Changing landscapes in Leeds for Conference 2020

Previewing the British Psychological Society event.

Psychology’s role in supporting future generations, the future workforce and future research will be up for discussion at the British Psychological Society’s Conference 2020.

Editor's note: Sadly, this event has now been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The two-day event, held at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, will open with a special live broadcast of BBC Radio 4’s All in The Mind, presented by Society member, radio presenter and author Claudia Hammond. Professor of Public Engagement with Science Alice Roberts (University of Birmingham) will appear as an after-dinner speaker.

The conference will also feature a listening session on equality, diversity and inclusion, and keynote talks from Professor Miranda Wolpert OBE, Futurist and CEO of research think tank Fast Future Rohit Talwar, and Professor Alison Gopnik (University of California at Berkeley). The theme of ‘Psychology of the future: Changing landscapes’ will aim to bring together topics including psychology’s role in tackling climate change, social injustice and poverty, the impact of AI on workers, and the challenges of increasing trust and openness in science.

Chair of the Society’s Standing Conference Committee Dr Michael Smith (University of Northumbria) said he hoped the event would trigger dialogue, new innovations in research and practice, and showcase some of the work psychologists are already doing to help society meet the demands of a rapidly changing world. He told us:

‘At Conference 2020 we will consider the role of psychology in addressing global challenges to support future sustainability.’ Given the British Psychological Society’s central campaigning priority for 2020, ‘From poverty to flourishing’, Smith said there would be a focus at Conference 2020 on the contributions psychology has to make in challenging the persistent, multifaceted problems of poverty, which have wide-ranging consequences for individuals and communities.

‘There will also be much consideration of the ways in which the psychological research landscape is changing, via changing research practices and open science, the increased availability and use of Big Data and the trust that the public have in psychology and psychological research. Please join us, for what promises to be an insightful, inspiring and thought provoking event aimed at highlighting the increased relevance of psychology in shaping the landscape of the future.’

CEO of the British Psychological Society Sarb Bajwa said: ‘We’re focusing on the future for 2020 and want to find out how psychology can tackle some of society’s biggest questions. Whether it’s the climate crisis, poverty, the rise of artificial intelligence or the question of trust in science, I’m excited to find out what the latest psychological approaches are at conference 2020 in Leeds.’

In the student stream, Society award winner Dr Amy Orben will talk on screen time (and hear more in the latest episode of our PsychCrunch podcast). The Psychologist is also supporting a special student competition around the Conference and its theme, with some great prizes. Students are being asked: imagine the year is 2040. You are still working in Psychology, but it has changed. How? Enter now!

For more information and to register please see

The Conference is being held at the Royal Armouries in Leeds from Tuesday 30 June until Wednesday 1 July.

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