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Lancaster University: Festival celebrates University research that benefits our community and beyond

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From Lancaster’s links with the Roman Empire to the eye-opening cities of the future, an exciting festival programme, organised by Lancaster University, will provide a unique lens focusing on the local community and beyond.

There’s something for everyone, including fun for all the family, ranging from exhibitions to guided walks, film screenings and talks, to getting ‘hands on’ and being a part of ‘research as it happens’.

The festival, which starts on October 22, will provide the opportunity to see how some of the fascinating research undertaken at Lancaster University benefits and impacts the locality and beyond.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science is a UK-wide festival inspiring public audiences and young people through social science research that influences our social, cultural and economic lives.

In this 20th anniversary year the festival is focusing on ‘place’ and researchers will be connecting with local communities across the county to showcase our social science research, highlighting how they are driving change and impacting on local lives and places.

Running over a four-week period, events organised by Lancaster University will feature a whole array of exciting and diverse events for the public, demonstrating the diversity of social science research and how it affects people every day, throughout their lives, at all ages and stages and in all environments and places.

Events are hosted on campus and at venues in the city and across the county.

Add your own vision for Timescapes of Morecambe Bay by joining a creative walk and view artworks produced by young people from local schools and colleges.

Keep your walking boots on and book your place to hear global stories linked to local landmarks on the Global Lancaster History Tour. Or, if the future is more your thing, join in on a walking tour of real and imaginary ‘smart city’ inventions and see if they really are the future! Or drop in to see how an iconic location is also being re-imagined in the exhibition Dalton Square 2032 hosted at Lancaster City Museum.

Our passion for reimagining place continues with the School of Architecture hosting short thought-provoking TEA Talks about urban futures, and Placemaking Lancaster Together have a put out a call for young people to make their voices heard by collaborating with local leaders from the City Council and environment agencies to share their ideas on place.

Another team of researchers is inviting you for a play date over the festival period. Using board games, they are exploring the health of our local communities and the hotly-debated issue of equity and equality in health for the North West. Book your play date in Lancaster, Kirkby, Bootle, Preston or on campus – open to all ages!

Blackburn is the focus in a celebration of local dialect. Come and do the talking at Lancashire Tongues where you can be part of the research into Blackburn accents and see an ultrasound of your tongue as you speak. Alternatively, take a visit to the The Repair Shop 2049 to see demonstrations on how to repair broken tech and find out how the Blackburn community are working to ‘make smart tech smarter’

The experience of assisted dying is a topic which researchers are helping others explore through a film screening and talk ‘On My Own Terms’ at the Storey and researchers and artists are also coming together in ‘A Place for Grief’ sharing experiences of loss, both of people and of places.

Associate Dean for Engagement at Lancaster University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Professor Julia Gillen said: “Lancaster University has ranked among the top institutions in the country for using its research to create positive economic and social impact, and we see how important our research is in catalysing change locally.

“If you have wondered, what we do and how we do it, come along and find out! Our events are all about engaging the public and seeing how our researchers are tackling issues that affect you.”

ESRC’s Interim Executive Chair Professor Alison Park said: “The ESRC Festival of Social Science offers a fascinating insight into some of the country’s leading social science research and its relevance to individuals, society and the economy.

“This year we are celebrating the festival’s 20th birthday with hundreds of free events across the UK, including at Lancaster University. We hope the events are enjoyable and inspiring.”