UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre 8th Biennial International Conference 

8th & 9th June 2017

Institute for Lifecourse and Society


Rediscovering Empathy; Values, Relationships and Practice in a Changing World

Conference Theme:


Across the globe, the perceived decline in empathy, care and social solidarity is a cause for concern.  Empathy is the ability and/or inclination to understand and experience another’s state or condition and, where appropriate, to respond through supportive actions.  Research has shown that empathy in individuals is essential to healthy social and emotional functioning and contributes to the enrichment of civic society. Conversely, where levels of empathy are compromised, studies have found an increased propensity to engage in anti-social behavior, such as bullying, aggression and offending behaviour.  For practitioners, empathy in direct relationship-based working is increasingly recognised as a cornerstone of good practice in work with children, young people and their families, while for society, there is an urgent need for empathy informed policy and action to address structural inequalities and disparities. The biennial UCFRC conference draws on national and international expertise to explore the concepts of empathy and relationship based working as they relate to policy and practice with children, youth and families.


Call for Abstracts:


This conference welcomes proposals from delegates for presentations in parallel sessions.  Abstracts are invited from the practice, policy, research and academic communities in relation to the conference themes, which are as follows:

  • Policies, programmes and practices that promote or develop empathy;
  • Building a culture of empathy in organisations and/or in the realm of interdisciplinary, interagency or collaborative working;
  • Empathy in relationship-based working;
  • Theorising or understanding empathy and relationship based practice;
  • Exploring links between empathy, inequality and social justice;
  • Research findings related to empathy and social values.

Abstracts must be submitted by March 31, 2017, be no longer than 300 words, and will only be accepted if completed using the attached template. Further details of the variety of presentation types and timelines involved can be found on this template. Expanding on past years’ parallel sessions, we are seeking a variety of presentation formats this year, to include paper presentations, Pecha-Kucha presentations and creative interactive workshops.

Abstracts will undergo a peer-reviewed process with successful applicants notified by April 28, 2017.


Submit your abstract here.