Programme

The European Conference on the Social Sciences 2017 (ECSS2017) is a multidisciplinary conference held concurrently with The European Conference on Sustainability, Energy & the Environment (ECSEE2017). 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.


  • Links Between Oral and General Health: Putting the Mouth Back in the Body
    Links Between Oral and General Health: Putting the Mouth Back in the Body
    Keynote Presentation: Dr Georgios Tsakos
  • Inclusive Innovation in International Development: The Case of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID)
    Inclusive Innovation in International Development: The Case of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID)
    Keynote Presentation: Dr Anke Schwittay
  • Sustaining the City
    Sustaining the City
    Plenary Panel Presentation: Duncan Baker-Brown, Professor Anne Boddington & Cat Fletcher
  • East Meets West: Innovation and Discovery in Education Reform at an Elite Japanese University
    East Meets West: Innovation and Discovery in Education Reform at an Elite Japanese University
    Featured Presentation: Professor Grant Black
  • East Meets West – Healthy, Active and Beautiful Aging in Europe
    East Meets West – Healthy, Active and Beautiful Aging in Europe
    Featured Panel Presentation: Dr Evangelia Chrysikou
  • Volunteer Tourism and the Creation of “Volunteerscapes” in Thailand
    Volunteer Tourism and the Creation of “Volunteerscapes” in Thailand
    Spotlight Presentation: Professor Nick Kontogeorgopoulos
Links Between Oral and General Health: Putting the Mouth Back in the Body
Keynote Presentation: Dr Georgios Tsakos

The debate about the links between oral and general health is not new. Indeed, it is over a century since the theory of focal sepsis linked oral sepsis and tooth extractions with endocarditis. More recently, a growing body of literature has linked oral and general health; dental caries has been associated with growth and development among children, while tooth loss and periodontal (gum) disease have been linked with different conditions among middle-aged and older adults. With the demographic transition towards an ageing society, promoting “healthy ageing” has become a key priority for policy makers and health professionals. This implies optimising opportunities for good health and functioning, so that older people can remain independent, take an active part in society and enjoy good quality of life. The role of oral health in healthy ageing is essential, with adults now keeping their natural teeth into old age and having increased treatment needs.

This presentation reviews the epidemiological evidence on the burden of oral diseases on older adults and focuses on the associations between oral conditions and general health. The importance of maintaining good oral health and a functional dentition into older ages is highlighted in terms of general health, physical and cognitive function, dementia and well-being. Oral diseases share common risk factors with most chronic (non-communicable) diseases and this creates considerable opportunities for interventions and policies to promote healthy ageing. Public health interventions focusing on the broader social determinants of health across the life course present the way forward.

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.

Inclusive Innovation in International Development: The Case of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID)
Keynote Presentation: Dr Anke Schwittay

Over the last decade, development institutions from the Gates Foundation to the UN to social enterprises have embraced innovation as necessary to increase the impact of their work. In spite of this broad agreement, there is less understanding of how this actually works in practice. In my talk, I will introduce the UK’s Department of International Development’s (DFID) flagship innovation programme to examine some of the opportunities and constraints resulting from innovative practices in development. Amplify is an online crowdsourcing platform that aims to bring new actors into development and to connect them better with poor people, in order to design more effective solutions. It has succeeded in opening up funding opportunities to small, community-based organisations and in making application processes more flexible, but remains constrained by bureaucratic and fiscal structures.

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.

Sustaining the City
Plenary Panel Presentation: Duncan Baker-Brown, Professor Anne Boddington & Cat Fletcher

'Sustaining the City' will explore the interrelationships that the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Brighton has developed over the past decade within the city. With a vision to turn the College 'inside out’ and make a tangible difference to creative and sustainable learning and research for students and staff, we have worked in partnership with Brighton & Hove City Council for over a decade contributing both tangible exemplars and research support that underpins the city's One Planet Living principles and its sustainability action plan. Building from the premise that our city is our campus, our canvas and our laboratory, we have worked closely with local activists, communities, politicians, contractors, and other educational providers, to engage and extend experiential learning opportunities for all.

The Brighton Waste House, conceived by Architect and academic Duncan Baker Brown, supported by the University and managed through the Dean of College, Professor Anne Boddington, is our most ambitious project to date. Over 360 design and construction students, supported by their tutors, help build "Europe's first permanent building made of 90% discarded material", proving "that there is no such this as waste, only stuff in the wrong place!"

Together with Waste House partner Cat Fletcher (co-founder of FREEGLE UK), Baker-Brown will discuss the rationale behind this project and it's on-going legacies. Fletcher the self-styled "resource goddess' has set up numerous social enterprises, with Brighton & Hove City Council and others, will also discuss her recent work raising awareness of waste reduction strategies with organisations such as the Glastonbury music festival.


Visit to The Brighton Waste House

For those interested in visiting The Brighton Waste House, please meet in the lobby of the Jurys Inn Brighton Waterfront at 17:00 and we will walk over as a group, returning to the hotel at 19:00.

The Brighton Waste House investigates strategies for constructing a contemporary, low-energy, permanent building using over 85% “waste” material drawn from household and construction sites.

Completed in 2014, the building is Europe's first permanent public building made almost entirely from material thrown away or not wanted. It is also an EPC “A” rated low-energy building.

This guided tour for conference delegates will be led by Duncan Baker-Brown, the architect of The Brighton Waste House, who will also discuss The Brighton Waste house as a complement to the Plenary Panel Presentation on “Sustaining the City” with Professor Anne Boddington and Cat Fletcher.

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.

East Meets West: Innovation and Discovery in Education Reform at an Elite Japanese University
Featured Presentation: Professor Grant Black

Japan is one of the first countries to experience simultaneously an aging population of boomers along with a declining birth rate. Today, more than 25% of the population is over 65. Japan is at crossroads in time where there are just about twice as many old people as there are young people. Stresses on the labour market resulting from population decline and the shift to a services economy have prompted the Japanese government to pursue an aggressive strategy to reorganise tertiary education. University reform is a policy focus of the Abe government in three areas: innovation, business development, and global human resource skills training. Historically in Japan achievement in these areas has been almost exclusively the domain of industry. Reform policies that seek to promote innovation, development and global skills in the university setting represent a transfer of responsibility from industry to education and thereby a re-envisioning of the function of the university in Japanese society. The purpose of this paper is to explore how education reform policy is translated into practice at an elite Japanese university. The paper finds that the demands on the university to cater to divergent customers are greatly at odds: the university is called upon to prepare students for the domestic workforce, accommodate government aspirations for internationalisation, become a centre for innovation and research excellence, and simultaneously be a positive force in the local community, all the while restructuring organisational operations to accommodate harmonization with elite international networks.

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.

East Meets West – Healthy, Active and Beautiful Aging in Europe
Featured Panel Presentation: Dr Evangelia Chrysikou

Featured Speaker: Dr Evangelia Chrysikou
Moderator: Dr Joseph Haldane

How any society deals with aging can be a contentious issue, one on which questions of culture, convenience and even expedience are brought to bear. Economic prosperity and peace in developed countries has lead to unprecedented levels of healthcare provision for a population that, as a result, is living far longer. Coupled with falling birthrates, Western Europe and Japan are witnessing demographic changes that bring unparalleled challenges but also unexpected opportunities for aging populations, as innovations and discoveries help people lead active and healthy lives.

This panel will provide an overview of the demographic situation in different countries and cultures in Europe and beyond to compare and contrast outlooks for the aged. It will also examine the concepts of healthy, active and beautiful aging.

*A complementary panel will be held on the same theme at the Asian Conference Series 2017 in Kobe, Japan.

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.

Volunteer Tourism and the Creation of “Volunteerscapes” in Thailand
Spotlight Presentation: Professor Nick Kontogeorgopoulos

Volunteer tourism is a form of travel that combines traditional leisure pursuits with opportunities to volunteer in an organised fashion. The popularity of volunteer tourism stems from many factors, but the one motivation that appears in virtually every study is a desire for object authenticity, defined as the authenticity of toured objects, people, and settings. The purpose of this paper is to explore the role played by object authenticity in the motivations and experiences of volunteer tourists in the province of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. Based on interviews with 62 volunteers and 15 directors, managers and staff members from volunteer tourism organisations based in Chiang Mai, this paper argues that volunteer tourists conceive of object authenticity both as a package of cultural stereotypes focused on authentic people, and as authentic backstage settings where “real” Thai reside. Aside from demonstrating that the desire for object authenticity is the central motivation for international volunteers in northern Thailand, this study indicates that the pursuit of object authenticity is complicated by language barriers, the potential staging of authenticity on the part of locals, and the need to balance familiarity with alterity in the carefully selected “voluntourscapes” in which volunteer tourism takes place.

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.