I am delighted to bring you the Spring 2021 issue of our School of SSESW newsletter. We are all still living and working in exceptionally difficult times and our colleagues have responded to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic through a number of projects measuring impact on society.
The newsletter continues to highlight notable activities and innovation in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work. Our aim of making a social difference is at the core of our teaching and research and our engagement with professionals and policy makers in national and international settings. We continue to connect the Northern Ireland community with world leading experts and to share with the global audience the recognised excellence in Northern Ireland schools and agencies.
In this issue we are particularly delighted to showcase our landmark survey delivering reliable prevalence estimates of the rates of mental health problems in children and young people in Northern Ireland.
Professor Carl Bagley PhD FRSA
Head of School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work
A team that included SSESW academic Lisa Bunting has delivered a landmark survey giving reliable prevalence estimates of the rates of mental health problems in children and young people in Northern Ireland (NI). Lisa said: ‘The Youth Wellbeing Survey also highlights factors which increase the likelihood that these problems will develop. The findings will contribute to meaningful change and improvements in how we meet the needs of vulnerable young people in emotional distress.’
The study showed that 12.6 per cent of children and young people experience common mood disorders such as anxiety and depression - around 25 per cent higher than in other UK nations, reflecting a similar trend in NI adults. It showed that exposure to family trauma and adversity, poor child health and disability, having special educational needs, living in a household in receipt of social security benefits and parental mental health were the strongest predictors for having a common mood or anxiety disorder.
However, in general, rates across a range of mental health problems in NI are broadly in line with international studies. Levels of prosocial behaviour – being considerate, helping and sharing, and having good relationships with peers - all emerged as considerably higher in NI than in other UK nations.
Child age was also a strong predictor of increased mental health problems with older children, in particular older teenage girls, having the highest rates of anxiety and depression. Rates were also particularly high for boys aged 5-10, highlighting this as an area for further study and service development.
Previous studies also show that half of adult mental disorders develop before age 18 so it is vital that the right services are in place to address and stem emerging mental health needs in young people. The influence of social media, the internet and cyber bullying was examined in the survey, indicating that 4.7 per cent of 11-19 year olds in NI met the criteria for problematic social media use with incidences higher among girls and teenagers.
School of SSESW academic Professor Katy Hayward has a high profile as an expert on Brexit and Northern Ireland/Ireland. She was one of nine people invited by the Cabinet Office and European Commission to be part of the ‘civil society group’ who met with co-chairs of the UK-EU Joint Committee on 18 February. Michael Gove and Maroš Šefčovič held the meeting in an effort to better understand the impact of the Protocol on Northern Ireland/Ireland since the transition period ended.
In her contribution, Katy drew upon research from the project she is working on full-time, along with Dr Milena Komarova, in her role as seconded Senior Fellow in the UK in a Changing Europe think-tank. This research includes evidence gathered with SSESW colleagues through the Northern Ireland Life & Times Survey, and with local authorities in the central Irish border region. In the course of 2020, she delivered over 70 presentations to public, private, community and academic audiences around the world (one of the benefits of using Zoom!). She also gave evidence before several parliamentary committees, including Stormont and Westminster.
Katy is regularly interviewed by journalists, including CNN, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, Al Jazeera, Sky News, the Financial Times and the Guardian, and has appeared on such programmes as Today, The Briefing Room, the World Tonight, ITV Tonight and BBC Spotlight, as well being a regular contributor on Radio Ulster. She won a special award from the prestigious Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize in 2020 for her use of Twitter (@hayward_katy) in explaining the implications of Brexit for Northern Ireland and British-Irish relations. Her book on the Irish Border for the Sage series ‘What do we know and what should we do…’ will be published in June.
Over recent months, the Director of our MSc (Trauma) Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Michael Duffy, has contributed to local and international discussions on the mental health impact of Covid-19. Michael reached a global audience with a webinar on 4 March for University of Notre Dame, USA, presented with Ciaran Mulholland (Centre for Medical Education at Queen’s University and a consultant psychiatrist). The event was moderated by Anne Campbell (Social Work, SSESW) and was entitled The Troubles, the Covid Pandemic, Unexpected Death and Complex Grief.
The webinar was part of Notre Dame’s Global Irish Network Series and Michael was asked to speak as a cognitive psychotherapist specialising in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and complex grief. He is recognised worldwide as an expert on the psychological impact of trauma. He led the work and research of the Trauma Team after the Omagh bombing in 1998 and facilitated studies into the psychological effects on staff providing health care in the immediate aftermath. Michael has provided workshops on PTSD for therapists working with large scale traumas including the 9/11 Twin Towers attack, the Oslo bombing and Utoya Island shootings and the Manchester concert bomb.
The Covid pandemic has cost over 2.5 million lives globally and each death was sudden, unexpected and unnecessary. The webinar discussed the impact of mass casualty events and societal trauma and the necessity to address the mental health consequences.
With colleagues across Queen’s and others, Michael also conducted a Rapid Review to consolidate the research, knowledge and evidence on: the impact of Covid-19 on key areas of mental health and emotional wellbeing and the likelihood of new inceptions of mental illness; recommendations for ameliorating these i.e. prevention, early intervention and recovery; and priorities for further research.
The paper is a guide to planning and decision making agreed by the Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Surge Cell convened by the Health and Social Care Board in order to provide evidence to the Department of Health Northern Ireland. See Mental Health Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Northern Ireland: A Rapid Review.
As a language educator, I research bilingualism/multilingualism and its affordances for teaching language minoritized students. I studied applied linguistics in Istanbul, then in Texas. I later did my doctoral work at the University of Arizona, in teaching and teacher education with a focus on immigrant children and English learners.
I worked for many years as a research scientist at the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, New Jersey, on building assessment systems that capitalize on languaging and cultural resources of language minoritized students, to support their teachers. There, I found it central to my research agenda to examine sources of bias that adversely impact the performance of language-minoritized bilingual children on content and standardized assessments. Through my research as the lead author of influential papers, I have argued that the bilingual mind manifests distinct characteristics and the work of teaching needs to be sensitized to the linguistic and cultural resources that this mind brings to the educational spaces.
I am currently participating in an EU-wide study, representing Ireland with colleagues from Queen’s and University College Dublin (UCD), to report on Irish teachers’ attitudes towards multilingualism and teaching multilingual children. I am also leading a locally funded research project in collaboration with Queen’s and UCD colleagues, as well as long-time partners from the University of Central Florida. This project aims to assess the usability of formative simulated classroom environments for educating science teachers to teach language-minoritized children.
Having lived in the USA for over a decade, it has been delightful to settle in Belfast and admire the revitalized sociocultural space of a post-conflict society. It is energizing to further explore innovative ways to serve linguistically and culturally rich students, aiming to help teachers to lean in and relate to the resources. I joined the School of SSESW in January 2020 and, at this early stage of my Queen’s career, I am grateful for the support of colleagues as I engage with research on the affordances the bilingual mind provides to enrich the work of teaching and teach a new module on bilingualism/multilingualism. I look forward to connecting with colleagues around synergistic interests and lines of work.
A new report documenting the experiences of life during Covid-19 lockdown for autistic young people has been launched by colleagues in our Centre for Children’s Rights. The research was led by Social Policy academic Bronagh Byrne (pictured) and researcher Gillian O’Hagan and was funded by the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) as part of our response to social issues impacted and highlighted by the pandemic.
The project engages the participatory arts based research method of Photovoice whereby autistic young people aged 11-15 years used photography to document their lives in Northern Ireland during the lockdown period March-June 2020.
The project seeks to illuminate the challenges faced by these young people during lockdown, with a particular focus on their experiences of education. A young people’s advisory group worked alongside the SSESW team in designing and analysing the research. This project makes recommendations for how autistic young people should be supported during any further pandemic and associated restrictions. The findings make particular reference to the educational and other supports normally engaged for autistic young people and how these services could be adapted and adjusted in future lockdown planning.
An interdisciplinary team of School of SSESW colleagues has won a tender to facilitate an important study as part of the Northern Ireland Executive’s ‘Tackling Paramilitarism Programme’ (TPP).
Grounded in the Fresh Start Agreement (2015) and tasked with implementing the 'twin track' justice and prevention recommendations, the programme is led by the Department of Justice for Northern Ireland (DOJ). The DOJ is responsible for coordinating actions across Departments and overseeing activities delivered by key Northern Ireland (NI) agencies such as the Education Authority, Probation Board, City Councils, the Police Service of NI and a range of community and voluntary sector agencies.
The aims of the SSESW study are to develop an enhanced understanding of the specific individual and contextual vulnerabilities that place some people at elevated risk of engaging in higher harm violence and organised crime and to inform the development of evidence informed responses that reduce those vulnerabilities.
In this novel academic, policy and practice partnership, Colm Walsh, Shadd Maruna (both Criminology) and Dirk Schubotz (Social Policy) will support the TPP team to: facilitate a critical review of the scale and scope of current provision around higher harm violence and organised crime; critically review and refine targeted youth provision; and embed prospective data collection tools and provide DOJ with an assessment of outcome and impact of service provision.
Colm Walsh (Principal Investigator for the project) commented: ‘There are few examples in Northern Ireland of academics working in partnership with policy makers and practitioners to design, test and refine delivery in this way. Although the issues are complex, and the response should of course be long term, this study has significant potential to increase our understanding of the issues affecting some of the most vulnerable communities across NI whilst at the same time creating some potential for mitigating those vulnerabilities preventing violence and reducing the criminal exploitation of younger people’.
Guidance on the Rights of Child Human Rights Defenders, written by School of SSESW academic Laura Lundy, was launched in January by Child Rights Connect. The launch comes after a year-long consultative collaboration between Child Rights Connect, Queen’s University, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, many international child and human rights organisations and experts and child human rights defenders (CHRDs).
The 2018 Day of General Discussion of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on ‘Protecting and empowering children as human rights defenders’, for which Laura acted as an expert advisor, shed light on the generalised lack of understanding of the rights of CHRDs and identified major protection gaps. Laura’s Implementation Guide on the Rights of Child Human Rights Defenders provides recommendations for States, parents/guardians, schools and other service providers, human rights organisations, civil society organisations and Child Human Rights Defenders themselves. It clarifies: the definition of ‘child human rights defender’; what is distinctive about CHRDs and the contexts in which they act; and the rights they are entitled to and how these must be respected, protected and fulfilled through the coordinated implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Declaration on human rights defenders.
Laura Lundy, Co-Director of our Centre for Children's Rights, said: ‘We need to move from a discourse that is based on permission, i.e. we ‘allow’ children to act as human rights defenders, to a recognition of a child rights-based focus, that children are entitled to act as human rights defenders. We must stop asking questions such as: ‘When can they?’ ‘At what age should we let them join an association, attend a protest and access social media’? The question should be: 'How can they? How can states, civil societies and other actors support children and enable children to exercise the full range of civil and political rights?' We need to reframe our thinking… and this is what I hope the Guide does.’
Our Northern Ireland Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research (NICILT), funded by the Department of Education, continues to provide unique support for Modern Language teaching and learning in Northern Ireland.
In January, NICILT hosted three professional learning webinars for post-primary teachers with guest speaker Joe Dale. These twilight sessions saw 200 teachers explore tools and techniques to make online lessons more engaging and interactive for at home learners.
As part of our Languages for Employability programme, NICILT hosted a live webinar for Year 10 pupils. Young people from a total of 63 schools tuned in to the workshop, which explored how learning a language at GCSE level helps pupils build their skillset, makes them more employable and adds value to both their personal and professional lives.
In February, NICILT announced the winners for this year’s Francofest competition (in virtual format this year) with the top prize awarded to Rathmore Grammar School. Pupils created a video and leaflet in French to market a product of their choice or creation, with the aim of increasing their confidence in and motivation for French. NICILT also organised Hispanofest, an equivalent competition for Year 10 pupils of Spanish. The winning team came from Our Lady and St Patrick’s College Knock, who marketed virtual reality trips to Spain.
In March, NICILT hosted a translation competition for Year 12 pupils of French, based on a theme from the CCEA GCSE specification. We also had a Spelling Bee competition for pupils in their first year of learning German which aimed to help young learners increase vocabulary knowledge and spelling ability in the target language. Schools ran their own in-house activities to select their top speller who then advanced to the Grand Final.
For more information visit www.qub.ac.uk/schools/nicilt
The effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health and wellbeing is just one strand of research activity in the School of SSESW response to the current pandemic.
An ongoing, long-term research study is monitoring impact on the mental health of the general population under the current global pandemic, and the factors that can help prevent mental health problems. The 'Coronavirus: Mental Health in the Pandemic' study is led by the Mental Health Foundation, in collaboration with the universities of Cambridge, Swansea, Strathclyde, De Montfort and Queen's University Belfast.
School of SSESW academic Gavin Davidson (Professor of Social Care) is the Queen’s lead on the research team. Gavin commented: ‘This positive focus on mental health promotion and prevention will hopefully also be a key aspect of the new Mental Health Strategy for Northern Ireland which is currently being developed by the Department of Health.’
The consultation on the new Strategy is open until the 26 March 2021 and can be accessed at https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/mentalhealthstrategy.
John Moriarty (Sociology) was part of a Queen’s team that collaborated with Ulster, Bath Spa and King’s College London on a study of the UK Health and Social Care workforce during the first Covid-19 surge (May to July 2020). It surveyed over 3,000 nurses, midwives, allied health professionals, social workers and social care workers about their wellbeing and coping strategies.
The study revealed key learnings for workforce management to aid and improve staff wellbeing, such as enhancements to work context and conditions including greater flexibility around working hours, location of work (where possible) and recognition of caring responsibilities outside work. Some respondents argued for more involvement in decision making, more autonomy and flatter hierarchies to allow staff to make well-informed decisions faster during times of crisis. Frequent check-ins and regular virtual contact with managers, peers and colleagues were valued by staff and impacted positively on wellbeing. Read the full report or the Executive Summary.
Professor Joanne Hughes is one of 37 academics from universities in the UK and Ireland to have been conferred the award of Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences this spring. The Academy of Social Sciences is the national academy of academics, learned societies and practitioners in the social sciences. Its mission is to promote social science for public benefit. New Fellows are recognised, after an independent peer review process, for the excellence and impact of their work and their wider contributions to the social sciences.
Joanne is Director of our Centre for Shared Education and commented on the award: 'I am delighted to have been nominated for this award by my peers and honoured to have been elected a Fellow of the Academy! I look forward to the opportunities this presents to promote the social sciences and their importance in addressing local and global challenges.' To read more about Joanne’s work see her Academic Profile.
The expertise of our Centre for Shared Education colleagues Joanne Hughes and Tony Gallagher featured in a 12-hour Education in Divided Societies conference over 29-31 March with the British Council Northern Ireland, where they were joined by international figures bringing experience of their own settings.
Across three workshops, up to 25 teachers had opportunities to network with each other and international contributors, to engage with the conference speakers and to develop an action plan for ideas and approaches in their own school contexts. The workshops were designed for teachers in both primary and post-primary sectors who are keen to engage with the topic and have an interest in developing the work within their schools.
Just four months after Amanda Taylor-Beswick (Social Work) was appointed to SSESW for her digital knowledge, expertise and skills, the world entered the current global pandemic. The pivot to online learning for SSESW courses at the outset of the first lockdown in 2020 saw Amanda use her digitalisation expertise to support School colleagues with the rapid shift to technology mediated methods.
Given Amanda’s reputation across the social work profession, her digital expertise was also sought externally, including by social care researchers, practitioners and community organisations who needed support to help them think about and achieve business continuity in the context where they suddenly found they needed to work almost entirely remotely. The following is just some of the work that Amanda is involved in:
- Western Health and Social Care Trust Social Work ASYE Digital Skills Development (Assessed and Supported Year in Employment) for new social workers.
- Advice, support and securing funding to move the Manchester based Community Interest Company (CIC) New Beginnings online with its groupwork-orientated children and parenting intervention. A blog written by parents and staff about the importance of the successful conversion to digital mode is available at Ordinary Magic and the New Beginnings’ Maternal Commons.
- A call from another CIC, Boingboing, who requested support to work through ethical digital platform choices and challenges: https://www.boingboing.org.uk/my-moves-to-becoming-a-digital-odds-changer/
- Anna Freud Keynote ‘Protecting children in the time of Covid-19: working digitally with risk, uncertainty, and loss’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZe-obhMonY&feature=youtu.be
Amanda’s expertise continues to be called on and she has just written the opening chapter in the recently published Social Work and Covid-19: Learning from Education and Practice (Critical Publishing 2021), that was launched through Amanda’s international online book group for Social Work on World Social Work Day (16 March).
School of SSESW academic Karen Kerr was part of the team who developed a new Environmental Engagement Index (EEI) for Northern Ireland, working with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute and Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful. The Index is unique to Northern Ireland as we lead the way in exploring connection to and engagement with nature.
The index is made up of simple questions measuring our connection to nature. Research has shown that if people are connected to nature, they are more likely to look after it. The EEI aims to increase the level of engagement in pro-environmental behaviours by the Northern Ireland public. It has a web app and will measure the value people place on the environment by asking users to take part in a short survey.
A completed baseline survey shows that 63 percent of people believe their actions effect the environment, so we still have a way to go! The index will be used yearly to compare the relationship between society and nature. When you complete the index you get your own score, which you can compare with friends and family.
The baseline survey also asked people what the Government should prioritise and most said ‘climate change’. A Consultation on Climate Change Bill has also been released. See Climate Change Discussion for the consultation.
Karen Kerr said: ‘In Northern Ireland, we are so lucky to be surrounded by such a beautiful natural environment. Taking part in the survey and responding to the consultation on the Climate Change Bill means we can all have our voices heard and increase our awareness of the importance of being connected to and protecting our environment.’
In recent months, a number of School of SSESW colleagues have contributed to a series of Queen’s University podcasts about conflict and peace-building around the world, designed to allow academics to ‘share their experiences and reflections on how societies can transition from conflict to peace and how the traumatic political legacies of conflict can endure and continue to shape political discourse today’.
Episode 6 is entitled Radicalisation – Is it the right term to use? Tony Gallagher outlines education as a tool for reconciliation in Northern Ireland and other conflict zones. Tony helped pioneer shared education in Northern Ireland in collaboration with networks of schools. He now advises on adapting shared education for use in other regions of the world, including Lebanon and Israel.
Episode 8 looks at Trauma – How do we deal with the past? The scars of trauma last long after the conflict ends. This episode includes contributions from Michael Duffy (Cognitive Therapy and Trauma), who has worked with victims of 9/11 and the Manchester bombing, and Laura Dunne, who specialises in child health and wellbeing and early child development. She talks about helping women and children in some of the world’s poorest countries.
In December 2020 our Centre for Children’s Rights (CCR) hosted the annual conference of the International Journal of Children’s Rights. School of SSESW academic Laura Lundy (Co-Director of CCR) is joint editor in chief of the journal.
The theme of the conference was ‘Children’s Rights, Research and Covid’. Bronagh Byrne, Co-Director of CCR and a Senior Lecturer in Social Policy, presented the findings of the #CovidUnder19 study which was conducted by our Centre for Children’s Rights in collaboration with the global children’s advocacy group Terre des Hommes and a number of other international partners. The study’s survey of children aged 8-17 years allowed them to share with global decision makers and leaders their views on how the pandemic has affected their experience of their rights.
Other presentations at the conference in December covered the impact of children’s rights during the pandemic in relation to juvenile justice, migration, health, gamification, adultism, situations of emergency and children with imprisoned parents. The conference papers will be published in a special issue of the International Journal of Children’s Rights later this year and in a book to be edited by Laura Lundy, in collaboration with Helen Stalford of the University of Liverpool, that will be published by Brill. You can read more about the work of our Centre for Children’s Rights at www.qub.ac.uk/ccr.
The team in our Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation (CESI) is delighted to have worked with the Northern Ireland Drug and Alcohol Alliance (NIADA) to investigate how Covid-19 affected the substance use behaviour and trends of a range of service users during the early stages of the global pandemic lockdown. School of SSESW colleagues Kathy Higgins, Grace Kelly and Anne Campbell co-authored the project’s report, entitled Service Users’ Experience During Lockdown.
The experience and feedback from users of NIADA’s services are documented in the report, providing important information on the types of support needed to help people cope during lockdown. Key among the supports identified as important were consistent contact with drug and alcohol services and easier access to mental health and primary care services.
Our colleagues’ expertise in substance use issues is already supporting professionals in this field, and in mental health and related fields, through our new programme on Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders. It is offered at Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and Master's levels and develops participants’ understanding of the theories informing substance use and how to translate these into effective practice. The programme develops practitioners’ confidence and skills in the complex areas of substance use and substance use disorders, supporting them to continue enriching the lives of individuals, families and communities. It is accredited by the Northern Ireland Professional in Practice Education and Training Partnership. Participants can study flexibly by working around their professional duties.
Anne Campbell, Programme Director, said: ‘Increasingly, our graduates operate within teams which consist of workers from a range of professional backgrounds and there is a need to hone skills and knowledge which are relevant to the multi-disciplinary environment.’
The #CovidUnder19 Global survey is an initiative led by children and young people that aims to understand their experiences of their rights since the beginning of Coronavirus. Our Centre for Children's Rights colleagues, employing their unique children's rights-based methodology, designed the survey and analysed and developed a series of thematic briefings, working at every stage with children and young people and other partners to make sure that the survey and findings were produced with children, for children.
The survey was developed in collaboration with international partners, including Terre des Hommes and the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children, and involved a diverse group of children from 28 countries at all stages including drawing conclusions and developing key messages.
The ‘Life Under Coronavirus’ survey was designed for children aged 8-17 years old and made available in 27 different languages alongside an Easy Read version. It received an overwhelming response with more than 26,000 children participating worldwide from 137 countries.
The findings allow children and young people to share directly with decision makers and leaders around the world how the pandemic and related measures taken by governments have impacted on their experience of their rights and the ways in which governments can implement their rights more effectively going forward.
‘I'm getting the opportunity to raise my voice at a time where it has never been needed more, let's all do this together and raise our voice a little louder,’ said Kenizeh-Juliette, aged 14, from Pakistan.
Nine thematic briefings have been released, covering findings on: education; play; safety/violence; poverty; family life; participation and information; representations of children; and children’s direct experiences of coronavirus. See more at Centre for Children’s Rights.
Amanda Taylor-Beswick is part of a new co-researcher team that secured a joint Research Council (MRC/AHRC/ESRC) Engagement Award for a project titled ‘Nothing about us without us: civic activism as a mental health intervention’. Amanda is working with the Centre of Resilience for Social Justice (University of Brighton), Boingboing and people from different backgrounds and roles, including young people as co-researchers.
Together, they have set out to understand if activism can boost identity and sense of belonging in young people who all are too easily denied opportunities. They are co-creating knowledge on the role of civic activism as a mechanism to strengthen young people’s mental health.
The ‘Nothing about us without us’ mental health intervention research is building on work already underway in Blackpool that has been shown to support young people’s mental health. It is based on an approach called Boingboing Resilience that helps build resilience and challenge the inequalities that increase risks in the first place. Amanda, a former psychiatric social worker and adult mental health practitioner who specializes in digitalisation to support social good and human wellbeing, is supporting the digital elements of the project, with a particular focus on ethical technology choices. Some of the youth co-researchers have written a blog to share their learning so far, including how Amanda supported the research group to access a shared digital space, and to start thinking about the range of ways they use technologies through a digital mapping exercise.
Voice of Young People in Care (VOYPIC) has published new research in partnership with SSESW colleagues Berni Kelly, Colm Walsh and John Pinkerton. ‘The Voices of Young People Leaving Care During Covid-19’ study highlights additional challenges faced by those aged 18-25 years as they try to move towards adult independence with social restrictions in place.
These challenges were discussed at a virtual roundtable discussion on 17 February, ahead of VOYPIC celebrating its annual Care Day. The event saw practitioners and decision makers identify strategies for better supporting young people leaving care. This included looking at solutions to combat the negative experiences faced by those young people leaving care during the Covid-19 pandemic including isolation, a lack of face-to-face contact and routine, and mental health concerns.
Berni Kelly commented: ‘This research gives voice to the experiences of young people leaving care during the pandemic, highlighting what worked well but also how services need to improve to offer care leavers more consistent support during lockdown and to address their mental health needs. We urge practitioners and policy makers to use the ten key messages from young people in the report to develop more effective supports for care leavers during the ongoing pandemic.’
VOYPIC Chief Executive, Alicia Toal (pictured), said agencies should now prepare for ‘an expected rise in the number of children and young people coming into care following current lockdown’.
This comes after recent reports of a drop in the number of referrals to Gateway during the first Covid-19 lockdowns, followed by an increase following lockdown. Last month, members of the Stormont Health Committee heard how the average number of referrals between May and December 2020 was consistently higher than pre-Covid levels.
To read the full study report visit ‘The Voices of Young People Leaving Care During Covid-19’. A short version is available at ‘Young People’s Report’.
Since completing my Master’s and PhD at Queen’s more than a decade ago I have held university posts and visiting appointments in Exeter, London, Ulster, Aberdeen and the United Arab Emirates. Queen’s has always had a special place in my heart. Indeed, it’s where I met my future wife, so I was thrilled and honoured to return in November 2019 to take up a Chair in Sociology.
As a social scientist I deeply believe that addressing global inequalities is central to my research and teaching. In particular, I look at how inequality often accompanies post-conflict societies. I have explored this comparatively in terms of Northern Ireland and Lebanon and found that various inequalities have become increasingly pervasive in both, whether in terms of rising socio-economic inequity or gender inequality and a deficit in human rights for LGBTQ populations. My research also focusses on how these groups organize and demand rights and inclusion.
Fieldwork – going to post-conflict societies and observing and interviewing people – is the core of how I do my research. I have been very lucky to travel widely to conduct research, give talks and work with leading global academics, including more than a dozen trips to Beirut. My forthcoming book is the product of co-produced research with a Lebanese academic. It examines queer activism in post-conflict Beirut and argues that non-sectarian LGBTQ and feminist movements are powerful agents of political and social change in postwar Lebanon.
Due to the global dimension of my research it is important to maintain international networks, to learn from and collaborate with other scholars. I am a visiting fellow for the SEPAD (Sectarianism, Proxies & De-sectarianisation) project at Lancaster University which focuses on research on understanding conflict and peacebuilding in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. It brings opportunities to expand my engagement with policymakers, including giving talks to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK) and the Foreign Policy Centre.
Making my research available beyond academic communities is at the heart of my work. I have been interviewed by BBC News, Sky News and Reuters, and my work has featured in Al Jazeera. One of my most pleasing tasks was to produce text to accompany cartons and images for a graphic guide on sociology.
I plan to return to and update research I began over a decade ago in Belfast, a socio-historical analysis of non-sectarian movements and groups in Northern Ireland ranging from feminists, LGBTQ activists, and punks in the 1970s to poetry and art.
As part of her PhD in Social Work, SSESW student Amanda Shields is researching the relationship between homelessness and substance use in Northern Ireland and would ultimately like to investigate the benefits of an integrated model of services where substance use and health care services would be provided for vulnerable people under one roof.
She has won a £2,000 national scholarship that she will put towards her doctoral study. The £40,000 funding scheme was launched in September 2020 by national addiction freephone and online service Which Rehab.
After qualifying in social work, Amanda worked as a programme manager for a project supporting people with substance use issues who were at risk of becoming homeless. She said: ‘Substance misuse is a significant issue in Northern Ireland which can impact on many areas of an individual’s life such as homelessness and physical and mental health. There is definitely scope to explore how we can provide services in a holistic and timely manner. It is often difficult for people to access services due to waiting lists, or sometimes not having the motivation to attend. The approach I’m interested in exploring would enable someone to access a range of services, in order to meet their diverse needs, all under one roof, rather than serial or parallel service provision.
Through my research I have engaged with over 50 homeless projects across Northern Ireland within the voluntary sector. I have conducted focus groups with service providers and completed over 600 surveys and 30 interviews with adults who are homeless. My aim is to enhance our knowledge on the lived experiences of homelessness and substance use and to explore the apparent link between these issues.’
Which Rehab created the scholarships after receiving a record number of enquiries during the first lockdown, in a bid to encourage more people to pursue a career in addiction services. Two recipients will be awarded £2,000 each year for 10 academic years. The programme is open to undergraduate or postgraduate students studying addiction or any other relevant healthcare subject.
Postgraduate research students in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) are a vibrant and important part of the School’s research culture. The benefits for the students of keeping them connected to each other has informed a couple of initiatives on peer to peer learning and exchange.
Long before Covid-19 changed how we stay in touch, doctoral students Angela Rogan McLaughlin and Ben Rosher set up weekly student-led Shut Up and Write sessions on MS Teams for fellow students.
Angela and Ben lead the group in setting their own writing goals at the outset of the session and encourage participants to share advice on what is working for them in writing up their doctoral studies. At the end of the session students report back on their progress that day. They say the Shut Up and Write forum really helps them to focus and motivates them to achieve their goals. During the pandemic lockdown it has an added bonus in that it helps students connect with each other and provides a socialising element that they are all missing so much at the moment.
In response to student feedback about the importance of staying connected to each other during lockdown, for both social and study purposes, SSESW implemented a weekly Virtual Coffee Drop-in session for postgraduate research students. It gives them an opportunity to link up informally to connect with fellow students and to support and learn from each other through sharing tips, problems and experience. Hosted by Dirk Schubotz (Director of Postgraduate Research Studies), there is no formal agenda for the drop-in sessions. Students can join in as often as they wish and can raise issues that they might need support with, for follow up by SSESW colleagues after the session.
The word ‘challenging’ is one that most of us have probably found ourselves uttering with remarkable frequency. So what exactly has been ‘challenging’ and how have we responded in our Open Learning programme? We were very aware that our learners, many older and forced to shield, were rendered very isolated by the Covid epidemic and the cancelling of face-to face classes. So we began by applying for University funding to run a set of online taster courses in summer 2020 and were delighted to receive £3,000.
Last summer we were asked by the University to develop a ‘cultural understanding’ module for the new Professional Skills Certificate now being offered to Queen’s undergraduate students. We developed five units, all linked to the University's Sustainable Development Goal themes and its civic mission. Themes included: valuing black lives, climate change and hope, intercultural understanding, ageing and civic participation. The module deployed transdisciplinary approaches and drew expertise from across Queen’s, including School of SSESW Master's graduate Asma Niazi (pictured) and from other international universities and the voluntary sector. The course is now being run for our Open Learning students.
This semester, we obtained further funding for additional training for our Open Learning tutors. Some technical challenges remain – for both tutors and students. Yet, many of us would acknowledge that online learning is offering us new opportunities – especially in engaging with both students and international guest lecturers and in becoming more innovative in our pedagogy, e.g. blended learning.
Most importantly, support staff, tutors and students have responded with a generosity and determination that is a privilege to be part of. We are holding each other up - an education.
Look out for our Spring Open Learning online programme of short part time courses which will be published at end of March at www.qub.ac.uk/ol. Classes start week beginning 3 May 2021.
Educational research at the School of SSESW continues to have a strong focus on literacy and reading, including these projects from our Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation (CESI).
A randomised controlled trial of Reciprocal Reading, funded by Nuffield, and in partnership with Fischer Family Trust Literacy is now recruiting secondary schools in high poverty areas across England. This reading technique involves children engaging in groupwork to improve their understanding of text. The project is led by Maria Cockerill, Allen Thurston and Joanne O’Keeffe.
Good progress has been made working with the Government in Chile, where Maria Cockerill and Allen Thurston have been advising the Department of Education on their development and testing of a new literacy programme, ‘Leo Primero’.
In Colombia, CESI has established a trial of Paired Reading, where an older child reads with a younger child, correcting their errors and asking questions about the reading material to improve reading comprehension. The project is a collaboration with Dr Gloria Bernal and Dr Luz Karime Alvarado at Universidad Pontifica Javeriana and Professor Pelusa Orellana Garcia at Universidad de Los Andes. The CESI team recently published research on this topic (jointly with Distinguished Professor Tien-Hui Chiang, Zhengzhou University, China) that indicated this approach could lead to significant gains in reading when used in high poverty secondary schools. In fact, compared to a group of children who continued with learning as normal for three months, children who used Paired Reading improved their reading levels by nearly two additional months (five months progress in total). Gains were greatest for those who acted as the peer tutor (the older children who helped the younger children). For more information about this technique, a manual is available free to download at Peer Tutoring: Cross-age Paired Reading.
In response to the steady growth and international outlook of our Master’s programme and Doctorates in the area of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), the School of SSESW has established a new Centre for Language Education Research (CLER). It brings together language education research which makes a difference across local, national and international contexts and contributes to goals for a better future for all.
It is led by Director Aisling O'Boyle, with members Ibrar Bhatt, Sin-Wang Chong, Ian Collen, Mel Engman, Caroline Linse and Sultan Turkan, who celebrate diverse research interests in language, education and cross-cutting themes and share goals on the nexus of critical studies and language learning, teaching and assessment.
They join fellow thinkers in asking critical questions about the future of our ultra-social, super-diverse lives and the multiple semiotic means through which we communicate and learn. CLER seeks answers to them through collaborative research with colleagues across different disciplines and geopolitical locations, with other institutions, networks, organizations, associations, groups and practitioners.
At the Centre launch in January 2021, Professor James P Lantolf, world renowned scholar in sociocultural theory and language education (Penn State and Xi’an Jiatong University), gave the inaugural lecture. He noted that CLER hosts a ‘very productive and active group of scholars that will in all likelihood make a significant impact’.
The Centre is running a Seminar Series with contributions from renowned scholars from across the globe (e.g. Professor Bassey Antia, University of the Western Cape). CLER members are currently engaged in research projects on Language Learning MOOCs, primary level teachers’ views and attitudes towards bi/multilingualism, documentation of intergenerational language learning, and gender equality in English Language teaching.
I am a lecturer at a prestigious university in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and co-owner of a virtual company for English language teaching. During my doctoral studies at Queen’s, I taught English online for the company. We started it long before the arrival of COVID-19 and found that the pandemic actually helped grow the business. I basically developed my thesis ideas into practice, as I promised my doctoral supervisor!
I have been teaching English for over a decade. I followed my passion for it by aiming to gain international experience, to become certified with the highest degree available, a Doctorate, and to use that in supporting our business model. We have successfully created a world class company and started domestic and international cooperation with different universities and other institutions.
It made sense to complete my doctorate at Queen’s University as it is one of the top Russell Group Universities in the UK, known for its rich history and teaching excellence. I believe that Queen’s has an outstanding rate of international students’ satisfaction because of the learning support provided.
One of the most amazing facilities at Queen’s is the Graduate School. I took loads of its training courses. They included support for academic studies such as problem solving, thesis writing and conducting interviews and focus groups, plus courses for career development including leadership, negotiation, project management, maximising your research profile and much more.
The student experience on the TESOL programme was pretty amazing. I took various modules over two years and then moved to the thesis phase, which had its ups and downs but I made it through and fulfilled my dreams. Alongside acting as Student Representative on School committees, I gained great experience by helping School of SSESW academics organise numerous conferences and presented my work at some of them. I was also an invited speaker/panellist at several University recruitment events, answering questions about doctoral studies and sharing my experience at Queen’s.
It was incredible working as a Queen’s International Student Ambassador. I got to know other ambassadors from different countries and assisted potential QUB candidates from Saudi Arabia and other gulf countries. I served a year as President of the Saudi Students Club in Northern Ireland, helping, training and guiding over 500 Saudi students at Queen’s and other UK universities.
In my experience, Queen’s University is a wonderful place for International students as there are loads of services and facilities they can benefit from. I am a proud QUB graduate. Looking to the future, I have no limits on my dreams and I believe there is always a way to develop and learn something new in my field and other related areas.
*The taught doctorate has since been withdrawn and replaced by an Integrated PhD. See Postgraduate Research Study for more details.
At SSESW we are committed to providing a high-quality experience for our international students. To provide a well-rounded range of supports we have a dedicated International Support team. The team provides academic and pastoral support to SSESW international students with the objective of creating a positive student experience.
What do we do?
First and foremost, we listen. We talk to international students at all stages of their journey in SSESW, including during application and before starting the course, and provide support during the course. We work with departments across the University to ensure international students are well supported as they progress with their course. This includes a range of academic, social and cultural activities.
During their course we want students feel a part of the School, the University and, of course, Belfast. Engagement with the School and the ISST involves:
- Providing appropriate pre-entrance information.
- Organising School-based induction and follow-up orientation activities.
- Providing a distinctive and visible point of contact for international students and staff.
- Developing a range of continual student engagement activities. This involves a range of activities which explore life in the UK, academic issues and, of course, having fun!
- Continuously evaluating the international student experience at SSESW.
Students have really benefitted from the work and have enjoyed getting involved in a range of activities. If you would like more information on the support and activities we offer for SSESW international students please do get in contact. We would love to hear from you!
With Ciaran Burke (University of West of England), Bronagh Byrne (Social Policy) launched Social Research and Disability: Developing Inclusive Research Spaces for Disabled Researchers. It argues that how we conduct research makes assumptions about researchers’ ability to see, hear, walk and communicate.
In short, the disabled researcher is often not considered in discussions about how research is undertaken. The book appeals to a broad audience of both disabled and non-disabled students, academics and those working in research in public and private sectors. It is available at Routledge.com.
Gemma Carney (Social Policy) co-authored Critical Questions for Ageing Societies with Paul Nash (University of Southern California). It uses politics, economics, psychology, sociology and demography to take a myth-busting look at the social and policy issues raised by the challenges and opportunities of ageing. Its critical questions seem even more pertinent given how the pandemic has adversely affected our oldest and most vulnerable citizens. The book includes review questions and exercises and links to online resources, making it perfect for study at all levels. It is available at Policy Press.
Sin Wang Chong (Education) co-authored a new book with colleague Xuejun Ye (doctoral student at Hong Kong Polytechnic University). Designed as a classroom text, a resource for workshops or as self-study material, Developing Writing Skills for IELTS: A Research-based Approach is an essential companion for IELTS (English Language Test) writing instructors and test-takers with a variety of writing proficiencies. It is available at Routledge.com.
Joe Duffy (Social Work) and co-authors launched The Routledge Handbook of Service User Involvement in Human Services Research and Education, a landmark international collection of essays from service users and academics (available from Routledge.com). It will interest service users, scholars and students of social work, nursing, occupational therapy, and other human service subjects. The co-authors are Hugh McLaughlin (Manchester), Peter Beresford (Essex), Colin Cameron (Northumbria) and Helen Casey (Open). Joanne Sansome and Brendan McKeever contributed on service user and carer issues in social work education and wrote important chapters in this collection.
Academic freedom, institutional autonomy and the future of democracy, co-authored Tony Gallagher (Education), will appeal to those working in, or researching, the role of higher education in the contemporary world. The bedrocks of the success of higher education are academic freedom and institutional autonomy, but both are under attack in countries across the world. The book brings together: global leaders of higher education to reflect on the situation in their countries; academics who are researching these issues; and international networks and organisations working to advance the positive role of higher education. Available from the Council of Europe Online Bookshop.
Caroline Linse (TESOL) co-wrote Essential Skills for Struggling Learners: A Framework for Student Support Teams. This innovative planning guide outlines the skills that contribute to learning and success and helps to identify and prioritize these for students with and without learning difficulties. Each chapter offers an in-depth Case Study example, a Skills Observation Sheet for notetaking during student observations, and a Skills Framework for use as a quick reference when making observations and developing Individual Education Plans. Two practical appendices guide readers through the collaborative process of putting the book’s frameworks into practice. Available from BrookesPublishing.com.
Seeking to increase the impact of research related to migrant and ethnic minority matters in Northern Ireland, a partnership between the Migrant and Minority Ethnic Council and Queen’s University has been initiated. The project is led by Dina Zoe Belluigi (an academic in critical Higher Education Studies at SSESW and the research coordinator of the MME Council).
Relevant research papers and dissertations produced by scholars within the University will be collated and annotated in a systematic way, and made publicly accessible on the Council’s online page to ensure they can be retrieved swiftly when such evidence-based findings are needed. On completion of the project, the researchers will be invited to outline the findings of those studies on a dedicated page within the University’s website, and to engage in public discussion on blog posts and podcasts about how their studies have provided insights that may raise awareness and lead to changes in relations, policy or practice in Northern Ireland.
SSESW researchers have already made important contributions to calls for evidence and to public discussion, in partnership with the Council. This includes input from Michelle Butler, Teresa Degenhardt, Paula Devine, Ulrike Vieten and Dina Zoe Belluigi into a consortium response to a call for evidence in November 2020. It was coordinated by Dina and Maurice Macartney (Public Engagement at Queen’s University) and brought Northern Ireland perspectives to bear on the question of 'Ethnic disparities and inequality in the UK'. Colleagues have also made contributions to a number of podcasts, such as Ulrike Vieten’s discussion about the Bill of Rights in December 2020.
A group of researchers from our Crime and Social Justice Research Group, led by Shadd Maruna, is examining the impact of Covid-19 on prisoners across the HMPPS prison estate. The Economic and Social Research Council has awarded £600,000 to the research team to develop a peer-researcher methodology that will give voice to prisoners’ perspectives during the Covid-19 restrictive prison regime.
The project is a collaboration with the peer-led organisation User Voice, founded by Mark Johnson MBE, which utilises the lived experience of prisoners and former prisoners to help inform prison policy and practice, using an innovative system of prison councils.
The research will be carried out between January 2021 and June 2022, generating rapid-response outputs to facilitate prison practice and producing a user-led strategy for recovery as prisons transition out of crisis. The School of SSESW team includes Shadd Maruna (Project Lead), Gillian McNaull, Nina O’Neill and Colm Walsh.
The project will be carried out over three phases: in phase one, SSESW researchers will train User Voice peer-mentors in research methods and co-produce the project design; in phase 2, peer-mentors will recruit and train prisoners to carry out the data collection; in phase 3, peer-mentors and prisoner researchers will come together to analyse the data with the Queen’s team. Ultimately, the aim is to develop a user-led strategy for prison recovery from the Covid lockdown which will be fed back to the HMPPS prison estate. This represents not only a new way to study the impact of the pandemic, but also a milestone in how research can be conducted in partnership with, and not on, prisoners.
Anne Campbell and Sharon Millen from our Drugs and Alcohol Research Network (DARN) are leading a two year mixed methods study exploring the effectiveness of an Alcohol Related Brain Injury (ARBI) mode of treatment available for inpatients at a Leonard Cheshire collaborative specialist residential service in Northern Ireland. The study will use a range of quantitative measures to assess psychological wellbeing, functional ability, familial and social relationships at baseline and at six junctures throughout the project time frame.
The project will examine the individual lived experiences of a sample of residential patients in the in-patient treatment programme. It will also highlight the experiences of family members who have lived with and/or cared for those who have availed of the service. It will consider the views of health care and social care staff who provide care in the in-patient ARBI unit and through community-based services. It is anticipated that the proposed mixed methods investigation by our DARN team will have a positive impact on the future shaping of service delivery and success of the provision of services in this area.
Anne Campbell and Carolyn Blair authored a report for the Northern Ireland Alcohol & Drug Alliance, on Drug and Alcohol Use in the Workplace in Northern Ireland. It found that almost half (44%) of the organisation managers who participated in the survey were aware of drug and alcohol-related issues in the workplace. Twenty one percent referred to consumption of alcohol on the evening prior to work which had an impact on their work duties. Stigma was perceived as a primary barrier to having open discussions about staff drug and alcohol use. Managers perceived that staff were reluctant to talk about the issues, primarily related to concerns over loss of their job within the organisation.
For more information see www.qub.ac.uk/darn
Social science researchers from SSESW have been selected to take part in a business accelerator programme run by the Aspect Network, a UK network aiming to transform society through social science innovation. The ARC Accelerator is a first-of-its-kind, designed to support social science academics and researchers to develop their research ideas into businesses or ventures to help people, society and the economy.
Liam O’Hare and colleagues in our Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation have formed STRIDE (Social Transformation through Research on Implementation, Design and Evaluation) as a social science consultancy focused on supporting organisations in developing social programmes. They will draw on their extensive research experience developing social programmes, innovations and interventions. Using this expertise they will support charities, communities, philanthropists, government bodies and corporates in the design, implementation and evaluation of their social impact programmes. Through the ARC Accelerator, the STRIDE team will access experts, investors and key networks, and also receive dedicated mentorship support to help validate their idea, develop their business model, and pitch for funding and investment. The team is also being supported by Queen’s Business Alliance team.
Liam O’Hare said: ‘There are a number of key benefits for the School and the University from this type of commercialisation activity, including: creating employment opportunities for our social science graduates in the growing social service industry; assisting SSESW academics to develop entrepreneurial skills; and enhancing future social science research impact case studies. The opportunity further enhances Queen’s reputation as first in the UK for entrepreneurial impact and commercialising research. We hope that by participating in the programme we will create new sources of funding for commissioned research and help grow networks for SSESW researchers, particularly with investors and the corporate world.’
For more information contact Dr Liam O’Hare at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Behaviour Analysis is the science that underpins more or less all evidence-based educational, developmental and psychosocial interventions used to support people regardless of their level of abilities. However, in Europe there are no recognised qualifications for Behaviour Analysts and misrepresentations of the science are rife.
Facilitated by a generous Erasums+ Grant, the EuroBA project sees our Centre for Behaviour Analysis (CBA) partnering with six European countries, including six other Universities, an IT company, and the PEAT Charity in Belfast, to develop European professional standards, curricula, and multilingual, multimedia courses for European Behaviour Analysts.
Karola Dillenburger, Director of CBA, leads the Queen’s University partner in the project. She explained: ‘Professional accreditation is important for all professionals, to ensure evidence-based practices and service user protection. Behaviour Analysts are no exception.’
The top priorities for the three year EuroBA project are to achieve transparency and recognition of skills and qualifications for Behaviour Analysts in Europe, tackling skills gaps, shortages and skills mismatches, thereby supporting persons with all levels of abilities and improving mobility and employability.
Participants are educators, therapists, teachers, psychologists and others in health and social care professions, as well as parents of young children with different abilities and adult self-advocates, who seek behavioural supports, and who, without the project's Intellectual Outputs, are at risk of falling prey to charlatans, who are ill-trained and try to sell costly miracle ‘cures’.
The EuroBA work will have very wide-ranging impacts, on professional training, qualifications, disability interventions, employment, physical and social mobility, mental health, quality of life and financial cost to society. The EuroBA team’s first online meeting included members from Northern Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Czech Republic. See more at https://www.facebook.com/EuropeanBehaviourAnalyst
During lockdown our Director of Research, Joanne Hughes, instituted a ’30 Minutes with …’ series, which sees SSESW colleagues and postgraduate doctoral students (PGRs) join an online session where one of them undertakes a short presentation about their research projects and plans, followed by Q&A.
The highly successful sessions support networking and engagement between colleagues from different disciplinary groups who share related research interests. They have generated significant interest across SSESW, keeping the research conversation going and keeping colleagues and PGRs connected to each other and updated on opportunities to develop their expertise. For example, the discussions have led to one academic joining the editorial board of the Irish Journal of Sociology, currently led by two colleagues from SSESW.
Cathal McManus, Lecturer in SSESW, commented: ‘The ‘30 minutes with…’ sessions have been a really positive addition to the School’s activities, generating discussion that often extends long after a session ends. They provide an excellent mechanism for allowing staff to connect with each other and recognise how their own research interests align with other work going on in the School that they may not previously have known about. I feel the online delivery really enhances the accessibility of these sessions as well, and this is evident in the consistently high attendances.’
The sessions have also had several invited speakers and one included a grant writing workshop with a colleague from Research Enterprise at Queen’s. Invited sessions have focused on dissemination of current funding calls and professional research support available to colleagues, and a call for early careers academics to participate in a capacity-building course offered at Queen’s. The inclusion of PGRs in the ’30 Minutes with...’ sessions helps highlight their innovative research, building their research capacity and underlining their important role in SSESW research culture.
Due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, our Summer 2020 and Winter 2020 graduation ceremonies were unable to proceed in person so the University was creative in finding an alternative format to mark students’ achievement in successfully completing their studies.
Thanks to a huge amount of work by the University’s Information Services and School of SSESW colleagues, we were able to offer a virtual Graduation Celebration Event in July for Summer graduating students and in December for Winter graduands.
Each virtual celebration started with an online chat between students and staff as a chance to catch up with each other, followed by a streamed online event that family and friends could join in and watch. It included videos from staff and students, a ticker tape of students’ names and, to make the event really personal for the graduands, it finished with a slide-show montage of photos submitted by them to reflect the great moments of their time at Queen’s University.
This summer's virtual Graduation Celebration Events are in July and we are looking forward to marking our students' achievements.