Public lectures showcase exceptional doctoral research


A close-up of a glass work by Karen Seccombe, one of the 2019 Dean's List giving lectures at the Palmerston North City Library.


Massey University is showcasing the ground-breaking research of its most exceptional doctoral graduates to the people of Palmerston North at an event this week.

The Dean’s List of Exceptional Thesis lectures will be held at the Palmerston North City Library on Friday, between 12pm and 3pm. Free to attend, but you can 
register here for catering purposes.Topics include human trafficking, rapidly declining technology in business, creative expression across disciplinary boundaries, women responding to experiences of violence and abuse through an active engagement in art making. 

Beginning in 2017, the lectures celebrate and showcase doctoral graduates who are academically outstanding and who can present their work in an engaging and accessible way to the wider University and the public. Attendees will hear from both the doctoral researcher and their supervisor on the research.

The Dean, Research, Associate Professor Tracy Riley,  says the speakers have a unique chance to present their research to the University community and the public.

“The candidates’ theses are considered amongst the best in their fields. The event is about celebrating and communicating some of the amazing breadth of cutting edge research taking place right across the University. This event reflects the University’s commitment to provide innovative development opportunities for its postgraduate research students so they can flourish.

"It’s an effective platform to make new contacts, develop their presentation skills, and further establish themselves as professional researchers, while also sharing world-leading knowledge with industry and community for mutual benefit.”

The list of lectures follows.

12.30pm: Forecasting the decline of superseded technologies

Dr Murray MacRae - Forecasting the Decline of Superseded Technologies: A comparison of alternative methods.

Supervisor: Professor Malcom Wright

Technology commonly declines rapidly on arrival of an innovative substitute shortening the economic life of a firm's technological assets, and undermining a firm's return on capital. Mr MacRae's investigation found pro-innovation bias, with research focused on innovation growth rather than existing asset decline. He addressed this bias through investigating three well-established forecasting approaches: statistical models, analogous data models from historic examples, and the judgment of expert forecasters when applied to decline.

The average of all historic decline data was as accurate a forecast as the best statistical models – even a straight-line drawn through the last few data points provided a better forecast than the statistical models. A panel of experts also bettered the statistical models. While the literature says people forecast such declines poorly; it seems, on average, that this is not the case. Mr MacRae's results provide the first simple guidelines for forecasting existing technology decline.

1pm: Liquid spaces in contemporary performance art

Dr Sam Trubridge - Pelagic States: beyond nomadic and oceanic practices. 

Supervisor: Distinguished Professor Sally Morgan -1.30pm

Mr Trubridge's creative practice made a unique contribution to performance and live art through the definition of a liquid, mobile, and ‘pelagic’ approach across diverse creative disciplines and environments. He argued that a creative practice that is not restricted by disciplinary boundaries might meaningfully unsettle or question the systems that it encounters.

His research proved that no other artists work in this way – moving across various practices and sometimes even working with the liquid spaces of the ocean to make unique performance projects. His works included flooded stage designs for theatre shows nationally and internationally, an underwater performance art work with free divers, an inflated structure walked through saltlakes, beaches and deserts, and an annual live art festival on Wellington Waterfront, attended by 5080,000 individuals. Together these diverse outputs proved the unique contribution that a practice defined by liquid, ocean spaces can make to contemporary performance, art, and culture.

1.30pm: An artistic response to violence

Dr Karen Seccombe, The clarity of light. Self-representation through art making: a personal response to the social justice work of WAI the Women's Art Initiative collective.

Supervisor Professor Bob Jahnke

One in three New Zealand women will experience violence. The social responses given can positively or negatively affect the capacity to recover from these experiences with dignity. Ms Seccombe undertook insider research within a closed art making community, WAI - the Women's Art Initiative collective, analysing the many positive, autonomous, and justice based ways that women can respond to their experiences of violence and abuse through an active engagement in art making.

This feminist, anti-oppressive, and response-based practice approach challenges commonly accepted deficit notions of the necessary therapeutic relationship between art and women who have experienced violence. Her research offered insight to a model of practice, a series of guidebooks, and a personal body of stained glass installation works, which acknowledge the often invisible resistance, strength, courage and mana of those whose voices are most marginalised within this discourse.

2pm: Responding ethically to domestic violence

Dr Jessica Reedy, Women's Refuge Clients' Experiences of Social Responses to Domestic Violence Including Interventions Informed by Response-Based Practice School of Psychology

Supervisor: Dr Sarah Pain

Response-based practice provides an urgently needed framework for responding ethically to domestic violence. This research involved developing, delivering and evaluating a response-based group intervention at Women's Refuge. The project's design used action research principles and thematic analysis in one study to develop the intervention with refuge advocates.

A second study used discourse analysis to compare clients’ pre and post-intervention accounts of social responses to their victimisation. Languaging represented perpetrators' violence as accidental/uncontrollable and concealed victim resistance. Narratives engaged traditional gender discourses of coercive control and violence as normative. Following intervention, clients re-positioned themselves as competent women who were neither blameworthy, nor pathological. Intervention content and processes legitimated women's knowledge of how concealing violence, perpetrator responsibility and gendered social power relations diminish victims' safety. Thus, the intervention provided safe, dignifying social and physical spaces for clients.

2.30pm: Human trafficking in Mindanao, Philippines

Dr Amie Lennox Townsend, Human trafficking in Mindanao: personal narratives and local perspectives.

Supervisor: Dr Sita Venkateswar 

Recent attention to the issue of human trafficking has meant that demands for immediate action have meant that counter-measures have often preceded research-based insights. In-depth local research is still an emerging area, and little work has been published on the Philippines specifically. In the province of Mindanao, known issues include various forms of labour trafficking, sex trafficking, underage soldiers, and trafficking of migrants. Ms Lennox Townsend spent five months conducting fieldwork in Mindanao.

As well as investigating the broader local social conditions, she spent time with people who had experienced various forms of human trafficking and exploitation. Her research presents an exploration and analysis of the social setting in Mindanao, based on first-person accounts, which are contextualised in the wider society. Findings suggest that human trafficking in Mindanao is an outcome and extension of local social conditions and everyday social processes.

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