Innovation Fellowships Scheme – Route A (Researcher-led): 2021-2022 award list

Funded by

Dr Maria Abranches

Co-applicant: Miss Amy Yvonne Lythgoe, (Together Now and Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit), North West Association of Directors of Children’s Services c/o Bolton Council


When the Dust Settles: Exploring the Lived Experience of Refugee Families after Reunion

University of East Anglia


The research aims at understanding the lived experience of refugee families one or more years after the arrival of relatives through the process of family reunion. Increasing knowledge in this area will fill a gap in the refugee studies literature and simultaneously address some of the limitations faced by organisations that wish to provide support in this important but less understood life stage of refugee families, subsequent to the better documented period that immediately follows reunion. Researcher and co-applicant (Together Now, a charity supporting refugee family reunion) will combine expertise and experience while implementing the research. We will use participatory audio-visual and narrative methods in three research activities (1. walking interviews with participatory photography and soundscapes; 2. narrative interviews; 3. digital storytelling), as well as reflective workshops with participants, to co-create spaces of trust where in-depth knowledge of diverse and complex realities that often lies unarticulated can be uncovered.

Dr Paul Andell

Co-applicant: Mrs Kelly Gray, Eastern Region Special Operations Unit


Co-production in Policy and Practice to Address Criminal Exploitation in County Lines

University of Suffolk


County Lines is a relatively new phenomenon which recruits vulnerable young people to distribute illicit drugs in out-of-town locations. Practitioners and policy makers need greater clarity of the issues involved in criminal exploitation and modern slavery as they may not recognise actions as exploitative and dangerous or have conflicting ideas of how to address these issues. The proposed action research project will explore processes, and difficulties encountered, in County Lines related safeguarding investigations and consequent interventions from relevant agencies in three geographic areas selected by our partner the National County Lines Coordination Centre, which include, West Yorkshire, the Eastern Region and a London borough. The research will assist in training practitioners from different agencies and will produce regional action plans and national guidelines for multi-agency work. The project will also facilitate new knowledge production regarding criminal exploitation by comparing any similarities and differences of processes of exploitation across sites.

Professor Xuemei Bian

Co-applicant: Mr David Humperies, UK Intellectual Property Office


Trademark Infringement and Social Media - A Collaborative Approach

Northumbria University


Counterfeits, a prominent form of trademark infringement, discourage innovation and creation, the engine of the modern economy. Counterfeits could also cause detrimental damage to stakeholders (e.g., consumers and trademark owners). Worryingly, the world has seen an unprecedented upsurge of counterfeits in recent years fuelled by irresponsible use of social media. Counterfeits on social media impose new challenges because they are more difficult to identify and trace. Research on counterfeit related trademark infringement and social media has developed over the past 15 years since the era of social media started, thus justifying a review of the literature that takes stock of what is known about counterfeits and social media and what is still to be discovered. The project also presents a well-thought dissemination plan to ensure that the review outputs will serve as a roadmap of trademark infringement research and will be used to inform policy-making and shape anti-counterfeiting strategies.

Dr Georgina Brown

Co-applicant: Dr Christin Kirchhuebel, Soundscape Voice Evidence


Identifying speakers who speak an unfamiliar language: finding and sharing a solution to foreign-language evidence in forensic speech casework

Lancaster University


It is possible to differentiate among people by analysing their voices. Forensic speech science is a field that takes advantage of this to make assessments about the identity of unknown speakers in incriminating recordings (e.g. fraudulent telephone calls and covert recordings). Forensic speech analysis is regularly carried out on some of the world’s major languages where we have the language-specific knowledge, expertise and resources to do so. However, cases arise that involve languages that are not among the few we have the expertise or resources to analyse. Such cases therefore often go unanalysed, meaning that this potentially valuable voice evidence does not contribute towards criminal investigations or the justice system. In collaboration with Soundscape Voice Evidence (a UK-based forensic speech analysis provider), this project will first identify an analysis solution for these, so-called, “foreign-language cases” before taking steps to share the solution and guidance with relevant stakeholders.

Dr Nick Clare

Co-applicant: Mr Henri Baptiste, Pathway Housing Solutions


Race, class, and adverse indebtedness: combatting forced labour through Housing Associations

University of Nottingham


Safeguarding tenants from forced labour is a key task for Housing Associations. Sir Peter Fahy, chairing a network for The National Housing Federation, noted the pressing nature of understanding “modern slavery, trafficking, county lines and cuckooing” for the sector. But there is growing evidence that insufficient research into everyday indebtedness and its knock-on effect for Housing Associations – in terms of their income and service-provision – is affecting the ability to innovate effective solutions. Nottingham has been classed as the UK’s poorest city for five of the last seven years with extremely high levels of problem debt, yet in 2017 made the world’s first commitment to becoming a ‘slavery-free city’. It is thus an ideal urban laboratory in which to explore the intersectional drivers of indebtedness, the vulnerability to forced labour these cause, and the unique, yet unexamined role that Housing Associations can play in either inadvertently perpetuating or combatting forced labour.

Dr Oliver Cox

Co-applicant: Dr Tarnya Cooper, National Trust


‘Private’ spaces for Public Benefit? Country Houses as sites for research and knowledge exchange innovation

University of Oxford


In 2019 over 50 million people visited a country house. In partnership with the world’s largest single holder of historic country houses, the National Trust (NT), this Fellowship address a strategic innovation challenge: how to transform visitor experience from passive consumption to active engagement with these historical spaces and collections.

It will map the barriers to presentation and interpretation of country houses which are both former homes, early art galleries and now public heritage spaces. It will explore how we manage and navigate this shift from private to public, questioning if these places should be presenting what is left as a time capsule of a period when gifted for public use, or focussing on what is most significant? It will use methodologies from the museum sector to create new approaches for historic interiors, looking at case studies in the USA and northern Europe, and build new collaborative communities of practice.

Dr Zack Grant

Co-applicant: Dr Kathleen Henehan, Resolution Foundation


Are Generations Selfish? How Can Policy-Makers Bridge the Age Divide in British Politics?

University of Oxford


Britain’s biggest policy challenges concern intergenerational justice. From the housing shortage to pension costs, from the social care crisis to Covid-19 public debt, from meeting our COP26 emission targets to reversing the spike in child mental illness. Our ageing population and pressures on new generations require a novel policy-making perspective. It involves asking different age cohorts to make sacrifices for policies and expenditure that offer themselves little, if any, material benefit. And yet we know extremely little about the scale and origin of intergenerational altruism, or if a policy programme could unite citizens across the age distribution. This joint University of Oxford—Resolution Foundation bid will utilise an innovative survey experiment, gather original new data and harmonise existing secondary data to explain what makes different age groups support each other on economic and social policy, and propose the most politically viable solutions to our current intergenerational public policy dilemmas.

Dr Jamie Hagen

Co-applicant: Anupama Ranawana, Christian Aid UK


Queering Women, Peace and Security (WPS): Improving Engagement with Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LBTQ) women in WPS Programming

Queen's University Belfast


Despite 20+ years of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSC) 1325, and continued discussions of the Women Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, WPS still has a limited perspective on sexual and gender minorities. The project challenges the limited heteronormative understanding of how gender matters to securing peace by prioritizing the experiences of lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer (LBTQ) women in peacebuilding. The proposed research project includes a range of activities across academia, policy and practice developed in partnership with Christian Aid (CA), working with CA UK as well as CA Colombia. The application of this research will provide insights on the ongoing challenges of how best to include, learn from and prioritize the experiences of LBTQ women to queer WPS in practice. This project will also engage with and support ongoing work to queer WPS through the implementation of UN SCR 1325 by the leading Colombian LGBTIQ+ organization Colombia Diversa.

Dr Martin Harris

Co-applicant: Mr Peter Fairley, Essex County Council


Building project identity in health and social care partnerships

University of Essex


The proposed programme is a knowledge exchange project that will allow the applicant to engage with managers, data analysts and front line care professionals who are currently seeking to integrate previously fragmented care services provided by a local authority and an NHS Foundation Trust. This work would allow the applicant to build local capacity for organizational learning and multi-disciplinary team working across previously separate professional jurisdictions. A knowledge-sharing event would showcase insights and benefits from the engagement to an invited audience of policy makers, care professionals, local NHS care commissioners and academics. Outputs from the engagement would include a conference paper that will report initial project findings, managerial learning tools and academic papers that will relate key findings from the engagement to contemporary debates on how care professionals can operate across the fixed boundaries and hierarchies that have long characterised the UK health and social care system.

Dr Arlene Holmes-Henderson

Co-applicant: Ms Rebecca Earnshaw, Voice 21 Oracy


Levelling up through talk: how do oracy skills contribute to social mobility and employability?

University of Oxford


The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) aims to 'unleash innovation throughout the country to increase productivity and global influence'. It also wants to 'back long-term growth by boosting enterprise and making the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business'. Yet UK employers have identified a fundamental problem: a 2016 survey by the Confederation of British Industries found that 50% of businesses were unsatisfied with school leavers’ skills in communication. A Knowledge Exchange partnership with UK educational charity Voice 21 Oracy will facilitate the first large-scale analysis of oracy's impact on young people's skills acquisition, including their social mobility and employability. This will fill gaps in the existing evidence base helping policymakers understand better the connection between 'speaking well', socio-economic status and employment destinations. We will investigate significant societal challenges while delivering concrete outcomes which provide value for teachers, learners and employers.

Dr Samuel Johnson-Schlee

Co-applicant: Ms Cato Hunt, Space Doctors


Gaseous Domesticities: Learning from commercial cultural analysis to produce strategies to encourage domestic energy transition

London South Bank University


The social sciences and humanities have a vital role to play in the development of solutions to real-world problems such as the need to transition British homes away from natural gas use. The aim to achieve net zero will hinge on a transition in domestic energy use. This challenge is not only infrastructural and behavioural but cultural. A better understanding of the cultural relationship between householders and domestic energy will inform more effective communications strategy in order to change everyday practice in the home. This project is a collaboration with a market research agency who specialise in machine learning enabled cultural analysis. It will produce new approaches to analysing complex SHAPE data that learn from commercially developed methods. In turn this project will produce a set of communications strategies which are informed by a more complex and nuanced approach to culture than is normally achievable within a commercial context.

Professor Jason Lee

Co-applicant: Mr Terry Bamber, Jones Bamber Productions


Meeting the Screenwriting Skills Gap: Evolving Innovation in the British Film Industry Through Mental Health and Disability Equality

De Montfort University


This higher education (HE) and industry collaboration tackles a dual need through meeting the UK film industry's screenwriting skills gap by enabling those with mental ill-health and/or disabilities to join the industry. The UK film industry is booming. New Sky Studios in Elstree alone will create 3,000 jobs. Inward investment in the industry is £3 billion with the domestic industry matching this figure. The industry is struggling to find employees who have the necessary skills in screenwriting. This project analyses this opportunity through expanding the knowledge of mental health and disability in HE and the film industry advancing screenwriting quality and employment. Those with disabilities are the most discriminated against group in the industry; almost nine out of 10 in the industry have poor mental health. The reasons for this are addressed with solutions implemented through critical and creative outputs meeting this urgent two-fold need for equality and skills.

Dr Pam Lowe

Co-applicant: Dr Patricia Lohr, British Pregnancy Advisory Service


Enhancing Practice Around Reproductive Coercion within Reproductive Health Services

Aston University


Reproductive coercion and abuse (RCA) has been defined as attempts to control pregnancy through interference, abuse, threats and violence. Pregnancy is a recognised time for the initiation and escalation of domestic abuse, and thus interactions with reproductive healthcare providers are a key site for the identification and introduction to victim support services. This project aims to facilitate cross-learning, and build innovative responses to RCA by bringing together knowledge and understanding from the gender-based violence sector with reproductive health organisations. Working with BPAS, it focuses on innovation, service development, and learning from the recent introduction of telemedical services in abortion care. By engaging with existing academic and practice knowledge and relevant stakeholders, it also seeks to make a wider contribution by developing an ongoing network of expertise around RCA that can be utilised beyond the fellowship by healthcare organisations.

Dr Andrew Russell

Co-applicants: Mr Robert Allen, Policy Connect; Sayers and Partners


Managing UK flood risk in a changing climate: what is the government trying to achieve with its policies and is there a better approach?

Queen Mary University of London


Flood risk management (FRM) in the UK is overseen and implemented by layers of governance bodies that frequently introduce new (sometimes conflicting) policies, plans and strategies. Despite all the stakeholders, plans and investments, there is no clear, overarching articulation of what FRM policies are trying to achieve in the short-, medium- or long-term.

This Innovation Fellowship will address this problem by:

  1. Analysing all the policies, plans and strategies to develop a concept map of current statements that can be interpreted as goals/targets;
  2. Conducting surveys and interviews with FRM practitioners and experts to assess their interpretation of current FRM targets and what they believe the target should be;
  3. Developing a framework to enable policymakers to understand the adaptation options required to meet new quantified targets.

Steps 1 and 2 will be conducted with Policy Connect. Step 3 will be completed with Sayers and Partners.

Dr Angelika Strohmayer

Co-applicant: Mrs Dawn Harrison, Changing Lives


Crafting Infrastructures of Inclusion

Northumbria University


‘Crafting Infrastructures of Inclusion’ is a 12-month collaborative research project between Dr Angelika Strohmayer and Dawn Harrison at Changing Lives aiming to innovate inclusion policies in arts and heritage venues and service delivery for criminal justice support organisations; build links between academia and third sector organisations (women’s criminal justice support services and arts and heritage venues); and improve direct connections between researchers, policymakers, and people with lived experience locally and regionally in Northumberland through collaborative textiles work. Drawing on new Ministry of Justice guidance for holistic support, criminology and design literatures, and expertise by experience, we will facilitate textiles workshops with women with experience of the criminal justice system to cocreate chair and cushion covers, creating infrastructures for the development of inclusivity policies. In summary, our project will: (1) develop physical and felt infrastructures for inclusion through participatory craft practices; (2) empower women offenders to shape arts and heritage venue inclusion policies; and (3) create impact-driven collaborations for inclusive services, venues, and policies.

Dr Danielle Tucker

Co-applicant: Ms Victoria Bianca Collier, Inoapps


Change Agent Learning and Development Toolkit

University of Essex


Organisations do not understand why supporting employees who implement organisational change is essential to ensure change success. By analysing the experience of 25 change agents in large change implementation projects I will identify how change agent role activities, relationships and mindset, influence successful change management. By partnering with Inoapps – a UK-based global change management consultancy firm – I will make direct connections between research and industry to develop an innovative approach to change agent learning and development and create a pathway to impacting multinational organisations. Through this partnership, this research will increase industry focus on the personal and career development of thousands of employees who would otherwise be left to bear the burden of work intensification and uncertainty during change implementation. This research will provide an evidence base and business case for investment in change agent experience and produce a digital toolkit to support individual skill development during change.

Dr Sofia Vougioukalou

Co-applicant: Ms Sally Lewis, Arts Council Wales


Creative ageing and social prescribing: Bridging the gap between diverse service users, service providers and policy makers in Wales

Cardiff University


Social prescribing is a non-pharmacological approach to supporting people’s health and wellbeing through referrals to meaningful activity such as the arts. In the UK it is a key policy area linked to the personalised healthcare agenda which aims to cut the booming cost of an ageing population. The applications of ‘arts on prescription’ are complex and often exclusive of the communities that need interventions the most. Particularly, when engaging older adults with experiences of social isolation and/or dementia, there are barriers such as digital literacy, access to devices, capacity to consent, cultural and aesthetic preferences. Creative practitioners and service users hold most of the information on impact - it’s a predominantly oral, experiential and private body of knowledge. Ethnographic and participatory approaches are therefore highly suited to document and translate this knowledge to policy makers. This will contribute to cost-effective solutions tailored to the specialised needs of our ageing population.

Dr Helen Williams

Co-applicant: Dr Ruth Frendo, Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers


Communicating Women's Work in the Historical Archive

Northumbria University


This project takes as its case study the hidden women working in a range of book trades in eighteenth-century England. It reconsiders the 600-year old archive of the Stationers' Company, the guild historically responsible for the training of book trade personnel. Using existing archives that evidence women's labour in the book trades, labour which has been mystified by historic bias, it makes visible to public audiences those women and their work through a co-designed knowledge exchange project with the Stationers' Company Archive. This project proposes an online exhibition, a finding aid, an archival guidance document, a training course for communications professionals and interested members of the public, a CPD workshop, and an online roundtable. It thereby aims to improve the visibility of diverse heritage in one of the UK's major livery companies and to foster more inclusive research and archival practices within academia and the wider archives community.

Dr Kim Wiltshire

Co-applicant: Ms Dawn Prescott, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust


Embedding Arts in Healthcare: Tackling the staff mental health crisis in the NHS through creative arts workshops

Edge Hill University


Embedding Arts in Healthcare aims to shift the purpose of arts as an ‘add-on’ to healthcare, and instead centralise arts within wellbeing and good mental health practice for NHS staff to access during work time.

In partnership with Lime, the arts department of Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, the project will shift focus from patient-centred participatory arts, about which there is much academic research across a range of areas, to NHS staff participation, around which there is very little discussion.

Building on a previous successful arts-based pilot project with Lime, this project aims to go further by running arts workshops during the working day within healthcare settings, rather than staff having engage with workshops in their own time. The project aims to change ideas and policy around how creativity can be used within healthcare, to improve wellbeing and mental wellness for NHS staff.

Dr Karen Wood

Co-applicant: Mr Andrew Hurst, One Dance UK


Freelance Dance Artists and Representation

Coventry University


This project will bring together freelance dance artists, representative agencies, policy makers, organisations and academics with a view to inform and influence public opinion, policy and practice. We will explore the working practice of freelance dance artists, how they are represented to policy makers and how they participate in policy making and decisions.

Covid-19 has highlighted the fragility of the economic model that supports the freelancers and how they have been overlooked for support from government in their financial offers to the cultural sector. This situation has galvanised collective actions and groups to form (e.g. Freelancers Make Theatre Work, Scene/ Change) and a call to action from organisations and the government to better support freelance workers. We will explore the precarity and collective action of this group with a view to contribute to theory as well as apply practical recommendations for the freelance community.

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