Reflections on a life in social work Olive Stevenson
Reflections on a life in social work
a personal & professional memoir

Hinton House, Buckingham, 2013

Olive Stevenson is one of the foremost social work educators of her generation; an inspiring tutor, a compelling lecturer and an inquiring and persistent researcher. For more than fifty years she taught hundreds of social workers at the Universities of Bristol, Oxford, Keele and Liverpool and latterly the University of Nottingham, and inspired many others through her work. Her professional life spanned the years during which the role and task of social work was vigorously debated.

This memoir knits together many disparate parts of a life spent in public service and reflects honestly on some key questions for the author and for the profession: What early influences shaped an enduring commitment to social work?; What role did class and religion play in shaping a personal and public morality?; How did major events such as the Maria Colwell Inquiry (1973) shape public attitude and public policy in relation to child protection?; Who and what influenced the profession’s ambivalent engagement with psychoanalytic ideas?

With characteristic candour and clarity, Olive tackles these questions and more in a book that will be of interest to practicing social workers, social work educators and anyone interested in understanding the story behind the headlines that are, too often, deeply critical of the motives and practice of social workers.

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