Demos’s Character Inquiry invites submissions from research and social science communities and organizations to help build an evidence base about the meaning of character, the ways it is formed, developed and reformed, and the impact of character on the fairness of our society.
The Character Inquiry was established on January 11th 2009. David Cameron MP announced the launch of the inquiry during a keynote speech at Demos.
Capabilities like empathy, resilience and application that describe a person’s character may be strongly related to other goals like citizenship, wellbeing, resilient communities and a sustainable economy.
The Demos Character Inquiry will examine these links more closely and test how strong they are through:
· Considering the ways that character is formed, developed and reformed throughout life.
· Clarifying and testing what is understood as ‘character’ in public discourse
· Analysing the implications for public policy
in order to support pro-social, responsible citizens, and contribute to a more socially mobile society.
To support this assessment and evaluation, we invite interested research and social science communities and organisations, NGOs, schools, social enterprises and the private sector to submit evidence on the following:
o Information or evidence that relates to the development of specific cognitions amongst older children and adolescents, including application, self-regulation, resilience, empathy, creativity, locus of control, agency, etc.
o Evidence about the continuing development of these ‘character capabilities’ in adulthood specifically
o Psychological or neurological research and evidence about brain development as it relates to social and emotional cognitions
o Evidence about the interplay between environment and genetics in social and emotional development
o Evidence about the role of gender in social and emotional/executive skills development
o Evidence of the biological or evolutionary origin of character capabilities
o Vocational learning
o The workplace environment
o Networks and peer groups
o Partner relationships
o Consumption and consumerism
o Hierarchical or democratic extra-curricular activities
o Specifically, the effect of equality/inequality (in any environment: schools, communities, societies, families, peer groups)
o Evidence or counter-evidence on the situational-dependency of character
o Evidence on the most effective tools to support positive behaviour change
o The impact of character/social and emotional skills development programmes on goals such as wellbeing, political engagement, and innovation
Submissions will be accepted from now until the 15th of June 2010.
There is the potential to publish submissions online. This will be discussed with individual contributors. For information about the process and planned use of submissions please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Character Inquiry is generously sponsored by the Wates Foundation and the Big Lottery Fund.
Character - empathy, application and self-regulation - counts. This report looks at the vital impact parents have on forming children's character in the pre-school years. It makes a case for greater focus on parental support during the early years and places character as the most important 'skill' a child can have.