UCL Grand Challenge of Intercultural Interaction
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Published: May 15, 2014 10:13:42 AM
- UCL researchers: Why contribute to The Conversation?
- 2014-15 Small Grant awards
- What can a Grand Challenges Small Grant achieve for you? Outcome report from David Wengrow (UCL Archaeology) and Karen Radner (UCL History)
- Building Virtual Transcontinental Student Links supported via Grand Challenges Student Fund
Small Grant Activities
The Grand Challenges Small Grants Scheme supports a wide range of societally relevant, cross-disciplinary activities across UCL. Below you can find out more about the various collaborations that have been made possible following the award of a Small Grant from the Grand Challenge of Intercultural Interaction.
- First Applicant: Ms Ceri Butler (UCL Medical School)
- Second Applicant: Dr Anita Berlin (Primary Care and Population Health)
- Additional Collaborators:
Within UCL: Deirdre Wallace, Clinical Skills Manager, Clinical and Professionals Skills Centre, UCL Medical School, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Dr Chris Willott, Senior Teaching Fellow, Institute for Global Health, Faculty of Population Health, UCL student MEDSIN (a branch of the national student-led charity and the hub of global health student activity)
External to UCL:British Medical Association, Refugee Doctors Liaison Group, Edie Friedman, Director, The Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE), Fahira Mulamehic, Course Coordinator, Refugee Health Professionals Programme, The Refugee Council, Louise Salmon, Careers Advisor, The Refugee Advice and Guidance Unit (RAGU), London Metropolitan University, Jasmina Dimitrijevic, Employment Development Worker, Refugee Women's Association, London
- Awarded £3,939
Refugee doctors would benefit from additional support to enable them to progress their return to clinical employment. This includes: knowledge of the NHS, communication and consultation skills, and refreshing clinical skills.
UCL Medical students are taught communication skills from the start of their programme and encouraged to develop as culturally competent practitioners. However, their immediate personal experience and opportunities to develop their sense of advocacy and agency are limited.
Bringing both of these groups together will not only enhance their individual learning experiences but also provide medical students with the opportunity to link directly with a culturally and ethnically diverse group of international medical graduates who have been granted asylum in the UK.
This project plans to involve approximately ten refugee doctors with 10-15 medical students devising and participating in six to eight joint workshops. They will jointly develop their own unique programme of activities. The project leads will facilitate the participants in the process of co-designing and delivering their own workshops and enable each participant to influence the workshop goals and content to retain shared ownership. While we plan to allow participants to set the direction we envisage that topics will include:
1. The opportunity for intercultural interaction and communication. Incorporating: one-to-one engagement; sharing individual experiences; for participating refugee doctors, the opportunity to 'talk' medicine in a supportive and non-threatening environment.
2. Addressing the 'hidden curriculum'. Looking at: systems knowledge of the NHS that students acquire from the start of medical school (or before) but which is inaccessible to those qualified overseas.
3. Prepare presentations to improve knowledge and general professional communication skills.
4. Improve / refresh clinical skills: working with the Clinical Skills Centre in Bloomsbury to enable participants to practise key clinical simulations and develop their own simulation tests.
5. Peer assessment: working together to develop tests and criteria to undertake peer assessments to assess clinical skills as well as medical English and communication skills.
6. Simulated patient consultations: participation in simulated consultations which will be recorded to enhance feedback on individual performance.
7. Learning materials for other students and international medical graduates: development of new materials using the range of technologies and expertise available to the Medical School.
This project identifies
the needs of those refugee doctors looking to gain clinical employment in the
NHS alongside the need to increase the social awareness and responsibility of
medical students as future members of a global health workforce with a
culturally diverse patient population.
- First Applicant: Dr Caroline Bressey (UCL Equiano Centre, UCL Geography)
- Second Applicant: Dr Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman (UCL Philosophy)
- Additional Collaborators: Dr Debbie Challis (Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL Museums & Collections)
- Awarded: £4,000
111 years after it housed Francis Galton's 'Eugenics Record Office' in 50 Gower St, UCL is facing up, to the legacy of having been the first and, perhaps, the only university to have a Professor of Eugenics. We are facing up to how, in the past, research undertaken at UCL constructed unjust racial hierarchy, to how, in the present, that racial hierarchy which remains is being challenged by institutions, historical memory, and contemporary research, and to how, in the future, we must adapt, in order to become a beacon, in Britain, for researching, teaching, and studying 'race', racialisation, and racial injustice. UCL is calling for a conversation that is courageous and critical. Please join that conversation!
Our conversation will respond to the National Student Survey's finding that UCL's students who self-define as 'Black' are 9-10% less satisfied than their ('White' or 'Asian') peers (http://goo.gl/8B3MG0 and http://goo.gl/u8N7qB). Our Provost believes that 'it is very important in a highly competitive environment that we get this right' (http://goo.gl/vWR0Z8). For this reason, we shall launch our first event with a question that a student at UCL has recently raised: 'Why do we celebrate someone like Francis Galton who hated us?' (http://goo.gl/YZQCtW). Just as UCL is in two minds about a eugenicist tenant and benefactor who founded, and underwrote UCL's pioneering research into, human genetics (http://goo.gl/za1NTy), Yale, too, is in two minds about a eugenicist professor (Irving Fisher), of whom Harvard's Department of Economics once said that 'No American has contributed more to the advancement of his chosen subject' (http://goo.gl/hehlPI). For this reason, we are working with Prof John Martin, to harness the Yale UCL Collaborative, to address our student's question.
We will develop this conversation, in our second event, by giving space to discuss the ways in which unjust racial hierarchy is both sustained and challenged, in current research and teaching, and in the recent recruitment and retention of staff and students, at UCL. This discussion will touch upon the several institutional changes undertaken by UCL, since 'Why isn't my professor black?' (http://goo.gl/CB2ZVy) and the demands of the National Union of Students for 'Liberation, Equality, and Diversity in the Curriculum' (http://goo.gl/i3cIfP).
Finally, in our third event, we will present some of the initial findings of our fact-finding mission to Yale's Department of African American Studies, as those findings have developed, in response to the prior two events. This will be an opportunity, for staff and students at UCL, and for members of the communities that UCL serves, to respond to the emerging proposal for Black Studies / Critical Race Studies at UCL.
From those who attend, we will seek feedback on paper questionnaires.
For those who cannot be present, there will be an opportunity to participate,
by emailing email@example.com or by tweeting #uclfacesrace. A research assistant
will be employed to monitor and analyse these contributions.
- First Applicant: Dr Valentina Arena (UCL History)
- Second Applicant: Dr Fiachra Mac Góráin (UCL Greek and Latin)
- Additional Collaborators
UCL Collaborators:Prof Sacha Stern, Hebrew and Jewish Studies Department, Prof Albert Weale, FBA, Political Science Department, Prof Cecile Laborde, FBA, Political Science Department, Prof Richard Bellamy, European Institute and Political Science Department.
Non-UCL collaborators:Prof Melissa Lane, Director of the Program in Values and Public Life, Center for Human Values, Princeton University, Prof Kinch Hoekstra, Professor of Law and Political Science, Berkley, University of California, Prof Clifford Ando, David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Humanities and Professor of Classics, History, and Law, University of Chicago
- Awarded £4,000
The project aspires to investigate the ancient understandings of liberty in the interconnected societies of the Near East (including ancient Israel), Greece, and Rome as well as to establish the potential impact of the ancient intellectual world on contemporary political debates. It shall focus on the idea of religious liberty as a pilot study for a grant-funded project on the idea of constitutional and personal liberty.
Within ancient studies the trend of scholarship on liberty has focused on either decontextualized investigations of this value arranged chronologically from a putative beginning to a putative end or on author-by-author studies of rather limited breadth. Rather than writing an overarching history of religious liberty, the aim of this project is to compose a study of the processes of contingent adaptation and constant reinterpretation to which the idea of liberty has been variously subjected in these different ancient societies. Based on the contextualist method, this research will investigate the history of the ideas of religious liberty as a sequence of contexts where identifiable agents adopt strategically the appeal to liberty to achieve a definable aim. The symposium will also attempt to identify ways of joining these contexts together and to suggest potential processes of transmission between them.
Only in the past fifteen years, posing themselves in the long historical tradition of Republicanism, some philosophers and modern historians, of whom Philip Pettit and Quentin Skinner are just two of the most eminent, have turned their attention to the ancient world, and in particular to the Roman Republic, to suggest a revival in modern times of what they consider a distinctive trait of its ideological tradition: the notion of freedom as absence of domination or dependence upon the will of someone else. Based on the belief that historical inquiry can function as a means of political analysis, and feeding into the anthropologists work on social responsibility, the aim of the proposed research is to investigate whether alongside this Republican way of thinking about freedom, the ancient world can offer us other ways of conceptualising this ideal. Our objective is to bring together scholars of the ancient world, anthropologists, political theorists, philosophers, and legal scholars to formulate the first synchronic account of the ancient notions of religious liberty, from the Ancient Near East (including ancient Israel) to Greece, Rome, and Byzantium in order to identify rival intellectual understandings of this value and bring intellectual clarity to the conceptualisations of religious liberty in contemporary political discourse.
A number of UCL scholars are already participating in the project (see above), and further collaboration within UCL across faculties will be achieved by [A] organising a first UCL-wide workshop for interested staff and PG students. It is planned that this will lead to [B] a symposium investigating ancient notions of religious liberty and their theoretical formulations in contemporary political discourse.[C] A high profile routable discussion in collaboration with the think-tank The Constitution Society and with the participation of journalists, policy- and opinion-makers will explore the impact of ancient ideas of liberty on modern conceptualisations.
- First Applicant: Professor Jane Fenoulhet (UCL Dutch)
- Second Applicant: Professor Ben Kaplan (UCL History)
- Additional Collaborators: Luc Devoldere, Editor-in-Chief, Ons Erfdeel, a Flemish-Dutch cultural magazine, Josephine Salverda, Project administrator, Centre for Low Countries Studies, Dr Ulrich Tiedau, Department of Dutch/Centre for Low Countries Studies*. Dr Nicholas Piercey, Department of Dutch/Centre for Low Countries Studies*. *Professional academic historians based in the Dutch Department.
- Awarded: £4,000
On 4 November this year we plan to hold a literary commemoration of WW1, which will involve an academic symposium, a schools workshop organised together with UCL's post-16 engagement team and a performance at the Bloomsbury theatre titled 'I died in Hell. (They called it Passchendaele.)'.
The purpose of the day is to explore how literary responses to WW1 can contribute to our understanding of a conflict that is well studied by historians. More broadly, we ask: in what ways can insights gained from literary reactions to political upheaval enhance historical understanding? While the symposium concentrates on transnational interaction, the evening performance explores the complexity and diversity of artistic representation. Multilingual poetry and prose are used together with digital presentations of European cultural heritage and visual representations of war in Europe.
The symposium will take a holistic approach to the war experience of the Low Countries, rather than looking at the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg separately. We are particularly interested in social and cultural aspects of this experience. By focussing on the interconnections between war-torn, occupied and neutral areas as well as on their interactions with the belligerent parties, we will highlight the transnational aspects of the Low Countries experience from 1914-1918 and look at topics such as migrations at war and their representation in contemporary as well as post-1918 cultural production. (Examples include Belgian refugees in the Netherlands and UK, Belgium as a symbol in cultural propaganda, the emergence of Pan-Netherlandism, Allied and Axis-power courtship of public opinion in the neutral countries, and the famous Mata Hari/Cavell espionage cases.).
As part of the event we will invite local school students to take part in interactive study sessions to consider how war and culture are linked and look at why the different perspectives of war and the cultural production of WW1 are still relevant to their lives and communities today. The students and their teachers will also be invited to the performance in the evening to consider what they have learnt during the day.
The evening performance will be a multilingual, multimedia evocation of WW1 consisting of literary fragments in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Turkish. All texts will be read by students in the original languages, while a back-projected digital artwork presents translations in combination with music and video images. Actors will play the roles of Mistress of Ceremonies and a Puck-like mischievous sprite, providing links and historical commentary. The actors and readers will be drawn from the student community.
Our literary and historical aims are to present WW1 in a new light, viewed from multiple European perspectives, as well as introducing the Belgian response to and experience of WW1 to a British audience. We feel that the aftermath of war, especially cultural responses in this period, are an undervalued resource for understanding disillusionment and bitterness generated by conflict.
We also aim to bring Low Countries history and culture to new, wider audiences beyond UCL and to engage UCL students and staff in the themes of our event, especially the European literary response to the war.
A Common Foreign Policy? Analysing foreign policy of EU member states using speeches at UN General Assembly
- First Applicant: Dr Slava Mikhaylov (UCL Political Science)
- Second Applicant: Dr Rob Smith (UCL Computer Science)
- Additional Collaborators: Dr Niheer Dasandi, DLP Research Fellow, Political Science
- Awarded £4,000
Our project looks to analyse EU member states foreign policy positions by using quantitative text analysis to derive states' foreign policy positions based on annual addresses at United Nations General Assembly in the General Debate. We aim to collect data for the time period 2000-2012 for all 28 current EU member states.
The analysis will focus on three broad areas:
1. We will analyse EU member states' foreign policy positions based on speeches in the UN General Debate. In particular looking at member states' positions in relation to one another; assessing how member states' policy positions have changed over time; and whether countries' policy positions change and converge after they join the European Union i.e. is there a socialisation effect of EU membership on foreign policy preferences. In particular, this will apply to the East and Central European member states who joined the EU after 2004.
2. Through our analysis of EU member states' foreign policy positions based on speeches in the UN General Debate, we seek to shed greater light on the process of socialisation in global governance institutions. Specifically, we consider the extent to which the EU shapes (new) member-states foreign policy positions through socialisation, vs. the extent to which new member states influence the EU' s foreign policy positions. In other words, we looks at whether the EU can be considered a separate global organisation, or whether it is the sum of its member-states' interests. To do this, we will consider changes across all EU member nations as new member-states join the EU.
3. In 2011 and 2012 the European Union addressed the UN General Assembly in the General Debate. As such, we will undertake cross-sectional analyses in these years to consider how member states' foreign policy positions relate to the EU foreign policy preference. By doing so we seek to shed greater light on how the EU's foreign policy position is formed. For example is it shaped by a few more powerful member states? Do small member states influence or balance the preferences of larger member-states?
This will be a pilot project, where UCL Grand Challenges funding will help prepare a larger grant application for the analysis of the evolution foreign policy priorities of European countries since 1945. This research project addresses an important question on the effects of the European Union on the politics of member-states, particularly regarding whether there is a socialisation effect of joining the EU across different countries. As such, this project fits within the Intercultural Interaction UCL Grand Challenge.
- Lead Applicant: Dr. Mark Altaweel (Institute of Archaeology)
- Main Collaborator: Professor Alan Wilson (Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis)
- Additional Collaborator: Professor Karen Radner (UCL History)
The emergence of empires and the spread of languages and ideas have led to major innovations, shaping much of the modern world. This is particularly evident in regions such as the Near East, where, as an example, the rise of the Islamic Empire spread Arabic and eventually helped enable the Renaissance in Europe. However, such occurrences and major cultural influences have been occurring and shaping much of the Old World for millennia, where often political actions are initiated by one or more political entities making strategic decisions relative to surrounding states and political actors that may compete, ally, or become subservient to expanding states. Despite major cultural influences that empires have had, what often is not clear is how decision-making, as seen from the political entities and leaders themselves, leads to a process where states decide to embark on what might seem as relatively costly and risky empire building. Often, researchers find it difficult to foresee the set of circumstances and events that create conditions for armed conflict between states to initiate. Analysis into decision-making by historical states and leaders is often cursory and does not apply strategic decision-making analyses that incorporate spatiotemporal dynamics.
Based on the research gap identified, an interdisciplinary methodology, over the space of twelve months, will be integrated with computational, spatial, and mathematical methods to better understand how empires emerge and politically shape large spatial regions spanning thousands of kilometres. This proposal draws together expertise from Archaeology (Dr. Mark Altaweel), History (Professor Karen Radner) and computer modelling (through the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, CASA; Professor Sir Alan Wilson) to enhance our understanding of the emergence of empires in the ancient Near East. This collaboration is strengthened by the fact that these three experts have worked together on a collaborative effort since 2012, with one publication in review and another in press based on this collaboration.
This interdisciplinary project will combine the deployment of historical sources and archaeological evidence with modified Richardson-Lotka-Volterra models in order to understand strategic decisions taken by empires. The research goal is to determine the process whereby states make strategic decisions that lead to empire building and if the emergence of when a specific empire emerges can be forecasted. In the first three months, historical and archaeological data will be gathered and these include royal inscriptions and correspondences between states and actors and settlement patterns and cultural remains (e.g., ceramics and other material culture). The modelling methodology will be applied to the Neo-Assyrian (934-609 BC) and Neo-Babylonian empires (626-539 BC); the modelling will be conducted between months 3-6. The modelling of the two case studies will allow us to assess each case individually but also together, as the Neo-Babylonian Empire succeeded the Neo-Assyrian. In months 6-9, we will assess results and revise the model as needed to best address the case study and create a more general model that can assess other cases. In the final three moths, we will document and publically release the model using UCL’s IRIS repository.
- Lead Applicant: Professor Paul Burgess (Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience)
- Main Collaborator: Professor Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic (UCL Clinical, Educational &Health Psychology)
‘Creativity’ is the ability to come up with a solution that is both novel and useful. There is a common perception that Eastern and Western cultures differ in creativity. Much of the difference across cultures seems to be the weight placed more on either its novelty or usefulness. The Western creativity emphasis more on originality-based phenomenon due to individualism, whereas the Eastern creativity is more focussed on a connection to the practical realm in order to maintain interpersonal harmony (Villalba, 2008). Our proposed study will measure creativity in two different cultures, using Taiwan as the sample Eastern country and the UK as the sample Western country. We hypothesise that the reason that creativity differs between Eastern and Western cultures can be explained by two distinct dimensions of self-construal styles, interdependence and independence, which correspond to two main cultural values: collectivism and individualism, respectively.
We will use an adapted version of the flexible thinking task (FTT) administered by Chrysikou & Thompson-Schill (2011) and prepare both English and Chinese versions for cross-cultural studies. We will also administer Cattell’s Culture-Fair IQ test (a non-verbal test of intelligence specifically designed for cross-cultural comparisons) in order to control for IQ mediators. In order to measure if construal style differs between Taiwan and the UK, participants will be required to complete a version of the Self-Construal Scale (SCS) (Singelis, 1994) adapted for the purpose. Participants will be asked to complete these scales for themselves, and also on behalf of imaginary “typical” students from both their culture and the other culture. This procedure allows consideration of difference scores which can ameliorate the psychometric instability of some scales of this type when used only at the individual level (Levine et al, 2003). In addition, participants from both countries will blind rate the ideas generated by their own cultural group and those of the other culture that were produced during FTT task performance. We will also investigate cross-cultural ideas by use of questionnaires focusing on two approaches of creativity: novelty and usefulness.
Data collection: First, a group of UCL undergraduates will be recruited in the UK (Time 1), and the psychometry will be administered. The second stage will require travel to Taiwan by a Taiwanese PhD student studying at UCL to recruit Taiwanese undergraduates and the equivalent psychometry will be administered to them. It is necessary to recruit students in Taiwan because (a) Taiwanese students in the UK will be a self-selecting sample, and (b) they will have already been exposed to Western behavioural and cognitive norms. The objective measures of creativity will focus on the completion rate and the averaged reaction time of the FTT between two groups. The analysis of the SCS and questionnaires will focus on investigating if there is a systematic difference in individuals between cultures, and the level of agreement of the stereotypes that each culture has about the other.
- Lead Applicant: Ms Renata Peters (Institute of Archaeology)
- Main Collaborator: Ms Susi Pancaldo (Museums and Public Engagement)
- Additional Collaborators: Dr Anne-Marie Deisser (Department of History and Archaeology, University of Nairobi) and Jessica Johnson (University of Delaware, Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage)
The grant will be used to support ‘The Impact of Cross Disciplinary Conservation Practices on Social Development’, a two-day conference to take place at the UCL Institute of Archaeology in May 2014.
The main purpose of this conference is to stimulate lasting discussion (within heritage conservation, the broader field of heritage, and nature conservation) on how the practice of heritage conservation can support conflict or disaster recovery, promote economic prosperity, cultural identity, human wellbeing, and foster social cohesion.
For this, the conference will explore the impact of heritage conservation ethics and practices on socio-cultural, economic and ecological contexts in need for development, areas of post-conflict recovery and reconstruction due to natural disasters. Submissions will be invited in the following areas:
- The impact of the practice of heritage conservation on society.
- Engagement of local groups in re-construction and/or development through the practice of conservation.
- Cross-disciplinary collaborations between professionals involved in heritage and nature conservation (in both practical and theoretical levels).
- Research on and use of locally produced resources to replace scarce and expensive imported treatment materials.
- Practical issues of conservation in the field.
- Theoretical and practical approaches that make the practice of conservation sustainable.
Post-colonial conversations - UK-India: Built environment and spatial knowledge production, dissemination and discourse
- Lead Applicant: Dr. Tania Sengupta (UCL Architecture)
- Main Applicant: Dr. Pushpa Arabindoo (UCL Geography)
- Additional Collaborator: Dr. Jaideep Chatterjee (Dept. for the Study of Visual and Material Cultures, School of Art, Shiv Nadar University, India)
The proposed activity, a day-long curated symposium, will be the first concrete event marking the starting point of what is seen as a longer term exchange between UK (UCL) and India in the field of architectural – and more broadly built environment and spatial – knowledge production, dissemination and discourse. It will also be the inaugural event of the research-node for modern post-colonial architectural and spatial studies that I am in the process of forming at the Bartlett School of Architecture. The symposium will initiate a conversation between Indian and UK academics or academic-practitioners to deliberate on the nature of architectural, spatial and built environment knowledge in the two contexts. We will be reflecting on what constitutes such knowledge, how it is produced, disseminated and the discourse surrounding it. The symposium will involve setting up targeted presentations and exchange on a range of topical issues in the field. The conception of the project is rooted in my realization that there is an increasing curiosity, interest and in some cases substantial pre-existing engagement within the Bartlett School of Architecture, other parts of the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment (such as the Development Planning Unit) and elsewhere within UCL (such as the department of Geography) in the state of the built environment in India, the actors, agencies and processes involved, and the discourses emerging from it. Based on my own experience in and contact with India, I am aware that critically minded academics and practitioners there have been deliberating on such issues in one form or another over the years. On the other hand, much of these also flow through certain key thematic threads which, interestingly, have clearly also been of interest and concern within academic and practice discourse within the UK built-environment context itself. In that sense, there are evidently shared domains of interest and concern in the contemporary context as well as possible linkages to be unearthed, traced back in history and/ or forged in the future. The colonial past shared between Britain and India presents the potential of excavating some of these links and considering them under new terms of reference within the post-colonial context. This opens up the possibility of a two-way conversation along certain discursive themes between UK and India, being fundamentally premised on the fact that the post-colonial condition warrants newer and more equal exchange of history and practice of architectural and spatial thought. Equally, we see the symposium as a fertile ground to bring together pre-existing and potential research and more general interest in the subject area within different parts of UCL to give it a critical mass and nurture inter-departmental exchange.
It is key to emphasise here that we, the collaborators, feel that this first event within a longer and larger dialogue, needs to be discursive in character to begin with. The idea will be to explore the knowledge field through sharing experiences and practices, which generates a creative discursive ground from which more specific and substantial collaborations with Indian institutions can then ensue in the near future, rather than the other way round. Keeping this in mind, we propose including a range of architectural, spatial design and built environment related academics and academic-practitioners from a variety of institutions or in autonomous capacities.
The symposium will have four key thematic strands: 1. Architectural/ spatial design pedagogy and practice, the ‘design-studio’ culture and design as a form of research. 2. Space, politics and activism; architecture and built environment as critical creative practice. 3. Translations I: Global-local, education-practice, design-history, trans-national, trans-local. 4. Translations II: Communities, ecologies and the built environment. Each of the sessions will have three paper presentations from specifically invited speakers (two Indian and one UK based but this may be somewhat malleable depending on who can bring the specific expertise for a particular panel), an invited respondent’s comments and Q&A, other than the overall introductory and concluding remarks. The event will be complemented by a lecture drawn from the Bartlett School of Architecture International Lecture Series for which a significant Indian architectural - or more generally spatial - practitioner or academic will be invited, timing it on the previous/ following day of the symposium (this has already been agreed with the Director of the school).
Rapid cultural change in Ethiopia: Testing the potential of new technology for mapping community responses
- Lead Applicant: Dr Edward Stevenson (UCL Anthrpology)
- Main Collaborator: Dr Matthias Stevens (Civil, Environmental, and Geomatic Engineering)
This activity will bring together the expertise of UCL research groups in Anthropology and CEGE to apply and evaluate bespoke portable logging technology as a tool for studying rapid cultural change. The backdrop to this study is the Gibe-III hydroelectric dam and associated sugar cane plantations currently under construction in Omo Valley of Ethiopia. These developments are forcing agro-pastoralists, who have long used the area for herding and farming, to abandon their traditional way of life. Their predicament has been documented by international observers (e.g. Human Rights Watch, International Rivers) and attracted media attention, but little objective academic research has yet been carried out. Technology developed at UCL has the potential to help assess the ways in which people are responding to the new conditions. This could inform efforts to help affected communities to adapt; and, recursively, the information could motivate changes to the planned interventions.
The UCL Extreme Citizen Science (ExCiteS) group has been working with hunter-gatherers in the Congo to introduce bespoke ICT tools that enable them to collect data on socio-economic and environmental challenges such as illegal logging. Building on these efforts, this grant will support the adaptation of ExCiteS technology for application to pastoralist communities in Ethiopia, namely the geolocation of activities recorded and land areas used by means of GPS tracking. We expect that communities will be forced to use a drastically circumscribed area and employ a smaller suite of livelihood activities after the dam and plantations are in place, but the precise manner in which they will respond to these constraints is an open question.
The project will have a two-stage design, with the first stage in August 2013 being initial preparation and pilot-testing of a prototype, and the second stage being data collection. The grant we are applying for would support the piloting stage. The outcomes of this pilot will influence not just the protocol but also the scale of the data collection phase, which will require additional funding (estimated at £15-25k). The UCL Challenges grant would therefore allow us to lay the groundwork for a longer collaboration with minimised risk.
During preparation and piloting, key questions to answer include whether cellular network and mains power is available in the new settlements, whether icons used in the application interface (images representing activities such as “herding cattle,” “fetching water”, and “selling produce at market”) are recognizable, and which other activities are most relevant to add. Broader questions about protocol would also be addressed: how to compensate people appropriately, how to create a sense of ownership, and what tempo of data-logging would be feasible (a trade-off between data resolution and participant burden).
Independent funding from the National Science Foundation will support travel to Ethiopia for the lead applicant, and a household survey (covering wealth, education, and food security). This will provide valuable background information for incorporation in reports and future grant applications.
Transnational Slade: mapping the diaspora of an art school (Pakistan/Sudan) (£4,932)
- Lead applicant: Dr Amna Malik (UCL Slade School of Fine Art)
- Main collaborator: Dr Melissa Terras (UCL Information Studies)
- Additional collaborators:
Dr Amina Yaquin, Department of Urdu Literature and founding member of Centre for the Study of Contemporary Pakistan, SOAS
Dr Tania Tribe, expert on diaspora studies, Department of Art History, SOAS
Dr Caroline Bressey Lecturer in Geography, UCL and PI on the AHRC funded project Drawing Across the Colour Line
David Beavan, Research Manager, Centre for Digital Humanities
Liz Bruchet, Research Assistant, Slade Archive Project
Susan Collins, Professor of Fine Art, Slade Director, PI on Slade Archive Project
Brighid Lowe, Lecturer, Fine Art Media, Slade School of Fine Art, member of the Slade Archive Project: film history
This project will address current themes within GCII: Transnational History and Migration, by expanding our knowledge of the work artists and Slade alumni, Ibrahim El Salahi (b. 1932 Sudan) and Khalid Iqbal (1929-2012 Pakistan), through new research, digitization and publication of materials held in the Slade Archive and related archives, and the solicitation of new information and accounts gathered through crowdsourcing.
Iqbal studied at the Slade between 1952-1955 and El Salahi between 1956-1959 and both then went on to pioneering roles in the development of art and art education in their respective countries, an aspect of the international impact of the Slade that has yet to be mapped. Influenced by Slade Professor William Coldstream, Iqbal went on to be a founder of the Dept of Fine Art, Punjab University, in Lahore, Pakistan. He is considered a pioneer of a popular realist tradition in Pakistan.
El Salahi founded the Khartoum School of art, he is a pioneer of ‘calligraphic modernism’ in Sudan, belatedly recognised in the US in a touring retrospective exhibition ‘A Visionary Modernist’, curated by the art historian Salah Hassan (Cornell University) to be shown at Tate Modern (July-Sept 2013).
Ideas of African sculpture in archaeology and art in modern Britain: Jacob Esptein, Flinders Petrie, Ronald Moody and Edna Manley
Lead applicant: Gemma Romain (UCL Geography)
Main collaborator: Dr Debbie Challis (UCL Petrie Museum)
Additional Collaborators: Nwakaego Ahaiwe, UCL MA Archives and Records Management student and cultural and community archivist (as named researcher)
Dr Sally-Ann Ashton, Senior Assistant Keeper, Department of Antiquities, the Fitzwilliam Museum
Dr. Caroline Bressey, Lecturer and Director of The Equiano Centre, Department of Geography, UCL
Robert Eagle, Multimedia Producer, UCL Communications and Marketing
This project explores responses to and representations of African and Asian visual culture in modern British society. It focuses on the period of 1907 to 1939, during which visual representations by British artists of African and Asian cultures and peoples were racially constructed in an environment of imperialism and ideas of race difference and also in relation to exoticisation and 'negrophilia'. The start date of the project, 1907, marks the creation of Pablo Picasso's 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon,' said to be the first cubist artwork and heavily inspired by African material cultures. 1907 also marks the Jacob Epstein's first major sculpture in Britain, that of 18 sculptures representing the
'Cycle of Life' and created for the exterior of the British Medical Association building.
The project will investigate these individuals in relation to one another, exploring the various interpretations and artistic responses to Egyptian material culture, with a particular emphasis on the work and worldviews of Flinders Petrie, Jacob Epstein, Ronald Moody and Edna Manley in their interpretations and responses to ancient and modern African sculpture. The project will collaborate with UCL student archivist and community heritage worker Nwakaego Ahaiwe, who will run, in conjunction with the lead collaborators, two research workshops with a group of community artists and archivists, investigating the Egyptian sculptures of the Petrie Museum and the British Museum, the special collections of UCL, the holdings of Tate Archives and Library, and public art created by Epstein such as Night and Day. The group will work with the co-collaborators in creating an exhibition based on their research to be displayed at the Petrie Museum during Spring 2014.
- Lead applicant: Daniel Smith (UCL English)
- Main collaborator: Jason Peacey (UCL History)
The proposed events would draw on UCL’s strong core of humanities graduate students researching the early modern period. It would enable them to gain important experience taking responsibility for certain organisational aspects of each event. Additionally, the events would be run in conjunction with the Centre for Early Modern Exchanges, and would draw on the expertise and academic networks of the Centre’s cross-faculty steering committee. The committee includes Professor Helen Hackett (English, co-Director), Dr Alexander Samson (Spanish, co-Director), and the Centre as a whole is represented by member of eighteen UCL departments.
The grant from UCL Grand Challenges will enable a seminar series exploring the poetry, letters, and sermons of John Donne, one of the seventeenth century’s most outstandingly significant literary and religious figures. This year marks 400 years since the composition of one of Donne’s most important poems, ‘Goodfriday, 1613. Riding Westwards’, which explores the author’s intensely intellectual religious meditations at a crucial period in his life. UCL’s Centre for Early Modern Exchanges will celebrate the occasion with three seminars on Donne’s life and writing around 1613. These events will promote Intercultural Interaction by bringing together scholars from different countries, investigating the ways that intellectual cultures interacted in the early modern period, and promoting dialogue across different present-day research cultures.
Because Donne is such a pivotal figure in the interchange between Catholic and Protestant aesthetics in the turbulent post-Reformation period, this proposal appeals to the Grand Challenge of Intercultural Interaction, particularly ‘Early Modern Exchanges’ and ‘Religion and Society’. In 2011-12, GCII supported a programme of events entitled ‘Negotiating Religion’. Our proposed seminar series will develop these events’ aim to ‘stimulate debate about the complex relationship between religion and society’ – this time with a particularly timely literary and historical focus. A GCII grant for ‘John Donne’s Conversions, 1613–2013’ would enable a cross-disciplinary seminar series drawing on UCL’s existing expertise and a particularly vibrant international community, which would appeal beyond the academy: a one-off historical celebration.
- Lead applicant: William Steptoe (UCL Computer Science)
- Main collaborator: Dr Daniel Richardson (UCL Cognitive, Perceptual and Brian Sciences)
When two people collaborate, they become more like each other. They sway their bodies, chose their words, wave their hands and move their eyes in concert. This is termed this ‘behavioural coordination’, but there is no clear understanding of why it happens or what it produces. In this project, we intended to use state of the art technology, firstly, to quantify multiple channels of coordination in a natural social interaction, and secondly, to control the behavioural coordination experienced by people in virtual reality interaction.We will investigate participants of European, Asian and African origin to capture 'rules' during face to face interaction including eye contact, nodding, and amount of facial mimicry.
We will quantify how people of different cultures move their faces, and what effect this has on intercultural communication and the impressions people form of each other. By replaying and manipulating these recorded interactions in virtual reality, we can then test experimental predictions: for example we can generate an avatar representing a Chinese participant, but animate it in a more 'western' manner, thereby increasing or decreasing certain facial motions so that a speaker conforms to cultural norms of the listener. In this way, we can develop tools to foster intercultural communication.
- Lead applicant: Dr Alexey Tikhomirov (UCL SEES)
- Main applicant: Professor Mary Fulbrook (UCL German)
This international and interdisciplinary conference will apply the concept of trust and distrust to the history of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc, which, it is generally agreed, were a markedly low-trust societies. We treat trust and distrust as hugely influential factors in explaining how dictatorships operate and how closed societies work. Our starting point is that post-war socialist societies in Europe had their own “habitus of trust” and developed their own “culture of trust” which affected their stability, success and failure.
- Lead applicant: Dr Cecil Thompson (Chair, UCL’s Race Equality Group, UCL General Surgery)
- Main collaborator: Bimbi Fernando (Renal Transplant Unit, Royal Free Hospital)
Jayne Kavanagh and Katherine Woolf, Department of Medical Education, UCL
Amir Gander, Department of Surgery, UCL
Jessica Sims, Department of Primary Care Research, King's College London
It is well known that organ donation and transplantation are important issues for people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups. They are overrepresented on the active transplant waiting list due to prevalence of particular conditions (e.g. diabetes, hypertension and hepatitis), underrepresented as deceased donors and nearly twice as likely as people from white backgrounds to refuse organ donationfor their deceased relatives. The problem is due, at least in part, to a lack of awareness by these groups of the Organ Donor Register (ODR) and the need for organs for transplants, because of faith and cultural stances toward organ donation, and because of a perceived lack of trust in doctors and the healthcare profession. We propose to address these problems with an educational campaign targeted at key stakeholders: patients, researchers, clinicians, BME community groups, medical, potential medical, primary & secondary school students.
The campaign will consist of a main one day conference for key stakeholders, with workshops before, during and after. Some of the workshop findings will be discussed at the conference.
GCII Theme: Civilisations
Lead: Dr David Wengrow (UCL Institute of Archaeology)
Main collaborator: Prof Karen Radner (UCL History)
Additional collaborators: Dr Mark Altaweel (UCL Institute of Archaeology); Prof Mike Rowlands (UCL Anthropology)
Project: UCL has an unprecedented opportunity to conduct archaeological and anthropological fieldwork in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan.
Following decades of conflict and a genocidal campaign against its inhabitants in the 1980s, the region is now a focus of major investment and is rapidly becoming a hub of international research. Environmental and cultural regeneration are high on the agenda of local authorities, as is the investigation of the area’s rich, but surprisingly unexplored, archaeological and cultural heritage, and the parallel development of museums and tourism.
The Shahrizor Plain, where UCL has been permitted to work, lies in the province of Suleimaniya, within the heartlands of what was once referred to as the ‘Cradle of Civilisation’; the region in which farming, urban life and literacy began. The current project is in early stages of development, but already involves staff from three UCL departments as well as the newly established department at UCL Qatar, with its focus upon archaeology, museums, heritage and the fostering of intercultural relations in the Middle East. Over the longer term, this project will provide a major vehicle for linking UCL’s expertise across these fields and applying them in an area where they are badly needed.
GCII Theme: Religion & Society
Lead: Dr François Guesnet (UCL Hebrew & Jewish Studies)
Main collaborator: Dr Uta Staiger (UCL European Institute)
Additional collaborators: Dr Claire Dwyer (UCL Geography); Dr Myriam Hunter-Henin (UCL Laws); Prof Cécile Laborde (UCL Political Sciences); Dr Robert Morris (UCL Constitution Unit)
Project: This series of four workshops will discuss the complex processes through which religious communities create or defend their place in a given commonwealth, both in history and in our world today. The focus is on communities' ability to formulate and present their claims, to identify potential spokespeople and their addressees, to secure their institutions and assert their physical and political presence, as well as on the epistemological, political and social conditions facilitating or complicating processes of negotiation.
The four workshops are:
- Negotiating Religion: European legacies, European challenges
- Accommodating Religious Communities in Contemporary Europe: Constitutional and philosophical dimensions
- Negotiating Religion in Urban Space
- Legal Frameworks: Schools and religious freedom
GCII Theme: Human Rights
Lead: Ms Carey Young (UCL Slade School of Fine Art)
Main collaborator: Dr Ralph Wilde (UCL Laws)
Project: The field of human rights is a new vein of research for me, but is highly appropriate given my ongoing artistic research interests in the growing influence of corporations and the legal sphere on to individual and collective subjectivity, and the relationship between law and ideas of ‘reality’. The small grant would provide seed funding for the research, development and production of a small body of artwork which could be exhibited within public exhibitions commencing in 2012–2013.
I would like to engage with Dr Wilde’s research into legal ‘black holes’ (otherwise termed ‘legal vacuums’ or ‘extra-legal zones’) – the often-used term for extraterritorial situations such as military ‘black sites’ or the US detention centre at Guantanamo. I am particularly interested in Dr Wilde’s writings, which problematise and critique the idea of ‘legal black holes’. Particularly interesting to me is Dr Wilde’s view that law is not ‘missing’ from such zones, contrary to much of the literature, and that the application of human rights law may not be the universal salve it is commonly expected to be.
I also envisage using the research phase to look into other human rights issues which also extend my previous research interests, with the idea to develop a major solo exhibition proposal on a human rights theme. I am also interested in the emerging field of human rights law which deals with transnational corporations, as ‘non-state actors’, with regard to human rights, in particular looking at complicity between states and transnational corporations with regard to slippages in human rights protections. Whilst seeing human rights as a contested field, I would like to interrogate the neoliberal idea that we should leave it to the marketplace to regulate corporate behaviour around human rights. I envisage this will lead to ideas for other artistic works.
Lead: Dr Simon Lock (UCL Science & Technology Studies)
Main collaborator: Professor Claire Warwick (UCL Information Studies)
Additional collaborators: Dr Jon Agar (UCL Science & Technology Studies); Dr Anthony Watkinson (UCL Information Studies); Dr Steve Cross, UCL Public Engagement
Project: In a very short space of time online social media platforms have become pre-eminent tools of intercultural interaction, supplementing and even displacing many older systems and customs. This project brings together dispersed communities within UCL who research social media platforms. The aim is to share expertise, transfer theory and practice, and pool our intellectual resources in ways that lead to fruitful new collaborations across the university and new ways of using social media for research interactions with stakeholders outside of the academy.
The problem to be solved involves silos. Academics work in disciplinary silos. In those silos, wheels regularly get re-invented and customised jargon and practices thicken the walls. From the outside UCL itself can be viewed as a silo. We know with certainty that research is being conducted on social media and political and social engagement, ideas of privacy, identity, personalization of information, methods of surveillance, notions of public sphere, and corporate control and storage of data. We also know a great many colleagues are investigating new technologies as tools for dissemination and engagement.
With so much going on in the subject area, a clear opportunity exists for opening up the silos and sharing expertise to develop.
This project uses the 'town meeting' model to get our network started. At the same time, we will initiate some desk-based research to pool together scholarship and identify common themes. Finally, we run some workshops so the network can digest the results and identify avenues for further work. Throughout, we’ll use our understanding of these tools to disseminate and engage.
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