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Making Sense of Research: Public Vote Award/Online Gallery

Making Sence of Research

Gallery of Entries - Vote online here for the Public Vote Award

Here are the competition entries for 2019.  If you want to vote for your favourite, take a note of the entry number and click on the link at the bottom of the page.  Thank you. 

1 - 'Poke me! Prod me! Look at how I change shape!' - Alexandra Hendon, PhD Medical Engineering, Faculty of Science and Engineering.


Lay summary:

Chronic wounds, such as ulcers, affect a large proportion of the general population. The current treatments for ulcers involve applying forces to the wound via compression therapy. Whilst we know that this helps the wound to heal faster, we currently don’t know exactly why. By using models both in the lab and on a computer, we can try to find out why this happens without testing on animals. Does the shape of the wound change differently if you prod me with a finger or a hand? This is Medical Engineering.

3. “So what is it you do all day?" - Anousch Khorikian, PhD Film Studies, Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education.

Never mind what the research topic is. Trying to explain what doing a PhD – let alone a Humanities PhD – is hard enough.  “So what is it you do all day?” people ask a lot, often imagining you are sitting around at a desk “making stuff up”. And it can get even harder to explain when things don’t go as planned and you are struggling.  With this simple doddle, I wanted to draw attention to that – the mental health struggle involved with “making stuff up at your desk”, on your own, that often isn’t talked about. And, yes, it is just a doodle – because what we do all day is research; it is hard to find time for much more. But is also just a doodle, because sometimes it can simply be too hard to produce more. 

5. 'Immersion, Inspiration, Enlightenment' - Carole Forrester, Master of Research English, Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education.

Lay summary:

My research explores how immersing oneself in a natural, unpopulated environment, such as a forest, coast or moorland affects my creative process.  I am writing a collection of poetry en plein air and will evaluate how my immediate environment influences my style and inspiration.

Naturally occurring fractals are often referred to as the ‘building blocks of nature.’  They exhibit fluency, patterns and repetition similar to those found in poetry, so I chose to illustrate my research with fractal art. Immersion, Inspiration, Enlightenment is a representation of Dalby Forest in spring; everything growing, connected and in harmony with no discernible beginning or end. 

7. 'Engineering and Ecosystem' - Catherine Mascord, PhD Physical Geography, Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Lay summary:

An ecosystem engineer is a living thing that can change its environment. One of the most important modern Ecosystem Engineers are burrowing animals, like earthworms. These recycle detritus and mix dissolved oxygen into the seafloor.

Before burrowing animals evolved, the Ediacaran seafloor was rich in sulphur, deficient in oxygen and blanketed by bacterial matground.

This all changed during the Cambrian (540 to 485 million years ago), which saw the evolution of the first burrowing animals. There, early ecosystem engineers, broke up the matground, recycled material and mixed oxygen into the sediment, laying the foundations for a modern marine environment.

9. 'Critical Care Nursing in Uganda' - David Muir, PhD Nursing Studies, Faculty of Health Sciences.

Lay summary:

Intensive Care Units are incorporated in the National and some regional Hospitals, in Uganda. The delivery of critical care needs to be seen in a national context and must provide sustainable and highly cost-effective methods of treatment and patient care. Nurses provide the main component of the critical care team. It is important that nursing staff from a resource limited setting are involved in research. They will be able to provide important information about the realities of critical care nursing in a low-income country and the learning needs and priorities that they consider to be essential.

11. 'Professor, I shrunk the lab' - Emma Chapman, PhD Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Lay summary:

Marine biology often conjures up images of azure oceans and shoals of darting tropical fish but many marine biologists investigate the world beneath the waves from a research laboratory.  In my lab, we investigate how natural factors and pollution affect marine organisms.  We measure the effects in miniature, looking for changes in DNA and proteins inside the cells of fish and shellfish, as small changes can make a big difference.  Shrinking my lab into miniature means that wherever the tides take me, I will always be able to take a little piece of the lab with me.

13. 'The Prevention of Child Trafficking in Nigeria' - Jenna Treen, PhD Human Geography, Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Lay summary:

The research aims to contribute to our understanding of the scale, the root causes and ‘what works’ regarding community interventions in relation to preventing child trafficking with-in and out of Nigeria.

The specific focus of this PhD research project will be on the prevention of child trafficking in Nigeria and the efficacy of community level child protection and child trafficking prevention interventions. The poster shows how my research links to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

14. 'Worms on Acid' - Jenny James, PhD Physical Geography, Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Lay summary:

Rising carbon dioxide levels in the air has a knock on effect on the ocean, causing surface waters to become more acidic. My research focuses on the impact this process of ocean acidification has on marine worms, an important and overlooked group in estuarine habitats. My entry (made of scrap industrial parts) is a worm holding a carbon dioxide molecule.

16. 'The Flourishing Student' - Kelly Robson, Kelly Robson, PhD Psychology, Faculty of Health Sciences.

Lay summary:

My PhD research is focused on exploring factors which impact on the psychological wellbeing of university students. Working within the context of positive psychology, which is interested in human happiness and wellbeing, I’ll be exploring the idea of the flourishing student and asking what factors, internal and external, impact on a student’s experience of feeing good and functioning well. The image I’ve created represents the idea of the flourishing student brain. It also represent my experience of the process or research, which, at its best, feels like a blossoming & flourishing of ideas.


18. 'Seeing Connections, Making a Real Difference' - Kerry Turner, PhD Systems Science, Faculty of Business, Law and Politics.

Lay summary:

  1. What will happen if Paddington knocks over the domino in front of him?
  2. Why does that happen?
  3. If Paddington wants to create some space for himself what are better options?
  4. Why can’t Paddington see this?
  5. What have you learned?

Paddington is caught in a system. Seeing systems is a skill which enables us to make choices with an improved understanding of the potential consequences. My research is about understanding the benefit of teaching children to see systems.

20. 'The Tangle' - Lee Fallin, EdD Doctor of Education, Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education.

What is a library? What is an academic library?

This piece forms a literal metaphor of my research. It represents the challenge of ‘pinning down’ the ideas associated with the library. The concepts of production, knowledge, technology, community, creativity and learning interweave with the physical space, virtual space, rhythm and space.

This piece – ‘The Tangle’ is mess, yet it also demonstrates ‘sense making’ in action. As more is understood about the library, it becomes more difficult to define. Some pins remain unconnected, representing things yet to be uncovered. Further threads leave the board to connect to the wider world.

21.'Draculas: A Spotter’s Guide' - Matthew Crofts, PhD English, Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education.

Lay summary:

Throw your binoculars away! No longer does the amateur Dracula-spotter need to crowd the graveyard at night for a peek of his target. This easy-to-use bloodflow-chart allows even the most inexpert to identify Draculas like a professional.

From the uncertain likeness of Bram Stoker’s famous 1897 novel, to the recognisable visages of Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee, Dracula: The Spotter’s Guide explores the features that make each Dracula distinct. Trace a path from Stoker’s novel to some of the scariest, goofiest or most sympathetic Draculas of TV, film and video games to understand how and why the Count has evolved.

23. 'Can you see an opportunity?' - Ontida Chanuban, PhD Management, Faculty of Business, Law and Politics.

Lay summary:

Nowadays, food entrepreneurs in Thailand create additional value of agricultural products (e.g. rice and fruits) by processing them into more innovative products, such as healthy drinks, ready meals and freeze-dried food and sell them worldwide, including the UK.

The opportunity identification and exploitation are a great process for innovative entrepreneurs which make them distinctive and outstanding from other business people. 

The letters in this artwork are formed by the combination of grain of rice. The term “opportunity” is hidden in these extraordinary formats which offer various interpretations depending on individual perspectives. Can you see “opportunity” as the entrepreneurs do?

25. 'Life after a Brain Injury' - Rachel Hughes, Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Health Sciences.

Lay summary:

Acquired brain injuries are often unexpected, life-changing events that can influence all aspects of an individual’s life. My research aimed to explore if individuals who had experienced a brain injury felt that their post injury self was different to their pre injury self, and if shame was present. The research found that after a brain injury individuals experienced high levels of shame and negative consequences that spanned all areas of their lives including employment, relationships, and self-worth. Individuals also perceived themselves more negatively after a brain injury, and this was linked to shame.

27. 'The effect of Blue Planet II on awareness of and attitude of news readers to plastic pollution' - Zahra Mirzakhani, MSc Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Lay summary:

Nearly 14 million tones plastic goes through the ocean every year. Plastics are everywhere. From Antarctica to the Arctic, yet few people are aware of the destructive effects of using it.

Accordingly, many TV programs have been made by various companies around the world over the past ten years to prove the detrimental effects of plastic pollution. BBC One is one of these companies which has made a special series called “Blue Planet II”.

Unlike what we initially presumed, the broadcast of blue planet II has had little positive impact on the level of understanding of the citizens of the four major English spoken countries about the plastic pollution.

How to vote for the Public Vote Award

To vote on line click this link and tick the box for your favourite entry!

Please only vote once, we are tracking the voting process through the survey, so it is possible to spot multiple voting for the same entry by the same voter. 


2. 'Who decides?' - Angela Hancock, PhD Management, Faculty of Business, Law and Politics.

Lay summary:

Children and young people are approximately twenty percent of the UK population and have rights in relation to matters affecting them (UNICEF, 1989; Article 12). This submission illustrates part of a research project considering leadership responsibilities of listening and involving children and young people in decision-making processes and practices impacting on childhood lived experiences.  This visual representation therefore symbolises the potential dominance of the adult leader in relation to the young people they work on behalf of.  Research with local practitioners questioned and reflected upon fixed practice processes and whether more mutually engaged participative approaches could be considered? 

4. 'The Development of a Unique Electroacoustic Augmentation System' - Anthony Boorer, PhD Music by Composition, Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education.

Click on the image to view the film now.

Lay summary:

After five years of hardware hacking, experimentation and research the eBone Project successfully blends the acoustic sound of the trombone with a unique compositional concept. 

The eBone Project uses a novel blend of live performance and electronics to portray the narrative of our time, expressed by a trombone in a unique augmentation system. The work ”Discourses of Brexit”, uses extended techniques to control infamous rhetoric as recorded in our political landscape in a live performance environment. 

6. 'The Garden of Inspiration' - Carole Forrester, Master of Research English, Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education.

Lay summary:

Gardens have long been a source of inspiration and creativity; expressions of beauty, status, and beliefs. Our gardens are very individual expressions of our own ideas of beauty and functionality. My research seeks to explore how the natural environment sparks creativity and inspiration.  Writing a collection of poetry in both wild spaces and cultivated gardens, I will investigate how immersing oneself in such places affects inspiration and creativity.

I have chosen fractal art to illustrate my research.  The Garden of Inspiration depicts interconnectedness and enlightenment.  Bright colours, soothing colours and a swaying symmetry illustrate how many forms of inspiration can emerge and grow from the smallest of things.

8. 'Escape from the Ouroboros' - Yvonne Black, PhD Systems Science & Claire Williams, PhD Management, Faculty of Business, Law and Politics.

Lay summary:

Escape from the Ouroboros began life as a comparison between research journeys in Hull University Business School. Yvonne is in her third year of a PhD on nature and wellbeing in the Centre for Systems Studies, while Claire is in her first year of a PhD on talent management in Organisational Behaviour/Human Resource Management (OB/HRM). As we drew our research pathways on a whiteboard, we spotted circular thinking patterns. Those patterns, like the Ouroboros (a mythical creature which eats its own tail) can form traps. Our creation became plan of escape for each of us, from a private thought vortex.

10. 'The Found Portrait' - Dorothy Vinegrad, PhD English, Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education.

Lay summary:

A miniature portrait of Charles Dickens, painted on ivory, was recently discovered as part of a job lot in a house sale in South Africa. It was painted by Margaret Gillies using water colour on ivory, at the time Dickens was writing A Christmas Carol, and portrays him as a young man, somberly dressed and gazing intently at the viewer. It was lost sight of after being exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1844. How it reached South Africa is not known, but it is now back in England and has been cleaned and restored. The Charles Dickens Museum hopes to raise £180,000 to purchase it for their permanent display.

12. 'Testing the Metal” of Chronic Wounds' - Holly Wilkinson, PhD Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Lay summary:

The focus of my PhD is to determine how metals (collectively termed the metallome) contribute to skin wound healing, and how they may be defective in chronic, non-healing wounds. In this example, I have focused on iron. My studies show that iron is important for effective wound repair, and is deficient in diabetic chronic wounds. The findings of my PhD provide the basis for developing new treatments to heal chronic wounds.

15. Dangerous Victorian Beauty Routines' - Kath Beal, PhD English, Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education.

Lay summary:

In order to appear beautiful, in the cultural expectations of the era, many Victorian women underwent beauty routines that were painful and often dangerous. Poisonous substances were used in the manufacture of cosmetics, Arsenic soap was advertised as beneficial to the complexion. Toxic and corrosive fluids were placed in eyes in order to give a wide-eyed appearance. Diet pills could contain arsenic or strychnine or, even worse, tapeworms. Tight corseting, used to give the wearer the fashionable figure, caused not only discomfort but displaced the wearer’s internal organs. They certainly suffered to appear beautiful.

17. 'Finding the Treasure of Systems' - Kerry Turner, PhD Systems Science, Faculty of Business, Law and Politics.


Lay summary:

The research journey is a search for the treasure of new knowledge. Knowledge is one of few treasures that can grow forever without reducing the planet’s resources. It is a source of truly sustainable growth.

My PhD aims to reveal the treasure of teaching children systems thinking skills in schools. I thought it would be interesting to communicate my PhD in the form of a treasure hunt. Participants will become more aware of my research and its connection to Hull by engaging in a little research themselves…

19. ‘Many Hands’ Zine - Layla Hendow, PhD English, Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education.

Lay summary:

‘Many Hands’ Zine is a project by University of Hull PhD students, Layla Hendow and Natalie Lee. It is designed to combine art and science by motivating people to make changes in their life to help address climate change. The project features environmental pledges made by people paired with their hand portrait. If everyone does one small thing to help the environment, we could make a real difference. Many actions, when collected together, can stir change. We hope people will take inspiration from the pledges made here, or come up with their own. After all: “many hands make light work”.

22. 'Rus in Urbe' - Nadira Hendarta, MSc Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Lay summary:

Rus in Urbe’ is the Latin for ‘country in the city’. The words represent the purpose of the urban green space; providing an escape from the city life by creating a special space as a reminiscence of the country’s natural environment. The city of Hull is rich with historical and cultural backgrounds, in which it is depicted within the parks. It has served the community not only for recreational purpose, but also educational, and conservational for the local wildlife. Most of the materials are made of recycled papers and cardboards. The glass of the frame is smashed deliberately to enable people to touch the texture of the tree bark. It is also to represent the message of “breaking” the boundary between nature and human.

24.'Story telling with poetic enquiry: Drawer of Junk' - Paula Claughton, EdD Doctor of Education & Jacqui Bartram, EdD Doctor of Education, Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education.

Lay summary:

The intention of this study has been to maintain a clear focus on the lived experiences of Teaching Assistants’ (TA) sense of belonging in the workplace.  Poetic inquiry has been used in an attempt to retain TA voice and to ‘narrate … cultural stories’ (Butler-Kisber, 2017: 4).   Confronted with the word-flood of transcripts, poetry proved to be a perfect model to capture the essence of stories.  It offered a platform for TAs to tell their own stories and provides multiple entry points for discussion.  Building on the traditional format of poetry construction, this entry is a visually creative expression of TA voice.

26. 'The suicidal mind: a journey to recovery' - Sophie Brown, PhD Psychology, Faculty of Health Sciences.

Lay summary:

Sophie's aim with this image is to assign positive meaning to the bridge: a journey to hope and recovery. The green plant on the bench is a symbol of hope. With the right support, we can increase hope for people beyond a suicide attempt. This photo of the iconic Humber Bridge represents the key objective of Sophie's research: to support people who feel overwhelmed by suicidal thoughts. The bridge itself is a local suicide “hotspot” with police attending 380 incidents of people threatening to take their lives over the past 3 years. Sophie has photographed a male in his mid-40s as this represents the highest risk category for suicide in England. He is going through a difficult time and his suicidal mind is overwhelming him. The black-and-white image mirrors his all-or-nothing thinking; life and death are the only options. The green plant on the bench is a symbol of hope. With the right support, we can increase hope for people beyond a suicide attempt. Sophie's aim with this image is to assign positive meaning to the bridge: a journey to hope and recovery.

We have placed the image for this entry on a separate page. If you have been affected by suicide and are likely to be upset by an image of the Humber Bridge then do not visit the page.The image is not shocking in any way, but may be upsetting to anyone who has lost someone by suicide involving the Humber Bridge. 

If you do not wish to view the image, please scroll past. 

If you do wish to view this entry, click this link now. 

Those who have been affected by suicide may find the following guide helpful:


28. 'Body Donation for Medical Education' - Zivarna Murphy, PhD Human Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences.

Lay summary:

How many of us have properly thought about what we want to happen to our bodies after we die? My PhD research has examined body donation for medical education; a post-death option that many people choose in the UK today. This piece explores the reasons people choose to donate their body, the various aspects they consider, the process of body donation, and the hidden work that medical school anatomy unit staff do with the families of donors after donation. What do you want to happen to your body after you die? Have you spoken to your loved ones about this?