ESRC Festival of Social Science 2020
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The Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Festival of Social Science is a celebration of the social sciences and offers a fascinating insight into some of the country's leading social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives - both now and in the future.

This year, the ESRC Festival of Social Science was a digital-first event, held from 7-15 November 2020.

Our events at the University of Plymouth were part of the UK wide festival - via public debates, conferences, workshops, interactive seminars, film screenings, virtual exhibitions and much more. The 2020 festival was the 18th Festival of Social Science and each year the festival has gone from strength to strength.

The full details of our individual events can be found below.

The University has participated in the event since 2014.

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Today's events

About the ESRC Festival of Social Science

The ESRC* Festival of Social Science is an annual, week-long series of engagement events held across the UK. Its purpose is to promote and increase awareness of social science and the ESRC’s research by encouraging researchers to hold events aimed at non-academic audiences.


  • to encourage, support and create opportunities for social science researchers to engage with non-academic audiences
  • to promote and increase awareness of the social sciences and ESRC-funded research
  • to promote and increase awareness of the contribution social science makes to the wellbeing and the economy of society in the UK
  • to enable the public to engage with social science research
  • to engage with teachers and young people and to raise their awareness of the social sciences
You may be surprised at just how relevant the festival's events are to society today. Social science research makes a difference. Discover how it shapes public policy and contributes to making the economy more competitive, as well as giving people a better understanding of 21st century society.

Everyone - from schoolchildren to politicians - can take part in and hear about social science research in the festival's many engaging events.


The festival offers a unique opportunity to discover how:

  • the social sciences make a vital contribution to the UK and its economy, by helping to address global societal challenges and improve lives
  • the events shaping our world – from Brexit and coronavirus to geopolitical tensions and civic protests – reveal how social science is more key to understanding the world than ever
  • social sciences are essential to increasing social mobility, tackling poverty, improving the health and wellbeing of society, and to understanding the causes and nature of conflict, environmental change and securing our future
  • social science has positive real-world impact with the power to aid growth, promote innovation and shape society. 

Visit the ESRC Festival of Social Science website for more information about the festival.

* ESRC - Economic and Social Research Council.

Follow the ESRC Festival of Social Science on Twitter at #ESRCFestival or visit the ESRC website for further information.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We are constantly monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact. The University remains open with a safety-first approach to ensure our campuses are ‘covid-secure’ for our staff, students, local community and visitors, in accordance with government guidance.

University advice and guidance on COVID-19

Event photography and video

Please be aware that some of the University of Plymouth's public events (both online and offline) may be attended by University staff, photographers and videographers, for capturing content to be used in University online and offline marketing and promotional materials, for example webpages, brochures or leaflets. If you, or a member of your group, do not wish to be photographed or recorded, please let a member of staff know.