Academic Symposium 2016


Welcome to the Symposium

The International Academic Symposium on Relational Thinking offers an opportunity for scholar-practitioners with an interest and passion in the issues related to Relational Thinking and Relationships to share their thinking and research findings.

Date: 29 September 2016
Time: 10am – 5pm
Venue: St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge
Theme: Critical Perspectives on Substantive and Methodological Individualisms

Conference Programme

Participants include Bertrand Pauget (European Business School, Paris) on relational innovation; Lorna Zischka and Marina Della Giusta (University of Reading) on altruism and trust; Stephen Copp (Bournemouth University) on corporate structures; Johan Graafland and Bjorn Lous (Tilburg University) on income inequality and social trust; Jeremy Ive (Northwest University, South Africa, and Director of the Relational Peacebuilding Initiative, UK) on the history of relational thought and peacebuilding; Peter Lacey (Whole Systems Partnership) on relational ethics and healthcare.


Critical Perspectives on Substantive and Methodological Individualisms

Human beings are not solitary egos, for whom relationships are an extra ‘add-on’. Rather, human beings and human systems include relationships with others as an intrinsic and non-reducible part of their very structure. While the current academic context recognises this explicitly, and assumes that we inhabit an intellectual landscape that has already undergone a ‘relational turn’, the intellectual hangover of substantive and methodological individualism is still to be seen in assumptions, methods and praxes across many arenas of intellectual endeavour.

It is crucial to recognise that the ‘individualistic’ or ‘monadic’ paradigm has not simply gone away, and that we still need to look critically at the way researchers and practitioners still find themselves within this old paradigm (even when attempting to do ‘relational research’) in ways that are easy to miss because they are tacit rather than explicit.

The Relational Academics Forum 2016 wants to examine critiques of substantive and methodological individualism in the context of vision for social change: we hope to enable both researchers and practitioners to engage in more robust and relational methods and praxes.



If your paper is chosen for presentation at the Symposium, you will be a guest of the Network and will receive free registration, lunch and refreshments. You will have to meet your own travel and accommodation expenses.

Other professors, researchers and academics are welcome to apply to join the Symposium. The charge is 40 GBP (charged on this website as 55 CHF), for the programme, lunch and refreshments on 30 September. Presenters are invited to donate to help cover costs if they are able to. Unfortunately, owing to pressure on places, we cannot guarantee to accept all applications for attendance. Registration is available HERE. The deadline for registration is 20th September.

Please direct any queries to Joshua Hemmings:

Symposium Venue

The Symposium will take place in the Ramsden Room at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge on 29 September (10.00 am to 5.00 pm). More information on how to find the College:


For more information about accommodations and visiting Cambridge, see the Visit Cambridge Site

To contact us about the Symposium

If you have any questions about the Academic Symposium, please use this form to contact Josh at our office.


2015 Symposium Report

A report from the inaugural 2015 Symposium (Theme ‘Relational Research in the Social Sciences: concepts and methodologies ’) by chair Professor Julian Rivers, can be downloaded here:[/fruitful_tab]


The Relational Academics Network

The Relational Academics Network connects scholars interested in exploring relational approaches to their studies. Located within Relational Research, it is part of the Relational Thinking Network, which is a global association of individuals, corporations, NGOs and think-tanks committed to developing and applying relational thinking in all areas of life. The Relational Academics Network began life as an informal gathering of scholars from a range of academic disciplines, but 2015 saw the first official and public Symposium. The Network is intentionally multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary in make-up and ethos.

Relational Research

Relational Research is a not-for-profit think tank based in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It works with individuals, organisations and policy-makers to work towards its vision of building a more relational society. It is currently involved in projects with schools, businesses and policy-makers.

The Relational Thinking network

The Relational Thinking network is a growing movement of individuals and organisations committed to exploring and developing a relational perspective on life. Building on several books and numerous other publications from the early 1990s onwards, this approach puts human relationships at the heart of all forms of knowledge and action.


2015 Symposium Report






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3 thoughts on “Academic Symposium 2016

  1. HI Tom, thanks for your note and question! We are currently looking into this and will let you know the answer as soon as possible. We definitely like to make contents of the Symposium available, it is just a matter of deciding how and when. So keep an eye on this website in the coming days.

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