Dr. Allister Butler

School of Health and Society

Photo of Dr. Allister Butler

In memoriam: Dr Allister Butler, 1965-2021

We are immensely saddened to let you know of the death of Dr Allister Butler, our Head of Social Work, who died suddenly at home on Thursday 4 November.

Allister joined the University of Salford in 2019. Coming from South Africa, he had a long history within the social work community, having worked in various social work capacities (practitioner, researcher, evaluator and academic) in the area of children, youth and families for over 20 years.

His enthusiasm and passion for social work shone through all he did. Events that he championed, such as the recent ‘UBUNTU – I am Because We Are’ celebration on World Social Work Day provided inspiration far beyond Salford to over 300 delegates, including people from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Professor Margaret Rowe, Dean of the School of Health and Society, said: “Allister was a highly respected member of our school team and an inspirational leader to the social work team. He was an established and respected academic who brought passion, commitment, and a sense of pride to the work that he, his team and his students did.

“Allister was also a well known and respected member of the wider Social Work England community. We will miss his vision, enthusiasm, and drive, as well as his extensive contribution to the field of social work both nationally and internationally. We know members of this global community will also miss him very much.”


Dr Butler has worked in various social work capacities (practitioner, researcher, evaluator and academic) in the area of children, youth and families for the past 20 years. At the end of Dr Butler's undergraduate training he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue his Post Graduate education in the United States of America. He has worked in different international settings, namely: South Africa, United States of America, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Upon completing his Ph.D. in South Africa in 2000, he took up the post as Research Fellow for the University of Plymouth Health Action Zone Initiative. Thereafter Dr Butler was employed as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Work at Sheffield Hallam University. One of his tasks was to develop and deliver cross-faulty education around HIV and AIDS for health and social care students. Dr Butler has been published in a wide range of specialisms, ranging from young carers, gay and lesbian youth, HIV and AIDS, secondary education and homophobia, adolescent mental health, workforce development and international social work practice. He has been invited as an International Socrates scholar to teach at various higher education institutions in Europe (Sweden, Holland, Denmark and Norway). His teaching interests include: anti-discriminatory practice, integration and social work practice and theory, homosexuality and homophobia, international social policy, changing paradigms of pedagogy, direct practice with individuals, groups, families and communities, amongst others. Dr Butler has held tenure as a Principal Lecturer in Social Work and Programme Director for the MA in Social Work degree at Canterbury Christ Church University (UK). Dr Butler also held tenure as Associate Professor in Social Work in South Africa. Dr Butler served Head of Department, Family and Community Studies (FHSCE) at Anglia Ruskin University. More recently Dr Butler head tenure as Head of Subject Area (Social Work Youth and Community) at London Metropolitan University. At present Dr Butler is head of Social Work at the University of Salford.


  • International Social Work Practice
  • Skills for Direct Practice
  • Theories and Intervention
  • APIR
  • Group facilitation
  • Human Sexuality
  • Adolescent Mental health
  • Social Work Ethics and Values
  • Knowledge Values and Skills
  • Research Methods

Research Interests

  • LGBT Youth
  • Homophobia in Secondary Education
  • Adolescent Identify and Homosexual Development
  • Young carers and Mental Health
  • HIV and AIDS International Workforce Development International Social Work Practice

Qualifications and Memberships


  • BASW (Hons)
  • MSW
  • PhD


  • HCPC
  • HEA Senior Fellow