Fatima Uygun works with the Govanhill Baths Community Trust, a Glasgow-based organisation that has been at the heart of some of the most effective community campaigns in Scotland over more than two decades. On behalf of Critical and Radical Social Work, Iain Ferguson interviewed Fatima about the trust’s activities and what she sees as the essence of good community work practice.
This paper draws together the work of three leading social work academics to look at the question of abortion and a woman’s right to chose in the context of the recent Roe V Wade reversal in the United States.
Disproportionate access to literacy skills keeps many students from achieving leadership roles. Using an autoethnographic narrative as evidence, we call for an anti-racist pedagogy in accordance with the social work code of ethics – one that changes how we understand literacy in graduate programmes. We suggest that the implementation of Writing Across the Curriculum via enhanced teacher training in grammar is a necessary outcome of cultural humility at the institutional level. We find that literacy is a social justice issue within our profession and educational context. We hope to inspire more research on how standards and educational policies could meet our proposed goals for educational equality.
Professional supervision is considered a key aspect of effective social work practice. In much of the world, front-line social work practitioners prioritise social work supervision as essential to ensuring a supportive working environment. This is crucially the case while working in ethically and politically contentious environments (such as working with refugees). Despite its centrality to effective practice, access to professionally meaningful supervision is nowadays seen by employers as a ‘luxury’, rather than as an integral part of front-line practice. On many occasions, the responsibility for accessing and paying for supervision is delegated to practitioners. Different models of supervision have been proposed over the years. This article provides a unique reflection on the creation and function of a ‘radical supervision’ approach, developed by practitioners and academics in Greece to deal with the complex professional and emotional dilemmas that emerged in the context of working with refugees. By ‘radical supervision’, the participants and authors refer to a non-hierarchical, peer-support supervision model that also prioritises collective action and mobilisation as regards structural challenges, thus departing from than the traditional individualistic approach to supervision. The group consisted of seven front-line practitioners and two academics. All practitioners worked in the field of refugee services. The supervisory group met regularly over a period of eight months from December 2020 to July 2021. The group followed the principles of participatory action research to analyse and report findings and reflections, while the analysis, as well the procedure of the supervision per se, were based on the liberation health model.
The Spanish colonial past permeates the institutions of higher education, configuring the contents and forms of disciplinary knowledge production that constitute it, as is the case of social work. In this article, we visit different scenarios where colonial memories are disputed in the context of the commemorations of 12 October (also called ‘Hispanic Day’ or ‘Race Day’) in Barcelona. Although multiple articulations of anti-racist movements, such as those related to Black Lives Matter, question the material and semiotics that sustain structural racism, colonial cultural layers are still predominant in the Spanish state. Analysis shows how colonial logics nest in social work practice by: first, contributing to the definition of subject positions – such as ‘migrant’ – as problematic and needy of integration policies and intervention; and, second, making structural racism invisible through the avoidance of radical analysis and action regarding the cultural layers that sustain and perpetuate institutional racism.
The Australian social work accrediting body has set diversity as an agenda for education and practice. Universities and the social work field have also attempted to adhere to principles of diversity. However, despite progressive approaches and improvement, diversity has been challenged by the whiteness of Australian social work and the neoliberal agenda across both workplaces and universities. The dominant narrative of Australian social work still reflects Western values, power and privileges. This article argues that embracing diversity in social work education needs the ongoing adoption of critical pedagogy, including critical theories, and maintaining inclusiveness for diverse students. Social work practice settings also need progressive approaches to include diverse groups of marginalised people, a commitment to diversity and support for social workers to develop cultural competency and humility. Transnational relationships within different countries and nations can help social work move from ethnocentrism to multiculturalism.
Is being ‘culturally competent’ a sufficient response by social work to racialised oppressions and injustices, particularly in the context of Black Lives Matter? The social work profession has acknowledged the problem of racism within Australian society. Nevertheless, decades of scholarship has demonstrated social work’s ongoing involvement in policy and practice frameworks that reinforce and contribute to racialised oppressions. This article critically engages with this concerning disconnect between rhetoric and practice. In order to move beyond an acknowledgement of racial injustices and towards transformed practices, we argue that whiteness within the social work profession must be more thoroughly examined, including problematising notions of social work’s ‘professional innocence’ in relation to racism and white supremacy. We demonstrate the benefits of moving beyond rhetorical commitments and performative allyship, highlighting opportunities for new directions in social work education and policy, in addition to the importance of engaging with anti-racist grass-roots activism.