21 October 2020

Festival of Social Science to highlight our ability to adapt to new challenges and solve complex problems

The UK’s Festival of Social Science is heading back to the University of Sheffield this November to help us explore new perspectives on our future and reorganise our ways of living following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A smart watch tracking the wearers vitals
  • University of Sheffield explores how the social sciences address the major challenges facing society
  • Running from 7-15 November, the fully digital festival means festival goers around the world can access events at their own pace
  • Events will highlight experiences of being a carer, how brexit affected our relationships and how technology changes how we monitor health

The UK’s Festival of Social Science is heading back to the University of Sheffield this November to help us explore new perspectives on our future and reorganise our ways of living following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

\The free week-long national festival - run by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) - takes place from 7 to 15 November 2020 and showcases the contribution that social science research makes to addressing societal challenges.

As with previous years, researchers at the University of Sheffield will deliver one of the largest programmes of events. From the experiences of carers and the cared-for, to the NHS after Brexit and exploring how architecture and design can protect against infectious disease. The fully digital exhibitions, workshops, talks and film screenings at this year’s festival offer an opportunity to dive deeper into these challenges and learn from other communities.

The University of Sheffield has invested in a bespoke online digital platform to enable ease of access for a broad, global audience. Many of the events will remain accessible beyond the week of the Festival to allow the public to interact with them at their own pace.

Professor Craig Watkins, Vice President and Head of the Faculty of Social Science at the University of Sheffield, said: “At a time when people are unable to gather to debate and discuss the major challenges facing society, I am delighted that the festival will still be able to share new perspectives on a range of important topics with a wide online audience.

“I am sure that, as with the more traditional live events in previous years, this year’s festival will prove to be thought provoking and will, at times, offer an inspirational reminder of our ability to adapt to new challenges and solve wicked problems.”

Highlights from Sheffield at this year’s ESRC Festival of Social Science via our new online platform include:

  • I’ll Be Here in the Morning - a digital exhibition of creative works submitted by the public to illustrate their experiences of being a carer or someone that receives care
  • House of Tracking-  an online interactive event and audio-animated website to discover the ways we use devices to self-monitor our health
  • My Year in Brexit Britain - an interactive digital exhibition looking at how families have navigated the ups and downs of Brexit, and how it has affected their everyday relationships
  • Health in Changing Times - an online debate jointly hosted by UK in a Changing Europe, looking at how Brexit will impact the NHS, and how the public perceives those dramatic change
  • Understanding Food in a Digital World - a full day of online talks jointly hosted with the Food Standards Agency looking at how our digital world, and the data we capture through it, influences our relationship with food and food standards

Festival of Social Science The Faculty of Social Sciences is home to approximately 700 researchers whose work addresses the thematic priorities of: health and wellbeing, inclusive society and sustainable futures.


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