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Kevin KryckaDirectorCasey 323(206) firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Severson Administrative AssistantCasey 3E(206) 296-5400 email@example.com
January 15, 2013
MAP Program Brochure
The 30th International Human Science Research Conference was hosted by The Open University and held on 27th-30th July 2011 at St. Catherine's College, Oxford University.
We chose the venue of St Catherine’s College as it shared a similar spirit and an explicit commitment to ‘openness’ that characterises our work at The Open University and in the Human Sciences tradition more generally. And it was a good choice. We all were impressed by the stunning modern architecture and gardens of ‘St Catz’ and appreciated how the historic medieval university city of Oxford – ‘The City of Dreaming Spires’ – was just a short walk away.
The theme of the Conference was Intertwining body-self-world. The hyphen signified intertwining rather than separation: the world does not exist 'out there' separate from our perceptions, rather it is part of us and us of it. This theme proved both thought-provoking and inspiring as participants grappled with the excitement and challenges faced when attempting to theorise and research that interface between bodies, selfhood and the social world.
We were honoured to have three distinguished keynote speakers: Prof Emmy van Deurzen, the Principal of the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling, London, gave an opening address on ‘Radical Freedom: The Challenge of Being¬Well-in-the-World’. Drawing on her extensive writings, she skilfully intertwined philosophy and lessons learned from her psychotherapy practice and teachings, to highlight how guarding and improving our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being is an existential challenge that concerns each of us on a daily basis. Prof Bernd Jager, a Professor of Psychology, from Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), took us on a magical journey in existential dialectics in his lecture on ‘Rethinking psychology's relationship to humanism’. He addressed how applying humanism to contemporary psychology involves a shift away from methods of the natural sciences and the acceptance of the arts and the humanities as the native soil for human sciences. In his presentation, entitled ‘Testing times: the patient’s experience of medical genetics’, Jonathan A Smith, Professor of Psychology at Birkbeck College, University of London, focused on his fascinating hermeneutic phenomenological empirical work demonstrating how the field of new genetics raises complex personal, relational, existential and ethical issues.
We were additionally honoured to have a keynote panel of three eminent phenomenologists: Scott D Churchill (Professor and Graduate Program Director for the Psychology Department at the University of Dallas, USA), Karin Dahlberg (Professor in Health Sciences, previously at Linnaeus University, Sweden) and Les Todres (Professor of Qualitative Research at the School of Health and Social Care, Bournemouth University, UK). Each gave an inspiring short talk on ‘The Future of Phenomenology’ and together they stimulated rich discussion with the audience.
We were delighted that the conference was so well attended with 250 registered participants from thirty different countries around the world and representing many disciplines including psychology, psychotherapy, nursing and health care, education, philosophy and architecture. It felt a truly international community. It was a pleasure to witness how vibrant and active our human science community is in practice. Despite our often marginal status, we clearly have something to celebrate.
In addition to the academic programme we enjoyed several social events: a Wine Reception (sponsored by Sage Publications); a Disco (sponsored by the Qualitative Methods Section of the British Psychological Society); and a very special formal Gala Dinner at historic Magdalen College, Oxford. The conference also featured poster sessions, and a book display from authors attending the conference.
The feedback from participants, during and after the conference, was favourable. As conference organisers, we were thrilled that so many people seemed excited to be at the conference and we were impressed by the quality and range of the conference presentations. We enjoyed the experience of connecting with kindred spirits in open dialogue and sharing that is so characteristic of our human science community.
We would like, once more, to thank our team of helpers who did a sterling job and the support staff at the Open University who worked in the background for many months. We are also grateful to the efficient staff at St Catherine’s College for helping to ensure the smooth running of our conference. As part of our plans for the conference we purchased the website www.ihsrc.org with the intention of maintaining this site for the future as a portal for other IHSR conferences and also as a central repository for information relevant to the human sciences community. The Open University has agreed to host the site and we welcome contributions of links, materials etc to put up on the site. We will post further information about this in the near future.
The business meeting affirmed support for the next conference at the Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada, in 2012. We look forward to it. Then for 2013, Finn Thorbjørn Hansen suggested Aarhus University (or the Arrange Centre, Aalborg) in Denmark as a next possible venue. Conference Helpers Mark Anderson Adam Crossley Barbara Payman Minh TranAdministrative AssistantsJulie Page Lynda HammondElaine Richardson
Dr Linda Finlay and Dr Darren Langdridge (Co-Organisers)Department of Psychology, The Open University
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