Academics and schoolchildren launch West Cumbria’s first Social Science Festival

Academics and schoolchildren launch West Cumbria’s first Social Science Festival Banner Image

UCLan’s Suzanne Wilson talking to the schoolchildren inside the Beacon Museum.

UCLan plays a major part in encouraging youngsters to think about their local community

Researchers from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and a group of schoolchildren have joined together to take part in West Cumbria’s first Social Science Festival.

A Celebrating Connecting Communities event was recently held at The Beacon Museum, in Whitehaven, which brought pupils from St Begh’s and Monkwray junior schools together with UCLan researchers to raise awareness of the role and impact of social sciences.

Research centres from across the University’s School of Social Work, Care and Community got together to deliver different hands-on method workshops including community-mapping, using artwork to express feelings and photo-voice. All the workshops gave the children tasters of ways to involve people in thinking about their communities.

The event has helped to break down the barriers around social science and challenged the pupils to think about their landscape and local community.

It was delivered by Dr Julie Ridley and Suzanne Wilson, from the Centre for Citizenship and Community; Bob Walley, from the Centre for Volunteering and Community Leadership; and Dr Deborah Crook, from the Centre for Children and Young People.

These sessions aimed to encourage the pupils to think critically about their community and ignite a passion for social science and social action.

Organiser Suzanne Wilson, Research Fellow in Social Inclusion and Community Engagement at UCLan, said: “It was a privilege to work alongside such enthusiastic young people who have so many exciting ideas to help strengthen their community.

“I hope we have introduced the idea of going to university to study social science and inspired the next generation of young social scientists of the future!”

Alan Gillon, Learning Officer at The Beacon Museum, added: “It was a fantastic opportunity for the Beacon Museum to host the Celebrating Connected Communities event with UCLan.

“The museum is at the very heart of the community, and through the museum collections we are able to tell the stories of the diverse local community we have in West Cumbria, from thousands of years ago to the present day.

“The event has helped to break down the barriers around social science and challenged the pupils to think about their landscape and local community.”

The event was sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council and was one of 450 events taking place across the UK to raise awareness about how social science affects everyday life.

Rachel Atkinson | 08 November 2019