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Train and Engage
Winners of Train and Engage funding announced
8th Sep 2017
UCL Culture is committed to the development of UCL staff and students, and firmly believes that Public Engagement can be a major contributor to this development. Train and Engage is a program designed to do just this, giving UCL research students training in the theory of public engagement, along with practical tips for running a project. Upon completing the training, students have the opportunity to bid for up to £1,000 to make these projects happen.In the past, the program has funded over 50 project leaders, who have gone on to continue their career in research, gain promotion, and use their new skills to work on other projects in a variety of contexts.[[{"fid":"5627","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Women of Methodist church","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Women of Methodist church","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EParticipants%20at%20Ruth%20Slatter%26rsquo%3Bs%20%26lsquo%3B200%20Years%20of%20Methodism%20in%20Stoke%20Newington%26rsquo%3B%20project.%20%26copy%3B%20Susanne%20Hakuba%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Women of Methodist church","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Women of Methodist church","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EParticipants%20at%20Ruth%20Slatter%26rsquo%3Bs%20%26lsquo%3B200%20Years%20of%20Methodism%20in%20Stoke%20Newington%26rsquo%3B%20project.%20%26copy%3B%20Susanne%20Hakuba%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"667","width":"1000","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]We are proud to announce the winners of 2016/17 grants and to welcome our newest cohort of funded PhD students. Nine project leaders have been funded, and will be working with public groups on projects linked to festivals, playgrounds, infant development, herbal medicine, photosynthesis and much more. The information on each of the project leaders and a summary of their project is available to download.[[{"fid":"5635","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Train and Engage","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EMaddison%20Coke%20and%20team%20at%20Green%20Man%20Festival%202016%2C%20with%20%23challengeMartha%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Train and Engage","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EMaddison%20Coke%20and%20team%20at%20Green%20Man%20Festival%202016%2C%20with%20%23challengeMartha%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"720","width":"960","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]The next training sessions for Train and Engage will be in the spring term and the next funding deadline will be in June 2018. You can find more information on Train and Engage here. For announcements and information about Train and Engage and other funding opportunities for public engagement projects you can also sign up to our newsletter.
Liz Pellicano
Provost's Awards Spotlight: Promoting wellbeing of autistic young people
7th Sep 2017
One of the highlights in the UCL public engagement year is the Provost's Awards for Public Engagement. This takes place every year in the spring and recognises the fantastic work that UCL's staff and students do to open up research and teaching at UCL to the wider world by engaging with communities.There were seven winners earlier in the year – which you can read about here but we had over fifty nominations from across UCL.  With such a wealth of projects, we didn’t want to miss an opportunity to shout about this work – which is all amazing.   So we decided to run this new news feature - the Provost Awards Spotlight.  This feature will run throughout the rest of the year in the run up to the next Awards, and will tell the stories of these individuals using their platform at UCL to mobilise, inspire and amplify.[[{"fid":"5459","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Everyone's normal is different","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Everyone's normal is different","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"281","width":"500","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]What would you define as normal behaviour? And if someone described you as being normal would you think that was a good or a bad thing anyway? Everyone’s definition is unique, and it was exactly this idea behind a brilliant public engagement project to help young autistic people with their mental health.Know Your Normal was the result of the partnership between Professor Liz Pellicano of the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) and charity Ambitious about Autism. Their research project set out to help promote an understanding of what wellbeing looks like for autistic children and young people. [[{"fid":"5487","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"CRAE and Ambitious about Autism","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EProfessor%20Liz%20Pellicano%20and%26nbsp%3BDr%20Laura%20Crane%20of%20CRAE%2C%20Jack%20and%20Georgia%20from%20Ambitious%20about%20Autism%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"CRAE and Ambitious about Autism","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EProfessor%20Liz%20Pellicano%20and%26nbsp%3BDr%20Laura%20Crane%20of%20CRAE%2C%20Jack%20and%20Georgia%20from%20Ambitious%20about%20Autism%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"771","width":"1878","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]“We worked with a team of young autistic people, from the charity Ambitious about Autism, to carry out an important piece of research on mental health in young autistic adults (16-25 years). The young people selected the topic of the research, decided how they wanted to research it, and took an active role in analysing and reporting the findings – all under the guidance of the CRAE team. The resulting report, co-authored by CRAE and the young people themselves, highlighted high levels of mental health problems in young autistic adults. It also called for better support for young autistic people, to help them identify that they are experiencing mental health problems, as well as more initiatives to reduce stigma associated with autism and mental health, and greater autistic involvement in service design and delivery.” – Liz Pellicano[[{"fid":"5479","view_mode":"medium","fields":{"format":"medium","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Crisps in size order","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"right","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"medium","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Crisps in size order","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"right","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"281","width":"500","class":"media-element file-medium"}}]]Autism is not a mental health condition, yet a staggering 70-80% of children and adults on the autism spectrum have experienced mental health problems. Liz and her team conducted interviews with young autistic adults to try to identify why that connection exists. Liz found, “Many young people felt that these problems stemmed from the pressure to act “normal” in a “neurotypical” world (the world of non-autistic people). As one young person told us: “If somebody who wasn’t autistic grew up being excluded, bullied, and pressured to be something that they are not, they would very likely develop the same conditions.”At a presentation event earlier this year, Fern from the charity explained how confusing even professionals can find diagnosis, “Many of us have experiences of our ‘normal’ being mistaken for mental health issues, while many of us have had mental health issues and have been told it’s just part of being autistic, and it’s been dismissed”.Since the Provost Awards in February for which Liz’s project was nominated, the collaboration between CRAE and Ambitious about Autism has gone on to create a digital toolkit to identify mental health issues. This video explains how to use it.[[{"fid":"5463","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Know Your Normal","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Know Your Normal","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"1005","width":"1860","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]Finding solutions like this would not be possible without such close collaboration with the users themselves. Liz told us, “We have worked towards making sure that autistic people and their families are more involved in the decisions that shape their lives – including the type of research that gets done. My own belief is that we need to listen more to the people that we ‘study’ and that we need to work together to make the research that we do really count. Persuading all of my scientific colleagues to reach out in this way can sometimes be difficult. But I’ll keep trying.”[[{"fid":"5467","view_mode":"small","fields":{"format":"small","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Liz Pellicano","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"left","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"small","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Liz Pellicano","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"left","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"1500","width":"1000","class":"media-element file-small"}}]]It’s also a question of sharing those unique findings with a wider community. Since research of this type and quality is in short supply, spreading the word becomes important too.“Our aim at CRAE is to make sure that people on the ground - autistic people, their families and friends, educators, clinicians, and the wider public - hear about the results of studies just like this one. To this end, we give talks to professionals and parents, highlighting the results - in this case, the alarmingly high rates of mental health problems in young autistic adults and their negative experiences of the (mental) healthcare system. For example, I gave a talk last week to the Hackney Autism Alliance Board, a partnership board consisting of stakeholder representatives (autistic adults, parents, local councillors, professionals) set up by Hackney Council and City and Hackney CCG in response to the Autism Act 2009. They are developing an Autism Strategy for children, young people and adults in Hackney - and so they were keen to the Know your Normal findings and how they might better serve the mental health needs of young people in their borough”.This sense of urgency was emphasized by Fern from Ambitious about Autism, who said “What autistic people deserve needs to become something we don’t just talk about here, or something that’s only tweeted about tonight, or something that is just presented in research findings to show what we’re not achieving. Instead what young autistic people deserve is for active changes to take place so that we can identify mental health issues when they occur, be taken seriously by professionals in mental health services and get support that works and helps us return to our normal”.You can read a full report of the Know Your Normal project here, and listen to a conversation about the project between Professor Liz Pellicano, Dr Laura Crane (also of CRAE) and Georgia and Jack from Ambitious about Autism here.Finally, if you are a young person with autism and want to join the discussion with Ambitious about Autism, you can find out about their Youth Council events here. 
Beacon Bursary
Beacon Bursaries
29th Aug 2017
Our Public Engagement Unit is delighted to announce the awardees in the latest round of Beacon Bursaries. After another very competitive round, the unit is proud to have funded 13 projects at the end of 2016/17.Activities we have supported in this round include promoting access to health information and services in the Chinese community in the UK, addressing sewage management on canal boats, creating a photo exhibition on parental leave for fathers, and a host of other projects that will connect with a variety of public groups.[[{"fid":"5419","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Beacon Bursaries","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EParticipants%20from%20%26lsquo%3BBeat%20Boxing%20after%20laryngectomy%26rsquo%3B%2C%20a%20Beacon%20Bursary%20project%20led%20by%20Dr%20Evangelos%20Himonides%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Beacon Bursaries","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EParticipants%20from%20%26lsquo%3BBeat%20Boxing%20after%20laryngectomy%26rsquo%3B%2C%20a%20Beacon%20Bursary%20project%20led%20by%20Dr%20Evangelos%20Himonides%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"920","width":"1379","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]Previous Beacon Bursary winners have run workshops in remote communities around the world. Energy mapping and photography skills were shared with off-grid solar home users in Rwanda to assess the technology and its impact in the communities. In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, mapping skills were used to gather data on urban water access. The data collected increased the negotiating power of local residents when appealing to their governments for service improvements. These skills mobilised individuals who might previously have felt powerless, and effected real change in the community.[[{"fid":"5495","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Mapping workshops Iwona Bisaga","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Mapping workshops Iwona Bisaga","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"1880","width":"2816","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]We’re really excited to see how this year’s projects develop with the support of the Beacon Bursaries, and will invite project leaders to update on their progress throughout the year.Beacon Bursaries are available to UCL staff and postgraduate research students looking to connect their research or teaching with people outside UCL in a new way. The next deadline for the fund is in June 2018, and the round will be open in January 2018. Sign up to our newsletter for further announcements and information.To read more about the Beacon Bursaries, please visit our project page here. 
Virginia mantouvalou
Provost's Awards Spotlight: Protecting Migrant Workers
3rd Aug 2017
One of the highlights in the UCL public engagement year is the Provost's Awards for Public Engagement. This takes place every year in the spring and recognises the fantastic work that UCL's staff and students do to open up research and teaching at UCL to the wider world by engaging with communities.There were seven winners earlier in the year – which you can read about here but we had over fifty nominations from across UCL.  With such a wealth of projects, we didn’t want to miss an opportunity to shout about this work – which is all amazing.   So we decided to run this new news feature - the Provost Awards Spotlight.  This feature will run throughout the rest of the year in the run up to the next Awards, and will tell the stories of these individuals using their platform at UCL to mobilise, inspire and amplify.[[{"fid":"5127","view_mode":"super_xl","fields":{"format":"super_xl","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Virginia mantouvalou Provost Award Project","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3E%26copy%3B%202017%20London%20charity%20Kalayaan%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"super_xl","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Virginia mantouvalou Provost Award Project","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3E%26copy%3B%202017%20London%20charity%20Kalayaan%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"2912","width":"4368","class":"media-element file-super-xl"}}]]This month we’re featuring Virginia Mantouvalou, reader in Human Rights and Labour Law. She has been working with a London charity Kalayaan which works to provide practical advice and support to, as well as campaign with and for, the rights of migrant domestic workers in the UK.In 2015, the UK granted 17,352 visas for domestic workers, doing jobs such as cleaning, nannying and cooking. The vast proportion of these workers are women from countries such as the Philippines, India, Indonesia and a majority of them begin their employment outside the UK with families in the Gulf. It is when these families visit the UK bringing their staff with them, that UK employment law comes into effect. Though it’s not employment law as you know it.[[{"fid":"5119","view_mode":"small","fields":{"format":"small","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Virginia mantouvalou","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"left","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"small","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Virginia mantouvalou","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"left","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"588","width":"588","class":"media-element file-small"}}]]We asked Virginia what her research involved:“It is a study consisting of interviews with overseas domestic workers who are in the UK under a visa system that is linked to ‘modern slavery’. This is an extremely difficult group of workers to reach for numerous reasons (an invisible, sometimes undocumented, very fearful workforce, employed in private households).”It seems hard to believe, but as a domestic worker from overseas, you could be expected to work any hours of the day, for far less than national minimum wage. In a report by Kalayaan in 2010, 48% of overseas domestic workers worked at least 16 hours a day, and 56% received a weekly salary of £50 or less.[[{"fid":"5123","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Virginia mantouvalou Provost Award Project","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3E%26copy%3B%202017%20London%20charity%20Kalayaan%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"right","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Virginia mantouvalou Provost Award Project","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3E%26copy%3B%202017%20London%20charity%20Kalayaan%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"right","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"2157","width":"3252","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]These workers are in a position that is uniquely vulnerable. They may have poor levels of English, and are unable to access the little support that does exist. In many cases they simply do not know their rights, but it’s not just a lack of information. The laws surrounding this group have only further compounded the situation.Between 2012 and 2016, their visas were dependant on the single employer with whom they entered the country. If they left their job they would be actively prevented by UK laws from finding another, in what was an attempt by the government to reduce net migration. This forced many into undocumented work and the potential for further exploitation.Despite this, many have taken their chances and fled. In 2014 Virginia begun the difficult process of interviewing some of these individuals,“Meeting these workers, building a relationship of trust with them, trying to address their fear and anxiety, and, perhaps above all, hearing their stories, which were often devastating, was a really difficult experience for me. I was really glad that I could give them a voice through my publications.”As one Kalayaan interviewee described:  “I ran away. I left them sleeping… I packed my things and ran away without any documents, without any pocket money. I just had my stuff and myself that cold night.” (Bianca, migrant domestic worker)And it’s easy to see why. Among workers who registered with Kalayaan between 2012 and 2015, 81% were given no time off during their employment. In some cases workers reported not being allowed to leave the house unsupervised, having to sleep on bathroom floors, and surviving on scraps of food left over from their employers’ meals.In March 2015 after much publicity, the landmark Modern Slavery Act was passed to try to protect workers. This enabled overseas domestic workers the right to find a new employer, but only to work in the UK for a total of six months. For many having fled abusive workplaces, this was too little time to find anything else.Shortly after the Modern Slavery Act was passed, the government called for an independent review of the visa system to investigate claims of modern slavery. The review recommended that the six-month limit on visas be lifted. This recommendation has still not be implemented, and a national minimum wage is still not required by law.According to government advice that can be found online:“If the applicant is not a member of the employer’s family but they live in their home they will not qualify for National Minimum Wage for work done for their household if they are having meals and accommodation provided free as if they were a family member.”This phrasing is very much open to interpretation.The research that Virginia continues to undertake with Kalayaan has become a unique resource, and has been debated in Parliament.She says, ‘The exploitation of migrant domestic workers is a pressing social issue, giving rise to several human rights violations, which I have been exploring in my research and teaching. Kalayaan are doing really important work in the field. My continuous collaboration with them provides me with important insights both for my research and teaching.’Virginia is a model of academic activism; not only acting as a volunteer advisor on labour law and human rights, her collaborative partnership with Kalayaan has helped shape new research questions that she is addressing in her scholarship. For this reason she was one of our winners this year.She is Co-Director of the UCL Institute for Human Rights, a member of the Editorial Committee of the Modern Law Review, and was previously joint editor of Current Legal Problems. Before joining UCL, she taught at the University of Leicester and the London School of Economics. She has also been Dean’s Visiting Scholar at Georgetown University Law Centre in Washington DC.In 2016-17 she was a specialist advisor to the UK Joint Committee on Human Rights on ‘Business and Human Rights’. She teaches on human rights and labour law courses, and is the Director of Graduate Research Studies in the Faculty of Laws.
Rafael Prieto Curiel
Provost's Awards Spotlight: Chalkdust Magazine
21st Jul 2017
The Provost's Awards for Public Engagement takes place every year in the spring to recognise the fantastic work that UCL's staff and students do to open up research and teaching at UCL to the wider world by engaging with communities.There were seven winners earlier in the year – which you can read about here – but we had over fifty nominations from across UCL. With such a wealth of projects, we didn’t want to miss an opportunity to shout about this work – which is all amazing. So we decided to run this new news feature - the Provost Awards Spotlight.  This feature will run throughout the rest of the year in the run up to the next Awards, and will tell the stories of these individuals using their platform at UCL to mobilise, inspire and amplify. [[{"fid":"4955","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Rafael Prieto Curiel","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Rafael Prieto Curiel","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"321","width":"1392","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]Our first Spotlight is on Rafael Prieto Curiel, a mathematician from Mexico. Rafael worked for the Police Department in Mexico City before coming to UCL, first for a Masters in Statistics (2013-2014) and then decided to carry on with a PhD in Mathematics and Crime. Alongside his studies, Rafael has created Chalkdust – a magazine “for the mathematically curious”, and we wanted to know more.The magazine - now in its fifth issue - brings the world of mathematics to a broad audience through fun how-to guides, articles and interviews. There’s something for everyone, from the light-hearted, ‘What’s your least favourite number?’, to the delicious-sounding, ‘Croissant equation’ to ‘Linear Algebra… with diagrams’ and all sorts in-between.[[{"fid":"4943","view_mode":"xl","fields":{"format":"xl","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Hot and Not","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Keep up with all the latest maths trends.","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"Keep up with all the latest maths trends.","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3E%3Cem%3EKeep%26nbsp%3Bup%20with%20all%20the%20latest%20maths%20trends.%3C%2Fem%3E%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"xl","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Hot and Not","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Keep up with all the latest maths trends.","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"Keep up with all the latest maths trends.","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3E%3Cem%3EKeep%26nbsp%3Bup%20with%20all%20the%20latest%20maths%20trends.%3C%2Fem%3E%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"251","width":"1512","class":"media-element file-xl"}}]]It’s also pretty surreal. One of our favourite regular features is that of 19th century mathematician Johann Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet, who makes an unlikely return as Chalkdust agony aunt in the ever-popular Dear Dirichlet column. He’s helped readers with their feelings on free-market capitalism and awkward social interactions, and is mildly obsessed with badgers. Who knew?[[{"fid":"4915","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Dear Dirichlet","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Dear Dirichlet","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"300","width":"670","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]We asked Rafael why he started the project and why it continues to be important,“It matters because of the impact it has. We sometimes work with the authors (particularly the younger ones) to create an article with them. We’ve published A-Level students who wouldn’t easily be able to publish an article in a maths journal or magazine.”Giving students their first experience of being published is a great way to both build confidence and to engage with the next generation of maths whizzes. It’s also acted as a pull for prospective new students to UCL. One Chalkdust contributor told Rafael, he wasn’t sure whether or not to accept the place he was offered for his PhD but then saw the magazine, “I realised UCL would be a great place to study when I learnt about Chalkdust, a magazine produced by students here”. Chalkdust demonstrates a fantastic way to share ideas outside of lectures and a way to get new students excited about their subject. But it’s not just UCL bods getting in on the action….[[{"fid":"4907","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Maths graphic","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Maths graphic","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"355","width":"792","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]Chalkdust works through submissions, and receiving them is one of the most exciting parts of the process for Rafael, “People from different parts of the world have sent us articles that could be published by us and that is precisely one of our aims: to create a space for everyone to share maths”. This formula seems to be working - since its start, Chalkdust has published the work of 70 different authors, generating over 260 articles, produced by 40 undergraduate and postgraduate students, who have circulated 15,000 copies, and distributed to over 25 UK universities![[{"fid":"4959","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Chalkdust covers","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Chalkdust covers","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"278","width":"1008","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]Despite this momentum, Rafael has had concerns for the project. He told us, “Chalkdust  is  an  ongoing  project,  so  there  were  two  challenging  parts: beginnings and  endings. In  order  for  our  project  to  survive,  we  strongly  depend  on  recruiting  new members  of  the  team,  since  we  are  all  students  and  we  will  all  finish  our degree at a certain point.”. This highlights a common problem in volunteer projects, how do the original members ensure the project lives on, even after their departure? Rafael remains optimistic however, and has been investing time in the next generation to equip them with the skills and encouragement to flourish. He hopes this will protect the project’s future, “For the past six months, I have passed my experience and knowledge about directing a maths magazine to the new generation of Chalkdust members. Once I finish my PhD in the next months, I will carry on doing research and hopefully, I will also be a keen reader of the new issues of Chalkdust produced by the new generations”  - We hope so too!If you would like to read Chalkdust’s articles, or contribute to the next issue, Rafael wants to hear from you – so visit the website and see how you can get involved www.chalkdustmagazine.com.
Beatboxing after Laryngectomy
26th Apr 2017
What makes public engagement with research so powerful is its ability to give diverse communities a voice. Beatboxing after Laryngectomy, a Beacon Bursary project led by Dr.Evangelos Himonides, did just this by giving laryngectomy patients a platform to be seen and heard. The activity has also influenced his ideas for future research.[[{"fid":"3645","view_mode":"xl","fields":{"format":"xl","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"dsc_2464.jpg","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Credit: Dr. Evangelos Himonides","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"Credit: Dr. Evangelos Himonides","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"xl","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"dsc_2464.jpg","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Credit: Dr. Evangelos Himonides","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"Credit: Dr. Evangelos Himonides","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"4016","width":"6016","class":"media-element file-xl"}}]] In a series of Beatboxing workshops, delivered in partnership with Shout at Cancer, Dr Evangelos brought together clinicians, patients with laryngectomies and young East London audiences to explore the role of beatboxing in voice rehabilitation and to raise awareness of the difficulties facing those without voice boxes. Culminating in a final performance, a world premiere of Beatboxing Without a Voice, at the Olympic Village on 8th April 2017. We asked Dr. Evangelos to tell us more about his project, what public engagement with research means to him and how the Beacon Bursary award supported his vision.Why did it feel important to you to undertake this project/piece of engagement? And how does it relate to your research?I have been very passionate about supporting people with special needs and/or disabilities, but also people that face particular challenges. Throat cancer patients face multiple challenges, from the time of diagnosis, to surgery, rehabilitation, and integration. Laryngectomy has a direct impact on patients’ ability to communicate with other people, and make themselves understood. In some of these challenging situations, greater awareness and understanding of the condition could enable laryngectomees to feel less excluded. This is why we wanted to engage the wider, unaffected, public in this event, and raise awareness, through singing activity. My own research often centres on singing and its countless facets (e.g. artistry, expression, acoustics, psychoacoustics, technology, development, therapy, rehabilitation, etc.)[[{"fid":"3621","view_mode":"xl","fields":{"format":"xl","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"dsc_2006.jpg","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Credit: Dr. Evangelos Himonides","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"Credit: Dr. Evangelos Himonides","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"xl","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"dsc_2006.jpg","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Credit: Dr. Evangelos Himonides","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"Credit: Dr. Evangelos Himonides","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"3384","width":"6016","class":"media-element file-xl"}}]]How did the Beacon Bursary award facilitate that?The Beacon Bursary allowed us to realise a long-time aspiration to establish whether Beatboxing could be a meaningful artistic, but also developmental and supportive activity with people that had undergone laryngectomy. We managed to structure a number of training sessions that led to a final public performance at the Olympic Village. Thanks to the support of UCL Culture, we were able to employ a world-leading Beatboxing artist (Marv Radio), and a renowned Classical singer (La Verne Williams), access necessary equipment, and also rent a venue at the Olympic Village, where we held the final public performance.How did your collaboration with Shout at Cancer come about?My collaboration with the charity Shout at Cancer really is a celebration of the importance of the symbiotic relationship of teaching, research and scholarship. Some years ago, a young and energetic medical doctor, Dr Thomas Moors, enquired about the possibility of undertaking the postgraduate module that I lead named “Choral Conducting, Leadership and Communication”. Interestingly, he did not fit the usual ‘profile’ of my post-graduate demographic. He was not a music educator, but a junior medical doctor practising in ENT. Thomas was (and still very much is!) a man with a plan; he had a vision of forming the UK’s first ever ‘Alaryngeal Choir’ and wanted to join our programme in order to sharpen his conducting skills, but also in order to become introduced to the evidence base on leadership and communication. I was fascinated by his vision and aspirations, and we have kept ‘the discourse’ and enthusiasm alive since, trying to identify potential synergies. Last year, Thomas founded Shout at Cancer, and I have been trying to support him in a number of ways, but also in identifying future research foci.[[{"fid":"3677","view_mode":"xl","fields":{"format":"xl","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Credit: Dr. Evangelos Himonides","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Credit: Dr. Evangelos Himonides","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"Credit: Dr. Evangelos Himonides","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"xl","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Credit: Dr. Evangelos Himonides","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Credit: Dr. Evangelos Himonides","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"Credit: Dr. Evangelos Himonides","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"4016","width":"6016","class":"media-element file-xl"}}]]What did you discover about the use of beatboxing in speech rehabilitation and trauma recovery?The first and most important realisation is that all participants have had an absolutely wonderful experience. But many other positive things have emerged. Beatboxing has proven to be a great outlet for artistic expression for alaryngeal singers for two quite different reasons. First, beatboxing is a very inclusive, pluralistic, and also democratic artform. In beatboxing “every sound is valid”; this offers a wonderful opportunity to laryngectomees to produce sounds that are not necessarily going to be mapped onto an elitist conventional ‘aesthetic chart’. They do not have to conform, which is somewhat liberating. Second, many of the popular beatboxing sounds are not ‘voiced’ anyway(i.e. coming from the vibration of the vocal folds) … this means that laryngectomees can produce similar sounds and sound effects as non alaryngeal singers. One additional benefit from engaging in beatboxing is its strong reliance on rhythm/timing. The participants reported that this was very beneficial for their breathing and muscle control. We are keen to research this systematically in the future.How do you view the relationship between the arts and health? What’s next for research in this area? Do you see a future in which the two are better integrated?I am very glad that you have asked this question! Although things have changed dramatically over the past two decades, there still is a remarkable part of the population and, quite disappointingly, the funding, government, and policy making worlds that are not quite aware how arts and health go in tandem. There is a growing body of research that clearly demonstrates the importance of musical and other artistic activity in rehabilitation, mental health, palliative care, development, pain management, but also healing. Arts, Health and Wellbeing research centres across the world and within the UK are making remarkable progress in carving a more promising future of synergies between the Arts and Sciences by conducting systematic research that interrogates this relationship. Thinking about fostering the integration of arts with sciences (applied or not), one cannot but celebrate the success of UCL’s own Bachelors of Arts and Sciences programme (BASc). I am extremely proud to announce my recent collaboration with BASc and the Digital Arts in Education (DARE) centre in launching UCL’s first ever music related course (now validated and to become available next academic year) titled “Interactions of Music and Science”.[[{"fid":"3661","view_mode":"xl","fields":{"format":"xl","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Credit: Dr. Evangelos Himonides","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Credit: Dr. Evangelos Himonides","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"Credit: Dr. Evangelos Himonides","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"xl","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Credit: Dr. Evangelos Himonides","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Credit: Dr. Evangelos Himonides","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"Credit: Dr. Evangelos Himonides","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"4016","width":"6016","class":"media-element file-xl"}}]]Why is public engagement with research so important?I might be biased, as I am an academic at the UCL Institute of Education, the world’s number one institution in educational and social sciences research. Education is therefore core to my ethos, heart and soul, whatever these mean to different colleagues here at greater UCL. Public engagement with research is not just important, it is absolutely vital. During these challenging times, where even the notion of ‘fact’ (i.e. the core of scientific enquiry) is being tortured to its limits, it is engagment that needs to be nurtured and fostered. Increased engagement leads to better education and better education leads to a better society, and this, in my opinion, is a fact!What did you find challenging about the process? Particularly working with patients who have been through the trauma of throat cancer and laryngectomy?Multiple challenges existed, but these could not compete with the rewards. Unfortunately, when collaborating with a group that is continually facing major challenges, planning can never be strict, and one has to be prepared for unpredictability. This might involve remission, reaction to new medication, issues with valves, infections, psychosomatic problems, on top, of course, of everyday ‘administrivia’  that might get in the way. When running a project that involves many people, one can sometimes get carried away to hope that participants would be in a state of ‘cryostasis’ between sessions. This, obviously, is not the case. Thankfully, the people at Shout at Cancer, including the patients, are experienced and very sympathetic to this unique context and the various challenges. The levels of altruism and collegiality have been remarkable, and I feel honoured and inspired to have been given the opportunity to conduct this project.How would you sum up your experience?I think that it would be better for me to offer quotations from members of the public instead:"As a Laryngectomy participant, this was a unique experience performing in front of people of all ages & letting them know that life is to live on even after losing natural speaking ability"."Really interesting to see the work done and the progress made by the alaryngeal individuals, and learn more about the challenges they face and what can be done"."Fantastic!! Great community feel to the event, very entertaining and thought-provoking"."This event was truly inspirational. To hear the stories of the larynx group, accompanied by the beautiful words spoken by the children and then the great music really touched my heart. I think the work of all those involved should be applauded and supported. I hope in the future similar events can happen to raise awareness and get the needs of this condition more in the public eye"."This was an inspirational and informative event. The concept was so simple yet so uplifting. Thank you for the opportunity to hear patients, professionals, young people and the public share in making amazing music together"."The speeches delivered by some of the participants were moving and thought provoking. Understanding that the operation not only removes the voice box but also make the act of breathing so much hard gave me a new sense of respect and appreciation for what these people are going through. The courage and physical stamina they have shown in the face of their situation is a massive inspiration". What’s next for you?We shall continue pursuing further funding opportunities and designing future research. I am currently working towards the development of a baseline map of the acoustical properties of the alaryngeal voice, in collaboration with Thomas. We are also exploring possibilities with Wellcome and other funding bodies. The future is exciting. Thank you so much for supporting this work. I am very grateful to UCL Culture for the wonderful opportunity.Beatboxing after Laryngectomy was funded by the Beacon Bursary scheme. Beacon Bursaries are available to UCL staff and postgraduate research students looking to connect their research or teaching with people outside UCL. Interested in applying? Find out how here. 
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