What does 2023 have in store, both here at the What Works Centre for Wellbeing and in wellbeing research and practice more broadly?
Here’s a look ahead at what’s coming up over the next 12 months, including some of the Centre’s key projects, collaborations and events, as well as highlights from the wider wellbeing sector.
Centre activity, publications and events
Place and community
Our 2018 Places, spaces and social connections review has been one of our most popular resources since its publication, and we are now revisiting it to add evidence from the past five years. This is the first time we have undertaken an update of this kind, which will help better understand how changes to community infrastructure impact quality of life. Explore the project page.
Our Community agency and control rapid evidence review, co-funded by People’s Health Trust and The National Lottery Community Fund, is underway. It will investigate if and how community wellbeing improves when communities exercise agency and control over decisions in their local area. This is particularly relevant as the UK government considers ‘double devolution’ – devolving power from central to local government – and cases are being made for Community Wealth Funds. We will be sharing more about this work at the Stronger Things conference by New Local (Guildhall, London and online, 23 May 2023). Find out more and sign up.
We are also continuing our programme of free, one-to-one advice surgeries for charity and civil society sector practitioners. In the session our experts offer tailored, practical guidance on how to generate, use and get the most out of wellbeing data. Book a consultation.
National wellbeing, methods and measures
We are continuing to accelerate wellbeing data analysis, making it as easy as possible to use wellbeing data for appraisal, analysis and evaluation. This will include analysis of different determinants of subjective wellbeing, such as occupation and housing.
We are also building capacity with a new data dashboard of wellbeing measures that use Understanding Society data. There will also be more training in using these in line with the HMT Green Book. Both projects are delivered in partnership with Pro Bono Economics.
If you’re interested in wellbeing data and measurement, the Centre’s Simona Tenaglia will be talking about Subjective Wellbeing in Different Occupations in the UK from 2021-2022 at the UK Data Service’s Labour Force and Annual Population Surveys User Conference 2023 (online, 2 February 2023).
We will also be attending the 21st International Society for Quality-of-Life-Studies (ISQOLS) Annual Conference 2023 (Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 21-25 August 2023). Join us to explore quality of life measures, and how to create an economy and society that truly improves people’s wellbeing. If you’re interested in presenting your research, the call for abstracts is open until 15 January 2023. Find out more and sign up.
New papers will be published in our Measuring Wellbeing Series, with papers on measuring wellbeing inequality and on data for local area wellbeing frameworks using different models.
We are looking to expand our team as we grow our analysis and trials functions. Details of any new opportunities, including for data analysis and trials specialists, will be added to the work with us page over the coming year.
Loneliness and connection
In 2023, we’ll be continuing our work to understand loneliness at different ages. This research, led by Dr Praveetha Patalay, examines the links between social isolation, loneliness and subjective wellbeing, and whether these change over the course of people’s lives.
This year, we’ll also publish a paper from our Loneliness and wellbeing in young people project about loneliness and schools. Led by Dr Emily Long the work builds our understanding of how young people are affected by loneliness.
We are currently updating the loneliness evidence base from our 2018 review to see how it has impacted research and what has been learnt in the last five years. We expect to find more studies for under 55s and more studies using robust comparable measures developed as a result. We will look at how we can improve the guidance on measures and evaluation.
Taking place on 2 February 2023, the digital Campaign to End Loneliness Conference considers how loneliness varies across our lifetimes. The event will bring together speakers from across business, academia, policy and practice to discuss the latest research and thinking around what really works to tackle loneliness, and highlight the people, organisations and innovations making a difference around the world. Find out more and book your place.
Working age and business
On 12 January 2023 we are hosting an online event to discuss findings from our collaborative research with end of life charity Marie Curie. Join us to explore the role of work in wellbeing at the end of life, and to identify where research and practice need to go next to support the wellbeing of people with a terminal diagnosis. Find out more and register.
Our Head of Implementation, Joanne Smithson, will be sharing our findings on work and terminal illness at Marie Curie’s annual ‘Improving End of Life for All’ Research Conference (online, 6-10 February 2023) and the Association of Local Authority Medical Advisors (ALAMA) Conference in Southampton (17-19 May 2023).
In 2023 we are looking specifically at student wellbeing and mental health. Through collaborative work with TASO, SMARTEN and others we are working towards creating a ‘what works’ digital resource to consolidate and accelerate learning.
Our Business Leaders Council webinar series returns for 2023 as we bring together business leaders, academics and practitioners to discuss the latest evidence, share practical tools and examine effective policies around wellbeing and work. Sign up to our newsletter for details of the upcoming sessions.
The Pissarides Review into the Future of Work and Wellbeing conference (IET London: Savoy Place, London and online, 25 January 2023) explores the latest research on how automated technologies such as AI and robotics are transforming work, society and the economy. Nancy Hey, our Executive Director, will be taking part in a panel discussion on why wellbeing is essential to the future of work. Find out more and sign up.
Other wellbeing events for your diary
Oxford Wellbeing Research Centre Seminar Series
Online, February 2023
The seminars are a hub for scholars to come together and share their work in progress to advance our understanding of empirical wellbeing science. Find out more.
Understanding Society Scientific Conference 2023
University of Essex, 11-13 July 2023
An opportunity for researchers to share their latest work on longitudinal household panel studies. If you’d like to present your research at the event, the call for abstracts is open until 31 January 2023. Find out more and apply.