Let's talk about the Demands of Beauty

28 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3JS, Nuffield Council on Bioethics
Arts and Law, Lectures Talks and Workshops, Research

The final event of the AHRC Network ‘The Changing Requirements of Beauty’ will take place on 9 June and we welcome those from all disciplines and all backgrounds to come and join the debate.

The event will be in two parts, a workshop followed by a policy-focused session. Participants may attend both the workshop and the policy-session or chose one. Attendance is free, but registration is required. The event takes place at the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, 28 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3JS

To register please email Ruth Wareham (r.j.wareham@bham.ac.uk)


The Demands of Beauty Workshop

The workshop will focus around three key issues which have emerged as themes from the Beauty Demands project; the globalization of beauty norms; concerns about body image and body dissatisfaction; and questions of what and how practices and procedures should be regulated. The workshop will be an opportunity to talk around each of these areas in an open and inclusive way. Each conversation will be kicked off by two 10 minute presentations from two network members. All are welcome to attend and join the discussion from across academic disciplines, from medical and cultural sectors, and we very much welcome those who feel personally touched by these issues. Beauty is an issue which very many of us are concerned with in our everyday experiences so ‘let’s talk about the demands of beauty’.


14:00-14:40:  Is beauty globalizing?

In discussions around beauty there is often a suggestion that the dominant beauty norm is a ‘western norm’. In the course of the Beauty Demands project a number of scholars questioned this, either arguing that norms are global, or citing different experiences in different contexts. The first conversation will be around the impact of globalization on beauty norms. 

Skin bleaching in Black Atlantic Zones: globalization of white aesthetic norms?
Dr Shirely Tate (Associate Professor in Race and Culture, Director Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies, University of Leeds)

Why we all need work and the emergence of a global ideal
Professor Heather Widdows (Centre for the Study of Global Ethics, Department of Philosophy, University of Birmingham)


14:40-15:20: Is there crisis in body image? If so how should we respond?

One of the possible drivers for the increased use of beauty products and practices is what has been termed a ‘crisis in body image’. Children as young as three report body issue concerns and the UK has some of the highest figures of body dissatisfaction. In an increasingly visual society should we accept that judgments of appearance will matter more and help people achieve their appearance goals, or should we be seeking non-appearance related solutions?

The tyranny of beauty: Psychological and physical health impacts
Professor Nichola Rumsey (Centre of Appearance Research, University of West of England)  

Body image in the digital age
Fiona MacCallum (Department of Psychology, University of Warwick)


15.20 – 15.50 Coffee


15.50 – 16.30 What are legal challenges in regulating beauty practices?

The proliferation of different beauty products and practices raises major challenges for effective regulation. Core questions are around what counts as vulnerability here, and at what (if any) point should practices and products be prohibited. Further who is a ‘safe’ practitioner and what are safe beauty products? Finally is there any point of regulating given the global beauty market.

Informing, protecting, the role of the law regulating cosmetic procedures concerning children
Jean McHale (Professor of Health Care Law and Director of the Centre for Health Law, Science and Policy at the University of Birmingham)

Regulation of cosmetic surgery and medicine: a way forward for UK regulators
Melanie Latham (Reader in Healthcare Law, Manchester Law School, Manchester Metropolitan University)


16:30 – 17:00: Coffee


17:00-18:00: The Demands of Beauty Policy Briefing (with coffee from 16.30)

Presentation of the briefing papers produced by the Beauty Demands project and discussion of implications for policy and practice


18:00-19:00: Wine Reception 6.00 – 7.00

All welcome!