Institute for Social Sciences Research (ISSR) newsletter - September 4 2020

Published on 4 September 2020

Our ISSR newsletter from September 4 2020, including items on ISSR engagement, research, impact, and our Graduate community

On this page

ISSR Seminar Series

The planned events are taking shape and will be scheduled across the coming months. We will have news of two further seminars for late November and December.

In September: The pandemic: Where are we now?”

Look out for news on speakers and topic as we share prior to the event.

In October: Lightning Talks Forum | New staff and postdocs In November: Lightning Talks Forum | New PhD students

If you have recently joined our Schools since July 2019 and would like to talk briefly about your research, we invite you to speak at our ‘Lightning Talks Forum’. Notes of interest welcome by email to

As always, sending happy positive thoughts your way and I hope you all enjoy the weekend.

Research and Impact

The Moving Jamaica: Scottish-Caribbean connections and local-global journeys exhibition has gone on tour and is now open at the St Andrews Preservation Trust Museum (St Andrews, Fife), and provides a unique opportunity to travel and reflect through the medium of photography. Curated by Dr Susan P Mains (Geography and Environmental Science, University of Dundee), in collaboration with the University of Dundee Museum Services, and the Photographic Collection at the University of St Andrews Library Special Collections (with support from ISSR and the CARISCC Network), the exhibition provides striking historical and contemporary images.

This exciting exhibition, originally displayed at the University of Dundee in 2018 / 2019, provides a rare opportunity to explore past, present and future cultural landscapes of Jamaica and their Scottish connections. The work of 19th-century Dundee-based photographers, Valentine & Sons are presented alongside the recent work of internationally acclaimed photographers, Varun Baker (Jamaica) and Stephen McLaren (Scotland). While visual images, such as those by Valentine & Sons, have historically played an important role in promoting tourist destinations, the exhibition highlights that they run in parallel to more complex, dynamic and revealing stories.

Current discussions about Scotland's historical links to the Caribbean, particularly involvement in the transatlantic slave trade, highlights the timeliness of the exhibition.

Dr Mains has been interviewed recently in relation to her research and as part of ongoing discussions in media debates related to the role of monuments, race and paying attention to perspectives that are often left outside the frame.

Links to press coverage:

  • Scotland needs to face up to its slave-owning past
  • V&A Dundee seeks memories from staff at form city firm

The museum is open Wednesdays to Sundays from 12 pm-4 pm, and the exhibition has been extended to the end of October 2020.

To manage numbers there is a free ticketed pre-booking system, and care has been taken to keep the space safe, manageable and welcoming. The link can be found on the museum's Facebook page.

A live online exhibition tour and discussion will be taking place in the near future and updated details will be provided soon on the St Andrews Preservation Trust Museum Facebook page.

Youth Homelessness – integrating the voices of young people to improve service provision and practitioners’ approach

A knowledge exchange programme on youth homelessness ‘Helping young people feel at home in Scotland’, developed in 2019, produced a video documentary in three languages (English, Spanish and Portuguese), led by Dr Andrea Rodriguez and Prof Ruth Freeman, from School of Dentistry and funded by the Scottish Universities Insight Institute.

The Schools of Social Sciences and Education and Social Work were actively involved in this programme and in the video, which is aligned with the university principles of wider partnership and collaboration across schools. The programme was based in principles of Community Education and used Paulo Freire’s approach to discuss the youth homelessness trajectory through different services and different stages of homelessness.

Forty-five national and international organizations contributed with the programme throughout three main events and seven youth consultations. The programme was partially developed in two cities of Brazil, with 40 organizations involved there (support from GCRF award).

This video presents the experience of this programme bringing the main recommendations built up by the participants to improve services and practitioner’s approach towards young people. This video is addressed to students and practitioners’ training, and for all interested to prevent and to tackle youth homelessness.

Please, disseminate across your networks! The version in Spanish and Portuguese is in progress and will be available soon.

Any question, future collaboration or interest to discuss the video, please contact Andrea Rodriguez.

Publishing news

Rethinking international taxation and energy policy post-COVID-19 and the financial crisis for developing countries

Professor Raphael Heffron, CEPMLP in the School of Social Sciences recent co-authored a paper in the Energy & Natural Resource Law Journal.

There is a key role for taxation in energy and public policy following the 2020 COVID-19 and resulting financial crisis. Taxation was already under the microscope at national, regional and international levels prior to 2020, and the potential for reform may slow down. Developing countries in particular are utilising their tax systems to mitigate the impacts of the 2020 crisis. This article highlights the race to the bottom in terms of taxation as governments seek foreign direct investment (FDI). It also highlights the issues in an influential sector of the economy – that of energy – and the impact on human rights as a result of tax abuse. It is advanced here that a ‘race to the bottom’ in international taxation will result in further erosion of human rights. In thinking of the future and after the 2020 crisis, developing countries need to develop sustainable and resilient economic growth, and consequently, they need clear and strategic taxation policy. It can be acknowledged that there is a role for FDI in a crisis-hit economy, but for taxation policy not to have negative consequences more international action is needed in this area. Aggressive tax planning and erosion of the potential to raise tax revenue cannot inhibit the progress made over the last decade on all areas of international taxation.

'Stick Them to the Cross': Anti-Trafficking Apps and the Production of Ignorance

Dr Jonathan Mendel, Geography and Environmental Sciences in the School of Social Sciences has co-authored a paper in the Journal of Human Trafficking.

There is a long history of ignorance production around trafficking in human beings. A proliferation of anti-trafficking apps plays an important role in the reinforcement of this ignorance. Anti-trafficking apps work in different ways from other (mis)information tools, but there is a lack of academic research on the topic. This paper addresses this gap through an agnotological approach focusing on how ignorance is produced and becomes productive, rather than seeing ignorance as just a lack of knowledge. We investigate how anti-trafficking apps are used to manipulate (mis)understandings of and responses to human trafficking by enabling new types of awareness raising, user participation and ignorance production. The networking of ignorance that this allows – and the integration of this into new aspects of everyday life – illustrates de Goede’s warning that “the network is problematic as a security technique…because, ultimately, it has no outside”.

Newly announced

Climate Emergency Summit

Professor Colin Reid, Law in the School of Social Sciences participated in a Climate Emergency Summit organised by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. The report (Summit V), on Coronavirus and a Green Recovery, has been submitted to the Scottish Government.

Practitioner roles in early care and education from past to future

Childhood Practice Research Team in the School of Education and Social Work are now conducting a research related to practitioner roles in early care and education from past to future.

Dr Derya Asi (Senior Lecturer) and her colleagues Tracey Joyce (Lecturer), Angela Lindsay (Lecturer) and Megan McKenzie (Lecturer) in Childhood Practice Program at School of Education and Social Work are undertaking research into the "Practitioner Role in Early Care and Education from Past to Future".

They invite all practitioners in early years field to take part in a short survey exploring their perceptions about the profession based on their own experiences in the current context and including some reflections on their previous experiences and expectations of the profession in the future. Full details.

Extractives Hub Team Monthly Newsletter

The Extractives Hub are keen to reach the 1,500 mark so please do subscribe. Register via their homepage at

Graduate community

Blog 22 - Transitions and COVID

Community Education PhD candidate Camila Biazus Dalcin in the School of Education and Social Work recently presented a blog in the TCLET blog series. Read the full blog and others.

TCELT is an international, interdisciplinary research centre hosted by the School of Education and Social Work. Its vision is to have an impact on international research, policy and practice.

To find out more and if you would like to join the network contact Professor Divya Jindal-Snape.

Introduction to Institutional Ethnography and Its Application in Health-Related Research

The Scottish Graduate School of Social Science workshop led by Dr Vikash Kumar, (Queen Margaret University) will provide an overview of institutional ethnography, an approach to text analysis and mapping organisational or institutional processes.

ESRC Social Science PhD Consultation

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is undertaking consultation as part of their 'Review of the PhD in the Social Sciences'. They want to 'capture views on the strengths and limitations of current doctoral study'. They are 'particularly interested in examples from existing experience, the learning from trials of new or innovative approaches, and views of areas where change would be beneficial to enhance skills and ensure doctoral graduates are fully prepared for a range of future careers with their health and wellbeing safeguarded'.

The findings of the review will inform the ESRC’s strategy for doctoral training.

The consultation is open until 16th September 2020.

ISSR engagement

Get involved

If you would like to circulate any information around research you are involved with or events you have held for inclusion in the Institute for Social Science Research newsletter, please send a short description (100-250 words not incl images and links) to ISSR. This is a good way to make your research more widely visible across the University. The newsletter goes live weekly on a Friday so content please by 4pm on any Thursday.

Don't forget to join the ISSR community through Teams to access updates on research related activities. Simply click on 'create or join team' and enter the code e2wv1jf. I can help support, facilitate and arrange online events. Please contact Donna on Teams for a chat and find out how ISSR can support you.

If you know anyone who would like to receive information please ask them to contact ISSR to be added to the distribution list.


Donna Hendry

Research and Knowledge Exchange Officer

+44 (0)1382 388173
Story category Public interest