In September four Criminologists from the School of Social and Political Science travelled to beautiful Porto for the Annual European Society of Criminology Conference. The conference titled ‘Criminology as Unitas Multiplex: Theoretical, Epistemological and Methodological Developments’ discussed the theoretical, philosophical, practical and methodological trends currently found within Criminology. Throughout the conference a wide variety of topics were covered with the plenary sessions exploring important contemporary issues such as the perceived effectiveness of Portugal’s drug policy of decriminalization (Jorge Quintas, University of Porto); and the relationship between Criminology and the nation-state in regards to globalization, migration and sovereignty (Katja Franko, University of Oslo).

At the publishers exhibition, we found a copy of Lisa’s new book ‘Transnational Justice and Legacies of State Violence: Talking about Torture in Northern Ireland’ published by Routledge in 2015. Each of the participants, Kate Strudwick, Lisa White, Joshua Skoczylis and Jason Warr presented papers in their area of research and networked with many academics from different European nations. As part of a varied panel analyzing ‘Historical Approaches to Criminology’, Strudwick and White explored the problems and possibilities of a 21st century Criminological curriculum in their presentation ‘Meeting the Challenges through Curriculum Design’. In a session organized around ‘narrative Criminology’, Lisa also presented ‘A Group of “We”; Prison Narratives as Resistance to State Violence’. Meanwhile, Joshua participated in a panel on counter-terrorism, presenting his work on ‘Preventing Violent Extremism: Has the Prevent Policy Been Complicit in Creating Spaces Where Extremism Can Flourish?’ Jason had been invited by the Border Criminology academics from Oxford University to be a discussant on one of their panels entitled: Migration, Prison and Law Enforcement. He also presented on a panel with other researchers from the University of Cambridge’s Prison Research Centre titled Prisons in Transition: New Vulnerabilities, His paper focused on the occupational, professional and gendered vulnerabilities of forensic psychologists working within NOMS and Her Majesty’s Prison Service.

Attending this conference, alongside fifteen hundred criminologists from across Europe, allowed us to not only share our own research and network, but also to attend a number of interesting and stimulating papers on various criminological topics. Having met many new academics at this conference will hopefully lead to new existing projects, and collaboration with UK and European research institutions. Putting all this aside, we also manage to sneak some time to visit Porto, roaming its cobbled streets and enjoying fine Portuguese food and drink while waiting for our evening flight to depart.

Byline: Joshua Skoczylis, Kate Strudwick, Jason Warr, Lisa White