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Connected Practice


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The launch of a new research unit to study social services in the network society. The research unit is a joint venture between the Glasgow School of Social Work and the Institute for Research & Innovation in Social Services. The presentation includes reference to a bid for funds from the Institute for Advanced Studies

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Connected Practice

  1. 1. <ul><li>A new research unit the objectives of which are to: </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct applied & strategic research into the application of new technologies to social services practice; </li></ul><ul><li>Support multidisciplinary collaboration in research; </li></ul><ul><li>Promote active networking in research: nationally, across the UK, and internationally; </li></ul><ul><li>Disseminate research findings widely amongst social services practitioners, managers and other key stakeholders. </li></ul>
  2. 2. <ul><li>Industry reference group: </li></ul><ul><li>key strategic stakeholders and potential users of the outputs of the unit; </li></ul><ul><li>will comment on research plans and broad direction; </li></ul><ul><li>help ensure the practical relevance of proposed research activity; </li></ul><ul><li>whilst also recognising the need to undertake research into innovative & emerging technologies. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>What is the network society? </li></ul><ul><li>a society whose social structure is made of networks powered by microelectronics-based information and communication technologies; </li></ul><ul><li>the primary organisational form of the information age; </li></ul><ul><li>exclusion from these networks is one of the most damaging forms of exclusion. </li></ul><ul><li>Castells (2001) </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>What is the network society? </li></ul><ul><li>The network society is made of what Barry Wellman calls ‘complex social networks’. </li></ul><ul><li>The infrastructure of this social network is made of computer networks that connect people & organizations. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Just as a computer network is a set of machines connected by a set of wires, a social network is a set of people (or organizations or other social entities) connected by a set of socially meaningful relationships.” </li></ul><ul><li>Wellman (2004) </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Three key underpinning ideas: </li></ul><ul><li>Social constructivism & technology </li></ul><ul><li>Networked individualism </li></ul><ul><li>Networked publics </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Some questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the implications of the network society for social services (e.g. the impact on social networks & social capital)? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How are social services responding to new forms of social solidarity & new forms of social disorder? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What new techniques are emerging to organise, manage & deliver social services (e.g. internal business processes & customer facing service delivery)? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What new opportunities & risks are there for citizens & users of social services? </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>The Institute for Advanced Studies aims to: </li></ul><ul><li>Enhance the culture & society of Scotland and the UK, and their future scientific and technological capabilities.” </li></ul><ul><li>It is interdisciplinary in nature; </li></ul><ul><li>Has a remit to inform public policy & practice, where appropriate; </li></ul><ul><li>Hosted at University of Strathclyde, but aims to become an independent, national institution for academics & non-academics across Scotland. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Connected practice bid to the IAS to </li></ul><ul><li>“… provide a Scottish focus for an international exchange about the emerging changes, challenges and opportunities networked technologies are bringing to the lives of the users of human services and to the practice of human service practitioners.” </li></ul><ul><li>Objectives of the bid: </li></ul><ul><li>To promote understanding & knowledge exchange about the impact of the network society. </li></ul><ul><li>2. To outline an interdisciplinary programme of research to inform effective policy responses and practice developments for human services. </li></ul><ul><li>3. To raise awareness of policy makers and the public and engage them in a conversation about the positive and negative impact of networked technologies. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Draft programme </li></ul><ul><li>4 week online discussion space: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>start discussions on the differences and commonalities between national contexts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Week 1: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>sharing perspectives on: networked citizens and the networked public sphere , network disorder & networked human services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plans for an edited text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plans for joint, interdisciplianary bids - areas of interest include: children, young people & social networking sites , older people & telecare , digital inclusion & disability </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Week 2: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>programme of seminars – to which key civil servants, policy makers and NGOs will be invited – will connect the themes of week one to specific client group areas known to be concern to Scottish Government: children and young people; older people; people with disability; and communities. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Outputs of two week programme </li></ul><ul><ul><li>to be recorded and released on social media sites, via press releases and articles, a public lecture, and a twitter channel. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Connected Practice blog </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>