Images of Research Competition
The university-wide Images of Research competition offers researchers across NTU the opportunity to convey their research using a single image – a photograph, digital image, or digital artwork - along with an engaging short description.
The aim of the competition is to showcase the breadth and diversity of research at NTU, both within our community of postgraduate researchers, early career researchers and established academics – and across our research themes and projects. Imagery is the ideal medium for engaging non-specialist audiences in our research; enabling the essence of complex research projects to be captured and shared in an accessible and engaging way.
The launch of our second Images of Research competition was announced in late 2020, following 2019’s successful inaugural edition. The announcement of the winners has been delayed due to Covid-19, but we are excited to finally be able to announce the winners of the second iteration of the competition.
Hannah Wilson, from the School of Arts and Humanities has been named the overall winner of the competition with her entry: ‘The Domestic Unearthing of Sobibor Death Camp’. Below is her submission and the abstract submitted with her image:
“In recent years, archaeology has arguably become one of the most relevant aspects within contemporary Holocaust and memory studies. Having participated in several excavations myself, in my academic research I examine the ‘forensic turn’ at the former site of Sobibór death camp, where approximately 180,000 victims of Nazism were murdered. After the camp was destroyed in 1943, the site has undergone almost ten years of excavations since 2011. Having participated at these excavations for three years- at which this photo was taken- I refer to the term ‘materialisation’ in my work to define the material objects and visual adaptations associated with the site of Sobibór: a part of history that has been devoid of physical evidence. Thus, I reconsider the ways in which artefacts pertaining to Sobibór and the biographies of its victims have already featured in exhibitions, museum collections, and other instances of public engagement since the end of the war.”
First runner-up was Kyle Baldwin from the School of Science and Technology, and his image ‘Can cracking a pattern solve a crime?’ and the below abstract:
"The way blood droplets are scattered around a crime scene (blood spatter) is a common method of solving how violent crimes have been committed. What we have realized in the SOFT group at NTU, is that if you take a closer look at individual droplets, the complex patterns of cracks & swirls, and the arrangement of dark & bright spots, also give tell-tale clues about the condition of the person they came from. This image represents an example of the beautiful complexity of those patterns, which are now being supplied to machine learning algorithms with the hope of creating rapid-response forensic diagnostic tools. Additionally, this technique is also being applied as a method of diagnosing malaria, but may also be applicable to other blood-borne illnesses. Blood analysis is a tried-and-tested method of crime scene investigation, and we may have found a new tool for the CSI arsenal."
Second runner-up was Doctoral Researcher, Allan Njanji, from the School of Arts and Humanities with ‘Who am I?’ and the following abstract:
"Who am I depicts an image of representation of people from refugee backgrounds. The incomplete and unidentifiable image symbolises those who are stateless, outside looking in, having been left at the mercies of foreign states that are unwelcoming to them. In these foreign lands, refugees find themselves having identities symbolically removed through various strategies of dehumanisation, leaving them only identifiable by a file number and not by face and name. My research focuses on granting refugees and asylum seekers agency and voice, so that they can determine their future through controlling narratives about them. The mainstream media portrays them through depictions that suggest that refugees spread infectious diseases; asylum seekers are “bogus”; and that terrorists gain entry to western nations whilst disguised as refugees. Such xenophobic sentiments against refugees have contributed to the creation of hostile environments in many European countries."
Finally, Technical Specialist Biola Egbowon from the School of Science and Technology was the people’s choice winner with her image ‘Restoring Vision’ and the below abstract:
"Loss or damage to the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is a common feature of serious eye disease and currently there is no effective way of curing or regenerating this tissue. We have produced artificial membranes used as scaffolds that have shown positive results revealing promising reconstruction of RPE cell monolayers. In addition, we have created a nanofibre environment for maintaining long-term viability and functionality of RPE cells by producing a 3D construct of electrospun nanofibre membrane that facilitates a desired biological environment for prolonged cell viability and functioning prior to implantation. This beautiful mosaic image shows RPE cells cultured on the nanofibre membranes for 90 days. The blue colour represents the nuclei of each cell."
The competition provides a unique opportunity for individuals to raise their research profile and engage with a public audience – both across NTU and externally. All entries are celebrated on the University website, social media channels and on screens across NTU campuses before being shortlisted by an expert panel.
This year’s competition will be announced shortly - make sure to follow NTU Research on Twitter to be the first to find out more!
See all of this year’s entries by viewing the gallery below.
 Allan Njanji, School of Arts and Humanities - Who am I
Who am I depicts an image of representation of people from refugee backgrounds. The incomplete and unidentifiable image symbolises those who are stateless, outside looking in, having been left at the mercies of foreign states that are unwelcoming to them. In these foreign lands, refugees find themselves having identities symbolically removed through various strategies of dehumanisation, leaving them only identifiable by a file number and not by face and name. My research focuses on granting refugees and asylum seekers agency and voice, so that they can determine their future through controlling narratives about them. The mainstream media portrays them through depictions that suggest that refugees spread infectious diseases; asylum seekers are “bogus”; and that terrorists gain entry to western nations whilst disguised as refugees. Such xenophobic sentiments against refugees have contributed to the creation of hostile environments in many European countries.
 Ana Maria Ferreira, School of Science and Technology - Calcium Carbonate Crystals
Calcium carbonate is a versatile mineral being the skeleton of coral reefs and one of the construction rocks of extraordinary architectural projects such as the Great Pyramid of Giza. Calcium carbonate is not only fascinating when observed by the naked eye. When seen under a microscope, it is possible to admire its beautifully shaped crystals. This image shows vaterite crystals, a calcium carbonate polymorph, usually characterized by its spherical shape and highly porous structure. Due to its unique features they are being studied in the SST as biocompatible and fully degradable drug delivery carriers, as well as sacrificial cores for the formation of tailor-made biopolymer microgels.
 Andrea Jaeger, School of Art & Design - Macro-Visions of the Unseen' forms part of my PhD research on the aesthetics of photographic production, which explores why material practices matter
Beyond its role in the production of photographs as a canvas or surface to be worked on, photographic paper has its own material reality. By focusing on the paper itself and the actions that constitute the process of photographic production, my research makes visible the fabric and fibre of that material dimension. The image invites us to dive into the soft aesthetic of this otherwise flat white surface. It also embodies the collaborative nature of research at NTU, where reaching out to fellow colleagues is encouraged and always rewarding. The image was co-produced with Dr Muriel Funck of NTU's School of Science & Technology, who dedicated an afternoon to helping me to capture the materiality of the paper using a powerful light microscope.
 Andrew Edwards, School of Science and Technology - "Levitating" Bubble
Bubbles are both entertaining and useful, bubble barriers contain sea debris, bubble tanks remove oil and other suspended contaminants in wastewater treatment, and bubble column reactors perform reactions in chemical, biochemical and petrochemical industries. However, there is a need to manage bubbles that are in the wrong place, and which are detrimental and damaging. Bubbles can impair lab-on-a-chip devices and bubbles in bioassay devices damage delicate biological structures, attract and withdraw proteins of interest. Bubbles stubbornly attached to hot surfaces create dry patches that overheat heat exchangers, a particular problem in microgravity where the lack of buoyancy inhibits detachment. In our research we are exploring how these stubborn bubbles can be electrically removed or prevented from initially attaching to a surface. Our findings show that once removed bubbles “levitate” on a thin liquid film – shown in the image – and could be put to work in their own novel microfluidic devices.
 Annelise Edwards-Daem, School of Arts and Humanities - The Doll
My research project focuses on the figure of the doll within women's writing and how this figure is subverted. My project specifically looks at gothic, sexual and posthuman aspects of the doll, and this image illustrates how the traditionally pretty doll face becomes uncanny and horrific in women’s writing. Dolls, which are traditionally symbols of innocence and passivity, are subverted in this image as the viewer should feel unsettled by the florescent, ghostly shades, uncanny stare and stitched face. Only the face is shown, leaving the rest of the image to the viewer’s imagination; perhaps the doll wields a blood-spattered knife, or no body at all? My image was created through drawing with pencil and then layering digital colouring on top. This represents the move from the organic children’s doll, to the artificiality of the doll in consumerism and media, such as the sex doll and doll-like cosmetic surgery.
 Anne Stefaniak, School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences - Gritty Glaciers
Debris-covered glaciers respond differently to climatic change compared to clean ice glaciers. Typically, once the debris thickness exceeds ~20 cm, an insulating effect protects the underlying ice reducing how quickly it melts. However, supraglacial ponds and ice cliffs on the glacier surface present 'hot spots' of increased melt and can result in similar melt rates to clean ice glaciers. Debris-covered glaciers such as those in the Himalaya experience high numbers of supraglacial ponds and ice cliffs yet controls on the development and initiation processes of these features are less well understood. The future implications on the melt rates of these glaciers and response to future climatic change could be huge. Furthermore, these glaciers provide essential water resources to downstream communities and therefore understanding the melt rates and likely response to future climatic warming are of vital importance.
 Aylwin Lambert, School of Art & Design - Initial Prototype Research Record System (Four Seasons Style Presentation)
Above is the beginnings of the card system that will be used to record, and draw relationships between, different aspects of my research. My project centres around the theory of functional aesthetics (where we take aesthetic pleasure in an object looking fit for purpose), investigating how this concept can be applied to art objects. Part of this project involves developing a methodology for using a practice-based approach to contribute towards aesthetics theory; this card system functions as part of this methodology. Once completed it will be considered as an art object in itself, with this being taken into account during its development. As it is altered and adapted throughout the project it will itself act as a site of research, contributing towards the research contained within it and stimulating the generation of further objects (including this image set), with these then also acting as sites of research / art objects.
 Bernadette Devilat, School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment - In-between an earthquake and a reconstruction
This is a section through the church of Lolol, a heritage village damaged by the 2010 earthquake in Chile (8.8 Mw scale), which I recorded in 2013 using terrestrial 3D-laser-scanning. I created this image by dissecting the resultant three-dimensional, coloured and millimetre-precise point-cloud. It a transversal section of the church and its surroundings depicting a transitional period: partly destroyed after the earthquake, with ruined walls, emergency supports and temporary structures, but inhabited for several years. The record portraits a physical status that will never exist again, as its restoration—and partial rebuilding—started in 2014 and finished in March 2017. The current church has no traces of its latest process of damage, repair and reconstruction, as it has also occurred after previous earthquakes.
Thus, this digital 3D record is a spatial version of Lolol as an in-between moment: post-earthquake but before reconstruction, offering a virtual archaeology accountable for its different architectural stages.
 Biola Egbowon, School of Science and Technology - Restoring Vision
Loss or damage to the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is a common feature of serious eye disease and currently there is no effective way of curing or regenerating this tissue. We have produced artificial membranes used as scaffolds that have shown positive results revealing promising reconstruction of RPE cell monolayers. In addition, we have created a nanofibre environment for maintaining long-term viability and functionality of RPE cells by producing a 3D construct of electrospun nanofibre membrane that facilitates a desired biological environment for prolonged cell viability and functioning prior to implantation. This beautiful mosaic image shows RPE cells cultured on the nanofibre membranes for 90 days. The blue colour represents the nuclei of each cell.
 Brianna Lewis, School of Social Sciences -The Role of Spirituality in Prisons in the Cayman Islands
This project seeks to understand what role spirituality plays in Cayman Islands’ prisons. A tiny Caribbean country known for famous beaches and high national GDP, it has high incarceration and recidivism rates. Caribbean culture is strongly linked to religion and spirituality, and as such, this research aims to explore what part this has in Cayman Islands' prisons.
The image shows an eye inside a dark circle, with prison bars bending around it and the three islands making up the country: Grand Cayman (the largest island); Little Cayman (top centre); Cayman Brac (top right). The dark space around the eye represents the unknown- potentially fear, darkness or hidden blessings, commonly associated with imprisonment. The eye represents enlightenment, found within darkness and trying situations and empowering the individual to envision mental and/or spiritual freedom. This image thus also represents the idea or possibility of catalysing changes in mental, spiritual or physical circumstances.
 Charlotte-Rose Kennedy, School of Arts and Humanities - Policy, democracy and the press: a case study on the reporting of pro- and anti-Brexit demonstrations
Brexit and its demonstrations have been hugely controversial democratic exercises in the UK, and my project explores the relationship between policy, democracy, and the press reporting of every pro- and anti-Brexit demonstration from 2016 to 2019. I constructed this image of a front page using multiple newspapers to represent the conflicting ways the newspapers in my study represent protests and democracy. I aim to protect the democratic right of protesting by exploring how negative reporting of Brexit-related protests may lead to reduced public support for demonstrations, and therefore facilitate the government in introducing further restrictive legislation that limits the democratic right to protest. The press is instrumental in how we perceive the world, and its influence on public perception and policy making cannot be underestimated. For British democracy to stay alive, the press must be held accountable for how they report on, and influence, our democratic rights.
 Deborah Ikhile, School of Social Sciences - The Power of International Health Partnerships
If a picture can tell a thousand stories, imagine the stories that can be told from the work of the NTU-Makerere University (MU) Partnership. The joint research across these two universities over ten years from different geographies and cultures challenges the narratives of North-South cooperation and provides a platform for community health workers to meet the needs of their communities, even in times of pandemic. And, this story is powerfully told through the photographs from the field of Wakiso District in Uganda where the NTU-MU partnership is strengthening the capacities of CHWs to provide better access to primary health care, with support from international funding agencies.
Image created by Dr Linda Gibson, Dr Deborah Ikhile, Michael Brown (MA Public Health)
 Eilish Cox, Nottingham Business School - A Little Too Close to Home?
This photo was taken during a 'Troubles' walking tour in West Belfast three years ago. I was shocked to learn that some people lived like this. I thought about the family who lived in the house. How many lived there? Had they lived there for long? Were they my age? I couldn’t imagine living like that, and yet the photo made it look so ordinary and mundane. Part of the roof is out of shot. Dreary weather. Graffiti on the walls. Streetlights. The tour sparked my interest in researching the growing phenomenon of ‘Troubles Tourism’ where tourists visit sites related to the 30 year conflict. Since this photo was taken Northern Ireland has celebrated its twentieth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. I often come back to this photo and think about that family. I wonder if they think Northern Ireland is at peace...
 Farres Yasser, School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment - Turning Waste into Sustainable Insulation
An informal settlement resident volunteers to build an external retrofit insulation panel from waste hoping to ward off the overheating/overcooling that over 70% of Cairo’s population endures due to single-layered brick buildings void of any insulation.
Learning of this harsh experience motivated me to research how to build exterior insulation panels from waste with low thermal conductivity, cost-effectiveness, ease of construction, and that appeal to the local community due to their ecofriendly plastering which allows various finishing types.
I conducted an experiment with the locals in Cairo to test the insulation potential of different available waste materials using 5 test chambers which emulated informal settlement buildings and were monitored year-round.
Waste cardboard and Styrofoam proved particularly promising, providing significant temperature improvements of up to 5°C. At present, I’m investigating the use of similar panels developed from waste for poorly insulated residential units in the UK.
 Frederique Vanheusden, School of Science and Technology - Into the heart of atrial fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a heart rhythm disease that affects 40 million people globally, increasing their risk of life-threatening strokes. Persistent AF often needs to be treated with an ablation surgery. Here, the clinician targets small sources that cause the fibrillation in the heart and removes them. Targeting these sources is difficult, as their location is different between patients and within a patient over time. To understand the behaviour of these sources, we determine areas of the atria with the highest pacing rate (dominant frequency) from 2048 locations using balloon catheters inserted in the atria (black meshes). Atrial areas covering the dominant frequency are calculated over 4-second intervals and their centres are presented to the clinician (blue dots). By evaluating the movement of these points along time (white dots), we support the cardiologist in accurately identifying targets for ablation, increasing the success of catheter-based ablation surgeries.
 Georgina Mclocklin, School of Social Sciences - The Social Impact of Image Based Sexual Abuse
How would you feel if someone shared sexual or intimate photos of you online or to people you knew without your consent? Embarrassed? Ashamed? Isolated? My PhD explores victim’s experiences of image based sexual abuse (colloquially known as ‘revenge pornography’). Victims of this recently recognised crime are often blamed and stigmatised against for engaging in ‘deviant/risky’ behaviour such as sexting, which can cause victims to feel ashamed or blame themselves. Victims can consequently face detrimental mental, physical and social consequences, similarly to victims of sexual assault. My research aims to explore the discourse around image based sexual abuse as well as the potential consequences the stigma of being victimised may have on preventing victims from seeking help. For example, whether perceived stigma, experiencing victim-blame and feelings such as shame and self-blame prevent victims reporting to the police. My image aims to capture the blame and potential isolation victims can feel.
 Hannah Wilson, School of Arts and Humanities -The Domestic Unearthing of Sobibor Death Camp
In recent years, archaeology has arguably become one of the most relevant aspects within contemporary Holocaust and memory studies. Having participated in several excavations myself, in my academic research I examine the ‘forensic turn’ at the former site of Sobibór death camp, where approximately 180,000 victims of Nazism were murdered. After the camp was destroyed in 1943, the site has undergone almost ten years of excavations since 2011. Having participated at these excavations for three years- at which this photo was taken- I refer to the term ‘materialisation’ in my work to define the material objects and visual adaptations associated with the site of Sobibór: a part of history that has been devoid of physical evidence. Thus, I reconsider the ways in which artefacts pertaining to Sobibór and the biographies of its victims have already featured in exhibitions, museum collections, and other instances of public engagement since the end of the war.
 Helen Hall, Nottingham Law School - Penguin Wings: Evolving Constitutional Culture
Legal systems and constitutions evolve organically as society changes. Some elements or institutions remain, but take on radically different functions. Writing about this phenomenon, my coauthor (Javier Garcia Oliva) and I used penguin wings as a metaphor, given that limbs once used for flying are now vital for swimming. This urban penguin on a Manchester street, wearing a rainbow vest for Pride, also symbolises positive legal and cultural adaption. A legal system which within living memory criminalised and persecuted same sex relationships now enshrines human rights and equality law. The casual, graffitied backdrop reminds us that the force of law, both coercive and protective, is not kept in the rarefied atmosphere of courtrooms or academic literature, but reaches into everyday life and experience.
 Hoang Kim Ngan Nguyen, Nottingham Business School - A Fraction of Clothes Journey
Clothing waste is increasing as a result of over-producing and over-consuming. Since the 1980s, the trend of fast fashion has been changing the way we buy and use clothes. The cheaper and more varied clothes are, the more we shop without thinking about our actual needs. The average lifespan of fast fashion items is no more than 10 wearings, while clothing should last an average of 2 years. Besides, clothes waste might not be treated in the right way according to the photo. My research focuses on the fast fashion supply chain, studying the flow of raw materials which turn into our clothes. There are more issues than just wastage occurring in the clothes-making process - chemical use, child labour, energy waste, increasing transportation mileage and C02 emissions. Understanding the flow and its problems will minimise the effects and improve sustainable development.
 Jayna Parekh, Nottingham Business School - The role of environmental information and the route to sustainable consumption in the food sector
Tackling climate change requires major changes in the way our economy uses natural resources, particularly in the decisions of firms and individuals in terms of their production and consumption. Emerging evidence has suggested that, while scientific debate continues, one thing is certain, the planet is unable to support current models of production and consumption habits. Consumers do not have first-hand control of how products are made. However, they hold power by sending messages through their consumption patterns to signal their concerns and awareness of their carbon footprint. This image depicts the hidden environmental knowledge that exists for consumers when purchasing food products. If we let the scale represent a measure for the carbon footprint of a product, we see that two identical products can have vast carbon footprint differences, owed to differences in their production methods. Consumers do not have full information (if any) on the environmental performance of a product to make decisions with consideration to the planet. To provide insight in the way consumers respond to environmental information on products, my research turns to prospect theory as it can be utilised to illustrate how people make decisions when there is uncertainty about the consequences of their choices.
 Jessica Stanley, School of Science and Technology - Electronics in textiles: an unlikely partnership
Electronic textiles combine two things that you wouldn’t expect to get along: textiles, which are soft and flexible, and electronic devices, which are rigid and unlikely to survive a trip to the washing machine. Nowadays it’s normal to wear electronics on our bodies: we carry smartphones in our pockets, and may wear smart watches on our wrists. It’s not yet normal to have electronics embedded in the fabric of our clothing, but it may be soon. Electronic textiles could transform medical care by replacing bulky equipment with soft, wearable sensing devices, collect real-time data from athletes to track and improve performance, or turn your clothing into an interface for your phone. The photo shows a flexible LED circuit manufactured at our lab in the Department of Engineering, where we are developing ways to manufacture flexible, durable electronic circuits that can be embedded in clothing, or printed directly onto fabric.
 Joseph Stanford, School of Science and Technology - The Role Of Personality In The Coach-Athlete Relationships
Think of the best Sports Coach you know. Was it the depth of their technical or tactical knowledge you remember or how they inspired, motivated and enabled you to achieve things you previously thought were impossible?
In other words, above all, was the fundamental relationship between coach and athlete the key? The answer doesn’t take a great deal of thought.
Relationships are built and sustained through the interactions of individuals’ personality. Understanding how different coach-athlete personalities react and interact with each other is a new area of Sports Psychology.
 Kevin Naik, School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment - Road to Carbon Neutral
The painting depicts the summary of my research which is to optimise the District Heating in the modern era by incorporating sophisticated advanced technology. The primary objective of my research is to reduce carbon emissions.
 Kinana Habra, School of Science and Technology - Fabricating Magnetic Nanomaterial Towards the Treatment of Tumors
The treatment of brain tumors is inherently problematic. Effective therapeutic ways are urgently required. Herein, we report the therapeutic potential of extra small (nanoscale) rod-like magnetics made of iron oxide. The synthesis of the magnetic rods is applied via a one-step procedure. They are coated to be physiologically stable and loaded with cancer treatment inside polymer droplets using micro-mixing under microscope. Heating up the iron oxide rods by mild hyperthermia allows the drug to be released from the droplets. The aim is to design the formula towards a sustained release therapy, that can be applied into an animal model. This will then lead to a novel noninvasive method for treating brain cancer as a viable or synergistic approach to current radio and chemo therapies. The new treatment could be sent from the nose to spread into the brain even without a surgery. Moving, tracking then heating the magnetic material by a suitable magnetic field will control the frequency and amount of the applied dose to affect only the malignant cells. This idea will pave the road towards a new concept of treatment using magnetic material to deliver different drugs safely, efficiently and cost effectively.
 Kirsty Teague, School of Social Sciences - Desistance Journeys
The psychological journey from prison back into the community can be long, dark and seemingly never-ending. This is particularly the case for men convicted of sexual offences whom also often experience social isolation as a result of their offence history. However, ‘sharing the journey’ and acquiring meaningful relationships can be conducive to their reintegration back into the community, and to prevent reoffending. The SLF’s Corbett Centre aims to keep communities safer and reduce reoffending through supporting people convicted of sexual offences post-release from prison. The centre is innovative as licence conditions have historically prevented association among those who have convictions for sexual offences. As such, the centre is the first to allow for a mutually supportive space for service-users to reintegrate back into the community, and my doctoral research is therefore seeking to understand how service-users construe ‘community’ and explore what role it occupies for them post-release from prison.
 Kyle Baldwin, School of Science and Technology - Can a cracking pattern solve a crime?
The way blood droplets are scattered around a crime scene (blood spatter) is a common method of solving how violent crimes have been committed. What we have realized in the SOFT group at NTU, is that if you take a closer look at individual droplets, the complex patterns of cracks & swirls, and the arrangement of dark & bright spots, also give tell-tale clues about the condition of the person they came from. This image represents an example of the beautiful complexity of those patterns, which are now being supplied to machine learning algorithms with the hope of creating rapid-response forensic diagnostic tools. Additionally, this technique is also being applied as a method of diagnosing malaria, but may also be applicable to other blood-borne illnesses. Blood analysis is a tried-and-tested method of crime scene investigation, and we may have found a new tool for the CSI arsenal.
 Lauran Doak, Institute of Education - Story sharing on iPad for families of children with learning disabilities
This UK Literacy Association-funded project investigates how the Pictello iPad App might support home literacy practices for children with learning disabilities and their families. The App enables assemblage of video, photo, text and recorded speech for a maximally accessible, personalised storytelling experience.
Each participating family is given an iPad, App and some initial training. They are then free to engage playfully with the App for six weeks, supporting their child to create any and all form of stories with minimal direction from me as researcher. I am interested not just in the content of the stories produced but also how the App shapes the dynamic interactive processes of story-making and story-sharing in the family home, as captured in participant-generated video diaries.
The image depicts a page I created with Pictello as part of the training materials for participants. It was created during COVID-19 lockdown, which may explain the cake theme.
 Laxmi Aggarwal, School of Social Sciences - Broken Promises
After 5 hours of driving and 3 hours of waiting around for a no-show poacher participant, we decided to face the long drive back to camp. With everyone's morale running low and irritations running high, we were fortunate to stumble across this happy and healthy herd. The timing couldn't have been better. They were a much-needed lifting of spirits for everyone in the car that day. A memorable capture and a reminder of broken promises, the first of many to come. My research focuses on the Market Reduction Approach (MRA), a crime strategy developed to tackle the UK’s illegal markets in stolen goods. I explore the potential use of the MRA for illegal ivory markets in Tanzania, through semi-structured interviews with poacher participants. The thesis aims to mitigate local illegal markets with a firm belief that by the time the ivory reaches international markets it is already too late for the elephant populations.
 Linda Kemp, School of Social Sciences - Indices of irregular return
This image is from ‘Indices of irregular return’, a film collaboration between Linda Kemp and Andrew Conroy. It forms part of an ongoing programme of research into care and listening. Through creative interventions the research puts pressure on assumptions about speech and listening, the vocal and being understood, verbal articulation and personal agency. The film is structured around an excerpt of audio which uses vocal noises as inarticulate aspects of human utterance. In the making of the visual material glitches were actively sought in all parts of the process and order and control avoided during the filming of the piece. The film reaches towards experiences of distress which usually lie beyond easy comprehensibility. In rendering these experiences in creative form the research foregrounds experiences of extreme distress and disjuncture as part of the continuum of human experience, bringing marginalised and silenced voices back into the big conversation of human experience.
 Lucía Penalba Sánchez, School of Social Sciences- Neurons Wiring Together
Hiking in the Catalan Pyrenees, an idyllic spot to disconnect from urban life, I saw this dandelion. The look of this ephemeral herb made me reflect upon Donald Hebb’s quote (1949): “Neurons that fire together, wire together, neurons that fire apart, wire apart”. My Ph.D. research consists of exploring how widespread neural regions are coordinately connected in healthy older adults in comparison to participants with mild cognitive impairment and participants with Alzheimer’s disease. I also aim to investigate how the spontaneous connectivity between brain regions changes over time across participants. By means of Neuroimaging and computer science, I will identify and classify patterns of complex interactions between activity of brain regions. Eventually, understanding brain connectivity will enhance the creation of tailored based interventions. With these, we expect patients to have a more coordinated brain until very late in their lives.
 Mixon Faluweki, School of Science and Technology - Self-organisation patterns in filamentous cyanobacteria
Filamentous cyanobacteria form structures or patterns that arise from mere interactions between filaments. This image shows one of the patterns formed by filamentous cyanobacteria growing a well plate. By understanding the rules for their self-assembly, we aim to produce a model of structure formation in this system that can be adapted in other fields of science such as bioengineering. Self-organisation is common in nature and some examples of living organisms that display self-organisation include a flock of birds and a school of fish. Benefits of self-organisation are wide but for cyanobacteria, it is thought to strengthen the structure of the biofilm as well as enhance defence against anti-biotics.
 Nichola Burton, School of Art & Design - Lace and the Arboretum
This mixed media drawing encapsulates the direct link between the design inspiration which occurred when recording the shapes and patterns in flora which grew in the Arboretum combined with the stories of the female designers who studied at Nottingham College of Art and Crafts after WW2. This drawing investigates memories of social change which occurred as a result of changes to Art and Design education in Nottinghamshire 1943-60. The image uses the colour palette of the traditional lace designers and is inspired by the first, Amy Atkin. It seeks to capture the quality of design, line and structure which are unique to Nottingham lace.
The College of Art emerged to support this regional specialty. This research considers twelve oral testimonies which record the lived experience of female lace designers in post-war Nottinghamshire, providing hidden histories of design education, which evidence drawing flowers from the arboretum, forming friendships, even painting the flowers before returning them! This drawing represents subsequent, societal changes in Nottingham after WW2.
 Noha Hussein, School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment - The Image of the Word
A simple glimpse at this photograph, taken from inside the mihrab (niche in the center of the qibla wall) of a middle-aged mosque in Cairo, might already incite an appreciation in the observer. By gazing more and more, one could discover that it is more than just an abstract two-dimensional pattern that uses calligraphy, geometric figures, and stylized plant forms. Instead, one can experience a three-dimensional entity that conveys a series of aesthetic expressions, which reinforce an ideology, and remind the contemplator of its basic principles. My research explores the underlying meaning, principles, and ideologies of the aesthetic expressions of Islamic art. It focuses mainly on Islamic calligraphy, with the aim of investigating the role of Quranic epigraphy in the architecture of mosques, and understanding the philosophies behind their choices ... I can already say it is a rich world.
 Pamela Henderson, Nottingham Law School - Law is like a Tomato
Law in England & Wales is often poorly drafted, scattered all over the place and incomprehensible to ordinary people. Legal educators make things worse by creating hypothetical scenarios that are deliberately obtuse, and so convoluted that a single question may include every legal permutation and test every learning outcome. In response, students lose sight of the big principles, and instead get caught up in a tangle of minor exceptions and tiny loopholes. It is like filling your basket with every tomato you can find, green, red, big and small, screwing your eyes closed as you grope to reach that last, tiny red pearl trapped in the web of vines. My research challenges educators to reject artificial hypotheticals and replace them with simulations that are realistic and meaningful. Give them space to breath and grow, and students will select only what is ripe and ready, leaving the rest for another day.
 Patricia Francis, School of Art & Design, School of Arts and Humanities - Dissenting Women
Tea. A symbol of quintessential Englishness. A sugar cube released into the milky brown mix disturbs the enduring lines of industrial, colonial and patriarchal power that overlay, determine, and define gender, race and class. Women have disrupted and continue to trouble such authoritarian powerlines. Nottinghamshire women involved in the 1984-1985 miners’ strike were militant on the picket lines and, in 2016, women involved in the Black Lives Matter movement blocked tram lines in Nottingham to protest social injustices. Whilst attempts may be made by the state and the media to mute these black and white working-class British women’s voices, their dissent continues to challenge social, economic, political and patriarchal norms. The lines blur. The different temporal and social factors that would seem to separate these two groups of women activists are the essence of what brings them together to stir up a storm that is bigger than a teacup.
 Philippa Fitzmaurice, School of Social Sciences - Manual Handling equipment training for Healthcare staff working in an NHS Trust
This image shows the use of safety clips to remove the sling holder for the safety of staff. My research explores, with a group of health care support workers, their experiences during a practical ‘hands on’ training session. A phenomenology study, through the use of visual methodologies to enable interaction and interpretation of understanding. Analysing the participants’ own generated visual and textual data evoked information, exploring the ‘unknown unknowns’ and provided an insightful understanding of their thoughts and potential anxieties when using manual handling equipment.
 Shem Williams, School of Social Sciences - The Detrimental Cloak of Prejudice
Imagine if you had a plate of cockroaches for breakfast, would you feel revolted and reject the dish at mere sight? Similarly if you were handed your favourite beverage and a cockroach happened to fall in, would you reject the beverage in fear of contamination despite the glass being sterilized.
Have you ever walked down the street and saw someone who looked threatening, was your reaction to cross the street to avoid coming into contact? Comparably, if you met someone who had an unappealing smell and they offered to hug you, would you hug them after smelling the stench?
This defense emotion is either: disgust or fear. My research looks into reducing emotional response that creates intergroup anxiety and social distancing in an intergroup setting, through cognitive re-appraisal.
 Steven King, School of Arts and Humanities - Artefacts of Love and Loss
My research deals with how people experience(d) love, loss, death, despair and hope. I look at these things from the 1600s-2000s using written, oral, and visual evidence. This picture encapsulates all of these themes. It captures trees around St. Augustine's Well, or the ‘Silver Well’, in Cerne Abbas, Dorset. The water from this well, originally sanctified by St. Augustine or St Edwold somewhere between 640 and 800AD, has been rumoured for a thousand years to have magical properties. In that time, generations of visitors and pilgrims came to the well and left tokens and messages tied to the trees. The tradition remains today as you see by this 2019 image. These are messages of despair and pain, hope and memory, love and loss, achievement and failure. The persistence of these practices over such a long period speaks fundamentally to how ordinary people have and do make sense of their worlds.
 Tameille Valentine, School of Science and Technology - The Double-Edged Sword of Childhood Chemotherapy
I work with dorsal root ganglia (DRGs). These are cell bodies of sensory neurons. Sensory nerve fibres grow from DRGs, into the skin and different organs, allowing us to feel stimuli. Chemotherapy is toxic to rapidly dividing cells, but cannot discriminate between cancer cells and healthy cells. My project focuses on the platinum-based chemotherapy agent, cisplatin, and childhood chemotherapy. DRGs are quite susceptible to platinum compounds. Hence, during chemotherapy, platinum accumulates in DRGs, causing DNA damage and neurodegeneration. Once degeneration starts, a response occurs, releasing a nerve growth factor, NGF. This leads to an abnormal growth of nerve fibres, resulting in increased sensitivity to stimuli. Following chemotherapy, when children reach adulthood, they begin to experience chronic pain, fatigue and an overall decrease in ‘quality of life’. My research involves determining what causes this delayed onset of symptoms following childhood chemotherapy, in an attempt to develop a treatment.
 Trang Dang, School of Arts and Humanities - Weird Ecology
This photo is of a drawing of mine which portrays the beauty, monstrosity, weirdness, and uncanniness of nonhuman lifeforms and worlds, and their strange, unexpected interconnection with humans that is often anthropocentrically considered impossible. My research focuses on climate fiction associated with a newly-emerged literary genre called the New Weird. This genre deals excessively with the monstrosity and mysterious depth of reality, the existence of awe-inspiring earthbound beings that constantly escape human understanding, and with narratives of intimate coexistence between humans and nonhumans. I therefore aim to explore the development of ecological awareness in these literary texts to shed light on the critical ecological issues of the present and to show how literature can serve as a driving force to provide different perspectives from which to situate humans in the biosphere and to tackle the current climate crisis.
 Yousif Al-Daffaie, School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment - Swings of Memory
One can solely look at the swings and state that they held memories of joy and excitement, before looking at the background building and realize that they transformed to memories of fear and loss. The image, taken in Mosul - Iraq, represents informal spaces of memories, narratives, and childhood that are impacted by the destruction, becoming former spaces of terror. My research investigates the locals' memories and stories as the backbone for authentic reconstruction, revealing spaces that are 'hidden' within the governmental reconstruction plans. It prioritizes their spaces, practices, and traditions as the most important to reconstruct, to ensure an authentic reconstruction that takes into account the memories of the locals, and ensures the continuation of generational acts in their original spaces. These swings were tangled due to nearby explosions, my research looks at untangling them, ensuring that space continues to be vital for the children, before worrying about historic landmarks.
Images of Research Competition