Project R-6617


Felt Closeness: a conceptual and technological exploration of felt closeness for social work practice


Felt Closeness is an interdisciplinary innovation project inspired by the vision to unlock the potential of 'felt closeness' (i.e., subjective perceptions of closeness to family and community members) for social work practice with children and young people. The central idea is to develop an improved, technology-based means to assess and use this construct in social work practice. In particular, the project has three aims: (a) to collaboratively develop an application for assessing felt closeness using touch-screens with tangible objects, (b) to test its usability with social workers and service users, particularly children, and (c) to provide a first exploration of the psychometric properties of felt closeness (construct validation will be established in a later collaboration). The planned application will offer (a) innovation in the field of interactive tabletops, by allowing capacitive multi-touch tablets to track passive objects, (b) a new tool that could contribute to understanding family dynamics and support relationship-based social work practice, and (c) a measure that could foster inclusion of multiple-user perspectives (especially those of children) in developmental research. The project has four phases. In Phase 1 we will refine our literature review and conceptual framework and run a series of workshops with social work practitioners in Brighton, introducing them to the concept of felt closeness and discussing first technological prototypes. Phase 2 will use findings from Phase 1 to develop the application in an iterative process. In Phase 3, families and social workers will test the application. Phase 4 is dedicated to project evaluation.

Period of project

01 January 2016 - 31 December 2016