ESWRA Seminars

The seminar series came about in response to interest from SIGS, ESWRA’s commitment to inclusivity, and the digital possibilities developed in the context of Covid-19. The seminars are in the main lead by SIGS.

Abstract submission:

We are inviting SIG convenors to submit an abstract for a seminar in this series. The abstract should include the title, abstract of 100 – 200 words, names of the speakers, and an indication of the structure. There is no theme, though hopefully the work of the SIG, or a particular member of the SIG’s work will be show-cased. Please demonstrate in your abstract that you have taken into account that the Association’s aim is to take forward the development, practice and utilization of social work research to enhance knowledge about individual and social problems, and to promote just and equitable societies.

Also on this page:  The seminar schedule, presentations from previous seminars 

NEXT SEMINAR >> Tuesday 3rd  September 2024   Start: 14:00 BST / 15:00 CEST

Conversation Analysis and Social Work SIG

Title: Studying key concepts in social work as observable interactional phenomena using Conversation Analysis

 This seminar highlights the valuable contribution that Conversation Analysis (CA) offers to understanding social work interactions. CA's focus on in-depth exploration of actual instances of interaction makes it highly relevant for practice, providing insights into how social problems are addressed on an interactional level in social work settings. Furthermore, its collaborative approach to analysis can contribute to the promotion of collaboration between researchers and practitioners. The seminar will first introduce CA as a research method in social work and share findings from current conversation analytic research by members of the CASW SIG team on warmth, respect and trust as interactional phenomena in social work encounters. Finally, we will discuss the contributions, prospects, and challenges of CA research in social work.


  • Introduction to conversation analysis as a research approach in the field of social work/Jon Symonds, University of Bristol.
  • Presentation 1: Warmth and respect in social work practice/Steve Kirkwood, Eve Mullins, University of Edinburgh.
  • Presentation 2: Trust as an interactional phenomenon in social work encounters/Sabine Ellung Jørgensen, University of Copenhagen. 
  • Discussion of the contributions, prospects, and challenges of CA research in social work

Register here:

Seminar Schedule for 2023 / 24

4th September 2024

Conversation Analysis and Social Work SIG

Title: Studying key concepts in social work as observable interactional phenomena using Conversation Analysis

2nd October 2024

Children's rights in practice

Title: Harry Shier presents his pathways to participation for children and young people

 For more information about the ESWRA Seminar series or to submit an abstract please email


Missed a seminar or want to refresh your memory? Click on the seminar title for slides / zoom recording.

Arts-based Research in Social Work


This seminar will describe the embodied relational aesthetic turn and its contribution to social work research specifically. Outlining how arts can capture the triangle between the subjective experience of the individual, the relational context, and the physical socio- cultural context or world of the research participant. It will outline the interrelationship between subjective and objective knowledge stressors, and recourses, as caught spatially in the arts in the relationship between figure and background, as well as meaning levels as expressed in symbols, enabling to "re-search" for the experiences of participants outside of the limitations of professional abstractions.

Most importantly, this seminar will outline three practical structured arts-based methods that can be used in research with individuals, families, groups, and communities (creative genograms, conflicted fish, and transforming images to integrate stress and coping). Participants will be able to apply the theory but also the methods to their own research concerns.

Relevant publications of the presenter and others will be utilized as examples of the above theories and methods.


Throughout Europe the most damaging consequences of the coronavirus have fallen disproportionately on older work. This seminar will explore the intersection between care homes, human rights, and social work. It will be delivered by members of the European Network for Gerontological Social Work using a recently published article in the European Journal of Social Work as a platform for discussion. The paper adopted the framework of the European Convention on Human Rights to explore deaths, and related harms, and identify human rights violations relating to the pandemic in homes from seven European countries (between March and December 2020).

Based on the findings, the authors - members of the SIG - call for an urgent re-examination of the role of social work in relationship to care homes and the importance of (re)engaging with human rights issues for care home residents and their families. This seminar will take this issue forward by firstly presenting the key findings of the paper (updated from Dec 2020) and then considering three ‘country case studies’ which will explore different social work responses to protecting the rights and wellbeing of older people in care homes during, and post, the pandemic. There will be opportunities for Q and A. The seminar will conclude with a focused discussion abou what SIG members can do, post the pandemic, to ignite greater engagement with care homes by social workers & their employers, what the social work role could achieve and how social work can address human rights issues.


This session is aimed particularly at those who are new to writing for journal publication, those who need some revision, and those who can share useful experiences of this. Marcin Boryczko, Liz Frost, Lars Uggerhøj, Ozan Selçuk


What do fish, tattoos, gingerbread figures, and photos have in common? What will happen if we throw research into this strange mix? The positivist tradition will sigh and frown. The social constructivists and pragmatists will clap their hands with glee, saying: We work with people, marginalised people, functionally illiterate people, o yes, and children. We really want to include them as research participants and help them to voice their narratives in the best way possible. We want to connect with participants and co-construct knowledge. We want to follow creative avenues to knowing and understanding. In this seminar we will talk about how to enrich interviews with body maps, and timelines. We will focus on the value of cartoons, photovoice and photo elicitation. And then the fish.

Prof Mariette van der Merwe, Compres research unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University, South Africa

Reading list
Visual data collection strategies


This workshop will draw on findings of a global survey of social workers’ ethical challenges conducted by the Social Work Ethics Research Group with the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) in 2020 and a series of regional IFSW webinars in 2022. We will assess the use of the lessons learnt from rethinking ethics and values during the pandemic for facing other global challenges including the climate crisis, political conflicts and regional injustices. In particular, we will consider the importance of social workers taking holistic, ecological perspectives; promoting global connectedness; letting go of rigid professional boundaries; and adopting both more cosmopolitan and contextualised approaches to values and ethics. The workshop will comprise a presentation, followed by discussion of key questions in break out groups

Contributors: Sarah Banks & Lynne Cairns, Durham University, UK; Teresa Bertotti, University of Trento, Italy; Michelle Hei Yan Shum, Hong Kong Baptist University; Ana M. Sobočan, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia; Kim Strom, University of North Carolina, USA; Jane Shears, IFSW Ethics Commissioner; María Jesús Úriz, Public University of Navarre, Spain

Social work educators are globally aware of the profession’s ethical “mandate” to engage with human rights and there are many policy documents, theoretical pieces of work etc. justifying the importance of this. However, in our experience, when facing the commitment to teach about human rights to social work students, social work educators tend to be unaware of how the same task is being approached by other courses and educators throughout the world. Moreover, due to its complexity and large scope, human rights can often feel like an overwhelming topic, difficult to translate into specific teaching activities, meaningful for social work students. However, despite local differences and the importance of contextualisation, there is a wealth of good teaching experiences on social work and human rights across Europe which social work educators teaching human rights could get inspired and benefit from. But this largely unexplored by social work research. 

In this online seminar, we would like to start a conversation within ESWRA about how human rights teaching is approached by social work educators across Europe and set some basis for promoting collaborative international research on the topic. For this, the seminar presenters will firstly share our experiences of teaching human rights and social work in the four European countries of Lithuania, England, Spain and Poland. Then, we will offer a space for interaction and discussion with the seminar participants, addressing both good and innovative teaching experiences in this field and contemporary key questions and challenges about teaching human rights to social work students. Our focus is on experience sharing and research networking on this topic.

Contributors: María Inés Martínez Herrero (International University of la Rioja, Spain), Eglė Šumskienė (University of Vilnius, Lithuania), Caroline Bald (University of Essex, UK), Emilio Gómez Ciriano (University of Castilla la Mancha, Spain), Marcin Boryczkoc (University of Gdansk, Poland).

for a substantial number of mostly young scientists, getting funding to conduct research has become a question of ‘to be or not to be’ . The stakes have increased significantly in a climate where not only the research itself but frequently job security depends on funding. International research teams are currently crucial for the development of the discipline of social work and for addressing the problems facing society today. At first it appears straightforward working in such teams, but it is frequently a tough and challenging process. To address these issues, we propose a discussion on the following topics:

  1. Building international research teams: funding bodies, finding partners, creating settings etc.;
  2. Research design in the international context of research: research tools and different languages;
  3. Data analysis in multilingual research teams: qualitative research and meanings;
  4. Communication: writing emails, the role of language, cultural differences.

Kris Clarke (Associate Professor/ University of Helsinki), Melinda Madew (Professor/ Protestant University of Applied Sciences Ludwigsburg), Liz Frost (Associate Professor/UWE Bristol) and Marcin Boryczko (Associate Professor/University of Gdańsk). 

Prof. Dr. Melinda Madew: How to Find Research Partners


I will critically assess how social work writing has dealt with the colonial. The seminar will draw from an archival study of the development of social welfare in Singapore as a British colony, in the late colonial period from the end of Japanese occupation in 1945 through to final independence in 1965.

I will take two broad questions by way of illustration and include group exercises on this material. First, I will sketch a case study of late colonial, welfare-engaged women in Singapore, in a world of imperial privilege, welfare exceptionalism and late colonial fragmentation. Second, I will depict late colonial social work practice, taking adoption in the ethnically diverse community of Singapore as the anchor for this. If we are to grasp the colonial heritage, these lives and practices should neither be ignored nor assigned to a past that has irretrievably been left behind. I seek to avoid the assumption that all social workers need to know about colonialism is its horrors.

The seminar connects with the work of these SIGs: Social Work History and Research. Social Work Research on Migration And Asylum. Social Justice and Human Rights; and Social Work Workforce Research


Dr Ian Shaw. Formerly S R Nathan Professor of Social Work, National University of Singapore, and Professor Emeritus, University of York.

Exercises - Welfare Engaged Women in a Late Colonial World - click here:

Published Material

Shaw, I. 2023. ‘Approaching the colonial.’ British Journal of Social Work. 53 (1): 637-655

Shaw, I. 2022. ‘Late colonial women in a welfare world.’ Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work and Development. first.

Late colonial social work practice. Qualitative Social Work22(4), 735–752, https://doi-org/10.1177/14733250221098602 

Abstract: The presentation will discuss the practice research as a way for mutual, contextual learning in partnership between different stakeholders. Yliruka will use learning about systemic social work as a case, where students received their topics from the social work communities.The seminar connects with the work of Social Work Practice Research SIG.