Tag Archives: University of Strathclyde

New political resource launched in Glasgow

A new online resource on the popular political culture of Scotland in the 19th and early 20th centuries will be officially launched later today.

A new website called The People’s Voice has been created by staff at the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde. It is funded by the Carnegie Trust, contains over 1000 poems, song recordings, essays and school resources.

This is the result of a two year project called The People’s Voice: Scottish political poetry, song and the franchise, 1832-1918 and relates to the poetry and song of local communities across Scotland and has unearthed a wide range of materials that speak of protest, citizenship and rights.

Dr Catriona Macdonald, who led the project team and is a Reader in Late Modern Scottish History at the University of Glasgow, said: “After more than two years of work we are delighted to launch this project for everyone to use and learn from.

“The themes that come through the poems range from the local to the national to the international and show Scots of all classes and political persuasions engaged in the political process. Instead of platform speeches and manifestos from ‘the great and the good’, here we have ordinary Scots rhyming in to poetry their concerns and their aspirations. It shows that poetry was – and is – a political medium.”

The project, which received a major grant from the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland in 2015, aimed to examine the neglected impact that local poetry and song cultures had in Scottish popular politics in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

To achieve a detailed understanding of these roles, the project focuses on the four successful campaigns to extend the electoral franchise in 1832, 1867/8, 1884 and 1918, and plots these campaigns within broader historical narratives.

A key aim of this project is to disinter many of the poems and songs that appeared in Scotland’s periodical press in this period.  Although these publications were common sites in which local poets published, and nurtured lively song cultures, they have not yet been adequately explored by literary critics or historians.  To remedy this, the project assessed archival holdings across various localities in Scotland, including Aberdeen, Ayrshire, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paisley and Stirling.

Several resources, including schools resources which have been developed in partnership with Education Scotland, have been created to promote the study of political poetry as a source for History, Literature and Modern Studies.

An edited, online anthology of 50 selected poems will be available through the People’s Voice website, accompanied by a searchable database of every relevant poem found in the select archives, and explanatory essays.

The new resource will be officially launched at The People’s Voice: Scottish Political Poetry, Song and the Franchise, 1832–1918 conference which features international speakers including Dr Alison Chapman, the University of Victoria in Canada;  Professor Florence Boos of the University of Iowa, USA; Dr Mike Sanders of the University of Manchester, Dr Frank Ferguson of Ulster University and Professor Jon Mee of the University of York.

There will also be musical entertainment provided by Scottish folk singer and songwriter Bill Adair.

Follow The People’s Voice on Twitter here.

Commonwealth Games app launched to boost fitness levels

media_266160_enWith just a month to go until the opening ceremony of the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, smartphone owners are being given the opportunity to boost their fitness and learn more about the host city.

An award-winning app, officially launched today by the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde with support from Commonwealth Games competitors, allows users to compete with others around the world to increase their physical activity and test their knowledge of Glasgow before, during and after the Games.

The MyCity: Glasgow app, developed by Glasgow and Strathclyde researchers, uses smartphones’ built-in accelerometers to track how much players walk each day. The app sets daily activity goals for each player based on their activity over the previous few days. The target increases each time players achieve their goals, steadily increasing their levels of activity.

Each time an activity goal is achieved, a reward is unlocked with the appearance of one of 42 of Glasgow’s landmark buildings on a map of the city. Players can find out more about Glasgow through fun ‘Fact or Fiction’ quizzes, and use their phone’s GPS function to follow virtual ‘treasure trails’ across the city.

Users can compare their performance to others’ using the MyCity Activity and Quizzes Leaderboards. They can also share their progress, and selfies of them playing the game, straight from the app to Facebook.

Development of the app was led by Dr Cindy Gray, of the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing, and Dr Marilyn McGee-Lennon, of the University of Strathclyde’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences.

Dr Gray said: “We’ve worked hard to make MyCity Glasgow a fun way for people to engage with the spirit of the Commonwealth Games by being more active, as well as finding out more about the host city. The app is focused on walking because it’s a low-impact form of activity that most people can participate in.

“MyCity: Glasgow allows people in Glasgow to gain a new perspective on the city by challenging them to visit landmarks, including the Games venues, for themselves. However, it’s also designed so that people can use it to learn about the city from anywhere around the world. All people need to benefit from the app is a mobile device and a willingness to be more active.”

Dr McGee-Lennon added: “When users download the app, they’ll be asked to agree for it to share with us anonymised data about their activity levels. The data will be an invaluable resource for future research into how effective apps can be at promoting behaviour change, which will be of real use for similar public health projects in the future, and will also contribute to the legacy of Glasgow 2014 for the city.”

Athletes from Team Scotland who will be competing in the Commonwealth Games have lent their support to MyCity: Glasgow.

Table tennis player and University of Glasgow physiology and sports science student Lynda Flaws, from Shetland said: “Walking more regularly isn’t a huge commitment but it can make a big difference to people’s health. I’m glad to be backing MyCity: Glasgow, which is a great way to make walking fun.”

800m freestyle swimmer Camilla Hattersley, from Perth, is currently studying aeronautical engineering at the University of Glasgow. She said: “I’m pleased to be involved with MyCity: Glasgow and I hope it’s a big success. It’s great that universities from the host city have made the effort to help educate people around the world about Glasgow and get them active too.

4 x 400m relay runner Kris Robertson, from Bishopbriggs, said: “The Commonwealth Games is brilliant for Glasgow, and the app provides a fantastic opportunity for people to explore the city and get fitter at the same time.”

Badminton player and Strathclyde University student Patrick MacHugh, from Kinross, said: “I hope the MyCity: Glasgow app encourages people from across the country to realise they can be more active more easily than they might think.”

The app has achieved acclaim even before its official launch. In April, it won the gold medal in the ‘Creative & Cultural – Higher Education Institutions’ category at the Game Changer Awards. The awards, organised by Universities Scotland and Colleges Scotland, recognised the commitment of Scotland’s universities and colleges to delivering a lasting legacy from the Games. The app was also showcased at the National Telecare and Telehealth Innovation Conference in Perth on 18th June.

The app is available for free download from the Google Play store from June 23 and shortly afterwards from the Apple app store. To find it, simply search for ‘MyCity: Glasgow’.

Development of the app was supported by funding from the University of Glasgow.