WISERD News, Issue 20

Welcome from the WISERD director

Featuring a variety of news from across the WISERD partner institutions and some of the latest additions to the WISERD blog, I hope this edition of WISERD News demonstrates our ongoing contribution to social science research and the ways in which we are influencing policy in Wales.

Against a background of industrial unrest and post-pandemic changes to the workplace, our research on the evolving world of work has become even more pertinent, and several articles on this subject are featured in this edition. I’m pleased to report there is more to come on this too. Professor Alan Felstead has secured over £2m of funding, mainly from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), to carry out the latest round of the Skills and Employment Survey. Previous survey results have influenced UK government policy thinking on the subject, so it is vital that this work continues.

We’re also influencing policy and practice with the findings from our WISERD Education Multi-Cohort Study, which celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year. We recently gave evidence to the Senedd’s Children, Young People and Education Committee on curriculum reform, based on the results from this
year’s survey of young people. You can read more about the latest findings on page 27 and download the findings postcards from our website.

It was great to see so many members of the public visit our ‘Head / Heart: Framing Future Wales’ photography exhibition (see page 18). Held at Aberystwyth Bandstand earlier this year, it was formally launched by Elin Jones, Ceredigion MS, the Senedd’s Presiding Officer. Led by Dr Anwen Elias and Dr
Elin Royles from the Centre for Welsh Politics and Society at Aberystwyth University, the project uses photography to understand how people think about independence in Wales, Scotland and Catalonia, and has been described as a ‘world first’ in terms of its approach.

Our innovative methods also allow our research to evolve to better address the issues we’re tackling. Our Understanding Welsh Places website has recently been updated to include new maps showing the extent of places you can reach within 30 minutes when travelling by different modes of transport (see page 14). Also, our study on access to sporting facilities based on private travel has recently developed to include alternative modes of transport, which helps to provide a much more detailed picture of accessibility patterns and could be used by sports organisations to plan provision (see page 10).

Finally, following a successful event at Swansea University’s Bay Campus last year (see page 12), we’re delighted to once again be hosting an in-person WISERD Annual Conference, this time at Bangor University. This year’s theme is ‘Civil society and governance in an age of crisis’. We look forward to welcoming our keynote speakers, Professor Paul Spicker, Emeritus Professor at Robert Gordon University and Derek Walker, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales.

I hope you enjoy this issue of WISERD News.

Professor Ian Rees Jones
WISERD Director