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Calling all social work students - are you ready for a party?

Virtual UK-wide disco proposed to mark end of academic year like no other

students, end of year, coronavirus, disco, celebration, basw, virtual, online

Professional Social Work magazine - 20 May 2020

A UK-wide virtual disco for social work students is being explored for the end of a year that has seen their studies massively disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.

The event aims to celebrate the resilience and flexibility of students as courses have suddenly gone online and placements been cancelled or postponed.

The idea originated from a Twitter conversation between social workers. 

It has gathered pace with a survey launched by BASW England to gauge interest and preferences including what music to play, dress code and if it should be a few hours or an all-day event.

Emma Grady, chair of BASW England’s student and newly qualified social workers group, said: “It’s something to raise awareness of what students have been through the last few months.

“It is about everyone coming together and having a bit of a celebration to mark getting to the summer and coming out of this still smiling.”

Grady said the event was inspired by other ways people are getting together to support each other via social media including creating virtual pubs, book clubs and fitness activities.

“Rather than going out and meeting up, we are making use of the new technology we have learned to adapt to. We might be out of lockdown if this happens but the event would still go ahead virtually as everyone in the UK and beyond can access it.”

It’s envisaged the disco will be broadcast together with a nightclub in Sheffield with participants connecting via social media platform Twitch.

BASW England professional officer Wayne Reid, an ocassional DJ himself, is helping to organise the event. He said: “My friend and a few others I have lined up have been involved in club nights for many years. There is a chance a superclub in Sheffield would be involved in hosting the event, but we’re still in negotiations.“

The event is expected to take place in July. Whether it will be described as a ‘disco’ is open to discussion.

“We are aiming this at students which is more the demographic for raves so that may be a better badge for the celebration,” said Reid.

“We might have face painting and arts and crafts, to make it more of a family-friendly festival but we’ll have to see what the appetite for the event is like when we analyse responses to our online survey.”

Deadline for the survey is 22 May.

The coronavirus outbreak has resulted in major disruption and uncertainty for students and universities.

Cambridge University was the first to announce lectures will continue to be held online until summer 2021. Others could follow suite. 

The National Union of Students said students were struggling with financial pressures, concerns about accessing education and worries about the future.

This article is published by Professional Social work magazine which provides a platform for a range of perspectives across the social work sector. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the British Association of Social Workers.