TiSSA Conference Info

Sustainable Social Work for Democratic Societies: Developing Transformative Knowledge

Worldwide, democracies are under pressure. Even the concept of democracy itself as a preferable way of organising society is being questioned. This raises urgent issues for social work practice, policy and research, as they are contested in their capacity as actors of change and platforms for democracy. The risk to align with a merely individualistic and methodical approach has become more and more apparent. This calls for social work to radicalize its democratic capacity once again, hereby questioning how democracies can remain sustainable and how social work can contribute to transformative democratic developments all over the world. A key issue in this debate is the role of knowledge development: what types of social work research and knowledge do we need to create democratic societies and what is a desirable relation between knowledge, policy and practice?

In order to address these questions, TiSSA invites experts from academic social work research, professional fields and policy to discuss the role of knowledge development for transformative social work in the face of anti-democratic tendencies at the TiSSA 2020 conference in Coimbra, Portugal.


Information about submitting your paper

Both individual papers and symposia will be accepted for submission. The individual papers are afterwards grouped into thematic sessions, if possible. Each accepted paper is given 20 minutes for presentation, followed by 10 minutes for discussion with the audience.

Submissions for an individual paper presentation should include a proposal of no more than 500 words or less, containing the following information: introduction to the research question(s), description of methods, results, brief discussion and implications. Conceptual and theoretical individual papers do not need to follow this structure. A reference list is not required for the submission.

Submissions for symposia include three to four papers on the same topic to be presented in the same session. When applying for a symposium, please submit an overall abstract of 1250 words or less describing the symposium theme and its importance, including an abstract of 300 words or less for each symposium paper. In the field of ‘Title of the abstract’, please type the title of the symposium. Preference will be given to symposia that demonstrate cohesiveness across presentations and to presentations strongly linked to the central of the conference. Symposia will be accepted or rejected as a whole, not in parts.


Pre-PhD Conference

For who: doctoral candidates

Abstract: max. 500 words, including introduction to research question(s), methodological framework, results, brief discussion and questions for supervisory panel.

Participation: only when your abstract is accepted

Deadline extended: 15 march 2020


The Pre-PhD Conference from August 21, 2020 to August 23, 2020 provides a unique opportunity for doctoral candidates who conduct research in the overall field of social services and related social problems to present their results or work in progress. A board of professors of international standing will form a panel to comment on the presentations and will be available for any further guidance. The Pre-PhD Conference therefore offers a very valuable and exceptional occasion to engage in comprehensive networking with colleagues from other European and non-European countries. Important to emphasize is that the Pre-PhD Conference only accessible for doctoral candidates and is open for broad topics concerning social work that are not directly linked to the central topic of this years' conference. Presentations will be limited to maximum 20 minutes. 

At this moment, the following professors will be part of the 2020 international supervisory panel, which will guide the PhD candidates and reflect upon their presentations. Please be aware that this list is not yet completed and may be updated due course:

1. Prof. dr. Rudi Roose, Chair of the international steering committee and Professor at Ghent University (Belgium)
2. Prof. dr. Griet Roets, Professor at Ghent University (Belgium)
3. Prof. dr. Anna Meeuwisse, Professor at Lund University (Sweden)
4. Prof. dr. Christian Kjeldsen, Professor at Aarhus University (Denmark)
5. Prof. dr. Lieve Bradt, Professor at Ghent University (Belgium)
6. Prof. dr. Karin B
öllert, Professor at Münster University (Germany)
7. Prof. dr. Ulrike Voigtsberger, Professor at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (Germany)
8. Prof. dr. Anna Gupta, Professor at Royal Holloway University in Londen (United Kingdom)
9. Prof. dr. Michal Krumer-Nevo, Professor at Ben-Gurion University (Israel)
10. Prof. dr. Kim Robinson, Professor at Deakin University (Australia)
11. Prof. dr. Ewa Kantowicz, Professor at University of Olsztyn (Poland)
12. Prof. dr. Cristina Albuquerque, Professor at Universtity of Coimbra (Portugal)
13. Prof. dr. Fransisco Branco, Professor at University of Lisbon (Portugal)
14. Prof. dr. Jorge Ferreira, Professor at ISCTE University (Portugal)


Plenum Conference

For who: academics (researchers, PhD candidates) and non-academics (practitioners, policy makers and students)

Abstract: max. 500 words for individual presentations and 1250 for symposia

Participation: allowed without submission of abstract

Deadline extended: 15 march 2020


The TiSSA Plenum Conference from August 24, 2020 to August 26, 2020 also provides a unique opportunity for academics and non-academics from all over Europe who conduct research in the overall field of social services and related social problems to present their results reflecting practical experiences, empirical research, theoretical concerns and/or examples of resistance, conflict and alternates.


Organisation of the conference

The conference will be organised by several universities in Portugal. The conference will be organised by:

The University of Coimbra (UC)

The University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL) 

The Catholic University of  Lisbon (UCP)


Conference venue

The 18th edition of the international 'social work & society' academy (TiSSA 2020) will be hosted by the University of Coimbra, Portugal.  You can find the conference venue on Google Maps or you can look up the address Rua do Colégio Novo, 3001-802 Coimbra