Lucy Easthope a keynote speaker at a Philadelphia symposium

Dr Lucy Easthope from the School of Life Sciences will lead a conference in Philadelphia, USA this week on mass graves and archives.

Lucy-EasthopeThis symposium, which features innovative scholars and practitioners from archives, digital humanities, forensic science, anthropology, and crisis management, centres on these cross-cutting questions about ethics, agency, cultural risk, and the recovery and preservation of evidence.

The day will look at answering: “How can archivists and digital humanists attend to the virtual and physical possessions of native peoples who have traditionally had their things archived without their consent?”

The symposium seeks to create new and ongoing collaborative relationships across fields oriented towards innovative evidentiary practices, and to establish an agenda for further work in both scholarship and professional ethics.”

The growth of digital archives and humanities has raised questions on the preservation, ownership and privacy of this information and Lucy will cover this in her keynote speech and through other speakers at the workshop in Pennsylvania.

To find out more about this symposium, follow this link:

Research will help inform pre-flood planning

A team of researchers from the University of Lincoln, UK, are working with the residents of Canvey Island in Essex to record the unique history of those families affected by the North Sea Flood of 1953.

Postgraduate Forensic Anthropology students from the University’s School of Life Sciences will delve into the unique history of the Island by talking to the few remaining survivors and family members that were affected, plus those whose family history relates to the event. The Flood resulted in 58 people losing their lives and the Island population being evacuated.

Councillors, community groups and local residents have been invited to participate in the research project, which will also analyse the recovery methods undertaken to sustain the population.

The ultimate aim is to create a detailed account of residents’ stories in order to give an overview of how the tidal surge passed through the Island on 31st January, 1953.

Stephanie Armstrong, who is leading the research team while on site at Canvey Island, said: “We would like to work with local people in order to outline in detail what actually happened to the victims and how the residents coped in the immediate aftermath. If we are able to gain more knowledge of how the flood passed through the Island, we can help to inform any disaster management planning the council has in place should an event such as this happen in the future. For example, we may be able to recommend where disaster response stations are positioned.”

The team will also construct maps of where the victims were and highlight specific areas of flood risk, which could then feed into a new pre-flood plan currently being worked on by Essex Emergency Services.

Assistant Divisional Officer Martyn Hare, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The information from this research will help us in our future response and preparedness work. This project has identified the areas of Canvey most likely to be hardest hit by flooding and it gives us the intelligence we need to develop strategies to prevent flooding by getting our resources in the right place at the right time and start pumping water into the sea before roads and homes have flooded.

“The data is also helping us target advice to families living in high risk areas to make sure that they take the correct precautions and know exactly what to do if there is a flood.”

Councillor Ray Howard, from Castle Point Borough Council, said: “This research will help to support and promote the civil protection duty placed on the Council under the Civil Contingencies Act 1994 to increase preparedness and warn and inform residents regarding the measures which exist to deal with any emergency taking place in the Borough and the findings of the research will be made available to the public.”

Overseeing the project is Dr Lucy Easthope, senior lecturer at the University of Lincoln and an expert in mass fatality disasters.

Dr Easthope has advised governments, corporations and relief agencies in the aftermath of major incidents, including the 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes in New Zealand, as well as developing contingency plans, training programmes and exercises with a number of international organisations.

Interviews with residents will take place at Canvey Fire Station from 10am to 6pm on 23rd and 24th July, 2015.

Research will feed into protecting vulnerable people from fraud

A PhD researcher from the University of Lincoln, UK, was invited to attend a prestigious conference that brought together key parties to look at how to protect vulnerable customers in the banking industry.

The ‘Collaborate, Innovate, Protect’ Conference, hosted by Barclays in Canary Wharf, London, involved a number of organisations including the Metropolitan Police, Age UK, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, British Gas and the Home Office.

Emma Stanley, who is currently studying for her PhD within the School of Life Sciences, was invited to attend the event along with her supervisor Dr Lucy Easthope.

The purpose of the day was to spark ideas in order to provide effective solutions that could be used to protect vulnerable customers against issues such as fraud and scams.

Many issues were discussed including; who should be classed as ‘vulnerable’, how much responsibility should each organisation take when dealing with a vulnerable customer and how should vulnerable customers be dealt with to both enable and protect them. The thoughts raised by these discussions could then be used to improve current practices used by all the organisations in attendance.

Emma, whose research area focusses on document forensics and the changing role of the signature, said: “This event was a great opportunity to showcase my research, which is looking into Elder Financial Abuse from a forensic document examiners perspective. I am specifically interested in inter-family abuse and the evolution of the signature plus the transition to the digital world. It was a fantastic networking event and has provided many opportunities for future collaborations with multiple organisations.”

Lincoln supporting girl power in the sciences

The University of Lincoln, UK, is spearheading equality and opportunity for female academics, providing numerous funding schemes, inspirational lectures and mentoring programmes.

A new report details the University’s successes since signing up to the Athena SWAN charter, which encourages institutions to develop employment practices to advance the representation, plus further and support the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).

Professor Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor of the University of Lincoln, said: “This report provides clear evidence of the impact Athena SWAN has had both at institutional level and for individuals. The University of Lincoln’s support of women’s science careers benefits everyone as we attract and, most importantly, retain female academics who might otherwise be forced to consider other employment routes. I am extremely proud of the great strides the University has made in addressing the underrepresentation of women in STEMM and look forward to seeing the Athena SWAN principles become more deeply embedded within the institution.”

A number of supportive initiatives have been set up by the Women in Science, Engineering and Technology Group (WiSE@Lincoln), together with a blog site developed to provide a central information point for STEMM-specific career guidance, training, support and inspiration for female academics.

One of these is the WiSE Academic Returners’ Research Fund, which enables female scientists to plan and sustain their research activities either during or after maternity leave.

One recipient is Dr Lucy Easthope, from the School of Life Sciences, who works in the field of Disaster Victim Identification and Mass Fatalities Planning.

She said: “The University values and supports women working in science. I am passionate about my work and my research and that means I have always been determined to manage my research life alongside motherhood. The field in which I work changes very quickly and reimagines with every new incident so it is essential to stay current. The funding has meant that I didn’t fall behind with opportunities or access to events, and has enabled me to start a research project which will hopefully lead to much greater funding in the future.”

The University has also provided opportunities to academics who have taken extended career breaks, through the Back to Science Fellowships. The aim is to enable Research Associates to kick-start their careers by joining an established research group and gaining contemporary research experience.

Physicist Fiona Bissett and ecologist Dr Graziella Iossa received the first two awards and are now undertaking research projects alongside academic colleagues in Lincoln’s College of Science.

In addition, the Charlotte Angas Scott Research Fellowship has been introduced to encourage more postdoctoral women in the fields of engineering and computer science. The 2015 Fellowship has been awarded to Dr Liyun Gong and is a joint appointment between the Schools of Computer Science and Engineering.

The University of Lincoln has also introduced the Be Inspired! lecture series, which sees eminent female scientists deliver high-profile research lectures at the University; and The Newton Academy – a three-year program for 10-14 year olds to encourage young girls to pursue post-16 study and careers in science and technology.

2015 will see a Student Athena SWAN Committee established to engage the student body in the Athena SWAN principles.

Professor Belinda Colston, University of Lincoln’s Athena SWAN Coordinator, said: “The University has come a long way in its Athena SWAN journey over the past year – many new initiatives have been launched as the University strives to change organisational culture – and the Athena SWAN principles are becoming firmly embedded in everything we do. But it doesn’t stop here. We have a five-year plan to take the University further forward and will start to see the further impact of current initiatives and future plans that are in the pipeline.”

Award for collaborative activity

A book, which included a chapter by disaster response expert Dr Lucy Easthope from the University of Lincoln, has won an award from the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST).

‘Disaster and Politics: Materials, Experiments, Preparedness’ (Wiley-Blackwell 2014) was awarded the Amsterdamska Award for ‘a significant creative collaboration in an edited book in the broad field of science and technology studies’ at the EASST Conference held in Torun, Poland.

The EASST Council stated: “This book represents a long-standing, extensive, diverse and interactive collaboration among senior and junior European and international STS colleagues. The edited collection contributes original insights into disasters, their ontology, governance and related preparedness. Its creative development of the theme enriches a core concern of the Science and Technology Studies domain.”

Dr Easthope’s chapter ‘Technologies of recovery: plans, practices and entangled politics in disaster’ was written in collaboration with Professor Maggie Mort from Lancaster University.

The chapter states: “Recovery practices following the loss of home, sense of security, space and possessions have recently become a focus of UK government attention. How people recover from disasters is seen to have a direct bearing on individual, community and economic well-being, so that the recovery itself becomes a form of social change.

“A plethora of instruments: templates, checklists and guidance documents have been produced to effect this recovery. We term these ‘technologies of recovery’, which work within a wider context of disaster planning aimed at bringing order where much is uncertain, reactive and dependent on emerging relations between people, things and spaces.”