I’m not sure a year between blog posts is normal, but that is what has happened here! Last Easter I wrote with a great deal of optimism about the challenges and opportunities for the year ahead. Twelve months have passed incredibly quickly and I thought it was time for an update before I reached the anniversary of the last post.
Our new MSc programme in Applied Criminology and Forensic Psychology is now just weeks away from the end of trimester 2. We recruited 15 students onto the programme and they are all still with us and staying on to write their dissertations in trimester 3. We’ve already made some offers for next year and have more interviews lined up. It has been great to see the course up and running and to get such positive feedback from our students.
I’m also happy to report that the book on Feederism I was writing with Michael Palkowski was successfully published last Autumn and we have had some very encouraging feedback from members of the community. It is disappointing that it sometimes takes me so long to reply to e-mails but I get a few hundred e-mails a week at the moment and it can be impossible to get through them all in a timely way. I do get there in the end though! I will be presenting a paper on our research at the 31st International Congress of Psychology in Yokohama, Japan, later this year and I really looking forward to it.
Visiting Singapore and spending some time at Nanyang Technological University and with the Singapore Police Force was a great experience. Dr Majeed Khader ensured I had a fascinating visit and gave me unique ideas for teaching materials. I was looked after really well and I used the experience to bid for some research funds to study cross cultural differences in forensic interviewing. Unfortunately I didn’t get the cash I asked for, but I’ve still got the idea ready to go when the time is right.
Last year also gave me the opportunity to explore some very different research methods. After being a quantitative researcher through and through for over a decade, I finally explored qualitative approaches and went all the way by trying some auto-ethnography. At the end of October I gave a paper at the 2nd British Auto-ethnography Conference at the University of Aberdeen. It was a little daunting to talk about personal experiences and photography rather than statistics and participants, but I found the experience very uplifting. It was also novel to present a paper inside a large art classroom rather than a traditional conference space in bureaucrat beige.
At the of August in 2015 Dr Phyllis Laybourn (my boss and all round decent lady) retired from Edinburgh Napier University. Phyllis had been with us for 30 years and she gave me my job in the Psychology Subject Group in 2007. Phyllis has been greatly missed and I am currently standing in as the Psychology Subject Group Leader until we find a replacement. I have been doing the role now for seven months and didn’t expect to be in the position for so long. It is a challenging post with many competing demands but it is an exciting time for our group as we develop new programmes and expand our links with practitioners.
So what is there to look forward to for the year ahead? Visiting Japan for sure and having the opportunity to present the feederism research in an academic context. I am keen to hear thoughts from other researchers on this topic. I am also looking forward to starting my new role as an Independent Prison Monitor later this year once I have completed my training. My new module in Advanced Forensic Psychology covers therapeutic jurisprudence in a lot of detail and the IPM role links very closely to this. I shall also be making more trips to England in 2016 as I am the new External Examiner for Edge Hill University’s BSc (Hons) Psychosocial Analysis of Offending Behaviour. This programme blends academic and practical skills alongside a work placement option which is just what we have done with our MSc so I am very happy to be involved in examining a course like this.
I shall endeavour to update this again before April 2017, but I better not make any promises… There are several hundred e-mails waiting for me.