Mayo campus to hold international symposium on social work in critical times

Monday, October 07, 2013 Press Office
Press Release

International social work experts are to gather in GMIT Mayo on Friday 11 October for a symposium entitled The Need for Social Work Especially in Times of Austerity. The symposium will be hosted by the GMIT Department of Nursing and Social Studies.

The event is for social workers and professionals in the sector, as well as for students, lecturers and journalists interested in the field of social work and social issues.

Keynote speeches will be delivered by leading academics and social work researchers from Ireland, The Netherlands, Canada and Australia. These include GMIT’s Dr Mark Garavan, Dr Willem Blok from the NHL University of Applied Sciences, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands and Dr Lesley Cooper former Vice-President Wilfred Laurier University, Ontario, Canada, and founder of Social Work Studies at Wollongong University, Australia. Also participating will be Richard Freeland, former Social Work official in the Australian government.

The symposium, which runs from 2pm until 4pm in the Mayo campus will also be addressed by Jim Fennel, Financial Controller of GMIT and Dr Willem Smink, President of the NHL University.

Mark Garavan, co-ordinator of Applied Social Studies in GMIT, will outline the present situation of social work in Ireland and the importance of GMIT’s commitment to international social work education.

Author, researcher and academic Willem Blok from NHL will talk about the need for social work in society and the value of international cooperation. Finally, Lesley Cooper will address the contemporary challenges facing social work education in Britain and Ireland specifically drawing on her extensive international experience.

This symposium is a further development of the on-going co-operation and liaison between GMIT and NHL. This includes lecturer exchanges, student exchanges and an innovative joint module in international social work delivered in the fourth year to both programmes. A description and evaluation of this joint module was recently published in the Journal of Social Intervention Theory and Practice (Blok and Garavan 2013 Vol 22 Isue 3 pp. 103-107).