To launch the School’s new research centre, our professors are presenting a series of 30-minute online lectures. Hold these dates!
Attend the whole launch programme or select the events that interest you. Full details of the programme can be found here https://www.open.ac.uk/centres/psychology/sites/www.open.ac.uk.centres.psychology/files/files/events/OPENPSY-CENTRE%20LAUNCH-PROGRAMME-2021.pdf
Registration is free and now open on this link.
Open Psychology Research Centre website: https://www.open.ac.uk/centres/psychology/
The professorial lectures
Monday June 28th 9.40 a.m.
Peter Hegarty Re-Imagining Group Differences in Scientific Psychology
Psychology in the modern world has aimed to be both a science of human behaviour and a humanistic project, that works through intervention to better people’s lives, often by bringing self-awareness. These goals have often conflicted in the mis-recognition of social groups as “the other” to the human subject that psychology examines, and interventions to better the lives of groups so othered has often had harmful effects. Othering can take extreme forms, but in this talk I focus on a banal everyday way that psychological research continues to other when group differences are routinely described in the course of research. I describe twenty years of research that shows how more powerful groups get taken as the norm for human categories, leading lower power groups to be disproportionately psychologized and stereotyped. Grounding my argument in laypeople, news media reporting and scientific articles themselves, I will argue that psychologists needs to recognize and re-imagine what we do when we explain the causes of psychological differences between groups.
Monday June 28th 10.30 a.m.
Paul Stenner The experience of time in pandemics and beyond: Views from an Open Psychology
The experience of time is core to wellbeing. We can feel bright about the future, satisfied with the past, and serene in the present. Then things change and the present can feel overwhelming, the past a source of guilt, and the future hopeless. The experience of time is intimately connected with how change is handled, and psychologists have long been interested in how people cope with change, resist it, or take it on board. For many, the pandemic has introduced the paradoxical feeling of living through momentous change while also experiencing a sense of paralysis. How might we make sense of this situation? This presentation will address the question of how the experience of time can be transformed during situations of significant psychosocial transformation. I will discuss some of the practical, real world implications opened up by a social psychological engagement with liminal experiences. During experiences of liminality time can behave strangely and we can lose our sense of where we are heading and where we come from. But at the same time, with care and thoughtful management, navigating liminal experience can enrich lives and open up new possibilities for living.
Tuesday June 29th 10.10 a.m.
Stephanie Taylor A positive legacy? Creative subjectivities in the wake of the pandemic
The Covid 19 pandemic has impacted heavily on the creative industries, the global sector which encompasses the arts and a wide range of other occupations. After more than two decades of policies in which creative workers have been celebrated as generators of wealth and drivers of change, there are now calls to assist them to ensure that the creative industries can survive. The previous celebration was shaped in part by psychological theories of creativity and creative process, and psychologists and policy makers together have drawn on the image of the artist as the ultimate creative figure. More critical accounts have noted the elite, gendered and racialised nature of the figure, and have linked its individual focus to the market-based system of neoliberalism. These multiple associations, both positive and negative, are part of contemporary discourses of creativity, studied by social and critical discursive psychologists with an interest in the creative worker as a contemporary social subject, and in the sense of self or subjectivity that is connected to creativity. Has the creative worker been wholly governed by dominant cultures (capitalist, neoliberal or postfeminist), misled to accept exploitation in the guise of creative opportunity? Alternatively, can the pursuit of a creative practice be understood as a genuine alternative to conventional work and employment, chosen freely and with awareness of its difficulties, offering potential for different working lives? This paper will address these questions and discuss the possible legacy of the creative industries after Covid 19.
Wednesday June 30th 10.10 a.m.
John Dixon Captive geographies: Places, identities and the ‘time-geography’ of sectarian segregation in Belfast
Desegregation is a process through which members of formerly separated groups are brought together, often through the removal of institutional barriers to interaction. Two recurring arguments have been presented in favour of desegregation. The first holds that it promotes intergroup harmony and the reduction of prejudice; the second that it promotes social justice and equality. However, although most commentators now agree on the potential benefits of desegregation, evidence suggests that systems of segregation often prove highly persistent and adaptable, being driven not only by evolving institutional and structural processes, but also by so-called informal ‘preference schemes’ (Goldberg, 1996). Exploring this theme, my paper discusses the role of everyday mobility practices and choices in sustaining ‘activity space’ segregation in the historically divided city of Belfast over 20 years after the end of ‘The Troubles’. More specifically, it explores the role of place identity dynamics in shaping ongoing patterns of sectarian segregation in five communities in North Belfast, as expressed through everyday movements, trajectories, and use of public spaces. To do so, I draw on data collected as part of the Belfast Mobility Project, which has combined large scale GPS tracking data and GIS analytics with walking interviews with local residents. In conclusion, I highlight how attempts to accomplish desegregation in divided cities must transform not only relations between different communities, but also relations between those communities the spaces and places in which they are embedded.
Thursday July 1st 10.10 a.m.
Sarah Crafter Contestation at the borderlands between migration, childhood and care: An exploration of child language brokers and lone child migrants
Child language brokers and lone child migrants as ‘brokers of care’ has been an underexplored arena within the literature. Attention to the interactional-relational aspects of children’s care work and everyday practices, show how they facilitate both immediate and long-term settlement for families, peers and communities following migration. As such, their care-giving practices are an important resource. However, through a critical-theoretical lens of migration, childhood and care, this is a contested arena. In complex material, symbolic and political spheres of experience, such as the hostile immigration environment, ‘children as caregivers’ can be treated with suspicion or hostility. This presentation draws on data from three research projects (Children Language Brokering in Schools, Language Brokering and Belonging and Children Caring on the Move) to examine how ‘children as caregivers’ is contested in the borderlands between migration, childhood and care.
Friday July 2nd 9.40 a.m.
Darren Langdridge Stories of sexual citizenship: conviction and critique
It is commonly assumed that state recognition and social acceptance of diverse sexualities has dramatically improved in recent years. In this talk, I delve further into this claim with respect to a diverse array of sexual practices and identities, mostly within a UK context. I argue that, while there has undoubtedly been considerable progress with respect to greater state and societal recognition, for some at least, this enlightenment story of progress does not represent the full picture when it comes to contemporary sexual life. Boundaries of sexual citizenship are policed in ever more inventive ways, with a variety of actors playing a role in determining how the lines of acceptability and permissibility are now being drawn. The ‘enemies’ of a progressive sexual citizenship are not simply the same ‘old guard’ conservatives who want a strongly proscribed limit to what is and what is not acceptable or permissible when it comes to sex. Contemporary battles concerning sexual citizenship also involve structural opposition, along with stories told by a wide variety of allies and community members. I argue – following Ricoeur – that our best hope for the future is to avoid the polarized ‘either-or’ politics that is in the ascendency and instead work dialectically to embrace conviction and critique. This is a serious challenge and will require a transformative politics of justice, generosity, and forgiveness, where we approach the Other in a spirit of (linguistic) hospitality.
Friday July 2nd 10.30 a.m.
Graham Pike Harmful evidence and evidencing harm in the criminal justice system
A great deal of psychological research has been conducted on eyewitness evidence and the harms that can result from its use within the criminal justice system. In the present paper I explore the technology and procedures that are being used to replace or support more traditional eyewitness evidence, including citizen forensic Apps, web-sleuthing, super recognisers, CCTV footage and pupillometry, and explore whether these are genuine solutions or are simply producing new versions of old problems. I also look at why law enforcement agencies have not listened more to psychologists about the dangers of eyewitness evidence and what might be done to rectify this problem.