Summer research update from the School of Law and Criminology

We may have been locked down for the Spring and Summer but that has not hindered the research activities of our resident lawyers and criminologists. There have been a number of exciting publications launched over recent months and here is a round-up of some of the highlights, with links to each publication included.

A new chapter has been published by Dr Camille Stengel titled ‘Creating safe spaces in dangerous places: ‘Chicks Day’ for women who inject drugs in Budapest, Hungary‘. Published by Routledge, this chapter forms part of an interdisciplinary collection examining the role played by alcohol, tobacco and other drugs in framing certain groups as ‘dangerous’.

Dr Alexandra Fanghanel has authored a new article called ‘On Being Ugly in Public: The Politics of the Grotesque in Naked Protests . Published in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, this article continues Alex’s innovative work around sexualised naked protest in public spaces.

Prof Olga Martin-Ortega and the Business, Human Rights and the Environment research group continue their march towards revolutionising the electronics industry in collaboration with the GoodElectronics Network and the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations. Their recently published report proposes a new approach to the urgent need for disclosure and transparency in the global electronics industry, and you can read more about it here.

Dr Melissa Pepper has recently co-authored the article ‘Exploring the Role and Contribution of Police Support Volunteers in an English Constabulary‘. Published in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, Melissa’s paper can be accessed here.

Perhaps one of the most topical publications in our update comes from Dr Maria Kaspersson who has recently contributed a chapter called ‘‘You Always Hurt the One You Love’: Homicide in a Domestic Context to the edited collection ‘Why We Kill: Understanding Violence Across Cultures and Disciplines’.

Finally, if audio content is what you’re here for then Dr Louise Hewitt has got you covered. Louise has recently launched her brand new Innocence Project London podcast where you can find an honest account of the organisation, how important their work is to a clinical legal education, and why it matters. You can find it here, and make sure you subscribe to catch every episode.

Women, Crime and Criminal Justice Network Paper Prize 2020


We’re delighted to announce that Dr Alexandra Fanghanel from the School of Law and Criminology has come first place in the Women, Crime and Criminal Justice Network (WCCJN) Paper Prize 2020 for her paper ‘Asking for it: BDSM sexual practice and the trouble of consent’.

The WCCJN is part of the British Society of Criminology and they exist ‘to support scholarship on women, crime and criminal justice, and to foster research of the highest standard. In addition to promoting scholarship on women, crime and criminal justice, the network also aims to support women as criminological scholars’ and you can find out more about them here. We hope you will join us in congratulating Alex on her worthy first place prize.

Dr Louise Owusu-Kwarteng and Dr Louise Hewitt join the humanitarian Together Book Project

Together: An anthology from the COVID-19 pandemic is the fundraiser book compiled by authors Dev Aditya and Dr Pauldy Otermans, two former Brunel students. The publication collects the global human experiences, emotions and stories from the time of the pandemic. The 100 contributors, from 5 continents, 50% BAME authors, express themselves through poems, prose, letters and art.

The project was created to support and fund movements, frontline services and initiatives, while fighting the COVID-19 virus. The main beneficiary in the UK is the National Health Service (NHS) with 90% allocation of funds raised and 10% is donated monthly to selected non-UK organisations in need of resources to perform their duties. Visit the website for more information and here to donate.

The book is available for pre-order on Amazon

Congratulations to both Scholars for making the University of Greenwich Community proud!

Research evaluates undergraduate student experience of the Inside Out Prison Exchange Programme

Greenwich scholars Dr Giulia Zampini and Dr Camille Stengel (School of Law and Criminology) were involved in a research study evaluating student experiences of undergraduate modules taught inside prisons. Both academics evaluated a prison-university partnership with HMP Swaleside (a men’s prison) and the University of Kent, who run a final year undergraduate criminology module in Swaleside for both University of Kent students and men inside the prison.

The sign at the entrance to HMP Downview

This partnership is based on the global educational initiative known as the Inside Out Prison Exchange Programme. The Inside Out module involves an equal mix of ‘inside’ students (people in prison) and ‘outside’ students (people at university) studying alongside each other in the prison environment for one academic term. The second part of the research study involved colleagues from the University of Kent, evaluating the optional level five Inside Out module run in partnership with the University of Greenwich and HMP Downview (a women’ prison). Inside and outside students were interviewed twice: once before the modules started in order to gauge their expectations of the class, and a second time after the module ended.

Inside and outside students in the prison-university partnerships highlighted several key benefits they experienced during the Inside Out classes, including a feeling of connectedness across and among difference via their exposure to different view and opinions, increased confidence in their academic skills, and a more enhanced understanding of the criminal justice system. One University of Greenwich student said that Inside Out: “creates the kind of learning that couldn’t happen anywhere else”. A summary of the research findings can be found in the research briefing that was presented during a School of Law and Criminology Research Lunch in November 2019. The research evaluation was funded by the Peter Harris Trust and the University of Kent Faculty of Social Sciences Faculty Research Fund.

Congratulations to Dr Giulia Zampini and Dr Camille Stengel for the outcome of your collaboration and for stealing the spotlight!

Researchers call for transparency on social media content moderation to combat Covid-19

There is little doubt over the great potential of melding artificial intelligence with digital epidemiology to combat Covid19 effectively: the study of large amounts of online published data ranging from social media posts to trending hashtags can aid health officials in their task to track outbreaks quickly and target responses. At the same time, large technology companies hold a wealth of unpublished information (private posts, search keywords, location and interaction data with contacts) that could help epidemiologists further. To this end, LETS Lab at the School of Law and Criminology has joined forces with a network of organisations and researchers in an open letter urging social media and content sharing platforms to archive material for research.

According to LETS Director, Dr Argyro Karanasiou, the lockdown policies imposed globally have boosted an unprecedented flow of information via online platforms used for social purposes. At the same time the ever familiar danger of spreading misinformation online is now met with solely automated means of moderating content online, which needs to be transparent and audible as it may well compromise free speech and privacy. The letter urges tech giants to archive such data so that they can be studied further “to evaluate the macro and micro level consequences of relying on automation to moderate content in a complex and evolving information environment. (…) It is essential that platforms preserve this data so that it can be made available to researchers and journalists and included in your transparency reports. The data will be invaluable to those working in public health, human rights, science and academia. It will be crucial to develop safeguards to address the privacy issues raised by new or longer data retention and by the sharing of information with third parties, but the need for immediate preservation is urgent.” 

The open letter has been published by Article19 and can be viewed here.

Congratulations to Dr Argyro Karanasiou for being an active voice and stealing the spotlight!

Tortoise ThinkIn – Why do we fear criminals and love true crime?

Louise Hewitt and Camille Stengel of The School of Law & Criminology were invited to take part in a ThinkIn last week on the topic of why we fear criminals and love true crime.

Tortoise ThinkIn
Miscarriages of justice are, statistically speaking, a rarity.  Violent crime is nasty and cruel. And yet the world of podcasts and documentaries has been revived by the true crime genre, much more so than film or books.  Some say crime stories are social pacifiers, a means of asserting the social order. Others say it’s a way of exploring what we are capable of. What appeals about it?  Does it obscure or illuminate human nature and the way the criminal justice system really works?

3MT – Competition FLAS / University of Greenwich

Judge’s Choice: Harriet Lowe (HSS) – Second language learning and the ‘knack’ for languages: are the rest of us doomed?

People’s Choice: Peter Soar (CMS) – Integrating Structural Mechanics in Microstructure Solidification Modelling

The 3 Minute Thesis competition is always a great event and a fantastic rehearsal for research students to begin to articulate their projects to broader audiences. In the recent heats, our Faculty winners were:

University wide winner for the 3MT – Competition


Receiving her award from Professor Javier Bonet is the People’s Choice winner, Harriet Lowe from the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences.