LSE Research Showcase

A free event for the LSE community

I learnt so much about the brilliant research going on at LSE

LSE’s annual research showcase is a drop-in event featuring film and photography, hands-on activities and games, and complimentary food and drink. The 2019 event offered another chance to speak to inspiring members of our faculty about their research and discover how social science can shape the world we live in. 


Meet the exhibitors

Mosaic eye

What are members of marginalised communities doing to protect themselves in a datafied society?

Our Data Bodies is a collaborative, participatory research and organising effort. Since 2015, we have been working in three cities: Charlotte, North Carolina; Detroit, Michigan; and Los Angeles California. Our project combines community-based organising, capacity-building, and rigorous academic research to find answers to questions about the relationship of technology to marginality. We have conducted approximately 140 in-depth interviews, a dozen participatory workshops, and three interpretive focus groups. Our preliminary findings reveal the impacts of everyday, pervasive surveillance on mental health and well-being, on the one hand, and acts of individual and collective agency, defiance, and refusal, on the other hand. 

Presenter: Seeta Gangadharan, Department of Media and Communications

Find out more about Our Data Bodies

Change Makers

How is student-led research changing LSE?

Change Makers is a collaborative programme between LSE and LSE Students' Union. It gives students the chance to make meaningful change at LSE by conducting independent research. Beginning in 2018/19, Change Makers funded approximately £50,000 worth of student-led research projects, each of which identified and investigated a specific aspect of the School. Findings and recommendations from those projects are now being shared, to impact on the student experience in 2019/20 and beyond.

Presenter: Ellis Saxey, Eden Centre

Find out more about Change Makers

Privacy Online

What does the internet know about us?

How is our data shared and used in the digital environment? What are the risks and how can we protect our privacy online? Over the past year we have been talking to children, parents and educators about online data and privacy as part of our ICO-funded project "Children's data and privacy online: growing up in a digital age". We found that children are becoming aware of the commercial and institutional uses of their data and they care about their privacy, but there are important gaps in their media literacy and digital skills. Children often turn to their parents and teachers for guidance but adults also struggle to understand the complex digital environment and to know what to advise children. To promote children's understanding we developed an online privacy toolkit.

Presenters: Sonia Livingstone, Mariya Stoilova and Rishita Nandagiri, Department of Media and Communications

Find out more about Children's data and privacy online


What does it mean to think visually, and feel visually?

Why do people hate Trump’s Wall and love the Great Wall of China? To explore this question, I published an article “The Politics of Walls,” and then made a short film, “Great Walls”. This experience showed me how textual media are helpful for explaining the ideological issues of how walls divide people, while audio-visual media effectively highlight the affective intensities of how walls can also move and connect people. Research films thus push us to think visually, and feel visually. This is important because most people get their information about the world from visual media. “Great Walls” was made with the support of the LSE’s Knowledge Exchange and Impact fund.

Presenter: William A Callahan, Department of International Relations

Find out more about the politics of walls

Reindeer in snow

How can we best make real-world decisions with human-made probabilities?

Science gives us tools that are both imperfect and useful. LSE's Centre for the Analysis of Time Series is at the forefront of improving these tools and communicating how to use them wisely. Our projects include collaboration with humanitarian agencies to save lives by acting before disasters occur, and forecasting the results of the US National Football League.

Presenters: Leonard Smith, Erica Thompson and Ed Wheatcroft, CATS

Find out more about CATS

Bird feeder sound box

How do we create engaging and creative outreach for disseminating research findings of public interest widely, using the spaces in the city we all share?

Public artwork commissioned by Civil Society Futures. The soundbox is a birdfeeder with a built-in speaker playing recordings of people working in the UK voluntary sector. These interviews are the raw data used in the report. The recording comprises six short pieces around the main emerging themes – the meaning of civil society, issues raised by young people about their community, etc. The soundbox is an engaging way to create outreach for research findings of public interest and invites listeners to think about the process of research analysis. Themes are curated not only around facts but also around opinion, emotion, and imagination.

Presenter: Mariana Bogdanova, Department of Management

Find out more about the birdfeeder soundbox

Jill Craigie

How can LSE Library collections support your research?

LSE Library staff will showcase two recent projects which demonstrate how the Library’s flagship collections can support research, and inspire future projects:

Jill Craigie: Film Pioneer - an AHRC-funded research project drawing on the Library’s Jill Craigie archive

Peace Activism and the "New Cold War" – an LSE-funded knowledge exchange and impact project based on the Library’s CND collection.

Presenters: Gillian Muphy and Anna Towlson, LSE Library

Find out more about LSE Library's collections

Refugees and host nations

How do refugees integrate into the labour market of host communities?

The overwhelming majority of humanitarian migrants is hosted in low and medium income countries. Despite being poor, Uganda hosts the largest number of refugees in Africa. Given that unemployment is already high and local resources stretched, refugees face particular integration obstacles in these contexts. In looking into various initiatives in Uganda, this project tries to better understand what these integration challenges are, how these can be countered and what the role of both domestic and international actors in this process.

Presenter: Hilke Mairi Gudel, Department of Government

Find out more about mobile populations in Uganda

Global Health image credit mario-purisic-jG1z5o7NCq4-unsplash

What does global health mean to you?

Why does global health matter? The Global Health Intiative is a cross-departmental research platform set up to increase the coherence and visibility of Global Health research activity across the School, both internally and externally. It provides support for interdisciplinary engagement and showcases LSE's ability to apply rigourous social science research to emerging global health challenges.

Presenter: Beth Kreling and Charnele Nunes, Global Health Initiative

Find out more about the Global Health Initiative

High density housing

What is the lived experience of high-density housing in the London context?

Despite the flaws in focusing entirely on supply as the solution to the housing crisis, it is widely acknowledged that London is in need of more homes. With the city’s lateral expansion restricted by the Green Belt, this new housing is being produced at unprecedented densities – forming a contrast to the low-rise terraced houses and private gardens that characterise most neighbourhoods. In this film, residents of several high-density developments show us what they like and dislike about their homes. The film is part of a three-year research and knowledge-exchange programme exploring residents' experience of high-density living.

Presenters: Fanny Blanc and Kath Scanlon, LSE London and Tim White, LSE Cities

Find out more about living in high density

US Centre map

How can we use digital technologies and design to inform people about politics and policy?

Social scientists collect a lot of data. But data can only be useful for policy change if it is communicated in a way which gives context, understanding and creates interest. Three new projects from LSE's United States Centre (The State of the States), South Asia Centre (States of South Asia - India Pilot) and the Centre for Women, Peace and Security (WPS National Action Plans) illustrate social science data across different study areas by visualising policy trends, geographic, social and economic data, and the effectiveness of policy implementation.

Presenters: Chris Gilson, United States Centre, Nicky Armstrong, Centre for Women, Peace and Security, and Chris Finnigan, South Asia Centre

Find out more about these initiatives in the US Centre, South Asia Centre and Centre for Women, Peace and Security.

Palm oil agriculture

How does palm oil agriculture impact carbon emissions and haze episodes in Southeast Asia?

Through a number of multi-disciplinary collaborative projects, we aim to understand the environmental impact of deforestation and agricultural conversion in the tropical peat-swamp regions of Southeast Asia. Land clearance and drainage releases significant carbon emissions and increases landscape susceptibility to fires leading to costly air pollution episodes across Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore. Through field-scale experiments and opportunistic fieldwork at fires, our work aims to quantify greenhouse gas and haze-forming emissions from land degradation and burning, as well as investigate the serious deleterious effects on human health and the economy. Our work informs REDD+ initiatives and contributes to forest conservation management across the region.

Presenter: Thomas Smith, Department of Geography and Environment

Find out more about Dr Smith's work

Image credit Joe-green-unsplash

How can government inefficiencies in the diffusion of sewerage infrastructure affect under-five mortality rates?

I study a nation-wide expansion of sewerage infrastructure that took place in Peru between 2005 and 2015 on under-five mortality using original administrative panel data at the district level and exploiting random geography-driven variation in budget allocation to instrument for project placement. Mortality rates increased in districts that experienced greater sewerage diffusion, attributable to poor technical rigor during the execution of the works and exacerbated by delays and mid-construction abandonment. Public interventions aimed at correcting market failures in the development of large infrastructure are prone to government failures that put at risk infant and child survival.

Presenter: Antonella Bancalari, Department of Social Policy

Find out more about this project

Careers for  PhD students

How does LSE support the career progression of its PhD students?

This comparative study draws on research conducted with three different groups of people: PhD students, Doctoral Programme Directors and PhD administrators. It seeks to explore current career development practice and evaluate strenghts, weaknesses and potential gaps in what is offered. Our findings have been compared with those from a similar study at the University of Oxford School of Social Sciences. the findings include: 1 Recommendations, 2 Case study of good practice, 3 Student to student advice, 4 The LSE PhD Career Development Culture.

Presenters: Catherine Reynolds, LSE Careers, and Hannah Cottrell, Department of Anthropology

Find out more about careers services for PhD students and research staff

The Bloomsbury SET - image courtesy Poppy Berdoy-Webster

How can we combat infectious disease and anti-microbial resistance with real-world innovations?

The Bloomsbury SET (Science, Economics, Technology) is a £5-million programme of translational research activities funded by Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund. Led by the Royal Veterinary College in partnership with LSE, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and SOAS, the programme focuses  on the development of low-cost, portable diagnostic tools and vaccines to counter infectious diseases and increasing resistance to antimicrobials. It aims to connect places, people, businesses, ideas and infrastructures in pursuit of innovative solutions (tools, vaccines, models) that will help safeguard human health.

Presenters: Aygen Kurt Dickson, LSE Research and Innovation, and Mark Smith, RVC

Find out more about the Bloomsbury SET


Where can you get help and support for each stage of your research project? 

LSE Professional Services provide a wide range of support for each and every stage of research activity, from grant writing to research data management, disseminating research findings and realising the impacts of your work. Find out how to tap into sources of help across the School.

Find out more about LSE Library, LSE Research and Innovation, KEI Integrated Service, Communications Division



More about the 2018 Research Showcase

From wildfires to wellbeing, from the history of the slave trade to the future of refugees – find out more about the fascinating range of projects at last year's event.

Browse the photo gallery from the event.

Research projects on display:

What makes students and staff happy at LSE?

Reflections aims to better understand happiness and its drivers at LSE. Through a new mobile app the study will gather information such as mood, personality, behaviour, and location.This information is collected via short daily surveys in the app about how you feel, and combined with information from your phone, like how far you’ve walked that day or how much you’ve used your phone. Analysing this data will help build understanding of the different factors that contribute to happiness, develop insights on what might improve wellbeing at LSE in the future, and contribute to further research into happiness.

Presenters: Professor Paul Dolan, Amanda Henwood and Luc Schneider, Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, LSE

How can you perform powerful, flexible, fast text analysis?

quanteda is a fast, flexible, and comprehensive framework for quantitative text analysis in R. Standing for “Quantitative ANalysisof TExtual DAta”, the package provides a comprehensive suite of functions for corpus management, creating and manipulating tokens and ngrams, exploring keywords in context, forming and manipulating sparse matrices of documents by features and featureco-occurrences, analyzing keywords, computing feature similarities and distances, applying content dictionaries, applying supervised and unsupervised machine learning, visually representing text and text analyses, and more.

Presenter: Professor Kenneth Benoit, Department of Methodology, LSE

What do young people think it means to spend money, or to refrain from spending money?

Behavioural Research Lab Junior is a series of events that combine research into young people’s ideas about money with public engagement. Research participants visit LSE with a parent or teacher, take part in research at the Behavioural Research Lab (BRL), learn more about our work here, and tour LSE with student guides. The student guides get hands-on experience conducting research and doing public engagement.

Presenter: Dr Heather Kappes, Department of Management, LSE

How does palm oil agriculture impact carbon emissions and haze episodes in Southeast Asia?

Through a number of multi-disciplinary collaborative projects, we aim to understand the environmental impact of deforestation and agricultural conversion in the tropical peat-swamp regions of Southeast Asia.

Land clearance and drainage releases significant carbon emissions, and increases landscape susceptibility to fires leading to costly transboundary air pollution episodes across Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore. Through field-scale experiments and opportunistic fieldwork at fires, our work aims to quantify greenhouse gas and haze-forming emissions from land degradationand burning, as well as investigate the serious deleterious effects onhuman health and the economy. Our work informs REDD+ initiatives and contributes to forest conservation management across the region.

Presenter: Dr Thomas Smith, Department of Geography and Environment, LSE

How can social researchers and lighting professionals collaborate to produce a better urban public realm?

Configuring Light carries out a wide range of projects that explore the role of light in producing urban space. Through collaborations with lighting professionals and urban designers, planners and policymakers, we aim to improve the social knowledge base for public lighting in particular and the material fabric of urban spaces in general.

Presenters: Dr Don Slater, Department of Sociology, LSE; Dr Joanne Entwistle, King’s College London; Elettra Bordonaro, Lighting Designer

How can LSE Library support your research?

Members of our LSE community use the Library’s archives and support to push the frontiers of social science research. Recent research projects include an interactive hub of Charles Booth’s London poverty maps; collaborations with Google Arts and Culture for the anniversary of the Representation of the People Act; and an open access educational resource exploring the Cold War.

What are the most pressing global health challenges faced by the world today?

The Global Health Initiative (GHI) is the LSE’s interdepartmental hubfor research and collaboration in Global Health. Within LSE it links global health related work happening across the School and fosters interdisciplinary collaboration. Activities include a Peer Review Reading Group, networking events, and support for interdisciplinary research grant development. Externally the GHI raises the profile of LSE work in the field showcasing our research and engaging key stakeholders. Activities include a GHI Seminar Series, regular newsletters, and GHI web pages providing a single entry point to health research and blogs from across the School.

How can we get drug policy to move beyond the war on drugs?

The “war on drugs” has raged for decades with trillions of dollars spent and incalculable numbers or lives lost. Meanwhile, illicit drug markets continue unabated and the harms inflicted by counter-productive prohibitionist policies on individuals and communities, particularly poor and marginalised communities, continue to mount. The LSE International Drug Policy Unit has been working with civil society and governments around the world to bring a greater awareness andutilisation of academic research to formulate more effective policies which move beyond the failed “war on drugs”.

Presenter: Dr John Collins, LSE International Drug Policy Unit

To what extent do reading lists provide evidence for bias against women?

Based on mapping activities led by the Gender and Diversity Project at the LSE’s International Relations department, this research explores questions of gendered bias as visible through course reading lists.

Findings indicate multiple layers of effects unfavourable to female author inclusion: 79.2% of texts on reading lists are authored exclusively by men, reflecting the representation of women neither in the professional discipline nor in the published discipline. Level ofstudy, subfield and the gender and seniority of the course convener all correlate with this unequal representation of female authors.

The showcase invites audience members to investigate these effects in an interactive way and be part of a discussion about possible ways to address them.

Presenters: Dr Gustav Meibauer, Department of International Relations, LSE; Gokhan Ciflikli, Department of Methodology, LSE

How was a British trading monopoly embedded in an African geopolitical context?

The Royal African Company was a British joint-stock company witha monopoly over the African trade in the late seventeenth century. It conducted trade for gold and slaves via a series of forts along the West African coast, with a hub at Cape Coast Castle in modern-day Ghana.

Our project combines computational text analysis with GIS to thematically map the correspondence, over 3000 letters, that the Royal African Company sent between locations on the African coast in the final two decades of its monopoly. We utilize word frequency analysis, word2vec, and co-occurrence and market-basket analysis to better understand how a seventeenth-century monopoly tried to defend itself against competitors, how it managed trade on the coast and how it interacted with African merchants, states and societies.

Presenter: Dr Anne Ruderman, Department of Economic History, LSE

What's the Library doing to promote your research?

Find out how the Library is supporting researchers at LSE through digital scholarship and innovation. Our recent projects include illustrated abstracts with a graphic artist; a politics textbook published by LSE Press; and this year we’re launching a project to map research support across the School.

Presenters: Lucy Lambe, Scholarly Communications Officer, LSE; Nancy Graham, Research Support and Academic Liaison Manager, LSE; Nadia Marks, User Experience Researcher, LSE.

How does faith shape peace and conflict in South Sudan?

Using the concept of Public Authority, researchers in the Centre for Public Authority and International Development are investigating the roles played by a multitude of actors and institutions – including governments, clans, religious institutions, aid agencies, civil society organisations, rebel militias – that make co-operation and economic activity possible in conflict-affected areas.

Presenters: Dr Naomi Pendle, Research Officer, Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa, LSE; Elizabeth Storer, PhD Student, International Development, LSE

How can refugees rebuild not only their lives but also help with the reconstruction of their home country?

Rebuilding Somaliland After Conflict: The role of a London diaspora examines a contemporary case study in human resilience during and after civil war. Thousands of traumatised Somalis sought refuge in Britain following the collapse of the Siad Barre regime and the civil war in 1991. Many of these refugees were ex-combatants or from broken civilian families. Focusing on this historical refugee flow, Dr Joanna Lewis is researching the history ofwomen, humanitarian intervention, and recovery. Dr Shane Marottais examining the relationship between the diaspora, the politics of recovery and the physical rebuilding of a new capital city.

Presenters: Dr Joanna Lewis and Dr Shane Marotta, Department of International History, LSE; Mohammed Ismail, Project Researcher, LSE.

What is anthropology? And what is development?

The people of Kuamar, a small Shuar community in Ecuadorian Amazonia, asked a group of anthropologists to explain what anthropology is and what its value might be. They wanted to “exchange knowledge” with them. A public assembly was organised in which the anthropologists explained what their discipline aims to be and how they learn from and with the people who welcome them into their lives. Inspired by the event, a group of young people from the community asked to be filmed as they talked about what they want from their future and what they reject about “development”.

This is part of a larger 5-year research project investigating the social, cultural and cognitive bases of moral judgements in Western Amazonia, exploring how the indigenous peoples of Western Amazonia pursue and enact forms of justice in their everyday lives.

Presenters: Natalia Buitron-AriasGregory Deshoulliere and Rita Astuti, Department of Anthroplogy, LSE


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For more information contact Louise Jones,