CU Hosts International Psychology Conference

Each year, the International Society for Theoretical Psychology (ISTP) holds a conference for its members. Past host cities of the annual event have included Toronto, Berlin, Sydney and Cape Town. This year, another renowned city was added to the list, as Coventry hosted the event for the first time.

The city welcomed in June around 200 members of the ISTP, a forum for psychological discussion. As it was founded in the early 1980s, 2015 marked the 30th anniversary of the first ISTP conference – and this year’s event was one of the most exciting yet. Attracting ISTP members from six continents across the globe, it involved a busy schedule of in-depth talks and workshops over four days.

The programme of the event was extremely rich and varied. Topics being discussed range from feminist approaches to psychology, psychoanalytical theory and evolutionary psychological issues, to new ideas in social constructionism and the link between psychology and technology. Attendees were able to choose from up to six sessions running parallel to each other at any one time, allowing visitors to access a diverse range of discussions.

This year’s event had the theme of Resistance and Renewal, encompassing the history of both the society and psychological theory, along with the contemporary issues of the field and the potential debates of the future. ‘Resistance’ was intended to address work that was conceptual, theoretical, critical or philosophical that challenged contemporary practices, theories and taken-for-granted assumptions in psychology and its close neighbours (for example, sociology). ‘Renewal’ highlighted the importance of attracting new thought and members to maintain the work of the society.

The aims of the conference included challenging assumptions, promoting interdisciplinary approaches and giving new life to established perspectives. Above all, the weekend stimulated debate in the field, and left attendees with a fresh set of ideas.

Attendees’ highlights included talks from scholars such as Thomas Teo, Bianca Dreye and Jan De Vos, along with the impromptu after-dinner critical discussions. Praise was also given to Coventry University’s Gavin Sullivan (Reader in Social Psychology), from the Identities and Resilience in Communities and Organisations research group, who organised the event.


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