Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Beyond the nuclear family: A series of seminars funded by the British Psychological Society

As part of a series of seminars looking into modern-day, non-traditional families, funded by the British Psychological Society, Professor Olga van der Akker will be considering non-nuclear family planning in a seminar to be held on April 20th. The series of seminars aim to challenge the image of family provided by most undergraduate psychology textbooks, which is becoming increasingly out of date. For more details about the series, please visit the following link: https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-29/january-2016/beyond-nuclear-family 

The seminar series will consist of four seminars, in Cambridge (18 March), Bristol (7 June), London (20 April - Professor Olga van der Akker) and Manchester (11 May), around two themes: beyond genetic relatedness; and beyond nuclear family structures. The organisers, including Dr Naomi Moller (Open University), aim to bring together disparate pockets of research to develop a more cohesive narrative about new family structures.

Dr Moller, who has co-organised the seminars alongside Dr Victoria Clarke, Dr Nikki Hayfield (both University of the West of England) and Dr Fiona Tasker (Birkbeck, University of London), said: ‘Families are now being formed through the use of donated sperm, eggs and embryos, through adoption by same-sex couples and there are increasing numbers of families which are voluntarily childless. The BPS research seminar grant gives us a chance to bring together UK and international researchers, both really experienced and early-career researchers, to share their research and understandings with the seminar audiences. We are hoping that the series will stimulate debate over new family formations, set agendas for future research in the area, and get more psychologists thinking about how they can contribute to broadening our understanding of family in the UK.’

The Cambridge seminar includes a keynote speech from Professor Susan Golombok (University of Cambridge) on the psychological implications of new family forms; in London, Professor Olga van der Akker (Middlesex University) considers non-nuclear family planning; in Manchester, Professor Eric Blyth will take the audience ‘beyond genetic kinship’; and in Bristol, there will be a keynote presentation from Professor Damien Riggs on queering kinship and family diversity.

While the sessions are free, those interested in attending should register as early as possible to avoid disappointment. See the website for how to register: https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-29/january-2016/beyond-nuclear-family 

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