Programme

The European Conference on the Social Sciences (ECSS) is a multidisciplinary conference held concurrently with The European Conference on Sustainability, Energy & the Environment (ECSEE). Keynote, Featured and Spotlight Speakers will provide a variety of perspectives from different academic and professional backgrounds. Registration for either of these conferences permits attendance in both.

This page provides details of presentations and other programming. For more information about presenters, please visit the Speakers page.


  • HIV – Environmental Phenomenon or Bodily Harm?
    HIV – Environmental Phenomenon or Bodily Harm?
    Keynote Presentation: Professor Matthew Weait
  • Contemporary Continuities: Racism, Populism and Migration
    Contemporary Continuities: Racism, Populism and Migration
    Keynote Presentation: Dr Eddie Bruce-Jones
  • Innovation for Low Carbon Energy: Are Power Utilities Ready?
    Innovation for Low Carbon Energy: Are Power Utilities Ready?
    Keynote Presentation: Dr Tom Houghton
  • IAFOR Silk Road Initiative Information Session
    IAFOR Silk Road Initiative Information Session
  • IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2017
    IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2017
    Award Winners Screening

Previous Programming

View details of programming for past ECSS conferences via the links below.

HIV – Environmental Phenomenon or Bodily Harm?
Keynote Presentation: Professor Matthew Weait

Across the world, countries criminalize people who intentionally or recklessly expose others to the risk of acquiring HIV, or who in fact transmit HIV to them. The rationale for such criminalization typically centers on the harmfulness of HIV - and that it is not only morally wrong to cause, or risk causing, HIV infection but that the state has a legitimate justification for using the criminal law in the service of protecting and promoting public health. In this talk, I will explore the basis for, and the history of, the criminalization of HIV, but argue that – for the purposes of the criminal law, but not for those relating to the allocation of resources for prevention and treatment – it may be possible to "de-harm" HIV by acknowledging that it is, fundamentally, an environmental phenomenon and should be treated as such. The argument is, and is intended to be, a provocative one, but one which might enable us to reduce and ultimately eliminate HIV-related stigma – something that is demonstrably correlated with a poorer health outcome for people living with HIV, and those in key populations (such as drug users and sex workers) who are at increased risk of infection.

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.

Contemporary Continuities: Racism, Populism and Migration
Keynote Presentation: Dr Eddie Bruce-Jones

From a legal-historical perspective, it is not difficult to draw the lines from the early 20th-Century populism of the great wars to contemporary expressions of populism in Europe and the United States: from the scaling back of civil liberties, to the broadening forms of surveillance, to the curtailment of free movement, to an emphasis on the carceral capacity of the state. However, it is important not to provincialise or exceptionalise this social and political trajectory. It is imperative to consider global forms of colonialism in this context as productive of the continuities of racism and populism. It is equally important to examine the ways in which such continuities we now face themselves affect the ways we produce knowledge within the academy.

In this talk, Bruce-Jones will introduce several vignettes from his research on British colonial indenture in South Asia and racial discrimination in Europe to unpack how historical colonial racial and labour relations shape not only the way we view our history and contemporary citizenship, but also the very terms in which we are able to gain access to that history as researchers, writers and thinkers. He will engage with law, social science, critical theory and literature and ultimately posit that some of the most meaningful questions we ask of our work as academics in the 21st Century demand a constant triangulation between and transcendence of the rigid constraints of our disciplines.

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.

Innovation for Low Carbon Energy: Are Power Utilities Ready?
Keynote Presentation: Dr Tom Houghton

The electricity sector is experiencing a period of unprecedented change with factors such as the shift to low carbon energy and increasingly volatile fossil fuel markets creating challenging conditions for established utilities. Often seen as poorly equipped to meet these challenges, utilities must nevertheless innovate in order to address this squeeze, frequently referred to in terms of a “death-spiral” for incumbent firms. In this paper, we discuss different approaches to innovation, focusing particularly on the role of strategic networks in providing firms with cost-effective means to meet the challenges associated with issues such as shortening development cycles. We present some examples of how companies in the power sector are attempting to use these approaches and discuss the implications of this in terms of approaches to collaboration, capacity building and internal processes.

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.

IAFOR Silk Road Initiative Information Session

As an organization, IAFOR’s mission is to promote international exchange, facilitate intercultural awareness, encourage interdisciplinary discussion, and generate and share new knowledge. In 2018, we are excited to launch a major new and ambitious international, intercultural and interdisciplinary research initiative which uses the silk road trade routes as a lens through which to study some of the world’s largest historical and contemporary geopolitical trends, shifts and exchanges.

IAFOR is headquartered in Japan, and the 2018 inauguration of this project aligns with the 150th Anniversary of the Meiji Restoration of 1868, when Japan opened its doors to the trade and ideas that would precipitate its rapid modernisation and its emergence as a global power. At a time when global trends can seem unpredictable, and futures fearful, the IAFOR Silk Road Initiative gives the opportunity to revisit the question of the impact of international relations from a long-term perspective.

This ambitious initiative will encourage individuals and institutions working across the world to support and undertake research centring on the contact between countries and regions in Europe and Asia – from Gibraltar to Japan – and the maritime routes that went beyond, into the South-East Continent and the Philippines, and later out into the Pacific Islands and the United States. The IAFOR Silk Road Initiative will be concerned with all aspects of this contact, and will examine both material and intellectual traces, as well as consequences.

For more information about the IAFOR Silk Road Initiative, click here.

IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2017
Award Winners Screening

The IAFOR Documentary Photography Award was launched by The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) in 2015 as an international photography award that seeks to promote and assist in the professional development of emerging documentary photographers and photojournalists. The award has benefitted since the outset from the expertise of an outstanding panel of internationally renowned photographers, including Dr Paul Lowe as the Founding Judge, and Ed Kashi, Monica Allende, Simon Roberts, Jocelyn Bain Hogg, Simon Norfolk and Emma Bowkett as Guest Judges. Now in its third year, the award has already been widely recognised by those in the industry and has been supported by World Press Photo, Metro Imaging, MediaStorm, Think Tank Photo, University of the Arts London, RMIT University, British Journal of Photography, The Centre for Documentary Practice, and the Medill School of Journalism.

As an organisation, IAFOR’s mission is to promote international exchange, facilitate intercultural awareness, encourage interdisciplinary discussion, and generate and share new knowledge. In keeping with this mission, in appreciation of the great value of photography as a medium that can be shared across borders of language, culture and nation, and to influence and inform our academic work and programmes, the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award was launched as a competition that would help underline the importance of the organisation’s aims, and would promote and recognise best practice and excellence.

Winners of the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2017 were announced at The European Conference on Media, Communication & Film 2017 (EuroMedia2017) in Brighton, UK. The award follows the theme of the EuroMedia conference, with 2017’s theme being “History, Story, Narrative”. In support of up-and-coming talent, the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award is free to enter.

Access to the Award Winners Screening is included in the conference registration fee. For more information about the award, click here.

Image | From the project Single Mothers of Afghanistan by IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2017 Grand Prize Winner, Kiana Hayeri.