Skip to main content

ESRC Festival of Social Science 2020

ESRC Festival of Social Science 2020

The UKRI Economic and Social Research Council and ESRC Festival of Social Science logos

The ESRC Festival of Social Science offers a fascinating insight into some of the country’s leading social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives – both now and in the future.

This year, the festival will be a digital-first event, to be held from 7-15 November 2020 across the UK via public debates, conferences, workshops, interactive seminars, film screenings, virtual exhibitions and much more.

Bournemouth University is holding six events this year, spanning a variety of fascinating topics.

Events and activities from Bournemouth University research

Picturing and voicing responsible online gambling
Visit online any time from Saturday 7 November

The stereotype of the problem gambler no longer holds true - digital connectivity means we are all now exposed to online gambling and the risk of addiction.
This virtual exhibition looks behind the scenes of the online gambling industry - discover how platforms use artificial intelligence, targeted advertising and behavioural science to keep gamblers hooked – and how you can avoid falling prey to these tools. We'll also share the diverse stories and voices of those affected by online gambling, through specially commissioned works of art.

This online exhibition was established last year, but this year sees the addition of new material commissioned from another artist.

Visit exhibition


Reading the room: how your brain judges the mood of a crowd
Saturday 14 November, 10am

From speaking in front of an audience to policing a riot, the human brain has to judge the mood of a crowd in an instant. Join us to discover what our latest research methods, including virtual reality and human electroencephalography (EEG, which measures “brain waves”), can tell us about face perception and test your own abilities.


Female political leadership at a time of crisis
Saturday 7 November, 1pm

During the recent pandemic, female political leaders have received widespread praise for their handling of this crisis. New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern has been lauded as the figurehead of empathetic leadership, Nicola Sturgeon’s measured approach to the crisis has earned her praise from the news media, and Taiwan’s leader, Tsai Ing-wen has kept deaths from Covid-19 in single figures. Female leaders have challenged stereotypes of strong leadership and how we think and feel about women in positions of authority.

This discussion focused on how women in positions of political leadership make us feel in our anxious times. With attention to intersectionality, it combined presentations from experts on the psychodynamics of female political leadership, with a reflective group discussion led by a psychotherapist, to explore how social, psychological and political factors interact to shape attitudes and feelings about gender and political leadership at times of social and political crisis.


Dorset Unlocked: Special spots of Dorset for heritage and nature
Monday 9 November, 1pm

This open chat with experts in archaeology, heritage and ecology looked at why getting out into the special spots that Dorset has to offer means so much to us. Together with students, they chose a few of their favourite places.


Professional decision making in health and social care
Wednesday 11 November, 9.30am and 1.30pm

This interactive workshop explored how social care professionals at different stages of their careers make decisions regarding people who are unable to make their own decisions - due to their mental capacity, developmental stage or substance use. These are high stakes and complex decisions often made in conditions of uncertainty where risk to an individual’s health and wellbeing is a significant concern.

Using decision-making games, simulations and experiments, the participants explored the processes of decision making.


Comics and COVID-19: Communicating Public Health and Wellbeing
Thursday 12 November, 10am

From the fear of getting sick to the chaos of working at home, from the struggles of full-time parenting to the threat of economic upheaval, this brief masterclass looked at how recent data comics on COVID-19 explore the complexities and potential of presenting data in more humanising ways.


Find out more about previous ESRC events