husITa18 in Dublin: An event to remember.

For the last decade husITa has organised a human service technology track within the international Social Work, Education and Social Development Conference. This conference within a conference format has worked incredibly well allowing delegates at the larger conference to drop in and out of the technology track. This year the event was held at the Royal Dublin Society in Ireland from the 4th to the 7th of July. Over 200 of the 2,000 international delegates from 90 different countries sampled our menu of 50 technology related presentations, symposia and workshops. The husITa sessions were often full to overflowing, in spite of occasional sauna-like temperatures during the unusual Dublin heatwave.

Melanie Sage chairs one of the husITa sessions.

A rich variety of session topics ranged from the introduction of telemedicine in Nigeria, through the ethics of child protection workers surveilling clients on facebook, to the value of infographics as assessment tasks in social work education. A field visit to University College Dublin introduced delegates to current issues in machine learning, cyber security, virtual learning, data protection and data storage.

To mark husITa’s thirtieth anniversary we held a networking session with founder and newer members of the board reflecting on the past and future of husITa. Thanks to Jackie Rafferty and Jan Steyaert for proposing this session.

Board Members Past and Present: (Back Row) Amanda Taylor, Jackie Rafferty, Dick Schoech, Hein de Graaf, Walter LaMendola, Jan Steyaert, Neil Ballantyne, Ann Lavan, Oluwagbemiga Oyinlola, Joe Ann Regan, Melanie Sage, Gloria Kirwan, (Front Row) Paul Fredollino and Jonathan Singer.

The icing on the cake, quite literally, was the evening dinner, complete with a thirtieth anniversary cake. The candles were blown out by Walter LaMendola (our oldest former board member) and Oluwagbemiga Oyinlola (our youngest current board member).

Walter and Bemiga prepare to blow out the candles on the anniversary cake.

Finally, Walter LaMendola (one of the founding members of husITa) made a keynote speech on our behalf at a plenary session of the whole conference. The essence of the speech Achieving Sustainable Community Development: The Case for a Social Technology Bill of Rights was captured by the conference artist in the illustration below.

The conference artist’s depiction of husITa keynote by Walter LaMendola.

Over the next few weeks we plan to include links to many of the conference powerpoint slides, and may be able to include some audio recordings.

A peer-reviewed selection of conference papers will be published in a special issue of the Journal of Technology in Human Services to be edited by Ann Lavan and Gloria Kirwan.

The husITa18 technology track was one of the biggest and the best husITa events to date. This was, in no small part, thanks to the Herculean efforts of Ann Lavan, our Dublin based board member, who led the coordination with the Local Organising Committee.

We are already planning for the Social Work and Social Development Conference in Calgary in 2020.

We look forward to seeing you all there.