15-17 July, University of York, England

Conference Theme: ‘Beyond the echo-chamber: a vision for social policy’. #SPAConf2020

We are delighted to be hosting the 2020 Social Policy Association Annual Conference at the University of York. This year’s theme is ‘Beyond the echo-chamber: a vision for social policy’. The conference aims to invite participants to reflect on the future of the discipline within an increasingly polarised world by revisiting existing synergies highlighting the value of policy and practice, of integrating social policy domains both nationally and internationally, of reflecting on the interdependent nature of human existence and the importance of interdisciplinarity. We invite people to think about the contribution of Social Policy to policy making and remaining open and reflective to political perspectives that might challenge predominant views of social policy.

To reach beyond the echo chamber we aspire to introduce a number of key initiatives that aim to open the conference to speakers and delegates from diverse backgrounds and also support the connection of Social Policy to a wider audience. The conference will take advantage of the rich social investigative heritage that the city of York offers and also engage with local community groups.

Our plenary speakers are:

  • Professor Sue Yeandle, University of Sheffield
  • Claire Ainsley, Executive Director, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • Karl Wilding, Chief Executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)
  • Professor Jo Swaffield, University of York
  • Professor Gurminder K Bhambra, University of Sussex

The City and the University of York offer a supportive environment for researchers, academics, practitioners and activists to challenge predominant views and influence the shape of Social Policy in the UK and beyond. We hope that this year’s conference will continue to provide inspiration for analysis, synergies and debate.

The city of York benefits from good transport links from all major UK cities as well as regional airports (Manchester and Leeds-Bradford).

The call for papers is now live, with a deadline of 31st March. Please submit abstracts here.

Conference registration is open via this link. Early bird rates apply until 17th April.

For questions, or difficulties registering or submitting abstracts, please email: