Previous Professorial Public Lectures

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16 April 2014. Professor Nicholas Allcock: Nowt to Killin’ - The struggle with pain in an ageing population

Demographic changes across many countries are resulting in aging populations. Whilst this reflects positively on improvements in health and social care, additional years of life are of reduced value if they are blighted by chronic illness and pain. Chronic pain is common, affecting 18% of the Scottish population, and can have a significant impact on the quality of life of those who experience it. Prevalence surveys of chronic pain in older adults suggest that 50% of community dwelling and over 80% of older adults in residential care are experiencing pain.

While pain is not an inevitable consequence of the ageing process the ageing process can affect the experience of pain. Co-morbidity of pain with other long term conditions is common with almost 70% of those with chronic pain experiencing 2 or more other conditions. Whilst pain is not an inherent feature of Dementia they often coexist. As both dementia and chronic pain are age related and as the population ages the prevalence of both pain and dementia in older adults is likely to increase. It is estimated that 1 in 14 people over 65 years old have a diagnosis of dementia, increasing to 1 in 6 people aged over 80 years. Dementia is likely to affect the response to, reporting, assessment and management of pain.

Detecting and managing pain in people with dementia presents significant challenges for carers, particularly in those individuals who may be unable to self-report (88-95% of people with dementia have difficulties with verbal communication). There is a wealth of evidence to suggest that pain is commonly under-detected and poorly managed in people with dementia, particularly within acute care, leading to an increase in functional decline, slow rehabilitation, disturbances in sleep routine, poor appetite, impaired movement and an increased risk of falling. People with dementia may fail to recollect, interpret and respond to recent pain and report only their immediate experiences despite being susceptible to the same potentially painful conditions as those who are cognitively intact.

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5 March 2014. Professor Ruth Whittaker – Breaking through: transforming processes of RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning)

It has long been acknowledged that the learning people gain through their life and work experiences can be valued and recognised within Higher Education and that this informal learning can enable entry to, and credit within, university programmes. RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) is increasingly heralded in policy terms for its capacity to support lifelong learning, widening participation and workforce development, both in Scotland and globally. Yet RPL activity has remained largely a peripheral activity, it's potential to provide a gateway to HE for non-traditional learners unrealised. 

Drawing upon the experience of RPL development in Scotland, the lecture will consider the transformative, empowering role RPL can play as part of supporting progression to further learning and development, and the need to transform our current RPL practices in order to realise its potential.


19 February 2014. Professor Sharon Hutchinson: Translating research into public health policy

Professor Sharon Hutchinson joined Glasgow Caledonian University in early 2013 as a Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health. She leads a broad translational research programme on the epidemiology of blood borne viruses (BBVs), authoring over 120 papers, and has worked jointly with Health Protection Scotland (the national centre which monitors communicable diseases) for over 15 years. She works with colleagues within GCU's Institute for Applied Health Research.

Her research has included a range of studies (involving population-based surveys, surveillance initiatives, novel record linkage exercises, and statistical/economic models) designed to inform on the prevention of BBV infection and its consequences. In particular, her research included the development of models to estimate the impact of antiviral therapy on the future burden of hepatitis C related liver disease, which provided the key evidence to guide a public health response to this epidemic and culminated in Scottish Government investing significantly (£43 million during 2008-2011) in improving prevention, testing, and treatment services as part of their Action Plan on Hepatitis C. Sharon was actively involved in all phases of this Action Plan - including the development, coordination and evaluation - and Chaired the National Network on Information Generating Initiatives. The Action Plan is regarded globally as a model of best practice (as highlighted in the Global Commission on Drug Policy's report on hepatitis C) and there is now strong evidence that a real breakthrough has been made in the prevention and treatment of hepatitis C infection in Scotland.

22 January 2014. Professor Alex de Ruyter: Working conditions of urban vendors and garment workers in Indonesia - lessons for labour market and social policy

With the onset of a global economic downturn during 2008, the incidence of informal employment and vulnerable employment has increased across developed and developing countries alike. The incidence of informal employment is now estimated to be over 40% for two-thirds of developing countries for which such data is available. This has renewed the debate over the impact of labour standards in facilitating a shift to "decent work" (De Ruyter et al., 2011) and in turn the problems involved in enforcing labour standards in developing countries (Warnecke and de Ruyter, 2012) - particularly for women, who are over-represented in vulnerable work (ILO 2009, cited in Warnecke and De Ruyter, 2010).

In turn, the problems associated with globalisation had led to a re-evaluation of the Washington Consensus deregulatory approach to development (Bergsten and Williamson, 1994; Williamson, 2004) to a broader focus on good governance and capability endowment, as encapsulated in the Millennium Development Goals (Maxwell, 2005). However, it has been argued that this shift has still not done enough to tackle social exclusion (ibid.) and the recent economic crisis has only served to increase pressure to reduce government spending and further deregulate labour markets across countries. Indonesia represents a particularly illustrative example of these trends: on the one hand, after the downfall of the Suharto regime in 1997 following the onset of the Asian financial crisis, the country democratised and moved to ratify key ILO Conventions which amongst other things included Convention No.87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise (Tjandra, 2009: 8). However, Tjandra (2008) argues that the broader thrust of labour legislation after 1997 had been to complete a shift from a highly corporatist set-up under the Suharto regime to a flexible, market-based system. These macro-level developments have posed considerable challenges to efforts to develop sustainable institutions for labour law enforcement, despite a more solid economic performance since 2004. Accordingly, this article explores the labour market experiences of urban vendors and garment workers; key groups of informal sector workers in Indonesia.

11 December 2013. Professor Dawn Skelton: You can’t teach old dogs new tricks – or can you?

Physical activity and exercise for older people, particularly frailer seniors, is known to have important benefits to maintenance of independence and social contacts, prevention of falls and fractures and promotion of enhanced mental health and quality of life. But there are also particular challenges in engaging older people, with multiple co-morbidities and health conditions and the ethos of "it's my time to sit back and relax". How fit do we need to be as we get older?, what's the minimum we need to do?, what's the difference between balance enhancing exercise and a good walk?, what will 'sell' exercise to a group of people who are inherently disinterested or maybe even concerned about increasing their physical activity? These questions and more will be covered in this lecture, but be prepared to have your assumptions challenged and your balance tested!

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13 November 2013. Professor Linda Creanor: Learning and technology - revolution or evolution?
16 October 2013. Professor Paul Iles - Managing the Talent

In this lecture Paul discussed the recent rise of ‘talent management’ in the UK and globally, drawing on his recent research into the area. This includes a bibliometric study of talent management as a fashion (published in 2010 in Human Resource Development International), talent management in China (published in 2010 in the Journal of World Business), talent management as a fashion in China and talent management in regional structures in the Asia Pacific region (published in the International Journal of Human Resource Management in 2011 and 2013).

He discussed the conceptual boundaries and definitions of the construct ‘talent’ and its distinction from other terms such as competence or ability, exploring ‘object/attribute’ based approaches and ‘ subject/ individual’ based views in terms of their emphases on exclusivity or inclusivity. He also explored the factors driving interest in the area, to what extent this field can be seen as a fad or fashion, and how talent and talent management are defined and discussed in different organisational contexts (e.g. cultural, structural, strategic). He also discussed more recent ‘positional’ approaches to ‘global talent management’, often based on ‘differentiated HR architecture’ or ‘resource-based view’ perspectives of HRM. Finally, he discussed relationships between talent management and leadership development.

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9 October 2013. Professor Lynne Baillie - Designing Technology for the Home

Professor Lynne Baillie has been involved in the user-centered design of home and mobile technologies for over ten years and has worked with several companies such as Orange, Bang and Olufsen, Motorola, Telefonica, Vodafone, and Telecom Austria.

Professor Baillie is lead of the Interactive and Trustworthy Technologies Research Group, part of the Institute for Sustainable Engineering and Technology Research, which investigates new technological challenges and opportunities and the impact that they have on people and society in terms of factors such as convenience, performance, security.

22nd May 2013. Professor Oonagh Walsh: Lessons Learned? - Mental Health Care from the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First Centuries

Professor Walsh’s research interests lie in gender and medical histories, and in the nineteenth century history of Irish psychiatry in particular. She has published on a range of areas in modern Irish history, including Protestant women’s social, political and cultural experiences, the development of the asylum system in the west of Ireland, and twentieth century obstetrics.

24th April 2013. Professor Jose Luis Pinto Prades: Behavioural Economics and the Value of Health

Jose Luis Pinto Prades is Chair in Health Economics at the Yunus Centre for Social Bus‌iness & Health and Glasgow School for Business & Society. He has held positions at several Spanish universities, having been Reader in Economics at Murcia University, Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona) and Pablo Olavide (Seville), where he became Professor in Economics. He has published in leading journals such as Health Economics, Management Science, The Economic Journal and Journal of Health Economics. His research is focused on preference elicitation methods for health and its relationship with decision theory and behavioural economics.

27th February 2013. Professor Peter Kirby: Causes of the Modern Decline in Child Labour

A unique feature in the development of all mature economies has been an absolute decline in child employment. This lecture speculates about that unique decline in the context of long-term economic growth in England and Wales. It focuses on the child labour market, the household economy and the life-cycles of children and adolescents and suggests ways in which economic and demographic developments not normally associated with the history of child labour may have contributed to its secular decline. Several discussion points will be considered, including the effects of child dependency, poverty, the age at leaving home, diverse sectoral demand for child workers, industrialisation, state intervention and the structure of the urban labour market.


23rd January 2013. Professor John Cook: Reflections on a Golden Screen - How British Television Has Changed Over the Last 50 Years... and Why It Matters

The current period marks the fiftieth anniversary of a series of changes that happened to British television in the early 1960s  - a time of rapid liberalisation and innovation that has come to be looked upon nostalgically by some as a kind of 'golden age'.  From the invention of TV satire programmes with 'That Was the Week That Was' to edgier sit-coms like 'Steptoe and Son' and perhaps most famously for us now, the creation and launch of 'Doctor Who' in 1963, certainly the period 1962-3 can be said to be the time when television in Britain started to take on a shape we can still recognise today.      

But how has television changed since the 1960s and what have been the drivers of change ?  'Reflections on a Golden Screen' offers an illustrated journey through some of the highlights (and lowlights) of the development of British television in the last fifty years at a time when the cultures and practices of British TV have never been under more public scrutiny following the recent Jimmy Savile child abuse scandals.  The lecture will examine how the structures of British television production have been transformed over the last fifty years and consider what have been some of the strengths, as well as some of the weaknesses, of these changes.  Finally, it will look to the future of television in the digital age: will British TV still exist and be recognisable in the form we know it today in another fifty years' time ?  What will survive and what will perish ?  Illustrated by clips from some influential British TV programmes of the last fifty years, the lecture will explore through a series of arguments, plus some personal stories and anecdotes about its writers, directors and producers, what it is about the particular character of British TV that still seems to matter to so many in the twenty-first century.           

5th December 2012. Professor Scott McMeekin: Applications of nano-photonics - The engineering of light

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Prior to joining Glasgow Caledonian University, Professor Scott McMeekin was the Process Development manager at Alcatel Optronics Ltd (formerly Kymata Ltd) where he was responsible for the development and qualification of novel optical components for advanced optical telecommunication systems. Previous positions have included being a Lecturer in the Cardiff School of Engineering at the University of Wales, Cardiff from 1994 to 2000 where his research activities included the fabrication of sub-micron electronic and optoelectronic devices, visible lasers, and BioMEMs structures.

14th November 2012. Professor Karen Miller: Bureaucracy, Democracy and Representation

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As countries increasingly around the globe embrace democracy, such as recent events of the Arab Spring, a challenge for transitional polities is to build the institutional, policy and service delivery capacity of a government. The lecture explores this challenge, by presenting the case study of South Africa, and offers some comparative insights for emerging democracies. In addition, the lecture will explore the capacity of developing and developed democracies, to address ‘wicked policy problems’ (Rittel and Webber, 1973) such the global financial crisis and argues for good global governance, based on representation and legitimacy in the policy process.

17th October 2012. Professor JiaQian Jiang: Affordable Safe Water for All: Challenges and Approaches
26th September 2012. Professor David Smith: Universities in crisis? - Dreams, myths and realities of mass higher education in the early 21st century
16th May 2012. Professor Chris Bartholomew: The Molecular Basis of Leukaemia
18th April 2012. Professor Don Mclinchey: What Everyone Should Know about Particulate Solids
15th February 2012. Professor Douglas Greenhalgh: Lessons in Life from Photons, Fires and Engines

This lecture reflects on significant lessons learnt from four decades of research dating from the early days of the laser, through the challenges of measuring the temperature and properties of practical flames leading to the engineering of much cleaner engines.

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16th November 2011. Professor Iain Cameron:Reflections on the Impact of a Decade of Applied Safety Research
18th January 2012. Professor John Wilson: Third Ways and Big Societies – Public Service Roads to Nowhere?
12th October 2011. Professor Bruce Wood: Design - What is it Good For?
18 May 2011. Professor John Stewart: ‘The Dangerous Age of Childhood’ - Child Psychiatry and the Normal Child in the mid-Twentieth Century
4 May 2011. Professor Ann Graham: Anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease and Atherosclerosis - The therapeutic potential of intracellular cholesterol transport proteins
16 March 2011. Professor Brian Stewart: Broadband Wireless Communications...Problems?...What Problems?
19 January 2011. Professor Ailsa McKay: Do women count? - Demystifying Gender Budget Analysis

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