British Society of Population Studies (BSPS) Conference, Swansea 2013

Kevin Ralston, SLS-DSU

This was my first time at the British Society of Population Studies (BSPS) conference. This is somewhat of an indictment considering my PhD examined the timing of first birth in Scotland. However, it was not a conference that was on the radar of my research group at the University of Stirling, which was more focussed on the field of social stratification, as a result I had overlooked the BSPS, although I was lucky enough to attend the BSPS postgraduate conference, popfest 2010, when it was hosted at St Andrews. Therefore, it was with some enthusiasm that I looked forward to this year’s conference hosted at the University of Swansea.

A little time has passed since the conference now and my view would be that the event was well organised and provided a very high standard of scientific research. As I would have expected something is provided for everyone with an interest population studies. Sessions on fertility, mortality, methodology, migration, ageing and historical demography, to point to just some of the themes of interest, mean that for anyone in the UK, and beyond, whose work is related to the subject areas covered by the BSPS have a strong incentive to generate a lasting connection with the Society of Population Studies. One delegate who I talked to was particularly complementary of the poster session which was organised around drinks and food. In contrast to other conferences where posters might be peripheral to the event, he felt this really brought the posters into the heart of the meeting. This is a nice touch as posters take as much time and energy to produce as other forms of dissemination and provide valuable insight into what research is going on.

Happily the Longitudinal Studies Centre Scotland (LSCS) were well represented across the sessions, particularly by Dr Beata Nowok who presented two talks and a poster as well as chairing a session. Indeed the Tuesday morning parallel sessions saw a triple clash for our Director, Dr Chris Dibben, with three talks involving LSCS researchers based on work involving Dr Lee Williamson, Dr Tom Clemens, Professor Gillian Raab, Dr Zhiqiang Feng and me all competing for attention. Also, the first CALLS Hub training event took place introducing the three Longitudinal Studies to attendees. Therefore the BSPS continues to be a particularly successful conference from the point of view of the LSCS.

The University of Swansea campus provided a practical backdrop to the meeting and its situation on picturesque Swansea bay gave delegates the chance to catch some fresh seaside air on a beach that was two minutes’ walk away, and the town of Mumbles at one end of the bay, with Port Talbot at the other. Even the weather played its part with sunshine throughout. All in it was a very enjoyable conference.

Link to the conference website:

http://www.lse.ac.uk/socialPolicy/BSPS/annualConference/2013-Conference—Swansea/2013-Conference—Swansea.aspx

Link to the programme:

http://www.lse.ac.uk/socialPolicy/BSPS/annualConference/2013-Conference—Swansea/Complete-programme-with-timetable.pdf

Kev Ralston

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