‘Voices From the Frontline of Homelessness’: An Investigation into The Big Issue’s Creation of Alternative Representations of Homelessness

On the 14th of February 2017, Bournemouth University’s Centre for Excellence in Learning (CEL) in collaboration with the Student Union (SUBU) presented award certificates and prizes to some outstanding undergraduate students of the university to undertake co-creation projects with academic partners. We are delighted to share with you reports from the award recipients, starting with Anni Eerik BA (Hons) Communication and Media:

The project’s main aim was to explore the role of The Big Issue in the creation of alternative representations of homelessness. The project combined author’s social science dissertation on the coverage of homelessness in The Big Issue and her academic partner, Dr. Salvatore Scifo’s guidance and support on the research topic, with an additional aim to contribute to the alternative media studies and raise awareness about homelessness among the Bournemouth University community and the wider public within the Bournemouth area.

The data collection of the co-creation project included a mix of qualitative methods such as media content analysis on The Big Issue magazine and the semi-structured interviews with the editor and the vendor of The Big Issue. The Centre for Excellence in Learning grant helped to cover the travel costs to the The Big Issue head office in London, where the author had an opportunity to interview magazine editor, and through this process get a valuable insight into the working culture of The Big Issue. At this stage, Dr. Salvatore Scifo offered guidance and support on preparing, structuring and following up the interviews.

Furthermore, the author was encouraged by the academic partner to present her research at British Conference of Undergraduate Research 2017 which this year took place at Bournemouth University. After the successful submission of the abstract, the grant money from CEL helped to prepare, design and print a poster for the presentation at the conference. Attending the BCUR was a great experience for the author in terms of communicating her research to experts and wider public, and discussing the research design, methodology, findings and future directions. Furthermore, the poster presentation allowed the author to engage in one-to-one interaction with guests and therefore provided customised feedback on the author’s research.

Both the student and the academic partner are passionate about the difference the co-creation project had for the academic field of study, Bournemouth University, and their personal and professional development. The collaborative process of student and academic partner working together revitalized the process of the research and directly benefited the student to gain skills and confidence for making change and being in the producing role. Furthermore, the co-creation project undertaken gave student a chance to identify problems, develop and design solutions and create an end product. The support of the Centre for Excellence in Learning and the guidance of the academic partner, helped to accomplish the innovative approach chosen for the ‘Voices From the Frontline of Homelessness’ project. It is believed by the author that the investigative project contributes to a better understanding of how homelessness is represented in The Big Issue and potentially stimulates a public debate among wider public. If you need more information, you can get in touch with Anni Eerik  or her academic partner in the project Dr Salvatore Scifo.

 

 

 

 

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