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Civic Reception 2017: Who was involved

Find out more about our speakers, presenters and researchers. 

Professor Penny Sparke

Professor Penny Sparke

Penny Sparke is professor of design history and, currently, the Acting Dean of the Kingston School of Art at Kingston University. She studied at the University of Sussex and completed her PhD in 1975. She taught at Brighton Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art and, from 1999 to 2005, was Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design & Music and, from 2005 to 2014, a Pro Vice-Chancellor at Kingston. She has given keynote addresses, curated exhibitions, broadcast and published widely in the field of design history.

"My life changed forever when my first daughter was born when I was 38 and I then went on to have twin daughters at 40."

For more information and a list of published books and articles visit Penny's staff profile.

Dr Meg Jensen

Dr Meg Jensen

Dr Meg Jensen is associate professor of English literature and creative writing at Kingston University and director of the Life Narrative research group. Her recent research has attracted UK Government funding and she has published both critical and creative writing.

Her works include The Expressive Life Writing Handbook, co-authored with Siobhan Campbell (Beyond Borders Scotland Publishing, 2016);  'We Shall Bear Witness': Life Narratives and Human Rights (with Margaretta Jolly) University of Wisconsin Press, (2014); 'Post-Traumatic Memory Projects' in Textual Practice (2014); The Open Book, monograph, Palgrave, (2002) and the forthcoming monograph Negotiated Truths: The Art and Science of Trauma and the Autobiographical, 2018, Palgrave Life Writing Series.

"My life changed when I first began to collaborate with human rights workers from Kirkuk seeking to support victims of sexual violence in conflict through expressive writing. These men and women, living in what one described to me as 'a traumatised country' have a single aim: to help their fellow Iraqis."

For more information and a list of published books and articles visit Meg's staff profile.

Professor Brian Cathcart

Professor Brian Cathcart

Brian Cathcart is professor of journalism at Kingston University and he was one of the founders, and also the first director, of Hacked Off, the campaign for a free and accountable press. He began his career in journalism at Reuters and later joined the Independent newspaper on its launch in 1986, going on to become deputy editor of the Independent on Sunday. He later moved to the New Statesman where, among other things, he wrote a media column. From 20082010 he was specialist adviser to the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, for its investigation of press standards and phone hacking, after which he took on his leading role at Hacked Off.

As a journalist he has published widely on issues of press standards and the abuse of power by national newspapers. His books range over a variety of fields, and include Were You Still Up for Portillo? (1997), the award-winning The Case of Stephen Lawrence (1999) and most recently The News from Waterloo (2015). 

"My life changed when I began teaching. I hope I was an ethical journalist, but things were informal and I rarely considered the big picture. Because students require organised thinking I began to see my industry's ethics differently."

Follow Professor Brian Cathcart on Twitter: @BrianCathcart   

Watch his TEDx talk

For more information and a list of published books and articles visit Brian's staff profile.

Professor Andrea Petróczi

Professor Andrea Petróczi

Andrea Petróczi is a professor of public health at Kingston University. With a strong commitment to multidisciplinary research, her research explores the various forms of human enhancements, reasons that justify such practices in the broader context of human enhancement. She is an internationally recognised expert in doping research and anti-doping; and consultant to the World Anti-Doping Agency.

"My life is a constant change and it is wonderful. Every turn promises new adventures, friendships or collaborations; chances to learn something new; openings to examine my own thoughts and convictions – opportunities to grow intellectually and to do things differently."

Follow Professor Andrea Petróczi on YouTube: Safe You project.

Read more on her website.

For more information and a list of published books and articles visit Andrea's staff profile.

Dr Anke Jakob

Dr Anke Jakob

Dr Anke Jakob is a design researcher at Kingston School of Art at Kingston University.  Her research explores the design of multisensory experiences and therapeutic environments and their facilitation in the health care and wellbeing sector, in particular to the benefit of people with cognitive disabilities. A textile designer by background, she practised in the industry for several years before embarking on research and interdisciplinary projects. In 2007, Jakob was awarded a PhD for her practice-led research at Bath Spa University where she also taught digital textile design.

For more information and a list of published books and articles visit Anke's staff profile.

Professor Isabella van Elferen

Professor Isabella van Elferen

Isabella van Elferen is full professor of music, director of the Visconti Studio, and school director of research at Kingston University. She publishes on music philosophy, music and moving image, Gothic and horror music, and baroque sacred music. Isabella is first vice-president of the International Association of the Fantastic in the Arts. She is member of the editorial boards of The Soundtrack, Horror Studies, and Aeternum, and guest editor for Journal for the Fantastic in the Arts (2013), Horror Studies (2016), and Contemporary Music Review (2017).

"My life changed when music department colleagues Leah Kardos, Phil Chambon and I went to the pub together in January 2015 and talked about our dream of working with vintage equipment, researching the current analogue revival, and inviting guest producers and artists to an analogue studio at Kingston University. A year and a half later, we opened the Visconti Studio. All our dreams have come true!"

For more information and a list of published books and articles visit Isabella's staff profile.

Dr Jo Van Herwegen

Dr Jo Van Herwegen

Dr Jo Van Herwegen's research focuses mainly on language and number development in both typical and atypical developmental disorders, such as Williams syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Down syndrome, and Specific Language Impairment. Linking the aforementioned areas of research activity, she is interested in individual differences, as well as exploring what cognitive abilities and strategies relate to successful performance in typical populations and how these differ in atypical populations, in order to aid the development of economically valid training programmes.

"My life changed when I met a child with Williams syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental disorder, back when I was in Belgium in 2003. This meeting changed my professional career as well as my personal life."

Follow Dr Jo Van Herwegen on Twitter: @jovanherwegen

Read more on her website.

For more information and a list of published books and articles visit Jo's staff profile.

Katie Giles

Katie Giles

Katie Giles has been the archivist at Kingston University for over eight years.  Katie is responsible for day to day management of the University's Archives and Special Collections, which contain a range of fascinating material on a variety of subjects taught or researched by the University.  The management of the archives includes taking in new collections, their preservation, cataloguing, and promotion through display, talks, exhibitions and the archives blog.  Researchers are welcome to make appointments to see material in the archives by emailing the archives.

"My life changed when I went on work experience at Croydon Borough Archives. This was my first taste of archive work and ultimately led to me pursuing my career as an archivist, and putting my passion for history to great use!"

Dr Vladlena Benson

Dr Vladlena Benson

Having worked with networking companies during her PhD studies, Dr Vladlena Benson maintains a strong focus on information security and is a GCHQ-certified instructor in cyber security frameworks. Her strengths as an expert in online digital behaviour, are based on extensive experience and professional practice. Vladlena's research addresses the challenges of cyber security, user behaviour online, and how digital behaviour links to cyber victimisation.

As director of the Digital Behaviour Research Centre at Kingston Business School, Vladlena is leading European projects on cyber entrepreneurship, and in 2017 received the Editor's Choice Women in IT Award, for her research in promoting IT careers for women. Dr Benson publishes widely in a number of journals.

"My life changed when I stopped looking for new research questions, they found me instead."

For more information and a list of published books and articles visit Vladlena's staff profile.

Professor Mark Fielder

Professor Mark Fielder

Professor Mark Fielder was awarded a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from King's College London in 1995, winning the Tadion Rideal Prize for outstanding postgraduate work. He then undertook a postdoctoral position at St George's Hospital London on mucosal vaccination against Vibrio cholerae. Fielder joined Kingston University as a lecturer in medical microbiology in 1998 and was awarded a chair in 2011. Fielder is an adviser for the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (veterinary antimicrobial susceptibility testing) and sits on the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee. Fielder's multidisciplinary research team are working on rapid detection systems for infectious disease diagnosis and to overcome antimicrobial resistance in clinical and veterinary settings.

"My life changed when I realised that there's a world we cannot see that profoundly influences biology relative to food, migration, wealth and wellbeing; a true reflection of the one health message – the microbial world is a wondrous, potentially forbidding place."

For more information and a list of published books and articles visit Mark's staff profile.

Steven Fowler

Steven Fowler

SJ Fowler is a poet and artist. He works in the modernist and avant-garde traditions, across poetry, fiction, theatre, sonic art, visual art, installation and performance. He has published various collections of poetry and text, and been commissioned by Tate Modern, BBC Radio 3, The British Council, Tate Britain, Liverpool Biennial and Wellcome Collection. He has been translated into 21 languages and performed at venues across the world, from Mexico City to Erbil, Beijing to Tbilisi. He is the poetry editor of 3am magazine, lecturer at Kingston University, teaches at Tate Modern and is the curator of the Enemies project.

"My life changed when I realised, slowly, all expression, language, human interaction begins in a shortfall, a failure of sorts, and from there authenticity begins!"

Follow Steven Fowler on his website.

Twitter: @stevenjfowler

YouTube: Fowler poetry 

For more information and a list of published books and articles visit Steven's staff profile.

Professor Will Brooker

Professor Will Brooker

Professor Will Brooker is the author and editor of multiple books on popular culture and its audiences, including Batman Unmasked, Using the Force, Alice's Adventures, The Blade Runner Experience, Hunting the Dark Knight and Forever Stardust: David Bowie Across the Universe. He is the first British editor of Cinema Journal, the leading publication on film and media, and author of the acclaimed comic book My So-Called Secret Identity. Brooker's research on David Bowie attracted worldwide media attention, and he frequently contributes to television, journalism and film documentaries as an acknowledged expert in his field.

"My life changed when I decided to live as David Bowie for a year, as research for a book about him."

Follow Will Brooker on Twitter: @willbrooker

Watch his TEDx talk

For more information and a list of published books and articles visit Will's staff profile.

Dr Nan Greenwood

Dr Nan Greenwood

Dr Nan Greenwood is an Associate Professor in health and social care at Kingston University and St George's, University of London. Over the last decade her research has investigated the experiences and needs of carers of people with stroke or dementia. She also has a particular interest in carers from black and minority ethnic groups.

"My life changed when...I hurt my leg and was on crutches for months. This experience changed my perspectives on disability and the significance of support from family and friends."

During her presentation, Nan will be joined by former carer Ms Pat Markey. Pat cared for her mother who had dementia. This experience led her to becoming a peer supporter on a Crossroads carer support service. Pat says this was the 'best job ever' – carers really need help and can benefit hugely when supported by someone who knows what it is like being a carer.

Dr Lesley Collier

Dr Lesley Collier

Dr Lesley Collier is a senior lecturer in occupational therapy at the University of Southampton. She is a HCPC registered occupational therapist working in the fields of neurology and dementia care, focusing particularly on sensory processing and stimulation in relation to people with dementia in order to improve occupational performance, mood and behaviour. In 1997, she completed a masters in health psychology (University of Portsmouth) and subsequently gained a fellowship from the Department of Health to undertake a PhD (University of Southampton, 2007).

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Civic Reception