Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Public Policy|Southampton

A Week with Public Policy|Southampton

Public Policy Southampton

I did a work experience with Public Policy| Southampton from Tuesday the 1st to Friday the 4th of September. This has had to be totally online due to the corona virus which has made it a lot harder to have a typical experience. Despite this I have enjoyed it and feel that it has been a valuable way for me to gain more of an understanding of how this this crisis has affected peoples work.

During my work experience I have researched a couple of topics I am interested in, mainly on the parliamentary website but I later tried a few other websites, of which none interested me as much as this one. Although navigating it was a daunting prospect at first, the search system is easy to use and where everything can be found makes sense, so I quickly found some interesting papers to read, that were about either technology or how religion, and the perspectives it offers, effect everyday life.

I found the Bodleian library’s quite a lot harder than the parliamentary website to navigate since the search function confused me. It only seemed to search parts of the library, meaning that to find something relevant I had to find the vague area I thought it would be in and hope something would come up when I searched. I didn’t end up finding anything which particularly interested me on that website but I am sure it is excellent if you actually know how to find anything!

The first topic I read about on the parliamentary website was remote sensing and machine learning. The POST-note I read was mostly about how machine learning might be useful to train AIs to interpret the results of remote sensing as vast amounts of data can be returned and patterns need to be found that only a machine might see. However, I preferred the paper (also a POST-note) on cloud computing as I felt it was overall more informative and much more similar to what I have learnt in my computer science lessons so the information I learned was easier to understand. One of the topics it talked about was lock-in which means users are unable to change cloud without having to rewrite much of their software. This leaves them at risk if the provider chooses to stop or drastically change their service. I think that knowledge of a system and its benefits and drawbacks is vital before it is utilised.

The next day I searched specifically for religion as it is another of my interests and spent quite a while reading a discussion about a bill that would give Sikhs who wear turbans the right to forgo a crash helmet while riding a motorcycle as their religion forbids them from wearing anything above or below their turban. An interesting question I found this bought up was whether personal safety or religious freedom should be considered more important to our parliament. I assume, from the discussion, that the bill passed as even some of those who had doubts agreed to support it (I was later informed that the bill did indeed pass!).

I then returned to the parliamentary website and began reading another discussion about including what might be typically considered non-religious perspectives in Religious Education and the importance of said subject in understanding the different religions in our society. I would agree with the writer in that it is important for people to understand what each other believe, even if that is not a technically religious belief. If people do not understand what other people believe then misunderstandings and thus resentment are far more likely.

I ended up reading ‘Covid-19 and international approaches to exiting lockdown’ because I wanted to know how other countries were handling this transition. The ways many countries are dealing with corona virus is very different but one main theme seems to be that most countries are keeping social distancing as much as possible while also trying to simulate normal life as they exit lockdown. Many countries are slowly ending the lockdown by opening schools and venues but a couple did not enforce a lockdown in the first place.


Eliza Davey, a Secondary Student

September 2020

Privacy Settings