A podcast about the ground breaking research by Swansea University into global challenges. We explore topics from health innovation and climate change, to clean energy and human-centred digital technologies.
1. Political Engagement, the Internet and Elections
Welcome to season two of Exploring Global Problems. In this episode, Associate Professor in Politics Dr Matt Wall, Associate Professor in Media and Communication Dr Richard Thomas, and Professor of Politics Jonathan Bradbury discuss their work on political engagement, the internet and public opinion, devolution, and whether reporting of political issues is helping citizens to make informed decisions at the ballot box.
Dr Wall’s expertise is the intersection of the internet and electoral politics, including online campaigning, the emergence of ‘vote advice’ websites, and political gambling. He also researches sub-national political parties, with a particular focus on how they are responding to the challenges posed by Brexit to the UK’s devolution settlement.
Dr Thomas’s research concerns political communication, alt-media and the coverage of elections. He is the co-author of “Reporting Elections: Rethinking the Logic of Campaign Coverage”. His interests include the degree to which citizens are served by both mainstream and alternative media.
Professor Bradbury’s research focuses on the territorial politics of how the UK is governed, relating both to devolved and local government. His interests include the quality of regional democracy, principally in relation to the UK and Wales.
2. Responding to COVID-19 using Big Data
Professor Ronan Lyons discusses how big data is used to help inform the Government Response to COVID-19.
3. Digital Inclusivity
In this episode of Exploring Global Problems, Professor Tom Crick (Professor of Digital Education & Policy), and Dr Yan Wu (Associate Professor in Media and Communication), examine digital inclusivity. They discuss digital education, including how to become digitally confident and capable citizens in a data-driven and computational world; how digital education supports wider work across the digital economy, infrastructure, society and culture; and the issues of inclusion and accessibility, and especially sensory impaired people’s access to and usage of digital media in Wales.
Professor Crick has been heavily involved with curriculum reform in Wales over the past 10 years, with a specific focus on STEM education and digital skills. In 2017, he was appointed MBE for “services to computer science and the promotion of computer science education” and was awarded the 2020 BERA Public Engagement and Impact Award for “Leading the Future of Science & Technology Education in Wales”. Professor Crick is also a Commissioner of the National Infrastructure Commission for Wales (2018-present), as well as previously an expert panel member for the Welsh Government’s Review of Digital Innovation in the Economy and the Future of Work (2019).
Dr Wu’s research in the past 10 years focuses on the impact of digitalisation of services and information on the welfare of sensory impaired users in Wales. It highlights how increasing digitalisation brings not only many benefits, but also risks of exclusion, and possible widening of the existing digital gaps. Dr Wu and her research team conducted empirical research combined with related engagement with end-users and beneficiaries, which has had a substantive influence on digital inclusion policies and practices in Wales. Specifically, the research work has helped shape and promote new media practices within broadcasting organisations in 2014. The recent research with the Royal National Institute of Blind People in 2018 has also influenced digital inclusion policy initiatives of government bodies, non-profit and non-governmental organisations. Dr Wu represents Swansea University as a member for Wales Vision Strategy 2018-2021.
4. Supporting Parents with Breastfeeding
Despite how natural it is to breastfeed, Professor Amy Brown’s research found that in the UK many parents are struggling with how we feed our babies. Many people think it is as simple as making a decision to breastfeed or formula feed their baby. From her own experiences and her research Professor Brown has found that too many parents encounter barriers to their choice to breastfeed.
In this episode of Exploring Global Problems Professor Amy Brown, with Dr Sam Blaxland unpacks research into how parents can be better supported in their decision to breastfeed and how challenges and barriers can be overcome for those who decide to.
The work of Professor Amy Brown and her team in the Lactation, Infant Feeding and Translational Research (LIFT) aims to provide parents with the support and resources they need. Coming to this topic from a Psychology background her research explores the Psychological impacts of the barriers that parents face when choosing to breastfeed.
5. Climate change and how the arts is trying to engage with imagining different futures
Discussing how literature represents environmental issues, including climate change, and the part writers play in engaging the public imagination around alternative ways of being. In this episode of Exploring Global Problems, we’re joined by Lecturer in Contemporary Writing and Digital Cultures Dr Chris Pak, Associate Professor in Modern Languages Dr Lloyd Davies, and Professor in Creativity Owen Sheers.
They examine how science fiction explores the relationships between science, societies and their environments; consider how climate change is represented in the literatures of Spain and Latin America; and look at the role of good art in shaping the reflections of audiences.*
6. A Silent Epidemic, Acquired Brain Injury
In the UK, one person every 90 seconds is admitted to hospital with a suspected brain injury. More than 350,000 people are diagnosed with a brain injury every year in the UK. This has left a legacy of epidemic proportions where 1.3million people now live in the UK with a brain injury, costing the UK economy more than £15billion a year.
In the UK and around the world we are living with a “Silent Epidemic”, and we rarely talk about it. Along with our host Dr Sam Blaxland, Dr Claire Williams will be talking about this “Silent Epidemic”, Acquired Brain Injury (ABI), from her perspective as a clinically focussed Psychologist.
Dr Williams’ interest is in the development of tools to recognise, diagnose and treat people with brain injuries. Any brain injury can have a significant impact on a person’s emotional functioning and can leave neurobehavioral legacies. Dr Williams and her team have developed the SASNOS tool (St Andrews-Swansea Neurobehavioral Outcomes Scale). We will explore what ABI is, the impact of ABI on a patient and how Dr Williams and her team’s SASNOS tool can help us tackle this global problem.
Excellent informative and diverse podcast. Certainly deserves more attention, keep it up Sam!
Protecting endangered species - Amazing and informative
I have really enjoyed listening to Rory Wilson’s experiences whilst working with animals, particularly with the feisty chinstrap penguins of Antarctica! Thought-provoking and informative.
Diverse and insightful
Some really thought provoking topics (diverse range even across the two episodes I’ve listened to so far) from a range of speakers which is good to see, I hope this continues. Hopefully the start of a long and successful series from Swansea University!