Report on attending The Eighth SELF Biennial International Conference

by Anna Wong on 10 September 2015

When the advertisement of the SELF conference was published last year, my eyes were immediately drawn to the names appearing as keynote speakers (or ‘rock-star speakers’ as one conference attendee later described). These familiar names belonged to some of the top psychology researchers I had been reading and quoting throughout my PhD journey as I attempted to understand music, education and psychological well-being through research.

Under the theme of Positive Psychology and Well-Being, and with a special focus on the Education context this year, the SELF conference brought together international researchers from PhD students, postdocs, lecturers, professors and indeed founders of psychological theories and models in areas like self-concept, self-regulation and motivation.

Having fixed my head in front of the computer monitor for the most part of last year, I was ecstatic to be meeting and talking to new friends from my field in person. The most exciting part was the exchange of ideas borne out of presentations and conversations involving researchers who carried slightly different substantive and/or methodological assumptions, knowledge and practice. We might be looking at psychological needs in music education, but in different settings and countries; we might be UK-based researchers using Self-Determination Theory, one in the music domain and the other sports (which have many parallels worth investigating together!), but adopting different methods and approaches.

Subsequently, at my poster presentation I was extremely privileged to have received valuable reviews and questions on my research from multiple perspectives. Certainly as I finalize my thesis after the conference, my mind is broadened to a bigger and richer picture of music and psychological well-being.

Download a copy of my poster

As one researcher put it, the real conversations and collaborations took place over food and drink rather than the papers. We were definitely spoilt outside of the lecture halls too as the conference hosts – Kiel University and The Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN) – thoughtfully provided us with just the right ingredients for refreshment and networking, including local beers and music and dance.

Furthermore, I found myself initiating and continuing conversations with researchers while travelling on the bus and walking on mudflats by the North Sea. As an intercultural student and researcher, I could not help but be fascinated by the rich mix of cultural traditions and nuances communicated through these chats. Going abroad to a conference like this enabled me to meet those coming from other continents on ‘neutral’ ground – where both they and I were away from home – as well as to learn directly from the locals about life and research in Germany whilst in their home country. To me this part was not replaceable by e-communications behind the screen or via the latest devices.

The conference trip of four days and three nights was a highlight of my PhD and a brilliant way to mark the end of that journey. Therefore, I sincerely thank Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge and The Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research (Sempre) for their generous support in funding me on this memorable trip.

Image: Anna enjoying a spot of mudflat hiking in the Wadden Sea on the second day of the conference.

In this section

Blog Authors

Agata Kurczynska

Alexandra Alridge

Alice Middleton

Alison Russell

Anna Svegborn

Anna Wong

Annalisa Occhipinti, PhD Student Computer Science

Annika Brouwer

Anthea Bain

April Bowman

Ateka Tarajia

Barbara Bollig

Barbara Wittman

Bea Aldrich

Carol Atack

Caroline Sier

Caroline Vinall

Catherine Palmer

Charlotte Fiehn

Cherish Watton

Dame Anne Owers

Dorothy Heeneman

Dr Angela Morecroft

Dr Barbara Wittman

Dr Bryanna Fox

Dr Emanuela Orlando

Dr Henriette Hendriks and Dr Isobel Maddison

Dr Isobel Maddison

Dr Louise Foxcroft

Dr Yvonne Zivkovic

Elinor George, LCCBC President

Elizabeth Jurd

Ellen Gage

Ellen Verde

Eva Simmons

Gemma Maitland

Georgia Hume

Gill Heyworth

Hannah Hutchings-Georgiou

Helen Gibson

Hollie Wells

Ingrid Dixon

Isabel Clare

Jean Cosslett

Jeanette Ariano, Marketing Manager

Jen Aggleton

Jennifer Ellis

Jessica Henry

Jessica Lim

Jessica Phillips

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Jo Harcus

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Jothi Reddy

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Judith Roberts

Julia Hayes

Julia Nielsen

Kate Coghlan

Katerina Georgopoulou

Ketaki Patel

Kyaelim Kwon

Laura Shepperson-Smith

Laura Tan

Leona Awoyele

Lindsay Malone

Lizzie Moore

Lottie Greenhaf

Lucia Linares

Mara González Souto

Marianna Kopsida

Mathilde Whitburn

Michelle Baikie

Molly Yarn

Myriam Goudet

Ning Sang Jessica Tan

Patricia Vazquez Rodriguez

Poly Frangou, Women's Captain

Raisa Ostapenko

Ruth Haynes

Salma Elnagar

Sarah Godlee

Sheelagh Drudy

Shoko Hirosue

Sofia Maroudia

Stephanie Ma

Sulema Jahangir

Susy Jepson

Suzanne Tonkin

Tanya Brown

Teresa Ma

Tianqi Dong

Tilda Bowden

Tom Dawson

Wai Wan (Vivian) SZE-TO

Wendy Pollard

Yun Chiang