The Family: An Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference
Saturday 31st August 2019 - Sunday 1st September 2019
Family, whether defined by blood or choice, is commonly the most significant bond in our lives. However, the meanings and functions of family vary significantly between individuals, cultures and historical periods. In the most basic terms, family is a framework by which people with biological ties cooperate to facilitate not only their own survival but also the longevity of their genetic inheritance. Members of a family are able to pool resources, share labour and protect each other in a way that is not often possible for individuals alone. On this basis, family has generally been understood in terms of a financial arrangement and as a match intended to produce hearty offspring that can survive to provide for the welfare of their parents. In this formulation, the question of whether family members feel emotional affinity for each other is a secondary consideration, if not entirely irrelevant.
Even in families related by blood—notwithstanding the old adage about blood being thicker than water—differences in beliefs and interests can result in family members drifting apart or actively ostracising each other. As evidenced by countless fiction and non-fiction books, plays, films and television shows on the subject, family run the gamut from providing positive environments that support the self-actualisation of members to exposing members to damaging, toxic influences that can have lasting effects on everyone involved.
A more rounded perspective on family recognises that the ties that bind members together have a powerful emotional dimension. Alternative families formed voluntarily through emotional ties have offered another option for connection, a family comprised of people with no blood connection bound solely on the basis of love. These alternative families offer a means of compensating for, or escaping from, toxic relationships among blood relatives.
Regardless of whether particular family experiences are positive or negative, the omnipresence of references to family in society suggests a widespread belief that family is generally regarded as beneficial, special and ultimately central to our identity as human beings. Societal pressure to have a family, the specific design and marketing of products and services for families, imperatives for environments to be ‘family-friendly’, and arguments about (re)defining or protecting the family are just some examples of the way the concept of family has acquired ideological, social and political significance that affects the general public. Family can be a unifying bond, but it can also be used as a tool for creating divisions between “us” and “them” or signalling the acceptance of certain types of relationships.
This raises important questions about the nature and benefits of family, whether the flaws associated with family can be overcome, whether ‘family’ is a social good that should be protected and, if so, what tangible action can be taken across disciplines, professions and practices to reshape the meaning of family in more positive terms. The Family conference recognises the need for inter-disciplinary dialogue, partly with a view to form an innovative selective publication and welcomes submissions dealing with any aspect of family, including but not limited to:
Critiques/justifications of “family” as a valuable relationship
Cultural differences in the way “family” is understood
The varied social expectations of family
Psychological/physiological perspectives on the nature and impact of family bonds
Power dynamics in family relations
Cultural norms around family life
Defining and regulating the meaning of “family” in legislation and case law
“Family Values” as political rhetoric
Socio-economic and political factors that affect families
“Family” in religious and spiritual traditions
Impact of medical innovation and technology on family (IVF, surrogacy, birth control, etc.)
Approaches to family counselling and wellness programmes
Family-friendly practices in the workplace
Impact of family on architectural style and practice
Family-orientated urban planning
Family in war and conflict
Family and material consumption/production (family as consumers, family businesses, etc.)
Ancestry and identity
Crime in the family (domestic violence, child abuse/neglect, incest, etc.)
Ageing and family life
Identities within the family (ancestral lineage, (step-)motherhood, (step-)fatherhood, (step-)sibling, only-children, adopted children, extended families, etc.)
Alternative families/found families (gangs, fraternal organisations, fandoms, etc.)
Estrangement from family
Animal families/animals as part of human families
Famous families and their significance
Representations of families in film, television, video, literature, theatre, video games, music, visual arts
Family memoirs/oral history as link to the past
What to Send
The aim of this interdisciplinary conference and collaborative networking event is to bring people together and encourage creative conversations in the context of a variety of formats: papers, seminars, workshops, storytelling, performances, poster presentations, panels, q&a’s, round-tables etc.
300 word proposals, presentations, abstracts and other forms of contribution and participation should be submitted by Friday 8th March 2019. Other forms of participation should be discussed in advance with the Organising Chair.
All submissions will be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Development Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.
You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 22nd March 2019.
If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 12th July 2019.
Abstracts and proposals may be in Word, PDF, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in the programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: Family Submission.
Where to Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chair and the Project Administrator:
What’s so Special About Progressive Connexions Events?
A fresh, friendly, dynamic format – at Progressive Connexions we are dedicated to breaking away from the stuffy, old-fashion conference formats, where endless presentations are read aloud off PowerPoints. We work to bring you an interactive format, where exchange of experience and information is alternated with captivating workshops, engaging debates and round tables, time set aside for getting to know each other and for discussing common future projects and initiatives, all in a warm, relaxed, egalitarian atmosphere.
A chance to network with international professionals – the beauty of our interdisciplinary events is that they bring together professionals from all over the world and from various fields of activity, all joined together by a shared passion. Not only will the exchange of experience, knowledge and stories be extremely valuable in itself, but we seek to create lasting, ever-growing communities around our projects, which will become a valuable resource for those belonging to them.
A chance to be part of constructing change – There is only one thing we love as much as promoting knowledge: promoting real, lasting social change by encouraging our participants to take collective action, under whichever form is most suited to their needs and expertise (policy proposals, measuring instruments, research projects, educational materials, etc.) We will support all such actions in the aftermath of the event as well, providing a platform for further discussions, advice from the experts on our Project Advisory Team and various other tools and intellectual resources, as needed.
An opportunity to discuss things that matter to you – Our events are not only about discussing how things work in the respective field, but also about how people work in that field – what are the struggles, problems and solutions professionals have found in their line of work, what are the areas where better communication among specialists is needed and how the interdisciplinary approach can help bridge those gaps and help provide answers to questions from specific areas of activity.
An unforgettable experience – When participating in a Progressive Connexions event, there is a good chance you will make some long-time friends. Our group sizes are intimate, our venues are comfortable and relaxing and our event locations are suited to the history and culture of the event.
Progressive Connexions believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract or proposal for presentation.
Please note: Progressive Connexions is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence, nor can we offer discounts off published rates and fees.
Sponsored by: Progressive Connexions
Dr Robert Fisher
Priory House, Wroslyn Road, Freeland, Oxftordshire OX29 8HR
Tel: +44 (0)1993 882087