Episode 9: What is the Role of the ‘Civic’ University in Covid-19 Recovery?

In many ways, the COVID-19 crisis has thrown into relief the deep and varied connections between universities and society – their civic role.

It’s widely agreed that higher education institutions have a responsibility to contribute to the public good and I, for one, am proud of the contribution our own Bristol community is making to the local, national and global effort to combat COVID-19.

I’ve been fortunate, through this series of conversations, to speak to some of those researchers leading the charge – in everything from bio-medical research into testing and vaccine development, to policy research around domestic violence and public health guidance.

As we emerge from the initial emergency response to the coronavirus, what is the role of the ‘Civic’ university in supporting local, regional and national Covid-19 recovery efforts?

To provide some insights on this question, and to explore aspects of Bristol’s own civic response, I was delighted for this episode to be joined by Dr Helen Manchester – Reader in Digital Inequalities and Urban Futures in our School of Education, and Morag McDermont – Professor of Socio-Legal Studies within the Bristol Law School.

Helen and Morag are members of ReCOVer – the University of Bristol’s new COVID-19 Civic Response and Civic Futures Research group.

ReCOVer is committed to supporting the community and voluntary sector during the Coronavirus pandemic and beyond. It’s activities are led by the University’s partners needs. The group’s ultimate aim is to create an evidence base that will be useful both for the civil society sector in Bristol and for the city as a whole as we move into the post-emergency recovery period.

My thanks to Helen, Morag and the wider ReCOVer group for all of their hard work.


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