20th Anniversary of the ESRC Festival of Social Science

To celebrate 20 years of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science, WISERD hosted two events at this year’s Festival, which aimed to highlight one of our ongoing education research projects and a useful data tool that helps us to better understand our towns and local areas.

We began with a webinar on the WISERD Education Multi-Cohort Study (WMCS), giving attendees an overview of the project as it reaches its 10th anniversary. Presenting the webinar was Dr Laura Arman, Professor Sally Power, and Dr Rhian Barrance, who introduced the longitudinal study which looks at the changing perceptions of secondary school pupils over the last 10 years.

The team provided an insight into how WMCS researchers work with schools and policymakers, and the potential implications of changes to the Curriculum for Wales. Before its formation in 2013, resources for education researchers in Wales were very limited, making it difficult to collect data. However, since then, the WMCS has provided researchers with a rich data source.

Our next event took place in Cardiff University’s Glamorgan Building, hosted by Samuel Jones and Professor Scott Orford, and also in Bangor University’s Main Arts Building, presented by Dr Robin Mann and Professor Martina Feilzer. This interactive, hands-on workshop (pictured below) explored the Understanding Welsh Places (UWP) website, a collaborative project which aims to provide a source of useful data and geographical information about towns and communities in Wales.

Data on the UWP website includes the availability of public transport in your local area, and also the relationship between your town and other nearby places, for example, how much your town relies on other places for jobs and community services. The website has been developed to enable us to explore this data and help us to better understand the places where we live and work, and to identify opportunities for our local communities.

This year’s ESRC Festival of Social Science ran from 22 October – 13 November and aimed to explore the world of social science, from how society has shaped our local areas to behaviour changes that help fight climate change. Events were held across the UK, both virtually and in person, for all ages.