Eileen Lauster (Durham University and Astra Project)

(United Kingdom)

Topic: Lived Experiences: Democratic knowledge generation through social work skills and technology

Associate Prof. Sui Ting King, Durham University and Roger Smith, Prof. Durham University

Language: English 


Social Workers are engaged with people that sometimes work through difficult life challenges. Social workers benefit from these unique life experiences because their understanding of the communities they serve increases as well as skills development for future interventions with other service users.

Marginalised groups may be hesitant to share their lived experiences with social workers, yet these groups have valuable contributions to make regarding social concerns. By learning new skills and techniques informed by Participatory Action Research, it is possible for social workers to aid groups and individuals in expressing their authentic, lived experiences in a safe and mutually beneficial way.

In this workshop, we will explore the challenges and benefits of creating video from camera phones to capture lived experiences. This is an example of Arts-based methods that can assist the social worker and service user in producing more democratic research and practice. The facilitator will take participants through the process used in Youth Participatory Action Research as part of the facilitator’s PhD studies and the Astra Project, a Marie Curie project for social work Early Stage Researchers focused on Environmental Economic and Social Sustainability. The facilitator will share the successes and challenges encountered in their fieldwork.

The workshop aims for participants to be comfortable with the process and understanding of the concepts behind lived experience knowledge generation to a level where they can bring the recording technique into their practice or research. The workshop will accommodate those with no or very little tech experience. Those that are comfortable with technology and have a YouTube account can follow and create a video as we go through the process in the workshop.