Commonweal to host event as part of national social science festival

By Jamie Hill - 19 September 2018


Commonweal School in Old Town will be hosting a free event on 9 November for sixth form students as part of the ESRC festival of Social Science.

The UK’s biggest celebration of social science returns this November as the Economic and Social Research Council’s Festival of Social Science will highlight the impact of social science research on people's lives, with more than 300 free events across the country.


The Festival, now in its sixteenth year, will run from 3 – 10 November and involve public debates, conferences, workshops, film screenings and virtual exhibitions. These events allow social scientists to engage with the public and increase awareness of the contributions the social sciences make to wellbeing and the economy of the UK.


The event at Commonweal School on Friday 9 November will look at how has the world evolved in the last twenty year, how has the changing society affected the nature of crime and how are young people coping with the challenges of an ever changing world? 

This event is an opportunity for Post-16 students to explore the role of social science in a changing world and is designed to complement the study of A-level Sociology, Psychology, Government & Politics and Law.


Lottie O'Brien, Joint Head of Social Science at Commonweal said: "We aim to broaden knowledge and understanding, present new ideas and raise aspirations through a series of engaging and informative lectures. The speakers will explore issues such as mental health, immigration and criminology. There will be opportunities to discuss and debate the ideas presented, as well as ask questions of academics and professionals within their field of expertise. 


"We are really  excited to host an event as part of the ESRC festival of Social Science. It is a great chance to give young people in the Swindon area and beyond a chance to understand more about the world we live in, and to be inspired by professionals in the field of social science. We hope the event broadens horizons and raises aspirations.'


Festival events taking place across the UK will demonstrate how social science research has an impact on business, the public sector and civil society. Social science contributes to the competitiveness of the UK in the world, the effectiveness of public services, and the quality of people's lives.


The researcher-led events will engage with everyone from school children to policy-makers. In 2017, events were held in 57 towns and cities with involvement from 1,348 social science researchers and a total attendance of 37,400 people. 


Professor Jennifer Rubin, ESRC Executive Chair, said: "The Festival of Social Science is one of the largest co-ordinated endeavours undertaken by a science community and demonstrates ESRC’s commitment to public engagement. We know social scientists and economists value the opportunity to talk with the public to make an impact with their work. These events should inspire young people to pursue a career in social sciences and raise awareness about the impact made to wider society."


Events during the Festival provide insight into research dealing with a wide variety of themes. A small snapshot of these include:


·        False, fake and fibs: the science behind misinformation

·        #TimesUp Gender Inequality and Women's Mental Health

·        Funding public services: postcode lottery or local responsibility?

·        Challenging disability stereotypes through art

·        Demystifying Menstruation: From UK – Uganda

·        Respecting neurodiversity: communicating with autistic service users

·        EU migrants' experiences of civil society in Wales

·        The fall and rise of the Indian economy


Since its launch in 2003, thousands of Festival events have been organised and they have attracted more than a million people. A full list of events for the Festival will be found here on ESRC’s website in late September.



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