Final list of speakers at SWAN conference 2011

Bob Holman

Bob Holman survived the London blitz then failed the eleven plus. However he made it to university. After being a child care officer, he was an academic for ten years. He left the chair in social policy at Bath University and, with his wife Annette, ran a project on a council estate. After a further 10 years, they moved to Easterhouse, Glasgow and, with residents, formed a locally-run project. He is the author of a book on Keir Hardie. A year ago, Annette nursed him through cancer. Now he is retired (ha ha) and helps look after two grandsons.

Bob Williams Findlay

Bob Williams-Findlay is a former Planning Officer with Birmingham Social Services and has trained social workers at the University of Birmingham as a Disability Equality and Human Rights Trainer. He shares many of the criticisms of social work practice vis-à-vis disabled people as expressed by Professor Mike Oliver.

His long association with the Disabled People’s Movement includes being Chair of the national civil rights organisation – British Council of Disabled People. Most recently he helped establish Disabled People Against Cuts as a campaigning group and has been an outspoken critic of both the Blairite “Social Care” agenda and Cameron’s “Big Society”.

Helen Davies

Helen Davies is a social worker for London Borough of Barnet, the Chair of the local Barnet UNISON branch as well as the local Trades Council. Helen is also a leading activist in the Barnet Alliance for Public Services campaign against the cuts. Barnet is a flagship Tory controlled local authority nicknamed “easyCouncil”, which is looking to privatise all of its services on top of the cuts to vital services.

Linda Smith

Linda Smith worked as a social worker for Child Welfare South Africa in the areas of community work and social action, child protection and child and family practice. Now a social work lecturer at the University of Witwatersand she has particular interests in social justice and human rights; radical social work; community work; anti colonial and critical discourse for social work; Freirian critical pedagogy and the roles of social movements in welfare and social change. Linda is currently completing her PhD on the subject of critical social work education and the imperative for social change. Linda is a trade unionist and a member of the South African Communist Party.

Vasilios Ioakimidis

Vasilios Ioakimidis teaches social work and social pedagogy at Liverpool Hope University and the University of Nicosia. His research interests include radical international social work. Along with Michael Lavalette he co-edited the book ‘Social Work in Extremis: Lessons for Social Work Internationally’ (Policy Press). Vasilios is a member of the SWAN National Steering Committee.

Miriyam Asfar

Miriyam Asfar is an activist and researcher. She will be speaking about the recent Egyptian and Arab revolutions.

Kalbir Shukra

Kalbir Shukra is an activist and supporter of IDYW. She has a history of youth and community work practice and teaching as well as community and union activity.

Dami Benbow

Dami Benbow is a student at Leeds University, is a former Deputy Young mayor and part of the Young Mayor network.

Karen Reissman

Karen Reissman is an elected member of Unison’s national health executive and campaigner against NHS privatisation. Karen was a mental health nurse for 25 years, before being sacked by Manchester Mental Health NHS Trust for ‘whistleblowing’ against the effects of cuts and privatisation. Karen is speaking in a personal capacity.

Jon McArdle

Jon McArdle is an activist with the Black Triangle Campaign in defence of disability rights in Scotland.

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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.