Joint Universities Social Work Association Conference 2024 (JUSWAC): 27–28 June 2024


Grand challenges for social work: strengthening social solidarity and connectedness

Sub themes:

  1. Responses to social inequality within organisational and practice cultures.
  2. Building relationships and networks to enhance social solidarity and global connectedness.
  3. Creating and delivering a curriculum for social work that supports social solidarity and global connectedness.
  4. Social work in the community: new directions in research, education, and practice.
  5. New models of ethical partnership working.
  6. Challenging power dynamics in everyday practice.

Prices and booking*

  • Early bird: £275**
  • Regular: £300
  • Non-waged: £100
  • Social event at Raven's Ait: £49
  • A limited number of bursaries have been made available for students, experts by experience, carers and practitioners – please fill in both sections of the JUSWA Bursary Application Form and return it to

*Please note: No refund will be given for cancellations made at any time for this conference.
**Early bird booking discount only applies if payment was received by 19 April 2024.
***If you wish to pay by invoice, please email us at

Welcome from the Chair of JUSWA

I am delighted to welcome you to our 2024 Social Work Education and Research Conference hosted by our colleagues at Kingston University. This is our sixth conference since implementing our strategy to take the conference to each nation of the UK and to its different regions and I am pleased that this year we are meeting for the first time in the London Region.

"It is also the first year of our new charity. During the last 12 months we have been working hard to transfer from the Joint University Council Social Work Education Committee (JUCSWEC) to our new Charitable Incorporated Organisation the Joint Universities Social Work Association (JUSWA). As we begin this new era, I would like to thank all of those involved in keeping our work progressing and in particular to Professor Wilson Muleya and Carmelina Critcher and their colleagues here at Kingston University for their hard work to organise and host our conference this year.

"Our chosen theme - Grand Challenges for Social Work: Strengthening Social Solidarity and Connectedness - reflects our wish to reinforce social work's role as a global profession and one that thrives best through relational connections and generic allyship. Our conference is a good place to reinforce our connections and create new ones through our shared endeavours and impactful work. It is also perhaps a place for some welcome respite and refreshment as we engage with new ideas and innovative thinking in the context of increasingly challenging times. Our work here can also transform us alongside colleagues from connected professions grappling with similar challenges.

"As always, whether you are a first-time presenter or experienced (former) JSWEC presenter your work is important to us and thank you for sharing it here. Our experts by experience, students, practitioners, academics, keynote speakers and others attending are the heart of our conference and I look forward to welcoming you in person in June."

Professor Janet Melville-Wiseman, Chair – Joint Universities Social Work Association

Professor Janet Melville-Wiseman, Chair – Joint Universities Social Work Association

Welcome from the Head of Department

Everyone at Kingston University's Department of Social Work and Social Care is looking forward to welcoming you to this year's Joint Universities Social Work Association (JUSWA) Conference. This is the UK's only conference covering the whole of the social work field. The theme for JUSWA 2024, "Grand Challenges for Social Work: Strengthening Social Solidarity and Connectedness", allows for sharing of outputs and ideas covering a broad range of topics organised around 6 contemporary subthemes, therefore facilitating great discussions throughout the conference.

"We are excited to be working in partnership with JUSWA to host JUSWA 2024 Conference. Most colleagues will be familiar with JUC-SWEC Conferences, the forerunner of JUSWA, and the many opportunities for networking and sharing of interesting work. This year, the first annual conference of the new Charitable Incorporated Organisation JUSWA aims to continue the qualities synonymous with JUC-SWEC.

"On day 1 of the conference, we have two keynote speakers. The first will consider the significance of inequality for the social work profession and the second will look at the important work undertaken by one of our local partners (Hestia) sharing their work on Modern Day Slavery. On day 2, the keynote speaker will consider the challenges in social work education of holding the line and pushing forward for social justice.

"As per tradition, we would like to invite you to join us for a fabulous cultural social night which we are hosting at Ravens Ait (Island on the River Thames) on Thursday evening (see details below).

"We very much look forward to welcoming you to Kingston University."


Wilson Muleya PhD PFHEA, Professor and Head of Department of Social Work and Social Care, Kingston University London

Wilson Muleya

Organising committees

Local organising committee

  • Professor Wilson Muleya
  • Professor Rick Hood
  • Nathalie Leung
  • Carmelina Critcher

JUSWA organising committee

  • Professor Janet Melville-Wiseman
  • Jill Childs
  • Amanda Fitchett
  • Professor Joanne Westwood
  • Dr George Palattyill
  • Professor Janet Walker
  • Dr Alison McInnes

Keynote speakers

Rick Hood

Professor Rick Hood, Kingston University

Rick Hood

Dilemmas of a caring profession: the implications of inequality for social work

Social work defines its purpose and values around the principles of social justice and human rights. In this keynote lecture, Rick will consider the significance of inequality for the profession, drawing on research into welfare inequalities to highlight the dilemmas and debates around social work's role, but also the contribution that social workers can make, now and in the future.

Elizabeth Beddoe

Professor Liz Beddoe, University of Auckland

Elizabeth Beddoe

Social work education: Holding the line and pushing forward for social justice

At a time when we are beset with crises at local, national, regional, and global levels, it can be overwhelming to be a social work educator. We face challenges from many directions. Our governments want us to prepare functionaries to make social problems go away. Our statutory employing organisations want graduates ready for practice, shelf-stable, resilient, and not likely to rock the boat. The community sector wants us to show leadership in holding the line against the roll-back of progressive, redistributive policies and programmes. In many countries we face the rise of populism, which is serving to legitimise racism, misogyny and bigotry. This is not a time for social work in the academy to be quiet. While frequent efforts are made to erode it, we still have the mandate to teach critical social theory, to support our students to unpack and challenge the rising tide of pushbacks against what are demeaningly-labelled ‘woke' ideals. We also have a voice as a globally connected network of powerful thinkers, scholars, and activists. In this address I will argue for greater activism, spanning national boundaries building strength through relationship and solidarity.

Liz Beddoe is a Professor of Social Work at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. Her professional background was in women's health. Her interests include feminism, reproductive justice, critical social work, student hardship, and the experiences of migrant social workers. Liz is currently investigating social work practitioners' and educators' perspectives on three highly politicised topics where there have been recent legislative changes in Aotearoa New Zealand: abortion, the rights of transgender and nonbinary people, and assisted dying. She is a founding member of the progressive blog Reimagining Social Work and the editor-in-chief of Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work journal.

Donna Kaufman and Tuhina Bhattacharyya, Hestia.Org

Donna Kaufman and Tuhina Bhattacharyya, Hestia.Org

Donna Kaufman and Tuhina Bhattacharyya, Hestia.Org

Modern-day slavery: a social justice perspective

This keynote will hare information on the approach taken by Hestia at a local (London) level to address some of the challenges of modern-day slavery and refer to unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. The keynote will draw on Hestia's experience working in this important area.

Guidance for presenters

Oral presentations

Oral presentations will be grouped by the selection committee into thematically related areas and presented in parallel sessions, including Q&A.

Oral presentations should be no longer than 20 minutes. A 20-minute presentation is recommended, with 5 minutes for a Q&A section.

Poster presentations

Poster presentations will be on display at the conference during the dedicated poster sessions/throughout the conference. (The viewing times and schedule for these will be confirmed after the selection process for oral presentations has been completed.)

Posters must remain on display for the full duration of the dedicated poster sessions.

Poster sizes should not exceed 1200mm (3.9 ft) high by 680mm (2.2 ft) wide.


Workshops will be included as a separate category for abstract submissions and will take place during parallel sessions in the afternoon of 27 and 28 June.

The workshops are designed to be interactive and allow for discussion and reflection on current practice issues and innovations relating to the conference themes.

Workshops should be no longer than 30 mins.

Conference programme

Event date: 27–28 June 2024


We are thrilled to announce the addition of three fantastic exhibitors to our conference. We invite you to explore their websites and look forward to you engaging with them during the event.

Feel free to reach out to them and discover more about their offerings.

Research programme

To be announced.

Social programme

Unique Island Experience - Enjoy an evening on the River Thames

Come and join us for this social event on the river in Kingston upon Thames. There will be food, a glass of prosecco, music and live performance. Grab this opportunity to network with fellow delegates while enjoying stunning views of the River Thames and Hampton Court.

  • Date: Thursday 27 June 2024
  • Time: 6.30pm to 10pm
  • Venue: Kingston Island (Raven's Ait), Portsmouth Road, Kingston upon Thames, KT6 4HN
    (For directions, use KT6 4HH Westfield Landing Car Park or Catherine Road).
  • Price: £49 per person (including ferry crossing)

For more information, visit the Raven's Ait website.


Kingston Hill: the venue for this conference

Kingston Hill is a beautiful, leafy, self-contained site with a mix of modern and historic buildings and a community feel. The campus boasts a cafe, restaurant and bar, halls of residence, tennis courts, table-tennis tables and an outdoor fitness trail. The learning resources centre includes a cafe, group learning rooms and bookable meeting pods.

Kingston Hill: the venue for this conference

Information about exhibitors

Please contact us for information.

Kingston University's location

Kingston upon Thames is on the doorstep of the capital. It is one of London's safest boroughs and offers all the highlights of city living in a leafy, riverside location. The University's four campuses can be found in and around the town centre, with a free intersite bus connecting them. The heart of London is just 30 minutes away by train.

Kingston has excellent transport links. There are two mainline train stations, a network of bus routes, and major motorways close by. Both Gatwick and Heathrow international airports are easily accessible from Kingston by both road and public transport.

Free parking is available on-site.

For more information, visit AccessAble's Kingston Hill guide.

Kingston University's location

Contact us

Please email us at: if you require additional support during the conference and/or have any enquiries.