President’s letter, March 2018

The latest from Nicola Gale.

Our conferences are key events in the Society’s calendar. Our Annual Conference is the centrepiece for the Society as a whole. Many of our member networks also hold conferences focused on their particular area of the discipline. All of these are vibrant events, designed to showcase research and practice. They also provide a forum for members to network, engage with current developments, and celebrate success. At one such conference recently, the sense of belonging was described to me as ‘like family’.

Our Annual Conference attracts around 500 delegates each year. We would like more, given the size of the Society. This year it will be held in Nottingham and will have an international flavour as part of the UK’s hosting of the European Semester (see January issue, p.5). Sessions planned include an address by the EFPA President (January, p.48), a joint ‘Hands across the water’ lecture with the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI), and an international roundtable that will include the American Psychological Association’s (APA) senior director for international affairs. There are international keynotes and international and cross-member-network symposia too, aligned with the conference themes of Open Science, Leadership, Development, and Community and Society.

Other psychological societies have different models. The PSI conference includes streams for the different elements of the profession, CPD workshops, and ‘Inspire’ sessions designed to do just that. The APA’s annual convention attracts thousands of delegates from across the discipline and profession and makes their services, for example career support, readily accessible to their membership. Another option is to bid to host one of the large-scale (often biennial) international events, for example the Society is the preferred bid to host the 2021 European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology congress in Glasgow, an opportunity to showcase both our occupational psychology research and practice and our capacity to stage a major event.

Are you attending Conference this year? If not, what could we do to make it more attractive to you? Our teams are looking at the options. The Board of Trustees has agreed £150,000 extra funding for 2019 to increase accessibility. Please send suggestions to [email protected], and Thomas Elton, Professional Development Centre Manager, and his team will be pleased to receive them. 

- Nicola Gale is President of the British Psychological Society. Contact her at [email protected]

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