Experts in the field of social work from across Europe were after a year again welcomed by the Faculty of Social Studies, University of Ostrava, where the 17th edition of the International Spring School of Social Work for Master’s and PhD Students was held. On 17-19 April, the Faculty hosted 27 students and 28 lecturers from nine European countries (e.g., the Great Britain, France, Germany, Finland, Poland, Austria, and Slovakia). One block was held online for students from the Gandhigram Rural Institute, India.

The keynote speaker of the conference was British Professor Donald Forrester (from Cardiff University), who gave a talk on an innovative concept of social work focused on clients’ rights.

Student contributions covered a wide range of areas in the field of social work, ranging from child welfare to the identity of social work as a discipline and the creation of wisdom of practice, to the topic of gender and intimacy in social work. The topic of participatory approaches in social work was also interwoven throughout the conference, with the team of Iveta Kowolová, Anna Samková, and Barbara Przybylová presenting their experience with this concept.

The conference ended with a workshop, where members of an experts-by-experience group, who have been working at the Faculty of Social Studies since 2018, presented their experience in training students.

Before the conference itself, a meeting of the member universities of the European Research Institute of Social Work (ERIS) was held, where the possibilities of cooperation on the international COST Action project were discussed, as well as the latest happenings within ERIS such as the editorial plan of the journal Czech and Slovak Social Work and ERIS’s new profile on social networks.

It can as well be noted that the conference was supplemented by an enriching programme of informal student meetings, geo-games, and guided tours of the Lower Vítkovice area.

All those interested in the topic of social work can take note that the 18th conference will be held from 23 to 25 April 2025.