By Sam Peckett
The ESRC Festival of Social Science returns to Manchester and Salford this week, with a packed programme featuring over 35 free events.
The Festival will run from 3rd – 10th November and present the very latest in social science research with academics from Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Manchester and University of Salford running a variety of presentations, workshops, debates, exhibitions and more.
Events aim to tackle a variety of themes including climate change, the future of employment, ageing, virtual reality and, of course, Brexit.
Helen Beebee, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Manchester and one of the Festival’s organisers, said: “We always get this extraordinary range of events. There’s things that affect people’s working lives but also things to do with language and identity, things to do with the economy and environmental sustainability, ageing and more. Whoever you are I think there’s going to be something that speaks to issues that you’re interested in.”
The Manchester edition of the nationwide festival will take place in stunning locations around the city including the Central Library, Manchester Cathedral, the Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth.
The Festival is one of a number of arts and science festivals that have been taking place around Manchester lately. While the Festival will showcase research, it is also hoped that those attending will also offer feedback.
Helen explained: “A lot of the events are trying to not just say “here’s what we’ve found”, but to start a dialogue and really get people involved. There’s a lot of research going on where members of the public are brought in as sort of co-researchers. A lot of the events are very engaging and involve relevant policy makers and charity workers. It isn’t just one way traffic.”
Events include Is Capitalism Sustainable?, a debate hosted by the University of Manchester on the relationship between ecology and capitalism, Using VR nature environments to improve performance and wellbeing, which aims to see if virtual reality can have an effect on cognitive ability and mood through public participation, and Helen’s highlight Email 24/7: Agile Working or Electronic Leash?.
“I’m definitely going to go to that one. You look through the list and it’s like “What really speaks to things that I’m interested in?”, and Email 24/7 is that for me. I’m going to go along and think about our policy within the School and I’m sure a lot of people from other organisations will go away and do a similar sort of thing. So it might have a real practical upshot for me and a lot of my colleagues.”
For more information on the wide range of events taking place and how to book tickets visit www.esrcmanchesterfest.ac.uk.