Tuesday 21 May 2013

Interactive Guide

Thanks for your interest in the Roehampton Research Student Conference 2013.

If you are looking to register for the conference then look no further you can register by clicking here!!

This is the third year that the conference has run and we are rewarding your interest with fourteen amazing presentations across four great panels.

Welcome to an interactive guide to the day. This guide will allow you to learn more about the day, register and to find out more about our speakers. Please click on the links below to jump to a section.

Schedule for the day

Panel One: Abstracts and Biographies

Panel Two: Abstracts and Biographies

Panel Three: Abstracts and Biographies

Panel Four: Abstracts and Biographies

Register for the conference


Schedule for the day

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09:30-10:00         Tea, Coffee, and Biscuits

10:00-10:15         Dept VC Lynn Dobbs Opening Address

PANEL ONE: Health, Well-Being, and Behavior

10:15-10:20         Panel 1 gets situated

10:20-10:25         Introduce Panel 1 (Name + Dept)

10:25-10:40         Presentation #1: Daisy Fancourt (Department of Education)

10:40-10:55         Presentation #2: Aleksandër Trajçe (Department of Life Sciences)

10:55-11:10         Presentation #3: Damiano Weitowitz (Department of Life Sciences)

11:10-11:25         Presentation # 4: James Munro (Department of Psychology).

11:25-11:45         Panel 1 Q&A

PANEL TWO: Challenging the Arts

11:45-11:50         Switch from Panel 1 to Panel 2

11:50-11:55         Introduce Panel 2

11:55-12:10         Presentation #5: Alice Hasmik Kolandjian (Department of English and Creative Writing)

12:10-12:25         Presentation #6: James Davies (Department of English and Creative Writing)

12:25-12:40         Presentation #7: Cristina de Lucas (Department of Dance)

12:40-13:00         Panel 2 Q&A

13:00-13:30         LUNCH

PANEL THREE: Cultural and Language Perspectives

13:30-13:35         Panel 3 get situated

13:35-13:40         Introduce Panel 3

13:40-13:55         Presentation #8: Robert Watts (Department of Education)

13:55-14:10         Presentation #9: Mathura Mudaliar (Department of Social Sciences)

14:10-14:25        Presentation #10: Nahoko Mulvey (Department of Education)

14:25-14:45         Panel 3 Q&A

PANEL FOUR: Social and Political Shifts

14:45-14:50         Switch from Panel 3 to Panel 4

14:50-14:55         Introduce Panel 4

14:55-15:10         Presentation #11: Ayda Mahani (Department of Psychology)

15:10-15:25        Presentation #12: Michael Nwankpa (Department of Social Sciences)

15:25-15:40         Presentation #13: Daliany Kersh (Department of Humanities)

15:40-15:55         Presentation #14: Fiyinfolu Olubunmi   IDOWU (Department of Media Culture and Language)

15:55-16:15         Panel 4 Q&A

16:15-16:30         Interaction

16:15-16:45         Prof Ann MacClarnon Closing Speech

16:45-                 Wine and Discussion

Panel One: Health, Wellbeing and Behaviour

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The first panel of this years conference will be focus on how our research has, will and can contribute to our understanding and applicantion in the field of health, well being and behaviour.

The chair of this panel will be head of the Graduate school, Professor Ann MacLarnon. She has done research on the evolution of reproductive life history characteristics in mammals, as well as brain size and spinal cord size evolution. Using this broad comparative base, she has worked on the evolution of human speech breathing involving evidence from fossil hominids, and most recently on the Flores dwarf hominids, concentrating on the tiny brain size and possibility of microcephaly in the best known specimen. 

The four presenters for this sections are;

1) Daisy Fancourt (Department of Education)

The Psychoneuroimmunology of Music
Coined in 1964 to describe a fast-emerging field, psychoneuroimmunology traces how psychological processes translate through the brain to impact on the immune system. Fundamentally interdisciplinary in nature, it draws together a dozen scientific fields from psychology to neuroscience, endocrinology, molecular biology and behavioural medicine to examine the the bi-directional relationship between mental processes and health.

One of these key mental processes is the deeper effect of stress. Music has been used as a method of stress relief for thousands of years. Yet the mechanisms underlying this - the psychoneuroimmunology of music - have scarcely been examined. Music’s impact on immune function is a fundamental question which could increase the use of music in healthcare settings, have implications for music psychology and applied musicology, and provide a new perspective on music’s role in society.

Drawing on a systematic review just completed of this field, this presentation will trace the broad psychological, neurological and immunological pathways by which music exerts an effect, comparing the results of over 30 years of clinical trials. It will then focus specifically on immune biomarkers to give a more in-depth and tangible illustration of the biological impact that music can have.

Finally, this presentation will consider two questions key to the conference's theme: what future research directions need to be taken to make a difference to the field; and, focusing on a case study of a recent NHS arts-in-health project, how can the results from this research be turned into programmes that will make a difference to patient outcomes.
(256 words)

Daisy studied at Christ Church, Oxford and King's College, London before commencing her PhD at Roehampton University in January 2013, supervised by Professor Adam Ockelford (Applied Music Research) and Dr Abi Belai (Life Sciences). She is also actively involved in the application of the results of research in music and medicine in healthcare settings and, alongside her PhD, currently manages the performing arts programme at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London.

2) Aleksandër Trajçe (Department of Life Sciences)

Public perceptions of large carnivores in Albania
To test differences in attitudes towards wolves, bears and lynx in Albania and the implications that might arise for their conservation, a human dimensions survey was conducted between April 2007 and January 2009 (n = 397). From the existing information on the distribution and abundance of large carnivores in Albania wolves are considered the most common and widespread species, whereas lynx the most rare and endangered. We documented differences in public attitudes and beliefs towards the three large carnivore species. Wolves were consistently ranked as the most negative species and support for their conservation was lower than for bears and lynx. In addition, wolves were reported as the most damage-causing species and the level of conflict tolerance towards them was low. People tended to differentiate wolves from bears and lynx; however they generally expressed more similar and positive attitudes for the other two. The current conservation trends that treat large carnivores as a “functional guild” might therefore not be appropriate for Albania. Management plans and conservation initiatives, especially those that are based on public outreach, should keep wolves separate from bears and lynx as lower public support for wolves might jeopardise the conservation of the other two. Bears and lynx can potentially be treated together based on their similar conservation issues and public support, whereas wolves need to be addressed separately from a conflict-solution point of view.
Keywords: large carnivores, human–wildlife conflict, human dimensions, Albania

I am a PhD candidate in anthropology (human-animal studies). My background is in nature conservation; I have obtained an MSc degree in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management from the University of Oxford in 2010 and worked as a wildlife researcher at the Balkan Lynx Recovery Programme since 2006. My research interests focus on the interrelationships between humans and large carnivores and how they might relate to issues of conservation.

3) Damiano Weitowitz (Department of Life Sciences)

Describing the distribution of groundwater fauna in the UK and analysing the factors controlling it

It is thought that groundwater ecosystems are complex networks in which biotic and abiotic factors interact to provide essential services. Some of the proposed services of groundwater invertebrates, known as stygobites, include the maintenance of water flow and quality and promotion of microbial growth with knock-on effects for processes such as denitrification.

However, the groundwater environment remains neglected although public interest in groundwater as a resource has increased in recent years 9 stygobite species have been described in the UK so far, compared to hundreds of species in continental Europe. However, it is thought that species may yet await discovery, because stygobites are cryptic and several areas lack sampling efforts. This thesis has the goal to extend our knowledge of stygobite distributions within UK aquifers. Also, it will investigate the factors controlling the distribution and abundance of stygobites. I believe that an enhanced understanding of the ecology of groundwater will ultimately help to protect this so much needed resource for the future.

My aim for the conference is to introduce the scope of my research. As part of the latter I will provide a summary of my research questions, which include the assessment of different geologies as faunal habitats, mark-recapture studies to assess species abundance and an analysis of environmental factors governing the distribution of the crustacean class Copepoda. I also intend to show some preliminary analysis.

I attended The University of St. Andrews between 2003-2009 where I gained a BSc in Behavioural Biology. Between 2009-2010 I was a research assistant in a project assessing the behaviour and stress responses of chacma baboons in the Cape of Good Hope National Reserve. I then completed a MSc in Integrative Bioscience at the University of Oxford between 2010-2011, before assisting in a camera trap monitoring program focusing on lynx in the Bavarian National Forests.  

4) James Munro (Department of Psychology)

The human mirror neuron system: Have we been looking into the mirror of Erised?
The human mirror neuron system (MNS) is not only a focus of extensive research directed at understanding how we learn from our world, but a phenomenon inspiring dance routines, therapeutic methods and passionate presentations of its role as the next great leap in human evolution. Despite the excitement around the discovery of a neural system which may provide a deeper connection between individuals than once expected, there is a lot of confusion and contention about even its most basic functions. Does the MNS allow us to understand and/or predict the goals of another individual? Is it influenced by our desires, our motivations or the context in which we observe actions? Do we even know where the system is? My PhD thesis aims to provide answers to these questions and to evaluate the efficacy of one of the more modern theories examining its function; associative learning. This theory interprets the MNS not as an adaptation for action understanding or prediction, but as a general mechanism for association. Its proponents have determined that the ‘mirror response’ (in which a perceived action activates the same brain region as an identical or similar executed action) can be strengthened, weakened, abolished or ever reversed through brief training sessions. The associative learning perspective proposes that the apparent social significance of the MNS is but a strong link between performing an action and the sight of performing it, rather than a specific and game-changing adaptation with more fantastic implications. Perhaps “mirror” is an entirely misleading name.

Biography: After graduating with a 1st from my undergraduate degree up in The University of Abertay Dundee, I decided I wanted an easy and peaceful life, so I traveled to London and took up neuropsychology.


My dissertation was on the impacts of sexual selection on human behaviour and cognition, and for a brief period I studied the social lives of primates at Edinburgh zoo. This work inspired me to lean towards the biological side of psychology. My main area of interest now is the human mirror neuron system.

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Panel Two: Challenging the Arts

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The second panel for the Roehampton Research Student conference will focus on how our research 'Challenges the Arts'.

The panel chair for this research is to be confirmed. Please refer back to this page for updates. 

1) Alice Hasmik Kolandjian (Department of English and Creative Writing)


My research analyzes women writers from the Romantic period that utilize the Classics, particularly the works of Ovid and Apuleius, and tailor their own versions of the myths to address the perception of women and gender roles of the period. More specifically, my work focuses on Mary Robinson’s Sappho and Phaon (1796), Mary Tighe’s Psyche; or, The Legend of Love (1805), and Mary Shelley’s Proserpine (completed 1820). Aside from being written by women, all three pieces deal with views that strongly suggested women’s primary place was within the domestic realm. These works oppose characterizations of women that upheld restrictive roles such as weakness, naivety, and passivity. Contrasting to these characteristics, the female characters embody strong traits such as endurance, independence, and activeness.

I am interested in how and why these women writers use the Classics to question gender roles. Furthermore, I am interested in what sources they use and how they use them. My research analyzes the subtle changes made to the original texts, what these changes suggest, and how these changes affect the understanding of women and gender roles. The goal of my research is to better understand how Robinson, Tighe and Shelley address the perception of women, recreate women’s place in myths, and challenge restrictive gender models. I will also investigate these women’s education and their access to the Classics. Although focused on these three pieces, my research will incorporate other significant works that connect to these works.

Brief Bio

Alice Hasmik Kolandjian is currently a PhD English Literature Student at the University of Roehampton. Originally from Los Angeles, California, she received her B.A. in English from UCLA in 2010 and her M.A. in English Literature from CSUN in 2012. Her current research focuses on Mary Robinson, Mary Tighe, and Mary Shelley and their use of the Classics to address perceptions of gender.

2) James Davies (Department of English and Creative Writing)

Minimalism and Slowness.

My practice based research is an investigation into minimalist poetry. Part of my project seeks to define what constitutes a poetics which uses minimalism as its primary stylistic method and philosophy. The inquiry outlines a number of key techniques and/or outcomes which might be inherent in such poetries. One such characteristic of minimalist poetry I call ‘slowness’. In this method poets attempt to slow down the reading process in structural terms, making aspects of the work spatial rather than time based. Slowness should not be confused with writing that holds us due to its complexity or non-comprehensibility. On the contrary, slowness directs and permits readers to have long and intense engagements with often very simple works, works which entertain the idea of the hyper-beautiful, the possible and which interfere with the speed of capitalist consumption. I will outline a number of ways in which poets have done this in the twentieth and twenty first centuries and then offer a few examples of how I am adapting this particular method in my creative practice both in page based and digital poetry.


James Davies is the author of PlantsAbsolute Elsewhere and Acronyms. In 2008 he co-founded The Other Room poetry series in Manchester and set up his poetry press if p then q. He is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at The University of Roehampton with a particular focus on minimalist poetry and writers such as Robert Grenier, P. Inman and Stephen Ratcliffe.

3) Cristina de Lucas (Department of Dance)

Four Early Narrative Ballets by Kenneth MacMillan

My proposal is intended to open up a debate in the role of research in the arts. My project focuses on dance as a theatrical art and the work of a specific choreographer but the impact my research can make both in and outside the academia shares common traits with the research carried out in other areas such as Film, Performance or Literary Studies. Is research in arts and culture a matter of interest for the academic world only? Can it be of any use to society? I will offer some tentative answers based on examples from my own project.

My project investigates four narrative ballets by the British choreographer Kenneth MacMillan (1929-1992). My aim is to examine the context and internal elements of these pieces (choice of subject matter, movement style, structure, characters, music, design, etc.), extracting conclusions about his choreographic devices and influences. I am particularly interested in the way MacMillan deals with narrative. How does he develop a story? Which elements does he use to delineate the characters? How are emotions and ideas expressed? What is the relevance of movement? How is it combined with other ingredients such as music or set and costume designs? These are some of my research questions.


Cristina de Lucas possesses an interdisciplinary background in Law, English Philology and Ballet Studies. In her professional career she has combined roles as diverse as legal advisor, cultural promoter or arts critic. In addition to her research at Roehampton, she keeps on writing about dance and cinema, contributing regularly to several publications in Spain and UK.

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Panel Three: Cultural and Language Perspectives

The third panel will focus on Cultural and Language Perspectives.

The panel chair for this section is to be confirmed. Please refer back to this page for updates. 

Please note there will be three presenters in this panel. The first and thirds presenter will be confirmed and printed in the programme for the day. 

1) TBC

2) Nahoko Mulvey (Department of Education)


Title: Aiming to Unveil Japanese as a Heritage Language Education in England

My study investigates Japanese language education for children of Japanese people living permanently in England.  These children have gained some competence in Japanese at home, though they are educated in mainstream school in English.  In the literature this competence is generally referred to as Japanese as a Heritage Language (JHL). Since the 1990s, Heritage Language (HL) has been gaining significant attention in US research, policy and practice.  Especially since the September 11 attacks, there has been an increasing interest in expanding the nation’s linguistic resources by preserving and training HL competence.   Specific research on JHL education started at the end of the 1990s in North America.  Though some researchers have revealed characteristics of JHL learners, the content of and approach to JHL education has not been established yet. In England, more than 700,000 children speak at least 300 languages, and across the UK at least 6l different languages are taught in about 5,000 supplementary schools (CILT, 2005; Minty et al., 2008). They are voluntary schools provided by ethnic minority communities, demonstrating a multilingual England, often hidden from the mainstream (Creese et al., 2008).  Though some researchers are investigating HL education in other languages, JHL education has been scarcely investigated in England. In addition to 7 supplementary schools funded by the Japanese government, I have found 10 grass-root Japanese weekend schools in England in my preliminary research. As the initial stage of my JHL education research I would like to shed light on the current circumstances of these 10 schools.


Nahoko has been involved in language education for many years at schools and universities in Japan, Australia and in the UK.  Her research interest in Japanese as a heritage language arose while working for a Japanese ethnic school in Brisbane, attended on Saturdays by the children of Japanese living permanently in Australia. She investigates Japanese as a heritage language education in England under the supervision of Prof. Suzy Harris and Prof. Tope Omoniyi.


Panel Four: Social and Political Shifts

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The fourth, and final, panel will focus on how research being conducted at The University of Roehampton is helping to make a difference in the social and political domains. 

This panel will be chaired by Dr. Anna Seymour. Dr. Seymour is a dramatherapist and supervisor and is a director of the training organisation the Northern Trust for Dramatherapy. She is Senior Lecturer in Dramatherapy at the University of Roehampton, London with extensive experience as a trainer in the UK and internationally. She is editor of the British Association of Dramatherapists journal Dramatherapy and has published on theatre and Dramatherapy. She has a background in professional theatre and university teaching, trained in biomechanics with Gennadi Bogdanov (Moscow Theatre of Satire) and in Commedia Dell’Arte most recently (2011) with Antonio Fava in Italy.

The presenters in this panel will be as follows;

1) Ayda Mahani (Department of Psychology)

Historically, in the UK, sexual assault of women has been driving the agenda (see Home Office, 2009). Therefore, the sexual assault of men is less researched, especially if the male is gay, bisexual, transgender, gender variant or queer (GBTGQ). The experience of GBTGQ men can differ, from heterosexual men’s experiences of sexual assault, due to the added impact of cultural and social stressors such as heterosexism and sexism. It is important to understand the diversity, and socially contextualised nature of GBTGQ men’s experiences, in surviving the impact and aftermath of sexual assault. The current social and political context influences treatment and community awareness of the sexual assault of GBTGQ men. Using Grounded Theory, this study aims to conduct interviews with a minimum of 5 GBTGQ men who experienced sexual assault and with a minimum of 5 service representatives who help and support individuals who experienced sexual assault. The study aims to gain a deeper level knowledge about the sexual assault of GBTGQ men through the stories of men that identify as GBTGQ as well as through service representatives who support male victims. The implications of the research also extend to gender – and although research into sexual assault shows the effects of the assault for understanding sexual behaviours, the emphasis rarely extends to talking about the way the assault implicates gender and sexual meanings. Therefore, this research will interrogate implications for gender in relation to definitions of maleness and masculinity by including those who define as gender variant, transgender or queer.

I am a Counselling Psychologist in Training at the University of Roehampton and as part of my course and training I will be conducting a doctoral study. I am presently researching sex, genders and sexualities in relation to sexual assault. Research is also focused on the sociology of sexual assault in relation to genders, sexualities and sexual meanings. Queer theory and intersectionality theory is central to the research

2) Michael Nwankpa (Department of Social Sciences)

Foreign Aid, Arms Proliferation, and Conflict Resolution in Sub-Saharan Africa

Using six parameters- “overall amount of aid, countries and organisations receiving it, how much aid each of these countries and organisations receives, what the aid is used for, the terms of the aid, [and] the percentage of the aid tied to purchases in the donor country” Lancaster (2006, p.17), this paper attempts a holistic assessment of the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of foreign aid in Sub-Saharan Africa. More specifically, this paper interrogates the dynamic relationship between foreign aid, arms proliferation/military expenditure and conflict resolution in Africa, with special interest in the Boko Haram and Niger Delta insurgencies. The need to study this hinges on several factors: negligible impact of aid in most recipient communities, emerging news of commercially-motivated rather than developmental-motivated aid, direct and indirect impact of aid on internal conflicts, as well as growing public concern on the need and effectiveness of aid. This paper contributes to the body of literature on the need to clearly define and redefine the purpose of aid, as well as suggests ways that can help mitigate the unintended consequences of foreign aid on internal conflicts.  In this study, I take ambitious steps in submitting recommendations that can impact positively on the effectiveness of aid and conflict resolution in Africa.

I am a PhD student from the department of Social Sciences, University of Roehampton. My research area borders on the subject of Counter-terrorism/Counterinsurgency in Africa, with special interest in the Boko Haram and Niger Delta insurgencies. I am particularly looking at the concept of Development as a viable counterterrorist measure. I have a solid background in human rights and I have served different high-profile roles in relevant NGOs. 

3) Daliany Kersh (Department of Humanities)

This presentation aims to consider why prostitution, which was significantly controlled for over 30 years following the Cuban Revolution, suddenly re-emerged to such an extent that it has become a “social phenomenon.” Prior to collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba had been financially dependent on its powerful Communist ally and this loss of patronage resulted in a monumental financial crisis, referred to as the ‘Special Period.’ The hypothesis is that this event disproportionately affected Cuban women and this together with the introduction of mass tourism, which produced a substantial demand for sexual services, resulted in the widespread practice of Jineterismo.
I will be defining “Jineterismo” as a whole range of romantic or sexual approaches intended to obtain money from the influx of new “sex tourists” and examining the three main arguments relating to its practice; economic necessity, lack of social morality and materialism. The paper is based on my MA dissertation research that employed academic literature on feminism, sex tourism, prostitution, and the feminization of poverty in conjunction with ethnographic fieldwork which I conducted myself in Cuba in June 2012.
I hope to ‘make a difference’ with my research by highlighting the key contemporary issues that affected Cuban women, a socially excluded population, during this crucial event in contemporary Cuban history where after 30 years of Socialism, living standards plummeted dramatically. By employing oral histories, my qualitative paradigm therefore allows Cuban women to chronicle this event in their own words, giving an ‘alternative’, more authentically Cuban examination of Jineterismo.

My name is Daliany Kersh, I have a BA in Modern Languages (Spanish & French) and an MA in Latin American Studies. I started my History PhD in January provisional titled 'Jineterismo' and the 'feminisation' of the Special Period.

4) Fiyinfolu Olubunmi IDOWU (Department of Media Culture and Language)

The Current Debate on the Global Spread of English
English has become a global lingua franca and one of the implications of its spread is the rise of new varieties of English and their effect on Language teaching and testing. There is no doubt that the influences of the local languages of the non-native speakers have affected the way English has emerged in different parts of the world. It has become adopted for communication purpose by many nations in the world. In non-native speaker contexts today, it has grown, developed with a ‘distinctive local flavour’ (Bamgbose 2006:105), nativised, indigenized to accommodate the sociolinguistic and socio cultural context of the people (Akindele& Adegbite 1999).
Traditionally, English language pronunciation teaching was generally based on native-speaker norms usually RP British English or GA (General American). However, in recent years, there has been a trend away from the use of native speaker norms (Jenkins 2000). Considering the reality that English has spread and the rise of new Englishes, the question has arisen as to what pronunciation model teachers should employ. Should international tests continue to measure proficiency in relation to native speaker’s norm?
This paper seeks to argue that given Nigeria sociolinguistics situation, it is unrealistic to use a borrowed variety of Spoken English. This paper will focus on local variations of English in Nigeria with particular reference to spoken English in which the variations are most noticeable.

I am currently registered on the MPhil/PhD programme at Roehampton University and looking at the Intelligibility of Nigerian English speakers as regards pronunciation to different speakers of English and the Problems encountered by Nigerian Learners of English. I started this project as part of my MA degree in English Language Teaching at the University of East London in 2012 and obtained my BA in English from OAU, Ile Ife, Nigeria in 2009.

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What you need to know about the conference.....

The most important things you need to know are where and when the conference is taking place!

The conference will be taking place on the 7th June 2013.

The conference will be held in The Portrait Room, Grove House, Froebel College. University of Roehampton.

Got it? Good.

Now all you need to do is register! You can do that by clicking here.