Free film festival brings social science research to life

  • Date

    Wed 5 Oct 22

projector light with text that reads University of Essex Social Science Film Festival

A free film festival taking place this autumn in Colchester highlights the impact University of Essex research has on our everyday lives.

The films form part of the annual ESRC Festival of Social Science, a national celebration of research and knowledge about humans and society which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2022.

The festival events are an opportunity to explore topics relating to social science – from health and wellbeing to crime, equality, education, and identity.

This year, the film festival includes a range of films based around the theme of “my local area”.

Film highlights include an insight into how young people in the East of England experienced the COVID-19 pandemic, made by award-winning filmmaker Nic Blower; an in-depth look at how research has helping reshape Colchester town centre; and a look at how social science and local councils have come together to reduce the use of single-use plastic.

Other films imagine a future where societies have weaned themselves off fossil fuels and showcase how research has fostered cohesion in troubled communities.

Professor John Preston, Dean of Research for the Faculty of Social Sciences at Essex, said: “The ESRC Festival of Social Science is a national celebration of how social science research contributes to the world, and the University of Essex is one of the country’s foremost social science institutions.

“This year, our film festival highlights the richness and real-world impact of our social science research.

“The films will show how we can learn together as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, as we tackle the climate and ecological emergency, and as we support each other through the cost-of-living crisis. The Film Festival is open to everyone. We’re looking forward to welcoming members of our local community and seeing how these issues affect their area.”

This event will interest anyone who has a personal, political, or professional interest in how research can help us understand how to take action in our local areas. As well as the unique opportunity to watch the films, audiences will also have the chance to ask the film-makers questions about the films and the research.

The programme for the evening includes the following films:

We're in this too, by Nic Blower. An award-winning video diary of how young people in the East of England experienced the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns.

The Feast, a film by social sciences artist-in-residence, Alicja Rogalska, inspired by conversations about climate catastrophe with academics resulting in a film documenting a metabolic feast, a dinner ritual commemorating the end of humanity’s reliance on fossil fuels. It takes place sometime in the future when humans harvest and distribute surplus energy generated by their metabolism and movements.

COVER by Professor Peter Bloom, Professor Phoebe Moore, Dr Stevphen Shukaitis, and Dr Georgios Kokkinidis. A focus on how the University's Commons Organising, Values, and Economic Resilience research centre has developed cohesion in troubled communities and has started to impact on education in Europe.

Colchester City Centre by Dr Noelia-Sarah Reynolds and Dr Anna Hughes. An in-depth look at how Business and Psychology research has helped reshape Colchester centre and has contributed to our community recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Plastic Holiday by Dr Debashree De, Dr Patrick Lown, and Professor Ram Ramanathan. The University has declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency, and we are fighting for the local environment. This film will show how our social science is working with Colchester Borough/City Council to help local consumers and businesses reduce the amount of single-use plastic in Colchester.

The film festival takes place on Wednesday 2 November from 16:00 – 21:00 at Firstsite in Colchester. Full details are available online at University of Essex events.