Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Review of the York International Social Sciences Post-Graduate Conference 2014: Access and Opportunity

The conference speakers and organisersThe annual York Social Sciences Post-Graduate Conference was held in the Innovation Centre on the University of York campus, 28th April 2014. As Prof. Ellen Annandale indicated in her opening address, the 2014 edition of the Post-Graduate conference was truly international. With universities across Europe (Poland, Finland, Netherlands and Russia) represented by their graduate researchers, as well as many UK institutions including Sheffield, Leeds, Goldsmiths, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leicester and Cambridge. In addition, the event was truly multidisciplinary with researchers in politics, sociology, history and anthropology participating. The organisers would like to extend their thanks to all those that travelled to York for the day.

Prof Ellen Annandale opens the conferenceThe day began with a fascinating keynote from Dr. Mark Elliot entitled Big Data, Whose Data? Followed by the first panel comprising David Honeywell, Catherine Atkinson and Kathleen Bassett considering discourses on education and gender in the context of prisons, schools and correctional facilities. Our second panel, Elsa Saarikkomaki, Robert Rydzewski and Joanna Resiak, covered topics of social exclusion, private/public spaces and ethnic gentrification in Finland, Macedonia and Poland.

After lunch Nils Klowait, Sam Burgum and Mark Johnson presented papers on the politics of research practise, including issues around translation for academics in Russia, gaining access to documents in high-tech industries, and the importance of acknowledging one's epistemological and ontological framework when undertaking empirical research. Our final panel, Ingrida Kerusaukaite, Retna Hanani and Saumya Saxena, covered the political and legal status of refugees, access to universal healthcare in Indonesia, and the intersection of religious politics and cultural identities in India. This was followed our second keynote speaker, Prof. John Urry discussing his latest book: Offshoring.

The decision of best post-graduate paper was an extremely tough call, and many congratulations are in order for Saumya Saxena, who won with the final paper of the day entitled: Cultural Identities and Social Justice: the Politics of Personal Law in Post-Independence India.

The organisers and winning speakerFinally, the organisers would like to thank Keynote Speakers Dr. Mark Elliot and Prof. John Urry for travelling from Manchester and Lancaster to share their insights into Big Data and Offshoring respectively, as well as our twelve postgraduate panellists. We are also grateful to the York post-graduate community who worked hard to make the event a huge success. 360-odd days until the 2015 event!

Jack Denham, Will Paterson and Piotr Maron.

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