Category / Women’s Academic Network

Dr. Samreen Ashraf Guest Talk

Dr. Samreen Ashraf was invited to be a guest speaker at the Virtual Bootcamp even organised at the Foundation University Islamabad- Pakistan for the aspiring entrepreneurs. The event was well attended by national and international audiences.

Samreen presented her talk on understanding the importance of multiple identities for entrepreneurs to excel in their respective projects. While talking about entrepreneurial identity, Samreen shared some key takeaways, first,  importance of understanding who one is to be able to know their own skills, attributes and values, second, evaluating their strengths and weaknesses which then enable them to recognise the right opportunities, third, thinking out of the box and saying ‘No’ to any of the opportunities which are beyond entrepreneurs scope and might not align with their entrepreneurial identities.

The talk was very well received by the students, staff of Foundation University and others present at the event.

Announcing Bespoke Research Masterclasses – Women’s Academic Network

Dear women academics and PGR at Bournemouth University, we would like to inform you that the Women’s Academic Network (WAN) is offering two bespoke, qualitative Research Masterclasses for our members this academic year. We believe these Masterclasses will be helpful to, not only seasoned female academics wishing to polish up their methodological toolkits, but also of particular benefit to ECR and PGR colleagues, and others who are beginning to explore and develop methodologies expertise.

The first of our Masterclasses WAN Masterclass Focus Group Research will be held on November 10, 13.00-16.00 in BG-302  (the new Bournemouth Gateway Building on Lansdowne). This session will be facilitated by Dr Emma Pitchforth, Senior Lecturer and Senior Research Fellow in Primary Care at the University of Exeter and our own Professor Edwin van Teijlingen, Professor of Reproductive Health Research.

Early announcement of second event. This will be an all-day Masterclass workshop on Psychosocial Visual Methods, to be held on 25 May 9.30-4.30, facilitated by Dr Lita Crociani-Windland, Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Psycho-Social Studies at University of West of England (UWE), Bristol. Limited spaces. Look out for further announcements.

 WAN events:

We would like to remind anyone interested in attending these Masterclasses that while you do need to be a member of WAN to access this event, joining WAN is free, easy and beneficial to women scholars at our institution as well as being a unique initiative supported by UET. We have been described as ‘the most collegial network in BU’ for good reason. Join us and find out more about what we do to help our women colleagues.

WAN Convenors are:

Dr Joanne Mayoh

Dr Abier Hamidi

Dr Melsia Tomlin-Kraftner

Professor Sara Ashencaen Crabtree

For more information on Masterclass bookings and WAN, please email:

Professor Sara Ashencaen Crabtree scrabtree@bournemouth.ac.uk

 

 

 

 

 

Announcing Wellness Retreat – the new WAN Wellbeing Strand

The last 18 months has been extraordinarily challenging for virtually everyone in the UK, for all the usual and known reasons of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, the end of a ‘phoney war’ Brexit to full-blown Brexit realities, terrifying news about the global environmental crisis and endless awful news of social and civic conflict overseas.

In academia we have experienced both the same and different challenges, although what emerging research has taught us is that challenges impact particularly heavily on women academics.

In the Women’s Academic Network (WAN), as is well known, we offer a supportive forum of women academics and PGR, running successful events for our members, for all BU academics, reaching out to others beyond BU too. What we have not offered to-date is care for the mind and body, as caring for self is just as vital for academic success as Fusion is. So this fresh academic year we are rectifying that omission to offer a holistic, new and innovative strand promoting wellbeing in WAN.

Our first event is the WAN Wellness Retreat on the 8th Sept where we are offering a relaxing and rejuvenating morning retreat that will leave participants feeling great and provide them with all the tools and techniques to keep them feeling on top form. And as a special treat we have arranged a luscious goodie bag for participants to take home!

So, what’s in store?

We will start the wellness journey with breathwork and self-hypnosis for inner bliss by the internationally recognised Relational Life Therapist and bestselling co-author of Practical Zen for Health, Sarah Bladen.

Appreciating that daily life takes a toll on your back, we have invited Katanneh, a Pilates practitioner who specialises in Pilates for runners and rehabilitation of back, neck and shoulder injuries to work with you for a better back.

We will wrap up the day with our very own Dr Melsia Tomlin- Kräftner, WAN convenor. academic and in-house SportsBU yoga teacher, who will make sure participants leave the retreat feeling relaxed, revitalised and ready for a busy new academic year.

Spaces are limited and filling up fast. To join us on this complementary retreat email:

ahamidi@bournemouth.ac.uk

Date: 8th September

Time: 9:30am-1:00pm

Location: Student Hall, Talbot House

Bring your mat, a towel and see you there!

Dr Abier Hamidi, Dr MelsiaTomlin- Kräftner, Dr Jo Mayoh and Professor Sara Ashencaen Crabtree

WAN Convenors

If you are not a WAN member but are interested in becoming one, please email at scrabtree@bournemouth.ac.uk

 

The Women’s Academic Network Writing Retreats return!

Interrupted by the pandemic for a year and much missed, the Women’s Academic Network, are back in style to offer their popular, off campus Writing Retreats on July 5, 9.00-5.00.

Places are limited to WAN members, but the good news is that we still have places

This year we are trying out a new venue, new to WAN but not BU, this being the Captain’s Club Hotel, Wick Ferry, Christchurch (https://www.captainsclubhotel.com), where we have booked a large room and adjoining outdoor terrace.Parking, refreshments and buffet lunch included.

The programme

  • The WritingRetreat day begins at 9.00 and ends at 17.00
  • 1 hour workshop on  productive writing tips facilitated by convenors to get revved up into writing mode
  • Concentrated individual/small team writing time.
  • Lunchtime: buffet lunch, networking/socialising/riverside walk
  • Concentrated individual/small team writing time.
  • Concluding the day and feedback

Booking

To join us on this splendid day, we ask for 3 commitments from our participants:

  1. Feedback on the Writing Retreat Day for inclusion in WAN reports (anonymised)
  2. Follow-up feedback on the results and outcome of your academic writing endeavours for WAN reports to UET (anonymised).
  3. If asked, participation in future WAN research seminars based on your research and publications (definitely not anonymised!)

To book, please email Professor Sara Ashencaen Crabtree: scrabtree@bournemouth.ac.uk) to express your interest in participating.

Not yet a WAN member but want to be?

WAN is a non-corporate nexus of women academics and PGR at BU.

Email Sara (above) to express your interest for information. Once you join, WAN resources like the Retreat are available to you.

 

 

Mothering, studying and isolating: A mature student’s experience of studying during the Covid-19 pandemic

Archaeology and mothering, image by Marion Fayolle

A guest post by outgoing BSc Anthropology student Natalie Campbell.

While mature students may make up a minority of the student cohort our numbers are not insignificant. There can be advantages to returning to academia later in life. We may bring significant life and work experiences with us and often the driving forces behind our pursuit of education make for dedicated students. However, while we may not be leaving home for the first time and learning to stand on our own feet, we often have to contend with a weight of responsibility not experienced by your average school leaver. Many mature students have careers, homes and families to support requiring a constant juggling act of time and priorities. To me, this juggling act has never been more apparent than throughout the Covid-19 global pandemic.

I myself am a 3rd year undergraduate student studying BSc Anthropology. I am in my 30’s and have three children. As with many undergraduate degrees my final year has been dominated by my dissertation where I explored mothering in prehistory.

The following excerpt is the evaluative supplement of this dissertation where I reflect on the parallels between my research and my experience as a student and mother during lockdown.

I cannot reflect on this paper without first acknowledging the extraordinary circumstances in which it was written. The global pandemic has deeply impacted each and every one of us and encroached into every aspect of our lives for the past year. I cannot fail to see the irony of attempting to complete a dissertation exploring motherhood experiences while I myself, like millions of mothers around the world, was attempting to navigate a new motherhood experience of juggling childcare and home-schooling while working in lockdown. I am not ashamed to admit that during this time I experienced levels of stress I have never known before. However, the experience has taught me valuable lessons both academically and as a mother in patience, prioritising, flexibility, organisation and time management.

Throughout the entire process from researching to writing I was compelled to make considerations and accommodations for my children and other responsibilities. Whether that meant being mother by day and student by night or reading articles with a 4-year-old perched on my knee while watching more TV than is considered healthy. Reflecting on this has given me a deeper insight into how women’s lives are impacted by motherhood and how much of the mothering experience is about evaluating the situations put before us and putting considerations for our children at the heart of our response.

It is my hope that this insight was carried through into my research project, and that I was able to successfully demonstrate that mothering cannot be reduced to those large events such as childbirth and weaning, that are often the subject of anthropological and archaeological research. Much of mothering is in the small moments of care and consideration that take place every day, which may seem on the surface as invisible not only today but also in the archaeological record. However, by taking a more holistic approach we may be able to scratch the surface and see small traces of mothering in unexpected places such as the diet of a sick child or the positioning of bodies in graves.

While formulating a methodology for my project I struggled to compile a scientific framework that could present these intangible aspects of mothering in context, without losing the personal human experience aspect of mothering. When I was introduced to the concept of a fictive osteobiographical narrative I recognised its potential to represent scientific data in an accessible way. This was important to me as I was keen not to weigh motherhood down with academia to the extent that the human experience is lost. This is a fine line to tread while researching and writing for academic purposes. While some may consider a fictive narrative beyond the scope of academia, I believe it serves as a necessary reminder that behind the data, hypothesise and science are the real people who lived conscious, messy, complicated lives.

At the very beginning of this project, I was advised to choose an area I was truly interested in, otherwise I would be thoroughly tired of the subject by the end. When I first read the case study of the multiple burial at Monkton-Up-Wimborne I was instantly struck with a sense of empathy, not for any specific suffering or hardships they might have faced in life but as one mother to another recognising the extra mental load that comes when factoring children into every aspect of our lives. I remember remarking that I could barely get my children to school without some level of stress yet alone repeatedly escort them to the Mendips and back on foot! In contemporary Britain such an undertaking would require immense planning and consideration and I felt compelled to know if the same were true of Neolithic Britain.

I was to learn through my research that this line of thinking has the potential to create a bias in how we perceive the movement of women in past sedentary societies, where outdated assumptions that women only moved for marriage have prevailed. More research into the motivations behind female mobility is clearly necessary.

Further areas identified throughout this study for future research involve the visually identifiable impact of mothering on skeletal remains, including physical markers of carrying children and whether the higher levels of stress identified in Neolithic women was purely due to pregnancies or if the exertions of mothering had an impact too.

Finally, while this undertaking has been one of the hardest challenges I have faced, I can honestly say it was worth every moment of stress experienced. I entered this degree with the intention of improving my potential in order to support my family, but along the way I have discovered a passion for research which moving forward I would love to foster and develop.

Congratulations to PhD student Raksha Thapa

This week BU PhD student Raksha Thapa  heard from the editor of the Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health that her  manuscript “Caste Exclusion and Health Discrimination in South Asia: A Systematic Review” has been accepted for publication [1].  Raksha is supervised in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences by Dr. Pramod Regmi, Dr. Vanessa Heaslip and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen.  The paper is a systematic review and the protocol for it was published in PROSPERO early on at the start of her PhD studies [2].

Well done!

 

References

  1. Thapa, R., van Teijlingen, E., Regmi, P., Heaslip, V. (2021) Caste Exclusion and Health Discrimination in South Asia: A Systematic Review, Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health (accepted).
  2. Thapa, R., van Teijlingen, E., Regmi, P., Heaslip, V. (2018) Caste exclusion and health discrimination. Prospero CRD42018110431crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO/display_record.php?ID=CRD42018110431

‘Doing Diversity Better: Interrogating ethnic and gender equality among BAME academics in HE’ April 22 14.00-16.00

The Women’s Academic Network (WAN) at BU are delighted to host this powerful and timely public engagement, open-to-all, Q&A Panel Discussion on one of the most important and urgent issues facing Higher Education (HE) in the UK today.

The Vice Chancellor, Professor John Vinney, will formally open the event which brings together four hugely eminent women academics of-colour, as well as a representative from the Bournemouth University Student Union (SUBU), who are all working within the broad areas of racialisation/ethnicisation and social inequalities. Each panellist will bring their own particular research expertise together with intellectual and experiential understandings to a grounded, candid and in-depth discussion of diversity in contemporary HE.

For more details and registration: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/womens-academic-network-bournemouth-university-doing-diversity-better-tickets-146743055429

The panel context

UK HE is characterised by a homogeneity that fails to reflect social diversity, particularly in terms of ethnicity, gender and social class. These issues need to be located within a complex terrain of interwoven, intersectional experiences. The handy portmanteau term: ‘BAME’ (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) can also unhelpfully work to subsume entire groups who are otherwise subject to different levels of discrimination that may thereby remain less visible and therefore neglected. For example, a UCU 2019 report recorded that of a total number of professors in the UK, those self-identifying as ‘Black’ numbered just 85 individuals, and of these a mere 25 were women (Rollock 2019). While recent HESA (2020) data confirms that less than 1% of UK professors self-identify as Black. Unsurprisingly, Mizra (2019, p. 39) refers with horror to the overwhelming ‘hideous’ whiteness of academia. This alarming lack of representation among minority ethnic groups in HE not only exemplifies a dereliction of social justice but is demonstrably counterproductive to the academy across every area of scholarly endeavour, including inclusive pedagogy. The Race Equality Charter under AdvanceHE offers a valuable tool towards remedial action, but without direct debate, will towards and strategies for root-and-branch sector change, such charters are unlikely to create the necessary traction.

Our Panellists:

Professor Kalwant Bhopal is Professor of Education and Social Justice Professor of Education and Social Justice Director of the Centre for Research on Race and Education, University of Birmingham

Professor Ann Phoenix is Professor of Psychosocial Studies, at the Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education

Dr Samantha Iwowo is the Programme Leader of MA Directing, Film and TV at BU.

Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya is Professor of Sociology at the Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging, University of East London

Ms Chiko Bwalya is the Education Vice President of SUBU.

We in WAN look forward to welcoming you.

Colleagues – please share among your networks. Students welcome

Congratulations to Prof. Ashencaen-Crabtree on publication of new book

Congratulations to Prof. Sara Ashencaen Crabtree on the publication of her new Routledge research monograph, Women of Faith and the Quest for Spiritual Authenticity [1].    This new book is based on 59 interviews with women in Malaysia and the UK concerning their experiences, beliefs and practices across the faiths of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism and diverse Pagan pathways. These accounts are often very personal and detailed in referring to both the micro (individual) and the macro (social) in terms of how faith and gender are negotiated in multicultural societies that struggle with the politics of diversity.

This is an ecumenical and entertaining ethnography where women’s narratives and life stories ground faith as embodied, personal, painful, vibrant, diverse, illuminating and shared. This book will of interest not only to academics and students of the sociology of religion, feminist and gender studies, politics, political science, ethnicity and Southeast Asian studies, but is equally accessible to the general reader broadly interested in faith and feminism.  Sara says that she road-tested some of these Sociology of Religion ideas in the classroom at Bournemouth University and she found that social science students really related to it in their discussions.

I have taken the liberty to reproduce one of the reviews written for the publisher’s website by Prof. Crisp from Deakin University in Australia.

 

Congratulations!

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH

 

Reference:

Ashencaen Crabtree S (2021) Women of Faith and the Quest for Spiritual Authenticity: Comparative Perspectives from Malaysia and Britain, London: Routledge.

 

Faith Matters? New Book on Women and the Quest for Spiritual Authenticity

The quest for women’s authentic experience of spirituality and faith is a topic of broad and profound social significance. Since the first published, scholarly and excoriating critiques by women theologians in the nineteenth century we have had to rely on men’s accounts of what women should and do believe about mortal existence, its meaning and relevance, if any, to the unfathomable cosmos and the mysteries of creation (however the latter is understood). Women’s voices on questions of faith continue to be largely unheard across all faith communities, even though, as we know, organised religions, and other faith groups, rely so heavily upon women’s support and sheer hard work.

My new Routledge research monograph, Women of Faith and the Quest for Spiritual Authenticity makes its own special contribution to our understanding of these questions, as derived from 59 selected interviews with women in Malaysia and the UK concerning their experiences, beliefs and practices across the faiths of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism and diverse Pagan pathways. The accounts are often very personal and detailed in referring to both the micro (individual) and the macro (social) in terms of how faith and gender are negotiated in multicultural societies that struggle with the politics of diversity.

The gestation of this unfunded research monograph in terms of data gathering has felt longer than gestation for a whole family of reproducing female elephants, although time moved from protraction to contraction and acceleration. The Women’s Academic Network provided much needed ‘space’ for me to concentrate on the book proposal, which was accepted in record time owing to enthusiastic reviews. Thereafter, words flew onto the page and the book was completed in less than a year from start to finish, including time off recuperating with Covid-19.

This academic year I road-tested some of these Sociology of Religion ideas in the classroom and found that social science students really enjoyed and related to the discussions. So much for secular, materialistic youth! Furthermore, braced for some pain at the cruel hands of reviewers, given the innovative cross-faith, cross-cultural approach I took, I was astonished and thrilled at the wonderful reviews garnered from eminent scholars in the field, even before the book hit the shelves (later this month).

So, given little in the way of funding and a rather off-piste topic, what led me on? The book seriously began back in 2014 on my precious and hectic study leave in Malaysia busily engaged in a round of international teaching, training and public speaking engagements around Southeast Asia; plus busily gathering data with my co-researcher, for our condensed ethnography on Indigenous communities under ecological threat; plus gathering data for this book as well. It was a wonderful and unforgettable time, crazy of course but incredibly productive and happy.

Back in the UK I was helped by the generosity of so many people of both sexes, across different faith communities locally who introduced me to their circles where I found many women willing to talk to me, teach me and sometimes pray for me too (who says I don’t need it?!). This was a very personal journey in all ways and I have many to thank, not forgetting those BU colleagues managing the former Fusion Investment Fund for making my study leave possible!

I am now delighted to see that following the departure of our good friend, Reverend Dr. Bill Merrington, we now have a new woman chaplain, Reverend Ruth Wells. I feel that Ruth’s arrival at BU heralds new opportunities to reach out to women across diverse faiths and spiritualties and in so doing we are already planning collaboration to develop a series of public engagement, interfaith seminars. I look forward to working closely with Ruth on a continuing big issue of our time: feminism, faith, diversity and inclusion.