See the world through fresh eyes

Posted by er134 at Oct 30, 2014 11:56 AM |
University of Leicester mini public lecture series to challenge perceptions of household objects

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 30 October 2014

A video showing Professor King discussing Social Worlds is available to download and embed at:

Breasts, mobile phones and water bottles are just three of the ‘objects’ under scrutiny during the University of Leicester’s Sound Bites mini lecture series taking place at Leicester’s New Walk Museum from Monday 3 – Friday 7 November 2014.

Looking at everyday objects, leading social scientists from the University are inviting members of the public to bring their sandwiches along to a series of mini lectures each lunchtime during the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) Festival of Social Science to discover intriguing perspectives on household items.

Each day, the series of 10 minute lectures will discuss a different aspect of our daily lives, bringing social science research to life in a simple, accessible way. The lectures will cover: work and time, identity and belonging, commerce and consumption, education and childhood, and real politics.

Head of the College of Social Science, Professor Steven King said: “The Sound Bites lectures provide a great opportunity for our academics to engage the public in their research and to invite people to start to think about objects in a different way.”

Questions which will be addressed during the lecture series will include: Is a tin of soup a comfort food or a poverty indicator? The AK47, a soviet bestseller or insurgency tool? It is hoped that the lectures will encourage audience members to see these objects, and our world, in a whole new way.

Each lecture will be based on a 500 word original article written by the researchers as part of the University’s innovative Social Worlds in 100 Objects project. Inspired by the popular BBC Radio 4 series, The History of the World in 100 Objects, the University launched its own social science perspective project in February 2013, to showcase the broad range of research across all eight departments in the College of Social Science, offering unique insights into objects in and out of the home.

The project was initiated by Dr Jane Pilcher from the Department of Sociology who added: “Taking iconic, everyday familiar objects like mobile phones, or televisions, or a child’s toy, and using them as a way of emphasising the analytical, academic approach of social science disciplines such as economics, sociology or politics, highlights the contribution they have made to our knowledge and experiences of our social world.

“I hope that this project is increasing public understanding of the importance of social science and the contribution it has made and continues to make to our everyday lives.”

Sound Bites will take place at Leicester’s New Walk Museum from Monday 3 – Friday 7 November 2014, 1-2pm daily. They form part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science, a week of activities celebrating the diversity of social science research to increase awareness of the contributions the social sciences make to society. The lectures are free to attend, but space is limited. For more information or to book a place, please visit:


Notes to Editors

For more information about Sound Bites, please contact: Amy Costello, Marketing and Communications Manager College of Social Science at:

  • The 12th annual Festival of Social Science takes place from 1-8 November 2014 with over 200 free events nationwide. Run by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Festival provides an opportunity for anyone to meet with some of the country’s leading social scientists and discover, discuss and debate the role that research plays in everyday life. With a whole range of creative and engaging events there’s something for everyone including businesses, charities, schools and government agencies. A full programme is available at You can also join the discussion on Twitter using #esrcfestival

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