Doctoral Inaugural Lectures 2018

Doctoral Inaugural Lectures
Thursday 7 June 2018, 3pm, Huxley 300
Part of the Doctoral College Festival of Postgraduate Research

PGR festival banner 7 June Huxley

We are delighted to welcome back three recent graduates, Dr Uschi Klein, Dr Richard Wallis and Dr Chantal Nobs, to speak about their research in ten-minute doctoral inaugural lectures, introduced by Prof Neil Ravenscroft, Director of the Doctoral College. After their presentations, Uschi, Richard, and Chantal will be joined by three current PhD students, Abby Barras (SASS), Jason Porter (Humanities) and Majed Al-Jefri (CEM) to discuss their experiences of research study and research life at the University of Brighton. All staff and students welcome. Please join us!

See the full festival schedule and book your free place by Monday 4 June

Dr Uschi Klein

Doctoral student 2013-2017
School of Media
Supervisors: Prof Darren Newbury, Dr Cathy Palmer

The agent in the image-making process: the photographic practices of young male adults with ASD

A cropped part of the façade of a high-rise building; a woman in a red coat running down the street; a profile of an owl sitting on a branch; a cloud formation on a sunny day. These are examples of photographic images taken by four young male adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the sphere of their everyday lives. Their photographs indicate there is a wide range of activities designated as photo-worthy, but what is not evident by merely looking at the photographs is the photographers’ experience and perception of objects in the process of their image production.

Drawing on my qualitative research into the everyday photographic practices of four young male adults with ASD, this paper discusses participants’ ways of seeing and being-in-the-world as expressed through their photographic image-making. By grounding their perception in their experiencing body, the four participants make their presence felt through the entry into the domain of photography.  After all, for James it is not just a photograph of a sky formation; for him, “it looks like snow but it’s sky from a different angle”.

Klein profile photoBiography
Uschi Klein is a London-based photographer, researcher and writer. She studied media studies and linguistics at undergraduate level at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, followed by a practice-based MA in photography at Goldsmiths, University of London. She was awarded her PhD titled Seeing self and world: everyday photography and young male adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder from the School of Media, University of Brighton in 2017. In recent years, Uschi has presented her research at a number of international conferences, including Photomedia in Helsinki, Finland, in March 2018. Uschi is interested in the everyday photographic practices of marginalised people, and her research interests encompass the relationship between photography, visual communication, visual culture, identity and visual research methods.


Dr Richard Wallis

Doctoral student 2010-2017
School of Education
Supervisors: Dr Carol Robinson, Dr Nadia Edmond

Undergraduate Students’ Experiences and Perceptions of Dialogic Feedback Within Assessment Feedback Tutorials

There is a small but growing field of research that promotes dialogic feedback and the inclusion of opportunities for assessment feedback discussions between tutors and undergraduate students. Framed by socio-constructivist theorisations of learning, proponents claim that such assessment feedback tutorials (AFT) benefit students through developing their personal confidence and capacity to self-direct learning. Through a research design of interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), my thesis aimed to gain a deeper understanding of eight, full-time undergraduate students’ experiences and perceptions of discussing their performance with their marking tutor.

The findings posited that some students face a significant predicament when discussing weak and/or failed assignments. Their desire to self-promote and/or self-protect a confident and capable learner identity, not only conflicts with their own self-awareness of their poor academic performance, but also with the tutor’s expectations that students need to undertake greater responsibility for their own learning and academic performance. As a means of managing this tension, and the emotional pressures that an AFT creates, students draw upon a range of self-presentational behaviours to manage how they project themselves to their tutor.

The thesis concludes that such strategic management of their self-presentation restricts opportunities for the critical dialogic exchanges needed to create co-constructive student/tutor relationships and deep learning. As such, it is recommended that, within undergraduate study, there is increased focus on supporting students to understand the role that dialogue plays in engaging with feedback and the personal learning opportunities it affords.

Wallis profile photoBiography
Dr. Richard Wallis is currently a Principal Lecturer and Deputy Head of School of Education, University of Brighton. Richard’s key strategic role is to lead on developments regarding learning and teaching. He was awarded a Doctor of Education (EdD) in December 2017, with a thesis title of: Undergraduate Students’ Experiences and Perceptions of Dialogic Feedback Within Assessment Feedback Tutorials. Richards’s research interests lie within the field of assessment and feedback practices within Higher Education. However, more recently, he also been involved in a number of practice-based research projects that have focused upon models of embedding enquiry-based learning in undergraduate courses.


Dr Chantal Nobs

Doctoral student 2013-2017
School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics
Supervisors: Prof Alison Bruce, Dr Zsolt Podolyak, Dr William Wilkinson

Using proton-induced fission to investigate the shape and structure of exotic nuclei

Dr Chantal Nobs’ PhD research project focused on furthering our understanding of the nuclear properties of an exotic nucleus, yttrium-102, which does not exist naturally on Earth. In order to study this nucleus, she was required to travel to labs across the world to collect data in facilities capable of creating yttrium-102 in a process known as proton-induced fission. Chantal worked with a wide variety of people and had the opportunity to present her work at national and international conferences. Throughout her PhD, Chantal took advantage of a variety of opportunities in teaching, networking and public engagement and before graduation started working as a researcher in a field she is passionate about. This presentation will detail the aims and outcomes of Chantal’s PhD research, focusing on experimental work and analysis of a key experiment conducted in Finland, and how this research has directly influenced her current career choices.

Nobs profile photoBiography
Dr Chantal Nobs graduated from her PhD degree in Experimental Nuclear Physics in December 2017 with a thesis titled Spin and parity assignment for the ground and isomeric states in 102Y, and having completed the final year of her PhD while working at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE). During her degree, Chantal realised that she was driven by the applications of her research, with a particular passion for nuclear energy. As a Radiometric Researcher at CCFE she has been able to continue this enthusiasm by working as a researcher contributing to the development of fusion energy. Her research currently focuses on the development and testing of a novel neutron detector system for use in future fusion power plants to monitor the energy of the neutrons produced in fusion, with the aim of using this information to measure the power output of future fusion power plants.

Public engagement is hugely important to Chantal’s ambition to update the public perception of nuclear physics and nuclear energy and encourage younger generations to take more of an interest in STEM subjects. She regularly provides tours of the facilities at CCFE, visits schools and colleges to talk about her research, and through her own research helps train University students to become future researchers.