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John Boyega at Black Lives Matter
Headlining the festival this year will be an event looking at how Black celebrities such as Jon Boyega using his reach to influence policy and people.

This year’s Festival of Social Science returns next week from 7-15 November bringing you an ambitious programme of free virtual events, videos and talks, hosted by the University of Birmingham, meaning that you can tune in without leaving your sofa.

2020 will certainly be a year that we all remember, amid a global pandemic; society is changing dramatically and at a dizzying pace. The way we work, socialise, seek medical support, spend our money and manage our relationships is changing. This year’s festival will explore what this ‘new normal’ will look like, as well as taking a deep dive into some of the other big issues that have made the news this year.

Headlining the festival this year will be an event looking at how Black celebrities such as Marcus Rashford, Reggie Yates and Megan Thee Stallion and are using their platforms to influence policy and people. The event will answer the question – do celebrities help or hinder movements?

Closer to home, the festival will also explore what it means to live in Birmingham and have a ‘brummie’ education with an exciting panel of local experts which includes award winning writer, Brummy Mummy of 2, Councillor Brigid Jones from Birmingham City Council and Professor Colin Diamond CBE, Professor of Educational Leadership, University of Birmingham.

With another nine events planned discussing topics such as the impact of COVID-19 on the childcare market, remote working and worker wellbeing, how parents can support bilingual and multilingual children to develop their language skills, crime and poverty, this year’s festival has something for everyone.

The festival is part of the nationwide ESRC Festival of Social Science which highlights how pioneering social, economic and political research impacts everyday life.

Professor Richard Black, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Social Sciences at the University of Birmingham said: 

“In these challenging times, this year’s virtual Society from your Sofa festival, provides an opportunity to interact with a series of events, led by world leading experts from the University of Birmingham.  Our sessions will address the challenges we are currently facing as a society and consider what the ‘new normal’ should look like. COVID-19 has made the issues we will be addressing especially important to us as individuals, families and societies; from Childcare during the pandemic, to the future of retail, to inequality and mistreatment of the poor, disenfranchised and disabled.”

For more information or interviews, please contact: Chloe Ainslie, Communications Manager or contact the press office out of hours on +44 (0) 7789 921 165.

About the University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.