Category / Women’s Academic Network

New BU publication: Wisdom & skills in social work education

Congratulations to professors Parker and Ashencaen Crabtree in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences on the publication of their latest paper ‘Wisdom and skills in social work education. Promoting critical relational social work through ethnographic practice.’

 

Reference:

  1. Parker, J.& Ashencaen Crabtree, S. (2018). Wisdom and skills in social work education. Promoting critical relational social work through ethnographic practice,
     

Second WAN international seminar ‘Reclaiming the academy: Scholarship, gender and consumerism’

On the 23rd of May the Women’s Academic Network held their second international seminar ‘Reclaiming the academy: Scholarship, gender and consumerism’. Our international keynote speakers were Professor Maggie Berg from Queen’s University, Canada, and Professor Barbara Seeber from Brock University, also in Canada. Notably, Maggie and Barbara are the acclaimed authors of the extraordinary book The Slow Professor: Challenging the culture of speed in the academy. The audience was deeply absorbed by both their keynote speech and workshop, which outlined why ‘slowness’ in academia is vital to university life. We were dismayed to hear of the bizarre attacks made upon their work, in which sexism and gender oppression were clearly implicated, echoing one of the presentations on the silencing of women’s voices by our old colleague, Professor Heather Savigny of De Montford University. Yet Maggie and Barbara’s work speaks with the authority of deep scholarship and conviction and, as such, is generating great support globally. In this seaside corner of the world it has inspired research at BU among WAN members, along with international conference presentations and a forthcoming keynote speech for a DAKAM women’s studies conference in Turkey in December 2018 by Professor Sara Ashencaen Crabtree; and finally, a planned ESRC research bid.

The seminar was well attended by a mixed audience of internal and external academics and PGR, where we, WAN co-convenors, warmly welcomed the support of our good male colleagues in the capacity of presenters and participants. We heard some excellent presentations, culminating in an evocative social dreaming session by Anne-Marie Cummins and Dr Lita Crociani-Windland of the University of West of England. Thanks to our friend, Dr Ian Davies, colleagues and students from BU Music provided a superb finish to the day with beautiful singing and musical accompaniment and the whole event supported by the invaluable help of Sarah Cronin in OD.

The evaluations by participants were (gratifyingly) completely outstanding, encompassing without exception the two highest points of appreciation. Comments related to the excellence of the programme, the relevance of the topic to the audience and the warm collegiality experienced throughout the day. The only criticisms received was that maybe next time a 2-day event rather than 1 (noted, thanks) and that the rather ferocious air-conditioning needed taming (agreed).

Upon reflection the topic of the seminar appeared to hit a strongly vibrating chord in individual participants resonating with growing concern permeating the sector about the morphing and future of academia. For instance, it is disquieting to note from the research literature that the UK appears to be in the vanguard of adopting corporate values, systems and processes that have been critiqued in the literature as damaging to the ethos, the practices and environment of academia – not only harmful to academics in all ways but also to students in terms of their motivations towards and engagement with their studies, owing to the policy vectors influencing a flawed understanding of the purpose of academia, if viewed as purely instrumental. Yet we note that the HEI trends towards quasi-business models lags behind the realisation of actual business and entrepreneurial industries that the target-driven corporate model in fact damages innovation, commitment, creativity – and ultimately the health of employees. The gulf between privatised business models and academia are great and need to be recognised as such, as celebrated academics such as Stefan Collini and Frank Furedi make very clear. Writing in the Times Higher Education, the brilliant sociologist, Laurie Taylor (the caustic creator of the satirical ‘University of Poppleton’) sought to remind us a few years ago that just as good actors hold their allegiance to the concept of the ‘stage’, so too do academics owe theirs to that of ‘academia’ – not to any particular establishment.

This seminar was thus both timely and significant in allowing the topic to develop through inter-related themes and enabling us to recognised shared concerns and identify a corpus of collegial interest that bodes well for future research collaboration focusing on the threats towards, the defence of and the recreation of what academics really value together with the role of what flourishing university cultures contribute to society.

Sara Ashencaen Crabtree, Lorraine Brown, Frances Hawkhead & Jayne Caudwell

WAN Co-convenors

 

Athena SWAN focus groups

We will be submitting an application to be re-accredited with the bronze Athena SWAN award in Winter 2018. The bronze institution award requires universities to undertake an assessment of gender equality in the institution, including quantitative (staff data) and qualitative (policies, practices, systems and arrangements) evidence and identifying both challenges and opportunities. We are holding a series of focus groups at different levels during Spring/Summer 2018 and all BU staff are invited to attend. These will provide rich qualitative data about staff experiences and perceptions, as well as suggestions for improvements, around key areas assessed via the SWAN process. The focus groups also show BU’s continuing commitment to gender equality and desire to engage with staff. The data will be reviewed by the SWAN Self-Assessment Team and Steering Group and will inform the award submission and action plan.

Details of the focus groups can be found here.  The five groups are as follows:

Title Date Time Location
Focus Group 2: Maternity, paternity, shared parental, adoption and parental leave Thursday 10th May 2018 10.00 – 12.00 Lansdowne Campus
Focus Group 3: Flexible working and managing career breaks Tuesday 15th May 2018 11.00 – 13.00 Talbot Campus
Focus Group 4: Childcare Thursday 7th June 2018 10.00 – 12.00 Lansdowne Campus
Focus Group 1: Promotion (rescheduled from April) Monday 18th June 2018 11.00 – 13.00 Talbot Campus
Focus Group 5: Workload model Tuesday 3rd July 11.00 – 13.00 Talbot Campus

If you are unable to attend any of these focus groups, but still want to share your views please email diversity@bournemouth.ac.uk

To book a place on these sessions, please email Organisational Development.

CMMPH lecturer Daisy Wiggins’ paper published

Congratulations to Daisy Wiggins in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) on the publication of her paper ‘The effect of a birthplace decision support tool on women’s decision-making and information gathering behaviours during pregnancy: mybirthplace study protocol’.  The paper is published in the Open Access journal Journal of Innovation in Health Informatics and can be accessed by clicking here!  The paper is co-authored by CMMPH’s Prof. Vanora Hundley, Dr. Carol Wilkins, as well asProf. Carol Bond (University of Wolverhampton) and the Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Gill Walton.

 

Congratulations to all!

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH

 

Reference:

Wiggins D, Hundley VA, Wilkins C, Bond C, Walton G. The effect of a birthplace decision support tool on women’s decision-making and information gathering behaviours during pregnancy: mybirthplace study protocol. J Innov Health Inform.2018;25(1):001–006.

 

Challenging Disadvantage and Marginalisation

Our latest book Social Work with Disadvantaged and Marginalised People (Prof Jonathan Parker & Prof Sara Ashencaen Crabtree) is published by Sage. The work offers theoretical and practice based perspectives and insights into the complexities and importance of working with people at the margins of societies. Everyone who works with people and especially social and community workers need to understand the powers and processes that lead to disadvantage and marginalisation and to develop the knowledge, skills and values necessary to bringing about positive change and upholding social justice and human rights.

This need is reinforced in our present uncertain and insecure times. When the idea of writing this book was first mooted by our publishers we wondered what new approach could be brought to an area that seemed well trodden already in social work. What we found during the process of writing, however, was that there was a great deal to say on this hugely, perhaps fundamentally, important topic, in relation to the transition of social work as a profession operating in a society riven with inequities and divisions.

All times are ‘interesting’ for someone somewhere, but it seems a truism that we are currently living through a time of monumental and deeply uncertain transitions in the UK that will have a decisive bearing on lives and futures. Within the country we see that public services are stretched to crisis point and that public service pay caps are plunging public sector workers and many other working people into penury. We see that poverty is increasing, incomes are falling compared to rising household costs, and social welfare nets offer considerably less security than formerly.

Where then does this leave today’s social work graduates for whom amongst others, we have written this text? They are entering a beleaguered, under-funded profession and it could be said that social work is living through the ‘worst of times’, but, maybe also one of the best, to paraphrase Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities. The knowledge base of social work often constructs the concept of crisis as creating the tipping point to necessary change. We would suggest that this maybe where we currently are in England, we certainly hope so. For while the slow and unedifying helter-skelter journey downwards has taken time, as will the spiralling journey upwards, this can occur and maybe must occur, for the profession to survive. If change does happen and the profession eases itself up to a standing position, bedraggled and in tatters maybe, it should also take matters into its own hands and refuse to serve as political ‘whipping boy’ any longer, in the interests of marginalised and disadvantaged individuals and families everywhere in the England and the UK as a whole. If it fails to do this then it could be that social work in England, at least, will not survive into the future as a recognisable profession that adheres to international standards and values. If such were the case, then that indeed would be counted among the greatest national tragedies of our time.

BU midwifery research at the international Normal birth research conference

The Normal birth research conference is an annual, international event that takes place to focus on less complicated aspects of pregnancy and birth. This year it took place in the beautiful surroundings of Grange-over-sands overlooking Morecambe bay and on the edge of the Lake District. On this occasion there were delegates from over 20 countries including Canada, USA, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and India! The attendees included midwives, obstetricians, birth supporters, architects, artists, geographers and educators as well as representatives of the World Health organisation, charities and Baroness Cumberlege from the UK House of Lords.

Sara Stride, Jenny Hall, and Jane Fry at the conference

Research at Bournemouth University was well represented from CMMPH, CQR and CEL. Midwifery lecturer, Sara stride, on behalf of the research team of Professor Vanora Hundley and Dr Sue Way, presented a poster of their work, ‘a qualitative study to explore UK midwives’ individual practice, beliefs and attitudes regarding perineal care at the time of birth’. Dr Jane Fry, also from the midwifery team, presented a research topic on her Doctoral work, ‘ A descriptive phenomenological study of independent midwives’ use of intuition as an authoritative form of knowledge during women’s labours and births’.  She also facilitated a workshop titled ‘ Finding your own intuition: a workshop designed to explore practitioners’ ways of knowing during childbirth’ .

 

Jenny Hall with Professor Susan Crowther at the book launch [(c) Sheena Byrom]

Dr Jenny Hall presented a research topic based on recent research with Dr Bethan Collins from Liverpool University, Professor Vanora Hundley and Jilly Ireland, midwife and visiting researcher, ‘How can we improve the ‘normal’ childbirth experience of disabled women?’. She also facilitated a workshop with a colleague from RGU, Aberdeen, Professor Susan Crowther, ‘Spirituality and childbirth: bringing a felt-sense into childbirth- a co-operative inquiry’. In addition, her new internationally authored book jointly edited with Professor Crowther, ‘Spirituality and Childbirth: Meaning and care at the start of life’, was officially launched at the conference.

The impression taken away was the passion and importance of more evidence required around more ‘normal’ aspects of pregnancy and birth, especially in countries with less resources. There is considerable humanising of care being carried out internationally, and is a key focus at the World health organisation. A focus for the UK midwifery is current maternity services transformation, yet much of the global focus is on the importance of transformation in line with the recent Lancet series on maternity, and international collaboration to achieve the goals for Sustainable development. As a force, the team behind normal birth research serve this area powerfully, in informing care for women, babies and families across the global arena. The final rousing talk by Australian professor Hannah Dahlen, to the current backlash to ‘normal birth’ in the media was inspiring and is an editorial in the international journal Women and Birth. Next year the conference is in Michigan, USA!

BU Sociology article in The Conversation

Congratulations to Dr. Hyun-Joo Lim Senior Lecturer in Sociology at BU who has just written an interesting piece on human rights issues faced by North Korean female defectors in China in The Conversation. You can access this article by clicking here!

 

Well done!

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH

 

Launch of EU Prize for Women Innovators 2018

The European Commission has launched the 2018 edition of the EU Prize for Women Innovators. First run in 2011, the Prize aims to encourage more women to exploit the commercial and business opportunities offered by their research projects and to become entrepreneurs.

Europe needs more innovators to stay competitive and to spur economic growth, and yet a large number of well-educated women researchers do not consider entrepreneurship as an option, either through lack of awareness or for other reasons. The Prize is intended to increase public awareness of the contribution of women researchers to entrepreneurship – and to encourage entrepreneurial women to become innovators.

The Prize is open to women who have founded or co-founded their company and who have at some point of their careers benefited from EU funding related to research and innovation. Contestants must be residents of an EU Member State (or a country associated to Horizon 2020).

The following prizes are on offer:

  • 1st prize – €100,000.
  • 2nd prize – €50,000.
  • 3rd prize – €30,000.
  • Rising Innovator Prize of €20,000.

The deadline for entries is 15 November 2017 (17:00 Brussels local time).

An independent panel of judges from business and academia will select the 12 best applicants, who will be invited for a hearing with the jury in January 2018. All participants will be informed about the outcome of the contest in the first quarter of 2018.

For more information check out their website.

New paper Dr. Jenny Hall

Congratulations to Dr. Jenny Hall in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences (FHSS) on her new published discussion paper ‘Educating student midwives around dignity and respect’ in the international journal Women and Birth (published by Elsevier).  The paper, co-authored with Mary Mitchell (University of the West of England), discusses the issue that there is currently limited information available on how midwifery students learn to provide care that promotes dignity and respect.

 

Well done!

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health

 

Reference:

  1. Hall, J., Mitchell, M. (2017) ‘Educating student midwives around dignity and respect’, Women & Birth 30(3): 214-219.

 

“Is it 2 breastfeeds and then a bottle, or is it one breastfeed and a bottle? Not sure”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week Senior Midwifery lecturer Dr Luisa Cescutti-Butler, member of CMMPH, had the opportunity to attend and present at the prestigious international 3 day conference organised by MAINN @ UCLAN. Nutrition and Nurture in Infancy and Childhood: Bio-Cultural Perspectives. It took place in the beautiful surrounds of Grange-Over-Sands in Cumbria. It was attended by speakers and researchers from India, Australia, Sweden, South Africa, USA, Canada as well as the UK and therefore an ideal networking opportunity. The title of Luisa’s presentation was “Is it 2 breastfeeds and then a bottle, or is it one breastfeed and a bottle? Not sure”?, based on her PhD study, supervised by Professor Ann Hemingway, Dr. Jaqui Hewitt-Taylor. The paper reported on women’s experiences of feeding their late preterm baby/babies (LPBs), born between 340/7 and 36 6/7 weeks gestation, especially pertinent as the rates for these births is rising. A feminist approach to the study had been utilised using in depth two phase qualitative interviews.

Luisa says of the conference: ‘ I got to meet researchers that I have used widely within my PhD such as Renee Flacking from Sweden who has undertaken research around preterm babies, Virginia Schmied internationally renowned midwifery professor and Professor Paula Meier who has extensively researched late preterm babies and breastfeeding. She came and listened to my presentation and enjoyed it. Thought my findings were very interesting but was a little dismayed that practice had not moved forward. It was also a good opportunity to meet up with twitter buddies such as Laura Godfrey-Isaacs @godfrey_issacs, who took the photos!’

Luisa may be contacted further about her study but the findings indicate that women caring for LPBs frequently encountered contradictory advice regarding infant feeding and often felt their own experiences, intuition and instincts were devalued. The research concludes that the practice of feeding of LPBs should be revisited in partnership with women, so their experiences and perspectives can be utilised to develop satisfying nurturing relationships whilst also meeting nutritional requirements and that breastfeeding is a feminist, human rights issue. The full abstract is published in the conference proceedings.

 

Policy and political scene this week: 8 June 2017

Welcome to this week’s political scene.

Its been a relatively quiet week in policy land with the main focus on today’s general election, however, gender equality for female academics and the student academic experience survey have hit the news.

2017 Student Academic Experience Survey

The 2017 Student Academic Experience Survey results have been released. Wonkhe succinctly summarise the findings here, and there has been press coverage on the findings from the BBC, Guardian, and The Times.

In brief: teaching is perceived more positively, learning gain has been reported positively (although Wonkhe disagree), and student wellbeing remains a concern. Most interesting is the consideration of the results dissected by student residency, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Students who live at home and commute score lower on satisfaction and wellbeing than students that relocate and live in. There are also clear ethnicity differences, in particular Asian and Chinese students rate teaching staff and value for money of their degree lower; and non-straight students score lower across the board on wellbeing. As Wonkhe suggest the interplay between race, commuting, attainment, wellbeing, learning gain, part time employment, and student support may make for some interesting personalisation interventions within the sector if the data can be sufficiently interpreted.

For more detail on the findings see this week’s policy update.

 

Rankings

The QS World Rankings have been released today. Paul Greatrix writes for Wonkhe noting that while the UK still places 4 institutions in the top 10 the majority of UK HEIs have dropped lower in the rankings (including 11 of the 16 Russell Group institutions). Paul reports that QS highlight weaker research performance and reputational decline as the reason for the UK institutions ranking drop, and he anticipates further falls as the Brexit gloom descends.

Furthermore, following a complaint to the advertising watchdog Universities are carefully considering their marketing messaging around rankings position. The BBC report the University of Reading will remove their claim to be within the top 1% of the world’s universities after the watchdog stated the figure could not be substantiated and could be misleading. It remains to be seen what impact this will have on recruitment, particularly for international students.

 

Academic Gender Equality

This week the Guardian reports Patricia Fara’s (Cambridge historian) call for universities to invest more money in childcare if they want to see gender equality. The Guardian writes that childcare is the single biggest problem for female academics and cites the 2016 report from Institute of Fiscal Studies into pay inequality which found the pay gap widens steadily for 12 years after the birth of a first child, leaving women on 33% less pay per hour than men.

The topic of female academics is also picked up by HEPI this week who discuss the expectation and difficulties of mobility in relation to career progression.

 

Consultations and Inquiries

There are no new consultations or committee inquiries this week. The new parliament will convene on Tuesday 13 June.

You can read BU’s response to past consultations and inquiries here. The response to the European Commission’s Erasmus+ consultation has recently been added, read it here.

To sign up to the separate weekly general HE policy update simply email: policy@bournemouth.ac.uk

 

Sarah Carter
Policy & Public Affairs Officer

Back in the Women’s Room – WAN research seminar

Professor Ann Phoenix

On the 24 May the Women’s Academic Network (WAN) held their first public research seminar entitled ‘“Back in the Women’s Room”: Dialogues on gender-focused research’. This seminar, organised by Professor Sara Ashencaen Crabtree (in reference to the famous feminist novel The Women’s Room by Marilyn French), focused on research that had been either funded by WAN or were closely linked to WAN’s aims and interests. Accordingly 5 paper presentations were given by BU academics with a guest appearance by our founding member, Professor Heather Savigny of de Montford University, speaking on the topic of the hidden injuries to women in neoliberal academia.

A profoundly erudite keynote lecture was offered by our eminent speaker, Professor Ann Phoenix of the Thomas Coram Research Unit at the Institute of Education at UCL, who flew in from her secondment at the Helsinki University Collegium for Advanced Studies to attend the seminar. The day was completed by two successive 90 minute workshops, one given by Professor Phoenix on feminist intersectional research and the other being a fascinating, participative social dreaming workshop on women in academia, conducted by Dr Aanka Batta of the Faculty of Media & Communication (FMC). Professor Tiantian Zhang of SciTech gracefully closed the day.

There was good attendance by BU and external academics along with PGR. The seminar was seen to be enormously successful and received excellent evaluations from participants. However, while a thoroughly gratifying outcome (and hopefully the beginning of other such seminars) the main impact of the day was to be able to focus on issues of genuine relevance and concern to women (and male) academics through papers on gendered barriers to academic careers by Professors Ashencaen Crabtree and Chris Sheil. A paper on women knowledge workers and flexible working by doctoral candidate, Aleksandra Biernat, resonated with our awareness of the difficulties of negotiating masculinised workspaces as women. Drs Haana Osman and Lorraine Brown delivered a WAN-sponsored paper on UK Muslim women tourists. Professor Candida Yates followed with another sponsored research paper on perceptions and emotionality in the wake of Brexit – a most topical issue. Dr Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers gave an impressive account on the ambiguities of gender in post-War Kosovo. Finally, Professor Ann Hemingway et al. discussed their early work on Slow Professorship as a means of reclaiming deep scholarship – where synergies were found with colleagues from the Faculty of Management, who are also engaged in exploring this area. We were also really pleased that this work inspired such a strong response for further engagement with our colleagues across Faculties, where Professor Mike Wilmore, Dean of FMC was eager to continue discussions at a higher level.

The day provided a number of valuable opportunities for colleagues to explore gender as both an analytic framework, a subjective experience and as firmly embedded in ubiquitous contexts and daily social interactions. It provided an invaluable forum to examine the complexities, paradoxes and oppressions that form the problematic and bone of contention in gender politics – and in so doing privileged those vital areas of concern that otherwise too often remain unheard and unseen.

 

Professor Sara Ashencaen Crabtree