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Royal Holloway invests in its role as a Civic University

Royal Holloway invests in its role as a Civic University

  • Date05 December 2023

Royal Holloway has provided funding for ten exciting academic led projects which will help consolidate our role as a Civic University.

Civic Uni

The projects cover a range of disciplines and address key challenge areas including disability; modern slavery; refugees; sustainability (through arts); crime and policing; wellbeing in prisons and flooding.

All projects went through a rigorous, competitive assessment process and were selected from 21 high quality applications.  Projects will have a regional impact and are either 'participatory' i.e., co-created or co-produced with partners or 'policy-related' i.e., involve influencing policy or policy making or working with policy makers.  In some cases, they fit into both categories.

Ruth Livesey, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) said, "The range and the quality of submissions we received in this open call were truly inspiring. These projects show our commitment to working with social purpose across so many disciplines and fields of practice. We look forward to enriching our co-produced research with civic and regional partners and shaping policy outcomes in a globally minded way as colleagues complete these collaborations."

The ten projects

Support for the eradication of modern-day slavery - Professor Andreas Chatzidakis, Marketing

Consumer demand for cheap, fast goods and services is a key factor in the perpetuation of slavery both locally and abroad. Accordingly, numerous campaigns seek to mobilise consumers to change their consumption choices ('spending shift campaigns') and/or to report suspected instances of modern slavery ('reporting campaigns') (Cyrus and Vogal 2018, p 59). However, the effectiveness of these campaigns in shifting consumer behaviour is largely unknown or minimal. This project aims to work with regional partners in identifying effective dimensions and interventions that will maximize consumer-citizen support for the eradication of modern-day slavery. The team comprises Prof Andreas Chatzidakis (Royal Holloway University of London); Prof Deirdre Shaw (University of Glasgow); and Dr Michal Carrington (University of Melbourne).

The impact of Covid-19 on offending behaviour and policing practice - Dr Emily Glorney, Senior Lecturer (Forensic Psychology)

Maintaining positive outcomes on crime reduction, intervention, and operational efficiency. The project will comprehensively explore and analyse a secondary data set of crime characteristics in Surrey and Sussex over a two-year period and make recommendations for innovations to inform evidence-based policing. The work will further consolidate our relationship with Surrey Police as a key local partner. In addition to clear benefit to Surrey and Sussex Police policy and practice, it is anticipated that the project will inform the national evaluation of policing practice during Covid-19 lockdowns and related stakeholders including the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the College of Policing, and the Home Office.

Strengthening partnerships: Supporting Afghan parenting and family life in London - Professor Anna Gupta & Professor Ravinder Barn in partnership with Ms Sheekeba Nasimi from ACAA

This project furthers our participatory research with the community-based organisation in West London, the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association (ACAA). Building on earlier focus group discussions with Afghan refugee parents in London, we will use the theoretical framework of the Capability Approach to analyse what supports as well as impairs Afghani parents’ capabilities and their children’s well-being. Initial recommendations will be discussed further with parents and ACAA staff, and a report produced with recommendations for policy makers and practitioners working with refugee and asylum-seekers. In addition, resources in Dari and English providing information about support services for recently arrived families will be produced.

Hidden Histories of Disability in Surrey: Participatory Research for Uncovering Stories from Residential Schools for the Deaf and Blind - Professor Jane Hamlett, Department of History

Surrey History Centre and Professor Jane Hamlett from the History Department are working on a collaborative project to uncover and share the histories of children at schools for the deaf and blind. From the early twentieth century some of the leading residential schools for the deaf and blind were based in Surrey, including the Royal School for the Blind, Nutfield Priory and Burwood School. When the schools closed in the 1980s and 1990s their records were accessioned by SHC. The research team will carry out a new archival survey of this material, uncovering historical experience from the archives. The project aims to use participatory research to create a new historical narrative about these children’s lives, through collaboration with charities who work with young people with learning disabilities. The research will be used to inform a new guide to history of disability on SHC’s website Exploring Surrey’s Past and a new audio resource that will narrate stories from the archives.

Cultural Reforesting: Arts, Policy and Sustainability Pilot projects - Dr Rebecca McCutcheon, Senior Lecturer in Acting & Directing

This project is to extend Royal Holloway's partnership with Richmond Arts Services, based at Orleans House Gallery, working on sustainability and arts practices. In a co-designed project Royal Holloway's practitioner researcher will work with Richmond Arts Service on a series of creative practices, engaging with communities at the Richmond Arts Service (RAS)'s base in Orleans House Gallery and the borough beyond. Projects are being co-designed with Royal Holloway researchers and RAS staff and range from work with schools and early years to engaging with urban right to roam, legislative theatre and more.

Trauma-informed yoga in HMP Bronzefield women's prison and society - Professor Rosie Meek, Criminological Psychology

Located five miles from our Egham campus, HMP Bronzefield is Europe's largest women's prison. Building on Professor Meek’s longstanding research relationship with the prison, this project was co-designed with the Health and Wellbeing Manager of the prison. Funding will enable a number of our students and colleagues to work with Professor Meek, prison staff and women residing in the prison in the design, implementation and evaluation of a trauma-informed yoga initiative. We will also be developing recommendations for evidence-based policy making in this area, developing the ongoing work that Professor Meek is undertaking with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Yoga in Society.

Working with the local community to develop predictive flood models - Dr Jonny Paul, Senior Lecturer in Geosciences

The region around Royal Holloway has always been prime flood-risk territory; the severity and frequency of these floods are likely to increase in the short term. This project seeks to develop a new, joined-up approach towards understanding the causes of, and potential mitigatory strategies, for local flooding, by demonstrating the value of including local voices, experience, and knowledge. We will engage local people to collect new water-related data, first by establishing a new multi-stakeholder network (initially based in local schools). Working through this network, we will then develop locally meaningful predictive flood models, which will be used to inform evidence-based environmental policy making.

Investigating the barriers to social inclusion for local adults with learning disabilities - Dr Kate Theodore, Senior Lecturer, Clinical Psychology

This is a co-produced project in collaboration with local clinical psychologist Dr Jon Codd, and the Ark Trust, a local charity and user led organisation that enhances the lives of people with disabilities living in Berkshire, through access to and participation in community activities. The project will evaluate the Ark’s social activities, which aim to reduce loneliness for adults with learning disabilities and investigate what may be the barriers to people accessing more social activities, including diversity and inclusion perspectives.

Providing content and training for accessible audio description projects in partnership with National Paraympic Heritage Trust - Professor Hannah Thompson, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

In partnership with the National Paralympic Heritage Trust (NPHT) in Stoke Manderville and six Buckinghamshire museums, this project will work with blind and non-blind creators to develop and evaluate inclusive multi-sensory audio descriptions for twelve 3D objects from the National Paralympic, Buckinghamshire and British Blind Sport collections. These descriptions will be available to all visitors both online in the NHPT digital museum and in-person (via QR code) in either the NPHT or the ‘home’ museum. In addition, they will be available through Sketchfab the host platform for 3D objects. As well as creating accessible content, the project will provide a range of stakeholders (museum staff; volunteers; trainees) with training in how to run their own Workshops for Inclusive Co-created Audio Description (W-ICAD).

Accessible leisure in Surrey pilot project - Professor Anica Zeyen, Strategy, International Business and Entrepreneurship

The project “Accessible leisure in Surrey” led by Professor Anica Zeyen is based on a significant need identified by the practice partner, Surrey Coalition of Disabled People. In this co-produced pilot project, we aim to gain a deeper insight into the accessibility (physical and beyond) of places of leisure in Surrey. To this end, we will train a group of disabled people representing different disabilities and intersectional identities to perform accessibility reviews in their local area and report back to the respective organisation on improvements they can make in terms of physical and other accessibility.

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