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ESRC Festival of Social Science 2021

The ESRC Festival of Social Science is back in 2021! Throughout November the festival will feature events showcasing the best of social science research from universities across the country. This year the festival coincides with the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow. The importance of environmental issues is recognised by the ESRC and the festival has committed to showcasing a substantial variety of events focussing on climate change and environmental social science studies. Find the full list of UK events here. The University of Warwick will be running 14 events this year. Find out what's on and register for our events below.

The Events!

Food for Thought: the Climate Cost of Our Eating Habits.
Tuesday 2nd November; 7–8pm


Climate change currently significantly threatens modern lifestyles around the world. It's effects on food production are particularly worrying. From the comfort of your kitchen, join our experts Romain Chenet and Alastair Smith from Global Sustainable Development, for a discussion and an engaging show-and-tell. What are the effects of climate change on food production and what you can do to help? Learn about the hidden and not-so hidden climate costs of the food in your fridge and pantries. Why not join in live from your own kitchens!


COP26 - Climate Innovation Challenge
Tues 2nd - Thursday 4th November; and Tuesday 9th November.



Open to HE and FE students age 16+

Interested in climate change and business? It’s the defining battle of our generation and the next. While terms like ‘climate crisis’ are nothing new, our fight for the planet is in a crucial phase and it’s important that everyone’s thoughts, ideas and efforts are considered. NatWest and the University of Warwick have collaborated to welcome HE and FE students, over the age of 16, interested in climate change to put your thoughts about tackling climate change and sustainability to the test. Have the opportunity to learn about and develop your own sustainable solutions with guidance from our expert team. You will be able to work in teams on your projects outside of these live events. Plus the opportunity to win £500 and apply to the national innovation competition 'Ingenuity', with our support. More details here.

Please note you will have to be available for all of these dates to take part in the full programme.


COP26 - Climate Creative
Thursday 11th November


University of Warwick campus

Everyone has their own slightly different view of climate change and sustainability. Hosted by the University of Warwick, our Climate Creative event is your chance to learn about and/or share your opinion on climate change in an informal 'open-mic' style setting. Attend as a guest or a participant (application details when you register) and you'll be able to listen to researchers, creatives, musicians, poets, artists, and anyone else who believes they can contribute their perspectives. Prizes will be on offer for the most creative performance, product or thought-provoking act. Come and have a try if you think you're green enough!


Creating Changemakers
November 2021 (invite only)

The COP26 Climate Creative team are also running two events in local schools to encourage children from Year 4 and above to think about the impact of climate change. The 'Creating Change-Makers' School Programme helps children to really understand the environmental issues affecting the world, through interactive talks given by Warwick students and then create a piece of work that signifies what sustainability means to them. Whether it is a poem, story, art piece, or anything else, they will be supported in forming their creative ideas with innovative solutions and learn how they can make their own small differences.

Race and Religion in Literature
Wednesday 17th November. 7-8pm

Can famous figures from literature be identified as Muslim even if they aren’t stated to be? Focusing on the famous works of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights and Shakespeare' Othello, join Warwick's Shahnaz Akhter, and guests including Sue Newby from the Bronte Parsonage Museum, as she hosts a public online discussion into the ethnicity of main characters Heathcliff and Othello. Introducing conversations on race and religion in literature, Shahnaz will also reflect on her experience and conversations with secondary school children on these themes.


I:DNA - Who am I?
Saturday 20th November

Leamington Spa Museum and Art Gallery

All day. Drop-in (Museum and Gallery opening hours)

Suitable for families

What makes you who you are? What characteristics did you inherit, and how do they influence your identity? Designed with children aged 7-12 in mind (although open to all ages), this event invites participants to explore these questions through interactive games and craft activities, bringing questions of identity and genetics to life. There'll be the chance to meet and hear from people working in the field of genetics, then decorate a coloured fabric bag with images of things that you feel, make you who you are! Have your finished bags displayed with an image of a DNA double helix at Leamington Spa Museum and Art Gallery until December 2021, alongside other artwork exploring the crossovers between genes and identity.

Find out more

A Nudge in the Right Direction.
Tuesday 16th November. 6-7pm
University of Warwick Campus and Online.

Nudge theory believes that people make the majority of their decisions instinctively rather than through rational thought. How can your behaviour be influenced by subtle ‘nudges’? Join Warwick's Dr Lory Barile and guests for an online discussion and Q&A on Nudge Theory and how it can be used to influence your recycling habits to help save the environment! Do we need to nudge you to attend?!

Speakers will include: -

Dr Lorenzo Lotti, UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources

Arianna Buratto, PhD candidate, UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources

Dr Sophie Johnson, Deputy Chief Analyst at Westminster City Council

David Chapman, Sustainability Champion, Estates Department, University of Warwick

Bret Willers, Head of Service for Sustainability and Climate Change, Coventry City Council


Now or Never - Empowering the next generation to combat climate change
Thursday 25th November. 7-8pm

We are facing our biggest ever global challenge with climate change; the consequences of which are already widespread and intensifying. We need more young people to be empowered as proactive campaigners, researchers, and innovators to help with the problems we now face. There is no more time to delay! Join the discussion with a panel of academics and students from the University of Warwick as we explore the importance of youth engagement in climate action, including an interactive discussion of the objectives, drivers, and outcomes of a student-led simulation of the COP26 Climate Conference, in light of the actual COP26 outputs.


The Polluted Kitchen.
Thursday 18th November. 3.30pm - 5.30pm


In low-income countries, the use of solid fuels for cooking is still widespread. Whether it's using wood, coal, dung, or biomass these fuels result in severe levels of indoor air pollution from the smoke produced. The lack of availability of non-polluting alternatives means that the low priced traditional stoves or open fires are often the only choice for poor families. Join Warwick Business School's Dr Giorgia Barboni and guests including Ankit Mathur (Greenway) as they discuss and demonstrate indoor air pollution from cooking and its effects on women and children.


The Age of Consent
Tuesday 23rd November. 7-8 pm


Modern day is the golden age of consent. However, there is still a strong difference of opinion on what constitutes consent throughout the population. Join Warwick's Laura Lammasniemi, a legal historian of consent in criminal court, and Amrita Ahluwalia and Gabrielle Blackburn from Narrative Matters, plus author and lecturer Dr Tanya Serisier from Birkbeck College, University of London, for a discussion and Q&A about sexual consent from a legal, historical, and social perspective.

Please note that the event will focus on sensitive and potentially distressing themes of sexual consent, sexual violence, and rape, and therefore suitable for age 16+.


Covid recovery: What can we learn from post-World War II economic history?
Wednesday 24th November. 12:00 - 1:00 pm


What lessons can we learn from the past about economic recovery policy? Do the solutions put into place after1945, hold the key to developing a more effective post-Covid-19 economic recovery? Join our Chair Bishnupriya Gupta, Research Director, CAGE, economic historian Professor Nicholas Crafts and guests live online, as we remove the rose-tinted glasses and discuss the positives and negatives of post-war policy. Offering critical insights, the panel investigates and presents how lessons from history can help us build new economic policies for our post-pandemic future.


Sharing childbirth experiences: choices, challenges and conversation.
Thursday 25th November 12:30 - 1:30 pm


Pregnancy is a magical but often complex time for many women. Join Warwick's Georgia Clancy to explore the experiences, choices and challenges of pregnancy faced by women and NHS staff today. Starting with a thought-provoking performance and followed by a discussion via a panel of experts, this event will highlight the work that individuals and organisations are doing to create change and improve maternity experiences. Discover where women and birthing people can seek help and support during this important time in their lives. We aim to empower women and childbearing people with knowledge about the type of care they should expect and the support available to them.


How to make fake drugs
Tuesday 30th November. 1-2 pm


Whether “fake news”, “fake vaccine certificates” or “fake drugs”, it feels like we are bombarded with “fakes” today more than ever. What does this mean for global health? Join members of Warwick’s “What’s at stake in the fake?” research project team as they share their latest discoveries about the trouble with fake drugs, the social lives of suspicion, and how any “fake-ness” of pharmaceuticals often has more to do with paperwork than with pharmacology. Chaired by Professor Sarah Hodges.


Get involved with the discussion on twitter using #ESRCFestival and find us at @WarwickEngages

The ESRC Festival of Social Science is funded by UKRI and partner institutions. Find out more on their website