Social Sciences

Amazing Results for the School of Social Sciences at the Making a Difference Awards

Written by Mamie M. Arndt

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On Tuesday, 10 May we were joined by staff, students, alumni and friends from around the world to celebrate the incredible and inspiring work of our University Community at the Making a Difference Awards 2022.

The awards highlighted the extensive range of social responsibility initiative being undertaken at The University of Manchester and covered categories such as benefit to research, widening participation, environmental sustainability and equality, diversity and inclusion.

Nearly 160 entries were submitted this year, with judges recognising 16 winners and 23 highly commended.

We are delighted to announce that colleagues in the School of Social Sciences were the winners of two awards and were highly commended for two more.

Congratulations to Dr Tine Buffel (Sociology), Professor Christopher Phillipson (Sociology) and colleagues at Manchester Urban Research Group (MURAG) for winning the Outstanding Benefit to Society through Research Award. This project highlights the impact of COVID-19 on older people across the region, especially in relation to declining social contact and feelings of mental and physical deterioration.

The research identified gaps in service provision for older people arising from the pandemic, in particular groups from minority ethnic communities, people self-identifying as LGTBQ+, and those at risk of social isolation from low incomes or poor health.

Warmest congratulations are also extended to Rupert Cox (Social Anthropology) and Alejandro Valencia-Tobon (Social Anthropology Alumni) on winning the Outstanding International Engagement Award for their project Cucosonic: translating biodiversity into new music in Colombia.

This project raised public awareness of the biodiversity of Colombia and its importance globally by translating natural soundscape recordings and bioacoustic data into a new music album. The international music and bio-science collaboration set up a remotely organised network with diverse local communities to collect and record sounds and stories from the Colombian Neotropical forests, inviting high profile musicians to create tracks from the field recordings.

Thirdly, well done to Dr Sadia Habib, Research Associate at Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity (CODE), who was highly commended for her project, Our Shared Cultural Heritage at Manchester Museum, in the outstanding contribution by our cultural institutions award category.

The project aims to make museums and heritage organisations better places for young people to tackle cultural inequalities and showcase cultural heritage from diaspora perspectives. The pandemic shifted Our Shared Cultural Heritage online, creating a safe, positive and supportive digital space for more young people.

Finally, we are delighted that Yin Hei Lee (BA Economics, First Year), was highly commended in the outstanding contribution to equality, diversity and inclusion category for his project OneED Community.

The project provides mathematics E-learning resources to students from low-income families for free and forever. By providing free access to quality educational resources created by experts, the project aims to narrow the gap between underprivileged and privileged students, allowing them to climb up the social ladder more effectively.

Well done to all our staff and students for their great achievements!

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About the author

Mamie M. Arndt