Social Work: the stories we tell …

This week in social work there has been many references to ‘story’ and calls for us to continue to rewrite it ‘with’ and for those we work with and for the profession itself.

I was reminded of this through Twitter and a post from @ProfJScourfield who was quoting @Brigid39  at the Child Welfare Inequalities Project @CWIP_Research Conference this week in the UK #cwipconf17 


Jonathan’s tweet struck a chord with me, and prompted me to reflect upon my contribution to the ‘story’ of social work. I pondered how if the story of social work were to be told what it might look like, who might it include and what people might think and feel if they knew it in its fullness. I wondered about where it began and unsurprisingly, amongst many others  Olive Stevenson  sprung to mind. I thought about how little I actually know of this story myself.

Well that was until this morning when this…


kind and unexpected (I had been meaning to order it for a while) gift dropped through the letterbox. The ‘Social Work in 40 Objects (and more)’ book captures the stories of students, practitioners, academics who have contributed to the story of social work thus far. Mark Doel has done an incredible job of collating part of our story in this book (you can purchased it by clicking here Kirwin Maclean Associates ) and through his blog which continues to grow.

Mark explains in his blog how the

“127 objects in the book are a gift to social work from all those who have proposed them. The book is also a gift: when you buy it, be aware that all royalties and profits from sales will go to NGO TARA Homes for Children in Delhi, India, to support work with street children” (2017)

As I leafed through the pages the hope, the compassion, the tenaciousness of my colleagues was palpable.

Social work, I am humbled by you and the stories you tell.  Often these are difficult, painful and tragic stories… frequently told by those outside of the profession who negate the context in which social work exists. That being said I love the way social media can and does communicate and connect the story. It illustrates the complexity and uncertainty of the story… mirroring, to a greater extent, practice realities. It shines a light on diversity… which makes me even more sure that it is within our differences that our strength lies.

I am honoured to have earned my right to practice as a social work professional. I am going to keep pondering the story, in the hope that I can make a useful contribution to it. I will of course be mindful of ‘how’ I communicate my contributions having carefully read the steely advice of Warren Belcher aka @ermate .








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