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New Frontiers of Family

Abstract image of a family
The psychological implications of New Family Forms
March 2016 - June 2016

This seminar series running between March and June in 2016 has been funded by the British Psychological Society. The series has been organised by: he series is currently being organised by: Dr Naomi Moller, Open University, Dr Victoria Clarke and Dr. Nikki Hayfield of the University of the West of England, Bristol, and Dr Fiona Tasker, Birkbeck, University of London

The series aims to challenge the traditional and increasingly out-of-date image of the family provided by most undergraduate psychology textbooks and programmes. As such, the purpose of the seminar series is to explore the psychological and social implications of family forms that have emerged or become increasingly prominent in the last few decades through, for example, legislative changes or the development of new reproductive technologies. This includes a wide variety of family formations: from families in which children are conceived through the use of reproductive technologies such as embryo donation (first recorded in Britain in the early 1990s) to same-sex parented families in which the children were adopted (the provisions of the Adoption & Children Act that made adoption by same-sex couples possible came into force in 2005). These new family formations are not limited to families with children however; voluntary childlessness is increasingly visible in the wider culture, as are family forms with more than two parents, such as polyamorous and lesbian and gay co-parented families.

The seminar series will explore the psychological meanings and experiences of familial relationships that extend beyond the traditional prerogatives of genetic kinship and the nuclear family unit. Furthermore, because psychology arguably lags behind other social science disciplines in researching new family formations, distinguished colleagues from related disciplines (such as social work and sociology) will be invited to contribute to the seminar series to provide insight into family forms that have yet to be considered by psychologists, and to assist psychologists working in the area to set future agendas for their research. Seminar speakers include key researchers working in the area including the series key note speakers: Professor Susan Golombok (Cambridge University); Professor Olga van den Akker (Middlesex University); Professor Eric Blyth, University of Huddersfield; and Associate Professor Damien Riggs Flinders University, Australia.

The seminar programme is available here.

The slides to presentation two are avaliable at the bottom of the event webpage.

Learn more about the research programme: Intimate Relationships