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Thu 29 Apr

Racism in Social Work in Ireland: A Focus on Policy, Practice, Education, Research and Narratives of Lived Experience

12.00 - 2.00pm


Speaker Biographies

Dr Washington Marovatsanga is a registered social worker, educator, researcher and equity diversity consultant. His wide-ranging experiences and qualifications encompass youth work, community development and social care. He previously worked in the USA prior to moving to Ireland and is a long-time contributor to the MA social work programme at NUIG. He was recently awarded a PhD in Arts, Humanities and social sciences from National University of Ireland Galway for his research on educational, practice and policy responses underpinning social work service provision for Black Africans in Ireland. His current focus is on addressing epistemic racism and epistemic injustice to inform antiracist practice through the design, development and teaching of culturally plural decolonised curricula, inclusive anti -racist education and delivery of equity diversity training programmes. Dr Marovatsanga is also currently an active member of the IASW Anti -Racism Advisory Group and co-ordinates its Education and Research stream. In other areas, he has led implementation of capacity building programmes and provided consultancy services to community research projects. He is also a former Social Work Action Network (SWAN) activist and editorial committee member who believes in radical activist scholarship informing radical policy advocacy and implementation and that inclusive critical debates supported by street level activism remain key to bridging the gap between prevalent forms of mere rhetorical ‘social justice’ and real transformative change as real social justice.


Dr Philomena Mullen is an Assistant Professor at Trinity College Dublin who leads the Black Studies Module.  Philomena was born in Dublin and grew up in the Irish industrial school system. Returning to education in her 20s, she received her BA in English and Philosophy, and an MPhil in Women’s Studies from Trinity College Dublin. After an 18-year gap to raise a family, she returned to Trinity College where as Government of Ireland PhD scholar she examined the racist and racialised aspects of how Black mixed-race women, who grew up in the Irish institutional care system without families, construct their identity in a country that sees Irishness as white and everything else as Other.

Mr Conrad Bryan is a Trustee of The Association of Mixed-Race Irish (AMRI), a charity set up to advocate and campaign for mixed race people who were in Irish Institutions as children. Conrad was placed in a Mother and Baby Home as an infant child and at 4 years of age was sent to another institution until he was 18 years old. He studied Business Studies at college and emigrated from Ireland to England where he qualified as an accountant. He chaired the Health Sub-committee on the Collaborative Forum which was set up by the former Minister for Children Katherine Zappone, to identify health and wellbeing supports for mothers and children who were in Mother and Baby Homes. He is currently focusing on the Governments Action Plan for reparation on behalf of AMRI members. Conrad currently lives in London with his wife and family and has been offered a place to study a Master’s in International Human Rights Law at Galway University.