Picture of University conference and events

Conferences and events

The Department of Sociological Studies hosts conferences and events for researchers, students and the wider academic and professional community, both across the UK and internationally.

Our forthcoming events are listed below. Click through to find out more.

You may also like to view our Departmental Research Seminars, which are open to academics, researchers and postgraduate research students from across the University, and postgraduate taught students in the Department. They provide a setting for intellectual debate, sharing ideas and collaboration.

Forthcoming Events for 2017

Image of Dr Shakuntala BanajiDigital Society Network Annual Lecture: New media, old inequalities: Approaching youth, creative politics and digital media across social class, gender and geography

With Dr Shakuntala Banaji, London School of Economics

Monday 9th October 2017
4.15pm – 5.30pm (followed by book launch and drinks reception)
Venue: Lecture Theatre 4, The Diamond (see map)

Over the past seventeen years, Dr Shakuntala Banaji's research around young people, politics and creativity has interrogated the role and affordances of new and emerging digital media in processes of social change. From refugee children connecting with their peers across Europe through ICQ chat in 2002, through youth activists in Europe and India deploying social media in politically progressive or retrograde ways, to young female gamers in the MENA region selectively hiding and revealing their gender via avatars and play talk during MMOGs, one common thread has been the ways in which digital media creates spaces for new politics and new agencies whilst also hiding or entrenching structural inequalities. But to what extent are we simply doing the digital wrong? Could its technical affordances be used to overcome systematic hierarchies, at least online? Do its social affordances simply enhance the agency of particular social classes in the global south? And are there ways in which the narrative of the digital in liberation politics has become yet another enemy of those seeking deeper social structural transformation? Shakuntala's lecture will attempt to answer these questions in the context of findings from several major comparative research projects in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa over the past decade.

Find out more and register

Previous 2017 events

Image of students volunteering in the communityNew Practices for New Publics - ESRC Seminar Series
Seminar 5: New Publics and Practice Approaches

31 January 2017

New Practices for New Publics is an innovative series of events designed to bring together cutting edge thinking in social science with the experiences of civil society organisations, especially those in the community and voluntary sector.

This fifth seminar, New Publics and Practice Approaches, considered the contribution of practice theory to thinking about civil society organisations’ work of campaigning, fundraising and advocacy. In these processes, civil society organisations often try to create particular notions of ‘publics’ as a focus for their activities, for different purposes and in different ways. Meanwhile, these groups increasingly operate in a ‘neoliberal’ context where the boundaries between private and public services are being redrawn, and the distinctive space of ‘civil society’ or even ‘community’ action is narrowed. The seminar explored what practice-based approaches can teach us about these activities and this context, considering where, if and when practice theories might bring new understanding for the sector.

Image of Professor Helen KennedyHow do data make us feel? Everyday life in times of datafication
Inaugural lecture by Professor Helen Kennedy

15 February 2017

Datafication (or the quantification of aspects of life previously experienced in qualitative, non-numeric form which are then tabulated, visualised and analysed) is increasingly ubiquitous. But how do ever-more-commonplace data make us feel? Helen focused on this question in this talk.

To put it another way, what happens when data of all kinds become ordinary? Helen argues that as social media and other data, and their mining, become more and more commonplace, new data relations emerge, and that these are characterised as much by emotions and desires as they are by the types of cognitive rationalities that the predominance of metrics, data and numbers are said to evoke.

In the first part of the talk, Helen drew on some of her recent research to provide some answers to the question of how data make us feel. One emotional response to datafication, she proposed, is desire, a desire for numbers. To talk about a desire for numbers, rather than a ‘trust in numbers’, a concept that Ted Porter (1996) wrote about in the mid-1990s, makes it possible to account for some of the contradictions that accompany the becoming-ordinary of data. Another form of emotional engaging with data can be seen in the fact that the main way that most people get access to data is through their visualisation, or visual representation in charts, graphs and other visual forms. Here again emotions play an important role in engagements with ever-more-commonplace data.

In social scientific studies of data in society, as in data policies and data practices, little attention has been paid to how people live with data, to whether, how and why data matter to people. The second part of the talk was therefore a manifesto for studying living with data ‘from the bottom up’ and for more understanding of the emotional character of engaging with data. This, Helen proposed, will enhance understanding of the new roles of data in society and of whether and how data condition our existence.

University of Sheffield logoThe State of Regulation: Professional, ethical and personal dilemmas - Half-day symposium

8 March 2017
12pm - 4pm

This symposium shared the findings from a recent study of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) regulation and heard the experiences of two registrants who have been through the Fitness to Practise (FtP) Process. The session considered the professional, ethical and personal dilemmas that emerge when registrants are subject to the current FtP model and also explored a new way of approaching conduct issues in social work practice.

Social Policy & Society Annual Lecture

22 March 2017
5pm - 6pm

The first Annual Lecture lecture of the Journal Social Policy & Society, sponsored by Cambridge University Press in association with the University of Sheffield Social Policy Research Cluster, focused on 'troubled families', the subject of a themed section in the January 2017 issue of Social Policy & Society, and was delivered by Dr Stephen Crossley and Dr Michael Lambert, the themed section editors. The lecture was followed by a wine reception in the exhibition space at the same venue from 6pm to 7 pm to celebrate the first year of Social Policy & Society under the editorship of Liam Foster and Majella Kilkey at the University of Sheffield.

Read more from the event

Belonging in a post-Brexit-vote Britain: researching race, ethnicity and migration in a changing landscape

9 May 2017
Elmfield Building, The University of Sheffield

A one-day conference hosted by the Department of Sociological Studies (in collaboration with the British Sociological Association and Migration Research at Sheffield Group) will be held at The University of Sheffield.

This event seeks to bring together early career and established academics, to share knowledge and experiences in the unique research environment resulting from the UK electorate’s decision to leave the EU. According to the UN, campaigns advocating a leave vote presented a ‘divisive, anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric’ (Stone, 2016) and in the three weeks following the vote there was a 20% increase in reported race related hate crime in the UK (BBC, 2016). As Brexit campaigners stated that leaving the EU would make ‘Britain Great Again’, anti-migrant and xenophobic narratives conflated, implying that migration threatens Britishness. Sociologically, in this context, the boundary between historically distinct fields (migration research and race and ethnicity research) becomes blurred. This event provides a timely opportunity to examine the interface between these fields and consider directions for future research.

Find out more...

Disrupting Transitions: Young people, education and employment

23 May 2017
Department of Sociological Studies, Elmfield Building, The University of Sheffield

This academic symposium brings together leading scholars in the field to explore new research and share ideas and concepts. The symposium arises from a large FP7 project on young people at risk of early school leaving (RESL.eu).

Speakers include Prof Kate Morris (University of Sheffield), Ingrid Schoon (University College London), Louise Ryan (University of Sheffield) and William Maloney (University of Newcastle).

The Orphan Industrial Complex: Charitable Commodification and its Consequences for Child Protection

Guest lecture with Kristen Cheney, Associate Professor, International Institute of Social Studies, The Netherlands

7 June 2017
Conference Room, Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences(ICOSS), The University of Sheffield, 219 Portobello, Sheffield S1 4DP

Abstract

The misidentification of “orphans” as a category for development and humanitarian intervention has subsequently been misappropriated by many Western individuals and charitable organizations, resulting in an ‘orphan industrial complex’ that problematically commoditizes children as targets for charitable intervention—particularly in the global south. The discourse and

practice of “orphan rescue” drives the “production” of orphans as objects for particular kinds of intervention that are counter to established international standards of child protection. In this presentation, Cheney will explain the concept of the orphan industrial complex, how it works and what its consequences are for children, families, and child protection systems.

Biography

Kristen Cheney is Associate Professor in Children & Youth Studies at the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, Netherlands. Her current research interests centre on issues of AIDS orphanhood, the political economy of intercountry adoption and surrogacy, child protection and deinstitutionalization, and the impact of young people’s sexually explicit media exposure/usage on sexuality education and SRHR in developing-country contexts. She specialises in child- and youth-centred and participatory qualitative research methods primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. She is the author of Crying for Our Elders: African Orphanhood in the Age of HIV and AIDS (2017) and of Pillars of the Nation: Child Citizens and Ugandan National Development (2007).

This event was supported and hosted by The Sheffield Institute for International Development (SIID).

Image of the PGR conference 2016Department of Sociological Studies postgraduate research (PGR) conference 2016: Branching out in research

13 June 2017
Department of Sociological Studies, Elmfield Building, The University of Sheffield

The focus of the conference for this year was ‘Branching out in Research’ which aimed to explore how we can look beyond the usual realms of social research, in terms of topic areas, social groups and methodology. This included the following areas:

  • Under researched topics;
  • Working with ‘hard to reach’ groups;
  • Innovative research methods;
  • Interdisciplinary research;
  • Collaboration and engagement.

This one-day conference brought together postgraduate research students and early career researchers from social science and related disciplines to present their research and ideas, build networks and develop presentation skills.

Image of the CIRCLE logoCaring & Ageing: international perspectives on family and workplace challenges
2nd Annual CIRCLE International Seminar

23 June 2017
Elmfield Building, The University of Sheffield, S10 2TU

At this year’s annual seminar we hosted leading international speakers Professor Norah Keating (Alberta, Swansea and North West [S Africa] Universities) and Professor Kate O’Loughlin (University of Sydney). This year our seminar also celebrated our collaboration, with international partners, on Sustainable Care: connecting people and systems, funded by the Worldwide Universities Network, and publication of the inaugural volume of the International Journal of Care and Caring, new from the Policy Press in 2017, and based at the University of Sheffield. Our programme for the afternoon featured two guest lectures, opportunities for Q&A / discussion, and a brief introduction to the journal and its distinctive features.

AAPoRG logoAfrica in the Era of Sustainable Development Goals

22 June 2017
Workrooms 3 and 4, 38 Mappin Street, University of Sheffield, S1 3JD.

The University of Sheffield All African Postgraduate Research Group (AAPoRG) and Africa@Sheffield hosted its first postgraduate conference.

Keynote speakers:

  • Professor Graham Harrison, University of Sheffield
  • Dr Admos Chimhowu, University of Manchester

The expiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) ushered in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the current global development policy. Given the problems of the attainment of the MDGs in Africa, this one-day conference aims to provide a forum for postgraduate and early career researchers with special interest in African affairs, to showcase, discuss and share their current research on sustainable development in Africa. Submission of abstracts is invited from all disciplines that engage with the theoretical, policy and practical issues of attaining sustainable development in Africa.

Find out more...

SiP logoScience, Technology and Humanity: The 11th Annual Science in Public Conference

10 - 12 July 2017
The Edge, The University of Sheffield, S10 3ED

Science and technology are essential ingredients of our humanity. The emergence of fruitful and diverse scholarly perspectives on the history, practice, communication, governance and impacts of scientific knowledge reflects this fact. Yet rapid scientific and technological change has also unsettled the idea of what it means to be human; for example, through new frontiers in physical and cognitive enhancement, shift to knowledge economies, and potential threats to employment from mass automation. These changes take place in a context of broader challenges to expertise and evidence, dramatically illustrated by the EU referendum and the election of Donald Trump.

Taking these matters seriously calls for a renewed focus on compassion, benevolence and civilization. This year at Science in Public, we asked: How do science and technology affect what it means to be human?

Keynote speakers:

  • Sarah Whatmore (University of Oxford)
  • Steven Shapin (Harvard University)
  • Dan Sarewitz (Arizona State University)

Find out more...

Previous 2016 events

University of Sheffield logoResearch symposium: In the wake of Japan’s nuclear tsunami: reflections on the nature of disaster in the 21st Century

21 April 2016

Find out more...

Widening the circle: Re-thinking family support in safeguarding

28 April 2016

Event poster

Image of the CIRCLE logo1st annual CIRCLE international seminar: Care, caring and carers: international perspectives

17 May 2016

Find out more...

University of Sheffield logoDepartment of Sociological Studies postgraduate research (PGR) conference 2016: Breaking boundaries

19 May 2016

Event poster

New practices for new publics seminar series - Seminar 2

22 June 2016

Find out more...

Centre for Social Work Practice logoSpeaking out for social work - Crossing divides and building relationships

6 July 2016

Find out more...

University of Sheffield logoThe social reproductive worlds of migrants - 3rd ISA forum of sociology

10 to 14 July 2016

Vienna, Austria

‘The social reproductive worlds of migrants’, session was organised by Dr Majella Kilkey and colleagues, that will take place during the 3rd ISA Forum of Sociology.

While research highlights the role inward migration plays in meeting the social reproductive needs of migrant-receiving societies, less attention is paid to the social reproductive aspects of migrants’ lives. In the context of the increasing volume in international migration and its feminisation, and the increasingly instrumentalist and economistic approach to migration-entry regimes, it is critical that migration and family policies begin to acknowledge that a production system cannot operate without a reproduction system (Truong, 1996).

Sheffield Death Group event: 'Improvising ritual: How to commemorate the death of the modern soldier?'

5 September 2016

Find out more...

Image of Jean BurgessDigital Society Network Annual Lecture: Doing digital media research over time and across platforms: Lessons from studies of YouTube, Twitter and games culture

Thursday 29 September 2016

With Professor Jean Burgess, Director of the Digital Media Research Centre (DMRC) at Queensland University of Technology, Australia.

Culture and politics of data visualisation: A one-day conference

10 October 2016

This one-day conference addressed the culture and politics of data visualisation, bringing critical thought into dialogue with the practice and potential of visualising data and considering how they might inform each other.

Find out more... 

Isabella event imageMuseum Piece: Isabella

19 October 2016

This session included a short performance by artist-researcher Kirsty Surgey, a WRoCAH supported PhD student at the University of Sheffield.

Taking as its starting point objects found when emptying a house that had been bought by her great-great grandfather in 1903, this performance sought to uncover the story of Kirsty's great-great grandmother, ‘Isabella’. As a farmer’s wife in Cumberland at the start of the twentieth century, Isabella left few records. The fragments that are left behind can be connected into narratives, but the voice that emerges questions what can be known and what is unknowable about one’s ancestors.

The performance was followed by a short workshop in which participants were invited to explore their own stories through creative practice and an opportunity to discuss any questions that arose from the performance.

BSA Social Aspects of Death, Dying and Bereavement Study Group Annual Symposium

2 December 2016

For decades now, technological advances in specialist fields such as medicine have changed attitudes and expectations about death and the experience of dying. However, as technologies have become more ubiquitous in our everyday social and domestic lives, the ways in which death, dying and bereavement can be technologically mediated are increasing and becoming more diverse. From online memorials to apps that self- monitor physiological health and/or decline, the ways in which bodies, persons, and technology intersect are raising questions about mortality - what death is, what it means, and how it is experienced in the 21st Century. This is a diverse field and we welcome abstracts which interpret the theme and the notion of ‘technology’ broadly – including more ‘mundane’ technologies that shape the experience of ‘end of life’. The purpose of this day is to highlight research and practice that contributes to and extends our thinking on this topic.

To view the full programme, click here.

Image of students volunteering in the communityNew Practices for New Publics - ESRC Seminar Series

Seminar 4: Using practice theory for social change

14 December 2016

Alfred Denny Conference Room, Alfred Denny Building, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN - view map

New Practices for New Publics is an innovative series of events designed to bring together cutting edge thinking in social science with the experiences of civil society organisations, especially those in the community and voluntary sector.

The event will consider how to use practice theory for social change. Practice-based approaches aim to help effect positive social change and to provide a more encompassing and grounded conceptualisation of change processes than a focus on attitudes, values and behaviours. To what extent does practice theory help understand how and why practices recruit people, how new practices emerge, thrive and travel and why others fail to ‘catch on’?

We are very pleased to welcome three speakers – Matt Watson, David Evans and Margit Keller - who will discuss their experiences of practice theory in relation to efforts and programmes to bring about social change. These talks will be followed by a workshop, led by Margit Keller and Peter Jackson, which will allow us to work through how to draw on practice theory when trying to develop and implement changes, drawing on local examples – the provisional programme is available here.

We have (limited) funds to contribute towards costs of travel and accommodation for participants – please get in touch if you will need support in this way.

To book your place please email: newpractices@brighton.ac.uk.

Previous 2015 events

Picture of the Recode logoImprove the impact and visibility of your research - Early career researcher workshop on open access to research data

14 and 15 May 2015

Find out more...

YASN logoYorkshire African Studies Network Conference 2015
Family, community and livelihoods: Perspectives from Africa

19 May 2015

Find out more...

Visual data wordleVisual Studies - Visual methods: A half-day workshop

8 June 2015

Find out more...

Picture of data on a screenData Power Conference 2015

22 and 23 June 2015

Find out more...

Picture of SI for Age logoPolicy in active and healthy ageing: A mutual learning platform

30 July 2015 (9.45am-12pm)

Find out more...

The University of Sheffield logoOpen forum event for the children and families social work community

With Chief Social Worker Isabelle Trowler and Sir Martin Narey

25 November 2015

Find out more...

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save