Simon Cooper and Alison Davidson have been awarded £1146 by the Royal Society of Chemistry Research Fund for the “Evaluation of the use of MonoTrap sampling technology for the recovery and analysis of biological contaminants in water supplies”.
Professor John Cassella (left) and Dr Alison Davidson (right) with students, Richard Price and Abbie Renwick
The Burial Research Group led by Professor John Cassella has been going from strength-to-strength this year with great work from our undergraduates and interns. Ting Ting Chu who interned here last semester has won 2nd place for a Student Poster Prize at the recent BAHID conference.
The (student) Burial Research Group
Alison Davidson completed her PhD this year and graduated in July; she has co-authored three papers which have been submitted to journals. Simon Cooper is now starting his PhD and Alison Davidson and John Cassella are co-supervising him.
Dr Alison Davidson at Graduation in July
Tuesday 19th December saw our first, live Chemistry Christmas Cracker Event hosted by Dr Jodie Dunnett and Dr Alison Davidson.
Alison and Jodie
Jodie, Course Leader for Chemistry, demonstrated ‘Making Silver Nitrate Baubles’, ‘Colouring Christmas Baubles using Poinsettia Colour Indicator’ and ‘Making Fake Snow’.
Dr Jodie Dunnett with her Chemistree
Alison, our Technical Skills Specialist, showed us some specialised analytical chemistry equipment, investigated the ‘Smell of Christmas Trees’ and ‘A Toxic Victorian Christmas’.
Dr Alison Davidson investigating ‘A Toxic Vicorian Christmas’
PhD student, Charlotte Folkes, attended an insightful lecture about issues of gender-based Violence, including rape, being faced in conflict zones. The lecture, given at the University of Essex, took place on 31sth October.
The lecture was given by Dr Elaine Storkey, who has a great deal of experience in working in these countries with rape survivors, and within general academia.
Dr Elaine Storkey and Charlotte Folkes
“This week I attended a lecture at University of Essex exploring the concept of ‘Gender-based violence as a Weapon of War’. This was a very insightful talk given by Dr Elaine Storkey who is a well-known academic, broadcaster and author in the field of sexual violence. The session focused on the reasons behind sexual violence in conflict-zones and explored how rape has been used throughout modern history to show dominance, for ethnic cleansing, and as a way of destabilising communities.
Some of the shocking statistics that Dr Storkey shared with the group really emphasised the scale of the issue, including that 49% of the female population in Liberia have been subjected to rape or sexual assault as part of the on-going conflict. Around 200,000 women are known to have been raped during the Congo War, and 50,000 babies have been born as a result of these attacks (however the actual figures are expected to be much higher). It was also stressed that sexual abuse is prevalent in the Western world, as some American states still allow child brides, and UK statistics show up to two women are killed by their partner every week as a result of domestic sexual violence.
This was a very engaging lecture that addressed subjects that are often considered taboo, and it has helped me to consider new areas of research for my PhD project.”
Keep up-to-date with current academic and research news with Staffordshire University’s Law, Policing and Forensics topical contributions to The Conversation
Aidan Flynn, Lecturer in Law at Staffordshire University has contributed an article in The Conversation, titled ‘How the authorities can prosecute IS fighters who return to Britain – explained’. Read the full article here.
In July 2017, two former students from the Law Department were invited to conduct research for the Governor at HMP Stafford. Tawney Bennett and Amber Mapledoram both graduated with a first class law degree in July. The two aspiring criminologists were invited to carry out research about complaints made by prisoners at HMP Stafford.
Tawney and Amber went through the prison officer induction process and were issued with their own set of keys.
Following the completion of our final year exams, Amber and I were selected to take part in a collaborative research and analysis project with HMP Stafford. We were asked by the governor to provide an independent analysis of the current prisoner complaints system and offer recommendations on how it can be improved. On completion, the report will be published for both staff and prisoners to have access to our findings. Further to this, we are currently undertaking a second research project on behalf of the deputy prison governor, which remains confidential at this time.
After undergoing a vigorous vetting check, we obtained the iconic prison guard accessories, the belt and chain used to draw a set of keys. This gave us unrestricted access to the prison estate to begin our research.
We began by familiarising ourselves with the facilities, touring the wings and speaking to the prison staff. Following this we moved onto the data collation and analysis, coding and analysing in excess of 1700 prisoner complaints. We also compiled a questionnaire for residents of the prison to complete, in order to provide us with a general overview of how the prisoners felt about the complaints process. Our next step in our research is to conduct intensive interviews with a small sample of inmates, in order to explore their perspectives in greater depth.
Amber and I have had the privilege of working closely with both the governor and deputy governor of HMP Stafford, accessing confidential information that is inaccessible to the general public. An incredibly eye-opening experience for any lay person, the opportunity has heightened our interest in the field of prisons and punishment and further enhanced our researching skills ready for progression onto further post-graduate study. We have been given an unprecedented insight into the prison estate and we hope to continue our partnership with HMP Stafford on many more research projects in the near future.