Stephanie Denning is an ESRC-funded Human Geography PhD student at the University of Bristol, whose study explores how and why people volunteer in social action/charity work, and how that is inspired by a faith ethos. As part of her research she is running a ‘Lunch Kitchen‘ to respond to school children’s ‘holiday hunger’ – when free school meals are not available in the school holidays some children or their parents will not have enough (nutritional) food. Read more about her theoretical and participatory research project below…
A PhD on faith-based social action? How volunteers are responding to the lack of free school meals in the holidays
I co-ordinate one Lunch Kitchen at a church within an area which is in the top 10 per cent of deprived places in the UK. Children from the local area come for play time and a free hot and healthy meal in the school holidays.
There is no religious requirement for children or volunteers, and no religious content at the club because it is important the project is open to all.
I rely upon volunteers to be able to run the project and to date have had almost 50 volunteers involved. Some cook the food and others run the play time for the children with craft, sports and cooking activities. Without this team of volunteers the club could not happen.
Helen Lambert, the ESRC AMR Research Champion, is a social anthropologist at the University of Bristol School of Social and Community Medicine, who has done a vast range of health-related qualitative research.
Her research interests include the application of anthropology to public health research and evaluation; lay perceptions of illness and health-seeking practices in India and the UK; indigenous therapeutic traditions in South Asia; HIV and sexual health; people’s understandings of suicide; lay perceptions of risk; and notions of evidence in medicine, epidemiology and anthropology.
Here – marking European Antibiotics Awareness Day – Helen looks at the role social scientists can play in addressing the challenge of drug-resistant infections:
The global health problem of drug-resistant infections has been identified as a key issue for the UK, and the threat posed has been likened to terrorism or global warming. To date, many of the proposed solutions have focused on new technologies, such as the £10 million Longitude prize to develop a new diagnostic test for bacterial infections. Yet the phenomenon of antimicrobial resistance is largely a consequence of human action, and both its drivers and its consequences are socially patterned.
Dr Devyani Prabhat is a lecturer in Law at the University of Bristol Law School, as well as a lawyer with legal practice experience from New Delhi and New York. She is currently leading a three-year ESRC research project on British citizenship and the practice of nationality laws.
Why did you pursue an academic career?
I practiced as a lawyer in the Supreme Court of India, New Delhi and, later, in New York City. In both places I represented clients who were from disadvantaged backgrounds. I was not satisfied to only examine their individual legal cases, but wanted to know about the systemic reasons why they required representation from me. This inspired me to undertake a PhD at New York University with a focus on the Sociology of Law. Continue reading
Simon Burgess is a Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics, University of Bristol. He was the Director of the ESRC Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO) 2004 – 2015, and the Director of the Centre for Understanding Behaviour Change (CUBeC) 2010 – 2014.
Why did you pursue an academic career?
It’s hard to say now, at this considerable distance. I really enjoyed economics, and enjoyed using that to understand data, and I really enjoyed doing the research I wanted to. An academic career seemed the best chance of keeping on doing that. Plus obviously the attractions of not having to wear a suit, not (really) having a boss, and not always having to go into the office! Continue reading