Achieving a greater degree of social inclusion is of critical importance to the development of just, integrated, diverse, cohesive and thriving societies in an increasingly interdependent world. This Institute promotes and supports a wide range of interdisciplinary research projects meeting standards of international excellence. Our research seeks to identify, explain and overcome specific social, economic and cultural obstacles to egalitarian respect and social inclusion. Our aim is to work with external partners to address those social harms that cause people to be unnecessarily constrained in realising their full potential. We investigate current and historical issues of exclusion in local, regional, national and international contexts. Our research responds to the need for inclusion and respect for all in the UK and in global society, as demanded by groups and peoples who have been disempowered, marginalised or underrepresented.
Purpose of the Institute
The Institute for Social Inclusion will provide a focus for high quality research in Humanities and Social Sciences and beyond, with the clear intention of enhancing more effectively our international reputation for excellence and impact on this distinctive research theme. The Institute will foster interdisciplinary research and collaborations with colleagues across the University and beyond, and will enable the development of impact and engagement opportunities with both academic and non-academic partners.The focus of the Institute is practical as well as academic. That is, our work has potential to be positively transformative of our economic, cultural and social life and so the intent is to have real impact in contributing to the goals of social inclusion. We do not want merely to conduct disengaged investigations of ways in which social orders exclude various groups, but instead we wish to engage with external partners in government, business and community organisations and others so that our research can make a genuine difference. The establishment of this Institute in our region at this moment is both apt and timely.
Choice of Theme
There are a number of reasons why ‘Social Inclusion’ has been chosen as a theme for this new Institute.
- The theme resonates very strongly with the origins, mission and ethos of Keele University. This institution was founded on a commitment to be new and different, and to draw in combination on the arts and sciences in exploring the duties citizens have towards one another in meeting the needs of society. The establishment of the Institute will help us to update and refresh that vision.
- The theme captures many aspects of the reputation for research excellence that Keele has enjoyed throughout its history. It also reflects much of the excellent research outputs and impact that is ongoing.
- The theme is broad enough to capture much of this excellence, yet sufficiently substantive not to be devoid of meaning but rather to be truly distinctive. In particular, this will foster positive cross-Faculty collaborations related to health, the environment, new technologies, and in other fields.
- We are confident that there are no other research institutes and centres in existence that mention social inclusion that match the ambition of this Institute. More specifically, none approach the topic in the comprehensive manner in which we seek to address challenges of inclusion, and none come near to matching the high proportion of the institution’s research that can be brought together cohesively to address this major challenge.
- The theme speaks forcefully to the needs of our local region, to its civic, professional and business leaders, to community leaders, voluntary organisations and to all of its citizens. It is timely in that it addresses a set of issues that have come sharply into focus nationally since the referendum on Brexit.
- In a global context the scale of the challenges of inclusion have perhaps never been more sharply focused particularly with respect to demands for basic rights, justice and dignity of those who are most marginalised by a global order in which populist nationalism would appear to be on the rise.
- In reflection of these last two points, the theme also meets many of the grand challenges that the government, funding agencies and external stakeholders recognise as being of great significance.