Social work students and lecturers at international Socnet98 event

Students and lecturers from the BA (Hons) Social Work degree travelled to Austria for an annual conference, looking at social work from an international perspective.

Eight students from their first and second year of study in BA Social Work, plus two BU lecturers, travelled to Linz in Austria to take part in the Socnet98 annual conference.

The conference has been running since 1998, and a European network of universities meet to discuss themes relating to Social Work from an international perspective, with students and lecturers invited to deliver seminars about either research their own university is involved or an issue which is important.

Taking place at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, the theme for this year was about Intercultural Competencies. Seminars and lectures were delivered by ten different nationalities (all in English) covering topics such as Working with Volunteers, Kinship Care, Developing Multicultural sensitivity and many more.

Included in the programme was the opportunity to create international networks between students, visit local charities and organisations working with people in the city of Linz and time to enjoy the city itself.

The World Cafรฉ was a student-led afternoon where each university displayed information about what it had to offer, both regionally and internationally, plus local delicacies were shared with international friends. Bournemouth bought along the famous seaside rock, which was enjoyed by everyone.

The whole event was declared a great success by the head of the organising committee, Dagmar Strohmeier, and everyone was encouraged to attend next year.Next yearโ€™s venue is yet to be organised.

Students and academics from across Europe visit BU for international social work conference


Students and academics from across Europe visited Bournemouth University for a week of events centred around social work and diversity.

It is the first time BU has held the International Social Work Week, organised for students and staff of universities in the SOCNET network.

Around 50 academics and students in social work, sociology and law visited BU for the week, from universities in places including Austria, Germany, The Netherlands and Spain.

Dr Sara Ashencaen Crabtree, Head of Sociology at BU, helped to organise the week.

She said: “It helps the staff gain international connections, and because you are part of a network it helps give students the opportunities to go abroad to other universities as well.

“It means that you are part of a community rather than an individual institution.”

She added: “We are creating these research networks and links, which are really important.

“There are very different approaches to social work in Europe. We learn from them as much as they learn from us.”

The event is held every year at different universities who are part of the network, with each week having a different theme.

This year’s theme was around diversity, with talks and workshops on issues including discrimination and cohesion, marginalised groups and social work approaches.

But there was also chance for the visitors to explore Bournemouth and the surrounding area, with excursions to Stonehenge and the Jurassic Coast and a visit to the Mayor of Bournemouth’s Parlour.

Student Franziska Lasche, from Hochschule Bremen University in Germany, said she had enjoyed her time in Bournemouth.

“It’s the first time I have been to Bournemouth, and I have really enjoyed it,” she said.

“It’s good to get to know people and exchange our experiences and ideas. It’s useful to have a network of people from all across Europe.”

Jill Davey, Framework Leader for Social and Community Studies and Erasmus coordinator at BU, said the week had gone well, and they now hoped to hold the event in Bournemouth every three years.

“It has been a very successful week,” she said.

“As well as potential student exchanges and opportunities at BU, a lot of the students have expressed interest in coming across and doing programmes and further study here.

“We’ve also had lots of people saying they are going to come back to Bournemouth for a holiday, so it’s really good for the tourist trade as well.”

Maria Luisa Gomez Jimenez, from the Public Law Department at the University of Malaga, was one of the academics running workshops during the SOCNET week.

She said: “It has been wonderful, and I think it’s a really valuable thing for us and the students to meet each other and exchange perspectives, backgrounds and ways of looking at problems and seeking solutions.”