The Family
An Inclusive Interdisciplinary Project

Due to unforeseen logistical conflicts, the conference has unfortunately been postponed to 2020. New dates to be released shortly.

Family, whether defined by blood or choice, is commonly the most significant bond in our lives. However, the meanings and functions of family vary significantly between individuals, cultures and historical periods. In the most basic terms, family is a framework by which people with biological ties cooperate to facilitate not only their own survival but also the longevity of their genetic inheritance. Members of a family are able to pool resources, share labour and protect each other in a way that is not often possible for individuals alone. On this basis, family has generally been understood in terms of a financial arrangement and as a match intended to produce hearty offspring that can survive to provide for the welfare of their parents. In this formulation, the question of whether family members feel emotional affinity for each other is a secondary consideration, if not entirely irrelevant.

Even in families related by blood—notwithstanding the old adage about blood being thicker than water—differences in beliefs and interests can result in family members drifting apart or actively ostracising each other. As evidenced by countless fiction and non-fiction books, plays, films and television shows on the subject, family run the gamut from providing positive environments that support the self-actualisation of members to exposing members to damaging, toxic influences that can have lasting effects on everyone involved.

A more rounded perspective on family recognises that the ties that bind members together have a powerful emotional dimension. Alternative families formed voluntarily through emotional ties have offered another option for connection, a family comprised of people with no blood connection bound solely on the basis of love. These alternative families offer a means of compensating for, or escaping from, toxic relationships among blood relatives.

Regardless of whether particular family experiences are positive or negative, the omnipresence of references to family in society suggests a widespread belief that family is generally regarded as beneficial, special and ultimately central to our identity as human beings. Societal pressure to have a family, the specific design and marketing of products and services for families, imperatives for environments to be ‘family-friendly’, and arguments about (re)defining or protecting the family are just some examples of the way the concept of family has acquired ideological, social and political significance that affects the general public. Family can be a unifying bond, but it can also be used as a tool for creating divisions between “us” and “them” or signalling the acceptance of certain types of relationships.

This raises important questions about the nature and benefits of family, whether the flaws associated with family can be overcome, whether ‘family’ is a social good that should be protected and, if so, what tangible action can be taken across disciplines, professions and practices to reshape the meaning of family in more positive terms. The Family conference recognises the need for inter-disciplinary dialogue, partly with a view to form an innovative selective publication and welcomes submissions dealing with any aspect of family.

Key Topics

Key topics, themes and issues for discussion may include, but are definitely not limited to:

  • Critiques/justifications of “family” as a valuable relationship
  • Cultural differences in the way “family” is understood
  • The varied social expectations of family
  • Psychological/physiological perspectives on the nature and impact of family bonds
  • Power dynamics in family relations
  • Cultural norms around family life
  • Defining and regulating the meaning of “family” in legislation and case law
  • “Family Values” as political rhetoric
  • Socio-economic and political factors that affect families
  • “Family” in religious and spiritual traditions
  • Impact of medical innovation and technology on family (IVF, surrogacy, birth control, etc.)
  • Approaches to family counselling and wellness programmes
  • Family-friendly practices in the workplace
  • Impact of family on architectural style and practice
  • Family-orientated urban planning
  • Family in war and conflict
  • Family and material consumption/production (family as consumers, family businesses, etc.)
  • Ancestry and identity
  • Crime in the family (domestic violence, child abuse/neglect, incest, etc.)
  • Ageing and family life
  • Identities within the family (ancestral lineage, (step-)motherhood, (step-)fatherhood, (step-)sibling, only-children, adopted children, extended families, etc.)
  • Alternative families/found families (gangs, fraternal organisations, fandoms, etc.)
  • Estrangement from family
  • Animal families/animals as part of human families
  • Famous families and their significance
  • Representations of families in film, television, video, literature, theatre, video games, music, visual arts
  • Family memoirs/oral history as link to the past

What to Send

The aim of this interdisciplinary conference and collaborative networking event is to bring people together and encourage creative conversations in the context of a variety of formats: papers, seminars, workshops, storytelling, performances, poster presentations, panels, q&a’s, round-tables etc.

300 word proposals, presentations, abstracts and other forms of contribution and participation should be submitted by Friday 8th March 2019. Other forms of participation should be discussed in advance with the Organising Chair.

All submissions will be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Development Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.

You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 22nd March 2019.

If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 12th July 2019.

Abstracts and proposals may be in Word, PDF, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in the programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.

E-mails should be entitled: Family Submission.

Where to Send

Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chair and the Project Administrator:

Organising Chair: Diana Medlicott:
Project Administrator:

Details and Information


Registration Fees

The cost for attending the conference is £295/€335.
(Please note: in exceptional circumstances this may fluctuate depending on the £ - € exchange rate).
This includes:

~ conference registration fee
~ Book of Abstracts and Keywords
~ a discounted rate for any of the outputs emerging from the event
~ Saturday coffee/tea on arrival
~ Saturday morning coffee and biscuits
~ Saturday lunch
~ Saturday afternoon tea and biscuits
~ Saturday evening wine and drinks reception
~ drinks in the conference room
~ Sunday morning coffee and biscuits
~ Sunday lunch
~ Sunday afternoon tea and biscuits
~ drinks in the conference room

Calendar of time-lines and deadlines

Friday 8th March 2019
Proposal Submission deadline

Friday 22nd March 2019
Acceptance/Rejection notification

Friday 12th April 2019
Booking Form Submissions

Friday 26th April 2019
Invoicing Complete
Circulation of First Draft Programme

Monday 27th May 2019
Final date for payment

Friday 21st June 2019
Circulation of Revised Programme

Monday 22nd July 2019
Final programme to website and to printing.

Friday 12th July 2019
Full draft of presentation to be submitted.

The conference is being held at the Real Palácio Hotel Lisbon.

Rua Tomás Ribeiro 115
1050-228 Lisboa - Portugal
Tel: (+351) 213 199 500; Fax: (+ 351) 213 199 501

We have reserved rooms for delegates at the conference hotel on favourable terms and conditions. On having a proposal accepted for presentation at the conference, and on the completion and submission of a booking form, a special booking form will be sent to you along with instructions on how to use it in order to access these terms..

Standard Room - Singe Occupancy
€110 per night including breakfast and all taxes

Standard Room - Double/Twin Person Occupancy
€120 per night including breakfast and all taxes

Details will be sent to delegates on how to access these rates once receipt of the booking form has been confirmed.

Accommodation bookings are made directly with the hotel, not Progressive Connexions. All payments for accommodation are made directly to the hotel as well. A credit card will be required on booking.

You are free to find alternative accommodation. We are offering these arrangements as a convenience to folks who would like to be at the conference venue.

The conferences, meetings and events we organise are not single ‘one-off’ events. They are part of a continual stream of conversations, activities and projects which grow and evolve in different directions. At the conclusion of every meeting, the question needs to be considered: What happens next? After all, there is little personal, educational or professional benefit in gathering people together from around the world and sharing all sorts of fascinating conversations if nothing further is going to happen as a result!

The possible ranges of ‘outputs’ which can productively flow from our meetings is a dynamic response to the dialogues, issues and engagements that take place during the events themselves. And as our meetings are attended by folks who come from different backgrounds, contexts, professions and vocations, what people would like to see developed as a result of our time spent together will always be potentially diverse, fluid and appropriate to what took place.

One range of possible outputs involves publication as a way of continuing the work of a project. Where publishing is a possibility, it is directly referenced in the Call for Papers, Presentations and Participation. Other possible outputs may include, but are not limited to:
~ social media platforms such as Facebook pages and groups, blogs, wikis, Twitter, as vehicles for continuing dialogues, disseminating knowledge and information and bringing new people into the work of the project
~ reviews; reports; policy statements; position papers/statements; declarations of principles
~ proposals for meetings, workshops, courses, schools
~ collaboration gateways, platforms and media
~ personal and professional development opportunities: faculty development; mentoring programmes; cultural cruises; consultancies; summer schools; personal enrichment programmes

The range of outputs is dependent on how little or how much you would like to become involved. Don’t let the end of the meeting signal the end of your involvement with the project. Please get involved, bounce ideas around, think out loud – we’d love to hear about what you’d like to do and are always happy to talk about what is possible.

Payment Process
Participants must complete the online booking form by Friday 24th November 2017 at the latest.
After the deadline has expired, an invoice will be drawn up and sent to you; the invoice will contain all the necessary information for you to pay by bank transfer, cheque, Paypal or credit card.
The invoice must be settled by Monday 27th May 2019.

It is the responsibility of delegates to ensure that payment is made by this date. Failure to receive payment will result in your booking being cancelled.

Payment Methods
There are a number of ways payment can be made.

Payment can be made by cheque, in GBP (£ sterling) only and must be drawn against a bank with headquarters in the United Kingdom. Cheque’s should be made payable to ‘Progressive Connexions’ and sent, with a copy of the booking form, to:

Dr Rob Fisher
Progressive Connexions
Priory House
149b Wroslyn Road
Oxfordshire. OX29 8HR
United Kingdom

We cannot and will not accept cheques made payable in currencies other than GBP Sterling.

Bank Transfer Payment may be made using bank transfer. There will be an option to pay in either GBP (£ Sterling) or Euro (€). Full details to enable a bank transfer are made available on your conference invoice. If paying by this method, you must agree to pay all charges at the sending and receiving banks.

By Invoice
You may request that an invoice be sent to you which you may forward to your institution. It is your responsibility to ensure that the invoice is paid before the payment deadline.

Your invoice will include a link to pay through a secure and encrypted online payment system. Please click the link to use this method. Please also be aware that credit card charges apply.

Credit Card
Payment may also be made using credit card. We cannot accept American Express or Discovery as a form of payment.

Payment may also be made using Paypal. If paying by this method please send us the email account connected with your Paypal account and we will forward you a request for payment.

We strongly recommend that all delegates take out some form of travel or other insurance in relation any and all travel arrangements or accommodation booked in regard to the conference. This should include cancellation insurance in the event of unforeseen or unexpected circumstances.

All fees are payable in advance. No delegate will be permitted entry to the conference if an invoice is still unpaid.

What’s so Special?

A fresh, friendly, dynamic format – at Progressive Connexions we are dedicated to breaking away from the stuffy, old-fashion conference formats, where endless presentations are read aloud off PowerPoints. We work to bring you an interactive format, where exchange of experience and information is alternated with captivating workshops, engaging debates and round tables, time set aside for getting to know each other and for discussing common future projects and initiatives, all in a warm, relaxed, egalitarian atmosphere.


A chance to network with international professionals – the beauty of our interdisciplinary events is that they bring together professionals from all over the world and from various fields of activity, all joined together by a shared passion. Not only will the exchange of experience, knowledge and stories be extremely valuable in itself, but we seek to create lasting, ever-growing communities around our projects, which will become a valuable resource for those belonging to them.


A chance to be part of constructing change – There is only one thing we love as much as promoting knowledge: promoting real, lasting social change by encouraging our participants to take collective action, under whichever form is most suited to their needs and expertise (policy proposals, measuring instruments, research projects, educational materials, etc.) We will support all such actions in the aftermath of the event as well, providing a platform for further discussions, advice from the experts on our Project Advisory Team and various other tools and intellectual resources, as needed.


An opportunity to discuss things that matter to you – Our events are not only about discussing how things work in the respective field, but also about how people work in that field – what are the struggles, problems and solutions professionals have found in their line of work, what are the areas where better communication among specialists is needed and how the interdisciplinary approach can help bridge those gaps and help provide answers to questions from specific areas of activity.


An unforgettable experience – When participating in a Progressive Connexions event, there is a good chance you will make some long-time friends. Our group sizes are intimate, our venues are comfortable and relaxing and our event locations are suited to the history and culture of the event.


Progressive Connexions believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract or proposal for presentation.


Please note: Progressive Connexions is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence, nor can we offer discounts off published rates and fees.

Progressive Connexions is a not-for-profit network inspiring inclusive interdisciplinary research, publishing and collaboration