On March 21st, to mark World Social Work Day 2017, the Division of Social Work in conjunction with the Centre for Comedy Studies Research presented Comedy and Care: The Funny Side of Social Work.
The panel of experts included Harry Venning, creator of comic and radio sitcom Clare in the Community, Dr Stephen Jordan, University of Essex, and Dr Peter Beresford, Emeritus Professor Brunel. There were great contributions from panel members and attendees, some serious debates about the role that comedy could and should have in social work and also plenty of laughs!
A montage of social workers in popular comedy started off the event, and generated discussions around what types of people social workers are shown to come into contact with in comedy settings, as well as the typical characteristics of social workers in these portrayals. Topics discussed included the importance of comedy for resilience in social workers, how comedy can be used politically to promote social work values, under what circumstances is comedy in social work ok and whether comedy in social work trivialises serious issues.
Audience members were encourgaed to tweet their comments using #ComedyandCare and the immediate feedback has been very positive. Thank you to all who came and helped make the evening such a special occasion.
The Division of Social Work and the Centre for Comedy Studies Research plan to continue to collaborate on these important topics and more, and it is hoped that the momentum from this event will lead to ongoing interest in this important aspect of social work. The event was chaired by Joe Hanley, Lecturer in the Division of Social Work at Brunel University London.
A playback of the event is now avilable to watch on the Brunel University London YouTube channel: Comedy and Care: The Funny Side of Social Work.