The SPA’s 2023 conference is hosted by the University of Nottingham, and takes place from Wednesday 5 – Friday 7 July 2023.

The joint organisers are Dr Steve Iafrati and Dr Lee Gregory from the University’s Social Policy department.

The theme of the conference is ‘Rising Inequalities and Poverty: What Role for Social Policy?’ You can read more about this theme and background information on the SPA website here.

Hosted in Nottingham, it is perhaps an appropriate time and place for us to reflect on the merits of distributive justice and welfare once championed by the city’s famous former resident, Robin Hood.

For environmental reasons, we are aiming to make this conference paper-free where possible.

Please note: It is likely that university accommodation will fill up and we will only be able to book conference attendance without accommodation. To book accommodation separately, you may wish to try Visit Nottingham’s accommodation search at


We want to see your comments and conference photos from the sessions and meeting up with colleagues from other institutions.

We also look forward to seeing photos of your journeys to conference and to see who is coming the furthest.

Please use #SPAconf2023 and feel free to mention @SocialPolicyUK

Where will I be staying?

A map of the University of Nottingham’s Park Campus can be found at

For those with conference accommodation in halls of residence, the accommodation will be in Rutland Hall (letter ‘H’ on the north-west of the map) and Cavandish Hall (letter ‘C’ on the west of the map)

Check In is from 3pm

Check out is by 10am

For those with hotel accommodation, this will be hosted at the Jubilee Hotel on the University’s Jubilee campus. This is approximately 1.5 miles (2.4km) from the University Park. We are currently organising shuttle transport between the hotel and conference location. The hotel is number 50 on this map –

To book in, please go to the Jubilee hotel, or if staying on campus, please go the courtyard area at Rutland Hall.

Check in is from 3pm

Check out by 11am.

How do I get the University?

We strongly recommend using public transport to access the conference.

University Park – From the city centre, there are a number of buses to the west of the campus and there is a tram that stops at the south entrance of University Park, which a 10-15 minute walk to the accommodation. A taxi should be about £10-13 and would take about 15 minutes. Orange Line bus 34 will take you to the campus and Orange Line bus 36 will take you to the west entrance.

Jubilee Hotel* – From the city centre, there are multiple buses or it is possible to get the tram and walk. In terms of taxis, it is approximately the same distance as University Park. Pink Line buses 28 and 30 will both take you the Jubilee hotel.

*If relevant to you, please see information on coaches between the university and the Jubilee Hotel at the bottom of this page.

Where will the conference sessions take place?

The plenary sessions will take place in the University’s Law and Social Science building. This is building number 7 on the University Park map. Most of the break-out sessions will also be in this building, but there will be some sessions in the neighbouring Monica Partridge building, which is number 62 on the map.

There will be student helpers on hand should you feel lost.

Conference programme

The conference programme is available here.

We are using Oxford Abstracts for our programme, which is online and kept updated live should there be any last minute changes.

Conference registration

The registration desk is located in the Atrium of the Law & Social Sciences building best accessed through the north entrance of the building. This will be available all three days of the conference. Please register and collect name badges from the desk and bag storage will be available for those who need it prior to check in or post check out of accommodation.

Conference schedule outline

Registration opens on the 5th July at 9:00am with the welcome starting about 10:45 and into the first plenary. The afternoon will consist of lunch and two paper streams. The evening will involve the SPA AGM and the conference dinner.

On the 6th July paper session start from 9am (two sessions) prior to lunch. After lunch there will be a plenary paper session. After the paper session there will be a drinks reception and BBQ.

On the 7th two paper sessions in the morning followed by a plenary and lunch from 1:30, the formal close of conference will be at the end of the plenary

Who are the plenary speakers?

We are very pleased to say that we have an outstanding range of plenary speakers.

1 – The first plenary is a panel session with presentations and questions from the floor. The panel will comprise:

2 – The second day plenary will be presented by Professor Danny Dorling. Professor Dorling has written widely about equality and inequality and is the Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford.

3 – The third day plenary speaker is the Selection of the Social Policy Association journal editors. We are very pleased to announce that they have chosen Anna Coote from the New Economics Foundation.

How will presentations work? 

Open stream paper sessions are 1hr 30mins long. Most sessions have 3 papers some have 4. As such we are suggesting 20 mins per paper and 5-10 mins for questions variable by the number of papers per session. We try our best to match papers by topic when organising the conference but this is not always possible.

If you are in a specific symposium we would suggest speaking to the organiser of the symposium about how they plan to run the session.

There is not set format for papers, most presenters use PowerPoint which you are encouraged to upload into Oxford abstracts in advance so it is accessible at the conference for you to present.

You are welcome to also submit a full paper. Most delegates, historically, do not, but it is encouraged for PhD students who wish to be considered for the best paper prize at next, presented at the 2024 conference.

ECR/PGR session

A welcome and information session for ECR and PGR colleagues attending the conference will take place 9:30am-10:30am on Wednesday the 5th of July. It will be held in room B1 in the Law and Social Science building, which is close to the registration point.

The session is an opportunity to meet other ECR/PGR other colleagues, and to hear from and ask questions to three speakers about their career paths, all in a friendly, relaxed and supportive environment. The session will be chaired by Sade Ajose and Carolyn Snell from the Social Policy Association’s executive committee.

The session will start with a brief outline of what the SPA is and how it can help you – giving information and advice about funding opportunities and other ways to get involved with the organisation. We will then hear briefly from three speakers: Gideon Calder (Swansea University), Ewan Robertson (University of Edinburgh), and Vikki McCall (University of Stirling). They are all members of the SPA and are at different stages of their career. They will speak briefly about how they got to where they are now, how the SPA has helped them over the course of their careers, and any advice they have for current ECR/PGR colleagues.

We’ll then open the floor to the audience for a Q&A session. Following this there will be time for informal networking.

Food at the conference

The fist night of the conference will be the formal meal with presentations and speeches. This will take place in the dining hall at Rutland Hall.

The second night of the conference will be a BBQ in the courtyard area of Rutland Hall. There will also be a bar available that night.

Lunch will be provided in the Law and Social Science building in the area just inside the north entrance.

Breakfast will be provided at the Jubilee hotel for those staying at the hotel and in Rutland dining hall for those in campus accommodation.

For environmental reasons, all food provided at the conference will be vegetarian.

What if I need a quiet moment?

Conferences can be very full-on, often intense and this conference will be a busy conference with well over 200 delegates.

It is perfectly normal to feel that you might want to have a few moments to yourself in peace and quiet. The area to the west of the Trent Building (number 11 on the south of the University Park map) is grassed and has plenty of tree shade. It also leads down to the lake, which can be a quiet place.

If you want to go slightly further afield, Wollaton Park is a short walk from University Park and is situated on the north side of the Derby Road

Have we forgotten something?

Feel free to speak with Steve Iafrati or Lee Gregory at the conference if you have any questions. There will also be student helpers at the conference.

Before the conference, you can email us directly at

Other thoughts and suggestions, please feel free to add them to the padlet and maybe even answer other people’s questions –

*Coaches between the university and the Jubilee Hotel

5th July

17.20 – Collect from Law and Social Sciences Building (No 7 on map) – CUT THROUGH LANE. Drop to Jubilee Hotel –

19.00 – Collect from Jubilee Hotel and taken to Rutland Hall – BEESTON LANE.  (WEST ENTRANCE CLOSED)

23.00 – Collect from Rutland Hall (BEESTON LANE) and take back to Jubilee Hotel (WEST ENTRANCE CLOSED)

6th July

08.00 – Collect from Jubilee Hotel and Drop off at Law and Social Sciences CUT THROUGH LANE

17.30 – Collect from Law and Social Sciences  BEESTON LANE and Drop off at Jubilee Hotel

18.45 – Collect from Jubilee Hotel and Drop off at Rutland Hall BEESTON LANE   (WEST ENTRANCE CLOSED)

23.00 – Collect from Rutland Hall  BEESTON LANE and Drop back to Jubilee Hotel  (WEST ENTRANCE CLOSED)

7th July

08.00 – Collect from Jubilee Hotel and Drop off at Law and Social Sciences CUT THROUGH LANE