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International Society for Occupational Science

News & events

First World Occupational Science Conference
August 25-27, 2022
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre

Occupation and Society: Global to Local Perspectives for the Future

The theme of this conference recognizes that all occupation occurs within context. Whether people engage in occupations individually or as part of collectives (e.g., families, neighbourhoods, communities), our societies inform our understandings of what people need, want, and are expected to do. This conference aims to enable dialogue regarding the complex relations between human occupation and society. Society is understood as a social group characterized by people involved in regular social interactions and occupations, sharing a physical or social space, and/or organized by common political and cultural expectations. This conference gives voice to ‘Glocal perspectives,’ and invites submissions ranging from local to global considerations of the relationship between occupation and society, as well as for the future of occupational science. As such, this conference invites a range of topics of interest to the international occupational science community

Past News & Events

Consultation Meeting

Re: World Occupational Science Conference

The Boardroom
Regency Hotel, Portland, Maine, USA
at 6:15pm (local time)
Friday September 30th

Notes of Meeting

  • 1.Invited & Attended

The meeting was well attended, including not only delegates from the invited organizations/world regions (Australasia, Canada, Japan, Europe, USA, Taiwan, and JOS), but also 3 interested observers/engaged citizens.

President of Australasia Society of Occupational Scientists
Mandy Stanley

President of the Canadian Society of Occupational Scientists
Heidi Cramm – represented by Melissa Park

President of Japanese Society for Study of Occupation
Hiromi Yoshikawa – represented by Etsuko Odawara & Hirokazu

President of Occupational Science Europe
Anne Roberts – represented by Jeanne Jackson and Natalia Rivas

President of the Society for the Study of Occupation: USA
Jyothi Gupta

Latin America occupational science
Lilian Magalhães

Taiwanese Committee for Occupational Science
Mei-Ling Lin (currently a PhD student at UNC)

Journal of Occupational Science
Virginia Dickie (President), Clare Hocking (editor)

Board of the International Society of Occupational Scientists
Susan Forwell, Suzanne Huot, Beccy Aldrich

  • 2.Purpose:

To engage in a consultation with occupational science organizations worldwide about to hold a World Occupational Science Conference.

      • Would your organization support the idea of a world meeting in OS?

Issues and concerns…

There appeared to be genuine interest in moving forward, but a bit of a 'paradoxical tension' was raised with some saying: "If you build it, they will come", with others reminding that "the devil is in the details."

Other comments included:

  • Accessible language for parts or all of the program
  • Consider possibility of translation

In principle most were positive toward the idea of a World OS Conference, yet before fully committing were curious about some of the details regarding logistical details (e.g. who would pay for this and how would costs be divided among participating societies, how would the meeting be made accessible across languages)

There was a suggestion that we could glean some lessons from WFOT approaches.

Agreement that a smaller organizing committee with diverse representation would be needed to start planning details of the event, which would likely take place in 2019.

  • 3.Next steps:
  • List of scheduled meeting dates for next 5 years of international OS conference is being compiled to determine potential dates for the World OS conference
  • ISOS Board awaiting confirmation from meeting participants before determining next steps

2016 Joint Research Conference

Third Joint Research Conference of

  1. Navigating the Seas of Change: Diversity of Occupation
  2. The Society for the Study of Occupation: USA (SS0:USA)
  3. The Canadian Society of Occupational Scientists (CSOS)
  4. Details of this conference can be found on CSOS Program Page (Click Here).

    Sept. 28- Oct. 1, 2016

    Portland, Maine

    Hosted by the Occupational Therapy Department the University of Southern Maine

    Australasian Society of Occupational Scientists Symposium 2016


    April 21-22 , 2016

    This symposium explores, at multiple levels, the contemporary western societies. The diverse perspectives brought to the discussion are given coherence by its occupational lens, focusing on occupation as both everyday participation and the mechanism by which inclusive societies are produced.

    Symposium programme and speaker abstracts

    Register for the ASOS (Australasian Society of Occupational Scientists) Symposium at

    Call for poster abstracts closes 1 November 2015. Abstract submission guidelines Click Here

    Early bird registration 1st September - 30th November 2015

    - Full registration $340
    - One day registration $180
    - Student (Full) $290
    - Student (One day) $170

    From 1st December 2015 to 13th April 2016

    - Full registration $375
    - One day registration $210
    - Student (Full) $325
    - Student (One day) $190

    ASOS Symposium will be held at the Sir Paul Reeves Building, AUT City Campus, Auckland, New Zealand

    Any initial enquiries can be made by emailing:


    Passing of Emeritus Professor Ruth Marguerite Watson

    Ruth Marguerite Watson
    (1936 – 2014)

    It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of a beloved colleague and mentor, Emeritus Professor Ruth Watson on Friday 18 July. Professor Watson was UCT's first Head of the UCT Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and was the Head of the UCT Division of Occupational Therapy (OT) for many years.

    Over a career spanning almost 60 years Professor Watson has been influential as a visionary leader and mentor, and her professional and personal wisdom has been held in high esteem by many. One of the first graduates of the first occupational therapy education programmes at the University of the Witwatersrand, she was also the first occupational therapist in South Africa to obtain a Masters’ degree and a doctorate. As an educator and mentor, Professor Watson inspired countless occupational therapists through her leadership and teaching at the Universities of Pretoria, Stellenbosch and Cape Town.

    She laid foundations for innovative practice within and beyond traditional medical interventions, guided the development of contextually relevant undergraduate curricula, spearheaded the implementation of occupational therapy Masters and Doctoral programmes at the University of Cape Town, mentored numerous practitioners and postgraduate students towards the fulfilment of their potential. She influenced South African disability policy and rehabilitation services through her research and publications and, importantly, provided visionary leadership during challenging political transitions. As a researcher, she made an outstanding contribution to the body of knowledge of occupational therapy nationally and internationally and encouraged and inspired many occupational therapists to undertake research.

    Professor Watson’s expertise has been acknowledged by professional and government organisations locally and internationally. She served as Chairperson of the Board for Occupational Therapy and Medical Orthotists and Prosthetists of the Health Professions Council of South Africa and has been in various leadership positions within the Occupational Therapy Association. She was instrumental in the transformation process of the South African Occupational Therapy Association (SAAOT) into the present Occupational Therapy Association of South Africa (OTASA) and served as Honorary Life President of OTASA from 1979.

    Professor Watson was always one step ahead, identifying and creatively addressing academic, service related and socio-political issues of critical relevance to the profession in a developing society. Her leadership helped steer the profession into a new interpretation of occupational therapy practice, an interpretation that is embedded in the context of occupational justice and the belief that meaningful occupation is a basic right for all people.

    Despite retiring as Professor in Occupational Therapy from the University of Cape Town in 2002, Professor Watson continued to play a role in the evolution of occupational therapy in South Africa through research, presenting papers at conferences, supervising postgraduate students and external examining right until the end. She will be remembered as an exceptional occupational therapist who contributed substantially to the growth and development of the profession, and therapists, both locally and internationally.


    Roshan Galvaan
    Head of UCT Division of Occupational Therapy

    square The ISOS is pleased to announce its new stream discussion between August 25-September 20, 2014.

    The theme of this discussion is "Developing occupational science as a critical and socially responsive discipline: challenges and opportunities". Facilitators will be Lisette Farias, Debbie Laliberte Rudman & Lilian Magalhães, from Western University, Canada.


    square The Society for the Study of Occupation (SSO): USA, the Canadian Society of Occupational Scientists (CSOS), & The International Society for Occupational Science (ISOS) are pleased to announce that registration for the 2014 Joint International Conference in Occupational Science is now open at:

    The Joint International Conference will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, from October 16 to 18, 2014.

    The theme of the conference is Globalization & Occupational Science: Partnerships, Methodologies & Research

    We are also pleased to announce the two honoured presenters for the conference:

    SSO:USA Ruth Zemke Lecture in Occupational Science by – Dr. Elizabeth Townsend

    CSOS Townsend & Polatajko Lectureship by – Dr. Lynn Shaw

    Remember: Early Registration Rates are available until August 1, 2014. Please sign in as a member first for membership pricing.

    square Incorporating diverse research ideas into occupational therapy curricula: A dialog between researchers, teachers, clinicians, and students

    May 23, 2012

    Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden

    square3rd ISOS Online Discussion Stream

    Please refer to education tab

    square Canadian Society of Occupational Scientists Conference

    Edmonton, Alberta, May 2012

    square Society for Study of Occupation:USA Conference

    Park City, Utah, October 20-22, 2011

    square Japanese Society for Study of Occupation - Annual Conference

    Mihara, Japan, September 24-25, 2011

    square The 2011 CAOT Occupational Science Stream has been announced. Please see flyer for further information.

    2011 CAOT OS Stream

    square The 2010 3rd Taiwanese Occupational Science Symposium will be held November 27, 2010. Please see flyer for further information

    2010 Taiwanese OS Symposium

    square The 2011 JSSO Occupational Science Symposium will be held December 11-12, 2010 in Okinawa, Japan. Please see flyer for further information

    2010 JSSO Conference

    square The first ISOS Online discussion stream was moderated by Dr. Ruth Zemke between October 1, 2010 - October 31, 2010. The theme of the stream was "Occupational Patterns in Time and Space."

    square The SSO:USA and CSOS held a joint conference between October 14-16th, 2010 in London, Ontario, Canada. The conference theme was, "Redefining Boundaries and Bridges in Occupational Science."

    square The 2010 USC Occupational Science Symposium was held on March 27th 2010.

    square Colorful Views of Research Methods in the Northeast
    8th Annual Research Conference of the Society for the Study of Occupation: USA. Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale, New Haven, Connecticut. October 14-16, 2009.

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