Researchers’ Weekly Bulletin: the Blog

News for researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University

Knitting – Victoria and Albert Museum

October 12th, 2015

“The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is often considered one of the world’s leading art and design museums. Established in 1852, the institution’s collections span two millennia of art in a variety of mediums, including diverse holdings related to textiles. It should come as no surprise that the knitting page on the museum’s website offers a plush resource for knitting enthusiasts. Articles on the page address such topics as the regional knitting practices of the British Isles, 1940s knitting patterns, and an interview with textile artist Freddie Robins among others. In addition, readers may like to follow the links to knitting blogs, knitting websites, the knitting reading list, and related interviews and artist profiles. [CNH]”

[Source Scout Report, 3 July 2015: ]

French History Network (FHN) Blog

October 12th, 2015

“Created in 2013 by two scholars at British universities, Ludivine Broch (Westminster) and Alison Carrol (Brunel), the French History Network (FHN) aims to promote the work of doctoral and post-doctoral researchers in French history, generate intellectual collaborations, and create more exchanges between French and English-speaking historians of France. The blog has a number of monthly features, such as Under the Spotlight, where some recent interviews include Dr. Sarah Easterby-Smith, lecturer in Modern History at St Andrews; Prof. David Bell, Princeton, whose book, Napoleon: A Concise Biography, will be published in 2016; and Dr. Penny Roberts, Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Arts Doctoral Research Excellence (CADRE) at Warwick. Other categories on the site include Call for Papers; Conference/Workshop Announcement; and Launching Your Career, subdivided into both the Application Process and the Writing/Publication Process. [DS]”

[Source Scout Report, 17 July 2015: ]


October 12th, 2015

“JoVE, the Journal of Visualized Experiments, is the world’s first peer reviewed scientific video journal. Established in 2006, JoVE is devoted to publishing scientific research in a visual format to help researchers overcome two of the biggest challenges facing the scientific research community today; poor reproducibility and the time and labor intensive nature of learning new experimental techniques.

  • All JoVE articles are indexed in subject-relevant indexing sites, including PubMed/MEDLINE, SciFinder and Scopus
  • Publishing in JoVE allows authors to dynamically present their methods, data analyses and results clearly, accurately, and professionally with the guidance of JoVE’s professional videographers and editors
  • JoVE has published thousands of video articles from top research institutions around the world.”

[Source Jove website: ]

JoVE has recently received its first Impact Factor–1.325–indexed in the 2015 Journal Citation Reports.  Thanks to my colleague Fiona Hughes for passing on this news.

Looking for data on information and communication technologies?

October 12th, 2015

“The UK Data Service has launched a suite of web pages and related materials on information and communication technologies (ICT).”

“ICT’s are reshaping the world, transforming the way in which we communicate, govern, work, manage crises, do business and spend our free time. These changes are, in turn, driving new policy development to address the societal impacts of digital technologies. The UK Data Service holds data on a wide range of ICT topics, including mobile communication, telework, social media, radio, television, internet use, mass media, infrastructure, security and trust. These data can help us understand how the fast-evolving world of digital technologies impacts on people’s lives and communities, and how they could shape our future society and economy.”

“Whilst there is a wealth of data on information and communication, a number of studies are regarded as ‘key’ in the UK. These user-friendly web pages are designed to enable researchers and teachers to quickly find these key data and other data-related resources on the topic of information and communication.”

To explore the ICT webpages go to:

[Source UK Data Service news: ]

Early English Ballet and the Royal Academy of Dance

October 12th, 2015

“The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) was founded in 1920, a time when there was a heightened interest in the establishment of a British ballet tradition. As a result, the RAD’s archive collections contain a variety of materials that relate to this period. The following article draws on resources from several of the archives and special collections held in the RAD’s Philip Richardson Library, some of which are also described on the Archives Hub.”

“At the turn of the twentieth century, ballet in Britain existed primarily in Music Halls. Danish-born Adeline Genée was the star of London’s Empire Theatre between 1897 and 1909 and it was here that Phyllis Bedells became the first British ballerina to hold the position of Première Danseuse in 1914. Bedells was also the first to resist the pressure upon English dancers to Russianise their names after the status of ballet began to change in 1911 with the appearance of Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in London, and in 1912 the celebrated Russian dancer Anna Pavlova made London her home. Both Diaghilev and Pavlova employed English dancers disguised with Russian-sounding names such as Alicia Markova (Lillian Marks), Anton Dolin (Pat Kay) and Hilda Butsova (Hilda Boot).”

[Source Archives Hub blog: ]

The story of photograph 51

October 12th, 2015

“Photograph 51 is the title of a play on the London stage throughout autumn 2015. The play explores the controversy surrounding Rosalind Franklin and her contribution to the discovery of the structure of the DNA molecule in 1953. The discovery of DNA has been widely discussed since then, not least in three biographies about Franklin and autobiographical accounts by the other three protagonists in the ‘ DNA drama’: Francis Crick, James Watson and Maurice Wilkins. It was Watson’s account of Franklin in The Double Helix that sparked the initial controversy and continues to frame much of the subsequent debate.”

“It makes for a compelling story. Franklin is the ‘Dark Lady’ whose work is appropriated by her colleague Wilkins, who struggles to work with this difficult woman. He hands her data (the eponymous photograph) over to the rival Cambridge research team of Watson, the ambitious young American, and Crick, the brash self-confident arriviste in the field of molecular biology. They use the photograph to confirm their theory that the structure of the DNA molecule is a double helix and beat everyone else to claim the discovery.”

“The photograph itself is an x-ray image of the structure of a fibre of DNA that was taken by Rosalind Franklin and her crystallography team at King’s College, London. It is also so much more. Photograph 51 is confirmation of the symbol of life itself: the DNA double helix. For some it’s also a symbol of questionable ethics – even betrayal – amongst scientists. For others it signifies a woman’s lot in the man’s world of 1950s science.”

[Source Wellcome Library blog: ]

A Brief History of Childbirth: Exploring the National Childbirth Trust Archives

October 12th, 2015

“The Wellcome Library is a treasure trove of books and archives that span a wealth of biomedical and health related subjects. The newly-catalogued National Childbirth Trust (NCT) archive, containing over 270 boxes of rich archive material, brings to life the history of childbirth and maternity care from the post-war period to the present day. Elena Carter, Project Archivist at Wellcome Library shares what she has discovered in the NCT’s rich archive…”

“In 1956, a woman gave birth and lost her baby. As she was discharged from the hospital, a sister flippantly commented “that’s the last we’ll hear of you”. Bereaved, and angered at how she’d been treated, this woman – Prunella Briance – decided to take matters into her own hands. In her words, she “wanted to do something positive to prevent such tragedies happening to other mothers”.”

“So she put an advert in The Times newspaper – a call to arms to form a Natural Childbirth Association, run by mothers, for mothers.”

“The archive available at the Wellcome Library charts the story of this organisation – the Natural Childbirth Association (later National Childbirth Trust, NCT) – from its grassroots beginnings in the 1950s to the present day. Through letters, birth reports, and heated meeting papers, the archive lays bare the challenges facing the organisation as they tried to rail against the ‘doctor knows best’ attitude of the 1950s.”

[Source Wellcome Trust blog: ]

Students and staff invited to pitch ideas for inclusive learning technologies

October 12th, 2015

“Digital technologies charity Jisc [has launched] a competition for students and staff to come up with new digital solutions that will improve accessibility and inclusion in post-16 education.”

“Called Accessible by design, the competition will invite ideas for how technology could support the access and inclusion of the UK’s learners, staff and researchers, with the best ones being offered the opportunity of funding to get their ideas off the ground.”

“Three of the ideas will be selected to receive £5,000 in funding plus expert support from Jisc to take them through the discovery phase and help develop tangible solutions.”

“Any student or member or staff that works in the area of accessibility and inclusion in further education (FE), higher education (HE) or skills is eligible to enter, either individually or as a team.”

“Entries must be made via Jisc’s elevator website by 26 October and need to include a short video and summary of the idea. The general public will then be able to vote until 2 November with the final projects being taken forward announced in late November.”

For more information go to the Accessible by design webpage:

[Source Jisc news: ]

‘Being Human’ festival launches 2015 programme

October 12th, 2015

“What does it mean to be human, and how does the latest humanities research add to our understanding? Find out at the UK’s 2015 Being Human festival, with more than 260 public activities – a 60 percent increase on 2014 – led by some 60 universities and cultural organisations.”

“This 11-day festival aims to highlight the richness and vitality of humanities research and the ways it benefits society. With just eight weeks to go – Being Human runs from 12–22 November – the full programme of events taking place across the UK [has just been published].”

“Activities will be hosted in all manner of weird and wonderful locations – cemeteries, sewing cafes, museums, pubs, markets  cathedrals, and in hidden spaces beneath city streets  – and cover a broad range of topics from the politics of migration to gender issues, science and health to education and the arts, culture to technology.”

“The public’s imagination has already been kindled by media talk of ’shanty mobs’, zombie walks and Bristol bus stop poets, but there is a lot more on offer. The 2015 programme offers a range of experiences from an attempt to rebuild the architecture of Hull using a video game (University of Hull), pop-up historians breathing life into London’s Hunterian Museum (King’s College) and black British civil rights courtesy of the Black Cultural Archives and the National Archives.”

[Source School for Advanced Studies, University of London, news: ]

Eight things you think are true – but science scoffs at

July 6th, 2015

“The five-second rule won’t save you from germs and the blue whale isn’t actually the earth’s largest living organism.”

“From star signs to homeopathy, humans believe in strange things. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, the incoming president of the Royal Society, recently described us as being ‘intrinsically prone to being irrational’. He pointed out that science has a role in countering this, which got me thinking about the common myths that persist, in spite of scientific evidence telling us otherwise. While not quite in the same league as astrology and homeopathy – two bugbears of Venki and scientists the world over – I hope this odd collection of not-so-conventional wisdom will at least right some small wrongs.”

To find out what they are go to:

[Source Guardian HE network as above]