Convenors: Sarah Banks ( and Ana M. Sobočan (

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Description and aims

The SWERG (Social Work Ethics Research Group) is dedicated to researching ethics in social work practice, involving aspects such as ethics and professional identity, ethical decision-making, the role of virtue ethics, professional wisdom, ethical dilemmas, ethics education etc. The aims of SWERG are to explore these perspectives in international contexts, with their specific education traditions and social policy frameworks. The validity and relevance of such research rests also on including cross-national and cross-institutional perspectives – and these can be reached through collaboration of researchers across countries. The SWERG group members believe that establishing an ESWRA SIG facilitates an establishment of a pan-European (and wider) network of researchers interested in social work ethics.

The aims of the SWERG SIG in the short term are to develop a strong SIG membership base to initiate exchanges of research interests, projects, methods and results in the field of ethics in social work. Steadily we hope to establish a wider network of researchers and generate joint research endeavours, among other activities (such as small conferences, seminars, joint publications etc.).  SWERG is usually organises a workshop/symposium at the annual European Conference for Social Work Research, and sometimes a Pre-conference event. We hold regular online meetings every few months when we often have a paper presentations or discussion. If you want to join a meeting please contact Sarah Banks or Ana Sobočan.

Pre-conference in-person SIG meeting in Vilnius, Wednesday 12 April, 13.00-15.30, Slow ethics in an age of fast technology

In this workshop we will interrogate developments linked with ‘Industry 4.0’ (Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, augmented reality and so on) through a slow ethical lens. We will consider first what is meant by ‘slow ethics’ and then explore two different kinds of questions, one relating to the ethical implications of new technological developments for social work and the other considering whether ethical decision-making in social work can and should be undertaken via algorithms. This meeting is supported by the Ethics and Social Welfare journal and we will produce a short article based on our discussions.  

All welcome. Further information, Booking via ESWRA.

Recent online events

22 January 2024, members of the SWERG steering group will lead a discussion on the theme of 'Slow ethics in an age of fast technology' in preparation for our SIG pre-conference workshop at the ESWRA Conference in Vilinius, 17 April 2024 

20 November 2023, Prof. Dr. Roman ABRAMOV and Danila IVANOV of the International Laboratory for Social Integration Research, HSE University, Russia, gave a very inspiring presentation followed by a discussion on:  Ethical Dilemmas of Social Inclusion Practices in Art Museums: The Case of Moscow Exhibition Spaces Network. Slide presentation can be obtained from

25 September 2023,  Denoix Kerger of Artevelde University College Ghent, Belgium, initiated a very challenging set of discussions around the question: “Is it permitted, opportune to send students abroad to countries transgressing or failing Human Rights and social work principles?

Recent research

1. Research on professional ethical identity

Members of the group held symposia at several ESWRA conferences and worked together to explore the theme of ‘professional ethical identity’ in social work. This resulted in an article in the journal Ethics and Social Welfare: In Conversation with a Case Story: Perspectives on Professionalism, Identity and Ethics in Social Work (2020)

2. Research project: Ethical challenges for social workers during Covid-19

Members of SWERG worked in partnership with the International Federation of Social Workers to conduct an international survey on ethical challenges for social workers during Covid-19. The survey was conducted in May 2020, and received 607 responses from 54 countries. A small grant was received for this work from Durham University (UK) ESRC Impact Acceleration Account. Members of the group are now looking at ethical challenges post-pandemic. For further details contact:  Various publications have been produced from the research, including:

3. ‘Co-building a new eco-social world: leaving no one behind’ – people’s summit 2022

SWERG was a partner with IFSW and others in working towards a people’s summit held online, 29 June-1 July 2022. This initiative was stimulated by the experience of the inequities highlighted by Covid-19 and the growing crisis generated by climate change. Details can be found here:


An article was also published: Social work beyond the pandemic: Exploring social work values for a new eco-social world

Steering group of the SWERG SIG: