Are you killing the planet through your hobbies? To find out join our ESRC Festival of Social Science events

  • Date

    Mon 11 Oct 21

ESRC Festival of Social Science logo

Are we harming nature by enjoying it? Are our eating habits damaging the environment? Where does all the plastic go? What links the climate crisis and the crisis in care? How do we need to change to save the planet?

Researchers from the University of Essex invite members of the public to grapple with difficult questions like this, in a series of inspiring events in November.

As the United Nations Climate Change Summit – COP 26 – in Glasgow meets to review and inspire climate action by governments across the world, the University of Essex is packing November with events to engage the public on the big issues as part of the national ESRC Festival of Social Science.

From workshops and panel talks to debates and hands-on experiences, these events will showcase research from the University of Essex – one of the UK’s leading universities for the social sciences.

Professor John Preston, Faculty Dean of Research for the Faculty of Social Sciences at Essex, said: “Our research at Essex is all about asking daring questions and offering powerful insights into the complex challenges our society faces. This year’s events tap into the most important environmental questions of our time and we’re looking forward to people coming along to find out more about the issues and to join us in activities and discussions.”

If you're looking for inspiring experiences to inform and entertain, this is your chance to meet the experts and join the debate. All of the events take place at Firstsite Gallery in Colchester. They are all free, open to the public and suitable for all ages and walks of life. 

Where does all the plastic go? Tuesday 2 November 5.30 to 7.00pm

Join an interactive workshop at Firstsite led by Dr Danielle Tucker and Zara Babakordi from Organisation Studies and Human Resource Management at Essex Business School. We will address these questions: How does recycling really work in our homes? What role does your household play in the journey of plastic? What are the wider debates about using plastic?

Conversations about climate change: reflecting on action at home, school and in local spaces - Thursday 11 November 7.30 to 9.00pm

Join our conversation to learn more about how we can at the same time be in nature, engage with the environment, and be active in protecting or reducing harm to the environment. This interactive event takes place from 19.30 to 21.00 at Firstsite, Colchester, and will start with a panel talk, Q and A, food tasting, and a quiz with prizes. The event is hosted by Dr Katy Wheeler, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Norman Riley, Sociology PhD student, and Professor Sean Nixon, Professor of Sociology

Are Connected Communities good for the environment? Friday 12 November between 11.00am and 4.00pm

Come along to our event at and around Firstsite. You can dip into activities exploring the pros and cons of getting outside into nature, join a walk in Castle Park, meet people who help lead activities outdoors and talk about how to get the most out of nature without harming the environment. This event is led by Professor Gina Yannitell Reinhardt from the Department of Government.

Connecting Care and Climate - Feminist Approaches to a Green Recovery - Tuesday 16 November from 7.00 to 9.00pm

Join this evening debate at Firstsite where Dr Kate Seymour from Management and Marketing at Essex Business School will lead a discussion exploring the common causes and assumptions behind the crisis facing care and the climate and how feminism can help us set priorities to ensure a greener recovery.

Professor Alison Park, interim ESRC Executive Chair, said: "The ESRC Festival of Social Science is one of the largest co-ordinated endeavours undertaken by an economics and social science community and is indicative of ESRC's commitment to public engagement.

“The Festival is a valuable way of showing how economic and social research helps us to better understand people, businesses, institutions, communities and wider social phenomena, and informs decisions that can affect millions of lives. We hope the events raise awareness about how research can improve outcomes across society, inspiring some young people to pursue a career in research, and others to draw on research to understand people and the world around us."

Full details of events are available at University of Essex Events 

For more information on events across the UK visit the Festival of Social Science website.