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From Directors to Hub representatives

A message from Professor Graham Pike and Dr Zoe Walkington

First off, please note that we are changing roles within CPRL and are not leaving! To make greater use of the broad interdisciplinary academic base of the Centre, we have introduced a CPRL academic ‘hub’, attended by representatives from each of the Open University’s faculties. We will be the two reps from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (which includes the psychologists who have worked within the Centre since its inception).

Although we will continue to work very closely with the leadership team, we are passing on the baton of director (click here to see an advert for a new directorship), so it is an apt moment to reflect on our time (so far) with CPRL. In discussing things together, we both instantly identified the same factor as being the most positive aspect of working in the Centre; the people. Through CPRL we meet and work with some truly inspiring, creative, dedicated and productive practitioners and academics; people we would never have encountered without the supportive and active culture of the Centre.

The second positive factor was ideas, and we both look back with great pride on the research, learning and knowledge transfer outputs we have produced in collaboration with multidisciplinary teams of researchers and practitioners; using truly innovative approaches that have effectively blurred the distinction between research, learning and knowledge transfer. Which brings us to methods, not only the impressively broad array of research methods that are deployed, but the effective use of collaboration and focus on impact and practice that is at the heart of all we do.

All in all, CPRL is a fantastic place to work, a place that has transcended geography and brought people together from across the four nations. People, places, methods and ideas… and being open to people, places, methods and ideas is one of the things that makes CPRL such a special organisation. It is the mission of The Open University after all!

And the negatives? Well public agencies do love their bureaucracies, but to be honest doing battle with the red tape never feels onerous when you are working with good people to further a truly worthwhile cause.

Professor Jean Hartley comments:

“So, we say goodbye and hello to Graham and to Zoe. I am so thankful that they are staying working closely with the Centre, albeit both in new roles in the academic Hub and helping to ensure we have good representation right across the University.

Graham has been part of the Centre right from the beginning, indeed was part of the initial application for funding. He brought considerable knowledge of how to navigate the Open University (this was particularly important in the early days as we pioneered new ways of working in the University) and he also brought extensive research skills. His networks among academics inside and outside the OU have helped to deepen and strengthen the academic expertise and range of disciplines in the Centre. His work on facial recognition and on people interacting with technology exemplify what we are trying to achieve in the Centre – high quality work with practical impact.

Zoe – well – the word means ‘life’ – and she has it in spades! Brimming with energy and imagination, she brings new ideas and new perspectives on learning and knowledge into practice. Laughter and a great determination to get things done are a wonderful combination, lifting everyone’s spirits and fostering collaboration. Zoe has done an amazing open learning course, with PSNI on “Sure, I know how to talk to people” which is a great resource. Her own research on rapport in interviewing, and on stories in social media have gained considerable traction in policing and beyond.

See you both at the next Hub meeting!”

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