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Public Lectures

Our CASS public lecture series is open to the public to engage and attract external practitioners and academics.

The monthly events attract a meaningful number of practitioners to engage in debate around topical sociological issues. 


CASS Public Lecture Series 2023/24

Explore the upcoming public lectures we're holding in 2023 and 2024.

A useful stigma? Sexual and gender minorities, the 'pink line' and global geopolitics

Speaker: Drew Dalton
Date and time: 24 April, 1-3pm
Location: Sir Tom Cowie Campus (RV416, Reg Vardy Centre) and on MS Teams

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What challenges do 'queer'* people face across the globe and what does homo/bi/transphobia look like in today’s world? This talk takes a global snapshot of queer human rights in key regions of the world, how they are impacted by and are felt by, queer people and their communities. Through charting case studies of queer lives, and through in-depth interviews with activists, businesses, UN agencies and INGOs/NGOs, it intends to bring some of my initial findings from over 28 interviews (so far) to light. Utilising concepts such as the 'Pink Line' (Gevisser, 2021) and a reworking of Tyler's stigma as a 'Machinery of Inequality' (2022) and her concepts of 'stigma power' and 'statecraft,' this talk will create a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of queer people today. This includes their fights, foes, gains, losses, and wins, in a transitional world where LGBTQI+ politics and rights have become a geo-political battleground, to both weaponise LGBTQI+ people, and to gain LGBTQI+ equality.

*Please note that I will use the term 'queer' as an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities.

Explorations of the behavioural determinants that impact undergraduate student engagement with placement experiences

Speaker: Liz Henry
Date and time: 22 May, 1-3pm
Location: Sir Tom Cowie Campus (RV304, Reg Vardy Centre) and on MS Teams

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In order to thrive in the workplace, there's recognition that students need to leave Higher Education with professional-facing skills to complement their subject specialism. A key aspect of this has traditionally been a placement. As a lecturer within the School of Social Sciences, I've been involved in the delivery of placement modules. I've witnessed first-hand the complex issues that contribute to providing students with opportunities to engage with professional facing placements whilst studying with us. This CASS talk will provide an overview of the first piece of research from a suite of proposed studies. This initial survey-based study uses the COM B model of behaviour to gain insight into the behavioural determinants that impact the extent to which students engage with placements during their undergraduate studies. By considering the factors that students perceive to be facilitators and barriers to their engagement with placements within a sound theoretical framework, I aim to be able to provide an enriched understanding of how to best support students.

The existential crunch that is middle age: Exploring the experiential impact of life course events on the psychosocial wellbeing of women in the UK

Speaker: Jacqui Merchant
Date and time: 26 June, 12-2pm
Location: Sir Tom Cowie Campus (WV211, Wearside View) and on MS Teams

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A gap in knowledge exists in the experiential understanding of midlife which this presentation intends to address. Using biographical narrative interviews with 14 women in the North East of England, this working PhD thesis will present preliminary findings which contribute towards knowledge of lived experiences of midlife, specifically regarding vulnerability factors that can impact on psychosocial wellbeing. A multi-layered approach will be taken in understanding mental wellbeing and health in women that seeks to understand the multiple factors that shape people’s lives, placing individual and family development in cultural and historical contexts and which acknowledges the impact of time of place. Biopsychosocial aspects of health are also inherent to a lifecourse approach and what it means to experience midlife in the current social context, considering significant social change as well as the persistence of inequalities and how these impact upon wellbeing.

McQuaide (1998) wrote that the cultural narrative provided for women at midlife is either medical and menopause-orientated or socially devaluing, (e.g., “empty nest”). Without alternative images, these demoralising cultural stereotypes can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Blanchflower et al (2008) have found that mental distress tends to reach a maximum in middle age, and influences include income, education, and marriage. Hence, this presentation intends to address this gap in knowledge which is often dismissed as hormonal and treated with anti-depressant or hormone replacement medication, rather than the psychosocial focus. Preliminary findings of research will be presented, and the opportunity for discussion of positive adaptation to midlife is welcomed.