The Social Policy Association (SPA) holds an international academic conference each summer. This is a key time for the UK and international social policy community to share current research. The conference regularly attracts up to 250 delegates who are researchers, teachers, students and practitioners of social policy from the UK and overseas. We come together to share research, promote social policy in teaching and learning, and to advance the role of research in policy making, practice and wider public debates.

2022 Conference: Inter-generationality: Challenges and Prospects

This year’s annual Social Policy Association conference will take place at Swansea University (Singleton Park Campus) from 6-8 July 2022 on the theme of ‘Inter-generationality: Challenges and Prospects’. It will be delivered in a ‘hybrid’ format so that key parts of the conference will also be accessible online.

*Please see information on conference registration below, and draft conference programme here*

Inter-generationality: Challenges and Prospects

Keynote speakers:           

Prof Chiara Saraceno (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung)

Baroness Minouche Shafik (London School of Economics) 

We have invited participants to reflect on the theme of inter-generationality from all available angles, in any national context – and welcome contributions from researchers at all stages of their careers, and from any disciplinary perspective relevant to social policy in theory and practice.

While every era faces questions about the treatment of different generations, in ours they have become especially pressing.  Lengthening lifespans, changing birth-rates and an increasing awareness of the implications of past and current policies for future generations all have implications for how we understand the scope, priorities and values of social policy.  And talk of inter-generational clashes of interest – between, for example, ‘baby-boomers’ and the generations which have followed – is high in the public consciousness.  The panning-out of these issues and trends is inflected by other social divisions – for example class, gender and ‘race’ and ethnicity – and has been exacerbated by challenges to previous presumptions about the provision of social and public services, and to the institutional legacies of past generations.  As elsewhere, these trends and impacts have been highlighted all the more starkly by the experience of the Covid-19 pandemic, and political changes such as Brexit and the emergence of right-wing populism.  And they touch upon every area of social policy, often unsettling previous assumptions and posing fresh questions about how we view the role of welfare states, the relationship between family and state, our responsibilities to the vulnerable and the values which inform decisions about the allocation of resources and the nature of services themselves.

In all these senses, inter-generational issues are at the heart of many of the most urgent challenges faced by contemporary societies.

About our keynote speakers

Professor Chiara Saraceno was formerly Professor of Sociology of the Family at the University of Torino and Research Professor at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung, where she retains a visiting role, as well as being Honorary Fellow at the Collegio Carlo Alberto.  Through a research career spanning 50 years, she has been recognised as one of Europe’s foremost analysts of intergenerational issues, and has fulfilled consultative roles with the Italian government, the European Commission, and the OECD.  She has been honoured for her work as a Grand Ufficiale (Great Knight) of the Italian Republic.

Baroness Minouche Shafik is Director of the London School of Economics, having previously served as the youngest ever Vice President of the World Bank, Permanent Secretary of the Department for International Development, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, and Deputy Governor of the Bank of England.  She is author of the widely acclaimed What We Owe to Each Other (2021), which makes a case for a new social contract fit for the 21st century.

Other plenary events include a panel discussion on the conference theme featuring:                                   

Rocio Cifuentes (Children’s Commissioner for Wales)

Helena Herklots (Older People’s Commissioner for Wales)

Sophie Howe (Future Generations Commissioner for Wales)

Abstract submission: closed.

Draft conference programme: view and download here.

The conference programme is provisionally scheduled  to run from 12.30pm on 6 July, to 2.30pm on 8 July.

Registration and Conference Rates

Registration to the SPA Conference 2022 is now open!

Early bird deadline: Wednesday 18 May 

Registration closes:

For speakers / those requiring accommodation: Wednesday 15 June

For non-speakers / those not requiring accommodation: Wednesday 29 June

We have worked hard to keep registration rates low again this year. Due to the ‘hybrid’ nature of the conference, we are offering two overarching rates – an online rate and an in-person rate. Conference fees are also differentiated according to early-bird, membership, PhD rate and, for in-person attendance, day rate.

You can find all the conference rates here (PDF).

Please note that the full conference rate includes the conference dinner and annual awards ceremony, as well as
accommodation for your preferred number of nights.

The conference will take place on the university’s Singleton Park Campus.

If you have any queries about registration rates, please email

Past conferences:

SPA Annual Conference Online, 2021.

Keynote speakers: Mark Drakeford, AM; Professor Sue Yeandle; Professor Shahra Razavi.

Programme: Click here to download


rain boots on a fence SPA Digital Festival, 2020.

Keynote Speakers: Alison Garnham and Gurminder Bhambra.
Programme: Click here to download.

Durham, 2019.
Theme: Securing the Future: the Challenge for Social Policy.
Keynote Speakers: John Solomos, Claire Alexander, Gary Craig, Nasar Meer, Coretta Philips, Ellen M. Immergut, Daniel Béland.
Programme: Click here to download.

York, 2018.
Theme: In the Shadow of the 2008 Crisis: Social Policy Ten Years On.
Keynote Speakers: Eftychia Achtsioglou, Bea Cantillon, Hartley Dean.
Programme: Click here to download.

Durham, 2017.
Theme: Social Inequalities: Research, Theory and Policy.
Keynote Speakers: Andrew Sayer, Wolfgang Streeck, Saskia Sassen.
Programme: Click here to download.

2016 Conference
Belfast, 2016.
Theme: Social Policy: Radical, Resistant, Resolute.
Keynote Speakers:Tess Ridge, Kathryn Edin, David Lewis.
Programme: Click here to read.

Visit Belfast
Belfast, 2015.
Theme: Social Policy in the Spotlight: Change, Continuity and Challenge.
Keynote Speakers: Mary O’Hara, Jane Jenson, Colin Crouch, David Donnison.

Conference 2014
Sheffield, 2014.
Theme: Social Policy Confronting Change: Resistance, Resilience and Radicalism.

Previous Conferences
Previous Conferences
 Details on past SPA conferences before 2014

SPA Conference 2014
If you have a general query about SPA conferences, please get in touch with us via We are always keen to hear from people in institutions that might be interested in hosting a future SPA conference.