7th Transforming Care Conference – Helsinki

Social and Human Rights in Care

June 25-27th 2025,  The University of Helsinki, Finland

The theme of the 2025 Transforming Care Conference is ‘Social and Human Rights in Care’. While social rights are understood as collective recognitions of human need, human rights are seen as fundamental rights to which every human being is inherently entitled and which are defined in international human rights treaties. In recent decades, there has been increasing discussion about the importance of the human rights approach and the role of social rights in the contexts of childcare, disability, and long-term care. 

The 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was a breakthrough in this regard, laying the foundation for the development of human rights-based disability policies world-wide, and bringing a new approach that sees persons with disabilities as full and equal members of society with specific rights to have their needs met. 

Similar discussions have taken place in the field of childcare where a range of international human rights documents recognize the importance of childcare for both parents and children, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Also, in care for older people, international efforts to create a specific human rights treaty for older people have intensified. In 2017, the EU launched the European Pillar of Social Rights, which states that everyone has the right to affordable long-term care services of good quality. This was followed in 2022 by the European Care Strategy, which aims to ensure quality, affordable and accessible care services across the European Union, not only in long-term care but also in childcare. 

Overall, social and human rights have become a key perspective in the global debate on the future of care, which is why the 2025 Transforming Care Conference hopes to bring social and human rights discussions into our research debates and strengthen their role in our research work.  

We specifically welcome session proposals and papers that deal with the over-arching theme of social and human rights, but also proposals that look into care from other theoretical and empirical perspectives. In addition to one or more open streams, the Transforming Care Conference series is therefore structured around four main dimensions, which allows for papers that do not directly address the overall conference theme:   

  • The institutional setting of care systems and care policy (in terms of social rights to care, public regulation, public/private arrangements involving non-profit and/or for-profit organizations, marketization trends, inclusion/selection criteria, affordability, quality, etc.)  
  • Care arrangements and practices, organized through formal and/or informal channels (caregiving and distribution of paid and unpaid care work, organization and adequacy of care services and cash for care programs, etc.)  
  • Social and policy innovation on care services and care arrangements, and its impact and dilemmas  
  • Formal and informal care work, including involvement of informal carers as well as working conditions of formal care providers.