This blog site has been up and running for a little over five years now. Time passes rapidly. The object of our collective has been to provide viewpoints on a broad range of issues relevant to social work in contemporary society and to provide a platform for information and analysis that troubles the status quo. In some ways it seems that social workers are more reluctant to publicly critique the practice and policy frameworks which surround them than ever. Politics and management are often all about controlling the narrative: mandating what can be said and by whom. Increasingly social workers have taken on the message that they can only be active citizens within strict ideological parameters.
We are not talking about dissent for the sake of it – simply to be a clever irritation. We are referring to the knowledge which social workers have of the plight of people struggling in structurally unequal capitalist societies. Your voice is important at this critical time of tension and change. Social workers need to find ways of speaking truth to power. We need only look at the predicament facing the USA – that shining bastion of liberal capitalism – to see where a post-truth world view can take us. We need to hear the reflections of social work practitioners, community workers / activists, policy lobbyists, students and academics who are imagining (and working towards) a progressive future for Aotearoa.
It is not easy to find time to write from the world of practice, even apart from the pressure not to tell tales out of school – the sheer workload and need to live a sane life beyond work take a toll – and the realm of academic critique can feel a little like a foreign country. But we would like to encourage you to have your say, name the contradictions, challenges and opportunities facing social work and social justice – now and into the future. You don’t have to have all the answers; we certainly don’t claim to.
We are looking for new ideas, old ideas and problems, practice initiatives, policy critiques and visions. What are the challenges and priorities for social work, education and development – health, mental health, child and family practice, community development? Who controls the narrative? Who needs to be heard? What must be changed? How can this be done? The opinion pieces posted here do have an impact and are relevant to social work, right here and right now. The blog is well read, often attracting 100s of daily reads in Aotearoa and from overseas.
Pieces need to be around 500 – 1200 words in length approximately. They need to be constructive (criticising systems rather than individuals) and can be as creative as you like, although we do reserve the right not to publish work. Just push the ‘Contact’ button at the top of the Blog front page if you have ideas, queries or a draft post and we can have some dialogue. Our collective work on this is, of course, all voluntary and unwaged so there may be short delays in responding.
What sort of social work do you want to do and what sort of society do you want to do it in? Where does your passion lie? We are looking for your input – your voice matters. Take some power back. Contributions can be published anonymously in some circumstances although an author name is preferred. We can talk about this too.
Hei konā mai
Image credit: Hope Abrams