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Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the Festival of Social Science is an annual festival that takes place at a whole host of universities across the UK.

The festival provided a unique and exciting opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness of our outstanding social science research that informs the development of policies, services, and innovation, and addresses major societal challenges in Wales, the UK and internationally.

2023 Festival Highlights

The 2023 festival was delivered alongside Swansea University, Bangor University, and a host of third sector event partners around the theme of “lifelong wellbeing”.  Together, we hosted 18 events across Wales and engaged 663 visitors to explore how the social sciences inspire and enrich our everyday lives and contribute to wellbeing.

Our festival programme included a range of interactive public and school events on a whole host of topics including: living with drought; exploring the Welsh food system; wild swimming for wellbeing; accessibility to music for deaf people through BSL; walking and cycling for purposeful journeys; wellbeing through serious games, and thought-provoking insights of the symbiotic relationship between social sciences and lifelong wellbeing.

The festival came to a close with a fascinating discussion examining how public policy might do more to uplift the collective wellbeing of Wales. Chaired by Professor Chris Taylor, a panel of academic experts from across Wales explored issues around loneliness and isolation, including young people’s mental wellbeing, the impact of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act in Wales, how emerging policies might play a role in shifting the dial on wellbeing, and what Wales’ business community are doing to contribute to communities.

Catch up on the event recording.

The festival programme included a range of interactive public and school events on a whole host of topics.

Working with schools

Our varied school engagement sessions made up 37% of total festival audience. Young people from primary and secondary schools across Cardiff, including Cantonian High School, All Saints Church in Wales Primary, Lansdowne Primary, Radnor Primary and Bryn Celyn Primary, were welcomed on-campus to explore lifelong wellbeing through a carousel of activities.

Over 75% of young people who attended the school events felt that their feelings or opinion on wellbeing had changed. On being asked how they planned to take care of their wellbeing when they get older or what they had learned, responses included:

  • "I would like to stay curious"
  • "I have learnt to make sure I am taking care of myself everyday by doing things I enjoy"
  • "I would like to go on walks and get fresh air in nature, and do things that make me happy like drawing and listening to music"
  • "I have learnt to understand and identify my emotions"

Based on a course co-produced with Fitzalan High School on Health Ethics and Law for Post-Primary Students in Wales (HEAL), our School of Law and Politics also visited Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf to deliver a moot court (mock trial) to Year 10 pupils focused on ethical and legal controversies in organ donation through the medium of Welsh.

For the benefit of teachers, educational professionals, and policy makers, we hosted a range of in-person and online events each based on our latest ground-breaking research. These included raising awareness of and combating maths anxiety, insights into health and wellbeing in schools, listening to young people, health risks, behavioural change, and school student activism.

We hosted a range of in-person and online events for teachers and educators, each based on our latest groundbreaking research.

Making a difference

All our festival events engaged researchers and broader communities in making a difference; in thinking and acting as advocates for change – here in Wales now and for the future – and setting agendas.

In rapidly shifting times, social sciences research contributes immeasurably to the betterment of our local and global communities.


Related links

Festival of Social Science

Celebrating and raising awareness of the outstanding social science research at Cardiff University - #esrcfestival

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2023 events

Join us for the Festival of Social Science 2023.

Our impact

Read some of the stories behind our community projects and their impact.