SASP 2011 – News from the President

Members of SASP


Ngā mihi o te Tau Hou. A Happy New Year to you all.


First let me apologize for my lack of contact since the meeting in Fremantle – what with spinal surgery, a new job, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake and a seriously ill father in the UK, the rest of 2010 went by in a bit of a blur (and not entirely morphine induced). Anyway things are looking more in control for 2011!


My thoughts are with those in Queensland affected by the flooding.


Preparations are now well underway for the SASP conference in Manly 14th-17th April 2011. The conference website is up and running ( Submissions for presentations (note there will be no poster session) are due on Feb. 1st so I trust you are all writing abstracts as I write this letter. I especially encourage research students to attend the conference and to present their research – SASP has always been a supportive environment for students to present their ongoing research. Supervisors please encourage your own students to attend! I’d also really like to encourage SASP members from New Zealand to attend this year. SASP is always welcoming of non-members to so if you have visitors or others who might like to attend please encourage them also.


I would like to ask for your assistance in increasing the salience of SASP in your home departments and encouraging social (and related) psychologists, and especially postgraduate students, to become members of SASP. The annual membership fee is only small but the organization relies on membership (and fees) to provide services to members – most especially the annual conference and the postgraduate summer school. I would also like to encourage members to use the SASP website more for posting of thoughts, networking, sharing ideas, debating issues and so on. Do use the mailing list to tell members of a post or an ongoing debate but please don’t conduct discussion groups and so on using the mailing list as it can become frustrating for those not participating in the particular discussion. Given technological advances it would be good to make more use of this network of peers that is available to us to discuss, collaborate and share good practice and news. If there is somebody with the relevant skills out there we could create a SASP Facebook page or similar. I’m a luddite but if anybody is keen…


In this letter I wanted to update and raise a few issues that were discussed in Fremantle. A copy of the AGM minutes from Fremantle will be available on the SASP website prior to the meeting at Manly.


1.      Conference 2012 – currently there have been no expressions of interest for hosting the conference in 2012. I ask members to please consider whether they might be able to host the conference. In locations where there are a number of universities in relatively close proximity this might be an opportunity for some collaborative work!

2.      At the conference in Manly we will be asking for nominations for committee membership so please give the idea of becoming involved (as President, secretary, treasurer) some thought. Any of eth current committee would, I’m sure, be willing to discuss their roles. Current committee members are also welcome to offer to continue on in their roles.

3.      Conference structure. There was discussion at the AGM in Fremantle over the structure of the conference considering issues such as (a) whether the conference should be over a weekend or during the week; (b) whether it should end in the middle of the day (Sunday) or with the conference dinner on the Saturday night; (c) whether the AGM should be included earlier in the programme rather than as the final item. Attached to this message are a couple of possible scenarios for the structure of the conference. Please give these some thought so that we can make some decisions at the AGM in Manly.

4.      Summer School. After the success of the 2010 summer school on Stradbroke Island I’m very pleased to announce that Eric Vanman from UQ has offered to host the 2012 at the same venue. A number of issues regarding the summer school have been raised (some discussed at the AGM in Fremantle). These are again included as an attachment to this message and I would appreciate your giving these items some consideration prior to the AGM in Manly.


I look forward to seeing as many members of SASP and other friends in Manly in April





Conference Structure


Traditionally the SASP conference has started on a Thursday with student workshops and a welcome reception in the evening with presentations on Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning and the concluding event the SASP AGM with the conference finishing around lunchtime Sunday.


At Fremantle there was general support for a change to the structure such that the conference didn’t finish with a half-day session (especially after the conference dinner) and that the final event was not the AGM. Below I have suggested a couple of new structures that might be adopted. Note that in both cases I have assumed that the AGM will be moved into the body of the conference and not be the final event of the conference.


1.      Keep everything as currently except that the conference finishes on Saturday evening rather than Sunday. Issues to consider:

a.       This might involve more parallel sessions, or shorter breaks to accommodate presentations within a shorter time frame

b.      One possible way of creating some additional presentation time is to scrap the Presidential address. While it is very nice for the president to have a long timeslot to present their work it seems a bit of an indulgence. A compromise could be to have the address even 2nd year only so that each president gives only 1 such address during their tenure.

c.       If the conference finishes on Saturday evening is there a danger that people will leave before the dinner?


2.      Change the student workshops to a half rather than full day and start the main conference on Thursday lunchtime so that the main conference runs for the same length of time (2.5 days) as typically but still ends at the end of a day. Issues:

a.       To what extent would restricting the workshops to a half day reduce the benefit of the conference for students?

b.      If the conference finishes on Saturday evening is there a danger that people will leave before the dinner?


Another issue that was raised at Fremantle was whether the conference should be at the weekend or during the week. The same structures as outlined above could be run on any 3 days.


SASP Summer School


1.      Students from EASP and SPSP.

a.       It was felt that having students from outside of the SASP “catchment” was a good thing provided that it didn’t reduce the number of SASP students who could attend.

b.      The reciprocal arrangement with EASP is of great benefit to those SASP students who attend the EASP summer school and accordingly this arrangement should be maintained

c.       SPSP saw supporting some of their students to attend the last SASP summer school as a “one off” and did not wish at that time to open their summer school to SASP students. Do members think we should look to reopening these discussions with SPSP to see if a more formal reciprocal arrangement (similar to that with EASP)?

2.      Funding for summer school research.

a.       There was discussion at Fremantle regarding whether SASP should make some money available to students to facilitate conducting joint research projects developed at the summer school.

                                                              i.      In favour of the proposal was the idea that this would maintain collaborative networks between the students and the summer school teachers and would allow for the research ideas from the summer school to be carried out (which they are unlikely to with no seed funding).

                                                            ii.      A contrary view was that this could constitute a sizable amount of money that might be better off spent on the summer school itself.

                                                          iii.      If such funding were to be made available there needs to be discussion as to how it would be administered – how would it be determined which projects would receive funding? Would this be decided at the summer school or would students have to submit an application subsequent to the summer school?


A possible extension of this discussion that I would be interested in considering at Manly is whether SASP should have a small pool of contestable seed research funds to facilitate collaborative research across members of SASP (maybe necessarily including SASP postgraduates).


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