What is the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal trying to do?

Across Newcastle University, colleagues are working to realise the vision of a world-class civic university, relevant to the intractable challenges facing humanity in the 21st Century. The University’s vision of the civic university, pursuing “excellence with a purpose” is the institutional raison d’etre for the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal (NISR). Our intention is to explore new ways in which a research intensive university – its staff and students – can connect with society in order to make a difference.

Another rationale for NISR is the societal challenge itself: how can people, communities and societies thrive in times of rapid, transformational change? This challenge is understood in terms of an interaction between the forces of change and society. Forces of change (from both within and outside) are mediated and negotiated through individual and collective actions and through institutional structures, in terms of (and with consequences for) the public sphere, prosperity and social justice. This reflects, and contributes to, the differential capacities of individuals, communities and societies to thrive in times of rapid change.

Ten themes have been identified to provide an initial focus for NISR’s work, and theme champions will animate and draw together activity around each theme, encouraging new synergies, while also pursuing tangible social renewal outcomes over a specified period. The themes are: Arts & Cultures in Social Renewal; Citizenship in the 21st Century; Digital Innovation; Entrepreneurship & Innovation; Health & Inequality; Learning for Change; People, Place & Community; Social Justice & Injustice; The Past in the Present; and Wellbeing & Resilience. Several cross-cutting, strategic projects are also proposed.

You can read more about our work in our Annual Review 2012 and in our Strategic Plan http://www.ncl.ac.uk/socialrenewal/about/StrategicPlan.htm  .

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