Propaganda, Modern Day Slavery, and the Fashionable Body: APSS Research Café II

The three speakers at Research Café II: Arts, Professional and Social Studies were excellent representatives of the diverse and rich research being carried out in three of the different faculties within APSS.  Dr Guy Hodgson, a senior lecturer of journalism from Liverpool Screen School, challenged the mythology of Edith Cavell; PhD candidate Akilah Jardine from the School of Law, outlined her research on human trafficking;  and Carol Ryder, senior lecturer of fashion and illustration, challenged the current ideals of the fashionable self in this intriguing lunchtime series of talks.

The first speaker was Dr. Guy Hodgson and his talk, ‘Edith Cavell: Best of British Propaganda?’ He set the scene surrounding the myth of Edith Cavell, describing the actual events in October 1915 and her confession of being involved in wartime acts of espionage.  He then outlined the changes in the reporting of her death, how initially her passing was simply reported, but as the days went on, the language to describe her death and the actions of the German military was increasingly inflammatory with phrases such as, the ‘merciless execution of Nurse Cavell.’

Guy then went on to describe the impact of this propaganda machine, how what was originally one war-time death subsequently began to influence both Allied and German public opinion, in one example, increasing enlistment by 10,000 recruits in one day.  Still, it wasn’t just the impact on the war effort, it was also her historical significance then and now that persevered.  Dr. Hodgson described the ‘fresh impetus of interest’ that occurred once the war was over surrounding the myth of Edith Cavell: she has schools, buildings and in 2015, even a £5.00 coin with her face on it.

Though Cavell was heroic, and she undoubtedly helped to rescue British soldiers and distribute wartime intelligence, she was, as former MI5 Director-General Stella Rimington admitted, a spy and quite rightly could have been executed for these war crimes (as at that time, deserters were often killed, conscientious objectors were imprisoned and other enemy soliders were also executed by the British military).  Dr. Hodgson’s talk is also relevant to today’s conflicts and wars; what we can or should believe and also questioning the propaganda of both our own country but others, too.

Our second speaker was Akilah Jardine, a PhD candidate in the school of law and her talk, The Ugly Face of Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery.  Akilah was first interested in this area when she started her undergraduate law degree.  She began her talk by explaining that the average human being costs $90 and by breaking down different aspects to the human slave trade, explaining the movement of slaves both within and across borders.  Akilah also explained the important distinction between human trafficking, consent through deception and human smuggling, complete consent to the facilitation of movement.  This dissimilarity is then also manifested when people arrive at their ‘destination’ as within human smuggling the person in question is more or less ‘free’, whereas with trafficking, the person in question will be faced with increasing and unlimited demands for more money or work, with ultimate freedom unattainable and exploitation ever-present.

Akilah also explained the sheer enormity of the problem of human trafficking.  Recent estimates suggest that there are between 20-27 million people that are currently enslaved, more now than at any time during the trans-Atlantic slave trade.  The difficulty with these numbers is that they are a guesstimate and that itself is part of the problem.  Human trafficking is often difficult to identify and far more prevalent and insidious a problem that makes it difficult for law enforcement, lawmakers and the international community to combat.

Her research is looking into ways that current international law can be more effective.  The United Nations enacted the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children in 2000. This specifically addressed issues with women and children and as Akilah pointed out, human trafficking impacts on both genders, and legislation needs to be changed to address that. Human traffickers are adept at preying on people that are desperate and vulnerable and with money to be made, use increasingly savvy and changing methods to ensure their trade can continue. Akilah believes that while law enforcement and international law can change, it is also necessary for corporations to behave more ethically and support social responsibility so that traffickers do not see opportunities to exploit others.

Our final speaker was Carol Ryder, a senior lecturer in fashion and her talk, Animating Fashion Illustration: Promoting the Diverse Fashionable Body via fashion film. Carol began her talk describing how the Westernised fashion ideal that is spreading worldwide and is incredibly homogenised: tall, thin, young, white, European and able-bodied, showing us a cover of Vogue India with these exact ‘ideals’.  She explained that as this very prescriptive ideal spreads worldwide, it promotes the impression that all women should conform or should work towards achieving it.

This conformity manifests itself not just with airbrushed images within various forms of media but also tangible physical changes that women ascribe to: skin-whitening, and changing the shape of eyes.  Carol believes that in our goal to become whiter, thinner and younger, we are attempting to become ‘normal’ and instead of being right, this is actual detrimental and wrong.  Through her work with fashion illustration, she is hoping to promote greater diversity exploring the ideal of the ‘unfashionable body’.  She cited recent research that shows as consumers we are more likely to buy products if the image even slightly reflects ourselves.

Carol creates her vision by painting layers and using movement and sound to create films where the final image is not apparent until the end.  She was particularly inspired by Latvian singer Viktoria Modesta, who wears futuristic prosthetics to challenge what being disabled means.  Enlisting the expertise of Manchester Metropolitan University lecturer and filmmaker, Zoe Hitchen, they created a film to illustrate her sequenced scanned images.

As each layer is applied to the film, the overall image and understanding of both fashion and the body modelling the clothing, changes.  In this way, through Carol’s drawings and Zoe’s film, this challenges the viewers’ initial expectations but also questions why we ‘expect’ certain things from fashion.  Carol finished by briefly explaining their manifesto on the fashionable body and highlighting the belief that our ‘imperfections’ are what make us beautiful, human and interesting.  Moreover, by using imagery to alter our perceptions, we will promote diversity.

This fascinating afternoon was just a brief reflection of the work that goes on across APSS and the diversity of research within different faculties.  If you are interested in speaking or attending the next Research Café, please contact Katherine Stephan: k.d.stephan@ljmu.ac.uk

 

Library Research Support Training and Events

The Library Research Support Team will be facilitating a number of events for researchers, faculty, students and staff in the month of February.  Although all of the events are free, booking is essential.

If you require more information or have suggestions for future training, please contact the Library Research Support Team.

Open Access-What, Why and How? 09/02/2016, 2.30-3.30pm

An introduction to Open Access which will cover the following questions (and more!): What is open access? Why should I want to do it? How do I do it? At Aldham Robarts Library, Seminar Room 1.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/open-access-what-why-and-how-tuesday-9-february-1430-1530-seminar-room-1-tickets-18687319275

 

Research Café II: Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies 10/02/2016, 12.30-2.00pm

LJMU’s Research Cafes are informal gatherings where established academics, PhD students and early career researchers can come together to discover more about what their colleagues from different faculties are working on.  This free event (with lunch!) will feature 10-minute talks from:

Dr. Guy Hodgson: Senior Lecturer of Journalism, Liverpool Screen School

Akilah Jardine: PhD Candidate from the School of Law

Carol Ryder: Senior Lecturer of Fashion Design, Liverpool School of Art and Design

This event is being held at Redmonds Building, Room 138

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/liverpool-john-moores-university-research-cafe-ii-faculty-of-arts-professional-and-social-studies-tickets-20783151967

 

E-theses Briefing Session 24/02/2016, 10.00-11.00am

This event aims to provide guidance on the submission of electronic copies of MPhil and PhD theses and will be particularly useful to PGR students in their final examination phase and supervisors.   At Avril Robarts Library, Seminar Room 1

http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/e-theses-briefing-session-24-february-2016-tickets-20121854007

 

Berg Fashion Library is back….for good.

After a successful trial last year, we are pleased to announce we have added Berg Fashion Library to our collection of electronic resources.  With our subscription you can have access to the Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion online,  e-books, images, lesson plans and much more.

To access, simply go to our electronic library page, go to Databases A-Z and click on Berg Fashion Library.  Click here for a quick tutorial and more information about Berg.

For additional information on Berg Fashion Library or other fashion resources, please contact your Academic Liaison Librarians for fashion, Nathalie Taylor at n.m.taylor@ljmu.ac.uk or Katherine Stephan at k.d.Stephan@ljmu.ac.uk

 

Research Cafe I: Faculty of Engineering and Technology

telescope

Research Café I: Light sabers to laser scalpels, relativistic jets, mechanical stimulation of cell migration, organizational justice

We headed out to the James Parsons Building for the first of our 2015-2016 research cafes in our new format of a faculty-based programme of speakers. Attendees were welcomed with a tasty lunch and fascinating talks from three diverse schools within the Faculty of Engineering and Technology.

Our first speaker was Christine Unterhitzenberger, a PhD candidate from Built Environment, who is researching a holistic approach to studying the influence of organizational justice on construction project performance. She gave the audience a bit of background on the impact of organizational justice on construction projects on how this can both influence the deadlines and budgets of buildings themselves and also on the treatment of employees through the duration of the project.

The data from a recent questionnaire has only just been received, and Christine is optimistic that this will translate into valuable improvements that will inform future practice. Christine hopes that this may enable clients to become more aware, transparent, and fair and will thereby enhance cooperation and collaboration on the building sites of the future.

Helen Jermak, PhD candidate from the Astrophysics Research Institute, is researching relativistic jets using the Robotic Liverpool Telescope. She began her talk describing the Liverpool Telescope (LT) and declaring that, ‘Blazars are awesome.’ She then provided an excellent basis for understanding various parts of our galaxy by explaining: supermassive black holes, relativistic jets, magnetic fields and our orientation of the views of the galaxies that we see, ‘straight down the jet’ as it were, to the sources we call blazars.

As what she is researching isn’t tangible in the same way as other disciplines, much of her work is based on collecting data from light from the jet called polarisation. By using a polarimeter such as Ringo2 and Ringo3, Helen can collect data to predict the structure and strength of magnetic fields within the jet, thereby understanding these jets that exist close to the edge of black holes. For more information about LT visit: http://telescope.livjm.ac.uk If you would like to fund LT2, the approximate cost will be £20million.

Our third speaker, Duncan Casey, is a multi-disciplinary researcher and a senior lecturer from Built Environment. He discussed the research and design side of making practical tools with light, in particular, solving biological problems with chemistry, physics and engineering. Duncan explained that with normal biochemistry, you tend to get lots of samples and it’s often difficult to isolate the single cells amongst the millions that you have sampled. Using light, or more specifically, lasers, you are able to mark certain cells and leave others alone.

This has potentially a huge impact on how we might first isolate cells, and Duncan discussed the way that using this method may help to better understand circulating tumour cells. He also believes that research in this area has potential to impact on our health: ways to operate, treat and comprehend pure cells from diseases associated with aging.

Taybia Mohammed, a PhD candidate from the General Engineering Research Institute, was our final speaker.   As part of her PhD, Taybia is investigating whether mechanical stimulation can enhance cell migration. In some cases, mechanical stimulation such as vibration, can impact on wound healing. For some diseases, like diabetes, wounds are slow to heal and an increase in cell movement could potentially speed up this process. For her research, Taybia had two different types of cells, L929 and LL24, that were stimulated via a low frequency, low amplitude vibration for different periods of time over different frequencies.

She discovered that mechanical stimulation can increase wound healing, but only at a certain megahertz and only for a specific period of time before the control group would catch up. For future work, Taybia hopes to repeat the same experiments using a different range of frequencies and also with different types of cells.

Research Café I, Wednesday 14th October: Light sabers to laser scalpels, relativistic jets, mechanical stimulation of cell migration, organizational justice….and lunch!

There’s still time to sign up for the first of our free, faculty-based Research Cafes 2015 held over lunchtime.  Our inaugural café will take place on Wednesday, 14 October from 12.30pm-2.00pm in Room 322 Byrom Street.

Here’s a small taster of some of the interesting research that four faculty and students within the Faculty of Engineering and Technology will be discussing:

Duncan Casey, Built Environment:

Light sabers, laser guns and tractor beams are staples of science fiction, but tools that look a lot like them are in far more common use than you might realise. When scientists want to investigate the behaviour of very small systems like individual cells, what’s needed is a very precise toolkit with the ability to pick up and deliver material at tiny length-scales. Join Dr. Duncan Casey to explore how working at this resolution is revolutionising our understanding of biology…and to see some cool toys in action.”

Helen Jermak: Astrophysics Research Institute

“When matter in the vicinity of the black hole moves close enough to become under the influence of the black hole’s gravitational potential, the black hole becomes ‘active’-meaning it begins to accrete the matter.  Active black holes, or active galactic nuclei (AGN) often have relativistic jets associated with them, travelling at speeds close to the speed of light.  Due to the orientation of galaxies on the sky, we see these systems from different views, including straight down the jet-these sources we call blazars. 

Taybia Mohammed: General Engineering Research Institute

“The aim of this investigation is to understand the effects of mechanical stimulation on the migratory behaviour of the fibroblast cells, which play an important role in wound healing.  From this investigation, we hope to accelerate or promote would healing, non-invasively, through physical stimulation alone.  To achieve this a simple speaker-based system was developed, that can deliver low frequency low amplitude (LFLA) vibration to cells in vitro.”

Christine Unterhitzenberger: Built Environment

“The research at hand investigates for the first time holistically the influence of organizational justice on construction project performance. For this purpose an innovative conceptual framework was developed which incorporates organizational justice, organizational justice climate, which is the team’s collective perception regarding the treatment by others, especially authorities, and antecedents of project performance.”

To book your free place, please sign up here:

http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/liverpool-john-moores-university-faculty-of-engineering-and-technology-research-cafe-14-october-2015-tickets-18286387076

Research Cafés are back….with lunch! Save the date: Wednesday 14th October

Research Café I 2015-2016

All students and staff are welcome to the first of our free, faculty-based research cafes taking place during the 2015-2016 academic year.  This year’s cafes will take place over lunchtime, where you will be introduced to interesting talks about current research at LJMU accompanied by a free lunch.

Please join us at Byrom Street, Room 322, from 12.30pm-2pm on Wednesday, 14th October 2015 to welcome four speakers from the Faculty of Engineering and Technology:

Duncan Casey: Built Environment

Helen Jermak: Astrophysics Research Institute

Taybia Mohammed: General Engineering Research Institute

Christine Unterhitzenberger: Built Environment

 

Please join us for our inaugural café of the year and book your free place.

Any questions, please contact the Library Research Support Team.