24 Hour Inspire 2018

24 Hour Inspire 2018

Hicks Building, Hounsfield Road, University of Sheffield

19-20 April 2018, 17.00-17.00

Supporting Impact Living and Rotherham Hospice

Thursday 19 April

Catherine Annabel (Chair of Inspiration for Life) – Welcome


Professor Peter Bath – Space for Sharing


The Space for Sharing project explores how individuals in difficult and precarious circumstances use the opportunities presented by social media and internet fora to share their experiences with others.  What do people choose to share online? How do those people establish and maintain trust and empathy online? This interdisciplinary project brings together researchers from Sheffield, led by Peter Bath, and five other universities and a wide range of backgrounds. The research in Sheffield examined how people with life-threatening and terminal illnesses use online health forums to share information, their experiences and emotions throughout their illness, and the importance of trust and empathy in this. And now, these findings have been transformed into a play, called A Space for Sharing, with actors playing the part of five women with breast cancer who use one of these online health forums.  The play was written and is performed by the DeadEarnest Theatre company in collaboration with the research team in Sheffield. It has been performed during the Festival of the Mind in Sheffield (2016), for Cavendish Cancer Care (2017), as part of the Dying Matters Awareness Week (2017) and to staff and volunteers at St. Luke’s Hospice (2018) with further performances planned for 2018. A film version is being developed and will shortly be available online (via YouTube): this is its world premiere.  Members of the research team and the theatre company will be there afterwards for a discussion about the film and how the research has helped our understanding of how patients and their families can benefit from using online health forums.

Peter is Professor of Health Informatics and Head of the Information School at the University. His research focuses on two main areas: how information is used within health care to support patients, their families and carers and health care professionals and the application of different methods of analysing health data / information. Peter is Chair of the University Research Ethics Committee (UREC). Outside of work, Peter is interested in photography and more recently has taken up astrophotography.

Introduced by Professor Tracey Moore, Head of the School of Nursing & Midwifery:


Professor Tim Birkhead – Sperm and Eggs for Breakfast

Tim in Egg12

Reproduction is something close to all our hearts. Professor Tim Birkhead FRS has spent his entire academic career (and some of his spare time) studying sperm, eggs and promiscuity. For decades birds were assumed to be models of monogamy, and therefore models of how we as humans should behave. But birds are anything but monogamous. Tim will explore our current understanding of sexual reproduction and in doing so, also explore the process of science itself.

Tim is Professor of Zoology in Animal & Plant Sciences. He has won awards for his research, teaching, popular science books and outreach. His research on promiscuity and sperm competition in birds helped to re-shape our understanding of bird mating systems. He has also maintained a long-term population study of guillemots on Skomer Island since 1972, for which he was voted one of BBC Wildlife’s top conservationists. In his spare time he enjoys walking, playing guitar and painting.


Dr Chris Stride – Shirt Tales: Why grown adults wear replica football kits


Though the presence of fans wearing their teams’ latest shirts is taken for granted at any football match these days, the replica football shirt has only transitioned from children’s sportswear to adult leisurewear in the past 30 years. Data collected from manufacturers’ catalogues, magazine adverts, match programmes and over 900 crowd photos indicates that replica-shirt adoption by adults was not initially driven by an existing industry, but began as a fan-inspired process with roots in big-match fancy dress traditions, changes in wider social dress codes, and youth subcultures. Replica football shirts were adopted by adults in three distinct phases, each involving different sub-groups of fans, with the coincidental removal of barriers to wearing replica shirts more influential than manufacturers’ targeted interventions or promotions. Moreover, the specific timings and drivers of each stage map on to and reflect the dramatic changes in English football culture over the last two decades of the twentieth century more accurately than the established but simplistic pre- and post-1990 World Cup or pre- and post-Premier League narratives.

Dr Chris Stride is an applied statistician based at the Institute of Work Psychology. His principal career is as an academic statistician and peripatetic statistics trainer working and publishing mainly in psychology, business and the wider social sciences – but he also has a secret double life as a sports historian. Chris’s sport history research has focused on material culture, heritage, and nostalgia, most notably in the form of football kit design and adoption, and in the monuments of sports people, under the guise of the Sporting Statues Project. He is a season ticket holder at Watford FC, but also has a soft spot for fellow Hertfordshire teams Barnet and St Albans City, and German cult clubs FC St Pauli and Chemie Leipzig.

 twitter @ChrisStrideFIO @sportingstatues http://www.figureitout.org.uk


Dr Matthew Malek – Towards a Theory of Everything: Grand Unification


Unification of forces has been a persistent theme in physics since Newton published the Law of Universal Gravitation in 1687. One of the most tantalising challenges facing particle physicists today is how to unite quantum physics with general relativity. Along the way, it may be necessary to combine the three forces that are described by quantum field theory — a task that is known as Grand Unification. Grand Unified Theories (or GUTs) predict new bosons that are far heavier than the Higgs and, thus, they are impossible to detect directly in any accelerator. We may still be able to prove the existence of GUTs via indirect effects; for instance, most models predict that protons — which should be infinitely stable — will decay.  Matthew reviews the physics leading up to Grand Unified Theories and discusses current (and future) experimental searches to prove that they exist. Because they do exist. He can feel it in his gut.

Matthew was born and raised in New York City. After completing his PhD on the Super-Kamiokande neutrino experiment in Japan, he worked on the Argentina-based Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory and also an Italian dark matter experiment. His travels brought him to the UK in 2006 and he liked it enough to stick around, moving to Sheffield in 2015. For his work on neutrinos, Matthew is a recipient of the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. When not hunting for exotic particles in remote corners of the globe, Matthew can be found ringing church bells or training for his next Olympic triathlon.


Professor Jennifer Saul – Dogwhistles, Figleaves and the Rise of Donald Trump


Jennifer Saul will discuss two linguistic devices, dogwhistles and fig leaves, that allow politicians to play on voters’ racial resentments while maintaining deniability.
Jennifer  is currently working at the intersection of philosophy of language and politics, writing about racism and sexism in political speech.  When she’s not doing that, she’s generally to be found standing under a tree (a surprisingly popular hobby in Sheffield).


Dr Judy Clegg – Children’s Communication and their Life Chances


Most children learn to talk with ease but for some children learning to talk and communicate is a challenge. Children and young people with communication impairments are, by definition, vulnerable. Communication impairments impact on children’s development through childhood and adolescence and ultimately on their adult life chances. Judy Clegg explores how children learn to talk and communicate, how communication is essential to children and young people’s life chances and how communication needs in vulnerable children and young people is very large issue for society to deal with.

Judy is a Senior Lecturer in the department of Human Communication Sciences, and Director of Professional Education for the speech and language therapy programmes. She works as an honorary speech and language therapist with the tier 4 child and adolescent mental health services, and leads the Small Talk clinic for pre-school children with developmental speech and language disorders. Judy’s research addresses the needs of children, young people and adults with communication impairments, including those who grow up in high socio-economic deprivation, are involved in the criminal justice system and experience mental health difficulties from childhood to adult life. Judy is a fellow of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and a trustee of ICAN, the national children’s communication charity.


Introduced by Professor John Cockburn, Department of Physics & Astronomy:


Professor Alistair Warren – Critical Periods in Brain Development

alistairOnce fully developed, the basic structure of the brain appears resistant to factors such as under-nutrition, being relatively ‘spared’ the impact seen in other organs.  However, the brain is particularly vulnerable to damage during its periods of rapid growth – so-called ‘critical periods’ of development.  Damage during the critical periods can cause deficits in those features undergoing rapid development along with distortions in their relationship with other structures.  Alistair Warren will describe some of these effects and consider how they might be ameliorated.

Alistair Warren is a Professor in Biomedical Science and Director of Learning and Teaching in the Faculty of Science.  He has been a member of the Council of the Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Associate Editor of the Journal of Anatomy and Home Office Licensed Teacher of Anatomy for many years.



Kimberley Weir – I Shall Return: Remembering the Second World War in the Philippines

Kim WeirKimberley Weir explores how, despite the Philippines gaining its independence from US rule in 1946, the US continued to shape the remembrance of historical events through the construction of Second World War memorials, which are sometimes at odds with the official ‘reconciliatory’ narrative.

Kim is a second year PhD student at the University of Nottingham. Her research  explores how US colonial rule in the Philippines (from 1901 to 1946) has shaped public monuments in the country and to what extent these have affected the way in which historical events have been memorialised and remembered.



Dr Sabine Little – Memories of Reading

little 2

When we grow up, how do we remember reading as children? What makes a child a reader?  How do memories of reading at home and at school compare? How do multilingual people experience their reading in multiple languages? How do our reasons for reading change as we get older? Dr Sabine Little takes us on a whistle-stop tour of research which collected memories of reading across many different contexts, and explores what shapes our attitudes about reading from an early age.

Sabine is a lecturer in Languages Education. Her work mainly focuses on how multilingual families negotiate their various languages in terms of identity and family well-being … but she likes reading, too.



Dr Joanna Buckley – Anything from the Trolley?


It’s been just over 20 years since the publication of the first Harry Potter book and Dr Joanna Buckley is totally geeking out! If you went to Hogwarts, you’d probably spend plenty of time at Honeydukes; where sweets for all tastes would tempt you to part with your Galleons, Sickles and Knuts. Explore the chemistry behind some of the sweet treats found at this famous wizarding sweet shop and try some for yourself.

Born into a family of non-scientists, Jo surprised everyone at the age of seven when the gift of a chemistry set sparked her interest in science. She completed every single experiment, charring the kitchen work surface with the spirit burner and staining the dining room carpet with indicator in the process. Thankfully, her practical technique has improved a bit.  Jo first became interested in food chemistry when a batch of fudge she had prepared tasted spectacularly unpleasant and she set about investigating what went wrong by applying her background in analytical chemistry to the problem. She writes and talks about chemistry whenever she can and to whoever will listen!




Dr Nate Adams – Why I Hate Whiskey


Whiskey. It’s apparently a tasty thing. After years of attempting to enjoy it, Nate has come to the conclusion that it is rank.  Join him for a practical chemical exploration of why it is terrible.

Nate is a scientist and sometimes presenter of things.  He likes to talk about science (all types of science, but his specialism is biochemistry), technology, coding, art and how they all come together into a massive amazing wonderful thing.



Dr Cormac Behan – Criminal Justice or Social Justice: What do the public want?


The level of citizen participation that is appropriate in the affairs of state is contested. This is especially so in the United Kingdom in the aftermath of the vote on membership of the European Union. Cormac Behan examines the level of participation that citizens want in decision-making in the one of the key functions of the state: the criminal justice system. It outlines the results of research undertaken as part of the Howard League for Penal Reform’s What is Justice? Project. The research was undertaken in Sheffield with qualitative interviews of a sample of 25 (12 men and 13 women) aged between 20 and 64 years, from a range of BAME groups. The research sought to provide answers to how people relate to the state and how much they wanted to participate in deliberations about justice and safety. Issues of confidence, trust and legitimacy, social justice and the desirable level of public participation in decisions related to the criminal justice system are considered in this presentation.

Cormac teaches criminology at the Centre for Criminological Research. His research interests include penal history, prisoners’ rights, comparative penology and prison education. Cormac was born in Dublin, Ireland. Prior to taking up this position, he taught politics and history in Irish prisons for 14 years. He is the author of Citizen Convicts: Prisoners, Politics and the Vote (Manchester University Press).

Introduced by Catherine Annabel, Chair of Inspiration for Life: 


Dr Esther Hobson – Nothing About Me, Without Me


Esther Hobson explains why it’s important that clinical research has patients and their families at its heart and how scientists, doctors and other patients can benefit from hearing the stories of those living with the disease.

Esther is a National Institute for Health Research Clinical Lecturer and also a speciality registrar training in neurology. She splits her time between SITraN and the Royal Hallamshire Hospital where she cares for people with neurological diseases.  Esther is particularly interested in the care of people with long-term neurological conditions such as motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis.  She’s worked together with people who have a real-life experience of what it is like to live with motor neurone disease to develop new ways to help them receive medical care such as internet information sites and remote monitoring of patients and carers.  She’s also involved in clinical trials, such as an exciting new, phase 1 trial of a gene targeting a mutation in SOD-1, a gene mutation which causes motor neurone disease.


Friday 20 April


Jost Migenda – Particles for Peace: Where Politics and Physics Meet


Neutrinos are ghost-like sub-atomic particles that can easily travel through the whole Earth without getting stopped, so you would hardly expect them to be affected by mundane matters such as politics – and yet, they are! In this talk, Jost Migenda will trace the connections between politics and neutrino physics over nearly a century, from Nazi Germany to the Iranian Nuclear Program.

After studying Nuclear, Particle and Astrophysics in Munich, Jost has been a PhD student at the University of Sheffield since the end of 2015 and uses neutrinos to figure out what happens in the centre of a supernova – right at the moment of explosion. After travelling to Tokyo, Venice and Chicago on this quest for knowledge, Jost is now back in Sheffield to talk about fundamental physics – and how it gets overshadowed by politics.


Introduced by Dr Chris Sexton, former Director of CICS:


Jim Weston – Helter Skelter to Helical Spirals: How The Beatles changed medical diagnosis

Jim Weston

Having started his professional and scientific life making better (and less grey) toilet paper (mostly from non-Norwegian wood), Jim has meandered through a ever more vibrant career: colour-testing green apples, hunting yellow submarines, and too much of yer-blue-s’ky consultancy. He has followed the sun as far afield as Helsinki, Wisconsin, Adelaide, but never back to the USSR. He has worked on the docks at Southampton (honestly), but has only ever sailed himself to the Isle of White, never bought a ticket to The Esplanade. Then a midlife crisis including losing his sister to lymphoma lured him into the fuzzy world of medical physics for a decade, before moving to Sheffield led him to joining The University.  Growing up in the 60s in a suburban house full of scratchy needles on 7‑inch singles and screaming sisters, The Beatles have been a face he can’t forget.  Most of the 00s was spent in an old (Happiness is a warm) GUM ward, type-testing medical imaging devices –  with a little help from his friends. ((Yes, he is more of a BigBore than therapy-planning variants – which is a great joke if you are a medical physicist, apparently! You can work it out)).  Later general RPA work did include fixing the occasional hole, and he has probably seen a girl with colitis go by, or at least he saw her standing nearby. He won’t bring you down and will lead you along the mystery tour that explains how this year sees the 50th anniversary of a happening that magically gifted the medical world with what is now one of its most ubiquitous diagnostic tools. Otherwise, it is going to be a very hard day’s night.



Dr Jonathan Aitken – Who’s Afraid of the Robot? Moving robotics outside the lab

aitken 2

The increase in the use of robotics always brings new concerns around how they will be used and accepted, especially in the workplace. Jonathan introduces some of the work that his team has been doing in this area on the acceptance of robots, especially collaborative ones whose function is to work closely with people. He’ll concentrate on how they’ve actively focused on acceptance and understanding that there’s a need for people to feel happy with working with a collaborative robot.

Jonathan is a Research Fellow working in the Autonomous Control Laboratory within the Autonomous Systems and Robotics Group of ACSE. His work focuses on autonomous reconfiguration of robotic systems, especially on unmanned aerial vehicles. He also has interests in programming collaborative robots, computer vision, spatial awareness of robotic systems and operation of multi-robot teams in the field, and was co-organiser of the UK Field Robotics Challenge in 2016. Additionally, he holds permission to fly Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS) or drones upto 20kg within the UK for commercial work.



Dr Aneurin Kennerley – I’m now a Yorkshire Hypl


Peace, love and all things MRI. It’s 1.30am; time to enter an altered state of consciousness where @MagneticDr_K takes us on an entertaining journey through mind-reading madness, psychedelic physics and Star Wars geekiness to explore his latest Jorvik adventures in magnetic resonance imaging. Although a vital diagnostic imaging tool in the healthcare sector, MRI only uses ~0.0003% of the available signal. The pictures created take a long time to record and are ‘grainy’ in comparison to the possible full potential, limiting usage. Learn how the physical sciences are coming together to overcome this limitation (through a process called Hyperpolarisation) to enhance the sensitivity of MRI by several orders of magnitude; and finally allowing us the potential to truly read your mind. May the quantum mechanical spin states be with you. Always.
Dr Aneurin James Kennerley is a physicist, board gamer and all-round geek. He was a member of staff at the University of Sheffield for 15 years where his research centred around neuro-imaging – specifically the use of different imaging technologies (optical and MR based) to explore brain function. He has recently taken up a Lectureship post in Chemistry at the University of York to explore how magnetic hyperpolarisation can dramatically improve MR signal measurements allowing the possibility to probe cellular metabolism in brain. Don’t forget to pop into our open board games area this year and say ‘hi’ – just don’t ask him to trade sheep for wood.




Catherine Annabel – Beyond the Bechdel Test: Seeing ourselves on screen

Cath 2014

In recent months the culture of Hollywood, and the treatment of women both on and off screen, has been under close scrutiny.  But there’s nothing new here, either in the accounts of harassment and abuse, or in the concerns about the relative invisibility of women – real women – on the screen.  Catherine Annabel reviews the Bechdel test, developed in the 1980s as a way of assessing how a film portrays women, and looks at more recent approaches that go beyond it.  She may also get a bit emotional about Wonder Woman and Doctor Who.

Catherine is the Chair of Inspiration for Life.  She retired in 2015 after many years in HE administration, most recently in the Faculty of Science at UoS.  She is a part-time PhD student in the French department, blogs in a personal capacity at Passing Time, and reviews Opera North productions for The Culture Vulture.



Chella Quint – #periodpositive


Chella Quint is a comedian, producer, designer, artist, presenter and education researcher from Brooklyn, New York who now lives in Sheffield. She coined the phrase ‘periodpositive’ in 2006 and founded the #periodpositive campaign which has spread around the world like a really big, friendly taboo-breaking period stain. She is a former head of PSHE and is now a teacher researcher with the Gender Respect Project and advisor on the Gender Equality Charter for DECSY (Development Education Centre South Yorkshire) after completing a Master’s Degree in Education focusing on changing attitudes to menstruation in secondary schools. Her research has an accompanying #periodpositive project and website, and her five-star Edinburgh fringe show, Adventures in Menstruating, will be touring later this year. Chella’s design portfolio is hosted here and you can also visit and make delightful purchases from her Etsy shop, Cut and Past.

twitter @chellaquint   https://chellaquint.wordpress.com

Introduced by Catherine Annabel, Chair of Inspiration for Life: 

The Goth Slot….

24 Hour Goth Slot



Mary Going – The Blood is the Life: An exploration of Dracula’s Jewish shadow

mary goingIt is hard to imagine Horror without the vampire, and yet, despite the prevalence of this monster, one aspect is often overlooked: the vampire of fiction has always had a Jewish shadow. The emergence of the vampire in fiction reveals a Jewish foundation in its construction, and shares many typically anti-Semitic characteristics with what can be termed the ‘imagined Jew.’ Bram Stoker’s vampiric Count, perhaps the most well known fictional vampire, casts a distinctly Jewish shadow, and Dracula will be the focus of this talk. Exploring first on the vampire’s theological and historical foundations epitomised in the medieval period, I will then examine Dracula in relation to the tradition of the vampire and to Jewish identities and mythologies, revealing Dracula’s Jewish shadow.

Mary Going is a PhD researcher at the University of Sheffield exploring depictions of Jewish characters, myths and legends – such as Shylock, vampires, and the Wandering Jew – in late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century literature. She is the co-organiser of Sheffield Gothic where she curates the Sheffield Gothic Blog, and a lead organiser of the ‘Reimagining the Gothic’ and the ‘Gothic Bible’ projects at the University of Sheffield. She is also the current Web Officer for the International Gothic Association.

twitter@MazGoing   twitter@SheffieldGothic   twitterTheReimagining


Emily Marlow – Religion and the Gothic in Videogamesemily marlow

How do we study video games? Should we even try? Focusing firstly on how and why we should study video games, Emily Marlow explains exactly what ‘Game Studies’ is and how it is being used today to research changes in depictions of religious figures.  Emily will introduce some of the ways in which games are studied and show how religion and the Gothic operate in virtual spaces.
Emily R Marlow is a 2nd year PhD candidate working with the Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies (SIIBS) where she studies Jesus-figures in film and video games. Her BA dissertation on representations of Pilate in film was awarded the Bible Society award for Best Dissertation (2015). She is a recipient of a PSS Scholarship from the University of Sheffield (2015), and a WRoCAH AHRC scholarship (2016-2020).

twitter@EmilyRMarlow   twitter@GamingtheGothic  twitter@GothicBible


Ash Darrow – The Hidden Gothic History of Gaming: Exploring the ludology of the Gothic

Ash DarrowWhen you hear the word “Gothic,” the Magnavox Odyssey, the first home gaming console, probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Maybe it’s Dracula, The Cure, or your favourite crumbling abbey, but digital gaming is just the latest in a history of media to take up the mantle of the Gothic. From the first home console to cutting-edge VR, digital gaming is so, very Goth. Beyond looking at digital gaming from the perspective of literature, we can look back at the Gothic and see how gaming helps us re-think not only Gothic literature, but the Gothic tradition as a whole.

Ash Darrow has always had a passion for the Gothic. He recently completed a Masters degree in Gothic Studies and is currently in a PhD programme at Manchester Metropolitcan University.  He believes in the power of Horror, the Gothic, and digital games as socially powerful art; more than worthy of academic study.

twitterCinereusDarrow    twittergothicmmu



Professor Dave Petley – Shake, Rattle and Roll: Landslides caused by earthquakes

David Petley's Photo (1)

Earthquakes in high mountain areas trigger large numbers of landslides.  For both the 2005 Pakistan and 2008 China earthquakes, landslides killed over 25,000 people, about a third of the total losses in each earthquake.  Clearly there is a need to try to determine which slopes might collapse in earthquake-prone mountain areas, but this is a fiendishly difficult problem given the complexities of both earthquakes and the resultant landslides.  Dave Petley uses examples to investigate the magnitude of the problem.  He will explore the ways in which analysing the patterns of landslides triggered by previous earthquakes can be used to understand the processes through which they occur; and the prospects for reducing the toll of these events in future earthquakes.

Dave Petley is the Vice-President with responsibility for research and innovation at the University of Sheffield.  A hybrid geographer/geologist by background, his research examines both the processes that cause landslides, especially in tectonically-active mountain chains, and the losses that they cause.  He has worked extensively in the Himalayas, New Zealand, Taiwan, China and the UK.  For the last ten years he has run The Landslide Blog, hosted by the American Geophysical Union, which seeks to explain landslide process and losses to a non-specialist audience.


Introduced by Professor John Flint, Professor of Town & Regional Planning and Head of Department of Geography:


Dr Richard Parker – Is the Sun a Thief? Evidence for an exoplanet in the Solar System


Since the discovery of Neptune, astronomers have wondered whether more distant massive planets exist at the edge of our Solar System. The discovery of Pluto began our exploration of the periphery of the Solar System, but we have since realised that Pluto is merely one of many similar sized objects which make up the Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt. Some of these objects are observed to have unusual orbital properties, with one interpretation being that an unseen, relatively massive planet may be responsible. This so-called ‘Planet 9’ may have formed in our Solar System, or it may have been captured, or even stolen from another star. Richard Parker discusses both the evidence for Planet 9, and the different postulated scenarios for its origin.

Born and raised in Newcastle upon Tyne, Richard studied Physics with Astronomy at the University of Sheffield from 2002-2006, which included the wonderful Tim Richardson’s brilliant 1st-year mechanics lectures. He stayed in Sheffield to work on a PhD on ‘Dynamical Interactions in Star Clusters’ with Prof. Simon Goodwin from 2007-10. He was then a postdoctoral researcher at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, from 2010-14, before holding a Royal Astronomical Society research fellowship at Liverpool John Moores University from 2014-16. In January 2017 he returned to Sheffield (again) where he is a lecturer and Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin research fellow. When not chasing a toddler and holding a recently newborn baby, he spends the remaining 0.00001% of his time listening to and playing jazz music.


Dr David Hayes – Punishment After the State: Anarchy, Utopia, and criminal justice today

Hayes 2

Science fiction offers an opportunity to ask, ‘What if…?’ and to explore social concepts and ideas that have never been explored in the laboratory of human history. This lecture examines the idea of a Stateless society – an anarchy – and in particular, how it would deal with issues of security, vindication, and the expression of public values that contemporary State democracies deal with through criminal justice. By using examples from the works of Ursula K Le Guin and Iain M Banks, David Hayes engages with key claims of anarchist thinkers about how to deal with crime without State punishment, and argues that both they and advocates of conventional State-based criminal punishment have something to learn from one another.

David is a Lecturer in Law and early-career researcher in the School of Law, where he has worked since 2014. He is a theorist of criminal law and justice, and is interested in questions about how we justify criminal law and criminal punishment in terms of the political, cultural and moral relationship between the citizen and the State.



Dr Ben Jones – The Science behind Aviation Security

ben jonesBen Jones will be giving an insight into the work of the Research, Analysis and Development team at the Department for Transport.  The RAD team use science to help keep the travelling public safe from terrorist activity across all transport modes by informing evidence-based policy making.  Ben will be talking about both short notice, event-driven work where critical decisions need to be made RIGHT NOW…  to research programmes supporting the vision of future aviation security, balancing rigorous but proportionate security with the need to keep Britain moving.  Oh, and he might have some cool videos…

Ben Jones studied Physics at the University of Sheffield from 2001-05 and still has fond memories of the inimitable Tim Richardson.  He continued at Sheffield with a PhD on Quantum dot embedded photonic structures with Prof Mark Fox from 2005-09. Following this, he moved into the wonderful world of government security research with the Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB) where he worked on everything from radar to detect explosives and weapons to training police in method of entry techniques… From the end of 2015 Ben has been with the Research, Analysis and Development team at the Department for Transport, where he now spends his days using science to keep the skies safe for the travelling public.  When not engaged in such noble scientific endeavours, he spends time walking in the South Downs and with his two marvellous children.


Dr Jenny Freeman – Your Eye Sees Some Numbers, Your Brain Sees a Tiger!


Maths anxiety can be described as “an emotion that blocks a person’s reasoning ability when confronted with a mathematical situation” and is thought to affect a large proportion of the population.  Given that most students now have to study either maths or statistics as part of their course, it is important to understand the effect of maths anxiety on the brain and that there are a variety of techniques to help overcome it. Jenny Freeman highlights the issues, including the impact of maths anxiety, and discusses some strategies for overcoming anxiety and doing well in maths or statistics.

Jenny started managing the maths and statistics help centre (MASH) at the University in September 2017. For the four years before that she was an associate professor of medical statistics and health informatics as the University of Leeds and prior to that a senior lecturer in medical statistics at ScHARR. She has always enjoyed teaching and has a keen interest in how students learn statistics. She was involved in setting up MASH and on the management group for many years. Managing MASH is a great opportunity to ensure that students at Sheffield have the support they need to get the most out of their studies here. This will be Jenny’s fourth year of participating in the Inspirathon and she’s looking forward to being a part of this amazing event.

www.sheffield.ac.uk/mash  https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/mash/anxiety



Dr Seán Williams – Wigs and Women’s Stories of Cancer on Screen

sean williams

Wig-wearing is a part of most women’s experiences of cancer treatment, and a stock storyline in cancer stories on screen. Seán Williams discusses clips from hit shows such as Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives, through to independent short films such as Cancer Hair. How critical are these representations of mainstream ‘cancer culture’? Do they subvert gender stereotypes of illness, or simply bolster them?

Seán is a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow in the School of Languages and Cultures. In 2016 he was named as a BBC New Generation Thinker – an initiative launched by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts & Humanities Research Council to find the brightest minds from across the UK who have the potential to transform their research into engaging broadcast programmes. Seán teaches on enlightenment and romanticism, contemporary Swiss-German literature and on cultural theory.



Professor Wyn Morgan – Food for Life: A life in food

wyn 2

There are very few things in life which are common to all people; food however is one such, and while the issues around it vary across countries, time and cultures, the commonality is that we are all consumers of food. Thus its availability, price, quality and, increasingly important for western cultures, its impact on health, are all increasingly central to how individuals and policy makers view food markets. The views on the issues are many and varied. Wyn Morgan’s interest in food developed at a very early stage and developed into his ongoing interest as an economist, but this is just one disciplinary lens. His talk is simply a personal journey around food and why he finds it fascinating to study, but with nods to other disciplines along the way….
Wyn Morgan is Vice-President for Education and Professor of Economics at the University. His current teaching and research activities centre on his long held interest in the economics of food, food markets, global commodity markets and the cost of the weekly shop!



Introduced by Rosie Valerio, former Director of HR:


Professor Richard Jones – The Second Coming of Industrial Strategy

Professor Richard Jones, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and In

After decades in which the words ‘industrial strategy’ were unspeakable by any UK political party, there’s now a surprisingly wide consensus that we need one – but what form should it take?  Richard Jones describes what he’s learned from his attempts to influence this debate, most recently as a member of the Sheffield/Manchester Industrial Strategy Commission.  How does one go about influencing government policy?  What’s it like to be grilled by a Commons Select Committee?  And can a physicist really get along with economists and political scientists?

Richard Jones is an experimental soft condensed matter physicist, he came to a chair in Sheffield in 1998. He was Head of the Department of Physics & Astronomy from 1999 to 2003, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2006 and was the University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation until 2016. He has had a long-standing interest in public engagement and in the wider social and ethical dimensions of science.

twitter@RichardALJones   www.softmachines.org/wordpress


Dr Sarah Brooks – Is there a Place for Business People in Academia?


Embarking on a graduate management role as a transport manager, Sarah Brooks never dreamt that a few years later, she would be working in a University, studying for a PhD and about to embark on a career as an academic. This is a story about fitting in, dropping out and wondering if academia can ever really be enough for the business practitioner.

Sarah is a lecturer in organisational behaviour. Prior to joining academia, she worked for 15 years as an operations manager and a management consultant, gaining experience in a number of high profile public and private sector organisations across the UK. She graduated with a PhD looking at upward challenge in the police force from the University of Sheffield in 2017. Her current research interests centre around voice and silence in organisations.


Val Derbyshire – Words and Pictures: Charlotte Smith (1749-1806) and the artists of her day

davCan a painting become visible through a novel?  Can a novel manifest itself in a painting? Focusing upon the romances of Charlotte Smith (1749-1806), Val Derbyshire highlights Smith’s links with a number of artists of her day and the use she put to their artworks within her romantic novels.  Smith was a woman of refined taste.  She had taken drawing lessons from early proponent of the picturesque, George Smith of Chichester (1714-76) whilst a child. She also had personal relationships with the famous portrait painter, George Romney (1734-1802) and the celebrated printmaker, John Raphael Smith (1751-1812) and his daughter Emma.  Val explores these relationships and demonstrates how she used their respective artworks within her novels and why so many paintings feature within her works.  Research
surrounding this has yielded surprising results, including revealing a backstory to a British Museum owned print which was previously shrouded in mystery and a previously undiscovered sketch linked to the great portraitist George Romney.
Val is a PhD student studying the works of Charlotte Smith (1749-1806) in the School of English.  Her research interests include Romanticism and the romance genre generally, from the eighteenth-century, up to and including contemporary fiction.  Val’s publications include Why Read Mills & Boon Romances? which was published as part of Sheffield’s Festival of the Mind, entries on Elizabeth Gunning, Elizabeth Meeke and a number of other eighteenth-century authors for the forthcoming The Cambridge Guide to the Eighteenth-Century Novel, 1660-1820, and a chapter in the Lehigh University Press edited collection Placing Charlotte Smith (also forthcoming). Val also has an interest in creative writing. Her first novel, Blind Ambition, was published in 2011 by Castaway Press, under the pen-name Grace Harwood.  In 2014, she was the winner of the 2014 Booker Prize Foundation Universities Initiative Short Stories Prize.



Post-16 Outreach Team – Reaching out with Outreach


Deciding whether and where to go to university – and what subject to study – are big choices to make.  That’s why, here at the University of Sheffield, we’ve created a wide range of programmes and events that develop and support students from under represented back grounds.  Through taster days, practical hands on activities and advice from staff and current students, our scheme participants get an understanding of what it’s like to study specific subjects at university.  Come along and hear from outreach coordinators, who run the schemes, about the work they do, and participants who have been involved, how they have benefited, the sessions they have been involved in, and how the schemes have supported them in their Post 16 journey.



Dr Komarine Romdenh-Romluc – Habit


What are habits and what role do they play in our actions? An influential picture of agency takes all our actions to be brought about by intentions: our actions are the things that we intend to do. Habitual actions cannot easily be accommodated on this model. For example, I might absentmindedly start cycling my usual route to work, even though I intend to go elsewhere. The notion of habit has yet to be fully understood. Komarine Romdenh-Romluc outlines the importance of habit to our actions, and offers a sketch of one way to think about them.

Komarine joined the Department of Philosophy as a Senior Lecturer in Autumn 2015. She previously taught at the University of Nottingham. The main focus of her research can be called ‘phenomenological philosophy of mind’, which means – as the name suggests – that she is interested in using ideas from the phenomenological tradition to address issues in contemporary philosophy of mind, although she also writes about other things too. A lot of her most recent work has been about Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology.  Komarine is currently thinking about agency, and how we might understand action in the light of various experimental data that seem to threaten the idea that our doings are ever under our conscious control.


Professor Simon Goodwin – How Weird is the Earth?


Is the Earth a fairly typical planet, or is it very, very unusual?  Is having life and an intelligent(!?), technological species fairly normal?   Is a slightly wet, rocky planet enough for us to be here now, or is there something weird about the Earth?

Simon Goodwin is Professor of Astrophysics.  His main research interests are star formation and the dynamics of young stellar systems, but he is also interested in the science of aliens – do they exist, what are they like, and how can we find them?

Introduced by Professor Simon Goodwin, Department of Physics & Astronomy:


Dr Nate Adams & Dr Marieke Navin – The Travelling Rainbow Show 

Join Nate and Marieke on a highly interactive tour of all things bright and colourful. By day, Nate investigates how plants convert light into the food that helps them grow – he finds this amazing! Marieke loves bringing science to life in the most amazing ways possible.  In the Travelling Rainbow Show, you’ll learn how to get hands on with light, use the word ‘wavicle’ in everyday conversation, feel how a particle accelerator works and see some fantastic scientific demonstrations, including the famous Flamebow!

Marieke organises large scale science events that get everyone excited about science. From using circus performers to show the strength of graphene, and ballet dancers to illustrate protons going around the Large Hadron Collider, nothing is off limits. Marieke is Programme Manager at SHIFT Digital.

Nate is a research associate in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, studying how plants turn green – mainly by firing lasers at the molecular machines that construct the pigment of life.  Outside of the lab, Nate presents science on stage, screen, radio, and online – popping up all over the place to blow stuff up. Recently Nate worked with SmashFestUK to get a world record with the tallest liquid nitrogen trashcan explosion – it was mega.

twitter@mariekenavin  twitter@nateadams

Introduced by Professor Marie Kinsey, Professor of Journalism Education and joint Head of the Department of Journalism:


Dr Marek Szablewski – The Life of a Refugee:  My mother’s life in 10 objects


Marek, a senior lecturer in Physics at Durham University researching in materials physics, born and brought up in Sheffield, was awarded a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship in 2010-11. The aim was to research his hidden Polish family history and the journey that brought his parents to Yorkshire after World War Two. Marek travelled to Warsaw to work on this project, digging up information from archives and museums, talking to relatives and visiting sites of special interest in order to fill in the gaps in his late father’s stories and documents. Now he turns to his mother’s story, from her father escaping Ukraine to forced labour for Nazi Germany, being bombed by the allies in Dresden, walking hundreds of miles to escape to a UN refugee camp in Bavaria, and finally arriving in Sheffield.


Professor Lee Thompson – Cosmic Rays, Pyramids and Volcanoes


We are constantly bathed in a flux of elementary particles called muons, that are created in the atmosphere by cosmic rays. These muons can be exploited to create images of objects that would otherwise be impenetrable and/or inaccessible – a technique known as muon tomography. The talk with explain how these muons are created and how we use them to make images. Some of the applications of muon tomography will be highlighted including the smuggling of nuclear contraband and the imaging of volcanoes and pyramids.
Lee Thompson is a Professor of Experimental Particle Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Sheffield. His main research interests focus on the properties of a family of elementary particles called neutrinos as well as the application of particle physics to real world problems such as nuclear non-proliferation studies and the use of muon tomography. Lee was a close friend of Tim Richardson and is a trustee of the Inspiration for Life charity.


Penny Andrews – Masculinity and the Labour Party, 1994-2017


At the height of Cool Britannia, Tony Blair seemed to be combining both contemporary forms of media masculinity: the new lad of Loaded and Baddiel and Skinner, and the sensitive New Man who changed nappies. This seemed refreshingly modern in the wake of the 1990s sex scandals, where John Major’s Back to Basics campaign was dismantled by Conservative tales of affairs, closet homosexuality and erotic auto-asphyxiation.  Soon enough, women in the Labour Party were complaining of the unpleasant macho culture around Blair and his closest allies, and the façade began to drop. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott went from Two Jags to Two Shags. Robin Cook assumed Harriet Harman was having an affair, because he was.  Blair was the same old political animal, threatened by any challenge to his supremacy and making offensive comments comparing himself to “an abused wife” when being pressed to resign as leader. Even now, profiles of the now tainted Blair refer to his looks, his charisma and revel in repeating accounts of his sexual prowess from his wife, Cherie, and rumoured mistress, Wendi Deng.

Following the Labour leadership election in 2010, where the one woman who stood came last and the other three candidates had played football together for years, a new kind of political masculinity seemed to emerge. The fanfiction website Archive of our Own (Ao3) began to fill with ‘Clameron’ stories, after Nick Clegg and David Cameron gave their first Coalition press conference in the Downing Street rose garden, and Mumsnet posters discovered that they weren’t alone in their crushes on Ed Balls, Andy Burnham and co. This female and gay friendly politics held media and fandom sway for a while, before reverting to type. Ed Balls was mocked for his stammer and feminised interests in cooking, piano playing and Antiques Roadshow. Ed Miliband was accused by David Cameron of being insufficiently ‘butch’. Now we have Jeremy Corbyn, who is more allotment than alpha male. This paper explores that journey.

Penny Andrews researches politics fandom, political communication, masculinity in the Labour Party and internet cultures. They tweet at @pennyb, which probably tells you all you need to know.



Dr Ed Daw – Jazz in the Hidden Sector



Ed is a Reader in Physics whose hobby is music. He has played in numerous bands, mostly on the piano.  Ed was part of the LIGO team responsible for the ground-breaking recent discoveries regarding gravitational waves.



Dr Sharron Hinchliff – Making the Invisible Visible: Talking to older adults about relationships, intimacy and sex 


It’s taboo. It’s sensitive. And it’s definitely personal. Not only that, it is subject to misinformation and coloured by prejudiced thinking. Sharron will talk about the findings from her programme of research into the intimate relationships and sexual lives of older adults. By making the invisible visible, we not only challenge the stereotype that older adults do not engage in or enjoy sex, we also re-shape public and professional understandings of this area. Addressing the sexual rights of older adults is important if we are to push forward change and improve the support and resources available to older women and men.

Sharron is Reader in Psychology and Health at the School of Nursing and Midwifery where she leads the ageing, gender and sexual health/sexual well-being programme of research. She has published widely in these areas, and her current book Addressing the Sexual Rights of Older People draws on interdisciplinary research to provide readers with an innovative and evidence-based framework for achieving the sexual rights of older people.


Introduced by Catherine Annabel, Chair of Inspiration for Life: 


Dr Casey Strine – Joseph, the Technicolour Migrant: Looking afresh at Genesis 37–50


The story of Joseph in the book of Genesis follows the life of one boy, who is the victim of human trafficking and has to deal with the consequences of environmentally induced involuntary migration. Far from making the story about something other than the broken relationships in one family and their reconciliation, it enhances this aspect of the narrative by placing it within circumstances well known in the ancient Near East. At the same time, and more importantly, it shows us that human trafficking has long been known and recognised as the cause of massive trauma. And, it shows us that climate change has a long history of consolidating wealth among the most wealthy. Casey Strine explores how all these things are interwoven in the Joseph narrative and how it suggests the Bible might help in dealing with current social circumstances.

Casey’s initial training was in Industrial Engineering. He began graduate studies after just over five years in management consulting and IT project management, completing a Masters of Divinity, specialising in biblical studies and languages, and then a DPhil in Theology at the University of Oxford. His doctorate, completed in 2011, has been published under the title Sworn Enemies: The Divine Oath, the Book of Ezekiel, and the Polemics of Exile. Casey served as College Lecturer in Old Testament for Oriel College, Oxford and then as research fellow in the Arts & Humanities Research Institute at King’s College London. He is now Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow and Lecturer in Hebrew Bible at Sheffield.


Introduced by Greg Oldfield, Head of Public Engagement:


Professor Ingunn Holen – Breast Cancer Research – Are we getting anywhere?


‘All that money spent on cancer research and still there is no cure.  What a waste!’ This is quite a common statement but is it true or false? Professor Ingunn Holen shows how research has had enormous impact on the way breast cancer is diagnosed and treated, and how this has changed the outlook for someone diagnosed today compared to in previous decades.

Ingunn is a biologist who has worked in cancer research for more than 20 years. She joined the Academic Unit of Clinical Oncology as a Lecturer in 2001, and is currently Professor in Bone Oncology and Head of the Breast Cancer Laboratory Research Team. Ingunn studied Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Oslo, Norway and was awarded her PhD in 1995, before moving to Sheffield to take up a post as a post-doctoral research associate.  She is particularly interested in how cancer spreads and colonises new sites, including the skeleton. Ingunn works closely with charities, including Weston Park Cancer Charity and Breast Cancer Now, to increase public understanding of cancer research.


Dr Amber Regis – Becoming Currer Bell; or, Charlotte Brontë’s rudest joke

Amber Regis_SA

Charlotte Brontë did not speak to her readers in her own voice — rather, she spoke to them as Currer Bell, a pen-name and alter-ego crafted through and in her prefaces. In the second edition of Jane Eyre, Currer Bell railed against the critics and reviewers, the ‘timorous and carping few’ who objected to the novel’s hard truths. Here Currer Bell is a humble prophet whose words fall upon deaf ears. But the Currer Bell in the preface to Brontë’s second novel, Shirley, is very different: here he is a gouty, lecherous bachelor with a penchant for sexual innuendo! This new alter ego was too controversial, too rude, and the preface was suppressed. This talk examines the transformation of Currer Bell from humble prophet to gouty bachelor, and along the way we will uncover Charlotte Brontë’s rudest joke…

Amber is a Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature. She has particular research interests in life-writing and literary afterlives, and she has recently published a critical edition of The Memoirs of John Addington Symonds (2016) and a co-edited collection, Charlotte Brontë: Legacies and Afterlives (2017).



Joan Upson & Pete Odell – Law through Storytelling


Joan is a Senior University Teacher in the School of Law at Sheffield University, with 30 years’ experience in Higher Education at Sheffield and elsewhere. She is the Director of the LLB programme, and module convenor and teacher on a range of law modules focusing on the Common Law.

Pete was originally a Chemistry graduate, who completed an MA in Law in 1998 and took up a lectureship in Sheffield School of Law in 2002. He mainly teaches property-based subjects such as Equity & Trusts, Intellectual Property and Land Law, with a focus on helping students develop their academic skills as well as their skills for employment. He is personal tutor for all the MA Law students as well as some undergraduate and GDL students.

Introduced by Catherine Annabel, Chair of Inspiration for Life: 


Professor Tony Ryan – Camp Wisdom


Since the last 24 Hour lecture I have been back to the Zaatari refugee camp, where 80,000 people are squeezed into six square kilometres, twice.  On both occasions I took big teams and we made lots of friends both in the camp, with the NGOs and at Universities across Jordan.

Last July a team of seven scientists and engineers went to Za’atari for a week of “scrap yard challenges” to come up with co-created solutions for home-scale hydroponics, water heating and electricity generation. There are plenty of materials to hand, sheet steel and angle bar, wood, canvas and poles from tents, PU foam mattresses and a stock of recovered bicycles donated by the Amsterdam Police. The bicycles provided lots of parts for subsequent build projects and we were helped by donations from two Sheffield companies, bicycle parts Planet X, cable and rigging equipment from Gripple.

The refugees’ legal status usually prevents them from taking up employment, owning property or moving freely, stripping them of agency. At home they were farmers, engineers, teachers, doctors, so not only have they been forcibly displaced, but also forcibly unemployed. And they can’t do anything that even looks like it might lead to permanence, like getting a job or fixing their house. Despite this, the eagerness to put a plan into action was truly astounding, and many smiles and jokes were exchanged. It is incredible to see the resilience of the Za’atari folk.

In January we went back again, but this time took a bunch of social scientists with us, to prepare for a GCRF call.  They spent their time meeting people, in the camp and in Universities, analysing problems and developing research questions. We built on our previous work to build through co-creation school buses, mobility devices, greenhouses and winterised caravans.  And I’ll show examples of all of these.

The team bonded well and now we are in a position to address social innovation, entrepreneurship, institutions and governance and welfare.  Steering the path between driving positive change and developing a research programme is the issue for UoS now.

The people who live these camps face daily struggles that many of us cannot imagine. But those we met embodied values that are often forgotten by those of us in more privileged parts of the world: an adaptable approach to solving problems, an aversion to waste, a sense of community. As hard as we must work to live in a world where no one is forced to flee their home, there is much we can learn from Syria’s refugees.

From 2008-2016 Tony was the Pro Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Science at the University of Sheffield. His research covers the synthesis, structure, processing and properties of polymers and he was in at the beginning of polymer nanotechnology. He has co-authored more than 200 papers and 8 patents and written a book on polymer processing or how things are made from plastic.  Tony is a regular contributor to TV, radio and newspapers. He was born in Leeds and got his three degrees from UMIST. Married with two daughters, Tony is a creative cook, a keen cyclist and an occasional mountaineer with a weakness for gadgets.  He was made an OBE in 2006 for ‘Services to Science’.



Catherine Annabel – Closing words



2 thoughts on “24 Hour Inspire 2018

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