The Blog

Promoting Wellbeing: What Works? – Charlie Woods

I recently attended a conference organised by ‘What Works Wellbeing’, which looked at the emerging evidence of what promotes wellbeing and quality of life for individuals and society more generally. The conference was organised around the themes of the What Works programme – work and learning, culture and sport, communities and cross cutting methods.

The idea behind a wellbeing focus is that it goes beyond narrow measures of economic output. Scotland’s National Performance Framework illustrated below is an excellent example of just such an approach.

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Individual Freedom and the Common Good – Charlie Woods

Individual Freedom and the Common Good

In a recent fascinating article in the New York Times Colin Woodard summarises his analysis of how politics in America today is shaped by the values of the different groups that settled the country; from the Puritan communitarian legacy of the north east ‘Yankeedom’ to the personal sovereignty of ‘Greater Appalachia’. He identifies eleven different ‘nations’ or regions in the US that cross state boundaries and which, in his view, provide a much better guide to today’s political divisions that ‘north-south’ or ‘urban-rural’. At its heart he sees a tension between advancing and protecting individual liberty and promoting the common good.

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New Call for Proposals and Roadshows

“The future is collaborative” – Jackie Kay (Scots Makar)

Focusing on the theme of Cooperation and Interdependence, our second call for proposals of 2018 seeks to explore the challenges and opportunities presented by ever increasing interconnectedness.  The call is now live, and further details can be found on the SUII website here.

Throughout September we’ll be running a series of informative workshops at our member institutions.

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Capitalism in the Age of Robots – Charlie Woods

Capitalism in the age of robots

In April this year Adair Turner (Chair of the Institute for New Economic Thinking) gave a speech entitled “Capitalism in the age of robots: work, income and wealth in the 21st century.” In it Turner argued that the rapid and unstoppable development of automation—based on robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning—will have profound implications for how we live and work over the next fifty to a hundred years.

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The Relationship between Poverty, Attainment, and Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing: Making a Difference to the Lives of Children and Young People

Focusing on early adolescence, a critical stage in development, this programme looks to examine the relationship between poverty, attainment, and children’s mental health as a means of addressing the attainment gap between rich and poor.  The attainment gap is a global and complex problem, which requires international and multi-disciplinary perspectives.  It will bring together academics, policy makers, and practitioners to question: what we currently know about the problem, how we can best extend our understanding of these relationships, and how this can inform public policy and practice.  A sense of belonging to school lies at the intersection of poverty, attainment, and mental health.  Through engagement with children the programme will build children’s voices into discussion, ultimately contributing to the Scottish Attainment Challenge.

Programme Team:

Dr Joan Mowat (University of Strathclyde) – Inclusion, Children with Social, Emotional, and Behavioural Needs, Leadership for Social Justice
Dr Gale Macleod (University of Edinburgh) – Education, Young People Identified as having Disruptive Behaviour
Alastair Wilson (University of Strathclyde) – Social Mobility, Mentoring, Widening Participation
Dr Anna Beck (University of Strathclyde) – Educational Policy, Teacher Professionalism
Graham McPheat (University of Strathclyde) – Social Work and Looked After Children
Professor Stephen McKinney (University of Glasgow) – Creativity, Culture, Poverty
Dr Louise Marryat (University of Edinburgh) – Mental Health, Public Health and Policy
Lee Knifton (University of Strathclyde) – Head of the Mental Health Foundation
Marian MacLeod (Children in Scotland) – Policy Manager, Children’s Welfare
Patricia Lyon (Place2Be) – Cluster Manager, Counselling for Children
Paula Dudgeon (Glasgow City Council) – Educational Psychology
Professor John McKendrick (Glasgow Caledonian University) – Applied Human Sociology, Poverty and Inequality
Fiona McHardy (The Poverty Alliance) – Research and Information Manager
Aileen Wilson (Inverclyde Children’s Services) – Children’s Rights and Participation
Dr Gillean McCluskey (University of Edinburgh) – Multi-agency working, Pupil Voice
Sara Spencer (Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland) – Project Manager

Coproducing Justice: International Social Economy Network

The significance of employment to desistance—the cessation of offending or antisocial behaviour—is well established, yet there are multifarious obstacles to people with convictions accessing and sustaining work.  Social enterprise and cooperative structures of employment can circumnavigate some of the systemic obstacles, such as criminal records and employer discrimination.  But such structures are a rarity in the UK justice system, and their potential is largely unexplored.  Bringing together international, multi-disciplinary academic and industry leaders, this programme seeks to inform the development of social enterprise and cooperative structures of employment for people involved in the justice system.  It will bring together research, policy, and practice, which have heretofore developed separately, to forge and deepen links to form a sustainable network to address these challenges.

Programme Team:

Dr Beth Weaver (University of Strathclyde) – Desistance, Co-production, Social Cooperative and Enterprise Structures of Employment
Professor Stephen Osborne (University of Edinburgh) – Chair of International Public Management, Co-production, the Third Sector and Public Services
Dr Michael Roy (Glasgow Caledonian University) – Social Business, Social Enterprise, Health and Wellbeing
Sarah Soppitt (Northumbria University) – Criminology, Criminal Justice Practice, Desistance
Elizabeth Docherty (Glasgow Social Enterprise Network) – Director
Paul Morris (Glasgow City Council) – Development Officer and Operations Manager for Glasgow Region City Deal Employability Project
Thomas Jackson (Community Justice, Glasgow) – Head of Community Justice, Glasgow
Jayne Chappell (Social Firms Scotland) – Finance and Development Manager