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Lunchbite Session Tuesday 5th June: Examining & Chairing Research Degree Viva Voce Examinations

 

This one hour lunchbite session is aimed at all academic staff who are new to, or experienced at, supervising research degree students and are interested in expanding their knowledge of a specific aspect or process in doctoral supervision.

Lunch and refreshments provided.

 

Tuesday 5th June 2018

12.00  – 13.00

Talbot Campus

Examining & Chairing Research Degree Viva Voce Examinations

 

Click here for further details and to book your place

through Organisational Development

 

This session will be led by a senior academic who will introduce the topic, and staff will be free to participate in discussions aimed at sharing best practice from across BU. It will be focused on expanding knowledge on the processes and responsibilities involved in examining & chairing research degree viva voce examinations.

 

Bookings can also be made for upcoming sessions covering different aspects of research degree supervision including:

These sessions will run again at intervals in the next academic year.

 

Photo of the Week: All My Meeples

All My Meeples

Our next Photo of the Week is Alexandra Alberda‘s photo of her drawing of  people engaging with Graphic Medicine comics at a museum exhibition. This weekly series features photo entries taken by our academics, students and professional staff for our annual Research Photography Competition, which gives a glimpse into some of the fantastic research undertaken across the BU community.

Alexandra’s work takes Medical Humanities and Graphic Medicine into non-clinical and public settings where health related works are being engaged with presently. Her research furthers Medical Humanities’ engagement with public perceptions of health by expanding the critical vocabulary available to scholars through Comics Studies and curatorial practice. The space of the museum holds a social identity as upholding and defining culture and has a history of exhibiting works that relate to healthcare and the “ill” other/body. How do these bodies and the experiences they illustrate reach our own interpretations of illness, flesh bodies, and lived experiences? Alexandra’s PhD research focuses on these experiences as they are tied to exhibitions and museums, which creates three groups of ‘people’ to the research.

The first group (green) are the people that exist in the museum: viewers, artists, curators, and other museum staff. The second group (pink) are the people represented in the exhibition artwork: both fictional and non-fiction characters in the case of memoirs. Her research focuses on the relationships and engagement that happens between the first and second groups. The third group (orange) involves the relationships between my supervisors, and their expertise, and Alexandra. These relationships will translate into her professional practices and research skills.

Alexandra Alberda is a PhD researcher in the Faculty of Media and Communication at Bournemouth University. Her supervisors are Dr. Sam Goodman, Dr. Julia Round and Professor Michael Wilmore. She received her MA in Art History minoring in Sculptural Painting/Studio Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and BA in English and Art minoring in Honours, Art History and Writing at Briar Cliff University.

Find out more about the role that comics can play in the study and delivery of healthcare on the Graphic Medicine website here.

@ZandraAlberda

Autism screening tool may not pick up women with the condition

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Nikodash/Shutterstock.com

By Rachel Moseley, Bournemouth University and Julie Kirkby, Bournemouth University

Diagnosing autism is expensive and time consuming, so a screening tool is used to filter out those people who are unlikely to be diagnosed as autistic. This is all well and good, but our latest research suggests that a widely used screening tool may be biased towards diagnosing more men than women.

Earlier studies have cast doubt on the ability of one of the leading screening tools, called Autism-Spectrum Quotient, to accurately identify people with autism. Our study decided to look at another screening tool that hasn’t yet been investigated: the Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-Revised (RAADS-R), a widely used questionnaire for assessing autism in adults with average or above average intelligence.

We compiled the RAADS-R scores of over 200 people who had a formal diagnosis of autism. We compared scores between autistic men and autistic women on four different symptom areas: difficulties with social relationships, difficulties with language, unusual sensory experiences or motor problems, and “circumscribed interests” (a tendency to have very strong, fixed interests).

As there are known sex differences in these areas – for example, with women being better at hiding social and communicative difficulties, and men being more likely to show obvious, and hence easier to detect, circumscribed interests – we wanted to know whether RAADS-R was able to pick up these differences.




Read more:
Changing the face of autism: here come the girls


Our analysis showed that it didn’t: we found no sex differences in RAADS-R scores between autistic men and women in social relatedness, language and circumscribed interests.

A possible explanation for this result is that, since RAADS-R depends on people accurately judging and reporting their own symptoms, sex differences may only emerge when behaviour is diagnosed by an experienced clinician. Previous studies have shown that autistic people often lack insight into their own behaviour and find it difficult to report their own symptoms.

Another likely reason for finding no sex difference in autism traits is that this and most other studies only include autistic people who have received a formal diagnosis through assessment with the very tools and tests we are investigating. As diagnostic and screening tools (including RAADS-R) were developed with male samples, they are most likely to identify autistic women with the most male-like profiles.

This might explain why fewer women tend to be diagnosed. It could be, then, that the screening tests filter out all of the autistic women with more female-like autism traits, and the autistic women with more male-like traits go on to be diagnosed. Or it could be that the underlying sample is biased because the formal diagnostic tools select people with more male-like traits, and the screening tool merely reflects this underlying bias.

Our results could show that our sample didn’t represent a diverse range of autistic women, then. And this is a problem that affects all research on sex differences in autism.




Read more:
GPs urgently need training on autism


As more males than females have received a diagnosis of autism, many of the theories we have about autism are based on these diagnosed cases, and, as a result, may only apply to males. Likewise, as we base our screening tools and diagnostic tools on males who have been diagnosed, we may only pick up women who show male-like symptoms.

We could be missing the women who have very different, more female presentations of autism, but who still show the core features that are central to the diagnosis. These include problems with social interaction, communication and restricted behaviour and interests.

Because screening and diagnostic tests focus on the most common, male manifestations of these core symptoms, females tend to be overlooked. Circumscribed interests in males, for example, are more likely to be based on unusual topics, whereas girls and women may centre their interests on things like celebrities or fashion, only the intensity of the interest sets them apart from non-autistic females.

One clear difference

There was only one prominent sex difference that emerged in our study: autistic women reported more sensory differences and motor problems than autistic men. Sensory and motor symptoms are common in autism. People may be over or under sensitive to sights, sounds, touches, smells and tastes, and are often clumsy and poorly coordinated.

Some autistic people are sensitive to certain fabrics. Purino/Shutterstock.com

This self-reported finding, that women have more sensory and motor symptoms than men, needs to be investigated more thoroughly. However, it appears to be consistent with a few studies that have found that autistic women do have more sensory and motor symptoms than men.

If these types of symptoms are especially problematic for autistic women, they could be important for providing a diagnosis. Although RAADS-R measures sensory and motor symptoms, they play a very minor role in gold-standard diagnostic tests, such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule.

The importance of a diagnosis?

Efforts are now underway to develop screening tools that are better at identifying autism in females.

Diagnosis is important for autistic people for many reasons. For example, it is the only way they can access support services, such as dedicated support workers to help them with activities at home or in daily life. They might also receive financial support if they need it. (Unemployment affects most of the autistic population and may in part be due to high levels of mental illness in this group.)

Other people have spoken about how having a diagnosis has helped them understand the struggles they’ve faced in their lives – that these things weren’t their fault. And it has helped them meet other people who accept them for who they are.


Rachel Moseley, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Bournemouth University and Julie Kirkby, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Bournemouth University

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

Small charities face bankruptcy for not complying with GDPR, but put clients at risk if they do

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The way charities use and hold data on behalf of their clients and donors creates problems under GDPR. Tashatuvango/Shutterstock

By Dr Shamal Faily, Bournemouth University

You will no doubt have received the emails yourself: don’t forget to opt in, click here to stay in touch, we don’t want to lose you. The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, comes into force on May 25, and organisations and businesses large and small are racing to ensure the way they collect, store and use the personal data of their customers and clients meets the new, higher standards of this new European Union privacy law.

Compliance with GDPR can be costly, requiring organisations to analyse the way they work, the data they use, how it is handled and secured. Documenting how personal data is held and processed is tedious and time consuming, as is developing procedures for dealing with individuals’ requests to see the data held on them, security breaches that involve loss of data, or assessing the privacy impact of some new product or service.

To data protection authorities across the European Union, such as the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), this is just good practice – the cost of doing business in a free and open market. But what if yours is a non-profit organisation? Several UK charities have been fined for breaking existing data protection laws. Many others are acutely aware that a single penalty for non-compliance could put them out of business.

The ICO has produced guidance for charities, and reading it you might think that the challenges charities face are the same as those facing any small business. Both have limited resources, time and money to spend on ensuring compliance. Losing or misusing personal data leads to the erosion of trust, irrespective of whether those affected are paying customers or charity donors. But scratch beneath the surface and you can see how GDPR causes unique problems for small charities, particularly those that work to help society’s most vulnerable.

Duty of care

The new privacy regulations require that personal data is “processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data”. Any security expert will tell you that perfect security is impossible, so businesses can meet this requirement by investing in security considered “good enough” to meet the duty of care to their clients and customers.

But for charities, the duty of care they have for both their vulnerable client base and their donors is so strong that a culture of cost-cutting has formed. Because charities lack the expertise to understand the risks they face, they may wrongly believe they are avoiding risks, or accept risks without understanding the implications. Ultimately, this works against charities investing in the security they actually need. A report commissioned by the UK Department for Culture Media and Sport in 2017 found this culture even led to some charities intentionally relying on out-of-date or low technology solutions. In one case, a charity was even prepared to accept the risk of damaging data losses, in the hope that their donors would be sympathetic and appreciate that, to them, cybersecurity is a luxury they cannot afford.




Read more:
GDPR comes with teeth – here are the winners and losers


Charities care for others, but are not always able to care for their data. perfectlab/Shutterstock

Ethical tensions

The new privacy regulations are built around fair treatment, but this also fails to appreciate the ethical tensions faced by charities. Under GDPR, organisations can only collect data from individuals when they have a legal basis for doing so, for example that the individual has given their consent (such as signing up for an email newsletter), or that the organisation must do so in order to comply with a legal obligation (such as banking information required to meet money laundering regulations). However, complications arise because while an individual may give consent, they may also withdraw it.

Imagine, for example, that Bob suffers from a drug addiction. In a moment of clarity, he checks into a rehab centre for help, and gives consent for the centre to collect what personal data they require. But Bob later relapses, and – to keep this information from his family – withdraws his consent and exercises his right to be forgotten, demanding that the rehab centre deletes the data on him that it holds.

The GDPR provides some discretion for processing personal data in matters of life and death, but not if Bob is capable of giving consent. And so the rehab centre faces a dilemma: it can assert Bob isn’t capable, exposing themselves to the risk of a fine should he report them to the ICO. Alternatively, they can comply and expose Bob to future risks that may threaten his health or life, and reduce or remove the information they know that might one day help save his life.

ICO guidance for not-for-profits should answer the sorts of questions regularly raised by charities. But instead it treats small charities like any other small business. The ICO claims the is information that charities want, but it is not the information they need. If guidance fails to acknowledge the risks to small charities, what incentive do charities have to invest time and money following it?

What charities need are less platitudes on what they should be doing – they already know this – and more advice on how to do it, given the very particular challenges they face. In a speech given to the charities attending the Funding and Regulatory Compliance conference last year, the information commissioner said that getting privacy right can be done, that it should be done, and she would say how it can be done. Yet as the deadline looms, charities are still waiting to hear about the “how”.


Shamal Faily, Senior Lecturer in Systems Security Engineering, Bournemouth University

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

New GCRF-funded study in South Asia

A new multidisciplinary project in South Asia, run between two of Bournemouth University’s Faculties, has recently been funded.  The cross-faculty project “Scoping Study to understand the maternal health ageing and wellness in rural India to develop a grass-root centre addressing these issues” has Dr Shanti Shanker (Psychology) as its principal investigator in collaboration with Prof Edwin van Teijlingen (Human Sciences & Public Health).   These BU lead researchers have been working in India and Nepal for more than a decade.

This project was recently awarded £76k from the HEFCE GCRF (Higher Education Funding Council for England, Global Challenge Research Funds) Call, at Bournemouth University.  The project will be running from 2017 to 2021 between Maharashtra, India, Nepal and the UK.  This important research initiative  aligns closely with Bournemouth University’s strategic plan around South Asia through Connect India.  Connect India is BU’s hub of practice which focuses on the world’s most populated areas and a global region which is developing rapidly in many ways.

How to hunt a giant sloth – according to ancient human footprints

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: Alex McClelland, Bournemouth University

By Matthew Robert Bennett, Bournemouth University; Katie Thompson, Bournemouth University, and Sally Christine Reynolds, Bournemouth University.

Rearing on its hind legs, the giant ground sloth would have been a formidable prey for anyone, let alone humans without modern weapons. Tightly muscled, angry and swinging its fore legs tipped with wolverine-like claws, it would have been able to defend itself effectively. Our ancestors used misdirection to gain the upper hand in close-quarter combat with this deadly creature.

What is perhaps even more remarkable is that we can read this story from the 10,000-year-old footprints that these combatants left behind, as revealed by our new research published in Science Advances. Numerous large animals such as the giant ground sloth – so-called megafauna – became extinct at the end of the Ice Age. We don’t know if hunting was the cause but the new footprint evidence tells us how human hunters tackled such fearsome animals and clearly shows that they did.

White Sands National Monument. Matthew Bennett, Bournemouth University, Author provided

These footprints were found at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, US, on part of the monument that used by the military. The White Sands Missile Range, located close to the Trinity nuclear site, is famous as the birth place of the US space programme, of Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars initiative and of countless missile tests. It is now a place where long-range rather than close-quarter combat is fine-tuned.

Tracking the footprints. Matthew Bennett, Bournemouth University, Author provided

It is a beautiful place, home to a huge salt playa (dry lake) known as Alkali Flat and the world’s largest gypsum dune field, made famous by numerous films including Transformers and the Book of Eli. At the height of the Ice Age it was home to a large lake (palaeo Lake Otero).

As the climate warmed, the lake shrank and its bed was eroded by the wind to create the dunes and leave salt flats that periodically pooled water. The Ice Age megafauna left tracks on these flats, as did the humans that hunted them. The tracks are remarkable in that they are only a few centimetres beneath the surface and yet have been preserved for over 10,000 years.

Footprint comparison. David Bustos, National Park Service

Here there are tracks of extinct giant ground sloth, of mastodon, mammoth, camel and dire wolf. These tracks are colloquially known as “ghost tracks” as they are only visible at the surface during specific weather conditions, when the salt crusts are not too thick and the ground not too wet. Careful excavation is possible in the right conditions and reveals some amazing features.

Perhaps the coolest of these is a series of human tracks that we found within the sloth prints. In our paper, produced with a large number of colleagues, we suggest that the humans stepped into the sloth prints as they stalked them for the kill. We have also identified large “flailing circles” that record the sloth rising up on its hind legs and swinging its fore legs, presumably in a defensive, sweeping motion to keep the hunters at bay. As it overbalanced, it put its knuckles and claws down to steady itself.

Plaster cast footprints. David Bustos, National Park Service

These circles are always accompanied by human tracks. Over a wide area, we see that where there are no human tracks, the sloth walk in straight lines. Where human track are present, the sloth trackways show sudden changes in direction suggesting the sloth was trying to evade its hunters.

Piecing together the puzzle, we can see how sloth were kept on the flat playa by a horde of people who left tracks along the its edge. The animals was then distracted by one stalking hunter, while another crept forward and tried to strike the killing blow. It is a story of life and death, written in mud.

Matthew Bennett, dusting for prints. David Bustos, National Park Service

What would convince our ancestors to engage is such a deadly game? Surely the bigger the prey, the greater the risk? Maybe it was because a big kill could fill many stomachs without waste, or maybe it was pure human bravado.

At this time at the end of the last Ice Age, the Americas were being colonised by humans spreading out over the prairie plains. It was also a time of animal extinctions. Many palaeontologists favour the argument that human over-hunting drove this wave of extinction and for some it has become an emblem of early human impact on the environment. Others argue that climate change was the true cause and our species is innocent.

It is a giant crime scene in which footprints now play a part. Our data confirms that human hunters were attacking megafauna and were practiced at it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t cast light on the impact of that hunting. Whether humans were the ultimate or immediate cause of the extinction is still not clear. There are many variables including rapid environmental change to be considered. But what is clear from tracks at White Sands is that humans were then, as now, “apex predators” at the top of the food chain.


Professor Matthew Robert Bennett, Professor of Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Bournemouth University; Katie Thompson, Research Associate, Bournemouth University, and Dr Sally Christine Reynolds, Senior Lecturer in Hominin Palaeoecology, Bournemouth University

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

Sunken Nazi U-boat discovered: why archaeologists like me should leave it on the seabed

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Sea War Museum

By Innes McCartney, Bournemouth University.

The collapsing Nazi government ordered all U-boats in German ports to make their way to their bases in Norway on May 2, 1945. Two days later, the recently commissioned U-3523 joined the mission as one of the most advanced boats in the fleet. But to reach their destination, the submarines had to pass through the bottleneck of the Skagerrak – the strait between Norway and Denmark – and the UK’s Royal Air Force was waiting for them. Several U-boats were sunk and U-3523 was destroyed in an air attack by a Liberator bomber.

U-3523 lay undiscovered on the seabed for over 70 years until it was recently located by surveyors from the Sea War Museum in Denmark. Studying the vessel will be of immense interest to professional and amateur historians alike, not least as a way of finally putting to rest the conspiracy theory that the boat was ferrying prominent Nazis to Argentina. But sadly, recovering U-3523 is not a realistic proposition. The main challenges with such wrecks lie in accurately identifying them, assessing their status as naval graves and protecting them for the future.

U-boat wrecks like these from the end of World War II are the hardest to match to historical records. The otherwise meticulous record keeping of the Kriegsmarine (Nazi navy) became progressively sparser, breaking down completely in the last few weeks of the war. But Allied records have helped determine that this newly discovered wreck is indeed U-3523. The sea where this U-boat was located was heavily targeted by the RAF because it knew newly-built boats would flee to Norway this way.

Identification

The detailed sonar scans of the wreck site show that it is without doubt a Type XXI U-boat, of which U-3523 was the only one lost in the Skagerrak and unaccounted for. These were new types of submarines that contained a number of innovations which had the potential to make them dangerous opponents. This was primarily due to enlarged batteries, coupled to a snorkel, which meant they could stay permanently underwater. Part of the RAF’s mission was to prevent any of these new vessels getting to sea to sink Allied ships, and it successfully prevented any Type XXI U-boats from doing so.

The Type XXI U-3008. Wikipedia

With the U-boat’s identity correctly established, we now know that it is the grave site of its crew of 58 German servicemen. As such, the wreck should either be left in peace or, more implausibly, recovered and the men buried on land. Germany lost over 800 submarines at sea during the two world wars and many have been found in recent years. It is hopelessly impractical to recover them all, so leaving them where they are is the only real option.

Under international law all naval wrecks are termed “sovereign immune”, which means they will always be the property of the German state despite lying in Danish waters. But Denmark has a duty to protect the wreck, especially if Germany asks it to do so.

Protection

Hundreds of wartime wreck sites such as U-3523 are under threat around the world from metal thieves and grave robbers. The British cruiser HMS Exeter, which was sunk in the Java Sea on May 1, 1942, has been entirely removed from the seabed for scrap. And wrecks from the 1916 Battle of Jutland that also lie partly in Danish waters have seen industrial levels of metal theft. These examples serve as a warning that organised criminals will target shipwrecks of any age for the metals they contain.

Detailed sonar scans have been taken. Sea War Museum

Germany and the UK are among a number of countries currently pioneering the use of satellite monitoring to detect suspicious activity on shipwrecks thought to be under threat. This kind of monitoring could be a cost-effective way to save underwater cultural heritage from criminal activity and its use is likely to become widespread in the next few years.

Recovery

The recovery cost is only a small fraction of the funds needed to preserve and display an iron object that has been immersed in the sea for many years. So bringing a wreck back to the surface should not be undertaken lightly. In nearly all cases of salvaged U-boats, the results have been financially ruinous. Lifting barges that can raise shipwrecks using large cranes cost tens of thousands of pounds a day to charter. Once recovered, the costs of conservation and presentation mount astronomically as the boat will rapidly start to rust.

The U-boat U-534 was also sunk by the RAF in 1945, close to where U-3523 now lies. Its crew all evacuated that boat, meaning that she was not a grave when recovered from the sea in 1993 by Danish businessman Karsten Ree, allegedly in the somewhat incredible belief that it carried Nazi treasure. At a reported cost of £3m, the operation is thought to have been unprofitable. The boat contained nothing special, just the usual mundane objects carried on a U-boat at war.

U-534 after the rescue. Les Pickstock/Flickr, CC BY

Similar problems were experienced by the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in the UK when it raised the Holland 1 submarine in 1982. In that case, the costs of long-term preservation proved much greater than anticipated after the initial rust-prevention treatment failed to stop the boat corroding. It had to be placed in a sealed tank full of alkali sodium carbonate solution for four years until the corrosive chloride ions had been removed, and was then transferred to a purpose-built exhibition building to protect it further.

The expensive process of raising more sunken submarines will add little to our knowledge of life at sea during World War II. But each time a U-boat is found, it places one more jigsaw piece in its correct place, giving us a clearer picture of the history of the U-boat wars. This is the true purpose of archaeology.


Innes McCartney, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Department of Archaeology, Anthropology and Forensic Science, Bournemouth University

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

Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship Interview Training – Book Now

Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship Interview Training

Monday, 14th May 2018 – 09:30-16:00

Reserve your place now!

This workshop is aimed primarily at ECRs but may be of benefit to academics and researchers wishing to apply for RAE fellowships that require an interview. This intensive event will introduce the Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship scheme and go through eligibility, requirements and assessment criteria.

Attendees will think about how they fulfil these criteria, start to plot ideas for a proposal and consider whether the Fellowship is right for them. There will even be a chance to practice interview skills so you’ll get an insight into every step of the application process.

 

For the future, there will also be a similar workshop for the Royal Society on 5th July 2018. You can book now for that event too.

 

 

 

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.

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.

10th Annual Postgraduate Research Conference Winner Profiles

On Wednesday 7 March 2018 the Doctoral College hosted the 10th Annual Postgraduate Research Conference which brought together and recognised the excellence of BU’s postgraduate research.

Meet this year’s winners:

  Mark Stevens, Faculty of Management

Research topic: A social identity approach to understanding physical activity.

Why I chose this research topic: As a regular runner, and someone who engages in a lot of physical activity myself, I am a strong believer that being active should be a priority for us all. Having also seen first hand the issues being inactive can cause, and being aware of the scale of the inactivity crisis we are facing on a global scale, I am passionate about understanding the factors that influence people’s physical activity levels and devising effective ways of getting—and keeping—people more active.

Example of how research at BU has changed things for me: My PhD has given me the opportunity to learn a wide variety of new skills and develop my existing skills in several areas. For example, working closely with my supervisors, collaborating with researchers around the world, and working to publish journal articles has helped me learn several advanced methods of statistical analysis and develop my academic writing.

Quick quote:  Following on the physical activity theme, but also a good thought about working hard: “Nobody ever drowned in their own sweat!”

  Stephen Allard, Faculty of Media & Communication

Research topic: When does Page become Stage: Exploring Evolving Poetic Practices in Digital Spaces.

Why I chose this topic: The growth and popularity of social media sites, especially within the last decade, has arguably forever changed the way that we imagine, interact with, and relate to, each other. With increasing cynicism towards these new social worlds of words, with terms such as ‘fake news’ ingrained in the public consciousness, I am fascinated by how poets might add their voices to these new social frontiers. If a search for truth about online interaction is currently only revealing something increasingly seen as fake, then can perhaps poets, using something fictional, reveal new truths about ourselves, and each other, online?  

Example of how research at BU has changed things for me: Bournemouth University has a rich, diverse, and interactive postgraduate research community, that actually feels like a community. Through events, workshops, and talks, I have gained the opportunity to work with a range of talented and passionate researchers, working across many fields and in many disciplines. This has not only pushed the boundaries and possibilities of my own research, but also opened up new opportunities, and completely new ways of thinking about the postgraduate experience.

Quick quote: Oscar Wilde: ‘Everything in moderation, including moderation’

Louise Oliver, Faculty of Health & Social Sciences

Research topic: Family Narratives of Child-to-Parent Violence and Abuse: Lifting the Veil of Secrecy

Why I chose this topic:  I have worked within Children’s Social Care for over a decade, with a focus on working with family violence and abuse.  As part of my practice, it became apparent that there was a dearth of research about children who are controlling, aggressive and/or violent towards their parents, as well as limited targeted support for families experiencing child-to-parent violence and abuse.   This motivated me to study this form of family violence and abuse in order to further prevent, intervene and support families experiencing this.

Example of how research at BU has changed things for me: ​This research has helped in many ways, it has helped develop my practice by improving my theoretical understanding of family violence and abuse, and I have been able to incorporate this within my practice.   I am also in a position that I am able to offer advice and guidance to my colleagues.

Quick quote:  “…a moment of silence, a question without answer, provokes a breach without reconciliation where the world is forced to question itself” (Foucault 1967)

  Amal Musa Almoualed, Faculty of Media & Communication

Research topic: Saudi Women Journalists—An Exploration of Their Role and Practice in an Age of National Transformation

Why I chose this topic:  The advancement, development and empowerment of women is a lifelong interest of mine, something I wish to study and achieve in my personal and professional life. This motivated me to approach my research from both sides—‘journalism’ and ‘women’—in order to combine my joint passions for journalism research and the advancement of women.

Example of how research at BU has changed things for me:  Being a researcher in Women and Journalism at Bournemouth University has developed my personal and professional skills and exposed me to other cultures. This has helped broaden my horizons and also helps me communicate more effectively with professionals and colleagues from different cultures.

Quick quote:   These are two of my own quotes, which I always recall whenever I need to encourage myself to continue pursuing my dreams:

‘Being a woman means to have patience, determination, enthusiasm and confidence as you challenge any barriers that limit your success in your personal and professional life.’

‘Some women seek to be pretty and work hard to remain pretty their entire life; however, I believe my prettiness is determined by being mindful, ambitious, and successful in achieving my goals.’

  Ejike T. Ezeh, Faculty of Health & Social Sciences

Research topic: Shared decision-making: investigating the potential of an interactive, web-based information tool to support treatment choice of people with advanced pancreatic cancer

Why I chose this topic:  I have always been interested in the impact of information technology in healthcare, and when the opportunity became available, I applied and was selected. Also, being able to help people in making important decisions about their health is a rewarding experience for me.

Example of how research at BU has changed things for me:  Research has taught me that you have to be very thorough and systematic even in the most basic things in life. Someone may build on your work in the future. I am more careful in my utterances as well. There must be sufficient evidence to support them.

Quick quote:  When the going gets extremely tough, then you are close to a breakthrough.

 Nurist Surayya Ulfa, Faculty of Media & Communication

Research topic: I am undertaking a PhD on ‘the digital virtual consumption practices and commercial enculturation among Indonesian Muslim girls’. In particular, the work aims to account for how Indonesian Muslim girls’ engagement with DVC in Girls games shapes both their literacy of and desire for Western consumer culture and the role of Islam in the process. By doing this, enables me to shed light on the interplay between market and religion under the consumer culture theory traditions.

Why I chose this topic:  Since 2009, as an academia in Diponegoro University Indonesia, I have been interested in studying children and marketing communication themes in Indonesia. My PhD problematization derived from my previous finding on Muslim children engagements with local and global media practices.

Example of how research at BU has changed things for me:  Undertaking PhD in Bournemouth University is a journey that I have thoroughly enjoyed so far. The reliable and supportive supervisory team is obviously the best part of my PhD journey. By way of their guidance, I have learned a lot about my research area and had valuable opportunities to develop myself.

Giulia Levi, Faculty of Health & Social Sciences

Research topic: Between silence and agitation. Coping strategies and third-party interventions in divided societies: a comparison between post-conflict Bosnia and post-referendum UK.

Why I chose this topic:  The Brexit referendum has favoured the emergence of new lines of division in the British society. After years working in civil society organisations operating in divided contexts I have seen how initiatives to bridge societal divisions often apply standardised models overlooking the specificities of the contexts and of the people they work with. My project looks at how such initiatives are experienced by beneficiaries in order to develop a more socio-culturally sensitive approach.

Example of how research at BU has changed things for me:  Since I started my PhD I’ve had the chance to participate in workshops and conferences, meeting researchers I could discuss my ideas with. As part of my research I am exploring the cultural diversity of Dorset collaborating with civil society organizations on the ground that work on hate crime prevention and victims’ support.

Quick quote:  ‘Every culture is always on a nomadic path’ (M. Engelke)

#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.