Imagine in social work

Thank you for thinking over imagination and its contribution to our humanizing social work

On Being weekly News (3rd June, 2019), notes how john a. powell, a civil rights scholar , social advocate whom studies structural racism comments, that  to be human is “to love and to suffer; to suffer with, though — compassion, not to suffer against. So, to have a space big enough to suffer with, and if we can hold that space big enough, we also will have joy and fun, even as we suffer. And suffering will no longer divide us.” This is imaginative. His work on housing policy — among much else — is built on the foundation of his conviction that we cannot thrive unless we are in relationship with each other. Everything is about relationships, imagining those even where they fail in actuality.

Society must assume it is stable however the artistic skill in social working (social work is informed by art and science) must know both this assumption, and must let us know that there is nothing stable under heaven. Art exposes the very nature of our unstable lives while in this very act simultaneously touches the eternal, the universal. It is though imagination that we becalm the ‘momentary tumults against the raging ocean that has washed and will always wash, the shoreline of the human spirit’ (Popova in 1st 2017). The artistic thinker is the carrier of imagination-seen also as the spirit that draws four walls of the house together as one shelter.This is a popular social work model (Te Whare Tapa Wha (Durie, 1982)

Has social work policy and practice suffered because our capacity for imagination has been over looked, or ever actively impoverished through our workplace practices and loss in identity? “Imagination for individuals (and in a cultural knowledge of a profession), loses reality as it ceases to adhere to what is real…for there are degrees of the imagination, as for example, degrees of vitality and therefore, of intensity. It is an implication that there are degrees of reality” It is a function of the imaginative or creative spirit to protect its interior integrity from the weight and intense declaration of reality, that place where increasingly contemplation is excluded and the impermanence of a future suggested. Consider how reality is sustained in The Daily Hourly News flashed through television screens in our homes. What therefore is the role of the imaginative spirit in work (Smith, G., personal communication, 2012).  Smith suggests that if we may imagine ourselves differently we may become different in how and what we are to our self and the other

That one of the peculiarities of imagination that is explicit at the end of an era. Are we there yet, I hear? Imagination attaches itself to a new reality and adhere to it. Reality exist for individuals according to the circumstances of their lives, the characteristics with which they reason. The pressure of reality is a determined feature in the artistic character of an era and a person. It is the resistance to this pressure or evasion avoidance to the pressure with folk of extraordinary imagination which endures, and offers capacities into the imagining of ourselves and our way of being. Has this meant we cannot center our self…we are no longer where our spirit has footing?… where ancestors speak of enduring ways to us? Does imagination resides with spirited passionate social work? How well as a profession do we welcome the analysis and passion that calls out: That ‘The Emperor has no Clothes/or is missing imagination?’  The time of Puao Te Ata Tu (1986) was one of imagining. I propose that the value in imaginative practices empower Statutory social worker and their Practice culture,  in the authority and skills required to notice, critique, to  care and hope so the children/kin whom they work for may know life, and experience richness connected to kin, land, cultural ancestors and their dreams. Yes, Imagination is culturally constructed, however noticing this and not collapsing that , then through its creativity we have our sense of self, of what is our identity and authenticity, of how another person can hold this also, and therein of possibilities in working those distinctions.  Imagine how a fledgling morepork (owl) conceives of flight !fledging owl


Holding Hope? Listening to Women Social Workers Voice on Spirituality- an interface of Neo Liberalism, Education and Poverty.

via Holding Hope? Listening to Women Social Workers Voice on Spirituality- an interface of Neo Liberalism, Education and Poverty.

lets work together-you at this end, me at that end of the basket so the people will be fed.

With the call to register the social workers as professional (a profession informed by sciences and arts and one  which I deeply care for over 35 years) I wondered if you are troubled by a dynamic or seduction which occurs. Registration has clear status and this draws on notions of power over others. The love of such power resides often unchallenged in my contemporaries behaviours and plays out  in a manner which normalises  elite practice bases, and privileges certain skills and knowledge over others.

Social work seeks social justice. The Social is with and from people…their relationships and purposes with specific focus on the marginalised…the  peoples most dispossessed. Our specfic Social Work lens draws us to understand our commitment to stand with people and circumstances most dispossessed by often actions lead by the State

Is it possible that you can sustain commitment to registration,  it’s process administered, maintained and perpetrated by the State and it’s bureaucrats while equally you  sustain commitment to stand alongside the dispossessed? What choice do you have to give either option up should you not do both?  If you are able to, then what are your orientation techniques and does the ANZASW or TWASW professional association become increasingly essential to support your hopes in this? Post one way you recommend we keep these themes alive while considering (with open eyes)  the registration of  our professional body.

Holding Hope? Listening to Women Social Workers Voice on Spirituality- an interface of Neo Liberalism, Education and Poverty.

Voice being  shared is how we come to know, to be, to contribute our meaning. Each of our voices carry something unique of that spirit in an invisible embrace about our lives. That so much of voice remains unheard and unacknowledged will enable some suicide of the soul. While there are clearly social structures which control, support some and suppress other voices, as wonderfully written on, by Peter O’Conner, these are particular in relation to neoliberalism,the arts and democracy. See Twelve thousand hours.Education and Poverty in Aotearoa NZ. Dunmore Press,2004. It is however through creative research opportunities, such as when I sat with women social workers whom explored work and voice and spirituality This opportunity to speak on what had for some, no words, had never been discussed before,  generates an importance about women’s experiences of questioning, challenging, theorising and remaking  reality. We became changed;our lives had touched when we acknowledged the presence of each other through experiences informed by lovers, grandchildren, insights into aging, our struggles and silencing ; we choose to work in hope laden ways, enabled by a rediscovered human authenticity rather than work which focused on concepts of human development and permanency, our drive to compliance and function.

This blog is to join with others, to encourage how we may restore the personal and political by sharing astonishing journeys.We may see how these carry elements of the wider story of layers of social, emotional poverty as what is increasingly recognised as impoverishment of human character; if our professional education is only around information and does not include wisdom, then the suffocation of responses to life changing growth from experiences of human injury and loss occurs gradually, but terribly. “For how can I tell you who I am , if you do not believe that I am real” (Bakara,1970). This blog is one manner where valuing the individual gifts of talking, of problem solving, the extended exploration of ideas to re imagine the common good, enables that which is of social justice to each through our work and lives.

Join me, bird in wombjoin us.Check the related blog pages Spirit-Aotearoa…. (web address which share resources and our journey as Women and Spirit.