Tagged / research

Photo of the week: ‘Interpreting Person and Place’

Telling a story of research through photography

The ‘photo of the week’ is a weekly series featuring photographs taken by BU academics and students for our Research Photography Competition which took place earlier this year.

These provide a snapshot into some of the incredible research taking place across the BU community. 

This week’s photo of the week was taken by Dr Kip Jones from BU’s Faculty of Health & Social Sciences and is titled;

‘Interpreting Person and Place’

Quoc Bao Duong, creatively writes a story based only on a single image of a specific person in a specific place. No other information is given. A photograph can capture a moment just after something has happened, or just before something is about to happen. The exercise is to create that story.

If you have any questions about the Photo of the Week series or the Research Photography Competition please email research@bournemouth.ac.uk

Introduction to Good Clinical Practice – Thursday 10th October

Are you interested in running your own research project within the NHS? Good Clinical Practice, or ‘GCP’, is a requirement for those wishing to work on clinical research projects in a healthcare setting.

GCP is the international ethical, scientific and practical standard to which all clinical research is conducted. By undertaking GCP, you’re able to demonstrate the rights, safety and wellbeing of your research participants are protected, and that the data collected are reliable.

The next GCP full day session is scheduled for Thursday 10th October, at Dorset County Hospital, Dorchester9:00am – 4:30pm.

The day will comprise of the following sessions:

  • Introduction to research and the GCP standards;
  • Preparing to deliver your study;
  • Identifying and recruiting participants – eligibility and informed consent;
  • Data collection and ongoing study delivery;
  • Safety reporting;
  • Study closure.

If you’re interested in booking a place, please contact Research Ethics.

Remember that support is on offer at BU if you are thinking of introducing your research ideas into the NHS – email the Research Ethics mailbox, and take a look at the Clinical Governance blog.

The importance of preservation and sustainability of digital data in the arts

The AHRC research project, ArtoP: The Visual Articulations of Politics in Nigeria sets out to collect and archive visual material that is produced by artists, animators, filmmakers, photographers in Nigeria around and following the elections in February 2019. As part of the project outputs, the research will culminate in a digital archive that will serve two purposes i) to preserve this collection over a period of 10 years and ii) to disseminate parts of the collection with a wider public through a web-based platform. These outputs present a number of challenges that highlight the importance of planning for digital archiving and ensuring its sustainability given the rapidity with which digital traces are created, disseminated and in turn disappear (Ernst, 2013). This post forms part of a longer paper in development that seeks to focus upon changes in archival practice in the arts, especially where contexts of contemporary image making practices tend to be based in the digital and circulate in virtual spaces. Additionally, the variances in technological landscapes across different geographies also present separate sets of challenges that a researcher may face – who has access to this data; which voices are included and excluded; how does one curate for fair access?  

Collecting Digital Images

In 2018, the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston) ran an exhibition on ‘Art in the Age of the Internet’, that examined how ‘the internet has radically changed the field of art, especially in its production, distribution, and reception’ (Respini, 2018). This exhibition is connected to a wider ongoing discourse within the arts on digital media (Gere, 2004, 2006) and the impact this is having upon museums and galleries. Therefore it is not surprising to see that in recent years there has been a growing recognition of the urgent need to actively collect and preserve digital art and digital graphics – material which is inherently ephemeral.  Archives have been tempted to wait until a top down collections management system is developed. This has resulted in gaps in collections.There is a consensus emerging that researchers and archivists urgently need to take a DIY, active approach to collecting digital content as near to the time of its publication as possible. Unlike physical collections, there is less chance of acquiring large collections of digital content at a later date, long after the material was created. This is because material on digital platforms are fleeting, with people entrusting storage of their digital creations to third-party proprietorial platforms whose commitment to the long term preservation of material is uncertain:     

“Digital works increasingly operate within a culture that replaces ownership with access. The idea that anything is accessible anytime online changes the motivation to collect and archive within the personal sphere. Personal cultural material is now embedded in proprietary software and third party platforms where responsibility for its longevity in a fast changing technological environment is ambiguous. Certainly, the ability to capture the online object within the context which makes it meaningful recedes as time passes […] digital collecting is best approached as a process of rapid response.” (CCDP 2018) 

One only needs to think of the demise of Myspace, a once-popular social media platform and a medium for sharing artwork and music, which recently lost all content uploaded by users before 2016, to recognise how transient and vulnerable our individual and collective digital heritage is. (Hern  2019)

Capturing Context and Circulation

Another challenge in collecting and archiving digital images and artworks is capturing the contexts and the patterns of circulation which make the images meaningful. Simply saving a digital graphic as an individual image file severs the image from its context. One challenge has been in capturing the interactive web environments in which digital graphics are published, republished and commented upon by users of Web 2.0. The sharing and modification of images online by a variety of actors is increasingly rapid and dynamic. For example, people can change the meaning of an image by reposting it on social media with a different caption, presenting new opportunities for engaged political citizenship and satire (Agbo 2018). This, along with the growing availability of digital editing tools, which are often embedded within the interface of social media platforms themselves, also allow users to easily edit the visual content of images, leaving them ripe for subversion and parody. Social media users quickly respond to each other in a humorous, conversational form, in ways which reframe images, reference earlier posts and trade ‘in-jokes’. In such exchanges users demonstrate their visual literacy and quick textual wit (Dike 2018). As both the content and context of digital images is endlessly mutating, it doesn’t make sense to archive once instance of an image, or even to think in terms of individual images. A recent report by the Collecting and Curating Digital Posters (CCDP) project recommends thinking in terms of “graphic events” rather than discrete images in order to reflect the ongoing social practices in which images are referenced, negotiated and transformed.  We should capture many iterations of the same image, the way in which they have migrated, the online environments in which they are encountered, and the ways audiences have interacted and commented on the images. The CCDP project recommends using the open-source tool Web-Recorder, in which collectors ‘record’ a web session, allowing them to capture their experience of browsing a website, trace the circulation of images online and record the ways in which it was possible to interact with digital graphics within native software and social media environments. These ‘sessions’ can be saved and played back by future users of the archive using the open source Web Recorder Player.  

There are problems in capturing such phenomenon in retrospect.  The rapidly changing appearance and technological environment of social media platforms introduces temporal distortion when searching social media platforms for, say, memes produced in response to a particular political controversy in 2014. We need to capture such phenomena as soon as possible. This requires us to be active and embedded users of the web in order to spot emerging visual trends as they occur.      

‘The archival infrastructure in the case of the Internet is only ever temporary, in response to its permanent dynamic rewriting. Ultimate knowledge (the old encyclopedia model) gives way to the principle of permanent rewriting or addition. ‘ (Ernst, 2013:85)

Storage and Access: Open Source Solutions.

‘Our obsession with memory functions as a reaction formation against the accelerating technical processes that our transforming our Lebenswelt (lifeworld) in quite distinct ways. [Memory] represents the attempt to slow down information processing, to resist the dissolution of time in the synchronicity of the archive, to recover a mode of contemplation outside the universe of simulation, and fast-speed information and cable networks, to claim some anchoring space in a world of puzzling and often threatening heterogeneity, non-synchronicity, and information overload’. (Husseyn, 1994)

Any discussion of a digital archive necessitates an active engagement with technological apparatus in order to consider the relationship between a technological environment and the production of (and obsession with) memory (Husseyn 1994). Storage and preservation are key aspects to any discussion on digital archiving, and as digital technologies accelerate their pace of change, paradoxically, so must a digital archive respond to this by mitigating against it. 

Storage and preservation

A question we faced in designing the ArtoP project was which software we should use for digital preservation and storage. Digital preservation can be difficult as the file formats we may take for granted now can become obsolescent in future – the software which opens them can disappear, rendering the contents of a file irretrievable. We therefore wanted to ensure that material was packaged in stable file formats, adhered to widely agreed-upon archival standards, and was stored securely. We identified Archivematica as the ideal software for our purposes. 

Archivematica is an open source, web-based digital preservation system that is used by a variety of institutions. The fact that the software is open access and free to install and operate actually ensures greater longevity. Proprietary software, tied to the variable fortunes of individual companies, are more liable to disappear than open source projects, which enjoy the support of an active community of users and developers. 

Archivematica is not a single piece of software but rather an ecosystem containing a number of tools, components and specifications which run the ‘microservices’ necessary to preserve digital content. For example, one of the microservices performed by Archivematica is called ‘normalisation’. During normalisation the files you upload are converted into preservation-friendly formats, using an active list of stable and accessible file formats compiled and updated by the UK National Archives. This provides some insurance against the rapid cycles of change and obsolescence which characterise the life of file formats. 

Archivematica’s core functions are as follows: 

  • User submits data to Archivematica in the form of Submission Information Packages (SIPs)
  • From the SIPs, Archivematica creates Archival Information Packages (AIPs) for the long term preservation of data.
  • Archivematica stores (and backs up) AIPs
  • Archivematica creates Dissemination Information Packages (DIPs) to export content to populate an archival access system, such as Access to Memory (AtoM), Archive Space, Figleaf etc.

Ensuring Access

As mentioned earlier, another priority of the project was to make a selected range of images from the archive available for public consumption through a public archive hosted on a web-based platform. Increasingly users of archives wish to be able to actively interact with collections and desire wider access (Fossati 2009), challenges which digital access and display offers potential solutions to.  For this process we are opting for the web-based access platform Access to Memory (AtoM).  

Like Archivematica, AtoM is open source – it is free to use, free to share and free to develop. All documentation is freely available online. This is complemented by a supportive community of users, who communicate and solve problems using a google mailing list, as well as by congregating in person at the UK User Group’s meetings, which are attended by a number of archivists and librarians from prestigious UK universities.

AtoM supports the use of a choice of widely agreed-upon archival standards for describing archival objects. This enables digital images to be presented along with explanatory context, or metadata, crucial to its understanding. Using archival descriptive standards also means there is the potential for us to link the material to larger aggregators of archival holdings, and material on our access page could be discovered by people using archival search portals such as Archives Hub.

Crucially, AtoM is also integrated into Archivematica – the two systems were developed by the same company and are configured to ‘speak’ to one another.  Archivematica produces Dissemination Information Packages (DIPs) that can populate AtoM with images, video and metadata. 

We also liked how AtoM can be customised according to the diverse needs of different organisations and audiences. We aim to hold workshops in Lagos to ask for feedback from Nigerians as to how they think material should be described and presented to the public, and we will attempt to customise our AtoM page accordingly. Rather than projecting our own assumptions on the material by presenting it in certain ways, we are eager to have this determined by local knowledge and needs, as well as local technological landscapes (see below). Moreover, Atom features multi-lingual support, with the potential to add translations, making the material relevant to different audiences. Our aspiration is for the public side of the archive to be a resource for Nigerian citizens, artists and researchers. 

We are inspired by the wide range of institutions that have used and customised AtoM in creative and innovative ways to present visual context, ranging from the Glasgow School of Arts to The Chinese Canadian Artefacts Project. We are currently exploring and brainstorming ways of customising AtoM. 

Local technological landscapes 

One of the considerations we need to bear in mind when customising our web-based access system is the local technological landscapes used by our primary audience: Nigerians. Digital technology has been harnessed by Nigerian artists and citizens to make political critiques, and has afforded Nigerians with new strategic opportunities to produce and circulate indigenous knowledge within global flows of information. Many Nigerians primarily access the internet using smartphones. Thus we need to consider designing our web-based access system in ways which are suitable for mobile browsers.  Additionally, to align with the UN Sustainability Development Goals, we are keen to ensure that access to this archive for educational purposes is designed for Nigerian users and their specific technological landscape, in order for it to have the greatest impact in Nigeria (and other African countries). Therefore, we also need to ensure that our website is accessible to users whose bandwidth may be limited and for whom mobile data is a significant expense. This might involve customising file normalisation in Archivematica in order to produce lower resolution image and video files for access purposes, which will load much quicker for users with slower internet connections or limited data. 

We are still in a development phase and will be researching the local technological landscape in Nigeria further, as well as soliciting advice from Nigerians as to the form our access system should take. 

In the meantime we wanted to take this opportunity to share our experiences, and hope to forge new relations with academics that may also be considering approaches to digital archiving. We hope to see our research extending to considering a range of formats and elements that may contribute to the generation of digital still or moving images and that sit within a more complex pipelines such as those in CGI for example, and the implications of this to archival practices.

Therefore, any feedback from readers of this blogpost is of course welcome – please contact 

PI Dr. Paula Callus – pcallus@bournemouth.ac.uk

CoI Dr. Charles Gore – cg2@soas.ac.uk

RA Dr. Malcolm Corrigall – mcorrigall@bournemouth.ac.uk

Bibliography

Agbo, George Emeka, (2018).  “The Struggle Complex: Facebook, Visual Critique and the tussle for Political Power in Nigeria” Cariers D’étude Africaines 230, pp.469-89.

CCDP, (2018). Collecting and Curating Digital Posters Handbook, https://ccdgp.co.uk/index.html.  

Dike, Deborah N. (2018), “Countering Political Narratives through Nairaland Meme Pictures” Cahiers D’étude Africaines 230: pp.493–512

Ernst, W. (2013), Digital Memory and the Archive, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.

Gere, C. (2006), Art, Time and Technology, Oxford: Berg Publishers.

Fossati, G. (2009), From Grain to Pixel, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Hern, A. (2019) “Myspace loses all content uploaded before 2016”, The Guardian, March 18.  https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/mar/18/myspace-loses-all-content-uploaded-before-2016 

Haskins, E. (2007), ‘Between Archive and Participation: Public Memory in a Digital Age’, in Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Vol.37, pp. 401-422.

Huyssen A. (1994), Twilight Memories: Marking Time in a Culture of Amnesia, London p.253.

 

Update to HRA’s data transparency wording for Participant Information Sheets

Following the implementation of GDPR in May of this year, the Health Research Authority released transparency wording for use in Participant Information Sheets.

The recommended wording for data transparency has been updated following consultation with various stakeholders and public involvement and feedback on the initial published wording to provide a clearer more layered approach.

The user group developed a short summary text for the Participant Information Sheet which is supplemented by a generic leaflet. The text for both is now live on the HRA website.

What information should be used in my PI Sheet?

The HRA website section is here. Click on ‘Transparency wording for all sponsors’ – this will take you to this page which contains the information to be used.

To access the text to be used in preparing the leaflet to accompany your PI Sheet, click here. If you are on the HRA website section, the text appears once you click the heading ‘Template wording for generic information document’.

What does the revision in text mean for me?

  • If you have already updated your information sheets with the previous wording, you do not need to do anything.
  • The revised wording can be uses for new studies, but the HRA will accept the previous wording if you have already submitted your application or prepared your information sheet for submission.
  • If you do wish to change your wording to the new text, please email Research Ethics so that your participating sites can be contacted.

 

If you have any queries or concerns please email Research Ethics.

Photo of the week: ‘A place of meeting and reflection’

Telling a story of research through photography

The ‘photo of the week’ is a weekly series featuring photographs taken by BU academics and students for our Research Photography Competition which took place earlier this year.

These provide a snapshot into some of the incredible research taking place across the BU community. 

This week’s photo of the week was taken by Catherine Guttman and is titled;

A place of meeting and reflection’

This drone image of the confluence is the meeting place of the River Teme and River Severn, an area I worked across during my PhD at BU. I tagged freshwater fish, barbel, and followed their movements up and down these two rivers using hydro acoustic transmitters and receivers. Now that I’ve graduated from my PhD I take a moment to reflect upon how the research will help to inform management and conservation. I have disseminated the findings to the environmental charity, environmental regulator and the stakeholders, the barbel fishing clubs over the last few months.

We are lucky that we have another PhD student now following up this work, looking at how movements may change once some of the river barriers are removed. The image shows the water from the two rivers mixing together as they run alongside each other, but despite their differences in temperature, turbidity and flow, the barbel were able to regularly move between these two rivers, potentially to exploit different feeding or refuge habitats.

If you have any questions about the photo of the week series or the competition please email research@bournemouth.ac.uk

NERC standard grants (January 2020 deadline) – internal competition launched

NERC introduced demand management measures in 2012. These were revised in 2015 to reduce the number and size of applications from research organisations for NERC’s discovery science standard grant scheme. Full details can be found in the BU policy document for NERC demand management measures available here.

As at January 2019, BU has been capped at one application per standard grant round. The measures only apply to NERC standard grants (including new investigators). An application counts towards an organisation, where the organisation is applying as the grant holding organisation (of the lead or component grant). This will be the organisation of the Principal Investigator of the lead or component grant.

BU process

As a result, BU has introduced a process for determining which application will be submitted to each NERC Standard Grant round. This will take the form of an internal competition, which will include peer review. The next available standard grant round is 14th January 2020. The deadline for internal Expressions of Interest (EoI) which will be used to determine which application will be submitted is 27th September 2019.  The EoI form, BU policy for NERC Demand Management Measures and process for selecting an application can be found here: I:\RDS\Public\NERC Demand Management 2020.

NERC have advised that where a research organisation submits more applications to any round than allowed under the cap, NERC will office-reject any excess applications, based purely on the time of submission through the Je-S system (last submitted = first rejected). However, as RDS submit applications through Je-S on behalf of applicants, RDS will not submit any applications that do not have prior agreement from the internal competition.

Following the internal competition, the Principal Investigator will have access to support from RDS, and will work closely with Research Facilitators and Funding Development Officers to develop the application. Access to external bid writers will also be available.

Appeals process

If an EoI is not selected to be submitted as an application, the Principal Investigator can appeal to Professor Tim McIntyre-Bhatty, Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Any appeals must be submitted within ten working days of the original decision. All appeals will be considered within ten working days of receipt.

RDS Contacts

Please contact Lisa Andrews, RDS Research Facilitator – andrewsl@bournemouth.ac.uk or Jo Garrad, RDS Funding Development Manager – jgarrad@bournemouth.ac.uk if you wish to submit an expression of interest.

Academic Publishing – Writing Days

A series of writing days have been organised to help support BU authors work on their publications by providing some dedicated time and space, away from everyday distractions, supported by RDS staff.

The days will have a collaborative focus on productive writing with other BU authors and the RDS team will also be on hand to provide authors with help and guidance on all areas of the publication process. The objectives for the day are :

  • To give authors time and space with like minded individuals to produce publications
  • To gain some insights and tips into how to manage writing time within daily routine

Writing Days have been scheduled on the below dates:

  • Thursday 5th September
  • Wednesday 6th November
  • Monday 13th January
  • Friday 6th March
  • Thursday 14th May
  • Tuesday 14th July

See the page on the intranet to book

RKEDF: Research Training and Events in September 2019

We have some great events coming up over the next few weeks to help support you in your research activities. These events are delivered as part of the overarching Research and Knowledge Exchange Development Framework –  RKEDF.

Wednesday 4th September:

Introduction to Research Data Management and Open Data,

11:00 – 13:00 on the Talbot Campus

For any academic or PGR who wishes to develop their Research Data Management (RDM) best practice.

Booking and more information.

 

Thursday 5th September:

Research Output Writing Day

09:00 – 17:00 at a Bournemouth venue

For BU authors to work on their research outputs, free from everyday distractions and with a collaborative focus on productive writing with other BU authors.

Booking and more information.

 

Tuesday 10th September:

British Academy Visit

11:00 – 14:00, Talbot Campus, Fusion Building, FG04

Members from the British Academy will provide an overview of the British Academy, the type of funding offered, their grant-awarding processes, key considerations and short presentations from current award holders.

Booking and more information.

 

Thursday 12th September:

GCRF Best Practice Workshop

09:30 – 16:00, Talbot Campus, Fusion Building, FG04

The GCRF Panel invites academics involved, or wishing to be involved in ODA related research projects to a one–day workshop/’wash-up’ to review best practice, identify future synergies and to highlight common issues and challenges confronting GCRF projects at the University.

For booking and more information contact RKEDF.

 

On the RKEDF intranet page, training events have been grouped around your needs, so if, for example, you are an Early Career Researcher or need to know about external funding, you can click on the link to find a tailored list of all the RKEDF sessions that may assist you. You can also find related events by using the link on each session’s page.

You can also see all the Organisational Development and RKEDF events in one place on the handy calendar of events.

Please note that all sessions are now targeted, so look closely at the event page to ensure that the event is suitable for you. In addition, many RKEDF events now require the approval of your Head of Department (or other nominated approver). Please follow the instructions given on the event page and the template email for you to initiate the booking request.

If you have any queries, please get in touch!

 

 

Book a 1-1 with the British Academy

Senior members from the British Academy are visiting on

10th September, 11:00 – 14:00 (FG04)

They will provide an overview of the British Academy and its remit, the type of funding offered, their grant-awarding processes, and some key considerations. Then a selection of BU award-holders will give short presentations on their experience of the application and project management processes. There will be opportunities for questions and discussion. The event will be followed by a networking lunch. See the intranet page for more information and how to book.

During the lunch period, 8 one-to-one sessions will be available to be booked with the British Academy staff. If you are interested in booking one of these slots, please contact the RKEDF team with details of the particular scheme you wish to apply for or topic you wish to discuss.

 

Training opportunity – completing and submitting your IRAS application

Are you currently in the process of designing, setting up or planning your research study, and would like to extend your project into the NHS?

Yes? Then you may want to take advantage of this training opportunity.

Oliver Hopper (Research & Development Coordinator, Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospital) and Suzy Wignall (Clinical Governance Advisor, RDS)  will be running a training session on how to use, and complete your own application within the IRAS system.

IRAS (Integrated Research Application System) is the system used to gain approvals from the NHS Research Ethics Committee and Health Research Authority, before rolling out your study to NHS Trusts. To support this, the session will include the background to research ethics and the approvals required for NHS research.

The session will also be interactive, and so as participants, you will have the opportunity to go through the form itself and complete the sections, with guidance on what the reviewers are expecting to see in your answers, and tips on how to best use the system.

The training will take place in Studland House – Lansdowne Campus, room 103, Tuesday 20th August at 09:30am – 12:30pm.

Get in touch with Research Ethics if you would like to register your interest and book a place.

GCRF Best Practice Workshop

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Panel invites academics involved, or wishing to be involved, in Official Development Assistance (ODA) related research projects to a one–day workshop on Thursday 12th September 2019 from 09:30 – 16:30 on the Talbot Campus

The workshop will review best practice, identify future synergies and will highlight common issues and challenges confronting GCRF projects at the University.

At present, BU staff are leading and/or contributing to a wide range of GCRF eligible projects at various stages of development. Since there are many notable issues and challenges associated with acquiring and delivering the distinctive nature of GCRF related projects, the proposed workshop will bring together existing GCRF participants at the University to share conceptual designs, best practice, common implementation issues and solutions as well as notable work arounds. The workshops will thus enable participants:

  • To discuss the challenges in designing effective GCRF related projects that must maintain Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and GCRF eligibility;
  • To explore possibilities for existing and future synergies between GCRF projects at the University;
  • To identify common implementation challenges presented in transforming a GCRF project into reality;
  • To share best practice in dealing with local and/or international partners and/or partnerships;
  • To discuss issues relating to maximising deliverables and impact;
  • To inform existing and future monitoring and reporting processes of the projects and the University in relation to the GCRF;
  • To provide insights into effective ways that the University can further enhance effective support for GCRF related projects;
  • To identify potential future ‘quick wins’ and ‘take away’ that can inform and improve ongoing GCRF projects;
  • To provide a foundation for future activities of the GCRF panel including a future workshop looking at future bidding for projects beyond the GCRF.

Please book via this link.

Newton and GCRF funding opportunities

The UUKi International Partnerships team have recently launched a new GCRF funding bulletin which sits alongside the existing Newton Funding bulletin.

If you haven’t already signed up to receive the GCRF funding bulletin, you can do so here: GCRF bulletin sign up.

Please also feel free to share the link to subscribe with your collaborators and partners in GCRF countries of focus too.

UUKi sub-Saharan Africa Policy Network update

UUKi sub-Saharan Africa Policy Network

The next UUKi sub-Saharan Policy Network will take place at Woburn House, London on Wednesday 18 September, 1400 – 1630. The meeting will include a focus upon student recruitment in the region and will also include an update from the HMG cross Whitehall Africa Strategy team. Other speakers will be confirmed over the next couple of weeks. If you haven’t already, please do sign up via Eventbrite. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/uuki-sub-saharan-africa-network-tickets-63104694841

 

BU Research Showcase

Flourishing with Fusion is the theme for this year’s research showcase for Mid-Career Academics.

This event will explore how fusion works in practice, and how engaging with research at BU can enhance your career. It will showcase the exciting work of a number of BU academics, and there will be a panel for Q & A.

POSTPONED from Wednesday 4th September  – a new date will be announced shortly. Contact RKEDF for more information.

ECREA Doctoral Summer School 2019 | Report by FMC PGR Daniel Hills

Daniel Hills (FMC PGR) has recently returned from the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) European Media and Communication Doctoral Summer School. This year it was held at Tartu University, Estonia between 9th to 16th July. 


Taken from the ECREA website, the summer school brings together members of the European research community to this summer school in order to debate contemporary issues in media, communication and cultural studies. The summer school aims to provide a supportive international setting where doctoral students can present their ongoing work, receive feedback on their PhD-projects from international experts and meet students and academics from other countries, establishing valuable contacts for the future.

It is a full on conference including a variety of back-to-back workshops, lectures, group feedback sessions and consultation every day for 8 days, and is extremely intense. To qualify for this conference, I had to supply an initial 500 word abstract of my PhD, and following being successfully shortlisted for the next round, produce an expanded 3,000 word introduction and summary of my research project, as well as a 10 minute presentation summarising my research plans as they were prior to the summer school.

There were 40 delegates selected and I was lucky enough to be one of them. The conference commenced at 09:30 on the 8th with a half day meet and greet so we could all get to know one another and our personal areas of research. This was followed by lunch and then into an afternoon of interactive workshops taking us to 6PM. This was followed by a welcome drinks party where we could discuss our first day over a glass of wine and provided a great opportunity to bond with my new peers. Over the following days, we would cover a further 16 workshops, 5 lectures and most importantly for me, individual feedback sessions. Our large group was broken into 2 groups or 14 and 1 or 13, and over the course of the work were give an hour dedicated to presenting our research (10 minutes) maximum and then to receive a structured feedback from lecturers and peers whom had already read my 3,000 word paper. This delivered invaluable feedback for me and gave me a plethora of new perspectives which I had hitherto not considered.

I gained a great deal of insights, useful techniques and a re-ignition of enthusiasm towards my research throughout the 8 days, and would encourage anybody whom is more than a year into their research to apply for the 2020 version. I graduated with 10 ECTS points on the final day, but more importantly new-found knowledge and a new direction to progress with my PhD, and a whole lot of new friends and peers. I am planning on writing a paper with one of my new friends whom is interested in a similar field to my own. All in all, the ECREA European Media and Communication Doctoral Summer School has been one of the most useful academic experiences of my career to date.


Daniel Hills is a PhD researcher in the Faculty of Media and Communication at Bournemouth University, and is focusing his research in advertising planning and practice theory, aiming to complete in 2020.