Coronavirus has thrown up many challenges – most obviously the horrific deaths, severe illness, and fear of those things, but also the restrictions that have been imposed as a result of them, and their impacts and consequences on nearly every area of daily life. The necessity of doing things differently, though, also provides a point of opportunity to think about what is going on, to try and make sense of what is happening now, but also what was happening before. It gives us a point from which to consider what needs to change about our current situation, and what we will cherish the return of, as well as a point from which to reflect on those parts of our pre-Covid lives we may resist returning to once the crisis is over.
This magazine is one manifestation of the opportunity of sense making that, with all its terrible difficulties, the current period has provided us with. It falls squarely within the tradition of citizenship journalism and is intended as a supplement to, rather than competition to, some of the good professional publications which are already produced in the social work and social care field. The first edition comes less than three weeks after the initial idea was floated by email, and two weeks after the idea was firmed up and publicised on Twitter. For me, a natural procrastinator, this has been exhilarating, as well as a little nerve-wracking. At first the articles came slowly, but then more quickly, to the extent that we’ve held a number back for consideration for a second edition to come out later in April.
The first thing to say about the articles in the first edition is the wonderful diversity of contributors – from people with experiences of different types of social work services to frontline practitioners, Practice Teachers, campaigners, social work educators and researchers, at different career stages. The articles in this first edition are linked by a sense of hope. Some raise more questions than others about social work practice, the experience of such practice, policy, legislation and leadership in current times, but they do so in the spirit of prompting action and change for the better. Some raise insights about the multi-faceted positive and negative impacts of the current crisis on social work. Some praise, or call for praise, of the actions of social workers or some of their organisations. And, one of the articles shines a spotlight on an important issue that might be being overlooked in the current context. We were delighted with not only the number, but the quality, range and diversity of external submissions.
We also had a number of people contacting us wanting to submit, but who could not make the first deadline, so we hope those people, and others, might submit for the second edition. We’ve set a deadline of Tuesday April 21st for submissions for the second edition (deliberately choosing a Tuesday, this time, for those of you who don’t like Mondays, even in these more unstructured weeks!). We’re keen to continue the diversity of contributors, issues and also formats – for example creative writing, personal reflections and book reviews with some connections to the current crisis or social work and social care are all welcome.
Full submission guidelines can be found on the site here.
Before I leave you to read on at your leisure – a few thank yous: firstly to all our outside contributors; secondly to my fellow editors for working late into several nights on top of work and caring responsibilities; to Daniel Villalba Algas, whose technical skills meant this project didn’t get stuck at interesting concept stage; and to Bianca Palazzi for our fantastic logo designs.
Fare thee well all,
Robin Sen on behalf of the Editorial Collective.