Social and cultural challenges
Our track record for research excellence is underpinned by our creativity and imagination. We’re exploring identity and cultures to tackle social challenges. Find out more about how our research shapes our world.
The power of language in a plastic waste crisis
Only 9 per cent of plastic in the UK is successfully recycled. With over half of UK households choosing to put one or more items in the general rubbish, researchers at Sheffield are taking a linguistic approach to change the nation’s throwaway culture.
Bridging cultures in mental health
1 in 4 people will experience struggles with their mental health in the course of a year. But cultural sensitivities and language differences put up barriers for many patients. Sheffield researchers have developed a training course to deepen the cultural understanding of healthcare professionals.
Filling the silence: the powerful music of Afghanistan's exiled musicians
On the morning of August 15 2021 the flourishing musicscape of Afghanistan fell silent. As the Taliban regime came back into force, musicians disappeared and fled. Dr Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey is working with Afghan musicians now living in exile to create new platforms to share their work.
Closing the language development gap in preschool children
In England almost a quarter of children start school without the language skills needed to flourish. Research by Dr Danielle Matthews is supporting the creation of accessible materials to help parents with their child’s language development at home.
How the psychoactive revolution shaped society
Research from the Department of History explores how intoxicants such as coffee and tobacco were trafficked into Western Europe and how they influenced today’s public spaces.
Creating a safer global environment for journalists
Journalists face serious kinds of human rights abuse simply for trying to keep the public informed. We're developing a framework to improve data collection on the full range of violations against journalists and track trends to prevent future attacks.
Mozart: Music’s greatest freelancer
Remembered as a child prodigy, how did Mozart craft the masterpieces that would remain well known over two hundred years after his death? Research from the Music Department has unearthed a new side to the musician that involves re-working pieces to please all audiences.
Putting Broadway under the spotlight: how disability was erased from a popular musical
Research by Professor Dominic Broomfield-McHugh reveals that producers removed a lead disabled character from one of the most popular musicals in Broadway history. His findings have sparked a debate about disability representation in musicals, both in the past and today.
Tackling gender inequality in Latin America
Gender equality is a human right. But how do you shift societal views of women in one of the most unequal regions in the world? Research at the University of Sheffield is at the forefront of promoting gender equality in Latin American schools by celebrating women who helped shape the region.
Co-developing a city-wide strategy for peace
People in Buenaventura face ongoing violence from armed organisations. Researchers at the University of Sheffield and their partners at Javeriana University, CINEP and CORMEPAZ have been awarded the Economic & Social Research Council’s Societal Impact Prize for the coproduction of a peace strategy.
Sheffield Castle: Excavating the Past; Building the Future
A film exploring the Castlegate project and what it means for our conception of Sheffield's heritage
A guide to the contemporary arts
Are you one of the many that tried new artforms, as theatre, music and art galleries offered digital content during lockdown? If this piqued your interest to try something new, our guide to the contemporary will help you enjoy new arts experiences.
A narrative approach to mental health
For centuries, storytelling has been used as a tool to communicate ideas and understanding about the world. Research at the University of Sheffield has adapted this tool to give those struggling with mental health a voice and a community.
Apprenticeships - German precisions and changing perceptions
The number of people starting apprenticeships has almost tripled since 2007. But with a government target of three million new apprentices by the end of the decade, how can more young people be encouraged to see them as a viable pathway?
Frivolous spending, private parties and grumpy governesses
With its picturesque estate, filled with beautiful flowerbeds, waterworks and sculptures, illustrating nearly 500 years of changing styles, Chatsworth is believed to have inspired one of the world’s most-loved writers, Jane Austen.
Joining The Baby Club - designing children’s television
How do you design a children’s programme that’s also for adults? That’s the challenge for new BBC television programme The Baby Club, which aims to develop adults’ skills as much as those for toddlers.
Changing the course of justice for victims and offenders
After being on the receiving end of a criminal offence you might find it uncomfortable to talk to the perpetrator. But what if you could use that opportunity to get answers and explain the impact the offence had on your life?
Fact or fiction: how a world of misinformation can be challenged through philosophy
In a world of misinformation and fake news it can be challenging to discern fact from fiction. But by introducing philosophical education into the curriculum from a young age, children could be armed with the tools to do just that.
How did luxury become a necessity?
The general consensus is that wealth equals luxury, but is that actually the case? To coincide with his BBC Radio 3 Documentary, The Deluxe Edition, and guest feature in The Observer, Dr Seán Williams provides an insight into the surprising story of luxury and what it means for us today.
A cuppa reality: The truth behind your brew
It’s estimated 25 million men, women and children across the world are affected by forced labour. Professor Genevieve LeBaron from the University of Sheffield explores why it is prevalent in supply chains and how we can all help to put a stop to so-called modern day slavery.
Millicent Fawcett: A statue to suffrage
When the statue of suffragist Millicent Fawcett was unveiled in 2018 it broke Parliament Square’s granite ceiling to become the first representation of a woman in the city’s seat of power. Professor Julie Gottlieb’s advice and collaboration helped carve this place in history.
Reshaping our understanding of British history
We've opened up a new perspective on women's impact on foreign policy between the wars.
The undercover geographer
Our research is transforming employment health support. Adam Whitworth is a geographer attempting to map a new way through employment and health support for those most in need. His approach? ‘Go native’...
Help! I'm scared of the dentist
Many people are scared of the dentist. For children, it can appear to be a strange environment full of unusual tools and unfamiliar smells. Our research gives children control during dental procedures to reduce anxiety.
Trapped: the truth behind narco-trafficking in Mexico
Few would choose to spend their day in the London Immigration Tribunal Chambers, but for those who have to, it’s often a matter of life and death. This was the case for Peter. Except for him, it's a matter of the lives of Mexican nationals he helps to save.