Read the latest news out about the Department of Psychology’s collaborative work with organisations outside of BU.
Using Drama and Storytelling in Dementia Care
Danielle Wyman and Irma Konovalova have been working as Research Assistants for the ADRC on an ERASMUS+ funded project 'Using Drama and Storytelling in Dementia Care’. This emerging research has demonstrated the potential for creative psychosocial initiatives to support well-being in people with dementia and their care partners.
The Story2Remember project team produced the third output “Storytelling and alternative communication methods in dementia care: Toolkit for family members”. This toolkit aims to enhance the skills of family members of people with dementia through the use of tools derived from storytelling approaches as well as alternative communication methods.
The toolkit includes a brief description of the most common situations in which communication difficulties may arise, it describes how storytelling and alternative communication methods can be used in these situations and provides step by step guidelines to implement activities that can support communication between people with dementia and their family.
Dementia practitioners from England, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece reviewed this output and reported that it met their expectations and the content was excellent.
“I think this is a really excellent project that demonstrates the importance of creative initiatives to support the well-being of people with dementia and their family members. It will be important to publicise the toolkit widely and so ensure that family members develop the knowledge and skills to run these beneficial activities”. Please visit the project website for more information and to view our outputs.
Dr Sarah Collard Holds Online Public Engagement Event – ‘Living Well: Epilepsy and Exercise’
Dr Sarah Collard was awarded a £1200 grant from the research impact fund. This was going to be an in-person public engagement event held at BU that discussed her research, personal experience of living with epilepsy and findings from previous research. As a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, it was switched to an online event (July 27th) via Zoom! To present some of the findings, Sarah presented edited videos created from a video she made a couple of years ago for the Festival of Learning of individuals with epilepsy talking about their experiences of exercising with the condition.
The event was titled “Living Well: Epilepsy and Exercise”. Working with the UK charity Epilepsy Action, we were able to promote the event quite widely and had a good uptake of individuals who had epilepsy, was a parent for someone with epilepsy and health professionals signing up for the event. Using the funding Sarah was awarded, a media and communication student was hired from BU to edit the previously created video. This was an original length of around 35 minutes and had 5 participants. The video was edited to create 5 videos between 2-4 minutes each to increase the subsequent impact. There was wonderful praise and discussion throughout the event via the chat as well as post-event via email and survey.
This was a very inclusive event that also had a question and answer time to allow the attendees to ask Sarah and an Epilepsy Action representative questions on the content discussed in the event as well as their own separate needs that had not been addressed by those in a sport and exercise or medical profession. The questions asked as well as enthusiasm of the content of the event have further shown the need to continue research within this area. In particular, educating medical professionals about the benefits of exercising for people with epilepsy as well as discovering what are the best types of physical activity or exercise programmes for people with epilepsy.
Speakers working across the field of mental health in the UK talk to BU Psychology Students
As part of our ongoing provision for careers and employability support in the department, we had the pleasure of hosting a careers webinar on the 18th June with speakers working in the field of mental health, who have all graduated from the Department of Psychology in recent years. The session was chaired by Dr Nicola Gregory, Senior Lecturer in Psychology who organised the event in conjunction with Michelle Poole-Winter of the BU Alumni Office.
The speakers were Abbie Barnes, who graduated in 2017 and who works as an Assistant Psychologist in a specialist secondary care psychological therapies service; Anna Norman, who graduated in 2015 and is training to be a Child Wellbeing Practitioner at Kings College London; Emily Daniels who was another 2017 graduate, working as an Assistant Psychologist in a specialist private education setting and Shauna Shanks, a graduate from 2014 who is now a mental health nurse in an adult psychiatric intensive care unit.
The session was very well received by the final year undergraduate and MSc students who took part. It was a thoroughly inspiring session and it was especially interesting to hear how many of the speakers had recently had to adapt their working practices in the light of COVID-19, even to delivering online therapy sessions with their clients. We hope to put on several similar events in the coming academic year.
Dr Constantina Panourgia leads new project ‘Understanding resilience in mental health psychology practitioners during the Covid-19 pandemic’.
The Psychology Department QR supported a longitudinal study on the impact of Covid-19 on mental health in psychology practitioners. The research team, led by Dr Constantina Panourgia and includes Dr Alla Yankouskaya, Miss Agata Wezyk, Miss Zoe Taylor (Bournemouth University), Dr Annita Ventouris (University of West London), and Dr Amanda Comoretto (UCLY, Lyon Catholic University, France), has launched a project, ‘Understanding resilience in mental health psychology practitioners during the Covid-19 pandemic’.
The Covid-19 pandemic has put a lot of pressure on societies and led to considerable changes in everyday life and high levels of uncertainty. As this is likely to increase demand for mental health care, the emotional and mental overload in psychologists/counsellors/psychotherapists is predictable but unavoidable. There are urgent needs in developing efficient strategy and policy changes to support the mental health staff and encourage opportunities for efficient coping and personal growth in post-Covid times.
The project aims to estimate the impact of the pandemic on mental health psychology practitioners’ resilience and identify individual and environmental factors critical for the development of resilience in this group of professionals. The aim will be achieved by using a mixed-method approach and the state-of-the-art computational procedures allowing to define an optimal predictive model that will help to estimate the impacts of the pandemic. The project has the potential to identify prospective areas of training and to inform future organisational provisions of support for mental health psychology practitioners.
Prof. Sarah Bate becomes Leverhulme Trust Fellow
Prof. Sarah Bate was awarded a second Fellowship last month; this time from the Leverhulme Trust. Sarah has also recently been made associate editor at the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.
Dr Andy Mayers undertakes work with local mental health charities and national support groups during the Covid-19 outbreak
As some of you will be aware, Dr Andy Mayers undertakes a great deal of work with local mental health charities and national support groups. The sudden changes to society as a result of the Covid Lockdown have forced these groups to make changes in the way they deliver their services. Andy has been involved in advising and sharing many of those changes.
Andy said “At Dorset Mind, for whom I am Patron, we provide general mental health support across Dorset. Many of these were face-to-face groups, so they have now been adapted to online and email services. You can read about those here.”
“At Dorset Parent Infant Partnership (DorPIP), were I am a Trustee, we provide support to all parents of infants (under the age of 2) mostly focusing on therapeutic intervention for the parent-infant relationship. We have adapted our counselling support to an online service.”
“At ActsFast, for whom I am Chair of Trustees, we support the (non-abusive) families of children who have been sexually abused. This includes counselling and advocacy services. We have adapted these services to be online and by telephone. We are very concerned with growing evidence of an increase in abuse (largely due to the greater confinement of children) and are acutely aware that escape from those environments is harder now. Could read about the revised services here.”
“Most of my ‘external’ work focuses on perinatal mental health. I work with many national groups. We are very concerned that parents-to-be are in need of even great support during Covid (especially over fears around their rights on the safety of the unborn child). At Make Birth Better, we have created these resources to help parents-to-be at this time.”
“We are also aware that many fathers are being excluded from antenatal appointments and the birth itself, even when the partners have been exclusively self-isolating. BU published my reservations about this exclusion. Our friends at AIMS and Birthrights have issued resources to inform parents of their rights.”
Andy has published links to mental health support in Dorset during Covid on his website: www.andrewmayers.info
Gambling Research Evidence at the House of Lords
Dr John McAlaney gave evidence at the House of Lords Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry, chaired by Lord Michael Grade. John was invited to speak to the Select Committee in his capacity as a Trustee for the Gordon Moody Association and as a researcher in this field. He spoke about the conflicts and challenges that can come from working in gambling research, and also about the opportunities for prevention and intervention in online gambling that can come from making use of data driven, real time, intelligent strategies. These are possibilities that are currently being explored in research funded by GambleAware at Bournemouth University, led by the gambling research group. A video of the evidence session is available at https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/70d43917-adbd-466f-94f6-8ad44c11a0e1#player-tabs.
Dr Shanti Shanker and colleagues receive funding for new project!
A project titled, “The key issues in Dementia in South Asia” has been awarded a total of £17,180 (for 2 years) through the GCRF Internal funding (October 2019) for Scheme 1: New GCRF projects. This project is a joint collaboration between the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences and Department of Psychology (Faculty of Science and Technology). The Principle Investigator is Dr Bibha-Simkhukda from HSS and Co-PIs include, Dr Michele Board, Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen and Dr Shanti Shanker.
Dr Constantina Panourgia presents her work at UCLY
Dr Constantina Panourgia was invited to present her work at the International Research Week in the Department of Psychology at UCLY in Lyon. Constantina explained why some children are doing better than others when exposed to life adversity and also discussed the effects of poverty on development. Constantina had the opportunity to meet academics from other European Universities and discuss potential partnerships between institutions.
Dr Andy Mayers speaks to Adrian Chiles on BBC Radio 5 Live
Our very own Dr Andy Mayers appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live on December 17th. Speaking to Adrian Chiles, Andy talked about fathers’ mental health, but especially about the impact of fathers who witness their partner’s birth trauma (and the subsequent support they need). This appearance was one of several that Andy has done for national TV and radio in recent times, including Channel 5 News earlier this year. He has also appeared in international newspapers, including the Washington Post. His work with fathers’ mental health is getting national and international attention. Just one year ago, Andy was part of a group of academics and professionals who persuaded NHS England to screen fathers for their mental health; something that has never happened before. The research that Andy undertook to influence that is now being developed as part of an impact case study for REF2021. Beyond that, Andy is working with several Royal Colleges and national bodies to retrain and educate health professionals on fathers’ mental health (including Royal College of Midwives and Institute of Health Visitors).
You can listen to the BBC 5 Live segment here http://andrewmayers.info/5Live%20Dec%2019%202019.mp3
and access the Chanel 5 News story here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLqtoa7JoYc
YGAM Community Development Manager at BU - Layla Johnson
We are very excited to announce that one of our Psychology students, Layla Johnson was successfully appointed to the Community Development Manager role for BU. This role is in partnership with the charity YGAM, to support and educate BU university students’ with gaming and gambling activities and issues. Layla (pictured in the middle) started the role on Monday 28th October, with Pete Woodward Head of University and Student Engagement at YGAM (pictured on the left) and Dr Sarah Hodge (pictured on the right), welcoming her to the role for this academic year. Layla will be involved in events, raising awareness and support for BU students, as well as working with the Community Development Managers from the other universities. We are looking forward to the future developments and the partnership with BU and YGAM.
BU is one of only 10 universities in the UK to have this partnership and offer our students an opportunity to apply for, and have support from this role. Dr Sarah Hodge has been leading and developing this partnership for BU, with the cross-faculty and department research group exploring; gambling, gaming, and digital resilience. The research group is led by Associate professor John McAlaney from Psychology and Professor Raian Ali from Computing. Dr Sarah Hodge and Sarah Gosling (University Engagement Advisor & Secretary to the Boards at YGAM) recently wrote an article for the University Business Magazine highlighting the role of gaming, gambling and university life from the recent research report published by YGAM. These topics of gaming, gambling, and digital resilience are also related to the teaching on the level 6 unit: Psychology of Social Media and Video Games #PSMVG.
A New Project for Prof Katherine Appleton - 'Sweet Tooth: Nature or Nurture?'
Prof Katherine Appleton is part of an international team that over the summer was awarded 1.5 million euros by TIFN (a Dutch Funding Agent) and 8 food industry partners for a four-year project entitled 'Sweet Tooth: Nature or Nurture?'. The project will investigate the impact of differing levels of exposure to sweet taste on subsequent sweet taste preferences, perceptions and intakes, plus various biomedical parameters, using a randomised controlled trial, to directly support or challenge current recommendations from the World Health Organisation. The project began on the 1st of September 2019.
Dr John McAlaney appointed as a SPRITE+ Expert Fellow
Dr John McAlaney has been appointed as a SPRITE+ Expert Fellow (The Security, Privacy, Identity and Trust Engagement NetworkPlus). This scheme is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council with support from UK Government, and is a new initiative that will bring together experts to address the opportunities and challenges provided by the digital economy. John’s role in this scheme will involve sharing his research and knowledge on the psychological aspects of cybersecurity and use of socio-technical systems.
Collaborations and public engagements
Bournemouth University contributes to Government science on eyewitness testimony
Dr Peter Hills from the Psychology department at Bournemouth University contributes to Government science - Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology Note on Eyewitness Testimony.
“Individuals who give witness testimony can include victims of crimes, bystanders or all emergency services. Stakeholders, including psychologists, police officers and legal professionals, agree that witness testimony can provide useful evidence for investigations. Witness testimonies are often seen as a strong form of evidence by police, judges and jurors. However, as with any evidence, the reliability of witness testimony decreases if it is not carefully obtained, managed and handled during investigations and prosecutions.”
Fabiola Creed from the University of Warwick, in partnership with the Wellcome Trust, and together with stakeholders and other academic peer reviewers like Dr Peter Hills, completed the analysis published by the ‘Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology’ titled: Improving Witness Testimony. The document discusses questions like: How reliable is witness testimony? What are the latest developments in testimony gathering?
More information about the document can be found here: http://bit.ly/2LZxBtv
Department of Psychology hosting the Experimental Psychology Society
On the 10th -12th of July, the Department of Psychology hosted the summer meeting of the Experimental Psychology Society. The meeting was organised by Dr Andrew Johnson and Dr Peter Hills, and included the 47th Frederic Bartlett Lecture by Professor Dorothy Bishop, with an accompanying symposium organised by David Shanks. The meeting also included a locally organised symposium Current Trends in Identity and Emotion Processing in Faces (Convener: Dr Alla Yankouskaya) and the British Science Association/EPS Undergraduate Project Prize talk by one of the joint winners, Gwydion Williams of UCL. Over 130 delegates attended from across the UK (with some delegates even travelling from France, Germany, and Israel). Delegates were treated to 50 talks (and 44 posters) across the 3 days; all washed down with candy floss and souvenir rock.
Department of Psychology receives Athena SWAN award
We are delighted to announce that BU’s Department of Psychology has received the Athena SWAN bronze award, in recognition of their commitment to working towards gender equality in higher education. This was a great team effort of the SAT team which was led by Prof Sine McDougall.
Dr Ellen Seiss (Senior Lecturer), the new Athena SWAN lead for the department, said: “The Department of Psychology has worked hard to improve our policies and practices, striving to offer a supportive and inclusive environment for all staff and students.”
“We are delighted that this work has been recognised via the Athena SWAN bronze award, and are already working hard to ensure the action plan we submitted as part of the application is implemented.”
BU’s Equality and Diversity Adviser Dr James Palfreman-Kay said “I‘m really pleased to see the work the department has undertaken on gender and more broadly on equality and diversity being recognised through the achievement of a departmental Athena SWAN bronze award.”
The award is valid for four years and during this time the department will continue to raise awareness of gender equality within their teams and demonstrate how their action plan is making a positive difference to achieving gender equality.
BU now has three departmental awards, with the Department of Life & Environmental Sciences achieving their bronze award earlier this year and the Department of Media Production gaining the same last year. In addition to the departmental awards, BU as an institution was also successful in our submission for an Athena SWAN bronze award in May.
BU’s commitment to equality and diversity is an area of focus in BU2025 and you can take a look at the institutional SWAN actions for 2019 on page three of the Athena SWAN newsletter. As part of these actions, we will be supporting all academic departments to make their own submissions for this important award.
One of the objectives within BU2025 is that we are aiming for at least half of all departments to gain a bronze award by 2021 and all departments by 2025. More information about Athena SWAN can be found on the Advance HE website.
Emotions in Eating Disorders Conference
Dr Laura Renshaw-Vuillier organised a conference on Emotions in eating disorders in collaboration with James Palfreman-Kay (Equality and Diversity Adviser), Bournemouth University Student Union and Dorset Healthcare University Foundation. It was attended by 100 people and speakers attended from all over the country. Students were also given the opportunity to present their work as a poster during the conference. For an example, here is a short interview with Psychology student, Ana Texeira, who provided an excellent summary of her work.
BU academic awarded NIHR Clinical Trials Fellowship
Dr Samuel Nyman has been awarded a NIHR Clinical Trials Fellowship that will begin in January 2019. These fellowships are designed to provide further advanced research methods training in clinical trials. They provide hands-on experience with several trials at different phases of progression and are to be based in a clinical trials unit. Samuel will be based at PRIMENT, the Clinical Trials Unit at UCL with expertise in trials conducted in primary care and to do with mental health, including Samuel’s research area of dementia. This will help Samuel consolidate the experience he has gained so far and training from completing an MSc in Clinical Trials, with further hands-on experience in dementia trials at a leading trials unit.
Funded by Santander Staff Mobility scheme, Dr Bernhard Angele visited Prof Jinmian Yang at Fudan University, Shanghai in June 2018. Prof Yang is one of the leading experts on eye movements during reading in Chinese, and some extremely productive time was spent working on a collaborative eye-tracking study which will be implemented and run shortly. Fudan University is one of the most prestigious and selective universities in China with a more than 100 year-long history. It is continually ranked as one of the top three universities in China (together with Peking University and Tsinghua University) and as one of the top 20 universities in Asia. Further collaborations include preparation for grants during Prof Yang’s visit to BU this summer, and further collaborative work will Prof Xingshan Li from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and Prof Chuanli Zang and Prof Guoli Yan from Tianjin Normal University. During his stay in China, Bernhard also presented a talk (and was a co-author on another talk and a poster) at the 8th China International Conference on Eye Movements (CICEM) in Nanjing.
BRANES: Increasing brain awareness from Bournemouth to Kenya
BRANES (Building Awareness and Resilience through Neuropsychological Education in the Society) is a project led by Dr Shanti Shanker and Dr Ben Hicks from Bournemouth University. Its disparate activities are drawn together by the project’s primary ambition to increase public awareness of the neuropsychology of such conditions as stroke, multiple sclerosis, brain injury and dementia. With the objective that knowledge will help build resilience.
The project has undergone much work including running workshops at the Festival of Learning in London and in Bournemouth, providing interactive public awarness in Brain Awarness Week in 2017 and also running further workshops with care home residents under the title "Tag your identity" to help dementia sufferers challenge public perceptions of their identity. BRANES has had tremendous impact and has now managed to reach as far afield as Kenya and India. Shanti and the team have been given the opportunity to work with senior Kenyan prison officers (through the African Prison Project). The team discussed the concepts behind BRANES and discussed how it could be adapted to increase resilience in inmates. You can find more details of the story on The British Psychological Society website.
Promoting Science and exploring collaboration in India: Global Festival of Learning 2018
Dr Shanti Shanker, Lecturer, Dept. of Psychology (part of the GFoL Team), this team included other staff and students from Bournemouth University
Read below for outcomes of the visit:
1. Engage as an academic – Global festival of Learning
A) Symbiosis, Pune (13th Feb): Dr Shanker lead a interactive lecture/workshop for 3rd year students in psychology. Out of a group of 30, 5 students were keen to consider BU for their M.Sc. and a couple were exploring possible PGR opportunities.
B) I Teach Schools, Pune: is a new initiative to make a difference in Schools within Pune. Dr Shanker connected with the Founder/CEO and is exploring possibility to explore internship opportunities (for summer/year-long placements) for our 2nd and/or 3rd year students (possibly for 2019-20 academic year).
C) Pint of Science & Soap Box Science: As an alumnus for both these public engagement forums, Dr Shanker engaged with students and relevant academics and corporates to explore potential collaborators to launch either of this program in Pune/Mumbai and/or Delhi. This will contribute to some impact case studies of increasing academic presence in the community.
D) Private Education (16th February): Met with the Vice-President – Education, GEMS International School. During the panel discussion – I shared some of the best practices followed in teaching by Psychology and she was very keen to connect. Possibly another avenue to explore collaborations in the near future and also potential summer placement opportunities for Psychology.
2. India Recruitment: Delhi
As part of Festival of Learning – ½ day on the 15th of February was dedicated to recruiting students at the British Council Delhi. Activities include:
A) Meeting in-person with the Agents, was very helpful. They will be in touch for us to have online sessions (annually) to clear any questions, interact with prospective applicants who want to make an application to BU for Undergraduate courses.
B) Two schools (Delhi) are interested in providing us with the space and students to run a Public Engagement workshop (BRANES: Building Resilience Awareness through Neuropsychology Education in the Society). This would allow us to gain familiarity and peak interest of students and parents considering UK Education. Both of these are private schools.
C) Mr Tom Birtwistle, Director North India, British Council. Dr Shanker met with the Director, who mentioned that currently, Psychology books are the most sought after at the British Council Libraries. So, he is keen to organize few open sessions for Public and/ Schools in Psychology. This will be planned for some time in August/September 2018, when Dr Shanker will be in India. This would allow us to a) increase our awareness within the society; b) showcase our unique selling point – an inbuilt placement within the taught M.Sc. which is a huge advantage over a number of UK University courses in Psychology.
D) Dr Shanker has spoken to few stakeholders, who have mentioned that having few talks in Schools (Std. XII) and providing sessions on interesting facts would be an excellent approach.
3. Building on existing collaborations and co-applying for relevant grant applications. a. Centers for Wellbeing and Research, India:
A) The intention to work with the grass-root levels (i.e. tier 2/3 cities, smaller towns and village) to build more mental health and neuropsychology awareness has been on the agenda for a long time.
B) During this visit, Dr Shanker connected with Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen (HSS) and we are writing pilot grant to work on need-based assessment. Following which we plan to submit a proposal for a Welcome trust grant to support pilot research in India (aimed for early/mid 2019).
C) During this visit, we also connected with 3 other medical doctors in India who will be interested to collaborate on this project/initiative.
D) Dr Shanker will be planning a workshop with Prison Officers in Aug-Sep 2018. Having connected with Hariharan Krishnan, a well-known film maker – he was very interested in exploring possible collaboration from public awareness perspective.
International collaboration and knowledge exchange with partner universities in China
Dr Bernhard Angele just returned in January 2018 from a four-month visit to the Institute of Psychology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. The visit was funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences' President's Fellowship Initiative (PIFI). During his visit, Bernhard collaborated with Prof Xingshan Li on several studies on eye movements in reading. Martin Vasilev, a PhD student in our department, was also able to visit the Institute of Psychology at CAS during the month of December, where he collaborated with Bernhard Angele and Prof Xingshan Li on a study on auditory background input while reading Chinese. This visit was funded by the Experimental Psychology Society (EPS). During his time in China, Bernhard also visited Tianjin Normal University in Tianjin (together with Martin Vasilev) and Shandong Normal University in Jinan, where he gave talks on recent research projects. Additionally, Bernhard gave workshops on Advanced Statistics using the R Software at the CAS Institute of Psychology and Tianjin Normal University, as well as a workshop on academic publishing at Shandong Normal University, which were very well received.