Category / Women’s Academic Network

WAN speaker event: ‘Inspiring our futures: High profile women at BU’

A lunchtime Women’s Academic Network (WAN) event on the 4th June to participate in a panel composed of three senior, high profile BU women proved to be one of our most popular WAN events. This drew in a wide audience of female academics of all ranks from across all the Faculties of the University. We were additionally honoured to have in the audience our VC, Professor John Vinney and the PVC for Global Engagement, Dr Sonal Minocha.

The panel included Sue Sutherland (OBE) Chair of the University Board, Professor Gail Thomas, Dean of the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences and Head of Centre Excellence Learning and Professor Christine Maggs, Dean of the Faculty of Science & Technology.  The seminar topic focused on an interactive discussion of career progression, achievements and dealing with potholes, cul-de-sacs, obstacles and speeding highways along the way from the personal and professional perspectives of our three eminent speakers.

Professor Sara Ashencaen Crabtree opened by the event by welcoming the audience, introducing the speakers and warmly acknowledging all the support provided by panel members and her fellow co-convenors, Associate Professor Dr Heather Savigny and Professor Chris Shiel– not forgetting every member of the WAN community, whose numbers across BU grow weekly. This has helped to make WAN a powerful and exhilarating vehicle for achieving equality in diversity at BU.

The honesty, humour, courage and grit of the speakers in talking so candidly about their road to success was a revelation to the audience who were both moved and liberated to engage fully in discussions with the panel, plying them with questions, comments and sharing their own stories. This was the opportunity to demonstrate that strength in leadership lies in being able to reveal human vulnerabilities and aspirations – a lesson that was deeply inspirational to everyone in the room.

The VC closed the event with his own account – personal, unembellished and moving, staying on to discuss with WAN members his own vision for the future in respect of our shared aims. We, co-convenors, were delighted that the success of this event as another step towards assisting our fellow female colleagues on their paths to progress where the superb examples offered by our outstanding panel received a myriad of compliments from our enthralled WAN participants.

Reminder:  Next WAN event Chaired by VC Professor John Vinney, 7th  July, 5pm   TAG02, Tolpuddle Annexe, Talbot Campus.

 Topic: Getting to the top: A grand plan or serendipity?

Speaker:  Professor Judith Petts, CBE, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research & Enterprise, University of Southampton

Please note: this is an Open WAN Seminar – all academics, irrespective of gender, are warmly invited to attend.  For full details of, and registration for Event: Prof Judith Petts, PVC Southampton, please see https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/getting-to-the-top-a-grand-plan-or-serendipity-tickets-17003423698

 

Professor Sara Ashencaen Crabtree, Dr Heather Savigny & Professor Chris Shiel,

WAN Co-convenors

Seeing through the Confucian ceiling: Chinese and Korean mothers in England

Dr Hyun-Joo Lim

This year’s British Sociological Association annual conference was held at Glasgow Caledonian University on the theme of ‘Societies in Transition: Progression or Regression?’ Taking place in April each year, it is the biggest Sociology conference in the UK. With so many great opportunities to meet new and old academics, I always find this event utterly exciting and inspiring. 

At this conference I presented a paper examining the experiences of Chinese and Korean mothers in England – titled ‘Seeing through the Confucian Ceiling’. This paper is drawn from life history interviews with ten Korean and eight Chinese mothers living in England. I analysed my data using six analytical categories, which are: motherhood and gender ideology; educational level; reasons for migration; the length of stay in England; economic circumstances of the family; and the local communities in which they reside. The paper has been submitted to Families, Relationships and Societies and is currently under review. It aims to address the following questions:

1. In what ways does the motherhood ideology of Chinese and Korean mothers in England differ, and what impact does this have on their decision towards childcare and employment?

2. What are the major factors affecting such attitudes and behaviours in a diasporic setting?

3. What implications does this have on gender relations at home for these women?

I focus on the different motherhood ideologies of Chinese and Korean women and how this impacts on their employment and childcare.

Historically both China and South Korea have been heavily influenced by Confucianism, an ancient Chinese tradition that is refined by Confucius, which supports patriarchal gender relations. The key principles of Confucianism include: hierarchical human relationships, fulfilment of individual duties, communitarian values over individual ones, filial piety, and importance of seniority. Yet, simultaneously China and Korea have undergone divergent socio, political and economic development. For instance, China has only opened up the economy to market competition since 1978, much later than Korea, whilst maintaining its socialist political system. On the other hand, Korea has followed the capitalist market economy and the democratic political system since the establishment of the Republic of Korea in 1948. As a consequence of this, China and Korea have developed different ‘national cultures’, founded on the distinctive socio, economic and political characteristics of the individual countries. In line with this, existing studies conducted in these countries have indicated that despite the impact of Confucian patriarchal ideals on both societies, women in China and Korea have heterogeneous understandings of what constitutes ‘good’ mothering (e.g. Cho, 2002; Rofel, 1999). Thus, there are notable differences in the employment patterns of women with dependent children between China and Korea (see Brinton, et al. 1995; Cook and Dong, 2011).

My findings suggest that Korean mothers retained their traditional values and gendered roles, having chosen not to get involved in paid employment in order to undertake childcare responsibilities. They strongly supported intensive mothering, in which the mother takes the major responsibility for her children. Often the women described mother’s employment as having a detrimental impact on their children’s emotional wellbeing. Even those who were in employment did not show much difference in terms of their support for intensive motherhood.

By contrast, Chinese mothers did not endorse intensive mothering and showed their strong inclination to work even after moving to England, similar to their middle-class counterparts living in urban China. They constructed this as an effect of Mao’s socialist work ethic, under which they were brought up, irrespective of their economic circumstances and educational levels. In this sense, their paid work was not a mere means to provide financial support for the family, unlike existing literature has suggested, but also a crucial part of their identity.

However, despite seemingly stark differences between the two groups, gender relations at home appear to be similar. Although the accounts of Chinese mothers seem to indicate gender equality on the surface, their interview data suggest continuing gender inequality for the majority of these women, taking the double burden of childcare and paid work. Although Chinese and Korean mothers showed very different beliefs and attitudes towards employment, all the women took the primary responsibility for household labour, regardless of their educational level and employment status.

In terms of intersecting analytical components, Chinese and Korean women’s motherhood and gender ideology as obtained in their country of origin, along with their settlement into respective ethnic communities, continued to have a dominant impact on their lives in England. As for the other four analytical categories, they seem to have had less obvious impact on Chinese and Korean women’s lives. However, drawing on Hall (1990), it could be suggested that what is considered to be ‘an East Asian way’ in a transnational setting is not the same as what it is in their ‘home’ countries because it is ‘imagined’ and ‘reconfigured’ in a diasporic context. In this sense, I argue that the mothering ideologies and gendered lives for my participants are ‘hybridised’ forms that are distinctive from those existing in both their ‘home’ countries and England.

 

International Women’s Day Celebration Event held by WAN

Bournemouth University’s Women’s Academic Network (WAN) met at the Executive Business Centre to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) on 6 March 2015.  It provided space for reflection on WAN’s next steps at BU and recognition about women’s progress since the early 20th century. Indeed, the first official day to recognise women’s contribution to society was held in 1910 in Copenhagen, and this was a precursor to gradual policy change across Europe to support women’s suffrage and the right to work.  International Women’s Day, as we know it now, is a more recent development launched by the United Nations in 1975.

Our guest speaker for International Women’s Day was Siobhan Benita, Chief Policy and Strategy Officer, at Warwick University’s Department of Economics, and co-director of the Warwick Policy Lab.  Prior to joining Warwick, Siobhan achieved significant results as a senior civil servant who also led gender balance and diversity policies across Whitehall.

A quick Google of images when typing in the search terms ‘vice chancellor’, ‘FTSE chief executive’, ‘permanent secretary’, ‘MP’, or indeed, any major influential role in British society and the pictures that emerge are still overwhelmingly of middle-aged men clad in the classic grey business suit.

Siobhan recollected that when she joined Civil Service Fast Stream 15 years ago, one of her team found an old letters file from the HR archive. It was from women begging to be reinstated to their Civil Service jobs after their fiancés had jilted them before their wedding day. The file was from 1973; at the time Home Civil Service rules stipulated that women resign from their posts if they intended to get married.

Thirty years later, Siobhan has overseen changes that would have been unthinkable a decade earlier. Achieving greater diversity at all levels in the Civil Service has also ensured that policy design works better, because it reflects the fabric of the UK’s communities better.

What made the difference was that Siobhan was given active support from the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, Sir Gus O’ Donnell, who also wanted to make equality and diversity a visible and measurable outcome in how the Civil Service operated. The class system was a particular challenge to overcome.  Sir Gus made it a performance requirement for all Permanent Secretaries (CEO’s of government departments) to demonstrate that they had promoted suitably qualified and talented women and people from diverse backgrounds to senior roles. 

This also meant that every government department had to provide annual diversity league tables and facilitate women’s networks in the Civil Service.  Fantastic women, who later were recognised for their excellent work, were promoted including the World Bank economist Nemat ‘Minouche’ Shafik, who became Permanent Secretary, DFID.  It is one of the most demanding posts in government with its 24/7 response to global crises, yet Minouche negotiated a workday that allowed her to also manage her family responsibilities. By 2011, as a result of this culture change, gender balance was achieved in almost 50% of senior civil service posting, including some of the more traditionally challenging areas such as the Home Office, MOD and Health.

One of the philosophies behind the policy was that any targets set, needed to work at all levels of the organisation, not just the top.

After stepping down from the Civil Service in 2012, Siobhan took a leap of faith and stood as an independent candidate during the Mayor for London elections opposite Boris Johnson. Her manifesto represented communities and young people. She received no funding and had no party machine behind her, yet still managed to achieve 250,000 votes, coming fifth, behind the Liberal Democrat candidate, Brian Paddick. 

This was quite an achievement, as at the time, it was almost impossible for an independent Mayoral candidate to achieve airtime at the BBC. Siobhan campaigned with the BBC Trust to incorporate the Electoral Society rules in their decision-making on representation, as their campaign reports focused almost entirely on the Johnson/Livingstone/Paddick offer. As a result of Siobhan’s personal intervention, the rules have been changed to include independents. 

It didn’t also help that the press coverage for Siobhan’s campaign, even with solid briefings on policy, budget and planning were left out, while Siobhan’s role as a mother, her clothes, hairdo made up 90% of any feature. This made it very difficult for her to explain how her policies differed from the other candidates..

Siobhan culminated her presentation with her contention that BU’s WAN network should ensure that its objectives were visible and continually at the forefront of university decision-making.  She praised WAN’s work at BU and urged everyone – men and women across the university, to keep plugging away to achieve change.

Athena Swan Bronze Update

Professor Tiantian Zhang, Head of the Graduate School at Bournemouth University, gave WAN members the latest update on BU’s Athena Swan submission to achieve equality in both science and academic research.  Significant effort had gone into building evidence to support BU’s application and WAN’s contribution and objectives had made a significant difference to its Athena Swan application this time around; keeping up WAN’s visibility and impact would be important in the future.

This led to facilitated table discussions from WAN members about its future goals and meetings.  One of the suggestions to support BU achieving the Bronze Athena SWAN award was a campus to campus procession of BU academics in October, as it was a visible statement of progress. 

Several ideas for events were suggested, including joint meetings with WAN groups from other universities to share knowledge and best practice and taking forward the Action Learning Sets.  A presentation to the BU Executive and academics from Sir Gus O’ Donnell might also be helpful in achieving a framework that could lead to some useful outcomes.

Report from Natasha Tobin

Athena SWAN: A Dean’s perspective

Speaker: Professor Andrew W. Lloyd

Date and time: 3 Feburary 2015, 15:00-17:00

Location: K101, Kimmeridge House, Talbot Campus, Bournemouth University

Event Description: This presentation will outline the challenges and opportunities of developing both the Institutional Athena Swan Bronze Application and the subsequent development of the individual School Applications within the University of Brighton. It will discuss both the methods used to obtain and analyse the various datasets and the approaches adopted in terms of developing an action plan which would build on our existing practices to improve gender equality and develop a more inclusive and progressive culture within the university.

After the presentation there will be the opportunity for individuals to find out more about the Athena SWAN work at BU and take part in a focus group. 

Biography

Professor Andrew W. Lloyd MA (Cantab.) PhD CSci CChem FRSC FBSE FIMMM FHEA
Dean of the College of Life, Health & Physical Sciences, Professor of Biomedical Materials

Andrew Lloyd graduated from Robinson College, University of Cambridge in 1986 with a degree in Natural Sciences, specialising in bioorganic chemistry, biochemistry and pharmacology. He completed his PhD in biopharmaceutics and was appointed to the academic staff in the Department of Pharmacy, University of Brighton as a Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1989, and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1993. He was made Reader in Biopharmaceutical Sciences and elected to Fellowship of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 1998 and awarded the chair in Biomedical Materials in 2000.  He was appointed as Joint Head of Research with responsibility for strategic planning in the School of Pharmacy & Biomolecular Sciences in 2000, Dean of the Faculty of Science & Engineering in 2003 and to his present post as Dean of the College of Life, Health & Physical Sciences in 2014.

Professor Lloyd led the Institution’s Athena Swan Self-Assessment Steering Group which secured the University Bronze Award in 2012 and chairs both the University Athena Swan Steering Group, which presently oversees the development of the School-based Award Applications, and the University Research Concordat Implementation Steering Group.

Event Schedule

15:00 Welcome  from Professor Tiantian Zhang, Head of Graduate School and Chair of BU Athena SWAN institutional self-assessment team

15:05  Talk from Professor Andrew W. Lloyd

16:00 Overview of the BU Athena SWAN submission, Professor  Tiantian Zhang/James Palfreman-Kay

16:10 Group discussions to consider what more should we do:

•         in addressing gender balance at BU?

•         in supporting and advancing women’s careers?

•         in organisation and culture change to enhance gender equality?

•         in supporting flexible working and managing career breaks?

16:55 Closing comments, Professor Tiantian Zhang

17:00 Event closes

BU academics appointed as dual editors-in-chief

Dr Sara Ashencaen Crabtree and Professor Jonathan Parker of the Centre for Social Work, Sociology & Social Policy have been appointed as joint editors-in-chief for a journal published by UK publishing house Whiting & Birch and the Tbilisi SState University in Georgia: Social Policy & Social Work in Transition.

The journal stemmed from an earlier EU-funded Tempus project between Sheffield Hallam University and post-Soviet Eastern European states, including Georgia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and has recently negotiated a bipartite arrangement with Whiting & Birch to ensure its sustainability.

The journal aims to provide a platform for developing insight and research into transitions in social policy and social work predominantly in Eastern European countries, and this remains its primary focus. However, the new editors-in-chief will also expand the journal’s reach into Asia, the Asia Pacific region, Africa and the Americas especially in countries moving through complex socio-political, economic, historical and post-colonial transitions.

This important position was confirmed on the basis of the new editors’ international research links and reputations and adds to the strengths of the Centre for Social Work, Sociology and Social Policy at BU. Dr Ashencaen Crabtree and Professor Parker will lead a multinational editorial board assisted by continuing editors Professor Iago Kachkachishvili of Tbilisi State University, Georgia and Dr Tetyana Semigina of National University ‘Kyiv-Mohyla Academy’, Ukraine (current Secretary of the International Association of Schools of Social Work). Outgoing editor, Professor Emeritus Mark Doel, Sheffield Hallam University, will also remain on the board.

The position offers a springboard to further collaborative social science research in Eastern European and Balkan states, something which the journal is committed to developing.

Prof Jonathan Parker & Dr Sara Ashencaen Crabtree

Shaping European Social Work: BU Hosts Erasmus SOCNET 98

Sara Ashencaen Crabtree & Jill Davey

 

For the first time in April 2013 BU hosted the SOCNET International University Week (IUW). This is a high profile international event held rotationally at host European universities drawn from across the 19 Higher Education Institution (HEI) members of the SOCNET community. This important annual event brings together a wide range of European academics and students with an interest in social work and social welfare.

It also provides an opportunity for HSC Social Work and Sociology & Social Policy students to interact with international academics and accompanying European students with educational, cultural and social aims in mind. During the IUW a busy series of workshops and lectures are offered based on a particular chosen theme, to which both academics and students contribute as pedagogic peers. Learning through active scholarly participation is the pedagogic approach that has proved very popular and successful over the years.

The theme of each IUW, alongside other organisational business vital to the continuation and the expansion of Erasmus SOCNET initiative, is managed at each host university in the month of October.  Consequently, the Centre of Social Work, Sociology & Social Policy was proud to host this year’s organisational event, represented by HSC Erasmus Coordinator, Jill Davey, and Sara Ashencaen Crabtree, Deputy Director of the Centre.

Attendees included academic representatives from across the SocNet-work at St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences, Austria; School of Social Work, Leuven, Belgium; University College Lillebaelt, Denmark; Hochschule Bremen – University of Applied Sciences, School of Social Work, Germany; Ernst-Abbe Fachhochschule University of Applied Sciences Jena, Germany; Department of Social Science and Care Social Work and Nursing Management, University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic; Faculty of Social and Health Studies, Telemark, Denmark;  University College, Department of Social Studies, Faculty of Health and Social Studies, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen, Netherlands; Humak University of applied sciences, Finland; University of Malaga, and finally, Bournemouth University.

A highly productive and sociable set of meetings took place over the course of several days, where, alongside discussing the European Masters in Social Work (where a UK partner is currently being identified for collaboration), the issues of venue and theme for this year’s International University Week were discussed. Since then invitations from the following four universities have been issued to academics and their students across the SOCNET community to attend the IUW (April 20th – 24th 2015) hosted by four international HEIs:

  • University College Lillebaelt – Department of Social Work. Theme: Trends in social work in the year 2015.
  • Ernst-Abbe Hochschule, University of Applied Sciences Jena. Theme:  Diversity and Innovation in European Social Work and Welfare States.
  • Telemark University College – Department of Social Studies. Theme: Diversity in Social Work.
  • Hochschule Bremen. Theme: Methods and Methodologies of Social Work – Reflecting Professional Interventions.

While the IUW clearly emphasises teaching and learning initiatives, together with internationalisation, the research element has been less publicly evident; although scholarship has always fed into the programme through the synergies between education and research.

However, over the past few years BU has altered the SOCNET landscape and is influencing the development of future trends here; where BU academics advocated for the need for high quality publications to be developed from the important lectures and workshops being annually produced in the IUW events.

Accordingly BU input has been instrumental towards developing robust academic output, which also serves to meet the BU Fusion agenda and KPIs. Thus, from the 2012 IUW at the University of Malaga, which carried the theme of ‘Active Ageing’, Professor Maria Luisa Gómez Jiménez and Professor Jonathan Parker developed the first edited SOCNET publication under London publishers, Whiting & Birch’s innovative social science monograph series, ‘Critical Studies in Socio-cultural Diversity’.

Following fast on the heels of this success, in 2013 Dr Sara Ashencaen Crabtree, proposed and developed the second edited volume from the BU event.  Moreover, in Volume II, and in keeping with the sprit of SOCNET, strong chapter contributions have featured from students from Bremen and BU (Samineh Richardson neé Hall, BA Sociology & Social Policy and PhD candidate, David Galley).

The next SOCNET publication will be forthcoming from the IUW held at Hochschule Bremen under our esteemed colleague, Professor Christian Spatscheck and colleagues. This will continue an exciting precedence, first initiated and supported to-date by BU under the Centre for Social Work, Sociology & Social Policy; a fact that we are quietly very proud of.

Reflections on an Oasis

Our final blog concerning our Fusion Investment Funded study leave, ENABLE: Establishing Sustainable Research Networks and Building Learning Environments, is written with very mixed feelings in mind.

For seven months we have worked across Southeast Asia to develop and establish links and research collaborations, teaching and education partnerships and to rediscover our passion for social action as ‘professional practice’ associated with our disciplines. The work has been intense, tiring, sometimes frustrating, but always illuminating and productive. It was a wrench to leave.

The return journey began with raised anxieties, heightened a couple of weeks earlier by the awful shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines aeroplane following the same route (although by then re-routed), and exacerbated when we were separated into two distinct travelling units, Jonathan with one child and Sara with the other, because the previous university travel firm booked tickets as two separate families! To make matters worse only Jonathan and Isabel’s tickets showed up and we had to wait to secure the other tickets. We were then given seats at opposite ends of the aeroplane and had to wait again for re-seating. The flight began well enough and was fairly smooth, only briefly punctuated by a somewhat antisocial ‘ramming’ of chair in front into one of our legs with particular force by someone who thought ‘turn off your electronics’ meant send texts to your friends!

However, we landed in one piece and breathed a sigh of relief, or possibly resignation, until, as in our usual practice of each taking one of the children through immigration the UKBA officer asked Jonathan rather sternly ‘where is the child’s mother?’ and when indicating where Sara was the officer proceeded to say that children have to be seen with their mother because mother’s are in general the carers of children and if present they have to be with the child. ‘Red rags and bulls’ often appear to Jonathan in unjust situations and he, as usual, took issue with this, but whilst we all got through immigration clearance more quickly, the officer insisted that his rather warped and myopic view of British law and custom was now right. Oh dear! We wondered what had happened in the seven months we had been away and whether we were entering Gormenghast!

But, back to the project itself! Our four key objectives have been met throughout the project, with varying degrees of success and changing morphologies:

1. Establish a sustainable research network promoting social sciences and interdisciplinary research at BU:

We have made contacts with individual academics, departments and universities across Southeast Asia, notably Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), Universiti Utara Malaysia, alongside contacts with Massey University in New Zealand,  Hong Kong University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Myanmar Institute of Theology.

We have given names and contacts to people abroad and within BU to follow up. Research projects are being developed, publications are in train or planned for the future.

2. Develop research streams of locally specific or cross-cultural relevance:

Our research, completed with the Orang Asli as part of the Tasik Chini Research Centre, has culminated in numerous publications being submitted, developed and developing, wide dissemination across many fora, and establishing on-going research links.

3. Engage and promote educational initiatives via guest lectures/research seminars, developing joint postgraduate research supervision and educational initiatives promoting student mobility:

We have presented lectures and seminars, provided postgraduate supervision and contributed to curriculum planning and development discussions, as well as negotiated an important credit transfer scheme (although uptake has been delayed until we can find students both able and willing to go on this exciting opportunity!). Professional papers have been written and submitted.

4. Engage in discipline-specific activities in relation to social work:

a number of discipline specific activities concerning social action and development have been undertaken, including curriculum planning, assisting in education developments in Myanmar and in Malaysia in reference to the new (to be implemented) standardised Malaysian Diploma Social Work, alongside contributing to NGO development work.

Overall, during the study leave period, there has been 57 outputs, also including on-going work and connections to be completed over time. The 57 outputs included:

  • 6 books (3 published)
  • 14 book chapters (11 published or in press)
  • 12 peer reviewed papers (9 published or in press)
  • 3 professional papers
  • 1 book review
  • 16 conference presentations/open lectures etc.
  • 10 blogs
  • 6 media presentations

During our time away we have worked across five countries: Malaysia, Hong Kong SAR, Australia, Myanmar and Cambodia in order to carry out our research or present it, along with capacity-building missions for professional, social work training. We have undertaken respectively between 24 to 28 flights (trying, when one of us dislikes flying) and stayed in some extraordinarily interesting as well as very grim places during our fieldwork, resulting in abuse from miscellaneous assortments of blood-sucking insects (outsized mosquitoes, the usual bed bugs and fever-inducing leeches) bedding down with us or boisterously noisy lizards, both small and decidedly large, showering us with ordure from above.

One of us was joyfully returning ‘home’ to pioneering fieldwork in Southeast Asia and the other was equally rapturous to be introduced to it. We have developed a new appreciation of the diversity of international driving styles when finding it not unusual to be driven by taxi in the wrong direction through chaotic Yangon in the middle of two long lines of equally erratic cars heading in the right direction – towards us. Above all, we remember the various wonderfully funny, kind, clever, intriguing and endlessly good-natured people we me: all our participants, our various helpers, interpreters, drivers, guides and advisors, the academic staff and students who welcomed us so warmly, the inspiring NGO workers and service users; not forgetting the local café owner in Penang, who wept when we left before running to get her camera for group photos to remember us by.

Also, we will always remember just how much our children, Isabel and Milly grew and developed in stature (in all ways possible): learning the research process, engaging with children amongst the village communities, and themselves collecting valuable data and compiling magnificent school projects on their adventures and experiences. The children put up with a good deal with great fortitude, willingness and humour (or when the going got tough – heavy irony), easily comprehending the importance of the work undertaken; albeit, as 10 year-old Milly gravely commented in her write-up later, ‘fieldwork has its dark side’! Indeed, so impressed were we with them that they will be contributing their experiences and acting as co-authors to the forthcoming book on the Tasik Chini area.

Alongside the outputs, the work is now to capitalise on the study leave by the development and submission of funded research projects. Currently, these include gendered rituals in professional working, problematizing research ethics and learning disabilities, understanding religion as resistance, and gender in higher education.

The study leave represented a life-giving oasis, somewhere to wash and attend to our own sacred cattle as in the photo from Cambodia, and we gratefully acknowledge the help and supported afforded us by Bournemouth University and our two main host universities in Malaysia (UKM and USM). We would encourage other academic staff to apply for study leave and we think that the productivity of our period of study leave indicates how important this can be to both individual academics but also to the greater good of Bournemouth University.

Jonathan Parker & Sara Ashencaen Crabtree

BU presenters at Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development, Melbourne, Australia

Dr Sara Ashencaen Crabtree and Professor Jonathan Parker presented their research at the Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development, in Melbourne, Australia, 9th-12th July 2014.

In a well-received paper concerning the importance of student social workers learning about the causes, impacts and ways of working with the consequences of terrorism, and the problems of rigidity in the current English curriculum, conference delegates were introduced to a two-year study which revealed that student participants felt that a more extensive and sensitive range of intervention tools needed to be taught and deployed via a coherent and nuanced understanding of the geo-political dimensions surrounding the construction of ‘global terrorism’, together with its potential impact on local populations and vulnerable communities. Research findings highlighted the importance of earlier generic community-based and therapeutic approaches, which were favoured above contemporary neoliberal emphases in English social work education concerning assessment, safeguarding and social policing.  Addressing these findings would demand a much needed rebalancing of the curriculum to reinstate essential practitioner skills transferrable to a range of situations and crises – skills that have long been viewed as integral to the social work role by the international community. This research was published earlier in 2014 in the journal Social Policy & Social Work in Transition, DOI: 10.1921/4704030201, http://essential.metapress.com/content/26170w57262444gp/ and was reported in the Guardian on 25th June 2014 http://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2014/jun/24/how-can-social-work-education-address-terrorism?CMP=new_1194.

The second presentation reported aspects of the highly successful UK-Malaysian study of reactions to and cross-cultural learning from international placements, research that has challenged preconceived notions of anti-oppressive practices and demonstrates the need to move beyond post-colonial analyses of Western social work towards a post-post-colonial dialectic of shared and cultural appropriate practices. This research, funded by a British Council PMI2 grant, took place over three-years, with three separate cohorts of students supported by two Malaysian universities, Universiti Sains Malaysia on the peninsular and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak in Borneo. The success of this study which combined research rigour focusing on  pedagogy with student mobility opportunities has been affirmed by the British Council as one of their most successful funded projects. This study has to-date produced a raft of publications: 2 book chapters, 5 peer-reviewed papers and 5 international conference presentations, including one keynote lecture. The latest research paper has just been published in the prestigious European Jounral of Social Work, Jonathan Parker, Sara Ashencaen Crabtree, Azlinda Azman, Dolly Paul Carlo & Clare Cutler (2014): Problematising international placements as a site of intercultural learning, European Journal of Social Work, DOI: 10.1080/13691457.2014.925849.

Jonathan Parker and Sara Ashencaen Crabtree