Regular readers of this blog may have already been alerted to the ESRC Seven Days of Social Science, but in case you have missed it, I would recommend having a look at the videos and accompanying documents
The reason that I am highlighting these resources is to demonstrate the value of research and how it can be made accessible to a much wider audience. Conversations that I have had with colleagues over the past week or so (mainly ECRs, but not exclusively so!) have reminded me that sometimes it is hard to believe that your research will be of interest beyond your own academic peers. I recall some of my own research, for example, on New Labour’s public space policy – which on the surface sounds like a fairly dry topic (and I can assure you that the associated policy documents are classic examples of New Labour rhetoric, and fairly turgid reading) – however, this research has relevance to any of us wondering why our traditional high street has been placed by a shopping mall, why you can no longer sleep on a park bench or why trees are disappearing from London’s parks. It is, after all, hard to get through a day without encountering some kind of public space.
One of the best parts of my job, is learning about all the fantastic research that is going on across BU, which at times is nothing short of awe-inspiring. This makes me very excited to be helping develop the Festival of Learning and ensuring we engage a far wider public with the value of what we do.
The ESRC Seven Days of Social Science series is a great reminder of why research in the social sciences is fundamental in understanding and shaping the world in which we live, and inherently fascinating. It also is a reminder that if you have received public funding to conduct research, that we have a shared responsibility of engaging the public with the value of that research.
If you are interested in developing a proposal for the Festival of Learning and would like some helping in brainstorming ideas or support completing the proposal form, please do not hesitate to contact Becca on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01202 961206.