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The University of Southampton
Public Engagement with Research

PER Development Fund 2019/20 Projects

We are delighted to have agreed funding for the following exciting engagement projects which will run during 2019/20 - open up the concertina sections to find out more about each one.

'Bad Music' at Edinburgh Fringe

This 45-minute show will draw on scholarship from a range of fields and employ demonstrations and psychological experiments to
mischievously foreground the cognitive and evaluative responses that audiences bring to music.  Enacting the
role of participant-observer, a performance artist will work alongside the lecturer/presenter to further stimulate audience response and extend the
conversation online beyond the performance itself. These novel interactions will be explored and tested to gauge impact on all concerned (presenter/participant/audience).

Project lead - Matthew Shlomowitz - - Faculty of Arts & Humanities

A Joint Effort - Understanding Kneecaps Past and Present

The kneecap is an often-overlooked aspect of our anatomy, viewed as purely biological scaffold and a means for movement. Yet kneecaps may have the ability to testify our everyday activities (‘knee-haviour’) past and present. Furthermore, with subtle differences in their shape, even an individual’s sex is believed to be determined. Through the incorporation of three-dimensional data from the Hampshire running community, supported with an extensive archaeological dataset, this project will investigate the kneecap in unparalleled detail within archaeology. Specifically, this project will investigate how the sex and lifestyle of an individual is demonstrable through kneecap shape.

Project lead - Emma van der Velden - - Faculty of Arts & Humanities 

Twitter: @UoSJointEffort 

Moving Music

Moving Music is an interactive exhibit allowing members of the public to conduct multi-track audio on a computer system, translating the research we have undertaken using high-cost, high-precision motion-capture systems to a variety of low cost hardware devices, mapping human movements to musical controls. Visitors will contribute to future research through recordings of their motion data and will learn about conducting via video, animations, audio and images from our motion studies. We will present a preliminary exhibit at the Science and Engineering Day 2019 with more extensive versions developed for the Bringing Research to Life Roadshow and other outreach events.

Project lead - Richard Polfreman - - Faculty of Arts & Humanities


‘Interruptions/Disruptions’ is a public engagement project parallel with the ‘Voices’ exhibition at John Hansard Gallery (February-April 2020). It animates themes underpinning the exhibition – language, environment, (neo)colonialism, surveillance, migration, disability – through two interlinked programmes. ‘Interruptions’ comprises 5 public workshops, each inviting a particular community to explore the practical significance of the exhibition’s themes in their lives. ‘Disruptions’ takes up the creative significance of these themes, with writer-in-residence Nisha Ramayya delivering writing workshops, collaborative performance and text. Together, these two strands facilitate the active and creative engagement of Southampton communities with the intersection of global contemporary art and globally-oriented interdisciplinary research.

Project lead - Eleanor Jones - - Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Using a 3D 'IPAT' Model to Communicate Environmental Impacts

This sustainable exhibit uses an interactive model of ‘IPAT’ to help the public to better understand how humanity’s impact (I) on the natural environment is largely influenced by interactions between population growth (P), affluence (A) and technology (T). IPAT (I=PxAxT) is a mathematical notation typically represented in two-dimensional formats only. However, this exhibit brings IPAT to life in a three-dimensional space in which the ‘PAT’ factors are represented on the axis of a three-sided ‘half-cube’ and within which 64 smaller ‘impact cubes’ can be placed to represent the varying accumulative effects of the three ‘PAT’ factors on the natural environment.

Project lead - Ian Dawson - - Faculty of Social Sciences

Psychosis and Anomalous Experiences Public Engagement Scheme

The School of Psychology (SoP) produces clinical and experimental research into anomalous experiences on the psychosis-spectrum. Stakeholders value this work, but it is not always communicated to lay audiences once complete.

The project objective is to develop a transparent and informative platform to share SoP research with public stakeholders. This project will run an event to communicate past and current SoP research to public stakeholders, and hold an open discussion about current research priorities for people with lived experience of psychosis, and others. A newsletter will be founded to share SoP project updates and SoP Psychosis PPI panel opportunities.

Project lead - Emma Palmer Cooper - - 

The a-MAZE-ing Placenta

To be developed from an existing prototype, 'The a-MAZE-ing Placenta’ will be an interactive and educational game demonstrating the complexities of pregnancy. The placenta transports nutrients and protects the baby from medications/infections so healthy placentas are essential for healthy babies. By navigating ‘nutrient’ balls around the placenta maze and avoiding obstacles representing pregnancy complications, children learn about the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease hypothesis. When obstacles are encountered, screens light up challenging the player’s decisions about how to get the healthiest pregnancy. The exhibit will be targeted at primary school children with the aim being to consider how the in-utero conditions experienced in pregnancy alter lifelong health. 

Working with Winchester Science Centre and SOTSEF, we hope to create an exhibit that not only acts as an excellent dissemination of research tool but also continues to develop an awareness of the issues surrounding lifelong health for the public.

Project lead - Emma Lofthouse - - Faculty of Medicine

Population risk stratification and intervention to prevent childhood obesity

This project will form part of planned research, which aims to test the feasibility and acceptability of a childhood obesity prediction tool and online platform for health visitors to use when supporting families to lead healthier life styles. We plan to try and engage new and underrepresented groups in this work, such as those from deprived or ethnic minority groups. This will help to inform our understanding around how this tool could be used in practice and allow us to tailor the intervention so that it is applicable to our target group- those most at risk of childhood obesity.

Project lead - Grace Grove - - Faculty of Medicine

Research Project link

Cultivate! How teenagers with green fingers could save the world

A major cause of climate change is greenhouse gas emissions - the food system contributes ~¼ of these emissions. Changing what we eat and how it’s grown could therefore reduce climate change. Adolescents are a powerful force for change, as seen in the emergence of young activists like Greta Thunberg. In our teenager-led project, the science linking environment to plant growth will be used to engage young people in the potential benefit of plant-based sustainable diets to the global climate, their health and that of their future families, and to support them in developing voices to influence people and policy.

Project leads - Lucy Green and Mark Chapman - - Faculty of Medicine

NB this project is linked with 'Because the Earth Actually Needs Saving' film project below.

Because Earth Actually Needs Saving - a young people's film project about climate change and diet

Young people have the poorest quality diets of any UK population group. We want to know whether they adopt healthier, more sustainable, plant-based diets if they understand that this might slow climate change. Student film-makers will support young people attending local youth groups to create short films to help other young people connect having a healthier diet to saving the planet. Young people will engage with the science of climate change and food systems, and researchers will find out whether this activity motivates young people to change their diets. The films will be showcased at a local film festival.

Project lead - Sofia Strommer - - Faculty of Medicine

NB this project is linked with 'Cultivate! How teenagers with green fingers could save the world' project described above.

3D Models from Electronmicroscopy

In the Biomedical Imaging Unit (BIU) we produce 3D datasets from light, X-ray and electron microscopes. We use 3D printed models to illustrate the results, for public engagement and teaching. Developments in additive manufacturing now allow the use of multicolour and transparent materials producing attractive, tactile and robust representations, which have great visual impact and illustrate complex biological microstructure and ultrastructure.  We will create a ‘library’ of such models incorporating augmented reality features from existing datasets which can be used at University, hospital and external events to illustrate both biological complexity and the microscopy techniques used to investigate it.

Project Lead: Patricia Goggin - - Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences/Faculty of Medicine

Interactive 'Augmented Reality' app for showcasing marine technology

The project builds on existing knowledge-sharing collaborations with CAD-Schroer (industrial partner, engineering & augmented reality software) and Cefas (UK government/policy, environment, fisheries & aquaculture) to develop a novel, interactive engagement tool using augmented reality technologies. This will be used to facilitate conversations about ocean technology development, marine pollution and the need for environmental data collection to evidence government policy.  The project aims to develop a tool for longer term use in outreach projects with a wider audience, and to evaluate the potential for using downloadable interactive Smartphone apps to facilitate ‘peer-to-peer’ knowledge sharing and sustained engagement following public engagement events.

Project Lead: Pip Simpson - - Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences

Paint Your Therapy

During this project we will run a proof of concept study to develop a method of evaluating complimentary therapies offered to the public for dealing with pain. This collaboration between the Paint Your Pain team and Think Holistic will explore and identify the best artistic methods for evaluating the currently offered therapies to service users (who are dealing with health related challenges); and investigate the effectiveness of these therapies. Our ultimate goal is to support service providers in optimising their treatments to meet the needs of service users.

Project Lead: Ali Mosayyebi - - Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences

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