Social work symposium celebrates Australia’s diversity

The two-day symposium will highlight the need to work effectively with people regardless of their differences, whether it be nationality, ethnicity, age, gender, ability or sexuality. Image: iStock_000008506606XSA two-day symposium being held at the University of South Australia will highlight the need to work effectively with people regardless of their differences, whether it be nationality, ethnicity, age, gender, ability or sexuality.

Hosted by UniSA’s School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy, the Australian Association for Social Work and Welfare Education (AASWWE)’s annual symposium ‘Celebrating Diversity: navigating the challenges of inclusivity’ will feature presentations by interstate and international leaders in the social work and human service education field.

The keynote address will be given by Professor Charlotte Williams, who was awarded an OBE for her services to ethnic minorities and equal opportunities. Recently moving from the UK to take up the position of Discipline Head of Social Work at RMIT University in Victoria, Professor Williams will explore the challenges social workers face in the age of globalisation, as societies become increasingly multicultural.

Professor Williams will discuss ways social work and human services professionals can adapt to changing demographics in society by tackling the issues around cultural and ethnic diversity, disadvantage and discrimination.

Head of School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy Professor Kurt Lushington says the School is looking forward to hosting international expert Professor Williams at the symposium.

“We are thrilled to have Professor Williams, a specialist in the area of diversity, presenting at the symposium. She has had more than 25 years’ experience in social work and has published widely on how to navigate ethnicity and multiculturalism within the sector,” Prof Lushington says.

“The symposium will also be an opportunity to hear from other leaders who are delivering social work and human services education across Australia. In addition, many of our own UniSA staff will be presenting over the two days.”

Held at UniSA’s Magill campus, the symposium will also include a keynote address by University of Western Australia’s Professor Donna Chung, who will examine the challenges of ensuring social workers make a difference and will explore future directions for social work and human service work education. 

Professor Chung’s research expertise and interests are primarily the areas of violence against women, gender and homelessness.  She is currently investigating how insights from inter-sectionality could be utilised to improve current policy and practice responses.

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