Patrick O’Connor stands down as president of the BSP

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Patrick O’Connor has decided the time is right to step down as the president of the British Society for Phenomenology.

The president of the British Society for Phenomenology, Dr Patrick O’Connor, has decided to stand down from the role. Patrick took on the responsibility of leading the society during 2018, with the aim of consolidating the successes of recent years as well as initiating and overseeing a series of bold new major strategic initiatives.

Under Patrick’s leadership the BSP has continued to flourish, and we have a substantial and diverse membership inclusive of both academic and practitioner spheres. Patrick also reviewed the roles of the Executive Committee, creating the position of the impact director with the objective of stimulating and facilitating collaboration between academics and practitioners. During this year’s annual conference our BSP Impact initiative was launched, with funds to promote activities such as face-to-face meetings to scope plans, support workshops, and launch a book series on the use and application of phenomenology to various disciplines and professions.

The principle aim of the society is to promote research and awareness in the field of phenomenology, and to this end Patrick also developed what has become the Wolfe Mays Essay Prize. Honouring and named after the founder of the BSP, the prize aims to encourage and promote the work of PhD students and Early Career Researchers. Once again, this prize was announced at this year’s annual conference.

As well as such legacy initiatives, Patrick built on the stability the society’s finances achieved over the previous 5 years, and steered the society through the uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic. One key aspect of this was going forward with this year’s annual conference as an online event. Co-organised with the University of Exeter, and sponsored by Egenis and the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health, ‘Engaged Phenomenology’ was a rip-roaring success, keeping scholarly conversations going during difficult times.

Having delivered on his objectives and then some, Patrick feels the time is now right for him to focus on new projects. Over the years, Patrick – who is senior lecturer in philosophy at Nottingham Trent University – has had a long association with the BSP. As a member, as a co-editor of a special edition of our journal, and then with the Executive Committee as treasurer before becoming president. The BSP would like to thank Patrick for his inestimable contributions to the society and for everything he has done during his tenure as president, as well as wish him well for the future.

Our impact director Dr Keith Crome has kindly offered to become acting president to oversee the immediate needs of the BSP.