- Mivšek, A.P., Hundley, V., van Teijlingen, E., Pahor, M., Hlebec, V. (2021) Slovenian midwifery professionalisation: Perception of midwives and related health professions, European Journal of Midwifery (forthcoming)
The EU-funded Reconciliation Network of civil society organisations of the Western Balkans, known as RECOM, in conjunction with the Belgrade-based Humanitarian Law Centre, on 21st and 22nd of December 2020, organised and ran the 13th Forum for Transitional Justice online. In three panels, the invited academic experts and practitioners discussed the state of the process of dealing with the past in the post-Yugoslav space. They assessed and explored the state of transitional justice, memorialization and missing persons in the wider region.
Giulia Levi is a doctoral candidate at Bournemouth University and member of the Centre for Seldom Heard Voices: Marginalisation and Societal Integration at BU. Based on her practice experience with civil society initiatives working towards peace building in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2005, she is currently completing a comparative, VC-funded PhD project called ‘Bridging societal divisions in post-Brexit referendum UK, learning from Bosnia’. This article was originally published on the website of the AHRC project Changing the Story that investigates how the arts, heritage and human rights education can support youth-centred approaches to civil society building in post-conflict settings across the world.
What about the survivors? The importance of a victim-centred approach to transitional justice in the Western Balkans – Reflections on a conference
Since the end of the Yugoslav succession wars of the 1990s, people living in the former Yugoslav countries have been dealing with the consequences of wartime violence and the societal divisions this caused. The path of transitional justice has proven difficult and discontinuous, yet it has had a real impact on the lives of ordinary citizens. Survivors’ families and associations, who invested the most emotional labour in the process, however, have often felt left out of the official transitional justice processes and, today, often find themselves disappointed, disillusioned, and exhausted. It is generally held that a lack of sufficiently addressing the needs and grievances of survivors of massive human rights violations inhibits chances for lasting peace and reconciliation between the previously warring parties. Open questions include whether there can be a universal approach to dealing with the past and with survivors’ needs or whether, rather, Transitional Justice can and should be tailored to every individual’s needs. However, would the latter even be realistic, given the challenging complexities at stake? Furthermore, would any kind of justice delivery sufficiently satisfy those who have suffered so much because of the war; or what justice needs, or even other needs, have to be addressed for peace building to have a genuine chance? One commentator at the conference suggested that, in order to build the future of the post-Yugoslav countries, it might be better to focus on the respective societies as a whole rather than on individual grievances. The discussions during the conference revolved around these types of complex questions. Most of the experts and practitioners present highlighted, through insights from their personal research or based on first-hand experience, the importance of taking individual survivors’ needs into account while understanding these as being interconnected with the situation in their wider, respective societies.
Contrary to other countries like South Africa or Rwanda, which established truth commissions to deal with the crimes of the past, the region of former Yugoslavia has relied mainly on retributive justice. This model consists of a top-down approach, punishing perpetrators through trials. Despite the important role played by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in establishing a record of what happened during the war, scholars and practitioners have long pointed to the limitations of formal tribunals as tools of delivering reconciliation. As noted during the conference, retributive justice has often been blamed for “overpromising and underdelivering”, while promoting normative discourses that can contrast with the lived realities of people. High sounding principles of ‘peace’, ‘justice’ and ‘reconciliation’, despite seemingly universal, might carry specific meanings for people on the ground. Policies that promote their implementation have often resulted in unintended consequences such as further dividing ethnic communities and being detrimental to, rather than supportive of, survivors’ causes.
The formation of the Regional Commission (RECOM) constituted an attempt to propose an alternative approach to dealing with the past. In 2005, three human rights organizations based in Belgrade, Sarajevo and Zagreb and opposed to the top-down approach of foreign organizations and domestic political institutions, promoted a platform with the aim of involving survivors’ organizations more actively in shaping efforts towards truth finding and dealing with the past. At the same time, due to the regional nature of the Yugoslav wars, the RECOM founders believed that the formal participation of all the national governments in the region was a prerequisite for establishing the facts of the war and for preventing a manipulation of the 1990s conflicts for political gains. Today, RECOM includes over 2,000 organizations and individuals of the wider Western Balkan region, representing an unprecedented effort towards inclusiveness and local ownership. From 2007 to 2011, RECOM carried out 127 consultations throughout the seven former Yugoslav countries, which involved civil society organizations to discuss the establishment of a Regional Commission aimed at ascertaining the facts about the war crimes committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 2001. Despite this, the reluctance of almost all involved national governments to participate, formally and continuously, in this initiative, and the unwillingness of EU member states to play a stronger role in the process, have proven obstacles that prevented RECOM to fully achieving its aims.
All national governments in the wider region still display a lack of political will to engage in collaborative efforts of building a shared vision of the past. Instead, the narratives of the past, as these are constructed, expressed and performed across the region, especially during public commemorative events, continue to be of an exclusionary, ethno-nationalist character. The conference speakers reflected on the contemporary ‘memory industry’ in Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia and Kosovo. They found that political leaders still politicise survivors’ experiences, often attributing value to them only if they can support the respective political rhetoric. For example, Lejla Gačanica addressed the case of the town of Srebrenica, where the Bosnian Serb political leaders still refuse to acknowledge the extent of the crime committed in July 1995 against the Bosnian Muslim population. This case exemplified the ways in which manipulation and outright denial of established facts of war still heavily impact on the everyday life of ordinary citizens who suffered from these. Vjollca Krasniqi for Kosovo and Sabina Čehajić-Clancy for Bosnia emphasised the role of civil society organizations in fighting denial and breaking homogeneous narratives of the past by nurturing the public space for diverse experiences and storytelling. The collection and presentation of personal stories, with their uniqueness, for example through arts or media events, can help to change the ways in which the ‘Other’ is imagined.
If finding space for individual narratives to emerge can help defy solidified versions of the past, the search for missing persons is a fundamental step in giving dignity to individual survivors rather than treating them just as numbers in political struggles. Manfred Nowak, Expert Member of the UN Working Group on Involuntary or Enforced Disappearances during the war, reminded the audience that, still today, “the persistence of missing persons represents one of the main obstacles for people to come together and trust each other”. The uncertainty about somebody’s loved ones’ whereabouts and the circumstances of the death of each individual effectively undermines relations between communities and makes sustainable peace most difficult to achieve. Nataša Kandić, director of the Humanitarian Law Centre, advocated for the issue of missing persons to be treated not just as a humanitarian, but a political issue. This is because any progress in this work strongly depends on the political will of the involved nation-states to lead by example and share information on the location of mass graves and individual gravesites. At the same time, she insisted that “it is extremely important to look at each individual victim and find all the names, not numbers, but names. We have to publish the data on the disappearances and just by doing that we can cast light on what happened, and we can hope that citizens who have information will feel confident to come forward”. Listening to individual stories, whether of former victims, perpetrators or witnesses of war crimes is thus paramount to establishing the truth.
If compared with other contexts where mass disappearances took place like Iraq, Argentina or Sri Lanka, the massive work done in former Yugoslavia by the International Commission of Missing Persons (ICMP) in locating mass graves and identifying remains, represents a success story. Nevertheless, 10,170 persons are still missing across the region. The speakers underlined how state authorities have done too little in the last years to move the work required forward. With time passing and the soil gradually mutating, it is increasingly difficult to locate the remaining burial sites, leaving surviving families’ questions about the circumstances in which their loved ones died forever unanswered.
The issue of missing persons, in particular, shows how the fate of every single individual burdens not only the survivors’ families, but entire societies. Focusing attention on the nexus between survivors’ needs and societal problems could help counterbalance the appeal that nationalism exerts on people, who feel disappointed and abandoned, as Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers demonstrated for her ethnographic Kosovar case studies. She argued that disenfranchised people might look for a sense of security in solidified narratives, which can result in further ethnic segregation and, where discontent persists, be passed on across the generations. Far from being just a concern of the post-Yugoslav area, nationalist ideologies work as messianistic narratives for those who are on the losing end, a ‘shield’ that is thought to protect against perceived external threats. Therefore, as Slađana Lazić elaborated, transitional justice should take a more ‘transformative’ turn, widening its scope, beyond criminal justice, to socio-economic injustices. Such focus would allow “find[ing] a different policy entry point to link, [for example,] wartime rape and children born out of rape and the present-day problem of femicide and gender-based violence”. Empirical research insights such as these supported the conference’s main finding that sustainable change can only arise from taking the needs of individual survivors into account while, at the same time, addressing structural inequalities that are important for the whole society.
The panelists and moderators of the discussions at the Forum were UN experts Manfred Nowak, Thomas Osorio and Ivan Jovanović; EC expert David Hudson; academics Sabina Čehajić, Vjollca Krasniqi, Slađana Lazić, Lejla Gačanica, Sven Milekić, Jelena Đureinović, Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers and Lea David; as well as former Head of the Commission on Detainees and Missing Persons of the Republic of Croatia, Ivan Grujić; and RECOM Reconciliation Network members Žarko Puhovski, Tea Gorjanc Prelević and Nataša Kandić. The conference over two days was divided into three panel discussions: 1) Review of Transitional Justice – Opportunities; 2) Remembrance Policies and Victim Commemoration; and 3) The Issue of Missing Persons – The Priority of Regional Cooperation.
The general effects of lockdown on healthy individuals range from a general annoyance to a major limiting factor in life, especially in lockdown affects someone livelihood and/or mental health. These effects have been well documented in the media. At a societal level these effects are more mixed, first and foremost, there is positive outcome in terms of a reduced spread of the infectious disease COVID-19. Further positive effects include a reduction in air pollution, water pollution levels (in Venice), traffic jams, but also fewer break-ins (as more people are at home for more of the time). Whilst negative effects include not only economic decline, but also a lack of opportunity to travel for work or leisure, children missing education and people avoiding health care professionals for screening and treatment of diseases other then COVID-19. We have also learnt that lockdown affects different groups in society differently, some quite unexpectedly. For example, AbilityNet highlighted that “For students living with physical impairments and long-term health conditions, the benefits of studying from home and avoiding the exhausting experience of accessing face-to-face learning has left them with more energy to apply to their studies” . Even before the first lockdown universities in the UK had been pro-active in their response to the pandemic . One of the practical responses was to move to webinars, online teaching, marking and meetings. Before March most university academics don’t much about Zoom, Teams, Jitsi Meet or Google Meet, and today most academics will have used most of these platforms (and several others) for research meetings, webinars and conferences.With lockdown this all has changed, like my BU colleagues I teach every week using Zoom, meet colleagues online through a range of platforms, meet students for individual tutorials through Skype or Teams. Although having the occasional limitation, there is a great opportunity as it removed the need for staff and students to be in the same room. One example of a BU education innovation was last week’s International Student Midwives’ Networking Day held on November 18th. With the restrictions of lockdown on midwifery students the BU Midwifery Team led by Dr. Laura Iannuzzi and Dr. Juliet Wood used the opportunities provided by Zoom to bring together midwifery students from across the globe. Using their long-established research links [3-16], BU academics manage to bring together student midwives from Italy, Nepal and the Netherlands to discuss midwifery and maternity issues with fellow midwifery students at BU. The day was nicely broken into two with a lunchtime event called ‘Zoom the midwife’, which as the third of its kind. In this ‘Zoom the midwife’ webinar BU’s Dr Rachel Arnold and BU Visiting Faculty Margaret Walsh shared their experience of working in different cultures for projects in Afghanistan and Nepal respectively.
Our second example is a project to support midwifery education in Nepal. The Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) in collaboration with Dalarna University in Sweden and University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust produced a draft Bridging Course for nursing lecturers in Nepal who are currently teaching midwifery and maternity care. This project is funded by GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit). As part of this project BU offers academics at NAMS (National Academy of Medical Sciences) in Kathmandu support in their professional and pedagogic development.
Following the lockdown and seeing the success of online teaching of BU’s students earlier in 2020 we decided to try out online teaching with midwifery lecturers at NAMS. Since many people in Nepal only have a one-day weekend (Saturday) Sunday is usually a working day and due to time difference early Sunday morning are ideal times for webinars. To date online sessions in Kathmandu have been delivered by Juliet Wood, Michelle Irving, Edwin van Teijlingen and CMMPH Visiting Faculty Jillian Ireland (Professional Midwifery Advocate in Poole). The sessions proved very popular with 30 to 40 people regularly attending online from Nepal.
With challenges to delivering face-to-face lectures and tutorials at universities, online teaching and webinars have opened a whole set of new opportunities to internationalise our education.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
The following events are coming up this month. These are all online events.
|Wednesday 11th November 10:00 – 11:00
British Academy Newton International Fellowships – Information Session
This session provides support for preparing an application to the British Academy Newton International Fellowships. Potential BU mentors and international candidates are welcomed.
You will gain an understanding of the Newton International Fellowship Scheme, and it’s aims and objectives. Support will be provided for those considering applying, but this is also suitable for those who are not sure if this is the right fund to apply to.
|Wednesday 11th November 15:00 – 16:00 – ECR Network Meeting
Calling all ECRs, this is an opportunity to meet other Early Career Researchers and to get advice and support for any research-related queries and concerns.
|Monday 16th November 10:00 – 12:00
Enhancing research impact: understanding and navigating bibliometrics
Bibliometric analysis uses data to measure the “output” of individuals, research teams, institutions etc., and it is increasingly being used to assess the “impact” of research in order to evaluate and quantify it. This session will cover how research impact is measured, how you can maximise it, and the role of social media in promoting research.
|Tuesday 17th November 10:00 – 12:00 – Navigating the Ethics Checklist
This workshop is designed to assist Researchers in the process of obtaining ethical approval.
The review and approval process will be discussed, including how risk is identified. What makes a good an application and how to create and submit an online ethics checklist.
|Wednesday 18th November 10:30 – 15:00 – UK Research Office Update
This event is comprised of a number of sessions:
· UK Participation in Horizon 2020. An update on Horizon Europe developments
· H2020 Evaluation process and proposal writing hints and tips – session for PIs involved in the Green Deal Call proposal submission
· H2020 implementation matters – informal session with post-award team (based on questions submitted in advance)
· 1-1 sessions if time allows
For further information and to book, contact Ablaudums@bournemouth.ac.uk
|Thursday 19th November 10:00 – 11:00 – Royal Society Overview
This workshop will provide important information for potential applicants applying to the Royal Society, including tips on applying that will increase the likelihood of success.
|Wednesday 25th November 10:00 – 11:00
Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships Information Session
This workshop will provide important information for potential applicants applying to this external funding call, including tips on applying that will increase the likelihood of success.
To book, please email OD@bournemouth.ac.uk with evidence of approval from your Head of Department or Deputy Head of Department.
You can see all the Organisational Development and Research Knowledge Development Framework (RKEDF) events in one place on the handy calendar of events.
If you have any queries, please get in touch!
RDS hosted the annual UK Research Office visit to BU on 18th November 2018. The event was well attended and wide-ranging. Topics included overview of the impact of Brexit on EU research funding and a review of hints and tips for being successful at securing international funding. The session was delivered by Dr Andreas Kontogeorgos, BU European Advisor at the UK Research Office.
All staff interested in EU funding were also able to express their concerns related to Brexit and discuss the EU funding related questions they were concerned about.
Presentation slides are available on Brightspace.
If you wish to further discuss issues related to Brexit or remaining H2020 funding opportunities, please contact Research Facilitator – International Ainar Blaudums.
UKRO is the European office of the UK Research Councils. It delivers a subscription-based advisory service for UK research organisations and provides National Contact Point services on behalf of the UK Government. UKRO’s mission is to maximise UK engagement in EU-funded research and innovation. As part of UKRO services, BU members of staff may sign up to receive personalised email alerts – feel free to subscribe on UKRO portal.
The University of West Bohemia in Pilsen (Plzeň in the Czech Republic) invited Bournemouth University’s Professor Edwin van Teijlingen for an academic exchange visit with BU Visiting Faculty Ms Jillian Ireland (Professional Midwifery Advocate at Poole Maternity Hospital) . Yesterday he presented a session about academic publishing to staff and students in the health faculty. This afternoon his audience comprised sociology students in a session on ‘The medical/social model of childbirth’. The two guests from Dorset were also shown round the obstetric wards of the two main maternity hospitals in the city of Pilsen. The international visit was funded by the European Union!
Ms Ireland has shared two presentations with student midwives and staff sharing the development of maternity services in partnership with families in Dorset using the ‘Maternity Matters’ website (developed as early adopters of ‘Better Births’ – Improving outcomes of maternity services in England – A five year forward view for maternity care). A particular focus on birth trauma was complemented with discussion of care and self-care of midwives.
As usual, RDS will host an annual UK Research Office visit to BU in 2019. This year’s event has been scheduled for November; the reason is obvious – Brexit!
All academic staff interested in EU funding are invited to attend the event:
Monday 18th November Fusion Building – FG06 from 11:00 – 14:30. Lunch will be included.
Dr Andreas Kontogeorgos, European Advisor of the UK Research Office will be discussing with us the impact of Brexit on EU funding opportunities. Academics are welcome to submit any other EU funding related topics for discussion to Ainar Blaudums by the end of October.
UKRO delivers subscription-based advisory service for research organisations and provides MSCA and ERC National Contact Point services in the UK. As part of UKRO services, BU members of staff may sign up to receive personalised email alerts and get early access to EU funding related publications on UKRO portal.
Please contact Organisational Development to book a place.
Great project meeting and presentation of research findings on Hybrid Warfare, Political Warfare and how adversaries threaten international institutions. Prof Håkan Gunneriusson Swedish Defence University and Researcher Bournemouth University CROLS presented his research on how Hybrid Threats can be used to undermine international institutions. The work is being undertaken with a view to bring the findings of the joint Nordic Hybrid Threat network into the Asia-Pacific realm by Håkan Gunneriusson and Sascha-Dominik Dov Bachmann
Come to this public event on Wed 19 June to hear the latest results from 3 dementia research projects:
After the talks, come and meet some of our researchers to hear more about dementia research at Bournemouth University over a free light lunch.
Wednesday 19 June
Please share the link for this public event dementia-and-living-well.eventbrite.co.uk with anyone who might be interested.
In February 2018 I was invited by Artercitya on a (still on-going) residency as an audio artist in a very large international project called Freiraum, organised by the Goethe-Institut and funded, amongst other important funders, by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. In the project, 38 cities in Europe, are dealing with the question of freedom in Europe today and consider where or how this freedom might be in danger.
(You can find details on Freiraum here: http://www.artbox.gr/2017_freiraum.html).
My involvement in the project, engaged Artecitya and ArtBOX (a big Creative Arts Management company) with my work as an educator here at Bournemouth University. They became particularly interested in the Graduate Production work created by our Level 6 students in the BA Media Production Course and particularly in the Graduate Production Project Unit, which I lead.
During the unit, ArtBOX, who organise the 3rd Artecitya Art Science Technology Festival – THE NEW NEW, realised by the Thessaloniki International Fair – HELEXPO, with the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, came to the university and students had a chance to present to them prototypes of their graduate production work.
As a result, two of our BAMP Level 6 graduating students and my own supervisees, Daniel Bell and George Fisher, whose work fulfilled the brief of this new media arts event, were selected and presented their work, along with mine, in this major international exhibition, THE NEW NEW, in Thessaloniki –Greece between September 8 -16 2018.
In the link below you can see video and pictures from the exhibition and read details of our artworks and involvement in this major international event: http://www.artbox.gr/AST-2018.html
The three artworks, Daniel Bell’s Spectra, George Fisher’s Echoes in Space and my own Air Free, were very warmly received by the visitors and first survey results from the even organisers suggest that the work was seen by over 10.000 people and that the exhibition was voted amongst the most popular events in this major international fair.
Echoes in Space – George Fisher
Echoes in Space consists of 8 unique soundscapes and visuals themed after each of the planets’ characteristics. These soundscapes are an artistic reimagining of the Voyager probes recordings, though scattered throughout are real excerpts from the original Voyager recordings. Echoes in Space is a blurring of reality and crafted content; it asks the viewer to consider the divide between reality and fiction. As well as to understand the difficulty in comprehending what is real and what is crafted when you find yourself confronted by the unknown, and to ask oneself if there truly is a difference?
Spectra – Daniel Bell
Spectra is an audio-visual installation focusing on the contrast and convergence between the human and natural worlds. Stemming from the artists philosophy that every new concept we face in life comes to us as a spectrum of information, and to fully comprehend new concepts we must appreciate each spectra in their entirety
Air Free Future
The first iteration of my artwork Air Free that was presented in Greece, is made up of interviews with members of local communities in Thessaloniki, responding to questions on isolation and freedom. As a response to the Freiraum brief, the artwork is now entering a second phase. During this phase, I will be visiting Carlisle (UK) in order to conduct further recordings with members of the local community there on the same themes, by bringing the recordings from Greece to them. These new recordings will then be used along with the recordings from Thessaloniki in a second iteration of the artwork, which will be presented in an exhibition organised by the Goethe-Institut in Berlin Germany, between 12-13 March 2019.
Air Free Impact
My own work for Freiraum, due to its themes and very large scale international reach, lends itself rather strongly for an impact study, which I am now working on. Particularly looking at how the work brings forth issues of isolation in Europe today by bringing the voices of local communities, including the voices of minorities, in communication with each other as well as with international audiences.
George Fisher, Echoes in Space, 2018
Daniel Bell, Spectra, 2018
Evi Karathanasopoulou, Air Free, 2018, (audience member listening).
The New New festival at TIF- Helexpo, Thessaloniki
Would your research activity benefit from a greater awareness the EU landscape?
Then, sign up for this free MOOC! Please note that you will need to do this soon as this resource will close at the end of February 2019.
Who is this course for?
This course is for everybody interested in the EU and its regional and local affairs, particularly for officials of regional and local administrations involved in EU affairs. It also targets students, teachers, local journalists and citizens in general.
What do I need to know?
Recommended background: basic knowledge of the European Union
What will I learn?
In this course you will learn about how the EU institutions function and work together, how the EU budget is prepared and how this impacts policies and activities at the regional and local level. Present and upcoming EU programmes and policies will be presented, as well as statistics, practical examples and success stories of concrete EU-funded projects across the continent.
Congratulations to Prof. Vanora Hundley of FHSS on the publication of her ‘Editorial midwifery special issue on education: A call to all the world’s midwife educators!’ in Midwifery (Elsevier). This editorial is co-authored by midwives Franka Cadée of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and Mervi Jokinen of European Midwives Association (EMA). The editorial was written to accompany a Special Issue of the journal focussing on midwifery education. The Midwifery Special Issue addresses a wide range of topics from across the globe. Whilst the editorial explores the challenges for midwifery educators from three diﬀerent midwifery perspectives: (1) political; (2) academic ; and (3) professional association.
The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation by co-financing projects with European added value.
In April 2018, The LIFE programme has launched its 2018 call for project proposals. This year, they are investing close to €400 million in nature conservation, environmental protection and climate action. They are also introducing a streamlined application process to make it easier to request LIFE funds.
As a bottom-up funding instrument, LIFE provides applicants with flexibility to truly innovate. The LIFE Programme supports projects that are either tackling climate change, or protecting nature and the environment.
See more funding information – “Traditional Projects” under the LIFE sub-programme for Environment and the LIFE sub-programme for Climate Action – various calls with concept note closing dates of 12th / 14th June and 12th September, depending on the call guidance.
LIFE are also hosting an Information Day in Brussels on 4/5/18, with registrations open until 2/45/18.
For the UK perspective, please go to the UK LIFE website.
BU staff wishing to apply should contact the relevant member of RKEO for their faculty.
With more than 278,000 followers on Facebook, Hungary’s Two-Tailed Dog Party was the the most popular party on social media to stand in the country’s 2018 election. However, its online popularity did not help win seats in the vote which delivered Viktor Orbán a third term as prime minister by a landslide. In an anti-establishment approach, the Dogs’ campaign was carried out entirely by volunteers and official campaign funds were used to support community projects.
Despite only coming away with 1.71% of the votes, however, the party has pushed an important boundary in Hungarian politics.
The Two-Tailed Dog Party was founded in 2006, although formal recognition didn’t come until 2014. It defined itself as a joke party from the start, becoming famous for making fun of other political groups – mainly the mainstream Fidesz, led by Orbán.
Its activities range from street art to graffiti to urban gardening. It even smuggles soap and toilet paper into hospitals in order to highlight the dire state of some healthcare facilities. In 2016, the party crowdfunded €100,000 to cover the country in satirical posters mocking the government’s call to vote against EU refugee quotas in an impending referendum.
Then in 2018, just a couple of weeks before the deadline, the party managed to get enough signatures to be able to participate in the national parliamentary elections. The jokers were getting serious.
In an election campaign dominated by the supposed “threat” posed by immigration and the perceived influx of migrants to Hungary, the Two-Tailed Dog party used social media to draw attention to a statistic published on the national police website showing that one migrant had been “caught” in the last 30 days. Its satirical response to this shocking figure read: “There is an enormous interest in our country. But we cannot rest assured: The migrant entered our country.”
All political parties use emotions to persuade people to vote for them. The Two-Tailed Dog party and its kind are trying to undermine establishment organisations by turning humour into political action.
In a process social scientists call “kynicism”, the Two-Tailed Dog party borrowed and remixed government messages for its own aims. The idea is to mock the government’s rhetoric in order to disperse fear and anxiety.
In Hungary, it’s unclear what the future holds for the Two-Tailed Dog party, or these joke parties more broadly. There is a fundamental mismatch between the way everyday politics works and the vision of the party.
Party leader Gergő Kovács told us:
I can’t really tell how many of our Facebook fans would vote for us … To be honest, for me the parliamentary elections are not important. For me, it’s much more important to see what we can do … I have to confess: my aim is to create something creative and funny, and yet meaningful … I think it is useless to have one more opposition party that has a serious programme. I have no interest to do politics in the traditional way.
If the case of Iceland’s Pirate party shows us anything, it is that parties like the Two-Tailed Dog have a tendency to lose their edge once they gain political influence. In 2016 the pirates topped opinion polls, and seemed to become a real political force by winning ten seats in the parliament. However, in the latest elections, they won only six seats.
Alternative parties, like the Two-Tailed Dog exist to mock from outside the mainstream. But what’s the point of a political party if it doesn’t really want to get elected and to introduce its policies?
For now, that’s not a question the Two-Tailed dogs need to answer, since they failed to make it into parliament.
But the group has nonetheless radically re-energised young people. It has tested the limits of convention in Hungary’s political process. Kovács told us that when it comes to larger campaigns, “two thirds, or three quarters, of our ideas come from the people … For instance, we write an economic programme, post it to Facebook and in a couple of minutes, there are three to four better ideas in the comments, so we take it down and add these ideas. So, in fact it really comes from the people”. The next step is for the group to translate those likes on social media into actual votes.
Annamaria Neag, Marie Curie Research Fellow, Bournemouth University and Richard Berger, Associate Professor, Head of Research and Professional Practice, Department of Media Production, Bournemouth University
Do you want to know more about our fourth call for project proposals?
Are you looking for project partners or do you have a project idea to share?
Would you like to network and build new contacts?
Then join the Interreg Europe team on Friday 13 April 2018 at 10am (Paris time) a two-hour online event dedicated to networking, partner search, and information about their new project call.
During #europecooperates online, you will:
Furthermore, you can start sharing your ideas and send them your questions already before the event. To help you connect with the other participants, they will open the online chat rooms on Wednesday 11 April, two days ahead of the live stream.
The Interreg Europe team is looking forward to seeing you online!
The key message for UK-based researchers seeking to apply for Horizon 2020 funding is:
The UK Government encourages the UK research and innovation (R&I) community to continue applying for Horizon 2020 funding and participating in Horizon 2020 projects because:
● Until our departure from the EU, we remain a Member State, with all the rights and obligations that entails. This means that UK entities are eligible to participate in all aspects of the Horizon 2020 programme while we remain a member of the EU.
● The UK and the EU fully intend UK entities’ eligibility in Horizon 2020 to remain unchanged for the duration of the programme, as set out in the Joint Report. This includes eligibility to participate in all Horizon 2020 projects and to receive Horizon 2020 funding for the lifetime of projects.
● The Government’s underwrite guarantee remains in place in the event that commitments made in the Joint Report are not met.
The UK Research Office (UKRO), to which BU subscribes, worked closely with BEIS in the preparation of this report and is updating their own FAQs and related documents. If you have not already registered to access their services and to receive UKRO announcements, you are encouraged to do so, to keep fully up to date with developments. UKRO also invites queries and comments from subscribers, as these are vital to inform the development of future guidance.
If you are considering developing your international research portfolio, please contact your faculty’s research facilitator.
This last week two separate papers have been accepted on aspects of health and well-being among migrants workers from Nepal. The first in the International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care is based on a completed PhD project in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences with Dr. Pratik Adhikary as first author . This paper ‘Health and well-being of Nepalese migrant workers abroad’ is co-authored by two former FHSS staff Dr. Zoe Sheppard and Dr. Steve Keen, and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen of the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH).
The second paper ‘A study of Health Problems of Nepalese Female Migrants Workers in the Middle-East and Malaysia’ was accepted by the Open Access journal BMC International Health & Human Rights . The lead author of this paper is Bournemouth University (BU) Visiting Faculty Prof. Padam Simkhada (based at Liverpool John Moores University) and two of his co-authors are based in Nepal: Manju Gurung (chair of Pourakhi Nepal) and Dr. Sharada Prasad Wasti and one at BU: Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen .
There is a growing momentum in migration research at BU with further academic papers being published related to studies on migrant workers from Nepal [4-8], relatives of migrant workers , migration into the UK [10-12], Eastern European migration issues [13-15], migration and tourism , migration and the media  as well as migration in the past .