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Brunel Social Work students attend SWAN Conference 2017

Social Work students Teodora Belwalkar and Sophie Spilsbury represented Brunel University London at the Social Work Action Network (SWAN) conference at Teesside University on Saturday 8 - Sunday 9 April. 

SWAN describes itself as ‘a radical, campaigning organisation of social work and social care practitioners, students, service users, carers and academics, united by concern that social work practice is being undermined by managerialism and marketization, by the stigmatisation of service users and by welfare cuts and restrictions’.  

The conference included presentations on:

  • Social work responses to the refugee crisis
  • Working with destitute asylum seekers
  • A report on an EU-funded programme aimed at tackling discrimination against Roma people
  • The government’s Prevent programme and how this links to social work practice
  • As well as wider issues affecting social work education and practice, including the implications of Brexit.

There were student-led sessions under the theme of ‘we want to become social workers, and not managers of social control.’  Our students also took part in discussions on physical and mental health inequalities, hearing from service user representatives about the impact of mental health social work on their lives.

Social Work student Sophie Spilsbury commented, ‘I really enjoyed the conference and was inspired by the experience.’