Thinking Futures shares and celebrates the research undertaken in the University of Bristol’s Faculty of Social Sciences and Law. The programme comprises a wide variety of events - from debates and discussions to workshop and exhibitions - all for the general public, schools, policy-makers and third sector organisations.

The 2020 programme

Bristol Girls Can

When? A variety of dates across the festival week

Where? Online                       

What? Online sessions across the festival week for mothers in South Bristol to try new exercise activities. Researchers will be on hand to talk with participants about what suited them and what they might do again.  Part of the Bristol Girls Can project, in collaboration with Bristol City Council and South Bristol Children's Centre and funded by Sport England. Led by Fiona Spotswood, Senior Lecturer in Management. See the schedule of exercise sessions here.

This event is open to mothers living in South Bristol. For more info and to sign up email


Futures in Crisis: The Politics of Work and Capitalism in a Digital Age 

When? 6 November 2020, 19.00-20.00

Where? Online – sign up here.

What? The aftershocks of the 2008 financial crisis are still being felt and the consequences of COVID-19 for economy and society will be with us for a long time. A series of utopian and dystopian visions of the futures of work and capitalism have sprung up alongside these crises, seeking to make sense of an age defined by technological shifts, populist upheaval, digital authoritarianism and global pandemic. This special event in collaboration with Bristol Festival of Ideas and Political Quarterly picks through these futures and debates their political implications on both the national and international stage. Led by Frederick Harry Pitts, Lecturer in Management.

Sign up here to attend this event.


Digital Identities

When? 10 November 2020

Where: Online

What? Exploring online life, identities, and how we can shape future technologies with Bristol’s young people. Through creative activities and virtual discussions we will consider questions about our online selves. How would somebody describe you if all they had to go on was your social media habits, news consumption etc? How does that differ from who you are offline? Lead by Edward King, Senior Lecturer in Portuguese and Latin American Studies and Viv Kuh, Lecturer in Responsible Innovation, working with Off the Record, a young people’s mental health charity.

Contact and for more information about this event.


Iftiin: Educational Exclusion and Aspirations of Somali Youth in Bristol

When? 10 November 2020, 17.00-18.30

Where? Online – sign up here.

What? This webinar will provide insights into the interactions between students, schools, and their families, and explores the ways in which students’ experiences of racism can impact their educational aspirations. As well this, we will be joined by practitioners in local schools who will be sharing their practice on decolonising their respective fields. There will also be opportunities to interact and ask questions throughout the webinar. Led by Ugbaad Aidid, Research Assistant, School of Education and Robin Shields, Professor of Education.

Sign up here to attend this event.


Translating Video Games

When? 14 November 2020

Where? Online

What? A workshop exploring how video games are adapted and localised for different cultures. Young participants with English as a second language will be able to have a go at translating a video game. Led by Xioachun Zhang, Lecturer in Translation Studies with Creative Youth Network.

Contact and for more information about this event.



Cultural Misappropriation: Reconciling Africa's postcolonial future with its looted past 

When? 15 November 2020, 12.00-13.00

Where? Online – sign up here.

What? An artifact in the Bristol Museum makes a call home to Africa after a hundred years. We will explore the decolonisation of Bristol and its institutions with the Forever Africa Conference and Events (FACE) Pan-African initiative. Lead by Foluke Adebisi, Senior Lecturer in Law and students of the University of Bristol, working with communities and colleagues based in Nigeria.

Sign up here to attend this event.


Inclusive Economies

When? 9 November 2020

Where? Easton

What? A workshop with local community organisation Eastside Community Trust, newly formed merger of long-standing local organisations Easton Community Centre, Felix Road Adventure Playground and Up Our Street. This will explore how to make Bristol's economy more inclusive for all, including in East Bristol where the trust works to bring communities together to create a place of possibility for everyone. Led by Martin Parker, Professor of Organisation Studies.

Contact and for more information about this event.


Co-creating the civic university

When? 17 November 2020

Where: Online

What? Organisations across the City of Bristol will come together with academics and staff from the University to identify actions that the University can take to meet the needs of local partners in the recovery from COVID-19 and beyond. This builds on the findings from a series of discussions in Summer 2020 on the impact of Covid-19 crisis on city organisations. Led by Morag McDermont, Professor of Socio-Legal Studies and Helen Manchester, Reader in Digital Inequalities and Urban Futures.

Contact for more information about this event.

Past programmes
Programmes from previous Thinking Futures festivals:
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