IAFOR has joined efforts with The Bartlett Real Estate Institute at UCL, UK, the National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging (NACDA) at the University of Michigan, the IAFOR Research Centre at OSIPP, Osaka University, Japan, and academic leaders and thinkers of all disciplines from a wide range of prestigious institutions to host a conference that brings together all disciplines to discuss one of the greatest challenges humanity currently faces: the ageing of the population. Scholars from practically every discipline are welcomed to bring their perspective, as ageing involves almost all aspects of humanities, science and policy. With thematic streams covering many disciplines such as the built environment, frailty, loneliness, the silver economy, and others, EGen2023 will again provide a great opportunity for researchers.
Dr Joseph Haldane, Chairman and CEO, IAFOR His Excellency Professor Toshiya Hoshino, Osaka University, Japan Professor Barbara Lockee, Virginia Tech., United States Professor Donald E. Hall, Binghamton University, United States Dr James W. McNally, University of Michigan, United States & NACDA Program on Aging Professor Haruko Satoh, Osaka University, Japan Dr Grant Black, Chuo University, Japan Professor Dexter Da Silva, Keisen University, Japan Professor Gary Swanson, University of Northern Colorado, United States Professor Baden Offord, Curtin University, Australia Professor Frank Ravitch, Michigan State University, United States Professor William Baber, Kyoto University, Japan
Members of the IAFOR Board of Directors and The Academic Governing Board are standing members of the Global Programme Committee. Members of the IAAB are consultative members.
Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction
University College London
Conference Programme Committee Members
Marilyn Aviles, Institute of Healthcare Engineering, UCL, United Kingdom Dimitrios Buhalis, Bournemouth University Business School, United Kingdom Dorina Cadar, Brighton & Sussex Medical School, United Kingdom Stefano Capolongo, Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy Carina Dantes, SHINE 2Europe, Portugal Eddy Davelaar, Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London, United Kingdom Isaiah Durosaiye, School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom Joseph Falzon, Centre for Research & Innovation, Malta Ava Fatah, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, United Kingdom Joseph Haldane, The International Academic Forum (IAFOR), Japan Paul Higgs, Faculty of Brain Sciences, UCL, United Kingdom Fernando Loizides, School of Computer Science & Informatics, Cardiff University, United Kingdom Christina Malathouni, School of Architecture, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom Paul McGarry, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, United Kingdom James W. McNally, University of Michigan & NACDA Program on Aging, USA Elena Petelos, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Greece & Faculty of Health, Medicine & Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Netherlands Haruko Satoh, Osaka University, Japan Eleftheria Savvopoulou, SynThesis Architects, Greece Anastasios Tellios, School of Architecture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece Georgios Tsakos, Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care, UCL, United Kingdom Chariklia Tziraki-Segal, Hellenic Mediterranean University, Greece & Melabev: Community Club for Elders, Israel Antoinette Vietsch, Politician (Former MP), Architect, Healthcare Planner, the Netherlands Greg Williams, University of Manchester, United Kingdom
IAFOR's peer review process, which involves both reciprocal review and the use of Review Committees, is overseen by conference Organising Committee members under the guidance of the Academic Governing Board. Review Committee members are established academics who hold PhDs or other terminal degrees in their fields and who have previous peer review experience.
If you would like to apply to serve on the EGen2023 Review Committee, please visit our application page.
The European Conference on Aging & Gerontology (EGen) is run in partnership with The Bartlett Real Estate Institute at UCL, The National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging (NACDA) at the University of Michigan, USA, and the IAFOR Research Centre at Osaka University.
Anne Boddington is Professor of Design Innovation, Pro Vice Chancellor for Research, Business and Innovation at Kingston University in the UK and recently appointed as the Sub Panel Chair for Art & Design: History, Practice & Theory for the UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021. Professor Boddington has extensive experience of the leadership, management and evaluation of art and design education and art and design research in higher education across the UK and internationally. She is an experienced chair and has held trustee and governance roles across the creative and cultural sector including as trustee of the Design Council, an independent Governor, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), an affiliate member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), a member of the executive of the Council for Higher Education in Art & Design (CHEAD) and a member of the advisory board of the Arts & Humanities Research Council. She has an international reputation in creative education and research and has been a partner, a collaborator, a reviewer and evaluator for a wide range of international projects and reviews across different nations in Europe, the Middle East, Southern and east Asia and North America.
University College London, UK
Dr Evangelia Chrysikou is a registered architect and senior research fellow at UCL. She owns the award-winning SynThesis Architects (London – Athens), that specialises in medical facilities. Her work received prestigious awards (Singapore 2009, Kuala Lumpur 2012, Brisbane 2013, Birmingham 2014, London 2014). Parallel activities include teaching at medical and architectural schools, research (UK, France, Belgium, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Greece and the Middle East) and advisory. She advised the Hellenic Secretary of Health and is the author of the new national guidelines for mental health facilities. Dr Chrysikou is the author of the book ‘Architecture for Psychiatric Environments and Therapeutic Spaces’, healthcare architecture editor, reviewer, active member of several professional and scientific associations and a TED-MED speaker. She is a Trustee, Member of the Board and Director of Research at DIMHN (UK) and Member of the Board at the Scholar’s Association Onassis Foundation.
Sara Custer is editor of Campus at Times Higher Education, having previously been digital editor. She has covered global higher education as a journalist for more than 10 years. Before joining THE in 2017, she was editor of international education website and magazine, The PIE News.
Birkbeck, University of London, United Kingdom
Professor Eddy Davelaar holds degrees in Biological Health Sciences and in Psychology from Maastricht University, as well as a PhD from Birkbeck, University of London. His early work was on the topic of computational modelling of human memory. After a postdoctoral period in the United States involving modelling perception, attention, and language, he returned to Birkbeck as a lecturer in 2006, where he is currently a full Professor of Psychology and Applied Neuroscience. He conducts research on cognitive ageing, with a particular focus on supporting healthy ageing and preventing/slowing cognitive decline. This work involves experimental testing and population level statistical analyses. Ongoing work is in direct collaboration with the target audience, with whom he co-designs intervention studies. Another area of his research involves neurofeedback for enhancing cognitive performance and mental wellbeing. Within that topic, he leads the way for understanding the neurocognitive mechanisms involved in successful brain training.
Professor Maria Delgado is an academic, critic, and curator whose research interests include Spanish-language and European theatres and Spanish-language film. She is a daughter of Spanish refugees and received her education from the Universities of Wales, Leeds, and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Professor Delgado has taught at various universities, including Queen Mary University of London, Hull University, and Manchester Metropolitan University, and has held visiting professorships, fellowships, and residences at numerous institutions across the globe.
Professor Delgado’s work in research leadership and assessment involves membership of HEFCE’s Research and Knowledge Exchange Strategic Advisory Group, the inaugural Council of Research England, a range of AHRC panels, and the Leverhulme Trust’s Advisory Panel. She was Chair of Subpanel 33 (Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies) and Deputy Director of Main Panel D for REF2021. She has also been involved in research assessment exercises in Australia and Hong Kong. She has received several awards, including the Cross of the Order of Alfonso X the Wise and the Commander of the Order of Isabel la Católica, and was selected as one of the University of London's 150 'Leading Women'. Professor Delgado is currently a member of the Jisc/Elsevier Open Science Forum, Jisc's Research Strategy Forum, and also serves on the UK Committee on Research Integrity (UK CORI).
Joseph Haldane is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of IAFOR. He is responsible for devising strategy, setting policies, forging institutional partnerships, implementing projects, and overseeing the organisation’s international business and academic operations, including research, publications and events.
Dr Haldane is a founding Co-Director of the IAFOR Research Centre, an interdisciplinary think tank situated at The Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP), Osaka University, where since 2015 he has also been a Guest Professor, teaching on the postgraduate Global Governance Course.
A Member of the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network for Global Governance, Professor Haldane’s research and teaching is on history, politics, international affairs and international education, as well as governance and decision making.
In 2020 Dr Haldane was appointed Honorary Professor of UCL (University College London), through the Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management. He also holds Visiting Professorships in the Faculty of Philology at the University of Belgrade, and at the School of Business at Doshisha University in Kyoto, where he teaches Ethics and Governance on the MBA programme. He is a Member of the International Advisory Council of the Department of Educational Foundations at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
Dr Haldane holds a PhD from the University of London in 19th-century French Studies, and has had full-time faculty positions at the University of Paris XII Paris-Est Créteil, Sciences Po Paris, and Nagoya University of Commerce and Business, as well as visiting positions at the French Press Institute in the University of Paris II Panthéon-Assas, The School of Journalism at Sciences Po Paris, and the School of Journalism at Moscow State University (Russia).
Dr Haldane has given invited lectures and presentations to universities and conferences around the world, including at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, and advised universities, NGOs and governments on issues relating to international education policy, public-private partnerships, and multi-stakeholder forums. He was the project lead on the 2019 Kansai Resilience Forum, held by the Japanese Government through the Prime Minister’s Office and the Cabinet Office in collaboration with IAFOR.
From 2012-2014, Dr Haldane served as Treasurer of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (Chubu), and since 2015 he has been a Trustee of the HOPE International Development Agency (Japan). He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society in 2012, and the Royal Society of Arts in 2015.
UN Inspectorate General, Immediate Past President of IAFOR, and former Japanese Ambassador to the UN
His Excellency Professor Hoshino is a UN Inspector General and former President of IAFOR. In this former role, Ambassador Hoshino was the Chair of the International Academic Advisory Board, as well as both the Academic Governing Board and its Executive Committee, and also sat on the IAFOR Board of Directors.
Ambassador Hoshino is an internationally-recognised scholar in the fields of Human Security, International Relations, and Politics, and has had a dual, complementary academic and diplomatic career, culminating in his appointment as Japanese Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations in New York, from 2017–2020, where he was in charge of socio-economic and budgetary affairs. He had previously served as Minister-Counsellor from 2006–2008 at the same mission in charge of political affairs, and earlier in his career, was Special Assistant for Political Affairs at The Embassy of Japan, Washington, D.C., from 1988–1991.
Ambassador Hoshino is currently a Professor of International Politics and United Nations Studies at Osaka University’s Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP). Since 2017, Professor Hoshino has been the Executive Director of the IAFOR Research Centre at OSIPP. His current research interests centres on policy and implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through international multi-stakeholder public/private partnerships, and is the founding Director of the Environmental, Social, and Governance Integration Research and Education Center (ESG-IREC).
Previous to his second secondment to the United Nations in 2017, Professor Hoshino held a number of senior administrative roles in the University, including Vice-President (2014–2015) and then Executive Vice-President (2015–2016) for Global Affairs, having previously served as Dean of the Osaka School of International Public Policy at Osaka University from 2011–2014.
Before joining Osaka University in 1998, Ambassador Hoshino was a Senior Research Fellow at The Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) from 1991 to 1998, and continued his association with the Institute as an Associate Fellow from 1998 to 2006. He holds a BA from Sophia University, Japan, an MA from the University of Tokyo, and a PhD from Osaka University.
Professor Hoshino has also been a visiting scholar and researcher, principally in the United States. From 1992 to 1993 he was a Visiting Fellow at The Princeton School of Public and International Affairs (formerly the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs); from 2000–2002 he was appointed Special Research Fellow at the Hiroshima Peace Institute, Hiroshima City University; from 2003 to 2006 he was a Research Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (formerly The Stanford Institute for International Studies); and from 2007 to 2008 was a Guest Scholar at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.
Professor Eleonore Kofman is a Professor of Gender, Migration, and Citizenship and the Co-Director of the Social Policy Research Centre at Middlesex University London. Her research interests include gender and migration, political geography, nationalism, cosmopolitanism, and Henri Lefebvre's urban writings.
Professor Kofman has conducted research funded by various organisations, including the European Commission, AHRC, ESRC, UN Women, and the Office of the UK Children’s Commissioner. Currently, she serves as the Co-Director of the Migration and Displacement stream of the UKRI GCRF Hub – Gender, Justice, and Security (2019-2024), led by the LSE Centre for Women, Peace, and Security. She is also a Co-Investigator of the project Gendered Dynamics of Labour Migrations, with Middlesex collaborating with academic and NGO partners across the Middle East and South Asia.
She was the Joint Editor-in-Chief of Work, Employment and Society (2018-2021), a journal of the British Sociological Association. Additionally, Professor Kofman is a member of the Executive Board and Board of Directors of IMISCOE, the largest European network of scholars in the area of migration and integration.
Barbara Lockee is Professor of Instructional Design and Technology and Associate Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs at Virginia Tech. Since 1996, she has engaged in teaching and research related to instructional design and distance education, and has advised the research of more than three dozen doctoral students. Her scholarly inquiry is focused on mediated and online education and has been funded by various federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Agriculture, and the US Agency for International Development, among others. She has also consulted for a variety of organisations, including the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the US Army Training and Doctrine Command and the USC Institute for Creative Technologies. Her recent co-authored book, Streamlined ID: A Practical Guide for Instructional Design, strives to make the design of learning solutions accessible and pragmatic for those who develop educational courses and programs in workplace contexts.
Dr Lockee is Past President of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, an international professional organisation for educational technology researchers and practitioners. She earned her PhD in 1996 from Virginia Tech in Curriculum and Instruction (Instructional Technology), MA in 1991 from Appalachian State University in Curriculum and Instruction (Educational Media), and BA in 1986 from Appalachian State University in Communication Arts.
University of Cardiff, Wales
Professor Fernando Loizides is a Senior Lecturer in Computer Science and Informatics at Cardiff University and the Director of the Data Science Academy, UK. He is also an Honorary Professor at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. His main area of research is Information Interaction and User Experience (UX), with a focus on Decision Making and Accessibility. He has extensive experience in user study design and facilitation using cutting-edge technologies, eliciting user requirements, performing systems evaluation, and developing working systems. He has published in leading journals and conferences, won awards such as Best Conference Papers, and secured and completed EU and nationally funded projects.
Professor Loizides is a highly experienced teacher, creating new modules and teaching curricula that have been successfully adopted by departments. He has won awards for both his innovative teaching methods and contributions to higher education. He has over 15 years of industry experience as a developer, creating startups, managing teams, and consulting for technology-focused companies. His work has been featured in various media outlets, including the BBC, radio, and online magazines. Professor Loizides is a co-founder of RapidLab, an initiative that creates rapid working prototypes for testing market validity.
Dr Neelam Raina is an Associate Professor of Design and Development at Middlesex University, London. Her research interests include conflict, security, peace building, material cultures, gender, and livelihood generation in fragile, conflict affected states. Raina’s work explores notions of healing, trauma, peace and reflection through the embodied practices of making, using material culture and tacit knowledge as the underpinning for approaching violence and peace building and for sustainable income generation. Raina is a post conflict reconstruction expert with a focus on South Asia where she has conducted extensive empirical research over the last two decades. The Women, Peace and Security agenda is key to Neelam’s and her research seeks to foreground voices of vulnerable and marginalised women.
Dr Raina has led several large-scale competitively funded research projects which examine material and social practices through which Muslim women in conflict areas reproduce themselves on a daily and generational basis, and through which the social relations and material bases of capitalism are renewed. Her work allows connections to be built between, creative home-based workers who are largely seen as peripheral, to development economics, and on the fringes of formal employment and contributors to GDP; to the larger notions of peace building, countering and preventing violent extremism, poverty spirals and conflict theory through culturally significant, socially relevant practices. She connects the British creative industry into solution-based impactful approaches to global challenges through research.
Raina is a strong advocate for Afghan women and is the Director of the Secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Afghan women and girls in UK parliament. Her research in Afghanistan is ongoing as she brings women’s tacit knowledge to commercially viable spaces from the confines of the home.
Raina has a PhD in Design and Development, and a Master’s in Design and Manufacture from De Montfort University, Leicester. From 2018-2021, she was the Challenge Leader for UKRI’s Conflict and Security Portfolio for the Global Challenges Research Fund. Raina has been a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics at the Centre for Women, Peace and Security. She is the editor for the International Journal of Traditional Arts, and her new work Creative Economies of Culture in South Asia – Performers and Craftspeople was published in 2021.
Andrea Révész is a Professor of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) at the IOE, University College London. Her main research interests lie at the interfaces of second language acquisition, instruction, and assessment, with particular emphasis on the roles of task, input, interaction, and individual differences in SLA. Currently, she is also working on projects investigating the neurocognitive processes underlying second language speaking and writing performance. Her work has appeared in international journals such as Applied Linguistics, Applied Psycholinguistics, Language Learning, Language Teaching, Studies in Second Language Acquisition, TESOL Quarterly, and The Modern Language Journal. She is co-winner of the 2017 TBLT Best Research Article Award and co-recipient of the 2018 TESOL Award for Distinguished Research. Currently, she serves as associate editor of Studies in Second Language Acquisition, co-editor of the John Benjamins Task-based Language Teaching series, and president of the International Association for Task-based Language Teaching (TBLT).
University College London, Institute of Education, UK
Li Wei is Director and Dean of the UCL Institute of Education, where he also holds a Chair of Applied Linguistics. He is Fellow of the British Academy, Academia Europaea, Academy of Social Sciences (UK), and Royal Society of Arts (UK). He is Editor of the International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism and Applied Linguistics Review.
Successful ageing can be defined in several ways. Here, the mental perspective of successful ageing is considered. I will summarise our research into three factors that have been discussed within the domain of successful ageing: positive emotions, cognitive reserve, and physical capability.
In a series of cross-sectional studies, we investigated the influence of positive emotional information on working memory performance in older adults. We found that emotional information only had an impact when the task requires processing its valence. In addition, unlike the common interpretation from current theories, emotional processing impacts different working memory functions differently. Current theoretical views would require adjustment to take into consideration this differential sensitivity.
A very popular theory that addresses a lifetime perspective of cognitive performance is the cognitive reserve theory, which is the mental resilience in the face of neurological decline. A range of neurological theories have been put forward that capture specific findings in the neuroimaging literature. For example, neural reorganisation theories propose that, compared to low performing adults, high performing older adults are more likely to use both hemispheres when conducting a task. We created a mathematical instantiation of a theory demonstrating that such a process is indeed possible.
Finally, our ongoing work on physical capability and successful ageing are congruent with the wider literature showing positive associations both cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Although using self-report instruments to ascertain physical capabilities is generally seen as an inferior approach, we recently explored the validity of such an instrument. The results are promising and allow a quick and non-intrusive assessment to identify at-risk individuals.
Overall, decades of research has culminated in a detailed understanding of the various factors supporting successful ageing and methods for ascertaining people's abilities. The field is ready to move from observation studies to intervention studies and investigate the optimal parameter combinations for community intervention programmes.
The Robotic Roommates Revolution: Embracing Needy Robots in Our Homes for a Better Future
Plenary Presentation: Fernando Loizides
In today's global landscape, nations are witnessing a significant shift towards an ageing population, posing various economic and social challenges. One of the most pressing issues stemming from this demographic change is the strain on social security and healthcare systems. Consequently, there is a substantial demand for care workers, far surpassing the available supply. Over the years, the emergence of new technologies has promised to automate household tasks, enabling safe and independent living for older adults. Depicted as companions in films and popularised through social media, robots have been envisioned as capable assistants in domestic chores and social interactions. Regrettably, the current reality presents a stark contrast to these futuristic portrayals, with robotic automation in most homes limited to automated vacuum cleaners at best. In this keynote speech, we will explore the underlying reasons for this discrepancy, considering both technical limitations and human factors. Our focus will be on the crucial aspects of adoption and acceptability, aiming to redefine the concept of "useful" robots in the context of older adults' households. By examining the barriers to the widespread adoption of robotics in home environments, we can identify the necessary changes needed to facilitate successful cohabitation. We will delve into the notion of "neediness" and its significance in shaping a harmonious living environment for older adults in the near future. With these insights, we can embrace the transformative potential of robotics and catalyse positive global change, fostering a new era of enhanced well-being for ageing populations worldwide.
Interactive Panel Presentation: Sara Custer, Barbara Lockee
In this interactive panel session, Sara Custer, THE (Times Higher Education) Campus Editor will moderate a panel discussion on the recent and sudden entrance of Artificial Intelligence products into the global academy, and the enormous current and potential ramifications.
For the first time AI models are not designed for specific tasks, but rather rely on training data through large samples of language openly accessible on the internet to “learn” how to respond. This generative AI powers products like ChatGPT, which are already widely used by faculty and students alike.
As national and supranational governments struggle to improvise regulatory frameworks for the use of different AI products, so too do educational and research institutions in ways that seek to understand and allay myriad risks. Concerns abound around issues of personal privacy, misinformation, institutional and national security, and the enormous scope for AI misuse, including technologies being literally and figuratively weaponised.
Such practical, ethical and deontological questions will be considered in the context of the great opportunities and enormous innovative potential that AI brings, as a source of hope towards helping to power solutions towards some of the greatest problems facing us collectively.
This panel discussion will include several opportunities for the audience to give their opinion by responding to questions posed by the moderator live.
Exploring the Cognitive and Neural Correlates of Speaking and Writing in a Second Language: Methodological Advances and Challenges
Plenary Presentation: Andrea Révész
How does our mind and brain work when we speak or write in a second language (L2)? The rise of globalisation has seen an increased interest in learning second languages. For many, effective second language speaking and writing skills are key to achieve their academic, occupational and/or social communication goals. Yet, relatively little is known about the neuro-cognitive mechanisms involved in L2 speaking and writing. In this talk, I will describe and discuss various research methods that can be used to investigate L2 production processes, including subjective methods (think-alouds, stimulated recalls) as well as more objective tools (dual-task methodology, eye-tracking, keystroke logging, fMRI). I will also describe and demonstrate how adopting more novel data collection techniques (e.g., eye-tracking) and using these together with more traditional tools (e.g., verbal protocols) can help us gain a fuller picture of L2 processing and learning. In doing so, I will draw on my own and colleagues' recent work exploring the neuro-cognitive processes involved in second language production. I will end the talk with recommendations for future neuro-cognitively oriented research into L2 speaking and writing processes.
Research Practice, Practice Research – Integrity, Inclusivity and Impact
Plenary Presentation: Maria Delgado
Research takes many shapes and forms and takes place across a range of institutions – from multi-faculty universities to independent research organisations. Yet many discussions about research practices and research cultures revolve almost exclusively around the model of the large multi-faculty university. In discussing the role of research in small specialist institutions that are often known for their industry-focused training, this presentation looks at the role of practice research as a means of thinking through research impact and forms of dissemination that go beyond the academic article. In examining the relationship between research integrity and inclusivity, the presentation asks what excellence looks like and how institutions might work towards cultures of doing that promote best practice in research.
Phoenix Rising: Education in the Age of Disruption
Keynote Presentation: Barbara Lockee
Throughout the history of educational systems, disruptions have emerged in a variety of forms, the impacts of which range from interference in planned instructional activities and pedagogical approaches to complete interruptions to instructional delivery access. Such upheavals originate in nature, such as the COVID-19 global pandemic, or are human-made, as with the evolving developments related to generative AI. Standing in the aftermath of these recent natural and technological disruptions, educational stakeholders are seeking strategies to respond, leveraging lessons learned from past emergencies and exploring the affordances of emergent educational contexts and tools to create a way forward. What opportunities can be found amidst the turmoil to help envision possibilities and promise for the rise of the next generation of teaching and learning?
Schrodinger’s Box of Interdisciplinarity – Inside and Outside the Box Thinking About Global Challenges
Featured Presentation: Eleonore Kofman & Neelam Raina
Where should we position ourselves in the global challenges we face in the Anthropocene, and what level of despair are we allowed? We have ticked the boxes of inclusions, sustainability, capacity building, innovation, carbon footprints, artificial intelligence, and shrunk the globe for communication. We have evaluated and eliminated silos and criticised unilateral approaches and decision-making. Interdisciplinarity, intra-disciplinarity, and transdisciplinarity have been called upon and recognised as the pathways to solution-driven approaches to global challenges. Yet we are here – in a post-global pandemic world, with almost every continent currently facing multiple crises simultaneously.
It is in this context that we shall explore the notion of resilience of silos. How does working across disciplinary spaces, between geographies, and within the microcosms of culture enable us to hold a mirror up to ourselves and honestly answer the question - how far have we really come? And where, within the academic research and policy-making spaces, do we now need to come full circle and recalibrate ourselves? We showcase this with a live example of ongoing work, funded by overseas development aid through the UKRI GCRF Gender, Justice, and Security Hub, that cuts across vast swathes of conflict-affected populations, displaced, moving, and existing in indignity, sizing up the scale of apathy in a polarised world. We take a deep dive into the understanding of ‘human development’ and juxtapose it against the idea of the COVID-19 pandemic being a ‘portal’ and arrive in a unique spot – where we fracture silos and comfort zones, and observe these cracks and ruptures from the outside.
This talk showcases empirical work undertaken in Turkey, Lebanon, Kurdistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka across various research sites, with over 200 people connected into the research and its design from 2019-2024. We bring forth the crossovers of disciplines that provided solutions and raised new questions, as each country shifted into multiple crises that created a spiral of exacerbated challenges.