Chrystal Macmillan Lecture: Professor Lena Dominelli


The School of Social and Political Science presents the Autumn 2018 Chrystal Macmillan Lecture:

Social Justice Challenges for the 21st Century: Green Social Work Perspectives


Lena Dominelli

Realising social justice in the twenty-first century is presenting professionals across the entire spectrum of practice with enormous challenges: respecting people’s human rights and dignity; growing inequalities across diverse social divisions including class, gender and ethnicity within and between countries; finding peace in an increasingly fractious and fragmented world; responding to the medical, educational, housing and employment needs of numerous flows of displaced and other migrants forced to flee their homes through armed conflicts and climate change; and reversing environmental injustices that affect poor people most.

These challenges were not unfamiliar to Chrystal Macmillan who was also living in a period of significant flux and social change that eventually gave birth to the post-colonial, neoliberal era. In this presentation, I consider possible ways forward using a green social work perspective that is holistic, transdisciplinary and problem-solving oriented. Case study materials drawn from recent ‘natural’ and (hu)man-made disasters which cover a plethora of social issues that challenge all professions, not only social work.

About the speaker:

Professor Lena Dominelli, AcSS, PhD (sociology – Sussex), CQSW (Leeds), is Professor of Social Work at Stirling University, having gone there from Durham University where she had been a Co-Director in the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience, and Director of the MISWCD Programme. She is a world acclaimed social scientist (sociology, social work and community development), receiving awards for her international contributions to critical theory and practice including practice guidelines for humanitarian aid workers, families and communities. Key awards are: Medal from the Social Affairs Committee of the French Senate (2002); Katherine A Kendall Memorial Award (2012); 2 Honorary PhDs (social work – ZwaZulu Natal, 2008; and Malmö – health sciences, 2017). Having researched disasters since the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, she created green social work, which introduced a paradigm shift in environmental and ecological social work by rooting scientific expertise in people’s everyday lives and social contexts. She has supported community-based disaster responses since 2010, including the 2015 Nepal earthquakes, using the Disaster Virtual Helpline which she developed in response to the Christchurch earthquake 2011. Her areas of expertise include community development and engagement, participatory action research in disaster situations, working with women and (im)migrants. She has published 38 books (10 edited); 70 refereed journal articles, 130 chapters, 10 monographs and 25 professional journal articles in social work, social policy and sociology. Several of her works are classics, translated into many languages. A world-leader in social work, she was elected President of the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) from 1996 to 2004, and currently chairs the IASSW Committee on Disaster Interventions, Climate Change and Sustainability and has represented social work at the UNFCCC discussions on climate change, since Cancun, Mexico in 2010. Her most recent books are: Green Social Work (Polity Press, 2012); Redefining Citizenship (edited with Mehmoona Moosa-Mitha (Ashgate, 2014); Anti-Racist Social Work (4th Edn, Palgrave, 2017); The Routledge Handbook of Green Social Work (edited, Routledge, 2018); and Women and Community Action (3rd Edn, Policy Press, 2018).


The lecture will be held in Meadows Lecture Theatre, Doorway 4, Medical School, Teviot Place. On entering the Medical School quad from Teviot Place, you can find Doorway 4 in the far right corner. The external door is opened by an electric push pad. The Lecture Theatre is located in the main corridor, just a few steps from the front door. It is fully accessible.

After the lecture, the audience is wlecome to join Professor Dominelli and SPS staff for refreshments in the Chrystal Macmillan Building, which can be accessed internally from the lecture theatre. There is a set of approx 6 steps down, with a wheelchair lift (platform style). N.B: After the reception, exit from Chrystal Macmillan Building will be to George Square.

Approximate timings:

Doors open at 17:00 for 17:30 start; latecomers will be admitted at the discretion of the staff and speaker. The talk will be followed by a short reception, which everyone is welcome to attend. The event will end by 19:30.

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