Our Festival of Social Science returns exploring the ideas that shape our lives

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Our academics will showcase their world-leading research and examine the ideas that shape our everyday lives during this year’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science.

The free festival, funded by the ESRC, is a chance for people from across the city and beyond to immerse themselves in a wide range of exciting events including lectures, debates, interactive experiences and exhibitions.

Find out more and book tickets

The ESRC festival is now in its 16th year and will cover topics, from health and wellbeing to the economy and the cities we live in today.

The festival is a chance for leading academics from our University and Sheffield Hallam University to explore and share their knowledge with the public through innovative events which break boundaries and challenge the status quo.

Professor Craig Watkins, Vice President and Head of the Faculty of Social Science, said: “Social science researchers take on the great challenges of our time – from guarding privacy in the age of big data, tackling the housing crisis and informing the debate on criminal justice.

“The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University are home to world-leading social science researchers working at the frontier of knowledge. We work with communities, governments and business leaders to understand society and improve lives.

“The Festival of Social Science is a great opportunity for people to learn more about how innovative social science is tackling the issues that individuals and societies face today through exciting and immersive events.”

Events at this year’s festival, which runs from Saturday 3 November to Saturday 10 November 2018, include:

Last orders – are young people are drinking less?

Recent research by the University of Sheffield tells us that young people in the UK drink less alcohol than their parents did when they were young. Is this true for you? Are you going to the gym instead of going to the pub? Join our researchers in exploring this trend at our interactive exhibition in The Light Cinema from 11am-3pm on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 November 2018. Share your ideas and take part in a range of hands-on activities.

Gun Clap

A powerful and thought-provoking performance brings together Dr Todd Hartman of the Sheffield Method’s Institute’s research on gun control and the artistic voice of spoken word poet and Masters student Sipho Dube. This event, at Theatre Delicatessen from 6pm-7pm on Tuesday 6 November 2018, encourages discussion around gun control and highlights the value of quantitative social science research in addressing the big challenges in society.

Cash in hand - paying your way?

Through a series of short, thought-provoking performances, Dead Earnest Theatre will present everyday scenarios involving cash in hand work. Dr Ioana Horodnic from the University of Sheffield will then explore the reasons why citizens may or may not declare this type of income, and look at the acceptability of this from various points of view. The event is at The Circle on Rockingham Street, Sheffield, from 6pm-7pm on Monday 5 November 2018.

Inside police custody

An immersive tour of a simulated police custody facility will allow people to experience what it feels like to be detained in a police cell and to go through the ‘booking-in’ process. Tours will be held on Wednesday 7 November 2018 from 6:30pm-8:30pm at The Lifewise Centre in Rotherham and will be accompanied by an overview of the South Yorkshire Police custody process and a talk by University of Sheffield criminologist Dr Layla Skinns on ‘good’ police custody practice.

From immigrant to First Citizen: my journey

In this sold-out event, Lord Mayor of Sheffield Magid Magid will talk about his incredible journey from Somalia to Sheffield, from refugee to First Citizen in words and images. He will share his thoughts on current affairs and his role in shaping the future of Sheffield in a discussion chaired by Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City and Culture at the University of Sheffield.

Professor Jennifer Rubin, ESRC Executive Chair, said: "The Festival of Social Science is one of the largest coordinated 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."

View the full programme and book free tickets