Science minister to present 'Portraits of Britain' prizes

5 November 2012

How can you capture the meaning of 'social sciences' and 'society today' in a single picture? What does social science mean to you, and how would you portray the social sciences in one image? This was the challenge of Portraits of Britain – a photographic competition organised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Festival of Social Science.

The winners of the 'Portraits of Britain' photo competition will be announced at the launch of the exhibition on 7 November with prizes presented by the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science.

Over 450 photographs were entered in the summer competition. The resulting exhibition showcases the exciting images the public have created to illustrate the social sciences – in our wider society through to the environment, politics, economy and culture.

"We are very pleased to see the interest and engagement this competition has sparked in the public – not least from schools, where young people have contributed imaginative new ways of depicting British society," says ESRC Chief Executive Professor Paul Boyle. "The pictures reflect a diverse range of views from people of all ages about what 'society' means to them."

All winning and shortlisted images will be displayed in a special free exhibition at The Strand Gallery from 8-11 November 2012

For further information contact:

ESRC Press Office:

Notes for editors

  1. Event: Celebrating Portraits of Britain exhibition
    Organiser: Amy Gilbert, Economic and Social Research Council
    Date: 8-11 November 2012
    Venue: The Strand Gallery, 32 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6BP
    Audience: General public
    For more information: Celebrating Portraits of Britain exhibition
  2. The Festival of Social Science is run by the Economic and Social Research Council and takes place from 3-10 November 2012. With events from some of the country's leading social scientists, the Festival celebrates the very best of British social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives - both now and in the future. This year’s Festival of Social Science has over 180 creative and exciting events across the UK to encourage businesses, charities, government agencies, schools and college students to discuss, discover and debate topical social science issues. Press releases detailing some of the varied events and a full list of the programme are available at the Festival website. You can now follow updates from the Festival on twitter using #esrcfestival.
  3. The Portraits of Britain photographic competition closed on the 17 August. It was open to all members of the UK general public, as well as ESRC funded students and researchers, and professional and amateur photographers. There were seven categories with one winner in each receiving £250 in vouchers to buy photographic equipment. There was also a Young People category, with three winners of £100, £50 and £25 in vouchers to buy photographic equipment.  The one overall winner was chosen by public vote and will receive £500 in vouchers to buy photographic equipment.
  4. The prizes will be given at an awards ceremony on the 7 November. The free exhibition will showcase all entries into the competition and is open daily from 8-11 November at the Strand Gallery, 32 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6BP. 
  5. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC’s total budget for 2012/13 is £205 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.