ESRC Festival of Social Science: from business to Brexit and migration to the menopause

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science in Northern Ireland is back for another year and runs from 3-10 November.

Organised jointly by the three universities in Northern Ireland – The Open University, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University – this festival aims to open up leading research to new audiences, bringing social science into the public domain, and showing how it influences our social, economic and political lives both now and in the future.

This year’s programme is packed full of opportunities to debate, discuss and discover how social science shapes every aspect of our lives: our work, our children’s education; our society and our economy. Oh and did I mention Brexit?

25 events will take place over the seven days with many events already sold out.  Some events that are still open for registrations include:

The End Of Catholic Ireland? – This is a Slugger event. It was sold out but we released some extra tickets so grab them quick. Our key speaker will be Dr. Gladys Ganiel, a sociologist of religion from Queen’s University Belfast, who has recently published the book Transforming Post-Catholic Ireland.

A toolkit for peacebuildingHow do local communities manage social repair in the aftermath of a violent political conflict? Join our community-led conversation using the Transitional Justice Grassroots Toolkit. With Eilish Rooney and Azadeh Sobout from Ulster University. Wednesday 7 November at 1pm in The MAC.

Climate Change: How do we respondAre you passionate about combatting climate change? This public event offers a space for shared learning and dialogue around climate change and societal responses to the key challenges facing our society and planet. With Dr Amanda Slevin and Prof John Barry from Queen’s University. Wednesday 7 November at 7pm in the Canada Room at Queen’s.

Combatting climate change: The Rituals that can protect our riversClimate change and pollution are having a detrimental effect on our planet.  One major area where their negative impacts can be clearly seen is in our rivers and streams. Come along to this public event and learn more about the rituals used by people from around the world to show respect for fish and our river communities, and how this can contribute to counteracting the problems we have created. With Professor Graham Harvey from The Open University. Friday 9 November at 12 noon at The MAC.

Thinking in time: the developmental psychology of future-thinking – Following a discussion about how future-related decision-making changes as children get older, we invite you to take part in a live experiment where you can try out a variety of the computer-based tasks used in our research. With Professor Teresa McCormack from Queen’s University Belfast. Friday 9 November at 2pm at Queen’s.

How exactly is the Northern Ireland economy doing? – Three of Northern Ireland’s top economists will discuss how the economy of Northern Ireland has developed in the 20 years since the 1998 Belfast Agreement. The event will focus in particular on how industrial policy and strategy in Northern Ireland has affected the economy over the years. With Dr Leslie Budd from The Open University, Dr Esmond Birnie from Ulster University and Dr Graham Brownlow from Queen’s University Belfast. Thursday 8 November at 7pm in The MAC.

The Festival kicks off on the morning of Saturday 3 November with a sold-out bus tour across the various quarters of Belfast that traces 50 years of bottom-up peacebuilding and activism in the city.

Another highlight of the Festival is an exhibition running at Ulster University’s York Street campus entitled The (Art) in Family. This exhibition of new photographic and sound based artworks explores the human impact of the ‘new genetics’ revolution. The work forms part of a practice-based research project examining the fault lines where medicine, society and technology meet. It runs in the Foyer of the campus from 6-9 November and is open to all, so why not call in.

All events as part of the Festival are free and you can book online or share details of the events from the ESRC Festival NI Facebook page and find up-to-date information on Twitter. Also look out for our colourful programmes in your local libraries, arts venues, coffee shops and bars!

Kevin Fearon is Business Alliance Manager AHSS at Queen’s University Belfast

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