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Community engagement is the focus of Social Sciences conference at Queen Margaret University

Posted: 14th October 2016

Community engagement is the focus of Social Sciences conference

“What has Social Science ever done for us?” That question is the main theme of a conference taking place at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh this week.

The conference, which focuses on the application of Social Sciences in the community, will highlight the importance of social scientific research and how it helps address areas of social concern. These areas could include empowering communities to play an active role in deciding how local services are provided, and increasing transparency within organisations to enable stakeholders to be heard and to participate in outcomes.

Social science is the study of society and the manner in which people behave and influence the world around us. Social science tells us about the world beyond our immediate experience, and can help explain how our own society works – from the causes of unemployment or what helps economic growth, to how and why people vote, or what makes people happy. It provides vital information for governments and policymakers, local authorities, non-governmental organisations and others.

Professor Chris McVittie, Director of the Centre for Applied Social Sciences at Queen Margaret University, said: “If we didn’t have social science researchers, we would find it very hard, as a society, to understand and make sense of human behaviour and its effect on society. It’s a fascinating area and it can help us understand a wide variety of areas ranging from global issues such as a country’s response to refugee resettlement and voting intentions in the US presidential elections, to more local issues such as improving communication between people with aphasia and their partners.

Professor McVittie continued: “We are delighted to have Michael Murray, Professor of Psychology at Keele University, as our key note speaker. Professor Murray has significant research expertise in the area of improving social engagement for many under-represented individuals and groups. He also researches the use of arts-based methods to promote engagement in society, such as an exploration of how arts can increase social engagement for older people.”

The conference, which marks the launch of the new Centre for Applied Social Sciences (CASS) at Queen Margaret University, will take place at QMU on Wednesday 12th October from 12noon – 6pm. It is open to academics, external stakeholders and the community.

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