Social work under Covid-19: a thematic analysis of articles in 'SW2020 under Covid-19 Magazine'

Robin Sen, Christian Kerr, Gillian MacIntyre, Brid Featherstone, Anna Gupta, Abyd Quinn-Aziz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a thematic analysis of 100 articles which appeared in SW2020 under Covid 19 online magazine, authored by people with lived experience, practitioners, students and academics. The magazine was founded by an editorial collective of the authors of this paper and ran as a free online magazine during the period of the first UK Covid lockdown period (March – July 2020). It contained a far higher proportion of submissions from the first three groups of contributors, above, than traditional journals. The analysis is organised under four emergent themes: Hidden populations; Life, loss and hope; Practising differently; and, Policy and system change. The paper concludes by describing the apparent divergence between accounts which primarily suggest evidence of improved working relationships between social workers and those they serve via digital practices, and accounts suggesting that an increasingly investigative, authoritarian social work practice has emerged under Covid.-19 We argue that, notwithstanding this divergence, an upsurge in activism within social work internationally during the pandemic period provides a basis for believing that the emergence of a community-situated, socially engaged social work is possible post-pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberbcab094
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2021


  • Covid-19
  • social work
  • digital practices
  • activism

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