About the Project
Understanding Social Work Leadership in Canada (USWLC) is a research study that captures and preserves the oral histories of social workers who have made notable contributions to social work practice and social justice.
The study includes analyzing video recordings of 56 historical oral histories created in 1983/84, together with 50 contemporary oral histories (yet to be recorded), in order to develop a model of leadership for social work in Canada.
The original project includes interviews with 56 social workers from across Canada who practiced from about 1920 to about 1983. These social workers were pioneers in social welfare and social policy in Canada, and established many of the services that we enjoy today. The contemporary oral histories are designed to reflect the leadership experiences of recently retired/retiring social workers with concerns for issues of diversity and inclusion, issues related to identity politics, and anti-oppressive practices.
About the Artwork
We are commissioning artwork for use within project materials as a visual representation of the project’s goals and ambitions.
The artwork will be used to:
• Advertise and promote the project in a variety of materials (e.g. poster, website, social media posts, brochure),
• Open each oral history video recording,
• Help solicit nominations through a short recruitment video,
• Thank participants and volunteers. A print of the original artwork will be given as a symbol of our appreciation (approximately 100 gifts).
The hoped-for outcome of the art is to create a memorable visual image that brands the project and reflects a relationship between the historical oral history project (1983/84) and the contemporary project (2022). It is also hoped that the art will reflect some of contextual realities that surround social work, with an emphasis on the social justice potential that is wrapped up in our work.
The original artwork may be donated to a non-profit or auctioned off at a future date to create an “oral history fund” for future projects.
An honorarium of $1000 will be offered to the artist to cover the supplies and media used in creating the art, and to compensate in some small way for the artistic labour required.
Some interesting points about the project to spark creativity
Karen Hill, the Principal Investigator of the original 1983/84 project, was moved to undertake the research after a conversation with Kay Shimizu, a retired social worker who completed her social work degree while incarcerated in a Japanese Internment Camp in BC. The spark for the original project came about during lunchroom conversations about social work at the Social Development Council in Ottawa. To have some representation of Karen and Kay in the image would be great.
The original interviews were completed in 1983/84 while the contemporary work is being completed in 2022/23. Is there a way to reflect the passage of time (maybe someone should be wearing a mask or having a zoom session with clients/colleagues)?
In a contemporary context, social workers have developed theories and perspectives like anti-oppressive practice that are now utilized by other disciplines like medicine. We have also worked to heal harms caused by social policies we have enforced in the past, for example Indigenous social work leaders who have advanced social justice and care for residential school survivors. While we don’t want to whitewash over the negative parts of social work history, we want to capture the spirit of persistence and change-focused acts of the leaders who we are featuring in the oral histories.
We would like the image to have an edge to it, for example presenting constructivism as an artistic style. The artwork needs to be scalable as the image will be used in both 8.5x11 and larger size posters, in video-based materials and as part of social media posts. The artist will receive full acknowledgement of their contribution in materials and publications.
Please email your C.V. and some samples of your work that are relevant to our poster art project to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 18, 2022. Be sure to include your name, contact information, and a line or two on why this project interests you.
Members of the USWLC research team will review the submissions and select one artist for the commission. We will let you know by April 15, 2022 if your submission was chosen.
For more information about this call please contact:
Michele Fisher, Research Assistant - Understanding Social Work Leadership in Canada - Email: email@example.com