Posts By / Sacha Gardener

Book now for the In The Dark audio storytelling event starring Dr. Nina Perry

Among our very impressive academics is the eminent British composer and radio features producer, Dr. Nina Perry, who will be discussing the audio that has inspired her and presenting some of her own work that formed part of her recently awarded PhD by publication at a gathering of In The Dark (A celebration of stories told through sound).

Dr. Nina Perry is one of Britain’s most successful radio feature producers, known in particular for making what she describes as ‘composed features’.

Her productions include the award winning Melting Point, Supermarket Symphony (A Guardian pick of the year), Spring Clean Symphony and Spirit of the Beehive (both featured on BBC Radio 4 pick of the year).

There will be lots of opportunities to ask her questions at this event, as well as meet other radio and audio enthusiasts.

When: Wednesday 24th January, from 7.30pm

Where: The Brunswick, 199 Malmesbury Park Road, Charminster

Book tickets here.

BU Briefing – Comparing efficiency in reducing adult cancer in the UK & 20 Western countries

Our BU briefing papers are designed to make our research outputs accessible and easily digestible so that our research findings can quickly be applied – whether to society, culture, public policy, services, the environment or to improve quality of life. They have been created to highlight research findings and their potential impact within their field. 


The response to medical advances, greater expectations, extended longevity and the rising cost of health care, especially for cancer, means health inflation raises almost 3% p.a. and has meant that every Western nation has the need to devote considerably more of its ‘national income’ (gross domestic product) to healthcare.

So, how efficient is the UK in reducing adult (55–74) cancer mortality rates and total mortality rates compared to the other 21 similar socio-economic Western countries?

In this paper, efficiency ratios were calculated by dividing reduced mortality over the period by the average percentage of national income spent on healthcare.

Click here to read the briefing paper.


For more information about the research, contact Professor Colin Pritchard at cpritchard@bournemouth.ac.uk, Tamas Hickish at thickish@bournemouth.ac.uk or Emily Rosenorn-Lanng at elanng@bournemouth.ac.uk.
To find out how your research output could be turned into a BU Briefing, contact research@bournemouth.ac.uk.

BU researchers have designed, developed and tested the next generation of hydraulic valve system used in industrial applications

Research collaboration between Bournemouth University and Hydreco Hydraulics Ltd, our local hydraulic equipment supplier company based in Poole, has resulted in the design and development of a potential next generation hydraulic valve and control systems.  This would be used in a wide range of applications including targeting the Earth’s movement and constructing different types of heavy machinery.

Hydreco Hydraulics is sponsoring and supporting two PhD projects from BU’s Department of Design and Engineering, in the Faculty of Science and Technology. One project involves the design and provision of the mechanical parts, while the other project involves the provision of the control systems.  The company has just started testing the first prototype valve and its control system algorithm.  The aims of the planned tests are to study the performance of the valve, compare it to the simulation predictions, and to identify its mechanical characteristics needed to fine tune the control algorithms.

The important concept used in the new hydraulic valve is the relatively novel idea of electronically controlled independent metering.  However, BU researchers are developing a more advanced version that promises to be more controllable and has much higher resolution using improved independent micro-metering control algorithm.

The first prototype of this next generation hydraulic valves, that was investigated and developed by engineering research scientists and research students at BU in collaboration with engineers from the our industrial partner and collaborators, is currently being tested on site at Hydreco hydraulics PLC.  Key mechanical characteristics such as damping, friction, leakages, and metering control can now be investigated, quantified or improved towards developing the final commercial product.  This investigation can lead to further development of the controller algorithm as well as performing the necessary design modification needed to create valve clusters and a more detailed design needed to better condition the flow prior to entering in to metering zone.  The gap between simulation and experimental performance of the pump can be better understood and factored in to the controller algorithm design in order to improve the efficiency and resolution of positional control of the valve spool.  This valve clustering and control system is now the subject of an on-going investigation.  The valve’s mechanical characteristics used in simulation are being analysed and updated as a result of these tests.

A typical hydraulic actuator, whether linear (hydraulic cylinder) or rotary (hydraulic motor), used in the target market machines/product(e.g. excavators or loaders) requires four of these valve elements per actuators when adopting our independent metering control strategy.  This, as stated above, requires a new design in order to cluster four valves into one mechanical unit per actuator.  As a result Mr Philip Godfrey, from Hydreco Hyradualics Ltd., and Professor Siamak Noroozi, from Bournemouth University, have created two final year undergraduate projects where two existing Mechanical Engineering students will be working on this new design as their final year project.  These students will perform a full hydraulic flow simulation, a full structural integrity analysis under hydro static load  in order to check the Hydro-Elastic characteristics and the feasibility of the clustering idea.

Mr Philip Godfrey and Professor Siamak Noroozi are currently investigating possible routes to the market for this new design.  It is a perfect example of Fusion in action where the link between Research, Education and Professional Practice is much greater than that on paper.  This project will not only change a company’s market position but also improve the economy and quality of life by reducing the energy consumption rates of these machines.

For more information, please contact Professor Siamak Noroozi (snoroozi@bournemouth.ac.uk).

Research Photography Competition Deadline this Friday!

There’s only a few days left to submit your entry for this year’s Research Photography Competition! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to have your photo exhibited in the Atrium Art Gallery!

Photo by Kerstin Stutterheim, Professor of Media & Cultural Studies.

The last few years have seen our staff and students submitting a wide range of images summing up their research (last year’s entries can be seen here).  Photography is a great way to capture and share a different side of your research with other staff, students and members of the public.  Nearly 100 images have been entered over the last few years, and we’re looking forward to seeing what this year’s competition brings.

Want to take part?

Whether you’re in the early stages of your research or it has come to the end, we are inviting all academics and student researchers from across the university to showcase your research through an image relating to this year’s competition theme ‘People‘.  This could include:

  • An image relating to people in your team,
  • People who might be impacted by or benefit from your research,
  • People you’ve met in the course of your research,
  • Or even from your own point of view.

Whatever your idea is, we want you to get involved and get creative!

Taking part in the competition is a great way to showcase and raise awareness of your research, as well as growing your academic profile both in and outside the university.  You will also be in with a chance of winning some Amazon vouchers!

How do I enter?

Step 1: Take your photo.

It’s easy! Grab a camera and take a picture connecting with the theme ‘People‘.  Interpret it in any way you see fit to capture any area of your research.

Each image will need to be 300pi (pixels per inch) with physical dimensions equivalent to an A3 size piece of paper (297 x 420 mm or 11.7 x 16.5 in).  Images smaller than this tend not to have a high print quality.

Step 2: Submit the photo!

You may enter only one photo per person.  Once you have the perfect image, all you have to do is submit it by emailing the Research account (research@bournemouth.ac.uk) before the deadline, along with a 100 – 200 word description of your research behind the image.

Submission details

The submission deadline is 12 January 2018 at 5pm.  Late entries will not be accepted.

Staff, students and the general public will then be able to vote for their favourite image.

The competition winners will be presented with a prize by Professor John Fletcher in the Atrium Art Gallery, in March 2018.  All photographs will be presented in the Atrium Art Gallery for two weeks in March so you’ll get a chance to see all the entries.

Please read through the Terms & Conditions before entering.

Photo by Rutherford, Senior Lecturer In Creative Advertising

Need inspiration?

Take a look at our Photo of the Week, where you can read about the research behind the images from previous entries


Should you have any queries about the competition then please contact Sacha Gardener, Student Engagement & Communications Coordinator, in the Research and Knowledge Exchange Office.

Only one week left to submit your entry for The Research Photography Competition!

Photo by Chantel Cox, PhD Student, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences

The last few years have seen our staff and students submitting a wide range of images summing up their research (last year’s entries can be seen here).  Photography is a great way to capture and share a different side of your research with other staff, students and members of the public.  Nearly 100 images have been entered over the last few years, and we’re looking forward to seeing what this year’s competition brings.

Want to take part?

Whether you’re in the early stages of your research or it has come to the end, we are inviting all academics and student researchers from across the university to showcase your research through an image relating to this year’s competition theme ‘People‘.  This could include:

  • An image relating to people in your team,
  • People who might be impacted by or benefit from your research,
  • People you’ve met in the course of your research,
  • Or even from your own point of view.

Whatever your idea is, we want you to get involved and get creative!

Taking part in the competition is a great way to showcase and raise awareness of your research, as well as growing your academic profile both in and outside the university.  You will also be in with a chance of winning some Amazon vouchers!

How do I enter?

Step 1: Take your photo.

It’s easy! Grab a camera and take a picture connecting with the theme ‘People‘.  Interpret it in any way you see fit to capture any area of your research.

Each image will need to be 300pi (pixels per inch) with physical dimensions equivalent to an A3 size piece of paper (297 x 420 mm or 11.7 x 16.5 in).  Images smaller than this tend not to have a high print quality.

Step 2: Submit the photo!

You may enter only one photo per person.  Once you have the perfect image, all you have to do is submit it by emailing the Research account (research@bournemouth.ac.uk) before the deadline, along with a 100 – 200 word description of your research behind the image.

Submission details

The submission deadline is 12 January 2018 at 5pm.  Late entries will not be accepted.

Staff, students and the general public will then be able to vote for their favourite image.

The competition winners will be presented with a prize by Professor John Fletcher in the Atrium Art Gallery, in March 2018.  All photographs will be presented in the Atrium Art Gallery for two weeks in March so you’ll get a chance to see all the entries.

Please read through the Terms & Conditions before entering.

Photo by Rutherford, Senior Lecturer In Creative Advertising

Need inspiration?

Take a look at our Photo of the Week, where you can read about the research behind the images from previous entries


Should you have any queries about the competition then please contact Sacha Gardener, Student Engagement & Communications Coordinator, in the Research and Knowledge Exchange Office.

Don’t forget to submit your entry for The Research Photography Competition!

The Christmas break is near, which means it is the perfect opportunity to capture your research photo relating to the theme People.

Photo by Chantel Cox, PhD Student, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences

The last few years have seen our staff and students submitting a wide range of images summing up their research (last year’s entries can be seen here).  Photography is a great way to capture and share a different side of your research with other staff, students and members of the public.  Nearly 100 images have been entered over the last few years, and we’re looking forward to seeing what this year’s competition brings.

Want to take part?

Whether you’re in the early stages of your research or it has come to the end, we are inviting all academics and student researchers from across the university to showcase your research through an image relating to this year’s competition theme ‘People‘.  This could include:

  • An image relating to people in your team,
  • People who might be impacted by or benefit from your research,
  • People you’ve met in the course of your research,
  • Or even from your own point of view.

Whatever your idea is, we want you to get involved and get creative!

Taking part in the competition is a great way to showcase and raise awareness of your research, as well as growing your academic profile both in and outside the university.  You will also be in with a chance of winning some Amazon vouchers!

How do I enter?

Step 1: Take your photo.

It’s easy! Grab a camera and take a picture connecting with the theme ‘People‘. Interpret it in any way you see fit to capture any area of your research.

Each image will need to be 300pi (pixels per inch) with physical dimensions equivalent to an A3 size piece of paper (297 x 420 mm or 11.7 x 16.5 in).  Images smaller than this tend not to have a high print quality.

Step 2: Submit the photo!

You may enter only one photo per person. Once you have the perfect image, all you have to do is submit it by emailing the Research account (research@bournemouth.ac.uk) before the deadline, along with a 100 – 200 word description of your research behind the image.

Submission details

The submission deadline is 12 Januray 2018 at 5pm. Late entries will not be accepted.

Staff, students and the general public will then be able to vote for their favourite image.

The competition winners will be presented with a prize by Professor John Fletcher in the Atrium Art Gallery, in March 2018. All photographs will be presented in the Atrium Art Gallery for two weeks in March so you’ll get a chance to see all the entries.

Please read through the Terms & Conditions before entering.

Photo by Rutherford, Senior Lecturer In Creative Advertising

Need inspiration?

Take a look at our Photo of the Week, where you can read about the research behind the images from previous entries


Should you have any queries about the competition then please contact Sacha Gardener, Student Engagement & Communications Coordinator, in the Research and Knowledge Exchange Office.

BU researchers win Media Research Award at the Market Research Society

Researchers in the Department of Corporate and Marketing Communication received the Media Research Award at the Market Research Society (MRS) Awards on 4 December 2017.

The research explored how travellers on the London Underground pay attention to advertising and actively welcome it in this environment, seeing it as a journey enhancer.

The MRS Awards celebrate research’s ability to drive innovation, inspire change and deliver results. Stuart Armon (Project Leader and Programme Leader of BA (Hons) Advertising) said, “it means so much to know that the research we do here in the Department of Corporate and Marketing Communications has impact and relevance in the commercial world of advertising and media.”

The research study, developed in collaboration with COG Research and Exterion Media utilised various research methods including eye tracking and skin conductance response data, in-depth interviews and surveys. The research found that advertising on London Underground is more engaging than online video advertising.

Key findings in the research included:

  • Almost all travellers are favourable to London Underground advertising
  • 80% of those who don’t like social media ads or TV ads like London Underground ads
  • 6 out of 10 notice when new ads appear on London Underground.

Find out more about the BA (Hons) Advertising course. 

BU Briefing – Exploiting temporal stability and low-rank structure for motion capture data refinement

Our BU briefing papers are designed to make our research outputs accessible and easily digestible so that our research findings can quickly be applied – whether to society, culture, public policy, services, the environment or to improve quality of life. They have been created to highlight research findings and their potential impact within their field. 


In recent years, motion capture data (mocap) have been widely used in computer games, film production and sport sciences. The great success of animated and animation enhanced feature films, such as Avatar, provide compelling evidence for the values of mocap techniques. However, even with the most expensive commercial mocap systems, there are still instances where noise and missing data are inevitable.

This paper examines the motion refinement problem and presents an effective framework to solve it, demonstrated by extensive experiments on both synthetic and real data. The experiment shows that the proposed method outperforms all competitors not only in predicting missing values but also in de-noising most of the time.

Click here to read the briefing paper.


For more information about the research, contact Dr Xiaosong Yang at xyang@bournemouth.ac.uk or Professor Jian Jun Zhang at jzhang@bournemouth.ac.uk.
To find out how your research output could be turned into a BU Briefing, contact research@bournemouth.ac.uk.

Fact Check: does the north of England now get as much transport spending as the south?

File 20171201 10116 1fabz7e.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Shutterstock

When you include those centrally funded and locally delivered projects, this government is spending more per head on transport in the northwest than we are in the southeast.

Chris Grayling, Sectary of State for Transport, 21 September 2017

There is a widely held view, fuelled by the media, that the north of England is hard done by when it comes to transport spending. Over 70,000 people recently signed a petition to the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, calling for more investment in transport in the north. Grayling has responded by saying the figures used to make this assessment are misleading, and that the northwest region now receives more transport spending than the southeast.

The issue of transport spending is awash with statistics. A recent House of Commons document confirmed that public spending on transport in absolute, per person and modal average terms is higher in parts of the north than in the southeast region outside London but not in the capital itself. In the 2015/16 financial year, transport spending per person was £401 in the northwest, £380 in Yorkshire and the Humber, and £299 in the northeast. For the southeast, it was £365 per head, while for London it was £973.

The think tank IPPR North has estimated that from 2016/17 onwards, the figures will be £680 for the northwest, £190 for Yorkshire and Humber, and £220 for the northeast. The southeast will get £226 and London £1,040.

So Grayling is right to say the northwest is doing well right now compared to the southeast (not including London), which is receiving similar amounts to the other northern regions. But this ignores the fact that London still receives far more than any other part of the country.

The problem with these kind of figures for individual years is that they can skew the overall picture of spending. For example, money for large infrastructure projects such as Crossrail in London and the southeast, and Manchester’s Metrolink programme, tend to be allocated to the particular years when the projects are completed.

Looking at all the spending data over a longer period of time is a better indicator of the gap between north and south. In terms of total transport spending, the southeast has actually received 13% more than the northwest since 2011/12. And looking at bus and rail services, London has received over five times more public spending in the last five years than the northwest.

But the real picture is even more complicated than this. Transport infrastructure in London is not just for Londoners. Many people in the southeast benefit hugely from London transport spending, especially those who commute in every day. Yet people from elsewhere in Britain also benefit when they visit, as do millions of international tourists.

London is very different from the other English regions, with much greater population density and a more mobile workforce. Its transport serves a different, wider purpose and also benefits from local government funding because of devolution. So a like-for-like comparison is inherently misleading.

The government’s recent budget has also gone some way to further reducing the north-south divide. The northeast will receive £337m for new rolling stock on the 40-year-old Tyne and Wear Metro network. Greater Manchester has been promised £240m to ease road congestion. A £1.7 billion fund will improve links between city centres and suburbs across the country. But the lack of news about the much-needed modernisation of the Manchester to Leeds transPennine route put on hold earlier this year is very disappointing, and Leeds still desperately needs a new mass transit system.

Verdict

It might come as a surprise for those in the northwest and Yorkshire to hear that they get about the same amount of transport spending (or more) than the southeast, but at the moment it is technically true. The northeast, meanwhile, remains the poor relation in every measurement of spending. But these simple facts don’t take account of the much higher spending in London or the very different circumstances by which this money is allocated.

Review

Derek Robbins, Senior Lecturer in Transport and Tourism, Bournemouth University

This is a comprehensive review of current transport investment and expenditure, well illustrated by published data. It can be difficult to separate data from political spin and government PR, which have the unnerving tendency to portray funding that has already been allocated as if it were newly announced. But the underlying premise of this article that transport investment in the northwest and Yorkshire has increased is well made.

I take greater issue with the conclusion that recent announcements have gone some way to further reducing the north-south divide. As the article illustrates, long-term investment is a better indicator, and the north still has some considerable catching up to do. The new projects are only a first step. I would also describe the lack of progress towards a modernised and reliable transPennine rail route as more than disappointing, given that it is an essential investment for future economic growth in the north.

While I also accept that London is different, I think the benefits of the capital’s transport links to the other English regions can be easily overstated.

 

Colin Bamford, Associate Dean, Business School, University of Huddersfield

Reviewed by Derek Robbins, Senior Lecturer in Transport and Tourism, Bournemouth University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Congratulations to the AniM project on their European Commission article

Congratulations to the EU-funded AniM project, lead by Dr Jian Chang and Dr Jian Jun Zhang, for an article that has been written and published on the European Commission’s website.

The research project AniM – Enhanced Computer Animation by Fusing Computer Graphics Technology with Smart Data Management – aims to improve the status quo by developing the “next generation computer animation techniques” and to answer challenges in handling computer animation data in an intelligent way to facilitate creativity and to encourage interaction among users through knowledge transfer and development.

Hosted by the National Centre for Computer Animation, AniM’s research team has delivered smart solutions to tackle those data-management challenges in computer animation production, and improve both the designer and user experience.  AniM used Chinese marionette puppetry as a test medium to demonstrate the interactive software tools and other innovations to reproduce stylish cultural content in animated forms.

Click here to read The European Commission’s article Next-gen digital animation tools inspired by Chinese puppetry.

For more information, please contact either Dr Jian Jun Zhang (jzhang@bournemouth.ac.uk) or Dr Jian Chang (JChang@bournemouth.ac.uk) via email.

 

#TalkBU presents… Still no freedom: From North Korea to being ignored

#TalkBU is a monthly lunchtime seminar on Talbot Campus, open to all students and staff at Bournemouth University and free to attend. Come along to learn, discuss and engage in a 20-30 minute presentation by an academic or guest speaker talking about their research and findings, with a Q&A to finish. 


North Korean women are routinely subject to systemic sexual violation. But for the many who successfully escape their country to also overcome hunger, the search for freedom is just as tough, as they are frequently abducted, sold and exploited by traffickers.

Dr Hyun-Joo Lim will be discussing her research on North Korean female defectors living in the UK and the systemic human rights abuse they experienced both inside and outside their homeland.

When: Tuesday 5 December at 1 – 2pm

Where: Room FG04, Fusion Building

Register here to attend

Click here to find out more about our future and previous #TalkBU events.

BU Briefing – Media literacy: The UK’s undead cultural policy

Our BU briefing papers are designed to make our research outputs accessible and easily digestible so that our research findings can quickly be applied – whether to society, culture, public policy, services, the environment or to improve quality of life. They have been created to highlight research findings and their potential impact within their field. 


The Communications Act 2003 requires the UK’s media regulator Ofcom to promote ‘media literacy’, although it left the term undefined. In response to the new legislation, the regulator espoused a deliberately generalised definition, but one that never became a meaningful measure of its own policy work.

This paper investigates how Ofcom managed this regulatory duty from 2003 onwards. It explores how the promotion of media literacy was progressively reduced in scope over time as its funding was incrementally withdrawn. Media literacy in 2016 may be characterised as one of the zombies of cultural policy: an instrument devoid of its original life but continuing in a limited state of animation governed by other policy priorities.

Click here to read the briefing paper.


For more information about the research, contact Dr Richard Wallis at rwallis@bournemouth.ac.uk.
To find out how your research output could be turned into a BU Briefing, contact research@bournemouth.ac.uk.

The Research Photography Competition returns for 2018 and is now open for entries

Christopher Dwen, Forensic Research Assistant, Faculty of Science & TechnologyWe are delighted to announce that the Research Photography Competition has returned for its fourth year and is now open for entries!

The last few years have seen our staff and students submitting a wide range of images summing up their research (last year’s entries can be seen here).  Our winners from last year included the compound eye of a bluebottle fly, an older man dressed as Santa Claus, and several hands repairing a broken plate with the word ‘Trust’ marked across it.

Photography is a great way to capture and share a different side of your research with other staff, students and members of the public.  Nearly 100 images have been entered over the last few years, and we’re looking forward to seeing what this year’s competition brings.

Want to take part?

Whether you’re in the early stages of your research or it has come to the end, we are inviting all academics and student researchers from across the university to showcase your research through an image relating to this year’s competition theme ‘People‘.  This could include:

  • An image relating to people in your team,
  • People who might be impacted by or benefit from your research,
  • People you’ve met in the course of your research,
  • Or even from your own point of view.

Whatever your idea is, we want you to get involved and get creative!

Taking part in the competition is a great way to showcase and raise awareness of your research, as well as growing your academic profile both in and outside the university.  You will also be in with a chance of winning some Amazon vouchers!

How do I enter?

Step 1: Take your photo.

It’s easy! Grab a camera and take a picture connecting with the theme ‘People‘. Interpret it in any way you see fit to capture any area of your research. 

Each image will need to be 300pi (pixels per inch) with physical dimensions equivalent to an A3 size piece of paper (297 x 420 mm or 11.7 x 16.5 in).  Images smaller than this tend not to have a high print quality.

Step 2: Submit the photo!

You may enter only one photo per person. Once you have the perfect image, all you have to do is submit it by emailing the Research account (research@bournemouth.ac.uk) before the deadline, along with a 100 – 200 word description of your research behind the image.

Submission details

The submission deadline is 12 Januray 2018 at 5pm. Late entries will not be accepted. 

Staff, students and the general public will then be able to vote for their favourite image.

The competition winners will be presented with a prize by Professor John Fletcher in the Atrium Art Gallery, in March 2018. All photographs will be presented in the Atrium Art Gallery for two weeks in March so you’ll get a chance to see all the entries.

Please read through the Terms & Conditions before entering.

Chantel Cox, PhD Student, Faculty of Health and Social SciencesNeed inspiration?

Take a look at our Photo of the Week, where you can read about the research behind the images from previous entries


Should you have any queries about the competition then please contact Sacha Gardener, Student Engagement & Communications Coordinator, in the Research and Knowledge Exchange Office.

*LAST CHANCE TO BOOK* Let’s talk about the Henry’s…

#TalkBU is a monthly lunchtime seminar on Talbot Campus, open to all students and staff at Bournemouth University and free to attend. Come along to learn, discuss and engage in a 20-30 minute presentation by an academic or guest speaker talking about their research and findings, with a Q&A to finish. 


Social media has created a different dimension of consumers for luxury products in particular. That being, the aspirational consumer’s desires for luxury derive from content produced on social media. Often, despite their strong yearning for luxury goods, due to economic reasons, aspirational consumers are unable to frequently purchase luxury. Social media provides an avenue for aspirational consumers to conspicuously consume without the need to purchase, enabling them to use luxury brands to create value amongst themselves.

In this #TalkBU session, Dr Elvira Bolat will examine the influence that social media has on the consumption of luxury products by introducing the Henry family: Hailey, Harriet, Hollie, Hannah, and Hilary.

When: Thursday 16 November at 1pm – 2pm

Where: Room FG04, Ground Floor in the Fusion Building

Register here to attend

Click here to find out more about our future and previous #TalkBU events.

Here are the five ancient Britons who make up the myth of King Arthur

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Holly Hayes/Flickr, CC BY-NC

King Arthur is probably the best known of all British mythological figures. He is a character from deep time celebrated across the world in literature, art and film as a doomed hero, energetically fighting the forces of evil. Most historians believe that the prototype for Arthur was a warlord living in the ruins of post-Roman Britain, but few can today agree on precisely who that was.

Over the centuries, the legend of King Arthur has been endlessly rewritten and reshaped. New layers have been added to the tale. The story repeated in modern times includes courtly love, chivalry and religion – and characters such as Lancelot and Guinevere, whose relationship was famously immortalised in Thomas Malory’s 1485 book Le Morte D’Arthur. The 2017 cinematic outing, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, is only the most recent reimagining.

But before the addition of the Holy Grail, Camelot and the Round Table, the first full account of Arthur the man appeared in the Historia Regum Brianniae (the History of the Kings of Britain) a book written by Geoffrey of Monmouth in around 1136.

We know next to nothing about Geoffrey, but he claimed to have begun writing the Historia at the request of Walter, archdeacon of Oxford, who persuaded him to translate an ancient book “written in the British tongue”. Many have concluded, as Geoffrey failed to name his primary source and it has never been firmly identified, that he simply made it all up in a fit of patriotism.

Whatever the origin of the Historia, however, it was a roaring success, providing the British with an heroic mythology – a national epic to rival anything written by the English or Normans.

Story teller

As a piece of literature, Geoffrey’s book is arguably the most important work in the European tradition. It lays the ground for not just for the whole Arthurian Cycle, but also for the tales surrounding legendary sites such as Stonehenge and Tintagel and characters such as the various kings: Cole, Lear and Cymbeline (the latter two immortalised by Shakespeare).

As a piece of history, however, it is universally derided, containing much that is clearly fictitious, such as wizards, magic and dragons.

If we want to gain a better understanding of who King Arthur was, however, we cannot afford to be so picky. It is Geoffrey of Monmouth who first supplies the life-story of the great king, from conception to mortal wounding on the battlefield, so we cannot dismiss him entirely out of hand.

A full and forensic examination of the Historia Regum Britanniae, has demonstrated that Geoffrey’s account was no simple work of make-believe. On the contrary, sufficient evidence now exists to suggest that his text was, in fact, compiled from a variety of early British sources, including oral folklore, king-lists, dynastic tables and bardic praise poems, some of which date back to the first century BC.

Here be dragons? George Reyes/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

In creating a single, unified account, Geoffrey exercised a significant degree of editorial control over this material, massaging data and smoothing out chronological inconsistencies.

Once you accept that Geoffrey’s book is not a single narrative, but a mass of unrelated stories threaded together, individual elements can successfully be identified and reinstated to their correct time and place. This has significant repercussions for Arthur. In this revised context, it is clear that he simply cannot have existed.

Arthur, in the Historia, is the ultimate composite figure. There is nothing in his story that is truly original. In fact, there are five discrete characters discernible within the great Arthurian mix. Once you detach their stories from the narrative, there is simply nothing left for Arthur.

Cast of characters

The chronological hook, upon which Geoffrey hung 16% of his story of Arthur, belongs to Ambrosius Aurelianus, a late 5th-century warlord from whom the youthful coronation, the capture of York (from the Saxons) and the battle of Badon Hill is taken wholesale.

Next comes Arvirargus, who represents 24% of Arthur’s plagiarised life, a British king from the early 1st century AD. In the Historia, Arthur’s subjugation of the Orkneys, his return home and marriage to Ganhumara (Queen Guinevere in later adaptions) parallels that of the earlier king, who married Genvissa on his return south.

Constantine’s statue in York. chrisdorney/Shutterstock

Constantine the Great, who in AD 306 was proclaimed Roman emperor in York, forms 8% of Arthur’s story, whilst Magnus Maximus, a usurper from AD 383, completes a further 39%. Both men took troops from Britain to fight against the armies of Rome, Constantine defeating the emperor Maxentius; Maximus killing the emperor Gratian, before advancing to Italy. Both sequences are later duplicated in Arthur’s story.

The final 12% of King Arthur’s life, as recounted by Geoffrey, repeat those of Cassivellaunus, a monarch from the 1st century BC, who, in Geoffrey’s version of events, was betrayed by his treacherous nephew Mandubracius, the prototype for Modred.

All this leaves just 1% of Geoffrey’s story of Arthur unaccounted for: the invasion of Iceland and Norway. This may, in fact, be no more than simple wish-fulfilment, the ancient Britons being accorded the full and total subjugation of what was later to become the homeland of the Vikings.

Arthur, as he first appears, in the book that launched his international career, is no more than an amalgam. He is a Celtic superhero created from the deeds of others. His literary and artistic success ultimately lies in the way that various generations have reshaped the basic story to suit themselves – making Arthur a hero to rich and poor, elite and revolutionary alike. As an individual, it is now clear that he never existed, but it is unlikely that his popularity will ever diminish.

Dr Miles Russell, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology, Bournemouth University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Professor Julie Turner-Cobb wins the British Psychological Society Book Award!

The textbook winner for the British Psychological Society Book Award 2017 is Child Health Psychology: A Biopsychosocial Perspective by Professor Julie Turner-Cobb. It is the first textbook to focus specifically on child health psychology, taking an interdisciplinary and life-course perspective and drawing on theories and models within.

The Society’s Book Award recognises excellent published work in psychology. Professor Julie Turner-Cobb said she was absolutely delighted to win the award and thrilled that her book has received great recognition and positive reception as a result. She was first nominated for the award by one of her PhD students based at the University of Bath: “They are a big supporter of the book and were inspired to do their PhD as a result of an issue raised in the chapter that addresses the experience of being a young carer. It was a nice surprise and a huge compliment to be nominated.”

Child Health Psychology: A Biopsychosocial Perspective is primarily targeted at postgraduate students on MSc Health Psychology programmes but is also relevant to students taking final year undergraduate units in health psychology and related areas. Beyond this, the textbook is also relevant across a number of health disciplines outside of psychology where a biopsychosocial perspective on child health is being considered.

“There was no textbook devoted to health psychology as applied to children. I wanted to bring it together to highlight it and provide a child health focus for health psychology as a discipline.”

The first part of the book covers topics related to events and circumstances that can influence a child’s health during childhood and adolescence including the prenatal environment; whilst the second part examines how children cope when they are ill, how they deal with pain, the experience of parental ill health and bereavement.

“It takes a strong biological stance in many respects, but also gives attention to psychosocial issues in relation to context and individual differences,” Professor Turner-Cobb said, “There is also a chapter in the first part of the book that examines methodological and ethical issues in child health psychology, that includes assessment using endocrine and immune biomarkers of stress but also discusses the utility of using a range of different paradigms and settings.”

Professor Turner-Cobb was inspired to write Child Health Psychology as she wanted to draw attention to the scope of work on psychological factors associated with child health. “There are a number of excellent textbooks on health psychology that have aspects covering child health and there are many textbooks devoted to developmental psychology, but there was no textbook devoted to health psychology as applied to children. I wanted to bring it together to highlight it and provide a child health focus for health psychology as a discipline.”

For more information about the book, please email Professor Julie Turner-Cobb (jturnercobb@bournemouth.ac.uk).

 

Academics! Book your place now for the ‘Engaging with policy makers’ session next Thursday

Need any help with understanding how to use your research to influence public policy? Looking for support and guidance on how to effectively engage with policy makers?

Policy-makers often use research evidence to help inform policies and solutions for issues that affect everyone on a daily basis. They can incorporate a range of individuals, including those who are elected into political positions, civil servants who work in government departments or those working in professional governing bodes, meaning there are a variety of ways in which research can lead to influencing policy.

Research can be particularly influential in policy making as it could provide the basis for an evidence-based change or amendment to legislation. This can be a very powerful way of developing research impact, but it can also be a very complex process.

Join us at next week’s session with BU’s Policy Advisor, Jane Forster, who will help you develop an understanding of the process of influencing public policy and how to use your research to influence policy makers as part of the Research & Knowledge Exchange Development Framework.

Title Date Time Location
Engaging with policy makers Thursday 16th November 2017 10.00 – 12.00 Talbot Campus

By the end of the session, you should have a good understanding of and feel confident to use your research to engage and influence policy makers effectively in order to develop your research impact.

Book your place here!

BU Briefing – Trophic positioning of meiofauna revealed by stable isotopes & food web analyses

Our BU briefing papers are designed to make our research outputs accessible and easily digestible so that our research findings can quickly be applied – whether to society, culture, public policy, services, the environment or to improve quality of life. They have been created to highlight research findings and their potential impact within their field. 


This paper examines seasonal food webs of the invertebrates inhabiting the streambed of the chalk River Lambourn in England. Researchers conducted analyses of gut content (a dietary “snapshot”) of macro and meiofauna, as well as stable isotope analyses (determines the feeding links of an organism as it reflects its assimilated diet) of meiofauna to examine seasonal food webs of the chalk stream.

This study stresses the importance of temporal variations in food and consumer species composition for a comprehensive understanding of food web structure, asserted by similar changes in trophic structure depicted by gut content and stable isotope analyses.

Click here to read the briefing paper.


For more information about the research, contact Professor Genoveva Esteban at gesteban@bournemouth.ac.uk 
To find out how your research output could be turned into a BU Briefing, contact research@bournemouth.ac.uk.