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Challenging accepted ‘givens’

Last week, I (Jonathan Parker, Professor of Social Work & Social Policy, Deputy Dean for Research and Knowledge Exchange and Director of the Centre for Social Work, Sociology and Social Policy in HSC) presented a keynote lecture at University Campus Suffolk’s annual conference on social work education and practice last week.

In the lecture, I questioned the increased reliance on practice learning in professional education, reminding delegates – academics and social work practitioners from East Anglia, Essex, Norfolk, Nottingham and Suffolk – that there has been almost uncritical acceptance of this pedagogic methodology demonstrating compliance rather than research-based reflection. I drew on many years of research critically questioning the concept of practice learning to paint alternative pictures of it to the ones promoted by those advocating reform.

I sought to ‘trouble’ the recent reforms of social work education and challenged professional bodies and Government to work together and let recent reforms ‘bed-in’ before attempting further revision. I questioned the anecdotal evidence used to initiate reform as representing political ideology and a means of deflecting attention from other social policy failures rather than indicating a pressing need for change. Using models from organisational sociology and the pursuit of legitimacy through standardisation, consistency and compliance, I called for a continuing questioning and discomforting of ‘givens’, and commitment to searching for best evidence whilst questioning the meanings professionals make of ‘evidence’ and the power relations it constructs. The appeal for intellectually robust resistance to poorly evidenced and politically-motivated calls for reform was well received.

Poland and the Eurozone Conference – September Event

Poland and the Eurozone Conference

Date: Thursday 19 & Friday 20 September 2013

Venue: Bournemouth University, Executive Business Centre<>, BH8 8EB Register for this free event here<>.

Poland is one of Europe’s economic out-performers. The country’s history and geography encourage it to be in favour of deeper European integration. But setbacks affecting the EURO impacted Poland’s European stance with caution. Proposals for pressing ahead with deeper political integration for EMU countries – a step towards a ‘two-speed Europe’ that would leave the Poles outside, have been received reservedly in Warsaw.

The keynote address will be given by Leszek Balcerowicz<> on “Euro: problems and solutions”.  Leszek, former deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and President of the National Bank of Poland, is a Professor of Economics at the Warsaw School of Economics.

This conference aims to contribute to discussions on the future shape of economic and monetary union (EMU) and the next steps ahead. Contributions on all aspects are welcome in the form of 300 word abstracts.

We aim to publish a selection of conference papers with the Palgrave/Macmillan’s book series ‘Studies in Economic Transition’.<>

 Please send all submissions by email<> before 15 July 2013.

The “Impact” of a research project, after 10 years!

Dr Maharaj Vijay Reddy from the School of Tourism has carried out a research project for UNESCO Paris on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India – exactly before 10 years in 2002-2003. The purpose of this 8-month project on one of the remotest and most sensitive destinations of the world was to identify potential natural and cultural properties for UNESCO World Heritage nominations and extend further dialogues with the local, national and international parties for conservation and sustainable development.

During those years, research supported by foreign organizations of any kind is often perceived as security threat or as having foreign strings attached to projects owing to the Andaman Nicobar sensitivity issues. Some 24 potential islands in both the Andaman and Nicobar groups were selected and were then visited by Dr Vijay Reddy for the study after the pilot survey. The project consulted several officials including Indian government ambassador, senior staff from the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, UNESCO New Delhi, Ministry of Environment and Forests in New Delhi; Andaman Nicobar Administration officials such as the Chief Secretary and Director of the Department of  Tourism, and local researchers, politicians and indigenous community. The project identified two sites that were considered to have outstanding cultural and natural potential and recommended for UNESCO designation: (1) Ross Island and the Cellular Jail and (2) the Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve. Since then, there were several official meetings and negotiations were initiated by UNESCO Paris and the Indian Government Departments. Based on the findings, Dr Reddy has published a paper entitled “World Heritage Site selection in sensitive areas: Andaman and Nicobar Islands” in the Journal of Heritage Tourism in 2009 (Vol 4; pp 267-285). The Great Nicobar was nominated twice in 2010 and in 2012 for the UNESCO Man and Biosphere (MAB) designation.

The International Coordinating Council of UNESCO MAB met during 27 to 30 May 2013 has considered and added the Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve and 11 other sites to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The additions bring the total number of UNESCO biosphere reserves to 621 in 117 countries:

Dr Vijay Reddy recently communicated with UNESCO MAB Paris and said he is “delighted to hear the news of the approval of Great Nicobar as a UNESCO biosphere reserve”.  On this occasion, Dr Reddy would like to thank UNESCO Paris; Mr Asheem Srivatsav (Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi); Mr Akash Mohapatra (Department of Tourism, Andaman Islands); Mr Harry Andrews (the Andaman and Nicobar Environmental Team, Andaman Islands); and many others who offered assistance for his project in 2002-03. Dr Reddy says the credit also goes to the excellent researchers worked / working ‘continuously in such challenging locations’ of the Great Nicobar that strengthened the Great Nicobar dossier. This international approval by UNESCO MAB will hugely help the stakeholders to control problems like illegal poaching and other environmental concerns related to the Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve.

Celebrating Impact Prize winners 2013: shaping our understanding of impact?

In my role, frequently I am asked about what is impact and how engagement work can lead to impact. There is, sadly, no easy answer to these questions – which proves especially challenging in the development of impact case studies for the REF or research proposals requiring an impact summary and a pathways to impact statement. To an extent, appropriate engagement and impact is highly dependent upon the nature of the research in question and the researcher(s) involved – but again that does not provide any easier answers on how to develop impact or demonstrate excellence. With the REF2014 submission looming in November, much discussion of impact seems to focus on the difficulties associated with writing impact case studies, understanding our approach to impact since 2008 and what will be our future impact strategy. Thus, much discussion of impact is tainted with negativity, not helped by wider discussion around the funding of research and what is most beneficial to society.

Amidst this gloom, it is perhaps all too easy to forget the outstanding work that goes on across the sector whereby colleagues are, day-in day-out making a positive difference to our society and economy. I am reminded of  this by recent announcement of the ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize winners for 2013 – you can read the full report here.    This has a personal connection for me – one of the winners of the Outstanding Impact in Public Policy prize, Professor Kevin Morgan – was a senior colleagues (and something of a mentor) in my first research post and an extremely inspirational one at that! At the time (pre RAE 2008 submission days), much focus was on high quality publications, and as a young researcher this is where I was advised to focus! Sound advice which I still relay today, but it is great to see a long track record of impact and engagement being rewarded by the ESRC.

Exactly what constitutes impact will continue to contested, debated and defined – but what is perhaps clear to see is how important it is to share and celebrate what we instinctively know is making a positive difference to the world around us to help guide the development of how impact is evaluated and assessed.




eBU: call for papers and author guidelines

I am delighted to announce that, although not quite live, eBU is now open for business and we are happy to announce a call for papers.

The online journal is split into two parts, a secure internal part where authors can receive peer reviews and feedback to shape their work, either for publication as part of eBU or elsewhere, and an external part for those who wish to publish formally via this route.  The journal is organized around the eight societal BU research themes and a wide range of outputs are welcomed.

Submissions will be open to immediate publication (in a safe internal environment) and open peer review by two appropriate BU academics (for a student submission, one review will normally come from supervisor or relevant academic).  Authors will be encouraged to act upon these reviews by either reworking papers for submission to an external journal or by opting for publication on the external eBU site.

For BU academics this is a great opportunity to get critical appraisal on your early or formative research ideas from colleagues.  For academics it also an opportunity to encourage the submission of high quality student output and possibly to facilitate the co-creation and co-production of publishable material to an external journal or to publish externally with eBU.  For students, this is a fantastic opportunity to turn high quality essays or dissertations into scholarly outputs, which will be attractive to employers across all sectors and industries.

A copy of the author guidelines are attached, and details of drop-in Q&A sessions to be held in each school will be circulated shortly. Please follow the attached eBU guidelines and send submissions* (and any expressions of interest or questions) to or feel free to contact Andrew Harding on 63025.

*Please note that when eBU is live, authors will submit papers by uploading them to the eBU website – only submissions before the live date should be submitted by email.


European Board Visit a Success!

BU recently hosted a 2 day board meeting of the European Media Management Association (EMMA). The board consists of academics’ from Finland, Sweden, Russia, Portugal and Switzerland and they toured the Executive Business Centre facilities in readiness for the forthcoming EMMA conference hosted by the Media School. Dr John Oliver, from the Media School, is Deputy President of EMMA and he said that “the board have been very impressed with our proposed conference programme and the facilities on offer”.
The BU conference team have fully embraced the idea of Fusion in the programme. As well as presentations from leading media management academics, Professional Practice is represented by leading executives from Virgin Media, UKTV and The Hackett Group. A number of keynote speakers will also be video recorded so that the content can be used for educational delivery. Dr John Oliver said that “this conference provides us with a unique opportunity to develop the field media management at BU and having a conference that embraces fusion will have resonance with both academic and professional practice audiences”.

Reminder Fatter Forgetter Friday 24th May

Just a quick reminder about this week’s seminar on Friday

‘The fatter forgetter’, the relationship between appetite and cognition.


May 24th  11.30 – 12.30. Room 302, Royal London House.

You are invited to an interesting seminar looking at the relationship between appetite and cognition, delivered by Dr John Rye from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. I met John when vising Canada in November following a successful fusion bid, and I am delighted he was keen to deliver such an interesting seminar here at Bournemouth University.


Dr John Rye is currently an associate clinical lecturer in the department of Rural Family Medicine, at the Universisity of Saskatchewan, Canada, He also provides GP coverage for Nipawin , Blaine  Lake and Big River as well as looking after long term care residents in Prince Albert and is part of the rural dementia group. He was formerly in family practice in Prince Albert. He has been part of the palliative care team in Prince Albert since its start in 1991, and shared on it at IHI in Nashville. He is currently on the board of the Rose Garden Hospice, a project for residential terminal care. He went to Canada from England in 1984 with his wife Christine who is a certified palliative care nurse and president of the PAParkland Hospice Palliative Care Association.


If you are interested in attending please let Michele Board, Associate Director BUDI, know to book yourself a place.


LAST CHANCE TO ENTER! Apply for the Society of Biology’s Science Communication Awards 2013!

Two weeks left to apply for the Society of Biology’s Science Communication Awards 2013!


The awards recognise outstanding outreach work carried out by both young scientists and established researchers to inform, enthuse and engage the public. The competition is open to bioscience researchers from UK universities and institutes and there are two categories of award:

New Researcher – Prize £750

Established Researcher – Prize £1,500

Further details are available on the website and the deadline is midnight 31 May 2013

Contact Karen Patel directly with any questions.


BUDI Open House at RLH and Talbot Campus

Hello everybody,

Bournemouth University Dementia Institute have new offices at Talbot Campus (PG 63) and at Royal London House (3rd Floor), and we would like to invite you to drop in and say hello on the 22nd May from 12.00 to 13.00 in PG63 and on the 5th June from 12.00 to 13.00 at RLH. Bring yourselves, we will supply cake, tea and coffee.

We hope to see you there,

The BUDI team.

Research Seminar – organized by Creative Technology Research Centre

DateWed, 15/05/2013

Time: 14:00

Venue: P302 (Poole House)

Speaker: Hana Almakky

Title: Saudi Culture and User Interface Design – Facebook


Culture is the key aspect of any society that influences the style and perpetuation. It plays vital role in the desires of user viewing Social networking sites.

User interfaces can be more successful if the cultural characteristics are reflected in the interface design. Culturability (Culture and usability) is therefore an acceptable phenomenon and most commonly a requirement while designing user interfaces (Barber and Badre 2001).

Social networking sites have gained huge popularity over the past few decades. They have evolved the modes of communication extensively. In fact, they have contributed to globalization by making communication stronger and effective.

It has been broadly understood that Facebook has been successful in introducing a unique social and a conversational experience. About 900 million users on monthly basis, 526 million users on daily basis, generate 3.2 billion comments and likes in the first quarter of the year 2012 (Pratley, N. 2012).

Throughout 2013, social media continued to grow significantly in Saudi Arabia. Millions of Saudi is using social networking not for only for entertainment and friendship, but also for daily socializing routine.

This seminar will be discussing the initial research findings in respected Facebook user interface design for Saudi Arabia.

“Workforce Development in the Care of Older Adults: Perspectives from the U.S.”

Dr. Phillip G. Clark, Professor and Director of the Program in Gerontology and the Rhode Island Geriatric Education Center at the University of Rhode Island, US and Visiting Professor at the School of Health and Social Care, will be giving a seminar on Workforce Development in the Care of Older Adults: Perspectives from the U.S.

Wednesday 8 May 20131-1.50 pm, B126, Bournemouth House

All welcome.

Dr. Phillip G. Clark is Professor and Director of both the Program in Gerontology and the Rhode Island Geriatric Education Center at the University of Rhode Island in the US, where he has been on the faculty since 1981. He was awarded a Doctorate in Public Health from Harvard University in 1979. He has served as Visiting Professor at the Universities of Guelph and Toronto in Canada (1988-89), and was a Fulbright Scholar at Buskerud University College in Norway (2007). His experience includes teaching health care teamwork, developing interprofessional health care research and demonstration projects, and consulting on interprofessional educational program development and evaluation. He is co-author of Health Care Teamwork: Interdisciplinary Practice and Teaching (Auburn House/Greenwood, 2000); his work has been published in The GerontologistCanadian Journal on AgingJournal of Aging and HealthAgeing and SocietyEducational GerontologyGerontology and Geriatrics Education, and the Journal of Interprofessional Care. Dr. Clark is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.  He is Visiting Professor at the School of Health and Social Care, Bournemouth University and on the leadership group of the Special Interest Group IN-2-THEORY (Interprofessional scholarship, education and practice).

European Science Foundation and Global Changes in the Marine Environment

I was very proud to have been invited by the Institute of Marine Sciences – National Research Council (ISMAR-CNR) in Venice who developed on the European Science Foundation Platform, the Exploratory Workshop:  Marine woodborers: New Frontiers for European Waters. And I have to say that that was one of the most exciting research opportunities I have taken part of in the recent past.

The European Science Foundation (ESF) was established in 1974 to provide a common platform for its Member Organisations to advance European research collaboration and explore new directions for research. Currently it is an independent organisation, owned by 67 Member Organisations, which are research funding organisations, research performing organisations and academies from 29 countries.

The focus of the Exploratory Workshops scheme is on workshops aiming to explore an emerging and/or innovative field of research or research infrastructure, also of interdisciplinary character. Workshops are expected to open up new directions in research or new domains. It is expected that a workshop shall conclude with plans for follow-up research activities and/or collaborative actions or other specific outputs at international level.

The organisers, namely Davide Tagliapietra, Erica Keppel and Marco Sigovini – all from the ISMAR-CNR- did an amazing job in organising this much needed research group and by planning an excellent working programme.

The topic, centred on Marine woodborers is of utmost important as these organisms are a threat to maritime structure and archaeological heritage. Recently, an increase in attack and a northward spread has been reported. Despite the ecological, economical and cultural importance, research on this subject is carried out by few scientists scattered across Europe. An interdisciplinary approach is needed to reach a synthesis of knowledge and a deeper understanding of the causal factors. The main outcome of the workshop is the establishment of a research network aiming to coordinate scientists with an European perspective and a global view. Through the establishment of such a network, new theoretical and technical developments could be achieved.

The agenda of the workshop was to focus on:

1) bringing together experts in complementary fields that have hitherto not collaborated as a group;

2) identifying additional research competences that are not covered within the group of participants;

3) identifying, exchanging and sharing research interests for future joint leading research projects and developing an application strategies;

4) the establishment of an international network on marine woodborers.

Despite the subject ([wood-]‘boring’ organisms), there wasn’t a single dull moment. It was very exciting to spent a considerable amount of time with international peers coming from as far as Colombia and discussing the problems surrounding these particular organisms.

All sessions were extremely interesting and productive and I totally enjoyed chairing one of them in the Knowledge Café, with my hat of maritime archaeologist whose research interest based also based on marine organisms and global changes, but I am also one of few who combines degradation and protection of the cultural heritage and marine science. The Knowledge Café focussed on Systematics and biogeography, Marine woodborer-microorganism interactions, Protection of shipwrecks and maritime structures. Each group discussed weaknesses: Problems, constrains and bottlenecks, Strengths: Opportunities, synergies, and Perspectives: Solutions, actions and recommendations.

19 international peers attended, which was by invitation only, this amazing opportunity, some of which were old friends and some of which have become reference points for my current and future research on wood borers.

All with the amazing architectural beauties of a tiny Venetian island just in front of one of the world most famous squares: San Marco square!

Paola Palma 

Socnet Conference at HSC

Erasmus Social Work International Week at the Centre for Social Work, Sociology & Social Policy, HSC

 The Erasmus SOCNET International Social Work Week, which runs every April from the 15th to the 19th  of the month,  is a multi-site annual event held at host European universities drawn from across the 19 HEI members of the SOCNET network  on a 3-year rota.  This very popular event brings together a diverse range of European academics and students with an interest in social work and welfare to participate in a packed week of educational, cultural and social events.

 This year, and for the first time, it was BU’s turn to host this prestigious event held jointly by HSC staff and students from the BA and MA Social Work programmes and BA Sociology & Social Policy.  HSC welcomed academics and accompanying students from Germany, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands for a very busy educational week, which received highly enthusiastic evaluations from participants.

 The chosen theme of this year’s SOCNET conference at BU was  ‘Diversity and the processes of marginalization and otherness: giving voices to hidden themes’.  The event was opened by Vice Chancellor, Professor John Vinney, followed by a keynote lecture from Professor Jonathan Parker. Professor Gail Thomas, Dean of the School of Health & Social Care, was guest of honour at the lecturers’ Welcome Dinner held at the Print Room Restaurant, Bournemouth – the first of a number of lively social events held that week. Members of the organizing committee on the staff side included Jill Davey, Jonathan Parker, Sara Crabtree, Richard Williams and Chris Willetts, all of whom were also involved in delivery of presentations ranging from problematising anti-oppressive social work practice to a comparative South Africa/UK study of kinship care to Islamophobia in Europe.  HSC PhD student and Associate Lecturer, David Galley, gave an important lecture on the historical context of migration and its influence on welfare. Social Work students Michelle Lillywhite, David Oppong and Ralph Daniel, and Sociology & Social Policy students Abby Jeffery, Heidi Crew, Luana Silliton and Samineh Hall were instrumental in organizing student events, together with delivery of their own student-led thematic workshops. Finally, invaluable administrative management was provided by HSC’s efficient Administrator, Karen Long. 

 Above all, however, the importance of the SOCNET International Week lies in the ability to sustain the continuation and expansion of a dynamic community of international scholars and educators. Drawn from across the interconnecting disciplines of social work, law and social policy these academics are actively committed to promoting a participatory and internationalised student-focused curriculum on the diverse features of European social work and welfare. The peer collegiality of the event embraces an ever-changing body of students as peer-learners and equal participants in developing specific conference themes, and assisting to develop the sustainability of the network. This in turn generates further engagement through student/staff exchanges and research collaboration.

 To further promote these excellent goals, selected chapters generated from the best of the workshops at BU will be developed into an edited volume entitled Diversity and the Processes of Marginalisation: Reflections on Social Work in Europe, under the editorship of Sara (Ashencaen) Crabtree and Jill Davey (Whiting & Birch publishers). This collection follows from last year’s initiative to produce the first SOCNET volume entitled Active Ageing? Perspectives from Europe on a vaunted topic, under editors María Lusia Gómez Jiménez, University of Malaga, and Jonathan Parker, BU.