Accessibility statement

Power, Participation & Practice - SPY00136M

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Kelly Devenney
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23
    • See module specification for other years: 2021-22

Module summary

In this module you will develop an understanding of critical approaches to power in social work practice. You will consider how participatory approaches to Social Work can improve power dynamics in practice. You will draw on your own practice experiences across the programme to analyse how power and participation operates in the social work settings you have experienced on the programme. 

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Summer Vacation 2021-22 to Autumn Term 2022-23
B Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims


In this module you will apply the conceptual lenses of power and participation to strengthen you critically analytical approach to the profession and practice of social work and issues of social justice. You will use relevant theory and research to critically reflect on the social work structures and services you have experienced during the programme and consider the issues of power and participation in relation to your own practice and the wider context of social work. You will actively consider how participatory approaches challenge power inequities in practice and may enhance anti-oppressive approaches

Module learning outcomes

  1. Critically analyse the role of power in social work systems and practice using relevant theories and approaches. 

  2. Understand the role of participatory practices in counteracting unequal power dynamics and critically evaluate approaches to participation. 

  3. Apply a critical understanding of relationships of power to practice settings encountered during the programme 

Module content

This module is taught in 4 intensive 4 hour wokshops and one Skills Day (on Participatory Approaches)

  • Theories of power and their relevance to Social Work 

  • Critical and radical approaches to Social Work 

  • Feminist & Black Feminist Social Work 

  • Anti-Oppressive Practice

  • Participatory Approaches to Social Work 

  • Services User voices and power. 

  • De-colonising social work knowledge

The final day of workshops includes a 'Poster Presentation' session in which completed posters are displayed fro staff and students. 


Task Length % of module mark
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Posters are displayed at a celebration event at the end of the module attended by staff and students. There is no requirement to 'present' posters... although students may wish to stand with their posters in order to discuss them with staff and students. Students will be able to 'opt out' of having their posters displayed. The assessment of the poster is not contingent on, and is entirely separate from the poster presentation event. 


Task Length % of module mark
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive formative feedback throughout the module in interactive workshops. 

Students will receive feedback on summative assessment within four weeks from submission. 

Indicative reading

Smith, R (2008) Social Work & Power, Palgrave McMillan

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.