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Caring in Crisis? Communications and Public Reactions to Humanitarian Crises and International Development Causes - with Peter Singer

Starts 07 June 2014 - 09:30
Finishes 07 June 2014 - 17:00
Venue Room 153, Birkbeck Main Building
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Event description

BISR Colloquium: Caring in Crisis?

Co-sponsored by the Department of Psychosocial Studies

Keynote speaker: Professor Peter Singer (Princeton University), author of The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty (2009)

Main researchers: Dr Bruna Seu (Birkbeck) and Dr Shani Orgad (LSE)

Panel speakers: Brendan Gormley (CDAC Network), Professor Paul Hoggett (UWE), Professor Mark Levine (University of Exeter), Professor Sonia Livingstone (LSE), Professor Kate Nash (Goldsmiths College), Professor Peter Singer (Princeton University) and Glen Tarman (Action Against Hunger)

The timetable can be found - here

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Registration and payment are essential – book here
£25 Standard     £20 Birkbeck Staff     £15 All Students & Unwaged

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The frequency and scale of humanitarian disasters is increasing, as reflected in their high visibility in the global media. Whilst still responding generously to humanitarian emergencies, as demonstrated recently by public donations following Typhoon Haiyan, the British public seems to be increasingly critical of and reluctant to commit to on-going support of humanitarian and international development agencies. The humanitarian and development sector is facing continuing pressures and criticism – the recent Panorama programme (2 Dec 2013, Where's Our Aid Money Gone?) being the latest example of the onslaught.

In these highly challenging times for the humanitarian sector and humanitarianism more generally, it seems ever more urgent to understand how the public relates and responds to humanitarian crises and international development causes.

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This one-day colloquium will present the finding from a three-year, interdisciplinary and collaborative project funded by the Leverhulme Trust, which investigated responses and moral reactions of the British public to information about humanitarian crises and international development. The event will facilitate a cross-disciplinary discussion about the complexities and dilemmas of communicating and responding to humanitarian crises and development causes today.

The colloquium will be structured around the following questions:

  • What moral responses and reactions are evoked in the public by humanitarian communications?
  • What are the ideological, emotional and biographical underpinning of audiences’ responses and actions?
  • How do these responses relate to people’s broad moral principles and attitudes?
  • How do the public’s responses to humanitarian messages relate to those hoped for humanitarian NGOs?
  • What is the relationship between the public’s and NGOs’ expectations and understandings?

In this interactive interdisciplinary dialogue the project's researchers will present the research findings about the relationships between the key actors in the humanitarian triangle - beneficiaries, NGOs and the public - and will highlight important tensions, challenges and implications.

Following the presentation of the research findings, two panels of experts will comment on the findings from their specific fields of expertise (humanitarian and development NGOs, psychosocial studies and social psychology, media and communications).

The conference will conclude with a keynote talk from Professor Peter Singer.

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