On 19 October WCIA were delighted to welcome to the Temple of Peace, international and UK-wide visitiors participating in the 7th International Societal Impact of Social Science, Humanities and Arts Conference, organised by AESIS – the network for Advancing and Evaluating the Societal Impact of Science.
The conference has travelled to Copenhagen, Washington, Toronto, Brussels, and Stockholm, and this year AESIS have brought it back to Cardiff University, where it all began in 2017.
WCIA hoped to offer our international visitors a flavour of Wales’ rich ‘peace heritage‘, and hopefully plenty of stimuli for their conference discussions around how academia can work with civil society and third sector organisations, in Wales and the wider world, to pursue greater social impact for research. As a tangible example, Outreach Coordinator Lowri Jenkins shared the story of the women’s peace peace appeal of 1923, a ‘hidden history’ lost to time and memory but found recently within the Temple Archives, and now the subject of a sunstantial NLHF funded entenary campaign involving communities and academics Wales-wide through Academi Heddwch.
Often, academia and civil society operate in very seperate silos; most charities – particularly modest bodies, as is typical in Waldes and many smaller nations -do not have the financial resources (or funding streams), people power or network contacts to commision academic research. However, in an environment where funders increasingly expect to see social impact and return on research investment, this offers an ‘open opportunity’ for universities to pro-actively engage with organisations who often work at the grassroots with communities and volunteers, and through nationwide civil society networks (with varying degrees of formality) that can only be engaged through collaboration and cooperation.
We wish all the very best to the hundreds of conference participants as they return home from Cardiff to advance their academic impacts – Diolch!