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Essay Awards

Clare Winnicott Essay Awards 2020 for Social Work Practitioners and Social Work Students

Two annual awards of £300 each are made annually in honour of Clare Winnicott, OBE
The competition aims to encourage writing among practitioners and students who have not previously been published. Winning essays will be published in the Journal of Social Work Practice.

Essays submitted for the award may refer to any field of social work, with children, families, adults or organisations. They will show emotional and intellectual sophistication. Essays will be explicitly informed by psychodynamic, systemic, or relationship-based theory, or a combination of these, in keeping with the remit of the Journal of Social Work Practice, where winning essays will be published.

**This year we also welcome entries which reflect on themes emerging from the implications of COVID-19.**

The Clare Winnicott Essay Awards 2020 are now closed.

2021 awards will follow a similar format.

Requirements for submissions:

  • Word length: up to 3500 words
  • Submission: electronic
  • Essays must not identify the author but should be accompanied by an application form.
  • Entrants should ensure anonymity in relation to people and organisations described, and ethical and professional standards of practice should be adhered to.
  • Submission date and time: midnight on July 5th 2020
  • Notification of judges’ decision: September 1st 2020
  • Awards presented at GAPS Conference, 9th October 2020
  • Creative approaches are welcomed (work must be appropriate for print and online publication – questions regarding appropriateness will be answered in advance of submission)

Winning Entries will be published in the Journal of Social Work Practice

* Student award is open to qualifying students, i.e. those studying for a professional qualification.  Post-graduate students with a social work qualification are invited to enter the practitioner category award.

More information, application forms, referencing guide

  • Practitioner Application Form DOC 30.28 Kb
  • Student Application Form DOC 30.20 Kb
  • Referencing Guide PDF 173.39 Kb
  • Awards flyer PDF 99.48 Kb

Clare Winnicott (née Britton, 1906-1984) was first a social worker and subsequently also a psychoanalyst. Through her work with deprived children and evacuees, she made an outstanding contribution to our understanding of children’s development, the importance of play, and the significance of children’s connection to their families. Alongside Donald Winnicott, who latterly became her husband, she provided clear-sighted conceptualisations of children’s everyday emotional experiences. She was also highly influential in the training and education of social workers, and recognised the crucial role of supervision. Her ideas were novel and she showed wisdom and tenacity in her efforts to bring about change. In describing the professional relationship, she wrote:

Our professional relationship is in itself the basic technique, the one by means of which we relate ourselves to the individual and to the problem.  But what of the professional self that relates? If we look at it objectively we find that it is the most highly organised and integrated part of ourselves.  It is the best of ourselves, and includes all our positive and constructive impulses and all our capacity for personal relationships and experiences organised together for a purpose –the professional function which we have chosen.[1]

[1] Winnicott, C. (1964) Child Care and Social Work. Hitchin: Codicote Press, p. 12.
GAPS Trustees wish to thank Mark Gerson for permission to use his photograph of Clare Winnicott.