University of Stirling

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News Archive

October

The People's Game?

You Can Put A Price On Friendship

Stirling University's Students' Union Is Best

First to Focus on Patient's Experiences of Cancer

Freedland to Give 2003 Hetherington Lecture

Honour for Former French Lecturer

Annual Polish History Lecture

Effects of GM Crop On Ecological Processes in Soil Not Detected - Absence of Evidence or Evidence of Absence?

Tackling Toddler Tourism in Tobermory

Stirling Aids Rwandan Reconstruction

Poles' Position In Britain 1940-2000

Water, Life and Landscape

 

The People's Game?

Following a decade of commercial and financial upheaval, the football business is still in a period of transition. As media income throughout Europe declines, many clubs burdened with high wage costs are facing severe financial problems. Clubs are becoming more and more polarized financially and pressure is growing for unprecedented structural change within the industry. Yet this remains football: an activity that has a social and community significance which sets it apart from conventional business activity.

The rapidly changing economics of European club football are scrutinised in a new book - ‘The People’s Game – Football, Finance and Society’ - by Senior Lecturer in Sports Studies at the University of Stirling, Stephen Morrow.

Drawing on case studies of clubs in Britain, Italy, Denmark and the Netherlands, different approaches to ownership, governance, business strategies and community involvement are identified. Issues such as the effect that ‘super clubs’ have had on competitive balance in leagues are also considered.

Stephen Morrow argues, however, that running clubs in a business-like way need not equate to being run for the benefit of businesspeople.

“One challenge for supporters and others is to harness football’s business dimensions for the good of its social role. Beyond that it also means engaging in debate about the direction of football, being open to discussion and change on issues ranging from league reconstruction and income distribution through to more local concerns like club locations. Football supporters must seek to influence changes in football, rather than being left only to react to them.”

Can football still claim to be ‘The People’s Game’?

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Stephen Morrow
University of Stirling
Stirling
FK9 4LA
Scotland
UK

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Tel: + 44 (0) 01786 466495


You Can Put A Price On Friendship

What is the price of friendship? Just under £100,000, according to Australian research quoted by University of Stirling Deputy Principal, Professor John Field in his new book about people's social contacts.

Social Capital , published by Routledge, makes the case that people with wide friendship networks tend to be happier as well as wealthier. It provides a range of evidence that thriving social connections can help promote business innovation, school achievement and job seeking.

Professor Field said: "The basic idea of social capital is that people's connections are a resource. The Australian study shows that friendships among Sydney hotel-owners made an average contribution to annual revenue of some Aus$268,000, or £109,000."

He added: "People use their connections to co-operate with one another and make things happen. There is now a lot of evidence that societies where people are engaged with one another are successful, not just in terms of their material wealth, but they are also likely to be healthier and better educated as a result, and they face fewer problems such as crime".

Professor Field criticises many government policies of the 1960s and 1970s for damaging social capital, and thereby creating social problems such as crime and poor health:

"Examples include the replacement of slum housing by high rise flats, which may have removed unhealthy homes simply to replace them with ghettos of mistrust where no one knew their neighbours."

Both the Scottish Executive and the UK government recognise a need to invest in social capital. However, Professor Field warns, that as well as having many benefits, social capital also has a down side:

"Obviously a culture where people know one another and trust one another is likely to be much happier and healthier than a culture where people don't know one another. But people can also use their contacts for less positive purposes, from insider trading in the City to drugs cartels".

He added: "There needs to be a balanced approach. Governments cannot simply ignore social capital, because it exists already, in the connections that people have with one another, and therefore it inevitably influences what actually happens when governments try to intervene in areas such as health, education or employment.

"The most disadvantaged communities are usually those where social capital has been destroyed by misguided policies in the past. But building social capital is something that needs to be done sensitively, and in partnership with those involved".

Lesley Pollock

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Professor John Field
University of Stirling
Stirling
FK9 4LA
Scotland
UK

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Tel: + 44 (0) 1786 01786 466145 or 07818046827


Stirling University's Students' Union Is Best

Students' UnionStirling University Students’ Association (SUSA) has beaten off stiff competition from Edinburgh, Dundee and Strathclyde to win the title of Best Students’ Union in Scotland 2003.

Student officers and staff members of SUSA rubbed shoulders with the cream of the Scottish nightclub industry at the Bar Entertainment & Dance Association (BEDA) Awards in Edinburgh on Tuesday night.

SUSA President Esther Kavanagh said: “Both the staff and students are delighted with the award. The facilities which SUSA offers to its membership are first class and it is nice to be recognised by such a prestigious Association for the work we do.”

Stirling University students’ union includes a chill out bar with comfy leather seats and big TV screens, as well as a nightclub with a cocktail bar.

The University’s Director of Communications and Development, Giles Dove said: “We have always believed we have the best students’ union in the country and now we have the award to prove it.”

SUSA will now go forward to the UK BEDA Awards, which will take place on 28th September at the NECC in Birmingham.

Lesley Pollock
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lesley.pollock@stir.ac.uk

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SUSA President Esther Kavanagh
University of Stirling
Stirling
FK9 4LA
Scotland
UK

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Tel: + 44 (0) 1786 467167


First to Focus on Patient's Experiences of Cancer

Date released - 2 October 2003

Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm will officially launch the University of Stirling's new Cancer Care Research Centre (CCRC) on Monday 6 October.

Mr Chisholm said: "It is widely recognised that more work remains to be done in the systematic exploration of patient experience. It is only by exploring the experiences of patients that we can develop services that are responsive to patients' needs. A key resource for that will be the new Cancer Care Research Centre at the University of Stirling."

This innovative development within the Department of Nursing and Midwifery will lead the way in cancer care research by focusing on patients' experiences of cancer for the first time.

Director of CCRC, Professor Nora Kearney said: "The majority of cancer studies are directed towards basic science. They look at cancer from a disease point of view rather than a patient point of view. We recognise that more research is needed into the experience of patients. At the moment we do not have sufficient evidence to know what living with cancer is really like."

The CCRC's main aim is to develop and conduct programmes of research that address patients' needs. Patients, rather than academics, will determine the direction of the Centre's work.

Professor Kearney explained: "Patients, carers and cancer clinicians will identify our research priorities. We are inviting patients to share their knowledge of cancer and thus become more involved in their own care."

The centre has already begun investigating the role of IT in cancer care. A small group of patients receiving chemotherapy at the Beatson Oncology Centre in Glasgow have been using hand-held computers to record the symptoms of their treatment while they are at home. Patients can obtain basic advice on managing their symptoms by inputting information about how they feel into the computer.

The CCRC not only puts the University at the forefront of cancer care research in the UK, but also offers collaborative opportunities across the University. For example, a current project looking at cancer and older people has considerable potential for joint working with the Dementia Services Development Centre.

Lesley Pollock

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Professor Nora Kearney
University of Stirling
Stirling
FK9 4LA
Scotland
UK

telephone Tel: + 44 (0) 1786 466337

Freedland to Give 2003 Hetherington Lecture

Date released - 13 October 2003


Award-winning journalist, author and broadcaster Jonathan Freedland will give this year’s Hetherington Memorial Lecture on Wednesday 22 October at 5.30pm in the Logie Lecture Theatre. The topic of the lecture will be ‘Can a newspaper make peace? The role of the press in ending conflict’.

“Newspapers”, said Freedland, “have always covered conflict - but do they actually fuel it through their coverage? What are their obligations: merely to report on warfare, to take sides or do what they can to bring it to an end? The Guardian's experience over the last few years, especially in relation to the Middle East, suggests the answer may not be as simple as our journalistic forebears believed.”

Jonathan Freedland was named Columnist of the Year in the 2002 What the Papers Say annual awards. Since 1997, he has been a columnist on the Guardian, having served for four years as the paper’s Washington Correspondent. In 1998 he published the acclaimed book, ‘Bring Home the Revolution: the Case for a British Republic’, which was adapted for a BBC2 series. As well as presenting occasional talk shows, he recently fronted a Channel 4 documentary on the Roman Empire.

The University’s annual public lecture, organised by the Stirling Media Research Institute, is named after the late Alastair Hetherington. The former editor of the Guardian and Controller of BBC Scotland was the first Research Professor of Media Studies at the University of Stirling.

Lesley Pollock

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Peter Meech
University of Stirling
Stirling
FK9 4LA
Scotland
UK

telephone Tel: + 44 (0) 1786 467526

Honour for Former French Lecturer

Date released - 13 October 2003


The French Tricolour was flown over the University of Stirling on Monday 6 October to mark a special visit by the French Consul General to the School of Modern Languages and Cultures.

Monsieur Michel Roche travelled to Stirling to confer the distinction of ‘palmes académiques’ on former French lecturer Dr James Munro. The Consul was accompanied by the Directors of the French Institute, Edinburgh and the Alliance Française, Glasgow.

The award recognises French citizens and foreign nationals who have contributed significantly to the dissemination and advancement of French language and culture. It was instituted in 1808, under Napoleon, and was transformed into an Order in 1955 to reward distinguished service in the fields of education, art and letters.

Dr Munro was one of the founding members of the French Department when the University of Stirling opened in 1967, specialising in French classical and eighteenth century literature. From 1981 onwards, he also taught in the University’s Centre for English Language Teaching. Shortly before retiring in 2001, he devised and taught a three-semester course in French for primary teachers who had completed a basic training in the language and wished to develop their proficiency.

In recent years the French section of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures has seen four of its staff honoured in this way, highlighting the considerable national contribution the University makes to teaching and researching French language and culture.

Lesley Pollock

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Dr William Kidd
University of Stirling
Stirling
FK9 4LA
Scotland
UK

telephone Tel: + 44 (0) 1786 467537

Annual Polish History Lecture

Date released - 16 October 2003

The University of Stirling's Centre for Research in Polish History will hold its annual public lecture in memory of Polish War Hero, General Stanislaw Maczek (1892-1994) on Thursday 13 November.

This year's lecture - 'Is the state of Poland a Reflection of the Polish State?' -will be given by Director of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London, Professor George Kolankiewicz.

Professor Kolankiewicz said: " High unemployment, a mounting budget deficit, social discontent and deep mistrust in public institutions are just some of the tasks that confront a state which appears to go from one corruption scandal to another and to be unable to put its house in order. Can Poland play the role it sees for itself in the enlarged Europe?"

The lecture, which is sponsored by the MB Grabowski Fund and Polonia Aid Foundation Trust, will commence at 7pm in Room D1, Pathfoot Building.

Lesley Pollock

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Professor Peter Stachura
University of Stirling
Stirling
FK9 4LA
Scotland
UK

telephone Tel: + 44 (0) 1786 467580

Effects of GM Crop On Ecological Processes in Soil Not Detected - Absence of Evidence or Evidence of Absence?

Date released - 21 October 2003

As the results of the three-year experiment in the UK on the environmental impact of genetically modified crops are released, a University of Stirling scientist has reported the results of a study in which no effect of a GM crop on decomposition processes was detected.

Professor David Hopkins' of the University's School of Environmental and Biological Sciences analysed samples from a field site in North America and carried out laboratory experiments on the effects of GM maize on decomposition.   The maize was modified to contain an insecticide normally produced by soil bacteria.   The research focused on what happens to the residues from crops after harvest, which is a contrast to the current research on GM crops in the UK that have concentrated on the effect on farmland creatures.

"Whilst the above ground effects on other plants and animals are an important dimension of assessing the impact of GM crops, it is also essential to know whether there are impacts on large scale ecological processes such as decomposition and carbon cycling; we have found none." said Professor Hopkins.

Professor Hopkins stressed that the impacts of GM crops must be properly evaluated, before any judgements are made on their safety. He said: "It is not possible to general draw conclusions from results with one type of GM in one crop plant undertaken at one site and apply them to all GMs in all crops at all sites."

A full report of Professor Hopkins' research will appear in the European Journal of Soil Science entitled 'Detection and Decay of the Bt endotoxin in soil from a field trial with genetically modified maize.'

Lesley Pollock

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Professor David Hopkins
University of Stirling
Stirling
FK9 4LA
Scotland
UK

telephone Tel: + 44 (0) 1786 467755

Tackling Toddler Tourism in Tobermory

Date released - 22 October 2003

A University of Stirling academic is carrying out research into Mull's mini tourism boom. Tiny tourists are using pester power to persuade parents to take them on holiday to the island's capital Tobermory which provides the setting for 'Balamory' - the BBC pre-school television programme which is enjoying unprecedented success.

Tourism Lecturer, Dr Joanne Connell said: "It has long been accepted that place-specific films and TV programmes often result in an increase in tourism to showcased destinations, 'All Creatures Great and Small', 'Heartbeat' and 'Braveheart' all being good examples. However, the effects of pre-school children's TV on tourism performance have not really been seen elsewhere. 'Balamory' has resulted in a significant increase in visitors to Tobermory and has created a new phenomenon endearingly described as 'toddler tourism'."

Tobermory's tourist information centre has received an unparalleled number of enquiries this summer, almost double for the same period last year. Dr Connell believes this increased interest must be managed carefully if Mull is to achieve maximum benefit while retaining the core appeal of the Island's unique environment.

Dr Connell said: "With Mull's rapid transformation into a 'must see' destination for families, the effects for local businesses need to be firmly understood in order to plan and manage potential growth and development of new opportunities, while maximising the benefits and minimising any prospective negative aspects."

A survey of tourism based enterprises on the island is currently underway to gauge the impact of 'Balamory' on Tobermory and the effects on the rest of the Island, the results of which will assist the local community and tourism organisations in planning and managing future tourism development.

Lesley Pollock

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Dr Joanne Connell
University of Stirling
Stirling
FK9 4LA
Scotland
UK

telephone Tel: + 44 (0) 1786 466452

Stirling Aids Rwandan Reconstruction

Date released - 27 October 2003

The generosity of the University of Stirling's Alumni community has enabled a young Rwandan woman to study for a MSc in Aquaculture.

The Stirling Minds: Annual Fund has donated £7000 towards the cost of the course, which will give Sylvie Karasira (27) the fish farming skills to help rebuild her country after the genocide.

On return to Rwanda, Sylvie hopes to share her knowledge of tropical fish with other students at the Higher Institute of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry where she is an assistant lecturer.

Sylvie said:   "Rwanda is one of the most densely populated areas of Africa and as a result there is an over-utilisation of the arable land. Rwanda may be landlocked but there is an abundance of lakes such as Lake Butera and Lake Kivu, which is 780 metres in depth. Fish farming will fill an important niche in the development of Rwanda. I will give courses on different aspects of fish farming and will be involved in aquaculture research and setting up fish farming projects."

Sylvie is one of seven women who were selected by the Rwanda University Scholarship Scheme (RUSS) to come to study in Scotland. The other six students are studying at the universities of Dundee, St Andrews, Edinburgh and Glasgow Caledonian. The scheme was established by Gerda Siann, Professor Emeritus at the University of Dundee, to contribute to the training of Rwandan women who are urgently needed to help reconstruct their country.

Women are not traditionally educated in Rwanda, so Sylvie feels very privileged to be able to come to Stirling to further her studies.

She said: "We have only a very small number of women in Higher Education, around 25 per cent. I hope this scheme will encourage them to study further and help in the development of Rwanda."

Director of the University of Stirling's Institute of Aquaculture, Professor Randolph Richards said: "We are delighted to offer Sylvie the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to establish, manage and appraise aquaculture enterprises and development projects in her native Rwanda. There is currently no educational provision for the study of aquaculture science in her country, so the skills Sylvie obtains will make a real difference."

Sylvie is settling in well at Stirling, despite the cold weather. She said: "The campus is beautiful and the people very friendly. My class is largely made up of international students, so I feel very welcome. I hope I can encourage my fellow students to travel to my country, which is now very peaceful."

Lesley Pollock

Media Relations Manager

+ 44 (0) 1786 467058


Poles' Position In Britain 1940-2000

Date released - 30 October 2003

Director of the University of Stirling's Centre for Research in Polish History, Professor Peter Stachura presents a provocative interpretation of the Poles' position in British society in a new book launched next month.

 

The Poles in Britain 1940-2000: From Betrayal to Assimilation offers an analysis of the development of the Polish community in the United Kingdom from the start of the Second World War to the end of the twentieth century.

Drawing on primary sources, the book explores the significant Polish effort alongside the Allies in defeating Nazi Germany and investigates what Professor Stachura calls the "appalling treatment" of the Poles at the end of the war.

Professor Stachura said: "At the Allied Conference in Yalta in 1945, the Poles paid the political price of annexation by the Soviet Union - nearly half of the pre-war Second Polish Republic - and the brutal imposition of a communist regime. This crass and wholly unjustified betrayal of the cause of a Free Poland by the Allies resulted directly in the formation of a large Polish community in the UK".

The numerous problems the Poles faced creating a new life in an unfamiliar and "not particularly welcoming country" are examined; their experiences in Scotland, Leicester and Sheffield are given particular attention.

Lesley Pollock

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Professor Peter Stachura
University of Stirling
Stirling
FK9 4LA
Scotland
UK

telephone Tel: + 44 (0) 1786 467585

Water, Life and Landscape

Date released - 31 October 2003

Forth Naturalist and Historian's 29th annual Man and the Landscape Symposium will be held on Saturday 15 November at the University of Stirling.

The theme of this year's conference - Water, Life and Landscape - addresses national and local issues relating to our natural heritage and society. Presentations will be given on the natural environments of Forth Valley; water power; water and people; carseland; settlement farming and wetland conservation.

In addition to these six lectures, the 26th volume of the Forth Naturalist and Historian Journal will be launched. The volume includes papers and annual reports of the weather and of birds in the locality, as well as book reviews and notes.

There will be special displays featuring Flanders Moss and the Great Wheel of Blair Drummond as well as the usual bookstall. A field trip to Flanders Moss has also been organised for Sunday 16 November.

Booking enquiries should be directed to Marilyn Scott. Telephone 01786 467269 or e-mail mbn1@stir.ac.uk

Lesley Pollock

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Lindsay Corbett

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone Tel: + 44 (0) 1259 215091
email Email: Lindsay.corbett@stir.ac.uk