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Public Lecture Series 2023/24

Our CASS public lecture series is open to the public to engage and attract external practitioners and academics. 


In 2023/24, the following Public Lectures were held:

A useful stigma? Sexual and gender minorities, the 'pink line' and global geopolitics

Speaker: Drew Dalton
Date and time: 24 April, 1-3pm
Location: Sir Tom Cowie Campus (RV416, Reg Vardy Centre) and on MS Teams

Watch the lecture here

What challenges do 'queer'* people face across the globe and what does homo/bi/transphobia look like in today’s world? This talk takes a global snapshot of queer human rights in key regions of the world, how they are impacted by and are felt by, queer people and their communities. Through charting case studies of queer lives, and through in-depth interviews with activists, businesses, UN agencies and INGOs/NGOs, it intends to bring some of my initial findings from over 28 interviews (so far) to light. Utilising concepts such as the 'Pink Line' (Gevisser, 2021) and a reworking of Tyler's stigma as a 'Machinery of Inequality' (2022) and her concepts of 'stigma power' and 'statecraft,' this talk will create a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of queer people today. This includes their fights, foes, gains, losses, and wins, in a transitional world where LGBTQI+ politics and rights have become a geo-political battleground, to both weaponise LGBTQI+ people, and to gain LGBTQI+ equality.

*Please note that I will use the term 'queer' as an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities.

A qualitative exploratory study of trauma informed practice in social work supervision

Speaker: Julie Shaw
Date and time: 20 March, 1-3pm
Location: Sir Tom Cowie Campus (RV416, Reg Vardy Centre) and on MS Teams

Watch the lecture here

In recent years trauma has become a well known concept in social work and other helping professions worldwide, in part due to the risk of Burnout, Vicarious Trauma, Secondary Trauma and Compassion Fatigue and retention. How this related to supervision in social work practice, particularly in England, is relatively unknown. This research used an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis approach to explore eight social workers’ experience of supervision. The study considered whether trauma informed practice had a role in supervisor/supervisee relationships and how social workers made sense of the adversity and traumatic events they witnessed in their role. The semi-structured interviews explored social workers’ understanding of Burnout, Vicarious Trauma, Secondary Trauma and Compassion Fatigue and the impact of supervision on their personal and professional development. Emergent themes related to: the system as master; supervision, for better or worse; it’s all part of the job, we just get on with it. These were explored in relation to managerialism, the impact of supervisor and environment in supervision and the balance of managing the adversity and trauma encountered in the social work role, alongside personal wellbeing and professional accountability.

Care and compassion in hospital social work: Initial findings from a PhD study

Speaker: Carrie Phillips
Date and time: 28 February, 1-3pm
Location: Sir Tom Cowie Campus (RV416, Reg Vardy Centre) and on MS Teams

Watch the lecture here

Supporting safe discharge from NHS hospitals is often a role undertaken by social workers, but previous research demonstrates that the role and contribution of social work to the hospital can be difficult to identify. I am interested in the factors that impact on the practice of hospital social workers, and how they view their role in the hospital. This lecture presents initial findings from my PhD, which has involved freedom of information requests to local authorities and NHS Trusts, semi-structured interviews with two hospital social work teams, and an online survey, completed by hospital social workers across the UK. Initial findings presented here include the advantages and disadvantages conferred by the separation of health (NHS) and social care (usually local authority); and the central importance of care and compassion in the work social workers undertake. I draw on Ethics of Care to illustrate the social work role and the way in which social workers strive to take a holistic approach to quality-of-life following hospital admission. Social workers recognised person-centred care from NHS colleagues, but felt that their unique contribution was to take a broader and longer view that prioritised personal and relational autonomy.

A vision of safety: An arts based research project exploring the meaning of safety in mental health and abuse

Speakers: Sarah Lonbay
Date and time: 31 January, 1-3pm
Location: Sir Tom Cowie Campus (RV416, Reg Vardy Centre) and on MS Teams

Watch the lecture here

Adult safeguarding means “protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect” (DHSC, 2023) and the inclusion of ‘adults at risk’ (those with care and support needs who are experiencing, or are at risk of, abuse and neglect) in safeguarding processes is a key policy and practice concern. Despite an increasing emphasis on inclusion within the adult safeguarding policy framework, there’s still a lack of detailed knowledge about the perspectives of adults at risk and even less research which explores the views of those who are positioned as adults at risk by virtue of experiencing mental health problems. Safety is something that many of us take for granted and although the literature addresses aspects of safety, the question of what safety means to people who have experienced abuse is also under researched. This participatory and arts-based project aimed to address this gap by exploring how people with mental health problems who have experienced violence abuse conceptualise safety.

This public lecture explores the development of the project, as well as shared learning, paying particular attention to how the chosen participatory and arts-based approach provided a means of co-creating knowledge to inform social work practice, as well as sharing learning about how this methodological approach can provide an innovative way to explore an emotive and under researched area. Key findings about safety and its meaning for people will also be discussed, as well as implications for practice. This research was funded by the UKRI Participatory Research Fund via the University of Sunderland.

Bringing humanising influences into critical care through the power of natural environment: The Hospital Garden Project

Speakers: Dr Sheila Quaid
Date and time: 20 December, 1-3pm
Location: Sir Tom Cowie Campus (RV416, Reg Vardy Centre) and on MS Teams

Watch the lecture here

In partnership with The Enlighten Project I’m evaluating the impacts of a newly created healing garden at James Cook University Hospital. In this session, I’ll present our progress and report on the lessons learned about participatory research working together across different sectors. This initial evaluation of the garden is a three-way cross sector participatory collaboration, with a focus on NHS patient communities in the North East. We bring a multidisciplinary approach to research, working directly with healthcare professionals and uniting scientific study with arts, design, social sciences, and humanities. This project is situated in a growing body of research nationally and internationally on the power of hospital gardens and the potential impacts on and improved health outcomes for vulnerable patients (Sherman 2005, Reeve 2017, Cooper Marcus 2007). We are part way through the project and are working in participation with patients, families, visitors, and hospital staff to evaluate the effects and health benefits of the garden. Our methodology is qualitative, and participatory to include the people for whom the research is being done. The project is co-constructed with a focus on inclusion and to give a voice to those most affected by the provision of a garden.

"I'm getting out to nothing": A temporal analysis of dominant discourses and practices with residents convicted of child sex offences in Probation Approved Premises

Speakers: Nicola Roberts, Carla Reeves, Louise Jackson
Date and time: 29 November, 1-3pm
Location: Sir Tom Cowie Campus (RV416, Reg Vardy Centre) and on MS Teams

Watch the lecture here

People convicted of child sex offences are viewed as a dangerous and demonised offender group, yet little research has considered their resettlement post-residency from Approved Premises. Using data from two qualitative studies carried out 15 years apart, we explore what changes there have been in the discourses and practices with residents convicted of child sex offences. We found that whilst rehabilitation and resettlement were contemporarily considered as more holistic endeavours, the primary function of the Approved Premises remains managing the risks of residents convicted of child sex offences. Most significantly, this hindered their social integration into the community.

Youth work and initial mental health

Speakers: Alison Ni Charraighe (Northumbria University) and Andie Reynolds (University of Edinburgh)
Date and time: 25 October, 1-3pm
Location: Sir Tom Cowie Campus (RV416, Reg Vardy Centre) and on MS Teams

Watch the lecture here

Young people’s mental health has long been a UK policy concern, but youth work is rarely discussed or acknowledged as a mental health intervention for young people. This research set out to uncover to what extent youth workers provide mental health support to young people. A survey questionnaire was distributed to youth workers across selected local authorities in Scotland and North East England. The findings show that most youth workers provide initial mental health support for young people and that post-pandemic, demand has increased. The youth workers surveyed were confident that they had the skills, experience and training to provide initial mental health support for young people, but were struggling to meet this increased demand due to funding shortages in the sector. We argue that the UK and Scottish Governments should recognise youth workers as initial mental health support providers, and (re)invest in youth work infrastructure to deliver this much in-demand provision.