Remembering My Hat

5th May 2017

Exploring sensory and material methodologies: Part 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 16:56

Liveblog from a seminar. Much briefer notes because I’m tired now, not because the talks were any less fascinating.

Sarah Nettleton, Christina Buse and Daryl Martin

Making places for care: An exploration of materials and the liveliness of things in the design of residential care homes for later life.

Sociological study of architecture in context of health and social care. Building of care homes for older people

Tim Ingold ‘Making’ 2013 – anthropological approach to architecture. Yaneva ‘The making of a building’ 2012 – the social doesn’t explain the design but the building is itself social.

Following an architectural firm who won a tender to build a care home for a local authority. Design features a distinctive curved wall, architects aiming to invite people into the entrance and for smooth elegance, dynamism, being welcoming, anti-utilitarian. Curves communicate care. Stone communicates quality. CAD images to persuade that they will engender particular atmospheres.

Troubles within the team about expensive bricks. Bricks are both objects and social constructs. Becomes a matter of concern to the team. Economics of care.

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(cc) Quinn Dombrowski

Monica Degen, Brunel

Sensory cities: A think-kit to research, curate and represent the urban experience

The city as a sensory-experiential space. Nauseating smell of rubbish bins, ring of a bicycle bell. Sensory regimes divide and structure spaces, favouring elites.

Public space is very politicised topic so this can lead to very abstract and polarised talk [and indeed many research topics are, to be intelligible and get funded!]. But if you ask people how a space makes them feel, what aspects of the space they perceive immediately and which they notice later, you get much more nuanced and interesting information.

Project with museums, urban planners, researchers and others. Important in cross-professional teams to clarify ‘what counts as a method’? Historian and social scientist often disagreed. ‘What is the relationship between body, mind and environment?’ ‘What is the nature (and number) of the senses?’ (beyond the classical 5). ‘What is the relationship between physical and cultural factors?’

Aiming to provide a resource to enable others to engage with cities through the senses – but had to mediate it through a website! Sensorythinktank.com 

Exploring sensory and material methodologies: Part 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 15:38

Part 2 of a liveblog of a seminar at Brunel University. Part 1 here

 

Vanessa May and Camilla Lewis, Morgan Centre, Manchester

The use of sensory methods in researching atmosphere and place

Claremont Court – Edinburgh post-war modernist social housing, designed to foster a sense of community, on the edge of the New Town. Much housing sold off in 80s so now quite socially mixed. Modernist housing like this is often seen [in the UK] as unhomely and barren

Research interested in the bodily experiences which contribute to sense of belonging to a place. Difficult to verbalise, so need sensory methods. New mobilities paradigm in soc sci. Sit down methods where talking is the centre of attraction and everything else is pushed to the background (Kusenbach, 2003: 462). ‘Walking interviews’ seen as much better.

But their first interview with each participant was not focused on the sensory but on the biographical and sense of belonging but participants talked a lot about the sensory. Thought that, actually sit-down interviews were just as good at bringing sensory methods to the fore as mobile methods. Three factors help to explain why:

  1. Something particular to Claremont Court
  2. That home-making is inherently sensory
  3. That the interviews were conducted within the home, which was the topic of the interviews.

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(cc) kaysgeog

Auditory geographies:

A quiet place. Some disturbances from cobbles and traffic for those who lived abutting the main road but generally described as quiet. Occassional changes e.g. events at the Tattoo and during the Edinburgh Festival.

Sound-proofing in the flats was commented on, both being a victim of other people’s rows and music and worries about your own activities (piano-playing and parties)

Moral issues in noise – good residents and neighbours are quiet. And yet silence can also be distressing and ominous. Being able to hear other people can be reassuring. Listening is as important in apprehending the world as looking.

Light and sunlight:

All participants commented on how lovely and light the flats are (most are south facing, all have large windows and balconies) and how warm the flats and balconies were as a result. Many used the term ‘suntrap’ and compared it to the Mediterranean, especially in contrast to the Edinburgh norm.

Some bits are dark – some stairwells, an underpassage entry. These spaces avoided whenever possible.

Affective qualities of light, especially natural daylight. Safety bound up with light. Same place became unsafe in the night but fine in the daytime. Sense of where the cold bits were in the flats. In the dark, sounds become more significant. Importance of paying attention to emotional impacts of spaces.

 

Want to rehabilitate the traditional sit-down interview a bit – not a lost cause for engaging people’s sensory imaginations. Sitting is just as much an embodied experience as walking! Can read traditional methods through a sensory lens.

 

Jen Tarr (LSE)

Sensory and arts-based approaches to chronic pain communication

‘A better pain chart’ by Hyperbole and a half

We know that pain doesn’t necessarily correlate with injury. MRI scans often show damage in pain-free patients. Still can’t see pain in the brain even with fMRI scans.

Self-reports are uni-dimensional – how much, not what other qualities it has.

McGill Pain questionnaire is more multidimensional via adjectives, line drawings etc. but this may actually standardise the language of pain and thus limit descriptions.

Unhelpful binaries around pain communication

  • Real/unreal
  • Physical/psychological
  • Mind/body
  • Visible/invisible

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(cc) Krisztina Tordai

What might arts-based experiences contribute?

Held fortnightly workshops over 2 months with 6-13 participants

22 participants, 17 of whom only managed to attend one of the workshops (chronic pain!) + 3 researchers and 2 specialists to lead each workshop.

20h video recordings, fieldnotes, arts outputs (drawings, photographs, sound recordings) and evaluation forms.

Workshops as performative social science (Law and Urry, 2004). Workshop foci:

  1. Imaging and imagining chronic pain – about mri
  2. Body Mapping
  3. Soundscapes
  4. Spatial mapping

Different ways of relating to your pain. Someone with nerve pain that fees like electric shocks, thought about humorous ways of earthing the shock (balloons attached to a electrical plug and cable).

Sound was a really good metaphor for chronic pain. Often very aversive sounds like spoons being scraped on grater. Sound artist created a soundscape that combined these sounds into a listenable form – goal not to eliminate the sounds/pain but to rework them into something bearable.

Workshops enabled new questions about pain:

  • Is it inside you or something that comes from outside?
  • Is it more helpful to tune in, building awareness, or to shut it out and abstract yourself
  • Is the pain an inevitable part of you?
  • How and to what extent has pain shaped your personhood?
  • Can there be a ‘you’ without pain?

People gave very different answers, partly to do with the type of pain but also to do with how they conceptualised it.

Methodological outcomes:

  1. Prioritise process over product. Had originally intended to display results of workshops but concluded this wasn’t appropriate (too personal, worried about making them look stupid for naïve styles of drawing – these weren’t artists)
  2. Co-constituting what you aim to measure
  3. Importance of uncertainty in disrupting established roles and narratives. Being out of your comfort zone as a researcher, not being in charge because the specialist workshop leaders were (and sometimes said things the researchers didn’t agree with).
  4. ‘Liveness’ of improvised space

 

Discussion

Think of the outputs as versions rather than representations? [not sure that helps me]

[The old issue of how do you analyse the non-textual]

 

 

 

Exploring Sensory and Material Methodologies

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 15:18

More incomplete and partial liveblog notes from a seminar. This one being held at Brunel University, London, hosted by the Welfare, Health and Wellbeing research theme

Stephen Katz, Trent University, Canada

Hold On! Gravity, ageing and the materiality of falling

How does it feel to grow older? Ageing seen as a stripping away of the senses (‘sans teeth, sans sight, sans hearing’ etc.) not as an accumulation of a lifetime of senses. Older people often do become sensorally isolated.

Sheldon 1970s paper ‘natural history of falling’. Taxonomy.

Falls are very common among older people, lead to hospitalisations (2nd most common cause in Canada) and to further risks and negative outcomes.

Children fall all the time, but it’s seen as a sign of failing in older people. Transforms a person into ‘a faller’ someone who has ‘had a fall’ rather than ‘fallen over’.

OP tend to describe falls as trips, slips, loss of balance, accidents but care professionals tend to describe them as risks.

Enormous, well-funded industry has arisen for falls prevention. Active ageing as the panacea – life style choice. Also bone density scans, grab bars, age-friendly housing.

Institutional settings contribute to falls through staff shortages and trivialisation of falling.

OP don’t want to join fall-prevention programmes because it’s stigmatising. Special shoes and padded pants add to the stigma, especially for women, who fall more than men and suffer more injuries from those falls. Connects to views of women as weaker, needing to be careful and not take risks, especially post-menopause. Gender relations of power contribute.

Gravity as a fundamental part of our experience as humans. Standing up is a risk. If we expect OP to be responsible self-carers (active ageing) then we have to allow them to take reasonable risks.

 

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(cc) Jean-Maki Simon

 

Christina Buse (York) and Julia Twigg (Kent)

Dress as a material method for researching the experiences of people with dementia

Hoskins (1998) biographical objects – starting with an object prompts discussion of intimate topics

Mason and Davies (2009) ‘creative interviews’ using visual prompts, physical environment

Sophie Woodward (2015) ‘object interviews’ e.g jeans in ‘Denim’ project.

Weber and Mitchell (2004) dress as a ‘method of enquiry’  – work as a springboard for discussion. Materialises qs of identity (Woodward, 2007). Ageing and embodiment ‘Hocket et al. 2013 on shoes. Twigg (2013) on age ordering of clothes.

Reminiscence with people with demetia has used objects and creative methods for a long time, now being extended to research methods. Walking interviews too.

‘Wardrobe interviews’ Banim and Guy (2001); Sophie Woodward (2007). Show and tell. Interview alongside wardrobe – very revealing and intimate.

Mostly talking about the care home bit of their study.

In their study, handling and touching garments prompted PWD to remember. Changes in ordering of wardrobe and changes in clothing type revealed things about care (different clothes that were more practical for current physical needs). ‘Kept clothes’ capture thing s about the self and self-image, hanging on to past identities. Ex-builder who liked to wear his old work clothes for pottering in the garage and garden – reinhabiting his working identity.

Lots of women had lots of handbags they hung on to.

Discarded and forgotten clothes (Bury, 1982 biographical disruption). Sometimes old clothes not recognised, forgotten and abandoned. Transitions into care homes often a point when wardrobes change radically – traumatic for family to have to go through clothes making these choices. ‘Dressing up’ clothes and jewellery usually didn’t go into the care home. Scruffy old clothes also often thrown out at this stage.

Sensory elicitation (Pink, 2012). Used vintage clothes as sensory prompts. Hats and silk stockings. Non-verbal older people would often respond with smiles and pleasure to velvets and silks.

Also looked through photograph albums at the clothes they wore.

Observational methods (ethnography in the public areas of the care home) enabled the inclusion of people with advanced dementia who couldn’t take part in interviews. Smoothing a skirt, ripping off a bib at mealtimes.

Women with dementia still did complementing one another on clothes.

Handbags – meanings actively negotiated. Lots of women always had handbag with them and spend a lot of time rummaging in their handbags. Suggests the care home is an unhomely or, at best, a liminal space. Would sometimes say they were looking for the bus fare home. Difficult to get privacy in care homes – encouraged to be in public areas in the daytime, and bedrooms not truly private. Handbags used as territorial marker to keep seat if temporarily left it.

Previous research has looked at ‘handbag audits’ – what the contents say about the owner. IN care home context, noticeable absence of money and keys, symbolising loss of autonomy.

Often contained apparently random objects that were actually hugely meaningful. Former hairdresser had hairdressing scissors and an old ballet shoe (had been a keen dancer) + momentos of parents and uncle. Acted as an aide memoire

Some men used pockets in similar ways.

Observed laundry work in care homes and did walking interviews with laundry workers. Lots of practical constraints which limited choice for residents. Delicate fabrics discouraged, like cashmere, real wool, silk. Lined to infection control measures – soiled garments have to be washed hot.

Stressful and hot work, never-ending. But some laundry workers did make connections between the clothes and the person – would take special care of beloved garments or be able to recognise whose it was even though the name label had fallen off. But this depended on long-term relationships – casualization of care home staff prevents this.

People with dementia continue to enact their identities through dress, albeit limited by the practical constraints of being in a care home.

Christina runs materialisitiesofcare.co.uk network for researchers.

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(cc) Victor Camilo

Questions and discussion

Falling as a liminal experience – from one space to another, and also from competent adult to ‘faller’. And handbags signifying care home as a liminal space. Do women hang on to their handbags as they fall?!

Identity threat of having a fall when you are already having health/disability issues is compounded. Has less impact on the carer because they already have an identity as a carer, maybe?

Importance of the environment and class/wealth (better/worse housing, money for adaptions) in causing falls – but it’s all pushed back to the individual.

Tai chi, dance and visualising the body activities as potential ways of understanding the body rather than medicalised one.

If care home residents want to look scruffy, or wear pyjamas in the public areas, they should be able to, but care homes then become vulnerable to inspection agencies and to the judgements of visitors that they are not caring properly. Also happened in private homes – being a good carer and keeping the personhood of the person alive through keeping them well-dressed, but they might not want that themselves.

Big debate in the US at the moment about whether people with dementia should still be able to have their guns, and not just unloaded ones. Direction of travel seems to be ‘yes’.

You could use food as a sensory method – taste to prompt memories.

Glasses and wallets [maybe mobile phones in the future]

26th January 2017

New Towns Heritage Seminar: Milton Keynes (Part 2)

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 15:04

Last post from me today as this afternoon we’re off on a bus tour of MK, guided by David Lock, which I’m looking forward to hugely and expect to find fascinating, but I’ll get travel sick if I try to blog at the same time.

Dave Chetwyn, Historic Towns Forum and Urban Vision CIC

Planning for heritage in new towns

Oversupply of new housing in some parts of country but conversation is all about south-east housing crisis. Growth agenda is driven by London, not the whole of the country. New work/life patterns – big growth in home working.

Difficulty of understanding MK – where are the pavements?! [And the houses – that thing people say about ‘I drove round the outer ring road once’ – ‘no you didn’t, you drove through the middle’]. But actually the town centre is very permeable to pedestrians. Need a handbook to explain how it works.

Same issues about conservation and regeneration for MK as for any other city. But in most cities declining industrial and commercial areas preserve architectural heritage and then are regenerated by creative and knowledge-based start-ups (because cheap rents) [and liking for edgy urban atmospheres]. But MK it isn’t about the decline of industrial and commercial areas. More about housing areas. E.g. Netherfield only meant to have a 25 yrs life and problem of isolation because of car-centricness of the design [and it doesn’t give you an edgy urban vibe].

Neighbourhood planning as the answer – bringing micro local interests into the planning process. Links with Third Sector.

 

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(cc) Tim Ebbs

David Lock, David Lock Associates

A plan for Milton Keynes: A framework, not a blueprint

Story of new towns is all about the wider political context of the model of state intervention.

MK is on the turn of a page between state planning and private sector development of new towns

Initial plans for MK were on this model, CMK, gridroads etc. Then under Thatcher all became much more privatised. Christ the Cornerstone built only because managed to get office blocks on either side to pay for it – social goods could only be delivered by the private sector.

First new town planners were all demobbed architects, no profession of town planning [is that true?] – built a town as objects with spaces in-between. MK built the spaces in-between, then other people do the infill. MK plan as trellis – what flowers grow is entirely separate. You should judge the quality of MK on the flexibility and resilience of the trellis [he would say that though, wouldn’t he!]

People moving into a new town, as they continue to do in huge numbers to MK, buy the vision of a city in a way they don’t in an old town [?]

People say MK is too big and spread out, but actually all the infrastructure (flood defence measures, sewage, industry etc.) are within the grid, whereas old towns impinge on their surroundings loads.

Photos of MK only ever show the rigidly gridded city centre, whereas the rest of the city is fluid and bendy.

Deliberate plan to build roads right up to the edge of the grid, to allow for future expansion – but this has not been done for newest estates.

City centre is still only about 60% built. Cornish (now Chinese) granite for kerb stones. Covered porches to encourage pedestrians to cross road at particular points, no pedestrian crossings needed. Design for cars to recognise the realities of people’s preferences. Separation of cars from pedestrians.

Closing off of underpasses and breaking of the boulevard line in the city centre (Intu) was based on the usual (non-MK) planning assumption of buildings up to the grid-edge. And doesn’t work at all because the edges are air-conditioning units and blank staff entrances to shops – not the kind of liveable urban spaces that designers wanted.

 

  1. Pioneers and new arrivals have unusually strong commitments to ‘the promise’ of their new town
  2. The framework and the buildings are not the same thing
  3. The pressures from outsiders and passers-through to ‘normalise’ new towns are very strong
  4. Respect, understand, celebrate and cultivate the difference of new towns!

 

 

 

New Towns Heritage Seminar: Milton Keynes

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 13:36

My usual incomplete and partial notes from a seminar. [My own thoughts and reactions in square brackets like this]. This one is slightly off my usual focus – the room is full of architects and town planners (and there are far more white older men in suits than I’m used to!)

Sabine Coady Schaebitz, Coventry Uni

The AHRC New Towns Heritage Project

[Image of MK shopping centre just as I remember it from when I first lived here, with the flat marble edged planters instead of the current benches which seat many fewer people. But this picture is from 1972 – the woman is wearing a very early 1970s hat and coat and the man is wearing a shirt and tie. To my eye, they look completely out of place with the architecture which still looks contemporary.]

Destructions of 2WW brought huge awareness of loss of heritage but also paradoxically equally great intentional destruction of (especially) Victorian architecture as part of post-war reconstruction. Betjeman setting up Victorian Society as a response.

Firestone building (1920s) destroyed over a BH weekend in 1970, allegedly in order to avoid imminent listing. Catalyst to big increase in listing of in 20th C modernist architectural heritage. Stevenage town centre one of the first to be listed.

Significance of community/cohesion and sustainability to heritage

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(cc) Ian

MK train station

Stephen Ward, Oxford Brookes Uni

New towns: A European perspective

New towns are not new! Humans have always intentionally created new towns – new territories captured, replacing previous settlements that have become untenable (e.g. after natural distasters) etc.

But 30-35 yrs from 1945 are a European peak. UK, Sweden and Socialist states from 1940s, then another wave in 1960s in Netherland and France. Lots outside Europe too of course.

All relied on state sector to lead their development – belong to era of much bigger government than nowadays. Aims:

  • To relieve current or impending housing pressures (6 yrs of no building + huge destruction of housing stock + baby boom)
  • To decentralise, to not just add on to the edges of existing cities
  • To improve existing settlement and housing patterns
  • A few to colonise new lands
  • To promote regional or local economic development
  • To promote new urban ideals (urbanism)
  • Other ideological reasons

Lots of local resistance to the first UK New Town (Stevenage), especially about compulsory purchase. 1949 cartoon of planners choosing where New Towns should be situated by throwing darts at a map of south east England while blindfolded.

Stockholm played out a bit differently. UK most urbanised country in Europe (80% pop in urban areas since beginning of 20th C), Sweden very different. Advert saying ‘Don’t come to Stockholm – 21,000 people are already homeless here’. Vaellingby had advertising campaign with attractive young women ‘Miss Vaellingby’ employed as information officers.

In Socialist states big focus on moving economy from an agricultural one to an industrial one e.g. DDR Stalinstadt ‘Germany’s first socialist city’. Created with reference to Stevenage etc. – socialism can do this as well / better.

Netherlands lots of new towns were about reclaiming the Zuider Zee. Totally new territory.

France first new town 1969. Part of move from an agricultural economy. French, and especially Parisian town expansion was even more chaotic and uncontrolled than the UK pre war.

New towns contested almost everywhere [presumably less overtly in socialist states]. Also jealousies over alleged favouring of NTs over other towns. Costs. Getting what was promised e.g. a hospital for MK. Creaming off the best of local existing populations?

 

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(cc) Tom Parnell

This mural is in MK central library

Steven Bee, Academy of Urbanism and Historic Towns Forum

How new is new? Commonality and distinctiveness among ‘new’ settlements

Romans built 6 big new cities in UK (Silchester, London). Contrast in fortunes of these two! Normans didn’t build many new settlements – added to existing ones. Georgian is next big wave – e.g. Edinburgh New Town. Then industrial revolution back-to-backs. Response from philanthropists/capitalists like Port Sunlight and New Earswick.

New influences on town building in 20C

  • Technology
  • Post-war reconstruction (1WW too)
  • Welface state
  • Municipalisation
  • Green Belts
  • Town Planning

Poundbury as reaction to New Towns

Academy of Urbanism aims and objectives on their website – better towns, in a nutshell. New book ‘Urbanism’ has lessons learned from lots of towns.

Three cities that are currently going through current huge growth (same kind of rate as MK when originally built). All old cities.

Montpellier

  • Long term strong leadership (popular mayor for 20 years!)
  • Clear vision for growth – not just more of the same but a specific idea (not necessarily a good one! Just an idea)
  • Investing in public assets like transport – only 300,000 residents but amazing public transport system
  • French appetite for Grands Projects
  • Faith in high-profile masterplanners
  • Antigone = neo classicalism on a grand scale in concrete (1980s) and now Parc Marianne
  • Creating a bipolar centre which eases pressure on the historic centre

 

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(cc) David Olivari

Montpellier Antigone

Freiburg

  • Restored historic core (nearly all destroyed in 2WW)
  • Layout responsive to physical setting
  • Walkable suburbs – almost all within 20 mins walk of city centre
  • Good public transport
  • Culture of communal responsibility and tolerance
  • Green coalition politically – commitment to low energy lifestyle
  • Mixed tenure housing, lots of co-housing and cooperatives. City helps people form housing coops. Private sector raises it’s game because co-housing and self-building is such a good alternative. (Can also see this happening a bit around Cambridge, an audience member says)
  • Long-term leadership
  • Strong cross-border connections with France and Switzerland
  • Green space threaded throughout, lots of pedestrianised streets, corridors for fresh air from Black Forest to get into city – sense of public ownership of all space
  • City paid for basement layer to enable parking under houses which is expensive, then individuals/developers paid for the rest of the houses.

Istanbul

  • Prob oldest city in Europe – wonderful geographical location, which is why it’s survived so long
  • Substantial geological threats – major earthquake expected in next 10 years and 2m houses not earthquake proofed
  • Huge population growth, into areas which traditionally grow food. Huge scale of building programme.
  • History of adaption and survival
  • Investment in infrastructure

Saltaire has survived remarkably well. Bournville also still works well – 50% still rented. Newhall within Harlow is now being developed further with a focus on public spaces, live/work accommodation, good modern houses.

 

25th November 2016

Reproduction, Sexuality and Sexual Health research group symposium

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 15:41
Tags: , , , ,

The Open University, Camden, London

My usual partial and incomplete liveblog from a seminar, focusing only on things I was particularly interested in, rather than a representation of what people actually said. Also, I forgot my laptop charger, so I’ve only got two hours of battery so I’ll probably not get to the afternoon sessions at all. You can see the whole programme here. [My own thoughts in square brackets like this].

Introduction to the conference: Alison Hadley, Univ of Bedfordshire

Entitlement to sexual health services services, although paid lip-service, isn’t enough to get services funded and commissioned – you have to demonstrate that there is a problem. And this then leads to services focussing on negative outcomes (avoiding teenage pregnancy, reducing STIs) and the only things that get counted are negative outcomes. Services don’t usually count positive outcomes (increased knowledge about sexual health, increased pleasure). We need measures and metrics for positive outcomes too.

Having the right targets is key – you should never have a target of X% uptake of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) because that runs counter to the principle of choice.

Safeguarding has become the over-arching lens through which everything to do with young people’s sexuality is read. This distorts other important issues (pleasure, development, intimacy).

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(cc) velo_city

Panel 1: Pleasure and intimacy

Ann Furedi, CEO of BPAS

Birth control, pleasure and intimacy: a matter of personal choice or public health?

Gone back to using the old-fashioned term ‘birth control’ because it covers both contraception and abortion and her sense is that young people increasingly see them as ends of a continuum. A less-effective contraception method with abortion as a back-up plan may be what people want, rather than LARCs.

If you frame it as women’s choice to have as few children as they want, or even, increasingly to have no children at all, you generally get quite a sympathetic response in the UK these days. But if you start talking about women’s choice to have as many children as they want, people start judging you – environmenal reasons about over-population are increasingly invoked for everyone [as well as older classist/racist ones] Marie Stopes racism and classism

Free contraception on the NHS is bound up on it being seen as a health issue. If you make it about women’s autonomy, does this become about risk?

Family ‘planning’ – but of course ‘unplanned’ doesn’t equate to ‘unwanted’.

Every service they have has an imposed target for LARC uptake from women who have had an abortion. What women want is entirely different. They are concerned about effectiveness but they are equally concerned about lack of side-effects (‘your erratic bleeding will settle down after about a year’ is not acceptable, especially to young people).

Me: Positive visions of queer ageing and sexual relationships

[A talk about my Imagining Bi Futures project, focusing on the positive visions].

Peter Keogh, Open University: Pleasure and intimacy in HIV research

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(cc) Jo

First job in sexual health 25 years ago was ethnographic project on gay men and public sex – mostly about cottaging and cruising. Project was framed as ‘what is this weird behaviour, how can we stop it?’ No consideration that it might be fun. Pathologising framing of it as about sexual compulsivity and the ‘bisexual bridge’.

Trying to find out ‘who are the people who are really driving this epidemic’. Over the years, the groups that are thought to be driving the epidemic have changed, but the focus on identifying the problematic group has remained the same.

Folk devil 1 was cottagers

Folk devil 2: By about 1994 Backroom and super-saunas (as they opened up in London, especially). Focus on venues for sex, and whether some were more risky than others.

Folk devil 3: Internet users! For hook-ups.’Meaningless virtual sex’. Would lead to huge increase in number of sexual partners and somehow not ‘real’ sex – re-emergence of compulsivity and addiction framing.

Folk devil 4: Early 2000s onwards. Barebackers, bugchasers, seeders etc. Barebacking becoming an identity.

Folk devil 5: Sero-sorters (having sex only with people of the same HIV-status as yourself). This one comes from researchers – as an explanation of barebacking – it’s not reckless after all. But also taken up by communities as well as a way of promoting safer sex. But researcher’s then got worried about people acting on less than full knowledge ‘sero-guessing’ as a risk.

Folk devil 6: Now. Truvada whores – pre-exposure prophylactics –

Folk devil 7: Now. Chem sex

Two overall tendencies in all these stages

Pathologising – reckless, compulsive, in deinal, deluded, promiscuous

v. Rationalising – risk-taking, inventive, calculating, liberal, transcending social differences, sexually open

Can we move away from the latest hot topic and think more widely about the ways HIV has transformed sex for men, now that we are late in this epidemic?

Claire de Than, City University: Supporting the human right to have fun

Disabled people’s right to sex is being routinely denied by families and care homes [see the OU’s Sexuality Alliance for lots more resources on this especially in relation to people with life-limiting conditions].

Current plans for compulsory sex education for children explicitly exclude disabled people.

Cannot legally give sex education to deafblind adults (although can to deafblind children!)

Her summary:

Adult? Non-carer (of anyone in the room)? Can communicate (in whatever way)? Consenting? Has capacity? Private? All these present, it’s a human right to have sex. Anything missing? Possibly criminal, so check and work through the guidance.

Helping or supporting someone to do something that is their own choice (if they have capacity) is not a crime.

Biggest reasons needed changes haven’t  gone through in care services is the Daily Mail fear factor.

People think they have duty to protect vulnerable people from risk. But they don’t, they have a duty to protect them from known, real and immediate risk to life or safety. Most consensual sex doesn’t have these kinds of risks.

[Battery perilously low at the end of the morning, so no more from this].

3rd August 2016

EuroBiReCon16: Workshop on ageing

This is some notes from a workshop that I co-organised with Sue George and Nickie Roome, as promised to the participants. Our abstract said:

Growing older and being bisexual

What is it like to grow older as a bisexual person? What issues and needs are likely to become more important? How can bisexual and LGBTQ communities be more inclusive of older people? How can research best serve the needs of older bisexual people? This open discussion session will discuss these and other questions related to bisexual ageing. People of all ages are welcome to attend but those who feel these questions have personal relevance are especially welcome. The facilitators of this session are: Sue George, long-time bisexual activist and author of Women and Bisexuality, Nickie Roome, founder of the UK’s first group for older bisexual people and Rebecca Jones who researches and campaigns around ageing and bisexuality.

 

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(cc) photoscarce

It was great to have a room full of people all wanting to discuss ageing – about 25 people in total, I think. We started off with some introductions from Sue, Nickie and me, about why we had wanted to run this workshop. Then we generated some possible topics to discuss and each person voted for their favourite. There were two topics that only one person wanted to talk about (‘being ‘younger’ older’ and ‘working with existing organisations for older people’) so those people chose a second topic. This left us with four topics:

  • Making bi space more age-inclusive
  • Identity and history
  • Sexuality, sex and ageing
  • Inter-generational issues

I took some brief notes while listening in on the groups, and also as each group fed back to the whole group. But if anyone who was in one of the groups would like to add more detail so we have a better record, that would be great – just let me know.

Making bi space more age-inclusive: This group talked about recognising the resources that older bisexual people can offer to bisexual communities and individuals. These resources include both personal experience gained through having lived a relatively long time and also, sometimes, long experience of activism and organising community events. This group also talked about the importance of recognising and acknowledging different choices of identity labels.

Identity and history: This group talked about painful personal experiences of their bisexuality not being accepted by others. They commented that it seemed to be very different for (some) young women now, with ‘bi-curious’ and similar identities seeming to be much more common. They noted that this new acceptability of female bisexuality is often very sexist and thought that we would really know that bisexuality had become acceptable once more men felt able to claim it.

Sexuality, sex and ageing: This group discussed the invisibility and taboos around later life sexuality and sexual activity. They felt that this did harm to both ageing individuals and to younger people and communities more widely. They also talked about significant age differences between partners seeming to become more taboo in later adult life, and about the possibility of intimacy becoming more important than sex for some people. They also discussed coming out in later life, dating apps and the impact of parenting on sexuality.

Inter-generational issues: This group started off by discussing some hurtful personal experiences of being excluded from an LGBT group on the grounds of age, because older bisexual men were seen as sexually predatory. It then went on to talk about experiences of ageism in both directions – from older people towards younger as well as vice versa. The group talked about the way in which someone’s ‘length of being out’ age may not match their chronological age. It suggested running workshops on inter-generational issues at future BiCons and other bi gatherings.

 

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“Sunset over Amsterdam” (cc) by Peter Eijkman

20th July 2016

Looking Both Ways: At last some real-life case studies about older bisexual(ish) people!

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 15:35
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Case studies about people are great, in education and in workplace settings. They help you think about complex issues in a human and manageable way. They can make abstract ideas concrete and graspable. People generally like to read them, which is half the battle as an educator or trainer.

Training and education for health and social care sector workers often uses case studies, and within my particular specialist area – the ageing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people – there are some brilliant case studies where people’s individual stories powerfully make the case for why sexuality and gender identity continue to matter in later life. But, until now, there’s been a bit of a shortage of case studies about bisexual older people (and there is still a shortage for trans older people). There are a few but usually only focusing on the person’s same-sex relationships, not on what it means to have had relationships with more than one gender.

Some sort of flag

(cc) Peter Salanki

So about three years ago, I and two colleagues – Kathryn Almack and Rachael Scicluna –  cresting a wave of enthusiasm at a seminar on bisexual ageing in the Minding the Knowledge Gaps ESRC series, decided to do something about this. We set out to interview people aged over 50 who either identified as bisexual, or had bisexual pasts but didn’t now describe themselves as bisexual. We only had little bits of money to enable various parts of the study, so it took us two years to gather 12 interviews but we’re really pleased to now be able to present the case studies within a short report.

The people we talked to probably aren’t representative of older people with bisexual histories or identities – we don’t actually know what older bi(ish) people are like, as there’s been so little research with this group but the people who took part in this study were all white and predominantly middle class and well-educated.

The report and the case studies are copyright, but with a creative commons BY licence which means that anyone can reuse and rework them, as long as you acknowledge the original source. We hope that they are useful and would love to hear any feedback.

You can download the Looking Both Ways Report online version here. BiUK have kindly paid for some print copies as well, so I can send these out to individuals (but don’t have enough for mass mailings). I’ll be bringing some along to EuroBiReCon as well.

 

 

 

22nd June 2016

Learning Design categories – a list of ideas

This is one of my posts that will probably make no sense at all to people beyond the OU, so apologies if that is you. But for those who are at the OU, and especially those who are academics involved in the production of our materials…

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(cc) Rain Rabbit

 

I run a group within the HSC department on production for academics new(ish) to the OU. We were talking recently about working with the Learning Design categories, and decided it would be useful to try to generate a list between us of different ways in which you could design activities of each type. This isn’t exhaustive, nor definitive, and we make no promises that these are always good suggestions – some of them would have to be done very carefully to to get over the bar of ‘but why on earth would students actually bother to do this?’. But we hope it’s useful to other people scratching their heads to think of non-assimilative activities (although we did include those too).

Assimilative

  • Readings – academic and more everyday kinds of texts
  • Audio
  • Video
  • Poetry
  • Maps and infographics based on maps
  • Images and artwork
  • Newspaper headlines
  • Personal stories
  • Case studies
  • Diagrams, inforgrahpics and graphs

Productive

  • Filling in a grid (gives more structure than free text ‘take notes’)
  • Numerical calculations
  • Make a powerpoint or other presentation
  • Do an elevator pitch
  • Draw a spider diagram or concept map
  • Write a briefing for a named audience
  • Write a tweet or headline
  • Write a blog entry
  • List of key points
  • Use the existing sticky notes tool on the VLE
  • Diagram which you can write on or manipulate or put sticky notes on
  • Make some notes (boring!)
  • Precis activities (e.g. rewrite in your own words, not more than 200 words)
  • Take a photo
  • Caption competition or cartoon bubble filling
  • Curating a collection of images or something else
  • Highlighting parts of text (highlighter tool in Word or offline versions)

Finding and Handling information

  • USE THE LIBRARY’S EXISTING TUTORIALS ON Digital Information Literacy
  • Access databases and other data sources and then extract some information
  • Finding a journal article or book from a catalogue
  • Doing a citation search
  • Following up a reference of your choice from a set reading
  • Generate your own data (avoid anything that’s close to interviewing people because of research ethics!)
  • Finding and evaluating infographics
  • Working with graphs and other pictorial data

 Communicative

Experiential

  • THIS ONE IS HARD TO DO and we were least happy about the definition of this one
  • Reflective activities
  • Trying out a productive output on someone you know and getting feedback on it.
  • Trying an activity on yourself e.g. relaxation techniques, you could even include a pre and post test.

Interactive/adaptive

  • Drag and drop where it bounces back if incorrect
  • Quizzes with feedback on incorrect answers
  • Choose between two positions on a complex (often ethical) issue, feedback says ‘that’s valid, but have you also thought about …’ and then summarises the arguments for the opposite position.
  • Games and simulations (very time consuming to develop though)

 

What have we missed? Please do suggest more. And of course let us know if you think we’ve got anything completely wrong.

9th June 2016

WELS Scholarship and Research Day 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 12:47
Tags: , , , , ,

My usual incompete and partial liveblog notes from a seminar. This one is a Faculty-wide seminar.

Students as partners and change agents

Mick Healey

Version of Arnstein’s (1969) ladder of participation, adapted to students. Top of ladder ‘students in control’ Bovill and Bulley 2011

As with original, being at the top of the ladder isn’t always the right solution, but need to consider the possibility of going to the top of ladder and justify where you are.

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(cc) greg Johnson

Student partnership is a threshold concept for academics! They struggle and then once they’ve got it, they can’t go back to seeing it the old way.

Lots of case studies of different ways students have participated in learning and teaching in HE on their website.

[I particularly liked the one about students designing multiple-choice questions, the best of which would feature in the final exam. Especially as I spent yesterday designing a quiz around a reading for a new module (K242: Ageing Societies and Global Health) and was aware, as always, how designing the quiz had forced me to understand the reading much more deeply than previously. I’m not sure how you would adapt this for the OU context, but it seems worth exploring]

‘Listening to students’ is not necessarily the same as participative approaches. Listening can still be within the ‘student as consumer’ model, whereas students as change agents is more radical than this. Theoretical model by Dunne and Zandstra (2011 p. 17)

Significance of language (jargon) as a barrier to participation.

9 Principles:

  1. Authenticity
  2. Honesty
  3. Inclusivity
  4. Reciprocity
  5. Empowerment
  6. Trust
  7. Courage
  8. Plurality
  9. Responsibility

(Higher Education Academy, 2015)

Same issues as all participative research about it increasing cost, complexity, admin but it’s an issue of commitment and understanding the depth of the benefit it brings.

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