As part of the UKIERI Virtual Exchange (organised by Dept. of Psychology and Global Engagement: Bournemouth University), on 14th October 2020, undergraduate Psychology Students interacted with students from Symbiosis School of Liberal Arts (SSLA) engaged in the UNESCO Story Circles. This event was planned to provide an opportunity for the stude
nts in this program to be able to share and connect As they would be participating in more education, professional and research seminars during this year!
UK and India students shared personal experiences in a professional context. They discovered that being in two different countries, they still share similar experiences. The sharing provided perspectives of how life experiences can be different. Keeping in mind the shared Covid – 19 experiences, which has almost initaited a more virtual way of interaction and realise who easily connections can be made.
Story Circles is a structured yet adaptable tool (described and documented by UNESCO) that allows participants to actually practice (or learn?) intercultural competences. This allows participants to build emotional connections that may not occur through more traditional intercultural training. Because of participants’ emotional connection, this methodology tends to be more transformative than traditional training. Story Circles is a thoughtful process that involves a group of people sharing personal experiences in a circle often for purposes of mediation, restorative justice, and in the case of the UNESCO methodology, for developing intercultural competences. Storytelling is a cultural and social activity usually involving a broader audience for the purposes of entertainment, education, moral formation or cultural preservation.
This activity supports few UN Sustainable Goals…Quality Education (Goal 4), Gender Equality (Goal 5), and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (Goal 16).
On 17th September 2020 students from DePaul University, USA; SSLA, India, and Bournemouth University engaged in an online dialogue exploring the effects of the current pandemic and their understanding of Psychology.
This was one of the initiatives of the SSLA Psychology Association (with inputs from Drs Anita Patankar, Dr Shweta Sinha Desphpande, Dr Gayatri Kotbagi, Athiya Fatima) and most students who participated from BU were those who were part of the UKIERI (Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen, Dr Shanti Shanker, Jana and Sarah (Global Engagement Team)) Research and Mobility Exchange Program. Inputs from Dr Verena Graupman whose work brings in aspects of cultural diversity and discussions about the social groups were invaluable!
Through the discussion some of the points that left us thinking included:
1) Using the term Physical Distance: When students brought this up, this point touched my heart. As currently across the world – using the term Social Distancing – probably brings in more sense of isolation. What we need to maintain is, “Physical Distance”. Especially, keeping physical distance can still allow us to connect emotionally and socially using online media.
2) Being kind and ensuring self-care: In the face of uncertainty and the role that technology and media are playing – it is really important that all of us do focus on self-care. Each of us needs to find what works for us, and remind ourselves to do things that help us relax, take care of ourselves, and remind ourselves to be more flexible (especially when faced with uncertainty).
3) Pausing before responding: As students or people who are more aware of the subject of Psychology – using this knowledge helps us respond to the triggers of stress. We need to remind ourselves and others that there is a bio-psycho-social cycle, which is one of the beliefs that our body changes when confronted with stress and affects our thoughts and behaviors. However, PAUSING (Taking a breath) and finding ways to calm ourselves when faced with anxiety, stress, and uncertainty helps us deal with the situation better. This comes with regular self-care and practice to relax! So share your experiences and you will realize that you are not alone!
It was an excellent platform to see students across countries shared their lived experiences and the way they cope with cultural and societal pressures, in the face of this pandemic!
The Departments of Psychology (SciTech), Midwifery and Health Sciences (HSS) from Bournemouth University and SSLA part of Symbiosis International (Deemed University) were successful in getting the United Kingdon India Education Research Initiative (UKIERI) funding to support 10 UK Psychology Students and Staff to visit India. This initiative receives further support from Global Engagement Hub, Bournemouth University.
The Study in India Programme has been designed in collaboration with BU’s project partner university Symbiosis International in India, where this will be hosted. This exchange will offer a program of interactive lectures, workshops, research methods seminars, clinical experience observations, and relevant field visits.
Students will also contribute to research with Sheetal Astitva, which is a GCRF funded initiative aimed to improve mental health in rural India and Nepal. The lead researchers for this initiative are Prof. Edwin van-Teijlingen and Dr. Shanti Shanker.
Dr Gayatri Kotbagi presented at the International Gender Conference 2020, Symbiosis School of Liberal Arts, Pune, India. She presented on the Mental Health, Rights, and Policies as part of the GCRF funded initiative Sheetal Astitva.
This project led by Prof. Edwin van-Teijlingen and Dr. Shanti Shanker focuses on grassroots level centers addressing the lack of accessibility in rural India. This project collaborates with the Taluka Health Officer at Paud (Mulshi, Dr Ajit Karanjkar) and local medical officers.
Dr. Kotbagi is part of an all women’s group that is conducting workshops on building resilience in turbulent times. The themes include addressing discrimination, building resilience and alliances across communities (i.e. how people from “privileged communities” can unlearn their privilege and collaborate with marginalized communities to create truly inclusive communities).
On behalf of Bournemouth University Dr Shanti Shanker and Prof Edwin van Teijlingen signed a research collaboration with Dr Anita Patankar of Symbiosis School of Liberal College (SSLC) in India. This collaboration is part of a Research England GCRF-funded project. Our collaborators in rural Ratnagiri District (Maharashtra) include Dr Shrutika Kotkunde, Dr Sachin Yadav and Dr and Mrs Reelkar to name a few.
Sheetal Astitva (meaning Calm Identity) is the name of our project which aims to understand the maternal health and state of neuropsychological rehabilitation in rural India.
Through Sheetal Astitva we will be developing a model of lay counsellors (LC) with focus to improve: a) Maternal mental wellbeing; and b) Neuropsychological rehabilitation and integrating a collaborative step care (CSC) intervention. The training will be adapted on empirical evidence and methods developed for India by Sangath (Shine et al., 2013).
One of intermediate outcomes of the project is to co-create a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in India with the partners to be ensure longer-term sustainability. Sheetal Asthitva will be working in India to improve maternal wellbeing and integrate neuro-rehabilitation in the community to enhance the quality of life and mental health.
If you are interested to know the updates, follow us on twitter: @AstitvaSheetal
We welcome Dr Gayatri Kotbagi as local collaborator, who will soon be joining BU as a post-doctoral research fellow on this project!
As a student, I attended my first Pint of Science in Cambridge in 2015. It was fun, engaging and I learnt about areas that I was curious about and got to connect with some very interesting people who were curious about science and learning. As I started my academic journey in Bournemouth as a lecturer, I was surprised that we did not have the PoS here.
In 2017, we launched the first Pint of Science festival @Bournemouth and it was hosted in 3 local pubs. Since then this has been an annual event.
Want to know more! Get you tickets here: https://pintofscience.co.uk/events/bournemouth and come along to talk about science with pint in your hand!
Hope you come along and share the Pint of Science at Bournemouth!
My PoS Hat: City Cordinator, Pint of Science
My BU Hat: Lecturer in Psychology, Bournemouth University
What is Pint of Science? Pint of Science is a non-profit organisation which invites science researchers (and clinical experts) to share what they do and why they do it with the public. A science festival to take excellent research findings and scientists to connect with the local community. Speakers usually give a short talk or a presentation (about 15-30 minutes) and then the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions and have a chat with the scientists during the breaks.
When does it happen? This festival is happens over three days in May each year.
Does it happen in Bournemouth? Yes, Bournemouth has been hosting the event since 2017. This year it will be hosted in two Pubs: 1) The Four Hoursemen and 2) Chaplain’s and the Cellar Bar. The Department of Psychology has been organising this as it’s public enagement event. The Local Pubs have been brilliant in supporting us and Ojo Rojo is where we run our special rounds of PoS quizes the week the tickets are released.
Who runs the show in Bournemouth? We have a team of team of Event Managers and Cordinators who are staff and students at Bournemouth University. The City cordinator for Bournemouth is Dr Shanti Shanker. We have some excellent run of speakers from the University each year!
Where can I buy mytickets: https://pintofscience.co.uk/events/bournemouth
How do I know when the event happens annualy? Sign up to the mailing list here: https://pintofscience.co.uk/
Why do I have to pay for the tickets? Pint of Science is a grassrootnon-profit organisation, started by a handful of friends who wanted to share interesting discoveries. Today the event is hosted in over 32 cities. Pint of Science has grown (massively) from volunteers who help the festival spread. The festival relies on the ticket money, donations, sponserorsand the universities and institutions who help PoS run annually!