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The University of Southampton
Public Engagement with Research

PER Development Fund 18/19 Projects

We are delighted to have agreed funding for 18 exciting projects within our recent Call, from a very strong field of 37 applications.

These projects will be running during 2018/19 - open up the concertina sections to find out more about each one.

Using patient experience videos to inform prospective trial patients

Oelixir is an acronym for oesophago-gastric cancer trials beginning Autumn 2018. We are working with a group of patient and public representatives to maximise our chances to consent and recruit patients. The group have recommend that a short patient experience video about the trial could be helpful in demystifying some aspects of the trial process and thereby encouraging sign-up. The video will be available on a tablet given to the patient while they are waiting for their first consultant appointment.  The project team will work creatively with members of the group and film and media students to create the video material.

Project Lead: Jane Robertson, Faculty of Medicine,

The Virus Within: Hearing HIV

The Virus Within: Hearing HIV (2017-2018) is an exciting thirty-minute composition that musically depicts the biological processes involved in HIV replication and how innovative ‘Shock and Kill’ treatments might provide a cure for HIV. A product of close collaboration between composer Benjamin Oliver (University of Southampton) and virologist Chad Swanson (King’s College London) the work has been described as both a ‘top science/music mash-up’ and a ‘structurally chaotic masterpiece!’. Benjamin, Chad and the Workers Union Ensemble will present two performances of The Virus Within:Hearing HIV at Turner Sims during University of Southampton Science and Engineering Day 2019.  

(NB this project commenced last year with a 17/18 award, but cancellation of the 2018 Science & Engineering Day prevented the performance from taking place; hence the award of follow-on funding this year to enable the performance to take place in March 2019.)

Project Lead: Ben Oliver, Faculty of Arts & Humanities (Music),

Art Histories: Futuring the Past

This sustainable project underpins the engagement of Winchester School of Art alumni, staff, students and the general public in the School’s 150th anniversary events. The project will critically examine the School’s historical data, currently being digitised - including graduate artwork dating back to the 1980s and a comprehensive archive of printed materials, ranging from 1910 School prospectuses to architectural drawings. The project involves selecting appropriate artworks and printed materials and interviewing alumni in order to chart the history of the School and how it relates to trends in art education and the art world. This research will form the core of information intended for public education and outreach on an interactive website to be commissioned by the School.

Project Lead: Kay May, Faculty of Art & Humanities (Winchester School of Art),

Ethical research in schools: developing teaching resources

This project aims to co-develop a scheme of workshops and resources with local A-level teachers, to support and enrich psychology education and students’ understanding of ethical issues in research. The School of Psychology hopes to prepare future psychologists for undergraduate education, improve links with local schools for recruitment and research activities, and provide opportunities for PGR students to engage in meaningful science communication.

The pilot scheme will support development of resources with teachers to ensure they map onto current A-level psychology curricula, and systematic evaluation will inform future applications to public engagement funds to support national dissemination.

Project Lead: Emma Palmer & Hazel Blythe, Faculty of Environmental & Life Sciences, & 

Friendly Society Recreation Day

In 1761 the annual meeting of the Friendly Society of Wimborne Minster included a church service, a performance of Handel's Alexander's Feast 'with Hands from Salisbury, Bath &c &c' and afterwards 'a Ball for the Ladies'.

We will be recreating parts of this festival, using community musicians - including hands from Salisbury - alongside professionals. Through talks and displays accompanying the events, this will be an opportunity to explore the musical heritage of Wimborne, and its relationship with the surrounding area - topics of strong academic focus at UoS, particularly through doctoral research. 

Project Lead: David Gostick, Faculty of Arts and Humanities,

Early LifeLab, Active Kids! An Exhibition

Early LifeLab empowers children to lead the change in their own health. We are excited to collaborate with ukactive KIDS, Winchester Science Centre and Caroline Jenkins Photography to create a vibrant and inspiring photographic exhibition of young children engaged in activity and active play. Photographs will demonstrate the many varied ways in which children can achieve their recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity, regardless of their background, environment or social status. The exhibition will be created with and for children and their parents and communities, so that we can learn from and respond to their ideas and responses.

Project Lead: Hannah Davey, Faculty of Social Sciences,

A Celebration of Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, is the focus of research by academics in a wide range of disciplines and an inspiration for many outside the academy, from feminist campaigners to literary enthusiasts. The aim of this project is to encourage dialogue and collaboration among different groups interested in the legacy of Wollstonecraft, by holding a celebration event on the 260th anniversary of her birth, 27 April 2019. The momentum will then be channeled to establishing the first inclusive Wollstonecraft society, in line with University of Southampton’s long-standing championing of early women’s writing through partnership with Chawton House Library.

Project Lead: Emma Clery, Faculty of Arts & Humanities,


The Sound of the Ocean-educational performance project

Piloting an inspirational educational project combining science & research with music & the arts.  Working jointly with selected Hampshire/Southampton schools and the NOC, involving NOC scientists (whose specialisms include highly topical areas such as microplastics & environmental research) alongside world-class professional musicians, composers and workshop leaders, the project will engage school-age youngsters in a life-changing experience in which they co-create their own, brand-new musical work based entirely on responses to key environmental issues.

The project will work towards a full performance at the NOC as part of ‘World Oceans Day’ on 8th June 2019.

Project Lead: Robin Browning, Faculty of Arts & Humanities (Music),

the 'Dark Energy' Pilot Project

This pilot project aims to engage local Young People (YP) 8-19 years of age who attend an evening Youth Club at YMCA Newtown with University of Southampton (UoS) Dark Energy and Supernova research. The YPs will be supervised weekly to produce media clips inspired by the research which will be used in future Soton Astrodome planetarium shows. At the end of the project the YPs will produce scientific posters explaining their work, they will be presented with awards at a celebration event and will be invited to join the Astrodome team to showcase their film/s at SOTSEF in March 2019.

Project Lead: Sadie Jones, Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences,


Sonifying the Cosmos: data access for the visually impaired

This project will support the visually-impaired to engage in making astrophysical discoveries and meaningful connections to ‘big data’. 
Working collaboratively with a blind astrophysicist, Dr. Wanda Diaz -Merced (who will be visiting the University in Spring 2018) we will develop a computer package for sonification of transients which will enable the visually impaired to engage with data from astronomical surveys and discover new objects for themselves.  The project will also include a WiSET+ lecture by Dr Diaz-Merced on 'Accessibility and Big Data Challenges', and an ‘Inspiring Stars’ exhibition focused on accessibility to science and encouraging young people to pursue their dreams despite challenges they may face.

Project Lead: Poshak Gandhi, Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences,

TICS Connect

This project will establish links between researchers at the University of Southampton and the Tourette syndrome community in and around Southampton, fostering a mutually beneficial information exchange between researchers and patients.

A small satellite meeting will invite patients to share the questions they would like future research to address. We will then continue with the main event, giving two talks about the Tourette syndrome, psychoeducation and treatment options, particularly for children and adolescents, and how researchers at the University of Southampton can support patients in seeking a diagnosis or treatment.

Project Lead: Valerie Brandt, Faculty of Environmental & Life Sciences,


Lie in My Bed - feasibility study

Critical illness is life changing; with the right support, it should not be life determining. Health providers support physical recovery well but former patients report huge gaps in psychological and social support. This project will use the well-established medium of story-telling through dance to give patients a powerful voice in front of health leaders and in so doing engage them in a dialogue that creates change in the patient pathway. A core aim is to focus on developing a robust evaluation process that provides high quality data that will be used to further develop and disseminate this model.

Project Lead: Kay Mitchell, Faculty of Medicine,

Rising from the depths: presenting Alexandrian underwater heritage to the public

The Great Pyramids of Giza, the Valley of the Kings – these icons of Pharaonic Egypt are instantly recognizable and globally revered.  Yet, Egypt also has a rich array of maritime archaeological sites, far less well known, but equally as impressive.  One such site is the historic city of Alexandria, now entirely hidden beneath the Mediterranean Sea and, until recently, only accessible to a handful of maritime archaeologists.  Now, with the help of virtual reality, we are able to bring this site to the surface and give Alexandrians the opportunity to explore this ancient city for themselves without ever getting wet. 

Project Lead: Ziad Morsy, Faculty of Arts & Humanities,

Paint Your Pain

Working with an artist at Winchester School of Art, our goal is to gather data in the form of artworks (painting and drawing). The aim is to ask members of the public to paint their pictorial representation of pain related to any illness directly or indirectly connected to the person. We are interested in analysing artworks by detecting differences in shapes, use of different colours, different type of brushes and markers as opposite to paints, size of the drawing, and so on. This will allow us to communicate/represent how pain linked to illness affects everyday life. In fact, the artist will then use the paintings to produce artworks summarising different visions of pain.

Project Lead: Sarvenaz Sohrabi, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, 

Environmental awareness through public engagement: climate change and pollution

Climate change and issues related to air quality are putting the world’s heritage sites under threat, and research from Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences Climate Change and Energy Group has identified that coastal heritage sites in particular, are extremely vulnerable to the effects of sea level rises and unmonitored air pollution. Our research roadshow aims to highlight this vulnerability using the historic city of Rabat in Morocco as a case study to generate conversations around the impact of and solutions to climate change and air pollution.

Project Lead: Salma Sabour, Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences,

Re-Sourcing History

Primary sources are the life blood of history and the main tool with which historians reconstruct and understand the past. The discovery and analysis of such material, typically extracted painstakingly from difficult to navigate archives, is the core research activity of most historians. Yet few consumers of history — those who teach, study, and read it for personal enjoyment — ever get to see the discipline in its raw form. This project changes that by providing access to cutting edge source material, and eliciting discussions around how we utilise such evidence, and what revelations it provides regarding the ever-changing past.

Project Lead: Chris Fuller, Faculty of Humanities,

Parkes Institute MOOC: Jewish/non-Jewish Relations from the Ancient to the Modern World

Drawing on the expertise of all staff members, the MOOC in ‘Jewish/non-Jewish Relations from the Ancient to the Modern World’ will reflect the wide ranging research expertise of the Parkes Institute and provide an important forum for the dissemination of our ideas and world-leading research. Themes that arise from our research, including antisemitism, Holocaust studies and interfaith relations, are subjects of vital relevance to our society. The MOOC promotes public engagement with the Institute’s research and is of interest to the general public, national interfaith practitioners, social policy developers and educators in the UK and beyond.  The MOOC will launch in January 2019; this funding will support doctoral researchers to facilitate the MOOC sessions and actively reflect on 1) how their research is used in the responses they give; and 2) how the MOOC activity influences their research, generating a two-way response.

Project Lead: James Jordan, Faculty of Arts & Humanities,

Lantern Parade through the City Centre

This project will deliver a spectacular ‘Lantern Festival’ walking parade through the City Centre, involving the University and two key Chinese community partner groups in Southampton. The Parade will engage the local population in this interesting, fun and culturally-diverse event, to demonstrate the impact of the University’s ‘Metamorphosis’ research project.  This research seeks to transform our local neighbourhoods from being car-centric to child- and people-orientated places, conducive to walking and sustainable travel, and helping to improve the vibrancy of our public spaces, as well as the health, wellbeing and quality of life of local residents.

Project Lead: Alan Wong, Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences,

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