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I am extremely pleased to bring you the Summer 2020 issue of our newsletter, but I appreciate that it arrives at a time when we are all living and working in exceptional and challenging times. To this end, we include an article directly relevant to the COVID-19 outbreak on staying well during periods of social isolation.
Of course the newsletter continues to highlight the notable activities and innovation involving staff and students over recent months in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work. Our aim of making a social difference is at the core of all our teaching, research and engagement with professionals and policy makers, both nationally and internationally. We aim 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 I am particularly delighted to report that our collaboration with schools through the Shared Education programme has received royal recognition for its educational and social impact.
Professor Carl Bagley PhD FRSA
Head of School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work
The Immersive Technologies and Digital Mental Health Network is an interdisciplinary partnership of academics, practitioners and technology companies focusing on therapeutic and pedagogical advances in mental health and social care through digital means. Hosted in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, a particular focus of the network is to increase the accessibility and capacity of immersive technologies among social science researchers, educators and practitioners. Immersive and digital technologies have shown value both as therapeutic and educational tools and some of the current projects attached to the network are detailed below:
I AM AWARE – This Wellcome Trust funded project, led by SSESW colleagues John Moriarty and Trisha Forbes in partnership with the mental health charity AWARE NI, is developing a digital platform designed to improve workplace well-being. It is being tested in two large organisations in Northern Ireland following a successful pilot in First Trust Bank.
VR Classroom – A cutting edge Virtual Reality experience to help teenagers on the autism spectrum focus better in class, this interactive, gamified, creative product simulates the classroom environment and enables children to engage with and respond to a ‘virtual teacher’. This project is led by Nichola Booth (SSESW), Brendan McCourt (NewRed TV) and Mickey Keenan (Ulster University).
Immersive 360 Video for Health and Social Care training sees the development of 360 video simulations to train social work students, nurses and midwives. Project leads (Paul Best [SSESW] and David Trainor) received funding from Future Screens NI to develop novel approaches designed to make 360 video more interactive. Collaborators include Janine Stockdale, Matt Birch, Carolyn Blair, Hanna Slatte, Michael McKnight, Paul Murphy and Franziska Schroeder.
You can sign up to the network at https://bit.ly/33zb1yE
In January, SSESW academic Berni Kelly presented at the launch of the findings from the Just US collaborative research project which aimed to identify and reduce barriers to accessing justice and support for victims of sexual violence and abuse who have a learning disability. The project was led by Positive Futures in collaboration with Compass Advocacy Network, Informing Choices NI, Nexus NI, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) and SSESW.
The project followed a co-production model whereby four advocates with a learning disability co-led and delivered the project. Following a literature review by SSESW, a consultation was completed with 26 people with a learning disability to evaluate their awareness of criminal justice processes and support services. In addition, 18 police and PPS professionals were consulted on their experience of working with people with a learning disability. The project also provided a pilot training programme on learning disability for the PSNI and PPS.
Outputs from the project include: a screening tool to support first response officers and call handlers to identify if a victim (or suspect) has a learning disability; a Just US card for people with a learning disability to share their communication preferences with criminal justice professionals; and an accessible guide and short animated video summary on the criminal justice system for people with learning disabilities.
A pilot counselling programme for victims of sexual violence and abuse who have a learning disability was simultaneously delivered by Nexus with and evaluated by SSESW. The evaluation findings were largely positive, highlighting the benefits of inclusive counselling programmes for people with learning disabilities and the barriers to accessing therapeutic support. See more at https://www.justusni.org/about
The British Deaf Association (BDA NI) and School of SSESW academic Bronagh Byrne (centre) released a ground-breaking report in December on the barriers Deaf people face when trying to access justice in Northern Ireland. It follows a two year pilot project, managed by BDA NI in collaboration with SSESW and Syracuse University College of Law and Rowan University (both USA), involving interviews with judges, solicitors, barristers, prison officers and police officers.
The research now informs training, provided in conjunction with the project’s Deaf Advisory Group (DAG), for over 120 legal professionals and judges across Northern Ireland. This international project was made possible by the Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning programme and the National Lottery Community Fund.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that disabled people have the right to access justice effectively. Bronagh Byrne said: ‘Our research shows that significant communication barriers remain for Deaf people in trying to access justice. This forces them into positions of vulnerability when rights should be foremost, e.g. reporting serious crime, individual arrest, trial or imprisonment. It is highly concerning that, given the current emphasis on citizenship and civic duty, sign language users are prevented from being full and equal citizens through their exclusion from jury service. This project has created space for discussion across the justice system on these important issues and we will address them through the project recommendations.’
One DAG member said: ‘Having an input in the co-production of this report ensures it will impact on the lives of Deaf people. I believe it will raise awareness and ultimately lead to better service for all Deaf people in Northern Ireland.’
The report and resources are available at https://bda.org.uk/accesstojustice-bsl/
John Kenny is a student on our Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) Science, specializing in Biology.
'I’m from Mullingar in County Westmeath, Ireland. I taught Maths and Science in Bolivia for three years before coming home in 2018 to get a teaching qualification. Through Irish medium, I taught in a primary school until June 2019 and then taught at an English as a Second Language Summer School in Dublin. I am the first of my family to go to Queen’s University. Choosing the PGCE at Queen’s made sense. I would have been charged international fees in the Republic of Ireland, compared to standard fees at Queen’s.
Timewise, it’s a one-year course in Queen’s but two years in the Republic. Rent and cost-of-living are very manageable in Belfast. Also, I was genuinely interested in experiencing a new city. Finances might have been a key reason for coming to Belfast but it’s only part of what’s keeping me so engaged.
The PGCE course is very well coordinated and is constantly tweaked to improve our learner experience, based on feedback from previous students. The science department is a welcoming, supportive home providing practical, real world teaching content. I’ve found the course to be demanding, yet engaging. Lectures are relevant and helpful, with good supplemental reading lists.
The library is a fantastic environment – so well laid out and spacious, with very helpful staff. Students are afforded their own common room and kitchen in the School of SSESW and can use several great catering outlets across the campus. The gym is excellent – very modern and well kitted out. You walk through the park to get to it, past the botanical garden greenhouses and museum (which are free), so it makes for a lovely stroll between classes.
I’m loving the student experience at Queen’s. While learning a lot on my first school placement, I still found myself looking forward to rejoining lectures at university. The contact time with academics is in that sweet spot – not so much time that we feel stuck in class but not so much time on teaching placement on our own that we feel stranded and isolated. I’m lucky to have made a solid group of pals. The Students’ Union have helped me, from setting up a bank account, to getting a student card, to information services. The student bar does tasty, cheap meals. You can sign up to the free National Health Service. And that’s just scratching the surface of what’s on offer.
After graduation, the plan is to look for teaching posts in international locations or perhaps teach in Dublin. My partner is doing the equivalent course there. It’s been interesting to compare notes!
The work of our Shared Education colleagues over more than a decade was recognised by a Queen’s Anniversary Prize, a national honours system marking outstanding achievement by universities. Professors Joanne Hughes and Tony Gallagher attended a presentation event at Buckingham Palace in February, with Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Greer (second right) and Pro-Chancellor Stephen Prenter (left).
Shared Education provides economic, social and educational benefits to children, schools and society through cross-denominational school collaboration. In 2007, Tony Gallagher established a pilot Shared Education programme with 12 schools working in collaborative networks. The programme now includes 700 schools and over 60,000 pupils in regular, shared classes with schools from different denominations.
Through its model of cross-sectoral school collaboration, using a strong academic research base, Shared Education is now core to education policy and practice in Northern Ireland and has been adopted by educators and policymakers in other divided cities and countries like Jerusalem, Beirut, Los Angeles, Kosovo and North Macedonia.
Director of our internationally recognised Centre for Shared Education, Joanne Hughes, commented: 'The Centre was established in 2012 to promote shared education as a mechanism for delivering reconciliation and educational benefits to all children. This mission is delivered through research, programme delivery and education and training. Its impact is being felt not only in Northern Ireland but across the world.'
Tony Gallagher said: 'The School of SSESW has always maintained strong and positive relations with schools in Northern Ireland and these links provided the platform to develop Shared Education. This award is a tribute to the many hundreds of teachers and thousands of pupils who have helped make Shared Education work.’
For more information see www.qub.ac.uk/cse
Professor Kaori Tsukazaki, Vice President of the National Institute of Technology, Kagoshima College, Japan, is spending some time as a Visiting Research Professor in the School of SSESW. Kaori is a graduate of Nagasaki University and Kyushu University and is the first female professor in the 56-year history of Kagoshima College. Her academic research focuses on the empowerment of female students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and the cultural contexts of English Language Teaching.
Her project on empowering women in STEM, entitled ‘Robogals Kagoshima’, was included in the White Paper on Gender Equality produced by the Japanese government in June 2019. Professor Tsukazaki was a Fulbright Scholar and has received a prestigious award from KOSEN National Institute of Technology in Tokyo acknowledging her extensive contribution to education.
Professor Tsukazaki’s visit to Queen’s University is facilitating international research collaboration with Aisling O’Boyle, our Director of Internationalization, and with a number of SSESW colleagues in the fields of Education and Social Sciences.
Dr Gemma Carney is a social gerontologist and Programme Director of our BA Social Policy. In 2019, she was awarded a Queen’s University Teaching Award in the Student-nominated category. She is a member of the executive committee of the British Society of Gerontology and the editorial board of Ageing & Society.
In hindsight, I owe much of my career trajectory to billionaire philanthropist Chuck Feeney, founder of Atlantic Philanthropies (AP). In 2007, sporting a new PhD in political science from Trinity College Dublin, I was working in Dublin and keen to change the world. Luckily, at that time, Feeney was investing heavily in Ireland, allowing people to forming alliances and work together to improve social policy.
After a serendipitous meeting in Dublin, I was employed by Michael O’Halloran, former Lord Mayor of Dublin, then CEO of the Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament. I spent a year working at the Parliament with Michael and other impressive retirees such as Sylvia Meehan (first Chief Executive of the Women’s Equality Agency), but I felt the pull of the library and became a postdoctoral researcher at the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (NUI Galway), again with funding from Feeney. Mentored by Professor Eamon O’Shea, I cut my teeth as a social gerontologist, publishing my first major paper and securing funding from the Irish Research Council.
By 2013, Paula Devine (SSESW) had secured AP funding to run the Ark Ageing Programme. Joining the School of SSESW in 2014 as a Social Policy lecturer and working with the Ark and Social Policy teams has been the most fascinating period of my career thus far. We have run projects on everything from material culture to domestic violence, worked with colleagues across Queen’s and collaborated with the University of Southern California, Oxford and Cambridge. We established the Northern Ireland (NI) branch of the British Society of Gerontology, which has put NI on the UK gerontology map. Ageing is now integral to the social policy curriculum and it has been a privilege to work with talented colleagues on my liberal arts course Questions for an Ageing World and Advanced Qualitative Research Methods at Master’s level.
The academic community at Queen’s and the local Belfast community have welcomed me and my family. My advice to younger idealists is ‘Just go for it - you never know where your billionaire philanthropist will appear from’.
We are delighted to welcome to the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) new academic colleagues (left to right) Dr Mel Engman, Dr Sultan Turkan and Dr Alan Maddock who have joined us over the course of the last year.
Mel Engman: ‘As an applied linguist descended from European settlers in the USA, I’m intrigued by the role of language in maintaining or disrupting systems of oppression. My recent research on heritage and Indigenous language education involved collaborating with Native American communities on language reclamation through developing digital tools, family language camps, bilingual storybooks and a language curriculum driven by traditional seasonal practices like gathering wild rice and tapping maple trees. I teach Language Awareness and Language Learning on our MSc TESOL and value the multilingual and multicultural perspectives that local and international students bring to class.’
Sultan Turkan: ‘As a language educator, I research bilingualism/multilingualism and its affordances for teaching heritage and additional languages. I am fascinated by language and its influence on identities, societal and cultural landscapes. I studied applied linguistics in Texas and a PhD at the University of Arizona in teaching and teacher education with a focus on immigrant children. It is energizing to explore at Queen’s the linguistic and cultural resources of bilinguals/multilinguals, helping teachers to lean in and relate to these resources.’
Alan Maddock: ‘I worked in Dublin as a mental health social worker for homeless people and later as a youth mental health social worker. For my PhD (Trinity College Dublin 2019), I researched whether mindfulness meditation improves psoriasis, anxiety, depression and psychological wellbeing (it does). My main research interests are mental health and homelessness. I teach across our Social Work degree and lead the Social Work in Context module. It gives students a critical overview of social work approaches to working with individuals, groups and communities, with a focus on understanding and reducing oppression.’
Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL) funded a study on improving physical activity for people with severe and enduring mental health problems. The project team included our Disability Research Network, in collaboration with people with lived experience of mental health problems, Mental Health Foundation, Praxis Care, Platinum Training Institute, Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke and the Northern, South Eastern and Western Recovery Colleges. The research aimed to:
- Increase knowledge about what works to engage people with severe and enduring mental health problems in sustained physical activity to a level that improves and protects their physical health.
- Identify the facilitators and opportunities that help engage and empower people with severe mental health problems in physical activity.
- Explore the current barriers to physical activity.
Trained co-researchers with lived experience of mental health problems worked on all stages of the project, including programme design, interviewing participants, data analysis and disseminating findings. Quantitative data was collected on the health and lifestyles of participants. Qualitative interviews and focus groups were used to explore the barriers and facilitators to physical activity and the impact of the programme developed by the project.
The study found that physical activity benefits people’s physical and mental health and plays an important role in the social aspect of people’s lives. It showed that those with mental health problems care about their physical health and, with access to the right kind of help, can be supported and encouraged to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives. For further information on this study see http://bit.ly/37S1J1m
School of SSESW academic Michael Duffy is a world leading expert on trauma who has advised trauma teams dealing with atrocities in New York, London, Norway and Manchester. He worked with BBC Northern Ireland on a documentary (broadcast in February) about the impact on four individuals of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a memory disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt.
The programme PTSD - Stress of the Past met four individuals who suffered traumatic experiences. With their permission, it revealed how these episodes affected their lives and their families. It showed footage of some of them undergoing trauma focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, a method used to treat PTSD, which can help the individual manage their problems by changing the way they think and behave.
Michael Duffy, who took the sessions, explained: ‘It’s [PTSD] actually a memory related disorder. It is a problem with memory being disjointed, of memory not being updated and therefore even though the trauma happened years ago it can still terrorise people today as if it is happening over and over again.’
The therapy sessions revealed the intimate and harrowing journey of recovery that individuals undertake, including a survivor of the Omagh bomb who was 15 years old when it exploded in 1998. The film also featured: a police officer who was at the scene of the Omagh bomb; Claire (whose identity was concealed), who talked about being raped by different men on separate occasions; and Mark McCormick who witnessed the attack on Westminster Bridge in March 2017 in which six people were killed.
Read more about Cognitive Behaviour Therapy at http://bit.ly/2SMwu3l
This year marks the 20th anniversary of ARK, Northern Ireland’s social policy hub hosted by Queen’s University and Ulster University. At Queen’s, ARK is based in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW). It records the changing social and political landscape in Northern Ireland. ARK aims to increase the accessibility and use of academic data and research, to support critical policy debate and informed policy making. Researchers, policymakers, journalists, community and voluntary groups, pupils and teachers use ARK resources.
SSESW is the base for ARK’s three public attitudes surveys which record what people of all ages think about the issues that affect their lives. The survey data provide independent and robust evidence that feed into key government and local government policies. Survey results are available online, providing a vital resource for schools and NGOs. Other resources include research on ageing and the lifecourse, as well as Conflict Archive on the Internet (CAIN).
A series of activities are marking the 20th anniversary and the impact of ARK. They began with a seminar at Queen’s in February entitled ‘Is the UK Stronger or Weaker after 20 Years of Devolution?’. Professor John Curtice (University of Strathclyde and political commentator) assessed how the constitutional preferences and sense of national identity of people living in England, Scotland and Wales have evolved since devolution began in 1999. Dr Katy Hayward (SSESW) explored the changing patterns of devolution and identity in Northern Ireland during this time. Katy is a sought-after expert on Brexit, the Irish border and the peace process. Her presentation was based on data from ARK’s Northern Ireland Life and Times survey.
Details of ARK activities and events and videos of previous events are available at www.ark.ac.uk
In January, an interdisciplinary group of Queen’s University academics, led by School of SSESW colleague Alan Maddock, facilitated research workshops on disability and mental health in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in Cambodia. The University team included representation from social work, psychiatry, social policy and psychology. The workshops aimed to identify the priority mental health and disability needs of Cambodian people from the perspective of local stakeholders, including the local government, academics, policy makers and the NGO sector in both sites in Cambodia.
The workshops developed a successful collaboration between the Queen’s team and the local Cambodian stakeholders. Together they developed priority actionable research projects, with a view to helping the Cambodian governmental departments and NGOs to meet the needs of people with disabilities and/or mental health issues. The group also looked at future collaborative research projects on a range of identified themes. Collaboration plans are underway, with the hope that long term research partnerships can be established between Queen’s University and the Cambodian stakeholders and that funding can be secured to implement the research priorities identified and the projects developed.
Following completion of a short professional development course at Queen's University, a group of senior academics from Lanzhou University presented the University with a 10 metre calligraphy book. It was painted live in front of an audience in the Graduate School by one of the Lanzhou colleagues, renowned artist Professor Jianxin Xu.
The delegation from Lanzhou University were in Belfast in January to attend a two-week programme on Educational Leadership and the Internationalization of Higher Education, which was organized by the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work. Through a series of lectures, workshops and group presentations, the programme enhanced participants’ understanding of educational leadership and the challenges faced in contemporary higher educational institutions with regard to internationalization.
During their visit to Queen’s, the delegation from Lanzhou University also engaged with a number of colleagues from across the three University faculties to investigate opportunities for future research and teaching collaborations.
We were delighted to welcome back to the University all the successful students who joined us for our Postgraduate Taught Presentation of parchments in January. The event was hosted in the beautiful Great Hall by School of SSESW academic lead Dr Anne Campbell.
On behalf of SSESW, our Director of Graduate Studies Dr Dirk Schubotz welcomed the students and their guests to the presentation, which marked their achievement in completing Certificates or Diplomas across all our postgraduate programmes.
Guest speaker Professor Ian Young (Chief Scientific Advisor, Department of Health, and Director of HSC Research and Development) congratulated the students on their success and highlighted that their completion of courses such as these, which extend their knowledge base, not only supports their professional development but also enhances the experience of those in their care.
Our academic programme leads then presented parchments to the completing students while family and friends took photos of the moment. After the formal part of the ceremony, students enjoyed a catch up with fellow students and School of SSESW staff over a light lunch. We look forward to welcoming many of them back to Queen’s for the next stage of their study.
Members of the Disability Research Network in the School of SSESW are working with colleagues across the University, the Mental Health Foundation and Praxis Care on a new project addressing two questions to assess the feasibility of a larger scale intervention project:
(1) How do people with serious and enduring mental illness perceive, use and benefit from green and blue space?
(2) Does the interaction with green and blue spaces differ between people with serious mental illness and the general population?
Using an exploratory sequential mixed methods design, peer researchers will conduct qualitative interviews with mental health service users. These data will be used to design a quantitative survey to explore the relevant themes with a sub-sample of the Closing The Gap Health and Wellbeing Cohort and a general population sample.
The team of investigators on the research project include: Claire McCartan, Gavin Davidson (School of SSESW, Queen’s University), Lee Knifton, Chris White (Mental Health Foundation), Paul Webb (Praxis Care), and Liam Bradley, Katherine Greer (Peer Researchers).
In February, SSESW academic Lesley Emerson welcomed to Belfast the annual conference of the Five Nations Network, a regional network of the Council of Europe providing a unique forum for collaboration in education for citizenship in England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Lesley is the Northern Ireland Lead for the Network. Entitled ‘Building Democratic Culture in School - empowering teachers as defenders of democracy', the conference brought together teacher educators, teachers and other educational stakeholders to discuss innovative practice.
In particular, local practitioners had an opportunity to share expertise. Amanda McNamee (Lagan College) outlined their approach to inclusion and how citizenship underpins their ethos, values and curriculum. Martine Mulhern (St Cecilia’s) shared the College’s work on being a School of Sanctuary. John McCloskey (Shimna Integrated) introduced delegates to his student-led work on religious diversity. The conference also included examples of development projects, funded by the Network, to enable teachers to extend their knowledge of and curriculum for Citizenship and Values Education. Martin Ferguson (Ashfield Girls') shared how this funding had supported his work on oracy in the curriculum. Previous projects were also showcased, including Ann Magowan's (Our Lady and St Patrick's College) development of deliberation and action through citizenship education.
In addition to inputs from the 'Five Nations', the conference also had an international focus. Kari Kivinen from Helsinki French-Finnis School talked about developing a democratic culture in schools and led a workshop on Social Media and Young People. Delegates also heard insights on homework, accountability, the importance of equality and the joy of learning in the Finnish education system from Kristina Kaihari from the Finnish National Agency for Education.
Delegates appreciated greatly the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with others and reported that the event had encouraged them and inspired them to continue to promote and develop citizenship education in their schools.
We are very pleased to announce the publication of a new book by School of SSESW academic Dirk Schubotz. Published by SAGE publications, 'Participatory Research: Why and How to Involve People in Research' takes an accessible approach to explaining the theory that grounds participatory research and offers students practical strategies for how and when to choose and apply a wide range of these methods. The book is available at https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/participatory-research/book241126
Joe Duffy is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work.
Before joining Queen’s in 2006, I had taught social work and social care in several HE settings in Northern Ireland. I had also worked as a social worker and senior social worker in both residential and field social work settings in Northern Ireland since qualifying as a social worker in 1985. These frontline experiences are the foundation of my approach to teaching.
I am passionate about teaching and helping students in their professional development towards becoming social workers. My contribution to social work education has been recognised by Queen’s University Teaching Awards, the Northern Ireland Social Care Council, the UK Higher Education Academy National Teaching Award Scheme and, in 2018, a Fulbright All-Disciplines Scholar Award.
My research centres on service user involvement in social work education, research and policy. I aim to help students understand challenging concepts in the social work curriculum such as the impact of trauma and political conflict. For many years I have worked with WAVE, an organisation supporting those affected by the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland, inviting people with lived experience of bereavement, trauma and injury to share their experiences with social work students in the classroom.
My Fulbright Scholarship in 2018, a first in social work since 1967, involved a year in the USA, introducing this distinct pedagogical approach. Working with survivors of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks in New York, I helped bring their unique personal experiences to the classroom in New York University’s Silver School of Social Work. I replicated this teaching model with social work students at Belmont University, Nashville, working with community organisations whose members shared their experiences of homelessness, mental health challenges, addictions and trauma.
Continuing the Fulbright Research, I am leading the development of a Specialized Practice Curricular Guide for Service User Involvement for the USA accrediting body for Social Work. This will be an essential tool informing Social Work Education across the country. I have recently published a co-edited Routledge collection on the challenges facing social workers during political conflict in international contexts and have a co-edited Routledge International Handbook on Service User Involvement in Human Services Research and Education due for publication later in the summer.
In my spare time I enjoy music, playing guitar and working with plants. I have a passion for cooking and love stargazing.
The School of SSESW has introduced a new programme looking at Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders, offered at Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and Masters levels. It aims to enable professionals who are working in substance use, mental health and related fields to build on their existing knowledge and skills and to use them effectively across a range of sectors. It develops participants’ understanding of the theories informing substance use and how to translate these into effective practice, ultimately enriching the lives of individuals, families and communities.
The Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders programme has a pragmatic focus, enabling practitioners to learn about a range of multi-disciplinary assessment tools, methods of interventions and the necessary skills to work with substance use across numerous settings. Substance use problems permeate work with a range of service user groups, from the more obvious groups, i.e. working with substance use and mental health, to working with children and families, learning disability offenders and older people. The programme develops practitioner confidence and skills in the complex areas of substance use and substance use disorders and is accredited by the Northern Ireland Professional in Practice Education and Training Partnership. Participants can study flexibly by working around their professional duties.
Dr Anne Campbell, Programme Director, said: ‘The Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders programme provides graduates from a range of social and health care professions with a variety of opportunities to develop their specific areas of learning and skills in practice. 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.’
- Professor Tony Gallagher is an education specialist with many years experience of working closely with schools through the Shared Education programme. Tony shared with the HIP Psychology podcast audience his views on how schools were coping with the disruption caused by COVID-19. He outlined how teachers and schools ‘responded absolutely magnificently’ during preparations to move teaching online, and beyond, by engaging across schools and sharing resources. The podcast is available at https://bit.ly/3eLwZUs
- Professor Laura Lundy provided expert advice to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on enhancing children’s participation in its work, using the Lundy model as a frame for evaluating progress. The session in Geneva was a follow-up to one conducted by Laura in 2013 following which the Committee significantly enhanced its engagement with children. Based on children’s rights research conducted locally, nationally and internationally, Laura was a visiting professor at Massey University in New Zealand in February. She gave keynotes at two conferences on children’s participation in educational decision-making and met researchers from several universities to advise on involving children in the governance of research.
- Dr Jenny du Preez (Nelson Mandela University) was a Visiting Research Fellow from September 2019 to March 2020, working with Dr Dina Belluigi on developing themes emerging from a joint Winter School held at Nelson Mandela University in August 2019 entitled Emancipatory Imaginations: Advancing Critical University Studies.
- Dr Grace Ese-osa Idahosa (University of Johannesburg) is a Visiting Research Fellow from October 2019 to September 2020, working with SSESW academic Dr Dina Belluigi on a project entitled Mid-level Managers Agency for Transformation in Post-Conflict Higher Education. It explores how university middle-management can be better empowered to enact their agency; and how this is impacted by their gender and social location.
- Dr Nicolás Brando has been awarded a Newton International Fellowship by the British Academy to join our Centre for Children’s Rights for the next two years. The project will be supervised and supported by Professor Laura Lundy and Professor Emeritus David Archard. Nicolás is a Colombian philosopher, working on ethics, moral and political philosophy. His research studies the treatment of vulnerable and marginalised populations in liberal societies, with a particular focus on issues of discrimination and the protection of rights of children.
TESOL specialist and SSESW academic Caroline Linse has co-written a book with Erik von Hahn (Tufts University School of Medicine) and Sheldon H Horowitz (National Center for Learning Disabilities, Washington, DC). Essential Skills for Struggling Learners: A Framework for Student Support Teams outlines the skills that contribute to learning and a systematic way to help students with a wide range of learning difficulties. This innovative planning guide helps to identify and prioritize the essential skills that students with and without learning difficulties need to succeed.
Practical Materials: 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 on skills when making observations and developing IEPs. Two practical appendices walk school professionals and team leaders through the collaborative process of putting the frameworks in the book into practice. See more at https://bit.ly/2VKpOo9
We are looking forward to welcoming to Queen’s University the new Fulbright Global Scholar Dr Kimberly Ilosvay from the University of Portland. She will be working on teaching and research projects under the theme of ‘Interculturality and Internationalization’ in Ecuador, Northern Ireland and Tanzania. Working with academics and students in these three countries will provide rich opportunities for cultural and scholarly exchange and for building international partnerships. At Queen’s, Kimberly will be working with Aisling O'Boyle (SSESW) and colleagues from across the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
Grace Ese-osa Idahosa (University of Johannesburg) is a Visiting Research Fellow from October 2019 to September 2020. She is working with SSESW academic Dina Zoe Belluigi on a project entitled Mid-level Managers Agency for Transformation in Post-Conflict Higher Education. It explores how university middle-management, who are in key positions to engender social change in the higher education sector in Northern Ireland and South Africa, can be better empowered to enact their agency; and in what ways this is impacted by their gender and social location.
Michael Duffy has co-produced a handbook for the Final Year Social Work students from Queen’s and Ulster who are graduating early to boost the healthcare workforce and its response to COVID-19. Entitled Preparing for Practice: Psychological Considerations during the COVID-19 Pandemic, the handbook is a collaboration with the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and the Health and Social Care Board. Michael contributed to similar handbooks, with Dr Ciaran Mulholland and colleagues in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, for medical students and junior doctors working with the pandemic. The medical students’ handbook was circulated to all 32 medical schools in the UK.
Similar handbooks are underway for nursing students and Allied Health Professionals. They outline the potential psychological impact of the current situation on students joining the system at this time. There are suggestions on how to manage their own health and wellbeing, whilst acknowledging the significant contribution they are making to the workforce.
Michael Duffy has been interviewed by various news media about the potential psychological impact on new health professionals of joining the work force now. He commented: ‘For the doctors, nurses and all the healthcare workers on the front line of this pandemic, the psychological effects will, in some ways, resemble the aftermath of a single large-scale event like the Omagh bomb. There should be support available for healthcare staff thanks to new trauma networks established in every health trust but workers still need to feel safe.
It is vitally important to provide high quality protective equipment for frontline staff. A sense of safety and security will help staff cope better psychologically with the demands of the job. Most staff will come through this pandemic without enduring mental health problems but all should be told that it is legitimate to take psychological help if needed and it is also important that they are provided with psychological help that is evidence based.’
With social distancing measures isolating us from those we care about, School of SSESW academic Karen Winter has created these S.T.A.Y.W.E.L.L. tips to help you look after your mental health during lockdown. They are based on her many years experience as a social worker and team manager working on the frontline in child protection services in Northern Ireland. She says the most important coping mechanism we can utilise is hope. See https://bit.ly/2xUZoqC
In September, our Disability Research Network (DRN) held a hugely successful event at Queen’s, looking at Opportunities and Challenges for Inclusive Education in Northern Ireland. The event brought together delegates from across various sectors including the Department of Education, Education Authority, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Equality Commission, children’s sector organisations, schools, parents, researchers and academics.
It included a presentation from Professor Sally Tomlinson (left) from Goldsmiths, University of London, on the ‘Ins and Outs of Inclusion’, where she outlined the ways in which children with disabilities have tended to be excluded from education over time as a result of education policies.
Bronagh Byrne (third right, Co-Chair of DRN) highlighted developments in the right to inclusive education under international law and presented findings from an analysis of United Nations responses to policy and practice across 70 global countries.
The event concluded with a panel session facilitated by Professor Vicki Graf (third left) from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, a leading international figure in inclusive education. The session included expert education input from: Kevin Donaghy (second right), principal of St Ronan’s Primary School, Newry; Michael Allen (right), principal of Lisneal College, Londonderry; and Jonathan Gray (second left), principal of Arvalee School and Resource Centre, Omagh. All three panellists shared their vision for inclusion and examples of best practice.
As a result of the professional exchanges and networks established at the event, and a desire for further debate, a ‘Knowledge Exchange Hub on Inclusive Education’ is being developed, to continue the conversation through a combination of seminars and working group discussions. For more information or to join the Hub, contact Dr Bronagh Byrne, b.byrne@qub. ac.uk
Brenda Brady is a Level 3 student on our undergraduate BSW degree, a professional qualification in Social Work. She is a peer mentor for other students.
I am a mother of twins who have just started their GSCE’s. Alongside my own life experience, I have worked in the statutory and voluntary sectors in varying roles which prepared and inspired me to start my Social Work degree in September 2017.
I was a stay-at-home mum for a number of years during which I studied English Literature part-time but I always knew I wanted to be a social worker. I have always cared about helping others, which is something that was instilled in me by my parents, who both worked in the health service for 40 years.
Queen’s is a fantastic place to study and has opened up so many opportunities for me via the degree programme and through other learning avenues related to the social sciences in exploring social justice, research and simulated learning. The campus is beautiful and there is always a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Since starting the Social Work degree I have been challenged to think more deeply and critically about different aspects of society and how these impact individuals and communities. I have gained knowledge and skills to pursue a professional career in social work. I have met great friends and been taught by academics with a wealth of expertise that I can bring to practice.
Queen’s library facilities are excellent and the librarians are always there to point you in the right direction. The student portal is central to navigating your learning and accessing resources for your subject. It has a plethora of information on the Students’ Union, wellbeing and accessing student support services. The Student Guidance Centre, peer mentoring and student reps are available for additional support and advice. Returning to university was a little overwhelming. However, I have had opportunities to attend a diverse range of activities including courses, open days and workshops. I have been able to listen to international speakers and engage with other students from across the world. I have been on placement, made fantastic friends and find the Queen’s Film Theatre is a brilliant way to take time out from studying. When I graduate I hope to begin professional practice as social worker and to apply for a Master’s in Social Science Research at the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work.
For more information about our degrees see www.qub.ac.uk/ssesw
Academic Laura Lundy (second left) was in New Zealand in August on a trip organised by Victoria University of Wellington and funded by the Law Foundation for New Zealand. With fellow children’s rights experts Ursula Kilkelly (University College Cork, third left), Bruce Adamson (Scottish Children’s Commissioner) and Justice Clarence Nelson (Supreme Court of Samoa and member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child) she received a warm Pasifika welcome (photo courtesy of Office of the Children’s Commissioner, New Zealand).
Laura gave a keynote at a Victoria University two-day symposium marking the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). She also presented at a seminar for civil society on Making Child Rights Real in Aotearoa; discussed her child rights approach with staff in the Children’s Commissioner’s office; took part in a roundtable conversation with Pasifika lawyers on child law and culture; and carried out training on ‘The Lundy Model’ of child participation for over 60 staff at Oranga Tamariki (the Department of Children) who use the model in their work.
While in New Zealand, Laura appeared on ‘The Nation’ news show, where she accompanied the country’s Children’s Commissioner, Andrew Becroft (right), in a discussion about ensuring implementation in New Zealand of the UNCRC, for Maori children in particular. The trip concluded with a reception, hosted by the Irish Embassy, to mark the expert input of Professors Lundy and Kilkelly to the events in Wellington. Laura said of her trip: ‘It was a privilege to be invited to New Zealand/Aotearoa, where the Lundy model of participation is used so widely, to share my research and understanding of children’s rights and participation and to learn about their efforts and challenges in delivering children’s rights in a way that is culturally appropriate and acceptable’.
The School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) has developed an innovative new undergraduate module called Reintegration After Prison, being offered for the first time this academic year and delivered in HM Hydebank Wood College and Women’s Prison, Belfast. This module, organised by SSESW academics Shadd Maruna and Gillian McNaull, is part of the Learning Together movement led by the University of Cambridge and involving partnerships between prisons and universities across the UK and beyond. Read about this initiative at http://bit.ly/2o9eN0W
At Hydebank Wood, a number of SSESW students are attending classes in the facility alongside a group of students from Hydebank Wood drawn from both the male facility (formerly known as the Young Offenders Institute, housing 18-21 year olds) and Northern Ireland’s only Women’s Prison (Ash House) based at the same site. In recent years, Hydebank Wood has transformed into a learning environment with a variety of vocational and educational courses, and a small number of students already pursue higher education through the Open University. The new Learning Together module will offer students at Hydebank Wood a first taste of a university-level classroom, hopefully encouraging some of them to continue with third level education upon release. For their part, the SSESW students have the opportunity to learn about issues of rehabilitation and reform inside an actual penal facility, studying alongside fellow students with considerable lived experience to share.
The partnership is also a knowledge exchange opportunity for Queen’s University and the Northern Ireland Prison Service, with both institutions benefiting through the collective initiative. For more information contact Professor Shadd Maruna at s.maruna@qub. ac.uk or tel +44 (0)28 9097 5986
School of SSESW criminologist John Topping was delighted to join youth delegates in welcoming the new Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Simon Byrne, to our packed conference Patten 20 Years On: Young People, Policing and Stop and Search in September. Its main aim was to examine the current status and evidence around the policing of children and young people by the PSNI, with a specific focus on police stop and search powers.
The unique conference was supported by our Crime and Social Justice research group and organised in partnership with two leading young people’s rights and advocacy organisations, Include Youth and the Children’s Law Centre, who supported young people in putting their views and questions to conference speakers.
In addition to input from John Topping, based on his current policing research related to stop and search, the conference had a range of international keynote speakers and Young People, Policing and Stop and Search experts including: Professor Ann Skelton (UN Committee on the Rights of the Child); Debbie Watters (Northern Ireland Policing Board); Katrina Ffrench (StopWatch), Professor Ben Bradford (Global City Policing and the Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science); Tim Mairs (PSNI); Paul Holmes (Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland); and Koulla Yiasouma (Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People).
Conference themes included the PSNI’s use of stop and search powers against young people, current evidence around policing practice, lessons from England around stop and search, and policing innovations to support the mental health needs of those interfacing with police. Also on the programme was a superb performance from C21 Theatre Company encapsulating young people’s experiences of stop and search.
For more information about the research behind the event see http://bit.ly/2LK58Y4
Members of our Centre for Children’s Rights (CCR) have been leading a partnership project aimed at enhancing child-centred responses to violence against children. The project is called Participation for Protection (P4P) and includes Katrina Lloyd, Laura Lundy, Siobhan McAlister, Michelle Templeton and Karen Winter. It has produced training resources informed by consultation with over 1300 children across Europe. The resources were co-designed with children and young people in Northern Ireland, from St Ita’s Primary School, Include Youth and Newstart Education Centre. The resources are being rolled out by project partners in Austria, Belgium, Germany, the Republic of Ireland and Romania.
The CCR team has been delivering training in Northern Ireland, in collaboration with Include Youth, for a wide range of professionals including youth workers, social workers, educators and those working in the criminal justice system. While many professionals are trained in protecting children and responding to those who experience violence, such training is often informed from an adult perspective.
Participation for Protection (P4P) represents a dedicated effort to inform training from a child’s perspective. The aim is to enhance understanding of what violence means to children, the factors that impact on their ability and willingness to disclose violence, and their views on what constitutes ‘good’/ child-centred support. Some of the findings from the Participation for Protection survey carried out with school children across partner countries, on their understanding of violence and their views on helpful responses, are available at: participationforprotection.wordpress.com. A training package and free resources informed by the consultations with children can be downloaded from the CCR website at www.qub.ac.uk/ccr.
Laura Lundy, Gavin Duffy, Tony Gallagher and Gareth Robinson are to collaborate with academics from Oxford, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Reading and London School of Economics on a multidisciplinary research project examining the political economies and consequences of school exclusion across the UK. The Economic and Social Research Council has awarded £2,550,850 for research on the cost of exclusions at individual, institutional and system levels, as well as pupils’ rights, entitlements, protection and wellbeing, and the landscapes of exclusion across the four UK jurisdictions.
There are vast differences in the rates of permanent school exclusion across the UK with numbers rising rapidly in England but remaining relatively low or even falling in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Latest figures show there were 7,900 permanent exclusions in England compared to fifteen in Northern Ireland and just five in Scotland.
Preliminary work conducted by the research team illustrated that pressures on schools to perform well in examination league tables can lead to the exclusion of pupils whose predicted attainment would weaken overall school performance. As a consequence, pupils who do not conform to the rules can be excluded to the social margins of schooling. The study is led by Professor Harry Daniels and Associate Professor Ian Thompson (Oxford). Co-Investigator Gavin Duffy (SSESW) said: ‘As a multidisciplinary team we want to understand more about the stark differences in the rates of fixed and permanent exclusions across the four jurisdictions. We are also keen to learn more about those practices in schools which could be described as informal or unregulated as this may give us a more accurate picture of school exclusion.’
The research is organised into three work strands: i. the landscapes of exclusion, which will examine the policy and legal frameworks and the costs of exclusions in each jurisdiction; ii. the experiences of exclusion, focusing on the perspectives of pupils and their families, practitioners, school leadership and other education professionals; and iii. a strand that will integrate these findings to ensure that the learning is continuous as the research develops a coherent multidisciplinary understanding of the political economies of exclusion.
Laura Lundy (SSESW) commented: ‘I am delighted that the rights-based approach to research that we have pioneered in the Centre for Children’s Rights at SSESW will be used across the four jurisdictions involved in the study to ensure that children and young people impacted by school exclusion will be working with us directly to shape the research project and understand the findings.’
These analyses will involve the cross cutting themes of: children’s rights, youth crime, values and the role of religion, geographical context, gender and ethnicity, social class, special needs and disability, and mental health.
Lecturer Dr Jonathan G Heaney is Programme Director for Sociology. He tweets as @jonathangheaney and blogs at theorytypes.wordpress.com
I was delighted to join the Sociology team at Queen’s in 2014, six months after graduating from my PhD at National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway. I returned to education as a mature student in 2004, completing a BA in Sociology, Politics and Economics at NUI Galway in 2007.
My PhD project was funded by an Irish Research Council ‘Government of Ireland Scholarship’ Scheme and studied emotions and social change in late modernity in general, and the Republic of Ireland in particular.
My primary research interests are interdisciplinary and lie in social, sociological and political theory, at the intersections of Sociology and Politics. I am especially interested in the relationship and dynamics of emotions and power, and how they form and change our social lives. My publications explore these topics and the relationship between emotions, nationalism and national identity. More recent interests concern the interplay of emotion and power in contemporary party politics. I aim to combine insights from Political Sociology and the Sociology of Emotions to contribute to a new emerging sub-field - the Political Sociology of Emotions – to examine the increasing importance, visibility and deployment of emotions by politicians. We appear to be living in an age of emotional politics and my work aims to help us better understand it.
I am passionate about teaching and these ideas and themes also feature in my classes. In addition to teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses in social theory, I am preparing a new module on the Political Sociology of Emotions that explores the role of emotion and power in relation to the rise of populism, Trump, Brexit, as well as in situations of war, conflict and post-conflict. In recent years, I have coordinated the European Sociological Association’s Research Network on Emotions and organized conferences (in Edinburgh, Manchester, Stockholm, Athens and elsewhere) featuring leading emotion scholars from around the globe.
As a relatively new, and not exactly ‘young’, father of a wonderful daughter, Hazel, who is three and a half, I don’t have much time for hobbies. I enjoy film and organize the Sociological Cinema Series at the Queen’s Film Theatre in Belfast. Staff, students and the general public watch a film, after which academics and the audience draw out and discuss the various Sociological themes within the movie. I also like to read, especially science/speculative fiction, and poetry.
A US-UK Fulbright Scholarship saw School of SSESW academic Joe Duffy spend last academic year in the USA, including teaching at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work where he collaborated with Dr Carol Tosone (NYU) and seven survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre to facilitate Social Work students’ conversations with the survivors about the impact that trauma had on their lives.
He also spent time at Belmont University (Nashville), working with community organisations supporting people affected by poverty, homelessness, domestic abuse and addictions. Clients from these groups were directly involved, with Joe, in sharing their experiences with third year Belmont Social Work students as part of their preparations for field practice.
Joe’s unique teaching sessions introduced this service user involvement to the Social Work curriculum in the USA to help Social Work students understand trauma and effective behaviours when helping clients. He drew on his many years of integrating people with lived experience in Northern Ireland into social work classrooms to cultivate a culture of trust and partnership in the classes, giving clients and survivors control of the content by agreeing questions in advance.
In September, Joe held a research launch in New York where he presented results from his evaluation on the impact of his teaching approach on the students’ knowledge development. Findings showed that hearing his facilitated conversations with people with lived experience of trauma had a marked impact on the students’ understanding of it. They felt that Joe’s sessions taught them: careful, respectful listening; the importance of person-centredness, a non-judgmental approach and good communication skills; and how best to process emotions when hearing trauma narratives. Dr Tosone continues to use Joe Duffy’s model of incorporating input from 9/11 survivors in her module on the Treatment of Trauma.
- In collaboration with Ulster University, Parents’ Education as Autism Therapists (PEAT) and Belfast City Airport, Centre colleagues enabled families living with a diagnosis of autism to prepare for their holidays by visiting the airport in June and experiencing the steps involved in boarding a plane. Video models, which are an evidencebased area of research for teaching new skills such as self-management and social skills, were devised by the Centre and can be accessed at http://bit.ly/2M99Qh3
- Catherine Storey was elected Secretary of the European Association of Behaviour Analysis, an international organisation that promotes Behaviour Analysis and provides an international forum for matters relevant to behaviour analysis.
- Katerina Dounavi and PhD students Emma Craig and Jenny Ferguson have written a chapter in the Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders (Ed. Prof Volkmar, Yale University School of Medicine), describing current knowledge on the use of telehealth, the distribution of health-related services and training via technology, for the delivery of behaviour analytic interventions such as training carers and parents to teach independence skills to children and young people with an ASD.
- Read more at www.qub.ac.uk/cba
- Berni Kelly and colleagues have been awarded funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund to undertake a feasibility study, Building Positive Futures: A CrossCountry Pilot Study on Youth Transitions from Out-of-Home Care in Africa, working with partners in Uganda, Ghana, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The project will develop the methodology of the Growth beyond the Town care-leaving study in South Africa to incorporate a peer research approach and input from care leavers (across experiences of disability, gender and culture) and to test its feasibility for a cross-country study on care leaving in Africa.
- The DRN was delighted to welcome Dr Sonali Shah (University of Birmingham) in September to present on her current research on the healthcare needs of girls and women with cerebral palsy.
- DRN has received funding from the Department for the Economy Global Challenges Research Fund to examine the physical and mental health needs of people with disabilities in Cambodia. Alan Maddock is the Principal Investigator and the CoInvestigators are Paul Best, Bronagh Byrne, Anne Campbell, Gavin Davidson, Berni Kelly, Lorna Montgomery and Ciaran Mullholland. The project is a partnership with the voluntary sector organisation Exceed.
- Read more at www.qub.ac.uk/drn
- Laura Lundy, Siobhan McAlister and Michelle Templeton led a consultation earlier this year with 274 children deprived of their liberty in 22 countries. The consultation, a collaboration with Terres des Hommes and Professor Ursula Kilkelly and Dr Louise Forde from University College Cork, was part of the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty. It employed the Centre’s unique child rights-based research methodology, ensuring that the views of children in a range of settings (including immigration, youth justice and other institutions) and global contexts were integral to the study and its recommendations to the world’s governments.
- Laura Lundy was at the University of Ghana in Accra in June as part of a British Academy grant led by Dr Afua Twun-Danso Imoh (University of Sheffield). The project enables early career researchers in childhood studies in West Africa to be mentored by editors of leading childhood journals. Laura, joint Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Children’s Rights, mentors two early career scholars from Nigeria, supporting them to get their work published in international journals.
- While in Accra, Laura visited the Ghana headquarters of World Vision to meet two young people from its Young Leaders programme. Laura Lundy and Michelle Templeton are conducting a research project with World Vision, looking at the experience of children in the programme who participated in international events in New York, Brussels and Geneva. World Vision have adopted Laura’s model of participation (the Lundy Model) as core to their global strategy on child participation and gender equality.
- Judith Thompson, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Victims and Survivors, attended a celebration at Queen’s in June to thank young people involved in advisory groups on a project examining the transgenerational impacts of the Northern Ireland conflict on young people.
- The Centre hosted seminars with Dr Jenna Gillet-Swan (Queensland University of Technology) in September and Dr Noam Peleg (University of New South Wales, Sydney) in October. Jenna presented her work on student voice while Noam presented his work on the child’s right to development. The Centre is hosting a visiting researcher from the University of Murcia, Spain. Carmen Maria Carabello is a doctoral student focusing on inclusive education.
- In September, Laura gave a keynote at the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children Annual Conference. Hosted in Belfast by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, the conference addressed ‘Children’s rights in the digital environment’. Laura Lundy, Bronagh Byrne and young advisors with disabilities hosted a session with their advisory group of children with disabilities who work on their Council of Europe study on the digital rights of children with disabilities.
- Read more at www.qub.ac.uk/ccr
In addition to her keynote on Beyond childhood: preparing for adulthood, with an emphasis on individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), at the ABA Today 2019 international conference (Applied Behaviour Analysis) in Melbourne in July, School of SSESW academic Nichola Booth delivered a three-hour masterclass for delegates at the conference. Entitled ‘Puberty, anxiety and autism: it will happen! Understanding the impact on your teen and practical strategies to help’, the workshop centred on Nichola’s work and research within our Centre for Behaviour Analysis.
The masterclass was attended by an international audience of around 60 delegates from a variety of professional backgrounds and disciplines including teaching, medicine and social work. Also in the audience were Applied Behaviour Analysis practitioners, students of Psychology and Special Education from Monash University, Melbourne, and parents and carers of individuals on the autism spectrum.
Nichola’s masterclass provided attendees with effective solutions for behavioural difficulties that may arise during puberty for individuals with autism. All strategies and interventions were based on key principles and teaching technologies derived from the science of Applied Behaviour Analysis. The masterclass enabled attendees to effectively teach key life skills that could help make the transition to puberty easier for individuals in hospitals, residential settings, schools and the home.
Puberty for individuals with an ASD is a topic which is often overlooked and underresearched. By offering solutions from practice in the applied sector, Nichola was able to use science and experiences to highlight to professionals and other delegates that puberty preparation for individuals with an ASD is a topic which requires explicit and continuous teaching.
For more information contact Dr Nichola Booth at email@example.com or tel +44 (0)28 9097 3264
Our Northern Ireland Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research (NICILT) provides an important service for schools and for staff and students on our Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). It is funded by the Department of Education to promote and support language teaching and learning.
NICILT raises awareness of European Day of Languages (EDL), celebrated on 26 September, and this year NICILT launched a new EDL-themed poetry competition for Year 9 pupils.
It encouraged pupils to develop their Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities, dictionary and language skills and to further understand the purpose of EDL. NICILT also visited All Saints College, Belfast, to promote EDL and provide a Languages for Employability workshop for 160 Year 10 pupils.
In October, NICILT launched its first four-day mini film festival for Year 10 pupils of French and Spanish. These events, held at Queen’s Film Theatre, attracted around 800 pupils to Queen’s and included guided campus tours by our PGCE students. Schools were also provided with tailored teaching materials reflecting the statutory requirements in modern languages in the curriculum.
NICILT is running a new Ambassadors scheme in Northern Ireland in collaboration with the School of Arts, English and Languages at Queen’s. The scheme, set up by the Open World Research Initiative and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, links post-primary pupils and university students to promote languages and motivate pupils to opt into languages at A Level. The 175 pupils taking part in the Ambassadors scheme attended an immersion day at Queen’s in October, which included subjectspecific sessions and guided tours of the University with undergraduate ambassadors and our PGCE modern language students (pictured at our resource centre).
Professor Danielle Turney is our Social Work Subject Lead. She joined the School of SSESW in August 2018.
Having lived and worked in England all my life, I have had a fascinating year getting to know Belfast and learning about the similarities and differences between social work in England and Northern Ireland. While studying philosophy and politics at Manchester University I got involved in different community/welfare-related activities. I had not initially thought about a career in social work, but by the end of my degree it seemed like the ‘next step’.
Embarking on a Masters in Social Work programme at Sussex University was the start of a significant learning process (still under way!) that introduced me to the complexity, challenges and opportunities that social work presents.
I have been involved in social work one way or another ever since – first as a local authority social worker in South London, later as a PhD student and then as a social work educator and researcher. Clearly something hooked me in and has continued to demand my interest and attention! Supporting the learning of social workers – whether working with people at the start of their professional careers, or with established practitioners who want to develop and extend their knowledge and skills – has been a key part of my academic life, and I taught on and/or managed programmes of qualifying and post-qualifying education at Goldsmiths London University, the Open University, and the University of Bristol before my move to Queen’s.
As a researcher, my interests focus mainly on three broad areas: child welfare and protection, in particular child neglect; relationship-based practice; and social work assessment, decision-making and professional judgement. From my PhD research exploring anti-racist practice in social work onwards, my work has been underpinned by my interest in theory building. Social work involves highly complex activities and relationships, and decisionmaking in conditions of uncertainty. Theory does not furnish ready answers, but can sharpen understanding of the hard questions posed by social work practice, deepen appreciation of why they are hard, and aid reflection on how to work through to answers expressed through practice.
My core concern is to make theory relevant to specific, recurrent questions about real world social work – for example, drawing on care ethics to explore understandings of child neglect, and using Recognition Theory to help understand the dynamics of practice with ‘involuntary’ clients of social services. I look forward to developing my work in the context of the concerns of everyday practice here in Northern Ireland.
As part of our research focus on Contested Societies, academic Dina Belluigi (right) hosted a seminar in September at Queen’s University entitled ‘At the Margins of the University: Scholarship and practice of higher education transformation and disruption in contexts of post conflict, inequality and oppression’.
Jenny Boźena du Preez (Nelson Mandela University, third right), Dina Belluigi and Tony Gallagher (SSESW, back row, second left) reflected on the Emancipatory Imaginations: Advancing Critical University Studies Winter School held in South Africa in August, involving invited scholars and practitioners from Ghana, India, Kenya, Ireland, South Africa, the UK, Cyprus, Germany and Canada. A collaboration between Dina Belluigi and Andre Keet (Nelson Mandela University), the Winter School questioned where social justice concerns sit within transformations of higher education and related scholarship.
Naomi Lumutenga (HERS-EA, second right) discussed the educational non-profit organization Higher Education Resource Services Eastern Africa, which advances women’s leadership in higher education in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Ethiopia. The woman-centred curriculum addresses personal and institutional barriers, positioning female academics to undertake challenge-based research which informs policy and grassroots capacity development.
Highlighting the impact of the Syrian crisis on academics with little protection when in exile, Tom Parkinson (University of Kent, back row, third left) and Dina Belluigi (SSESW) reflected on roundtables held in partnership with The Council for At Risk Academics in June in Istanbul. Academics from international communities discussed the challenges of sustaining their academic work and authority under conditions of crisis, exile, political oppression and post-conflict legacies in locations such as Belarus, Bosnia Herzegovina, Kenya, Northern Ireland, Palestine, Serbia and South Africa.
A team of social work academics and researchers, led by School of SSESW academic Mandi MacDonald (fourth right), is collaborating with the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town to evaluate the contribution of formal youth mentoring in promoting the wellbeing of under-served youth in South Africa.
They are partnering with SAYes, a Cape Town based NGO working with children’s homes to offer transition mentoring to young people preparing to leave care.
South Africa remains one of the most unequal societies in the world, with significant disparities in opportunity and income, particularly for youth, over half of whom live in poverty. Inequality and social exclusion are sharply focused in the lives of young people living in care and care leavers.
This pilot project, funded by the Department for the Economy Global Challenges Research Fund, will evaluate the SAYes programme as a case study to explore whether formal mentoring offers an effective, scalable contribution to South Africa’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The SSESW research team, including Berni Kelly, John Pinkerton and Montse Fargas, had a busy and productive visit to Cape Town in September. Working with Professor Shanaaz Mathews and Jenna-Lee Marco from the Children’s Institute, they interviewed 37 care experienced young people, 9 mentors and 8 carers. They heard how mentors offer muchvalued social support and help with making informed life choices. The team will return to South Africa in February 2020 to discuss the findings with young people, practitioners, academics and policy makers. It is hoped that these first-hand accounts will lay a foundation for developing a larger study, with other African and international partners, into the feasibility of formal mentoring as a means of challenging inequality for young people in care and leaving care.
As part of a British Academy grant, SSESW Criminologist John Topping welcomed to Queen’s University in October the research partners from the Federal University of Sao Paulo (FUSP), Brazil. The project is entitled Policing Protests and the Quality of Democracy in Brazil and Northern Ireland. It involves research in both countries examining the dynamics and parameters of protests, their meaning and how they are Criminology Links with Sao Paulo, Brazil policed. It includes both empirical research and knowledge exchange between Queen’s and the FUSP. While in Belfast, the University of Sao Paulo partners met with Harry Maguire (second left), Director of Community Restorative Justice Ireland, and spent time with policing experts discussing the legal and policy framework related to parades and protests in Northern Ireland.
For the third year in a row, an SSESW undergraduate student has been recognised as a Highly Commended entrant in the Sociology & Social Policy category of the Global Undergraduate Awards (UA), the world’s largest academic awards programme identifying leading creative thinkers and problem-solvers through their undergraduate coursework. Written for his Social Policy module on gerontology, Freddie Finlay’s paper, Demography is not Destiny was assessed by an international panel of expert judges from world leading academic institutions.
UA provides top performing students with support and opportunities to raise their profiles at a summit in Dublin where they can network with world-renowned speakers, academics and potential employers and attend workshops designed to help them share research and begin their path after undergraduate study.
Academic Ian Cantley picked up the Most Inspirational Teaching Award at this year’s Queen’s University Students’ Union Education Awards. Ian teaches on our PGCE Mathematics course and was overwhelmed to hear that every one of his PGCE students nominated him for the award. Some of them attended the awards ceremony to make the presentation to him and represent the PGCE Mathematics group, whose nominations included the comments:
‘Ian genuinely cares about each and every one of us, which comes across in his teaching, feedback and encouragement. He has challenged us immensely throughout, and prepared us all for going out into our placement schools.’
‘Ian not only has a passion for PGCE and his teaching, but a passion for all young people in Northern Ireland to receive an outstanding education.’
Ian commented: ‘It is an immense privilege, and responsibility, to teach and mentor future teachers on the PGCE Mathematics programme. I aim to instil a passion for mathematics education in my students since I consider this to be an essential attribute of any aspiring teacher of mathematics.’
A team from the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) is exploring how people with learning disabilities, and their organisations, exert influence on the policy and practice of adult safeguarding. The SSESW team consists of Lorna Montgomery, Berni Kelly and Gavin Davidson and includes research assistant Lisamarie Wood, a Research Officer from Praxis Care.
The Getting Our Voices Heard project is investigating what works in different contexts across all four UK nations, identifying examples of how people with learning disabilities and Disabled Persons’ Organisations influence adult safeguarding policy and practice. The project seeks to better enable disabled individuals to shape the policies which affect their lives in order to enhance their choices, control, dignity and freedom.
The research team recruited and trained six people with learning disabilities as peer researchers, to assist with each stage of the project including design, data collection, analysis, report writing and action plan. The project concludes in March 2020 with a UK-wide Implementation Plan highlighting recommendations on effective approaches to ensuring that people with learning disabilities can influence adult safeguarding policy and legislation at national and organisational levels.
Lisamarie Wood (back row, left) completed our BA in Sociology and MRes in Social Science Research, learning in depth about different ways to research within society based on worldviews and how research can have real and lasting impact in society. She is a Visiting Scholar at Queen’s University while she collaborates on Getting Our Voices Heard. Lisamarie commented: ‘I’ve had an avid interest in Sociology since being introduced to it at school, fascinated by the different approaches used by sociologists throughout history to study and understand society. I was drawn to Sociology because of its power to understand and address inequalities in society and to influence social change.’
Earlier this year, School of SSESW colleagues Joanne Hughes and Rebecca Loader, from our Centre for Shared Education (CSE), were appointed to undertake research into ‘mainstreaming’ shared education in Northern Ireland schools. The work was commissioned by the Social Change Initiative (SCI), a Belfast-based international charity focussing on inclusive and peaceful societies, and the Shared Education Learning Forum (SELF), an influential practitioner-led network formed by teachers and principals involved in the shared education initiative in Northern Ireland.
The mainstreaming process involves further embedding existing cross-sectoral shared education into education policy in the region. For the ‘mainstreaming’ research, which is due for publication in late 2019, Joanne and Rebecca conducted two studies, one with policymakers, education officers and sectoral leaders in Northern Ireland, and one with practitioners from 16 school partnerships across the region. The research explored understandings of shared education and its aims, developments in shared practice, and enablers and barriers to mainstreaming the model in Northern Ireland.
This CSE research is intended to inform developments in the mainstreaming of shared education policy level, and will be disseminated to key stakeholders through the Social Change Initiative and the Shared Education Learning Forum. To this end, Joanne and Rebecca presented initial findings at SELF seminars in May this year and at the annual SELF conference in Templepatrick in September. Joanne, Rebecca and report co-author Professor Rhiannon Turner (School of Psychology at Queen’s University) will present their full findings at a seminar to be hosted by the Social Change Initiative later this year. Read more about the Centre for Shared Education at www.qub.ac.uk/cse
Laura Lundy, Co-Director of our Centre for Children’s Rights (CCR), works to ensure that children are involved in decisionmaking in a range of international arena, in particular the work of the United Nations, through what has become known as the ‘Lundy model’ of child participation.
The model was developed in the wake of a study for the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People and has been used by governments and organisations at national and international level, including the European Commission (EC), UNICEF, World Health Organisation and World Vision, to inform their approach to children’s participation in policy and practice.
The model’s four-part framework (space-voice-audience-influence) has been applied in scores of research projects across the world and has generated a sea-change in global understanding of child rights-based participation for policy and practice. It has been adopted by the Irish government in the first ever European national strategy on child participation and is used widely by policymakers and practitioners throughout Ireland, including the Dept. of Children and Youth Affairs, TUSLA, the Education Inspectorate, Oberstown Detention Centre and YMCA Ireland.
Laura trained and advised the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) on conducting its own child participation and the CCR undertook ground-breaking input into how the UNCRC produces advice for governments. Laura was an invited speaker at the EC’s child forum, a gathering of politicians, policy-makers and practitioners, where she presented on children’s participation for democratic decisionmaking and made a case for Votes at 16, children’s councils with dedicated budgets in every city and greater representation of children in conferences about childhood. Laura Lundy and Bronagh Byrne provided advice and training on child participation for the Children’s Commissioner in Jersey. Laura and Michelle Templeton are working with BBC Children in Need to develop an approach to participation in their new national programme on children’s mental well-being - A Million and Me.
Tell us a little about yourself.
As a single mother of five, I work part-time as a Business Development Manager for a local company and study the BA Criminology and Sociology fulltime at Queen’s University. On arriving at Queen's I quickly developed a passion for academia and made many friends among staff and students.
Why choose this course and Queen’s?
Coming from a working class background, I was aware of many social injustices and wanted to move into a career track that would let me contribute to tackling them. While completing the Access Foundation Course, I discovered Queen’s offered a Joint Honours Degree in Criminology and Sociology with fascinating content relevant for my career path. My mother was a Queen’s Sociology graduate and I’m proud to follow in her footsteps. I often sit in the beautiful grounds soaking up the atmosphere, feeling deeply privileged to study at such a prestigious institution.
What is your experience of the course?
I’ve gained new perspectives on many issues relevant to modern society. The Criminology and Sociology programme has a diverse range of topics. The interactive course structure is stimulating and challenging and smoothly facilitates engagement with the course content on numerous levels.
What’s your experience of the facilities and support?
The support goes well beyond my expectations. I benefit immensely from expert knowledge and guidance, in both my academic pursuits and my School Representative role. The commitment of staff to my academic development has been inspirational and has cultivated my desire to emulate similar qualities. I really enjoy the learning environment and have adopted the University’s core values of excellence and integrity in my approach to my studies. The facilities and resources are exceptional and provide everything I need to succeed. My favourite place on campus is the library.
How do you find the student experience?
There are so many activities taking place across campus and in the School. I really enjoyed the Inspiring Leaders programme, the Q-Step research work placement, the Sociological Cinema and the numerous seminars, conferences and workshops. There is a lot of scope for interaction and socialising with students and staff.
What’s next for you?
I feel a real sense of belonging at Queen’s so I have applied for the Master’s in Social Science Research Methods and intend to complete PhD and postdoctoral qualifications. I hope to pursue a career in academia and research, focusing on social injustices.
For more information about our degrees see www.qub.ac.uk/ssesw
Campbell Centre UK & Ireland is hosted by the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) under our Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation (CESI). It promotes positive social and economic change through the production and use of systematic reviews and other evidence synthesis for evidence-based policy and practice.
In February this year, the Campbell Centre UK & Ireland hosted the What Works Summit – Early Years at Queen’s University in partnership with Wales Centre for Public Policy (WCPP) and the Alliance for Useful Evidence. The event brought together researchers, policy-makers and practitioners to meet four of the ten UK What Works Centres: WCPP, Early Intervention Foundation, Education Endowment Fund and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
February’s event was part of a series of summits in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales exploring how What Works Centres create, share and use high quality evidence to inform decision-making in policy and practice. Paul Connolly (CESI) welcomed more than 80 local stakeholders who came along to engage with the What Works Centres, to share knowledge and help shape the early years research agenda. Local practitioners, such as Sure Start manager Seána Talbot, discussed the successful implementation of a breastfeeding project which benefitted from evaluation advice from CESI colleague Jennifer Hanratty (front row, second right).
What Works summits are part of the Campbell Centre’s work to build strong relationships with research institutions and knowledge brokers across the UK and Ireland. The discussions and connections which surfaced during the day feature in our blog at http://bit.ly/2Wm1nL0. The next What Works summit at Queen’s (14 May) is on youth mental health. The event is open to practitioners, teachers and policymakers with an interest in youth mental health. For more information see the CESI website at http://bit.ly/2HZHYM8
School of SSESW academic Karen Winter delivered the keynote speech at the third anniversary of Vietnam Social Work Day, held in Thu Dau Mot University (TDMU), Vietnam, on 25 March.
Over subsequent days, she delivered lectures, workshops and training events for social work academics and undergraduate and postgraduate students at TDMU focussing on: her work with social work, education and sociology academics from Edinburgh, Sussex, Cardiff and Oxford; with European academic partners from Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Romania and Republic of Ireland; and internationally with UNICEF and Ain Shams University, Egypt.
Against a rapidly changing social and economic context, in 2010 the Vietnamese government approved that social work could be officially classified as a profession, raising the profile of its training, job opportunities and career pathways. TDMU has offered a four year degree in social work training since 2011. Keen to build capacity in teaching, training and research, and to strengthen international links, TDMU invited Karen to share insights gained through collaboration with NGOs including Voice of Young People in Care, Barnardo’s, Irish Foster Carer Association, Fostering Network Northern Ireland, statutory organisations including English and Welsh Local Authorities, the Northern Ireland Guardian ad Litem Agency and Health and Social Care Trusts and international academic institutions from 33 countries represented in the European Social Work Research Association.
Karen delivered talks on social work training, the legalities of child protection, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in research and practice, and innovation and ethical issues in research with young children. Dr Le Thi Hoang Lieu, Director of Social Work at TDMU, said: ‘Karen’s expertise has been invaluable in thinking about how we train, research and publish in social work. We look forward to developing our relationship with Karen and with Queen’s University through mutually beneficial research and teaching opportunities’.
School of SSESW colleagues Amanda Slevin and Veronique Altglas, with John Barry (School of HAPP), worked with the Duncairn Centre for Culture and Arts in Belfast on a special sustainability and climate change event as part of the Duncairn’s ‘Fifty’ series. Featuring music and arts, the Fifty event on 12 April involved creative exploration of some of the biggest socio-ecological challenges facing society.
First year Social Policy and Social Work students performed ‘Anna’s Journey’, a new drama written by students Alexandra Popoff, Rosie Graves, Colleen Petticrew and Roxanne Elliot with their lecturer Amanda Slevin, based on learning about climate change, sustainability and environment in first year Social Policy modules.
In studying Social Policy, students tackle major policy problems by applying core concepts from social science to intractable social problems such as gender inequality, eldercare, children’s rights and climate change. They gain knowledge and understanding of contemporary government policies, their impacts and how to achieve Social Policy Students at the Duncairn improvements. In the case of climate change, students connect national policies and international agreements with local impacts and practical solutions, making the ‘global local’. The diversity of interests, skills and topics covered in Social Policy means that our students enter a wide range of careers on graduation. These include the public sector (e.g. social services, education, criminal justice, social work), private sector (e.g. market research, policy analysis, human resources), the community and voluntary sector (e.g. policy analyst, researcher, youth support worker, charity fundraiser).
Our Social Policy students’ work with organisations like the Duncairn Arts Centre provides opportunities for active engagement with key social issues and experience of settings where social policy is the focus for making a social difference.
For more information contact Dr Amanda Slevin at firstname.lastname@example.org or tel +44 (0)28 9097 3160
ARK is Northern Ireland’s social policy hub, jointly hosted by the School of SSESW and Ulster University. It provides an important record of public opinion through, for example, the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey, an annual attitudes survey recording public opinion about key social and political issues.
‘Our Life and Times through the Archives’ is an exciting and innovative collaboration bringing together ARK’s survey archive and the BBC Rewind archive, a database of digitised BBC content. The project explored attitudes over 30 years to samesex relationships and same-sex marriage.
Footage from TV programmes was used to bring the survey data to life and to illustrate the shift towards more liberal attitudes, as observed in the survey data. As well as identifying and analysing relevant survey statistics, Paula Devine and Gemma Carney provided a social science perspective exploring the link between public attitudes and the contemporary social and political context. The Queering the Family multimedia storyline is available on the BBC website at http://bit.ly/2G8dc1W
Our new International Postgraduate Certificate in Education (IPGCE) programme is a professional preparation course that aims to enable students to develop the understanding, abilities and competencies needed to teach in schools around the world and in a range of school types. It is delivered entirely online and encompasses school experience and online teaching and learning.
The IPGCE helps students develop a sound knowledge and understanding of current thinking in their chosen specialist area and ensures that international initial teacher education is rooted in theory, research and practice. Students will demonstrate both their ability in the classroom and their ability to critically reflect on their own classroom practice and current theories around teaching and learning. The programme has a clear emphasis on acquiring key teaching competences and students are expected to develop the competences both during their online engagement and while on school experience. In addition, there is a series of general lectures, designed to introduce students to a wide range of educational theory and policy matters, and a variety of online tutorials, workshops, online and schoolbased activities to ensure they have a broad understanding of educational issues and practices.
The professional aspects of this online course are designed to enable students to develop a variety of teaching, communication and organisational skills within a broad set of values which focus on the importance of good educational principles and practice. The academic aspects provide the intellectual framework which enables students to analyse, among other things, the role of education, the nature of learning, the methods of teaching and the interrelationships between pupils and teachers and schools and society.
More information is available at www.qub.ac.uk/ssesw
School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) colleagues are running this year’s Summer School on 3-5 July at Queen’s University, for Year 12 and Year 13 students who are interested in studying social sciences at university. The theme for the summer school is Visualising the Social World. By learning how to present stories with graphical representations of data and how to distinguish between good and bad examples of data visualisations, students can gain social data skills and experience sought by employers in areas such as social research, marketing, financial services and economic and social policy in order to help analyse and solve real world problems.
Pupils can learn more about important and interesting topics at the summer school such as families, religion, crime and deviance, social inequality, ethnic diversity and politics. They will also have the chance to chat to staff and current students and find out about study options with us in SSESW. The summer school is funded by the Queen’s University Q-Step Centre, which is hosted in SSESW and is part of a UK-wide programme to increase the quantitative skills of social science students. Lunch and refreshments will be provided each day and a number of travel bursaries are available (terms and conditions apply).
Students at last year’s summer school at Queen’s University liked:
‘The range of different topics covered and the ability to choose a research question from a large range so it could be something you were genuinely interested in.’
‘The new skills that we have gained on the programme.’
‘It gave a good insight into what’s taught in the social science related courses.’
Parents, teachers and students can see more information about the Social Sciences Summer School on our website at www.qub.ac.uk/sites/QStep
Professor Gavin Davidson was appointed in May 2018 as our first Praxis Chair of Social Care, a research collaboration between Queen’s University Belfast and Praxis Care, a major provider of services for adults and children with a learning disability, mental ill health, acquired brain injury and autism. The Chair is a new and innovative post supporting Praxis Care to develop services, inform policy and set standards for practice. It focuses primarily on the effectiveness of services and developing the Praxis Model of Care to improve the outcomes and experiences of service users.
My main interests are in mental health and social justice, partly due to some of my family having had mental health problems. This interest was further developed through working in a night shelter in London in the late 1980s, when a lot of people were being discharged from long-stay hospitals. I studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics to try to better understand how systems work and how they might be changed. Social work seemed to provide the opportunity to continue examining mental health and social justice so I completed my training as a social worker in Liverpool in 1995. Coincidentally, my first post-qualifying post was as a support worker for Praxis.
I then worked in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust for 12 years, as a Community Mental Health Team social worker, out of hours Approved Social Worker, project manager and team leader. My work tended to focus on people regarded as presenting a relatively high level of risk but who were reluctant to engage with services. I was able to explore this aspect of mental health services further through a Research and Development Division Doctoral Fellowship. I enjoyed the experience of research and it seemed to open up opportunities to try to inform the development of policy and practice. I moved to Queen’s in 2008 and my research interests remain in the area of mental health, specifically: the effectiveness of services; inequalities; trauma; coercion; and mental health/mental capacity legislation.
My main teaching role is to help coordinate the Approved Social Work Programme, which focuses on mental health law and is a partnership with the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. I was one of the social work representatives involved in developing the Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 and I’m keen to contribute to research on how it will be implemented. I’m the Strand Lead for What Works for Communities in our Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation which is enabling positive connections across the University and with other sectors. I’m also excited about this collaboration with Praxis Care, as it is an organisation that is actively encouraging and open to research.
The School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) is proud to hold a bronze Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to the advancement of gender equality for our staff and students. The team working on our Action Plan comprises students and staff. It targets School culture and practices, career development and progression, academic progression for students and work/life balance. In addition to adapting School policies to support this work, we periodically survey our staff and students on workplace culture, ensuring that gender equality awareness is evident in our approach to education and research.
SSESW marked International Women’s Day in March with an exhibition, in collaboration with the School of Nursing and Midwifery, showcasing research on gender inequalities. It featured work by Sirin Sung (SSESW) on women’s experiences with balancing paid work and family responsibilities in Northern Ireland, South Korea, China and the USA. Sirin worked with the Northern Ireland Black and Minority Ethnic Women’s Network and the Northern Ireland Council for Racial Equality in carrying out this research. It has received support from Queen’s and the Leverhulme Trust and led to Sirin’s appointment as a visiting scholar at Sun-Yat Sen University in Guangzhou, China.
The School also screened four short films on gender inequality in India to mark International Women’s Day, followed by a discussion led by Social Policy research student Aishwarya Patil, Sirin Sung (SSESW) and Sian Barber (Film Studies). We hosted Sisters Inside: Why is women’s imprisonment a feminist issue? in collaboration with the QUB Gender Network. Supported by Reclaim the Agenda and featuring talks by Gillian McNaull (SSESW) and Phil Scraton (Law), the event focused on social injustice issues arising from women’s imprisonment. Speakers argued that women’s imprisonment is often a disproportionate and inappropriate response to problems generated by poverty, racism and gender-based violence.
- Catherine Storey was invited to join the Sharland Foundation Developmental Disabilities ABA Research and Impact Network. It focusses on intellectual disabilities and using ABA-based methods to support individuals’ skills development and quality of life and to reduce the impact of problem behaviours forming barriers to learning or community participation. With fellow Foundation members, Catherine is running two literacy projects with Mencap NI and The Fostering Network.
Weight management is a global priority due to its potential to prevent chronic illness such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Katerina Dounavi completed a systematic review of studies for the worldleading American Journal of Preventive Medicine, examining the efficacy of mobile health technology as a facilitator of behaviour change, aiming to inform treatment and policy.
People with autism are much more likely to die from drowning than the general population. A systematic review of effective behavioural interventions for water safety and swim skills was conducted by PhD candidate Catriona (Tia) Martin and supervisor Karola Dillenburger for Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. findings show that behaviourally based interventions can improve water safety and swim skills in children with autism.
- A current Centre project for the Council of Europe is looking at the rights and experiences of children with disabilities in the digital environment. Colleagues have been working with children from Mencap NI, Action for Deaf Youth, Angel Eyes and Fleming Fulton school in Belfast as advisers.
In February, Laura Lundy visited Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, where she gave a keynote talk addressing a controversial issue - whether the rights of the many outweigh the rights of the few when a child with disabilities is disruptive in a classroom.
In March, Bronagh Byrne visited the University of Sydney where she led a Masterclass for PhD students on education and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and led a workshop on comparative approaches to disability rights. She also presented at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, unpacking the meaning of inclusive education.
Doctoral student Craig Goodall received an EdD for his work on children’s rights, inclusion and autism and Michelle McCoy received hers for a study on the fairness of examination accommodations for children with additional needs.
- Lorna Montgomery, Berni Kelly and Gavin Davidson were awarded £100,000 through a Getting our Voices Heard tender process by DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living & Learning). The team will work with: Action for Real Change, UK; Compass Advocacy Network, Northern Ireland; Praxis Care, Northern Ireland; Mencap Cyrmu, Wales; Richmond Fellowship, Scotland; and Ann Craft Trust, England. The project will explore the approaches used by people with learning disabilities, and their supporting organisations, to influence adult safeguarding policy and procedures.
Berni Kelly gave an invited presentation to practitioners, managers and researchers at the Children in Care Research Forum at Trinity College Dublin in March on key findings from her studies of disabled children living in, and leaving, care in Northern Ireland.
At the first Africa Network of Care-Leaving Research workshop and conference in Johannesburg in January, Berni Kelly presented the findings of her study on disabled young people leaving care and her model of peer research with care experienced young people. Scroll down to 'Young People Leaving Care in Africa' news item for more information about the event.
- Anne Campbell completed the Cannabis and Mental Health research project with colleagues at Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, USA, on the correlation between cannabis use disorder and severe and enduring mental health problems.
Anne Campbell, David Hayes and Michelle Butler are working on an evaluation of the new family drug courts in Northern Ireland with the Department of Justice and Department of Health (Northern Ireland). The study is looking at outcomes for parents, primary carers and children who participated in the programme over the last 12 months, including family reunification, reduction in parental substance use and partnership working.
The DARN team, including research fellow Aisling Mc Laughlin, was awarded a grant by Alcohol Change UK for a rapid review of Alcohol Use Disorders and Mental Health. The review outcome is expected to be in the public domain by July this year. It is part of a series of five rapid reviews on alcohol issues proposed by Alcohol Change UK.
Anne Campbell and Kathryn Higgins are presenting their research on Variations and Determinants of Novel Psychoactive Substance Use: Implications for Policy and Practice at the National Institute on Drug Abuse International Forum in San Antonio, USA, in June.
Our Northern Ireland Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research (NICILT) is funded by the Department of Education and offers a range of services to teachers and learners of modern languages in schools in Northern Ireland.
In February, NICILT ran Francofest, a unique opportunity for Key Stage 3 pupils of French. The event was attended by pupils from 30 schools who set up and ran their own tourist information offices and trade stands and who were judged by independent Frenchspeaking judges. Francofest encourages young learners to use their marketing and communication skills in a new context. It introduces them to the world of work and higher education and develops their rapport with their peers in a fun and engaging way. The top prize this year went to the team from Wallace High School for their trade stand selling French pâtisseries.
NICILT ran the annual A-Level French, German and Spanish Debating Competitions in February and March and 26 schools took part. These events enhance and support linguistic skills examined at AS and A2 and provide an invaluable public-speaking experience for pupils. Strathearn School took home the NICILT Cup for German and Omagh Academy (pictured with NICILT’s Michelle Devenny, left) surpassed all expectations by taking home the top prizes for both French and Spanish.
In March, NICILT co-ordinated two Teacher Professional Learning events for 50 French and Spanish teachers in collaboration with the Institut Français UK and the Association of Spanish Language Schools in Andalusia. The French workshop focused on teaching French through music and the Spanish day helped develop teachers’ understanding of project-based learning as well as the ‘Escape Room’ and gamification concepts.
The seamlessCARE platform is the culmination of a three-year Marie Curie/ASSISTID postdoctoral research Fellowship held by Dr Aviva Cohen, hosted in our Centre for Behaviour Analysis (CBA) and supervised by Karola Dillenburger (Director of CBA) and Lizbeth Goodman (University College Dublin). The project addresses the emerging crisis caused by a lack of future planning by ageing carers of loved ones with intellectual disability, learning disability, autism spectrum disorders, acquired brain injury, dementia and a range of other complex needs. It also tackles the inadequacies of paper-based and digital care planning tools used in caring and therapeutic organisations.
The seamlessCARE platform enables care givers to take photographs, record short videos and make notes about the medical, social and communication issues for each care recipient. Parents and guardians can receive an alert about the updates. The platform creates an accessible digital archive that can be viewed by everyone who interacts with that person, ensuring continuity of care while providing privacy, where needed, through password protection. Through a process of inclusive design, Aviva created a user-friendly interface that can be operated by anyone, including those with little technical knowhow. Aviva tested her archive model as an iOS platform and gathered feedback at the design phase from over 200 participants including family carers and health care professionals.
The final version of the seamlessCARE platform will also include a tool that records some of the vocalisations made by non-verbal people and translates these sounds into text that carers can read. In addition, it will include sophisticated data analytics relating to those communications. The Irish government has invested in the seamlessCARE project and Aviva is seeking further investment to extend its use.
Dr Jennifer Roberts is a qualified teacher and taught in a number of schools in Northern Ireland before beginning her academic career in SSESW. Jennifer is a Lecturer in Education. She is the director of our International Postgraduate Certificate in Education (IPGCE) and the deputy director of the PGCE.
I always knew I wanted to be a teacher and ‘make a difference’. After completing my teacher training I worked in a variety of school settings. As a literacy specialist and special educational needs coordinator I developed a keen interest in reading development, especially for groups at risk of educational underachievement and I have carried these interests over to my research career. After completing a Master’s in Education I decided to complete a PhD at Queen’s to further my own academic interests and began looking at ways to tackle educational inequality and underachievement for specific groups of children and how we can measure difference or impact as researchers. I am interested in education, particularly the experiences of young children in primary school and how circumstances can impact their learning. I am interested in generating evidence about what works for children and young people. To this end, I have conducted and am involved in a number of randomised controlled trials of school and individual interventions. In order to further consolidate current knowledge and add to the evidence base, I am also involved in a number of systematic reviews looking at interventions on social and emotional issues as well as school-based issues such as homework.
One of the roles I really enjoy is my involvement in initial teacher education programmes. I am one of the deputy directors of the PGCE programme. This allows me to continue to develop and sustain links with schools in Northern Ireland which helps us to disseminate current research and good practice with our partner schools. As well as working on UK initial teacher education programmes I am passionate about international teacher education, including initial teacher education and continued professional development in an international context. Working internationally allows me to meet people from all over the world and ensures that our work in SSESW is world leading!
I have also been working with the Widening Participation unit at Queen’s and have trained student volunteers for homework clubs and volunteering programmes. This is a really rewarding part of our work and one where we can really see how transformative education can be for children and young people.
Our Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) students really enjoyed a Careers in Teaching Mini Fair at Queen’s University in early March, where they met representatives from schools and recruitment agencies, both local and national, who are recruiting teachers for the next academic year. A panel of principals was available in the morning for students to quiz for insider knowledge and careers advice. Afterwards, a range of workshops on job searching and application skills was delivered by exhibitors.
The students heard fascinating talks from recent PGCE graduates Jayne McCourt (Down High School, Downpatrick), James Lennon (St Malachy’s High School, Castlewellan) and Michael O’Connell (Longstone Special School, Belfast). The graduates provided helpful insight from their own routes into employment and their career path since graduation. They gave this year’s students some excellent advice on job seeking, interviewing, the benefits of subbing as a means of seeing lots of teaching and management styles and what to expect during the early career stage for newly qualified teachers.
Read more about PGCE study with us at http://bit.ly/2C6qs5T. Applications for entry in September 2020 will close in November 2019.
A new book by School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work academic Ibrar Bhatt recounts how academic writing is changing in the contemporary university. Through detailed studies of writing in the daily life of academics in different disciplines and institutions, their use of, for example, the tools and technologies of writing and their approach to collaboration with others and engagement with social media, Academics Writing: The Dynamics of Knowledge Creation (ISBN 9780815385905) looks at how change is transforming what it means to be an academic and how, as a society, we produce academic knowledge. The book is key reading for anyone studying or researching writing, academic support and development within education and applied linguistics.
The School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) partnered with the Department of Social Work at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), the Africa Network of Care-Leaving Researchers and Girls and Boys Town South Africa, a major provider of residential care, to hold the First Africa Care-Leaving Conference at UJ on 18 January.
The conference followed a three-day workshop with 37 care-leaving scholars from nine countries in Africa (Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe) and three countries from the global North (UK, USA and the Netherlands). The event was funded as a research capacity building event through a UK Department for the Economy - Global Challenge Research Fund Award, with additional support from the National Research Foundation South Africa.
The programme covered research design, data collection, including the use of peer researchers, data analysis, getting published and strategic planning for policy and practice impact. SSESW staff Berni Kelly, Gerry Marshall and John Pinkerton, along with care experienced peer researcher Seana Friel, contributed to the planning, the formal inputs and to chairing various sessions. Central to the workshop was ensuring that an African focus was maintained whilst being inclusive of the learning from other continents.
Ten of the workshop participants presented at the one day conference which was attended by over 200 people, mostly practising social workers and child and youth care workers in the Johannesburg area.
Berni Kelly, Co-Director of our Disability Research Network, contributed a UK perspective on the experiences of care leavers with disabilities. Gerry Marshall followed with a presentation on the use of care experienced young people as inspectors of services. Both presentations prompted considerable interest, discussion and contacts among conference participants.
In March, School of Social Sciences, Education and Social (SSESW) academic Paul McCafferty spent a week at Leuven University in Belgium, as part of a new Erasmus bilateral agreement he established.
During the trip, he was invited to speak at a student conference on children’s and young people’s rights in different national and cultural contexts. The focus of his talk, presented to second year Children and Youth Studies students in a variety of placements across Belgium, was the right of children looked after by the state to participate in decisions about their care.
During the visit, Paul enjoyed making connections with new colleagues from South Africa, Uganda, Brazil, Holland and Poland. Several areas of common interest emerged for possible future collaboration in teaching and research including child protection decision making, children’s participation in decisions about their care and social work student placements.
Paul commented: ‘The Erasmus scheme is an excellent vehicle for enhancing international relationships and for broadening the scope of research and teaching. It helps transcend territorial borders, to discover new approaches to teaching and research. The next stage is to establish student exchange trips, so that students studying at both institutions can begin to understand social work as an international profession. They will also benefit from being exposed to different cultures, political systems and social work practices, increasing their personal capacity to think globally and more diversely.’
Head of the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, Professor Carl Bagley, has co-edited a definitive reference book on educational ethnography, a research approach that studies education contexts through long-term immersion, engagement and participation of the researcher in the routine daily lives of people and their culture.
The Wiley Handbook of Ethnography of Education (ISBN: 978-1-118-93370-1) brings together leading international scholars and looks at ethnography in contrasting rural and urban contexts, place-based and virtual settings, single and multi-site explorations, as well as foundational and developmental ideas. Its aim is to inform and shape the current field of ethnography and education and to provide a comprehensive reference point for those engaged in academic study in this field.
Our Centre for Shared Education (CSE), with the Social Change Initiative, hosted an international symposium on Shared Education in December, to reflect on development and implementation of shared education in Northern Ireland and consider the transferability of the model to other divided jurisdictions.
The event at Queen’s brought together academics, policy-makers and practitioners from Northern Ireland and several divided societies where shared education has been introduced or there is interest in piloting the model. These included several Balkan states (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, and Bosnia and Herzegovina), Israel, Cyprus and Lebanon. It considered the curriculum as a vehicle for advancing shared education’s objectives, the effectiveness of contact via shared education in changing attitudes, and the role and mechanisms of collaboration in divided societies.
Participants heard from policy-makers and school principals and provided an overview of their own regional context and the experience/potential of shared education. All involved in the event highlighted the value of sharing experience and insights with colleagues from a range of professional backgrounds and nationalities.
In January, CSE colleagues led a seminar on shared education in Pristina, Kosovo, where they are supporting peacebuilding by promoting collaboration between schools in a divided education system. The seminar included teachers from the Municipality of Kamenica, where shared education will be piloted, representatives from the British Council, the British Embassy and the Rochester Institute of Technology (Kosovo), colleagues from the Queen’s University Centre for Identity and Intergroup Relations and key stakeholders from policy and practitioner bodies in Northern Ireland. The symposium built on work that has been ongoing between Queen’s and the Balkans since 2009 to connect networks of colleagues from different sectors and to share learning from the Northern Ireland experience of developing and delivering shared education.
In addition to our wide ranging seminar series (see http://bit.ly/2IqbV7Z), School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) colleagues lead important network activities in their respective fields, contributing to improving practice in local and global arenas. Their work with partners across many professions informs our activities at national and international levels and the recognition of our colleagues’ expertise reflects the importance and influence of that collaboration. The following are examples of just a few instances over recent months:
Eisenhower Fellowships has included Katy Hayward in its selection of 14 highly accomplished leaders invited to participate in its 2019 Island of Ireland Program, a prestigious international leadership programme. The named recipients work in fields such as diplomacy, law, economics, religious affairs, environmental conservation and academia. The programme will see Katy travel across the United States exchanging knowledge and ideas with other leading figures before applying her new expertise to a project with real-world impact in a Northern Ireland setting.
Anne Campbell was appointed co–chair of the Recovery Committee for the UK Government Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs which advises the government on supporting people to recover from dependence on drugs and alcohol and how best to prevent drug and alcohol misuse and its associated harm. Anne’s new Recovery Committee role recognises her expertise in aspects of drug and alcohol recovery. She is chair of the Dual Diagnosis Expert Research and Education Group (Northern Ireland) and won the highly prestigious Lifetime Drug and Alcohol Fellowship Application to NIDA (USA, January to June 2017).
Michael Duffy was invited to become a founding member of the newly formed UK Trauma Council, a crossdisciplinary leadership group tasked with supporting and guiding the creation, development and dissemination of trauma resources, guidance, policy and training. It supports collaboration across a broad interdisciplinary group of experts, to ensure children and young people receive help following trauma. Like Michael Duffy, UK Trauma Council members are recognised experts in their respective fields and are drawn from across the four nations of the UK.
Joe Duffy is on a US-UK Fulbright Scholarship study visit to the USA this academic year. In addition to working with universities and organisations in Nashville and New York, Joe shared with the United States Council for Social Work Education (CSWE) his research findings on the benefits of directly involving people with lived experience in the teaching of social work students. Joe’s input to the CSWE helps inform their future planning and development for social work education in the USA.
Read more about colleagues’ research and teaching at www.qub.ac.uk/ssesw