Cotton mill girl - by Kelly Short

Exeter academics contribute to Festival of Social Science

As part of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC’s) Festival of Social Science, the University of Exeter is holding several events to share their research in mental and physical health with the wider public.

In its tenth year, the Festival offers a fascinating insight into some of the country's leading social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives.

Academics from the Centre for Medical History at the University of Exeter are engaged with various educational organisations and in activities which explore the impact of social sciences. Discussions about asthma and social policy will form the basis for a major debate. An interactive website has been created for the festival which will take people on a journey through the history of patients at the Devon County Lunatic Asylum. Using case notes from 1845 to the 1980s, the website will trace the patient’s story of their life at the Asylum from the moment they arrive.

As part of the festival on Thursday 7 November, there will be a free evening concert featuring traditional and contemporary folk music at the Barnfield Theatre. The ‘Industrial Folk; Songs and Stories of Working Life’ event will highlight the use of folk songs as important historical sources which document and emphasise the stress and hardship of industrial life and the impact that work has on family life. It will include songs about mining, shipbuilding and textile industries and agricultural life and unemployment. The evening will end with a question and answer session examining the stress of life and the history of occupational health.

Professor Mark Jackson, Co-director of the Centre for Medical History said: “Overall, the ESRC Festival offers an exemplary opportunity to ensure that academic research has a wider and deeper impact on public understanding of the role of the social sciences in contributing to contemporary debates.'

Date: 5 November 2012