Reflections upon the 2015 SWAN conference

 In such a climate, the SWAN conference 2015 provided the expert knowledge and the space and time to reflect on what indeed social work is (so much more than ticking boxes and filling forms), what the underlying driver of this profession is (fighting discrimination), and what direction we want to take it (back to the roots of social work, of working with the marginalised and underprivileged, while facing head on the challenges posed by governments and powerful lobbies). 

As a non-white social worker of Indian origin, what was particularly heartening for me was to see such an impressively well attended conference with people right across cultures and ethnicities, agreeing whole heartedly that race and racism is an agenda that needs to be put back into front line social work and education. Seeing the passion of people from across the globe and this being celebrated and applauded by my white and non-white social work peer was truly a special experience for me. 

I have come back from the conference with a renewed sense of hope- yes, it did deliver as it said on the label- and energy to contribute my voice to the growing voice of social workers who care, and who want the tide to change in favour of those who need change the most- the alienated, disaffected, disempowered and disenfranchised population of this country.”

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We want to develop a network of service users, practicitioners, academics and students to support radical and progressive social work. We need a social work that is ready to challenge oppressive practice, that means working collectively across the country and internationally to advance Social Work.