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As part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) annual Festival of Social Science we held a ‘Social Science social’. The event was an opportunity to listen to four inspiring presentations from our social science researchers. Each talk was ten minutes with five minutes to ask the researcher questions about their work. A great opportunity to interact with new research ideas!

The event was hosted by Dr Oliver Smith, Associate Professor in Criminology (School of Law, Criminology and Government). The four presentations represented a broad range of social sciences and gave an insight into some very early stage research.

Lindsay Badger (Plymouth Business School) | Mental health issues from different perspectives

Mental health issues at work is an under researched field of study but has the potential to highlight, challenge and change experiences of work for people with mental health issues. To do this though, multiple perspectives need to be considered and looked at, including the individual themselves and line managers. 

The aim of the talk was to discuss these views, the importance of looking at the different viewpoints and insights for practice.

Felix Gradinger (Peninsula Medical School) | Embedded research - being helpful in the real world

What are embedded researchers-in-residence and why do we need them now?

It takes 17 years on average for evidence to reach practice. Most researchers assume it is someone else's responsibility to implement it. In the meantime, people in the real world innovate all the time without researchers learning from it. There is a clear opportunity for mutual benefit in filling these gaps and prevent waste. Felix talked about his experiences (good and bad) over the past five years and shared examples of the impact of co-producing knowledge for action (for example increasing capacity for mutual learning, empowering the voluntary sector, making sure the public voice is heard, holding the system to account, and identifying areas of unmet need for further research and improvement).

Suparna Bagchi (Plymouth Institute of Education) | Enacting and implementing multiculturalism in primary education

Following George Floyd’s brutal killing in the USA, important questions related to diversity and racism have resurfaced. Isabelle Mukadi, a BLM British activist said in a BBC interview that it is high time that the National Curriculum should be revised. This is because the curriculum is a reflection of the dominant social group in Britain, which has sadly resulted in a narrow, monocultural expression of the world in which the ‘others’ in the society are side-lined.

Suparna’s research questions involve:

  • How do schools interpret the guidelines in the National Curriculum with respect to promotion of multiculturalism?
  • How does multiculturalism permeate school life?
  • What are the experiences of children, parents and practitioners with respect to cultural awareness?

Nigel Firth (School of Law, Criminology and Government) | Assaults on emergency workers - COVID crime?

Offences that could be charged against those who assault emergency services staff. 

  • Is the current law adequate? 
  • How does the law deal with those whose assault involves spitting and the threat of transmitted COVID-19? 
  • Is there enough being done to investigate and charge offenders? 
  • Are the sentences imposed sufficient? 
  • What needs to change?

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Biography: Lindsay Badger

Lindsay is a University of Plymouth PhD student exploring mental health Issues at work from the individual and line manager perspective. This is a qualitative, exploratory piece of research with 38 in-depth interviews conducted with managers and employees in a range of sectors and organisations. It has been a real honour for her to collect the stories of these individuals, and the openness and honesty of people talking about their experiences of work has made it a really rewarding research project. 

Recently, Lindsay has been talking with organisations, practitioners and academics about the potential impact of her research. This has included participating as an expert on a panel for Seetec/Pluss, where mental health at work was discussed with a range of employers and stakeholders. She also presented at the national Health and Wellbeing at Work Conference in March. She delivered a paper at the British Academy of Management 2020 international conference.

Lindsay Badger

Biography: Felix Gradinger

Felix is a Social Scientist and Researcher-in-Residence (RiR), permanently embedded from 2016-21 at the Integrated Care Organisation (ICO) at Torbay and South Devon, where he and Dr Julian Elston are co-producing with system-wide stakeholders evaluation and research evidence around person-centred, coordinated care for older people in the community. This includes implementation research on horizontal and vertical integration across the system and exploring impact of intermediate care services including social prescribing. 

He has extensive experience in patient and public involvement, conducting action-based, participatory, ethnographic and mixed methods research. His work won a prize at the 1st Annual Implementation Science Research Conference in London in July 2018, and Felix and the ICO Multidisciplinary Team in Coastal Locality were finalists at the Health Services Journal Awards (Primary and Community Care Services Redesign category) in November 2018.

Felix Gradinger

Biography: Suparna Bagchi

Suparna is a Doctoral Teaching Assistant at the Plymouth Institute of Education. She is presently researching the implementation of multiculturalism in primary schools in Plymouth. Suparna is a trained compassionate ambassador, a community champion and a certified faith speaker who is passionate about humanitarian causes involving cultural diversity and race equality. 

As a member of the University’s Race Equality Charter, she completed her training as a dignity and respect advisor. She is a member of the Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council where she completed her race equality training. Suparna hopes to pursue a career in academia after completing her PhD and continue working for humanity, especially with the BAME community. Outside work, she is a trained Indian classical dancer and singer who has performed professionally across two continents.

Suparna Bagchi

Biography: Nigel Firth

Nigel is a senior lecturer in the School of Law, Criminology and Government at the University of Plymouth. He is module leader for a range of academic and practical subjects including Criminal Law. Before joining the University he worked as a solicitor in practice. As a result of his links with the legal profession and other regional employers he has a lead role on employability within the school. His research interests focus on this topic. 

He has published some work in this area with others including “The Gap between Law Student Career Aspirations and Employment Opportunities” in the Law Teacher International Journal of Education. He is commencing a study on the benefits of taking part in the school’s pro bono Legal Clinic. In his spare time he enjoys getting out and about in the great outdoors with his family in an old camper van.

Nigel Firth

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