Episode 19 – Who’s voices are we listening to? Researching with children and young people: A conversation with Samia Michail.

Welcome back to the Social Work Discoveries podcast!

In Episode 19 I speak with Samia Michail from Western Sydney University. Samia is a researcher, practitioner, and academic focused on promoting the voices of children and young people in her work and everyday life.

The conversation we have explores the complexities of working in this field of research, and paints a picture of what the world could become if only we opened our ears to the voices of children and young people.

Special thanks to Kate Draper who produced this episode while on her final social work field placement at WSU. Congrats Kate, you did a fantastic job!


Episode 18 – Music, Mental Illness and Social Work with Alexandra Pajak.

Hello friends,

Apologies for the long time no post. My own social work research and writing has definitely waylaid my plans to regularly update the podcast this year. I’m hoping things begin to change soon though.

Nonetheless, here’s my conversation with social worker and composer Alexandra Pajak. We discuss so many interesting social work practice experiences throughout this discussion, particularly involving Alexandra’s time with county jails in the U.S.

From these experiences, Alexandra has composed a full-length album titled ‘Mind/Electric: Music inspired by Mental Illness’. Be sure to download or stream on iTunes or Spotify, its a great listen! Any funds raised from the album go to supporting mental health services in the United States.

Please let us know what you think by reaching out to us on twitter @swdiscoveries. I hope you enjoy the conversation and the music.

Cheers, Ben.

Episode 17 – Rites of Passage and the Building Young Men group mentoring program with Dr Arne Rubinstein and Brad Waugh.

Hi Listeners,

This is the final episode recorded in collaboration with the Men’s Health, Information & Research Centre based at Western Sydney University.

In this episode, you’ll hear from CEO and Founder of the Rites of Passage Institute Dr Arne Rubinstein, alongside the General Manager of Panthers on the Prowl (the community development arm of the Penrith Panthers Rugby League Club) and co-founder of the Building Young Men group mentoring program, Brad Waugh.

Our guests discuss their experience in working with men & boys in their communities and highlight what it is that they feel is integral for success when working in this sector of community development and social change.

We hope you enjoy the conversation!


Episode 16 – Understanding Indigenous Methodologies with Dr John Hunter: Learning survival, sustainability, and healing through community.

Hi Listeners,

This episode was recorded in collaboration and partnership with the Men’s Health, Information, and Research Center (MHIRC) based at Western Sydney University. It is the second installment of conversations with social researchers looking into the health and wellbeing of men and boys.

This week we were lucky enough to be able to yarn with Dr John Hunter of the Gamilaraay & Wiradjuri people, and working at Macquarie University, who focuses his research and practice in Indigenous Methodologies through Community Based Action Research. His focus in today’s conversation is ‘Learning survival, sustainability, and healing through community. There could not be a more important moment for us to listen to John’s perspective here.

This week (June 2020) we have seen protests arise around the world in support for the #blacklivesmatter and #aboriginallivesmatter movements, and we at the Social Work Discoveries podcast stand in solidarity with all those working to resist and change the ongoing trauma, oppression, and marginalisation rampant throughout our societies.

All those who contribute to the SW Discoveries Podcast commit to working to shift the practices we undertake here that reinforce the status quo of racism and bigotry that fosters hate and fear, especially in Justice, Law Enforcement and Community Welfare. We aim to support reconciliation, treaty, self-determination, land-rights, and Aboriginal sovereignty throughout Australia, remembering that the land on which this podcast is produced was, is, and always will be Aboriginal land.

With this in mind, we hope that you find John’s thoughts and ideas as inspiring as we did.


Episode 15 – Indigenous Research, Disability Research and Activist Research with Associate Professor Dr John Gilroy.

Hello friends,

Today’s episode was recorded in collaboration and partnership with the Men’s Health Information and Research Centre (MHIRC) and mengage.org.au in the lead up to Men’s Health Week (Australia) 2020.

This is the first in a series of Men’s Health related interviews. In today’s conversation we look into many of the intersections of research, social work, activism, disabilities, Indigenous perspectives, which are all interconnected in the life and work of Dr John Gilroy (Assoc Prof at Sydney University).

Please Note: Several of the names mentioned throughout this interview have been edited in an effort to respect privacy. There is also plenty of colourful language that I thought I’d give you a heads up on in case you are sensitive to that.

This is a great yarn, we hope you enjoy!

p.s.  A special thanks to co-producers Simon Kumar and Dr Neil Hall.


Episode 14 – A Social Work start-up: The Sydney Social Work Community with Kate Hutchinson.

Hi Listeners,

Apologies, it’s been a while since our last episode!

My conversation here was recorded on grounds of Sydney University and so I would like to acknowledge the custodians of the land – the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation – paying respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

This episode diverges somewhat from investigating the intersections of social work and research, and instead focuses on an emerging community development and social work forum in Sydney – The Sydney Social Work Community. An exciting new development for social workers in the region.

This is an interesting conversation with founder Kate Hutchinson which I am sure you’ll enjoy and I have a feeling that at the end of the chat, you may be motivated to make your own change for good in your social work communities!



Episode 13 – Sexual Justice as Social Justice with Dr George Turner.

Hello friends,

On episode 13 you’ll hear an engaging conversation with Dr George Turner discussing the intersections of social work, sexual health, social justice, research and language. There’s lots to get you thinking, so we hope you enjoy!

Speak with you soon.


Episode 12 – Social Work in the Pacific, Cultural Humility, and Decolonising Social Work Research & Practice with Associate Professor Dr Jioji Ravulo.

Hi All,

Here is episode 12 of the Social Work Discoveries Podcast.

On today’s episode you’ll hear from Dr Jioji Ravulo who is very interested in the space of practicing cultural humility and decolonising social work research & practice. Jioji works closely with Pacific Islander peoples & communities both here in Australia and abroad, and is very passionate in creating a better world through the social work research that he undertakes.

We hope you enjoy our conversation.


Episode 11 – Street Art, Researching Men & Boys, and Social Determinants of Health with Dr Neil Hall.


Hi Friends,

On today’s episode we follow up with Dr Neil Hall.

We heard from Neil last episode for the 1 year anniversary of the podcast, and we are very happy to have him back on the podcast for today’s social work research discussion.

Today, Neil and I explore his research work with a street art project in the Blue Mountains (one hour’s drive west of Sydney, Australia). I also spend some time asking Neil about his perspectives on conducting research in the area of Men & Boy’s Health.

You’ll hear Neil discuss his thoughts on a Social Determinants of Health perspective for health and welfare, as well as get an insight into what drives him to conduct the social work research that he does.

We hope you enjoy! Thanks for listening.


Episode 01 (Remastered & Extended Edition) – Social Work and Participatory Action Research with Dr Neil Hall.


Hi Friends,

To help us celebrate the one year anniversary of the Social Work Discoveries podcast, I’ve uploaded a remastered and extended edition of the very first episode of the pod.

On this episode you’ll hear all about Social Work Research & Participatory Action Research with Dr Neil Hall from Western Sydney University.

A special thanks to my co-producers on today’s episode – Georgie Butler & Jeevan Thangarasa (Western Sydney University social work students). Thank you for such fantastic and creative help!

Will speak with you all again soon.