Making visible an invisible trade : exploring the everyday experiences of doing social work and being a social worker

Leigh, J, Morriss, L and Morriss, MJ 2020, 'Making visible an invisible trade : exploring the everyday experiences of doing social work and being a social worker' , Qualitative Social Work, 19 (2) , pp. 267-283.

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Abstract

This article demonstrates that making art in conjunction with story-telling is a method which can elucidate the everyday working practices of social work practitioners. To date, the relationship between art and social workers has rarely been noted, in part because visual studies have not attended to lived experiences of social workers. In this paper, we draw on an empirical study undertaken in England which invited social workers to use art to tell their stories of being a social worker and doing social work. Their artefacts produced powerful visual and aural accounts of practice. They were displayed at the People’s History Museum, in the first social work exhibition of this kind, making visible to members of the public the hidden, lesser known and understood aspects of practice. In this paper, we demonstrate how particular social work structures can rupture relationships between social workers and the families they work with. In doing so, we build on the sociology of art, work and interaction by showing how visual narratives can challenge, and sometimes alter, previously held assumptions and beliefs.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Journal or Publication Title: Qualitative Social Work
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 1473-3250
Related URLs:
Funders: Lancaster University, ESRC
Depositing User: MJ Morriss
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2019 10:08
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2020 08:15
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/49912

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