Beyond the nuclear family

A series of seminars funded by the British Psychological Society.

An in-depth look into modern-day, non-traditional families is to be presented in a series of seminars funded by the British Psychological Society. The sessions aim to challenge the image
of family provided by most undergraduate psychology textbooks, which is becoming increasingly out of date.

The seminar series will consist of four seminars, in Cambridge (18 March), Bristol (7 June), London (20 April) 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 (see also p.30) 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. 

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