This policy seminar explored how we can use evidence to challenge stereotypes and address poverty, as part of Challenge Poverty Week 2017.

This seminar was part of What Works Scotland’s contributions to Challenge Poverty Week 2017.

The event was a partnership between the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Poverty Alliance and What Works Scotland. The Social Policy Association funded this event.

Logos of Challenge Poverty Week, the Poverty Alliance, the Social Policy Association and What Works Scotland

It took place at the Scottish Government at Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, on 16 October 2017.

Seminar programme

The policy seminar explored how we can use evidence to challenge stereotypes and address poverty. The aim of the session was to bring together a range of Scottish Government policymakers, third sector actors, and academic researchers working on poverty. By doing so, the session sought to forge new networks, create opportunities for future collaborations, and consider how academics and third sector researchers can most effectively communicate their research findings on poverty and ‘welfare’ to policymakers and other stakeholders (including the public).

Photo showing participants in the Why Attitudes to Poverty Matter seminar

Chaired by Eve Livingston (a journalist and writer primarily covering social issues, politics and inequalities), the programme included the sharing of the personal experience of stigma and poverty, following which there was a panel of research presentations covering issues such as food poverty, youth opportunities, experiences of welfare reform, and the design of anti-poverty policies.

The presenters and attendees took part in a round table session and networking lunch to discuss how to engage with policymakers to address issues of stigma.

We shared a blog of the event on the Challenge Poverty Week blog, along with blog posts linked to the presentation themes from some of the day’s presenters:


Introduction and context:

  • Eve Livingston, Chair
  • Carla McCormack, Policy and Parliamentary Officer, Poverty Alliance
  • Hazel Ratcliffe, Poverty Alliance Activist.  Read her talk on The Stigma of Poverty (PDF)

Attitudes and evidence

Abigail Scott Paul, Deputy Director Communications, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Stigma, poverty and rethinking research on ‘welfare’

Dr Kayleigh Garthwaite (University of Birmingham) and Dr Ruth Patrick (University of Liverpool)

Young People on the Margins

Alan Mackie (University of Edinburgh)

What works to reduce stigma in service design and practice?

Dr Hayley Bennett (University of Edinburgh and What Works Scotland)

Round table discussion and networking lunch

About Challenge Poverty Week

Challenge Poverty Week 2017 was an opportunity for organisations and individuals to raise their voices against poverty and show what is being done to tackle poverty across Scotland.

Challenge Poverty Week is coordinated by the Poverty Alliance. The main aims are to:

  • highlight the reality of poverty and challenge the stereotypes that about exist about it
  • demonstrate what is being done across Scotland to address poverty
  • increase public support for more action to solve poverty

The organisations and groups that took part in Challenge Poverty Week have their own aims and foci but they agree that:

  • poverty exists in Scotland and can be solved
  • poverty exists in Scotland and affects us all
  • poverty can be solved by boosting incomes and reducing costs
  • tackling poverty is about ensuring we are all able to participate in society

Sharing What Works Scotland research

What Works Scotland also contributed throughout Challenge Poverty Week 2017 by highlighting learnings from the poverty-related research and evidence we have generated and gathered over the past three years.

The Poverty Alliance website has more information on the events and activities that took place across Scotland.