Disability History Month

To highlight Disability Month, a number of events are being held across both campuses in December. 

Tuesday 9 December – ‘Dementia Friends’

People with dementia get by with a little help from their friends; and anybody can become a Dementia Friend. It’s just about understanding more about dementia and the small things you can do to help people with the condition.

Dementia Friends learn a little bit about what it’s like to live with dementia and turn that understanding into action. Come along to this session to become a friend and get a simple introduction to Dementia, and find out how you can help.

For full details and to book, please head to the Eventbrite page.

Wednesday 10 December – Exploring the use of video within social media

The use of video within social media is providing researchers with novel ways of publicising research findings. This is inspiring researchers to think outside of traditional academic approaches, and enabling research to extend to new and wide-ranging audiences.

This event focuses on the Living Well with Dementia project, which was designed to use video to raise awareness and challenge gaps in perceptions and understanding of dementia. The project involved filming and disseminating a video featuring people with dementia and carers talking about what it means to live well with dementia.

The finished video was uploaded to YouTube, with members of the public invited to complete a short survey to establish whether watching the video challenged their understanding of dementia.

For full details and to book, please head to the Eventbrite page.

Friday 12 December – Changing attitudes: Paralympian’s perspectives on disability

Since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, there has been an increasing interest in the Paralympics, which resulted in the highest level of interest so far for London 2012, the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The impact of the Paralympics and, in particular, London, suggests the games have had a positive impact and have helped improve public attitude towards disability within Britain.

At this event, three Paralympian’s –  Kate Grey, swimmer and Sky Sports Living for Sport Mentor/BBC sports reporter, Ben Rushgrove, sprinter and Lucy Shuker, tennis player – will share their reflections on disability.

For full details and to book, please head to the Eventbrite page.

Sochi2014: BU opinion and involvement in the Winter Games

A number of Bournemouth University academics are poised to get involved in the Sochi 2014 Winter Games – using their expertise to contribute to stories and add to knowledge.

Dr Bryce Dyer is a Senior Lecturer in Product Design at Bournemouth University and is currently researching the effects of technology in elite sport. He says of the Winter Games:

Competing at the Winter Olympics is arguably about assembling the best athletes to compete against each other. There are always stories of human interest- of those battling against the adversity of just getting to the games in the first place. Some of us will no doubt remember ‘Eddie the Eagle’ or ‘Eric the Eel’. However, the sad thing with tales like these is that whilst many of us may think of them to be a novelty, the problem a lot of the time is that some of these athletes are being unfairly penalised because of their lack of access to equipment and facilities. The Jamaican Bobsleigh team, (immortalised in the film ‘Cool Running’s’) have got their sled this time from Germany, but will only have got hold of it merely weeks before the games start whereas others have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds testing and evaluating theirs. They are not the only ones – Shiva Keshavan is competing for India in the luge event. YouTube footage shows that he has been training extremely hard – at home on steeply banked local open roads on a homemade wheeled luge – hardly the best conditions for a run at the medals. The question we have to ask ourselves is whether technology is ‘part of the game’ or is it just about going athlete to athlete. Is this fair ? Such is the importance of the best equipment, the Sochi games experience will ultimately have been decided for many, long before they’ve even crossed their start line.”

Additionally, Dr Richard Shipway, Associate Dean: International Engagement in the School of Tourism has been asked to join a panel of academic peer reviewers to assist with the assessment of applications for the Advanced Olympic Research Grant Programme, recently launched by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The main objective of the programme, which operates from the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, is to promote advanced research with a humanities or social science perspective on priority topics identified annually by the IOC. Further information on the 2014-2015 Advanced Olympic Research Grant Programme is available on the Olympic Studies Centre web pages at http://www.olympic.org/olympic-studies-centre

Dr Shipway’s current research focuses on the impact and legacies of international sports events, distance running, sport tourism, ethnographic research methods, and various aspects of Olympic studies.

Another BU researcher involved in the Winter Games is Rami Mhanna, a PhD student conducting research into mega-sport events. Rami’s research focusses on stakeholders’ perceptions of legacy outcomes of different sports events. This research focusses on The London 2012 Olympic Games, Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup in Brazil 2014.

All academics are available for press comment and journalists should contact newsdesk@bournemouth.ac.uk or 01202 963963 to speak to a member of the Press and PR Team.

Paralympic sailor receives Honorary Doctorate from BU

A Paralympic sailor who made history by winning gold at the London 2012 games has received an Honorary Doctorate from Bournemouth University.

Helena Lucas MBE received her Doctor of Arts at the ceremony for graduates from the School of Applied Sciences.

She was the first British sailor ever to win a Paralympic gold medal, after winning in the single keelboat event in Weymouth.

Helena, who is also a successful yacht designer, said that receiving the Honorary Doctorate from BU was “absolutely amazing.”

“It was the last thing I expected to be offered,” she added. “It was a real honour and a real pleasure.”

Helena, who is currently training for the Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016, added that her advice to graduates was to dream big and not give up.

“If you dream big, the chances are you’ll achieve your goals,” she said.

“I think it’s a case of never giving up. If you’ve got a dream and you’ve got a goal, just keep working towards it. There will be the odd curveball here and there, the odd disappointment, but never give up and keep going.

“I think that’s the message that I want to get across to the students – it won’t be easy, it will be tough out there, but with determination and commitment and dedication, you can achieve whatever you want to achieve.”

More than 5,000 graduates from across Bournemouth University were handed their degree certificates in six different ceremonies at the Bournemouth International Centre.

Professor John Vinney, vice-chancellor of Bournemouth University, said: “Bournemouth University takes great pride in our Honorary Graduates.

“We recognise people who have excelled in their chosen field who will act as inspirational role models, both for our graduates and their families at the awards ceremonies and for our whole student body in the coming years.”

BU celebrates success during graduation week


Over 5,000 BU graduates celebrated this week as they were handed their degree certificates during six graduation ceremonies.

The ceremonies, which all took place at the Bournemouth International Centre, saw students collect their awards alongside eight honorary doctorates before celebrating with fellow graduates at a champagne reception.

Former students from all six Schools were reunited with former classmates and lecturers for the first time since completing their studies in May to celebrate the completion of their degrees together.

Receiving their awards alongside BU graduates; the eight honorary doctorates included golf professional and consultant Eddie Bullock, television presenter and anatomist Professor Alice Roberts and Olympic Gold medallist Peter Wilson MBE.

Also honoured were Paralympic Gold medallist Helena Lucas MBE, international sports performance coach David Alred MBE, former Director of Operations at the RNLI Michael Vlasto OBE, former Principal of the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) Dr Kenneth Vall and academic and 7/7 bombing survivor Professor John Tullock.

At the ceremony Professor Alice Roberts (pictured) said, “It’s an absolute delight and an honour to be receiving an honorary doctorate, and I’m really pleased to be here at Bournemouth University. I’ve made friends with a lot of Bournemouth University academics over the years and I’ve interviewed them for all sorts of different programmes on the BBC, and it was really nice to come here and catch up with those colleagues today. And to be here receiving my own doctorate is wonderful.”

Professor John Vinney, Vice-Chancellor of Bournemouth University, said, “I am delighted to be celebrating the success of our brilliant graduates once again. Graduation is one of the highlights of our university calendar and it fills me with pride to see so many students achieving their goal of attaining a degree. I hope that they will have long and successful careers and I know that they will continue to be valued members of the Bournemouth University community.”

The graduation ceremonies were also streamed online, where they were watched by around 5,500 viewers from 60 different counties.

2012 Paralympics changed perceptions of disability, BU study finds

The London 2012 Paralympic Games led to greater confidence and less anxiety in talking about disability and disabled sport, a Bournemouth University (BU) study has found.

The study was commissioned by Channel 4, broadcasters of the 2012 Paralympic Games, and was completed by the Creative Enterprise Bureau, a marketing consultancy based in BU’s Media School which involves staff and students from the Corporate and Marketing Communications academic group.

They found that viewers were genuinely surprised by how emotive and thrilling the games were, and began to see sporting excellence rather than only the disability.

Over the course of two years they conducted in-depth interviews with participants – based in London, Bournemouth and Newcastle – about their thoughts and experiences of disability and disabled sport.

“The focus was on experiences and the stories that people had,” said Dr Dan Jackson, senior lecturer in Media and Communication at BU, who helped coordinate the study.

“We wanted to speak to a whole cross-section of people, so the interviews included disabled people, people with direct experience of disability and disability sport, people with an interest in sport and TV watching, and people who had no interest at all.

“We were most interested in how this massive sporting event impacted on people’s lives.”

The participants were interviewed in four phases before and after the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and Dan said that, before the event, there did not seem to be much change in the way people were talking about disability and disabled sports.

“There were a lot of barriers – people didn’t know how to talk about it,” he said.

“Many people did not have experiences of disability because it was very rarely on our screens. There was not a great deal of knowledge or interest in Paralympic sport.

“But there seemed to be a lot of good will towards it – people saying “It should be on TV, it’s a worthwhile thing, but I won’t really go out of my way to watch it.”

However, after the London 2012 Paralympic Games, people’s perceptions and experiences of disability and disabled sport seemed to change.

The study found:

  • The Paralympics had a noticeable impact on the way disability was talked about; there was greater confidence and less anxiety in talking about disability sport.
  • Genuine and palpable surprise at the emotional reactions generated by watching the Paralympics – viewers seemed genuinely surprised at just how emotive and thrilling the Paralympics were.
  • A shift from expecting to see only the disability to primarily seeing sporting excellence. This was accompanied by a shift away from sympathy and pity to thrill and excitement associated with watching live sport
  • A reduction in expressed sense of discomfort when watching people with disability on TV.
  • Disabled participants were acutely aware of the ‘buzz’ generated that made disability momentarily trendy and fashionable, and that a general sense of ‘admiration’ appears to have displaced sympathy, pity or fear in how able-bodied people interact with disabled people. But they were sceptical of whether this would last long-term.

Dan said: “We couldn’t find anyone who hadn’t experienced any of the Paralympics – even if they hadn’t watched it directly, it was second-hand through the news or other people.

“While the summer of sport, particularly the Olympics, was quite moving for the whole country, it had a huge impact and was the central focus all summer, and the Paralympics benefited from that.

“But for some people it suffered, as it seemed to be considered an afterthought.”

He added: “Some of the people who were least likely to watch and enjoy it, got beyond that and beyond the disabilities and were watching it as a sport just like any other sport.”

Around half of the Corporate and Marketing department at BU helped with the study, along with final year Marketing, PR and Advertising students.

Dan said it was great to be involved with such a high profile project, and that they were now hoping to write a book around the findings.

“One of the great parts of it from our point of view was that it was a really good project that involved so many people in our department,” he said.

“The 2012 Olympics and Paralympics were massive for the country and it only seemed to really hit home when we started quite how big a deal this whole thing was.

“To be part of that and doing the research on that was great.”