Title Summary and panel

1. Sociology, Community and Policy

Michael Young’s work aimed to make strong links between social research and political action. The tradition of community studies as a basis for social change, and for giving voice to the social needs of communities most affected by economic development has been a recurrent theme in British social research. In this session, we will look at how the community perspective developed by Young remains the basis for critical social research by examining a number of recent projects.

Panel includes: Dr. Paul Watt, Reader in Urban Studies at Birkbeck, University of London (Chair), Prof. Phil Cohen, Visiting Professor at Birkbeck, University of London, Dr. Camilla Lewis, Research Associate at the School of Social Sciences, Sociology, University of Manchester, Dr. Lisa Mckenzie, Sociology Fellow at London School of Economics.

2. The Politics of Mobility and Exclusion

In The Rise of The Meritocracy, Michael Young imagined a world ruled by an elite who narrowly determine the educational achievements necessary for success. He argued that meritocracy would only perpetuate inequalities, and forty years after publication, he rallied against the transformation of his pejorative term into a positive ideal. This session explores concepts of meritocracy and social mobility through the lens of the Great British Class Survey and brings in examples of alternative concepts of merit. We will look at forms of exclusion by exploring the way the humble bench supports forms of belonging, contrasted by the rise of ‘hostile’ architecture’ and the ‘tidying up’ of public space.

Panel includes: Prof. Mike Savage, Department of Sociology, London School of Economics (Chair), Dr. Chris Renwick, Senior Lecturer in Modern History, University of York, Alastair Wilson, CEO at the School for Social Entrepreneurs, Clare Rishbeth, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture, University of Sheffield, Radhika Bynon, Programme Lead and Director of the U at The Young Foundation.

3. Michael Young as a Consumer Champion

Michael was a passionate advocate of unleashing consumer power. In 1958, he founded the Consumers’ Association. Three years later it had attracted 200,000 members and was adding to them at the rate of 1,200 a week; its magazine Which? had already by then published 140 reports. Today WHICH? and other consumer driver campaigns and institutions are part of our mainstream. This session will include both reflection on the context and thinking that drove Michael’s early work and the place and power of consumer movements in the UK today. How important are they? What role and influence do “consumers” have in social change today?

Panel includes: Prof. Matthew Hilton, Professor of Social History, University of Birmingham (Chair), Prof. Lawrence Black, Professor of Modern History, University of York, Laura Osborne, Head of Corporate Affairs at Which?, Glenys Thornton, CEO of The Young Foundation

4. Social Research and Activism

This panel explores Michael Young’s politics, his relationship with and influence over social policy thinking in the Labour party and the left more broadly since the 1940s. The speakers will consider Young’s role in writing the Labour Party’s famous 1945 election manifesto, his distinctive way of thinking about citizenship, equality and social welfare in the 1950s and 60s, the ways in which the ideas associated with Young and the Institute of Community Studies informed the development of social policy on the left in the longer post-war period, and the implications of his legacy for progressive social policy thinking in the present.

Panel includes: Dr. Helen McCarthy, Senior Lecturer in History, Queen Mary University of London (Chair), Prof. Pat Thane, Professor of Modern History, King’s College London, Lise Butler, Lecturer in History at Pembroke College, University of Oxford, Alex Campsie, postgraduate student, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge

5. Education: The Michael Method Unplugged

Michael had an exceptional track record, but there was method in his magic. In this workshop, we boil down the “4Ms” that formed the DNA of his projects and enabled him to generate fresh ways of working that both had genuine worth, and could inspire wholesale change in the way we think about meeting people’s needs. Join us, and you can do it too.

Panel includes: Ros Morpeth OBE, CEO of the National Extension College (Chair), Prof. Mark Goldie, Professor of Intellectual History at University of Cambridge. Helen Saddler, Founder and CEO of Inclusive Classrooms, Simon Tucker, Co-founder of Studio Schools

6. Building Place Based Movements of Transformation

This workshop will present the Young Foundation´s Places programs in Leeds, Northern Ireland, Wales, Sheffield and Montreal. These interventions integrate ethnographic research, co-creation, acceleration and dynamic evaluation to build city/region movements of transformation aiming to tackle the structural causes of inequality. Speakers will explain and discuss with participants the Young Foundation´s methodology, how to transition from project delivery to movement building and the specific way it has been applied in those different cities and regions.

Panel includes: Pat Colgan (Chair), Gorka Espiau, Director of Cities at The Young Foundation, Nat Defriend, Programme Lead – Amplify Leeds at The Young Foundation, Alice Sachrajda, Senior Research Associate at The Young Foundation, Kieron Williams, Programme Lead – Amplify Northern Ireland and Wales at The Young Foundation.

7. Gender Futures: Innovating Equality

Delivering a gender equal future remains one of the greatest social challenges of our time. Real change could transform millions of lives – from how we live and love, to what we earn and do. The evidence is now compelling that we will not unleash our collective social and economic potential without this. Concerned with stimulating and scaling transformative social change, the ideas and resources of the social innovation movement offer major – but largely untapped – potential to accelerate and embed change. With the green shoots of a new gender equality innovation movement only now emerging this session will ask what is taking so long? How can we accelerate this? What difference could this make?

Panel includes: Ceri Goddard, Director of Gender at The Young Foundation, June O’Sullivan MBE, CEO of London Early Years Foundation, Natalie Campbell, Director of A Very Good Company

8. Social Innovation in the World: A Look to the Future

Social innovations are new approaches to addressing social needs. They engage and mobilise the beneficiaries and help to transform social relations by improving access to power and resources. Today social innovation is seen as increasingly important in tackling some of society’s most pressing and entrenched challenges such an ageing population and exploding levels of chronic disease, the rise in youth unemployment, or climate change and resource scarcity. Social innovators are also responding to new and emerging challenges such as the refugee and migrant crisis facing Europe. This session will bring together perspectives from across social innovation practice and research to discuss and debate the role of social innovation going forward. What impact does social innovation really have? What are the challenges for social innovation? And what is needed to help the social innovation community make an even greater impact in the future?

Panel includes: Jon Huggett, Chair of the Social Innovation Exchange (Chair), Victoria Boelman, Head of Research at The Young Foundation, Stephen Bediako, Founder of the Social Innovation Partnership.