I have a particular interest in developing approaches that lead to learning, dialogue, action and change. My experience includes participatory research, especially the involvement of young people, community members and service users in research in a range of social, community and organisational contexts. I have lots of experience working with public and voluntary sector institutions, multi-agency partnerships, NGOs, government departments and agencies in a wide range of participatory evaluation, research and change projects.
I started off working in youth, community and social work in both the voluntary and statutory sectors. From the late 90’s to November 2013 I worked at the Centre for Social Action at De Montfort University where I was Reader in Participatory Research and Social Action from 2011-13 and the Director of the Centre for 10 years. I have worked on projects in the UK, USA, South Africa and Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and many other Eastern European countries. I am now a Co-Director of Practical Participation and Co-editor of Groupwork and a Board member of Just for Kids Law and the International Association of Social Work with Groups. You can find me on Twitter, or view my CV and information about publications at http://nottinghamtrent.academia.edu/JennieFleming
Dr Thilo Boeck
Currently I am working with Amantani Ccorca in the Andes of Perú who´s mission is to help children from marginalised Quechua families to access education and decent work, stimulating social development for Peru’s most disadvantaged communities. Within this context I work with a multidisciplinary team implementing the Social Action principles and process in the day to day running of our educational boarding houses, working with the parents of the young people and the wider community. We are developing Social Action taking into account the Andean worldview and the principles of intercultural learning.
I am also the Co-Director of RePa, the “Latin American Network of Resilience and Participation” which is the sister network of Social Action Net. Through RePa I am working with Amantani Cusco, an orphanage of Cusco and Pasa la Voz an NGO working with vulnerable young people. Here we are developing new approaches in working with young people in Cusco, promoting participation and participatory evaluation.
I have started my career as a practitioner in Youth and Community Development work in Lima / Peru. Using a sustainable development approach I initiated and managed a development project in Lima enabling people to use their skills and existing networks to set up community-led projects attracting investment into the community. I have worked as a senior research fellow for 15 years in the area of community development, youth work and social policy at the Centre for Social Action at De Montfort University. I have worked on several research projects exploring the impact of social policy on social exclusion / inclusion and social capital within national and international contexts.
Prof Dave Ward
I am Professor of Social and Community Studies at De Montfort University, Leicester and formerly Head of its School of Applied Social Sciences. Originally I graduated in Law at the University of Manchester and, subsequently, in Social Work at the University of Nottingham. Following a period as a volunteer teacher in rural Zambia, I worked as a Probation Officer in Nottinghamshire before moving to the University of Nottingham where I was Head of Social Work Programmes.
I have has been involved in human services education, research and development work throughout my career. My particular interests lie in groupwork and in work with offenders, particularly young people in trouble, about all of which I have researched and published extensively. In particular, I have focussed on the application, through groupwork, of the values and methods of transformative education (Paulo Freire) to front-line social welfare practice, to training, to research and to teamwork and management in organisations.
These values and practices are embedded in the activities Social Action Net and, also, of the Centre for Social Action at De Montfort University of which I was co-founder. With Audrey Mullender, I wrote the internationally commended text Self-directed Groupwork: Users Take Action for Empowerment (1991), a completely revised edition of which – Empowerment in Action: Self-directed Groupwork, Basingstoke: Palgrave – was published in 2013. In 2010, in recognition of my contribution to groupwork theory and practice, I was made International Honoree by the International Association of Social Work with Groups and I joined the University of Montreal, Canada, as Visiting Professor (2011/12). I am currently a non-executive member of the Board of a Probation Trust and a member of the Quality Assurance Board of the Prison Service training directorate.