Colourful selection of books

School of Social Work & Social PolicySeminar Series - 2021/22

Seminar 1 - How to do ‘Public Engagement’ Work as Activism: Re-asserting the Inherent Worth of Broad Communication within the Neo-Liberal University.

Our first seminar of this semester’s seminar series will be held on 15/09/21 via Zoom between 12-1pm.

 

Title: How to Do Public Engagement Work as Activism: Reasserting the Inherent Worth of Broad Communication within the Neoliberal University.

 

In this seminar, Dr Gemma Flynn poses the question as to how we can rescue ‘public engagement’ from becoming a simple box ticked in the ever-expanding requirements of an academic career. In the midst of a pandemic and intensely strained work conditions for anyone involved in the creation of new knowledge, is there any point in expending effort to perpetuate that knowledge right now? This seminar will argue that taking a meaningful and specific approach to public engagement efforts can act as a form of resistance against the encroaching Neoliberal imperatives of the University. In this seminar, we will also consider what your approach to public engagement can and should look like, with the argument that any first steps in this work should begin with framing the broader purpose of your communication as activism.

 

About Gemma: Dr Gemma Flynn is a new Teaching Associate in Social Policy at the University of Strathclyde and a member of the Criminal and Justice Social Research Cluster. She joins us from the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research where she was a Researcher in Criminology and Public Engagement and previously from the University of Edinburgh where she taught Criminology.

 

To join the event, please register via our Eventbrite page 

 

Thank you for your continued support and interest.

Seminar 2 - What Does The British Publics Think About Health Inequalities?

Our next seminar of this semester’s seminar series will be held on 29/09/21 via Zoom between 12-1pm.

In this seminar, chaired by Prof. Neil Quinn,  Professor Kat Smith argues that amidst the mass of scholarship examining the UK’s persistent health inequalities, very little research considers public understandings of these inequalities. The literature that does exist is dominated by small-scale qualitative studies exploring how health inequalities are experienced by specific communities. As a result, we know very little about what members of the public, more broadly, think about the country’s long-standing health inequalities. We know even less about public views on potential policy responses to these inequalities. This is an important gap, given research has previously found that many researchers and policymakers working on health inequalities in the UK do not believe macro-level, evidence-informed proposals would attract sufficient public support to be viable. This study employed a mixed methods approach, combining a nationally representative survey with three two-day citizens’ juries to explore public views of health inequalities and potential policy responses. This seminar will discuss our results, using these to argue that members of the public generally have a good understanding of the social determinants of health but that this does not translate into an awareness of health inequalities. Next, I will show how our results challenge perceptions that there is a lack of public support for the kinds of upstream policy proposals favoured by many researchers. However, I will go on to show that, despite evident support for upstream policy responses, some of these proposals (notably tax increases to redistribute wealth) also generated substantial controversy within jury discussions. Our analysis suggests this occurred as a result of three, intersecting factors: a resistance to ideas experienced by participants as disempowering; the existence of discourses that run counter to ideas about health inequalities; and a lack of trust in local and national government. This has important implications for those seeking to promote evidence-informed policy responses to health inequalities since it suggests that efforts to better communicate patterns and causes of health inequalities, or even evidence to support particular interventions, may make little difference to public support without additional work to address these broader challenges. The seminar will conclude by reflecting on our findings in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, considering whether and how this might be changing public views.

 

Short Biography: Kat Smith is a Professor of Public Health Policy at the Strathclyde School of Social Work and Social Policy. Her research focuses on analysing policies impacting on public health and health inequalities and understanding who and what influences these policies (from evidence to experts, NGOs to corporations and publics). Her books include ‘Beyond Evidence-Based Public Health Policy: The Interplay of Ideas (Palgrave Macmillan, October 2013), the British Medical Association award-winning edited collection, ‘Health Inequalities: Critical Perspectives’ (Oxford University Press 2016 – co-edited), The Impact Agenda: Controversies, Consequences and Challenges (Policy Press, 2020 – co-authored) and The Unequal Pandemic: COVID-19 and Health Inequalities (Policy Press, 2021 – co-authored). Kat is currently Co-Editor-in-Chief of Evidence & Policy and Co-Editor of the book series Palgrave Studies in Science, Knowledge & Policy.

 

All are welcome so if you are interested in attending, please register on our Eventbrite page

Thank you for your continued support and interest.

 

Seminar 3 - Thinking About Suicide in Later Life.

Our next online School of Social Work and Social Policy Seminar on 13th October, 12-1pm, will be chaired by Professor Barbara Fawcett. In this seminar, Professor Trish Hafford-Letchfield shares her recent research into ‘Thinking About Suicide in Later Life’.

 

Abstract:

The importance of suicide prevention and intervention for people in later life is an increasing challenge for public health. Compared to other age groups, older people are more likely to be overlooked in suicide prevention. This presentation shares our recent work. This includes the development of a conceptual framework to articulate the ‘grey areas’ of suicide ideation and behaviour in later life and findings from an empirical study. The latter explored the concept of ‘giving up’ or passive suicide ideation and behaviour, from the perspective of care staff working in care homes, and their everyday communication and hidden knowledge concerning what they think about this taboo topic and the context it reflects. There are implications for developing more skilled, nuanced and detailed screening and assessment and for improved training and support to achieve a more holistic strategy which capitalises on significant relationships within a wider context.

 

About Trish Hafford-Letchfield:

Trish Hafford-Letchfield is Professor of Social Work and Head of School for Social Work and Social Policy at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland. She has a Doctorate in Educational Gerontology and was previously Professor of Social Care at Middlesex University, London.  Trish’s research interests are in the experience of people using care service from marginalised communities.  She has over a 100 publications in the area of LGBT+; sex and ageing; suicide prevention in later life; social work pedagogies specifically arts based pedagogies and co-production; leadership,  management and organisational development. 

 

How to join the seminar:

To join the event, please register via our Eventbrite page 

 

Thank you for your continued support.

Seminar 4 - Criminology, Contexture and “Western” Neglect: An Excursion Through and Around Methods in Research into Former Soviet Penal Culture

In our next School of Social Work & Social Policy seminar on Wednesday 27th October 12-1pm, chaired by Dr Gemma Flynn, Professor Laura Piacentini will present her work on ‘Criminology, Contexture and Western Neglect: An Excursion Through and Around Methods in Research into Former Soviet Penal Culture’.

In this seminar, Laura advocates for a more inclusive criminological and punishment and society field that recognises both the uncertainty of theorising in societies ‘beyond the global north and south’ and, at the same time, challenges and raises questions over why specific research methods approaches endure today.

 

In more detail:

Criminological research is in a messy state when it comes to theoretical and methodological engagement with how international systems of criminal justice connect to the societies in which they are located, in multi-faceted ways. This is particularly the case for international prison research, which is a site - indeed a veritable minefield - of problems and pitfalls in how research is designed and delivered in the local context, and then positioned in the academé. There is no such thing as an inferior region when it comes to criminological research, and there is no Global Criminology either because how we come to understand the shape of criminal justice systems lies with accounting for the national context and the different traditions therein (Burawoy, 2008, Patel, 2009). Nevertheless, it is ‘the North’, which has been presented as the leader in ‘the development of the world’ (Goyes, et. al, 2021: 423). The emergence of Southern Criminology as a movement, a place and a conceptual framing, has achieved the greatest traction in explicating the power relations embedded in the hierarchical production of criminological knowledge. Recently, its own disruptions have come under critique as not fully representing the voices, contexts - and realities - of the Global South, particularly, the at one time useful and perhaps necessary demarcation of Global South from Global North in order to: ‘re-orient [Criminology’s] compass’ (Carrabine, et. al 2020: 21, see also Carrington, 2016).

 

This paper aims to contribute to the ongoing, and at times controversial, debates around the ‘Global North and Global South’ by training attention on the Global East or Eastness. I argue that the long-standing binary between Global North and Global South has created an acute absence of understanding of what we might call research topic positionality. I argue that that this has produced an absence of a politics of representation - of contexture. I define contexture as the arrangement of interconnected parts that produce a more nuanced understanding of the limitations of ‘Westernised’ criminological knowledge. There are three elements to the contexture framework. First, is the changing historical relationship between the East and the West; second is how we come to study penal cultures and third are the ideological suppositions that lead to categorisations of regions hitherto underexplored. I outline my ideas around this new conceptual framing in order to advocate for a more inclusive criminological and punishment and society field that recognises both the uncertainty of theorising in societies ‘beyond the global north and south’ and, at the same time, challenges and raise questions over why specific research methods approaches endure today. Finally I hope to locate Criminology’s neglect of the Global East, or Eastness, within a distinctive geo-politics of how, why, where and by whom prison research (specifically) is done.

 

How to join the seminar:

To join the event, please register via our Eventbrite page 

 

About Prof. Laura Piacentini

Laura Piacentini is Professor of Criminology at the School of Social Work and Social Policy She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Fellow at “AcademiaNet” for leading European Women Scholars, established by Angela Merkel the former Chancellor of Germany. Laura has been researching post-Soviet penal culture since 1994 and she is the first Westerner to conduct empirical and theoretical work in Russian prisons. She has been lucky to have access to dozens of prison places, work with key NGOS, political dissidents, a range of penal elites, policy makers and government figures. She has also lived inside, or close to, numerous penal colonies across Russia. She has published widely on the subject and managed or co-managed several projects on cultures of punishment, women’s imprisonment, penal geography, rights consciousness and online communities of comfort in Russian prisons. Laura is the Principal Investigator on the ESRC project: In the Gulag’s Shadow: Producing, Consuming and Perceiving Prisons in the former USSR, which is the first major empirical and theoretical study of Russia’s complex penal culture looking at Russia and Kazakhstan as case studies of a twentieth century global ‘penal arc’. Her next book is coming out in February 2022 with Routledge and is titled: The Virtual Reality of Imprisonment in Russia: “Preparing myself for Prison” in a Contested Human Rights Landscape. The book took six years to write and is the first book to examine prisoner and prison-related online communities of comfort, penal abolitionism, penal transition and the online memorialisation of the penal past in Russia.

 

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you on the day!

Seminar 5 - Friend Not Foe: Making the Case for Meaningful Recording in Social Services

In our next School of Social Work & Social Policy seminar, on 10/11/21 between 12-1pm,  Dr. Emma Miller poses the question: How do we properly capture and ensure a focus on what matters to people in social services records?

 

In more detail:

Recording in social services is often viewed as a burden by practitioners.  This is understandable due to the many demands on the record from different audiences including scrutiny bodies, performance managers, service managers and other agencies. Amidst these pressures, what matters to the person/family and the practitioner can be muted or disappear.  This webinar will consider collaborative research and knowledge exchange work over many years between Wales and Scotland to keep a focus on what matters to people in services. This work on personal outcomes includes three key components: conversations about what matters, recording what matters and using information to inform decisions about what matters. Although recording represents the bridge between the conversation(s) and decision-making it is often neglected in training and development within services. Through conversations with a home care manager from Wales and a children and families practitioner from Scotland we will explore opportunities to progress more meaningful narrative recording, and associated benefits. This will include reference to existing resources and a new resource which shares the title of this webinar: Friend Not Foe?  This resource has been linked into Welsh government qualitative data guidance, signalling a commitment to refocus performance management on what matters to people.

 

How to join the seminar:

To join the event, please register via our Eventbrite page 

 

About the Panel:

Eilidh Shearer is a project worker in the Forth Valley Team at Includem. Includem is a Scottish charity which supports children, young people and families to transform their lives. Eilidh is also one of a team of Includem staff who are engaged as a participation worker and is exploring how recording can support participation.

Keri Llewllyn is Managing Director at All Care, a business which has been in her family since 1993. Keri represents Domiciliary Care providers and Care Workers nationally through Care Forum Wales. She is committed to making a difference to people’s lives and would like to see a reduction in task and time recording in home care.

Nick Andrews is a registered Social Worker, with many years’ experience in social work, social care and social education across children and adult services. Since 2013, he has been working in the School of Health and Social Care, Swansea University where he leads the Developing Evidence Enriched Practice (DEEP) programme.

Emma Miller is a registered Social Worker. Since she obtained her PhD in 2004 she has worked between research, policy and practice on the theme of personal outcomes in children and adult services. This includes capturing the voice of the person in records and understanding what difference this makes.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to welcoming you on the day!

Seminar 6 - Fugitive Coproduction: Community Practices in Scottish Hospitals, and Why They Matter.

In our next School of Social Work & Social Policy seminar, on 24/11/21 between 12-1pm,  Dr. Ellen Stewart will present her research on: Fugitive coproduction: community practices in Scottish hospitals, and why they matter

 

In more detail:

A traditional model of public service delivery expects passivity from communities, with few opportunities for engagement beyond consultation on preferences. Coproduction has, since the 1970s, been heralded as a model enabling more active roles for communities, and is a strong current within contemporary social policy in Scotland. But what if communities don’t wait for an invitation to shape services that they consider belong to them?  This paper reports ‘accidental’ findings from case studies of changing hospitals in Scotland’s NHS, where communities were campaigning, fundraising and delivering innovative service models themselves. Building on these examples, the paper presents a model of ‘fugitive coproduction,’ where individuals and groups within communities collaborate with local staff in ways which significantly shape the provision of local services, without authorisation from relevant authorities, and in modes that are centrally concerned with immediate perceived need not strategic change. I reflect on the potential of these practices, and on some of the challenges for public services in responding to them.

 

How to join the seminar:

To join the event, please register via our Eventbrite page 

About Ellen Stewart: Ellen Stewart is currently Chancellor’s Fellow in Social Studies of Health and Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, and shortly joining Strathclyde’s School of Social Policy and Social Work as Senior Lecturer. Welcome Ellen!

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to welcoming you on the day!

Seminar 7 - The Politics of Punishment in Ireland and Scotland 1970-1990: Dr Louise Brangan

In our final School of Social Work & Social Policy seminar of this semester, on 08/12/21 between 12-1pm,  Dr. Louise Brangan will present her research on: The Politics of Punishment in Ireland and Scotland 1970-1990

 

In more detail: Prisons are everywhere. Yet they are not everywhere alike. How can we explain the differences in cross-national uses of incarceration?  This seminar explores this question by undertaking a comparative sociological analysis of penal politics and imprisonment in Ireland and Scotland.  

Using archives and oral history, the findings show that divergences in the uses of imprisonment result from the distinctive features of a nation’s political culture: the different political ideas, cultural values and social anxieties that shape prison policymaking. Political culture thus connects large-scale social phenomena to actual carceral outcomes, illuminating the forces that support and perpetuate cross-national penal differences. The work therefore offers a new framework for the comparative study of penality. This is also an important work of sociology and history. By closely tracking how and why the politics of punishment evolved and adapted over time, we also yield rich and compelling new accounts of both Irish and Scottish penal cultures from 1970 to the 1990s. 

How to join the seminar:

To join the event, please register via our Eventbrite page 

About Louise Brangan: Louise is a recently appointed Chancellor's Fellow at the University of Strathclyde. Her work focuses on the sociological and historical study of imprisonment and penal politics. She has recently published a monograph about the contemporary history of Irish and Scottish penality, The Politics of Punishment (2021). Welcome Louise!

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to welcoming you on the day!