Accessibility statement

Communities, Advocacy & Social Change - SPY00030I

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Katie Graham
  • Credit value: 30 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

The aim of this module is to challenge and support you to critique and connect ideas of equality, citizenship and empowerment to real world contexts in respect of community organisation and grassroots advocacy. You will gain an understanding of the role that 'community' plays in social change by examining a range of theoretical perspectives associated with power, change and participation. You will synthesise and critically evaluate research, policy and practice evidence regarding an aspect of community-based social change and put these ideas into practice.


Professional requirements

This module is not formally a part of the regulated content of the MSW, however the learning in this module will support students' learning in the following Professional Capabilities Framework domains:

  • Values & Ethics
  • Diversity
  • Rights and Justice
  • Knowledge
  • Critical Reflection
  • Interventions and Skills



Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2022-23 to Summer Term 2022-23

Module aims

Due to the contested natures of ‘social justice’ and ‘community’, we face significant dilemmas in the application of the principles of social justice to support change in an increasingly unequal world. The aim of this module is to challenge and support you to critique and connect ideas of equality, citizenship and empowerment to real world contexts in respect of community organisation and grassroots advocacy.

This module aims to encourage students to critically engage with some of the key theoretical standpoints informing approaches to community action both within the UK and internationally. You will have the opportunity to consider and critique the viability, sustainability and ethics of particular community-based approaches.This module explores the challenges and contradictions of community development practice in the contemporary context learning from local and more high profile social movements.

In this module you will consider how to work within community settings by looking at local policy and provision; your knowledge will then grow from the local to the global, increasing your cultural awareness.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module you will:

  1. Be able to engage in discussions around the core concepts taught in the module; power, social justice, community and social change.

  2. Have developed a broad understanding of a range of community-based approaches to social change and their theoretical traditions.

  3. Be able to critically evaluate of a range of specific theories and models of practice that are relevant to community-based action and advocacy

  4. Have an awareness of the complex interrelationships between the individual, community, society and state

  5. Use theory in combination with critical reflection to inform your interpretation of the world around them and their approach to working with others.


Task Length % of module mark
2000 Word Essay
N/A 30
Critical reflection
N/A 50
University - project
Documentary film
N/A 20

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

The group project starts at the beginning of the Autumn Term and will be worked on throughout the module. Formative feedback will be given in group workshops and discussions throughout the module. More formal formative feedback will be given in Spring week 10 (see formative assessment).

Reassessment will be required at component level with the critical reflection (final) essay being weighted more heavily to take account of possible failure in the documentary film element. 


Task Length % of module mark
2000 word essay
N/A 30
Critical reflection
N/A 70

Module feedback

Students will receive formative feedback on their plan for the documentary film during the spring and summer terms through a series of planned submissions

Summative assessment feedback will be given within 4 weeks.

Indicative reading

Cornwall, A. (2011) The Participation Reader. London: Zed Books.

Craig, G. & Mayo, M.(eds) (2011) The Community Development Reader: History, Themes and Issues. Bristol: Policy Press.

Dutta, M.,J. (2011) Communicating Social Change. Structure, Culture and Agency. London: Routledge.

Field, J. (2016) Social Capital. London: Routledge.

Gilchrist, A. (2009) The well-Connected Community. Second Edition. Bristol: Policy Press.

Ledwith, M. (2016) Community Development in Action. Putting Freire into Practice. Bristol: Policy Press.

Meader, R. R., Shaw, M. & Banks, S. (eds) (2016) Politics, Power and Community Development. Bristol: Policy Press.


Community Development

Community Development Journal

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.