UWE's 4th Appearance Matters conference

Issue date: 16 June 2010

Centre for Appearance Research Appearance Matters 4 hosted by UWE's Centre for Appearance Research
Wills Memorial Building, Queen's Road, Bristol UK - 22-23 June 2010

The University of the West of England's world renowned
Centre for Appearance Research will host the fourth bi-annual Appearance Matters conference in Bristol on Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 June 2010. The conference venue will be the historic Wills Memorial Building.

Appearance Matters 4 will appeal to those with an academic and professional interest in issues around the psychology of appearance.

The keynotes speakers include Professor Alex Clarke, Royal Free Hospital London, and Professor Lina Ricciardelli, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.
Alex Clarke, a Visiting Professor at CAR, is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Head of Psychology within the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Royal Free Hospital, London, which is a centre of excellence in this speciality. Her current research interests focus on the factors predicting adjustment to disfiguring conditions and altered appearance, and the development of psychological interventions to overcome body image distress. She also leads the psychological strand of the UK facial transplantation programme based at the Royal Free.

Alex said, “At the Royal Free Hospital, our team works closely with people to identify the problems they may be having adjusting to their appearance. This is as much to do with the beliefs and behaviours associated with disfigurement as it is the disfigurement itself. In particular, the psychological impact of altered appearance is often out of step with the physical changes associated with surgery and it can be difficult to understand why for some, recovery is still challenging once the surgical scars have healed. To assist patients adjust most effectively, the development and delivery of evidence-based psychological interventions for people with visible differences is a key area for research and practice.

"My keynote will discuss the progress we are making with intervention, how patients, medical professionals and psychologists understand what it is that they are trying to change and how we can work together to facilitate positive adjustment for people who experience a disfiguring condition.”

Lina Ricciardelli is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at Deakin University, Australia and the Chair of the College of Health Psychologists in the Australian Psychological Society. A large focus of her research has been on the role that sociocultural factors play in the development of body image and related risk factors among children and adolescent boys. In addition, she has devised and is currently evaluating early intervention strategies to help prevent these problems. In the last five years, she has also focused on the body image and health related behaviours among males from a range of cultural backgrounds which include Indigenous Australians, Indigenous and Indian Fijian, Tongans, and Chinese men living in Australia.

CAR Director, Professor Nicky Rumsey from UWE, said, “To the best of our knowledge, this is the only conference series that provides a forum which specifically highlights current psychosocial research, theory and good practice around appearance-related issues including visible difference, interventions, research methods and provision of care.

“We are delighted to welcome Alex Clarke and Lina Ricciardelli who have both established formidable reputations. The conference will provide a unique chance to become familiar with their work but also to find out more about the scope of work being carried out in this specialist arena internationally. Since the first conference in 2003 Appearance Matters has grown a reputation as the key academic meeting in this sphere of research.

“There is a strong international feel with delegates to previous conferences travelling from the US, Australasia and Europe. In fact, Phillippa Diedrichs, who has recently joined us from the University of Queensland, was inspired to join CAR after attending the conference in 2008. We anticipate that this conference will once again be extremely popular so we urge potential delegates to book early to avoid disappointment.”

The Appearance Matters Conference Series has a strong focus on the application of research and attracts delegates from a wide range of professions including academics, clinicians, practitioners, researchers, hospital managers and policy makers involved in the provision of care for people with appearance-related concerns. The conference presents an ideal opportunity for delegates to up-date their knowledge, engage in debate, share ideas and network with others working in this field.

To book a place at the conference you can register
or e-mail CAR@uwe.ac.uk

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