Great Future

94.6% of our undergraduate students go on to work and/or further study within six months of graduating

(Destinations of Leavers Survey 2013/14)

£1m government funding takes social work training to new level

social work

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:53:00 GMT

‌The University will be part of the Government’s new Social Work Teaching Partnership scheme

social work A COMPUTER game enabling trainee social workers to immerse themselves in a wide range of challenging situations will be among the results of a Government-backed, million-pound partnership that includes the University of Huddersfield

The Departments of Health and Education have launched a major new policy of creating Social Work Teaching Partnerships that aim to raise standards of training in the social work profession by linking local authorities and universities.

Now, it has been announced that Huddersfield-based Kirklees Council is to take the lead in a large new partnership, alongside the University of Huddersfield – which has an established relationship with the Kirklees authority – plus Calderdale Council, the University of York, the City of York and North Yorkshire’s local authorities.

‌In its first phase, the new partnership and its £1 million funding will run until March 2018.  At the University of Huddersfield, senior figures in the social work division of the School of Human and Heath Sciences are making plans and will soon begin to recruit for new posts that will be created, including a number of lecturer-practitioners at the universities and practice-in-education consultants based at the local authorities.

David Croisdale-Appleby An important result of the partnership will a much-needed increase in the number of local authority work placements for social work students.  And an innovation at the University of Huddersfield will be an apprenticeship for a young adult who has recently left care.

“He or she will come and work at the University for 12 months, and have a really key role in the development of  our computer game and in providing service-user expertise across our courses – in terms of how we develop our curriculum – and interviewing students,” said  Kim Heanue, who is Subject Leader in Social Work.

‌The partnership will draw on the University’s established expertise in the design and development of serious computer games to be used as training aids.  For example, a game that addresses the issue of domestic abuse in the Caribbean has been under development.  A member of the team working on this is Principal Lecturer Gill Kirkman, Subject Leader in Social Work.

► Government adviser Professor Sir David Croisdale-Appleby was recently appointed as a visiting professor within Social Work at the University of Huddersfield.  Commenting on his appointment, Sir David said: “The community is clearly extraordinarily important to the University, and it is that symbiotic relationship that attracted me hugely to Huddersfield.”

Interactive Technology

Part of the funding from the Social Work Teaching Partnership will be used to create an immersive, interactive game that simulates a home visit by a social worker and the wide range of issues they might have to deal with.

Professor Brid Featherston “It will be used for both pre- and post-qualified students, as the accompanying teaching materials will allow the subject matter to deepen and become more complex.  It will simulate a number of home visits focussing on a number of complex issues across the life course,” said Ms Kirkman.

‌The game will adopt the “Think Family” approach, favoured by the Government, which aims to ensure that social workers are trained to deal equally effectively with both adults and children.  “It recognises is that people don’t live in isolation and that social workers work with whole families,” said Ms Heanue.

Brid Featherstone (pictured left), the University’s Professor of Social Work, said that the partnership would ensure that social work remained a buoyant subject area at Huddersfield.  She added that Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in social work is one of the special strengths of the University and now there will be an opportunity to spread and embed this across the partnership.

Ms Kirkman commented that: “We also need local authorities to retain experienced staff, and they are more likely to do that if they offer a creative and innovative approach to CPD.”

A portion of the partnership funding will be used to support research, encouraging social workers to undertake Masters and PhD programmes.

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Necrophilia – most offensive of offences, but no one prosecuted


Pietro Pajetta’s painting The Hatred (1896) located in the Museo Del Cenedese in Vittorio Veneto, Italy, and inspired by Lorenzo Stecchetti’s Song of Hate (Canto dell’Odio), which tells the story of a rejected suitor who takes his revenge on the corpse of his beloved.

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 15:47:00 GMT

Fear, embarrassment or both prevail as the UK resists prosecutions for necrophilia – even lawmakers find it difficult to confront!

Dr Jason Roach NO case of necrophilia has ever come before UK courts, although British awareness of the offence is high – and was further raised by some of the most distressing revelations about Jimmy Savile’s activities. It is also of one the dark themes of current BBC TV series Rillington Place, dramatising the crimes of 1940s mass murderer John Reginald Christie. 

Is this absence of prosecutions evidence that Britons are almost entirely resistant to necrophilic activity?  Or has national prudishness and fear of embarrassment masked the true incidence of a crime that even lawmakers have found difficult to confront?

These are issues tackled by the University of Huddersfield criminologist Dr Jason Roach (pictured right).  He was asked to provide a British perspective to an academic publication dealing with necrophilia globally.  It was a challenging assignment, and Dr Roach hopes that his chapter will prompt other researchers to investigate aspects of the topic, such as whether British people really do engage in necrophilia less than Americans.

Dr Eric Hickey The book is titled Understanding Necrophilia: A Global Interdisciplinary Approach (Cognella).  Its co-editors include Dr Eric Hickey, (pictured left) a leading U.S. expert on the psychology of crime, with whom Dr Roach has collaborated in the past, leading to an appearance by Dr Hickey at a University of Huddersfield symposium on child homicide in 2015.

The link led to an invitation to contribute to the new publication, but when he began his research, Dr Roach found that there was an almost complete absence of case studies in Britain.  In fact, he used the phrase No Necrophilia Please, We’re British as the darkly humorous title to his chapter.

He ponders a paradox that while necrophilia as a crime would appear to be almost non-existent in Britain, a very high proportion of people understand the meaning of the term.  This cannot be attributed to the media, according to Dr Roach, because the subject is rarely reported.

NecrophiliaWoodcut of François Bertrand, known as the Vampire of Montparnasse, who was arrested in 1849 for necrophilia and jailed for one year.

One hypothesis Dr Roach explores is that “the attitude of the British criminal justice system towards necrophilia echoes that of the British public, i.e. one of embarrassment, whereby those caught are either not charged with a criminal offence or, perhaps for the sake of the deceased’s family, are charged with a less degrading offence such as grave robbing.  Both routes will produce less attention-grabbing stories”.

Dr Roach analyses the attitudes of the police and the law in Britain towards necrophilia.  He provides a concise history of the legal status of the offence, complicated by ambiguities over whether a dead body can be regarded as anyone’s property.  Sexual interference with a corpse was not deemed a crime under the Sexual Offences Act of 1956, because a corpse is unable to give or withhold consent and, for the purposes of the law, is no longer a person.

Not until the Sexual Offences Act of 2003 did necrophilia become a criminal offence in its own right, but there is no evidence that anyone has ever been prosecuted.  Dr Roach’s chapter also examines police attitudes, and was told by one senior officer that it was very unlikely that police would ever urge the Crown Prosecution Service to charge an offender.

Dr Roach provides his global readers with an account of the Jimmy Savile affair – including strong suggestions that the TV and radio celebrity sexually interfered with corpses of deceased hospital patients – and concludes that for many in Britain “he is the primary reason why they know what necrophilia is in the first place”.

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£286,000 project unveils the history of the viol

Early English Viols

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 11:11:00 GMT

Professor John Bryan and Dr Michael Fleming published their findings in a newly-published book Early English Viols: Instruments, Makers and Music

John Byran IN Tudor England, the viol was one of the most prized of instruments, heard in the greatest consort music of the age.  In recent decades, it has gained new enthusiasts among musicians and audiences.  But now a University of Huddersfield professor – a leading exponent of the viol – has called for a fresh appraisal of the sheer variety of instruments used 500-400 years ago and what they can reveal about music and performance of the period.

Dr Michael Fleming Professor John Bryan, (pictured left) who has made many recordings with the internationally-known Rose Consort of Viols, is co-author of a new book that examines the viol and its makers in sixteenth and seventeenth-century England.  It is the product of a £286,596 project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.  The research fellow was Dr Michael Fleming (pictured right), a former viol maker himself, who investigated many aspects of how the instrument was made and sold, examining surviving viols and uncovering documentary evidence buried deep in archives.

The result is the newly-published Early English Viols: Instruments, Makers and Music.  It describes the discoveries made by Dr Fleming and Professor Bryan and provides food for thought to modern makers and players.

‌“The main finding from the whole project is that our conception of a viol is much too stereotypical,” said Professor Bryan.  “If we go to buy a viol nowadays, they are basically all the same model.  There are one or two originals that have been repeatedly copied.

“But pictures, surviving instruments and descriptions show that there was a huge number of different shapes and sizes and different ways of constructing the viol,” he continued.  Now Professor Bryan hopes that the new book will stimulate interest among makers and their customers to produce and commission experimental instruments based on different principles.

Book cover - Early English Viols: Instruments, Makers and Music Gut feel

The book has eight chapters, covering topics that include surviving instruments and the difficulties in interpreting them, because they have often been altered and adapted from their original state.

There is a chapter on the substantial number of images of viols – pictures, sculptures and carvings.  There are many more of these than people generally imagine, said Professor Bryan.  There is also an investigation into how a craftsman became a maker of viols in early modern England,

‌“Michael and I have come to conclusion that there was no such job description as ‘viol maker’,” said Professor Bryan.  “Many of the instruments seem to have been made by general joiners and carpenters – they would make you a wardrobe one day and a viol the next!”

The book uncovers evidence about materials, including woods and strings that were available to the makers of five centuries ago.  This is invaluable for modern makers who want to produce accurate reproductions, said Professor Bryan, whose own Rose Consort has adopted a policy of using only plain gut strings.

This helps with issues such as the relationships between instruments and the voices they accompanied or imitated.  “Gut strings help you with consonants and add clarity to the sound,” said Professor Bryan, who has contributed a chapter on what music for viols reveals about the instruments it was written for.

  • Early English Viols: Instruments, Makers and Music, by Michael Fleming and John Bryan, is published by Routledge.
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University secures new £30 million Future Metrology Research Hub


Mon, 05 Dec 2016 11:29:00 GMT

‌The new Research Hub is one of six created by funding from Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Professor Jane Jiang THE University of Huddersfield is to lead a new £30 million research centre to help transform UK manufacturing. 

The Future Metrology Hub will be based in the University’s Centre for Precision Technologies, home to a team of world-renowned researchers in precision engineering and metrology.

Researchers at the universities of Sheffield, Loughborough and Bath will provide complementary expertise and support, as will the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) from its bases at Teddington and Huddersfield.  Building upon these groups’ existing track-record and achievements, the Hub will address major, long-term challenges facing UK manufacturing industries.

A large team of industrial partners – including famous companies from a wide variety of industrial sectors – will also provide funding and support to the Hub.  More than £30 million has so far been pledged across the consortium, and new partners will be sought as the research progresses.‌

As part of the Government’s commitment to supporting world-leading manufacturing research in the UK, the Huddersfield research centre will receive a major investment of £10 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and be one of six new Future Manufacturing Research Hubs.

The Huddersfield-led Hub will be headed by Professor Jane Jiang, (pictured left) whose distinctions include the award earlier this year of the Renishaw/Royal Academy Chair in Precision Metrology.

Researcher “Our vision is to develop new technologies and universal methods that will integrate measurement science with design and production processes to improve control, quality and productivity.  These will become part of the critical infrastructure for a new generation of digital, high value manufacturing, the so called 4th industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0.” said Professor Jiang. 

The term ‘Industry 4.0’ has been coined to describe the digitisation and automation of manufacturing, using the power of modern computers and technology such as networks of sensors and the massive amounts of data they can collect.  These technologies are acknowledged by government as being critical to the future success and economic prosperity of manufacturing in the UK, in the face of low-cost overseas competition.

‌“We’ve built a really strong consortium of researchers, technology developers, service providers and manufacturing end-users to deliver our Hub vision.” said Simon McKenna, who is the Hub’s Director of Operations.  “Having this extended team in place will ensure outputs from the research programme are fully exploited to deliver real and lasting impact for the UK economy.”

The Hub, which will come into existence in early 2017, builds directly upon the existing EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Advanced Metrology, also hosted at Huddersfield.  This Centre has developed award-winning new technologies over the past five years for in-process measurement and control.  The Future Metrology Hub will enable this existing research to be taken to the next level to support a UK manufacturing transformation.  

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