BEEPG was founded in 1992 at the University of Leicester by Nigel Foreman with support form Richard Rawles of the Russian Psychology Research Unit at University College London, Elizabeth Roberts who had substantial Cold War contacts with Russian psychologists, and Alice Sluckin of Leicester University whose late husband Vladik had maintained some links in his native Poland.
Richard Rawles became BEEPG’s chair in 1996, and other officers were: Membership secretaries: Robin Goodwin and Danuta Orlowska; Communications Officer: Christopher Alan Lewis; Treasurers: Frank Carter and Roger Bunce; Secretary: Hilary Gray
East European representatives were:
Baltic States: Rita Zukauskiene, Bosnia: Steve Powell; Bulgaria: Tolya Stoitsova; Croatia: Ingrid Brdar; Czech Republic: Vladimir Smekal; Georgia: George Nizadze; Hungary: Lan Anh Nguyen Luu; Poland: Anna Kwiatkowska; Romania: O. Benga: Russia (Moscow): Elena Sergienko; Russia (St Petersburg): Yana Ledovaya; Kazakhstan: Alla Kim; Former Yugoslavia: Miklos Biro; Slovakia: Igor Brezina; Ukraine: E. Ivanova
Both research methods and fundamental theory differed in the two regions: a preference for the hypothetico-deductive methods and structural models in the West and for inductive methods and environmental theory in the East. Since the 1920s lead East European psychologists joined their western counterparts at the triennial International Psychology Congress but hot and cold wars meant that shared research was very limited.
We aimed to build bridges in this situation. First we invited East European psychologists to spend time in UK psychology departments. Early visitors were Elena Sergienko (Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences); Anatoli Krtchevits (Moscow State University); Marina Gulina (St. Petersburg S.U.); Miclea Mircea, Babes Bolyai U. Cluj, Romania and Ana Munteana of Timisoara S.U., Romania; Irena Kolukova of Olomouc S.U, Czech Republic and Viera Bacova of Kosice S.U., Slovaia.
We held twice yearly, later annual, meetings in Leicester University, University College London and in Westminster University, and three international conferences in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia (1995); Brno Czech Republic (2000); and Krakow Poland (2005) meetings and conferences. We also issued three series of newsletters, UpDate, Early UpDates about Group developments e.g. our visitors and first conference: then Country UpDates describing country by country the main psychology institutions and their specialisms: and finally Subdiscipline UpDates describing research that was then current across East Europe in the various psychology subdisciplines.
By 2012 when we issued our last newsletter psychology was an important part of the new global world. Many East European research psychology departments were represented in international research projects, several of which are mentioned in relevant Subdiscipline UpDates. Similarly East European research psychologists were members of the European and international associations that now served the growing number of sophisticated specialisms.