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Launched: Festival of Social Science programme for Coventry and Warwickshire

  • Free interactive events hosted by Warwick researchers will tackle issues from wellbeing at work to the meaning of time itself

  • Festival events will be held at a range of venues in Coventry and Leamington Spa including the cathedral and FarGo Village

  • Festival-goers can choose from guided walks, art installations, talks, storytelling activities and discussion sessions

  • Festival micro-site launched today with more information and booking links where required

Residents of Coventry and Warwickshire are invited to join researchers from the University of Warwick for nine free workshops and events being held as part of the UK-wide ESRC Festival of Social Science, taking place from 2 – 9 November 2019.

Festival-goers can find out about how our understanding of DNA might shape the future of healthcare, share a refugee’s frightening journey across the Mediterranean by sea, dig deep into archive recordings of the Coventry accent, explore the impact of landmark legal cases through art, photography and theatre, or take a guided walk on Coventry’s wild side to explore the local environment.

Organised with support from the Economic and Social Research Council, the Festival aims to lift the lid on social science research and help show how the work academics do can explain and influence the world around us. The events have been chosen to highlight the broad range of the University’s social science research.

Matthew Nudds, Chair of the Faculty of Social Science at the University of Warwick, said: “We are really pleased to be able to present a varied programme that shares highlights of our world-leading social science research with local residents.

“We’re very excited about the range of events we’ve been able to co-ordinate and really hope there is something for everyone to enjoy, from guided walks and discussion sessions to hands-on art and interactive exhibitions.”

Full programme:

  • 2 Nov, 4 – 7 Nov: I:DNA. An interactive art installation in Coventry Cathedral will take visitors on a journey through the lived experience of families and individuals affected by genetically-inherited conditions, and examine the role and future direction of genomic medicine.
  • 2 Nov: Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat. This event will share some of the 250 stories gathered from migrants and refugees about the perilous journeys they made across the Mediterranean Sea in 2015 and 2016 in search of safety and a better life, and includes a workshop led by researcher Professor Vicki Squire and artist Bern O’Donoghue.
  • 4 Nov: Improving Well-being in the Workplace and Society. It’s often said that money can’t buy happiness – so what can we do to improve our happiness and wellbeing? Find out what the latest research reveals at this panel session.
  • 5 Nov: Cracking Down on Tax Evasion and Avoidance. Dr Arun Advani from CAGE at the University of Warwick will reveal who is underpaying or avoiding tax in the UK, and uncover the policies that can be used to tackle this problem, which adds up to a £35 billion ‘tax gap’ in public funds.
  • 5 Nov: Urban Sensory Walk. Participants will be given a short introduction to the science of sensory investigation then get a chance to try out the techniques on a one-hour guided walk ending at FarGo Village. Sensory investigation is one of a number of social science research methods which are helping people come together to discuss environmental worries and concerns.
  • 8 Nov: Feminist Judgements - Exploring Law through Art. The Scottish Feminist Judgments Project (SFJP) imagines how the outcomes of legal cases may have been different if the judge had adopted a feminist perspective. This pop-up art exhibition will take visitors on a journey through the politics and impact of landmark legal cases, revealing the importance of feminism in law making.
  • 8 Nov: The Puzzle of Time. What is time? Is the future really different from the past? What do we mean when we speak of the ‘flow of time’? Using insights from philosophy and psychology, this discussion session will take a closer look at how we think about time, and why we think about time the way we do.
  • 9 Nov: Story Garden. Dr Rachel Turner-King invites you into a Pop-Up Story Garden in Canley Community Centre, creatively and playfully designed for use by all of the community. There will a range of participatory, multi-sensory activities and talks about how playfulness can enhance our well-being.
  • 9 Nov: Coventry accents in the Coventry archives. Should local people be proud to speak “Coventry”? Dr Chris Strelluf will share the science of language, focusing on the oral history of workers in the coal mines which used to surround Coventry.

Full details of each event and booking information can be found at:



The 17th annual Festival of Social Science takes place from 2-9 November 2019 with over 470 events nationwide.

Run by the Economic and Social Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation, the festival provides an opportunity for the public to meet some of the country’s leading social scientists to discover, discuss and debate how research affects their lives.

With a range of creative and engaging events going on across the UK, there’s something for everyone including businesses, charities, schools and government agencies. The full programme is available at:


Sheila Kiggins

Media Relations Manager, Social Science

02476 150423

07876 218166