Ms Avril Bellinger

Ms Avril Bellinger

Honorary Associate Professor in Social Work

School of Health Professions (Faculty of Health)



Honorary Fellowship, University of Plymouth
Elder in Residence, UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts (RILA), University of Glasgow,avrilbellinger
2013 Retired - Honorary contract for teaching and research
Independent volunteer with 2004
Social Work Practice Learning Co-Ordinator
Founder of Students and Refugees Together (START)
Core member of the Centre for Excellence in Professional Placement Learning (CEPPL)
Fellow of the Centre for Sustainable Futures (CSF)


2017 European Citizens Prize
National Teaching Fellowship 2008
MA Womens Studies (Distinction)

Professional membership

Registered Social WorkerBritish Association of Social Workers (BASW) 

Roles on external bodies

British Journal of Social Work reviewer


Teaching interests

My particular area of interest is in promoting reflective and analytical learning through practice and seeking to influence the development of theory through transformational practice.


Research interests

As a feminist and Social Work academic, my research interests and activities are concerned with analysis of the consequences of power inequalities and with exploring practices that promote the interests of oppressed groups and individuals. These include developing anti-racist practice standards, creative autobiography and mental health, service user research and using a strengths approach in work with refugees and asylum seekers.
Specific current research interests include: sustainability issues in social work; pedagogical practices; practice learning for globally situated social work.

Creative practice & artistic projects

Founder of  Students and Refugees Together (START). 


Bellinger, A. & Elliott, T. (2011) ‘What Are You Looking At? The Potential of Appreciative Inquiry as a Research Approach for Social Work’, British Journal of Social Work, 41(4),pp 609-624

Bellinger, A. (2010). Studying the Landscape: Practice Learning for Social Work Reconsidered. Social Work Education: The International Journal, Vol. 29, No.6, pp599-615

Bellinger, A. (forthcoming, 2010)  'Talking about (re)generation: Practice learning as a site of renewal for social work' British Journal of Social Work Advance Access, June 2010, doi:10.1093/bjsw/bcq072, pp1–17 

Whiteford,  A., Horton, V., Garrard, D. Ford, D. & Butler, A. (2010) 'Sustaining Communities: Sustainability in the Social Work Curriculum' in Jones, P., Selby, D.& Sterling, S. (eds) Green Infusions: Embedding Sustainability across the Higher Education Curriculum, London, Earthscan pp. 241-256.

Bellinger, A. and Phillips, C. (2010) ‘Feeling the Cut: Exploring the Use of Photography in Social Work Education’, Qualitative Social Work. Online First, May 26, 2010, doi: 10.1177/1473325010361999.

Butler, A (2007) 'Students and Refugees Together:  Towards a model of practice learning as service provision.'  Social Work Education  Vol. 26:3
Butler, A., Ford, D. & Tregaskis, C. (2007) 'Who Do We Think We Are?  Self and Reflexivity in Social Work Practice.' Qualitative Social Work  Sage Vol. 5:3
Butler, A, Cerrino, R, Concieco, C. & Finch, K.  (2006)  'Students and Refugees Together:  Inter-professional Learning and Service Provision.' Irish Journal of Applied Social Studies, Vol. 7:2
Butler, Avril (2005) 'A Strengths Approach to Building Futures: UK Students and refugees together' in Community Development Journal, Oxford University Press, Vol.40, No.2 pp147-157

Butler, A., Elliott, T. & Stopard, N. (2003) ‘Living up to the standards we set: a critical account of the development of anti-racist standards.’ Social Work Education, Vol.22, No.3

Butler, A. (2003) ‘Whose Life is it Anyway? Creative autobiography with service users.’ In S. Ramon (Ed.) Users Researching Health and Social Care: An Empowering Agenda? Venture Press, Birmingham.

Butler, Avril (Ed)(2001 'Promoting Good Practice: Service User and Carer Involvement in the Training of the Caring Professions'

Innovations Conference Report, University of Plymouth.

Butler, Avril & Morris-Fuge, Ann (Eds) (2001) Innovations in Multi-Disciplinary Practice. Innovations Conference Report, University of Plymouth.

Butler, Avril (2000) 'Only for My-Self: Creative Autobiography as an intimate therapeutic medium.' in Auto/Biography, BSA Study Group Journal Vol viii, Nos 1&2

Butler, Avril & Morris-Fuge, Ann (Eds) (2000) Innovations in Anti-Racist Practice. Conference Report, University of Plymouth.

Bender, M., Horton, V., Rees, F. & Butler, A. (2000) ‘Where Women Meet at the Focal Point of Care’ Journal of Dementia Care. Nov/Dec 2000.

Butler, Avril & Morris-Fuge, Ann (Eds) (1999) Report on a Conference By and For South West DipSW Programmes Staff. University of plymouth.

Butler, A. (1998) ‘Creating Space: The development of a feminist research group.’ In Danusia Malina & Sian Maslin-Protheroe Surviving the Academy: Feminist Perspectives London, Falmer Press

Butler, Avril & Landells, Mel (1995) 'Taking Offence: Research as resistance to sexual harassment in academia.' in Louise Morley & Val Walsh, Feminist Academics: Creative agents for change. London, Taylor & Francis.

Butler, Avril & Landells, Mel (1994) Telling Tales Out of School: Research into sexual harassment of women academics. University of Plymouth Equality Research Group, Working Paper No. 1



Reports & invited lectures

Bellinger, A. (2024) 'Practising Social Work in Challenging Times: How the strengths approach can help' Invited Keynote to Buen Vivir: Shared Future for Transformative Change, International Conference of Social Work, University of Tehran Counselling Centre, Iran. (online) 27th February, 2024.
Bellinger, A. (2024) 'Dis-Integration: Reflections on the legal, policy and practical challenges resulting from the UK's withdrawal from the European Union' Invited presentation to the International Scientific Conference 'Transformation in the Transition Period: European Integration and the Eastern Partnership Initiative' , Georgian National University SEU, Tbilisi, Georgia. 8th February 2024
Bellinger, A. (2023) 'There's Always Something You Can Do: Migration, climate change and homelessness' Invited presentation to the British Psychological Society Southwest Branch Seminar, Homelessness and Climate Harm, 26th September 2023.
Bellinger, A. (2023) 'A Social Justice Model: Teaching Social Work in a Hostile Environment' Presentation to Social Work and the Sea Symposium, University of Plymouth, UK. 22nd-23rd June 2023.Bellinger, A. and Ford, D. (2023) ‘Growing Community: Reclaiming our lost commons’, Invited keynote to The Arts of Integrating Culture Ceilidh, UNESCO RILA Spring School, University of Glasgow 9th – 11th May 2023
Bellinger, A and Ford, D. (2023) Solution or Problem: A Social Work View of UK Forced Migration Law and Policy, The International Scientific Conference ‘European Experience of Migration – Approaches, Challenges and Opportunities’ February 9-10th 2023, Georgian National University SEU, Tbilisi.
Bellinger, A. (2023) ‘Practising Hope: There’s always something we can do, Invited paper to ‘No Health Without Planetary Health’the Online Interprofessional study day organised by the University of Exeter Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programme, 26th April, 2023.
Bellinger, A. (2022) The Strengths Approach in Practice: How it changes lives, Invited paper to the 3rd Annual Compassion in Healthcare Education Online Global Conference, 14th December 2022.
Bellinger, A and Ford, D. (2022) Doing what we can, where we are, with what we have, Presentation to the online global summit ‘Building a New Eco-social World Leaving no one behind’ 29th June – 2nd July 2022.
Butler, Avril (2008) 'Practice Learning Landscape' invited workshop at Worcester Social Services Practice LearningCentre.
Butler, Avril (2007) 'The Future of Practice Teaching.' Keynote at National Organisation for Practice Teaching annual Workshop, Manchester.Butler, Avril, Prissell, Sharon, Lobb, Michele & Dempster, Lynn (2005) START: an example of student social entrepreneurship’ Student Presentation to C-SAP Seminar, The Thinktank, Birmingham, 24th February 2005 
Butler, Avril (2005) ‘Students and Refugees Together (START): Practice Learning as service provision.’ Paper to West Midlands Learning Resource Centre Network Launch Conference, Aston Business School, Birmingham. 4th March 2005 
Butler, Avril (2005) ‘Waving not Drowning: The Resilience of Social Work in the Global Context’ Keynote speaker at the Society of Professional Social Workers Conference (Western Australia) Perth WA. 
Butler, Avril, Hannaford, Rowena & Finch, Kally (2005) Students and Refugees Together. Invited presentation to ‘Guests of the Nation Conference’ University College Cork. 
Butler, Avril (2004) ‘START (Students and Refugees Together): Towards a model of practice learning as service provision.’ Paper to SEEC Conference, Brunel University, 10th September. 
Butler, Avril (2003) ‘Setting up a Conference to Exchange Good Practice of Involving Service Users in Educating Professionals.’ Paper to Service User Involvement Conference, Esslingen University, Germany. 
Butler, Avril (2002) ‘The Art of Being: Creative Autobiography and the Professional Self’ Invited speaker to the Strange Baggage Conference for Health Professionals, Salisbury Art Centre. 
Refereed Conference papers 
Butler, A & Ford, D (2006) ‘A Contradiction in Terms: Providing a needs-led service through outcome driven funding.’ International Schools of Social Work Conference, Santiago de Chile.
Butler, Avril (2004) ‘START (Students and Refugees Together): Towards a model of practice learning as service provision.’ Joint Social Work Education Conference, Glasgow , 8th/9th July. 
Butler, Avril & Ford, Deirdre (2002) ‘Social Workers and Citizenship: Learning for practice.’ Paper to International Association of Schools of Social Work Conference, Montpellier, France. 
Butler, Avril & Horton, Viv (2000) ‘Where Women Meet: Learning about Dementia and Personhood.’ Paper presented to the Biographical Methods and Professional Practice Conference, Tavistock Centre, London. 
Butler, Avril & Ford, Deirdre (1999) ‘Who Do We Think We Are? Self and Reflexivity in Social Work Practice.’ Paper presented to the European Association of Schools of Social Work. University of Helsinki.