• The Cost of Living Crisis: Universities as Creative Spaces for Epistemological Innovation
    Dr Katy Goldstraw Building on ISR’s critically acclaimed Coronavirus Blog Series, this is the first in a new ISR blog series tackling the Cost of Living. The Blog Series will be entitled ‘Creative Ideas and Innovative Solutions to the Cost of Living Crisis’, and follows on from the ISR External Advisory Group Meeting, which hosted a […]
  • Switch the lights out as you go
    Paula Keaveney We are now closer to the next General election than the last one.  No more looking back. We are on the way to polling day, which has to be in January 2025 at the latest. The approaching date with destiny is focusing the minds of MPs.  Do they want to return to the […]
  • A Dyslexic’s Introduction to Lexism
    Doctor Craig Collinson My doctoral research was, in simple terms, a reply to a seminal article which applied the social model of disability to dyslexia. It was not just an academic exercise – it was a process by which my self-identity changed; from being ‘someone with dyslexia’ to a dyslexic who experiences Lexism. Initially I […]
  • Research on Public Perceptions of Dangerous Dogs
    Professor Claire Parkinson Over thirty years ago, following sensationalised reporting in the popular press and mounting public concern about dog attacks, the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (DDA 1991) was introduced. The legislation identified four breeds or types of dog as a particular danger to the public: pit bull terrier; Japanese Tosa; Dogo Argentino; and, Fila […]
  • Imagining Gender Justice
    In the summer of 2022, ISR sponsored the research conference, The Feminist Imaginary: Creative Pedagogies and Methods for Gender Justice and Change. The conference brought together adult education scholars in universities and community practitioners with scholars and practitioners working in women’s museums and libraries across the globe. The aim of the conference was to share […]
  • Democracy on the Ballot: The U.S. Mid-Term Elections, 2022.
    The November elections are important for any number of reasons. All 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives are up for re-election and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate. With the overturn of Roe V Wade early in the year – the supreme court decision legalising abortion – the Democrats saw a […]
  • COP27 – Something’s got to change
    It’s that time of the year again for the annual COP (Conference of the Parties) climate summit. This time we are in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for COP27. Last year the UK hosted COP26 in Glasgow. The COP process is the political decision-making arm of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Intergovernmental […]
  • Athlete voice in promoting athlete welfare in Lithuania
    Dr Laura Purdy and Dr Mel Lang 2022 has been a big year for sport, with fans glued to the women’s Euros, the Winter Olympics, Paralympics, the Commonwealth Games, and the men’s and women’s Cricket World Cups. Yet it’s also been a big year in sport for a different reason: it’s the year when the […]
  • Order of the Jungle?
    Paula Keaveney You can almost sense the frustration. Once upon a time former health secretary, Matt Hancock was guaranteed attention in the Commons, and a podium place at a nightly televised pandemic press conferences.  Contrast this with his appearance in the Commons in December 2021 where he sat in an emptying Commons Chamber waiting to […]
  • Including children’s perspectives: The missing link in ‘safe sport’
    Dr Melanie Lang British Gymnastics has had a bruising few years: a series of high-profile media disclosures from athletes detailing emotional and physical abuse, followed by an independent review into mistreatment and how the sport handled safeguarding complaints. Anne Whyte QC, who led the review, released her highly critical report over summer. It catalogued harrowing […]
  • Trying Times
    Paula Keaveney Politics is awash with sports metaphors.  As Boris Johnson once said, parrying an enquiry about leadership ambitions, “if the ball comes loose from the back of the scrum” he might have a go.  You can plan and hope for years, but what makes the difference in politics is opportunity.  If the ball breaks […]
  • The End of the 20th Century?
    Professor Jo Crotty Following the death of her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth, and former General Secretary of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, just a week before, it feels as if the 20th century has finally come to an end. Like me, people may have been prompted by the former to watch (or in my case […]
  • The Power of Music to Change Lives?
    Dr Anna Mariguddi On Saturday 25th June 2022, the much anticipated (second) National Plan for Music Education (NPME) was published entitled; ‘The power of music to change lives’. The (non-statutory) document represents political ideology (as does the Model Music Curriculum and Ofsted Research review series: music). Despite leaning towards traditional Western Art values, the NPME’s […]
  • So what Happens Now? Another Suitcase?
    Paula Keaveney The ambitious Conservative MP with leadership ambitions (and most do have these whatever they say) has to take a series of decisions quickly. Are they ready to fight a leadership contest? Can they get enough support to stand a chance? Is this the right time for them or are they best waiting for […]
  • Hannah Arendt: War as a Violation of the Human Condition
    Dr Paul Bunyan War represents a violation of the human condition in so many ways. In what many consider to be her magnus opus The Human Condition, the philosophical and political theorist Hannah Arendt stresses the conditioned nature of humanity and contrasts this with totalitarian ideologies wherein all-powerful beings can control the processes of history […]
  • The Right to Play: Are young children free to determine their own actions?
    Dr Jo Albin-Clark I recently saw an art exhibition with Mark Titchener that got me thinking about how far young children are free to determine their own actions. Previously my research interests have been about how teachers observe playful learning (Albin-Clark, 2021, 2022) and develop critical awareness about children as holders of rights (Albin-Clark and […]
  • Double Defeat: is this (finally) the end of Boris Johnson?
    Paula Keaveney In Devon you put the jam on last – scone, then cream, then a big dollop of strawberry.  So last week’s by-election win in Tiverton and Honiton was the jam on top for the Liberal Democrats. The victory in what has been a safe Conservative seat since it was created will send shivers […]
  • ‘Bridges’ and ‘Phonics’, and How to Navigate Both
    Dr Karen Boardman As I respond to yet another message on social media about why I am suddenly ‘crossing bridges’ from early reading advocacy to the teaching of Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP), I am wondering why I feel the need to explain my position yet again. Firstly, it is not either/or – it is both. […]
  • A Snail Carries its Bunker on its Back: Researching Nuclear Anxiety through Creative Writing
    Dr Philippa Holloway Creative Writing often embraces other disciplines. While academic research within this field focuses on research in Creative Writing (the theories and practices of creative expression), essentially writers must also research for their writing. They must learn about and consider psychology, geography, science, history, sociology, geology, ethnography, and philosophy as well as develop […]
  • How to Keep Talking about Climate Change with Television?
    Elke Weissmann Many of us probably feel that this is a time of crisis: the cost-of-living, the invasion of Ukraine, and so much more. These crises are real and evident, and also clearly taking place now. Disasters, catastrophes and crises need to be constructed as events to grab the headlines (see for example Bednarek and […]
  • Let them eat…?
    Roger Spalding Lee Anderson, Conservative MP for Ashfield and Eastwood has jumped into the cost-of-living crisis. He was quoted in the Daily Mirror (12/05/22) as saying: “We can make a meal for around 30p a day and this is cooking from scratch.” Leaving aside the practicalities raised by this claim like how many is this […]
  • What Does it Mean for Teachers to be True to Themselves? Can a Critical Creative Process Support our Articulations of Self?
    Victoria Inyang-Talbot As I prepare to share parts of my research at the International Symposium on Poetic Inquiry later this month in Cape Town, I cannot help but meditate on the question that has preoccupied me for a long time, and is key to my research project. The famous quote, ‘to thyself be true’, spoken […]
  • Cry God for Harry, England, and St. George?
    Dr Roger Spalding Until relatively recently St George’s day, 23rd April passed by relatively unnoticed except for hardcore ‘patriots’ and Morris dancers. Yet recently there have been attempts to elevate this holiday to that of St Patrick’s day on 17th March. Historically St George rather withered as the English did not need an emblematic saintly […]
  • The War Against ‘Dis-information’: Romania Reacts to the Conflict in Ukraine
    Dr Cristian Ciobanu & Dr Duncan Light The war in Ukraine came as a big shock for Romanians who (like many Europeans) found the idea of a ‘traditional’ war involving tanks and bombs as unimaginable. In recent years, scepticism among Romanians about membership of the EU and NATO had been on the rise, but with […]
  • Social Justice – Whose Responsibility?
    Professor Amanda Fulford There’s an awful lot of talk about social justice that seems to fill our newspapers, airwaves, and social media content. It has become a buzzword, and simultaneously lost its meaning. Like many such concepts, it is slippery, and difficult to define. When we do try to talk about it, we often articulate […]
  • Amplifying Diverse Voices via Hybrid Meetings
    Dr Katy Goldstraw We have only just learnt how to do online meetings, yet as intermittent Wi-Fi, wild offspring and performing pets morph into a return to ‘the office’ – new challenges are arising. Many of us are working ‘hybrid’ with some days at home and others in the office. Many Universities have returned to […]
  • ‘A Whiff of Munich’?
    Roger Spalding Neville Chamberlain holds the paper signed by both Hitler and himself on his return from Munich. I often read in applicants’ personal statements that they wish to study History to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. This is sadly, something that rarely occurs; humanity appears to have an infinite capacity to repeat […]
  • Turning Unimaginable Tragedy into Opportunity
    Peace Centre Founder Wendy Parry OBE reflects on how the death of her son in the IRA bombing of Warrington Town Centre in 1993, led to her becoming a campaigner for peace and reconciliation. International Women’s Day 2022: Edge Hill University and the Institute for Social Responsibility present four women who had greatness ‘thrust upon […]
  • Ukraine – What Next? Is Civil Society the Answer?
    Sergej Ljubownikow Over a week into Putin’s war in Ukraine, speculation on why, for what reason , remain high – but also to what end. Putin appears to have a variety of conflicting, and spurious aims (some only beknownst to him) with this invasion; both with regards to Ukraine, and highly likely beyond. Western response […]
  • Medals at all costs? Kamila Valieva discovered the ‘ice cold’ reality of failure
    Anabel Timmins The ISR interview recently conducted with Rachael Denhollander regarding sexual abuse at USA gymnastics (USAG) for International Women’s Day 2022 was recorded before the Winter Olympics. However, the scenes of a 15-year-old girl caught up in a doping scandal less than 10 years after Russia was found to have engaged in a scheme […]
  • Crossing the Dnieper: The UK political response to Ukraine
    Paula Keaveney “I have never forgotten the sheer courage and determination of pro-democracy activists whom I met on the streets of Lviv in 1989 as they risked their lives to throw off the shackles and chains of the Soviet Union.” (Lord Alton, HL Deb 25 February 2022) The last few days have seen debates in […]
  • Why Ukraine? Why Now?
    Professor Jo Crotty In the last 24 hours I have received a number of messages asking ‘Why Ukraine?; and why now?’ Although media commentary has focused on Ukraine’s NATO ambitions, and Russia’s unwillingness to acquiesce to NATO forces on its border; the answer is more complex. First, since the end of the Soviet Union 30 […]
  • Ukraine Replay?: Re-navigating Work in Professional Basketball in Conflict Spaces
    Laura Purdy (Edge Hill University) and Geoff Kohe (University of Kent) The increasing attention on Ukraine jogged memories of the Euromaidan upheaval in 2013/14 and parallel regional uncertainties over Ukraine-Russia relations. At this time, civil unrest arose over the government decision to halt signing of the Association Agreement with the European Union. Within Ukraine, pro-EU […]
  • Walking the Walk: Including Ethnic Minorities in Green Initiatives
    Dr Zana Vathi As the press has recently highlighted, walking is both an expression as well as a means to develop positive relationships with the outdoors. But is the ‘outdoors’ a flat realm within the Anthropocene? The inequalities of urban inhabitation are widely known and talked about. Since COVID-19 blurred the boundaries of the private […]
  • How Writing Retreats Can Support You as a PhD Student
    Angel Tan Writing up a PhD can be both exciting and challenging. After all, it might be one of the most significant pieces of written work after years of study and research. Alongside the excitement of embarking on this (final) step of completing a PhD, here come the pressures to write an ‘acceptable’ thesis that […]
  • Singing Through a Pandemic: Thoughts from the Field
    Dr Jennifer Daniel Singing has long been shown to have significant psychological and physiological benefits to health. Choral singing in particular has the additional benefit of bringing people together in groups. But what happens when that same activity that brings people together, comes with the risk of Covid19? What does this mean for those of […]
  • Why a Blanket Macro Approach to Health Communication Won’t Cut it Anymore!
    Dr Ruxandra Trandafoiu The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed a number of health inequalities, particularly when it comes to ethnic minority groups. The Office for National Statistics reports that before the vaccine rollout, men and women of black ethnicity were more than four times likely to die from COVID-19 compared to people of white ethnicity. The […]
  • How Should We Pay for the BBC?
    Dr Elke Weissmann It is unlikely that you will have missed the announcement by Nadine Dorries, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, who suggested that the licence fee, in addition of being frozen again for the next two years, will not be renewed in 2027. This, of course, is (partially) contingent […]
  • When is a Party not a Party?…and how should The Party respond?
    Paula Keaveney “The piglet has wriggled free many times before; but he is cornered in a cul-de-sac and the butchers are whetting their knives.” If you want to get a sense of mood among Conservatives, the Conservative Home website – the source of this porcine image – is the place to go.  Johnson’s butchers are […]
  • A New Year’s Resolution: Education for the UN Sustainable Development Goals
    Professor John Sandars Everyone is aware of the local, national and global challenges that face our lives and our planet.  These challenges do not only include the ravages of climate and environmental change but also the need for social justice and universal health coverage.   The recent COP 26 summit highlighted that we may have […]
  • COP26, Local Climate Action and TV: What can be done in Liverpool?
    Dr Elke Weissmann Many people concerned about climate change will say that COP26 ended up being a bit of a disappointment. We do want to do something. The problem is that we do not always know what we need to do, or perhaps how simple it is to do something, not just as individuals, but […]
  • Abuse in Sport: An Academic Forum
    Dr Melanie Lang The Centre for Child Protection and Safeguarding in Sport (CPSS) launched its own seminar series on 10th November with the support of the Institute for Social Responsibility (ISR). The special 2-hour online event was opened by Professor Jo Crotty, Director of ISR, and Dr Melanie Lang, CPSS assistant director and convenor of […]
  • Can Poetry Help us Articulate the Universal as Personal?
    Victoria Inyang-Talbot As the spotlight lands firmly on the upcoming COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, I have reached into my poetry collection and dwelt a little on the poems that tell stories of my relationship with the world around me. John Clare’s All Nature Has A Feeling could not resonate more. We are grappling with […]
  • Sustainability, Climate Change and ‘Disruption’
    Prof Christopher Dent Disruption. It can take many forms. It can come suddenly and unexpectedly, like an un-forecasted storm or major crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic. We may see it is coming, such as the planned transport workers strike in Glasgow during the COP26 Climate Summit. Or it may be a gradual process, like the […]
  • The Coup that Overthrew Democracy: The Black History Month Screening of ‘Wilmington on Fire’
    Dr Jenny Barrett If Black History Month seems like a recent American phenomenon, it may surprise you to know that Black History Month has its roots in a public history event in the US in February 1926 called “Negro History Week” which sought to endorse equality and celebrate Black achievement. Fifty years later it was […]
  • The Sustainability Festival is coming… be prepared to connect, engage and be inspired.
    Prof Christopher Dent The University’s Sustainability Festival – taking place Monday 1 to Friday 5 November – is a chance for everyone at Edge Hill and beyond to come together to feel part of a collective of people that want to make our world a better, more sustainable place. It coincides with the first week […]
  • Is there Value in Television?
    Dr Elke Weissmann On the 27 September, we celebrated the Critical Awards in Television for the first time. The awards are part of larger attempts by researchers and scholars in television to question what we accept as ‘good’ when we talk about television. The awards – which are a collaboration between the EHU Television Studies […]
  • As Black History Month Begins, what is the Reality of ‘Blackness’?
    Dr Joy Gana-Inatimi Today marks the launch of Black History Month 2021. As a black woman in 21st century, BHM is a bittersweet period of time of year.  Yes, it is great to be able to celebrate Black culture and history; but what happens before and after October each year?  Does Britain celebrate my “Blackness”?  […]
  • Blow the Whistle: Referee Shortages in Grassroots Football
    Dr Jimmy O’Gorman As my 17-year-old son prepares to referee a local Under 15s football fixture his phone begins to incessantly ping. There is a shortage of referees to fulfil all local junior football fixtures again this weekend. This has not come without warning, nor is it a surprise. An open letter by the referee […]
  • The Show Still Went on – Despite the Risk Assessments!
    Perelandra Beedles The spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) had a profound impact on many industries, and the broadcast sector was no exception. As governments around the world imposed various restrictions to try to limit the further spread of the virus, the impact on film and TV production was immediate. I followed the progress of the UK […]
  • It’s Official: It’s Not Television That Makes You Stupid
    Dr Elke Weissmann On Monday, 13 September, The Guardian ran a story with the subtitle ‘TV really does rot your brain’. It was based on research by different American health scientists who looked into the relationship between (self-reported) television consumption and decline in grey matter in later life. The great aspect was that these were […]
  • From Disaster Comes (Environmental) Opportunity
    Professor Paul Aplin COVID wasn’t born in a Chinese lab. That’s my view, probably yours too, whatever the latest conspiracy-theorists say. The genetic makeup of COVID-19 is 96% identical to one found in bats, and the COVID outbreak has been pinned down to a wet food market in Wuhan. Wet food markets trade wild animals, […]
  • How do we Respond to Terror?
    Travis D. Frain Its been nearly five years since I joined Edge Hill University, studying for a BA in History with Politics. My time as a student was far from orthodox, as in March 2017 I was part of a group of politics students involved in the terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge whilst on a […]
  • The Renewal of Medical Education in the Era of the COVID 19 Pandemic
    Professor John Sandars The COVID 19 pandemic has seen unprecedented disruption in how we all live, learn and work; medical education has been no exception.  The global impact has fallen mainly on clinical training, especially for medical students and junior doctors.  Traditional opportunities for clinical training, including general practice and hospital, initially became impossible due […]
  • Keir Relief?
    Paula Keaveney ©UK Parliament / Jessica Taylor After a massive build up and an election night involving a partial re-count, we have a result. Can Keir Starmer breathe again? The Labour victory in the Batley and Spen by-election (winning by 323), a close result after a tense and at time acrimonious contest, is qualified good […]
  • Does the Award for Best Television Programme go to What We Value Most?
    Elke Weissmann It’s award season: the BAFTAs have just been celebrated at the beginning of June, and in America, the Emmys will be handed out in September. Did your favourite programmes win? No? Some of them? You are not sure? Your potential lack of knowledge is not all that surprising. This is the industry celebrating […]
  • 4 years on from the Manchester Arena Attack
    Figen Murray On 22 May 2017, my life changed forever. My son, Martyn, was 29 years old at the time and looking forward to seeing Ariana Grande in concert at the Manchester Arena. Soon after 10.30pm that night we heard the news that an explosion had taken place at the Manchester Arena.  Martyn was among […]
  • Who Compensates Victims of Terror? The Northern Ireland Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme
    Professor Emeritus Clive Walker QC (Hon), Christiane Rabenstein During the Troubles in Northern Ireland from 1969 to 1998 over 3,000 people died. It is also estimated that more than 40,000 people suffered both physical and psychological injuries, and many of those still live with permanent disablement. Yet, relatively few instances of loss have been compensated […]
  • Appropriate Response: Who are the Victims in a Terrorist Attack?
    Terry O’Hara Three questions: Is it worse to be a victim of terrorism than any other violent crime? What is so different about being a victim or survivor of terrorism? Should the state response for victims of terrorism be different to that for other crime? Founded by Colin and Wendy Parry, the parents of 12-year-old […]
  • When Documentary Filmmaking Meets Academia – Screening ‘The Atom: A Love Affair’ at ISR
    Vicki Lesley As those who attended the recent ISR online screening of my film The Atom: A Love Affair heard in the lively discussion that followed, making this documentary has been an epic undertaking for me. When I set out to investigate the renewed push for nuclear power back in the late 00’s, I had […]
  • What Now for Nuclear Power?
    Dr Philippa Holloway The first time I visited a Nuclear Power Station my heart-rate increased. Fears triggered by childhood memories of the Chernobyl disaster were activated, and so began my research journey into how emotions and behaviours are informed by nuclear landscapes.   Vicki Lesley’s documentary film The Atom: A Love Affair reveals, through the […]
  • George Floyd One Year On: Race and Policing in the United States
    Professor Kevern Verney Approaching the anniversary of the death of George Floyd, on 25 May 2020, the outlook for race relations in the United States appears bleak. Twelve years earlier things seemed so different. In 2008 the election of Barack Obama was greeted with widespread euphoria. Media commentators proclaimed that his victory showed the United […]
  • Not from Keith: What can Posthuman theory and an old Easter card do?
    Opening up Conversations about Performativity, Playfulness and Creativity in the Early Years of Primary School. Dr Jo Albin-Clark I’ve inherited a bag filled with my primary school books and creations. One thing catches my attention, a faded card with an adult drawn chick shape decorated with scrunched up tissue paper. Inside, a young hand has […]
  • Poll Position
    Paula Keaveney When I worked for the BBC in Lancashire I remember one local election night when control of the council rested on the result of just one ward in Skelmersdale.  It was an anxious wait for the party leaders and showed how knife-edge some elections can be. We could see a lot more of […]
  • Covid-19 Anniversary Blog Wrap Up – Is there hope for the ‘roaring 20s’?
    It is my sincere hope that this will be the only time that the ISR blog marks the anniversary of the first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020. Certainly things do look positive – at least here at home. The UK has been riding high in the vaccine charts since January and the anticipated full capacity […]
  • The problem is often the solution: The future of video-based learning
    A year ago, in March 2020, we saw a global adoption of an online video-based learning approach in the higher education sector as a strategy to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infection and to prevent person-to-person transmission around university campuses. Since then, we’ve found ourselves switching between online and blended learning to mitigate the impacts […]
  • ‘Follow the Science’: Is it time to reaffirm the intellectual virtue of inquisitiveness?
    Last April I wrote a short piece for ISR discussing my views on what appeared to be systemic post hoc errors in statistical and reporting practices on COVID-19 mortality. I also suggested that proportionality should be an important principle helping the Government to strike the right balance between respect for civil liberties and the legitimate […]
  • Are there really any Positives from the Pandemic?
    A year ago I suggested that COVID-19 might help us become more empathetic towards the life experiences and challenges of vulnerable groups and recognise the opportunity to transition to a more inclusive and sustainable world. Many people – including several authors of this blog – have seen the pandemic as an opportunity or a lesson […]
  • Civil Liberties ‘on loan’: Covid-19 and beyond, do the police need more powers?
    The UK Government used the emergency powers through the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 to bring in the Coronavirus Act 2020. Similar trends were witnessed worldwide. The legislation has allowed police to restrict movement, prohibit events, detain people, enforce lockdowns and quarantine restrictions. In the UK, more than 68,000 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) […]
  • Surviving the Pandemic: How to Trade out of Trouble
    The Sewing Rooms is a social enterprise that uses sewing skills to improve the resilience, health and employability of some of our community’s most vulnerable people. At the end of 2019, we were celebrating our move to new premises and the many opportunities for expansion that came along with having a larger space in which […]
  • Covid-19, Brexit and a ‘Gust of Wind’: The Perfect Storm for Global Supply Chains
    Almost a year ago I wrote a piece for the ISR Covid-19 blog on what might happen to business models due to the pandemic. Part of my focus then was about the role of global supply chains, and particularly how disruptions in those supply chains can have a detrimental impact on a business. I thought […]
  • Normalising ‘special’: Covid, online learning and those with special educational needs
    A year ago, I was wondering how some educational practices could be changed in category from ‘special’ to ‘normal’ as a result of socially distanced practices, and what that might mean for our relationship with normality. Online access to education had previously been campaigned for by disabled students with limited success, and where it was […]
  • Relax… World War Three is NOT Imminent – at least not yet
    What with COVID, the death of the Duke of Edinburgh and a football furore, you could be forgiven for not noticing the recent build-up of 80,000 Russian troops on the Russian-Ukraine border. Unsurprisingly, this has raised alarm within the international community, as an armed conflict between these two nations would have serious and inevitable implications. […]
  • What COVID-19 has taught us about human communication
    We all know what Zoom calls are like. They’re just not the same. Pundits talk about ‘zoom fatigue’ – this weariness that results from this unnatural form of communication. ‘But what’s so unnatural about it?’ supporters say. You can hear the words (usually), you can see facial expression (when not frozen), indeed you can stare […]
  • Can you hear me now?
    Perhaps second only to “you’re on mute”, the phrase “can you hear me now?” has become key to COVID-19 pandemic communications. Whether this phrase follows unmuting or is used as the go-to check-in question following the all too many incidents of unstable WIFI connections, the reality is that we all want to be heard. When […]
  • You Still Need Society! Authoritarianism and COVID-19
    The COVID-19 pandemic has provided us with insights into different political regimes’ responses to what is now a prolonged, unpredictable, and difficult to manage crisis. Parts of Eastern Europe had initially been considered as the models for how to respond to the pandemic. Nearly a year on, with cases surging and the state struggling to […]
  • A Year of Covid TV
    In a year when we spent more time at home than ever before, television provided a crucial window on the world. Ofcom estimated in August 2020 that during lockdown people were spending an average of 40% of their waking hours in front of a screen. TV watching was up by approximately a third. While this […]
  • Covid-19 and Sport: Some Positive Outcomes for Athletes and Athlete Welfare
    As outdoor sports facilities open and organised sports clubs begin to welcome back members, it’s uplifting to note that there have been numerous positive developments in safeguarding children and young people in this sector recently. These include: In its latest 10-year plan, Sport England, the body responsible for grassroots sport, have named safeguarding as one […]
  • Third sector organisations: An oasis for asylum seekers and refugees in the wake of Covid-19?
    Negative discourses around migration have created a hostile environment for asylum seekers and refugees. Having often had horrific and unimaginable experiences in their home country – and endured dangerous passage to claim asylum, refugees need places to feel accepted, recognised, to heal, reconcile in their host communities and to share their experiences of daily life […]
  • Silver Linings: Autism, Covid and Digital Engagement during the Pandemic
    While the pandemic has been detrimental for many, COVID-19 has also presented us with opportunities. One such opportunity has been to re-examine the impact that increased digital engagement has had on increasing participation in the autistic community. Autistic people are advantaged by being able to engage digitally with friends, colleagues, classmates and educators. Among other […]
  • After a Year, is it Time to Log Off?
    In this morning’s tutorial with a postgraduate our conversation meandered here and there, touching on writing, juggling deadlines and inter-weaving theoretical ideas with the blessed Harvard referencing. It reminded me of the best things about being a university tutor – I was actually helping! Except, I was sitting in my house with my laptop perched […]
  • Then and Now: Crime, Speeding Cars, and How to Stop Them
    Motor cars have been used for crime since their earliest pre-First World War development. However, with the rapid rise in car ownership it was the interwar period that saw public and political concern rise significantly. Fears about criminal use of motor cars became focused on the idea of the ‘motor bandit’, an emotive and flexible […]
  • A Year ‘at a distance’: Is there hope ‘when this is all over’?
    A year ago we started to experience changes to even the most menial of tasks, including the weekly shop. Stripes of yellow and black tape appeared on supermarket floors guiding us around (sometimes unfathomable) one way systems, and indicating where we should stand in a ‘socially distanced’ queue. Plastic screens that used to adorn checkouts […]
  • Winners and Losers: A Year of Tourism During Covid-19
    So now we know.  Figures published by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation show that the impact of COVID-19 on tourism has been devastating. International arrivals to the UK fell by 74% in 2020; levels not seen since the early 1990s. 1 billion international arrivals have been ‘lost’, along with export revenues of $1.3 trillion. […]
  • Rebuilding after COVID-19: Is Now the Time for a Universal Basic Income?
    Has the time finally come for a universal basic income (UBI)?  Many believe so, especially in light of the economic fall-out from the covid-19 pandemic. Experiments of basic income are running in many advanced welfare states. What for centuries has been an outpost of radical, even obscure, philosophical and economic debates could soon become a […]
  • Who needs a wall? US-Mexico Immigration during a Pandemic
    `Never say never’ … the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico has fallen. Well, not literary, but since the inauguration of Joe Biden, they have stopped building it. Yet this is largely symbolic, as due to pandemic, the U.S.-Mexico border continues to be closed. In fact, since March 2020 the US-Mexico border has been […]
  • A Year of Youth Work in Lockdown: What have we been doing if not innovating?
    A year ago I was planning a workshop hosted by Youth Focus NW. Speakers were coming from across the country and there were lots of discussions over whether the event should be cancelled or go ahead. Taking the lead from the Cheltenham Festival, we went ahead with our chairs spaced a metre apart. That was […]
  • COVID-19, (im)mobility and Health Inequalities
    COVID-19 has had a huge impact on human mobility and migration. Governments across the world took extraordinary measures to curtail international travel and movement of peoples whilst simultaneously calling all their citizens to return home. Domestic systems of disease management followed including enforced quarantine and closed borders. The pandemic was initially thought as an equalizer; […]
  • The Continued Impact of Coronavirus on LGBTQ+ People
    Research and contemporary reports on the impact of COVID-19 indicate how those from marginalised and disadvantaged backgrounds have been most impacted by the virus. This has been particularly the case for disabled people and ethnic minorities. February 2021 was LGBT History Month, a time to focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who shaped […]
  • A brief interlude from COVID: is The Crown fact or fiction?
    There were many revealing moments in the explosive interview between Oprah Winfrey and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex broadcast on ITV1 on Monday night. But the one that caught my attention was the slightly awkward admission from the pair that they had watched ‘some’ of The Crown. This was not exactly an Oprah scoop. […]
  • A Year On in Lockdown Ministry
    A year of ministry in lockdown brings with it a conflicting mixture of befuddlement, anger and hope. The anger comes from standing alongside many families in their bereavement with so few people allowed in our buildings; thirty in Church, and ten or twenty at Crematoria. No hymn singing allowed even in a brief respite near […]
  • Digital Inclusion and a ‘Good Society’ in the wake of COVID-19
    12 months ago I reimagined a good society in the wake of Covid-19. The vision was one of mutual aid, community strength and public policy, led by strong, independent and diverse voices. One year on, this vision has in some sense been enacted; yet the pandemic has revealed more obstacles on the road to a […]
  • Pandemic or Infodemic? 2020, the Year of ‘Fake News’?
    The information paradox dictates that as news sources multiply and information becomes overabundant, the more likely it is for exaggerated, implausible and untruthful stories to gain traction. The pandemic aside, it is the ‘infodemic’ we should now be fighting? Over the last 12 months, conspiracy theories have not only become a main mode of communication […]
  • Hellish Repetition: Lockdown Anticipated in Samuel Beckett’s ‘What Where’
    Endgame stages a world in which old people expire in dustbins, a worker incarcerated at home reels under the weight of contradictory imperatives, while a self-regarding overseer, obsessively gives, and reviews his own performance. Beckett left us a play for our times. A year on from our first collective experience of lockdown, ‘hyperconnectivity’ has shaped […]
  • Keir Exposure – Constructive Opposition a Year on?
    Covid-19 Anniversary Blog 22/04/2020.. London, United Kingdom. First virtual PMQs and Ministerial statement on Coronavirus, with First Secretary of State Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP and the Leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer MP. Picture by  Jessica Taylor © UK Parliament “It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear”, writes US Political Consultant […]
  • The Unmet Rights of Children in Care: the State of Affairs 12 months on
    In April 2020 regulations in the United Kingdom (UK) relating to the protection and care of children who live in residential family centres and who are cared for by foster carers, were relaxed. This raised alarm bells about the increased risk of these children’s rights not being met. Twelve months on, what is current state […]
  • Covid-19 Anniversary Blog
    The 24th March 2021 will be the anniversary of the first Covid-19 lockdown in the UK. Since then we have been on a roller-coaster, both personally and professionally, and witnessed unprecedented changes to our way of life. Some will be temporary – others will be permanent; but as we approach the anniversary, can we predict […]
  • Who chooses – finding candidates for public office
    This May sees a huge set of elections.  It will be the biggest national test of party popularity since the General Election.  Postponed local and mayoral elections from last year combine with scheduled contests to give us a psephologist’s dream. Yet a row in Liverpool over who will be on the ballot paper for Labour […]
  • How the Biden Administration Can Take on White Supremacy
    By Heidi Beirich Taking the stage on January 20 for his inaugural speech in front of the American Capitol that had just been stormed by hundreds of right-wing extremists, President Joe Biden specifically called out the problem of white supremacy and the need to confront it. He denounced the “racism, nativism, fear, demonization” that propelled […]
  • Veganuary
    We’re midway through Veganuary, the annual challenge to those who typically consume animal products to spend a month going vegan. Reports suggest half a million people in the UK have made the pledge to eat only plant-based food as part of the initiative this year, and the number of participants has risen rapidly since the […]