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Blog series – British Journal of Social Work lived experience issue

21 June 2022

This is part of a series of blogs kindly contributed by the editorial group working on the lived experience edition of the British Journal of Social Work.

Blog two is by Mel Hughes.

We find ourselves in the privileged position this week of having received 140 submissions for the special issue of the British Journal of Social Work: Voice and Influence of people with lived experience across the three categories of academic papers, reflective pieces and creative artefacts. A standard BJSW issue includes 30 papers. This incredible number of submissions certainly proves a point regarding the need for academic and practice journals to create spaces and remove barriers for people with lived and living experiences to share their perspectives, expertise and views on social work. It has created a lot of excitement, along with some trepidation, within our guest editorial group as we start to review some really engaging and thought-provoking submissions.

At the start of this process, we knew there would be interest; we were convinced there was a need; we have been heartened however by the breadth and range of voices and experiences reflected in the submissions.  

A current challenge is where we re-direct submissions that are not ultimately selected for publication. The options for signposting are limited. If we are serious as a profession about harnessing and valuing lived experience expertise, we need to do more to create spaces for people to contribute and share this knowledge in academic, professional and community spaces. The experience of developing the special issue with the British Journal of Social Work (BJSW), The British Association of Social Work (BASW) and Open University Press (OUP) is that we are pushing on an open door. We are confident that this is just the start of a range of opportunities to harness lived experience expertise and hope that this paves the way for other journals too.

Mel Hughes is Associate Professor in Social work, Deputy Director of the Research Centre for Seldom Heard Voices and Academic lead for the PIER partnership at Bournemouth University mhughes@bournemouth.ac.uk

Read blog one by Peter Beresford