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News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Researchers have debunked the myth that extreme sportsmen and women are adrenalin junkies with a death wish, according to a new study. The research has been published in the latest edition of Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research and Practice by QUT Adjunct Professor Eric Brymer, who is currently based at Leeds Beckett University in the UK, and QUT Professor Robert Schweitzer. Professors Brymer and Schweitzer said extreme sports were leisure activities in which a mismanaged mistake or accident could result in death, such as BASE jumping, big wave surfing and solo rope free climbing. "Extreme sports have developed into a worldwide phenomenon and we are witnessing an unprecedented interest in and engagement with these activities," Professor Brymer said. "While participant numbers in many traditional team and individual sports such as golf, basketball and racket sports seem to have declined over the past decade, participant numbers in extreme sports have surged, making it a multi-million dollar industry." Professor Brymer said until now there had been a gross misunderstanding of what motivates people to take part in extreme sports, with many writing it off as an activity for adrenalin junkies. "Our research has shown people who engage in extreme sports are anything but irresponsible risk-takers with a death wish. They are highly trained individuals with a deep knowledge of themselves, the activity and the environment who do it to have an experience that is life enhancing and life changing," he said. "The experience is very hard to describe in the same way that love is hard to describe. It makes the participant feel very alive where all senses seem to be working better than in everyday life, as if the participant is transcending everyday ways of being and glimpsing their own potential. "For example, BASE jumpers talk about being able to see all the colours and nooks and crannies of the rock as they zoom past at 300km/h, or extreme climbers feel like they are floating and dancing with the rock. People talk about time slowing down and merging with nature." Professor Schweitzer said understanding motivations for extreme sports were important to understanding humans. "Far from the traditional risk-focused assumptions, extreme sports participation facilitates more positive psychological experiences and express human values such as humility, harmony, creativity, spirituality and a vital sense of self that enriches everyday life," Professor Schweitzer said. He said because extreme sports participants found it hard to put their experiences into words, the research project had taken a new approach to understanding the data. "So rather than a theory based approach which may make judgements that don't reflect the lived experience of extreme sports participants, we took a phenomenological approach to ensure we went in with an open mind," he said. "This allowed us to focus on the lived-experience of extreme sport with the goal of explaining themes that are consistent with participants' experience. "By doing this we were able to, for the first time, conceptualise such experiences as potentially representing endeavours at the extreme end of human agency, that is making choices to engage in activity which may in certain circumstances lead to death. "However, such experiences have been shown to be affirmative of life and the potential for transformation. "Extreme sport has the potential to induce non-ordinary states of consciousness that are at once powerful and meaningful. "These experiences enrich the lives of participants and provide a further glimpse into what it means to be human."


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: IoT-01-2016 | Award Amount: 17.60M | Year: 2017

The SoundCity Project MONICA aims to provide a very large scale demonstration of multiple existing and new Internet of Things technologies for Smarter Living. The solution will be deployed in 6 major cities in Europe. MONICA demonstrates a large scale IoT ecosystem that uses innovative wearable and portable IoT sensors and actuators with closed-loop back-end services integrated into an interoperable, cloud-based platform capable of offering a multitude of simultaneous, targeted applications. All ecosystems will be demonstrated in the scope of large scale city events, but have general applicability for dynamically deploying Smart City applications in many fixed locations such as airports, main traffic arterials, and construction sites. Moreover, it is inherent in the MONICA approach to identify the official standardisation potential areas in all stages of the project. MONICA will demonstrate an IoT platform in massive scale operating conditions; capable of handling at least 10.000 simultaneous real end-users with wearable and portable sensors using existing and emerging technologies (TRL 5-6) and based upon open standards and architectures. It will design, develop and deploy a platform capable of integrating large amounts of heterogeneous, interoperable IoT enabled sensors with different data capabilities (video, audio, data), resource constraints (wearables, Smartphones, Smartwatches), bandwidth (UWB, M2M), costs (professional, consumer), and deployment (wearable, mobile, fixed, airborne) as well as actuators (lights, LED, cameras, alarms, drones, loudspeakers). It will demo end-to-end, closed loop solutions covering everything from devices and middleware with semantic annotations through a multitude of wireless communication channels to cloud based applications and back to actuation networks. Humans-in-the-Loop is demonstrated through integrating Situational Awareness and Decision Support tools for organisers, security staff and sound engineers situation rooms.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Knowledge Transfer Partnership | Award Amount: 81.77K | Year: 2016

To research, develop and implement a scale able and modular system which monitors and analyzes individual behavioral patterns and movements in a range of environments


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Knowledge Transfer Partnership | Award Amount: 83.16K | Year: 2016

To develop an integrated dynamic air mattress system and patient/person monitoring capability which will reduce the development of pressure sores in chronically ill and elderly people in secondary NHS care and care home settings.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: AHRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 342.70K | Year: 2016

Emily Hobhouse (1860-1926) is celebrated in South Africa as a heroine of the South African War (1899-1902), but her wider involvement in South African affairs and international campaigning are largely unknown. Meanwhile in Britain she has been disregarded, her controversial attempts at relief work and international reconciliation during the First World War never properly accounted for. The Emily Hobhouse Letters project is an international research project centrally concerned with recovering Hobhouses transnational epistolary network of activists, writers, journalists and politicians, in doing so offering a necessary re-internationalisation of early twentieth-century imperial and South African history and correcting her neglect in Britain. It will be led by a UK-based Principal Investigator, who will work alongside Co-Investigators in the UK and South Africa, and in partnership with archivists and museum professionals in the UK and South Africa, to renew scholarly and public engagement with Hobhouses legacy and to ask why, for Hobhouse and her circle, South Africa became the test-case of early twentieth-century liberal imperialism and liberal internationalism. The project will produce a joint-authored monograph and journal articles, and an international exhibition (touring to the Bodleian, Hull History Centre, the Liskeard Museum, the War Museum, and Smuts House Museum), which will focus on Hobhouses mobilisation of an influential and interlocking transnational epistolary network of Quakers, international suffrage campaigners, anti-slavery activists, colonial politicians, reformers and writers, members of the Indian and African National Congresses, New Liberals and socialists in Britain. These will highlight the formative experience of Hobhouse and her circles work for reconciliation in South Africa during an era of war, reconstruction, labour disputes, and arguments over national self-determination and will explore the legacy of this involvement - particularly their attitudes to race - for their approach to the politics of peace, relief and international oversight in Europe and South Africa after the First World War. The exhibition will showcase material from the newly-deposited Emily Hobhouse papers at the Bodleian, which will for the first time be placed alongside her voluminous correspondence in archives in Britain, Geneva and South Africa in order to evaluate her strategic use of letter-writing and the behind-the-scenes influence of womens politicking. The project will employ two Research Assistants: one employed full-time to carry out research in South African archives and libraries; the other, employed on a 0.5 post for 18 months, to carry out research in the archives of international organisations such as Save the Children in Geneva. Both will be fully engaged in the projects outputs and its wider dissemination. The research team will also guide the cataloguing and selective digitisation of the Hobhouse Papers by trainee archivists and report on this to the SCOLMA conference for researchers and archivists of African history, and in its bulletin. A workshop in South Africa with the Bodleian archivist, school teachers and heritage professionals will explore the optimum ways to present this new research to multiple audiences, including secondary-school pupils, in preparation for the exhibition, associated public lectures and website launch. The project website will include dedicated Gateways to Learning which will use digitised Hobhouse material as gateways to structured teaching and learning material and include downloadable museum audio-guides to items in the collections of the War Museum and Smuts House (to accompany the exhibition or for use remotely). A conference at the University of the Free State on the re-internationalisation of South Africas imperial history will extend this commitment to engaging with the ongoing post-apartheid revisioning and rethinking of the South African past.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 301.00K | Year: 2015

Nuclear power has great potential as a future global power source with a small carbon footprint. To realise this potential, safety (and also the public perception of safety) is of the utmost importance, and both existing and new design nuclear power plants strive to improve safety, maintain availability and reduce the cost of operation and maintenance. Moreover, plant life extensions and power updates push the demand for the new tools for diagnosing and prognosing the health of nuclear power plants. Monitoring the status of plants by diverse means has become a norm. Current approaches for diagnosis and prognosis, which rely heavily on operator judgement on the basis of online monitoring of key variables, are not always reliable. This project will bring together three UK Universities and an Indian nuclear power plant to directly address the modelling, validation and verification changes in developing online monitoring tools for nuclear power plant. The project will use artificial intelligence tools, where mathematical algorithms that emulate biological intelligence are used to solve difficult modelling, decision making and classification problems. This will involve optimizing the number of inputs to the models, finding the minimum data requirement for accurate prediction of possible untoward events, and designing experiments to maximize the information content of the data. We will then use the optimised system to predict potential loss of coolant accidents and pinpoint their specific locations, after which we will progress to prediction of possible radioactive release for various accident scenarios, and, in order to facilitate emergency preparedness, the post release phase will be modelled to predict the dispersion pattern for the scenarios under consideration. Finally, all of the models will be validated, verified and integrated into a tool that can be used to monitor and act as an early warning device to prevent such scenarios from occurring.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: AHRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 23.74K | Year: 2016

The worlds of the arts and sport are commonly separated in academic study, research, professional practice and cultural policy, even though they both lie within the remit of a single department of Government (Department for Culture, Media and Sport). The proposed collaborative network will engage arts and sport practitioners and policy makers in dialogue with scholars and researchers to examine the potential benefits and arrive at a common declaration of principles and practice. We shall then invite a wide range of individuals and organisations to become signatories. The objectives for this initiative are to: a) examine critically the potential economic, social and cultural benefits from bringing together sport and the arts; b) foster collaboration and new work between researchers working in the fields of sport and the arts, across different disciplines, in part also to begin to address a significant gap in existing research studies in this field; c) draw together academics, policy makers, professionals and practitioners working in the fields of sport and the arts and contribute to a shared understanding of synergies and benefits of co-operation. To that end the network will consider the propositions that: a) links between the arts and sport can enhance strategies to increase participation in each and promote cultural citizenship. [The reason for such a proposal lies in part in the belief that sports projects can appeal to social groups with lower income and educational levels, who are often put off by the air of exclusivity and high cultural capital requirements characterising traditional arts activities. Moreover, competition may be used as a tool for enhancing participation as part of cultural citizenship strategies. Equally the arts may play a part in changing the sporting experience and widening audiences for sport, by communicating alternative messages about what sport is and suggesting new ways of representing, critiquing and understanding sport activities.] b) collaborations between sport and the arts can stimulate cultural experimentation, and be aesthetically innovative c) arts-sports projects offer opportunities to overcome the mind-body duality, and can produce physical and mental health and well-being benefits, for instance as part of responses to problems generated by sedentary lifestyles, including the growing issue of obesity. The network will run a series of three seminars (in Manchester, Bristol and Leeds) on themes suggested by current theoretical and policy concerns: 1. Participation and audiences 2. Aesthetics and representation 3. Well-being, social capital and cultural citizenship A further theme, cutting across all our seminars, is how to redress the separation of the arts and sport at the level of national, regional and local policy-making. Arts and sports managers and policy-makers have different types of training, professional associations, qualifications, conferences and networks. Outcomes from the networks activities will contribute to both professional areas separately, but more importantly draw them closer. The need for this is emphasised by the cuts in public expenditure introduced as a result of austerity policies that are bringing about the need for integration and dialogue between these related but different professional worlds. We will therefore investigate the possibility of integrated forms of arts-sport skills development for both project managers and policy makers. We will also explore appropriate managerial ideas in the arts and apply them to sport, and vice versa. Disseminated outputs from the network will include a website, social media communications, academic papers and a special issue of a journal. These will culminate in a Declaration to provide the first step towards a common arts-sport manifesto.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Knowledge Transfer Partnership | Award Amount: 96.86K | Year: 2016

To design, implement and embed data driven, user-centred, targeted and tailored behavioural interventions to enhance rail worker saftey and reduce accident risk.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Knowledge Transfer Partnership | Award Amount: 83.16K | Year: 2016

To create a digital enterprise platform that collates data and visualises the building, its performance, and cost data to encourage customer interaction at the point of sale and in use, thus feeding back data to ensure continuious


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: AHRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 80.29K | Year: 2016

Civilians living amidst violent conflict, like everyone experiencing conflict, know who is involved, the history what it makes it worse or lessens the impact on them. They have knowledge that those outside the conflict do not possess. The dominant peace and conflict intervention strategies of international agencies and NGOs begin with assessing the conflict situation using models based on western understanding of conflict trajectories, community resilience and peacebuilding, with an outsiders understanding. Although local people may be involved, their knowledge is rarely informing intervention and support strategies. This research will show the importance of placing local, contested, knowledge in the centre of intervention strategies, empowering and enabling local people and potentially making interventions more effective. The research takes a case study of local conflict knowledge in Karen and Mon areas of Myanmar, training local researchers to use storytelling, arts and craft approaches to enable local people to represent and share their knowledge in culturally appropriate ways, through which they share their understanding of the conflicts, violence and peace strategies. The content of what they produce will be mapped onto the existing conflict analysis of the local partner in order to analyse the themes and gaps. The local partner is Nonviolent Peaceforce, an NGO who provide unarmed civilian peacekeeping and protection of civilians to local communities around the world. They have been in Myanmar since 2012 and the results of this research will enable them to be more able to capture and use local knowledge about the conflicts, violence and peace to inform future project choices. This international and innovative research will impact on local people by making their voices louder and clearer, on Nonviolent Peaceforce interventions by potentially making them more effective, and on academic and policy approaches to conflict analysis, the local, and the types of knowledge used in understanding conflict and peace. It crosses peace and conflict studies and arts disciplines, adding methodologically and to the way we teach about conflict knowledge.

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