Book your free tickets for a 2020 ESRC Virtual Festival of Social Science…

This year, the Festival will be completely virtual so you can join in wherever you are. Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University have come together to produce an exciting virtual programme of talks, screenings and workshops that showcase the range and quality of social science-based research carried out by our academics – everything from fake news to streaming and Brexit to the Covid lockdown. The annual Festival of Social Science offers a fascinating insight into our social science research and …

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The uneasy relationship between unionists and the RIC…

Dr Adrian Grant is a Lecturer in Policy at UU Opinion: the complexity of events in Ireland a century ago does not lend itself to generalised statements about unionist history The extent of the recent controversy around the proposed state commemoration of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and the Dublin Metropolitan Police was largely unexpected. Some went so far as to say it contributed to Fine Gael’s poor showing in the February general election. Much has been written about this …

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Social Security and Covid-19: An inadequate response to crisis…

By Ciara Fitzpatrick, Ulster University, School of Law Lockdown due to the Covid-19 global pandemic has had far reaching consequences for life as we know it. The economic repercussions will be huge – recent analysis by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has shown a 10 percent spike in unemployment, equating to around 2 million more people out of work in the UK. In the three weeks to 9 April, 45,000 new claims were made for Universal Credit (UC) in …

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Schools: Locked down, separately…

On 12th March, from the steps of the President’s Guest House in Washington, Leo Varadkar announced that schools across the Republic of Ireland would be closed to slow the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. His statement echoed concerns that had been raised by teaching unions and parents in Northern Ireland and increased pressure on the Assembly to follow suit. On 18th March, First Minister Arlene Foster declared that NI would by closing all schools with effect from Monday, 23rd March, …

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How Covid-19 is affecting the new laws on abortion…

The COVID19 crisis has brought with it a lot of alarming news, like that of a young woman who tried to take her own life, when refused an abortion at a local hospital, despite abortion now being legal here.  She had been unable to travel to England due to flights being cancelled because of the COVID emergency. The feminist websites that have provided abortion pills for over a decade now report that COVID lockdowns in a number of countries mean …

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How poor handwashing is increasing the spread of Coronavirus…

Aaron Lawson is Environmental Health Researcher and Teaching Fellow at Ulster University. You can follow him on Twitter. Handwashing is one of the most important factors in preventing the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and other diseases. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak which originated in Wuhan, China has now spread to more than 40 countries, and infected more than 80,000 people worldwide. It has also caused a number of deaths, mainly amongst those living and working at the centre of the outbreak, …

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A challenge to the separation of schools…

A closed and boarded-up primary school must be one of the commonest, and saddest, local sights.  Crumbling façades. Peeling paintwork. Broken windows. The silent playground that once resounded to excited chatter.  Weeds breaking through the tarmac where generations of children played football, rounders and ‘chasies’.  Schools aren’t just places of education, they are centres of community and repositories of communal memories, but there is little place for such sentimentality in educational planning.  Empty school desks and restrictive budgets mean that …

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Beware the communication police…

We all know communication is important. It’s at the heart of nearly everything that we do; how we form (and end) relationships; how we work and play; how we support each other or fight with each other. It makes sense to want to be able to do it well. Our desire to improve our communication skills has created an industry of communication “experts”. The internet is full of articles and videos telling viewers how to improve their communication.  Self-help books …

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Supporting dementia patients at home with digital tech…

For most people, the thought of a dementia diagnosis and the fear of losing their ability to recall treasured memories is devastating. Our research which used an iPad to help people living with dementia to reminisce showed how powerful memories can be and how important it is for people living with dementia to focus on the memories that they still have, rather than thinking about what is lost. Dementia is now a major public health concern with estimated annual costs …

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Can art therapy be a form of visual protest?

The body social is a term that relates to society and the impact of social content upon identity. Art therapy has a role to play in understanding how subjectivity and society are related. Everybody has the potential to live out of bounds, and is entitled to expression on their own terms. A feminist agenda for art therapy not only highlights the significance of “the personal is political”, but also activates public declarations of agency that declare the importance of “the …

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Doing time: the reality of prison for young men…

Across the UK, reports and inspections have continuously illuminated the ongoing concerns relating to the high levels of violence, self-harm and reoffending experienced by young men in prison, particularly in comparison to their older male counterparts. These issues are exacerbated by the high levels of lock-up and overcrowding all prisoners are subjected to. Within NI, Hydebank Wood Secure College (hereafter Hydebank) is responsible for imprisoning young men between the ages of 18 and 24. This event sets out the findings …

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Putting food poverty in NI on the map…

In NI, food poverty and food access are problematic as approximately one-fifth of all households live in poverty.  Shockingly, research has found that parents regularly go without food to feed their children and many households are unable to afford to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables (Poverty and Social Exclusion, 2014).  In 2018, the Trussell Trust foodbanks provided 36,786 households in NI with emergency food parcels, witnessing an 8% increase in emergency food aid for children over the summer months alone. …

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