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Blog 12 – British Journal of Social Work lived experience issue series

24 January 2023

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

Blog twelve is by Peter Unwin, Principal Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Worcester.

Recent weeks have been a time of much excitement and hard work for the editorial team of our forthcoming special edition. We have been more than delighted with the range and quality of submissions and hope that our model of illuminating the voices of lived experience will be replicated and developed in other academic forums and journals.

The material presented to us has been constructively critical in ways that appreciate the pressures on social work, but it has raised some core questions about practice that need to be heeded by the profession e.g. the need for insight into residential care regimes; the need to empathise with autistic parents and the overall imperative of working alongside people with lived experience as equals.

We have been particularly pleased with the number of overseas submissions (approximately ¼ of all submissions were from international authors) which has led to some healthy debates about definitions of social work within the editorial team. The British Journal of Social Work is not just about British Social work, and it has become increasingly appreciated how the various global constructs of social work need amplification, in this case in regard to the voices of lived experience.

We are aware that some parts of the globe still do not value lived experience alongside professional and academic experience but see it as a lesser form of experience and contribution to the field. Our special issue will bring challenge to such views, and we look forward to it encouraging debate and mutual learning on a world-wide scale .