The Making a Difference Awards

School of Social Sciences award winners.

Making A Difference Awards 2024

Tess Hartland (PhD student in Sociology) nominated by Tine Buffel, for her co-produced “Echoes of Displacement”, a captivating comic book narrating the collective story of people growing older while seeking sanctuary in the UK. Created collaboratively with participants and refugee charities, the comic is widely used by organisations to raise awareness about refugee experiences.

Helen Holmes nominated by Mat Paterson, for her ‘One Bin to Rule Them All’, an innovative, interdisciplinary project which enables a sustainable circular plastics economy by using behavioural understanding and new economic models to reshape recycling practices. From mapping household contamination to influencing UN Plastics Treaty negotiations, the team enables improved recycling outcomes across supply chains.

Claire McGourlay, Suzanne Gower and the students for their ‘Justice Gap Student Reporter Scheme’. Students and staff from Manchester, Cardiff, UCL and Glasgow Universities write articles about the law and justice informing the public about law and justice as it relates to them, covering lesser-known parts of the justice system which is often not covered in mainstream media.

Jackie Carter, GM4Women2028 Charity and Helen Pankhurst for ‘Dialogue, Deeds and Determination: Diversifying and strengthening voices, dialogue and connections of Women and Girls to powerholders in Greater Manchester’. GM4Women2028 is a charity aiming to improve the lives of women and girls in Greater Manchester. The project is engaging with policy-makers, politicians and the public and holding to account elected representatives. Together they are committing to data-driven action to tackle gender inequality in Greater Manchester.

Laura Nuttall received the Special Posthumous Award for Alumni Contribution to Social Responsibility. Laura was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme, an incurable brain cancer, in 2018 and was told by the clinicians that she should not consider a university degree, given her condition and terminal prognosis. However, as her mother recalled, Laura was determined, stating that whilst the clinicians may know the condition, they did not know her. Laura proved herself right graduated with a 2:1 in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE).

During her time with the University, she volunteered for Stellify, became an advocate for The Brain Tumour Charity and set up a Boxing Day dinner for struggling families, as well as meeting Michelle Obama. As confirmed by Jackie Carter: “She was bright, compassionate, resolute, focused, determined, true to herself and had a steely resolve to make a difference to the world”. Sadly, Laura died in May 2023. However, her legacy still continues.

Making A Difference Awards 2023

Making A Difference Awards 2023

Highly commended, Outstanding public and community engagement initiative: Outstanding national/international engagement

Young People at a Crossroads creative resources

Catherine Walker, Sustainable Consumption Institute, and the YPAC research team

This project involved international collaboration on participatory research with migrant-background young people. It explored migrant families’ experiences of living with climate change, and considered how these experiences could be applied to climate change education. The project worked with teachers and creative professionals to generate educational resources that connect everyday knowledge and practices of migrant families with curricula in Manchester, Melbourne and beyond.

Making A Difference Awards 2022

Making A Difference Awards 2022

Winner, Outstanding benefit to society through research

COVID-19, inequality and older people

Dr Tine Buffel (Sociology), Professor Christopher Phillipson (Sociology) and other MUARG colleagues - Faculty of Humanities

This project highlights the impact of COVID-19 on older people across the region, especially in relation to declining social contact and feelings of mental and physical deterioration. The research identified gaps in service provision for older people arising from the pandemic, in particular groups from minority ethnic communities, people self-identifying as LGTBQ+ , and those at risk of social isolation from low incomes or poor health.

Winner, Outstanding public and community engagement initiative: Outstanding national/international engagement

Cucusonic: translating biodiversity into new music in Colombia

Rupert Cox (Social Anthropology), Alejandro Valencia-Tobon. (Social Anthropology Alumni; Masters 2011-12, PhD 2012-16)

This project raised public awareness of the biodiversity of Colombia and its importance globally by translating natural soundscape recordings and bioacoustic data into a new music album. The international music and bio-science collaboration set up a remotely organised network with diverse local communities to collect and record sounds and stories from the Colombian Neotropical forests, inviting high profile musicians to create tracks from the field recordings.

Highly commended,Outstanding public and community engagement initiative: Outstanding contribution by our cultural institutions

Our Shared Cultural Heritage

Sadia Habib, Research Associate, CODE (Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity), affiliated to Sociology - Manchester Museum

This project aims to make museums and heritage organisations better places for young people to tackle cultural inequalities and showcase cultural heritage from diaspora perspectives. The pandemic shifted Our Shared Cultural Heritage online, creating a safe, positive and supportive digital space for more young people.

Highly commended,Outstanding contribution to equality, diversity and inclusion

OneEd Community

Yin Hei Lee – BA (Econ.) first year

This project provides mathematics E-learning resources to students from low-income families for free and forever. By providing free access to quality educational resources created by experts, the project aims to narrow the gap between underprivileged and privileged students, allowing them to climb up the social ladder more effectively.