This portion of the website has useful resources from events that are part of, or related to, the Family Potential Knowledge Exchange and they include podcasts, presentations, and materials circulated at events.

Invisible Fathers Dissemination Event

Mellow Dads is a parenting programme, developed by the Mellow Parenting Group, and piloted for the first time in an English prison and independently evaluated by Family Potential Honorary Research Fellow Jessica Langston.  Details of the research can be found in the final report and a journal article  which details the project.

This event on 21 April 2016, saw the report for Invisible Fathers independent evaluation presented to representatives from West Midlands Police, Probation Service, Home Office, Ministry of Justice, Women’s Aid, and Victim Support.  On the day we were joined by the children, partners, and Dads involved with the programme along with staff from Walsall Council, University of Birmingham, and HMP Oakwood.

  • Raquib Ibrahim from Mellow Parenting, outlined the Mellow Programme.
  • Jessica Langston, University of Birmingham, provided an overview of the report.
  • Everyone broke into small groups and the Dads led reflective activities whilst taking questions from the attendees.
  • The Dads and staff involved with the programme performed a Question Time style question and answer session with the audience describing their experiences on the programme.
  • The event ended with a powerful presentation from the child of one of the Dads who attended Mellow Dads. On each slide there was a red audio sign with the words of the young person are spoken.
  • The event was covered by Rachel Carter from Community Care

Conference: Involving families in supporting mental health recovery

Families have long been neglected in service responses to people with mental health difficulties. However, for many people, reclaiming a ‘life worth living’ depends on having particular sorts of supportive relationships with significant others – which may not be easy given the stresses and anxieties that mental health issues can bring up for all concerned.

This Conference on 7 November 2013 which took place in Park House, University of Birmingham, offered an opportunity to share and discuss the latest research on different collaborative models by which service users and their family or close friends may be involved in enabling recovery from the disabilities that may be associated with mental distress. These included systemic and behavioural family therapy, family group conferencing, personal budgets and the Open Dialogue approach that has been pioneered in Finland.

The conference featured presentations of research findings from two research projects: Can whole family approaches contribute to the reablement of people with mental health difficulties? Funded by the NIHR School for Social Care Research and the PEOPLE study: Personalisation and severe mental illness. Funded by The Big Lottery. It also included workshops in which practitioners, service users and family members were able to share direct experience in relation to the different practice models that were being discussed.

Download the powerpoint presentation from Jerry Tew: Family Minded Practice and Mental Health (PDF)

This event was organised by the Family Potential Research Centre in conjunction with the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham, the NIHR School for Social Care Research and Rethink Mental Illness.


Working together to understand new migration and superdiversity in the West Midlands: issues, challenges and policy solutions

The Institute for Research into Superdiversity’s (IRiS) Practitioner Research Programme brings together key organisations and professionals working with new and established migrants to develop better information about population change and its impact in the West Midlands in order to try and influence policy. The programme builds on a decade of experience working with community and practitioner researchers from new migrant communities. In 2016, the cohort of trainee practitioner researchers worked together to create hubs of expertise focusing on two important policy areas in relation to:

  • Theme 1: Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) and the National Transfer Scheme
  • Theme 2: Migrant maternity and the impact of NHS charging

This event on 12 October 2016 was held to share information on the work of Practitioner Research Programme (PRP) for those interested in taking part in the programme.

Download further information on the event (PDF)

Family Group Conferencing for Adults – Practice Network

Over recent years, there has been a growing interest in how Family Group Conferencing may help wider family and friends to be involved in supporting adults who may be vulnerable or who have particular needs. It is a proactive approach which puts power back in the hands of families to make the decisions that are right for them – and fits well with the direction set by the Care Act 2014.

The FGC Adults Practice Network on 3 November 2016 brought together practitioners, managers and educators from across the UK who were interested in taking this forward and developing ideas around best practice. For this November Practice Exchange, the focus was on:

  • How are local authorities and FGC providers gathering evidence in terms of costs and outcomes
  • Young carers and FGCs – crossing boundaries between children’s and adults’ services

Public service markets don’t work and they can’t: Insights from the voluntary sector

Since the emergence of the internal market in the NHS in the late 20th Century, open market competition between private, public and charitable organisations, has increasingly become the dominant means by which services to the public are organised, managed and contracted. At this event on 13 November 2016, Kathy Evans from Children England explored the argument that, far from improving the sustainability and effectiveness of services, market competition inherently places public services at risk of market collapse and new monopolies. In the provision of social goods and support to children, families and communities, market forces and commercial business disciplines do not, and never will, deliver the same benefits as they do in open commercial markets for private goods.

Widening the circle: Re-thinking family support in safeguarding

The forth and final event in the Knowledge Exchange series was held at the University of Huddersfield on 28 April 2016, chaired by Professor White.  Opening the event Professor White suggested that we need to reconsider the way in which the state works with families and explore alternative ways of conceptualizing the difficult problems social work faces. 

First speaker was Bridget Featherstone, Professor of Social Work at the University of Huddersfield – presenting on Widening the Circle, Supporting Families, and the Implications for Working with Men.


Saleem Tariq was the second speaker, Chief Officer Social Work at Leeds exploring Leeds Journey to Establishing Restorative Practices.


As part of Sal’s presentation we heard a Leeds’ latest OFSTED report as read by children of the borough.


Salem completed his presentation and took questions from the audience on Leeds’ approach.

After lunch the seminar was addressed by Angela Everson, CEO of the WomenCentre in Halfiax.

The final speaker was Sharon Inglis of Circles Training and Consultancy who explored with the group the use of Family Group Conferences with families who are experiencing domestic abuse.

The twitter hashtag #wideningthecircle was used for the day and a number of people who were not at the event engaged with discussions.

The event was well received with attendees commenting that that seminar was “useful and challenging”, “useful in keeping up to date with research to inform practice”, and requests for further events. 

Open Dialogue UK conference

This conference took place on 2nd February 2016. The theme was: “Towards Openness and Democracy in Mental Health services – Open Dialogue and related approaches in the UK and internationally”.  Presentations and panel responses from Finland, Germany, USA and UK on research and practice in relation to dialogical approaches with family and relational networks.  Thematic link with Seminar 3 of Knowledge Exchange with core of common participants.

Models and practices for engaging with families, relational networks and communities

This seminar on 15 January 2016, was the third in a series of Knowledge Exchange seminars. It focused on exploring approaches that are genuinely democratic in terms of sharing power with (and within) family and social networks. This can involve both a relentless search for the potentials and capabilities within relational networks, and also a recognition that these may also be the site of past (or current) trauma or abuse, or failure to recognize, protect or support individuals within them. The Seminar offered a mix of theoretical and practice focused discussions and featured current developments including: Family Group Conferencing and its application in children’s and adults’ settings; Open Dialogue – a radical relationally focused approach in mental health; Community and asset-based approaches to enabling families in adversity.

View the seminar programme (PDF)

Morning session: 

Tim Fisher
What do FGCs do? Participation, planning and action in adults’ and children’s services 


Kate Morris
FGCs and establishing family-inclusive ways of working in Leeds


Annette Weatherell and Trina Robson, Love Barrow Families
Co-production, community and safeguarding


Morning Session Questions


Afternoon session

Mark Hopfenbeck
Treatment principles and how they work


Annie Jeffrey
Doing dialogue: a family perspective


Yasmin Ishaq
Doing dialogue: a practitioner perspective


Afternoon session questions to speakers


Afternoon session Plenary and Small Groups




Presentation on Family minded practice and family group conferencing in adult services and mental health and discussion at Family Group Conferencing Practice Network meeting.

This presentation on 12 November 2015, asked the question about whether Family Group Conferencing actually achieved outcomes that went beyond facilitating family decision making – and presented findings from Dr Tew’s SSCR funded research on whole family approaches to reablement in mental health, which indicated that this could be the case.

Family minded policy and practice: thinking differently about families, services and systems

The second in a series of Knowledge Exchange seminars took place on 23 October 2015. This seminar focused on how services and systems consider families and work to engage them in different contexts. The seminar further included discussion of: caring, resilience and wellbeing, community perspectives and restorative practice. Contributions from Paul Nixon (Chief Social Worker, New Zealand); family members from ‘Your Family Your Voice’; Moana Eruera (Maori Advisor, New Zealand Government); and Professor Gale Burford (Emeritus Professor, University of Vermont and leading FGC researcher). 

Whakapapa, whanau – Introductory song from Moana Eruera


Moana Eruera
Whakapapa, whanau – relational identity in care and protection 


Paul Nixon
Supporting family minded approaches: changing systems, changing practices, changing cultures


Family minded policy and practice: thinking differently about families, services and systems – Panel discussion 


What happened to ‘Think Family’? Taking stock of developments in policy and practice

The first in a series of Knowledge Exchange seminars, this seminar on 22 June 2015 focused on sharing experience from practice, what we can learn from this, and what may be interesting areas for further research and development. Contributions from Professor Kate Morris (University of Nottingham), Dr Jerry Tew (University of Birmingham), Professor Andrew Pithouse (Cardiff University), Rachael Wardell (Berkshire County Council), Stephen Goodman (Morning Lane Associates), Deirdre Lewis (BIG Manchester/Improving Futures) and from young carers’ initiatives.

Perspectives from the Field Presentations 

Rachael Wardell 


Steve Goodman 


Developing Family Minded Practices

Louise Wardale 


What happened to ‘Think Family’ – Notes from group discussions


Symposium: Engaging with Families Facing Complex Difficulties

The University of Birmingham and the University of Nottingham hosted an International Symposium on Wednesday 19 June 2013 on the topic of Engaging with families facing complex difficulties. This was part of an ongoing series of events designed to take forward thinking and practice around ‘whole family’ approaches with a view to setting up a collaborative Research Centre around the theme of Family Potential. The symposium featured contributions from leading scholars and practitioners from Europe, Latin America and the UK, and also offered a choice of practice focused workshops. 

International symposium: Engaging with families facing complex difficulties: Towards Family-Minded Policy and Whole Family Practice

International Symposium Programme 18-20 June 2013

Presentations from Rossana Crosetto, Brigid Featherstone, Cristina Gonzalez, Kate Morris, Lennart Nygren, Monica Pinilla, Jerry Tew, Eunice Martinez, Fabian-Kessl, Marci Francesca Family group conference pilot projects in Italy,  Harris-Grant, Catherine Ann LaBrenz, Carolina Munoz, Sue White, Nelly Nucci



Seminar: Rethinking Family Minded Research, Policy and Practice

Presentations from June Thoburn, Ruth Lister and Jerry Tew