The following is a guest post by Per Nilsson, Vice-Chancellor, CEO, and Professor of Ersta Sköndal University College, co-hosts of the 12th International ISTR Conference.
Welcome to Ersta Sköndal University College and to the 12th ISTR research conference in Stockholm!
Ersta Sköndal University College is a university dedicated to studies in the fields of social work, nursing and health care, psychotherapy, theology and church music with an explicit ethical and diaconal orientation.
A distinguishing characteristic of the University College is that it offers courses in which theory is combined with practice, research with studies in the field, and that special attention is given to questions within philosophies of life and world views, professionalization and societal issues.
Research is vital for Ersta Sköndal University College.
The university college’s historical background has created an academic culture where human health, welfare and vulnerability are the focus of study. This explains how research fields such as civil society studies, palliative care and care ethics have developed and given the university college its specific profile.
In our research program, we explain that our research will be based on social development trends that influence health care, care and social work in particular. This is also clear in our application for entitlement to award postgraduate degrees within the field of “The Individual in the Welfare Society”, an application that was sanctioned by the government in 2014.
Strong diaconal heritage
Our university college has a long and a strong diaconal history. In 1851, the first nurse training course in Sweden was launched. The first socially oriented program at national level began at the turn of the last century in the form of diaconal training courses.
Education and research at Ersta Sköndal University College has over long time contributed to the development of knowledge within health care, care and social work in such a way that people’s right to live in dignity, autonomy, participation in decision-making and influence are maintained, and enforced.
Ersta Sköndal University College is keen to make a difference in society.
The ISTR conference signals, as stated in the invitation, a hands-on approach to deal with the current situation of Third Sector Research. In the conference there will be excellent opportunities to focus on the challenges for research and social practice in face of financial austerity and market driven policies. The effects of these changes in society on the strategies, practice and theory are the topics to be discussed.
An important mission is to bring together a diverse group of researchers and practitioners with an interest in the research and study of Third Sector from Europe and other world regions. By inviting academic people representing different disciplines as well as practitioners representing different organizations, the ISTR conference hopes to provide a broad context to discuss some of the most crucial challenges to the Third Sector and social work.
The bringing together of researchers and practitioners also gives an opportunity to address some essential issues concerning the interaction between research and practice.
I really look forward to the conference.
Vice-Chancellor, CEO, Professor