Newton Mobility Grant Awards 2018

Funded by


Professor Gabrielle Bittelbrun, Universidade de Blumenau

Professor Ivana Ebel, University of Derby

Cross Cultural Feminism: Race, Gender and Body Representation in Mainstream and Alternative Magazines in Brazil and in the United Kingdom – promoting transnational debate and knowledge exchange to learn the socio-economic implications of misrepresentation.

NMGR1180522                                  One Year                                              £9,970.00                                           

There exists a powerful relation between gender, race and socio-economical aspects. Unequivocally, media – here represented by magazines – plays an important role in perpetuating stereotypes that fail to represent the society. It means that this deformed representation impacts not only the females’ self-perception and, consequently, mental health, but has an important role in maintaining socio-economic disparities. The lack of representation – and the misrepresentation – has impacts that go beyond self-esteem. It helps to build stereotypes that, in the end, have economic implications and prevent women from achieving social and economic equality. In different degrees, Brazil and the United Kingdom struggle on increasing gender equality. Pay gaps exist in both countries, generating profound cultural and economic impacts. The intention is to use the research to promote consciousness, ethics and change the approach by educating researchers, staff and consequently the students in both that would represent the next generations of magazine journalists in both countries.  The project scope deals directly with the core concepts of the Development Assistant Committee of the OECD on Gender Equality (GENDERNET), that involves experts to develop co-operation to support gender equality and women’s rights.


Professor Xiang Gao, Peking University 

Professor Jing Zhang, Royal Holloway, University of London

The illumination of the child protection framework in the United Kingdom to Chinese child protection policies and practices

NMG2R3\100178                                              One Year                                              £10,000.00

China has the largest child population in the world; however, its child protection policies are residual, fragmented, and largely inefficient. The child protection practices are passive and at a low level of quality. The United Kingdom has one of the most developed child protection systems in the world. It holds, potentially, great value for Chinese scholars to understand how the UK’s child protection framework developed and how it functions today. This program will arrange local visits of researchers/educators, seminars with graduate level students, and research paper development between scholars in China and UK. It will benefit China for future child policy and practice development. It will also contribute to the comparative research for UK scholars in the child protection discussions.

Professor Dingwei Gu, Fudan University

Professor Hanwen Sun, University of Bath

Strategic Insider Trading: A Balancing Act between Information Flows and Trading Competition to improve market efficiency and transparency in China.

NMG2R3\100018                                              One Year                                              £9,985.00

Corporate insiders are assumed to be informed due to their privileged access to non-public and material information. Understanding their trading pattern can significantly help promote price discovery and market fairness in the capital market. We plan to investigate the strategic trading behaviours of corporate insiders in the Chinese stock market as China is an ideal representative for emerging market with weak institutions for corporate governance. We propose that insiders are strategic with a balancing act between information flows and trading competition. Specifically, the insiders may strategically reduce their trade volume to camouflage private information flows to other sophisticated investors like short sellers, as trading aggressively might reduce their future profit. Moreover, if short sellers are more sensitive to insider trades, the insider trading pattern is more likely to be that they trade multiple times with very small volume each time, pretending to be liquidity traders. This proposal is directly and primarily relevant to the sustainable development of the capital market in China, i.e. market efficiency and fairness. The outputs of the study will increase the current knowledge available to various regulators, investment professional associations and their advisers in the financial industry. The research will have practical implications by highlighting that insider trading behaviour is the balancing act between information flows and trading competition. The project will also help to strengthen the research capacity of the Research team in Fudan University and Bath University.


Professor Alfonso Miranda, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE)

Professor Yu Zhe, University of Dundee

Determinants of school performance and education inequality in Mexico: Lessons we can learn from the baseline of the longitudinal study of child development in Aguascalientes (EDNA)

NMG2R3\100110                                              One Year                                              £9,976.47

Evidence-based policies require sound knowledge on the link between a given intervention and its effects. However, the current systems in Mexico do not allow the effects of public policy to be evaluated due to a lack of state-of-the-art data. To fill this gap in 2016 PANEL initiated a longitudinal study of the development of the children in the state of Aguascalientes, Mexico. The study will follow every two years 1000 children in 100 public primary schools. The funding of the Newton Mobility Grant offers a great opportunity to add value to the EDNA Project. It will not only enhance the quality and impact of the research projects resulting from the first wave of EDNA through international collaboration, but also help to inform the design of questionnaires of future waves. Moreover, it will foster long-term research collaboration between CIDE and Dundee and facilitate joint funding applications in the future.

Professor Juan Antionio Fernandez, Universidad Tecmilenio

Professor Daniel Branch, University of Warwick

The Early Mexican Drug Trade – demystifying the trade with knowledge exchange and an accurate portrayal of its everyday mechanics.

NMGR1180504                                  One Year                                              £3,3911.80

Mexico has been at the centre of the international drug trade since the United States banned the import of narcotics at the beginning of the twentieth century. From the late 1930s onward, farmers from the northwestern state of Sinaloa started to dominate the trade, growing poppies, extracting raw opium gum, and processing it into smoking opium, heroin, or morphine. Within a decade, the head of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics declared that Sinaloa was "the source of at least half America's drugs". Discussing the history of drug trade in Mexico is still frowned upon. Much of Mexico’s understanding of the trade is based on the mythologizing of narcocorridos and other forms of narcocultura. This project aims to map out the early stages of this trade, plot the hierarchy of producers, intermediaries, and wholesalers, and pinpoint the ways in which political and economic elites backed, benefited from, and protected the trade.  Key to building a Mexico that is not reliant on the products of the illegal narcotics is knowledge exchange, demystifying the trade and presenting a relatively accurate portrayal of its everyday mechanics.

South Africa

Professor Kristina Riedel, University of the Free State

Professor Hannah Gibson, University of Essex

Variation in Sesotho and Setswana as spoken in the Free State

NMG2R3\100036                                              One Year                                              £9,644.00

This project aims to provide an initial linguistic description of two languages spoken in the Free State, South Africa – Sesotho and Setswana. In addition to regional variation, there are signs that ‘standard’ varieties used in formal contexts, diverge substantially from contemporary spoken forms. The research seeks to improve our understanding of this variation, with a goal to contributing to the development of more appropriate resources. The programme will combine primary research with speakers, a training-focused workshop with research students and early career researchers and scholarly outputs. The project seeks to build capacity in language description and documentation skills in the local research community, and to encourage synergy between language description and applied linguistics, particularly in relation to educational contexts. The research will also contribute to the development of African language resources, as well as to the visibility of research on African languages in the South African higher education environment.

Professor Mamamelela Matlhako, University of Fort Hare

Professor Noelia-Sarah Reynolds, University of Essex

The role of social capital among entrepreneurs in marginalised communities in South Africa

NMG2R3\100097                                              One Year                                              £9,980.00

Since gaining independence from apartheid, the South African government has implemented various measures designed to improve economic development of historically disadvantaged communities in South Africa. Some of these measures have focused on developing capacity of entrepreneurial ventures in disadvantaged communities such as those found in the Eastern Cape province. Practical measures to improve entrepreneurial capacity in such regions have included provision of finance, training and physical infrastructure. Despite such efforts, entrepreneurs in disadvantaged communities tend to rely mainly on their social relations for support and resources. Although research evidence shows that social networks and social capital facilitate entrepreneurial development in many ways, the importance of social capital among entrepreneurs in historically marginalized communities in Eastern Cape, the poorest region in South Africa, remains under-researched. We therefore interview entrepreneurs in the Eastern Cape province so as to explore the role of social capital for their ventures.

Dr Sarah Skeen, Stellenbosch University

Dr Graham Moore, Cardiff University

Complex interventions for adolescent mental health and well-being in South Africa: Capacity

NMG2R3\100153                                              One Year                                              £10,000.00

Researchers from the Institute for Child and Adolescent Health Research (ICAHR), at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, and the Centre for the Development and Evaluation for Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer), at Cardiff University in the UK, propose to embark on a programme of capacity development of emerging researchers from South Africa, and to further develop research collaboration between both institutions. In order to meet these objectives, we propose that a delegation from DECIPHer visits South Africa in mid-2019, with the aim of i) implementing a teaching programme on complex intervention development, implementation and evaluation, ii) consulting on current areas of collaboration, and iii) planning for the development of a future joint programme of work. These proposed activities will result in the development of a research proposal, one journal article and one edited book chapter for broader dissemination.

Professor Helen Scanlon, University of Cape Town

Professor Jelke Boesten, King's College London

Building Inclusive Histories in Transition: Symbolic Reparations, Memorial Arts and Gender-based Violence in Comparative Perspective - promoting transformative gender justice.

NMGR1180547                                                  One Year                                              £9,012.00

In the last two decades there has been global momentum to address sexual violence in conflict, as well as an emphasis on women in peacebuilding. UN resolutions and guidelines such as SCR 1325 urge governments and peacemakers to include women in peace and reconstruction processes and address gendered harms, and transitional justice and reparation programmes are now expected to include a gender perspective. This project will explore the ways in which post-conflict symbolic reparations - that is recognition of harms done through, for example, memorials, museums, or arts - can contribute to debating and unsettling harmful gender norms that may have contributed to specifically gendered harms in conflict. The focus of this project is primarily on Peru and South Africa, both emerging economies with persistent high levels of socio-economic and gendered inequality, high levels of violence against women, an unsatisfactory transitional justice process in terms of sexual and gender-based violence and active civil society engagement with memory, art and gender.  The project will develop research in South Africa and Peru on symbolic reparations as a potential tool for transformative gender justice. It will aim to deepen the links between the department of International Development at King's College London and the Justice and Transformation Programme at the University of Cape Town, South Africa (UCT) and work on curriculum development in the area of gender and symbolic reparations that will be relevant in both South Africa and the UK. It is hoped that the project will benefit the Justice and Transformation programme of UCT which seeks to promote transformative gender justice and encourage a new cohort of young South African researchers to take these issues forward.

Professor Linda Theron, University of Pretoria

Dr Diane Levine, University of Leicester

Digital pathways of resilience: African young adults' stories of resilience to help improve well-being and livelihoods.

NMGR1180547                                                  One Year                                              £9,395.00

In the face of adversity, developing our understanding of how adolescents adapt well to their challenging circumstances – their resilience - is increasingly important in order to sustain mental and physical health, and in turn support them to contribute to society and the economy. Resilience is associated with improved learning outcomes, and a reduction in risk-taking behaviours. Research theorising the ways technology could be harnessed to enable resilience in resource-constrained African communities is under-explored. This project will explore these issues using digital storytelling in Secunda, a town in one of the poorest provinces of South Africa where almost a third (30.7%) of 15-24 year olds living there are not engaged in education, employment or training. In parallel, the project will deliver training in Pretoria to support post-graduate students to engage digital story techniques in their studies. Publications and a toolkit will be produced for educational psychologists and teachers working in a resource-constrained setting.  Developing the demographic dividend lies at the heart of SDGs 1, 4, 8, 10 and 16, and this project aims to inform all of these goals. It will advance South Africa’s commitment to the SDGs and address the youth priorities in the National Development Plan, 2030 and the National Youth Policy 2015 – 2020 by contributing to i) the development of the social compact to reduce poverty and inequality, and raise employment and investment, ii) citizens’ opportunities for advancement, learning and experience, and iii) working within the community to prioritise the insights of those who are typically voiceless and marginalised, and raise social cohesion. The project also aligns with the African Union Agenda, 2063 and in particular Aspiration 6 which prioritises a people-centred Africa with "engaged and empowered youth". In proposing a collaboration which foregrounds human wellbeing, we are aligned with UP's institutional research themes and the NRF’s vision for ‘a transformed society’ by means of globally competitive and collaborative research that supports the potential for ‘human capital development’.


Dr Pichawadee Kittipanya-ngam, Thammasat University

Dr Niraj Kumar, University Liverpool

Transition towards circular agri-food systems in Thailand: Multi-stakeholders’ perspectives

NMG2R3\100120                                              One Year                                              £10,000.00

The unprecedented scale of food losses and wastes is attracting increased attention across the globe. Scarcity of natural resources and the significant impact of food wastes on socio- economic, and environmental well-being have threatened to ensure food security for all. Implementing the principles of circular supply chain in agri-food systems could lead to waste prevention and valuable usage of food wastes. In this context, the projects aim to understand the role of multiple stakeholders including the farmers, retailers, consumers and policymakers in developing a circular and sustainable agri-food system in Thailand. The findings and learning of the project will be shared with the key stakeholders in food systems such as farmers, practitioners and policymakers with the objective to improve the circularity index of agricultural produce in low- and middle-income countries. The collaboration between Thai and UK researchers will help to share knowledge and best practices in this sector.

Professor Wikanda Promkhuntong, Mahidol University

Professor Kate Taylor-Jones, University of Sheffield

Fan Tourism and the Southeast Asian Film Trails: Archive and Participatory Cultures within and beyond Colonial Nostalgia – promoting sustainable fan tourism to boost Thailand’s socio-economic development.

NMGR1180180                                  One Year                                              £10,000.00

Thailand and Southeast Asia (SEA) more broadly, significantly relies on tourism for a larger part of its economy. Recently, the phenomenon of “fan tourism” has become a key point of debate following the success of transnational films from The Beach (2000, USA) to Lost in Thailand (2012, China) and the specific form of tourism that has resulted. SEA film trails (based on popular sites featured in films) have been established and are shared both on- and off-line for potential visitors. However, existing research has tended to focus on tourist behaviours and heritage conservation within specific national states. Questions related to transnational fandom and the socio-cultural implications of their tourism are highly under-explored. It is this important gap that this project will seek to tackle. It aims to contribute to Thailand’s economic development and social welfare by promoting cultural sensitivity through transnational fan tourism and wider audiences and identifying specific locations and stakeholders for future discussions on cross-cultural understandings and academic partnerships. The importance of other related fields such as digital participatory culture and creative industries will be discussed in relation to their importance for tourism development and for future economic growth and sustainable development. The proposal includes specific training on film archival management and exploration with the idea of colonial nostalgia as one of the powerful forces driving this tourism. Training on socio-cultural history and colonial traces will allow knowledge transfer and exchange on discourses of colonialism. The project will enable the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia to expand its international networks and collaborations.


Professor Hulya Adak, Sabanci University

Professor Murat Akser, University of Ulster

Filmic representations of trauma, justice and reconciliation: A comparative exploration of research methodologies in Turkish and Northern Irish film studies and practices topromote social cohesion in Turkey.

NMG2R3\100162                                              One Year                                              £9,451.00

In the last few decades, the dominance of formal and textual analysis in film studies has been widely questioned while research focusing on alternative cultural histories of gender and ethnicities started to flourish. Even though critical historiographies of traumatic events of the twentieth century have been produced in the Turkish context, the textual film analysis approach continues to dominate studies on cinema in Turkey and many films and literary examples still replicate national imaginaries, demonising ethnic minorities and legitimising violence against them. The proposed research aims to introduce critical paradigms and methodologies into the study of cinema in Turkey. The project will focus on the social, political and cultural development challenges in Turkey by closely looking at the methodologies used to deal with and respond to Turkey’s traumatic historical past in relation to ethnic diversity, particularly events of discrimination on the road to reconciliation. These factors can be seen as a step toward achieving social cohesion and bringing about social and economic development. This project will build and strengthen the research capacity between the research group at Sabanci University and the research groups and institutes at Ulster University, by establishing new collaborative partnerships, developing longer-term links between researchers, training and transferring knowledge and skills to help strengthen the research capacity of film studies in Turkey. We hope that the partnership will enhance the competitive capacities of Turkish academics to enable them to enter international networks more easily. The mutual exchange of knowledge between the two institutions will enable early career researchers in Turkey to bridge ethnic/religious divisions through their future research in Turkey.

Professor Evinic Dogan, Akdeniz University

Professor Finola Kerrigan, University of Birmingham

A Tale of Two Cities: Investigating the Use of Virtual Reality to Connect Consumers to Culture – using knowledge creation and exchange to connect people to places and increase awareness of Turkey’s rich heritage thereby supporting sustainable tourism.

NMGR1180505                                  One Year                                              £9,838.50

The proposed research will investigate the use of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) in historic spaces with the aim of connecting consumers to culture. "A Tale of Two Cities" in the title refers to two different sites from different periods in terms of their cultural importance and symbolic value. An archaeological site from Turkey (Xanthos-Letoon), listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and excavated by Akdeniz University Department of Archaeology, has been selected to explore the story of the ancient Lycian site through immersive technology. This project fosters knowledge creation and exchange on visual research methods, place branding and storytelling between the collaborating institutions to increase capacity for future research using these methods and theoretical approaches.  Participants will aim to establish best practice in using AR/VR to better understand how to engage people with culture and heritage developing new skills in storytelling and establish research leadership in the field of marketing and consumer research by bringing innovative creative methods to the fore. Turkey will directly benefit from this proposal in developing research capacity for the young scholars as well as connecting consumers to culture and heritage to create awareness for sustainable tourism which is an important driver of growth, jobs and economic development.

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