Naomi Norton, BAPAM Student Advocate Scheme Manager and postgraduate RNCM student, attended the British Psychological Society Annual Conference to give presentations on health promotion and student health in universities. Further information can be read here:
Investigating the Health of Musicians Studying at University
Instrumental and Vocal Teachers as Health Promotion Advocates
BAPAM Student Advocate Scheme Poster
You can also contact Naomi directly for further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
BAPAM was pleased to support Naomi’s attendance at the conference through our Research and Education Bursary Fund.
British Psychological Society Annual Conference, Harrogate International Centre
9th – 11th April 2013
The British Psychological Society (BPS) Annual Conference was held at the Harrogate International Centre this year, just up the road from my home town of Leeds. Having attended the conference as a poster presenter last year I plucked up the courage to enter myself again this year and was rewarded with both a poster presentation and an oral presentation; more on that later. One of the most interesting aspects of the BPS conference is the diversity of topics and delegates; this year was no exception with presentations either in the general category or relating to the three key conference themes:
The typical and atypical mind across the lifespan
Education, ethics and professional practice dilemmas in psychology
The nature and diversity of social cohesion and attachment
Peter Banister, the BPS President for 2012-13, welcomed delegates from the UK and beyond and extended the appropriate thanks to all involved in organising and supporting the conference. He also introduced the delegates to some of Harrogate and the North Riding of Yorkshire’s history, including the shocking (but not proven) news that Yorkshire Pudding may not actually have originated in Yorkshire! The conference boasted 5 high profile keynote presentations, hundreds of delegates, oral and poster presentations, workshops, and symposiums, a student members’ stream, awards ceremonies, film screening and discussion opportunities, networking (always a favourite), exhibitions and social events around Harrogate.
Professor Peter Fonagy kick-started the conference with an insight into modern psychoanalysis and psychodynamic theory and the impact that research can have on practice through initiatives such as the Children and Young People’s project. In addition to introducing this project he also outlined some fascinating research regarding pedagogy and teacher effectiveness; the key ingredients for effectiveness that he highlighted (awareness of learning intentions, knowing when a student is successful, understanding the students’ understanding, knowing enough about lesson content, and retaining passion that reflects the thrills and frustration of learning) are something that teachers of all varieties could learn from. The other keynote presentations comprised a useful update on working memory and the effect it can have on children’s learning (Professor Susan Gathercole), an amusing insight into our social groups from Professor Robin Dunbar entitled ‘Why Facebook won’t get you any more friends’, a revisit of some of the classic psychological studies that we thought we all knew about (Professor Alex Haslam) and an exploration of research and learning ethics from Dr Karen Kitchener.
The sports and exercise psychologists were once again well represented and I duly trotted along to most of their presentations to fly the musical flag and explore whether there really are similarities between performing artists and athletes. The most enjoyable exercise related session was led by Dr Dance (aka Dr Peter Lovatt) who runs the Dance Psychology Lab at the University of Hertfordshire. Dr Dance introduced us to some of the research that takes place at the lab including how dance helps you solve problems, how to dance to attract a mate and how physical symmetry affects our dancing. This presentation included live demonstrations and a lot of audience involvement… a great example of how to engage your audience and the perfect way to round off the day and get us in the mood for the evenings’ entertainment! However the presentation that got me nodding along the most and marveling at the parallels between musicians and dancers was Jessica Brainch’s (Cardiff Metropolitan University) presentation entitled ‘Stressors, Appraisals and Coping during Injury Onset: A Qualitative Study’. Having already had an interesting chat with Jessica regarding my poster presentation and the similarities between musicians and athletes it was great to hear about her research and gather some ideas from the sporting world for how we could understand and support injured musicians and reduce the impact of performance-related problems on lifestyle and wellbeing.
My poster outlining research that supports the BAPAM Student Advocate Scheme was well received and sparked interest in musicians’ performance-related difficulties and how the musical world is working to prevent and manage them. My oral presentation that followed immediately after the poster session (imagine me running from one end of conference venue to the other) was entitled Instrumental and Vocal Teachers as Health Promotion Advocates. I had been grouped with three other presentations relating to health and wellbeing which resulted in an open-minded and receptive audience; much appreciated for my first major conference presentation. Despite shivering under the air conditioning (on the plus side it disguised the nervous shakes; refer to BAPAM performance anxiety specialist!) I greatly enjoyed the presenting experience and look forward being able to disseminate my research findings at future conferences. It was gratifying and encouraging to be approached by a number of sports and exercise psychologists following my poster and oral presentation; to many psychologists at this conference, music psychology (in particular research regarding musicians’ health and wellbeing) seems to be relatively unheard of. However the interest and understanding that was shown bodes well for the future.