Tagged / Fusion Investment Fund

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

Delphi comes to Leipzig via BU

Delphi method is an unsung qualitative research technique used for investigating complex issues. It was the subject of one of The Media School’s Prof Tom Watson’s teaching actions during his Erasmus visit to Leipzig University in Germany last week.

He was hosted by Prof Gunter Bentele and Prof Ansgar Zerfass of the university’s Communication Management Research Institute (Instituts KMW), who are also co-researchers with him.

“Delphi method has been little used in PR and Communication Management research. So this was an opportunity to present it to a group of Early Career Researchers and PhD students,” said Prof Watson who used it for an international study of PR research priorities in 2007/08.

He is hopeful that Delphi method, which draws its name from the oracle of Delphi as it is used for forecasting and policy creation, will be more widely used at both universities. “It gets very rich results amongst practitioners and from international experts.”

Other actions during Prof Watson’s Erasmus visit, supported by the British Council and a FIF SMN selection, were two seminars to Masters students on PR history and PR measurement as well as mentoring meetings with PhD students.

Leipzig University has been an Erasmus partner of BU for the past four years. It has one of Europe’s leading communication management and PR research teams, with an international reputation. Professors Bentele and Zerfass have both visited BU under the Erasmus banner. Students have also come from Leipzig to BU for six months’ study on the MA Public Relations.

“As well as being where J.S. Bach composed his music in the Thomaskirche (St Thomas’s Church) in the 18th century, the venue of the annual World Goth Festival and a charming city centre , Leipzig is a top university which started in 1409”, said Prof Watson. “There is great potential to further develop our relationship with it and its very welcoming staff.”

Thomaskirche, Leipzig, where J.S. Bach composed most of his music

 

Fusion – Exploring Histories of Women’s Radio in Europe

I am delighted to report that I, and my Co-investigator Dr Kate Murphy, have been successful in our Fusion Investment Fund bid, which will support an international academic research network Women’s Radio in Europe Network (WREN) that I have played a key part in developing since 2012.

WREN investigates the history and role of women’s radio in Europe and at the centre of this inquiry stands the idea of radio’s double articulation as both (domestic) technology and medium of communication. Women broadcasters and women’s radio provides a lens through which a number of histories and transnational flows can be analysed. Up till now, most women’s radio histories have mainly been examined within national contexts or narratives. These highlight the important role played by women’s radio in times of social change, financial and political crisis and modernisation. Yet, there has been no systematic research to the various patterns of transnational circulation mediated through women’s radio, nor a sustained comparative research. A vital aspect of WREN’s work is making these transnational connections between women, radio and society visible and accessible to researchers, practitioners and publics.

Funding was sought from the Staff Mobility and Networking Strand (SMN) and will enable a WREN workshop to be held at BU in the autumn (2014). WREN currently includes active members from the UK, Netherlands, Turkey, Denmark, Portugal, USA and Australia. The aim of WREN is to develop international collaborative research exploring women’s radio histories. The fusion funding will enable us to organise the first stand alone meeting of the network at BU. The aim of this meeting is to further develop plans for publications, bids for future external funding, and to build and develop our current web presence (http://womensradioineurope.org/). The workshop will also include an open seminar to which staff and students will be invited to attend. This is exciting news and I am looking forward to start planning and preparing!

Dr Kristin Skoog Lecturer in Media (Broadcasting History) – The Media School

 

 

ENABLE: Reflections on a Fieldtrip

A room with a view

We arrived fairly late in the evening. The roads were dark and seemed more windy and enclosed than during the daytime, and yet the bus driver, somewhat perversely, insisted on overtaking at speed on occluded bends whenever he possibly could!

The barrier to the ‘resort’ was shut when we arrived but our interpreter told the guard that we were indeed going to the Tasik Chini Resort – the only place one can go after passing through the gate. After deliberation, he let us proceed.

The receptionist indicated that tonight we had two rooms rather than the one room we had booked, having asked for two extra beds in the room for the children. One room had a twin bed and a mattress, and the other a single bed, but she said she would sort it all tomorrow. We paid in full after debating three or four times what the actual price was for the stay; a kind of mental gymnastics that pulls the mathematical body into contorted shapes only vaguely resembling the original anatomy from whence it came.

The rooms: interesting that the room with the twin beds and a ‘mattress’ was exactly that; no sheets or blankets just the mattress. The other room, however, looked more promising at first sight. There were in fact two beds there not one. OK, so the toilet ballcock was gone and water was constantly overflowing from the cistern onto the bathroom floor, but TWO beds!

So, we divided the children, given they didn’t want to sleep without an adult, sprayed the rooms with insecticide and prepared for the night. It was then that I (Jonathan) looked at the two beds and saw that whilst one was fine, the second was covered by dead, dying and some struggling ants and assorted insects; and the toilet was still dripping, resonant off the hollow dampness of Derbyshire’s Blue John mines! That bed couldn’t be slept in as I then preceded to spray it.

So, back to plan A with me (Sara) and one of the girls in the bed and one on the mattress. But, just a minute, there’s a mattress but no covers or pillow. No that’s not going to work so three in a bed it is, with some topping and tailing, and me back to the bed in the other room keeping the insects at bay and drowning the noise of the leaking cistern by air conditioning that’s making everything too cold and dry.

Fieldwork is, of course, meant to be a little uncomfortable and sometimes evocative of van Gennep’s ‘rite of passage’, a gaining of one’s socio-anthropological spurs! However, we are staying at what purports to be the premier resort for Tasik Chini. This is important because, until 2004 – (and here I (Jonathan) had to stop writing for a while to scratch that itch that turned out to be a troop of ants seeking solace in my bed) – in 2004 eco- and ethno-tourism (although somewhat contested) was seen as an important means of securing the economy of the area. It seems now, a decade on, that this resort finds anyone staying a rather irritating yet bizarre intrusion into a life that happily runs purposelessly for itself, except for weekend weddings, or as a place for the army cadets to stay and practice manoeuvres through the night. (Manoeuvres punctuated by eerie whistles, commands and shouts!) And, rather perversely, it seems that staff cannot get a single order right, no matter how small or precisely articulated it is: kopi ice O kosong (black iced coffee, without sugar) usually has milk and sugar in it; roti bakar (toast), if it comes at all, takes longer (much longer) than nasi goreng (fried rice)!

It also seems to evoke, more seriously, something that mimics the tragedy happening to the lake in bio-environmental terms and, from a human perspective, to the Orang Asli people living around the lake. It is an intrusion into the ill-thought plans of others or an encumbrance to manage that imposes rather than seeks dialogue!

And still the dripping cistern spits! (Should have consulted ‘Tripadvisor’ first http://www.tripadvisor.com.my/Hotel_Review-g298291-d2213723-Reviews-Lake_Chini_Resort-Pahang.html!)

Jonathan Parker & Sara Ashencaen Crabtree

PR education history archive now online

An insight into the first decade of PR education in the UK has just been posted online. It is the archive of the Public Relations Educators Forum (PREF) from 1994 to 1999, its most active years. It can be found at: http://microsites.bournemouth.ac.uk/historyofpr/files/2010/03/PREF-Archive-1994-1999.pdf

Catalogued by Professor Tom Watson of the Media School, it illustrates the growth of PR education which began in 1987 in Scotland and a year later in England. PREF was founded in 1990 to bring the new cohort of PR educators together and help negotiate the academia-industry connection. As Bournemouth University (then Dorset Institute of Higher Education) was one of the first two UK universities to launch undergraduate studies in PR, the PREF archive also adds to university history.

It wasn’t an easy relationship with particular tension in the mid-1990s over industry’s attitude to the quality of graduates and its desire to impose a skills-led training curriculum on universities. This was resisted by PREF, as correspondence and evidence of meetings shows.

“This archive shows the teething pains of new academic-led education faced with industry’s desired for trained technicians. The positive news is that PR was an academic area in which women took leading roles from the outset,” Prof Watson said. The online archive contains copies of PREF’s newsletters and membership lists which show the rapid expansion of PR education in the UK.

The PREF archive is one of several projects to advance scholarship in public relations history being developed by Prof Watson during his Fusion Investment Fund-supported Study Leave.

 

The ceremonial landscapes and funerary monuments of southern Britain

Following a successful application to the Fusion Investment Fund I have been awarded a period of Study Leave, to move on a body of research to publication. Under the umbrella title of ‘ The ceremonial landscapes and funerary monuments of southern Britain’ I will be bringing together material from seven seasons of archaeological field work focussed upon the later Neolithic and Early Bronze Age monuments found in the Allen Valley on Cranborne Chase in east Dorset. The cluster of henge monuments at Knowlton and a dense concentration of round barrows associated with them have been an important factor associated with my research interests since 1994. This grouping of broadly contemporary archaeological monuments has up until recently been under explored even though the importance of the group it can be argued is on a par with better known ceremonial complexes such as  those at Stonehenge, Avebury and Orkney.

Amongst the discoveries made during the fieldwork was the discovery of a late Neolithic house, one of the most complete examples thus far discovered in the UK and an unusual mortuary complex which offers important and exciting new insights into the burial ritual and practices at the beginning of the 2nd millennia BC.

The study leave period will be starting in the late summer and I am very much looking forward to the dedicated space and time so necessay to bring together this large body of work.

Excavations at High Lea Farm 2007 ( Early Bronze Age Barrow and later Saxon cemetery)

Gender Equality in Asian Workplaces Workshop

Happy Chinese New Year! May you all have a successful year of horse ahead!

Today is the 4th day of the Chinese new year and it is only appropriate to invite you to this one day workshop jointly funded by BU Fusion Investment Fund and the British Academy of Managment (BAM).

Descriptions

The rise of Asian economies in the last few decades has created unique opportunities for women to develop. Yet, compared with Western women, Asian women often find it more difficult to progress in the workplace because of inherent cultural and societal barriers. This one-day workshop adopts a cross-disciplinary perspective, looking at women’s employment and careers in five Asian societies.

When: This event will take place on 8th May, 2014.

Who should attend: Researchers and students who are interested in gender issues in Asia

Benefits of attendance

  • Enhanced cross-cultural understanding
  • Recent debates in women’s development in Asia with insight from leading academics in the field
  • Networking opportunities with scholars and practitioners from Gender in Management SIG

Location: Bournemouth University, Business School, Executive Business Centre (Room 708), 89 Holdenhurst Road, Bournemouth, BH8 8EB

Contact: Dr Huiping Xian, Lecturer in HR/OB, Bournemouth University Business School, hxian@bournemouth.ac.uk

Booking Deadline: 30th April, 2014

Programme

10:00-10:30 Welcome and coffee
10:30-11:15 Gender Equality in India: Constitutional Challenges and Contesting DiscoursesProfessor Ratna Kapur, Jindal Global Law School, India
11:15-12:00 Women Managers’ Careers in China: Theorizing the Influence of Gender and CollectivismProfessor Carol Woodhams, University of Exeter, UK

Dr Huiping Xian, Bournemouth University, UK

Dr Ben Lupton, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

12:00-13:00 Lunch
13:00-13:45 Contextual Emotional Labour: An Exploratory Study of Muslim Female Employees in PakistanDr Jawad Syed, Kent Business School, University of Kent, Kent, UK

Dr Faiza Ali, Kent Business School, University of Kent, Kent, UK

13:45-14:30 Does Nationality Impact Identification with Prevalent Models of Career Success?: The Case of A Global Bank.Dr Savita Kumra, Brunel University, UK
14:30-14:45 Tea and Coffee
14:45-15:30 An Investigation of the Determinants on Women’s Career Advancement in China: A Large Sample Analysis of Chinese Listed CompaniesDr Li Cunningham, Cass Business School, City University, UK

Dr Xiancheng Shi, School of Economics, Nanjing University, China

15:30-16:00 Plenary Discussion
16:00 Close

It’s deadline day for Fusion Investment Fund applications

If you would like to apply to any strands of the FIF please make sure you submit your application by the deadline which is 2pm today! No exceptions will be made to this deadline.

For all the updated strand policy documents, Fund FAQ’s and information about applying, please visit the FIF intranet pages.

 The Fusion Investment Fund is managed by Samantha Leahy-Harland. Please direct all initial enquiries to the Interim Fusion Administrator, Dianne Goodman, at Fusion Fund.

Friday the 13th, unlucky for some, but not for FIF applicants! Last chance to apply!

If you would like to apply to any strands of the FIF in this round please make sure you submit your application by the deadline which is 2pm on Friday 13 December. No exceptions will be made to this deadline.

For all the updated strand policy documents, Fund FAQ’s and information about applying, please visit the FIF intranet pages.

 The Fusion Investment Fund is managed by Samantha Leahy-Harland. Please direct all initial enquiries to the Interim Fusion Administrator, Dianne Goodman, at Fusion Fund.

Free money! Free money! 1 week left to apply-FIF!

Okay so it’s not exactly free….you will have to do something for it but what if I told you that you will be hailed within BU, and who knows, maybe the world, as a researcher/support staff member extraordinaire! Your peers will bow down in the corridors in your honour, you will be met with applause when you enter the atrium.*

 I know what you’re thinking….’This sounds brilliant! Where can I find out more?’ Just point your mouse here, my friend, and all will be revealed.

*This may not actually happen.

 The Fusion Investment Fund is managed by Samantha Leahy-Harland. Please direct all initial enquiries to the Interim Fusion Administrator, Dianne Goodman, at Fusion Fund.

Want some money?

I thought that might get your attention! The latest call of the FIF (or the ‘Fusion Investment Fund’ for those of you who haven’t yet added this acronym to your vocabulary) is open for 2 more weeks so if you haven’t applied yet or haven’t seen my previous blog posts, let me give you the highlights:

 

 

So basically you could be given a pile of cash to enable you to do what you love! Pursue that dream of undertaking world-leading research or travel across the pond to work collaboratively with experts in your field. Become a hero and take your rightful place on that pedestal that your peers and students will put you on.*

 Sound good? Find out more.

 *BU cannot guarantee this.

 The Fusion Investment Fund is managed by Samantha Leahy-Harland. Please direct all initial enquiries to the Interim Fusion Administrator, Dianne Goodman, at Fusion Fund.

Bangkok conference “a big success”

Speakers and delegates from 10 mainly Asian countries voted the 1st International Corporate and Marketing Communication in Asia Conference, held in Bangkok on November 18-19, “a big success”

The FIF-supported conference went so well that planning is already under way for the 2014 conference, also to be held at Chulalongkorn University in the Thai capital.

Representing BU at the conference were Prof Tom Watson, a co-organiser, and Dr Ana Adi, both of the Media School. Tom was a second day keynote speaker while Ana presented the outcome of research by her and Nathaniel Hobby on social media monitoring in higher education.

The conference, held at the Faculty of Communication Arts, was opened by the host’s Vice-President, Assoc Prof Dr Sittichai Tudsri. Including the Thai and UK organisers, 30 papers were presented by academics from Australia, Egypt, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

“The conference especially sought Asian perspectives: alternatives to Anglo-American models of theory, practice and education. In this aspect it succeeded to everyone’s satisfaction,” Prof Watson said. “I believe that several international joint research projects will develop from the 2013 conference, which is also a major step forward.”

He said that delegates had welcomed the conference as filling a major gap in corporate and marketing communication academic discourse in Asia. “This reflected well on BU and I’m grateful for the FIF support that helped us devise and develop the conference. It’s an investment that has long term reputational and research value.”

Already, a Media School team researching CSR has linked with colleagues at Chulalongkorn University and a further connection with an Indonesian researcher may follow soon. The BU-Chula link was confirmed at the conference.

(L-R) Conference organisers Prof Tom Watson and Assoc Prof Jirayudh Sinthuphan with keynote speaker Prof Dr Ansgar Zerfas (Leipzig University)