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Academia & Advocacy debate

14th November 2015 @ 11:30 - 16:45


Dissemination page here

Technical info for the day


‘Academia & Advocacy’ will be rolling into the Toon on Saturday 14 November 2015 with plenty of opportunity for exchange – learning, listening, chatting and getting to know each other – will be included in the event. It’s brought to you by Northumbria University and the ESRC Festival of Social Science. We are partnering, assisting in organising and spreading the word, and Claire, our Secretary, is speaking!

Dr Seraphim Alvanides is the main event coordinator, contact s.alvanides@northumbria.ac.uk.
See his Northumbria University website here.

There is certainly one thing that academia and advocacy have in common: searching for ways of having and making impact.

Please check back for updates.

  • For the twitter users – the event’s hashtag is #esrcaad
  • The general ESRC Festival hashtag is #esrcfestival

Programme [also uploaded as pdf]ESRC_banner

Morning session: Developing the message on inclusive cycling

11:30 Welcome: Seraphim Alvanides

11:40 Keynote: Rachel Aldred
12:00 Geoff Vigar Panellist 1 (academic) “Where are we at in academia with cycling. What do we know?”
12:20 Kevin Hickman Panellist 2 (advocacy) “What does designing for inclusive cycling mean?”

12:40 Panel discussion with audience chaired by Christian Wolmar

13:15 LUNCH (provided) and screening Beauty and the Bike (short version)

Afternoon session: A voice for cycling

14:00 Summary of panel discussion (incl actions, needs, future planning) Christian Wolmar 

14:15 Sally Hinchcliffe Speaker 1 (advocacy) “How cycle bloggers shifted mountains”
14:30 Rachel Aldred Speaker 2 (academic) “Gaps in research and evidence – what don’t we know?”
14:45 Claire Prospert Speaker 3 (advocacy) “newcycling – a focussed campaign”

15:00 Breakout on gathering reactions, views and opinions, informed by speakers and panellists
16:00 Summary of workshops – (Seraphim Alvanides and Katja Leyendecker) How can academia and advocacy work together for a common goal?
16:30 Conclusion of event, outline of possible next steps Katja Leyendecker

16:45 END


Description of event (from funding bid)

Cycling is usually approached as a conflict between decision-makers upholding a status quo and advocates requesting new meanings and forms of mobilities. However, with the increasing interest in cycling for sports, commuting and leisure and the mainstreaming of cycling campaign groups, it is now both timely and imperative to revisit the politics of space and cycling, city management, transport transitions and their relationship to the wider society. This event will bring together researchers and advocacy groups to provide space, time and room for discussing the redefinition of the role of academic research as the interface between advocacy and activism and policy making.

The “cycling revolution” in many British cities goes hand in hand with vocal opposition from anti-cyclists and impromptu or organised events demanding more space allocated to active travel and meaningful cycling infrastructure.

  • Is the role of social science researchers to present and debate the facts or do we have a responsibility to support cycling campaigners with our academic credentials?
  • Is it enough to publish the evidence in academic outlets or should we take a stand in supporting cycling activists?
    And where can we draw the line between academic and policy-related research on a hot topic like cycling?

These are some of the questions we are planning to debate in an event that will bring together academics researching active travel and representatives of cycling advocate groups. The event consists of two parts with presentations, followed by panel discussions and workshops. During the lunch break we will screen the film ‘Beauty and the Bike’ (2009).

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14th November 2015
11:30 - 16:45


Northumbria University


Northumbria University, Rutherford Hall
Ellison Place
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
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