Sean Creaney will be presenting a paper at Social Work conference


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The Seventh Annual Social Work Action Network Conference (SWAN) will be hosted by Liverpool Hope University on 30th and 31st March 2012



Urgent: Do you require accommodation for a group? Please scroll down for accommodation amendments.





Cuts, crisis, and resistance – building alliances in social work and social care


Download the conference leaflet below, print and return the booking form or use the e-booking form, also below.

icon Conference leaflet (245.33 kB)

icon Booking form editable (22.5 kB)


Once you have sent us the booking form, we will invoice you for the conference fee. However, if you would like to send a cheque with your booking form, please make it out to:-

Liverpool Hope University

Send all correspondence to

Charlotte Durkin
Hope Park
L16 9JD 

Please be sure to let us know of any special requirements you have, e.g. dietary needs or a disability we could make arrangements for. Make a note on the booking form or in the email you send us. 


swan banner.jpgThe 2012 conference takes place against a backdrop of Government cuts and austerity measures that are producing a massive crisis in social work and social care. Workers face redundancies, increased workloads, pay cuts, threats to pensions and a stressful working life that is producing all manner of social and personal problems. For service users cuts mean worse services, more expense and less involvement in significant decisions that affect their lives. The Government response has been to argue for greater marketisation, as a reflection of ‘customer choice’. They have taken every opportunity to encouraged businesses, large and small, to bid for contracts and make profits from public services, yet as the crisis of Southern Cross shows the priorities of companies are always profits, not meeting human need.


The Government’s agenda is ideological. It is not a response to ‘economic necessity’. The crisis started when the Government bailed out failing banks – why should ordinary people and public services pay the price?


protest.jpgThis year’s SWAN conference addresses these problems and issues. It provides a forum where academics, frontline workers, students and service users can come together, debate and forge alliances to create a counterpoint to the Government’s mantra that ‘there is no alternative to the market’. Instead the conference will explore alternative visions which offer hope that ‘another social work’ and ‘another form of social care’ is possible.for an alternative social.




Call for proposals

There will be two sessions of the conference made available to people to present their own research or conduct workshops. We are keen to facilitate alternative styles of presentation and would encourage people to consider group presentations, dramas, art-based workshops, social pedagogical based presentations as well, of course, as more traditional research presentations.

We would particularly welcome contributions that consider:

  • “Whatever happened to anti-racist social work?”
  • Transgendered issues in social work and social care
  • Building alliances for resistance
  • Social work and social movements
  • Social work and women’s oppression
  • Any other relevant social work or social care issue.

Proposals should be 300 words or less and should indicate the aims of the session, the style of presentation and the content. Please include a cover sheet with your name, email and contact details. Please submit your proposal to both Laura Penketh ( and Nigel Kelleher (

Conference programme

This section will continue to be updated as we receive more proposals and confirm speakers, the following is an outline only.


Proposed timetable


Friday 30 March 2012

11 am – 1pm – registration (Coffee and tea available)
1pm – opening and keynote.  Professor Danny Dorling, University of Sheffield
2.15     First  Plenary:  “The Riots of 2011”

3.45 – Tea/coffee

4 – 5.30 Themed Plenary workshops
a.    The crisis in children and families social work
b.    Adult social care – the crisis of marketization
c.    Session organised by ‘In defence of youth work’
d.    Debate on Age assessments of Asylum Seeking Children
e.    ‘Dale Farm’, Traveller communities and social work

6.30 Social event with food and DJ (tickets £7.50 in advance)

Saturday 31 March

10-11 SWAN AGM
11am coffee
11.30-12.30 Social Work and the Struggle for social justice in international context
12.30-1.30 – lunch
1.30-2.30 – Workshops
2.30 – tea/coffee
2.45-3.45 workshops
4pm – 5pm Closing Rally: Building Alliance, Defending Welfare




Key note speaker

danny dorling.jpg This year’s key note address will be given by Professor Danny Dorling from the University of Sheffield. Danny has recently written two books that look at the impact of the recession and the Government’s austerity measures on Britain’s poor communities. So you think you know about Britain?     and    Bankrupt Britain: An Atlas of Social Change    both provide detailed analysis of growing levels of inequality across Britain and build on his earlier work   Injustice   to argue that a different world and a different set of Government priorities are necessary.



Other speakers include:    

  • Charlotte Williams
  • Gurnam Singh
  • Iain Ferguson
  • Michael Lavalette
  • Peter Beresford
  • Helga Pile
  • Christopher Wakling

christopher wakling.jpgwhatidid.jpgChristopher Wakling will speak about the book ‘What I Did’ and its background. What I Did is a powerful novel about the unseen consequences of a father smacking his child. The incident is reported by an observer to the social services and the novel explores the child’s and father’s reaction to social work and social service involvement in their lives.

Conference costs

  • Asylum seekers free
  • Service users and Students £15
  • Practitioners £25
  • Academics £35
  • Solidarity price £50

Paying the solidarity price enables us to register more service users/asylum seekers and students at the heavily subsidised rates quoted above.

The price includes full attendance at the conference, which begins at 1pm on Friday 30 march (registration from 11am) and concludes at 5pm Saturday 31 March. Four servings of tea/coffee during the conference and lunch on Saturday.

Download the model motion below to add the support of your trade union branch to the conference.

icon Model motion 


The following list is a guide and does not constitute a recommendation on the part of the conference organisers, nor does it guarantee the providers have rooms available.


Everton Hostel - dormitory plus breakfast £18.67

Hatters hostel - dormitory plus breakfast £24     There are many spaces free here for a group as at 10.01.2012
Please contact the group booking administrator on 0161 236 4414.

YHA - dormitory no breakfast £20.65 (+£3 members fee)  There are only a few places left here, not suitable for larger group sizes.

Many others at similar prices can be found here

Liverpool University have some single rooms (approx 20) available for £24.55 B+B – they will only take bookings for groups of 10 or more, please contact  Becky on 0151 795 0406


Liverpool Hope can supply a limited amount of accommodation, however it should be noted that this is at the other campus in Hope Park, a 20minute bus journey from where the conference is taking place . A shuttle bus runs between the two campuses.

The following options are subject to availability and you should book directly through Janet Thomas, Liverpool Hope’s accommodation officer on 0151 291 3408
Single room, shared facilities £20pp

Twin room, shared facilities £30pp

Double suite (bedroom, kitchen, bathroom) £50

Double room en-suite £45

Single room en-suite £35


Liverpool city centre has thousands of bed spaces available from Travelodge to Hilton see here for inspiration.

Booking through the VisitLiverpool accommodation team is a good idea as they can negotiate good deals for groups, e.g. reduced price twin rooms.

Getting to Hope and the Social

The conference takes place at the Creative Campus and the address is:

Creative Campus
Shaw Street
L3 8QB

Please see this page for information on getting to Hope. The Social takes place very close to the conference venue and the address is

The Silvestrian Club,
Silvester Street
Liverpool L5 8SE.
Tel: 0151 482-2530

Some taxi numbers for use in Liverpool

Village Cabs 0151 427 7909

Merseycab 0151 298 1234

Computercab 0151 298 2222



About the Social Work Action network (SWAN)

swan logo.jpg

SWAN is a network of social work practitioners, academics, students and social welfare service users united in their concern that social work activity is being undermined by managerialism and marketisation, by the stigmatisation of service users and by welfare cuts.

We believe that good social work is a worthwhile activity that can help people address the problems and difficulties in their lives. many of these difficulties are rooted in the inequalities and oppressions of the modern world and good social work necessarily involves confronting such structural and public causes of so many private ills.


Last Updated ( Tuesday, 31 January 2012 )
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