The Nordic-Baltic Doctoral Network in Social Work Summer School

When: 21.08.2018, at 09:00 - 24.08.18 15:00
Place: Tallinn University

Multi-disciplinarity and multi-positioning in social work research – balancing closeness and distance to be hosted by the Tallinn University, School of Governance, Law and Society (Estonia) in cooperation with the Trondheim University (Norway). 

The Nordic-Baltic Doctoral Network in Social Work (NBSW) is a joint network of the doctoral schools, universities and other institutions in social work in seven countries. The network provides research training for PhD students in social work in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. 

We invite PhD students to participate in the summer school of the Nordic-Baltic Doctoral Network in Social Work (NBSW). This summer school aims to bring together PhD candidates in social work from Nordic countries, Baltic countries and beyond for four days of intensive lectures and thorough discussions on multi-disciplinarity and multi-positioning in social work research – balancing closeness and distance. Submission of a paper (optionally short or long) connected with the theme of the summer school is a prerequisite for participation. 

Social work is a discipline that inevitably has links with a number of other disciplines, e.g. law, political science and governance, psychology, sociology, public health. Several research problems cannot be solved within the boundaries of one discipline and hence need knowledge created by two or more other disciplines. How is it possible for researchers from various disciplines to develop shared conceptual framework and work together on a joint research problem without altering their disciplinary approaches? How to balance closeness and distance between disciplines? How can a social work researcher position himself/herself in the multi-disciplinary research? Which opportunities and challenges should be considered while being engaged in multi-disciplinary research? These are the main topics that will be addressed and discussed during the summer school. 

In social work research also balancing closeness and distance between researcher and the study material is an important issue, especially when a practitioner is doing research and clients are involved as research subjects. This balancing depends on philosophical and methodological approach chosen and needs critical self-reflection. During the summer school special attention will be paid on how to manage professionally possible tensions that may arise from trying to keep balance between closeness and distance. Related ethical considerations will also be discussed. 


  1. Marianne Hedlund, Adj Professor (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NORWAY)
    “Multi-disciplinarity and multi-positioning in social work research – balancing closeness and distance”
  2. Katrin Niglas, Vice-Rector for Research (Tallinn University, ESTONIA)
    ”Positioning of researchers' mental models in the multidimensional continuum of philosophical and methodological approaches”
  3. Aila-Leena Matthies, Professor (University of Jyväskylä, FINLAND)
    “Transdisciplinary research of sustainable society – place of social work”
  4. Judit Strömpl, Associate Professor (University of Tartu, ESTONIA)
    “Balancing closeness and distance in social work research”
  5. Lars Uggerhøj, Professor (Aalborg University, DENMARK)
    “Flexible methodology – using the same methodological approach with different partners in different contexts within the same research project”


Start Tuesday 21st August 2018 at 09:00

End Friday 24th August 2018 at 15:00


Estonia, Tallinn University campus: https://www.tlu.ee/en/university/campus

School of Governance, Law and Society (SOGOLAS): http://www.tlu.ee/en/School-of-Governance-Law-and-Society

Information about travel and accommodation will be provided in May 2018. 


Merike Sisask (Tallinn University), Riina Kiik (Trondheim University), Reeli Sirotkina (Tallinn University), Kersti Kriisk (Tallinn University)


Tallinn University, School of Governance, Law and Society (SOGOLAS)

Uus-Sadama 5, Tallinn 10120, ESTONIA

E-mail for general questions: merike.sisask....at....tlu.ee (Phone: +372 51 66 543)

E-mail for applications: reeli.sirotkina....at....tlu.ee

E-mail for papers: kersti.kriisk....at....tlu.ee


The summer school is open for PhD students in social work.

The summer school is free of charge. Participants are expected to cover their own expenses for travelling, accommodation and meals.

Deadline for applications is 15th April 2018. Please send the application to Reeli Sirotkina (reeli.sirotkina....at....tlu.ee, see application form).


The summer school stands for the course which provides 4 ECTS credits with a short paper (1000-2000 words) submission and presentation and 7.5 ECTS credits with a long paper (6000-7000 words) submission and presentation. Both options include 4 working days during the summer school. Tallinn University will issue a course certificate, which has to be approved and recognised by sending university.

Participants are expected to read articles relevant to the theme before the summer school. Literature list for reading will be sent out latest in 10th May 2018. Papers and presentations must connect the participant’s doctoral research project with the theme of the summer school. The paper should start with a short description of the focus of participant’s doctoral research project and continue with a discussion connected to the theme of the summer school. The presented papers must be developed to a certain level and made relevant to the theme and make extensive use of the literature of the course. Paper presentations include a short oral presentation followed by a group discussion based on the paper. In order to get the course certificate, participants must be prepared to improve the paper according to the feedback given in seminars and resubmit it after the summer school. The paper should be sent to Kersti Kriisk (kersti.kriisk....at....tlu.ee) before 25th June 2018. Papers should be written in English.

Each day of the summer school is a mixture of keynote presentations related to particular perspectives of the overall theme and workshops where the participants present and discuss their papers under the guidance of keynote speakers and experienced researchers. A field visit will be organised.


April 15                 Application deadline (reeli.sirotkina....at....tlu.ee, see application form)

May 02                 Decision about participation will be announced

May 10                 Literature list for reading, practical information for participants

June 25                 Paper submission deadline (kersti.kriisk....at....tlu.ee)

Application form

Additional information