There has been a dramatic rise of international and national policy interest in wellbeing, quality of life and happiness research, and particularly in the measurement of wellbeing for public policy purposes. This has intensified in the context of the financial crisis as politicians and policy-makers grapple with new policy goals and political narratives while pursuing economic and employment growth.
The UK is at the forefront of developments with David Cameron announcing in November 2010 that wellbeing measures developed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) would be used for public policy purposes. The ONS has since made data available to policy-makers and the Treasury has adjusted its Green Book guidance to government departments in response.
Wellbeing as a concept and as policy has been researched and debated extensively in the fields of Economics, Psychology, Sociology, Geography and others. However, the discipline of Politics has been largely silent, leaving potentially important theoretical and empirical insights absent from debates. In this context, the primary aim of this seminar series is to bring the Politics discipline into dialogue with other disciplines and with policy-makers, to identify and communicate its distinctive contribution, and to contribute to well-being policy debate and policy development in the UK and beyond.
The seminar series consists of six events staged over two years: five seminars (of 25 academic and non-academic participants structured around 5-6 contributions per seminar) and a concluding one-day conference (80 participants).