UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


How to get better lives: what to do about the crisis of household liveability

07 December 2023, 4:30 pm–6:00 pm

Young people at a protest holding a megaphone

Join us for a Director's Seminar with Prof Julie Froud and Prof Karel Williams (University of Manchester and Foundational Economy Research Limited).

Event Information

Open to





UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Room tbc
Gower Street
United Kingdom

The first half of the presentation draws on our recent book When Nothing Works to explain why the public believes “nothing in Britain works any more “.  The UK is in a crisis of household liveability caused by squeezed residual income, failing public services and inadequate social infrastructure provision. The second half of the presentation encourages the hope that we can begin to make things work if we understand the preconditions of social innovation. It separately considers the roles of top-down government, bottom up community action and grounded intermediary organisations. In each case, proposing a reset so that at all levels we can do more for better lives than we are doing today.

About the speaker

Prof. Karel Williams works in a small permanent team in the action research consultancy Foundational Economy Research Ltd. This team’s recent output includes reports on their web site and the book When Nothing Works which presents a new diagnosis of the UK’s liveability problems and what to do about them. Williams previously had a long academic career at the University of Manchester where he was a director of the ESRC funded Centre for Research on Socio Cultural Change and he continues to act as editor of the Manchester Capitalism book series. He is Welsh and this connection remains important when he is executive chair of Foundational Alliance Wales, a membership organisation which brings together organisations which recognise the importance of essential services, social infrastructure and residual income.

About this event series

Cultural Spaces for Democratic Participation, Political Expression and Shared Prosperity

This Director’s Seminars and Soundbites series explores how citizens mobilize new physical and digital channels of political participation, and what can be done to create and adapt these cultural spaces so as they make positive impact on democratic life in the 21st Century.

The Director's Seminars are an opportunity for audiences to get an in-depth theoretical perspective on sustainable and inclusive prosperity. These Seminars are given by academics who are pushing for new ways of thinking and new ways of researching society's grand challenges.

For more events in this series visit the series page ►