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International Composer Residencies for BU academic

I was recently selected for two composer residencies in Sweden, first at Elektronmusik Studion (EMS), Stockholm (June 2023), and then at Studio Alpha, Visby International Centre for Composers (VICC), Visby, Sweden (September 2023). Both studios feature immersive multichannel surround sound systems of extremely high quality, enabling me to explore in-depth the compositional possibilities of spatial audio. 

Studio 2 at EMS Stockholm

Studio Alpha at Visby International Centre for Composers

During these residencies I was able to focus on the use of ambisonic sound. Ambisonic sound is used in many areas of the creative industries, such as music and sound recording, music creation, cinema and TV sound design, and game audio. The format allows for spatial audio ‘environments’ to be created within a virtual listening space using computer software, positioning and moving individual sounds around the listening area. Most significantly, this spatial audio can then be decoded for any playback system – from binaural for earbuds, conventional stereo, and on to immersive audio systems of 64 loudspeakers or more, yet always retaining the composed spatial image.

This scalability of ambisonic sound makes it extremely flexible when presenting immersive audio work in different venues of different sizes, and with different loudspeaker layouts. At EMS, I was able to work using their 15.1 Genelec sound system, which features an array of ceiling loudspeakers, as shown in the photo.

These residencies gave me fantastic opportunities to commence composing new electroacoustic work whilst exploring the ambisonic technique in-depth, using a variety of software tools in different music studio environments.

Ambrose Seddon, Department of Creative Technology and EMERGE

 

26 Bournemouth University academics featured in the latest Stanford University’s database of the world’s top 2% of scientists recently published

26 Bournemouth University academics featured in the latest Stanford University’s database of the world’s top 2% of scientists recently published by

Ioannidis, John P.A. (2023), “October 2023 data-update for “Updated science-wide author databases of standardized citation indicators””,

Elsevier Data Repository, V6, https://elsevier.digitalcommonsdata.com/datasets/btchxktzyw/6

 

Report: Violence Against Women and Girls: Social Justice in Action Conference: 29th June 2023.

BU’s Centre for Seldom Heard Voices and the Soroptimist’s International Bournemouth Branch hosted a Violence Against Women and Girls: Social Justice in Action conference on 29th June 2023.


The conference included talks and workshops from Dr Liz Dominey from the Soroptimists Bournemouth Club; Sarbjit Athwal, founder of charity True Honour; BU’s Chancellor, Kate Adie CBE; Paula Harriott, Head of Prisoner Engagement at the Prison Reform Trust; Jamie Fletcher and three of his students; Dr Kari Davies; and Dr Louise Oliver and Hannah Gurr. It was also supported by Tina Symington, Community Safety Manager, Housing & Communities Directorate BCP.

A report from the research that took place during the event (via the Problem and Solution Tress and Appreciative Enquiry Event) was submitted this as written evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee’s inquiry, The escalation of violence against women and girls. The report will be available on BRIAN and also the new National Centre for Cross Disciplinary Social Work’s website. If anyone would like an advance read then please email Louise Oliver or Orlanda Harvey.

Key Points Arising from the Conference:

The first set of issues came under the area of changes needed in social policy and direct practice (top down and bottom-up working). This focussed in particular on:

a) Long-term, sustainable funding to resource support, interventions and preventions.
b) Increased flexibility in support so that the services ‘fit in with the clients’ not ‘the clients forced to fit in’ with services.
c) Wraparound support for frontline staff working in this field.
d) A need to create more safe spaces in places where victims/survivors can go to without suspicion from the abuser, e.g., GP and school.
e) A need to make reporting easier from members of the public to professionals, including quick referrals as they are better than none.

The second main area was the identification of what needs to be continued (and developed) in policy and direct practice. Examples of local and national good practice were identified in the following areas, participants were in agreement that these should be continued and built on:

a) Multi-agency working.
b) Legislation and policy to intervene/prevents VAWG.
c) Support for those experienced VAWG e.g., support groups and refuges.
d) Small charities working together.
e) More knowledge exchange and training about VAWG, for example, more conferences which bring different professionals together.
f) A broad range of evidence-based offender/perpetrator programmes.
g) Early intervention work especially more work done in early years education around relationships, gender and family violence.
h) Awareness of these issues within the public domain particularly in social media.

Long COVID-19 Research – Participants Needed!

Are you continuing to struggle with COVID-19 symptoms at least 8-weeks after a positive COVID-19 test or have been diagnosed with Long COVID-19? Are you interested in understanding how Long COVID-19 impacts the ability to conduct daily activities?

If so please see the below poster and contact us for further information – marmstrong@bournemouth.ac.uk

Calm and hope as medicine during stress

A study by an international team of scientists, including Dr Laura Renshaw-Vuillier from Bournemouth University, has for the first time established a relationship between specific emotions and wellbeing during a period of collective stress.

The findings, published in the journal Emotion, showed that calm and hope appear to be promising routes to psychological wellbeing. Anxiety, loneliness, and sadness are consistently associated with reduced wellbeing. The researchers believe this is an important finding for wellbeing interventions, especially in view of future societal crises.

“It is common sense that when people feel good, they report higher levels of well-being. But people don’t just feel ‘good’ or bad’, we feel excited or hopeful or calm; or angry or sad or lonely,” explained Dr Renshaw-Vuillier, Principal Academic in Psychology.

“Understanding the contribution of specific types of emotional experiences is key to guiding efforts to enhance well-being, particularly in times of collective stress like the COVID pandemic, or climate change,” she continued.

The team of sixty-two researchers tested the hypothesis that certain kinds of emotional experiences relate to psychological wellbeing during a stressful period.

They conducted a survey among 24,221 participants in fifty-one countries during the Covid-19 pandemic. They then followed this up with a repeat study in the USA and UK, and a further study where participants completed a diary of their feelings and behaviours.

“We found that only the specific emotional experiences of calm and hope were consistently associated with better psychological well-being, while anxiety, loneliness and sadness were linked with lower wellbeing. The exciting part is that these results were consistent across 51 countries, held across analytical approaches, and were confirmed in a replication and a diary study as well.”

The scientists advise that their findings provide a key to strengthening individual and societal interventions to improve wellbeing.

“This does not imply that emotions and well-being are a personal responsibility, or that we should only just experience positive emotions,” said Dr Renshaw-Vuillier. “Unpleasant emotions are entirely natural and a part of an everyday healthy life. But it suggests that interventions targeting these emotions, for instance through public institutions creating opportunities to experience moments of calm and hope, may be helpful to improve collective well-being, particularly in periods of collective stress,” she concluded.

Raising the SDG flag at Bournemouth University

Zoom meeting, Live streaming on Facebook,

25th September 1 pm- 2pm

Raising the SDG flag at Bournemouth University

 

We are delighted to join the #togetherfortheSDGs movement and alongside many organisations in the UK, we are thrilled to raise the SGDs flag at Bournemouth University (BU) to celebrate the 8th anniversary of the SDGs.

In this webinar, we would like to briefly discuss how we embed the SDGs in our teaching to raise awareness and inspire our students to take action

Sid Ghosh (Operation Management), Lingling Wei (Business Law), Osikhuemhe Okwilagwe (Strategy),and Kaouther Kooli (Marketing) will draw from their different disciplines perspectives to share their practice in embedding the SDGs in their teaching and inspire and give their students the best skills and capabilities  that will help them raise the SDGs flag, now with us, and later in their career. Matt Cosier founder of Gaia Card, a BU alumni will also join to share with us how his learning experience at BU enabled him in his endeavour to create Gaia Card.

Bournemouth University is a member of the EAUC, an organisation that is supporting UK HE in achieving sustainability. An EAUC representative will join us to celebrate the Eighth anniversary of the SDGs and share their viewpoints. Also, we will have on board Bloomsbury Academic Publishing to give from their perspective, how best we could develop our pool of resources and together equip students with the necessary skills that will enable them to become the future leaders of this SDGs endeavour.

The meeting will be Live on Facebook. Please join us and interact with us. You can use  Kaouther Kooli to join the meeting.

On behalf of our team, I would like to express our gratitude to Stuart Claw, Marketing and Communication for supporting the SDGs celebration and in particular this event.

BU Research Staff Association

BU Research Staff Association (RSA) is a forum to promote BU research culture. Research staff from across BU are encouraged to attend to network with others researchers, disseminate their work, discuss career opportunities, hear updates on how BU is implementing the Research Concordat, and give feedback or raise concerns that will help to develop and support the research community at BU.

There are three Institutional Representatives. Their role is to facilitate the BU RSA events, attend both the BU RCSG and the URPPC meetings, to provide an update on the BU RSA, and raise any feedback or concerns. The Institutional Representatives are: Chaoguang Wang, Faculty of Media & Communication, Anastasia Vayona, Faculty of Science & Technology, Rejoice Chipuriro, Faculty of Health & Social Science

Each Faculty also has two Research Staff Representatives. Their role is to support the BU reps in facilitating the BU RSA events, attending the BU RCSG and URPPC meetings to provide an update on the BU RSA and feedback any comments or concerns.

The current Faculty Research Staff Representatives are:

Faculty of Health and Social Science, Gladys Yinusa and Sophia Amenyah

Faculty of Science and Technology, Kimberley Davies

You can  contact the RSA reps @ ResearchStaffAssociation@bournemouth.ac.uk

 

 

Postdoc Appreciation Week: Dr Rejoice Chipuriro

This week is UK Postdoc Appreciation Week and we are celebrating and showcasing the achievements of our postdoctoral researchers and their important contribution to research at BU. 

Today’s post is by Dr Rejoice Chipuriro, Post-Doctoral Researcher In Social Care, about her experiences as a postdoctoral researcher… 

I trained as a social worker in Zimbabwe before relocating to South Africa where I obtained my MA in Social Development and PhD in Sociology. I joined Bournemouth University in February 2022 as a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Social Science and Social Work.

A group of researchers stood on steps

Dr Rejoice Chipuriro with her wider research team

I have worked in community-led interventions and health research programmes in Southern Africa and in the UK. My current research projects are both funded by the National Institute of Health and Social Care and focus on community assets and how these contribute to people’s health and wellbeing (commonhealthassets.uk).

I also work with a local arts-based community organisation which supports mental health for marginalised populations such as asylum seekers, people in recovery from drug and alcohol use.

I was initially drawn to social work as a helping profession and later I ventured into research to learn from and understand the societies that I worked in. When I practised social work, I noticed that beyond individual pathologies lay structural and socio-economic issues that either developed or deprived access to life enhancing choices and opportunities. This led me to studying social development and sociology. I found these inter-disciplinary postgraduate courses helpful for my community work.

I was able to co-design participatory and anti-oppressive interventions with the help of people in the communities as experts by experience. I enjoy supporting people going through life transitions as well as groups and communities striving for a more equitable and just society for all.

What I like about being a post-doctoral researcher

I have travelled widely and met researchers, academics, and communities of practice across the globe, which is an enriching experience. I have presented my research in three continents and collaborated on research across the globe. My network is expansive, and I have accessed resources, intellectual support, and mentorship which has helped me grow professionally. I bring with me this international experience into my work, and this benefits the students and communities I support. When work is challenging, I have empathetic colleagues who hold the space for me and offer encouragement when I need it most.

I have been granted opportunities to teach social work and sociology units as well as to co-facilitate CPD units. I am still mastering teaching skills whilst I support colleagues in lesson planning, delivering virtual and in-person teaching and assessments. I enjoy doing things out of my comfort zone and this aspect of my academic training was at first intimidating but now pleasant. I have settled into my teaching duties well and I like infusing the creative as well as pragmatic aspects of my research into the lectures to enhance student learning experience from different fields of practice.

I was allocated a fellow post doc to be my uni buddy, who helped me settle into my role and the practicalities of living in Bournemouth and we became friends, which alleviated some loneliness away from home. I was assigned mentors to help direct my career progression. From the mentorship I managed to submit a successful portfolio of evidence for my associate fellow Advance HE. I also got mentorship in submitting research bids and got my first grant as a Principal Investigator. These achievements are an indicator of the time and effort invested into professional development for post-docs at BU.

The difficult part of being a post-doc

The writing process for peer reviewed publication can be lonely and arduous. However, BU has put in place support for post-docs to attend writing retreats, meet fellow post-docs, exchange ideas and make friendships. This alleviates loneliness and the retreats are an opportunity to learn from established academics. I have joined research centres such as the Centre for Seldom Heard Voices and the Women’s Academic Network, where I present my work and get feedback, which has also positively impacted my academic publishing.

If you’d like to write a blog post to share your appreciation for our postdoctoral researchers, please contact research@bournemouth.ac.uk. You can also get involved on social media during Postdoc Appreciation Week by using #LovePostdocs and #NPAW2023 on Twitter and Instagram and tagging us @BU_Research or @UK_NPAW.

Postdoc Appreciation Week: Enabling insights into reading behaviour

This week is UK Postdoc Appreciation Week and we are celebrating and showcasing the achievements of our postdoctoral researchers and their important contribution to research at BU. 

Today’s post is by Dr Julie Kirkby and Professor Marcin Budka about the work of Postdoctoral Researcher in Machine Learning for the Modelling of Eye Movements Thomas Mercier… 

Enabling Insights into Reading Behaviour and related Pathologies through Eye-Tracking Technology and Machine Learning

In the past decades, eye-tracking technology has emerged as an invaluable tool for uncovering the cognitive processes involved in reading by offering unique insights into individuals’ reading patterns. This technique involves measuring an individual’s gaze position on a computer screen over time with high accuracy to reveal critical information about where and how long their eyes are fixating while navigating text. This provides essential clues about mental processes at play during the act of reading.

Eye-Tracking Technology in Reading Research:

The data collected from eye-tracking technology has proven valuable not only for studying general reading behaviour but also specific disorders such as dyslexia. By examining an individual’s eye movements during a reading task, researchers can better understand the cognitive mechanisms engaged in comprehending written material and potentially improve interventions for those who struggle with reading due to neurological differences or other factors. Additionally, this technology has been used to gain insight into accessibility-related issues of visual stimuli such as web pages.

Challenges in Eye-Tracking Data Analysis: Line Assignment and Measurement Noise

While technological advancements have enabled the recording of gaze points during reading with high accuracy, raw eye-tracking data still requires post-processing to identify which gaze positions are part of fixations (periods of relative positional stability) and which are part of saccades (rapid ballistic eye-movements). Furthermore, for most data analysis in reading research these fixations need to be assigned to an area of interest in the reading stimulus, such as a character or word, depending on the experiment design.

This line assignment can become significantly more difficult when dealing with multi-line passages of text, usually requiring laborious manual correction. The assignment process is made non-trivial by noise present in the tracking data due to factors such as loss of calibration during an experiment, subtle head movements or pupil dilation. Such measurement noise may manifest as dynamically changing vertical drift of recorded gaze positions, causing them to appear closer to lines above or below the actual line being read.

Attempts have been made to create algorithms that automate the line assignment process to enable researchers to carry out larger studies involving multi-line reading experiments that more closely resemble reading as it would happen outside the lab. However, these techniques often lack sufficient accuracy and reliability, leading to manual correction remaining the gold standard for addressing noise in eye-tracking fixation data.

Julie Kirkby (Department of Psychology) and Marcin Budka (Department of Computing and Informatics) are working with post-doctoral researcher Thomas Mercier, to tackle this noise correction/lines assignment problem using modern machine learning algorithms. This works by utilising deep neural networks that work directly on sequences of fixations and assign each of them to their most appropriate line of text.

Thanks to the rich and diverse datasets from previous studies carried out at BU, Thomas was able to train such a model to outperform all previously published methods of automatic line assignment. This new model is highly consistent across all datasets, unlike previous models, which makes our model a robust, default choice that will automate this task and enable researchers across psychology and the cognitive sciences to carry out and analyse eye-tracking studies with larger amounts of text without being limited by the bottleneck of manual line assignments or the need to test multiple models.

As a result, Thomas’s work represents an important step forward in advancing our understanding of cognitive processes through improved methodologies for analysing large volumes of text-based eye-tracking data (paper currently under review in the IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, a high impact journal).

Thomas will make the current code public and follow up with a publication focusing on usability of the program for non-machine learning researchers. Thomas is currently extending this model, to include diagnosing specific disorders such as dyslexia and schizophrenia.

If you’d like to write a blog post to share your appreciation for our postdoctoral researchers, please contact research@bournemouth.ac.uk. You can also get involved on social media during Postdoc Appreciation Week by using #LovePostdocs and #NPAW2023 on Twitter and Instagram and tagging us @BU_Research or @UK_NPAW.

Proofreading your article accepted for publication

It is always a pleasure to see your own paper in print.  If all is properly organised at the publisher, the first time you see you paper as it will look in its final version when you receive the proof copy.  It is the authors’ task to proofread this final copy and pick up any mistakes you may have made or the journal has made putting your word file into the journal’s layout.  More and more journals now ask you to do the proofreading and editing online.  The first message here is that proofreading is exact business and most certainly time consuming.  Moreover, feeding back mistakes you may find in the proofs is not without its trials and tribulations.

Yesterday we received the proofs for a paper accepted by BMC Health Research Policy & Systems [1]. The BMC is part of the publisher Springer , and it uses an online proof system eProofing to which the authors get temporary access, to read and correct text.  This system looks good online, but beware the online version you get to edit does not look the same as the version that will appear in print.  The draft print version generated by eProofing has line numbers which don’t appear online when you are editing the proofs.  So we had to write on the online system separately that we found a set of quotes glued together, as the system does not allow authors to change the lay-out (for obvious reasons). In this case,  we had to write details like: “There needs to be a space after first quote line 421.”  What might look okay in the eProofing version didn’t do so  in the print version, where it was it is wrong.  This is illustrated in the example picture below.

 

Last month we battled with the proofs of another BU paper forthcoming in the journal Women and Birth [2], which is part of Elsevier.  Again, it has an online system for proofs.  This system does not allow the authors to correct mistakes in in the line spacing.  So we ended up writing to journal manager, not the editor, things like: “There is a very big gap between the end of section 3.7. and Overview of findings section – please could the text be rearranged to get rid of this big gap.”  We also asked for a summary section to be kept on one page, not having an orphan two words on the next page, but that appeared to be too difficult a request.  We think we a little flexibility, i.e. a human intervention the lay-out could have been improved.  See illustration below with text as it appears in the current online-first version.

We like to stress our advice to set plenty of time aside to read and edit the proofs, and to send details instructions to the journal manager or editor about what needs changing.  Changes include typos, grammar and style, but also lay-out of text and illustrations, boxes in the text, tables and figures.  “It is also important to check tables and figures during the proof-reading as the formatting can often go astray during the typesetting process” as we highlighted by Sheppard and colleagues [3].  Also double check correct spelling of names of co-authors and the final author order in the proofs.  Many years ago, I received the proof of pages of a midwifery article [4].

I dutifully read and edited  the proof of the actual text, but I never check the short introduction with the authors’ names which an editor had added to the final proofs.  When the paper came out in print to transpired that this editor has changed the author order, i.e. my name was first, probably because I had submitted the paper on behalf of my co-author.  This cause some problems with my co-author, made all the worse since I am married to her.

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

Centre for Midwifery & Women’s Health

References:

  1. Wasti, S.P., van Teijlingen, E., Rushton, S., Subedi, M., Simkhada, P., Balen, J., Nepal Federalisation of Health Team (2023)  Overcoming the challenges facing Nepal’s health system during federalisation: an analysis of health system building blocks. Journal of the Health Research Policy & Systems. (forthcoming).
  2. Arnold, R., Way, S., Mahato, P., van Teijlingen, E. (2023) “I might have cried in the changing room, but I still went to work”. Maternity staff managing roles, responsibilities, and emotions of work and home during COVID-19: an Appreciative InquiryWomen & Birth (online first) 
  3. Sheppard, Z., Hundley, V., Dahal, N.P., Paudyal, P. (2022) Writing a quantitative paper, In: Wasti, S.P., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P., Hundley, V. with Shreesh, K. (eds.) Writing and Publishing Academic Work, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books, pp.78-87.
  4. van Teijlingen E., Ireland, J.C. (2014) Community midwives on the go. Midwives 1: 54-55.