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Blog 13 – British Journal of Social Work lived experience issue series

21 February 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 thirteen is by Omar Mohamed, Children and Families Social Worker, Lecturer and Researcher

Adaptations towards a global perspective

As mentioned in the previous blog by Peter, ¼ of our contributors write from an international and global perspective. The benefits of the British Journal of Social Work including international perspectives are many. Social work is an international profession with shared global values and ethics. On an individual level, social workers are faced with global issues. Within this special issue, we had international authors submissions around residential care and mental health services to name a few. However, each and every submission required an international lens to be applied, therefore allowing readers from across countries, nations, and cultures to be able to engage with the important topic of learning from people with lived experience. The key from learning from international perspectives is to be open to social work being made up of lots of different perspectives, practices and knowledge bases, and to be ready to learn from this.

An issue we encountered with international submitting authors and United Kingdom based authors needing to take an international perspective was that there is a sense of academic style of writing needed for journal publication. Where English is not everyone’s first language, this prompted difficulties in whether an article could be publishable without significant support in spelling, grammar, and punctuation within the English language. English being the dominant language in the journal creates this expectation that people with limited command of this language must adapt. However, there was also adaption for the UK authors, where consideration was needed for an international lens, and this needed to be consistent in presentation, conceptualising, and analysis. This needed reviewing in many submissions where a global perspective was not applied effectively. Whilst practice across the United Kingdom may be familiar, and in other ways, dominate, it is vital to be open to a global perspective of social work and this will hopefully shine through in this special issue.

Omar Mohamed is a Children and Families Social Worker, Lecturer and Researcher