Understanding Society: Insights 2021

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Join Understanding Society for a week (25-29 January) of online debates exploring policy in a post-Covid world running every morning from 10:00am.

About the series

Understanding Society is hosting a weeklong series of debates, designed to look beyond the pressures of reacting to Covid-19 and inform thinking about policy direction.

How can the road to recovery be different from previous recessions to achieve a more balanced recovery? What are we learning through annually observing the complex lives of individuals, families and communities? What lessons can we learn from the Great Recession of 2008? What insights does Understanding Society give us on people’s priorities? Our week of debates will look at education, the future of work, parents and children, spending on health, and financial resilience.

Understanding Society have gathered a wide range of academics and policy experts covering education, employment, families, health and finance – join them to share your insights and ideas for what a balanced recovery could look like.

The Insights debates are open to all – researchers, students, policy makers – anyone who is interested in the future direction of the UK. Each debate can be booked individually, so join us for a single event or for all of them!

Places are free, but advance registration is required.

Programme of events

Education and social inequalities – what are the links?
25 January 2021 | 10:00 – 11:15am


  • Dr Dimitra Hartas, University of Warwick
  • Jo Hutchinson, Education Policy Institute
  • Dr Sarah Stopforth, University of Sussex

The future of work – how can it generate a health dividend?
26 January 2021 | 10:00 – 11:15am


  • Dr Daiga Kamerāde, University of Salford
  • Laura Robinson, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
  • Dr Daniel Wheatley, University of Birmingham

Parents and children – how one generation influences the next
27 January 2021 | 10:00 – 11:30am


  • Baroness Greengross, International Longevity Centre UK
  • Shiv Malik, Investigative Journalist
  • Professor Clara Mulder, University of Groningen
  • Professor Lucinda Platt, London School of Economics

Spending wisely on health, can we do better?
28 January 2021 | 10:00 – 11:30am


  • Dr Luke Barry, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Anita Charlesworth, The Health Foundation
  • Dr Gretta Mohan, Economic and Social Research Institute
  • Professor Steve Pudney, University of Sheffield

Financial resilience and recessions: what are we learning?
29 January 2021 | 10:00 – 11:15am


  • Karen Barker, Citizens Advice
  • Professor Mike Brewer, Resolution Foundation
  • Dr Declan French, Queen’s University Belfast

More information

Find out more information and book your place on the Understanding Society website.