RCE North East-2013

1. Project Title: 
the great northern debate
3. Project partner contact information : 
The Great Debate
project management
Main Contact: 
Dr Caspar Hewett: thegreatdebate@live.co.uk
5. Project description
Provide a short description of the project including strategies, regional challenges, aims and specific project activities.: 

‘the great northern debate’ is an extension of the long established series ‘Development, Sustainability and Environment’ run by community organisation The Great Debate. The project delivers public workshops and debates, courses in schools, and action research into improving educational practice through discussion-based learning. The public discussions/workshops aim is to generate new shared understanding of the issues and realities of the topics through public debate open to all, reflecting the ongoing commitment of The Great Debate, RCE North East and their partners to bringing top quality speakers to the North East to deliberate in an open manner on the issues of the day. The schools programme focuses on developing an innovative interdisciplinary discursive approach to teaching young people about sustainable development and to use this to develop in the students the confidence and skills required to make informed judgements about scientific and social issues. The third element of the project is action research into improving educational practice through discussion-based learning. This element of the project is linked to the workshops, public discussions and courses described above. The aim is to impose academic rigour on the adaptive approach to discursive learning being developed.

6. Project status
On Going
In the last year we have worked in partnership with NECTER / RCE North East, Newcastle University, Northumbria University, Sunderland University, North East Centre for Lifelong Learning, Economic and Social Research Council, Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal, Great North Festival and Festival of the North East to deliver a diverse series of events for general audiences including: ‘Whatever Happened to Equality?’ [http://www.thegreatdebate.org.uk/WH2=ty.html] - a day of debate and documentary-making held in November 2012 which took a critical look at how the ideal of equality has been eroded in recent times; ‘The Science of Humanity’ [http://www.thegreatdebate.org.uk/PreviousEvents.html#SciOfH] - a series of seven evening seminars for adults between January and March 2013 exploring how successful the natural and social sciences have been at telling us about what we are and our place in (or out of) nature; ‘Media, Culture, Voice: Tackling inequality and marginalisation’ [http://www.thegreatdebate.org.uk/MedCultVox.html] – a debate held in July asking what roles media and culture can and should play in tackling inequality and enabling the marginalised to 'speak'; and three discussion-based events in partnership with Great North Festival: 'Embracing the Future' in April, 'Water and wind - Can renewables deliver?' in June and 'Northumbria Stories' in September.
We also obtained three key grants which will keep us busy throughout 2013-14:
Royal Academy of Engineering have awarded The Great Debate a second grant under their Ingenious grant scheme for 'ETUDE: Engineering Transmission Using Deliberative Events' [http://www.thegreatdebate.org.uk/ETUDE.html], a one year project which will engage engineers in dialogue with the general public in order to improve understanding the intersection of technology with human values and behaviour.
Big Lottery Fund's Awards for All scheme awarded us a grant to resume ‘great northern youth voices’ [http://www.thegreatdebate.org.uk/YouthVoices.html], our venture into documentary-making training for young people not in employment, education or training which was last active in early 2012 and which laid the groundwork for NECTER's HYPODS (Hearing Young People on Development and Sustainability) project [http://www.rcenortheast.eu/projects/hypods/]
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) have supported us for the seventh year running to contribute to their Festival of Social Science in November 2013. This year's event: ‘Decline and Fool: Changing Ideas in the Twenty Teens’ [http://www.thegreatdebate.org.uk/Dec&Fool.html] will look at the declining influence of environmentalism and postmodernism, and ask what, if anything, is taking their place.
8. Tagging