Congratulations to Jennifer Fleetwood, Michael Guggenheim and Michaela Benson whose work has been recognised in the Goldsmiths’ Warden’s Annual Public Engagement Awards. The criteria for the awards consider mutual benefit, innovation, quality and sustainability.
Jennifer Fleetwood – Supporting Anti-death Penalty Activism – Special Award for Impact within the Established Researcher category.
Jennifer is a long-term collaborator with the anti-death penalty charity Reprieve. Her research focuses on international drug trafficking, in particular ‘drug mules’, and is regularly cited in reports by organisations such as Penal Reform International, International Drug Policy Consortium, the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime and even UN Women.
In calling on Jennifer’s expertise, Reprieve are better able to understand the international drug trade, enabling them to gather relevant information and build compelling cases. Likewise, working with Reprieve enabled Jennifer to develop a new research agenda on women and the death penalty.
Over the past eight years Jennifer has compiled expert statements and amicus briefs relating to individuals facing the death penalty in countries such as Egypt, Pakistan and Indonesia. This work is often time-consuming and undertaken under considerable time pressure. Jennifer’s research enables her to offer expert opinion on cases quite literally involving life and death decisions. Earlier this year she also consulted on the expert report Reorienting Drug Policy in Indonesia: Pathways to sustainable Development’.
This type of public engagement is, by its nature, strictly confidential due to its legally sensitive nature and so very rarely is her work acknowledged publicly. However, the longevity of Jennifer’s relationship with Reprieve speaks for the value they place on her contributions and the impact she has on so many women’s lives. By sharing her knowledge of drug trafficking, legal case workers have developed new strategies for gathering evidence and building cases meaning that Jennifer’s work and sustained commitment to anti-death penalty activism has resulted in saving lives.
Michael Guggenheim – Taste! Experiments for the Senses – Special Award for Socially Distanced Public Engagement
What is taste? How does it change? How can we shape our tasting experiences? These are the questions addressed by the participatory exhibition Taste! Experiments for the Senses developed by Michael Guggenheim and Jan-Peter Voss from TU Berlin.
The exhibition presented a tasting situation broken down into individual elements, providing opportunities to discover how tasting changes across varying situations. Participants assembled a tasting situation of their own as they moved through a series of experiments, discovering just how complex, fragile, and fundamentally open to being shaped our sense of tasting is. This experiment exemplified to both the public and the researchers involved that the situation that a dish is consumed in is just as important as the ingredients.
These explorative experiments, including one where participants were given different kinds of ingredient information (political or health-related), produced a rich dataset in a context presenting major logistical difficulties involving food delivery and preservation in a natural history museum where perishable food presents a permanent risk to other exhibits.
This was further compounded by the Covid situation, which first caused the exhibition to be delayed from May to September, and then for it to adapt to further stringent health and safety regulations, all requiring more time and effort to execute to an already very demanding project. The exhibition had to be radically redesigned from its original concept to adjust to social distancing, but it was still successfully delivered to 1000 participants during the three weeks of its opening, consistently being booked to full capacity.
Michaela Benson – Departures: Brits in Europe in Brexit times - Commendation in the category of Established Researcher
Departures: the British in Europe in Brexit times is the result of the collaboration between Dr Michaela Benson and the Migration Museum. It draws on Dr Benson’s research expertise in contemporary British emigration to Europe and her recent leadership of the Economic abd Social Research Council funded research project BrExpats. This collaboration saw Michaela serve as an advisor for the exhibition Departures which uniquely explores 400 years of emigration from Britain, from its original inception to its staging.
The purpose of the collaboration was to share knowledge and understanding of contemporary emigration from Britain that communicated why people emigrate today, sharing their migration stories and offering snapshots of their lives elsewhere. The latter resulted in the production of two installations included in the final exhibition—Postcards from the British in Europe and The Interview Room (co-produced with Goldsmiths’ Public Engagement team).
Postcards from the British in Europe involved asking British citizens living across the EU to send postcards from their place of residence, providing details of what motivated their migration and an insight into their lives in Europe. This element of the activity offered a way to co-create knowledge that could be displayed in the museum and the aim was to highlight the diversity of the British population living in the EU, shifting beyond stereotypical depictions of old age pensioners on the Spanish riviera. In response to the call, over 100 postcards were received in the space of two weeks, which are now displayed in the exhibition and in an online gallery.