ESRC’s 2021 flagship celebration of economics and social science

UK’s biggest celebration of social research returns this November as ESRC’s festival highlights the impact of social sciences and economics on people’s lives.

The 2021 festival will run from 1 to 30 November. There will be a number of events themed around social science and the environment, to reflect the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26)  taking place from 31 October to 12 November 2021 in Glasgow. More than 400 free public and youth events will be available with a mixture of online, in-person and hybrid formats.

The festival, now in its 19th year, includes:

  • panel debates
  • webinars
  • interactive activities.

These events will offer an insight into some of the country’s leading social science and economics research and how it influences everyone’s lives:

  • at work
  • in school
  • when raising children
  • in businesses and the public sector
  • across our communities.

Improving outcomes across society

Professor Alison Park, the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Executive Chair, said:

The ESRC Festival of Social Science is one of the largest co-ordinated endeavours undertaken by an economics and social science community and is indicative of ESRC’s commitment to public engagement.

This year the festival will run throughout November and there will be a mixture of digital and face to face events, with a focus on the environment to mark the UK’s hosting of COP26.

The festival is a valuable way of showing how economic and social research helps us to better understand people, businesses, institutions, communities and wider social phenomena, and informs decisions that can affect millions of lives.

We hope the events raise awareness about how research can improve outcomes across society, inspiring some young people to pursue a career in research, and others to draw on research to understand people and the world around us.

Event themes

The events, delivered via ESRC’s 34 partners (higher education institutions spread across the UK), during the festival will show how research addresses a wide variety of themes. A small snapshot of these include the below.

The social and environmental impacts of food: global policy, local practice

8 November 2021, 16:00 to 17:30

This interactive online event draws on recent research into how we can reduce the impact of what we eat on biodiversity and climate in an equitable way. It includes:

  • a food quiz
  • short presentations
  • a question-and-answer session.

Extending the lives of our things: reuse and repair workshop

24 November, 17:30 to 19:30

This hands-on workshop and discussion offers the opportunity to learn:

  • more about the lifecycles of everyday household objects
  • how to prolong the life and use of our things while repairing or repurposing a household item.

The price we pay for carbon: can taxes take us to net zero?

9 November, 14:00 to 15:00

This online event features a series of short talks by Institute for Fiscal Studies researchers and policy experts on the role of tax in the UK’s transition to net zero.

Corona pirates and COVE-IT! Capturing children’s play in the pandemic

2 November, 18:30 to 20:00

This interactive online event explores how children have adapted their play and socialising in response to COVID-19 quarantine and distancing measures. It includes stories of children’s pandemic playfulness and details of how attendees can contribute their own examples to the Play Observatory project.

The secrets of happy couples: lessons from psychology

9 November, 17:00 to 18:00

This online event offers attendees the chance to learn about the key, evidence-based ingredients that make happy romantic relationships last and ask questions to experts in the psychology of relationships.

Since its launch in 2003, thousands of ESRC festival events have been organised, which have attracted more than a million people.

Read further details about these events on the ESRC website.

Top image:  Credit: ESRC Festival of Social Science

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