Southlands Methodist Trust provides grants to academics across the University of Roehampton’s academic departments, supporting projects which would explore areas of work that fulfil the charitable objectives of the Southlands Methodist Trust. Read about recent project proposals below (click to expand):
2021 – 2022
Bridging the ethnic minority gap between educational development and doctoral supervision: Social justice and inclusivity
Findings from my recent study which interviewed 30 doctoral students suggest that more attention should be given to networking opportunities afforded to students undertaking doctoral research, and to the implications of these for doctoral pedagogy and education (Douglas 2020). This is especially important for ethnic minority students who are often subject to judgments of their capabilities and situations, influenced by their backgrounds, cultural capitals and personal experiences (Mirza 2018). Importantly, the dearth of academics of colour within the Academy, only serves to remind that entry into the Academy for ethnic minorities remains problematic with regards to access and opportunities (Leading Routes, 2019).
This study will produce a Doctoral Supervisor Resource Pack to support the educational development of supervisors in promoting networking skills and relational working for ethnic minority doctoral students. This pack will use the dimensions of fit model (Ward and Brennan 2018) to address aspects of culture, environment and vocational aspiration with a focus on student values and their alignment with those of their doctoral programmes (Douglas, 2021). This is particularly important owing to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent reliance on established networking opportunities and online interaction and communication (Douglas 2020).
Lead researcher: Dr Alaster Douglas, School of Education
Reading4Normal Book Club
The Reading4Normal Book Club is an online reading-group scheme that aims to bring together young readers to discuss young adult (YA) novels. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the mental wellbeing of many young people, who have had to navigate a ‘new normal’ and find different ways to connect with each other. This impact initiative recognises the value of reading for teens who have struggled with isolation and disruption. It provides the structure and space for them to reflect on their own routines, relationships, and environments through the lens of fiction. It also offers a valuable way for keen readers to make connections with other individuals at a similar life stage across the UK.
The initiative builds on existing research funded by The British Academy. It would facilitate a nine-month Reading4Normal Book Club at six schools (two in the Wandsworth area linked to four across the UK), including an author event. It would support the creation of a website and social media programme. It will therefore have an impact on youth local to Roehampton and nationwide. It will also work alongside Cheltenham Festival’s ‘Reading Teachers: Reading Pupils’ programme to provide development for teachers or other educational professionals.
Lead researcher: Dr Alison Waller, School of Humanities
Understanding emotional journeys: the emotional impact of commuting and campus-based learning during the era of COVID-19
University of Roehampton students have diverse needs, and one significant issue for high-quality engagement is the role of commuting to campus for in-person sessions. Commuting can negatively impact on student engagement, which is a key issue in being able to successfully complete a degree. COVID-19 has transformed experiences of commuting, increasing feelings of risk and insecurity while commuting to campus and providing new forms of ‘commute’ for those engaging with e-learning resources; many of whom cannot do this at home. This research engages with the emotional challenges faced by students on
their ‘commute’ – whether onto campus or accessing e-learning resources for remote learning. This wider interpretation of ‘commuting’ takes into consideration the different circumstances students have been negotiating as well as associated challenges.
This research will employ a multi-method, qualitative approach which includes visual methods. Visual methods will provide a novel approach to conceptualising the emotional experience of these students through personal photographs and drawings related to their ‘commute’. Approximately 35 students will participate in this project. This participatory research strategy will enable student participants to engage with their ‘journey’ as an affective experience. This will improve their emotional literacy and develop key employability skills like problem-solving, communication, creativity, and self-management.
Lead researcher: Dr Caitlin Knight, School of Humanities
Public Engagement: Diverse Shakespeare at Shakespeare’s Globe
This public engagement project will call on the research findings of the Engendering the Stage project team (based in English and Creative Writing in the School of Humanities), consulting with Dr. Onyeka Nubia, to train key members of staff at Shakespeare’s Globe in new research into diversity in the Shakespearean period. This will draw on Engendering the Stage’s research in diverse early modern performers such as women, gender nonconforming individuals, disabled performers and performers of colour, we will design and deliver 4 training workshops for
1) Shakespeare’s Globe tour guides to empower them in their interactions with the general public;
2) Globe Education Practitioners, to support them in delivering inclusive schools workshops as part of Globe Education outreach.
This work will support the Globe’s ‘whole building’ approach to inclusivity and anti-racism. We will equip these key staff groups to change opinions beyond existing ticket-buying audiences, reaching into a broader group of visitors and into local communities in Southwark. We aim to support the Globe in its ongoing challenge to the gatekeeping of Shakespeare, and broaden the constituencies who can claim this literary period as their own.
Lead researcher: Prof Clare McManus, School of Humanities
Productivity and food safety improvements for women in community mechanised palm oil processing: The Case of Ejisu Juaben Municipality, Ashanti Region, Ghana.
Palm fruit processing into palm oil for consumption, sales and export have become a source of livelihood for women in some communities in Ghana. Recent processing activities have seen an increasing departure from manual production to the use of locally manufactured processing machines to increase productivity. However, there are weak or non-existent standards to regulate the material used in the production of these machines. Therefore, how the machinery parts, which come into contact with the oil, affect quality of outputs and therefore consumer health and food safety have not been given adequate attention. Most of these production processes lack systematic quality control and there are limited or no involvement of bodies or agencies responsible for food standards to monitor and evaluate these. Efficiency and ease of operation of locally manufactured machines are often cumbersome with limited attempts to incorporate ease of operation by the women.
Most of such machines appear to be designed by men and for men, with total disregard for the physiology and psychology of women operators. Despite having a huge role to play in palm oil production, women have little input in the design of these machines. There are limited studies that evaluate and explore technological needs of females involved in agricultural processing in the developing world. The overarching aim of this study is to evaluate the technological needs of women and specifically explore the technological, gender and food safety issues.
To achieve the research aim, the lead investigator will be working with the country director of Self-Help International, Ghana and the Ashanti Regional Engineer for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to gain access to the research subjects and key stakeholders. The research output is expected to highlight the gender and food safety issues involved in community-based processing of agricultural products. Initial findings will be shared with the stakeholders through workshops and focus groups. There will also be an impact assessment six months after the workshop and focus group discussions. The output will also inform policy makers and will be disseminated in academic conferences and journals (CABS 3* or 4*).
Lead researcher: Dr Ellis Osabutey, School of Business
Growth Outlook for Family Businesses under Uncertainty: An Exploratory Study of the Local Business Community in South West London
Cross-national studies show that family businesses generate almost a third of the national income globally. Within UK, an estimated five million family businesses are under serious risk of market exit following double-edged uncertainty of Brexit and the pandemic (IFB Report, 2020). Moreover, small businesses have taken the hardest hit (Institute for Government, 2020; Simply Business, 2020). Under the backdrop of such an uncertainty-driven external environment, the proposed research project aims to understand the resilience of (small) family businesses in South West London and investigate the complex interaction of these businesses with their external environments. South West London, due to the presence of a rich and diverse socio-cultural community is a natural empirical testbed to investigate how these businesses are adapting to the new challenges while value-preserving their traditional socio-emotional wealth.
The research will build upon and extend the applicants’ extensive experience in studying firm-level dynamics using mixed methods (e.g., Diebolt, Mishra & Parhi, 2016). Using both survey and semi-structured interviews, the project is expected to tease out new insights about the dynamics of small family businesses, specifically how they interact with the socio-economic fabric of their local community. The project is expected to initiate intensive knowledge exchanges between academia, business community/industry and policymaking.
The Potato Teeth Project: A comparison of classroom and garden-based educational interventions for oral hygiene in primary school pupils
The project proposes to investigate the relative benefits of two similar, garden-themed intervention work packages (WP) for improving the oral health of primary school pupils. Both programmes will involve the same one-hour regimen of activities, facilitated by students from the University of Roehampton (UoR), in conjunction with the Growhampton Student Union. WP1 will involve UoR students visiting local schools with garden resources to guide pupils through the activities in class, while WP2 will bring pupils (under teacher supervision) to perform the activities in situ at the campus’ garden plots.
In a 2019 global survey of 13 high-GDP countries by FDI World Dental Federation, the UK ranked last in promoting good oral health for children (FDA, 2019). Although Public Health England (2017) had published guidance on changing patients’ attitudes to oral care and toothbrushing/flossing techniques, these are generalised and do not address the commitment of children beyond the clinical setting. WP1 has already demonstrated some preliminary benefits in the latter regard through its model in the ‘Sugarless Green’ project.
WP2 is an extension of this model in a dynamic, outdoors setting, which may offer pupils a more engaging experience of oral health education.
Lead researcher: Dr Melissa Jogie, School of Education
2020 – 2021
The effect of COVID-19 Lockdown on the learning journey of commuter students.
Over the past few tumultuous weeks, as a result of the Lockdown imposed by COVID-19, the Roehampton Business School has had to rapidly transition to more home and digitally based teaching and learning. The research proposed in this application will explore the effect of the changes on the learning journey of commuter students who are the majority in the Business School. The work package will comprise two stages of development:
- A systematic literature review to gauge existing literature that addresses commuter student learning experiences and engagement. Although academic research in this area is nascent, there are a few papers that are seeking to inform policy on addressing the needs of this category of students.
- The literature review will be followed by interviews and focus groups. Our concern is with the learning journey of commuter students and how the Business School can meet those needs. The COVID-19 lockdown negatively affected the ‘sticky campus’ strategy causing us, and students, to adapt quickly. This study will provide an opportunity to learn how students coped and what lessons can be learned for the future. Data will be collected on a sample of commuter students studying Business at Roehampton University. Data will be analysed using thematic analysis underpinned by knowledge gained from the literature review.
The findings of the research will be able to provide evidence-based information for interventions offered by Southlands College to the Business School’s large majority of commuter students in this “new normal” era. The research will also enable the Business School to strengthen its learning culture linked to outcomes for its students, such as satisfaction and motivation for learning. Last but not least, the opportunity for dialogue and reflection embedded into the project design will serve as a robust feedback mechanism for the Business School to prioritise time and resources into effective learning journeys for its students.
Lead researcher: Prof Sunitha Narendran, Business School
The effects of the coronavirus lockdown on children’s psychosocial and educational adjustment during school transition
What are the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown on pupils’ outcomes, especially for those who undergo school transition simultaneously? This question can only be asked because we have a single historical event impacting people’s lives at the same time. The aim of this study is to explore the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown on children’s psychosocial and educational adjustment during school transition.
Since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, the subjects of school closure and social distancing measures have become key discussion points, especially as their impact on children is almost unknown. This crisis may have affected children who are in transition from primary to secondary education more, as the lockdown may have impeded schools’ preparation towards this transition. Understanding these impacts will not only be important for identifying potential inventions and support programmes in future major crises, it will also provide a general indication of how transitioning children can be supported this year. To achieve this aim, views from parents and children in interviews six months after the beginning of the lockdown will be gathered. The research will be disseminated to relevant educational trusts, schools, parents and pupils and will likely have an impact at the national and international levels.
Lead researcher: Dr Arielle Bonneville-Roussy, School of Education
An investigation into social control by neglect
The project is an investigation into social control by neglect. That is to say, the absence of institutional control and social support in the lives of certain groups. It is intended that a number of case studies will illustrate the conceptual parameters of this theory. Key informants in four sites: criminal justice, disability welfare, homelessness and migration will be consulted. The funding will pay for the transcription of approximately half the case study interviews; that is, 19 interviews (which will all be done over the phone) conducted in two of the sites of neglect: disability benefits and migration.
Lead researcher: Dr Natasha Du Rose, Department of Social Sciences
Latin American professional women and men in the UK: A critical exploration of the workplace experiences and career trajectories of an understudied immigrant group
This research project examines the workplace experiences, career trajectories and professional identity of Latin American professionals in London – an understudied immigrant group in the UK. It builds on the applicant’s previous research on gender, race and class inequality in professional occupations in Mexico (Ruiz-Castro, 2012, Ruiz-Castro & Holvino, 2016), the long work hours culture in professional service firms in the UK (Lupu, Ruiz-Castro & Leca, in press) and professionals’ career transitions in the UK (Ruiz-Castro, Van der Heijden & Henderson, under review).
Employing qualitative research methods, including semi-structured interviews and focus groups with Latin American women and men in professional occupations in London, this study will examine Latin American professionals’ strategies of integration into the workplace and of career advancement. It will also identify the ways in which Latin Americans construct their professional identity in the British workplace. Finally, it will consider how Latin Americans’ own gendered, raced and classed practices as well as current contextual factors, such as Brexit and Covid-19, influence their career choices and trajectories. This project will also promote collaboration and knowledge exchange between BAME and immigrant practitioners and students as well as scholars and organisations supporting the Latin American community in London.
Lead researcher: Dr Mayra Ruiz-Castro, Business School
Once More with Feeling: A reinvention of Hysteria using photography, performance and writing
This project consists of an art exhibition and a series of corresponding satellite events. Over the year events and exhibitions will be held both at Roehampton and external institutions such as The Freud Museum (London) and the Royal College of Art (RCA). The project is premised on my practice-based PhD research at the RCA and aims to generate public engagement concerning societal frameworks, historical and contemporary, of the repression of women.
Lead researcher: Sharon Young, PhD student at the Royal College of Art, lectures at the University of Roehampton.
View Sharon Young’s book here:Sharon Young Ms Bovary
Public Engagement: Challenging myths of empire
In an age of decolonizing research and the curriculum (at all levels) it is important to question the increasing glorification of empire in recent years. Using public engagement tools, the Australian ‘working man’s paradise’ narrative and the continuing belief that convicts transported to Australia in the nineteenth century were ‘better off’, can be challenged. Academic research (which has already been carried out) will be disseminated in an informal and engaging way, and promoted to family historians, crime history enthusiasts, as well as students and academics. This will be done through the creation of bi-monthly life-narratives of convicts who were transported to Australia and died as paupers. This will be published on a WordPress blog and will accrue no cost. To accompany those blogs, podcasts will be created, which will be funded. The podcast will extend beyond the life-narrative to engage with the social and economic aspects of the colony (Australia) and issues surrounding the criminalisation of poverty, vagrancy and stigmatisation. These issues remain today and contemporary links will be made. Individual convicts will be utilised to introduce more complex historical influences and issues, to a lay audience. This is not only about education, but also about challenging long standing myths about empire.
Lead researcher: Dr Emma Watkins, Department of Social Sciences
Phiroz Mehta: A Social History of an Indian Philosopher in South London, 1970s-1980s, and his Impact on the Development of Yoga and Meditation in Britain
This project seeks to capture and assess the philosophy and impact of Phiroz Mehta (1902-1994), an Indian spiritual teacher in 1970s-1990s Britain, whose impact remains undocumented outside of his close circle and has not been analysed in an academic context. I will conduct oral interviews with surviving members of the Phiroz Mehta Trust and community, who were his students until his death, in order to capture the social history of the community before it disappears.
I will also investigate the substantial personal library of Phiroz Mehta, currently housed and preserved in a private home in Hammersmith, London, to examine his collection and evaluate how he used Indian philosophical and Sanskrit sources in his work – paying particular attention to his dense scholarly marginalia. This strand will also entail analysis of his publications and talks in order to assess their content, context and reach. I have contacted this community in 2020 and have had a very positive response to this research proposal in principle.
The outputs will be an online social history archive (comprising interview recordings and transcripts and unpublished photos and videos), a peer-reviewed academic article, an online learning resource for religious studies academics, and a public lecture at Southlands College, University of Roehampton.
Lead researcher: Dr Karen O’Brien-Kop, Department of Humanities
2019 – 2020
Lifelong Reader: New Stories
‘Lifelong Reading: New Stories’ investigates a new creative form of life review for older adults living with early-stage dementia. The project recognises the significance of early reading and childhood books, and explores how far such stories – and shifting memories of them – might act as a starting point for rethinking narratives of ageing identity. A children’s literature specialist (Principal Investigator), a creative writer and a book artist, will work with individuals in a care setting to co-create bespoke ‘fictional life-review books’ based on meaningful childhood stories interwoven with autobiographical fragments. These artefacts will be used by participants, their families and carers, and will represent rich data sources for understanding aspects of ageing identity via narrative and memory.
Lead researcher: Dr Alison Waller, Department of English and Creative Writing
Makerspaces: Supporting digital inclusiveness in urban communities
The purpose of this research project is to investigate the extent to which Makerspaces can assist such communities through providing access to modern digital fabrication equipment (and the training to support its use), and through the support offered by Makerspaces for nascent entrepreneurs. The project will assess the role of Makerspaces in helping disenfranchised communities: empowering individuals to be creative and to be productive.
Lead researcher: Dr Declan Scully, Business School
Dhaka – On Climate Change and Urbanisation in Bangladesh
This ongoing documentary project combines photography and video, exploring the effects of urbanisation and climate change on Dhaka and Bangladesh. For this extension of the project, the researcher will extend the project beyond Dhaka to look at coastal areas that will be affected and Mongla, one of the cities targeted by Bangladesh’s Building Climate Resilient Migrant Friendly Towns strategy.
Lead researcher: Ismar Uzeirovic, Department of Media, Culture and Language
Religion and Spirituality in the therapeutic space: exploring how trainee and newly-qualified counsellors and psychotherapists, who identify as religious or spiritual, experience undertaking therapeutic training in the UK
Practitioner competence with regard to working with religion and spirituality issues in therapy is a matter of client well-being. However, research indicates that trainee counsellors/psychotherapists rarely discuss or receive input on religious or spiritual issues in training, and thus feel ill-equipped in this area. Building upon a previous small scale qualitative research study, this project will use a national survey to explore how trainee or newly qualified counsellors/psychotherapists, who identify as religious or spiritual, experience undertaking therapeutic training in the UK.
Lead researcher: Dr Jane Hunt
Narratives of masculinity: visual accounts of young men’s experience of fatherhood
This project aims to address the worrying rise of mental illness and suicide in young men aged 18 – 35 in the UK by understanding the vulnerability of men. This project innovatively examines the period when young men become fathers through a series of image-generating workshops and audio reflections, and a five to eight-minute animation, to be disseminated. The animation will visually represent new narratives that will broaden the emotional base of what it means to be a man, contributing significantly to men’s mental health and well-being.
Lead researcher: Dr Jonathan Isserow, Department of Psychology
Visioning the Future of the City Together: Group relations in urban community neighbourhood planning
The intention of this project is to explore the role of ‘vision’ and ‘visioning’ within urban neighbourhood planning processes in the wake of the turn to digital networks and social media. The project will work directly with a citizen-led community planning group that has been given authority to prepare a local land-use plan by local government. By using a psychoanalytically-underpinned consultancy approach, the intention is to directly intervene within the planning process to enable planners to better understand the different competing emotional investments that are at play in community participation and representation. The project will then serve as a working model for future consultancy work with similar groups.
Lead researcher: Dr Karen Cross, Department of Media, Culture and Language
Thinking Place – Five Philosophers’ Huts
This will be an exhibition of artworks and research material at the Oxford House Gallery in September 2019. The Thinking Place project explores the relationship between philosopher Martin Heidegger and the wooden building built for him at Todtnauberg in the Black Forest. It also examines Ludwig Wittgenstein’s hut at Skjolden (Norway), Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess’ two huts built at Tvergastein (Norway) and French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s hut built for him at Ermenonville, France. The Thinking Place project investigates the relationship between architectural space, isolated geographical location, and the production of thought.
Lead researcher: Dr Mark Riley, Department of Media, Language and Culture
Student and staff perceptions on race and racism at the University of Roehampton
Funding will support an empirical project that investigates experiences of, and perspectives on, race and racism at the University of Roehampton. The university is actively seeking to address issues of race, including by its ‘decolonise the curriculum’ programme and RAFA2 project, yet communication about and action on these issues remains difficult. This research project will address this issue by working with students and staff in the departments of Education and Social Sciences in focus groups to develop a shared understanding of the issues involved and develop grounded solutions to the problems.
Lead researcher: Dr Mark McCormack, Department of Social Sciences
2018 – 2019
The output of this project is a documentary, combining photography and video, about the effects of climate change in Dhaka and Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is situated on top of Bay of Bengal, on the largest river delta on the planet, formed by the confluence of Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna rivers. Two thirds of its population are rural farmers whilst three quarters of its land is less than 5 meters above the sea level making it extremely vulnerable to floods during the rainy season. The already visible effects of climate change such as cyclones, sea-level rise, and salinity intrusion, are major factors driving people out of their homes and farming fields. Bangladesh is world’s most densely populated country and even though it emits only 0.1% of greenhouse gasses it is amongst those worst affected by the climate change. Displacement of large numbers of people is a trend very likely to continue in the coming decades with most of the displaced very likely to move to Dhaka. Bangladesh already has world’s best flood early warning system, excellent evacuation capacity, and is a world leader in community based adaptation. Although a significant amount of research has been done in the fields of science not a lot of work in the field of arts has been produced to deal with this subject.
Read more about this project here.
Lead researcher: Ismar Uzeirovic, Department of Media, Culture and Language
Women imams in the “present”
This project consists of data collection, research and editing of the final chapter of my book “Women as Imams” contracted by publisher IB Tauris. This is a highly original work based on primary (mainly Arabic) and secondary sources from various media, including interviews and questionnaires. It is multidisciplinary, applying theological, historical and sociological approaches. The book has a very specific focus on expressions of female ritual leadership and their link to social contexts. It critically examines the uses of the past to legitimise claims in favour of or against female leadership.
The last chapter specifically deals with present debates and practices in the Islamic world (Indonesia, Egypt, Malaysia, etc) and Muslim minority countries (Europe, USA, China, India). It also includes broader cases of female leadership such as women preachers, chaplains and educators. For this chapter I intend to interview and distribute questionnaires to Muslim female faith leaders.
Lead researcher: Dr Simonetta Calderini, School of Humanities
Free schools and the moral purpose of education
The Academies Act of 2010 established free schools in England, an initiative that has grown in popularity. The policy discourse underpinning education generally, and free schools particularly, focused on competition and community engagement to build schools to provide stronger educational opportunities, higher educational standards and the potential to lessen the gap between socio-economically advantaged and disadvantaged communities. The introduction of free schools, however, was not without controversy, particularly with the growth of multi-academy trusts (MATs) and their power within the education sector. While MATs dominate the free school sector, single academy trust (SATs) free schools have emerged as responders to their communities’ educational needs. SATs often represent parents, teachers or local religious organisations’ vision of education for their children. It is argued that SATs are uniquely positioned at a grassroots level to embody the vision of the free school. The existing research, however, is largely focused on policy evaluation. There is little focus on community groups in SATs driving educational change.
The research project, which is designed as four case studies, will evaluate the impact of SAT free schools in socio-economically deprived and ethnically diverse communities in meeting the needs of their students, their communities and fulfilling the moral purpose of education. The case studies will provide a broad base for understanding how free schools with a faith ethos can navigate community and national policy needs, how they address the educational issues within socio-economically deprived communities and how they are challenged within this milieu. This will add to the existing research providing another lens to understand the complexities of free schools in these settings.
Lead researcher: Dr Deborah Sabric, School of Education
Exploring the effects of a musical play intervention on young children’s self-regulation
Recent observational research suggests that musical play is a context that fosters self-regulatory behaviour. Despite this, there is a lack of rigorous experimental research looking at the effects of musical play interventions on children’s self-regulation.
This project explores whether introducing musical play as an intervention in schools could have beneficial effects on children’s self-regulation. We propose a quasi-experimental, pre-test and post-test control-group design. At the start of the academic year, the children from the experimental (N=80) and control group (N=60) will be assessed in terms of their self-regulation. Children in the experimental group will then participate in a year-long intervention consisting of weekly musical play sessions run by their music teachers. These musical play sessions will be based on sessions previously employed in similar research. At the end of the academic year, children’s self-regulation will be re-assessed. The change in the experimental group’s self-regulation scores before and after the intervention will be compared to the change in the control group. It is expected that the experimental group will show a steeper increase in self-regulation.
This study aims to pave the way for future studies examining the effects of musical play in education, contributing to the understanding of young children’s development.
Lead researcher: Dr Antonia Zachariou, School of Education
Gospel teaching and personal finance
The relation between humans and money has implications that go far beyond finance, reaching all aspects of family life and social interaction. It is commonly known that the management of personal finance has been an issue for many people who frequently struggle to balance their income and expenses while aiming to attain their present and future desires and goals. Nevertheless, I normally expect that business students will have more knowledge of personal finance and hopefully will apply this understanding better in their personal life. This research thus investigates the validity of this statement by interrogating business and non-business students about their personal financial plans and structure. By reflecting on Bible scriptures, this study is innovative as it incorporates Christian gospel into this topic and uncovers the role that Christianity plays in the balance between personal satisfaction and financial stability.
This study aims to shed light on future areas of improvement in financial education and inform business lecturers about how they could make their content more applicable to students’ lives. Finally, this research has the potential to respond to the personal and professional challenges that students normally face keeping their faith in God.
Lead researcher: Dr Rodrigo Silva de Souza
Service Operations Management applications in churches
Operations Management (OM) is a discipline that can be applied to any organisation which produces goods or services (e.g. a factory or a hospital). To have an efficient service delivery in churches, concepts, tools and techniques of OM should be used. The target of OM is to increase the productivity. It means we should achieve the best output with respect to the available input. Building, space, staff are some samples of input in a church. Services that are delivered like wedding ceremonies is an example of outputs. OM includes two main operations including designing and managing. Designing operations are listed as “design of services”, “managing quality”, “process strategy”, “location strategies”, “layout strategies” and “human resource and job design”. Some of the managing operations which are applicable in service-oriented sectors include churches are as follows: “inventory management”, “short-term scheduling” and “maintenance and reliability”. In this project, I aim to have a comprehensive literature review to find out how these operations have been applied by faith communities, especially churches.
Lead researcher: Dr Nasrin Asgari, School of Business
2017 – 2018
‘Sleuth’ – the Roehampton Journal
The Roehampton Journal is a new magazine that reports the activities of Southlands College, covers events across the university community and highlights stories from the local area.
The Roehampton Journal is created, designed, edited and produced by members of the MA Journalism cohort at Roehampton. It will be supervised by the module tutor, Alison McClintock and the course convenor, John Doyle. The publication will consist of contributions from students on the MA Journalism and will focus on the university community, established partnership networks and University of Roehampton alumni.
The Roehampton Journal builds on the recent expansion of Journalism provision at Roehampton and will support the proposed accreditation of the MA Journalism with the Professional Publishers Association (PPA). The Roehampton Journal will provide an outlet for our students to get their work published in both print and online. The Journal will also provide a range of digital products; such as audio, video and social media feeds. It will therefore provide an innovative way of engaging the Southlands community while also creating a recognisable showcase for student journalism.
Lead researcher: Dr John Doyle
Slavery, abolition and resistance
This project uses archival research – predominantly in the (Wesleyan) Methodist Missionary Society Archive (MMS) at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) library – to examine the influence of Methodism on the British Overseas Territory Montserrat. It will develop a research database, and hold a sustainable exhibition jointly displayed at the University of Roehampton and at the Montserrat National Trust from 17th March 2018 for 6 weeks to commemorate 250 years of Methodism on Montserrat starting with the St Patrick’s Day failed slave uprising on 17th March 1768. The exhibition will include Methodist mission work on Montserrat on abolition, emancipation, and post-plantation socio-political and economic upheavals in the nineteenth century; and Methodist support work as islanders faced multiple natural disasters (hurricane, earthquake and on-going volcano crisis) in the twentieth century and on into the twenty-first. The project will also include a database reviewing archival resources for future scholarship on the history of struggle, resistance and religious influence on the island.
Lead researcher: Dr Jonathan Skinner, Department of Life Sciences
The development of Christianity in China in the past thirty years
The spectacular growth of Christianity in China over the past a few years has been evidenced. However, how fast was it exactly, what is the predicted growth in the future, where is Christianity more popular across all the cities in China, what is the impact of Christianity on Chinese society, and how important is Methodist? This project is designed to study the development and impact of Christianity in China. This study tries to shed light of Christianity situation in China by examining the significant effect of Christianism in interacting with the Chinese tradition culture. And this study aims to estimate the impact of Christianism in the locality, it will pay special attention to Methodist churches in China.
Lead researcher: Dr Kun Jiang
Promoting understanding of the work of multi-professional teams in children’s centres: the role of developmental research in tackling ‘disparate discourses’
ith an interventionist research method, this project developed learning This study proposes using an interventionist research method to develop learning opportunities for multi-professional teams in children’s centres with the aim of developing the activity of the integrated care of young children. Young children’s transitions between different discourses of play and therapy have been identified as problematic to manage for Early Years Professionals (EYPs) (CWDC 2009). Recognising the importance of play as a central integrating element in a child’s development and learning whilst also supporting EYPs in ensuring the benefits of young children participating fully in a pre-school community (accessed by a number of different professionals) is the focus of this work. Research argues that ‘a more robust exploration is needed of how different programmes and early years practice could fit together’ (Georgeson and Paler 2011, 1). Working with a range of professionals, I will highlight tensions observed in field work data in order to stimulate discussion and negotiation on the activity of integrated care of young children. Using developmental work research (DWR) workshops, the study aims to illustrate how critical enquiry and debate in the work of multi-professional teams can be promoted in order to improve the experiences and learning opportunities of young children.
Lead researcher: Dr Alaster Douglas, School of Education
Signs of wonder: iconography and aesthetic practices of New Black Majority Churches (nBMCs) in the London Borough of Southwark
Anyone with their eyes open in London cannot miss the distinctive signs of new black majority churches (nBMCs) in the capital. Signboards and banners with striking church names are displayed in shop fronts, warehouses, railway arches, businesses, industrial units, community centres and shared / reused churches. Signs of Wonder aims to investigate the theology embedded in these visual expressions, including other important nBMC aesthetic practices such as their architecture, websites and media products. Building on an extensive existing database of nBMC images from two previous projects, Signs of Wonder will interview a pre-established sample of 20-30 nBMC pastors in the London Borough of Southwark regarding their iconography and aesthetic practices, to discern their significance for nBMC ecclesiology and missiology. These insights will then inform a more nuanced understanding of nBMCs and their congregants for a range of publics, including other Christian denominations, and so also ecumenical relationships. This is at least partly due to the high concentrations of nBMCs in a number of London boroughs which pose ecumenical questions for many historic denominations including Methodists. Project outcomes will be disseminated through both popular and academic channels (print, online, presentations).
Lead researcher: Dr Andrew Rogers, School of Humanities
Encounters with otherness
In May 2017, I am scheduled to speak at a Symposium on Media, Communication, and Film Studies Programs at Liberal Arts Colleges at Colby College, in Maine, USA. The topic of the panel is ‘Encounters with Otherness,’ and as part of this I shall be talking about the Guerrilla Filmmaking module that I have been running at the University of Roehampton, London, for the last six years. For, the teaching methods developed on the module – whereby students are invited to make a series of short films with minimal equipment and responding to a set of thematic challenges – would transpose well to the American liberal arts college environment. In this way, attending the conference will help me to prepare an essay that I intend to publish on guerrilla filmmaking in the near future, and which I hope will find a readership not just in the UK but also in the USA. The essay will explore how the module and the teaching method defined in it help to give to students the tools to tell educators how better to understand them and their approach to the world through the use of new digital filmmaking technologies.
Lead researcher: Dr William Brown, School of Arts
2016 – 2017
‘The survival of the neo-liberal-est’: keeping your best-self sane at work: a project to support and sustain teachers in their work and practice in neoliberal, high-performance school cultures, providing a space where demands are not made of them.
Pilot study to test novel interactions within programmes for alcohol and drug users
The proposed project is a field research pilot study designed to develop treatment services to improve outcomes for alcohol and drug dependents in an out-patient treatment programme. The proposal has been developed in collaboration with Blenheim CPD, a long established provider of out-patient support services for alcohol and drug dependents at addiction centres in London.
This study involves a small Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) which will evaluate the efficacy of a drink supplement to be taken by clients in the course of their structured treatment. The research will compare usual recovery treatment vs usual treatment plus daily consumption of a palatable nutrient-rich drink (30/grp).Participants will be randomly allocated to receive one drink per day to be consumed between meals for a period of three months. Outcomes to be evaluated will include indices of nutritional status, standard substance misuse indices, physical and mental wellbeing.
Lead researcher: Dr Leigh Gibson, Department of Psychology
‘Love Across the Atlantic’ conference – an interdisciplinary conference on US-UK romance’
‘Love Across the Atlantic – An Interdisciplinary Conference on US-UK Romance’ will be held at Roehampton on June 16, 2017, organised by Deborah Jermyn with University of Alabama colleagues including Theodore Trost, Past Chair of Religious Studies, a collaboration prompted by Roehampton’s growing partnership with UA.
The conference examines how the ‘special relationship’ shared by the US-UK since the 19th Century has existed not merely at an economic or diplomatic level. Rather, British and American citizens have long fallen in love across the expanse of the Atlantic, with one another but often too with the idea(l) of that other place across the ocean. The conference explores the history and enduring appeal of US-UK relationships: what are the economic and ideological factors that have fuelled this romantic framework?; what have been its recurrent tropes across disciplinary, national and temporal boundaries; and how does the notion of ‘love across the Atlantic’ speak to our collective fantasies of home, desire, escape and identity?
Lead researcher: Dr Deborah Jermyn, School of Arts
The contribution of policy techniques, process and ‘performativity’ in the construction of teachings with Specific Learning Difficulties as ‘subjects’ in the English Further Education sector:
The research will take place within two spaces, the first space will be within the teaching environment of two FE institutions. The second space will consider other relevant agencies and organisations that are part of the policy cycle process (for example, OFSTED or Business Innovation and Skills). The same research techniques of semi-structured interviews and documentary analysis will be used to conduct the research.
Within the first space of the FE institutions, the research proposed will draw upon some of the insights and principles of the ethnographic approach. The interviews intend to explore the everyday practices of the FE colleges included in the fieldwork, and in particular, to gather further insight into the experience of teachers with SpLDs, with a focus on revealing the possible challenges they might face as a result of performance based policy. Interviews will be conducted with a range of representatives from the Further Education workforce, including: Ofsted, Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), and teaching union(s), Principals and teachers with SpLDs from FE institutions.
Lead researcher: Dr Annemarie O’Dwyer
Meaning in loss therapy group for complicated grief: a UK pilot study
This project constitutes a UK pilot study in meaning-oriented group grief therapy for complicated grief based on a protocol developed in Canada and the United States, where an initial pilot has shown promising results. There are currently few if any evidence-based group grief therapy protocols available that are grounded in state-of-the-art bereavement theory and research, and this research seeks to prepare the ground for a randomized-controlled trial of the protocol in the UK.
The pilot group will run from November 2016 to January 2017 at the research clinic of the University of Roehampton’s Centre for Research in Social and Psychological Transformation (CREST). It will recruit 10 participants, referred by the University’s student counselling service and local hospices and bereavement services. The group involves 12 weekly 2-hour sessions focusing on loss narrative reconstruction and living a meaningful life without the deceased. Data collection involves pre-post and session-by-session questionnaires to measure its effectiveness as well as audio-recording of group sessions for therapy process analysis and interviews with participants to gain their perspectives on what has been helpful or unhelpful.
The results will feed into the planned RCT and will be widely disseminated to extend therapy service provisions for individuals experiencing complicated grief.
Lead researcher: Dr Edith Steffen
Immigration, spirituality and the arts
This project will explore the links between immigration, spirituality and the arts. While theologians have identified links between social justice and spirituality, and between ethics and the arts, there has been almost no reflection on these links in relation to lived social action—and specifically in relation to contemporary ethical-pastoral responses to migration.
This project will employ ethnographic methods—including in-depth interviews and participant observation—to explore whether the links between social action, spirituality and the arts identified by theologians are present in the experience of people responding to immigration today. Churches, faith-based organizations and community arts organizations engaged in responding to migrants and refugees will be key partners.
The findings of Immigration, spirituality and the arts will generate ideas about how to motivate people to act compassionately, and how to sustain this compassionate action in the face of the overwhelming need presented by the current European “migration crisis”.
More broadly, the project hopes that exploring the connections between ethical action, spirituality and the arts could help to return desire and longing to the moral life—a crucial element in keeping the struggle for social justice alive.
Lead researcher: Dr Susanna Snyder
Grants for Project Funding
Find out more about funding for projects for those within the University of Roehampton community, and download an application form.