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Social Sciences events at the British Library

Find out about forthcoming events and see details of past events held by the Social Science Collections and Research Team. If you have missed a recent seminar or workshop, you may be able to download podcasts and presentations here. For a full list of British Library events, see What's On.

Forthcoming events | Recent events | Archived events   Contact us

We organise events covering a broad range of subjects within the discipline. These are aimed at a variety of audiences, including: experienced researchers, postgraduate students, practitioners, policy-makers and the general public. Many of our events are organised with partners from academic or professional organisations, such as the British Sociological Association.

Forthcoming events

The Problem with Democracy

Wed 26 November 2014, 18.30 - 20.00, Terrance Restaurant, British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB

We are delighted to announce details of the first in our new public lecture series 'Enduring Ideas'. In this lecture Prof. Matthew Flinders, University of Sheffield and author of Defending Politics, discusses ‘the problem with democracy’. Does the apparent shift from healthy scepticism to corrosive cynicism have more to do with our unrealistic expectations of politics than a failure of democratic politics? Do the problems with democracy – if they exist – tell us more about a failure on the part of the public to understand politics rather than a failure of politicians to understand us? Maybe ‘the problem’ with democracy is not that it is in short supply but that we have too much of it?

Through examining these issues Professor Flinders will suggest new ways of thinking about politics to ensure not the death but the life of democracy. The evening will be chaired by the Rt. Hon Peter Riddell CBE, Director of the Institute for Government.

The event is followed by a pay bar until 21.00.

Tickets are £8.00 full price, £6.00 (over 60) and £5.00 other concessions and can be booked via our 'what's on' page.

The Enduring Ideas series of lectures is organized in association with the Academy of Social Sciences.


British Sociological Association: Ageing, Body and Society Study Group 6th Annual Conference

Fri 28 November 2014, Conference Centre, British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB

We are pleased to hosting the 6th Annual Conference of the BSA Ageing, Body and Society Study Group. The day will include a keynote address by Prof. Les Back (Goldsmiths University) who will speak on Inscriptions of Love: the body as an impermanent canvas.
For further information about subject areas being covered by the conference and to book a place please visit the conference webpage.


Social Research Association Annual Conference 2014 - Changing Social Research: Evolution or Revolution?

Mon 8 December 2014, Conference Centre, British Library, 96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB

We are pleased once again to be able to host the Annual Conference of the Social Research Association.  This year the conference will explore the talk of a technology-driven revolution in the world of social research.

Will big data,web surveys, mobile research , neuroscience, social media research, and related digital methods change the ground-rules of social research? Are established practices becoming obsolete? Or will it be more a matter of assimilating what’s new into established principles of research? The conference will showcase examples of high quality UK social research covering the full range of innovative and traditional approaches, highlighting both ruptures and continuities in our changing research practice.

Plenary speakers include David Rhind, Deputy Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, Sharon Witherspoon, Director of the Nuffield Foundation, Paul Atkinson, Distinguished Research Professor at Cardiff University, Patrick Sturgis, Professor of Research Methodology at Southampton University and Director of the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods and Kandy Woodfield, Director of Learning at NatCen Social Research.

There will also be parallel sessions exploring the themes methodological challenges, innovation, maintaining quality, evaluation and research ethics.

For full details of the conference programme and to book a place please visit the SRA website.

Recent events

Sports Heritage Network Conference 2014: Oral History and Sport

19 September 2014, Conference Centre, British Library

We were pleased to co-organise the Sports Heritage Network Conference 2014. Research suggests that the sporting past, and specifically tangible and intangible heritage connected with sporting memories, can have profound effects on individuals and communities. The conference aimed to explore current activity in this field, draw together conclusions about the importance of sporting heritage in supporting oral history activity, and establish future opportunities and partnerships. The event will brought together speakers and delegates from backgrounds including: academia, heritage, health, local authorities, education, and sport.


Fourth Annual British Sociological Association/British Library Equality Lecture - Dr Tom Shakespeare on 'Enabling Equality: from disabling barriers to equal participation'

30 May 2014, Conference Centre, British Library

We were delighted that this year researcher and disability rights advocate Dr Tom Shakespeare gave the Fourth Annual Equality Lecture. Dr Shakespeare explored what it takes to achieve equality for disabled people, in the era of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and ‘welfare reform’. Because disability is so diverse, Dr Shakespeare argued that ensuring that all disabled people can flourish requires more than simply levelling the playing field and explored the question 'Where next for disability equality?'.

Tom Shakespeare is a senior lecturer in medical sociology at the University of East Anglia. Previously, he worked at the World Health Organization where he was one of the authors and editors of the World Report on Disability (2011). Author of Disability Rights and Wrongs Revisited (2013) among other publications, Tom has been involved in the disability movement since 1986.

The evening was chaired by Howard Wollman, Chair of the British Sociological Association.

A video of the lecture is now available along with a podcast.


Living with the cuts: Policy, politics and everyday lives in the recession

30 May 2014,  British Library Conference Centre

We were delighted to be host this one-day conference in association with the University of East London, the Centre for Narrative Research (UEL), NOVELLA (Narratives of Everyday Lives and Linked Approaches) NCRM Research Methods Node with the Tavistock Centre.

Many people in the UK are now living with the impact of recession and public spending cuts in their daily lives; larger effects are still to come. Government and policy-makers predict that cuts will continue till the end of the decade, yet these measures' usefulness and necessity are much debated. This conference brought together academics, policymakers, practitioners, and community researchers, to discuss the issues and levels of analysis that need to be taken into account when studying the cuts, and to explore the human effects and socio-political significance of living in recession.

Speakers included Anita Tiessen, UNICEF UK; Ann Phoenix, NOVELLA; Marcus Evans, Tavistock Centre; Mike Savage, LSE; Faiza Shaheen, New Economics Foundation; Tim Hall, University of East London and the Living Wage Campaign; Mike Rustin, Centre for Narrative Research, University of East London and Tavistock Centre and Martha Nussbaum, University of Chicago.

We hope to upload a podcast of the conference soon.


A Cultural History of the World Cup

Fri 23 May 2014, British Library Conference Centre

We were pleased to co-organise this one day international conference with the International Centre for Sport History and Culture, De Montfort University.

This event was primarily aimed at academics and postgraduate students interested in the material culture, history and globalisation of the football World Cup, but all those with an interest in the subject areas are welcome to attend. Keynote speakers included David Goldblatt and Matthew Brown.  Speakers also include Matthew Taylor, Richard Holt; John Hughson; Martin Polley; Stacey Pope, Kevin Marston and Kevin Moore (Director of the National Football Museum, Manchester). With the the focus of the world’s sporting gaze once again on Brazil as the host nation of the football world cup is is timely to consider the influence of football not only as a media spectacle but also in the contexts of economic growth, cultural modernity, political challenges and world culture.


Law Gender and Sexuality: Sources and methods in socio-legal research.

19 May 2014, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies

This one-day conference was organised in collaboration with the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, School of Advanced Studies, University of London and the Socio-Legal Studies Association. The event drew attention to archives and content that newcomers to the field may not be aware of and considered the methodological and practical issues involved in analysing sources. Speakers included specialists in the fields of Law, Gender and Sexuality from academia, archives and libraries. For a sense of the range of topics covered during the day please see our blog.


Portraying ageing: Cultural Assumptions and Practical Implications

28 April 2014, British Library Conference Centre

We were pleased to hold this one day conference in association with the School of Language, Linguistics and Film,Queen Mary, University of London and the Centre for Policy on Ageing.

Speakers considered how age and ageing are not only biological events but also cultural and social construction, how the ways in which individuals and the societies they live in construe and portray age and ageing are interesting, not only from a theoretical point of view but also, crucially, for how we understand and respond to an ageing population.  The conference brought together experts from different backgrounds to share and discuss, from a variety of theoretical and practical viewpoints, the many ways in which age and ageing are portrayed and understood and how insights from research can be translated into policy and practice.

The keynote address was be given by Professor Lynne Segal.  The speakers were Dr Deborah Price, Institute of Gerontology, King's College London; David Cutler, The BAring foundation; Professor Julia Twigg, University of Kent; Dr Hannah Zeilig, London College of Fashion; Dr Jackie Reynolds, University of Staffordshire; James Lloyd, The Strategic Society Centre; Dr Wendy Martin, Brunel University; Dr Katy Pilcher, Aston University and Angus Hanton, Intergenerational Foundation.  The closing panel discussion was between Gilly Crosby, Centre for Policy on Ageing, Dr Jo Angoury, Warwick University and Dr Simone Bacchini, The British Library.

The conference was filmed.  Details of how to access the video will be announced here shortly.


Beyond Nature versus Nurture

11 March 2014, Terrace Restaurant, British Library

The ‘nature versus nurture’ debate between scientists, philosophers and social scientists seems to have existed for almost as long as the disciplines themselves. In recent years, however, the growing field of epigenetics has re-written our scientific understanding of how changes in the expression of the DNA in our cells can determine how we develop and function.

Epigenetics has demonstrated how our genes respond dynamically to environmental factors such as nutrition, toxins and hormones to change the way our cells behave. Through epigenetics, we are gaining a clearer picture of how our social world gets under our skin to influence gene expression in ways that could have lasting affects for us and our descendants.

This public event will bring together social scientists and scientists to discuss how the nature versus nurture debate has been revolutionised and to debate the moral, ethical and social consequences of the growing understanding of how nurture affects nature. Our chair for the evening was Professor Jane Elliot, Director of the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at the Institute of Education. The Speakers were Professor George Davey Smith, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Bristol and Professor Nikolas Rose, Professor of Sociology and Head of Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine at King's College, London.

A podcast of the discussion is now available. A summary of the debate is also available on our blog.


War Brides: Reaching for New Lives

3 March 2014, Foyle Room, British Library

We were delighted to hold this event in association with the Raphael Samuel History Centre. 

In the years following the Second World War, 70,000 British women crossed the Atlantic to start a new life with the American GIs who had captured their hearts while they were stationed here. Their stories received widespread attention both in their home press and in America, as they struggled to adapt to relocation in fabled places that didn’t quite match up with what they’d seen at the movies. But the GI brides were only the tip of the iceberg. All over Europe, wartime marriages meant a post-war flux of women and their children moving from country to country. Inevitably, many marriages broke down, but others endured, as women were determined to prove to family and friends back home that the huge gamble they had taken for one man – and a ‘foreigner’ at that – was really worth it. 

For this event the speakers were Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi, authors of the Sunday Times bestseller GI Brides, Professor Norma Clarke, daughter of a Greek war bride, Rob Stephenson, whose father was an American GI, and Dr Jo Stanley, who writes about war brides' journeys.

For short biographies of the speakers please click on the link to the PDF version of the programme above.


Economic and Social Research Council Seminar Series - Business Models: Seminar One

7 February 2014, 09.30 - 16.10, British Library Conference Centre

The topic of the first seminar in the series was 'Business Models: rationale, applications and interorganisationality'. 

The aim of the day was to develop our understanding of business models. The seminar provided an understanding in business models, by breaking down the business models into its constituent parts and exploring their perhaps dynamic nature, it examined current business applications and specifically explored the links between the business model and strategic decision-making performance indicators, innovation and creativity.  

For full details of the speakers, the seminar programme, booking information and the seminar series as a whole please visit these web pages.


Finding Common Ground? Research ethics across the Social Sciences

10 January 2014, British Library Conference Centre

We were pleased to hold this conference in partnership with the Academy of Social Sciences. The conference was supported by The British Psychological Association, The British Sociological Association, The Economic and Social Research Council and the Open University.

This major conference marked the end of the first phase of the work begun during the Academy of Social Sciences’ three Symposia held in Spring 2013. These focused on Principles, Values and Standards within the framework of a discussion on generic principles in social science research. The proceedings of the symposia have been published in a Professional Briefing a copy of which is available here.

This one day event was open to all with an interest in research ethics.  It aimed to widen the earlier discussions in order to consolidate current thinking and identify how best to take the work forward.  The morning sessions were concerned with summarising the debate so far, based on a discussion paper by working group members Robert Dingwall, Ron Iphofen, John Oates and Janet Lewis, and a contribution from Felice J. Levine, Executive Director of the American Educational Research Association. The afternoon focused on looking forward, particularly from a `bottom-up’ perspective.

Further details of the programme can be found  here.


SRA annual conference 2013: Getting social research into policy & practice

9 December 2013, British Library Conference Centre

Once again we were pleased to host the annual conference of the Social Research Association. As austerity continues to constrain the world of social research this year's conference looked at what more can be done to make better use of evidence and bridge the gap with policy and practice and explored how researchers can engage more effectively with those who use research including the following topics:

  • What can and should researchers do to ensure they inform policy processes and local practice?
  • How can we translate nuanced research findings into practical solutions?
  • Should researchers stray into the world of policy-making?
  • How do we produce robust evaluations as budgets dwindle?
  • What do policymakers and practitioners need from research, and can it realistically be delivered?

Speakers included Geoff Mulgan, chief executive of Nesta, Carey Oppenheim (Chief Executive, Early Intervention Foundation), and from The Colebrooke Centre for Evidence and Implementation, Deborah Ghate (chief executive) and Jane Lewis (director of implementation support).

The conference also included plenary panels and 20 workshop sessions where researchers from across the profession shared experiences and case studies on a range of topical and practical themes.


British Sociological Association Presidential Event: The Challenge of Big Data

25 October 2013, British Library Conference Centre

We were delighted to host this event in conjunction with the BSA and BSA President, Professor John Holmwood.  Convened in conjunction with Dr Emma Uprichard, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, University of Warwick and Dr Abby Day, Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths, this seminar/workshop considered the challenge of Big Data following on from the Government White Paper on Open Data and the Finch Report on Open Access to Research Publications both of which were released in June 2012.

The event was filmed and the film with available via the BSA website shortly.


Myths and Realities 20: Challenging Myths and Understanding Society

15 October 2013, Terrace Restaurant, British Library

The final event in the Myths and Realities series of public debates was held on the 15th October.  The speakers Professor Ivor Gaber AcSS, City University, London / University of Bedfordshire and Professor John Holmwood AcSS, University of Nottingham and President of the British Sociological Association examined why people continue to believe the social myths that they do, often in the face of strong evidence to the contrary.  Why, for instance, does research find that the general public over-estimate benefit fraud and why are politicians tempted to rely on anecdote not evidence?  They also examined the role of the media in producing and maintaining social myths and considered how what Social Scientists can do to address these issues.

Our Chair is Professor Dame Janet Finch DBE, DL, AcSS, University of Manchester.

The debate will be available as both a podcast and a film recording shortly.

The Myths and Realities series of public debates was held in association with the Academy of Social Sciences and Supported by the Economic and Social Research Council.


Visual Urbanism: Perceptions of the Material Landscape

7 October 2013, British Library Conference Centre

This one day conference considered how material aspects of the urban landscape inform and inspire urban research, how can visual research methods enable urban researchers to investigate the city's immaterialities and how do images shape the way we view the material form of the city.  Following the success of last year's event, researchers and practitioners from across the humanities and social sciences came together to discuss contemporary concerns within visual urbanism in the second annual conference of the International Association of Visual Urbanists.  An emphasis was placed on innovative methods within current urban research relating to the arts, humanities and social sciences.

The conference comprised of presentations and panel discussions.  A keynote talk was given by Professor Caroline Knowles (Goldsmiths, University of London).  The event also included a short film festival showcasing works by artists and researchers exploring urban landscape through moving images.

We were delighted to present this event in association with Urban Photo Fest and Goldsmiths, University of London.


Myths and Realities 19 - Social Media: new democracy or mass deception?

17 June 2013, British Library Conference Centre

We were pleased to hold the 19th event in the Myths and Realities Series of public debates.

With the rise of citizen journalism through blogging and Twitter we are often told that communication is more democratic than ever before; but has social media really disrupted the status quo in terms of power and influence? Is social media an instrument of modern capitalism and the political elite, or a tool for changing the distribution of power? What do we know about who has access to social media and how different groups are able to use it to bring about change? What new structures of influence have been formed and which old ones remain?

Professor Helen Margetts, Director of Oxford Internet Institute and Professor of Society and the Internet, University of Oxford and Professor David Gauntlett, Professor of Media and Communications, University of Westminster explored the different forms of evidence around access and use of social media to debate these issues. The evening was chaired by Dr Ruth Fox, Director and Head of Research, Hansard Society

Held in partnership with Academy of Social Sciences and supported by the Economic and Social Research Council.

A recording of the discussion is available on the Social Sciences Podcast page.


Legal Biography: A national socio-legal training day

15 May 2013, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London.

We were pleased to hold the second national socio-legal training day in association with the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and Socio-Legal Studies Association.

Drawing on the expertise of archivists and academics working in the field the day focused on the methodological considerations and problems involved in doing archival research for legal biographies. The aim of the day was to draw attention to archives that newcomers to the field may not be aware of and to consider the practical problems involved in analysing sources.

Speakers included: Lesley Dingle (Squire Law Library, Cambridge),Guy Holborn(Lincoln’s Inn Library), Les Moran (Birkbeck), Jon Sims (British Library), Mara Malagodi (LSE), Giles Mandelbrote (Lambeth Palace Library and Archive), Susannah Rayner (SOAS), Antonia Moon (British Library), Rosemary Auchmuty, (Reading University), Elizabeth Dawson (Archivist, IALS Library), Linda Mulcahy (LSE), Kristen Rundle (LSE).

Please also see our Social Science Research blog.


Myths and Realities 18: Work to live of live to work?

29 April 2013, British Library Conference Centre

We were delighted to hold the 18th event of our Myths and Realities Series of Public Debates. The speakers Professor Sarah Vickerstaff, University of Kent and Professor Steve Bevan, The Work Foundation considering how we are working longer hours than ever and are likely to remain at work for more years and why although the cost of living is increasing and wages for low and middle income earners may not stretch as far as they once there is increasing job satisfaction within many sectors, retirees become volunteers and older workers are often reluctant to retire at all! Within this context, can we really say that most of us simply work to live?

Held in association with the Academy of Social Sciences and supported by the ESRC.

A podcast of the event will loaded to the website shortly.


The Third British Sociological / British Library Annual Equality Lecture - The Art of Association: The formation of egalitarian social capital.

15 April 2013, British Library Conference Centre

We were delighted to hold the 3rd Annual British Sociological Association / British Library Equality Lecture.

This year UPS Foundation Professor Danielle Allen, from the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton, spoke.

Danielle is a political theorist who has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology, and the history of political thought. Widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America, in 2002 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for her ability to combine 'the classicist’s careful attention to texts and language with the political theorist’s sophisticated and informed engagement'. In her lecture Danielle considered whether the success of egalitarian politics depends on an underlying art of association, explored the egalitarian benefits of a connected society and how to cultivate the necessary habits and skills of association. The event was chaired by Professor Judith Burnett, Chair of the British Sociological Association and Dean of the School of Law, Social Sciences and Communications at the University of Wolverhampton.

A film of the event can be found on the British Sociological Association Youtube channel.


Myths and Realities 17: Addictive Personality

18 March 2013, Terrace Restaurant, British Library

We were delighted to hold the 17th event in the Myths and Realities Series of Public Debates. Addictions to legal and illegal drugs, alcohol and tobacco are generally considered to be serious social problems. But what drives addiction? Are our compulsions biologically or socially driven? Are some people inevitable 'addicts'? And, what are the social problems caused by addictions? Join us for informed and lively discussion and debate. The expert panel will include Professor Gerda Reith, University of Glasgow, and Professor David Nutt, Imperial College London, and will be chaired by Claire Fox, Institute of Ideas.

Supported by the Economic and Social Research Council and Academy of Social Sciences.

A recording of the debate is available on our podcast page.


Myths and Realities 16: Are 'friends' the new 'family'?

11 February 2013, British Library Conference Centre

We were pleased to hold this debate. The speakers considered how changes in how we live, including increases in geographical mobility and single households, can affect the intimate relationships we form with others. For some, friendships form the key support network rather than family. But is this really a new phenomenon; are family relationships really changing? Our speakers were Professor Lynn Jamieson, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh and Graham Crow, Director of the Scottish Doctoral Training Centre in Edinburgh.

Myths and Realities is held in association with the Academy of Social Sciences and supported by the ESRC

A podcast of the debate is available.


Queer Homes, Queer Families: a history and policy debate

17 December 2012, British Library Conference Centre

With Peter Tatchell; Professor Jeffrey Weeks, OBE; Dr Kath Holden; Professor Sasha Roseneil; Professor Alison Oram; and Dr Matt Cook

The last decade has seen incredible changes in attitudes towards lesbians and gay men and their relationship to home and family. From legislation on adoption, civil partnerships and access to fertility treatments to representations on sitcoms like ‘Modern Family’ and home make-over shows, there has been a marked domestication of queer men and women. If Clause 28 famously saw all this as a pretence, these home lives are now, arguably, being taken seriously. In this panel discussion we asked what precedents there are for apparently unconventional home and family formations; how far recent shifts reflect broader changes in expectations and experiences of home and family; what they might portend in terms of assimilation, radicalism and difference; and why history might matter in all this.

The event was convened by the Raphael Samuel History Centre, hosted by the British Library and supported by the AHRC.


Evidence in Social Welfare Policy and Practice

7 December 2012, British Library Conference Centre

This conference was organised to celebrate the launch of Social Welfare at the British Library, a new free online service offering a single point of access to our vast print and digital collections on social welfare and social policy. The portal can be found at www.socialwelfare.bl.uk

The conference explored issues such as the use of evidence in health policy; the gathering and dissemination of evidence about the voluntary and community sector; practitioner access to evidence; and the potential of charity archives for research.

Our speakers included:

Prof. Jon Glasby, Director, Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham (the keynote speaker);
Prof. Pete Alcock, Director, Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham;
Dr Jo Moriarty, Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London
Dr Georgina Brewis, Research Officer, Institute of Education, University of London, and founder, Campaign for Charity Archives;
Dr Diana Leat, independent commentator and researcher on the voluntary sector.

The conference concluded with a panel discussion with Dr Helen Kara, Peter Simcock and was chaired by Amanda Edwards.

A podcast of the conference is available.


Take a long view: the Social Sciences and Impact Conference

3 December 2012, British Library Conference Centre

We were delighted to be able to hold this one day conference.

Social scientists aspire to understand the world, even change it - but measuring, communicating and understanding the impact of theoretical developments and empirical evidence isn’t straightforward. Does a long-term, historical perspective help us understand what makes a difference? How has the conceptual thinking of the past come to underpin current policy and practice? What role does politics play in achieving and assessing impact?

The conference aimed to enhance our understanding of development of impact in social science and public policy. Our keynote speaker was Professor Ann Oakley, who drew on her recent biography of Barbara Wootton, a pioneer and advocate of evidence-based policy development, and her own long research career. She was joined by Paul Boyle (ESRC), Danny Dorling (University of Sheffield), Richard Bartholomew (GSR), Dave Martin (University of Southampton), Kevin Schurer (University of Leicester), Tim Lang and Geof Rayner (City University), Tricia Dodd (ONS) and Emma Stone of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.


Austerity, Ageing and the Future of Public Spending on Older People

26 November 2012, British Library Conference Centre

We were very pleased to hold this British Library and Strategic Society Centre joint debate.

Government austerity and cuts to public services are seeing increasing debate about the future of public spending on older people. The universal nature of some public spending directed at the older generation has been attacked from multiple quarters, particularly given the ‘property wealth windfall’ experienced by this generation over the last decade, and the growing pressure on public spending that an ageing population brings. However, social policy analysts have long identified means testing of older people as highly problematic, not least because one third of pensioners entitled to extra means tested support – about 1.3 million people - do not receive it. In addition, there is growing concern that fiscal policy debate about “winners and losers” will see cuts to policy interventions – such as investment in prevention – that have the potential to reduce the costs of population ageing to the Exchequer over the long-term.

This event, which also included the launch of a new discussion paper on this topic by the Strategic Society Centre, therefore explored the following themes:

Is it true that older cohorts have escaped the effects of the government’s policy response to the economic crisis? What are the pros and cons of targeting public spending on older people proportional to their means? Should older people be expected to “pay more” at a time of government austerity, and if so, how? Is political debate capable of identifying and protecting cost-effective public spending on older people, such as prevention strategies that reduce ‘downstream costs’?

The speakers were Carl Emmerson, Deputy Director, IFS, José Iparraguirre, Chief Economist, Age UK and James Lloyd, Director, Strategic Society Centre. The evening was chaired by Jude England, Head of Social Sciences, British Library


Tales from the Archive: How do food researchers from different disciplines use archives?

19 November 2012, British Library Conference Centre

We were pleased to hold this event in association with the National Centre for Research Methods, the Institute of Education, Novella and the ESRC.

The recent turn towards the re-use of data in the social sciences means a growing number of food researchers are conducting 'fieldwork in the archives'. Making sense of historical data raises a number of methodological questions for social scientists: What historical food data-sets are available and how have they been used for different studies? How do social scientists contextualise historical data in relation to contemporary sources? What can social scientists learn from historians about working with historical data in relation to food? How have social scientists in the past engaged with archives?
Through a series of presentations and audience-led discussion, this day-long workshop examined the issues raised by the use of archives in social science food research. Speakers included Libby Bishop, Peter Jackson, Stephen Mennell, Anne Murcott, Polly Russell and David Smith.


Myths and Realities 15: Our ethnicity and Identity - what does it all mean?

13 November 2012, Terrace Restaurant, 1st Floor, The British Library

We were delighted to hold the 15th event in our Myths and Realities series of public debates. The series is held in association with the Academy of Social Sciences and is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council.  The Myths and Realities series looks at significant public and social issues, challenging some of the common myths and assumptions we make and shows the role social science plays in explaining and understanding our social world and our perceptions of it. Myths and Realities 15 looked at whether the public’s obvious delight and celebration of all the diverse members of Team GB, irrespective of individual ethnicities and identities, marked a significant shift in public perceptions towards ethnic identities and considered what does it mean to be ‘mixed race’ and what does ethnicity mean for our image of ourselves and others? The evening was chaired by Rania Hafez, author, columnist and founder-director of the network Muslim Women in Education and the speakers were Ann Phoenix, Professor and Co-Director of the Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education and Miri Song, Professor of Sociology, University of Kent.

A recording of the evening is now available on our podcast page.


From London to Rio: Social Change and the Sporting Mega Event

5 November 2012, British Library Conference Centre

This one day conference considered how do sporting mega events re-shape and re-define society and to what end?

Scholars, policy makers and individuals working in the private sector analysed and debated the role of sporting mega-events in re-shaping and re-defining the societies that host them. The conference focused, in particular, on the 2012 London Olympics and the upcoming 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic and Paralympics games taking place in Brazil. Both events in Brazil - combined with its current economic growth - will fix the world’s gaze on the region in the coming years. This focus on a single nation will give us an opportunity to raise critical questions about how sporting mega-events articulate with existing forms of social injustice and inequality – more likely to exacerbate than alleviate? At the same time, it gives us a chance to develop our understanding of the possibilities of such events to improve the quality of life for people living in the societies that host them.

Speakers included: Prof. Kenneth Maxwell (Harvard University), Prof. Renato Emerson dos Santos (Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro), Prof. João Costa Vargas (University of Texas, Austin), Prof. Andy Miah (University of the West of Scotland), Dr. Timothy Power (Oxford University), Paul Docherty (Director UK 2012, British Council), Dr. Russell Seymour (Sustainability Manager for Marylebone Cricket Club).


Book launch: Research and Evaluation for busy practitioners - a time saving guide.

18 October 2012

We were delighted to host the launch of Dr Helen Kara's new book. The launch included a panel discussion of research with Jane Lewis, AcSS, Research and Evaluation Consultant; Karl Wilding, Head of Research at NCVO; Simon Haslam, Board Member of the Social Research Association; and Helen Kara, independent researcher and author. There was also an exhibition of art by Carol Burns, illustrator of Research and Evaluation for Busy Practitioners and music by The Winter Quartet.

More information about the book and the author can be found on the Policy Press website


Visual Urbanism: Perspectives on Contemporary Research

8 October 2012, British Library Conference Centre

We were delighted to hold this event in association with Goldsmiths, University of London and the International Association of Visual Urbanists and and Urban Photo Fest.

During the day the following issues were considered: what does the emerging field of visual urbanism look like today, what is the current status of the visual within urban research? The city is a dynamic entity and the ways in which researchers visualise the urban continue to emerge and evolve alongside the shifting metropolis. This was the inaugural event of the International Association of Visual Urbanists (IAVU) and was aimed at arts practitioners and researchers from the humanities and social sciences who have an interest in visual urbanism.

This interdisciplinary eve went on to explore how urbanists use visual practice to investigate the city by examining a wide range of approaches, focusing on innovative methodologies currently being employed in urban research relating to the arts, humanities and social sciences. Speakers included Professor Gillian Rose, The Open University; Dr Nirmal Puwar, Goldsmiths, University of London, and Susan Trangmar, Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design.

There were a series of film screenings during the lunch break.


Is the Party Over? The function and future of political parties in the UK

17 September 2012, British Library Conference Centre

We were pleased to hold this joint British Library / Strategic Society Centre debate.

No other 17th century invention has such an impact upon 21st-century Britain as the political party. However, contemporary political parties confront major challenges to both their legitimacy and survival. Voter disinterest and antipathy toward political parties in general is reaching record levels, suggesting today’s political parties struggle with their role in representing and motivating the political views of society. Only 1% of the electorate belong to a party, and just over six out of 10 of those eligible voted in the 2010 general election, with barely one in three voting in European and local elections. Simultaneously, the operating costs and ‘financial arms race’ facing today’s political parties have led directly to funding scandals and a growing perception that ‘cash buys influence’. In the background, new technology and online publishing is revolutionising the way in which both the public and politicians form, communicate and share political views and policy ideas. This debate explored if representative democracy in the 21st century still needs political parties, what the main challenges are for today’s political parties, how can the political party be renewed for the modern era and what is the function of party conferences now that few members attend and few decisions are taken? The speakers included Katie Ghose, Chief Executive, Electoral Reform Society, Tony Wright, Professor of Government and Public Policy at UCL and former chair of the Select Committee on Public Administration and James Lloyd, Director, Strategic Society Centre. The evening was chaired by Jude England, Head of Social Sciences at the British Library.


Transmitting and Viewing the Games

11 September 2012, Terrace Restaurant, British Library

The opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games was watched by a global audience of over 4 billion - an unimaginable number. What did it take to broadcast the Games around the world and what was it like being in charge of this scale of event? Was it a logistical nightmare or a Director's dream? What was censored and what didn't the TV viewer see? How do you decide on themes, logos, interviewers. What about the less popular sports, who decides if and how they are covered?

Dave Gordon, BBC Director of London 2012, discussed what really goes on behind the scenes on these occasions - and what changes may happen in sports broadcasting by the next Olympic Games.


Second British Library/British Sociological Association Annual Lecture: What's So Good About Being More Equal?

25 June 2012, Conference Centre, British Library

We were delighted to hold the second British Library and British Sociological Association Annual Equality Lecture.

This year Professor Danny Dorling of the University of Sheffield discussed 'What's So Good About Being More Equal?'

Professor Dorling’s work highlights the impact of equality – and inequality – on our lives, using extraordinary mapping techniques which bring statistics on the way we live – and die – to life. His latest book No Nonsense Guide to Equality (published by New Internationalist) discusses the positive effects that equality can have, using examples from across the globe. It examines the lessons of history and covers race, gender and ethnicity, age, and wealth. Danny’s lecture will draw from the book and consider just how equal it is possible to be, look at why some people prefer inequality and outline the factors that will lead to greater equality for all.

The event was chaired by Professor Judith Burnett, Chair of the British Sociological Association and Dean of the School of Law, Social Sciences and Communications at the University of Wolverhampton.

A video recording the evening will be available shortly.


Myths and Realities 14: Growing Old: Something to Fear or Celebrate?

12 June 2012, Conference Centre, British Library

This event explored how images of later life take two extremes, adverts featuring glowing post-retirement couples enjoying life vs lonely singletons in need of expensive care or support. Many of us will live to a very ripe old age; in just 30 years since 1980, the numbers of centenarians have risen from 2,500 to over 12,500 and are predicted to rise to 160,000 in another 30 years. Longer lives are the result of improved standards of medical treatment, nutrition, housing and living... but most of us may fear rather than celebrate the prospect.

What does the evidence say about older lives? Will we grow old disgracefully or experience a sad decline?

The event was chaired by Fi Glover, BBC journalist and presenter and our speakers were Chris Phillipson, Professor of Applied Social Studies and Social Gerontology, Keele University and Mary Gilhooly, Professor of Gerontology, School of Health Sciences and Social Care, Brunel University. Chris's paper was entitled 'Reinventing Ageing for the 21st Century: New institutions and solidarities' and Mary's ‘Retire and Die: Is this what the old owe the young?’

A recording of the discussion can be listened to on the Social Sciences podcast page.

The Myths and Realties series of public debates is organised in association with the Academy of Social Sciences with the support of the Economic and Social Research Council.


Sourcing Sport: Current Research; British Library resources

21 May 2012, Conference Centre, British Library

In this year of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games British Library curators and academic experts meet to discover the wide of sport resources held within the British Library collections: from sound files, ephemera, images and historical materials to publications from other countries including the United States and Russia. The speakers looked at some fascinating and unusual items to showcase their own explorations into the world of sport research. The speakers included Professor John Horne, University of Central Lancashire, Professor Andrew Sparkes, Liverpool John Moores University, Professor Matthew Taylor, De Montfort University, and Professor Kath Woodward from the Open University. The day concluded with a panel discussion about sports resources and future research needs.


ESRC Genomics Network Conference 2012 - Genomics in Society: Facts, Fictions and Cultures

23 and 24 April 2012, Conference Centre, British Library

We were delighted to be able to co-host this two day conference in association with the ESRC Genomics Network and the University of Exeter.

The ESRC Genomics Network (EGN) was established in 2002. The 2012 conference was organised by Egenis, one of the Network partners, and presented the scope of research excellence in the social sciences of current bioscience innovation and celebrated a decade of academic achievement in the social sciences. More than a decade on from the publication of the full sequence of the human the conference also considered how genome, genomic science and its social and technical applications and developments remain in flux and continue to raise concerns. There remain great expectations that the life sciences, including genomics, are ideally positioned to deliver solutions to global challenges relating to health, food, and energy. Simultaneously, policy makers, and the public are concerned about social changes and the protection of ethical goods on the one hand and cultural and institutional obstacles to the delivery of the benefits from the life sciences on the other hand. Keynote speakers included Celeste Condit, University of Georgia, Anne Fausto-Sterling, Brown University, Ann Lingard, novelist and science communicator, and Margaret Lock of McGill University.


Keep Clam and Carry On? Policy, Psychology and the Effects of 'Economic War'

30 April 2012, Conference Centre, British Library

We were pleased to hold this event as part of the joint British Library and Strategic Society Centre series of debates. The event considered how ongoing global economic adjustments and financial crises have created a context of of uncertainty and risk for the UK population that is unprecedented in living memory, what the psychological effects of 'economic war' on the population likely to be, what strategic responses are available to policymakers to alleviate the effects of living with 'economic war' and what sort of of coping strategies policymakers can encourage among households? The speakers were Mel Bartley, Professor of Medical Sociology, University College London, Peter Taylor-Gooby, Professor of Social Policy, University of Kent and Edgar Jones, Professor of the History of Medicne and Psychiatry, King's College London. The discussion was chaired by James Lloyd, Director of the Strategic Society Centre.


Myths and Realties 13: Security and Surveillance - Has it gone too far?

13 March 2012, Conference Centre, British Library

We were pleased to hold the thirteenth event in the Myths and Realties series of debates held in conjunction with the Academy of Social Sciences and the ESRC.

Increased surveillance, security checks and CCTV are all increasingly deployed to support efforts to fight crime and terrorism. Recent reports suggest there are almost two million CCTV cameras in the UK: one for every 32 of us. The speakers Dr Kirstie Ball, Reader in Surveillance and Organisation, Open University, and Dr Peter Fussey, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, University of Essex, discussed the complex evidence and issues surrounding the impact and effectiveness of surveillance. The evening was chaired by Professor Bridget Hutter, Professor of Risk Regulation at the London School of Economics.

A podcast of the event is now available.


Association of Business Schools Annual Research Conference 2012: Managing Business and Management Research

13th March 2012, Conference Centre, British Library

We were delighted to co- host this conference in partnership with the Association of Business Schools. During the day speakers explored key issues in management research in the HE sector. The day was introduced by Julie Davies, Head of Research and Executive Development, ABS, and Professor Ian Clarke, Chair, ABS Research Committee and Director of Newcastle University Business School. Speakers included Professor Mike Pidd, Chair of the Business and Management REF Panel, Lancaster University Management Schhol, Professor Michael Rowlinson, Queen Mary University of London, Professor Dennis Tourish, Royal Holloway University of London and Michelangelo Staffolani and Sally Halper, Business and Management, The British Library.


CMI/British Library Management Book of the Year Roadshow - Entrepreneurship Event

6 March 2012, Conference Centre, British Library

Following the success of the Management Book of the Year competition, which aims to uncover the UK's best books in management and leadership, we were pleased to hold a joint event with CMI as part of the Management Book of the Year Road Show. The event, was chaired by CMI President and Chairman of Crossrail Terry Morgan CBE CMgr CCMI, and aimed to give the audience an insight into the theories and concepts presented within the authors books as well as taking part in a leadership and management debate. Authors who spoke included: Celia Gates - author of From Brainwave to Business: how to turn your brilliant idea into a successful start up. Celia is the founder of Doctor Cook Ltd. and was crowned the European Female Designer of the Year 2007 and Shaun Smith and Andy Milligan - authors of Bold: how to be brave in business and win. Shaun is founder and partner in the customer experience consultancy Smith+Co and is rated as a top business speaker internationally.. Andy is a leading international consultant on brand and business culture and regularly appears in the media to comment on brand issues.

For further details and to book a place please visit the CMI website.


The Social Sciences and the Olympic Games Event 3: Beyond the Leisure Dome

27 February 2012, Conference Centre, British Library

We were delighted to hold this event in partnership with the BSA Sociology of Sport and Leisure and Recreation Study Groups. This event which took place 5 months before the start of the London Summer Olympic Games and featured speakers discussing the economics of the Olympics, the Olympics and architecture, the Olympics and sustainability and the Olympics and politics. Speakers included John Horne, University of Central Lancaster, Anne-Marie Broudehoux, Université du Québec à Montréal, Stavros Stavrides, National Technical University of Athens, Tess Kay (Brunel University), Jill Timms (London School of Economics), Alan Bairner (Loughborough University) and Peter Fussey (Essex University). The day will conclude with a roundtable discussion on ‘The Olympics and civil society’ with Dr Graeme Hayes of Aston University as Convenor.


Radical Statistics Annual Conference: Mis-measurement of Health and Wealth

24 February 2012, Conference Centre, British Library

We were pleased to be able to host the Radical Statistics Group Annual Conference. Speakers included Roy Carr-Hill, Centre for Health Economics, University of York, Val Saunders, Independent researcher, Dr Aubrey Blumsohn, David Healey, Professor of Psychiatry, Hergest Unit, Bangor, Prem Sikka, Professor of Accounting, Essex University, Ann Pettifor of the New Economics Foundation, Allyson Pollock, Professor of Public Health Research, Queen Mary, University of London and Howard Reed, Director of Landman economics.

A detailed programme for the day can be found on the Radical Statistics Conference website.

Myths and Realities 12: Sustainable Lifestyles: Great Theory, Impossible Practice

07 February 2012, Conference Centre, British Library

We were delighted to co-host this event in association the Economic and Social Research Council and The Academy of Social Sciences.

The event explored how pressure on the world's resources means we are increasingly encouraged to consume less power, water, even food. But few of us make more than minimal efforts to change our behaviour, we expect from government and how evidence can support the development of policies which help us move towards more sustainable lifestyles. The speakers were Ian Christie, Research Fellow and Coordinator, Sustainable Lifestyles Research Group, Centre for environmental Strategy, University of Surrey and Professor Dale Southerton, Director Sustainable Practices Research Group at the University of Manchester. The evening was chaired by Drs Astrid Wissenburg Director of Partnerships and Communications, ESRC

A podcast of the debate is now available.


British Sociological Association Presidential Event: Sociology, Suffering and Humanitarianism

03 February 2012, Conference Centre, British Library

We had the pleasure of hosting this event in association with Professor John Brewer, President of the BSA.

The event explored themes of how the magnitude and force of critical events of human suffering mark out modern times as an unparalleled ‘age of extremes’. The scale of military conflict, the vast numbers of people trapped in systems of totalitarian oppression, the accumulation of conditions of mass humanitarian disaster and the entrenched poverty of the new ‘mega‐slums’ leave many of us shocked and appalled by the harms we inflict on one another. Speakers included Iain Wilkinson and Larry Ray of the University of Kent, Craig Calhoun (London School of Economics), Kate Nash (Goldsmiths, University of London) and Gillian Bendelow (University of Sussex).


In Conversation with Marketing Visionary Martin Lindstrom.

30 January 2012, Terrace Restaurant, British Library

We were pleased to hold this event in conjunction with Kogan Page. Martin Lindstrom discussed the role ethics has to play in order to change the perception of the advertising industry for the better. Drawing on all he’s seen behind closed doors of some of the biggest corporations around the globe, and on the wealth of groundbreaking new research he conducted for his new book Brandwashed, Martin considered the shocking ways in which advertisers target children from an alarmingly young age – starting when they are still in the womb, how the makers of certain cosmetic products deliberately adjust their formulas to include chemically-addictive properties and what a revolutionary three-month long social experiment conducted for Brandwashed revealed about the most hidden persuader of them all; our friends and neighbours.


British Sociological Association Climate Change Study Group discussion event and book launch: Social dimensions of climate change

16 January 2012, Conference Centre, British Library

We were pleased to hold this event in conjunction with the BSA Climate Change Study Group. Mike Hulme, Professor of Climate Change, School of Environmental Sciences, UEA, John Urry, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Lancaster University, and Professor Gordon Walker, Chair in Environment, Risk and Social Justice, Lancaster Environment Centre, as they discuss their latest research and publications. The evening was chaired by Dr Chris Shaw, Science and Research Unit, University of Sussex. Attendees also had the opportunity to purchase the speakers recent publications.


British Sociological Association Auto/Biography Study Group Conference: Celebrity

16 December 2011, Conference Centre, British Library

We were delighted to hold this one day conference in association with the BSA Auto/Biography Study Group. Speakers include Hilary Dickinson, Michael Erben, Pablo Cortés González, Helen Pleasance, Jay Landa, Julie Parsons, Isobel Johnstone, Jane Mason, Nathan Stephens Griffin, Isla Duncan and Aidan Seery.


The Wootton Effect

16 November 2011, Terrace Restaurant, British Library

Ann Oakley’s biography of Barbara Wootton celebrates a remarkable life. Wootton was involved in many of the 20th century’s major public and social policy reforms. She led proposals for community service as an alternative to prison, chaired a commission on drugs policy which recommended changes to the law in 1968, led a campaign to persuade the Government of the time to implement the Beveridge report, was the first chair of the Countryside Commission, was a founder member of CND, wrote critically on traditional economic theory, was the first academic and policy analyst to argue that social policy should be based on evidence, and much, much more.

She was one of the first women to sit in the House of Lords, and became Deputy Speaker. Her private life was no less extraordinary. She studied Classics and Economics at Girton College Cambridge; her brother died in action in the first world war and her first marriage lasted less than six weeks, when her husband was killed at Passchendaele. Her second marriage was described as ‘…a union of theory and practice’ by students at the LSE and was by no means conventional. Among other things, her second husband’s occupation on the wedding certificate meant she was known as ‘The Baroness who married a taxi driver’ by the popular press.

To hear Ann Oakley, Tessa Blackstone and Margaretta Jolly talking about the fascinating life of this unsung heroine of the 20th century please listen to the podcast.


Archives, Records and Repositories for Socio-Legal Research: A National Training Day

4 November 2011, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies

This event was co-organised by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and the British Library with support from the Socio-Legal Studies Association.

The training day was aimed at Doctoral Students and Early Career Academics planning to embark on archival socio-legal projects. It was also open to established academics wishing to learn about new methodologies or changing track with their research. The speakers included Professor Michael Lobban, QMUL, Professor John Flood, University of Westminster, Professor David Fraser, University of Nottingham, Dr Sarah Wilson, Professor Fiona Cownie, Keele University, Dr Sarah Wilson, University of York, Dr Amanda Bevan, Principal Records Specialist, Legal Records, The National Archives, and Dr Stephen Banks, University of Reading.

Further information about the day can be found on the IALS website


Myths and Realities 11: Young People - troubled, troublesome or terrific?

1 November 2011, Conference Centre, British Library

We were delighted to hold this event in association with the Academy of Social Sciences and the Economic and Social Research Council. The event explored why is it we have such a contradictory view of young people? Fear and mistrust one minute; recognition and celebration the next. How do our perceptions influence young people, politicians and policy? The speakers were Professor Ken Roberts, AcSS, Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology, University of Liverpool and Dr Mary Jane Kehily, Senior Lecturer in Childhood and Youth Studies at The Open University. The discussion was chaired by Ross Hendry, Director of Policy, Office of the Children's Commissioner, England.

A podcast of the discussion is available.


E-Shock 2020: How the Digital Technology Revolution is Changing Business and All our Lives

19 October 2011, Conference Centre, British Library

We were delighted to hold this event in conjunction with Palgrave Macmillan. Using his new book as a blueprint, Michael de Kare-Silver discussed how the technology revolution is changing the way business must operate in the 21st century and how we can navigate our way through the rapidly changing digital environment. Michelangelo Staffolani also gave a short demonstration of the British Library's Management and Business Studies Portal.


Third British Sociological Association Presidential Event: Ken Plummer - Tales of a Critical Humanist

17 October 2011, Conference Centre, British Library

We were delighted to co-host this event.  Ken Plummer, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex, talked about his work over the last 45 years. He pioneered the sociological study of contemporary gay life, helped to develop a critical sexualities studies and played a prominent role in developing a focus on life story and narratives in sociology. He also talked about his latest book Sociology: The Basics (2010) which is described as a call to arms for a sociology that will help make a ‘better world for all’.


Interpreting Life Story Narratives: The Shaping of Pioneering Social Research with Paul Thompson

17 October 2011, Conference Centre, British Library

We were delighted to co-host this event in association with Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London. Paul Thompson, Emeritus Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Essex, discussed his work and the remarkable growth of life story and oral history research and community work and the continuing debates about the long-term value of narrative interviews: Are they vital documents of social change, or examples of the social construction of memory?


Informing Civil Society: the work of the Third Sector Research Centre

14 October 2011, Conference Centre, British Library

We were delighted to host this event in conjunction with the the Third Sector Research Council. During the event the TSRC shared findings from its wide ranging research programme on the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors within the UK and offered the opportunity to discuss and debate issues with TSRC researches and help inform future research agendas.

The event also included the launch of the 'Knowledge Portal'. This new resource, created in a partnership between TSRC and the British Library and funded by the Big Lottery Fund, aims to provide a one-stop-shop for access to research on the third sector within the UK an overseas.


Assets for Health and Wellbeing Across the Life Course: International Conference 2011

26 and 27 September 2011, Conference Centre, British Library

The conference took a multi-disciplinary approach and was aimed at researchers, practitioners, commissioners and policy makers with an interest in assets based approaches. Asset based approaches are concerned with identifying the protective factors that create health and well-being. They offer the potential to enhance both the quality and longevity of life through focusing on the resources that promote the self-esteem and coping abilities of individuals and communities. For further details about the conference visit the conference website.


Myths and Realities 10: We’ve never had it so good? Food and Diet in the UK

21 September 2011, Conference Centre, British Library

The first in the new season of the 'Myths and Realities' series held in association with the Academy of Social Sciences and supported by the Economic and Social Research Council.

This event considered how every day seems to bring a new food scare, recommended limit on consumption, dispute about fair trade and food miles, or the publication of seemingly contradictory articles about problems of obesity and anorexia and how we make sense of this confusing landscape. Sheila Dillon, presenter of Radio 4’s The Food Programme, chaired the debate; our speakers were Dr Wendy Wills, of the University of Hertfordshire and Professor Peter Jackson of the University of Sheffield.

A podcast is available.


British Sociological Association Ageing, Body and Society Study Group Conference: Body Work in Health and Social Care

6 September 2011, Conference Centre, British Library

Hosted in conjunction with the British Sociological Association, the conference sought to extend and deepen interest in the concept of ‘body work’ – understood as focusing on the bodies of others, typically undertaken in a paid context. As such it is a component in a range of occupations in health and social care, and beyond. Professor Sharon Kaufman, Professor of Medical Anthropology, University of California, San Francisco joined the conference as the keynote speaker.


British Library Summer Scholars Series - Seminar 3. 'Through the old order gleams the new': The Rossettis in America.

17 August 2011, Foyle Suite, Centre for Conservation, The British Library.

This talk was given by Dinah Roe. The talk examined the role played by America in the lives of the Rossettis and touched on a wide range of topics including Walt Whitman, Henry Longfellow and the Mormon community in Utah.

The talk was supported by the Eccles Centre for American Studies.


Class, Control and Clones

1 August 2011, Conference Centre, British Library

This event was presented as part of the 'Out of this World: Science Fiction but not as you know it' season.

The panelists Dr Mark Bould, Nalo Hopkinson and Professor Edward James discussed how Science Fiction explores dangerous and difficult ideas about fundamental sociological and political issues such as the nature of relationships, gender relations, fertility, social class and control. The discussion was chaired by Dr Farah Mendlesohn. The discussion is now available on our podcast page.


British Library Summer Scholars Seminar Series - Seminar 2: Professor Patrick James on Canada and Afghanistan

27 July 2011, Foyle Room, Centre for Conservation, British Library

The second seminar in our Summer Scholar Series. The seminar was presented by Professor James, Professor of International Relations at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Director of the USC Center for International Studies and Eccles Fellow.

This event was supported by the Eccles Centre for American Studies.


British Library Summer Scholars Seminar Series - Seminar 1

29 June 2011, Foyle Room, Centre for Conservation, British Library

Katy Masuga, Adjunct Professor of British and American Literature, cinema and the arts at the University of Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle shared details of her work on the life and times of Henry Miller and the publication of two books this year: Henry Miller and How He Got That Way (Edinburgh University Press), and The Secret Violence of Henry Miller (Camden House). The talk was followed by a discussion.

This event was supported by the Eccles Centre for American Studies.


The Politics of Long-term Care Funding Reform

28 June 2011, Conference Centre, British Library

We were very pleased to present this debate in conjunction with the Strategic Society Centre. Topics explored included:

  • what can social care stakeholders and the Commission on Funding Care and Support do to drive forward the reform agenda?
  • how can long-term care funding become a political issue without it becoming a partisan issue?
  • what are the opportunities for creating popular interest and support in an improved system?

The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone

27 June 2011, Conference Centre, British Library

Richard Wilkinson, co-director of The Equality Trust and co-author of the best-selling book The Spirit Level (with Kate Pickett) explored the evidence outlined in the book that shows that societies with smaller gaps between the highest and lowest incomes have better health, fewer social problems and stronger communities. He also shared his thoughts on how unequal societies could be transformed.