Abstract The conference ‘Internal architecture, bedforms and geometry of turbidite channels’ was held at the Geological Society, London, June 20–21st, 2011. The aim of the conference was to bring together workers on modern, outcrop, experimental and seismic studies in order to consolidate our knowledge and better integrate our understanding on the internal architecture and bedforms in turbidite channels. Turbidite channels are major conduits and repositories of sediment in the deep sea and they form important hydrocarbon reservoirs in many slope and basin-floor settings. Substantial advances in our understanding of the external geometry and gross internal architecture of turbidite channels have been made over the last fifteen years or so, largely in response to improvements in seismic image resolution. Sufficient data are now becoming available, through detailed analysis of outcrops, experimental work and studies of modern systems to focus on the detailed internal constituents of these channels, and to link them to the evolution of the gross channel form. This two-day conference resulted in a series of papers, focused on turbidite channels, which form this Special Issue publication and to which this article serves as an introduction.