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London, United Kingdom

Agency: GTR | Branch: ESRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 184.40K | Year: 2015

This research project studies how - by what processes, according to what criteria, and subject to what kinds of verification? - truths emerge about the political violence that took place in the 1970s and 1980s in Argentina and Chile. Although that period of violence is now past, many facets of it are still unresolved. Beyond the legal mechanisms that continue to unearth truths about the last military dictatorship in Argentina (1976-83) and the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile (1973-1990), there are several sites at which these unresolved issues emerge for debate and verification. There is a need to address the unresolved and still controversial nature of many questions as the presentation of the story of what happened becomes a focus of new memorial spaces and Memory museums, as well as at other sites where truths are tested, including where biological identities are tested via DNA or where human or material remains require forensic testing. The research will take place at a range of diverse sites that we call forums for telling. Its premise is that truths about the past are of different kinds because they have to pass through different processes of hypothesising, testing and reflection before they are affirmed and allowed to emerge as true. Thus the production of truth at a museum of memory differs both in process and in terms of the truths it seeks and can affirm, from the production of truth by the law courts, or by the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Teams attempts to establish identities through the testing of human remains or DNA. The research concerns how the different forums and spaces approach this task differently, how they involve different material and human witnesses, different procedures and place different constraints on the objects of their interrogations. In studying these processes we will ask: What candidates emerge to tell the truth about the past? Which truths are allowed to emerge at the different sites? How are they understood as relevant to the forum that debates their status? What tests must they pass in order to attain their status as true? How are emergent truths presented, arranged and mediated for consumption? How is their status challenged? The importance of these questions becomes apparent when one considers the pedagogic dimensions of the activities at stake. We will highlight the pedagogic and inter-generational dimension. What do the different forums understand as the relation between the production of truth and the presentation or curation of the story of the past as a wider societal imperative? How do they agree to present their work domestically and internationally, including digitally? How do they seek to overcome the dangers of making a spectacle of the past, or else using it within a strategic instrumentalisation that insists that listening repeatedly to horrors of past violence will inoculate us from ever repeating the past wrongs? The research will use observation, interviews and documentary data gathered from significant sites chosen for their potential to speak to these interests. In Argentina, we will visit the largest and most notorious of the ex-clandestine centres for detention, torture and extermination (ex-ccdte), the ESMA in Buenos Aires, now an official Site for Memory, and where debates about the use of the space have raged for several years, but where new changes to the use and especially the pedagogic aspects of the site are presently coming to fruition. Additionally we will visit two ex-ccdte sites further afield, in Cordoba and Tucuman. In Chile, we will also visit ex-centres of detention in Santiago (Londres 38, Villa Grimaldi) and one further afield in Chacabuca in the north. In each country we will also be visiting important newly opened Museums of Memory (in Santiago and Rosario). To complement these, we will observe and interview members of the important Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, as well as following key legal cases that are on-going.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: ICT-22-2014 | Award Amount: 2.68M | Year: 2015

RAPID-MIX brings together 3 leading research institutions with 4 dynamic creative industries SMEs and 1 leading wearable technology SME in a technology transfer consortium to bring to market innovative interface products for music, gaming, and e-Health applications. RAPID-MIX uses an intensely user-centric development process to gauge industry pull and end-user desire for new modes of interaction that integrate physiological human sensing, gesture and body language, and smart information analysis and adaptation. Physiological biosignals (EEG, EMG) are used in multimodal hardware configurations with motion sensors and haptic actuators. Advanced machine learning software adapts to expressive human variation, allowing fluid interaction and personalized experience. An iterative, rapid development cycle of hardware prototyping, software development, and application integration accelerates the availability of advanced interface technologies to industry partners. An equally user-centric evaluation phase assures market validation and end-user relevance and usability, feeding back to subsequent design cycles and informing ultimate market deployment. The RAPID-MIX consortium leverages contemporary dissemination channels such as crowd funding, industry trade shows, and contributions to the DIY community to raise awareness across the professional and consumer landscapes of novel interface technologies. Project output is encapsulated in an Open Source RAPID-API exposing application level access to software libraries, hardware designs, and middleware layers. This will enable creative partner SMEs to build a new range of products called Multimodal Interactive eXpressive systems (MIX). It also allows broader industries such as quantified self, and DIY communities, to use the API in their own products in cost effective ways. This assures the legacy of RAPID-MIX and marks its contribution to European competitiveness in rapidly evolving markets for embodied interaction technologies.

Agency: GTR | Branch: ESRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 27.01K | Year: 2015

People differ in how willing and able they are to forge bonds in which they feel secure with others. People who achieve greater attachment security have better relationship outcomes, are more confident in pursuing personal goals and better able to handle challenges, and exhibit greater well-being in general. Although attachment insecurity is often a chronic condition, it can and does change with new experiences. This project capitalises on interactions in romantic relationships, which evoke experiences that have powerful effects in regulating a sense of security. This research introduces relationship strategies that couples can adopt, including communication strategies that strengthen trust or confidence and perception exercises that aid in positive reinterpretations of interactions. Many couples desire to improve their relationship and acknowledge that, ideally, they would like to help each other thrive. However, they struggle to modify established interpersonal dynamics that may keep them stuck in a state of interpersonal anxiety (fear of losing a partners acceptance and support) and/or interpersonal avoidance (discomfort with relying on others or intimacy). The relationship strategies examined in this research target each type of insecurity and are designed to be incorporated in typical couple interactions and daily events. These strategies may also be adopted in non-romantic settings by individuals who have endured negative interpersonal experiences. The primary goal of this project is to identify strategies that affect couple communication and perceptions to achieve two aims: reduce insecure relational dynamics and enhance attachment security over time. In a series of randomized experiments, couples are assigned to strategies to target anxious tendencies or avoidant tendencies. The first aim is to examine communication strategies aimed at mitigating anxiety versus avoidance, each tested against a control condition. Such communication may reduce immediate relational tension but may not be sufficient to cause enduring changes in attachment security. The second aim, therefore, involves examining interactions and perceptions that can increase confidence among anxious individuals and increase trust among avoidant individuals. The effect of these security-enhancing strategies, combined with communication that mitigates insecurity, will be examined over an extended time. These relatively minor adjustments in couple interactions are expected to ripple into more profound changes in general attachment security, which benefits relationships and promotes meaningful activities that are fundamental to societal well-being.

Agency: GTR | Branch: ESRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 157.32K | Year: 2014

This project aims to assess the uses and consequences of communication technologies in the disaster recovery from Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms ever recorded with over 6000 casualties and more than 12 million people affected.

The research investigates the uses of digital technologies and innovations such as mobile phones, SMS, crisis mapping and social media both by directly affected populations in the Philippines and humanitarian organisations. Despite the optimism surrounding the uses of digital technologies by disaster-prone communities in processes of recovery and rebuilding there is little evidence to assess the impact of digital platforms for humanitarian relief.

The present study aims to weigh the optimism surrounding so-called ‘humanitarian technology’ against actual benefits to users. It specifically examines the impact of communication technologies in the following critical areas:

  • information dissemination
  • collective problem-solving
  • redistribution of resources
  • accountability and transparency of humanitarian efforts
  • voice and empowerment of affected populations.

This 18-month ethnographic study takes place in two disaster-affected locations in the Visayas region of the Philippines. This is a mixed-method project combining qualitative interviews, participant observation and online ethnography both with affected populations and representatives from humanitarian organisations, government agencies and digital practitioners.




Agency: GTR | Branch: AHRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 4.55K | Year: 2014

Expression of Interest Cultural Value Expert Workshop: Community arts and Participatory Arts Title: Curating Community? The Relational and Agonistic Value of Participatory Arts in Superdiverse Localities About the workshop organiser. Dr. Alison Rooke is sociologist whose teaching and research is concerned the dynamics of participation in the city brought about through arts-based urban interventions, urban planning, research and evaluation as well as informal spaces of citizenship and community. She is also CoDirector of the Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR) an established interdisciplinary research centre within Goldsmiths Department of Sociology with a distinguished history of collaboration with local communities, activists and cross-sectoral stakeholders. Her work lies at the overlap of visual sociology and experimental methods exploring the philosophical underpinnings of sociological representation, and the ways that understandings of representation inform the epistemology of social research. Along with colleagues in the Sociology Department she shares a concern with concerned with The Social Life of Method (Savage et al 2013) and Live Sociology (Back and Puwar 2012). Alison has been influenced by ideas that challenge the notion that research impacts on society as if from the outside. If research works or is successful, it is by virtue of a variety of social actors contributing to it on an on-going basis, well before the research can be framed as a product or as an outcome. Indeed, much of Alisons evaluative research is co-constructed carried out in tandem with others outside of the academy. Alison continues to be engaged in a wide range of activities that embed this approach in a number of highly practical endeavours. Her work spans: the public sector; the policy community; the business community; international organisations; the community and third sector; the media; and publics of various sorts. Alisons work has been concerned with developing critical and collaborative approaches to research and evaluation. She has an outstanding track record in developing a critical and participative approach to the evaluation of a variety of urban interventions spanning citizenship, community development, urban planning and participatory and socially engaged arts at a local, national and international level.

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