Celebrating University of Bath research at the Festival of Social Science

Posted in: Doing Public Engagement

Over the next four weeks, researchers from across the University of Bath are sharing their research in our first Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science events programme.

Festival of Social Science 2023

Now in its 21st year, the Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC) Festival of Social Science is an annual celebration of social science research's role in helping understand some of the big issues facing society.

Following our successful application to the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account funding call, 2023 is the first year the University of Bath is taking part in this Festival.

Across four weeks, we have a range of different events planned with colleagues from across the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science and the School of Management, exploring diverse topics including understanding the role of compassion in adolescent mental health treatment, our digital afterlife, the impacts of cobalt mining on society in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and much more.

Reflecting on the University of Bath's Festival programme Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Julie Barnett said:

It is fantastic to see so many colleagues from different departments getting involved in our first Festival of Social Science. The events we have planned over the next four weeks are great opportunities for people to explore a range of really important topics.  They highlight the importance of the University of Bath's social science research here in the UK and further afield across the world.

I'm looking forward to us building on the success of our inaugural Festival contributions over the next five years.

Check out highlights from our 2023 programme:


People arriving at Bath Spa railway station will have the opportunity to experience the Images of Research exhibition and discover, through imagery inspired by or directly from research, University research and its benefits to society.

Brad Evans, Professor of Political Violence from the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies, has been working with Mexican artist Chantal Meza on their State of Disappearance project, which on Saturday 28 October, will launch a two-week exhibition of new works of art at Bristol's CentreSpace Gallery. The exhibition and a programme of talks and workshops will explore the violence of enforced human disappearance.

At 44AD artspace from Monday 6 November for a week, Katharina Lenner and colleagues from the Centre for Development Studies present In Their Eyes, an exhibition of photography that documents the daily lives of marginalised communities in Africa, the Middle East and the United Kingdom.

I'm a Researcher -Ask Me Anything!

Over on social news website Reddit, researchers Ioannis Costas Battle (Department of Education), Neil Howard (Department of Social & Policy Sciences), Oishee Kundu (School of Management) and John Troyer (Department of Social & Policy Sciences) are inviting people to ask them anything with this chat-based online conversation. These events are great opportunities for users of Reddit to dig a little deeper into topics such as universal basic income, the role of government procurement in driving scientific developments, sport as a tool for youth development and technology and death.

Film screenings

Roy Maconachie (Department of Social & Policy Sciences) will be screening two films as part of the Festival. Receiving its world premiere on Thursday 2 November at Bristol's MShed, Tobacco Slave explores the tobacco industry's role in deepening inequity and considers Bristol's historical connections with tobacco production and the transatlantic slave trade. Roy's second film, Cobalt Rush, tells the story of and gives voice to the informal workforce of miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the gruelling conditions they often face. The film will be screened as part of the Green Energy - at what cost? event at the Little Theatre Cinema on Thursday 9 November, followed by a panel discussion.

What are the digital legacies we leave behind us when we die? Kilter Theatre and Bath-based charity Dorothy House worked with doctoral students researching cybersecurity to explore this question and created a series of short films, Dust to Data: Fictional Explorations of the Digital Afterlife, which will be screened at Widcombe Social Club on Thursday 26 October at 6pm.

Live podcast recording 

Lucy Maddox joins SENSE(LESS) podcast hosts Mike Richardson and Naomi Heffer for a live recording on Wednesday 1 November to discuss her research on developing an intervention for staff working in child and adolescent mental health wards to prevent and reduce compassion fatigue.

Get involved in the Festival of Social Science 2024

The Public Engagement Unit is leading on plans for the development of the programme that will comprise the University's contribution to the Festival of Social Science in 2024. Now is your opportunity to shape those plans.

Do you have an idea for a public engagement activity? Are you already planning a public engagement activity for October/November 2024? Would you like to join a planning group? If so, drop us a line (public-engagement@bath.ac.uk)

About the Festival of Social Science

Running for the last 20 years, the Festival of Social Science is a UK-wide celebration of the social sciences supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Across four weeks each autumn, social science researchers have the opportunity to deliver activities and events that engage audiences with their work, highlighting the value that social science research brings to our everyday lives.


Dean Veall is Deputy Head of Public Engagement at the University of Bath

Posted in: Doing Public Engagement

Check out the University of Bath's Festival of Social Science programme


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