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Suffrage Science Award for Lincoln Psychology Professor

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A psychology professor whose research on childhood development has helped to teach children safe behaviour with dogs has been recognised for her work with a Suffrage Women in Science Award.

Professor Kerstin Meints from the University of Lincoln’s School of Psychology specialises in the study of infant and child development and human-animal interaction. Her interdisciplinary work has seen the creation of language assessment tools as well as educational tools. The latter are designed to help children and parents behave safely with dogs and to recognise when a dog might be distressed, which can in turn lead to a reduction in dog bite incidents.

She has now been presented with the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (MRC LMS) Suffrage Women in Science Award which celebrates women in science for their scientific achievement, their ability to inspire others, and for encouraging women to enter scientific subjects and to stay in those fields.

The award itself is represented through a piece of specially-designed jewellery, a brooch which symbolises the Suffrage movement. The brooch comes in a box with ribbons depicting the three colours of the suffrage movement: green, white and purple. In the UK, those colours were worn by the Women’s Social and Political Union, led by Emmeline Pankhurst.

Professor Meints, who is the director of the Lincoln Infant and Child Development Lab, will keep the jewellery for the next two years before choosing her own nominee to pass it on to. The aim is to create a network of connected female scientists around the world who help to inspire others to enter science, and to stay.

Professor Meints said: “I feel very honoured to receive this award. I will do my very best to inspire, encourage and mentor women in science and to help them to speak up, be visible and reach their goals.

“For the next two years, and beyond, I will dedicate time to supporting colleagues and students through mentoring. I believe that encouragement and a belief that they can achieve what they aim for is vital to succeed.

“Handing on the Suffrage Science jewellery is a vote of confidence by one female scientist for another, and I look forward to nominating the next awardee in two years’ time.”

Professor Meints was one of twelve scientists to receive an award. They were presented on International Women’s Day 2017, to recognise their scientific achievements and ability to inspire others.

She was nominated by previous winner Professor Susan Condor, a social psychologist at Loughborough University whose work addresses identity and prejudice in England. Professor Condor said: “Professor Kerstin Meints’ BabyLab at Lincoln is pioneering innovative work which brings together research on infant and toddler communicative development with knowledge of animal behaviour. Her research on how young children misinterpret dogs’ facial expressions has led to the development of successful educational tools for dog bite prevention.”

The ceremony was hosted by science communicator Dr Kat Arney and took place at the Royal Society in London. It included a discussion which explored boundaries in science, be those by gender, by nationality or by scientific discipline, with three panellists.

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Professor Matthew Hall Addresses at Victims of Crime Symposium

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Last week, Professor Matthew Hall of Lincoln Law School delivered a closing plenary address at Northumbria University to the annual Symposium of the British Society of Criminology’s Specialist Victims Network. In his talk, Prof. Hall discussed the future directions of victimology and how those working within this field might inform policy making in the context of recent political upheavals around the world: including Brexit and a general shift towards more nationalistic thinking. In particular, Prof. Hall challenged the audience – made up of leading thinkers in the study of victimisation as well as representatives of the victim support community and a number of police and crime commissioners – to think more broadly about the group we label as ‘victims’, reflecting more culturally-informed (rather than a legally informed) notions of ‘victimisation’, ‘suffering’ and ‘trauma’. Drawing on examples including the 96 victims who died as a result of the Hillsborough Football Stadium Disaster of 1989, the Ched Evans rape trials and the recent attention paid to historical child sexual abuse, Matthew argued that previous cultural and legal narratives about who ‘counts’ as a victim of crime is changing and that official pronouncements to this end are not as readily accepted. This has significant implications for those tasked with supporting victims both now and in the future. Prof. Hall also emphasised the importance of speaking to victims directly in order to learn more about their needs and to tailor support mechanisms appropriately.

Professor Hall said “This has been a wonderful day of debate and discussion, emphasising how far we have come in supporting victims whilst also exposing the work that is still needed to truly do right by victims of all kinds of crime, and indeed of wider social harms”.

If you have something you would like us to post here, please email: collegesocialscience@lincoln.ac.uk