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Harnessing the Vital Role of Social Sciences in Addressing Contemporary Challenges

6 November 2019 at 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm

n the UK, funding for research and teaching in the social science appears to be under threat and under-valued like never before. Yet, the global challenges of climate change, food security, sustainability, migration and displacement, poverty and inequality, education, public safety and justice all necessitate engagement with the social sciences. They are, after all, societal issues that demand social responses.

This ESRC Festival of Social Science event will bring together in discussion and dialogue: social science teachers, researchers and professionals working in Schools, Colleges, Universities, social science research users, and students. It will showcase some of the work being done to champion the social sciences – for example by the Academy for Social Sciences in its Campaign for Social Science

The objectives of the event will be to:

  • Explore the current challenges and opportunities in the social sciences, in research and teaching.
  • Reflect on the value that the social sciences has to offer the big research challenges
  • Build networks and harness capacity among social science advocates working across different sectors, professions and disciplines.
  • Further promote teaching, research and careers in social science subjects and more generally ‘make the case’ for the social sciences in more powerfully and collaborative ways.


12:00 – 12:30 – Registration and lunch – showcase sessions

12:30 – 13:15 –The journey of teaching the social sciences from A levels to PhD: challenges and opportunities

Dr Matthew Hall – Worcester Sixth From College

Dr Joanna Elvy – Leeds College of Building

Dr Joseph Ibrahim – Senior Lecturer – Leeds School of Social Sciences, Leeds Beckett University

Professor Mark Western – Director Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland

13:15 – 14:00 – ‘what has social sciences done for me?’ a retrospective of the student experience of learning and its benefits across the life-course

William Vineall – Director of Acute Care and Quality Policy – Department of Health

Alex Gardiner – CEO at Rare TV

Howard Josephs – Director – See Research

14:00 – 14:30 – The Academy of Social Sciences – The Campaign for the Social Science

Sharon Witherspoon – Head of Policy, Academy of Social Sciences

14:30 – 14:50 – Break – – showcase sessions

14:50 – 16:00 – Debate – How can we champion the social sciences in the future such that they continue to play a central role in Schools, Colleges, and Universities in teaching and research? Perspectives from social science teachers, users and researchers.

Chair: Professor Jeremy Higham – Dean Faculty of Social Science & Professor of Education Policy, University of Leeds

Professor Karl Spracklen – Leeds School of Social Sciences, Leeds Beckett University

Dr Emma Wincup – Research Manager, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

If you have any access/dietry requirements please contact Hannah Crow on [email protected]

Please note that aspects of this event will be filmed, if you do not wish to be filmed please let the event organiser know when you register on the day.

Register here.