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  • Author or Editor: Sophia Wilson x
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This article shares the reflections of members of a collaborative practitioner–academic research team in social work. The team investigated the career progression experiences of black social workers working in statutory social work services in South-East London. Our intention in this article is to share our experience of researching a subject that holds emotional and political resonance. We do so by offering individual perspectives from different team members on how their project involvement affected them both personally and professionally. We also discuss some of the general themes identified in our reflections. These include practitioners growing in research confidence, the need to create a safe emotional space for stories of researcher discomfort and uncertainty to be heard, the effects of undertaking research on professional social work identity, and curiosity about whether our research endeavours can change social work career progression policies and practices for black social work colleagues. We caution that a safe emotional container is required when researching personally and professionally sensitive, subjects such as racism and discrimination in social work. We hope that our article inspires social work practitioners to become involved in research activities.

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Increased migration over the last two decades has resulted in greater diversity within Irish society. There is much debate around multiculturalism, diversity and integration, and how this is best achieved. As microcosms of society, schools have also experienced substantial growth in diversity. Over 90 per cent of second-level schools in Ireland record migrant students on their roll, with between 2 and 9 per cent of the school populations being migrant students. Moreover, research indicates that not only do teachers often struggle with increased diversity in the classroom but racism and inclusion are also not adequately addressed through the curriculum. Although Ireland sometimes prides itself on being a friendly and welcoming nation, racism is noted as a persistent issue. This article explores the topic of racism with teenagers in an Irish school, using the social work Dialogue Approach. This co-created study examines how students and teachers conceptualise racism and its impact. It is argued that exploring attitudes and encouraging dialogue among young people about the impact of racism and exclusion is fundamental to social work values.

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