Events at GSSW

A Hub for Social Justice and Civic Engagement

At the Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW), we’re serious about our role as a catalyst for social change in communities near and far. With topics that span social work and social justice interests, our events bring the University of Denver campus and broader community together to learn, grow, mobilize and drive change.

When violence in Charlottesville, Va., captured national headlines, we responded with lectures and workshops that explored racial justice and provoked meaningful — and sometimes difficult — reflections and conversations. When political differences threatened to divide the nation, we answered with the Civic Education for Civic Engagement series, which brought campus and community together in a spirit of collaborative problem-solving.

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Upcoming Events

Lia Garcia

Artistic Practices and Social Work with Lia García

Join transgender activist Lia García for a free half day of conversation about artistic practice, social work and queer expression. Attendees can choose to attend one or both of the workshops, but are encouraged to stay for the entirety of the event.

  • March 14, 2024
  • In Person


  • Schedule
    • 4:00-4:15 p.m. - Arrival and Welcome
    • 4:14-5:15 p.m. - Presentation (60 min)
    • 5:15-5:45 p.m. - Break
    • 5:45-7:15 p.m. - Workshop (90 min)
    • 7:15-8:00 p.m. - Closing

    Boxed meals and refreshments will be provided.

  • Presentation | Social Work as a Strategy of Pedagogical and Artistic Intervention to Combat Gender Violence

    4 – 5 p.m. MDT – in person only

    Objective: to share with the participants three case studies located in the context of Mexico with groups of men (policemen, firemen and doctors) in which social work and its intimate crossings with the pedagogy of affections as well as with the performing arts allowed the creation of a social intervention of sensitization focused on addressing gender violence experienced by women and people of LGBTIQ diversity.

    The photo and video archive of the three cases will be shown and then some questions will be asked for people to answer and stimulate a collective debate.

    Participants will encounter questions such as:

    • Taking the conference as a reference, how do you imagine an interdisciplinary social work intervention in your context?
    • What social problems would you like it to address and why is it necessary?
    • What actions would you implement in this intervention taking critical elements from pedagogy and art?
    • What is the role of emotions of a social worker in your practice?
  • Workshop | Body, Time and Space. Three Keys to Deepen Your Social Work Practice

    5:30 – 7:00 p.m. MDT – in person only

    Through dynamics focused on the theater of the oppressed, a pedagogical tool worked by the Brazilian educator Augusto Boal who focuses his attention on the body and emotions as two fundamental spaces to produce knowledge in any social and cultural practice, we will develop this workshop. The dynamics involve movement, play, performance and teamwork.

    From the pedagogical dynamics, which are also scenic, we will ask questions that will awaken collective reflection.

    • How far does my own body space extend in the practice of social work?
    • How do the spaces where social work takes place affect the personal and collective body?
    • How is the time of social practice, what are its limitations and possibilities?
    • What is the importance of working with the body and emotions for social workers?

    Accessibility: This event will be hosted in-person only. The event will be in Spanish with synchronous interpretation via headset into English. Please email GSSW Events if you have additional questions regarding accessibility for this event. We are unable to guarantee that requests received within one week of the event start date will be able to be fulfilled. 

  • Lia García's Bio

    Lia García is a social worker and educator graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Activist and defender of the human rights of queer and trans communities of color.

    Her work has focused on developing proposals for social and artistic intervention in complex spaces such as prisons, schools, hospitals and public spaces in order to combat transphobia. Her methodology is radical tenderness and affection.

posters from art and activism event

Events That Engage

Over the past two years, more than 10,000 people in 21 states have participated in GSSW events either online or on campus. All of our events are designed to be inclusive and accessible — most are free and many are live streamed. We invite alumni and experts from throughout the campus and community to share their knowledge.

Virtual Continuing Education

Our continuing education programs — from licensure preparation to professional development — provide ongoing opportunities for our alumni, social work practitioners and community members to strengthen and enhance their professional knowledge and repertoire of skills. Want to learn something completely new? You can do that, too.

Explore Continuing Education

Past Event Series

Environmental Racism

Environmental and Racial Justice Series

Environmental racism is a lived experience for many communities of color, every day, in the U.S. and globally. Pollution, land loss, food and water insecurity, weather extremes connected to climate change, and other environmental problems unfairly and disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, and other racially minoritized communities. In this 3-part series—co-sponsored with the Grand Challenge to Create Social Responses to a Changing Environment—we explored community practice and partnership, social work education, and policy changes needed at the nexus of environmental and racial justice, in pursuit of a healthy and thriving world for all.

  • Part 1: Disrupting Environmental Racism Webinar

    This first panel in the series brought together community leaders, students and scholars to discuss their own community-engaged experiences, the joys and challenges of partnerships in this work, and how we can mobilize action to disrupt environmental racism and create environmental and racial justice.

    Panelists included:
    Lizeth Chacón, Executive Director, Colorado People’s Alliance
    Ajulo Othow, Founder and CEO, EnerWealth Solutions
    Smitha Rao, PhD Candidate, Boston College School of Social Work

    Watch the Recording

  • Part 2: Transforming Social Work Education

    Our guest panelists shared, motivated, inspired, guided and challenged us in our pursuit of social change and ecological justice. Following the presentation, GSSW graduate students moderated the Q&A and discussion with our speakers, furthering the conversation.

    Panelists included: 
    Yolanda Machado-Escudero, Assistant Professor, University of North Florida
    Leah Prussia, Associate Professor, The College of St. Scholastica

    Watch the Recording 

  • Part 3: Mobilizing Power for Action and Change

    A panel with leading advocates, analysts and elected officials provided us with tools for mobilizing power for environmental and racial justice.

    Panelists Included:
    Charles E Lewis, Jr, PhD, MSW
    Director, Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy

    Jessica Black, PhD, MSW
    Assistant Professor, Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development, University of Alaska Fairbanks

    Tessa Kaneene, MUP
    Senior Advisor, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government
    Taylor Bazajou, MSW
    Community Engagement Director, Councilwoman Teri Castillo, District 5, San Antonio, TX

    Hosted by Associate Professor Lisa Reyes Mason.

    Watch the Recording


From Criminalization to Community

Communities nationwide are contending with the systemic racism, implicit bias and excessive force endemic in American policing, justice and other social systems. But even as we work to dismantle systems that disproportionately harm people of color, we must also critically examine our own complicity in unjust systems and work to create change.

Watch the events from this two-part series held in August 2020.

university of denver campus

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