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Making a Difference Awards

(4 May 2017)

The Making a Difference Awards recognise and celebrate the many different types of social responsibility achievements of the University’s academic and professional support staff, students and alumni.   

This year over 130 entries from across the University were submitted, and 15 Humanities entries were shortlisted, nine related to work carried out by staff and six related to students. The winners of the awards will be announced in a ceremony on the 11 May 2017.   

In the final feature before the awards we introduce you to the great work being carried out by Humanities colleagues shortlisted in two categories - ‘Outstanding benefit to society through research’ and ‘Outstanding teaching innovation in social responsibility’. 


Outstanding benefit to society through research
 

Producing urban asylum: shaping policies for the housing of asylum seekers in Britain
Dr Jonathan Darling, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, School of Environment, Education and Development 

This project explored the experiences of asylum seekers in ‘dispersal accommodation’ to inform current and future policies on how, and where, asylum seekers should be housed. Through multiple avenues of policy engagement and knowledge exchange, the project has shaped the views of MPs, the third sector, and influenced media debate. 

Jonathan’s research findings were cited in Parliamentary debates in the House of Commons, in the questioning of accommodation providers by the Home Affairs Committee, and in the final report of the Home Affairs Committee. The Minister of State for Immigration announced increased funding for welfare officers, stronger complaints procedures within accommodation, and increased support for the extension of dispersal to new areas – all recommendations from this research. This impact will continue as the government considers new models of asylum accommodation from 2019 onwards: this research will be at the forefront of shaping these deliberations.


Outstanding teaching innovation in social responsibility 

Prefigurative architectures
Dr Leandro Minuchin, Lecturer in Architecture and Global Urbanism, School of Environment, Education and Development 

‘Prefigurative architectures’ is an optional workshop for Master of Architecture students, which allows students to work with community organisations in the design and co-production of ‘physical interventions’, such as learning spaces and temporary housing, for deprived social environments. Students have designed and built a learning space in Nuevo Alberdi, Argentina, that serves as a support structure for the neighborhood’s dairy farm and is used by local primary school children. They have also partnered with the Way-Yin Welcome Centre in Cheetham Hill in north Manchester to address the issue of homelessness and temporary housing. 

The workshop was praised for its originality in developing a learning platform where the development and construction of social architectures encourages students to view practical interventions and experiments as a means of engaging with pressing social and urban debates.


Criminology in Action
Dr Jo Deakin and Dr Claire Fox, Senior Lecturers, School of Law 

‘Criminology in Action’ is a course-unit that provides students with an understanding of the realities of crime from different perspectives through direct activities with convicted offenders, practitioners working with offenders, and communities dealing with the aftermath of crime. Its objective is to produce employable graduates who, through an understanding of specific social problems, exercise social leadership and for whom social responsibility is second nature. 

All activities focus on engagement, either with professionals, service users, or the general public. They include discussion with a former ‘career criminal’, a field trip to a community-based domestic violence perpetrator programme, and workshops with criminal justice and voluntary-sector professionals. By linking their learning experiences to real live situations the students develop the skills and experience needed to work in challenging roles.


To see details of everyone nominated in the ‘Inspiring Communities: public involvement’ category please visit the Social Responsibility webpages: Make a Difference Awards shortlist 2017.