The Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science offers a fascinating insight into some of the country's leading social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives - both now and in the future.

This year the festival takes place between the 3 - 10 November 2018. 

Saturday 3 November

The ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ of medicinal cannabis

Aberdeen Central Library, Rosemount Viaduct, Aberdeen, AB25 1GW

Professor Roger Pertwee, University of Aberdeen

Medicinal cannabis and reform of the laws on cannabis are some of the most talked about issues today. With Canada having recently legalised recreational use and several high profile cases in the UK focused on the use of medicinal cannabis this timely debate will attempt to establish how best to maximise the ‘highs’ and minimize the ‘lows’ of medicinal cannabis. Roger Pertwee will describe his research and debate with the audience about the importance of cannabis related research, human health and social science.

Admission FREE, Booking required HERE 

Monday 5 November

A social practice approach to adult literacies for improving people’s lives in Rwanda

17.30 -18.30
New Kings 1, King’s College, University of Aberdeen, AB24 3EB

Dr Aileen Ackland, Dr Peter Mtika and Professor Pamela Abbott, University of Aberdeen
In Rwanda more than a quarter of adults cannot read or write and nearly half have only very basic skills. This session will discuss how we are innovating the social practices approach to adult literacies for delivering literacies classes in Rwanda in partnership with local education partners.

Admission FREE, Booking required HERE.

Is imperialism still relevant to the world today?

18.30 – 19.30

Aberdeen Central Library, Rosemount Viaduct, AB25 1GW

Dr Ilia Xypolia, University of Aberdeen

Is imperialism a totally negative concept? Does it have any relevance today? It seems to belong to a past age but in this interactive talk we will learn how imperialism is of relevance to the world today. Ilia will share lessons from one of the world’s most intractable conflicts, the Cyprus issue.

Admission FREE, Booking required HERE.

Tuesday 6 November

The view from the other side: How Arab publics see the west

17.30 – 18.30
New Kings 1, King’s College, University of Aberdeen, AB24 3EB

Dr Andrea Teti and Professor Pamela Abbott, University of Aberdeen
How do people across the Arab world perceive European governments? What lessons we can learn, and implications do these perceptions have for foreign policy towards the Middle East?  This talk uses public opinion survey data to discuss how public opinion views the West in the wake of the Arab Uprisings.

Admission FREE, Booking required HERE.

Behaviour change for cybersecurity

Tuesday 6 November, 19.00 – 20.00

Belmont Filmhouse, Belmont Street, AB10 1JS

Dr John Paul Varghese, University of Aberdeen

Have you ever been hacked or phished? Our behaviour is often manipulated and exploited by attackers to gain access to the IT systems we are using. Technology based solutions are not enough to address this challenge. This event will explore how behaviour change techniques can be used to help all of us become the best form of defence.

Admission FREE, Booking required HERE.

Wednesday 7 November

Growing up in Aberdeen in the 1960s and 1970s

Lecture Theatre, Suttie Centre, Foresterhill Road, AB25 2ZD

Professor Claire Wallace, University of Aberdeen

This talk will present the results of recent interviews with a sample of Aberdeen Children of the Nineteen Fifties by Claire Wallace. Aberdeen Children of the Nineteen Fifties surveyed children at school in 1964 and has followed them through their lives ( The survey followed peoples’ experiences of growing up, with the new welfare state and council housing programme. It looks at their involvement in school, neighbourhood, leisure and family.

Admission FREE, Booking required HERE.

Consent, control and conscience?

19.30 – 21.00
Carmelite Hotel, Stirling Street, Aberdeen, AB11 6UJ 

Hosted by Helen Keen and Dr Heather Morgan, University of Aberdeen

An exploration of the ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Join Helen Keen - an award winning comedy writer and performer; author of the Radio 4 series ‘It Is Rocket Science’ - and Dr Heather Morgan - along with some of the brightest social science researchers from across Scotland to explore the most challenging questions around AI. Our presenters will confront AI engagement, regulations, data ownership and conscious and unconscious biases in this interactive event.

Admission FREE, Booking required HERE.

Thursday 8 November

Pyres, jars and hanging coffins: the archaeology of death

18.30 – 20.00
Seminar Room, Sir Duncan Rice Library, Bedford Road, AB24 3UE

Join us to mark the placing of a new commemorative plaque at the University for Nora Griffith, a pioneering woman in the field of Egyptian archaeology. The unveiling of the plaque will be accompanied by a talk by Dr Crozier, the University’s newest appointment in the Department of Archaeology and a specialist in burial practices. There will also be a chance to visit the new exhibition of an Ancient Egyptian mummy at the University
(see No 12). The plaque is sponsored by Aberdeen’s Women’s Alliance. An informal reception will be held after the talk.

Admission FREE, Booking required HERE.

Friday 9 November

Safety Snapshot: Workplace safety photo competition & exhibition

19.00 – 20.00
Arts Lecture Theatre, University of Aberdeen, AB25 3FX

Dr Amy Irwin, Oliver Hamlet, Gabi Lipan, University of Aberdeen

Face the challenge of capturing safety at work across three categories: Rural safety, urban safety and non-technical skills. Winners will receive a £100 cash prize, runners up will receive a £50 cash prize. Email entries to, subject line ‘safety snapshot’, including your name and category you wish to enter. Deadline: October 26th 2018.


Come along to our exhibition to see how our winning photographers have stepped up to the challenge of capturing safety at work. Learn more about safety at work by engaging with posters and interactive displays, talk to our human factors experts and pick up a range of free materials (including stickers and leaflets) to take home with you!

Admission FREE. Booking required HERE

Saturday 10 November

Out of this world

Part of the VIEW visual art and culture programme of the George Washington Wilson Centre for Visual Culture, University of Aberdeen

12.00- 14.00: Join artist Norma D Hunter and weaver Mary Carol Sounness in a participatory performance on Castlegate, making artworks to celebrate the achievements of women over the last 100 years of suffrage. The event aims to bring to light the names and accomplishments of women who have often been overlooked by the writers of history. No need to book, meet at the Mercat Cross.
15.00- 16.00: at WORM 11 Castle Street, AB11 5BQ, Talk by Terri Bell Halliwell “inVISIBLEwomen” (

Admission FREE. Booking required HERE

Throughout the festival

Ta Kheru: Discovering the life of an Ancient Egyptian woman

Runs until 11 November 2018. Open 10am – 5pm Mon – Wed; 10am – 7pm Thurs; 10am – 5pm Mon – Fri; 11am – 4pm Sat
Sir Duncan Rice Library, Bedford Road, AB24 3AA

Using CT scans and the latest medical visualisation techniques, experts have been able to uncover insights into the life of Ta Kheru, an Ancient Egyptian woman whose ceremonially mummified remains have been in the University of Aberdeen museums’ collections since the 17th century. The exhibition tells the story of Ta Kheru, alongside an impressive holographic display of the CT scan and facial reconstructions of The Lady of the House.