BCU Network for Research on Gender – 19 May

Thursday 19 May, 3pm-5pm, C003 (Curzon Building)

The first seminar by the BCU Network for Research on Gender features a paper by Dr Annette Naudin and Karen Patel, both from the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. Their paper is titled: 

Entangled expertise: Women’s use of social media in entrepreneurial work.

If you wish to attend, please register here.


This paper addresses issues of identity and professionalism for female cultural entrepreneurs by drawing on the online activities of a small group of women. We investigate the construction of professional identities as expressed through social media activities, in this case, we focus on twitter as a key platform for cultural workers. Our key question is: How do women cultural entrepreneurs use online platforms to perform expertise? We draw on contemporary feminist debates (Gill, 2002, 2007; McRobbie, 2004, 2015) to evaluate the presentation of women’s expertise in public spaces such as Twitter. Social media platforms are important to self-employed cultural workers as a means of reaching markets and promoting the entrepreneur’s brand identity, but beyond self-enhancement, how are notions of expertise negotiated by individual cultural entrepreneurs and how does this relate to gender and work? Given the well documented gender and ethnic inequalities in cultural and creative industry work (Oakley, 2014; Gill, 2002), what does the social media content generated by individual women tell us about the nature of professional female identities within neoliberal economies?

Speaker bios

Dr Annette Naudin

Annette Naudin is senior lecturer in media and cultural entrepreneurship and is an Enterprise Education fellow of the National Centre for Graduate Entrepreneurship. She has run creative enterprise conferences, published and presented on the subject. Annette is a member of the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. Annette completed her PhD (2015) at the Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, at the University of Warwick, exploring the cultural and media worker’s experience of entrepreneurship.

Karen Patel

Karen Patel is a second year postgraduate researcher in the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. Her PhD is funded by the AHRC Midlands 3 Cities scheme and her supervisors are Professor Paul Long (BCU) and Professor Mark Banks (Leicester). For her PhD she is looking at the social media use of artists, particularly how artists perform expertise on social media, and the role of social media in cultural labour.

BCU researcher to reveal secrets of songwriting in BBC World Service documentary

On Saturday May 7th, Dr Simon Barber, a research fellow in the School of Media, will present an hour-long BBC World Service radio documentary called The Secrets of Songwriting along with his colleague Brian O’Connor. Together, the pair make up the Liverpool-based songwriting team Sodajerker.

Dr Simon Barber (left) and

Dr Simon Barber (left) and Brian O’Connor

The BBC programme derives from the duo’s hugely popular podcast, Sodajerker On Songwriting, featuring some of the world’s most renowned songwriters talking about their working processes and sharing the stories behind their biggest hits.

The show will include contributions from a range of guests heard on the Sodajerker podcast such as Motown legend Lamont Dozier, Brill Building-era hitmakers Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Andy Partridge of XTC and singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading.

Dr Simon Barber said, “We were thrilled when the BBC approached us to create this programme. The documentary is a fantastic opportunity for us to share our insights into songwriting with their worldwide audience.”

The Secrets of Songwriting is scheduled for broadcast in most parts of the world via digital radio on Saturday May 7, 2016 at 13.06 (14.06 in the UK because of daylight saving) and streaming online via the BBC website. It will also be made available thereafter as a BBC World Service podcast.

Conferences calls for papers

There are two calls for papers at the moment for upcoming internal conferences; all research staff and students from all faculties are welcome to submit if it fits with your research.

The abstract deadline for both is Friday 20th May 2016.

Research Matter(s), conversations about research in art, design and media, 8 July 2016

Research Matters poster

Research matters(s) offers a forum for you to playfully and critically communicate/articulate/present/re-present your research through/as matter. It aims to enable the making, creating and becoming that is part of research process.

Download the full call for papers (PDF)

Please email proposals to admpgr-studio@bcu.ac.uk by Friday 20th May 2016.

CSPACE/CELT conference: Research, Teaching and Learning in Education across Birmingham City University: Pedagogy, Practice, Politics and Policy: Where to next in teaching, learning and research in education? 11th July 2016

Proposals are invited for lightning talks, posters, presentations and workshops on researching education, education policy, pedagogies and professional practices in teaching.

Download the full call for papers (PDF)

Please email proposals to rebecca.snape@bcu.ac.uk by Friday 20th May 2016.

Reimagining further education conference – 29 June

29 June 2016, Curzon Building

The Centre for the Study of Practice and Culture in Education (C-SPACE) are hosting a one-day conference entitled ‘Reimagining Further Education’ at its City Centre Campus (Curzon Building).

Reimagining FE Conference Programme

The conference will bring together practitioners, researchers and key figures in the field of Further Education (FE) and will cover a range of themes from apprenticeships and work-based learning to accountability and governance in FE.

In keeping with the event’s title, ‘Reimagining Further Education’, the conference format is designed to maximise opportunities for collaboration and interaction amongst all those present.

Instead of the conventional ‘stand and deliver’ format of many conferences, ‘Reimagining Further Education’ will be organised as group conversations framed and facilitated by a discussant and chair for each of the 6 thematic strands included. By exploring positive, imaginative and creative ways forward that enhance agency, workforce development and the professional ethos of all FE practitioners, this conference aims to put the ‘confer’ back into conference!

Book tickets on the event page

Terrorism and cultural freedom conference – 7 June

Tuesday 7 June 2016 9.00am-6.00pm

Parkside Building, City Centre Campus

The first in a series of planned annual international conferences on topics of urgent social interest locally, nationally and globally, ‘Terrorism and Cultural Freedom’ assembles a group of world-leading commentators, scholars and artists to discuss the most pressing political and artistic concern of the world today.

This event is free. Please book via Eventbrite

Join us on 7 June for an intensive discussion of the most critical political issue now facing the world and the future of culture within it. Though terrorism is associated currently with fundamentalism originating in the Middle East (and with the response of western nation-states to it) forms of violent action against states, countries, cultures, groups and individuals has a very long history. There is also, arguably, an equally long history of terrorism against citizens conducted by states themselves holding a monopoly of violence. Keynote speakers WJT Mitchell, Tariq Ali, Anthony Downey and Dima Saber will offer incisive accounts of the stakes in this crisis, examining both ‘terror’ as an idea and its complex relations to a range of cultural and artistic practices, both historical and contemporary.

In addition to these contributions, the conference will include shorter presentations concerned with cultural freedom in an age of global terrorism, related to music, art, fashion, media, the moving image, writing and theatre drawn from experts within Birmingham City University’s own arts, design and media research communities, and including historical and contemporary examples. These speakers are David Roberts, Andrew Kulman and Jonathan Day. In addition, Paula Barreiro-Lopez and Mathew Teti offer perspectives from Spain and the USA.

Birmingham City University provides a rich learning and research context in which to consider these issues. Universities are themselves implicated now in the state response to terrorism by western governments given UK ‘Prevent’ legislation. The conference will enable this matter.

Book tickets now via Eventbrite

Research cafe: How Zotero can preserve your sanity and other stories

Thursday 28th January 2016, 12pm – 1:30pm, MP203 (CEBE Boardroom)

With Steve Murphy (School of Computing & Digital Technology)

Learn how using the free Zotero literature management and referencing tool allowed Steve to retain his last thread of sanity by making the chore of literature storage and referencing more bearable.

To register your interest e-mail Ian.McDonald@bcu.ac.uk.

Refreshments will be provided.

School of Architecture and Design lecture: exploring materiality – 7 December

Monday 7 December, 5pm, Parkside Lecture Theatre

With Chris Lefteri, on ‘What will the future feel like? The changing role of materials and design’


Chris Lefteri is one of the most instrumental materials experts working in his field. For over a decade his studio work and publications have been pivotal in the way designers and the materials industry consider materials. In 2001 he published the first of eight books on materials and the application in design, which have been translated into six languages. These books have led the change in the way designers view and use materials. Subsequently his studio, Chris Lefteri Design, has worked with Fortune 500 companies and major design studios across Europe, the US and Asia implementing a broad range of strategies for effective materials integration in the design process.

This event is free to attend and all are welcome. For more information contact jackie.norton@bcu.ac.uk.

Birmingham Sustainable Futures Forum

16th December 2015, 9am-2.30pm

This free event is organised by Birmingham City University. It will showcase the University’s contribution through the following 3 European Union funded Interreg IVB projects to the sustainability of Birmingham and the West Midlands region:

  • Bioenergy North West, which aims to deliver small scale bioenergy schemes using local biomass
  • Energetic Algae, which aims to resolve technological and legislative bottlenecks for deploying sustainable algal based biomass, bioenergy and bioremediation technologies
  • Living Labs Application, which fosters user driven innovation to prepare startups for European success

We are looking forwarding to seeing you there. Book a place

Download the programme (PDF)


Erasmus+ award grant success

An Erasmus+ grant has been awarded to a European partnership led by the Social Research and Evaluation Unit (SREU) based in the Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences. The partnership will be undertaking a three-year project entitled ‘Vulnerable young people accessing and sustaining vocational training and apprenticeships.’

The project aims to provide resources for current Vocational Education and Training (VET) providers and employers who are interested in implementing apprenticeships and other training placements for society’s most vulnerable young people.

There is a need for a multifaceted approach in supporting vulnerable young people through vocational education, training and apprenticeships, without which this group are at particular risk of offending and re-offending. Although there are a number of initiatives to engage them in self-development activities, a recurring issue is how to develop these initiatives into sustained placements and long-term and fulfilling employment.
The key outputs are an analysis of current approaches, case studies of practice, development of a network of practice and the production and evaluation of online educational resources.

The expected impacts and outcomes are societal — enriching and enhancing vulnerable young people’s lives through increasing their confidence and creating opportunities to turn broken lives around to benefit future generations; economic — helping VET providers and employers to develop and deliver appropriate training, skills development, employment placements and jobs; and academic – creating and disseminating a body
of transferable knowledge.
To find out more about the project, or share your knowledge and experiences of these issues, please contact the Project Manager, Professor Morag MacDonald at:

Syria Crisis in the UK

Wednesday 11 November, 5.30pm-7.30pm, Library of Birmingham

With Imran Awan, BLSS

As part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) annual festival, Imran Awan, senior lecturer in Criminology at Birmingham City University, will discuss his research into why youngsters are heading to Syria and the actions that can be taken to prevent people from fleeing to the country in Western Asia.

“The current crisis in Syria had led to an intense debate within the UK and the West Midlands about the threat that groups such as Isis pose to people in Britain”, said Awan.

“Communities in places like Birmingham must come together in a joint effort and provide a sound counter-narrative to such propaganda as a means to create a more unified community cohesion.”

The ‘Syria crisis in the UK’ event runs from 5.30pm until 7pm at the Library of Birmingham on Wednesday 11 November. For more information and to book tickets, e-mail imran.awan@bcu.ac.uk