Leicester experts to feature at national Festival of Social Science

University of Leicester researchers will showcase the real-world impact of their work at the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)’s Festival of Social Science in November.

Experts will deliver free public sessions on topics as diverse as the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower, youth employment, ‘plogging’, and representations of disability.

Events will take place as online seminars, Instagram takeovers and in-person activities, and form part of the programme for the 19th annual Festival of Social Science from Monday 1 to Tuesday 30 November 2021.

Professor Henrietta O’Connor, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities (CSSAH) at the University of Leicester, said: “We are delighted to see such a rich presence from Leicester’s social science research as part of the Festival this year. It gives us the chance to profile some of the excellent and impactful projects led by academics from across the University, and we are particularly pleased to spotlight vital and timely work on the environment and the pandemic.”

Sessions delivered by Leicester researchers include a presentation of findings from the UniCoVac study of university students’ experiences of and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination programme, as well as three early-career researchers’ Cartoonathon, designed to equip young people with skills to engage the core political issues which impact everyday life.

The schedule of University of Leicester-supported events includes:

  • Skim Reading? Get Crafty and Informed! – Monday 1 to Tuesday 30 November (daily) – Resources to explain the science behind how skim reading can affect comprehension. Online.
  • Cartoonathon: Youth Dialogue on Social Media – Friday 5 to Monday 29 November (daily) – An Instagram take-over of Shout Out UK, using political cartoons to engage young people in dialogue around the environment, COVID-19, and inequality. The take-over will culminate in a cartoon competition, with three £50 gift cards up for grabs. Online.
  • Let’s Plog – Saturday 6 and Saturday 20 November – Two sessions at Leicester schools to introduce the idea of plogging (picking up litter while jogging).
  • Dictating to the Estate – Wednesday 10 November (6.00pm to 7.30pm) – Documentary play about the events leading to the Grenfell Tower Fire, followed by a Q&A with housing experts. Online.
  • Films and the Rest of Us – Wednesday 17 November (11.00am to 3.00pm) – Workshop to explore the representation of disabled people in film and addresses questions such as how this might impact identity construction and what accessibility barriers remain pervasive within society. Held at Attenborough Arts Centre and Online.

While all events are open to the public, guests are encouraged to register for their free tickets using Eventbrite or at le.ac.uk/social-science-festival.

The ESRC is the UK’s largest funder of research on the social and economic questions facing us today. It supports the development and training of the UK’s future social scientists and also funds major studies that provide the infrastructure for research. ESRC-funded research informs policymakers and practitioners and helps make businesses, voluntary bodies and other organisations more effective.

Professor Alison Park, interim ESRC Executive Chair, said: “The ESRC Festival of Social Science is one of the largest co-ordinated endeavours undertaken by an economics and social science community and is indicative of ESRC’s commitment to public engagement. 

“This year the Festival will run throughout November and there will be a mixture of digital and face to face events, with a focus on the environment to mark the UK’s hosting of COP26.

“The Festival is a valuable way of showing how economic and social research helps us to better understand people, businesses, institutions, communities and wider social phenomena, and informs decisions that can affect millions of lives. We hope the events raise awareness about how research can improve outcomes across society, inspiring some young people to pursue a career in research, and others to draw on research to understand people and the world around us.”

For full details about Leicester-led events at the Festival or to register to attend, visit le.ac.uk/social-science-festival or follow @LeicesterSocSci on Twitter.