Between nostalgia and innovation – Scotland explored through social science

4 March 2010

Like the rest of the UK, Scotland is undergoing social and economic change. The population is declining, ageing and becoming increasingly diverse and the definition of what it means to 'be Scottish' is ever more complex.

As part of the Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC) Festival of Social Science (12-21 March) several events will take place to explore a wide range of social, cultural and economic attitudes of the people living in Scotland. From the memories and nostalgia of traditional food, to patterns and experiences of migration, there are events for everyone to discuss, discover and debate.

Remembering Glasgow is the theme of an event where professional writers will present the winners of a creative writing competition that encouraged creative reflections on Glasgow, food and nostalgia. What did gran eat when she was small? What are your family’s favourite dishes? What was your favourite childhood advert? How has immigration affected our diet? Questions such as these will generate a fun and informative discussion about the influences of nostalgia on Glasgow’s diverse culinary scene, contemporary eating practices, branding and consumer patterns.

Another highly topical event will bring together children from migrant and local Scottish communities to discuss their experiences of coming to and living in Scotland. Aiming to break down barriers and foster greater understanding between these communities, the event also introduces students to the social sciences and the university environment.

A workshop for public policymakers, government and third sector practitioners will focus on 'Promoting Innovation in Public Services'. It will explore all we know about innovation in public services and the most effective policy for promoting and supporting it. Participants will also discuss the possibility of establishing an Innovation Hub in Scotland to encourage collaboration between research, policy and practice across Scotland.

The Festival of Social Science brings social science closer to the public, encouraging active involvement, lively discussion and engaged debate. Adopting a local 'twist' by exploring issues and experiences that really matter to the local community, the events show the relevance of social science to everybody's day-to-day lives.

For further information contact

ESRC Press Office:

Notes for editors

Events in Scotland include:

  1. The Future of Public Service Delivery in Ageing Rural Communities
    • Organiser: UHI Millennium Institute, Centre for Remote and Rural Studies
    • Friday 12 March 10.00 - 13.00
    • Venue: Kingsmills Hotel, Culcabock Road, Inverness. IV2 3LP
  2. Glasgow Remembered: Food and Nostalgia
    • Organiser: Jointly organised by members of the Departments of English Studies and Marketing, University of Strathclyde
    • Saturday 13 March 11.30 - 14.00
    • Venue: Mitchell Library, 201 North Street, Glasgow. G3 7DN
    • Audience: Suitable for all
  3. The Changing Face of Scotland
    • Organiser: Applied Quantitative Methods Network, University of Edinburgh and University of Dundee
    • Thursday 18 March 10.00 - 16.00
    • Venue: The Prism, Sensation Centre, Greenmarket, Dundee, DD1 4QB
    • Audience: For professionals as part of their work
  4. Migration, Identity and Integration: New and Old Communities in Glasgow
    • Organiser: Centre for Russian, Central and East European Studies, UK (Language Based Area Studies Centre of Excellence)
    • Friday 19 March 10.00 - 16.00
    • Venue: Seminar Room 3 (The Gannochy), Wolfson Medical School Building, University Avenue, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8QQ
    • Audience: Young People
  5. Promoting innovation in public services
    • Organiser: Centre for Public Services Research, University of Edinburgh Business School
    • Friday 19 March 09.30 - 16.30
    • Venue: Augustine's Hall, 41-43 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh. EH1 1EL
    • Audience: For professionals as part of their work
  6. The ESRC Festival of Social Science provides a fascinating insight into how research influences our social, economic and political lives - both now and in the future. It runs from 12 to 21 March 2010, alongside National Science and Engineering Week. In its eighth year the 2010 Festival is proving the most popular and exciting yet, consisting of over 130 events across the UK, in over 40 cities. Events are aimed at a range of different audiences, including policymakers, business, the media, the general public and students of all ages. Events come in a variety of formats from traditional lectures and exhibitions to theatrical performances, film screenings and topical debates.
  7. 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 planned total expenditure in 2009/10 is £204 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes. You can now follow updates from the ESRC on Twitter, including new funding calls as they are posted, press releases, events and more.