Vasilios Ioakimidis

Professor of Social Work, University of Essex

I am the Founding Professor of Social Work and Director of the Centre for Social Work. In the past, I have worked at Durham University, the University of Nicosia- Cyprus, Zuyd University- Netherlands and Liverpool University. I qualified as a social worker in Greece and completed my PhD at the University of Liverpool. ​ Moreover, through my role as the co-commissioner for Education in the International Federation of Social Workers, I am collaborating with social work educators and practitioners internationally towards the re-definition of and re-engagement with the meaning of "internationalism" among and beyond the social work community. ​ I am a founding member and member of steering committee of the Social Work Action Network (SWAN), a radical social work organization which brings together social work practitioners, service users, academics and students united in their commitment to promote social justice and defend welfare rights.

I feel very privileged and I take great pleasure in editing the oldest and most widely read social work journal, the International Social Work journal (Sage). I am also involved in another very special publishing project that attempts to give voice to the most politically progressive voices in the social work; the Critical and Radical Social Work Journal (Policy Press). I have been part of this journal's editorial board since its creation. Most of my research revolves around the broad theme of Social Work in Extremis, an exploration of social work practice in the context of unpredictable and extraordinary political, social, economic and environmental change. Social Work, a socially constructed and politically shaped activity, has been subjected to the same contradictions, changes and challenges as society itself. Despite the simplified mainstream narratives, it is important to appreciate that the evolution of social work has been dialectic and not linear; internal and externall to the profession contradictions and tensions constantly shape its nature. The most defining and fundamental tension is this between the "social care and social control dimensions of the profession.

The overall question I have been trying to answer through my research is "how does our existing knowledge of social work evolve when established limits and well-defined boundaries are stretched towards the ‘unknown’. How would our current understanding of social work change if prevailing parameters were pushed to extremity”. Two specific areas have, so far, attracted my research attention: a) social work practice in times of conflict (historical and current) and b) grassroots welfare movements in the context of extraordinary financial and political crisis. Geographically, I have primarily focused on the regions of Southern Europe and Latin America. My epistemological approach is influenced by critical social theory and my overall view on social work follows a radical analysis.


  • –present
    Professor of Social Work , University of Essex


  • 2009 
    University of Liverpool, PhD in Social Work