Eating with others in urban areas – presentation at Mood, Mobility and Place conference – Jenny Fisher

I recently attended the Mood, Mobility and Place conference in Edinburgh, UK (11-14 October, 2016) and  was funded by the Social Change: Community Well-being Research Centre to attend the conference. The focus of the conference was Habitats for Health and Happy Ageing with a particular emphasis on spaces and places, travel, housing and dementia. I watched a number of interesting presentations including ones covering travel, accessible environments, sedentary behaviour and living with sight loss. All of the abstracts are here. I spoke about recent research that I have led with Laura Brown, the University of Manchester and Zinnia Mitchell-Smith, Manchester Met University. The aim of the research was to explore the needs, barriers and facilitators to social eating for older people in urban areas.

The visit also gave me an opportunity to meet up with Dr Ryan Woolrych, who is the P-I on our ESRC-Newton research project to discuss go-along interviews, one of our methods.

The twitter hashtag for the conference was #OSPS4 and you can follow me @JennyCFisher.

12th International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, Urban-Champaign, Illinois.

Neil Carey recently participated in the 12th International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry (ICQI) which was held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign during May 18-21, 2016. The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Qualitative Research in Neoliberal Times’.
The conference was preceded by a day of special interest group (SIG) meetings and Neil participated in of these for the SIG in Critical and Poststructural Psychology. With a panel of other speakers, he responded to and the question: What critical and post-structural theories do in qualitative research? The panel consisted of Angelo Benozzo, Svend Brinkman, Gale Cannella, Neil Carey, Marco Gemignani, Kenneth Gergen, Mirka Koro-Ljungberg, and Michael Kral, with each participant providing a provocation before opening the debate to the wider group of SIG participants. A wide-ranging discussion covered themes including: Post-inflected qualitative inquiry, Action and voice in qualitative research, power and social justice as a fundamental basis for qualitative research, Feminist inspired research, Indigenous Knowledge, and the need for a consideration of taking care of the researcher in such research endeavours.
Neil’s second paper was titled: Post-qualitative Movements: from Work Past to Future Uncertainty. Poststructuralism in the Neoliberal University in which he discussed the possibilities for transferring the poststructuralist sensibilities developed in his PhD to his current work as coordinator for Internationalisation in the Faculty of Health, Psychology and Social Care. Given the theme of the conference, this presentation called for re-thinking the idea that the internationalisation agenda in the academy be refracted through a critical lens so as to disrupt current notions that position internationalisation synonymously with neo-liberalism.
The conference was opened by two keynote addresses delivered on the Thursday evening, and was followed by two days of conference sessions which covered a range of topics including Arts-Based Research, Critical Qualitative research, Qualitative Health Research, and Critical Qualitative Psychology research. Professor Maggie Maclure, from the Education and Social Research Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University, delivered one of the keynotes. Her well-received paper asked the conference to consider the nature, purpose and intensity of conducting all forms of (critical) qualitative research.
ICQI is an ideal conference to take new and existing qualitative research work – and especially work that has a social justice agenda at its heart.

Gender, Work, and Organization

Neil Carey is organising one of the research streams,

‘Post-qualitative’ methodologies (of difference)

at the Gender, Work and Organisation 2016 9th Biennial International Interdisciplinary Conference 29th June-1st July 2016, Keele University, Staffordshire, UK.

Details here

“A serious academic conference”: The Archers in Fact and Fiction

On 17th February, Katherine Runswick-Cole presented at the first ever interdisciplinary academic conference to focus on Radio 4’s The Archers.

Katherine argued that in The Archers disability is always and only a temporary phenomenon that appears and then disappears as a device to develop the plot or characterisation.  She called for an engagement with disability in cultural texts in ways that reflects the every day lives of disabled people.

Katherine said: “This was a fantastic interdisciplinary conference.  There was an amazing range of papers and presenters combined their passion for their discipline with their love  of The Archers  in ways that were both entertaining and informative.”

You can listen to Katherine on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme here

A pdf of conference paper is available to download here: Archer’s Presentation

Scandic reflections

MMU and this research group were well represented in Finland and Sweden this week. We participated in the 3rd Carpe network conference hosted by Turku University of Applied Science in Finland. ( ). It was lovely to reconnect with old friends and make new connections based on shared research and teaching interests. We noted that academic work has similarities and discontinuities across transnational boundaries. In Finland, for example, there are no fees for home and international students. However, there is a lively national discussion about charging post-graduate overseas students. There were great opportunities for sharing ideas about sharing the international experience for home students who cannot afford to engage with international mobility. We led sessions on impact, sustainable communities, austerity and care, and arts-based research. Further, we facilitated meetings about knowledge exchange and joint / dual programmes between Carpe partners. Turku is a beautiful city, located by the southern archipelago.

Two flights later we were in Malmo, having experienced the joys and efficiencies of Scandinavian air travel. This southern Swedish city was host to the tenth anniversary of the Community, Work and Family conference (the inaugural conference took place in 2005 at MMU). Find out more here:

Up first was Carolyn Kagan, our emerita professor of community psychology who along with Suzan Lewis (ex-MMU) looked back and forwards to ongoing challenges the field. Community is a strong theme yet continues to be in the background at this conference in comparison to employment and work. We led sessions on austerity and families, diversity in LGBT communities, migrant workers, volunteering, and community spaces. University led community engagement was the subject of another keynote and generated interesting decisions about opening up university spaces for community-led research. In all, academics from MMU participated in 10 sessions including a half-day doctoral workshop.

Malmo is an interesting city, keen on sustainability where 170 nationalities reside and 50% of the population are under 35.  Malmo University is a beautiful new university, striving and succeeding in doing things differently, and challenging the established ways of  We took the Oreson bridge back to Copenhagen on the way home.