Improving Sensemaking in Social Work: A worked example with Deleuze and Art

Robson, Ian (2020) Improving Sensemaking in Social Work: A worked example with Deleuze and Art. Qualitative Social Work. ISSN 1473-3250 (In Press)

Text (Advance online version)
Robson_I_Improving_Sensemaking_in_Social_Work_QSW_Oct_2020.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (988kB) | Preview
Official URL:


Social Work is all about Sensemaking, but Sensemaking, as we currently know it, is not fit for purpose in Social Work. Developed by Karl E. Weick, Sensemaking describes the process of coming to understand and act in circumstances that are confusing or otherwise problematic. In this article, the author provides a creative and inventive response to the limitations of Sensemaking in Social Work through the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, and the use of artistic practices. In this article, he presents two stories; firstly, a story about overcoming ‘stuckness’ in a study of English Children’s Centre practitioners, and secondly, a bigger story about the limitations of Sensemaking in Social Work. These two stories are connected by Deleuze, and Art. The author responds to the opportunities presented by Deleuze by creating a series of visual Motifs, which act as idea-objects, used in his Sensemaking. He argues that whilst Social Workers do not need to be artists to make better sense of situations, they can use their own Motifs to better consider materiality, sense and affect in situations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Deleuze, Sensemaking, Art, methodology, Visual methods
Subjects: L500 Social Work
L900 Others in Social studies
W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2020 10:15
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 14:46

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics