Centre for Social Work Innovation and Research

Past Events 2021/22

Postgraduate Researcher Public Engagement Event - 7 April 2022 

HansTime: 12-1pm
Speaker: Hans Rosenkranz, Executive Director, Comunidad de Organizaciones Solidarias
Facilitator: Felipe Parades Ramos, Postrgaduate Researcher in the Department of Social Work & Social Care, University of Sussex
Title: Collaboration and participation in complex times. Structural changes and pandemic in Chile

Hans Rosenkranz is Chile's main civil society network and home of multiple public-private partnerships for tackling social problems, such as the country's response to national catastrophes and children's lives in residential care. The Network is currently spearheading a zero-homelessness ambition.

Hans has an MSc in Social Innovation from the London School of Economics.

CSWIR-SWIRLS collaborative event in celebration of World Social Work Day 2022                        - 15 March 2022

Title: Registration in Social Work
Time: 8-9am GMT (for UK participants) / 6.30-7.30pm ACDT (for Australia participants)
Platform: WebEx

This public event presented by the Social Work Innovation Research Living Space (SWIRLS) at Flinders University, South Australia, and the Centre for Social Work Innovation and Research (CSWIR), University of Sussex, UK, was an 'in conversation with' style event with academics, practitioners and service users discussing the registration of Social Work.

The Australian and UK contenxts provided a unique chance to explore both the opportunities and challenges registration has for the profession both locally and globally - as Australia embarks on registration which the UK has experienced for the last two decades.

Sarah WendtHost and Facilitator: Professor Sarah Wendt, Director, SWIRLS

Sarah is currently Professor of Social Work at Flinders University and Director of SWIRLS.

Prior to academia, Sarah practiced in the field of domestic violence. She has taught in social work for over a decade. She has published on violence against women and social work practice. Her particular research projects explore the impact of domestic violence on women’s citizenship, service provision in the field of domestic violence, young women’s experiences of violence and abuse, and engaging men to address domestic violence. More recently she has been researching collaboration across child protection and domestic violence sectors.

Lisa ChenCentre for Social Work Innovation and Research (CSWIR): 
Dr Henglien Lisa Chen

Lisa is a Senior Lecturer of Social Work in the Department of Social Work and Social Care at the University of Sussex and Co-Director of CSWIR. Her experience as a gerontological social worker and academic has shaped her research development on improving the quality of life and quality of care of older people and their in/formal carers (i.e. families, health and social care workers and care professionals). Her teaching and recent research also include social work pedagogy which nurtures social work student to think and perform like a social worker and develop the professional self and critical thinking.

Lorna Hallahan


Social Work Innovation Research Living Space (SWIRLS): Associate Professor Lorna Hallahan, Associate Professor in the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work at Flinders University and SWIRLS Member

Located within the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work at Flinders University, Lorna has been a significant and long-term contributor to the development and analysis of disability policy including the development and evaluation of the Trial of The National Disability Insurance Scheme. From July 2019 until February 2021 Lorna was seconded as Senior Research Advisor to Australia’s Royal Commission on Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. Lorna has also advised on registration of social work in Australia.

Fiona Ward



Social Work Practitioner: Fiona Ward, Deputy CEO, Department of Child Protection South Australia.

With a reputation as an exceptional leader and strategist, Fiona has over two decades of experience at senior executive levels across the public sector – with a strong record in setting state and national policy agendas, driving system and service delivery reform, and building successful collaborations across sectors. Fiona has achieved significant outcomes in both the child protection and Aboriginal Affairs portfolios with government, and was recently appointed as an Adjunct Industry Professor with the University of South Australia in recognition of her commitment to partnering with the academic sector to build the evidence base for better practice and policy.

As a qualified social worker, Fiona has a rich perspective on the challenges and opportunities for the sector and has been a strong advocate for a social worker registration scheme that provides both professional recognition and title protection. Fiona led the SA Government’s submission to the 2020 Joint Committee process into social worker registration, and will be playing a key role in implementation of a scheme in SA following the passage of legislation December 2021.

Gillian Maher

Expert by Experience: Gillian Maher, a retired Child Protection Social Worker and Guardian ad Litem, an Associate Tutor in Adult Social Care, and a member of the Service User and Carer Network at Sussex University.

Gillian is a retired Child Protection Social Worker and Guardian ad Litem, an Associate Tutor in Adult Social Care and together with her daughter Helen, a member of the Service User and Carer Network at Sussex University. Helen learning and physical disabilities, but was only diagnosed with Soto’s Syndrome when 21 years old and never assessed by a Children’s Social Worker after her parents refused to place her in long-term hospital care, when she was three months old. Her first contact with a Social Worker was as an adult in 1994, prior to Social Work registration and it is this, which has informed our experience of Social Work practice subsequently.

'Using Arts-based Methods to Access Vulnerable Children's Experiences': An Open Research Seminar - 18 January 2022 

Using Arts-based Methods to Access Vulnerable Children’s Experiences: The case of children in the Lesbos refugee camp and Bedouin youth in unrecognized villages

Time: 10.30am-12pm
Presenter: Professor Ephrat Huss, The Charlotte B. & Jack J. Spitzer Department of Social Work, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel

The aim of this seminar is to demonstrate how a qualitative arts-based methodology can be used to understand and evaluate marginalized children’s lived experience of their social realities. This methodology enables the articulation of the rights and abilities of vulnerable children to consult and express their worldview to influence their lives and co-create effective services and interventions.

Arts-based methods are illustrated by two case studies:

  • children in a refugee school in Lesbos
  • youth in unrecognized Bedouin villages.

Both live in deep poverty and with cultural marginalization. The methodology intends to capture children’s phenomenological and also physical and socially contextualized experiences, needs, and ways of coping - a useful protocol with which to approach additional contexts of children’s lives, health and needs that are difficult to research using traditional methods due to cultural context and related challenges.

*This event is co-hosted with the Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth (CIRCY)


The Effectiveness and Suitability of Self-Isolation and Loneliness Interventions for Older People from Minoritised Ethnic Groups Living in the UK - 10 December 2021 

Time: 8-9.30am
Presenter: Dr Brenda Hayanga, Research Fellow, School of Education and Social Work
Zoom link: https://universityofsussex.zoom.us/j/91541275760
(Meeting ID: 915 4127 5760 / Passcode: 110206)

The effectiveness and suitability of social isolation and loneliness interventions for older people from minoritised ethnic groups living in the UK


Social isolation and loneliness are now recognised as issues that should be addressed in the interests of improving public health. Compared to older white people, many older people from minoritised ethnic groups living in the UK are vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness. The intersection of age and ethnicity, along with the adverse outcomes of health, socio-economic inequalities, and negative migration-related experiences, make older minoritised people vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness. Despite this, we know little about minoritised people's lived experiences of social isolation and loneliness. And even less about the types of interventions that would help them. With the number of older minoritised people rising faster than that of older white people, more research is needed.

In this presentation, Brenda discussed a research study she undertook to address this gap, providing a rationale for adopting a mixed-methods approach informed by an intersectionality framework conducted in four iterative phases to assess the effectiveness and suitability of interventions. She summarised the findings of each phase, along with the overall findings of the study.

The study findings not only add to the sparse literature available in this area, but also provide information on the key principles of interventions based on what older minoritised people themselves consider their needs to be. The findings will enable policymakers, practitioners and interventionists to design and implement effective future interventions. The study therefore showcases how an intersectionality-informed mixed-methods approach can help to bridge the gap between research and practice.


This event was in accordance with this year’s CSWIR theme of “decolonisation and uncertainty” and in alignment with Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity values

'Kinship Care - Betwixt and Between': An Open Research Seminar - 6 December 2021 

Time: 1-2pm
Presenter: Dr Louise Sims, Kinship Care and Fostering Consultant, CoramBAAF
Zoom link: https://universityofsussex.zoom.us/j/96598732805?pwd=UWlJdFF1YllsNWRSQkRVTCtSTWdsQT09
(Meeting ID: 965 9873 2805 / Passcode: 068175)

The last decade has witnessed ‘the withering of the state’ (Hingley-Jones, 2019) and the pandemic has laid bare the results. As the state withers families are increasingly being asked to take on the support for younger family members, often at times of crisis - and when they themselves are in crisis.

Kinship care has come to be known as the unsung and unsupported ‘third pillar of the social care sector’. There is little scaffolding in place. Statutory support, legal, social work, policy, data gathering and research responses have not kept pace with developments. We know very little of children’s experiences or ‘what is going on ‘inside’ [kinship] families’ (Pitcher, 2014, p.20).

In this seminar, Joanne Warner’s (2015) work on emotional politics is used as a psychosocial lens to consider both the matrix of tensions shaping kinship practices, and the possibilities for new understanding and connections within families and across disciplines.

*This event was co-hosted with the Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth (CIRCY)

'Illuminating Adoptive Family Practices in India': A PGR Engagement Event - 11 November 2021 

Presenter: Sushri Sangita Puhan

Child adoption is a topic that has received undeservedly little attention in academic discussions and research in South Asia. Nevertheless, every year children in different South Asian countries are adopted both in-country and internationally. India tops the list of adoption in the region. In the last two decades, adoption policy and practice in India has undergone considerable change with a focus on advancing in-country adoption. While there is a sharp rise in the number of adoptive families and interest among people to adopt, but very little is known about adopted people and adoptive families' lived experiences, and practices they perform to create a legitimate version of kinship.

In the presentation, Sangita will share details of a study she conducted to illuminate everyday practices of the adoptive family lives in an environment where changing legal narratives contradict practice narratives. Sangita’s research is exploratory, ground-breaking and first of its kind in the Indian context to provide insight into the adoptive family lives as narrated within the specific local, social and cultural context to be elucidated in ways helpful to practice development on the ground.

The research findings not only contribute to the thinness of adoption scholarship in South Asia, but also highlight the enduring effect of inherent ambiguities within which adoptive families negotiate their everyday lives, whilst indicating possibility and hope rather than intrinsic and unresolvable conflict. The study is useful for policymakers, practitioners and the adoption community to frame effective and relevant interventions, especially at a time when the government is undertaking an aggressive drive to promote in-country adoption that challenges the conventional notion of family in India. The unique socio-cultural dynamics reflected in the study are relevant to understanding adoptive family practices in the Indian/South Asian context in the UK and elsewhere.

Contact details: S.Puhan@sussex.ac.uk / adoptionresearchindia@gmail.com
Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/research_ari
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AdoptionResearch/
Web: https://www.adoptionresearchindia.com

Developing PhD Online Support Groups: A Doctoral Research-in-Progess Seminar                       - 11 November 2021 

Time: 10-11am
Presenters: Amy Lynch, Jo Williams & Anna Hutchings - Social Work & Social Care PhD doctoral researchers
Zoom ink: https://universityofsussex.zoom.us/j/93393249233

In this session, the speakers will share their experiences of forming an online doctoral support group during 2020/21 in the context of Covid-19, with a focus on how they used the space to pilot their study methods.

They will share their learnings and the value they gained from the experience. They also hope to contribute to creating a sense of community for ESW Doctoral Researchers through the interactive format of the session.

Launching the 'Ageing Journey Project' - 1 October 2021 

Time: 10.30am-12pm

This event is co-hosted by CSWIR & Time to Talk Befriending

Ageing is a natural part of life, but how often do we consider what is important to us as we age? This event offers the opportunity to share your experiences of ageing and gain insights into how you might do things differently – or the same!

This online event is the start of an exciting project by Time to Talk Befriending and Dr Henglien Lisa Chen of CSWIR, who want to hear from you! All contributions are welcome, and there is an invitation to continue the conversation beyond the event for those who are passionate about overcoming misconceptions about ageing.


Or call 'Impact': 01273 322948

See more information about the Brighton & Hove Ageing Well Festival

'Co-Create': A CSWIR PGR Community Event - 24 September 2021 

Time: 10-11am
Zoom link: https://universityofsussex.zoom.us/j/93514047736?from=addon (Meeting ID: 935 1404 7736)

To start off the new academic year, CSWIR is hosting this open discussion for all Social Work & Social Care PGRs. This will be a forum to discuss:

  • How CSWIR can support your research and practice development engagement
  • How CSWIR could support you to develop a sense of inclusion and belonging in CSWIR.

PGRs are an integral part of CSWIR and we want to explore how CSWIR could co-create a stronger partnership with you this year.

You are welcome to email Avanka [af436@sussex.ac.uk] with your ideas if you are not able to attend the meeting.