeing (CIRW)Sussex ESRC IAA, Ageing Well: Changing the Conversation, in partnership with Adult Social Care and Health, East Sussex County Council, the Centre of Excellence in Research on Ageing and Care (CoE AgeCare)and always possible.

Speakers discussed four key problems in ageing care: ethnic inequalities in later life, care home practice, community care practice and care education and training and support for paid and unpaid carers. Drawing on examples from the U.K., Finland and elsewhere, the panel explored how future care can offer something better and more sustainable moving forward.


  • Prof.TeppoKröger from the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, has studied social care since the early 1990s and leads the Centre of Excellence in Research on Ageing and Care. Prof. Kröger will discuss two new surveys from Finland focusing on people’s experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic from an older people’s and a carers’ perspective.
  • Dr Laia Becares is Senior Lecturer in Applied Social Sciences and Deputy Director of the Centre for Research and Innovation in Wellbeing at the University of Sussex. Her research interests are in studying the pathways by which the discrimination and marginalisation of people and places lead to social and health inequalities across the life course, with a specific focuson racism andheterosexism as systems of oppression. Dr. Becares’ talk will focus on ethnic inequality in later life.
  • Philip Blurton, is the Principal Social Worker for Adult Social Care at East Sussex County Council where he is leading on the implementation of the Liberty Protection Safeguards as well as playing a key role in the recruitment, development and retention of a high-quality workforce of social care practitioners. Philip is currently leading a project group within East Sussex to understand the changes to social care practice that have taken place as a result of the pandemic. His talk will focus on remote social work practice in ageing care during COVID-19 and the way this is likely to impact on longer term changes to social work practice with older people.
  • Dr Henglien Lisa Chen is a social worker, gerontologist, lecturer, and the Deputy Director of CSWIR at the University of Sussex. Lisa’s research profile is centred on the policy and practice of long-term care. This includes quality of life for older people and their carers, care service evaluations and development, and the care workforce within the long-term care system. Dr Chen will focus on defining the new normal for care education and training and support for the paid and unpaid care workforce.


The Ageing Well project brings together a host of activities, research and content and as part of this we have set up a community content hub via a peer networking platform called The Possibility Club. These free online discussions give you permission to disrupt the way we think about – and do – ageing well.

Bringing together cutting-edge research, business innovation, grassroots practice in the community and individual lived experience – we’re pooling our knowledge to see what the future might look like.

Visit Ageing Well: Changing the Conversation to view the circle and get involved.

This project is funded by the University of Sussex and the Economic and Social Research Council to help translate academic knowledge into action. The activity is facilitated by always possible, a unique consultancy looking at 21st century problem-solving through connected conversation.

Researching Professional Practice - 29 April 2021

Time: 11am-12.30pm
Speaker: Nick Andrews, University of Swansea
Zoom link: 

Nick Andrews from the University of Swansea will share his thoughts and experiences about professional learning and development through ‘magic moments’ in adult social work and social care. 

Title: 'It’s Not In The Care Plan: Supporting collective, contextualised learning through ‘magic moments'

The Franciscan, Richard Rohr states ‘the problem with organised religion is that it tries to teach people what to see rather than how to see’. A similar criticism could be made of approaches to training and development for the social work and social care workforce. Practitioners are often unconsciously framed as ‘empty vessels’, who are then subject to top-down Powerpoint presentations or e-learning. 

By contrast, the distinguished educationalist Paulo Freire advised strongly against imposing knowledge on people. The natural reaction to such an approach is to push-back, especially if it creates uncomfortable cognitive dissonance. He suggested that education is more about stimulating ‘a need to know’, which starts by valuing and engaging with the reality and stories of the people involved, then empowering them to lead the learning. The ‘magic moments’ storytelling approach to professional learning and development was developed in response to this awareness. Grounded in Appreciative Inquiry, it uses dialogue-learning techniques to explore and learn from the stories of practitioners. This short on-line, inter-active workshop will provide an introduction to this model of learning and, in the spirit of this approach, participants will be invited to share their own magic moments in the workshop space. 

Ageing Well: Person-centred design - 6 April 2021


Ageing Well: Changing the Conversation - 23 February 2021 *remote (fully booked)

Much is made of person-centred care, but in looking too closely at the individual there is a chance we devalue social connection. Refocusing on the relationships between the older person and the people who care for them encourages us to think differently about the active role older people can play in this dynamic.

This webinar explored whether focusing on quality relationships can improve outcomes for older people by examining the difference between the two approaches and how thinking differently can impact the care and support that is delivered.


  • Dr Henglien Lisa Chen: Deputy Director of the Centre for Social Work Innovation and Research, School of Education and Social Work, University of Sussex
    Lisa’s research is centred on the policy and practice of long-term care, particularly in the forms of community and institutional care of older people including people with dementia and their in/formal carers and caring professionals.
  • Charlotte Evans: Founder of 'Story Chaplain'
    Inspired by the time she spent with her grandmother, Charlotte founded the social enterprise Story Chaplain, which encourages and equips people to use everyday creativity when spending time with people living with dementia, through resources and workshops. Charlotte holds an MA in Bibliotherapy (fiction therapy), and uses 'Comfort Words', poems and creative writing in her workshops. Charlotte often uses connection with nature and the seasons to encourage meaningful moments
  • Brendan Commane: Volunteer
    'Time to Talk Befriending' is an inter-generational befriending project which aims to help people aged 65+ who are socially isolated, chronically lonely and/or have limited or no access to services. The project aims to build lasting relationships. Brendan has undertaken a workshop led by Charlotte, and as a result now uses the INGREDIENTS cards to help create meaningful moments of connection with his befriendee.
  • Pati Bielak-Smith: Non-violent Communication (NVC) Trainer
    Based in Wales, Pati is a UK certified NVC trainer specialising in working with the elderly. She has written a book on applying NVC to Dementia.



Researching Professional Practice - 15 February 2021 *remote

Time: 12.30-2pm
Speaker: Paul Shuttleworth

Title: 'Fallibility and Rigour: Finding out what matters to children in kinship care through dialogical participation and critical realism'

This workshop will discuss the methodological approach used for the research which looks at what matters to children in kinship care which ensured the meaningful inclusion of the voice of children through participation. It will also discuss how social work research and practice should adopt a particular reflective and ethically charged participatory stance. This is known as dialogical participation.

Also highlighted will be the relevance of philosophy and knowledge production whenever participation is undertaken. Particular methodological stances are necessary so that generalisations can be robustly made and to ensure that research findings can produce change. Therefore, critical realism was used as an underlabourer to accentuate particular participatory methods.  

Lastly, there will be a reflection on the particular methods used for the study. This included photo-elicitation, child-led walking tours, role-play, drawing, and an interviewing process with the children that discussed emerging theories. This allowed a reflective and collaborative study design.


Reflective Forum: Pandemic-affected Professional Practice - 21 January 2021 *remote

Time: 12.30-1.45pm

Social work practitioners/managers and academics come together to reflect on how the pandemic and its aftermath has - and is - impacting on practice modelling a psychosocial approach called 'Listening Posts'. The three stages of which will be:

  • Stage 1 (30mins)
    A free and unstructured reflective conversation about the forum topic
  • Stage 2 (30 mins)
    A critical consideration of the content of Stage 1 to identify themes
  • Stage 3 (15 mins)
    Development of a hypothesis of what is happening with professional practice that might have wider application and help inform ongoing practice.  
Researching Professional Practice - 14 December 2020  *remote

Time: 12.30-2pm

BASW England Relationship-based Practice Week: 30 November - 4 December 2020

BASW England Relationship-based Practice Week event promoFREE FOR MEMBERS

Join us for a week of workshops, forums, and panel discussions around the topic of relationship-based practice.

We will be looking at the progress of the BASW England 80-20 Campaign - in partnership with University of Sussex Talking and Listening to Children (TLC) Research - since our first survey, where we are now during a year of pandemics and protest, and how we see the future of the campaign progressing.

The practice week sessions will cover a range of topics including:

  • Practical relationship-based practice tools (Kitbag and Kitbag Online)
  • Relationships during pandemics
  • Anti-racist practice
  • Making time for relationships
  • Better recording in children’s social work

The booking pages for each event are as follows:

More details

Researching Professional Practice - 9 November 2020  *remote

Time: 12.30-1.45pm

Theme: Researcher reflexivity when researching professional practice (to include planning the RPP workshop programme for the year) 

Researching Professional Practice pre-reading: Relationship-based Research in Social Work

Doctoral Research-in-Progress (DRiP) Seminar - 5 November 2020  *remote

Time: 2-3pm

Title: Living on the Margins: Understanding wellbeing through the everyday life experiences of young Arab Jerusalemites
Speaker: May Nasrawy, Doctoral Researcher, Social Work & Social Care PhD

In this presentation, May will describe her research journey, starting from the point she developed an interest in the topic, through to why and how she went about researching it. She will pause at various intervals throughout to highlight particular challenges encountered, how she dealt with them, and ultimately “found her voice” through the ‘messiness’ of it all!

Autistic Women and Girls - 15 October 2020  *remote (fully booked)

Autistic Women and Girls promoTime: 5pm

A short introductory seminar into understanding and working with autistic women and girls
Presented by Cathie Long and Esther Whitney 

Cathie is warm and engaging, and proud to be neurodiverse. She has an MA in Autism andwas awarded ‘The Professional Learning Award Outstanding Achievement (Autism)’ by the University of South Wales in December 2017. She is a highly competent and experienced Independent Social Worker and Expert Witness. She is an Approved Mental Health Professional, and a Best Interest’s Assessor. Cathie completes capacity assessments for Deputyship applications to the Court of Protection. She is experienced in assessments for the Family Court, particularly where the parents(s) and/or children have a learning disability, neurodiversity, or difficulties associated with their mental health. She possesses over 26 years of post-qualifying experience working with children, adults, and older people who have mental health problems (including dementia), a learning disability, substance misuse issues, and physical health needs.

Esther is an award-winning artist who is also proud to be neurodiverse. Esther is a mother who endured a difficult and prolonged experience of Family Court. Seven weeks after her daughter was born, Esther’s baby was removed into the care of her local authority. Due to Esther’s tenacity and determination, she intelligently did all she could to challenge the court decision. Finally, despite many opposing views from different professionals, the judge eventually allowed her daughter to be returned to her care. Esther is now the proud mother of her four-and-a-half-year-old daughter.
She is an MA in Autism research student at the University of Canterbury. 

Cathie will interview Esther about her lived experience of autism,drawing insights from different aspects of being autistic - such as sensory processing differences, and the differences between autism and a diagnosis of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD).

Reflective Forum: Pandemic-affected Professional Practice - 8 October 2020  *remote

Time: 12.30-1.45pm

Social work practitioners/managers and academics come together to reflect on how the pandemic and its aftermath has - and is - impacting on practice modelling a psychosocial approach called 'Listening Posts'. The three stages of which will be:

  • Stage 1 (30mins)
    A free and unstructured reflective conversation about the forum topic
  • Stage 2 (30 mins)
    A critical consideration of the content of Stage 1 to identify themes
  • Stage 3 (15 mins)
    Development of a hypothesis of what is happening with professional practice that might have wider application and help inform ongoing practice.