Accessibility statement

York ESRC Festival of Social Science

The ESRC Festival of Social Science (FoSS) is an annual celebration of the social sciences, a key mechanism to engage with audiences outside the university, and an important opportunity to demonstrate the impact of social science research on key social, economic, political and environmental issues. 

As part of our commitment to the ESRC (via our ESRC Impact Acceleration Account, 2019-2023), the University of York is pleased to support of programme of activities linked to the Festival. The deadline for applications has passed, but if you have an idea then please email to discuss this.

Due to COVID-19 we have joined with 17 other institutions who hold ESRC IAA funding to deliver a digital-first Festival of Social Sciences.

Monday 9 November

Breaking down the barriers: university partnerships for social good

Date: Monday 9 November

Time: 9 to 10.30am

A lively discussion between industry partners and University of York research teams with a shared dedication to achieving social good through collaborative partnership. The panel discussion will be chaired by Professor Kiran Trehan, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Partnerships and Engagement, University of York.


Wednesday 11 November

Human-animal interaction before and since Covid-19: lessons & priorities for research, policy and practice

Date: Wednesday 11 November

Time: 9.30 to 11.30am


Paying for care and poetry writing

Date: Wednesday 11 November

Time: 10.30 to 11.30am

This online event will bring together researchers and members of the public who have experience of paying for social care for themselves or an older relative. The purpose is to share research findings and reflect on these in the light of personal experiences. The session will include a short presentation, followed by some smaller, focused groups to share experiences. Vicky, a creative writer, will listen to the discussions and develop some short stories and poems from what she has heard.


Migrants and refugees facing COVID-19: UK and Global concerns

Date: Wednesday 11 November

Time: 4 to 6pm

Covid-19 is having a devastating impact across the world and on the most vulnerable.

This session will introduce external speakers whose work engages on issues of the Global South in a panel discussion on what the past seven months of Covid-19 have meant for refugees and those engaging in cross-continental migration.

Our speakers will focus on the types of response measures that are likely to be implemented by different actors (governments, non-government) to address migration and refugees trends and how these are likely to be changed as countries move from Covid-19 emergency response to recovery and the key principles that should be maintained to ensure that the rights of migrants and refugees are upheld.

Emily Arnold-Fernandez, Founder and Executive Director of Asylum Access, USA

Dr Adriana Marcela Velasquez Morales, Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences- FLACSO, Honduras

Dr Pia Riggirozzi, Global Politics, University of Southampton


Dr Sara De Jong, Department of Politics, University of York.


Thursday 12 November

Young people and environmental voice

Date: Thursday 12 November

Time: 2 to 3.30pm

It is important to take the views of youth into account when making decisions about energy, climate and sustainability because they have a large stake in the future created from these decisions. Decisions made about fracking, geoengineering, pesticides and plastics have consequences that can last for generations.

Despite this need, there is little consideration for the experiences and perceptions of youth in decision making. In this session, we will focus on a recent study of young people’s experiences and perceptions of unconventional shale gas extraction or ‘fracking’ in the UK. We will present the findings of recent studies conducted at sites of exploratory fracking in England and proposed fracking in Northern Ireland. Whilst fracking is currently subject to a moratorium in the UK, we reflect on findings in relation to youth participation in decision-making and on politics in education, and consider their applicability to other environmental interventions. The session will include opportunities for participants to discuss the implications of the research for policy and practice.


Money on the mind: how socioeconomic conditions affect our mental health

Date: Thursday 12 November

Time: 2 to 4pm

Public discussion around mental health is often focused on raising awareness of particular diagnoses, reducing stigma and availability of treatments. There is now a large body of research, however, to suggest that social and structural factors such as housing, social security and income are implicated in mental health and illness, as well as in experiences of stigma, but these issues are often neglected in public debates. This event will aim to showcase research on the social determinants of mental illness and stigma, contextualised by socioeconomic changes brought about by the pandemic and related impacts on mental health. It will bring together academics and people with lived experience of mental illness, alongside health and social policy makers and practitioners, to generate discussion and debate around these topics.


Any other business

Date: Thursday 12 November

Time: 4 to 5.30pm

The film Any Other Business is inspired by findings from a major ESRC funded research into LGBT+ employee networks in the NHS. Any Other Business tells the story of Natasha, a lesbian cisgender media officer at a health trust and the LGBT+ employee network Voice.

As the incoming chair of Voice, Natasha faces some fundamental questions about the purpose of the network, issues around inclusion, and where the network is heading. As a platform for social change, a production of this kind subverts conventional divisions between science and humanities and offers an innovative approach to delivering research findings to a broad-based audience. The performance will be followed by a Q and A panel session with the Principal Investigator, Dr Anna Einarsdóttir Senior Lecturer in Work, Management and Organising at the York Management School and artistic collaborators. 


The future of prisons?

Date: Thursday 12 November

Time: 8 to 9.30pm

Friday 13 November

Whistleblowing: from evidence to change

Date: Friday 13 November

Time: 10am to 12pm

Dr Phillipa Whitford MP, author of the recent Private Members Bill for whistleblower protection legislation reform, will be the keynote speaker at this online symposium. She will be joined by Mary Robinson MP, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Whistleblowing; Kevin Hollinrake MP, Vice Chair of the APPG on Whistleblowing and Co-Chair of the APPG on Fairer Business Banking. 

The MPs will be joined by Professor Wim Vandekerchkove, an expert in whistleblowing research from the University of Greenwich; Georgina Halford-Hall, CEO of the NGO Whistleblowers UK which acts as the secretariat for the APPG on Whistleblowing; Andrew Pepper-Parsons, Head of Policy at Protect; and Lt Col (Retd) Ian Foxley, PhD Candidate at the University of York and Sancom whistleblower.