Even though summer is approaching, the memories of Easter are still fresh in my mind. In April, I attended the ECSWR (European Conference for Social Work Research) 2023 in Milan with a group of researchers from CASCADE, including Donald, Jonathan, Alyson, Clive, Sophie, Melissa, and myself. We all actively participated in the conference, with Donald and Jonathan serving as the chair for some sessions, while Alyson, Clive, and Melissa delivered presentations on various topics:

Alyson’s research collaborated with Norwegian colleague Alf Roger Djupvik – ‘Manualisation of social work: a comparison between Wales and Norway’.  Clive’s research – ‘Understanding the implementation of children’s social care policy in Wales’ A study of the new child sexual exploitation guidance. Melissa’s research – ‘Interim findings from an evaluation of the Family Drug and Alcohol Court in Wales pilot’. Additionally, Jonathan, Sophie, and I presented on the Family VOICE project.

Attending this three-day conference was one of the highlights of my year. It was my first time presenting at a European research conference outside the UK, and I felt honored to be there. When our plane landed in Italy, I was filled with excitement and emotion because I had once called Italy home many years ago. I still have some Lira notes in my drawers! Although much has changed, the history, buildings, and churches continue to amaze me. And the food was exceptional! 

What made this trip even more special was spending time with my colleagues from CASCADE. Since I am not based in Cardiff, I don’t get to meet them in person very often. This trip gave me the opportunity to get to know them better as individuals, not just colleagues I communicate with via Teams. I enjoyed our conversations, and I was impressed by their knowledge, expertise in research and passion for their work. It made me proud to work alongside them and be a part of CASCADE.

In addition, I enjoyed my presentation and was grateful for the support from my colleagues at CASCADE and colleagues from other universities. I had the chance to make new friends within the community and exchange knowledge and interests. I attended other sessions to learn about what others are doing, and I was so excited that I even approached a professor from another country whose studies inspired me.

Overall, this trip embodied the theme and slogan of this year’s ECSWR conference – social work research through and towards human relationships. I am thankful for the experience and memories that will stay with me for a long time.

Kar Man