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Welcome to the ICPRSW 
Social Change

The origins of practice research in social work can be traced back to the Transforming Social Work Practice, Education and Inquiry conference in Finland in 2007. It started as a small gathering of participants aiming to improve the connection between practice and research. The first international conference on practice research in Salisbury in 2008 laid the foundation for future conferences and statements. Each subsequent conference, including Helsinki, New York, and Hong Kong, Melbourne and the most recent conference in Aalborg have contributed to the evolving definition of practice research, emphasizing the involvement of practitioners, service users, researchers, and other stakeholders. The conferences explored the complexity of social work practice and sought to bridge the gap between research and practice through collaboration, dialogue, and inclusive inquiry.

Our Practice Research Collaboratives keep our community connected between our triennial conferences - you can learn more about them here

A brief history of the ICPRSW community can be found here

Enjoy exploring our website. 

Our beginnings ...

The first conference was held in 2008 in Salisbury UK in 2008 and this picture shows the inaugural attendees who drafted the first Statement on Practice Research

  • Gurid Aga Askeland, Norway 

  • Mike Austin, USA 

  • Tony Evans, UK 

  • Sylvia Fargion, Italy 

  • Mike Fisher, UK 

  • Jan Fook, UK 

  • Ilse Julkunen, Finland 

  • Aulikki Kananoja, Finland 

  • Synnove Karvinen-Niinikoski, Finland 

  • Rhoda MacRae, UK 

  • Edgar Marthinsen, Norway 

  • Matts Mosesson, Sweden 

  • Joan Orme, UK 

  • Helen Pain, UK 

  • Jackie Powell, UK 

  • Gillian Ruch, UK 

  • Mirja Satka, Finland 

  • Riki Savaya, Israel 

  • Ian Shaw, UK 

  • Tim Sim, Hong Kong 

  • Lars Uggerhoj, Denmark 

  • Helen Welsh, UK 

  • Bessa Whitmore, Canada 

  • Laura Yliruka, Finland 

Conference presentation


The International Community for Practice Research in Social Work (ICPR) provides a platform for collaboration among researchers, practitioners, service users and policy makers around the globe.

Our community engages in the sharing of research findings, methodologies and practices, as well as promoting cross-cultural learning and discussions between international colleagues and agencies. The ICPR meets every three years for our international conference and on an annual basis through our five Practice Research Collaboratives.

We believe powerful social change, requires quality, practice-driven research.

Practice Researc Collaboratives

Practice Research Collaboratives

Liquid Drop

This group focusses on making impact on practice and policy, along with forming alliances.

Rows of Classical Columns

This collaborative's main interest is to expand knowledge relating to systemic child welfare.

All Hands In

This group focusses on approaches to acquiring organisational support for research in both practice and university settings.

This collaborative has a particular emphasis on methods for evaluating efficacy and impact of social work interventions.


This group focusses on the collaboration and co-creation of practice research, with clients and service users.

Family Photography

This collaborative focuses on issues related to race, sexuality, religion and spirituality, class, abilities that impact the processes and outcomes of working with families.

Every three years, our members from across the world come together for our international conference on practice research.

Our next conference will be in 2026 - TBA

Recent News

Recent News

The program for the Aalborg Conference can be viewed by clicking on the image below. 


Get in Touch

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All general inquiries regarding the ICPR, our research or future involvement - please fill out the form on the left.

Research Collaboratives

If you wish to speak to a specific Practice Research Collaborative, please see the individual collaborative's page using the menu at the top.


If you are a member of our International Community who would like to receive regular updates, please use the form on the left and select 'subscribe' at the bottom.

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