From the Chief Executive, June 2019

The latest from Sarb Bajwa.

This is the first chance that I’ve had to write to members since our annual conference in Harrogate, and I want to take the opportunity to thank everyone involved in organising the event, and all of you who attended and made it such an energising two days.

We made changes this year to try and make the event more open, and invited some speakers who are not necessarily psychologists but have something important to say to us. I hope you agree that they gave the conference a fresh and exciting atmosphere.

I’ve long admired the work of Professor Kate Pickett, along with Richard Wilkinson, and her keynote speech linking socioeconomic inequality and mental health highlighted a number of areas where we can and should be having an impact. We’ll be exploring these possibilities with The Equality Trust in the future.

Sir Mark Walport’s keynote on the second day was equally important, and gave us a comprehensive overview of the research landscape which we need to understand and work effectively inside if we are going to achieve positive societal change based on good psychological evidence.

It was interesting to hear Sir Mark throw a challenge back at us: to celebrate the differences which exist in psychology and focus on building better, stronger relationships with other organisations to break down boundaries with good research.

We’ve already started work on this, both in the UK and internationally, and are devoting a lot of time to developing an effective research strategy which is fit for the 21st century and will give us the best chance of making sure that psychology can inform the development of public policy.

Unfortunately I can’t mention every speaker in detail, but Liz Sayce OBE, Anita Charlesworth CBE, Professor Eldar Shafir and everyone who contributed to one of our two lively panel discussions had something important to say, as did all of you who presented your research.

As the film which we showed on the first morning, and you can view on our social media channels, said – psychologists are compassionate, curious, and caring, all of which came through in the work presented.

I hope that everyone who joined us enjoyed the conference, and I would be very interested in hearing any feedback or ideas that members have for the future.

Sarb Bajwa is Chief Executive of the British Psychological Society.

Contact him at [email protected]

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