ESRC Festival of Social Science

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ESRC Festival of Social Science

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science offers a fascinating insight into some of the country’s leading social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives both now and in the future. This celebration of the social sciences takes place across the UK with over 300 free events including: public debates, conferences, workshops, interactive seminars, film screenings, virtual exhibitions, and much more.

In November 2018, Bournemouth University hosted 10 events in Bournemouth and London to share some of the social science research taking place here at BU. These interactive sessions were free for all to attend. Read more about the events that took place below, or for more information about the ESRC Festival of Social Science, check out their website.

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Data Comics: Visual Storytelling for Impact
With Anna Feigenbaum, Einar Thorsen, Alexandra Alberda, Andrew White

As data is becoming a more present part of public and social organisations and businesses, effective communication is on the rise. Comics and related graphic forms allow for more inclusion lived experience, help invoke empathy, and can make long lasting impacts. Attendees participating in this event gained knowledge of the emergent field of Graphic Social Science and took away practical skills to better communicate their own data.

Partnerships to promote sexual well-being
With Sally Lee and Lee-Ann Fenge

Building on the research investigating the meaning of sexual well-being for physically disabled people and the implication for social care practice, this event provided attendees with the opportunity to learn more about the importance of sexual well-being as part of general health and well-being, whilst finding out about the issues related to sexual well-being within health and social care practice. Attendees were able to collaborate with key practice partners on how best to support sexual well-being for disabled individuals through good social care practice, whilst looking into future developments of the research and practice.

Uses, effects and toxicity of novel psychoactive substances
With Sulaf Assi

The number of Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) has been continuously increasing and flooding the drug market over the last decade, particularly ‘legal’ and ‘new’ labelled substances that are being misconstrued as safe. These are targeted at younger users (teenagers or young adults) and mainly purchased via the Internet (including the dark web). This drop-in session aimed to raise awareness of the use of novel psychoactive substances and highlight the social harm and economic impact of these drugs, the criminal issues and the psychoactive and clinical effects.

Becoming More in Control of Online Gambling
With Raian Ali, John McAlaney, Emily Arden-Close and Elvira Bolat

This session showcased the project EROGamb by Bournemouth University and GambleAware, which stresses the importance of providing gambling behaviour data to gamblers and their surrogates in real time and in an easy format. This project has been working towards a policy change and is motivated by the importance of such data to predict problematic gambling patterns and highlight the issues. This data is already being seen in mainstream digital media, for example Facebook and Google. Attendees at this session learnt how this technology can not only benefit society, but improve the lives of people gambling.

Are face “super recognizers” useful to the police?
With Sarah Bate

Psychologists have recently investigated people with extraordinary face recognition skills (“super recognizers”) and there has been growing interest in the use of these people in policing and security settings. But just how useful are super recognizers and are there any limits on their skills? This lecture explained the cognitive underpinnings of human face recognition, and discussed recent research findings on the identification and real-world abilities of super recognizers.

Tax Havens and International Finance Centres
With Alan Kirkpatrick

Have you ever wanted to find out more about the argument for and against Tax Haves and International Finance Centres? Taxation has economic, political and sociological aspects, yet few issues in taxation have aroused such passionate debate as that of ‘tax havens’. This event presented developments such as the OECD’s “BEPS initiative” (about tax avoidance) and stripped the complex language away, giving attendees the opportunity to get their heads around the debate, whilst getting involved themselves.

Creative responses to ageing and loneliness
With Lee-Ann Fenge and Holly Crossen-White

There is growing recognition from the government alongside health and social care agencies of the negative impact of loneliness on health and well-being. This event brought together agencies and the public to explore research and best practice to tackle this issue, and also considered how loneliness can increase susceptibility to financial scam involvement. It provided a forum to explore current research, developing new understanding of the threats posed by loneliness and financial scams, and an opportunity to explore creative projects which aim to promote the social well-being of older people.

Creative Futures in Projects and Programmes
With Karen Thompson and Paul Summers

This event provided a space for project managers, researchers and students to think creatively about the human dimension of project and programme management. The event inspired participants to explore innovative ideas for engaging project stakeholders, to develop new perspectives and inform though lively discussion. Attendees gained: 1) New understandings of the actuality of projects and programmes; 2) Awareness of the value of a social perspective on projects and programmes; 3) Knowledge of how research can be made more relevant to practice and 4) Practical suggestions for improving human interactions on projects.

The Carnival of Sex, Sexuality and Gender
With Sara Ashencaen Crabtree, Jonathan Parker, Lorraine Brown and Frances Hawkhead

The Carnival of Sex, Sexuality and Gender was a 1-day adult event held at Bournemouth University, open to town-and-gown throughout Bournemouth. The event featured an exploration of the social science of contemporary gender relations through the creative arts together with a Q&A panel of academic experts and the opportunity to explore the meanings of gender from a personal, social and experiential perspective.

Communicating Empathy in a Post-Brexit Landscape
With Iain MacRury and Candida Yates

Against a polarised political UK landscape, the study of empathy is timely. Using Brexit as a case study, this session applyed a psychosocial approach to the experience of empathy and also its absence in group contexts. This included a panel discussion on the meanings of empathy and its emotional significance, how empathy emerges in group contexts and the role it plays in political culture. A reflective workshop group discussion gave an opportunity to share thoughts and feelings about Brexit and the potential for empathy to emerge between citizens with opposing viewpoints.