Dr. Orla Power Grant, Dr. Elaine Smith, Dr. Jenna Lorusso, Dr. Deirdre McGrath, Dr. Elaine Kinsella at Knowledge with Impact December 6 2023
Thursday, December 7, 2023

Watch it back: Knowledge with Impact: presentations by Dr. Elaine Smith and Dr. Jenna Lorusso

The second lecture in the Knowledge with Impact series took place on Wednesday, December 6 2023 with presentations by Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions recipients: Dr. Elaine Smith and Dr. Jenna Lorusso. Dr. Orla Power Grant, Research Funding Officer, Faculty of Education and Health Sciences introduced the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Fellowship and the speakers. Dr. Elaine Kinsella, Assistant Dean Research, facilitated a Q&A session after the presentations.

Dr. Elaine Smith presented "Mobilising Solidarity: How social media can motivate or polarise social movements":

The MobiliseSolidarity project aims to elucidate how support for minority rights movements can be mobilised among the public by capitalising on the influences of social norms and the ease at which they are spread through social media platforms. Though social media can be a tool for mobilisation (e.g. #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter), little is known about the psychological impacts of perceiving messages of solidarity online. This project examines whether and how these messages influence advantaged groups’ engagement in indigenous rights movements, and how these messages impact the indigenous groups themselves. We propose that sharing different normative messages facilitates different psychological motivations for engaging in solidarity-based social movements.

The lecture outlined a planned series of studies to investigate whether social norms fostered online can mobilise solidarity through an emergent social identity, and test the psychological mechanisms underlying this normative influence, such as anger, and perceptions of efficacy. The project will also examine how exposure to supportive advantaged group norms impact indigenous groups’ own willingness to engage in protests. We will further test the potential polarising effects of messages of support on those who have high levels of prejudice towards indigenous peoples. This project will expand the psychology of social movements by presenting a novel normative approach to solidarity. The findings hope to be able to assist indigenous rights organisations in understanding how framing of social media campaigns can better mobilise public support.

Dr. Jenna Lorusso presented "Powering up Physical Education: Becoming policy pioneers who shape tomorrow's solutions today":

Physical education, when provided in a quality form, develops healthy, active, and engaged citizens who form the basis of sustainable development, particularly in areas of good health and wellbeing (goal 3) and quality education (goal 4). However, quality physical education provision is in decline globally. Several causal factors are implicated. Sub-optimal policies and policy configurations have been identified as critical factors given that policies influence virtually all aspects of physical education realities (e.g., curriculum content, teacher standards, instructional practices, student outcomes).

In this presentation, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions fellow Dr Jenna Lorusso shared her, and Professor Ann MacPhail’s work to address the need to build physical education stakeholders’ capacity to engage with policy so to as improve quality provision. Specifically, she will share their three-phase fellowship project which entails: (a) identifying key facilitators, barriers, and content in the development of policy capacity; (b) translating complicated policy process experiences into practical policy lessons; and (c) developing a preparatory policy engagement programme for quality physical education (PEP-4-QPE) that is evidence-informed, internationally-applicable, and available as an Open Educational Resource. This project engages international physical education stakeholders (i.e., teachers, teacher educators, policymakers, professional development providers, professional association directors) in co-design, co-creation, and co-assessment citizen science via the methods of the Delphi technique, participatory research, and case study.

The potential scientific, economic, and societal impacts of this research are aligned with contemporary European and global development agendas, including that of UNESCO, the European Commission, and the World Health Organization, who have recently outlined that investment in quality physical education is a ‘low-cost/high-impact action’ and that, at present, there is critical need to prioritize attention to, and action on, PE policy to improve quality provision.

Interested applicants or supervisors for the the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Fellowship can contact Dr. Orla Power-Grant with queries at Orla.Power@ul.ie

The next Knowledge with Impact lecture takes place on Wednesday, February 7 with Professor Mike Quayle, Psychology, presenting "Threads of identity: how attitudes weave us together or hold us apart". Further information to follow.