Monday, August 14, 2017
Research week @ Ara - 2017 - DAY 1
The annual research week runs through the whole of this week. Over today and tomorrow, staff present short overviews of their work. On Wednesday, there is the popular Great Debate. This year’s topic is “A robot will do your job better than you do!”. Students present their work across Thursday and Friday with ‘Pitch a project’.
Today’s presentations include:
Guest Speaker Associate Professor Craig Bunt from Lincoln University talks about the ‘collaborations between Lincoln University and Ara’. Began with overview of research scene – has 456 undergrad enrolments in Agricultural / Environmental Science. 220 full-time PhD students (75% are international) with 50% in Ag/Env Science. Presented examples from his projects including 3D printed darts to inject steroids into animals; alternatives to 1080 – stabilisation of a toxin used in pest control now registered for commercial use; electron spun nanofibers that can be holders of fungicides etc. to be used on plants; and analysis of dog biscuits collected from Antarctica to find out how they were made 100 years ago. Each came about from trying to understand a problem, funded in different ways and reliant on networks of other researchers and goodwill across science community.
Staff follow with 6 minute overviews of their work:
Cameron Pearce from the Jazz School shares ‘Symposium X – original works for jazz big band. Provided background on the group, made up mainly of current, ex- Ara staff and graduates, which has been together for 10 years and provided a snippet of the groups’ original work. Described the creative process involved in composing a piece of work. Using a piece of art work by another Ara staff, John Maillard, as the inspiration.
Tony McCaffrey presents an update on his on-going work ‘we will look after you’: the radical promise of the time after’ in a recent theatre involving actors with intellectual disabilities. As usual, reads an eloquent presentation on his work. Tony’s work continually develops through the production, direction and support of actors, not normally seen performing theatre. Tony is currently working on a book to disseminate his PhD thesis.
Mary Kensington then presented collaborative work (with Rae Dallenbach and Lorna Davis) and with the Universities in Aberdeen and Glasgow on ‘rural midwifes making a difference in NZ and Scotland: achieving a sustainable model of rural practice. A quick overview of a larger presentation – see ASL presentations from a couple of months ago for summary.
Allen Hill from Outdoor Education and Sustainability presents on an externally funded project - ‘Policy practice gaps sustaining unsustainability in schools’. How policy gaps have made it difficult to include sustainability into school curriculum – hence ‘Steven’s Gap’ which is difference between rhetoric (Policy) and reality (Practice). We can express in curriculum documents but teachers do not know how to actually integrate into teaching.
Joy Kuhns presents work (with Julia Wu and A. Habib) on ‘living through uncertainties as the norm: lessons from NZ regional family businesses’. Provide overview of rationale – the uptake of accounting and management systems by family businesses. How did they use these systems and why. Used a responsive interviewing technique. Summarised findings – little use of formal use of accounting systems; agile through continual learning required to keep their businesses profitable and sustainable; learnt by doing, from mistakes and through networks.
Kerstin Dofs updates her on-going work on ‘autonomous learning in the world – Rio and Ara’. Presented on experiences as convenor of the conference in Rio. Themes of conference also detailed and Ara’s approach to autonomous language learning. Detailed current work on PhD and how there is a continual need for learners to be even more adept has self-directed learning.
I (Selena) provide a quick overview on ’eAssessments for learning: examples of innovative practice’. Go over the rationale and objectives, detail the 7 sub-projects and benefits for learners and teachers of e-feedback’.
Ian Williamson from engineering presents on ‘how to save money on your electricity / energy needs’. Provided overview on NZ context. Presently, information from various companies etc. is confusing, difficult to access and understand. Not all options available in every part of NZ. Discussed implication of going off-grid (recommended if now building), solar (not recommended in city), install monitoring equipment, check how house is wired to maximise ability to go on specific plans, being efficient and using less power, is the most important achievement.
Then Dorle Pauli from Creative Industries presents a summary of ‘the work of Michael Reed’ – ‘Feeling blue and Seeing Red’. A distinguished printmaker who has just retired from Ara. Presents the challenges on writing a biography of an artist who is still living, including the ‘collaboration’ that eventuates and the voice/ role of the biographer. The biography will be based on conversations. Shared some of Michael’s work archived at Ara.
Brendan Reilly from Broadcasting presents on ‘sports news on commercial music radio: diversity or disappointment’. Why is rugby the main sport covered? Looked at ZM and The Edge to see what was reported. Rugby, league, cricket and netball – made up 70% of stories. Although females are main audience, male sports still dominate. Presented on some of the reasons why.
Heather Josland (with Kay Milligan, Maggie Meeks, Phillipa Seaton and Julie Withington) from Nursing presents a project which is in collaboration with Otago University on ‘do we need to start earlier: undergraduate inter-professional simulation’ in the context of doctor / nurse communications. Introduced various tools used to help students learn the intricacies of communication, the language differences between doctors and nurses and how to work together.
Then Gareth Allison from Commerce, presents on ‘justification in wWOM – Electronic Word of Mouth’. Seeks to find out how consumers make decisions based on what they find on-line. Described how the move to digital has changed marketing. Many of the past methods, now no longer effective. However, e-advertising is fragmented and still relatively new. ‘Word of Mouth’ seem to be a form of ‘informal’ information used by consumers. Studied a website - as an exploratory study - with discussion forum to see efficacy of product recommendations.
Grant Bennett from Science on ‘Survive on Mars’. A project that arose from his work on finding how to get probiotic bacteria to last on breakfast cereals. One application is to prepare cereal for astronauts travelling to Mars. Set up student project to find the best type of cereal, that will still taste good and last.
As usual, synergies between the work of several of the presenters to be followed up :)