Global perspective on body image and appearance research at Appearance Matters conference in Bristol

Issue date: 25 June 2012

5th Appearance Matters international Conference on Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 July 2012, Wills Building, Queens Road, Bristol, UK

The renowned Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) will make a vital contribution to addressing some of the public health concerns identified in the recent All Party Parliamentary Group report on body image through the Appearance Matters 5 conference on Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 July 2012 in Bristol.

MP Jo Swinson remarked in the report that 'body image dissatisfaction in the UK has never been higher, particularly among young people.' The report calls for greater collaboration between experts and further research into the causes, consequences and solutions for unprecedented levels of body image concerns amongst the British public. The Appearance Matters 5 conference will provide a prime forum to address some of these issues with approximately 200 delegates from 14 countries around the world set to attend the conference.

This biennial conference has become a key event globally. It provides international experts with a unique opportunity to come together to share and discuss cutting edge psychosocial research, theory and good practice around all appearance related issues. The conference will address many of the issues raised in the recent All Party Parliamentary report, including; visible difference, body image, cosmetic surgery, ethics, education, the media, weight and provision of care. Many of the presentations will discuss the development of tools and programs that seek to address the widespread prevalence of appearance concerns.

Dr Diana Harcourt, Co-Director of CAR says, “There is an epidemic of appearance related concerns among young people and adults in the UK and Western countries around the world. By bringing together experts from Europe, North America and Australasia we are enabling them to share their expertise on this topic and encouraging them to collaborate on new and innovative ways of helping people who are affected by these issues.”

Keynote speakers include Professor Sarah Grogan from Staffordshire University who will speak on 'Body Image and Heath: Links and Future Direction'. The other Keynote speaker is Professor John Lawrence, City University of New York speaking on 'Psychosocial Adaption to Burns: Current Knowledge and Future Directions'.

James Partridge, himself a burns survivor and founder and Chief Executive of Changing Faces says, “Professor Lawrence's insights will be very important in shaping understanding and burn care service delivery in Britain and around the world. Changing Faces is also delighted to bring an outstanding exhibition called The Power of Resilience to be the backcloth for the conference and especially Professor Lawrence's lecture. Suzan van de Roemer's stunning photographs of the severely burned survivors of the Volendam disco fire in 2001 and their personal stories will ensure that all participants are brought close to the agonies but also the resilience of the human spirit. Changing Faces is pleased to be supporting this year's Appearance Matters conference.”

The conference will also host the book launch for The Oxford Handbook of the Psychology of Appearance edited by Professor Nichola Rumsey and Dr Diana Harcourt, Co-Directors of CAR. The handbook provides valuable and profound insights into the problems facing those with visible differences, as well as those with general appearance-related concerns. It includes contributions written by international experts in the field, many of whom will be in attendance at Appearance Matters 5.

The conference is supported by Changing Faces and will also feature a theatre performance by Body Gossip and Bristol-based theatre group Unique Voice.

For more information about the Appearance Matters 5 conference and to register for attendance online go to or e-mail


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