News


Visiting International Fellows 2014

Michael Agar, well known for his seminal work on ethnographic methods, will be Visiting International Fellow for 2014 in the Department of Sociology at University of Surrey from 17th-29th November.  Mike in Emeritus Professor at University of Maryland (USA) - http://www.anth.umd.edu/facultyprofile/Agar/Michael. He is a keynote speaker at the Constructed Complexities Workshop - http://constructedcomplexities.wordpress.com/

Rainer Hegselmann (from Bayreuth University, Germany) is returning to the Sociology Department as a Visiting International Fellow from 19th-23rd November.  Prof Hegselmann is well known for developing the Hegselmann-Krause model of opinion dynamics and his work on the interplay of qualitative data and model construction - http://www.modus.uni-bayreuth.de/de/team/Hegselmann_Rainer/index.html

The Visiting International Fellowship (VIF) is established to foster the development of sociological research methods with international scholars: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/sociology/research/visitinginternationalfellowship/.


Victoria Redclift awarded Philip Leverhulme Prize (£100,000)

Philip Leverhulme Prizes recognise the achievement of early career researchers across a range of academic disciplines. The prize scheme makes up to thirty awards of £100,000 a year, a small number of which went this year to Sociology. Victoria Redclift was one of the 2014 winners on the basis of her research into the shaping of political identities in South Asia and the UK, which brings together sociology and history to understand the spatial and temporal politics of citizenship. With support from the prize she will begin a new project which develops the concept of ‘transnational political space’, examining the extent to which political identities which cross borders inform political identities within borders and drawing on a comparative analysis of Bangladesh-origin Muslims in London and New York. The research will consider how different histories of settlement, different population profiles and different local conditions/constraints affect the political identities possible in each new setting. The international comparative analysis helps capture the dynamic interactions of history and space in the shaping of political subjectivity.

The project will begin in October 2015 for a period of two years.


Conference: Leicester Hate Crime Project

Jon Garland was co-organiser of a highly-successful conference that launched the findings of the Leicester Hate Crime Project on 5 September. The conference, attended by over 120 delegates from the academic, criminal justice and third sectors, showcased the findings from the two-year study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, which examined the nature, extent and impact of hate crime victimisation. For a full list of the publications from the project, including its Findings and Conclusions report and briefing papers, see http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/criminology/research/current-projects/hate-crime.


Thinking the ‘Yet to be Thought’: new ESRC seminar series

Rachel Brooks has been successful in the latest round of the ESRC seminar series competition: she is CI on a series entitled ‘”Thinking the 'yet to be thought': an international cross-sector seminar series exploring socially just education and inequalities in education” led by the University of Hull.  The series is underpinned by the principle that in order to be able to envisage different ways of doing things, we need to step outside our usual frames of reference. Instead of looking inside existing systems for answers, developing transformative and socially just educational systems requires more radical approaches. The first seminar was held in London on 14 October, and further details can be found at: http://www.freedomtolearnproject.com/esrc-seminar/


New book: Ethics and Education Research

Rachel Brooks’ new book Ethics and Education Research was published by Sage in September.  It is the latest title in the SAGE Research Methods in Education series, and focuses specifically on the ethics of conducting research in educational settings and on education-related topics. It is co-authored with Kitty te Riele and Meg Maguire and draws on the authors’ experiences in the UK, Australia and mainland Europe. Further details can be found at: http://www.uk.sagepub.com/booksProdDesc.nav?prodId=Book241449


The Centre for Research in Social Simulation

The Centre for Research in Social Simulation in the Department of Sociology was represented well at two international conferences this September, the European Social Simulation Association (ESSA) (http://www.bsc.es/essa/home-page) conference in Barcelona (Surrey hosted this in 2009) and the European Conference on Complex Systems (ECCS) (http://www.eccs14.eu/index.php?lang=en) with a special track on Computational Social Science in Lucca, Italy.

ESSA was co-located with two other interesting conferences, on Artificial Economics and on Modelling History. The first keynote speaker at ESSA was Rainer Hegselmann (this year’s Sociology Visiting International Fellow). CRESS members presenting were Jen Badham, Tina Balke, Ozge Dilavar, Corinna Elsenbroich and Nigel Gilbert.

The ECCS had a special track on Computational Social Science. Members of CRESS were the bastion of social science at this event, which was otherwise mainly attended by computer scientists and physicists. The majority of papers were concerned with Big Data, in particular Twitter data. CRESS members presenting were Jen Badham, Juan Cano and Corinna Elsenbroich.

We also used these conferences as advertising possibilities for the MSc Computational Policy Modelling, handing out flyers and telling people about the upcoming degree programme. So, overall, a successful autumn of raising the profile of the University of Surrey, the School of Social Science, the Sociology Department and CRESS.


Daniel McCarthy awarded Economic Social Research Council Future Leaders Award, (£271, 670)

This research project focuses on the impacts that child custody has on the broader family after the offender’s release from prison. Drawing on in-depth interviews with parents and qualitative social network analysis, the study will investigate ways that parental social networks are shaped and reshaped as a result of having a child imprisoned, and will explore the wider social and psychological impacts that prison resettlement has on family members related to the offender.

The project will begin in June 2015 for a period of 2.5 years.


Daniel McCarthy awarded British Society of Criminology Policing Network Prize

This was for his paper entitled:

McCarthy, D.J. (2013) Gendering ‘soft’ policing: multi-agency working, female cops and the fluidities of police culture/s, Policing and Society, 23(2).
The two reviewers summarised the paper as:

Reviewer 1 - “This paper truly pushes the boundaries of contemporary policing scholarship. It is very well written and strikes a sound balance between empirical coverage and theoretical engagement. It has both empirical and theoretical impact on the discipline that should be acknowledged and commended.”   

Reviewer 2 – “This paper makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the study of gender and policing; the complexities of police culture(s); the police role and of the possibilities of bringing about organisational change.”


Targeted victimisation of members of the goth and alternative subcultural communities

The first ever study of the targeted victimisation of members of the goth and alternative subcultural communities, undertaken by Jon Garland and Paul Hodkinson, found that experiences of violence and abuse were commonplace. Their research, which consisted of qualitative interviews with 21 respondents mostly affiliated to the goth scene, uncovered extensive experience of verbal harassment and, for some respondents, repeated incidents of targeted violence. The nature and impact of such experiences were similar to those of the officially recognised strands of hate crime, such as racism and homophobia. Their findings were published in the British Journal of Criminology (Vol. 54 No. 4 - http://bjc.oxfordjournals.org/) in June and were featured in The Independent on Sunday on 15th June: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/police-told-to-beef-up-reports-of-hate-crime-9537725.html


International Network for Hate Studies

Jon Garland (Reader in Criminology) delivered a plenary speech to the inaugural conference of the International Network for Hate Studies at the University of Sussex on 8th May 2014. Entitled ‘The Case for Connecting Policy and Research: Some Problems, Some Ideas’ and delivered to an audience of over 150 international hate crime experts, Jon’s talk assessed the difficulties and misunderstandings that prevent hate crime academics and practitioners from working more productively together.  He argued that, often, academic and practitioner understandings of hate crime are very different from one another, making co-operation between the two parties more difficult than it need be.  Jon suggested that by developing more in-depth understanding of each other’s working methods, preferably by being involved in formal and informal joint projects, academics and practitioners can devise more meaningful interventions that tackle hate crime effectively.
A video recording of Jon’s plenary speech can be found at the University of Sussex conference website at http://www.sussex.ac.uk/law/newsandevents/hate/recordings


CYCLES for Sustainability

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is working with the Sustainable Lifestyles  Research Group (SLRG) at Surrey to develop a new global research project on children and youth consumption in cities, called Children and Youth in Cities: a Lifestyles Evaluation Survey (CYCLES) for Sustainability. This project is a follow up to UNEP’s Global Survey on Sustainable Lifestyles (GSSL), which was concluded in 2010 (http://www.sustainablelifestyles.ac.uk/projects/change-processes/children-and-environment)


BSA Teaching Group Regional Conference: A-level teachers and academics interact

The aim of the conference was to give A-level teachers across the region the opportunity to interact with each other, as well as academics. 


Counting the Costs? Resources, Austerity and older LGBT People

This was the fourth in a series of seminars exploring gaps in knowledge related to older LGBT people. 


Models for Real World Policy

A one day conference was held on April 25, 2014, at the Royal Society, London, for policy professionals to consider how the policy making processes can benefit from new tools and thinking emerging from study of complex social systems involved in real world global challenges.


Nigel Fielding, Karen Bullock and Jane Fielding were successful with an ESRC bid for a project titled 'University Consortium for Evidence-Based Crime Reduction' (£80,084)

Nigel Fielding, Jane Fielding and Karen Bullock are part of an inter-university 'commissioned partnership programme' funded by the ESRC over three years. This will deliver research to support the What Works Centre for Crime Reduction, created to provide robust and comprehensive evidence that will guide decision-making on public spending. As part of this agenda, we will be reviewing research on practices and interventions to reduce crime, labelling the evidence base in terms of quality, cost and impact and providing stakeholders with the knowledge, tools and guidance to help them target their resources more effectively.  Evidence from this programme of research will be translated into practical insights that the police service and their partners can easily use, help decision-makers to access and apply the evidence locally to make choices about where to spend and disinvest, sharing knowledge about 'what works' with the public will help build confidence in the police service and its crime reduction partners and links will be strengthened between the police service, crime reduction partners and the academic sector.


Congratulations to Andy King

Congratulations to Andy King for winning the Faculty Learning and Teaching Award 2014. Andy will now go forward to the Vice Chancellors Teaching Excellence Award which will be announced in November


New book on Hate Crime

Why has so much hate crime policy seemingly ignored academic research? And why has so much research been conducted without reference to policy?


Student representatives: Partners or activists?

What balance should student-union officers strike between partnership with university managers and campaigning on behalf of students? Research by Professor Rachel Brooks examines the changing role of student representatives.


Discoverquants4all

The public version of the Discovequants website is now available www.discoverquants4all.surrey.ac.uk.


e-Policy develops software to help policymakers

e-POLICY is a FP7 project funded by the European Commission that aims to support policy makers in their decisions. 


Visiting International Fellow 2014

Prof Rainer Hegselmann is Visiting International Fellow for 2014 in the Department of Sociology at University of Surrey from 10th-23rd March.   


Dr Laura Harvey nominated for SAGE Prize

'Swagger, Ratings and Masculinity' paper challenges the media portrayal of looters during the 2011 London Riots.


Sociology at Surrey continues to shine

QS World University Rankings place Surrey in world's top 40 institutions for sociology.


A dangerous alternative?

Is everyone who uses alternative medicines suspicious of modern science and conventional treatments?


New AHRC project on the value of commercial arts and culture

Cornel Sandvoss and Paul Stoneman have recently been awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council grant to explore the aesthetic value of commercial arts and culture.


New book on Critical Theory and Libertarian Socialism

In this new publication Charles Masquelier examines the role critical theory plays in today's political, social, and economic crises, showing how it can help to both diagnose and remedy such problems.


Recent Publications


Alternative medicine in the media

A recent paper in PLOS ONE (a journal published by the Public Library of Science) has been receiving media coverage in Ireland and has stimulated debate on the public’s use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).


International workshop on lifecourse transitions

Kate Burningham and Sue Venn, together with Birgitta Gatersleben, Ian Christie and Tim Jackson and Monique Raats, have been awarded funding by the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Surrey to run a two day workshop on ‘Lifecourse transitions:  opportunities for sustainable lifestyles?’  


Hate Crime project covered by BBC

Jon Garland’s research into Hate Crime has recently been covered by the BBC.


Visiting International Fellow

Dr Kitty te Riele is the Visiting International Fellow for 2013 in the Department of Sociology at University of Surrey from 14th November to 3rd December. 


Lecturer in Sociology (Job advert)

The University of Surrey is seeking applications for a lectureship in the Department of Sociology.  You will join a Department that is consistently ranked world-class, was rated joint 6th in the last RAE and consistently achieves top scores in the NSS.


PhD studentships


Motherhood and mitigation

What impact does motherhood have on mitigation in sentencing decisions by courts in England and Wales?


Writing with ‘I’ is subjective – and that’s OK

One of the department's Postgraduate researchers, Alex Seal has written a blog entitled Writing with ‘I’ is subjective - and that's OK


What Works Centre for Crime Reduction

The Sociology Department at Surrey is one of eight partners that have been announced as part of the successful consortium for an ESRC grant, in partnership with the College of Policing, to support a programme for the What Works Centre for Crime Reduction.


Ethical behaviour across the police force

Following a number of recent high profile cases which have brought into question the integrity of the police in England and Wales (e.g. Hillsborough Independent Panel and Leveson Inquiry), the government and the police service is looking to raise standards of ethical behaviour across the service.


MSc Scholarship Awarded to Luke Hubbard

The Department of Sociology are delighted to announce that this year's MSc Scholarship has been awarded to Luke Hubbard who will be studying for the internationally-renowned MSc in Criminology, Criminal Justice and Social Research. Luke has just graduated with a first class degree in Criminology from Leicester University. He hopes to become a researcher or policy advisor with a focus on crime and criminal justice. Luke has already gained insights into these issues through work on the Leicester Hate Crime project and is delighted to be coming to Surrey to broaden his knowledge and skills for his future career. We congratulate Luke on his success and look forward to welcoming him into the Department, alongside all our other applicants, in September.


Student wins award for 'contribution to internationalisation'

The department would like to congratulate Michelle McDonagh, who spent last academic year at the University of Maryland, for being awarded this year's prize for 'contribution to internationalisation'. The prize is awarded by the Faculty and is designed to recognise students who make outstanding contributions to the international nature of the Faculty by demonstrating their ability to work internationally and be good global citizens.


Funded PhD Studentship

Department of Sociology, University of Surrey and School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent

Transitions from Higher Education into Work: Graduate Experiences within the UK Labour Market


ESRC Multidisciplinary Studentships

Health Psychology and Medical Sociology in the Context of New Medical Technologies

The University of Surrey and the ESRC South East Doctoral Training Centre


John Sunley Prize awarded

Shona Minson, a recent graduate from our MSc in Criminology, Criminal Justice and Social Research has just been awarded the John Sunley Prize by the Howard League for her MSc dissertation.


Systems Aikido

How can we control complex systems of industry and agriculture while using less oil and energy? The answer may be the Systems Aikido envisaged by Dr Alex Penn of the Evolution and Resilience of Industrial Ecosystems (ERIE) research group.


Brian William Prize

Dr Daniel McCarthy has been shortlisted for the Brian William Prize for his article ‘Gendering Soft Policing’. 

This is the British Society of Criminology’s award for the best article by an early career researcher.


Summer-born pupils 'should have exam scores boosted'

Read the BBC News article featuring Prof Rachel Brooks on why Summer-born pupils 'should have exam scores boosted'.


Official: Sociology at Surrey among the world’s best

QS World University Ranking puts School of Sociology in elite top 100.


Sociology Seminar, Thursday 9 May

Ethical dilemmas in reporting and disseminating social research

Presented by Kitty te Riele, Associate Professor at Victoria University and Visiting International Fellow in the Department of Sociology, University of Surrey

Thursday 9 May
13.00-14.00
08 AC 03


Roundtable Discussion on Sleep, Tuesday 7 May

On Tuesday 7 May, Surrey’s Psychology and English departments are joining forces to put on two very special events exploring and interrogating the topic of sleep.  Academics from the fields of Psychology, English and Sociology will form a cross disciplinary roundtable, where aspects of sleep, including the sociology, biology and historicity, will be discussed.

Following on from the debate will be the rare opportunity to attend Garrett Sullivan’s talk on Sleep in the Age of Shakespeare.  Garrett Sullivan is a professor of English from Penn State University, USA and his talk will examine questions such as “how, when, where, and with whom did people in the 16th- and 17th-centuries sleep?” and “what did their slumbers mean to them?” The talk will show that sleep was intimately connected to major social and cultural issues in addition to considering sleep's significance for understanding some of Western literature’s most famous characters, from Shakespeare’s Falstaff to Milton’s Adam and Eve.


Sociology MSc Open Day

Are you interested in postgraduate study in Sociology and/or Criminology? 


Criminology and Criminal Justice

A special edition of the journal Criminology and Criminal Justice called 'Policing in a time of contraction and constraint: Re-imagining the role and function of contemporary policing' has been published that was co-edited by Dr Karen Bullock and Andrew Millie.


Hate crime and sub-cultures

The recent decision by Greater Manchester Police to record hate crimes targeted against sub-cultural groups (such as goths, emos and punks) has raised public awareness about a complex subject currently being researched in the Department of Sociology.


Sociology Scholarships Available for 2013/14

MSc Social Research Methods
MSc Criminology, Criminal Justice and Social Research

One scholarship of up to £3,000 will be available across both MSc programmes, to be awarded on a competitive basis to self-funding students accepting an offer of a place on the MSc for the academic year 2013/14.


Methodological and practical aspects of CAQDAS

Dr Christina Silver from the Department of Sociology has been invited to present on methodological and practical aspects of CAQDAS at the 20th Research Methodology Workshop for Manufacturing and Technology Management, University of Cambridge, 4-5th April


University Global Patnership Award winner - Jo Moran-Ellis, Department of Sociology

Since 1990 there have been significant developments in the sociology of childhood regarding theorising childhood and understanding children’s lives. However, this has generally been built on empirical studies of children from primary school age upwards, whilst the lives of children in early childhood, ie pre-school, has largely been the province of developmental psychology, pedagogical sciences, and family sociology.


University Global Partnership Award winners

Tina Balke and Nigel Gilbert have been awarded a grant from the UPGN scheme for a project in collaboration with the Universities of São Paulo and North Carolina State to study the influence of norms and sanctions on governance. Society is increasing its dependence on information technology in order to deal with more complex environments, such as socio-technical systems.


CAQD Conference and MAXQDA workshops - Marburg 6-9 March

Professor Nigel Fielding is the keynote lecture and Dr Christina Silver will run a workshop at the ”Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis: Methods, Innovations, Practice” conference to be held in Marburg, Germany, 6-9 March 2013.


Senior Lecturer (Sociology) Job advert

Job Vacancy (Ref: 9203)

The University of Surrey is seeking applications for a senior lectureship in the Department of Sociology.  You will join a Department that is consistently ranked world-class, was rated joint 6th in the last RAE and consistently achieves top scores in the NSS.


2nd in The Times Good University Guide 2013

The Department of Sociology is delighted with its position in The Times Good University Guide 2013. Our ranking (second out of all Sociology departments in the UK) is testament to the high quality of our teaching across our undergraduate degree programmes, and the friendly and supportive nature of our lecturing staff. The high quality of teaching and learning is also closely related to the strong research culture in the Department (which feeds into The Times Good University Guide calculations). Staff are involved in leading edge research in a wide variety of areas of sociological and/or criminological enquiry, and students are able to choose from a large number of optional modules in these areas of expertise.


Professor Rachel Brooks, news updates

Professor Rachel Brooks, Head of the Department of Sociology has recently published the book Negotiating Ethical Challenges in Youth Research published by Routledge in November 2012.


European Sociological Association Sexuality Research Network Mid-Term conference

Dr Andrew King has organised a conference called ‘Sexuality in Theory and Practice’ and takes place at Kingston University on Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th January. 


New PhD Studentships

The department is now inviting applications for funded PhD studentships to start in October 2013.

Professor Sara Arber was on expert witness to the House of Lords Select Committee

Professor Sara Arber was on expert witness to the House of Lords Select Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change on 4th December. Her evidence addressed the policy implications of gender inequalities in ageing.

The Committee session was chaired by Lord Filkin.


Leveson and Press Freedom: Is an Unregulated Press 'Free'?

Dr Paul Hodkinson from the Department of Sociology has posted a blog on the Leveson enquiry.

Please click here to read the blog


Methods of Failure

How Political Journalism lost the US Presidential Election to Nate Silver

If the morning after the Presidential Election in the United States left both the electoral map and Republican politicians feeling a little blue, there was another occupational group in need of collective introspection: the class of political journalists, commentators and pundits, who in the cause of the campaign had increasingly wilfully disregarded the lessons of the academic disciplines that form journalism’s very foundation.


Awarded funding to investigate the global dynamics of extortion racket systems

Members of the department have recently been awarded funding from the European Commission's Framework Programme 7, to investigate the global dynamics of extortion racket systems.  The GLODERS research project is directed towards development of an ICT model for understanding Extortion Racket Systems (ERSs). ERSs, of which the Mafia is but one example, are spreading globally from a small number of seed locations, causing massive disruption to economies. Yet there is no good understanding of their dynamics and thus how they may be countered. ERSs are not only powerful criminal organizations, operating at several hierarchical levels, but also prosperous economic enterprises and highly dynamic systems, likely to reinvest in new markets.  If stakeholders - legislators and law enforcers - are to be successful in attacking ERSs, they need the much better understanding of the evolution of ERSs that computational models and ICT tools can give them.

http://cress.soc.surrey.ac.uk/web/projects/72-gloders


The Sociology Department was awarded £60,000 from the ESRC

The Department was awarded £60,000 from the ESRC to introduce new and innovative ways of teaching quantitative methods to undergraduate students across our sociology programme. The project emphasises the ‘full integration’ of quantitative methods skills into the undergraduate curriculum – joining the threads together in a coherent way – in a manner that ensures quantitative literacy is achieved early, occurs frequently and is integrated with approaches that account for students’ different learning styles. The primary output of the project is a blended learning environment. This draws together a range of quantitative methods resources in an accessible way and gives students the opportunity to practice and develop their skills drawing on relevant sociological examples. We hope the result will be that students find quantitative methods more accessible, the relevance to their degree programmes clearer and that their confidence and ability in using quantitative methods will improve.


National Student Survey Success for the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences

National Student Survey Success for the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences

Several subjects within the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences have seen significant rises in the 2012 National Student Survey (NSS).
Music (98% overall satisfaction) and Politics (96% overall satisfaction) now top the table in their respected disciplines whilst Dance, Sound Recording, Creative Writing and Psychology all make into the top 10 in their areas.
 


New book - Ageing and Youth Cultures

Co-edited by Paul Hodkinson (with Andy Bennett), Ageing and Youth Cultures was published on 1st September 2012. It is the first edited book to examine the lives of those who continue to participate in spectacular ‘youth cultures’ into adulthood and middle age. The book features original research case studies from the UK, Canada, the United States and Australia, including a chapter by Hodkinson addressing the significance of music festivals for older goths.

Further details can be found at http://www.bergpublishers.com/?TabId=15891&v=1949877

Dr Paul Hodkinson
Deputy Head of Department
Department of Sociology
University of Surrey


Seminar on Equality and International Higher Education

Rachel Brooks has recently been awarded funding from the Higher Education Academy to run a one-day seminar on 'Furthering Equality in International Higher Education: UK and Transnational Programmes'. This will take place at the University of Surrey on 29th January 2013. For further details, please contact Rachel (r.brooks@surrey.ac.uk).


Prestigious awards for Sara Arber

Professor Sara Arber has recently become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts


The Surrey Light Project

The Mayor of Guildford, Councillor Jennifer Jordan gave a speech at an event to mark the success of The Surrey Light Project at the Guildford Castle.  

The Mayor said, ‘Guildford Borough Council is delighted to have been able to support The Light Project and University of Surrey by offering this space, the Great Tower of Guildford Castle, to show Chromatic Play, and to welcome you here tonight to see and enjoy this very special event in an important historic setting.’  Professor Phil Powrie, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences, also spoke, emphasising the importance of collaborations between the University and the town.  Other speakers included Tine Bech, the artist who created Chromatic Play and Victoria Alexander, a Surrey Light Project team member from the Sociology Department.


Comedian and radio presenter Sandi Toksvig awarded honorary degree

BBC radio presenter, writer and comedian Sandi Toksvig has been awarded an honorary degree by the University of Surrey.

Ms Toksvig, a Danish/British comedian, is also an author and presenter on British radio and television and she currently presents The News Quiz on BBC Radio 4.

She said: "Having spent many years of my life in Surrey it is a particular delight to receive this honour from the University.

“I am a passionate advocate of further education and hope to be a good ambassador for encouraging study at all ages and in all walks of life."

Jo Moran-Ellis, Head of the Department of Sociology at the University, spoke at the degree ceremony and praised Ms Toksvig’s contribution the cultural life of the UK.

She said: “The University of Surrey recognises and celebrates the achievements of Sandi Toksvig through the conferment of this honorary degree. Ms Toksvig contributes significantly to the social and political culture of the UK through her sharp wit and acute observations on contemporary current affairs.

“Through her work as a broadcaster, author and producer she has brought attention to the contribution of women in many domains of life, and her own life stands as a significant role model and inspiration for others to pursue their talents and passions.”


Contemporary Grandparenting

Sara Arber has recently co-edited a new book on Contemporary Grandparenting, which combines new sociological theorising with up-to-date empirical findings to document the changing nature of grandparenting across diverse societies. It analyses how grandparenting differs according to the nature of the welfare state and cultural context, the influence of family breakdown, and men's changing role as grandfathers. It shows how grandparents today face conflicting norms and expectations about their roles, but act with agency to forge new identities within societal and cultural constraints.  

Full details:  Sara Arber and Virpi Timonen (2012) 'Contemporary Grandparenting: Changing Family Relationships in Global Contexts', Policy Press. http://www.policypress.co.uk/display.asp?ISB=9781847429674


ESRC grant to enhance teaching of quantitative skills

The Sociology Department has successfully won a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council which aims to improve the teaching of quantitative methods for undergraduate students. We wish to enhance the experience of learning quantitative skills for undergraduate students with the longer term aim of building quantitative skills and interest in applying quantitative social science.


Complexity Science for the Real World (CSRW) Conference

The Complexity Science for the Real World (CSRW) Conference will be taking place on 24th & 25th September. The Evolution and Resilience of Industrial Ecosystems (ERIE) research group (based at the University of Surrey) is a core member of the CSRW network group, along with EPSRC funded projects at UCL, University of Southampton, University of Manchester and Manchester Met. Further information about the network and this conference can be found on the website: here


New book: Changing Spaces of Education

Rachel Brooks’ new book ‘Changing Spaces of Education: New Perspectives on the Nature of Learning’ (co-edited with Alison Fuller and Johanna Waters) has recently been published by Routledge and will be launched formally at the ‘Geographies of Education’ conference at Loughborough University in September. It offers a unique perspective on the transformation of education in the 21st century, by bringing together leading researchers in sociology, geography and education to address directly questions of space in relation to education and training. Further details can be found at: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415672221/


PhD Studentship awarded by the Higher Education Academy

The Higher Education Academy has awarded a PhD Studentship to Rachel Brooks as part of its Doctoral Programme. Rachel’s PhD student will begin a three-year project in October 2012, exploring the impact of different forms of international mobility on students’ learning and transitions to employment. 


Launch of Free Community Technology to Bridge the World’s Digital Divide

New technology which will make community media available free to people in the developing world is being launched next week.

Computer scientists from University of Surrey developed a digital toolkit with colleagues from Swansea University and University of Glasgow in the UK alongside South Africa collaborators (University of Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, CSIR and Transcape).

The Community Media toolkit provides technology for users to generate and share content in places where there is low textual and computing literacy. It also can operate in areas where there is limited power and network coverage.

It consists of multimedia applications for a mobile phone, a tablet-based repository, a phone charging station, and a community camera device ('Com-Cam') for sharing mobile phone content on low-technology televisions.  

The toolkit, which is an outcome of a Research Council UK (RCUK) funded Digital Economy project, is intended to be open and free for users and will be showcased on Tuesday 3 July 2012 at the Royal Geographical Society, London.

Professor David Frohlich, Director of Digital World Research Centre at the University of Surrey, said: “Different elements of the toolkit can be used alone or together, depending on the needs of the community group involved.

“We have got used to thinking of the internet as the ultimate place to store and access digital information.  But in regions where it is not accessible or affordable, other more local solutions have to be found. Mobile technology is part of that solution, particularly when it can be connected in ad hoc ways.”

Professor Matt Jones of Swansea University College of Science said: “This research project aims to give insights into how social-media sharing systems should be designed and deployed to benefit many billions of people beyond the mainstream “developed” world. Our target communities live in both “developing” countries and can also include those that are marginalised in places such as the UK.”

At the launch, chaired by digital commentator Bill Thompson, there will also be the opportunity for hands-on demonstrations and to learn more about how to use or adapt the tools. The toolkit will be launched alongside another, Placebooks, also developed in partnership, targeted at UK audiences.

For more information on Community Media visit: http://cs.swan.ac.uk/the-next-billion/research.php
For more information on the launch event see: http://www.digitaleconomytoolkit.org/event.html


Sara Arber - Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America

Sara Arber has been awarded the status of Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA).  This is the highest class of membership within the Society and is an acknowledgement of outstanding and continuing work in gerontology.


Professor Nigel Gilbert - Social Science Expert Panel

Nigel Gilbert has been selected as a member of the new Social Science Expert Panel for Defra and DECC. The panel’s purpose is to bring high quality, multi-disciplinary social science advice to both departments.

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