The gap-mending concept is an analytical tool that helps teachers and researchers in social work to reflect upon what, in their practice, increases, maintains or mends gaps between professionals and service user groups. The article suggests a theoretical background on how gaps in social work...
The Mobilization Course
The Swedish representatives in PowerUs have had their base in a development project that has been realized in cooperation with over 35 different service user organizations. In 2005, the first mobilization course was held in a EU-funded project between the School of Social Work at Lund university and the service user driven organization Basta (www.basta.se). The course have been given at eleven occasions and have trained over 300 social work students and over 120 service user students. The five week long course is characterized by:
- Three sources of knowledge: scientific knowledge, knowledge that comes from service user experiences and knowledge from social work practice.
- An equal platform for students from service user organizations and social work students that learns from each other as they take the course together.
- The students develop project ideas in order to improve social work practice.
The course have been developed by a partnership that have shared an understanding about the need for social work practice to – to a bigger extent than what is done today – be built in cooperation with the people with experiences of discrimination and marginalization. The theoretical basis for the course is therefore focusing on power issues, social inclusion, social mobilization, empowerment and social change.
A lot of work has been spent trying to mobilize resources to run the course. The students coming from different service user organizations are taking the course as a commission course financed by different sponsors. Originally the course was finances with EU-funding, and in recent years the school of Social Work has started the organization Bruksvärde in cooperation with Rainbow. Bruksvärdes main objective is to promote service user involvement in social work education, practice and research in Sweden.
The mobilization course has given spin-off effects both on other courses in Lund and on other universities. A few years ago a similar course was given in Lillehammer for the first time, and today Lillehammer have given four similar courses. Inspired of the Scandinavian model a course is planned to take place in London South Bank University, spring 2013.
Here is a table of the different organizations that the service user students have been recruited in: