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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.

The 2021 festival will run from 1 - 30 November 2021 and will include events from across all ESRC IAA institutions. Details of the University of York led events can be found below and the full programme can be viewed from the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences webpage, which will go live on Friday 1 October 2021.

November 2021

COP26: Research with a view

As COP26 gets underway, explore several stunning images of University of York researchers as they conduct climate change related research. The exhibition, running 1 November to 29 November 2021, is free and open to all ages at the York Explore Library and Archive.

Opening times: Monday to Thursday (9am to 8pm); Friday (10am to 6pm); Saturday (9am to 5pm); Sunday (11am to 4pm).

York researchers have been providing evidence ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) to help policymakers set their net zero carbon targets for 2050. This exhibition takes you on their research journey, allowing you to see them at work, the beautiful environments they aim to protect as well as the harsh realities of climate change.

The exhibition is open to all. For further information, please contact Sheila Perry, Research and Reputation Marketing Manager, University of York.

Voices of the Amazon

Date: Monday 1st November - Tuesday 30th November

This online exhibition brings together the work of two of the projects funded whose artwork and films seek to remind us that indigenous people are facing two crises – the health crisis caused by the pandemic and the continued destruction of their environment. Indigenous artists and activists in the project, 'Here', used paintings to document how Covid-19 impacted Peru’s Amazonian native and urban communities, the government responses, and indigenous strategies for survival.

'Here' focuses on the return of indigenous people to cultivate their lands, the shamans’ efforts to find medicinal plants in the forest and discover new treatments, and the right of indigenous peoples to defend their way of life. In 'The Other Pandemics', the voices of five Amazonian activists from Ecuador are portrayed through sensory and visual language in the hope that their reflections will generate empathy and interest in the struggle they face in their different territories. These reflections, in 4 short films – Flood, Mining, Logging, and Spill –centre on community organisation, the ecosystem they inhabit, and what they dream of for the future.
Open to all.

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Monday 1 November 2021

A Manifesto for Education for Environmental Sustainability: Launch event

Date: Monday 1 November

Time: 5pm to 6.45pm

Education has a key role to play in creating long-term responses to the social and environmental consequences of the climate crisis. These responses need to be inclusive of the needs of all young people and their teachers. In this event, we launch the findings of the 2021 British Educational Research Association Research Commission: a Manifesto for Education for Environmental Sustainability. The manifesto has been co-created by young people and teachers from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and illustrated by artist Maisy Summer.

Open to all.


Wednesday 3 November

Horizons of Hope

Date: Wednesday 3 November

Time: 2pm to 4pm

Hope matters. More so in the uncertain times in which we live. Despite facing overwhelming challenges, people live their lives the best they can. People cope the best they can with a changing climate. Workers adapt to new technologies. Nurses and doctors treat patients to the best of their ability, despite not always having the latest medication. Scientists strive to develop vaccines. Businesses invest despite market uncertainties. Poor people demand assistance from the state. Religious and ethnic minorities organise to demand being recognised as full citizens despite facing discrimination. People send their children to school in the hope that their future generations will live better lives. So how do we understand hope? Join this session to have your say and hear about how people from across the world think about hope in these uncertain times.

Open to all.

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How you can shape social science research - citizen science and participatory research in practice

Date: Wednesday 3 November

Time: 4pm to 5.30pm

An online event to showcase opportunities for public involvement and co-production in social science research at the University of York. The Centre for Future Health funds Involvement@York, the University's patient and public involvement (PPI) network which aspires to provide a community of support to those involved with our research teams. We will be joined by Hannah Gray, Involvement@York Network Manager, who will talk more about the network and opportunities for public involvement in York research.

The Stockholm Environment Institute at York have led many studies that tackle environment and development challenges incorporating citizen science approaches, as well as research studying the diversity of participants and engagement in such projects. We will be joined by Dr Sarah West, Centre Director & Senior Research Associate and colleague Dr Rachel Pateman, Research Associate who will talk more about their work in this area and opportunities to get involved.Our host will be Dr Katherine Brookfield, Lecturer in Human Geography and ECR Representative on the University Open Research Strategy Group.

Open to all.


Tuesday 9 November

Getting involved in research

Date: Tuesday 9 November

Time: 10.30am to 12.30pm

The event will focus on demonstrating the benefits of getting involved with social sciences research as a member of the public. This will be achieved by providing presentations from people with experience of being involved in health sciences research as a patient or a member of the public, and by hosting a discussions with members of the University’s Involvement at York team, as well as academic faculty who have used public involvement within their research. This will highlight the different avenues through which the public can be involved in research. This event will be hosted digitally to ensure accessibility both for attendees and those presenting.


Thursday 11 November

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

Date: Thursday 11 November

Time: 2pm to 4pm

A webinar involving presentations and discussions of recent research in the area of human-animal interaction (focusing on human health and animal welfare and behaviour). There will be a panel discussion and interactive session.
The event is open to all, particularly those who have animals or care for animals. 

What has it been like being a teacher during Covid-19?

Date: Thursday 11 November

Time: 6pm to 7pm

This events covers the highs, lows and turning points teachers have shared with the project team during COVID-19 within the 'Being a teacher during COVID-19' project. Teachers will come together and share their stories of what COVID-19 was experience by themselves and their schools.

Open to primary and secondary school teachers (including SLTs)


Monday 22 November

A Meaty Debate! Young people's voices on sustainable school food

Date: Monday 22 November 

Time: 10am to 1pm

Join this session to experience an interaction debate about plant-based diets in schools, learn more about eco-schools and have your say on an important poster/leaflet that will be distributed across schools in Yorkshire. The event is associated with the Fix our Food project, led by researchers at the University of York. The aim of the project is to transform the food system in Yorkshire, focusing on tasty, sustainable and healthy eating for all young people.
Open to all, particularly young people, families and teachers.