Doctoral conference presentation in lecture theatre

Social work and social care doctoral conference 2024

This year’s conference explored a psychosocial approach to practice-based research, with a special emphasis on creating reflective spaces.

On Thursday 1 February, we held our annual social work and social care doctoral conference, showcasing the work of our renowned Advanced practice and research: social work and social care (D55) programme.

Over 50 participants joined us in the Tavistock Centre, including current students, staff and alumni of our D55 professional doctorate, as well as practitioners and researchers from the wider social work and social care sector.

The conference began with a moment of reflection for the work of Professor Andrew Cooper – his contribution to our professional doctorate programme, and his strong belief in the importance of reflexivity and the use of self in research.

This theme continued throughout the afternoon’s workshops and presentations, led by current doctoral candidates and alumni. Discussion focused on issues of social justice and inequality, with a special emphasis on the value of creating reflective spaces in our practice, and on how research can promote understanding and facilitate change.

Dr Lisa Watkins spoke about her research into student wellbeing and mental health while studying abroad, while Dr Hia Jordan shared her research on understanding the experiences of black leaders in social work and social care, and the racism that creates barriers and disadvantages in the workplace.

Doctoral candidates Sharna Jolly and Michael Graham delivered the first workshop on the impact of medical ageism on older people and the importance of social justice in work with people with learning disabilities. In the second workshop, Ngozi Cadmus discussed her research on conditions in organisations that support or impede black women from attaining leadership positions, while Ganet Mabhena shared his reflections on culture and ethnicity in social work.

D55 course lead, Dr Louise Grant, was instrumental in opening up this year’s conference to a wider audience, with the goal of bringing like-minded practitioners and academics together for an afternoon of discussion and collaboration.

She said: “It was great to hear about the impact of research on policy and practice, and how our alumni are shaping positive change to outcomes for people in social work and social care. This is what our doctoral programme is all about. We were delighted to welcome so many colleagues to the Tavistock and Portman for this annual event, and hope to do the same again during our upcoming Research Week, which will be held in March.”

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Our professional doctorate in Advanced practice and research: social work and social care (D55) offers experienced practitioners the opportunity to deeply analyse current practice and policy via theory and research, reflective practice seminars and organisational observation.

Graduates from the course have gone on to develop their careers as practice leaders in advanced or specialised roles, in education and in academia.

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