College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Research festival pinpoints pressing concerns

Conflict resolution, multilingualism and the psychology of spending are among the topics to be explored at a major research showcase.

Other topics to be discussed by leading social scientists include genetic technology, the impact of pets on people’s wellbeing and the growing need for reliable sources of data.

The University is hosting a series of interactive events, workshops and talks as part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s nationwide Festival of Social Science.

The festival, which takes place from 2 to 9 November, will offer insights into cutting edge research that shapes our social, economic and political lives - now and in the future.

All of the events at Edinburgh are free. They are suitable for people of all ages and most are open to the wider public.

Financial whizzkids

Experts from Psychology and Business at Edinburgh will help children learn the mind games companies use to influence our financial decision-making.

Become a Financial Whizzkid! The Psychology and Science of Money will include activities that will help pupils analyse spending in our consumerist culture.

Young people will be introduced to the idea of financial literacy to help them reflect on their own values, beliefs and behaviour in relation to money.

Find out more - Become a Financial Whizzkid! The Psychology and Science of Money 

Five votes

Coree Brown Swan, from the University’s School of Social and Political Sciences, will present a workshop that examines the impact on the UK of five referendums.

She will assess the vote on EC membership in 1975, the devolution referendums in 1979 and 1999, the Scottish independence referendum of 2014 and the Brexit poll three years ago

A Tale of Five Referendums: The UK’s Referendum Experience will explore archive materials such as posters and leaflets to build a clearer picture of how events unfolded.

Find out more - A Tale of Five Referendums: The UK’s Referendum Experience

Fake news

The importance of trustworthy sources in an era of fake news will be the focus of an interactive event involving Edinburgh researchers.

It will showcase the importance of accurate and rigorous statistical information that can be used to counter people’s own perceptions and biases.

Population Fact or Fake News – You Decide! will use quizzes and online voting to challenge audience perceptions and generate debate.

Book tickets now. 

Social inequality

Secondary school pupils will learn the value of social statistics in an interactive event led by Gitit Kadar-Satat, of the University’s School of Social and Political Sciences.

Pupils will find out what it means to be statistically literate. They will learn how social theory and statistics can help them to better understand the social make-up of modern Britain.

Go Figure! Understanding Social Inequality Through Numbers will encourage pupils to access social surveys and census data, and how to perform analyses of data sets.

Learn more. 

Conflict resolution

Experts from the University’s Political Settlements Research Programme will share how their analysis of 1700 peace deals helped them understand how seemingly intractable conflicts can be resolved.

The Social Science of Ending War will host lively discussions about the science of peace and the elusive nature of conflict resolution.

Researchers Sanja Badanjak, Laura Wise and Kevin McNicholl will also reveal how peace agreements can include provisions for non-dominant groups in conflict zones.

Find out about this event. 

Multilingual teaching

Multilingualism – seen through the eyes of children and the lens of research – will be the focus of Multilingual Stories from Scottish Schools.

The art-based event, led by Edinburgh linguist Antonella Sorace, will focus on the classroom experiences of multilingual children and their teachers.

The event aims to bring multilingual and monolingual families together with pupils, teachers and researchers to dispel myths and stereotypes about multilingualism.

Reserve tickets for this event. 

Emerging technologies

Joyce Tait, of the University’s School of Social and Political Sciences, will highlight the role of social sciences in innovation and raise awareness of emerging genetic technologies.

Participants will consider the social dimensions of these technologies and what steps can be taken ensure that the potential benefits are realised.

Genetic technologies: The Role of Social Sciences in Innovation will feature hands-on activities that enable participants to reflect on how these technologies should be regulated.

Book tickets now. 

Pet subjects

An event involving University of Edinburgh psychologist Joanne Williams will seek to show children how to care for pets and respect animals.

Children and Animals: Pet Science for Kids! will explain how pets can help to improve people’s mental health and wellbeing. Staff from Scottish SPCA will also take part.

The event will give school pupils an opportunity to learn about therapy dogs, cat behaviour, caring for rabbits and other animal-related topics.

Find out more. 

Striking statistics

How large-scale population surveys can influence public policy will be the focus of an event involving experts from the University’s School of Social and Political Sciences.

The event will demonstrate how survey findings have shaped Scottish Government legislation – be it improving school meals, tackling problem drinking or identifying risks to health.

Scotland’s Core Surveys: How do the findings change people’s lives? will include a Q&A session with a panel of experts that includes survey commissioners and researchers.

Reserve tickets for this event. 

Child's play

A hands-on workshop run by researchers from Edinburgh College of Art will provide children with a unique opportunity to design their ideal playground.

Designing My Happy City: Playground will enable participants to make an architectural model and build their creative confidence during the design process.

Book tickets. 

Related links

ESRC Festival website