Massey women in Royal Society lecture series 

The Royal Society of New Zealand is hosting lectures by women to mark its' 150-year anniversary

Five Massey women researchers will present their ideas in a Royal Society of New Zealand lecture series celebrating women’s discoveries as part of its 150th year anniversary.

From learning a foreign language to the role of social media in sport; how the arts can tackle big issues; Ancient World connections to Aotearoa artists; and maths with a Pasifika twist – the women represent cutting edge research from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the College of Health.

The five have been selected for the Great Kiwi Research: Sharing women's discoveries series to mark the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Royal Society Te Apārangi, starting at the Manawatū campus next week. Four more double-billed lectures will be held on the Wellington and Auckland campuses in November. 

In the first of the dual billings, languages and applied linguistics expert Professor Cynthia White, from the School of Humanities, will share her research on language learning, while Dr Ashleigh-Jane Thompson will discuss the impact of social media in sport at the Manawatū campus on October 25.

Professor White will wrestle with questions addressing the benefits and difficulties of learning another language from a New Zealand perspective, acknowledging the meaning of language learning for individuals, and what’s exciting about new online language learning opportunities.

Professor White has published widely on distance and online learning, emotion in language learning, learner autonomy, and teacher identity and agency and is currently the Director of the Massey University-Beijing Language and Culture University Research Centre.

Dr Thompson, a lecturer in Sport Management and Coaching in the School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition, will talk on Performing in the spectacle: 21st-century Gladiators in the modern-day Coliseum.

She will explore how selfies, hashtags and Instagram, and social media generally – as pervasive parts of modern consumer culture – are central to “the immediacy and reach of sport communication”. 

(top, from left) Associate Professor Bobbie Hunter, Dr Ashleigh-Jane Thompson and Professor Cynthia White, and (below) Dr Anastasia Bakogianni and Associate Professor Elspeth Tilley.

Creative activism for youth

In a Wellington campus November lecture; Science and the Arts: Creating futures, Associate Professor Elspeth Tilley’s talk about creative activism will explore how young people who want to make a difference are devising creative ways to address social and ecological problems.

An award-winning playwright whose works have performed around the world, Dr Tilley, from the School of English and Media Studies, teaches theatre and writes plays about climate change and feminism – framed in quirky scenarios involving traffic jams and penguins.

She will share the platform with scientist Dr Dr Jacqui Horswell, from the Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd, who will discuss her research into water pollution and potential of Manuka roots to both filter and inactivate pollutants from intensive agriculture, leading to improvements in water quality.

Ancient worlds and Arithmetics

At Massey’s Auckland campus in Albany, Dr Anastasia Bakogianni will introduce her new research project, Classical World New Zealand, in her lecture; Living connections: The Classical World in today’s New Zealand,

The project’s aim is to demonstrate the modern world’s ongoing dialogue with ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt and highlights New Zealand’s distinctive contribution to this conversation.

Dr Bakogianni, a Classical Studies lecturer in the School of Humanities, says; “the culture of the classical world remains a rich vein of creativity tapped by countless living artists working in New Zealand today. Their art in turn helps us to re-connect to the ancient world”.

She will talk about the work of artists, actors, theatre directors, filmmakers, writers and scholars she interviewed for the online project. 

Globally recognised maths educator Associate Professor Bobbie Hunter will share her research on the relevance of culture to maths in her talk: Mathematics and Pasifika: Can one exist without informing the other?

The focus of Dr Hunter’s research and practice is on “honouring the students’ culture and language, to build in students’ positive cultural and mathematical identities”.

She works with teachers to draw on Pasifika values and students’ cultural backgrounds to make mathematics real and meaningful, and to engage their participation in mathematical reasoning and communication. Based in the Institute of Education, she will share her research over the past 15 years in developing culturally responsive mathematics teaching, particularly with Pāsifika and Māori.

Lectures by women researchers from other institutions will also be held in Tauranga, Nelson, Hamilton and Auckland as part of the series.

Event details:

Communicate Now: New tools for language learners and sport
Dr Ashleigh-Jane Thompson, Professor Cynthia White
Manawatū campus: 6pm - Wednesday, October 25
Sir Geoffrey Peren Auditorium

Science and the Arts: Creating futures
Associate Professor Elspeth Tilley, Dr Jacqui Horswell
Wellington campus: 6pm - Thursday, November 2
Theatrette 10A02 200

Culturally informed research: Mathematics and the Classics in New Zealand
Associate Professor Roberta Hunter, Dr Anastasia Bakogianni
Auckland campus: 6.30pm - Wednesday, November 22
AT2 Auditorium


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