Workshops and abstracts

The theme of the conference is Power and Social Work. It calls us together to think about questions of power, powerlessness and power relationships in social work education, research and practice.

The workshop list below includes descriptions of the workshops, the name(s) of their coordinators and timetables (please scroll down).

For any further inquiries regarding the theme/focus of a workshop, please contact the workshop coordinators directly.

Download all workshop timetables in PDF here:


Download the book of abstracts in PDF here:


Download the program leaflet with the whole conference programme, workshop timetables, and other practical information in PDF here:


WORKSHOPs and timetables

1. Access, interaction and challenges. Migrants with disabilities or special needs in contemporary welfare states.

Coordinators: Annika Lillrank, University of Helsinki & Eveliina Heino, University of Helsinki

Contemporary welfare states provide equal access to health- and social care for all residents, regardless of their language, class or ethnicity. This ethos of a universal welfare state has developed uniform services through the public sector, such as health- and social care that rely on expertise and high professional skills. However, publicly organized service take care of majority populations’ needs but has omitted transnational solidarity and has less understanding for otherness. Immigration and globalization challenge the principles of universalism to transform and include cultural diversity. An increasing migrant population experience a gap between these ideals and experienced realities.

Migration challenges health and social care professionals to develop new ways of working and interacting with culturally diverse ethnic minorities. Among ethnic minorities, especially disabled adults and families with disabled children or children with special needs, face additional challenges to have access to health- and social service. When a child is born with impairment, or suffer from developmental delays, parents face a challenge in how dependent they become on public services. Fragmentation in service system is often an obstacle for attainability of services. Other challenges relate to limited language skills and communication difficulties, lack of interpreter services and lack of knowledge and information that prevents asking questions. Furthermore, written information is often difficult to understand, the needed care may not be connected to available services, or continuity of care is temporary.

Professional service is socially constructed through a mixture of cultural, professional and institutional practices that follow practices of service providers for the majority receivers and thus hard to access for people from minority groups. For example, professionals may not take extra time to provide easily accessible information or emotional support. Interaction reveals power relations and becomes significant. It reflects power differences and its consequences for both parts in interaction. This asks for critical reflection on power relations, whose opinion are being listen to, whose knowledge are considered reliable. Reflecting on power relations opens up in which context shapes differences in power, and how power relations shape care practice.

Presentations in this workshop may concern themes related to migrants with disabilities and/or migrants access and experiences of social and healthcare services.


Thursday 22.11.2018, 13.00-14.30, Workshop session I

Location: The House of Science and Letters (Tieteiden talo, Vetenskapernas hus), Lecture hall 313 (3rd floor)

13.00-13.20 Maria Tapola-Haapala: Social work, migrants and mental health – professionals´ viewpoints 

13.20-13.40 Ylva Krokfors: Examples on a scoping review on human agency of older persons living at home 

13.40-14.00 Annika Lillrank: The Dilemmas of Immigrant Families in Interaction with Health- and Social Care Professionals in Finland 

14.00-14.20 Eveliina Heino: Recognition as an Inclusionary and Exclusionary Mechanism in Basic and Disability Services. Experiences of Migrant Families with Disabled Child Living in Finland

14.20-14.30 Conclusions

2. Developing child protection – knowledge, power and participation

Coordinators: Ann Backman, LAPE Österbotten, City of Vaasa; Anu-Riina Svenlin, Kokkola University Consortium Chydenius, University of Jyväskylä & Saija Westerlund-Cook, Folkhälsan

In 2016 the Finnish government launched several key projects, one of them being The Programme to address reform in child and family services (LAPE). The aim is to promote child and family-oriented services and to create an operating culture that strengthens the children’s rights, promote a knowledge-based approach and introduce the systemic model (Hackney model) to child protection. The Programme ends in 2018. Counties and municipalities throughout Finland are taking part in The Programme to address reform child and family services (LAPE).  The development works is a collaborative effort between municipalities, NGOs and universities to explore and develop services and find new ways of working with families.

For the workshop we are welcoming theoretical/conceptual, empirical as well as practice based papers concerning development of child protection, examples of good practice especially concerning how to increase users participation in practice and also as a partner in development work. We also invite papers concerning the knowledgebase of child and family social work and the practice-theory-research relationship. How can knowledge and knowledge-based methods be used as tools for change and as means for power?

Power and participation as concepts are also present in development work, often intertwined and in flux. In order to increase user influence social workers have to consider and reflect on their use power. Participation also means shared use of power. What does this mean in a child protection context? Especially crucial is the issue of strengthening children’s participation in different phases of the child protection process. How can children influence and be an active part in the process and what does it mean for and require from social workers? Research evidence has shown that children’s participation correlates with positive effects on children’s safety and well-being and results in lower levels of out-of-home (foster care) placements, even though the evidence about long-term effects is not unequivocal (Vis et al. 2011; Kriz &Skivenes 2015).

Križ, K. & Skivenes, M. (2017) Child welfare workers' perceptions of children's participation: a comparative study of England, Norway and the USA (California). Child & Family Social Work, 22: 11–22.

Vis, S., Strandbu, A., Holtan, A. & Thomas, N. (2011) Participation and health: a research review of child participation in planning and decision-making. Child & Family Social Work, 16, 325–335.


Thursday 22.11.2018, 13.00-16.30, Workshop session I & II

Location: University Main Building (Yliopiston Päärakennus, Universitetets Huvudbyggnad), Lecture hall 6 (new side, 3rd floor)

13.00-13.20 Introduction

13.20-13.40 Aina A. Kane & Sissel Neverdal: Child protection – Protection with or without collective preventive work?

13.40-14.00 Maija Jäppinen, Meri Kulmala & Zhanna Chernova: Reforming Russia’s Child Protection System

14.00-14.20 Suzana Bornarova & Natasha Bogoevska: From Overprotective to Empowering Social Protection in post-Yugoslav Countries: the Voice of Children in out-of-home Placements

14.20-15.00 Coffee break

15.00-15.20 Ingunn Barmen Tysnes & Inger Kristin Heggdalsvik: Documentation of children´s voice and participation in child welfare services – from idea to product

15.20-15.40 Mirja Satka & Pirkko Salokekkilä: The coping of the young adults after out-of-home care and the aftercare services - a Bayesian analysis

15.40-16.00 Maria Eriksson: Development and validation of risk assessment interviews for children exposed to intimate partner violence and child abuse                         

16.00-16.30 Discussion

Friday, 23.11.2018, 12.30-15.00, Workshop session III

Location: University Main Building (Yliopiston Päärakennus, Universitetets Huvudbyggnad), Lecture hall 6 (new side, 3rd floor)

12.30-12.50 Johanna Korpinen: Capacity, decision making and child welfare

12.50-13.10 Anita Storhaug, Hilde Marie Thrana, Hanne Elisabeth Sørlie & Bente Heggem Kojan: Low-income families in Child Welfare Services

13.10-13.30 Antti Kääriälä & Elina Pekkarinen: Treated Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Disorders and School Performance among Children in Out-of-home Care

13.30-13.50 Coffee break

13.50-14.10 Tuuli Lamponen: Assessing the need of emergency removal of the child in ‘immediate danger’

14.10-14.30 Anna Pekkarinen: Ethics of knowledge production in social work with children and families

14.30-15.00 Discussion

3. Disability, power, empowerment and advocacy on the arena of social work

Coordinators: Liisa Hokkanen, University of Lapland; Mari Kivistö, University of Lapland & Pirjo Oinas, University of Lapland

For the workshop, we are calling for presentations about multifaceted relationships between disability, power and social work or disability services. The theme could be look from the viewpoint of disabled people or from the viewpoint of professionals, laymen or peers; on the individual, community or societal level.

What kind of power, influence or authority people with disability do or do not have on their life course or to the disability services? Which are the possibilities, obstacles or boundaries to participate as a disable person and as a citizen on the disability services, communities in an everyday life or the society? How to empower the powerless groups or people when working as professionals or acting as volunteers or as peers? How to restructure the social work process in the ways, which empower disabled people to be the experts of their life? How does user involvement run in practice? How and with whom to advocate for rights of disabled persons?

The workshop is looking the ways to make the ideas of The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) real in everyday life, on professional practices and in the society.


Thursday 22.11.2018, 13.00-15.40, Workshop session I & II

Location: University Main Building (Yliopiston Päärakennus, Universitetets Huvudbyggnad), Auditorium XIII (old side, 3rd floor)

13.00-13.10 Liisa Hokkanen, Mari Kivistö & Pirjo Oinas: Introducing the workshop and schedule

13.10-13.30 Elina Kalaoja & Liisa Hokkanen: Service user involvement in the social work with disabilities

13.30-13.50 Zsolt Bugarszki: Helpific platform – sharing economy-based peer to peer support for disabled people with the help of info communication technology (ICT)

13.50-14.10 Merja Tarvainen: Power of Everyday. Narrated Disability and Embodied Agency in Everyday Spaces

14.10-14.30 Henna Nikumaa & Anna Mäki-Petäjä-Leinonen: Counselling of People with Dementia in Legal Planning – Social and Health Care Professional’s Role

14.30-15.00 Coffee break

15.00-15.20 Ylva Krokfors: What kind of advocacy would persons with physical disabilities need from social work in order to promote their independent living?

15.20-15.40 Faten Nouf-Latif: Encouraging real or make-believe citizen-workers? Narratives of self-realization versus disabling support- to-work contexts by individuals with High Functioning Autism

Friday, 23.11.2018, 12.30-15.00, Workshop session III

Location: University Main Building (Yliopiston Päärakennus, Universitetets Huvudbyggnad), Auditorium XI (old side, 3rd floor)

12.30-12.40 Liisa Hokkanen, Mari Kivistö & Pirjo Oinas: Opening words

12.40-13.00 Mari Kivistö: User involvement and client-orientation in the processes of social work in disability services

13.00-13.20 Thomas Strandberg: Case-management – rehabilitation support after Acquired Brain Injury – with the aim to strengthen empowerment

13.20-13.40 Hisayo Katsui: Disability inclusion in the social work teaching curriculum in Kyrgyz universities: experiences from the EU Social Protection System (EU-SPS) Programme

13.40-14.00 Mizuho Tatsuta: Empowering lives of people with intellectual disabilities in Denmark: personal development at a day center and a sheltered workplace

14.00-14.15 All participants: Conclusive discussion

4. Global movement and dimensions of power

Coordinators: Marja Katisko, Diak – University of Applied Sciences & Maija Kalm-Akubardia, University of Helsinki

In the Nordic countries, the purpose of work in the social field has traditionally been to support individuals and communities to become integrated in society and economy, and social work has been carried out in a framework consisting of institutionalized service systems. The methods, theory formation and working practices of social work are in transition. The old ideal of universalism, where all people are part of one human race, community, society or clientele of a service district can no longer form the basis for the work. What happens in a nation state is part of the life of the global whole.

Work in the social field constantly accumulates crucially important knowledge about people’s everyday life, about its terms and about injustices in the service systems. A special feature of expertise in the social field is its close connection with both the everyday lives of ordinary people and a broader societal mission. As a result of globalization, there is an increase in the accumulation of knowledge regarding the effects of global crises on people’s everyday lives. In the current situation, it is not possible to bypass phenomena that often have unidentified and political roots, but which have consequences that are present locally. Social field professional who work in the public sector have an important role in societal advocacy, because they are the ones who accumulate knowledge about the relationship between the public service system and individuals and families with no rights in welfare state. At this point in time, it is necessary to be able to evaluate and to take a stance regarding policies and official decisions regarding entire groups of people.  

Within the realm of social work, knowledge accumulates regarding political guidelines, decision-making practices and complex national and international registrations systems. In our workshop, knowledge and authorization to use it are linked to the power to define and characterize people and events. This is also a matter of deciding what knowledge and whose knowledge is important, and what kind of knowledge people wish to promote.  


Thursday 22.11.2018, 13.00-16.30, Workshop session I & II

Location: University Main Building (Yliopiston Päärakennus, Universitetets Huvudbyggnad), Auditorium XII (old side, 3rd floor)

13.00-13.30 Timo Harrikari & Pirkko-Liisa Rauhala: Glocal social work and compressed modernity

13.30-14.00 Maija Kalm-Akubardia: Unofficial immigration and Luke’s three dimensions of power

14.00-14.30 Harald Gegner: Who has power over knowledge development within Swedish social services?

14.30-15.00 Coffee break

15.00-15.30 Tordis Kristine Søvde: Violate indigenous people’s rights and controversies around cultural appropriation

15.30-16.00 Wrap up

Friday, 23.11.2018, 12.30-15.00, Workshop session III

Location: University Main Building (Yliopiston Päärakennus, Universitetets Huvudbyggnad), Auditorium II (old side, 2nd floor)

12.30-13.00 Aija Kettunen & Marianne Nylund: Encounters, Networks and Communities in Everyday Life of Immigrants

13.00-13.30 Terhi Tuominen & Joonas Kiviranta: TEKO - Enhanced Refugee Integration through Community Social Work Project in Finland

13.30-14.00 Tiina Määttä: The power of essentialist representations

14.00-14.30 Marja Katisko & Maija Kalm-Akubardia: Social work among individuals with no rights – dimensions of power

14.30-15.00 Wrap up of the workshop: Global movement and dimensions of power

5. Labour market inclusion for people with mental health problems – knowledge exchange between practice, research and education

Coordinators: Inge Storgaard Bonfils, University College Copenhagen & Søren S. Weber, Roskilde University

In many countries, citizens with severe mental health problems are excluded from the labour market: They are overrepresented among those unemployed or on disability pension, resulting in uneven life opportunities. However, an emerging focus on labour market activation and inclusion is currently changing services from being based on segregated service systems towards Supported Employment programs. SE models have thus been implemented in the Nordic countries through the last ten years with good outcomes. SE programs refer to an "individual placement" model. Job consultants work individually with the person to identify strengths, needs, interests, choices and a virtuous job match.

At the same time, the supported employment models rely on a unilateral diffusion of knowledge from research towards practice and education. However, research, practice, and education are different fields of practice with different societal functions and forms of knowledge. Long-term cooperation is necessary to create, diffuse and contextualize knowledge in the continued development of social work. With this in mind, this workshop aims to facilitate a discussion between participants on the exchange of knowledge about labour market inclusion for people with mental health problems. How do we ensure that users’ and professionals’ experiences are appreciated – in research, in practice and in education?

As a vantage point, users will present insights from their research on labour market inclusion for people with severe mental health problems in Denmark. Following this, several contributors will present insights on:

  1. User experiences of supported employment approach and labour market inclusion.
  2. Challenges in the implementation of supported employment models with respect to existing organizational and institutional structures.
  3. The development of new measures of labour market inclusion in the area of mental health. 


Thursday 22.11.2018, 15.00-16.30, Workshop session II

Location: The House of Science and Letters (Tieteiden talo, Vetenskapernas hus), Lecture hall 313 (3rd floor)

15.00-15.05 Inge Storgaard Bonfils & Søren Salling Weber: Welcome and presentation of the workshop

15.05-15.30 Julie Rahbæk Møller, Jesper Andersen & Sidse Rubens le Fevre: User experience with IPS

15.30-15.55 David Rosenberg: Supporting young adults with mental health problems in a “career” – A life cycle focus on labor marker inclusion

15.55-16.20 Urban Markström: Facilitators and barriers for sustainable implementation of support to work-models in a sectored community mental health service system

16.20-16.30 Final questions, discussion and comments

6. Migrant encounters with the local welfare state

Coordinators: Maija Jäppinen, Hanna Kara, Camilla Nordberg & Anna-Leena Riitaoja, University of Helsinki

This workshop has a broad focus on encounters between people who have migrated to the global north and the local welfare state. We welcome critical analyses and debates on the interaction between different categories of migrants and the formal and informal street-level welfare state: social work, social and health care, employment services, social security provision, third sector organizations etc. We are particularly concerned with the ways in which the neoliberal restructuring of the Nordic welfare with increasing marketization, cost-effectiveness, managerialism and individualization as well as nationalist populist voices are manifest in street-level institutional practice.

Some key issues that we would like to discuss in the workshop are:

  • How can the local welfare state enable (or constrain) possibilities for agency, recognition and redistribution, and ultimately enhancing the living conditions for migrant background individuals in the contemporary Nordic welfare state?
  • What methodological challenges are activated in research on migration and welfare institutional encounters?

We invite presentations based on academic research and welfare professional practice. Please state clearly in your abstract which of these categories your presentation adheres to. We will encourage participants to submit either a full paper or a presentation summary for circulation to the other participants no later than two weeks before the start of the conference.


Thursday 22.11.2018, 13.00-16.00, Workshop session I & II

Location: University Main Building (Yliopiston Päärakennus, Universitetets Huvudbyggnad), Lecture hall 5 (new side, 3rd floor)

Workshop session I, 13.00-14.30, Chair: Camilla Nordberg

13.00-13.20 Anna Simola: Dynamics of dependency in the lives of young intra-EU migrants in conditions of precarious employment and multilevel conditionality of social protection

13.20-13.40 Juri Kilian: Empowerment in the context of emerging adulthood, migration and education

13.40-14.00 Ilse Julkunen, Maria Tapola-Haapala, Anna Nurmi, Päivi Heino & Karolina Asén: Urban Social Work and Encounters with Welfare Services in Urban Settings                    

14.00-14.20 Ayu Pratiwi & Outi Linnossuo: Comparative Social Work Practices with Refugee Families and Young People: Experiences from Finland, United Kingdom, Malta, Italy and Serbia

14.30-15.00 Coffee break

Workshop session II, 15.00-16.00, Chair: Hanna Kara

15.00-15.20 Ulrika Wernersjö: Social work with unaccompanied minors in times of restrictive migration policy                   

15.20-15.40 Janet Anand: The power of co-creation in the design and delivery of services for refugees

15.40-16.00 Maija Jäppinen & Hanna Kara: Negotiating access in ethnographic fieldwork on social work with migrants

Friday, 23.11.2018, 12.30-13.30, Workshop session III

Location: University Main Building (Yliopiston Päärakennus, Universitetets Huvudbyggnad), Lecture hall 7 (new side, 3rd floor)

Workshop session III, 12.30-13.30, Chair: Maija Jäppinen

12.30-12.50 Anna-Leena Riitaoja: Conceptualisations of migrant encounters with the local welfare state in social work degree courses, course literature and in professional literature

12.50-13.10 Kristina Gustafsson: Language Brokering: The use of children as interpreters in social services

13.10-13.30 Camilla Nordberg: Newcomer stay-at-home mothers’ acts of citizenship in the local Finnish welfare state

7. Narrative and discursive approaches in exploring power relations

Coordinators: Laura Tarkiainen, University of Helsinki & Eveliina Heino, University of Helsinki

This workshop will provide the opportunity for discussion and exchange of experiences in approaching the issue of power as a socially constructed phenomenon. The workshop will focus on narrative and discursive approaches, and seeks to bring together researches across the Social Sciences with a keen interest in presenting their empirical and/or methodological work.

Presentations in this workshop may illustrate representations and negotiations of power relationships by using examples of narrative or discursive analysis related to themes like poverty, unemployment, migration and/or mental health. In addition, presentations may involve reflections of concepts such as agency, identity, responsibility, deservingness, group membership and citizenship. Empirical and methodological examples may utilise data from interviews, policy documents, media texts and/or naturally occurring frontline or otherwise institutional practice.


Thursday 22.11.2018, 13.00-16.30, Workshop session I & II

Location: University Main Building (Yliopiston Päärakennus, Universitetets Huvudbyggnad), Consistory hall (new side, 2nd floor)

13.00-13.30 Kirsi Günther & Johanna Ranta: Transitions within mental health services: how the workers of supported housing unit explain and justify clients’ service transitions in team meeting conversations

13.30-14.00 Anna Olaison, Annika Tagizadeh Larsson & Johannes H. Österholm: Case conferences as informal backstage meetings - studying priorities used by social workers in assessment conversations

14.00-14.30 Veera Korhonen: Constructions of agency: an analysis of social work documents concerning the need for 24/7 care

14.30-15.00 Coffee break

15.00-15.30 Kerstin Svensson & Marcus Knutagård: Power within the relation, power over the situation

15.30-16.00 Guðrún Kristinsdóttir & Jón Kjaran: Eventually I understood that I had not realized any of my dreams. Intimate partner violence, masculinity

16.00-16.30 Vera Virolainen: Female prisoners’ narratives on violence: Talking about and talking back to normality

Friday, 23.11.2018, 12.30-14.00, Workshop session III

Location: University Main Building (Yliopiston Päärakennus, Universitetets Huvudbyggnad), Consistory hall (new side, 2nd floor)

12.30-13.00 Miina Kartinen: In the crossroads of social work and cultural studies: Survival as a cultural formation

13.00-13.30 Laura Tarkiainen: Discourses on unemployed individuals’ deservingness in parliamentary discussion in Finland

13.30-14.00 Anne-Marith Rasmussen: How to cope with being recognized as a “Northerner” – a study on subjectification among young people in the North of Norway

8. Power and social work education

Coordinators: Marcus Knutagård, Camilla Nordberg, Torkel Richert, Karin Waleur, & Monica Kjørstad, Nordic Association of Schools of Social Work (NASSW)

The world is facing huge challenges regarding globalization, climate change, increasing resource scarcity, population growth, neoliberal transformations and growing inequality. These types of global concerns also affect social work in the Nordic countries and put pressure on social work education to respond to the current problems that we are facing. We can also see a movement towards the digitalization of social work. All these matters bring the concept of power at the fore. What role can social work education play?

In the Nordic countries, we can see different trends regarding power over social work education. State regulations and governance affect the curricula and the practice field calls for education and research that can be applied in the day to day work of the practitioners. Concepts like co-production puts attention towards the importance of service-user participation. But, who has the power over social work education and how can power in social work education be understood? The educators have an important role and have, in many ways, a great possibility to influence social work education. This position calls for a reflective practice on power relationships and how different forms of knowledge can be included in social work education and what roles schools of social work can play in tackling the challenges that we are facing now and in the future.


Thursday 22.11.2018, 13.00-16.30, Workshop session I & II

Location: University Main Building (Yliopiston Päärakennus, Universitetets Huvudbyggnad), Lecture hall 13 (new side, 3rd floor)

13.00-13.20 Rikke Egaa Jørgensen & Charlotte Rosenberg: Challenging traditional power relations through social work education? Experiences from a cross-sectorial partnership exploring new subject positions in social work

13.20-13.40 Mette Fløystad Kvammen  & Tabitha Wright Nielsen: Service users as supervisors in social work education – mending the gap of power relations

13.40-14.00 Mari Nordstrand & Nina Skjefstad: Power balance in parallel supervision with students working closely with families

14.00-14.20 Sisko Piippo & Leo Nyqvist: Responding to Intimate Partner Violence in Social Work Education

14.30-15.00 Coffee break

15.00-15.20 Cecilia Heule, Marcus Knutagård & Arne Kristiansen: Gap-mending niches in institutionalized social work practice and education

15.20-15.40 Helene Jacobson Pettersson & Linda Lill: Power Relations in Social Work Education - Teachers’ Strategies and Experiences of Ethnicity in Sweden

15.40-16.00 Akiko Kosaka  & Janet Anand: Diversity in Finnish Social Work Education: The Power of the Outsider’s Gaze

16.00-16.20 Jessica H. Jönsson & Aina Lian Flem: Field training in the Global South and unequal power relations: On the challenges of encounters

Friday, 23.11.2018, 12.30-14.00, Workshop session III

Location: University Main Building (Yliopiston Päärakennus, Universitetets Huvudbyggnad), Lecture hall 13 (new side, 3rd floor)

12.30-12.50 Sanna-Liisa Liikanen & Susanna Tanskanen: Students facing deprivation in adult and youth social work studies

12.50-13.10 Guðný Björk Eydal & Steinunn Hrafnsdóttir: Social Work Education, co-production and empowerment. The case of Iceland.

13.10-13.30 Ann Kristin Alseth & Aina Lian Flem: Social work education addressing anti-oppressive perspective in a changing welfare state in Norway

13.30-13.50 Øystein Henriksen: Coherence between education and social work practice in a transitional context

9. Power and user involvement in social work – perspectives and challenges

Coordinators: Vibeke Bak Nielsen, Anne Mette Carlslund, Jacob Christensen, Tina Harlev, Katrine Sjørslev Nielsen & Durita Johansen, FORSA Denmark, board members

In both social and health care, there is currently an increasing interest in the citizen and a user perspective. This occurs within social work practice and research concerning children and young people, socially vulnerable groups and the public's contact with the health system. The question is what this trend stems from and what perspectives this gives for research, education and practice.

Social work and social policy involves the involvement of the citizen at a central pivotal point. We see examples of the children's area, where the focus is on strengthening the involvement of children and young people in their own case.

Another perspective of practical social work is centered on accountability of the exposed adult citizen in relation to his or her own life. The question is in this context whether the citizen's perspective and involvement are challenged by different values ​​about what will be the right and the best for the individual's life in a given situation.

The involvement of citizens' voices in welfare-professional work thus encompasses both tradition and a variety of potentials, but also raises a number of questions, practical and research ethical issues that address how these citizen voices are discussed and how the involvement of the citizen's perspective is linked to the framework conditions made available for work in the social and health field.

At FORSA Denmark's annual meeting, we will follow this trend and shed light on both the overall trends and explanations while we invite presentations and dialogue about specific projects that have worked extraordinarily with the involvement of the citizen perspective. With this workshop, we also want to involve the Nordic perspective in the discussions on the direction in which the user involvement is moving.

We welcome presentations based both on academic research and on professional practice, and we don’t  require presentations to be based on full written papers.


Thursday 22.11.2018, 13.00-16.30, Workshop session I & II

Location: University Main Building (Yliopiston Päärakennus, Universitetets Huvudbyggnad), Small festival hall (new side, 4th floor)

13.00-13.20 Binbin Wang: Using PBL as a tool to enhance children’s participation in rural China: Practice and Challenges

13.20-13.40 Laura Kalliomaa-Puha: One’s own involvement – or the family’s? Right to care and presumption of family and friends in the Finnish legislation

13.40-14.00 Maria Appel Nissen: Power and powerlessness in social work - on conflicts, (dis)trust and forms of corporation

14.00-14.20 Laura Rapo: Constructing agency of homeless youth in social work

14.30-15.00 Coffee break

15.00-15.20 Eeva Ekqvist & Katja Kuusisto: Changes in experienced well-being during inpatient substance abuse treatment

15.20-15.40 David Rosenberg: Peer Support in Mental health– experiential knowledge and expert power

15.40-16.00 Minna Kivipelto & Merita Jokela: Participatory approach to adult social work: Lessons from the Finnish Inclusive Social Security experiment

16.00-16.20 Lars Uggerhøj: Talking about them or with them? – Involving processes in social work with young people

Friday, 23.11.2018, 12.30-15.00, Workshop session III

Location: University Main Building (Yliopiston Päärakennus, Universitetets Huvudbyggnad), Lecture hall 12 (new side, 3rd floor)

12.30-12.50 Pernille Wisti: In the closet or coming out? When social workers manage their personal user experiences in social work practice

12.50-13.10 Anniina Tirronen, Jari Stenvall & Tony Kinder: Its alright in practice but will it work in theory - learning and wellbeing in Finnish social work practice and research

13.10-13.30 Maarit Aalto: Good Enough or higher support –quality

13.30-13.50 Suvi-Maria Saarelainen & Anna Mäki-Petäjä-Leinonen: Technology as a Means of Existential Care for the Oldest Old

13.50-14.10 Mia Tammelin & Maija Mänttäri-van der Kuip: Policy Alienation Among Front Line Social Workers

14.10-14.30 Sidsel Natland: Dialogue seminars – capturing the voices from within

10. Power, sexuality and social work

Coordinators: Heli Inkinen, Åbo Akademi University, School of Business and Economics & Minna Strömberg-Jakka, University of Turku

Human well-being is one of the central issues of social work and sexuality is a part of this well-being. Social work is also targeted for people in various vulnerable situations such as persons living in asylum seekers´ centers, disabled housing service units, hospitals, youth in child protection institutions or for prisoners.

It is social work to defend the rights of people who might still be looking for their own gender identity or whose sexual orientation differs from the communities they live in. These may be different religious communities or, for example, patriarchal communities in which women's chastity is strongly monitored. In these situations, a social worker may, for instance, face a question about female circumcision. The role of the social worker may then be empowering these people.

On the other hand, there exists social work also at different institutions, where clients ´ or patients´ sexuality has to be limited. This means restrictions to their self-determination. For example, in prisons, it might be a question of fire safety whether it is allowed to have sexual equipment in one´s prison cell. Social workers may face frustration concerning this matter or find themselves in solving threats of sexual assault in the prison environment.

However, there might also exist different power use towards the staff in different institutions, including social workers. In the child protection institutions, a male teenager might use aggressive and sexually explicit speech towards the female staff member or a female teenager might try to undress in front of a male staff member. So, who finally holds the power in their hands?

To this workshop we welcome all the abstracts of experiences in these kind of environments and ideas concerning the research of these matters. Who holds the power in institutions when it comes to the right of people´s sexual self-determination? How does a social worker encounter a person who wants to do a sex replacement surgery? Are the questions of sexuality adequately considered in social work education?


Thursday 22.11.2018, 13.30-16.30, Workshop session I & II

Location: The House of Science and Letters (Tieteiden talo, Vetenskapernas hus), Lecture hall 312 (3rd floor)

13.30-13.55 Jens Lindberg & Stefan Sjöström: Victims without an acknowledged role – experiencing male rape

14.00-14.25 Merethe Giertsen: Social work and the production of sexual knowledge – an argumentation for addressing privileges and power asymmetries

14.30-15.00 Coffee break

15.00-15.25 Torkel Richert: Taking care of business in a male dominated drug economy – Women drug users´ narratives on sexism, struggle and resistance

15.30-15.55 Johanna Aapakallio: Power used by parents and authorities on dealing honor related violence and sexuality

16.00-16.25 Maritha Jacobsson & Stefan Sjöström: Victim-shame and perpetrator-guilt: discourse on alcohol and clothes in rape trials

11. Research as resistance: Exploring critical, anti-oppressive, anti-racist, decolonial and participatory approaches in research with disempowered clients

Coordinators: Anna-Leena Riitaoja & Tobias Pötzsch, Centre for Research on Ethnicity and Nationalism (CEREN) at the Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki

Josselyn Baltra-Ulloa (2012:90) has argued that “social workers need to theorize how to give up power”.  Indeed, those who are socially marginalized also remain so within the research context where they are often treated as research objects; rarely as authors, co-owners or as “legitimate” voices of academically validated “truth” (Ife 2008).

In this workshop, we aim to analyze how power relations in social science research with disempowered client groups could be reimagined by exploring critical, anti-oppressive, anti-racist, PAR or decolonial methodologies. Such approaches are distinctive as they focus specifically on ways in which power is shared with insiders by operationalizing principles of social justice and social change. They also embody a collaborative, participant-centred research practice in which responsibility and accountability of process and outcome are collectively shared. (Yellow Bird et. al. 2013, Denzin & Giradina 2010). As a result, they force us to reconceptualize research as partial and emancipatory as well as a tool for fostering resistance to the systemic oppression of those “Othered” in society.

Such considerations are especially important in practice-based professions. Client dissatisfaction with working methods that don’t represent their worldviews and experiences, as well as neo-liberal, managerialist agendas have pushed these professions to become more “accountable”. While client dissatisfaction invites critical analyses of power relations within social work, neo-liberal accountability entrenches positivist notions of how knowledge should be created and assessed. Here, what constitutes evidence is “understood securely within a positivist/Enlightenment, (White, heterosexual, patriarchal) framework” (Brown & Strega 2005:12). Therefore, if the ethical foundations of social work still rest upon a client-centered focus then it can derive tangible benefits from critical research approaches.

Questions which we hope to highlight with our workshop contributors are: Are research objectives manipulative or helpful to the community of participants? Is the research epistemology and methodology respectful to diverse worldviews and experiences? What are the ethical considerations in collaborative research? Am I as a researcher-practitioner creating space or taking space?  Who can be a knower and what knowledge is recognized as knowledge?


Thursday 22.11.2018, 13.00-16.30, Workshop session I & II

Location: The House of Science and Letters (Tieteiden talo, Vetenskapernas hus), Lecture hall 401 (4th floor)

13.00-13.25 Sabine Gruber & Anna Lundberg: Research in social work grounded in emancipatory values

13.30-13.55 Sidsel Natland: User involvement in research – whose voice, whose knowledge?

14.00-14.25 Gorana Panić: In Search of Alternatives in Social Work: Opportunities and Constrains for Collective Action Addressing Post-Graduation Challenges

14.30-15.00 Coffee break

15.00-15.25 Håvard Aaslund: Can «service users» speak? – a postcolonial approach to service user participation in research and practice

15.30-16.30 Anna-Leena Riitaoja & Tobias Pötzsch: Roundtable discussion: Critical research methodologies: reconceptualizing researcher aims, role and outcomes

12. Rural areas in change

Coordinators: Kati Turtiainen & Niina Rantamäki, Kokkola University Consortium Chydenius, University of Jyväskylä

In recent years, the Nordic welfare states have gone through large changes. This development results from the challenging characteristics of the welfare state itself as well as from challenges provoked by external forces. The former is to a great part based on the alleged incapability of public welfare services to meet the increasingly individualized needs of people. The latter includes factors as the rapid ageing of the population, globalization processes, the decline of public finances and the more ideological shift from common responsibility to individual rights and obligations. Solutions to face the existing problems include among others administrative and service structure reforms as well as the marketization of welfare services.

Both the challenges and the measures taken to address them have particular effects on rural areas where 27 % of the total population of Nordic countries lives. While each of the countries defines the 'rural' in its’ own way, the key features are common: low population density, small settlements located at a far distance from each other and urban settlements and an economic structure based on primary production. Due to the challenging combination of prevailing societal development and geographical conditions, the people living in rural areas are at risk to end up in a situation that both weakens their agency and adds the sense of powerlessness.

At the same time, many rural communities have created innovative models for the organisation of services and the improvement of the quality of life as a response to the current mainstream policy. Likewise, immigrants are seen as a significant potential for rural areas to promote population growth and to maintain services although together with the positive impacts negative consequences have also emerged, for example concerning the discriminatory reactions against refugees or recognized asylum seekers.

We are inviting papers that focus on the societal development in Nordic countries from a rural perspective. In addition to the presentations that analyse the changes taking place in the context of the welfare state and their consequences, we are also interested in more conceptual and theoretical papers that discuss how 'rural' is approached in social work research in general.

Topics discussed may include:

  • Local models for the provision of welfare services
  • The role of civil society and civic participation
  • The impact of immigration (forced and voluntary)
  • Conceptual or theoretical approaches to rural in social work research


Friday, 23.11.2018, 12.30-15.00, Workshop session III

Location: University Main Building (Yliopiston Päärakennus, Universitetets Huvudbyggnad), Lecture hall 8 (new side, 3rd floor)

Welcoming words by Kati Turtiainen and Niina Rantamäki

12.30-12.55 Kerstin Johansson: The Practice and future of Social Services in small and rural municipalities

12.55-13.20 Randi Haugland: Rural social work is changing. What happened to the ecological approach in Inter-Municipal Child Protection Services in Norway?

13.20-13.45 Heli Valokivi: Power in Active Ageing of Northern Finnish Older Women

13.45-14.00 Break

14.00-14.25 Niina Rantamäki: Social sustainability from the perspective of rural communities at the turning point of the Finnish welfare state

14.25-15.50 Kati Turtiainen: Intersectional approach in(to) to the refugee resettlement in the rural community

14.50-15.00 Final discussion

13. Social work and the natural environment

Coordinators: Satu Ranta-Tyrkkö, University of Jyväskylä; Aila-Leena Matthies, Kokkola University Consortium Chydenius, University of Jyväskylä & Kati Närhi, University of Jyväskylä

The goal of the workshop is to deepen the understanding on the relationship between the natural environment and social work. The starting point of the workshop is that the world is in the midst of an epochal transition, also defined as systemic crisis, which the ongoing ecological, economic and socio-cultural transformations, such as the human induced climate change, manifest. Being complex, interconnected, and cumulative, systemic problems are difficult to control and predict. While, for example, climate change is already increasing social inequality and vulnerability as a component of natural catastrophes and violent conflicts, its worst cumulative effects may risk everything social work has ever stood up for, and ultimately the continuity of the human kind. Yet, despite much talk about sustainability, for the time being the prevailing practice in contemporary consumer societies is politics of unsustainability. The workshop is grounded on the understanding that social work is not aside from these processes, starting from its financial dependence on economic growth. Rather, the ongoing transitions challenge conventional approaches to social work and force social work to reassess its potential roles as well as major limitations in the much-needed ecosocial, or socio-ecological, sustainability transition of societies.

We welcome presentations, which discuss the interconnections between social work, economy ecology and power from various angles, as well as papers focusing specifically on the relationship between social work and the natural environment. The presentations can be conceptual, empirical or practical, and/or have micro, meso, or macro focus. The papers can thus discuss social work in relation to environmental crises, de-growth, inter-generational, environmental or ecological justice issues, nature-assisted interventions and services in social work, and so forth. Moreover, we are particularly interested in papers that analyze what kind of things hinder social work from engaging with fundamental ecological and environmental issues and what to do about them, and how can social work contribute building a more hopeful, if likely also more complicated future.


Thursday 22.11.2018, 15.00-16.30, Workshop session II

Location:  The House of Science and Letters (Tieteiden talo, Vetenskapernas hus), Lecture hall 405 (4th floor)

15.00-15.10 Opening words

15.10-15.30 Satu Ranta-Tyrkkö: Challenges of social work in extractive peripheries

15.30-15.50 Kati Närhi, Tuuli Hirvilammi, Aila-Leena Matthies & Ingo Stamm: Social workers’ views on ecosocial transition in society

15.50-16.10 Ingo Stamm: Ecosocial innovations – forerunners for eco-social security systems?             

16.10-16.30 Aila-Leena Matthies: Inclusion into what? Ecosocial innovations as a radical sustainability perspective on social inclusion

15. Women, vulnerability and welfare services

Coordinators: Marjo Kuronen, University of Jyväskylä; Elina Virokannas, University of Helsinki & Ulla Salovaara, University of Jyväskylä

We wish to invite to our workshop papers studying women in most vulnerable and powerlessness positions in the society (e.g. women in poverty, homeless women, women with substance use problems, women experienced violence or committed crimes, refugee and asylum seeker women etc.). Especially, we wish to have papers concerning their relationship to and encounters with social work and social workers, and the whole welfare service system.

Vulnerability is a contested concept in social scientific research and in social work practice, which is often used in a stigmatising way to refer to individuals or groups associated with victimhood, deprivation, dependency, pathology, and powerlessness. Instead, we want to turn the attention towards the society, social conditions and institutions, including social work and the welfar service system that are expected to reduce but that might also generate vulnerability and powerlessness.

The workshop focuses on women and feminist approach because gender specific issues are often ignored when social problems, social work, welfare services and vulnerable groups are studied.  Because of strong cultural and moral expectations regarding adequate womanhood, women in vulnerable life situations are often seen as “the margin of the margins” or “double or even triple deviants”, easily forgotten in the service system and often ignored even in social work practice and research.

Welfare service systems all over the world, including the Nordic welfare states, are undergoing a major transformation with new models of service delivery and management, austerity measures, stronger requirements for cost-effectiveness, marketization, and prioritizing of services. Service users are increasingly seen as consumers that are expected to choose and purchase the services and who are aware of their legal rights. This requires knowledge and skills, and social and economic resources that people in vulnerable life situations do not often have. Thus, the ongoing transformations might make access to and availability of services even more difficult for them. They easily “fall in-between” complex systems, do not have their individual needs met or their specific life situations recognised. Furthermore, they might not even search, use or have access to the services, or they are turned away from them. These important topics for social work research and practice we wish to discuss in our workshop.

We warmly invite both empirical, theoretical and methodological papers concerning these themes and topics.


Thursday 22.11.2018, 13.00-16.30, Workshop session I & II

Location: The House of Science and Letters (Tieteiden talo, Vetenskapernas hus), Lecture hall 309 (3rd floor)

13.00-13.20 Anna-Maria Isola, Heikki Hiilamo & Irene Roivainen: Poor lone mothers’ agency in poverty

13.20-13.40 Suvi Krok: The everyday world of lone mother

13.40-14.00 Stina Fernqvist: Social work or bureaucracy? Experiences of the handling of maintenance support after the 2016 amendments in the Swedish Social Insurance Code

14.00-14.20 Aiga Romāne-Meiere: Aspects of vulnerability for kinship caregivers in Latvia

14.30-15.00 Coffee break

15.00-15.20 Hanife Serin: Non-abusing Mothers’ Voices and Agency after the Disclosure of Their Child’s Extrafamilial Child Sexual Abuse

15.20-15.40 Mette Rømer: The Role of Social Work in the Field of Undocumented Sex Worker Migrants – The case of Denmark

15.40-16.00 Riitta Granfelt: At the Margins of Society:  Listening to Homeless Women

16.00-16.20 Minna Kivipelto & Helena Palojärvi: NOVAT groups as a method for supporting women with addictions – examination of evaluation results

16. Open stream

Coordinators: Stina Sjöblom, Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki & Christian Kroll, Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki


Thursday 22.11.2018, 13.15-16.20, Workshop session I & II

Location: Porthania Building, Lecture hall P674 (6th floor)

13.15-13.20 Opening words

13.20-13.40 Ann-Sofie Bergman: Foster children’s perspectives on visiting and contact during out-of-home placements

13.40-14.00 Siv-Britt Björktomta & Heidi Aarum Hansen: How digital society challenges child welfare practices – From social workers’ perspective

14.00-14.20 Anne Juberg: Neither risk discourse nor reflexivity: So what?

14.30-15.00 Coffee break

15.00-15.20 Camilla Granholm: “Mind the gap” – a journey with elderly in the virtual dimension

15.20-15.40 Eva Dragomirecka: Empowering family caregivers of people with dementia

15.40-16.00 Johanna Björkenheim: Towards biographical agency in social work

16.00-16.20 Daniel Nilsson Ranta: Local Solutions to a National Dilemma

Friday, 23.11.2018, 12.30-14.30, Workshop session III

Location: University Main Building (Yliopiston Päärakennus, Universitetets Huvudbyggnad), Lecture hall 15 (new side, 4th floor)

12.30-12.35 Opening words

12.35-12.55 Katarina Hollertz & Sara Hultqvist: Killing two birds with one stone. A user perspective in activation of unemployed

12.55-13.15 Paula Saikkonen & Minna Ylikännö: What is the role of social work after the Finnish social assistance reform?

13.15-13.30 Break

13.30-13.50 Tuomo Kokkonen: Transforming citizenship as a foundation of social work

13.50-14.10 Jolita Buzaitytė-Kašalynienė: Social workers’ reactions towards manifestations of power in management

14.10-14.30 Louise Christensen: Power in social work               

17. PhD workshop on Power and Social Work (Sponsored and organized by NASSW/NOUSA)

Coordinators: NASSW board members; Karin Waleur, Monica Kjørstad, Marcus Knutagård, Camilla Nordberg & Torkel Richert

The Nordic Association of Schools of Social Work (NASSW) sponsors the participation of a limited number of six PhD students in the Nordic Social Work conference in Helsinki, 21-23 November 2018.


Thursday 22.11.2018, 13.00-16.30, Workshop session I & II

Location: The House of Science and Letters (Tieteiden talo, Vetenskapernas hus), Lecture hall 404 (4th floor)

13.00-13.30 Petra Malin: Inclusion and Democracy in Arts-Based Service User Participation Processes             

13.30-14.00 Henrik Örnlind: Social Work and the Right to the City             

14.00-14.30 Hilde Fiva Buzungu: Power and Disempowerment in Social Work across Language Gaps

14.30-15.00 Coffee break

15.00-15.30 Nina Helen Aas Røkkum: Power and the ontological choreography of emotions in social work

15.30-16.00 Katarina Grim: The legitimacy of user knowledge in decision-making processes in psychiatric care – a conceptual analysis

16.00-16.30 Hanife Serin: Non-abusing Mothers’ Voices and Agency after the Disclosure of Their Child’s Extrafamilial Child Sexual Abuse

18. PhD Workshop on Power and Social Work (Organized by the Nordic Social Work Conference 2018)

Coordinators: Urban Markström, Umeå University & Christian Kroll, Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki


Wednesday 21.11.2018, 13.30-16.30, PhD Workshop session

Location: Porthania Building, Lecture hall P444 (4th floor)

13.30-13.55 Caroline Hansén: Implications and response patterns of perpetrator and victim: A study of violence, gender and power in intimate partner relations

13.55-14.20 Arttu Salo: Fatherhood, alcohol and the hierarchy of masculinities

14.20-14.45 Marina Bergman-Pyykkönen: Constructing power relations in boundary crossing collaboration

Break with light lunch salad, coffee & snacks

15.15-15.40 Håvard Aaslund: Can «service users» speak? – a postcolonial approach to service user participation in research and practice

15.40-16.05 Sanna-Liisa Liikanen: Do the parents of poor families with children have trust and power to participation and wellbeing?

16.05-16.30 Suvi Linnanvirta: The implications of the Finnish social assistance reform for food aid recipients’ social citizenship