Re-igniting black feminist theory in social work education

Hesk, GCO ORCID: and Shannon, MB 2015, Re-igniting black feminist theory in social work education , in: Social Work Education and Research Across Boundaries, Wednesday 15th July to Friday 17th July 2015, The Open University, Milton Keynes. (Unpublished)

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Social work programmes are intended to replicate the emancipation and liberation of marginalised groups in society. A crucial part of our role as educators, is to equip students with a range of tools in order to do their tasks well. Black Feminism has history which explores these concepts and considers the layers of oppression, therefore we view it as a much needed tool in our toolbox. Lorde, (1984). This paper considers the effectiveness of intersecting social work practice and education and Black Feminist theory. We consider Kember’s (2001,preface viii) deliberation, about reflective practice where it ‘is often advocated as a means of bridging the gap between the theory and practice parts of professional programmes. However, it is unclear whether this is successful when students are asked to be reflective only in the practice parts of their courses’. We will discuss a programme of postgraduate social work education which has purposefully used innovative and inclusive teaching methods to fulfil the need for social work students to be supported to become effective, research minded practitioners who are entering the field of social work to carry our profession forward. In this way we have attempted to intersect research and practice, working across boundaries and promoting social justice We consider that Black feminist theory’s presence in current social work programmes (with the exception of when it is applied to discussions of race), only replicates it's use and illuminates the existing power struggle Black Feminist theory strives hard to fight and to remain in existence, in other words its name performs it's use. Butler,(1990) We will be undertaking focus groups with students, exploring the perceived impact on their learning. Using qualitative data from students across the programme of social work located and delivered both ‘within’ and ‘outside’ the ‘boundaries’ Boyce Davies( 1994) of the University, we grapple with politics of ‘location' in the delivery of social work. We bring to life the ‘ lived experience’ of our service users, social work students and hear about their understanding and the use of Black Feminist Theory in social work practice.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Applied Research in Health, Welfare and Policy
Schools > School of Health and Society
Refereed: No
Related URLs:
Funders: The UK Joint Social Work Education Conference and UK Social Work Research Conference (JSWEC), The Open University Milton Keynes
Depositing User: Ms Gabrielle Hesk
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2015 17:31
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 20:19

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