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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. Discover how it shapes public policy and contributes to making the economy more competitive, as well as giving people a better understanding of 21st-century society. 

We’ll be holding events for the public on such wide-ranging topics as the right to roam across our forests and coast, the historical importance of ska and two-tone music for youth culture in Dorset, Long-COVID, cold water swimming, tackling unemployment and much more across talks, debates, activities, live performance, and an exhibition.

Upcoming activities open for booking

Life through my lens: Tackling weight and unemployment

Tuesday 31st October 2023, 9:00am - 4:00pm
Gather Space, Dolphin Centre, Poole

Drop in to an exhibition exploring the link between excess weight and unemployment – and how research could tackle the problem through positive lifestyle change.

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Sharing the coast: should we extend the right to roam?

Thursday 9th November 2023, 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Branksome Dean Room, Bournemouth

Join legal experts to discuss the ‘right to roam’ in England, focusing on Bournemouth’s natural spaces and coastline. Delivered in partnership with researchers from the University of Southampton.

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Please note the date for this event has changed, due to adverse weather conditions on the original date. 

UK drowning: Turning the tide

Saturday 4th November 2023, 10:00am - 12:00pm
RNLI College, Poole

Discover the dangers of cold water and how to prevent drowning in wild swimming. Join us at the RNLI College for research insights, activities, and cold water demonstrations for safety-conscious swimmers.

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Two Tone Towns: A Social History of Ska in Dorset

Saturday 4th November 2023, 7:00pm - 9:00pm
The Black Cherry Theatre Café, Bournemouth

Explore the history of Ska and Two-Tone music in Dorset through an exciting evening of live music, interviews, films and much more.

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The magic of play: enhancing wellbeing during medical interventions

Saturday 11th November 2023, 10:00am - 12:00pm
Bournemouth Gateway Building, Bournemouth

Explore how magic and play therapy can support wellbeing during hospitalization and medical appointments. An event for health care practitioners and those working with people from vulnerable groups, including children.

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Long-COVID: Myths, misconceptions and lived experiences

Saturday 11th November 2023, 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Online via Zoom Webinar

An online event to explore some myths, misconceptions and real-life experiences around Long-COVID, and what the latest research can tell us.

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Sharing the forest: should we extend the right to roam?

Wednesday 15th November 2023, 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Lyndhurst Community Centre, Lyndhurst

Join legal experts to discuss the issues, challenges, and benefits arising from extending the ‘right to roam’, focusing on the New Forest. Delivered in partnership with researchers from the University of Southampton.

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Reserved audience events 

Using play to stay safe online

Tuesday 31st October 2023
Parkstone Grammar School

This will take place in a school and will not be open to the public. Play an interactive digital game developed by a team at BU to help young people identify online risks and how to deal with them.

Discover past ESRC Festivals of Social Science