Skip to main content Skip to navigation


WorldCUR & BCUR 2023 welcomed researchers to submit their abstracts under a WorldCUR-BCUR 2023 theme.

All themes were open to research from all disciplines, and we encouraged all themes to be interpreted broadly. Below are descriptions of the themes including illustrative topics. These were not exhaustive examples and innovative approaches were welcomed..

During the conference, research was presented in thematic sessions to encourage interdisciplinary conversations and facilitate professional networking and project development.

All the Conference Themes were discussed at dedicated Themes Sessions which took place on Wednesday 5th April, 9am-10am and Thursday 6th April, 1:45pm-2:45pm, in the Oculus Building. Please check the programme for full details.


Understanding and protecting the environment remains one of the central challenges of our time and we encourage papers that consider sustainability as a key theme. Research that focuses on processes and approaches that are sustainable, accountable, and prevent the depletion of resources for the long term. This area will inevitably include a wide variety of subjects and focuses, and although many topics may be based in the natural sciences, sustainability is also extremely relevant to the arts and social sciences, as well as lending itself to interdisciplinary investigation. Areas of research that may overlap with the theme of sustainability includes economic sustainability, environmental sustainability and social and cultural sustainability. Perhaps you are investigating social equity or inclusive growth in economic development, new methods to develop economies, or the economic impacts of climate events. Your project may be looking at environmental challenges and their impacts, such as climate change, food security and biodiversity. From energy, manufacturing and agriculture to transport infrastructure, architecture and housing, and urban planning and development, we invite interventions, remediation, and responses related to sustainability in its broadest interpretation. You may be looking at animal welfare, or human migration or other topics that serve to protect the wellbeing of future humans and non-human animals for current and future generations. Investigations could explore questions regarding what we mean by sustainability, and if this is a shared definition. How does sustainability compare and contrast across geographies and societies, how do different sustainability stances interact and influence each other, and how do different cultural interpretations impact the implementation and effectiveness of sustainable goals. Historical understandings of sustainability can be explored, how political polices or cultural awareness have changed and developed over the 20th century. How has climate change effected ancient societies, can parallels be draw to today or lessons learned to inform modifications of our behaviours. Can pre-historic habitats provide insights to protect wildlife and wild spaces. This theme is all about desirable and feasible futures, in all disciplinary areas.

Illustrative topics

  • Social and cultural sustainability
  • Inclusive growth in economic development
  • New methods to develop economies
  • Sustainable water supply
  • Ocean acidification
  • Over-fishing and other effects on marine life
  • Built Environment
  • Food and Land
  • Sustainable Education
  • Sustainable Policies/Government
  • Human carbon footprint
  • Over population and urban sprawl
  • Deforestation
  • Endangered species and loss of biodiversity
  • Environmental economic impacts
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Freshwater science, supply, and availability
  • Genetic modification
  • Economic sustainability
  • Human adaption to environmental change
  • Energy
  • Natural resource depletion
  • Oil drilling and fracking
  • Nuclear, alternative and renewable energy
  • Radioactive waste and nuclear issues
  • Economic impacts of climate events
  • Climate change
  • Global warming

Human health and wellness as individuals, a community, and the world at large. Topics can include those from all medicine and health sciences disciplines but more broadly can consider aspects of health from a variety of other perspectives. This can include the history of medicine and disease, work in the medical humanities, sociological perspectives on health through the lens of race, class, gender or disability, as well as inequality and access to healthcare. From chemistry (such as drug design) and biology (for example the immune system) to engineering (such as prototype development), and statistics (for example disease modelling), this theme will cover geo-political impacts on health and wellbeing, as well as health care policy and systems. From medicine, nursing and epidemiology, to public health, psychology, sociology and mental health and wellbeing, the interrelationship among disciplines related to health is clear. Papers which consider therapies and care, behavioural changes and approaches to health, pharmaceutical and molecular biotechnology, cellular and organ systems, behavioural and psychological, as well as social and environmental approaches to health, and studies which look to advance health and wellbeing throughout life are all welcome under this theme. Where possible, this theme also encourages submissions which consider multi-level and multi-disciplinary approaches to health. We encourage explorations into complementary health and traditional medicine, understandings of their evidence bases, how these therapies treat patients, and their effectiveness. How therapies gain inclusion in the cannon of official medicine, and why this differs globally. How differing costs, access and trust influence the types of treatment people seek. What is informed choice, is it important and how is it made? How is risk discussed and understood amongst health professionals and patients? Definitions of good health and wellbeing can be explored. Are these definitions shared across cultures? Are our spaces, societies and behaviours conducive to good health and wellbeing? All aspects of the COVID 19 pandemic and its impacts including the connection between disease and social unrest, as well as current discussions around vaccinations, equality of access, and global approaches to healthcare will also be relevant to this theme.

Illustrative topics

  • Access to health care
  • Immunology and epidemiology
  • Innovative medical manufacturing and development
  • Geopolitical impacts on health and wellbeing
  • Behavioural science and psychology
  • Mental health
  • Disease modelling and statistics
  • Diagnostics, therapy and care
  • History of medicine and disease
  • Sociological perspectives on medicine and health care
  • Digital health (e.g. information and communication technologies being used to manage health and wellbeing)
  • Information technology and health care
  • Technological solutions to diagnostics
  • Robotics and healthcare
  • New and emerging global health threats
  • Public health issues
  • Vaccination and mandatory vaccination
  • Global strategies for disease control
  • Health of refugees and asylum seekers
  • Healthcare privatisation
  • Healthcare funding
  • Drug regulation and drug policy
  • Medical and pharmaceutical research ethics
  • Drug testing and design
  • Health care training
  • Natural and alternative medicine

Explorations of Power, its sources, causes, effects, and dynamics, inaddition to its influences on justice and other concepts. Power is all around us and so topics within this theme may cover a large range of ideas. We encourage submissions which explore the idea of power in all and any context. Research may explore the dynamics of power through a literary, historical or geographical lens, for example, colonialism, migration or struggles over land. The sociological, philosophical or economic dimensions of power may be considered and how power can manifest in, and have impact upon, relationships and commerce, for example, through systems and frameworks of power within hierarchies in social organisations, such as workplaces or schools. The theme is broad enough to extend to ideas of equality and diversity, identity and social justice. Your research may have a political and/or international focus and explore international relations, democratisation or globalisation, which would also fit this theme, as would research about the manifestations or limitations on power within criminal justice, for example, through explorations of access to justice, discrimination, fairness and impartiality, corruption, violence and conflict management. Explorations of knowledge both as a resource and tool of power. Power shaping how knowledge is created, collected, and shared. Rights of access and authority over knowledge, power exercising how knowledge is defined, agency to define, and ability to determine validity. The positions that knowledge and ignorance play in a post-truth world, and how these are used to create and maintain power. The power of ignorance, more than lack of knowledge, but an active state and privilege of power. These are just a few examples. If your research considers in any respect the influence of or over people, events or outcomes it will fit within this theme.

Illustrative topics

  • Justice
  • Social justice
  • Current and historical leaders
  • The abuse of power
  • Ancient great powers
  • The power of words
  • Power, literature and society
  • Geopolitical power
  • Colonialism
  • Migration
  • War and conflict
  • Material power
  • Relational power
  • Ideological power
  • Industrial strength
  • Knowledge as power
  • Theories of power
  • Education
  • Fame
  • Force
  • Religion
  • Group dynamics
  • Social influence of tradition
  • Capitalism

Data is now all-pervading and influences almost all aspects of our lives, increasingly bringing opportunities and challenges. This theme explores the range of human activity affected and influenced by data. From the protection of data and the dangers of its use and misuse, to the benefits of data collection and analysis in allowing us to understand more about humans and their behaviour. We would encourage submissions looking at the current issues and benefits of collecting, storing, presenting, analysing and using data and the new techniques that are entering mainstream use every day. We encourage you to present questions around how we use or ignore data as cultures or societies. We encourage historical investigations of data, explorations of the data that different societies collected and stored, and the insights these bring to our understandings of these and present societies. How new technological advances have changed relationships with data throughout history and the developments these have instigated in societies. How were the ethics of new technologies understood and framed? Why were technologies embraced or rejected and shared or concealed? How do we reconceptualise data to form new ideas and visualisations? How have we changed culture and privacy because our own personal data is dispersed across databases and servers around the planet. What kind of ethics surround data use and analysis and how can we follow IPUMS’ direction to use data “for good and not evil”? Who gains from narratives of good and evil regarding data? Does literature shape or reflect the social and pollical relationship with data? What does it mean to have our lives influenced by machine learning and artificial intelligence? Can we gain deeper insights about human learning and cognition from machine learning? How does public discourse affect our intuitions towards artificial intelligence?

Illustrative topics

  • Data analytics
  • Big data
  • Using Data for Good
  • Data in society - medicine, public health, computing, politics, sociology
  • Data and social inequalities (e.g. algorithms)
  • The laws and ethics behind data
  • Public health (epidemiological monitoring)
  • Data politics
  • Misuse of data
  • Privacy and data protection
  • Predictive Analytics and Data Science
  • Surveillance and security
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • Forecasting and predictions
  • Techniques in data analysis
  • Statistics and econometrics
  • Technology
  • Data access
  • Data analytic tool development
  • Data journalism
  • Data visualisation
  • The surveillant society
  • Social media

This theme addresses creative inquiry and design in a global context and from all disciplinary perspectives; indeed, all academic disciplines create knowledge. Submissions are encouraged to showcase students’ own creative endeavours which incorporate a range of artistic mediums, combine existing facts, ideas and theories in original and useful ways and show a sense of adventure that pushes the frontiers of knowledge. What is it to create in a digitalised world, how do creating and technology interact and how is creation explored in art versus science? How are design and innovation cultures and sensibilities blending with manufacturing to power the emerging “Maker” movement? How is technology transforming humanities research, through the digital humanities movement? And how are social media tools leading both to new forms of artistic and creative expression and connecting to political movements and decision-making pathways. We encourage submissions that explore our relationship with creativity in a capitalist economy, and the monetisation of our creativity, how we approach creativity from both an intra-cultural and inter-cultural perspective, and explorations around how the cultural heritages of small groups, as well as nations are currently preserved. How are long-standing cultural heritages and expressions transformed through global interactions, particularly in the context of population migrations and resettlements? How are artistic endeavours combining with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines to create new programs of study, interdisciplinary fields, and new businesses (i.e., from STEM to STEAM)? This theme also supports analyses of human creation and humanistic thought across the fields of the humanities that include but are not limited to history, art history, philosophy, and religion. Explorations of creativity can be pursued through external manifestations of creations and/or the internal effects on the individual, in addition to developing understandings of creation through the dichotomy of process and event.

Illustrative topics

  • Design Thinking
  • Performance
  • Reimagining Education
  • Rethinking History
  • Art and Literature
  • Cultural heritage
  • Creative spaces
  • Geography of creativity
  • Digital humanities
  • From STEM to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics)
  • Creativity in STEM
  • Inter and multi-cultural connections
  • Creative Engineering
  • “Maker” movements and creating post-industrial production pathways
  • Performing arts
  • Social media and the creation of new information, political movement, and decision-making pathway
  • Visual arts
  • Creativity and the senses
  • Computational creativity
  • Creativity in computer science
  • Nature of creativity
  • Philosophy of creativity
  • Humanity: the creative animal
  • Creativity in Nature
the future

This theme encourages research that involves thinking about and planning for the future, as well as imagining what the future will look like. This might include looking at past visions of the future and what they can tell us about our present. It could include analysis for trying to plan and strategize for the future or forecast the future, based on present trends in your area of study or in wider society (‘futurology’). It might be looking systematically at social and technological advances, and other trends, to explore how people will live and work in the future (‘futures studies’). Your project might be looking at creating policy proposals for government, universities, or your area of study that use futures thinking and foresight tools to create policies that are robust and responsive. Projects that fit into this area involve longer-term thinking and future possibilities. How has the future been envisioned in literature, now and in the past? How can contemporary philosophy contribute to a foundation for futures studies? How does futurism and future thinking affect human psychology?

Illustrative topics

  • Emerging technologies
  • Tomorrow’s world
  • Foresight
  • Astronomy
  • Science in the 21st Century
  • Technological innovation and discovery
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • New Frontiers of Knowledge
  • Engineering the Future
  • Chemistry and Society
  • Current Issues and Future Solutions
  • Innovations in your discipline
  • Futurology and future studies
  • Literature and the future
  • Philosophy and the future

This research theme concentrates on how we understand the concept of community, and connections between communities and cultures and how, through understanding these concepts and connections, we better understand our world. This theme encompasses research in any discipline that seeks to incorporate community-based research that can include civic engagement and public values or research that seeks to understand local realities, from public health to urban planning to activist movements. You may be conducting research that seeks to understand different cultures and heritages and their connections, or points of unity or disunity. Your research might examine questions of faith, ethnicity, gender or how communities create identities. Research in this theme might be looking at communication or new trends in information technology and their impact and influence on modern life and experience. Intercultural and indigenous research and studies which are cross-cultural and interdisciplinary will fit well in this theme. We encourage submissions that interrogate the concepts of identity, belonging and citizenship and explore the connections between memory, history and heritage.

Illustrative topics

  • Connecting cultures
  • Communication
  • Community Engagement
  • Information Technology: Trends and Challenges
  • Online Communities
  • Community
  • Community Spaces
  • Creating Community
  • Intercultural and indigenous research
  • Collaboration
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Cross-Cultural and Cross-Disciplinary Research
  • Connections and Disconnections in the 21st Century
  • Points of Unity and Disunity in the human experience
  • History and Oral History Research