This is PowerUs

PowerUs is an international network of teachers and researchers from schools of social work and representatives from different service user organizations.

PowerUs develops methods of mutual learning in order to change social work practice to be more effective in supporting the empowerment of marginalized and discriminated groups in society.

Acknowledging direct experience as a valuable source of knowledge and involving service-users in education & research, provides social work-students with an understanding of the social issues that goes beyond the purely theoretical. It also empowers the service users too see that their experience-based knowledge is valued.

PowerUs consists of partners from Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, the UK, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, South Africa, Canada, Poland, Austria and Switzerland.


Working with Experts by Experience

By Nicole den Besten, student Social Work at University of applied science Utrecht. My name is Nicole and I am a student in my final year of Social Work at the Hogeschool Utrecht University of applied sciences (HU). Last year I participated in the “Mend The Gap”...

Experiential knowledge; knowledge with zest!

Experiential knowledge. How do we recognize it? Can you see it, feel it, taste it? What does it mean? How can you harness it and how do you develop it with students? With a diverse group of social work lecturers, we orientated ourselves to questions like these under...

Greetings from Northumbria

PowerUs colleague Colin Cameron lets us know that he is getting everything organised for the commencement of the new Mend the Gap: Collaborative Learning with Service Users module at Northumbria this Thursday. Eight students and 10 people from outside the university...

Strategic Partnership, Experiential knowledge

Experiental Knowledge in Higher Education is a strategic partnership between twelve universities from ten countries in Europe. The three year project focuses on creating educations on experiental knowledge and building strategies for strengthening and individualizing...

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Partnership Experiential Knowledge

Experiential Knowledge in Higher Education is a strategic partnership between twelve universities from ten countries in Europe. The three year project focuses on creating educations on experiential knowledge and building strategies for strengthening and individualizing professional educations (for social workers and nurses), to strengthen students in their personal and professional development.

The collaboration is a long-term development work together with social colleges in ten countries. They all have experience in integrating and developing methods in different ways, which means that experience-based knowledge is utilized to strengthen students and to make them better equipped to withstand various challenges in social work, to be enduring and creative in a tough and important work.

The students will be part of the work of developing new methods to strengthen them as social workers. The project will also contribute with knowledge about how the universities can meet up to students from different backgrounds to succeed with their studies and with their future profession.

Peer support in Housing First

Members of PowerUs in Sweden are engaged in a three-year research project about sustainable ways for municipalities to work with the strategies of Housing First and peer support. The social services are facing major challenges in developing sustainable and effective methods. There is a need for new knowledge to evaluate the effects of social services’ treatment activities and to facilitate the implementation of Housing First.

One way to do this is to create sustainable working methods for service user participation and quality development based on cooperation between service users and representatives of various social services.

Our project will generate results that contribute to these needs for new knowledge. Work-package 1 focuses on implementation and quality development from a service user perspective, but it also takes into account other stakeholders’ perspectives. We will investigate how the 21 municipalities in Sweden that say they are working according to Housing first are getting on.

The RECO-labs that will be organized within the framework of Work-package 2 will engage service users and other stakeholders in a common and mutual learning process to contribute to new forms of quality development and co-production. In the end of the project the learnings from WP 1 & 2 will be disseminated nationally.