Posts By / Sacha Gardener

Congratulations to Dr James Gavin on his position at the British Council Researcher Links Workshop

Congratulations to Dr James Gavin, BU Lecturer in Exercise Physiology, on recently being awarded a funded position at the British Council Researcher Links Workshop, which will be taking place from 11 – 15 June 2018 in Botucatu, Brazil.

The Researcher Links programme provides opportunities for early career researchers from the UK and internationally to interact, learn from each other and explore opportunities for building long-lasting research collaborations. The 5 day workshop will provide a unique opportunity for sharing research expertise and networking.

“I’m immensely excited (the closest I’ve come to South America was working in a Brazilian restaurant as an undergraduate) to be able to spend dedicated time working with, and learning from, international ECRs across the health sciences,” says Dr Gavin.

During the workshops ECRs will have the opportunity to present their research in the form of a poster with short oral presentation and discuss this with established researchers and mentors from the UK and partner countries.

“I will present work on my current projects, including: i) Community-based exercise programmes for recovery self-management after orthopaedic surgery: a development study and, ii) the feasibility of inspiratory muscle training (IMT) in reducing falls risk in older adults”, says Dr Gavin.

There will be a focus on building links for future collaborations and participants selected on the basis of their research potential and ability to build longer term links.

“Aside from the prestige of the University of Sao Paulo (THE World University Rankings top 150), I hope to learn cross-cultural skills, particularly in developing and sustaining international research partnerships”, he says. “On return, I look forward to sharing my experiences with my colleagues in Sport, Physical Activity Research Centre (SPARC) and the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, and seek opportunities for supporting a partner ‘international ECR’ to visit BU.”

 

For more information, contact Dr James Gavin (jgavin@bournemouth.ac.uk).

Fit for nothing: where it all went wrong for Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games legacy

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PA, CC BY-SA

By Lynda Challis, Bournemouth University

“Our vision is to host a successful, safe and secure Games that deliver a lasting legacy for the whole of Scotland, and to maximise the opportunities in the run up to, during, and after the Games.”

This was the promise made by the Scottish government to the Commonwealth in 2014. In the 12 days of competition that followed, the city of Glasgow achieved a “hero-like status”, Team Scotland achieved its biggest-ever medal haul of 53 medals, and the games recorded the highest number of tickets sold for a sporting event in Scottish history.

Minister for sport Aileen Campbell hailed the event as a huge success by announcing that Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games was the largest sporting and cultural event ever held in Scotland and had changed the lives of thousands of people.

The message from the host nation was clear: the games were not just about showcasing elite athletes, but about delivering a legacy that would provide a flourishing economy, celebrate cultural diversity, embrace sustainable living, and create a more physically active nation. But four years on, not all those ambitions have been achieved.

Getting a nation off the couch

The games were considered a golden opportunity for Scotland to harness the power of sport to motivate a sedentary nation. A ten-year implementation plan was launched in 2014 to tackle physical inactivity across Scotland as well as myriad other initiatives to support communities in improving the local sporting infrastructure.

Two and a half years after the games, an interim report by the Scottish parliament’s Health and Sport Committee was undertaken to assess the progress made in increasing physical activity levels across Scotland.

The report concluded that there was no evidence of an active legacy being achievable. More alarmingly, any evidence of a relationship between the hosting of a major sporting event and raising the host nation’s physical activity levels was inconclusive.

This raises serious questions as to why such an ambitious legacy aim was included in the first place given the likelihood of failure. It could be that the Scottish government included the aim of increasing participation within its legacy pledge as a desperate attempt to address Scotland’s poor health profile, one of the worst in Europe.

Glasgow’s east end, the main site of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, is considered one of the poorest urban areas in Europe. Chris Perkins/Flickr, CC BY-SA

A final evaluation report on the impact of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games published by the Scottish government days before the opening ceremony of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games highlighted the harsh reality that the active legacy programme had not “resulted in a step change in population levels of physical activity in Scotland”.

In fact, the GoWell East study that tracked participant levels within the surrounding area of Glasgow found that overall rates had actually declined, with just over 53% achieving the recommended physical activity levels in 2016, compared to 62% in 2012.

However, the east end community surrounding the main games site is one of the most deprived areas in Scotland, with some of the worst statistics in Europe for child poverty, health, crime, and alcohol and drug abuse. This could account for the declines in physical activity levels in the east end of Glasgow as the underlying reasons behind social inequalities in sports participation is poverty – not having the income to spend on sport.

Policy fail

But Glasgow is not alone. Other nations hosting major sporting events have failed to capitalise on the perception that a sprinkling of magic over a big sports event will motivate a population to become active. Data that tracked participation levels of Australians before, during and after the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games found they had declined, due – ironically – to Australians spending more time watching sport on TV than taking part themselves.

Undoubtedly, many nations believe that elite sporting success and the hosting of major sporting events on home turf can encourage mass involvement, and in turn create an active nation. An example of this is London’s 2012 Olympic Games, which promised to “do something no other Olympic Games host nation had done before”: inspire a new generation of young people to get involved, get active and take part in sport. This bold statement from the UK government has since been questioned, because in fact, no previous games had even attempted to leverage improved physical activity as a legacy outcome.

Despite their glossy success, London’s Olympics also failed to improve rates of participation in sport. PA, CC BY-SA

It became abundantly clear post-London 2012 that the Olympic Legacy promise had failed to come to fruition with figures showing no more young people taking part in sport than before the games. As has been argued elsewhere, there is still a lack of robust evidence to suggest that the presumed trickle-down effect of hosting a major sporting event can trigger an increase in physical activity.

Big spend but no return

The failure of London 2012 and Glasgow 2014 to create and inspire a nation to get active is not really surprising. For more than 40 years, community sports policy in Britain has been plagued by failings to meet physical activity performance indicators set by governments.

This could be down to a variety of factors including: poor policy analysis to inform future policy-making decisions; overambitious or naïve participation targets; inadequate resources to deliver long-term programmes; and changes in direction leading to ambiguity regarding who is responsible for delivery.

Given these issues, it is understandable that grass-roots sport policies and major sporting events have failed to encourage more people to get active. Future government policy on community sport needs to have an all-party group commitment, that is evidence-based to ensure objectives are realistic. It needs to have a long-term plan and be adequately funded to ensure that there are real and lasting results.

In the end, we have to face a difficult truth: governments continue to invest in costly elite sport and big extravagant sporting events that come at the expense of community sport.


Lynda Challis, Academic in Sports Development, Bournemouth University

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

BUDMC researchers deliver panel at Premier global conference in California

Cutting-edge research and agenda setting ideas of Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre (BUDMC) were presented at a dedicated BUDMC panel delivered at the 59th Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA – widely regarded as the leading global academic association dedicated to international studies) in San Francisco, California, USA on 7 April 2018.

The panel, chaired by Professor Lee Miles (Professor of Crisis and Disaster Management) was awarded after a highly competitive submission process. The panel together combined a Professor, a Senior Research Fellow (Dr Henry Bang) and three BUDMC PhD candidates (Michael Clark, Grace Kingsbury and James Stride) to deliver papers on their respective research in disaster management. The panel was distinctive in that the panellists also had significant experience, not just in the academic study of disaster management, but also in working in the field and in the crisis management industry – thereby representing practical examples of co-creation and the thriving research environment at the Disaster Management Centre here in Bournemouth.

The panel called ‘Ruling in Unruly Times? Foreign Policy Dynamics of Disaster Management’ opened with a jointly co-authored paper by Professor Lee Miles, Dr Henry Bang and Michael Clark on understanding resistance factors and enhancing entrepreneurial resilience in disaster management in Ghana that represented unique research findings from the BUDMC’s acclaimed AFRIGATE project. This was followed by research papers delivered by BUDMC PhD candidates on ‘Synthesizing Foreign Policy Considerations and Health Systems Resilience’ in Africa’ (Michael Clark), ‘The International Dimensions of Maritime Disasters’ (James Stride) and a co-authored paper by PhD candidate, Grace Kingsbury and Professor Lee Miles, on ‘The Scandinavian Foreign Policy Collective: Managing Greater Imperatives of Resilience and Safety’ – that each demonstrated the depth of international-focused work undertaken by BUDMC researchers. The panel were subject to notable scrutiny by a discussant, and a vibrant debate; and the papers were warmly welcomed by an international audience of prominent academics from the field of international studies. The papers will form the basis of manuscripts to be submitted to key journals by summer 2018.

For more information, contact Professor Lee Miles (lmiles@bournemouth.ac.uk) or Dr Henry Bang (hbang@bournemouth.ac.uk).

Hungary elections: it’s the most popular party on Facebook, so why haven’t you heard of the Two-Tailed Dog?

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EPA/Tibor Illyes

By Annamaria Neag, Bournemouth University and Richard Berger, Bournemouth University

With more than 278,000 followers on Facebook, Hungary’s Two-Tailed Dog Party was the the most popular party on social media to stand in the country’s 2018 election. However, its online popularity did not help win seats in the vote which delivered Viktor Orbán a third term as prime minister by a landslide. In an anti-establishment approach, the Dogs’ campaign was carried out entirely by volunteers and official campaign funds were used to support community projects.

Despite only coming away with 1.71% of the votes, however, the party has pushed an important boundary in Hungarian politics.

Puppy training

The Two-Tailed Dog Party was founded in 2006, although formal recognition didn’t come until 2014. It defined itself as a joke party from the start, becoming famous for making fun of other political groups – mainly the mainstream Fidesz, led by Orbán.

Its activities range from street art to graffiti to urban gardening. It even smuggles soap and toilet paper into hospitals in order to highlight the dire state of some healthcare facilities. In 2016, the party crowdfunded €100,000 to cover the country in satirical posters mocking the government’s call to vote against EU refugee quotas in an impending referendum.

Then in 2018, just a couple of weeks before the deadline, the party managed to get enough signatures to be able to participate in the national parliamentary elections. The jokers were getting serious.

A Two-Tailed Dog sticker appears on a Budapest lamp post.

In an election campaign dominated by the supposed “threat” posed by immigration and the perceived influx of migrants to Hungary, the Two-Tailed Dog party used social media to draw attention to a statistic published on the national police website showing that one migrant had been “caught” in the last 30 days. Its satirical response to this shocking figure read: “There is an enormous interest in our country. But we cannot rest assured: The migrant entered our country.”

Domestication

All political parties use emotions to persuade people to vote for them. The Two-Tailed Dog party and its kind are trying to undermine establishment organisations by turning humour into political action.

In a process social scientists call “kynicism”, the Two-Tailed Dog party borrowed and remixed government messages for its own aims. The idea is to mock the government’s rhetoric in order to disperse fear and anxiety.

In Hungary, it’s unclear what the future holds for the Two-Tailed Dog party, or these joke parties more broadly. There is a fundamental mismatch between the way everyday politics works and the vision of the party.

Party leader Gergő Kovács told us:

I can’t really tell how many of our Facebook fans would vote for us … To be honest, for me the parliamentary elections are not important. For me, it’s much more important to see what we can do … I have to confess: my aim is to create something creative and funny, and yet meaningful … I think it is useless to have one more opposition party that has a serious programme. I have no interest to do politics in the traditional way.

If the case of Iceland’s Pirate party shows us anything, it is that parties like the Two-Tailed Dog have a tendency to lose their edge once they gain political influence. In 2016 the pirates topped opinion polls, and seemed to become a real political force by winning ten seats in the parliament. However, in the latest elections, they won only six seats.

Alternative parties, like the Two-Tailed Dog exist to mock from outside the mainstream. But what’s the point of a political party if it doesn’t really want to get elected and to introduce its policies?

For now, that’s not a question the Two-Tailed dogs need to answer, since they failed to make it into parliament.

But the group has nonetheless radically re-energised young people. It has tested the limits of convention in Hungary’s political process. Kovács told us that when it comes to larger campaigns, “two thirds, or three quarters, of our ideas come from the people … For instance, we write an economic programme, post it to Facebook and in a couple of minutes, there are three to four better ideas in the comments, so we take it down and add these ideas. So, in fact it really comes from the people”. The next step is for the group to translate those likes on social media into actual votes.


Annamaria Neag, Marie Curie Research Fellow, Bournemouth University and Richard Berger, Associate Professor, Head of Research and Professional Practice, Department of Media Production, Bournemouth University

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

#TalkBU presents… Coping with stress in changing health behaviours

#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. 


Often our New Year resolutions involve changing unhealthy habits in the coming year. But how many of us have actually managed to change our unhealthy lifestyle and maintained it? Changes can be stressful, but how one manages the change can potentially ease that stress and make the change more achievable, which can potentially impact our physical and psychological well-being.

In this talk, Dr Fiona Ling will discuss her research that centres around physical activity behaviour change, and the extended implications on changing other health habits and public health promotions in order to encourage a healthy lifestyle.

When: Thursday 19 April 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.

Can the cricketers banned for ball tampering ever regain their hero status? It’s happened before

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Steve Smith has borne the brunt of the public and media vitriol over Australian cricket’s ball-tampering scandal. EPA/Muzi Ntombela

By Keith Parry, Western Sydney University and Emma Kavanagh, Bournemouth University

Overnight, Cricket Australia handed out its promised “significant sanctions” for a ball-tampering incident that has engulfed the sport in scandal. Steve Smith and David Warner, the team’s captain and vice-captain, have been banned for 12 months. Cameron Bancroft, who carried out the failed plot, received a nine-month ban.

It was also revealed it was sandpaper, and not “yellow tape and the granules from the rough patches of the wicket” as originally claimed, that Bancroft tried to use to alter the ball’s condition in the Test match between South Africa and Australia.

While the International Cricket Council (ICC) initially suspended Smith for only one Test, all three are now banned from international and domestic (professional) cricket in Australia. Smith and Warner have also had their lucrative Indian Premier League contracts torn up, and some sponsors have already distanced themselves from the players and the sport. But these measures fall short of the lifetime bans some called for.

As captain, Smith has borne the brunt of the public and media vitriol, particularly as he accepted responsibility for what had happened. He may yet be Australian captain again in the future.

But according to Cricket Australia’s investigation, it was Warner who developed the plan and instructed Bancroft – a younger player – to carry it out. Warner also showed a “lack of contrition” and will therefore not be considered for any leadership position in the future.

Does the punishment fit the crime?

Ball tampering is clearly cheating; it breaks the rules and is against the “spirit of cricket”. But while it has been deemed the “moral equivalent of doping”, there is a lack of consistency in how sanctions are dished out to offenders.



Read more:
Just not cricket: why ball tampering is cheating


Bans for doping violations are often severe. Players such as Andre Russell have been banned for 12 months for failing to record their whereabouts for drug testing. But, historically, ICC bans for ball tampering have been more lenient: Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi received a two-game ban for biting the ball in an attempt to alter its condition.

Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi’s bite-tampering incident.

However, a harder line has been taken for incidents of match-fixing. Three Pakistan players were banned and jailed for a spot-fixing incident in 2010. South Africa’s Herschelle Gibbs received a six-month ban in 2000 for agreeing to fix a match, even though he did not follow through with it.

Lifetime bans are not uncommon in sport generally. Ryan Tandy was banned for life for attempted spot-fixing in a rugby league game. Lance Armstrong was banned from sanctioned Olympic sports for life and had his results voided for his serial doping in cycling. Even figure skating is not immune: Tonya Harding was similarly banned for hindering the prosecution into a vicious attack on a fellow competitor.

It is difficult to compare sanctions across sports. But, when doing so, the inconsistencies are apparent. Boxer Mike Tyson was handed a 15-month ban for biting off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear; footballer Luis Suarez received an eight-game ban for racially abusing an opponent; fellow footballer Paul Davis only served a nine-match ban for punching and breaking an opponent’s jaw.

In light of these punishments, are nine- and 12-month bans for premeditated cheating and lying reasonable and just?

Cricket Australia has been criticised for the time it took to reach a decision. But it’s essential that due diligence is done and facts are gathered before a sentence is handed down. Without this, decisions are made through the pressure of public shaming, and social media get to cast the final vote on the punishment.

If sporting organisations want players to act morally on field, then they too should be guided by moral behaviour in governing the sport.

Sport Player Offence Sanction
Athletics Ben Johnson Doping Two-year ban and stripped of titles; lifetime ban after second offence
Rugby league Ryan Tandy Spot-fixing Lifetime ban from playing in the NRL
Rugby league Cronulla Sharks players Doping 12-month bans (backdated)
Australian football 34 Essendon players Doping 12-month bans
Baseball Shoeless Joe Jackson Alleged match-fixing Lifetime ban
Figure skating Tonya Harding Hindering prosecution into attack on fellow figure skater Lifetime ban
Cycling Lance Armstrong Doping Banned from sanctioned Olympic sports for life and results voided
Boxing Mike Tyson Biting opponent’s ear off 15-month ban
Association football Luis Suarez Racial abuse Eight-game ban
Association football Luis Suarez Biting opposition player Four-month ban

Forgive and forget?

Society is often keen to forgive top athletes when they transgress. When athletes admit their mistakes and ask forgiveness it is usually granted.

Over time, sports fans also tend to forget athletes’ errors and focus solely on their on-field ability. In cricket, for instance, Don Bradman’s role in disputes over pay as a cricket administrator is largely glossed over. Shane Warne’s year-long ban for a doping violation is rarely mentioned.

Drugs cheats are accepted (and sometimes welcomed) back into sport – some even after multiple doping offences.

In many sports, athletes’ chequered pasts are ignored in favour of their on-field ability. It is often the actions that come as a result of their behaviour that are judged, and not the infringement itself.

Athletes frequently transgress, but their subsequent redemption is often woven into the narrative around them. Stories around sporting heroes follow several patterns, but the most recognised is the hero’s journey. The “hero” sets out on a quest but is faced by a crisis or descends into a hellish underworld. They “heroically” overcome these challenges and ultimately return to glory.



Read more:
Are you monomythic? Joseph Campbell and the hero’s journey


In this instance, Smith, Warner and Bancroft are in a hell of their own making. If they manage to return, and do so triumphantly, then it is likely they will be forgiven – and some may even forget their role in this sorry affair. Only time will tell whether they will again be considered heroic.


Keith Parry, Senior Lecturer in Sport Management, Western Sydney University and Emma Kavanagh, Senior Lecturer in Sports Psychology and Coaching Sciences, Bournemouth University

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

Just not cricket: why ball tampering is cheating

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In happier times: Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith talk to the media during the victorious Ashes series. AAP/Darren England

By Keith Parry, Western Sydney University; Emma Kavanagh, Bournemouth University, and Steven Freeland, Western Sydney University

Australian cricket is engulfed in scandal after TV cameras caught Cameron Bancroft attempting to manipulate the condition of the ball during the team’s third Test match against South Africa. Bancroft and the Australian captain, Steve Smith, subsequently admitted to the offence and the collusion of the player leadership group in the decision to do so.

Altering the condition of the match ball is against the rules of the sport, contrary to “the spirit of cricket”, and deemed to be “unfair”. It is a form of cheating.

What is ball tampering?

Cricket is not only controlled by a set of rules but, according to the sport’s laws, it should also be played “within the spirit of cricket”.

Like most sports, cricket is a self-regulating entity. The national associations and, ultimately, the International Cricket Council (ICC) enforce the laws. That said, cricket remains tied to gentlemanly ideals and the myth of “fair play”.

This “spirit” encourages respect for players and officials while advocating for self-discipline. Significantly, it says the:

… major responsibility for ensuring fair play rests with the captains.

Within these rules, law 41.3 identifies changing the condition of the match ball as an offence and “unfair play”. Specifically, law 41.3.2 states:

It is an offence for any player to take any action which changes the condition of the ball.

But why is the condition of the ball so important?

The ability to “swing” a ball is a prized skill in cricket. Altering the condition of one side of the ball can help it to swing, and may provide an advantage to the bowling team.



Read more:
Video explainer: Bowling strategies and decision-making in cricket


Players try regularly try to “rough up” one side of the ball by, for instance, deliberately bouncing it on hard ground or applying sweat or saliva to it in ingenious ways. Such practices are not deemed to be contrary to the laws, even if they may not be within the spirit of cricket. Cricketers can bend the rules but not break them.

However, others have been known to use fingernails to scratch the ball, or have rubbed it on the zip of their trousers. Such measures are against the laws and are punishable under the ICC’s Code of Conduct.

In this case, Smith has been banned for one match and fined his match fee. Bancroft, who was caught with a piece of yellow sticky tape that he was attempting to use to tamper with the ball, has also been fined most of his fee and issued three demerit points.

Risk and reward

When games are evenly matched, small gains from cheating can be enough to swing the result one way. This has occurred in other sports.

Sport is now a commercial product with large rewards for winning. In addition, when players are representing their country, there may be considerable pressure to win at all costs, particularly when sport plays a prominent role in the country’s national identity.

According to Smith, the Australians “saw this game as such an important game”. Here, the significance of the game and the team’s desire to win are used to justify cheating. The spirit of cricket and “fair play” were given little thought.

In his work on match-fixing, investigative journalist Declan Hill identifies several questions that may be considered when players are contemplating cheating. The importance of the game is a key factor. Prospective cheats will also evaluate whether they can win without cheating and the sanctions they risk if they are caught.

The Australian cricketers believed the game was slipping away from them. They either did not think they would be caught, or were not deterred by the possible sanctions.

Leading by example

In several cases of cheating, it has been senior players that have induced their younger teammates to cheat.

Two former cricket captains, South Africa’s Hansie Cronje and Pakistan’s Salman Butt, both recruited younger, less experienced players in their attempts to manipulate cricket matches. Similarly, Bancroft is at the start of his Test career and appears to have been influenced by others in the team.

Rather than ensuring fair play, Smith contrived to break both the game’s laws and spirit. Worryingly, it was not just Smith and Bancroft, but a group of senior players who were initially involved.

The players will have evaluated whether it was morally right to cheat and decided that winning was more important. While not a “crime” in the traditional sense of the word, the premeditated nature of these actions increases the level of deception and subsequent outrage surrounding the decision.

The event calls into question not only the behavioural integrity of those involved but also more broadly the moral integrity of the environment in which they function. This is an environment that leaves players viewing ball-tampering on this scale as a viable match-winning strategy.

Smith’s role, as captain, has often been described as the second-most-important job in Australia (after the prime minister). It is for this reason that the Australian Sports Commission has called for him, along with any members of the leadership group or coaching staff “who had prior awareness of, or involvement in, the plan to tamper with the ball”, to stand down or be sacked.

The plot to tamper with the ball was a clear attempt to cheat and has brought the spirit of cricket into question. The implications of being caught cheating or significance of the action were overruled in favour of an outcome: winning a match.

Such actions demonstrate the short-term focus players can have in the moment, ignoring the magnitude of their decisions. In this case, the fallout will be far greater than any punishment the sport will hand out.


Keith Parry, Senior Lecturer in Sport Management, Western Sydney University; Emma Kavanagh, Senior Lecturer in Sports Psychology and Coaching Sciences, Bournemouth University, and Steven Freeland, Dean, School of Law and Professor of International Law, Western Sydney University

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

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Research Photography Competition

This year marks the forth year of our annual Research Photography Competition at BU. We received 31 submissions from BU academics, students across all levels and professional services.

Sharing research through photography is a great opportunity to make often complex subjects much more accessible to all.  This year over 1,500 people from all over the world voted in the competition, showing the power of images to engage and inspire.  The research behind photos this year included areas such as archaeology, dementia and forensic science, among others.

The photography theme this year was people.  The theme was open to interpretation, with photographers choosing to take an image of their research team, show people who might benefit or be affected by the research or even take a point of view shot.  This year’s winners were announced in the Atrium Art Gallery on Tuesday 20 March, with prizes presented by Professor John Fletcher, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation.  Details of the winners can be found below.

The photos are currently displayed in an art exhibition in the Atrium Art Gallery which demonstrates the creativity of our BU researchers and the diversity of research being undertaken. It’s a really enjoyable way to find out about research in areas within and outside your discipline or interests, and value the work and efforts.   Do drop in and see the images, if you have a few minutes to spare!

The winners of the 2018 Research Photography Competition are:

1st place: Virtual Reality: The best way to train surgeons of the future?

By Shayan Bahadori (Orthopaedic Project Manager) and Mara Catalina Aguilera Canon (Postgraduate Researcher, Faculty of Media and Communication). 

In recent years we have seen a decline in theatre operating training time for junior surgeons. Simulators have subsequently been increasingly integrated as training, selection and evaluation tools. To fully formally integrate simulation into orthopaedic training we require evidence that the simulators are valid representations of the operations they seek to replicate. This is one the current research focus at Orthopaedic Research Institute (ORI) and we pursue to validate and develop virtual reality orthopaedic simulators so that they may be adopted into mainstream clinical practice.

2nd place: Soil micro-organisms

By Hai Luu (Postgraduate student, Faculty of Science and Technology).

Ciliates protozoa are a distinct group of unicellular organisms. They are abundant phagotrophic micro-organisms in soil, playing important role in food webs by controlling the abundance of smaller microbes and recycling organic matter. Ciliates are characterised by some specific traits. Firstly, ciliates are dikaryotic organisms due to having two different cell nuclei; one is responsible for reproduction; the other one carries out cell functions. Secondly, they use cilia for locomotion and feeding. Interestingly, ciliates can reproduce asexually and sexually. From an ecological and functional point of view, ciliates can be used as bioindicators of soil quality – and this is the aim of our research. We are investigating the species richness and abundance of ciliated protozoa in natural and agricultural soils in order to assess their potential as bioindicators of soil quality. Soil quality plays an important role  in agricultural production in terms of both quantity and quality, this links closely to quality of human life. This image shows Colpoda cucullus, a terrestrial ciliate commonly found in soils around the world, which was taken as a point of view shot through a microscope.

Research group: Hai Luu, Professor Genoveva Esteban, and Dr Iain Green (Senior Lecturer in Biological Science). Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology.

3rd place: The birth of Carnival U

By Dr Nicole Ferdinand (Senior Lecturer in Events Management) and her MSc Events Management student researchers: Diane Nthurima (pictured on the left), Cindy Chen (pictured on the right), Rui Bao, Yi-Hsin Chen, Simona Georgieva,  Amelie Lonia, Anh Thu Pham, Taylor Treacy and Sharif Zandani.

The photo is a joint entry by the co-creators of the Carnival U which consists of 10 enthusiastic and one BU academic. Together they are embarking on a journey to create a unique a fusion project. The students are working together with BU academic, Dr Nicole Ferdinand, CEL Learning and Teaching Fellow 2017/18, to create 4 workshops which target other university students interested in Carnival. They will engage in action research as part of the development of their workshops as well as evaluate the overall effectiveness of their co-creation efforts which will form the basis of an academic research paper. The project will also leave an educational legacy for other students wishing to develop event management, marketing and digital literacy skills.


The exhibition will be open until Thursday, 29 March at 2pm, in the Atrium Art Gallery on Talbot Campus. Please do fill in one of our feedback cards in the gallery after visiting the exhibition.

Research Photography Competition awards ceremony today!

The awards ceremony for this year’s Research Photography Competition is taking place on Tuesday, 20 March from 1-2pm.

The winners that you’ve been voting for will be revealed and awarded prizes by Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Professor John Fletcher.

Come along to the Atrium Art Gallery to see all the photographs in person and find out about the fascinating research behind each one, undertaken by our academics, students across all levels and professional services.

The exhibition is open to all and free to attend so please do come along with colleagues and friends. Nibbles and refreshments will be provided.

Click here to register to attend.

If you’re unable to join us today, the exhibition will be open from 20 March – 29 March (weekdays only) from 10am – 6pm.

Don’t miss out!

 

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s SURE 2018

Around 80 students took part in BU’s third annual undergraduate research conference: Showcasing Undergraduate Research Excellence (SURE).  The conference is an excellent opportunity for undergraduates and recent graduates to share their work and develop their presentation skills.  This year’s contributions reflected the breadth and depth of outstanding undergraduate research taking place across BU.

The conference allows students to present their work to peers, academics staff and attendees from external organisations.  As well as demonstrating their academic successes, it enables students to see the real world application of their work and develop potential cross-disciplinary collaborations.

Dr Mary Beth Gouthro, co-chair of the conference, said: “The quality of the undergraduate research underway across all our faculties is testament to the potential of our students, and the professionalism and expertise of the staff that support them.  SURE is a great opportunity to celebrate the work of our undergraduates, showcasing their academic progress and provides encouragement into the next steps in their careers.”

As part of SURE, two BU academics shared their own research with the student presenters and conference attendees.  Professor of Behavioural Ecology Amanda Korstjens delivered a session on ‘Interdisciplinary approaches to conservation’ encouraging students to look outside their disciplines to build better practice when conserving wildlife and natural habitats.  Associate Professor Richard Berger presented progress made into his research on ‘MediaLitRefYouth’, a 2 year EU funded project which seeks to understand the lives of unaccompanied refugee children across Europe.  Both of these keynotes provided students the ability to reflect the power and reach of academic research combines with real world applications to help improve lives, for the better.

There were a number of prize winners as part of the conference, including £30 amazon vouchers for best posters, 4 funded spots to participate at BCUR 2018 for one student from each faculty.  The overall winner, Andrew Watt, has been offered a Masters fee waiver.

Winner of the prize for best overall contribution, Andrew Watt, commented, “It feels pretty exciting, I didn’t expect it. My presentation was about how fallers and non-fallers in the elderly differ from a bio-mechanical perspective, which is pretty niche. I found the feedback I received from my presentation were positive and it was good practice to have some difficult questions, especially for this next conference.”

“I’ve had several lecturers who weren’t at the conference contacting me to say congratulations.  I think my lecturers are just really proud of the physiotherapy students who presented. It’s great that they are so supportive.”

More details about the conference can be found on the SURE 2018 website.

SUBU prizes:

 FM winner Claudia Wilkin
FST winner David Hurst

Best poster, demonstration or art installation:

HSS winner Thilo Reich
FST winner Stelian Tsekov
FM winner Dan Pryke
FMC winner Kate Edge

Best original research via oral presentation:

HSS winner Andrew Watt
FST winner Isobel Hunt
FM winner Atanas Nikolaev
FMC winner Bethan Stevenson

Best overall contribution:

Masters Fee Waiver Andrew Watt

 

BU’s Joanne Holmes’ interview with Elder about healthy appetite in older people

Food scientist and BU lecturer in Nutrition, Joanne Holmes, talks to Elder about the importance of socialisation, stimulation and choice to encourage healthy appetite in older people.

“As a nutritionist, I became aware of the fact that there was growing evidence that under-nutrition, commonly known as malnutrition, is a prevalent problem for older people. The figures show that up to about 45 percent of older people living in residential care are at risk of under-nutrition, and for those over 75 years old living on their own, it runs between 35-40 percent,” says Joanne Holmes.

“It was apparent that we were good at monitoring and assessing the fact that people were undernourished – what wasn’t so clear was what was happening to follow that up and move people from being undernourished to an acceptable weight.

“I wanted to understand what and how much people were eating and drinking and whether or not it was the mealtime experience that affected that.

“There are usually a series of events that are linked to undernourishment when someone goes into care. What generally happens is that someone will struggle at home, for one reason or another – perhaps there might be a dementia diagnosis, and they can’t continue to live on their own, or they fall and aren’t able to get around. They eventually end up in hospital, and then in long-term residential care. But once they’re in care, it’s tough to try and get them eating again.

“I come from a food science background, and I think a lot of the work to-date has been done by looking at undernourishment from a clinical point of view. I wanted to come at it from a food angle and look at enhancing the eating experience for those in care.”

Read the full interview here.

Why suicide rates among pregnant women in Nepal are rising

File 20180308 30989 ov7dje.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Shutterstock/By KristinaSophie

By Bibha Simkhada, Liverpool John Moores University and Edwin van Teijlingen, Bournemouth University

Huge numbers of pregnant women and new mothers are taking their own lives in Nepal as they deal with extreme poverty, natural disasters, domestic violence and oppression. Research shows suicide represents 16% of all deaths in women of reproductive age. The rate is higher than previously recorded and there has been a considerable increase over the past few years. But a new project which trained midwives about mental health issues might hold the key to turning this around.

Suicide is primarily associated with unwanted pregnancy or the feeling of being trapped in poverty or situations of sexual and physical abuse. A study of 202 pregnant women (carried out between September and December 2014) found that 91% of them experienced some kind of physical, emotional or sexual abuse – mostly at the hands of their husbands and/or mother-in-laws.

The sad fact is that almost 40% of suicides in the world occur in South-East Asia. And one in three pregnant woman and new mothers are taking their own lives in low-income countries. In Nepal, 21% of the suicides among women aged 15-49 were in girls under 18 due to violence and being powerless in their families and communities.

Pregnancy is a known trigger for mental health problems. But gender discrimination and domestic violence are making matters worse. In addition to these issues, natural disasters are also a huge contributing factor to the spiralling mental health problems of young mothers.

A woman on a collapsed building in Kathmandu after the earthquake in May, 2015. Shutterstock/Somjin Klong-ugkara

Lack of control

In Nepal, making decisions about seeking maternity care is not in the hands of the pregnant woman but usually lies with her mother-in-law or husband. When young women marry they move in with their husbands’ family and their lives are ruled by their in-laws. These women often have little say in seeking health care during pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period.

In many poor families, husbands migrate for work leaving their young wives with family. Nepal has a real migrant workers economy with close to 50% of Nepalis relying on financial help from relatives abroad. Mental health problems can worsen for women who have been taken away from their own families. In other cases, young women face domestic violence due to their husbands’ drinking leading to mental health issues and suicide.

There is also a lack of understanding of pregnancy and childbirth-related mental health issues and husbands and mothers-in-law often fail to support these vulnerable young women. They in turn are reluctant to seek help due to the stigma associated with mental illness.

Cultural and social norms

Cultural practices and social norms, like gender inequalities and early marriage, hinder women who have a lack of choice when it comes to their role as mothers. There is also a preference for sons rather than daughters, who are seen as an “economic burden” in many families. If a woman is expecting a daughter, especially for the second or third time, this can also trigger mental health issues.

Depression and anxiety are common and affect ten to 15 out of every 100 pregnant women in the country. Postnatal depression is often reported, but less attention is given to more common and less obvious mental health issues.

Natural disasters and midwives

Recurrent earthquakes and floods exacerbate issues of depression and helplessness as women are forced to live in temporary shelters and have the burden of increased poverty.

For many rural Nepali women, the most qualified birth attendant they can expect to look after them is the Nepali Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs). But a study found that they received little or no formal training on perinatal mental health issues. Although there have been gradual improvements in health care for women during pregnancy, mental health support is leaving many women feeling that suicide is their only option.

As part of a Tropical Health and Education Trust project, funded by DFID, around 80 ANMs were trained on perinatal mental health issues. The project used UK-based volunteers in Nepal over two years.

The training helped raise awareness of mental health well-being and improved access to mental health care for pregnant women and new mothers. This is a vital first step towards improving community-based services for pregnant women in rural Nepal. But to offer hope to more young women there needs to be a significant increase in this type of training and awareness raising.

Bibha Simkhada, Postdoctoral Researcher in School of Nursing and Allied Health, Liverpool John Moores University and Edwin van Teijlingen, Professor of Reproductive Health Research, Bournemouth University

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

BU Briefing – Mii-vitaliSe: Using Nintendo Wii™ to increase activity levels, vitality and well-being in people with multiple sclerosis.

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 benefits of physical activity for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) have been recognised. Physical activity has been shown to be associated with improvements in mobility, muscle strength and physical fitness. Other secondary benefits might include reduced fatigue, depression and anxiety and improved sense of wellbeing.

This research team have developed a home-based physiotherapist supported Nintendo Wii™ intervention (‘Mii-vitaliSe’) for people with MS that uses commercial software. This is a pilot study to explore the feasibility of conducting a full scale clinical and cost-effectiveness trial of Mii-vitaliSe.

Click here to read the briefing paper.


For more information about the research, contact Sarah Thomas at saraht@bournemouth.ac.uk.
To find out how your research output could be turned into a BU Briefing, contact research@bournemouth.ac.uk.

Congratulations to Professor Julian McDougall whose book has been shortlisted for the UKLA Academic Book Award 2018.

The UK Literacy Association (UKLA) has selected four books to be shortlisted for the 2018 Academic Book Award, including Dr John Potter (University College London) and BU Professor Julian McDougall’s book Digital Media, Culture and Education, Theorising Third Space Literacies (Palgrave Macmillan).

“We were delighted to be shortlisted,” says Professor McDougall, “The UKLA is an organisation we have both engaged with for many years and value highly. The award is really prestigious so it’s exciting and great to find out that the field you are writing with and for has received the book so well. And we’re in really good company in the shortlist!”

This book provides a critical commentary on key issues around learning in the digital age in both formal and informal educational settings, addressing the concept of third space literacies. It speaks to a range of readers, extending their knowledge and understanding of media literay and how technology can enhance educational practice and learner development.

“We wrote the book to address the lack of a meeting point between these fields – literacies, media and education, as this comes up again and again, especially when we look at PhDs in particular,” says McDougall. “Examiners often ask researchers where exactly their project sits in and across these areas, so we wanted to have a go at joining them up but also clearly come at this from two very established approaches – literacies and cultural studies.”

The winner of this year’s Academic Book Award will be announced at the UKLA International Conference in Cardiff which takes place on 6 July – 8 July 2018. The shortlist was chosen by UKLA Membership and Awards committee, and the final panel will be chaired by Professor Morag Styles (Homerton College, University of Cambridge).

SURE conference today – Student case study (Georgina Polius)

Georgina Polius is in her second year of BA Sociology and Anthropology in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, and is one of the students who has decided to participate in this year’s upcoming Showcasing Undergraduate Research Excellence (SURE) conference.

Georgina was encouraged to apply by her lecturer, Dr Rosie Read, who informed the entire class to participate in the SURE conference. “Initially, the word abstract scared me a bit because I would have to condense my work into a few lines but after further discussion with my family, I decided to go for it.”

Her assignment research looks at the underlying problem of food poverty within modern British society which was carried out within a foodbank in Bournemouth, working among the volunteers. “Having grown up in a volunteering culture, it has become for me a way of life,” says Georgina. “More specifically, my interest in the foodbank area was sparked by one of my course units I studied last semester where we were sent into the Bournemouth foodbanks to research the personal reasons behind the seemingly household phenomenon of volunteering.”

“I do believe that SURE is a good way to showcase our work as we, as students, have been given the opportunity for various academics and other students to see our work and receive unbiased feedback, which will help us to improve for the future. It also gives us a place to highlight real world issues.”

“I hope to use this exposure from SURE to improve my self-confidence and assertiveness in public speaking which would be an asset to me as I continue with my university studies and eventually into the world of research,” she says. “Most students would perhaps only get to publish their work or experience this type of exposure if they continued to a Master’s programme.”

The Showcasing Undergraduate Research Excellence conference will taking place on 7 March 2018. Many undergraduate students from across the university will be presenting their research throughout the conference in a variety of different ways, from presentations to posters and art installations. Please register via the Eventbrite page if you would like to attend.

For more details, visit the SURE website or email the SURE team.