Dr Tim Edensor and Dr James Cheng Research Trip to China

Dr Tim Edensor, Reader in Division of Geography & Environmental Management, and Dr James Cheng, Senior Lecturer in GIS and Urban Planning, have recently returned from a research trip to China.

Dr James Cheng spoke on ‘Big Data for Urban Studies in China: A Comparative Perspective’

Dr Edensor and Dr Cheng were invited to a specialist conference on Urbanisation in China hosted by Nanjing Normal University. The conference was organised by the China Association of Urban Geography and took place between the 11th and the 18th of April 2016.

At the event, Dr Edensor delivered a keynote lecture on Urban Theory Beyond the West. Dr Cheng gave a presentation on Big Data for Urban Studies in China: A Comparative Perspective, in which he explored the opportunities of big data for urban studies application in the UK and China. He compared the main challenges facing each country and their solutions.

He said, “A city is a complex system with complicated interactions between transport, land use, environment and population at a variety of scales. Understanding these interactions is the prerequisite for predicting urban changes and supporting sustainable urban development planning”.

During their trip, Dr Cheng was appointed Visiting Professor in GIS and Human Geography at the Key Laboratory for Beibu Gulf Environmental Change and Resources Utilization under Ministry of Education in China.

The event was a key networking opportunity, and further collaborations between Manchester Metropolitan University and Nanjing Normal University have been organised. Dr Edensor and Dr Cheng plan to co-author two papers, one this year and another in 2017, between Manchester Met and NNU. This work is in addition to three joint papers between Manchester Met and NNU, which have been published previously, and a successful bid for a joint research grant between Dr Cheng and Professor Qiyan Wu from NNU.

This was also published on the Manchester Metropolitan University website.


‘Allies of Memory’ Shortlisted for Gladstone Prize 2016

Dr Sam Edwards, Senior Lecturer in American History at Manchester Metropolitan University, has been shortlisted for the Gladstone Prize for the best book on a non-British history subject for ‘Allies in Memory’ which he published last year.

‘Allies of Memory’ has been shortlisted for the Gladstone Prize

The book explores the American commemoration following the second world war in the ruins of Europe. He looks at not only the plaques, stained-flass windows and commemorative signposts established by agents of the US government, but also those built by Americans who were personally mourning lost comrades. The book focuses on the processes and practices of commemoration in Normandy and East Anglia as Dr Edwards tells the study of post-war Euro-American cultural contact, and of the acts of transatlantic commemoration that this has bequeathed.

It was described as “enthralling”, “beautifully written”, and “carefully researched” by academics from a range of institutions.

Dr Edwards described Allies in Memory as “a labour of love, which in many respects ‘started’ when I was a teenager fascinated by the the wartime American presence ‘over here’. With a project that was so personal, you do get a little worried that you might have lost track of what other people will find important and interesting”.
The Gladstone Prize was launched by the Royal History Society in 1998 in honour of the value Gladstone placed on the study of history. The prize offers an annual award of £1,000 for a work of history on a topic not primarily related to British history that is the author’s first sole book publication.

Dr Edwards said of being shortlisted: “I was absolutely thrilled to hear that I’d been shortlisted by the Royal Historical Society for the Gladstone Prize. Judging by the outstanding work of last year’s joint-winners, competition for the number one spot will be intense, so I’m just over the moon to make the final list.”

The winner will be announced at a reception following the Prothero Lecture on 6 July 2016.

Buy Allies of Memory on Amazon.

This was also published on the Manchester Metropolitan University website.

Dr Lucy Burke and Dr Thomas Rudman Publication Success

Dr Lucy Burke and Dr Thomas Rudman, from the Department of English at Manchester Metropolitan University, have written a joint essay that will be published in Disability and the Global South in June.

The essay is titled ‘Una Vida Sin Palabras?: Disability, Subalternity and the Sandinista Revolution’. The essay presents a reading of the documentary film La Vida Sin Palabras, which explores the endeavour to teach sign language to three deaf siblings from a rural area of Nicaragua.

Dr Burke and Dr Rudman explore the ways in which the film re-enacts the perceived political failings of the Sandinista Revolution and fails to trouble the dominant liberal political narratives of popular cultural representation. In the essay, they argue that this is tied to the interpellation of a particular audience (educated and metropolitan) whose privileged position is never questioned within the film. We will also consider various critical constructions of subaltern identities in the context of disability studies in order to argue that these raise important questions about the political objectives of disability studies itself.

Disability and the Global South is the first peer reviewed international journal, which publishes high quality work focused exclusively on all aspects of the disability experience in the global South. It provides an interdisciplinary platform for material that is critical, challenging, and engaging from a range of epistemological perspectives and disciplines.

The essay received fantastic reviewer comments, with one describing it as “a truly excellent, informed, and stimulating article written with deep sensitivities to issues and discourses of coloniality flowing through multiple practices” a wonderful and major resource for scholarship in the field.

The next edition of Disability and the Global South will be published in June. More details can be found at their website at: https://dgsjournal.org/


This was also published on the Manchester Metropolitan University Humanities Faculty website (http://www2.mmu.ac.uk/hip/news/detail/index.php?id=4331)

Slang shouldn’t be banned … it should be celebrated, innit

Dr Rob Drummond, Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at Manchester Metropolitan University, has recently published an article in The Conversation.

In the piece,  he explores the increasing policing of young people’s language, looking specifically at a case at a school in Essex in which teachers actually banned particular slang words used in the television series, The Only Way is Essex.

The school argued that by encouraging use of ‘proper English’ they would increase the children’s job prospects: using phrases such as “well jel” would not be appropriate in an interview setting.

However, will stemming the children’s use of language prohibit expression of identity and creativity?

You can read the full article at:


Dr James Cheng Grant Success

Dr James Cheng, Senior Lecturer in GIS (Geographic Information System) and Urban Planning, has achieved success in his grant application.

The British Academy’s Research Awards Committee have awarded Dr Cheng a small research grant for a project entitled ‘Inequities in the perceived environmental health risks and interventions in a fast developing country’. The project is led by Dr Cheng through collaboration with Prof Qiyan Wu at Nanjing Normal University, China.

Dr Cheng’s main research interests lie in urbanization in China, particularly its social and spacial implications, including inequity, segregation, urban sustainability and migration using GIS and other quantitative methods.

He says: “Chinese cities have experienced notorious environmental degradations, which have had considerable negative impact on residents’ health. This has stimulated an increase in public environmental awareness”.

“As people perceive, experience and prevent environmental pollutions differently, vulnerable and disadvantaged people may be exposed to higher levels of health risks than the rest. This raises an urgent question: do perceived environmental health risks and intervention demonstrate any inequities in Chinese cities?”.

Dr Cheng believes that “The answers to this question will contribute to the global theories of environmental injustice”.

Through the project, Dr Cheng aims to provide scientific and quantitative evidence for understanding the social and spatial inequities in perceived environmental health risks and interventions by producing a case study based on China.

He says “The research outcome is expected to influence central and local environment related policy making and people’s everyday life across China”.

Women in Media Conference 2016

7171cc_dff89c3b10834ed1b3038ad5fda0acbbStudents at the University of Manchester have organised a conference entitled Women in Media.

The conference aims to inspire young women to have faith in their abilities and strive for careers in media.

Elise Gallagher, a second year English language student and organiser of the event said: “As a member of the Mancunion newspaper I can already clearly see how dominated the field already is by men in these early stages. Talking to my fellow female editors, many expressed a slight discomfort to this, or mentioned that they almost didn’t apply for their position. We wanted to change this”.

The conference is being organised and run by a mostly-female team from the Manchester Media Group, the media wing of University of Manchester Students’ Union.

Elise said: “Myself, Polly Bartlett, Jennifer Sterne, Charlie Spargo and Marcus Johns (all active members of the Manchester Media Group) decided to organise the Women in Media in order to celebrate the work women in media have achieved and to also encourage those who would otherwise be dissuaded”.

“We are all aspiring to work within the media and have already come across obstacles as women at a student level, we aim to change this and empower confidence in other students to do the same”.

The event will be open to men, women, students and members of the public alike and will be a great networking opportunity for those hoping to pursue a career in the media. The event will feature many influential women who have succeeded in careers including journalism, television, filmmaking, radio, music, writing, blogging, photography, to conduct workshops and talks to guests. Speakers will include Jane Bradley from the immensely popular Buzzfeed, Sam Walker from Radio 5, and Daisy Buchanan from Grazia who will speak on feminism and fashion.

Elise concluded: “Ultimately we want to remove the stigma of “not being good enough” regardless of gender and encourage our attendees to give it a go”.

The Conference will take place at the Anthony Burgess Foundation in the weekend preceding International Women’s Day on the 8th of March 2016—from the evening of Friday the 4th to Sunday the 6th. Tickets range in price and can be booked for the separate constituent events making up the conference or for the weekend as a whole. Any profit will be donated to MASH (Manchester Action on Street Health). A small charity that provides long-lasting help to women involved in sex work.

More information and full line-ups can be found here: http://www.womeninmediacon.co.uk/

Tickets can be purchased here: https://event.bookitbee.com/e/ntb5fn

@WomenInMediaCon #WIM16

Dangerous Associations: Joint Enterprise, Gangs and Racism

Dangerous AssociationsAnnual statistics uncritically present Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people as over-represented in the criminal justice system of England and Wales.

This ‘fact’ has often been misconstrued as indicating higher levels of criminal behaviour” says Patrick Williams, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Manchester Met.

Patrick Williams and Becky Clarke, also a Senior Lecturer in Sociology, launched a report on the subject at the end of last month entitled: ‘Dangerous Associations: Joint Enterprise, Gangs and Racism’. This project was funded by Barrow Cadbury and managed by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (CCJS) and facilitated by the Campaign Organisation, JENGbA.

The report received national attention, attracting the consideration of 30 delegates in Manchester, 130 in London including academics from Cambridge, Brighton and London amongst others and 140 people at the House of Commons. Andrew Mitchell MP(Conservative), Andrew Slaughter MP (Labour), and Lord Beith (Lib Dem peer) chaired the event at the House of Commons. Also in attendance were Baroness Lola Young, Lord Ouseley, and families and friends of loved ones serving lengthy sentences, some of whom were absent when the offence was committed and weren’t involved in the offence. Ms Clarke was also interviewed for ITN News following the launch of the report alongside campaigner Jan Cunliffe.

Mr Williams said “What our research unearths are the processes through which racialised stereotypes and constructs of young BAME people as ‘crime-involved’ continues to dominate policing and prosecution strategies”.

“To illustrate, the research found that despite the overwhelming registration of young Black men to police gang databases, the majority of serious violence is committed by non-black people. ‘Dangerous Associations’ therefore shows how racialised attitudes results in the over-policing and criminalisation of young Black men through the ill-conceived construct of the ‘gang’. As a result, large numbers of young BAME people are currently serving lengthy custodial sentences – not for offences they have committed, but for their association with friends, family members or areas which are police-labelled as gang-involved or gang-related”.

“It is clear that strategies such as Joint Enterprise and other forms of collective punishment implemented to respond to gang will never be effective in reducing levels of serious violence in England and Wales”.

Following the report, there was cross party consensus that the use of Joint Enterprise is discriminatory, lazy and “an affront to justice”.


This was also published on the Manchester Metropolitan University website.

Ethnography in Action: Bouncers, Boxers and Drug Dealers

Three Manchester Met researchers are involved in an upcoming event with the BSA entitled ‘Ethnography in Action: Bouncers, Boxers and Drug Dealers’.

deborah jump - ethnography in action

Dr Deborah Jump boxing

Ethnographic data is essential for studying, observing, and identifying with a culture or community that one might not have previously been familiar with. Studying contemporary social life is essential to understanding who we are in the world and steering social change, particularly regarding policy and law.

Three Manchester Metropolitan University researchers from the department of Sociology are involved in an upcoming event with the British Sociological Association (BSA). The seminar series entitled ‘Ethnography in Action: Bouncers, Boxers and Drug Dealers’ will include the work of many academics from a variety of institutions in the North West about ethnographic research in the field of criminology.

Dr David Calvey, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University, will present his ethnographic data into bouncers and their illegal and deviant subcultures in the night-time economy of the UK. He said “bouncers are evocative and stereotyped figures but [this is also of interest] because the covert approach taken is unusual and innovative. The range of scandals from both investigative journalism and popular television programmes has also placed undercover work in the popular imagination.”

Calvey said: “There is a classic fear and fascination with undercover work because of the clear deception involved in it and the subsequent management of various ethical dilemmas. It is a highly emotive and controversial area of study. The most common fear is around the justification of deliberate deception.”

His work attracted a wide range of media attention on publication and has been subsequently quoted and reprinted in various methodology textbooks.

Dr Deborah Jump, Lecturer in Criminology at Manchester Metropolitan University, will also present her ethnographic account of North Town boxing gym: ‘They Didn’t Know Whether to Fight Me or F**k me’.

Dr Jump’s interest in boxing and young offender’s perceptions of violence stemmed from her own love of the sport: “For my PhD I became a boxer for 6 months during the time of the Olympics when women’s boxing first came into existence, or was recognized as an Olympic sport. Nicole Adams went on to win gold, as I’m sure you’re aware. Having been a youth worker for 10 years prior to being an academic I was really interested in how sport could be used for a vehicle for change among disenfranchised young people, this is why I chose the topic for my PhD research. It was as a result of this work that I was able to gain access into various boxing clubs in Manchester, some without women’s toilets(!) which is testament to the fact that it is only now being recognized as a valid sport for females”

Dr Jump aims to raise awareness that sport has an impact on all areas of life, not just health. She said: “Although the health benefits of sport are well established, the evidence for sport’s impact on education, crime, and community cohesion is limited and largely anecdotal.”

Also presenting at the event is Dr James Treadwell from the University of Birmingham, Dr Steve Wakeman from Liverpool John Moores University and Dr Mike Salinas, Lecturer in Criminology at Manchester Metropolitan University. Dr Salinas will be presenting his paper ‘An Ethnography of Drug Markets and Youth Transitions’.

The seminar series aims to demonstrate the relevance and impact of ethnographic research to academics and policy makers. Dr Calvey said “Although covert ethnography clearly occupies a niche position in criminology, it is a necessary part of the criminological imagination.”


The Early Career Forum Regional event will also include a round-table discussion, wine reception and a book launch. It will take place on Wednesday 13th April, 10am – 4pm and will cost £10 for members of the BSA and £25 for non-members. Tickets can be booked here.

This was also published on the Manchester Metropolitan University website.

Professor Craig Young Swedish Research Council Grant Success

rofessor Craig Young has been awarded a grant from the Swedish Research Council for a joint project with Stockholm University.

Photo credit: Ade Hunter

Photo credit: Ade Hunter

Professor Craig Young has seen success again as he was recently awarded a joint external funding grant from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) to work in close connection with Stockholm University on a joint project entitled ‘Creativity from below: Understanding the Socio-political Construction of Creativity in the European city’.

Professor Young, who is a Professor of Human Geography at MMU, has achieved success in many of his projects previously, such as Encountering Corpses, which will continue with a second run in March this year, and an ESRC seminar series of events exploring the dead body.

However, his new project focuses not on dead bodies, but instead on the topic of ‘Creativity from below: Understanding the Socio-political Construction of Creativity in the European city’. The ‘Creativity from Below’ project is led by Dr Thomas Borén from the Department of Human Geography at Stockholm University, and Professor Young will take on a role as Co-I.

Approximately 50% of the SEK 3,900,000 or £310,000 grant will come to MMU over the next three years, as Manchester will feature as one of the research project’s case study cities, along with Stockholm, Gdańsk and possibly more.

Professor Young and Dr Borén will study the interaction of creative producers with urban policy, policy-makers, and planners in each city, which will add to the understanding of issues of policy mobility in each location.

They will also work with creative groups, artists, and practitioners, such as planners, urban policy makers, and place managers. This will provide the university with good working links within Manchester and further afar, opening a potential space for further research impact.

Professor Young said: “The project will also involve strengthening links with local creative communities and with local government in Manchester as well as in the other case study cities in Europe. Dr Thomas Borén and I have already worked closely with artists and policy-makers in Stockholm and this project will be an extension of methods of research and engagement that we developed in that earlier work.”

The collaboration itself is already having impact at MMU as it led to the development of Erasmus and Erasmus+ links between MMU and Stockholm University which Craig hopes will enhance the student experience.
Professor Young said: “The project will provide an ideal opportunity to strengthen links between MMU and Stockholm University, both in collaborative research and bidding for external funding while supporting MMU’s internationalisation agenda. It can also provide a forum for enhancing the student experience through developing existing Erasmus and Erasmus+ exchanges.”

Dr Borén and Professor Young have published a short briefing in Swedish in the latest issue of the journal PLAN, a professional journal for Swedish planners.


This was also published on the Manchester Metropolitan University website.

Professor Stephen Dixon’s AHRC Award Success

Manchester School of Art Professor Stephen Dixon has been awarded an AHRC community engagement award of £15,000 for The Lost Boys: remembering the boy soldiers of the First World War through ceramics.

Dixon’s ‘The Beautiful Game’ adopts the genre of Crested China, a form of ceramic tourist-ware popular during WWI.

Professor Dixon says “we are delighted to receive this award from the AHRC to support this timely and exciting project, and are looking forward to starting to work together on the first phase of the research, to be shown in the Holden Café space at MMU in November”.

At the outbreak of World War 1, the legal age limit for armed service overseas in the British Army was 19 years, yet by the end of the war an estimated 250,000 underage soldiers between the ages of 14 and 18 had seen active service.

This interdisciplinary research project in association with The Clay Foundation, Stoke-on-Trent will engage young people as both researchers and makers, working alongside researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University, to raise public awareness of the contribution made by underage soldiers in the Great War.

The project will build upon current academic and practice-led research into the social history and legacy of the Great War at MMU and will focus on the geographical location of Staffordshire, with its historical connections to the ceramics industry, to explore the commemorative potential of ceramics. Interim project outcomes will be exhibited in the Holden Side Gallery at MMU (November 5-11, 2015) to accompany the AHRC Voices of War and Peace conference Being Young During World War One (November 6-7, 2015).


This was also published on the Manchester Metropolitan University website.