“I Would Have Done a Degree in Events Management if I Wanted to do This Stuff”: Social work student learning through community events


  • Margot Rawsthorne University of Sydney
  • Thor Blomfield Leapfish
  • Kayleigh Ellis Glebe Community Development Project


Community development, Social work, Student learning, Community events


Debates in social work practice and education in relation to community development have plagued the profession for the past five decades. As educators and social work practitioners over the years we have heard a common complaint from students about community-based placements particularly those that involve organising community events. These complaints suggest that the learning possible in organising community events is not relevant or useful for skills development or future social work practice. This article seeks to identify and reclaim the usefulness of organising community events within a community development context for social work student learning. The paper draws on practice reflections and reported student learning through the Glebe Community Development Project’s work with social housing communities in Inner Sydney, Australia. The article matches the learning opportunities created through community events with the AASW Practice Standards 2013. It is intended to influence academics, field placement supervisors and students to revalue community-based placements as a site for learning.


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