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ACM organises the International Research Seminar on Social Sciences

09/21/2015

ACM organised the first International Research Seminar on Social Sciences to improve society with a dialogue-based format. The two-day event, attended by experts in the field, afforded an opportunity for reflection from a multidisciplinary vision on the link between leisure and social cohesion.

These sessions focused on research and leisure education’s contribution to social cohesion in regions. The R&D&I project entitled “Leisure, cultural action and social cohesion” conducted by the Research, Innovation and Social Analysis Group (GIAS), of the Pere Tarrés Faculty of Social Education and Social Work at Ramon Llull University (RLU), will study the reality of two neighbourhoods in the Basque Country, in collaboration with the Leisure Studies Institute of the University of Deusto and the Bilbao Teacher Training School (University of the Basque Country), and two neighbourhoods in Barcelona: Bellvitge and La Prosperidad.

The project, which intends to assess the role of leisure education in building social cohesion in these regions, was presented at this international seminar by the Principal Investigator of the GIAS Research Group, Txus Morata, and two team members, Eva Palasí (Ramon Llull University) and Yolanda Lázaro (University of Deusto).

Leisure education activities and sociocultural actions, as well as taking part in free time or leisure centres, “make it possible to stop social exclusion among children and young people and are therefore a key agent in the fight against alienation”, stated Txus Morata. The reason for this study is twofold: “socio-political and pedagogical”. Socio-political because the fight against poverty and social exclusion is one of the main challenges for the European Union. In fact, the 2020 Europe strategy identifies this area as a joint and pedagogical commitment because “there is a need to assess leisure programmes and entities that promote more inclusive societies”, explained Yolanda Lázaro, University of Deusto researcher.

 

International knowledge transfer

Thanks to the advanced strategic cooperation agreement with the U. S. universities of GeorgetownBoston College and Fordham, two researchers-lecturers from two of the world’s top universities in the field of Social Work attended the event to show part of their work. The two faculties that they are attached to, the Graduate School for Social Service (Fordham University) and Graduate School of Social Work (Boston College), are in the top ten U.S. universities that offer degrees in Social Work. The country has over 50 years’ tradition in PhD programmes and research on social work.

Prof. Barbara Kail, of Fordham University, gave us insight into the role of leisure and sociocultural activities in prevention and reinsertion among drug users from her perspective as a drug prevention and intervention evaluator.

Prof. James Lubben, currently directing the International PhD programme in Social Work and Social Welfare at Boston College and Professor Emeritus of Social Welfare at the University of  California in Los Angeles (UCLA), explained the crucial role of social media sites to support the elderly in his talk entitled “Social Isolation: Isolation Kills”.

Ramon Flecha, a top European researcher on Social Sciences evaluation, Chair in Sociology at the University of Barcelona, and Principal Investigator of the IMPACT-EV project, also spoke at the event. The project addresses attempts to stop European research funding for Social Sciences.

The debate between the Chair in Political Science at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Joan Subirats, and the former Basque Government Councillor of Social Affairs, Fernando Fantova was a highlight of the seminar. The title was “Dialogue: leisure, socio-cultural action and social cohesion in complex societies”, which gave the attendees a closer look at the scope of Political Science and its capacity to create social improvement.

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