Social Work as a Forum for Democracy

In August 2016, academics, professionals and PhD students gathered to join the 14th TiSSA conference that was held at Ghent University in Belgium. This years’ conference theme was ‘Social work as a forum for democracy’ and embraced a wide variety on topics, varying from Child Welfare and Protection, family care, Early Child and Education, migration and social work as a profession.


We were very pleased to welcome over 35 doctoral students during the pre conference from 15 different countries, including some countries who never been to TiSSA before. All participants presented for 20 minutes after which their presentation and their research was extensively discussed with all participants as well as with the members of the international supervisory board. These discussions were not only lively, but also deeply interesting as many of the participants brought in some new perspectives. For the first time, there was also a workshop on the second day of the pre conference. During this workshop, the chair of TiSSA, Prof. dr. Rudi Roose, gave some interesting insights into the world of publishing. This was clearly interesting for all participants as many questioned and concerns were raised during the workshop.


On Monday 22th the plenary sessions were opened in the presence of the Flemish Minister of Welfare, Family and Health, the Dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences (Ghent University) and the Dean of the Faculty of Education, Health and Social Work (University College Ghent). After this opening session, Prof. dr. Paul Michael Garret (NUI Galway), Prof. dr. Mel Gray (Newcastle University) and Prof. dr. Anna Meeuwisse (Lund University) gave a lecture in the presence of more than 100 participants. In the afternoon, parallel sessions were organised with a diversity of topics.


The second day of the plenum was traditionally short as there were only three plenary sessions, followed by Field Visits. During this Field Visits, participants were able to visit Villa Voortman, Victoria Deluxe, Public Centre for Social Welfare, and the Municipal Migration Service of the City of Ghent. The third and last day was a day full of exciting presentations, including one workshop. During this workshop, participants were able to flesh out the presentation of the authors and discuss in-depth their topic, research and concerns. It was the first time, the TiSSA organisation, implemented the concept of the workshop. It has to be said, that all participants were excited about this concept. The conference was closed at the City Hall and a nearby restaurant NT Gent where a Farewell Diner was held.