• 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 […]

  • 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 […]