Annual Social Sciences Festival returns to venues across Manchester
The very latest in social science research is set to be promoted across Manchester by the annual Festival of Social Science, which takes place across the city from November 2nd-9th.
In the local version of this national festival academics from The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and University of Salford will be taking over many of the city’s museums, bars, theatres, classrooms and galleries at 40 events, which will cover a variety of themes including climate change, virtual reality, mental health in schools, the gig economy, ageing and homelessness.
Every event in the Festival of Social Science’s schedule is underpinned by high-quality social science research, much of it funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The organisers say that the challenges and opportunities facing the UK - whether that’s climate change, homelessness, wellbeing, or the sustainability of our high streets - mean it is more important than ever for researchers to make meaningful connections with ordinary people.
“There is something for everyone at this year’s Festival,” said organiser Professor Dimitris Papadimitriou from The University of Manchester.
“There will be a community music making event for those living with dementia; an interactive game which challenges you to create a carbon neutral city; a discussion for casualised workers at Ziferblat Social Space; hands-on activities for the whole family at Manchester Central Library; film screenings; and much more besides”.
On Wednesday 6th, ‘Cities 2050’ will challenge visitors with a range of activities, talks and interactive sessions to get you thinking about how urban life may change over the next 30 years. Being held at Manchester Metropolitan University, the afternoon of events includes ‘Carbon City Zero’, a gaming session challenging players to race to create a carbon neutral city.
There will be a community music making event for those living with dementia; an interactive game which challenges you to create a carbon neutral city; a discussion for casualised workers at Ziferblat Social Space; hands-on activities for the whole family at Manchester Central Library; film screenings; and much more besides.
The Carbon City Zero project is spearheaded by Manchester Metropolitan University academics Dr Sam Illingworth and Dr Paul Wake who look forward to welcoming people to join them in playing the game, and listening to their thoughts on tackling climate change. “Games are a really enjoyable and inclusive way to get people talking about difficult topics. By sitting round a table together we create an environment in which every voice can be heard, and through which innovative and diverse solutions to global societal issues such as climate change and heat decarbonisation can be stimulated” Sam said.
‘Robots, Algorithms and the Future of Work’ takes place at the Museum of Science and Industry on Tuesday 5th. The event explores research tackling our understandings of how artificial intelligence, algorithms, robots and other new and rapidly changing economies are affecting the jobs of tomorrow. Organiser Dr Juan Manuel del Nido, a researcher in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester, explained how “trying to define what counts as "work" is becoming trickier; from doctors to teachers, from engineers to chefs, new technologies are changing our ideas of quality, expertise, technique and responsibility”. Juan said “we are really excited to share our work with the community in Manchester, the place where industrial work was born, and to do it at the MOSI - the most appropriate place to reflect on the forms of work that await!”
Researcher Beth Knowles from University of Salford is working with colleagues from both the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University to discuss insights and policy solutions to homelessness services in the city through interactive ‘legislative theatre’. “We talk about co-production, but don’t always understand what that asks of people who spend their time explaining their experience of oppression for the benefit of better policy. Legislative theatre is an opportunity for us to show how different spaces and especially the arts, can be used to collaboratively create policy in Manchester. This event will help us understand our power to act rather than feel powerless and ESRC funding has meant crucially we can pay people to participate in this process, which is too infrequently the case.”
The event, titled, ‘How is the way we frame homelessness contributing to its rise?’ takes place at Manchester Methodist Church on Oldham Street in the Northern Quarter. Stan Benes from the University of Manchester whose PhD is ESRC funded said, “Economic and social and economic oppression is inextricably linked to homelessness. Our aim is to embed the voices of those who've experienced not having a roof over their heads into decisions about housing, support and urban development. The long-term vision of making poverty in all forms a thing of the past will only be realised by including people who’ve experienced it".
For up-to-the-minute booking information and details of the events, please visit www.esrcmanchesterfest.ac.uk, or search for #McrESRCFest on Twitter.