Date & Time: March 31, 2021 10:00am – 12:00pm
Location: Virtual

Mark created a web-based experimental project to see if it was possible to tell the story of social work through objects. To date, over 160 people from 26 countries around the globe have donated to this Virtual Exhibition of Social Work. (

Tuition: Free (No CEs) or $25 for CEs

Register here!

In this presentation, Mark explores possibilities for using physical objects in direct work with children, young people and their families. He will do this by encouraging participants to consider the place of Objects in their own lives. He will consider ‘charged objects’ – these are objects with particular power and meaning.

Mark has collaborated with Coram (the UK’s largest Children’s Charity) to compile a Resource Pack called Using Objects in Social Work for use in direct social work practice. Mark will share examples from the Pack and invite your further participation, if you wish, in piloting these Resources.

Initially, the Resources are for work with children and young people, though the hope is to extend this kind of work throughout social work practice.

Learning objectives

  • Develop an understanding of the notion of charged objects;
  • Develop an awareness of your own relationship to physical objects;

Consider how you might use objects in your own direct work with children, young people and their families


Webinar plan

10:00 Welcome and Introductions

10:05 Social Work, Objects and Stories

plenary presentation by Mark Doel, including discussion/Q&A

10:35 Small groups, in which participants will introduce themselves via their chosen object (brought to camera), sharing why they chose this object, and discuss.

11:00 Feedback and discussion from the small groups, followed by

11:30 Discussion of the Project to Use Objects in Social Work – Q & A to help participants decide whether to take part in the pilot project.

12:00 End of Webinar.

There will be follow-up with participants who would like to join the pilot project to Use Objects in Social Work (see the Briefing for details).

A Pilot Project to Use Objects in Social work



Professor Mark Doel, Emeritus Professor at Sheffield Hallam University (UK) is leading this pilot project in collaboration with Dr. Carol Cohen, and the Continuing Education and Professional Development Department at Adelphi University School of Social Work.

A web-based experimental project to tell the story of social work through objects ( has been very successful, with over 160 people from 26 countries donating an Object and a Story to this Virtual Exhibition of Social Work.

The website has generated further interest in using physical objects in direct practice with service users and Mark was commissioned by Coram (the UK’s largest Children’s Charity) to compile a new Resource Pack, Using Objects in Social Work as part of the development of its Story Centre. This Pack is designed for social workers and others to use in their direct practice and, once completed, will be made available by Coram as part of its training and development programme.


The project aims to gather information about the use of Objects in social work, via the materials in the Resource Pack which will be made available to participants.

Initially, a webinar will be offered to interested practitioners, so they can first understand the place of objects in their own lives, in order to consider the potential for their use with children, young adults and their families.

From this webinar we aim to recruit about a dozen practitioners who wish to join the pilot group. This group will try out the materials in the Resource Pack in their day-to-day practices and share their experiences in monthly check-ins during 2021. These will be facilitated by Mark Doel and Carol Cohen. Participants will share anonymised experiences of their practice using objects inspired by the Resource Pack.

The Pack is available electronically and there are prompts within the Pack for participants to make brief Notes about their experiences. These reflective logs will be very helpful for participants’ Continuing Educational Development.

Two other potential groups are proposing to pilot the Resource Pack (these are both in England: one in Sheffield and one in London). This raises the possibility of some future collaborative webinars and meetings that bring these groups together in creative ways.

It is envisaged that the monthly check-ins will take place until the end of 2021. We aim, together, to learn from the Stories wrapped around the Objects that have been used to help children and young people along their life journeys.


Dr. Doel is a registered social worker and Emeritus Professor at Sheffield Hallam University, England. He has twenty years’ community-based social work practice, specialising in group work. He has experience as a social work teacher and trainer and as a student supervisor. He was head of the school of social work at Birmingham City University. He’s published over 20 books plus numerous scholarly articles, based on his research into social work practice. He leads workshops in group work and practice education and acts as an External Examiner.

Mark is based in the UK and has lived and worked in the US, has extensive experience in eastern Europe and works alongside community activists in Kolkata, India. He is Honorary Professor at Tbilisi State University, Georgia, and a previous Vice-President of the International Association for Social Work with Groups (IASWG). Mark is co-Chair of Nether Edge Festival, a community celebration in a Sheffield neighbourhood.

Publications related to the presentation:

Doel, M. (2019) ‘Displaying social work through objects’, British Journal of Social

Work, 49(3), April 2019, 824–841 (available as a free download).

Doel, M. (ed.) (2017) Social Work in 42 Objects (and more), Lichfield: Kirwin Maclean (available from – all proceeds to TARA Children’s Centre in Delhi).

Doel, M. (2016) Rights and Wrongs in Social Work: Ethical and practice dilemmas, London: Palgrave.

Adelphi University School of Social Work is an approved provider for continuing education credits for the following:

Social Workers



CASAC Renewal



Successful completion for the award of approved continuing education credits requires attendance at the entire training/workshop and submission of a completed evaluation form.

See full credentialing information and CEUs

New York State Office of the Professions (NYSED) regulations require that participants must be present for the entire approved educational activity in order to receive a certificate for continuing education hours. There is no accommodation in the State regulations for late arrival, late return from lunch or breaks, or early departure. According to NYSED, in order to award social work CEs; “When you offer a multi-day or multi-part course/educational activity, the learner must complete all parts in order to earn the certificate for contact hours, in the same way that a student must complete a semester-long course to receive college credit. You may not award partial credit for a program, even a one-day program, if the learner does not complete all requirements at that time.

Cancellation Policy

Unfortunately, we cannot provide refunds for cancellations made seven working days or fewer before the event for any reason—or for no-shows. We can provide credit towards a future workshop up to 24 hours before the event. After that, no credit will be issued.

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