On October 24 to 26, 2017, the Life Course Centre Director Professor Janeen Baxter, along with researchers and staff, welcomed social science researchers from around the globe, with delegates from America, Europe, New Zealand, and most of the Australian States and Territories. They also welcomed representatives from the Life Course Centre’s key partners and stakeholders, for what can only be described as a stimulating, thought-provoking and fascinating couple of days.
The Life Course Centre is committed to furthering our understanding of how disadvantage is transmitted within families and across generations. The conference presentations reflected this mission and ranged widely across a variety of issues facing societies today. We are grateful to all those who participated in the two-day program.
We would like to thank the following keynote speakers:
Professor Alissa Goodman, the principal investigator of the 1958 British Birth Cohort Study gave us deep insight into how cohort studies like this one allow researchers to demonstrate how (dis)advantage is accrued throughout the life course.
A presentation on the ‘geography of opportunity’, by Professor Rebekah Levine Coley enhanced our understanding of the mechanisms associated with intergenerational transmission of advantage and disadvantage. Coley talked about how economic segregation, as well as access to cultural and social resources and exposure to stressors in urban areas, may be particularly important processes by which parents’ economic resources trickle down to their children’s development.
Professor Adrian Raine provided provocative and thought-provoking data in his presentation ‘Fighting violence with better brains: a health perspective on crime’. According to Raine, while violence is a major public health problem, it is less frequently appreciated that early health disadvantages increase a child’s risk for later antisocial, violent, and criminal behaviour. He outlined a range of interventions that may improve brain functioning in a way that reduces antisocial and violent behaviour.
We are also grateful to Andrew Sporle from the University of Auckland for his insights into the New Zealand Integrated Data Infrastructure system and Professor Fiona Steele from the London School of Economics, for her discussion of new statistical models for analysing push and pull effects to explain residential choice.
A highlight of the conference was the final session coordinated and presented by some of our best Higher Degree Research students. This session featured a video of Life Course Centre students speaking about their backgrounds, their research and their aspirations; results from an online survey of conference participants; and an interactive panel discussion with LCC researchers, complete with photographic evidence of life course pathways.
One of the best things about these kinds of events is the opportunity for colleagues to network, discuss, compare and find synergies with fellow researchers and stakeholders.
Without a doubt, the International Life Course Conference 2017 was a resounding success, and our thanks go to everyone who took part or helped to organise the event.