Episode 23 – Researching the importance of refuges for women and children escaping domestic and family violence, with Professor Angelika Henschel.

Hello and welcome back.

This episode I am joined by Professor Angelika Henschel from Leuphana University of Lueneburg in Germany. Angelika is the Head of the institute of Social Work and Social Pedagogy at Leuphana, with her research and teaching focused on gender studies, inclusion and youth welfare. With a long history in social activism and feminist political work, Angelika is a well-known and admired agent of change in the work of Women’s Health, both throughout Germany and around the world. Angelika’s social work practice led to co-founding the first women’s refuge in her hometown of Luebeck, as well as a rape crisis collective and an organisation to bring together young women supporting each other through mutual aid and active support. I am so grateful to have met Angelika and spent some time getting to know her and learning all about her social work research and practice in this field.

We hope you enjoy the conversation.


Episode 22 – The ‘Name Narrate Navigate Pathways Program’ (NNN), a trauma-informed and culturally-responsive action research project with Associate Professor Tamara Blakemore.

We are back again for another awesome conversation with a social worker using action research to make a big difference in the world. Introducing to you all… Associate Professor Tamara Blakemore from the University of Newcastle!

Tamara is a social worker and researcher who is (along with her research team) rapidly changing the face of family and domestic violence intervention for young people and their families in New South Wales and beyond, with action research project called Name. Narrate. Navigate pathways program (NNN).

Here’s what the UoN University News (2021) has to say about it:

Taking a unique approach, Name. Narrate. Navigate acknowledges young people who use violence have often been victims/survivors of violence themselves. It uses trauma-informed practice to provide sensitive and culturally safe education, skill development and support to young people who have used or are at risk of using violence. NNN provides psychoeducation, skill development and support to young people and their caseworkers assisting them to a point-of-readiness for targeted recidivist focused interventions. With the support of Westpac, in 2022 the Name.Narrate.Navigate (NNN) Pathways Program will see scale-up of the program through specialist trauma-informed and culturally-safe training, mentoring and support for practitioners across regional, rural and remote Australia to delivery NNN in their own sites and settings. The program for young people will continue with targeted delivery for young women, young Aboriginal people and young people who display sexually harmful behaviours.”

(University of Newcastle, University News 2021)

Tamara and I have a great conversation together in this episode, and we’re so glad you get to hear it! Keep an ear out for the description of action research, along with how she (and her team) work towards creating a research project and intervention program that is trauma-informed and culturally-responsive.

Please, if you can, don’t forget share this episode among your networks, and definitely let Tamara and I know your thoughts on the episode by reaching out to us on twitter using the handle @swdiscoveries

I hope you enjoy the conversation and it spurs you on to do some cool things of your own. Cheers!


Tamara’s contact information:

Tamara Blakemore

Associate Professor in the discipline of Social Work, School of Humanities, Creative Industries and Social Science, Univeristy of Newcastle

Chief Investigator & Project Lead at Name. Narrate. Navigate Pathways Project (namenarratenavigate.com)

Email: tamara.blakemore@newcastle.edu.au

Website: http://www.newcastle.edu.au/profile/tamara-blakemore & namenarratenavigate.com

Other people who Tamara recommends to check out and see what they’re up to:

Professor Fiona Arney – Arney Chong Consulting

Professor Darryl Higgins – https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Daryl-Higgins

Professor Leah Bromfield – Leah Bromfield Home Page, University of South Australia (unisa.edu.au)

Dr Susan Rayment-McHugh – Dr Susan Rayment-McHugh | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia (usc.edu.au)

Dr Wendy Fitzgibbon – Dr Wendy Fitzgibbon : WestminsterResearch

Louise Rak’s work can be accessed via the NNN website (Name.Narrate.Navigate – NNN (namenarratenavigate.com)

Episode 21 – Co-designed and collaborative research involving missing persons, suicide prevention, social media and podcasting with Dr Sarah Wayland.

Hello friends!

As you may be aware, it’s been pretty quiet of late on the podcast, sorry about that. It’s not because I haven’t been interviewing people, because I promise I have, and that there’s lots of interesting social work research conversations coming your way throughout the year, but more excitingly its been because quite a lot of time has been spent with my friends and podcast collaborators at our sister podcast, the Social Work Stories podcast. There are some really exciting things coming out this year on the Social Work Stories podcast, as well as some amazing new series’ soon to be launched by us. So, keep your ears tuned for more info soon! If you want to find out more about the Social Work Stories podcast, be sure to follow us on twitter @SOWKStoriesPod or check out our website socialworkstories.com. 

As for Social Work Discoveries, the social work research conversations are getting super interesting! In late 2022, myself, and the team from our sister podcast Social Work Stories, travelled to Melbourne, located on the lands of the Kulin Nation, and attended the Australian & New Zealand Social Work, Welfare Education, and Research Symposium, otherwise called ANZSWWER. At this Symposium, our team managed to sit down and record a number of research conversations for Social Work Discoveries, as well as perform our first live Social Work Stories show, which we’re super excited to release for all our listeners, very soon. 

Today’s conversation was recorded at the ANZSWWER Symposium, and my guest was Dr Sarah Wayland from the University of New England (Australia). Sarah is a Senior Lecturer Social Work in the School of Health at UNE in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. For more than 20 years, Sarah’s frontline work and research has focused on trauma and loss, with a particular emphasis on understanding the needs of missing people and their families, as well as suicide bereavement and prevention. Dr Wayland is involved in several projects examining workforce responses to suicide attempting, trauma exposure and the needs of carers. Her current focus remains on authentically including the voices of those with lived experience to better inform suicide policy, research and practice developments. She is a regular speaker, to mainstream media, about the impacts of being left behind when a person is missing. 

Cheers, Ben.

Things to check out:





Sarah’s Contact Information:

Sarah Wayland, PhD BSW (she/her)

Associate Professor | Discipline Lead – Social Work | HDR Co-ordinator (Health) | Mid Career Researcher – Manna Institute

University of New England

Email: swaylan2@une.edu.au | Twitter: @sarahlwayland

Episode 20 – Research in social work education and lessons learnt from the Social Work Stories podcast: A conversation with Dr Mim Fox.

Hello Listeners,

This is a great episode for all those who are interested in finding out more about social work and education in the university. In particular, how it is that students are learning about social work in contemporary times. In this episode I interview Dr Mim Fox (University of Wollongong) who explores her recent research in this space, as well as going into detail around her experiences of, and lessons learnt from, the popular Social Work Stories podcast (socialworkstories.com). It’s a long episode today, but we felt that the conversation needed time and space, and we love having a good ol’ chat together.

Special thanks to Kate Draper (Western Sydney University) for all her hard work in producing this episode – congratulations Kate! I hope you are feeling proud of your efforts with this episode, I know that I am.



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!