Minutes from the meeting held on Tuesday 23rd of October for a National Network for Social Work Doctoral Students.
Professor Steven. M. Shardlow, University of Salford.
Lisa Morriss, University of Salford.
Jadwiga Leigh, University of Salford.
Professor Hugh McLaughlin, Manchester Metropolitan University.
Sian Lucas, University of Salford.
Julie Lawrence, University of Salford.
Dr. Judy Foster, Tavistock Clinic.
Barry Fearnley, University of Leeds.
Lucy Mort, Manchester Metropolitan University.
Following introductions Steven explained the purpose of the meeting which was arranged primarily as a means for students and academics to get together and share ideas as to how this network could be created, how it would benefit its members and what it might be likely to achieve in the future.
Jadwiga shared information with the group about the background research that was conducted prior to the project starting and Lisa then shared the findings from the survey which a number of people completed at the start.
Everyone who attended then made suggestions as to how the network might be constructed and what it might entail. A discussion then followed and from this evolved two main ideas:
- 1. To have a workshop/ conference event exclusively for social work doctoral students.
The main aim of this event would be to focus primarily on post graduate education, research and practice. It would also prove to be an opportunity for students to meet others, from the same field, face to face. It is hoped that this would encourage the beginnings of a network and lead to the creation of a social work doctoral identity.
One idea was to use the event to hear from students who are due to complete their PhD or have completed their PhD in order to learn what they have done with it and how it has made a contribution to practice.
Another was to provide doctoral students with an opportunity to present papers to others within the same field and receive feedback from academics/ peers.
- 2. To have an Internet Forum exclusively for social work doctoral students/ academics.
The main purpose of this would be to encourage a form of virtual contact between all students and academics nationally.
One idea was to use this space to meet ‘reading partners’ who could review certain pieces of a student’s written work. Students would be able to share parts of their thesis or article drafts with other peers/ academics within the network to receive constructive feedback and supportive guidance that might help them with, for example, publishing or writer’s block.
Another idea was to use the forum to create an opportunity for a doctoral social work online journal. This could allow students to then practise their publishing skills. Someone suggested the idea of a ‘special editions’ section that could encourage students to write specifically for a particular theme.
Another suggestion was that the forum could be used to create ‘virtual rooms’ which could allow students and academics to talk, or discuss ideas, in small groups.
The forum could also be used for ‘bloggers’ who wish to raise certain ideas/ themes and chat openly with others.
It could also be used as a means of contacting other PhD students prior to inter/ national conferences and arrange social meetings prior to and after the event so that students could connect and make links with other friendly faces.
Conclusion from the meeting.
It was agreed by all that both the above ideas would generate a lot of work and that, because of the very nature of this group, most of this should be carried out by doctoral students/ members of the network. Therefore the agreed actions from the meeting are as follows:
- A flyer will be sent out, in the near future, to all those wishing to be involved in the future of the network. It is hoped that we may be able to draw primarily from the skills and talents of other students so that they may be able to contribute to the development of the workshop/ conference event and/ or the internet forum either by volunteering skills or ideas and/or contributing to the creation or management of both of these tasks.
- It was agreed that the workshop/ conference event would be held in November 2013, at the Chancellors Meeting House, Manchester. This location was chosen as it was considered to be a central point for those travelling from all areas around the country.
- It was also agreed that the minutes would be disseminated by email in a written format alongside a podcast in which, directed by Sian Lucas, Lisa Morriss and Jadwiga Leigh would be interviewed about this meeting.
Lisa, Steven and Jadwiga would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and interest in the network. We look forward to meeting and working with you all again in the near future!