Blog 10 – British Journal of Social Work lived experience issue series
22 November 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 ten is by Dr. Lia Levin [email@example.com] is a senior lecturer at Tel Aviv University’s School of Social Work, and a researcher and advocate of co-production in social policy and social services.
A few years ago, I was reading a bedtime story about outer space to my daughter, then five years old. The first page of the book we were looking through together contained an illustration of a little boy sitting in his living room. The next page showed his living room through a window on the side of a building. From page to page, the readers’ view of the boy’s living room seemed to come from higher up in the sky, and the storyline took us further into space. On the page that showed the boy’s building alongside dozens of other identical buildings in a city’s skyline, I said to her, “Now you can see the ‘bigger picture’, but you can’t find the window of the boy’s living room anymore”. She replied, “Oh, I see it clearly” and pointed at the roof of one of the buildings. “I don’t see the window anywhere”, I admitted. “That’s because it’s on the other side of the building”, she explained.
Working on the BJSW’s special issue on the voice and influence of people with lived experience has been, and still is, an exciting expedition into uncharted areas of the infinite space we call knowledge. The more partnerships we form with contributors and reviewers, and the more support we receive from those using their status and privilege within the world of academic publishing to advocate for change, the louder the sound of the spacecraft’s engine pushing us forward can be heard. The scope of the special issue is going beyond what I had thought could or would ever actually materialize.
In the Reflective Papers section of the issue, which I am co-leading, we decided early on to forgo online submission and review platforms and conduct all communication with contributors and reviewers via e-mail. Although I have not personally met hardly any of the contributors or reviewers, our correspondence has become more frequent and less formal as the months go by. The sometimes generic, ‘faceless’, and anonymized dialectic of academic communication is being replaced by dialogues between open-minded and open-hearted human beings.
Our request that contributors also contextualize their narratives within their own individual backgrounds and experiences has facilitated this too. Consequently, I feel that although my field of vision is constantly broadened by being part of the editorial collective of the special issue, I can still see “the windows on the other side of the buildings”. Can’t wait to read all the insightful pieces written in those many living rooms.
Dr. Lia Levin [firstname.lastname@example.org] is a senior lecturer at Tel Aviv University’s School of Social Work, and a researcher and advocate of co-production in social policy and social services.