50,000 Years of Social Work and Counting!

Posted on 03 June 2014

Professor Steven Shardlow, Professor of Social Work at Keele University, will give the last lecture in University's programme of Inaugural Professorial Lectures for 2013-14, on Wednesday, 11th June, 2014, in the Westminster Theatre, Chancellor's Building, on the Keele campus. The lecture is titled "50,000 Years of Social Work and Counting!”

Social work is rarely out of the news: social workers deal with core issues in society, for example by providing care for those unable to care for themselves and protecting those vulnerable to abuse. Caring about and for others is a fundamental component of being human. Throughout human history, care has been provided of in a variety of ways, including; through the family; the clan; and religious foundations. Protection for the vulnerable has not always been evident. This lecture will explore how our ideas about care and protection have changed, literally since the dawn of human history, through the ancient, and medieval worlds to the present day. His lecture will show how some of these ideas still impact on the way social work is conducted today.

The main focus of the lecture will be on modern social work (since the 19th century), the rise of which is inextricably linked to industrialisation and can be seen as the public and social expression of care and the need to protect. The period from the end of the Second World War until the present day has seen an explosion in expectations among the public about the provision of welfare in general and social work in particular - such that it is now inconceivable to envision a society without public and social forms of care. In response to these rising expectations a number of different approaches to the provision to social work have emerged. Yet which of the different approaches to social work is best adapted to meet the needs of current and future social need?

Professor Steven M Shardlow is an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences (UK). He joined Keele as Professor of Social Work in 2013; previously held academic positions at the Universities of Salford (Professor) and Sheffield. He took his undergraduate and masters degrees at Oxford and in 2010 was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Kuopio, Finland. Professor Shardlow is a registered member of The College of Social Work (England).

He has held visiting professorial appointments,  at Fudan University, Shanghai, the University of University of Nordland, Norway; and City University & Polytechnic University of Hong Kong - where he is currently Honorary Professor in Social Work.

He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Social Work. Previously he has been Chair of the Association of Teachers in Social Work Education (ATSWE) and a Member of Board of the European Association of Schools of Social Work (EASSW).

Keele's programme of Inaugural Lectures are given by newly established professors within the University and aim to give an illuminating account of the speaker's own subject specialism. The lectures, which start at 6 pm in the Westminster Theatre, are chaired by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nick Foskett.

This lecture is free and open to all.