Published: July 18, 2018

The Life Course Centre was prominently represented at this month’s Society for Longitudinal and Lifecourse Studies (SLLS) 2018 International Conference at the University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy.

A total of 10 Life Course Centre researchers, representing all four of our Australian university nodes, attended this leading international conference which was focused on the theme of ‘Qualitative and Quantitative Longitudinal Research on Social Change and its Impacts’.

The Life Course Centre presented two symposia at the conference on ‘Education, Schooling, and Wellbeing Over the Life Course’ and ‘Health and Wellbeing Across the Life Course’.

These symposia were very well received, with Life Course Centre researchers showcasing their latest findings in areas such as educational outcomes for disadvantaged children, the causes of school absences, long-term outcomes of poor childhood health, outcomes of teenage pregnancy, sexual identity and wellbeing, and risk taking amongst adolescents.

As well as our two hosted symposia, the Life Course Centre group was a strong and visible presence throughout the conference, which attracted approximately 300 attendees from around the world, and participated actively in the discussions in many sessions.

Attending events such as this is an important means of profiling the Life Course Centre to an international audience, and the networking and contacts established will be invaluable for our research and activities going forward.

The Life Course Centre researchers who attended the SLLS 2018 International Conference were (pictured above from left): Daniel Christensen (University of Western Australia), Jack Lam (The University of Queensland), Guyonne Kalb (University of Melbourne), Tina Rampino (The University of Queensland), Janeen Baxter (The University of Queensland), Agnieszka Tymula (University of Sydney), Paco Perales (The University of Queensland), Kirsten Hancock (University of Western Australia), Sophie Aiyer (The University of Queensland), and Alice Campbell (The University of Queensland).

Another highlight of the SLLS 2018 International Conference was the keynote address by Professor Ross Macmillan of the University of Milan-Bicocca.

Ross delivered a very thoughtful address about the need for life course and longitudinal research to address causality rather than just associations and correlations.

Critical of randomised control trials, which he suggested ignore the reality of people’s lives, he advocated for more consideration of historical variations and contexts. This includes studies that replicate the same models in different contexts, such as different countries.

Ross also argued for the importance of rich in-depth qualitative work which can also provide insight into causality and contexts. Overall, he argued for greater consideration of two important life course principles – human agency and socio-historical context.

The 2019 SLLS International Conference will be held on the 25th-27th September 2019 at the University of Potsdam, Germany.