UK’s top social scientists gather to address society’s biggest challenges and showcase latest research
Press release issued: 15 October 2012
The biggest challenges affecting UK society — from the crisis in the Eurozone to poverty and social exclusion — will be explored by some of the country’s leading social scientists as part of ‘Thinking Futures’, a week-long festival [5 to 9 Nov] showcasing the latest innovative research undertaken at the University of Bristol.
Hosted by the University’s Faculty of Social Sciences and Law, the festival will offer a chance for members of the public, policy-makers, schools and third-sector organisations to engage with researchers about some of the UK’s most pressing social concerns through a series of free talks, workshops and exhibitions.
The opening launch will kick-off with a public mayoral debate [5 Nov] following Bristol’s decision earlier this year to vote for an elected mayor. Alex Marsh, Professor of Public Policy at the University will present ‘the future of local democracy’, a discussion about the challenges and prospects for democratic renewal and enhanced public participation in local politics.
William Lewis, a member of the Management and Standards Committee at News Corporation and a University of Bristol alumnus, will discuss the challenges journalism currently faces at the keynote lecture entitled ‘reinventing journalism’ [8 Nov]. Specifically focusing on the many opportunities current technology offers to create and share news, information and entertainment in exciting new ways, he argues that fresh methods of storytelling need to be found to reconnect with readers and audiences left uninspired by conventional journalism.
Poverty and exclusion remain one of the biggest problems for society today. With many people either without work or experiencing long periods of unemployment and living shorter often unfulfilled lives with little hope for the future. David Gordon, Professorial Research Fellow in Social Justice and Richard Pendlebury, Chief Executive of homeless charity Emmaus House, will discuss the measures they believe are key to tackling perpetuating poverty through the generations [6 Nov].
A panel of European Affairs experts, led by Professor of European Politics, Michelle Cini will lead a discussion on the Eurozone [7 Nov], during which they will try to explain the causes and effects of the crisis, and answer questions on this complex subject.
The festival will close with a panel discussion on the absolute prohibition of torture [9 Nov]. Steven Greer, Professor of Human Rights, will lead a debate about the moral and legal controversies surrounding the prohibition of torture in light of current controversies that include anti-terrorist measures such as extraordinary rendition or the use of contested interrogation techniques such as waterboarding. He will be joined by Malcolm Evans, Professor of Public International Law and Chair of the United Nations Sub Committee for the Prevention of Torture as well as Yuval Ginbar from AMNESTY International.
Professor Judith Squires, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law, said: “The festival addresses wide-ranging issues highly relevant to us all, from tackling poverty and social exclusion to the implementation of human rights and enhancing educational quality. I hope that you will join us at the events throughout the week, sharing in our celebration of social sciences.”
Thinking Futures is a free festival of events open to members of the public, however advance booking via the website is required. A full programme of events is available on the ‘Thinking Futures’ website or by emailing:firstname.lastname@example.org The Festival has been organised by the University of Bristol’s Faculty of Social Sciences and Law with support from the Centre for Public Engagement.