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> Events > All Events > ACSW Presents: The Use of Physical Space in Direct Social Work Practise - with particular focus on direct practise in rural Central Victoria

ACSW Presents: The Use of Physical Space in Direct Social Work Practise - with particular focus on direct practise in rural Central Victoria

Event Details
Venue: Online
CPD hrs: 1 hr

Free for ACSW members

$20 AASW Student Members

$49 AASW Members

$79 Full Fee

Organiser: Aust College of Social Work

In the middle of the last century, when discussing direct Social Work practise with individuals and families, Florence Hollis (1972) wrote “neglect has tended to downgrade environmental treatment in the workers mind, as though is were something one learned to do with one’s left hand, something unworthy of serious analysis”, Hollis goes on to advocate the knowing use of the environment (what I call physical space) in direct practice.

This webinar looks at how Social Workers have changed the physical space of the social world. Since Jane Addams and others opened Hull House, Octavia Hill and other social reformers practised in the UK and the works of our own Caroline Chisholm in Central Victoria, the area that I call home, through to the current practices of Social Workers, changes in the welfare of individuals and families whom we serve are reflected in the physical space of the social world.

You may be surprised at the breath of change of the physical space in the social world that has been underpinned by the professional activity of Social Work; all these effects, depending on the stance of the viewer, can be seen as both positive and negative. This change process still continues.

Using these insights I will then focus my lens on direct practice in rural Central Victoria.

This webinar will primarily draw on my PhD dissertation submitted some years ago and on practise wisdom I have gained during over seven years in mental health direct Social Work practise in Central Victoria.


Learning Objectives: ACSW Presents

The Australian College of Social Work was set up in 2011 within the AASW to recognise and promote advanced social work practice and provide leadership in practice excellence. The College recognises and acknowledges the highest professional standards and qualifications that social workers offer and promotes social work excellence and expertise. Our Foundation Fellows are committed to providing leadership in this first phase of the College and to its goals for Australian social work into the future.



Dr Geraldene Mackay is a Clinical Social Worker in private practice, Accredited Mental Health Social Worker and a Member of the Australian College of Social Work-Clinical Division. After completing her PhD in Social Work theory Geraldene went into direct practice working in mental health. She has practised in mental health in the prison environment and in general mental health in Medical practices. As well she provides Clinical Supervision for other Social Workers. Recently Geraldene commenced training other Social Workers in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy based modalities. Geraldene is currently starting two new social enterprises Empowerment Praxis which is providing resources for Social Work and her new clinical practice Anything Anger which will be launched next year.

Geraldene has always lived in rural Victoria and by virtue of the small communities in Central Victoria has the lived experience of direct practise in an environment where her and her family are widely known outside of her Social Work activities.

She has been Chair of the Australian Council of Heads of Schools of Social Work since 2008. She has served on a number of Boards including the Foundation for Australian Agricultural Women, the Family Services Council, Family and Community Services Department in Canberra and the National Women's Advisory Group overseeing the Rural Women's Policy Unit in the Department of Primary Industries and Energy. In 2008 Professor Alston was appointed to the Australian delegation attending the Commission for the Status of Women meeting in New York. She was appointed as a gender advisor to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in 2012-13. In 2009, 2007 and 2003 she spent time as a visiting expert in the Gender Division of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation in Rome. She has also acted as a gender expert for UN-Habitat in Kenya in 2009. She has published widely in the field of rural gender and rural social issues. She has been a keynote speaker at a number of national and international conferences over the last several years and is sought out for media commentary on the rural social condition, and on climate change and gender issues.



  • ACSW Members may access the material at no charge. If you have not yet been provided with the access code, please email with your SWOT login and full name as per your ACSW membership.
  • AASW members: $49
  • Full Fee: $79



AASW Members and non-members: click on the link to the right of this page. Once registered, you will receive an email instructing you how to access the material on SWOT.

ACSW Members: if you have not yet been provided with the access code, please email with your SWOT login and full name as per your ACSW membership.


More Information

For more information on this resource, contact Lesley Chenoweth on

or Linda Richardson, Senior Manager Education and Knowledge Development, AASW Ph: 03 9320 1001 Email:​

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers