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18 June 2020 Dr Paul Michael Garrett, the first Social Worker to receive the honour of Membership of the Royal Irish Academy

NUI Galway academic, Dr Paul Michael Garrett was recently elected as a Member of the Royal Irish Academy for his contribution to Humanities and Social Sciences. Paul Michael among 29 new members admitted to the academy by Dr Mary Canning, President of the Academy, through a special video call on the 22nd of May 2020. He is the first social worker to have received this honour. On the 16th of June 2020, Paul Michael was also awarded a Higher Doctorate (D. Litt. / Doctor of Letters) by the National University of Ireland in recognition of his scholarly contributions.

Dr Paul Michael Garrett is senior lecturer and acting co-Director of the Master of Arts in Social Work at NUI Galway. Having previously worked at the University of Nottingham, Paul Michael arrived at NUI Galway in 2004, to help set up the first social work programme in the west of Ireland. He works closely with colleagues in the MA in Social Work programme, Caroline McGregor, Eleanor Kelly and Declan Coogan, in the School of Political Science and Sociology and across the social work practitioner communities.

Paul Michael has made significant contributions to a range of debates on social work and social policy; his work has appeared in international peer reviewed journals across a range of disciplines. He has also supported MA in Social Work at NUI Galway students to further develop their dissertations to peer review journal publications such as for example, Lynch R & Garrett P M (2010) ‘More than Words’ – Touch Practices in Child and Family Social Work’; Conneely, E & Garrett PM (2015) Social Workers & Social Justice during a period of intensive neo-liberalisation and Ryan, D & Garrett PM (2017) Social work ‘logged on’ – contemporary dilemmas in an evolving ‘techno-habitat’.

His research interests include: critical social theory and social work; discourses of marginality; neoliberal-inspired ‘reform’. Paul Michael is keen to supervise post-graduate research students on these and related themes. He is a leading international authority in the field of critical social theory, social work and social policy. His recent influential books include Welfare Words and Social work and Social Theory. He has authored six monographs and over one-hundred peer reviewed articles.

His book Welfare Words: Critical Social Work & Social Policy (Sage) was published in 2018. One reviewer remarks that it is a 'fascinating and rich book, which documents the central place of language in the (re)production of social order and the importance of welfare words in delineating the parameters of our collective imagination’; his book Social Work and Social Theory (2013) was published in Chinese translation and, in 2018 it was published as an expanded second edition. Paul Michael has also written three volumes mapping facets of social work with children and families during the period of New Labour in the UK (1997-2010).  He is also a member of the editorial collective of Critical Social Policy (CSP) where, for many years he has been the Editor of Reviews.

We are delighted that Paul Michael has recently received these awards. It brings great honour to us his colleagues, to social workers in Ireland and further afield, to the School and to the University. We warmly congratulate him and look forward to continuing to work closely with Paul Michael.

Declan Coogan, Acting Co-Director, MA in Social Work Programme, School of Political Science & Sociology, NUI Galway, 17th June 2020