Meet Rhys Jones – new lecturer in Quantitative Methods

Rhys JonesRhys Jones joined the School of Social Sciences (SOCSI) in March 2014 as

a Lecturer in Quantitative Methods (FE). He is also part of the new Cardiff Q-Step Centre announced last October.

Prior to coming to Cardiff, Rhys was a lecturer in human physiology at Birmingham City University where he was also admissions tutor for health and well-being degrees. Read below about the work Rhys will be doing at the School and why you will never find him watching The Only Way is Essex!

What will your role at SOCSI involve?
Good question!  The role will involve creating a new A level in Social Analytics which encompasses statistical analysis and thinking and applying these quantitative techniques to sociological phenomena.  I will also be involved in delivering the course to local schools and colleges, as well as training teachers to deliver the new qualifications within these institutions.

What is the Q-Step project about? What does it hope to achieve?
Q-Step is a £19.5 million programme designed to promote a step-change in quantitative social science training in the UK; funded by the Nuffield Foundation, ESRC and HEFCE. It was developed as a strategic response to the shortage of quantitatively-skilled social science graduates.

There are fifteen universities across the UK establishing Q-Step Centres that will support the development and delivery of specialist undergraduate programmes, including new courses, work placements and pathways to postgraduate study.


At Cardiff we hope to develop a new undergraduate degree in BSc Social Analytics, new Quantitative Methods modules, compulsory work placements for Social Analytics pathways, a residential summer school with field trips, placements in a university research environment and develop a new Joint Honours degree into a 3 + 1 Masters course.

Who or what has been the biggest inspiration/influence on your career so far?
Mrs Davies (my biology teacher from high school). She was the first person who got me interested in science and encouraged me to go to university.

Who would be your three ideal dinner guests and why?
David Attenborough – I have so many questions to ask him! And he would have so many fascinating and captivating stories to tell.

Peter Kay – always good to have a comedian at a dinner party, and he cracks me up with this one liners – “cheesecake? Cake with cheese?!” “garlic bread” . . .” bread with garlic?!” “Get the kids in it’s spitting!”

Homer Simpson – Apart from making us laugh, he would make sure there’s no left over food since I’m dead against wasting food.

If you could banish one thing to Room 101, what would it be?
Joey Essex (or anyone from the Only Way is Essex). Endorsing stupidity is encouraging our youth to be dumb where they are swapping books for fake tan. It needs to stop! Although I hear Joey Essex wants to go back to school (on Radio One this morning) – let’s hope he can stick it out to get a GCSE in something useful!

Find out more about the Cardiff Q-Step Centre at



Research Impact in Action

Cardiff research sparks nationwide action for compulsory sex and relationships education in schools

Findings from recent research into pre-teen experiences of sexism and sexual harassment are being used to support a protest march at Downing Street.

‘Girls and Boys Speak Out: A Qualitative Study of Children’s Gender and Sexual Cultures (Age 10-12)’ was launched in December 2013 and received national and international media coverage. The research was carried out by Emma Renold, Professor of Childhood Studies at the School of Social Sciences, and commissioned by NSPCC and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales.

Baroness Maggie Jones cited the research ahead of the proposal to the House of Lords to amend the Children and Families Bill to make sex and relationships education (SRE) compulsory in all state-funded schools, but the House of Lords voted no to the amendment in January this year.

YM t-shirt-front WEBIn response to this decision, Professor Emma Renold called for direct action by those most affected in an article for TESConnect and now nationwide protests are taking place on Saturday 8th March 2014 – which is International Women’s Day – in London, Portsmouth, Manchester, Bolton and Newcastle.  The protests have been coordinated by YES Matters, a campaign group petitioning the House of Lords and Michael Gove to make SRE part of the mandatory national curriculum.

Professor Renold will be attending the protest march in London outside Downing Street and t-shirts have been created that include quotes from the young people involved in the research.

“There’s a big disconnect between what members of the House of Lords think children need and what children themselves need from their sex and relationship education” Professor Renold said. “Current SRE is not only out of date, but patchy and partial. My research was all about hearing from children and what they thought about growing up in an increasingly sexualised society and the everyday sexism and sexual harassment they were subject to online and offline.

“The findings revealed that sex and relationships education needs to support and address the everyday realities of children’s sexual cultures, from consent to sexual harassment. Failing to update and make SRE a mandatory part of the core curriculum, that addresses sexual rights, sexual discrimination, sexual health and sexual well-being is failing to support children in navigating an increasingly complex sexual world and enduring gender and sexual inequalities” Professor Renold added.

Please click the relevant link below to read the Full Report or the English and Welsh versions of the Executive Summary:

For more information about YES Matters visit or talk to the organisers directly on Twitter @YesMattersUK.

YM t-shirt-back  YM t-shirt-quotes-back

Cardiff ranked in the world’s top 100 for Sociology

Cardiff University has been ranked in the top 100 for Sociology in the most recent QS World University Rankings.

QS logoThis builds on the result from the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) when it was rated first in the UK on the research power measure.

The 2014 QS World University Rankings by Subject reveals the top 200 universities in the world for 30 different disciplines. It provides the only means available to prospective students of placing universities in order for their particular area of interest, rather than as whole institutions or broad faculty combinations.

The QS World University Rankings by Subject evaluated 3,002 universities and ranked 689 institutions in total. 130 million citation attributions were analysed and the provision of 10,639 programs was verified. Find out more about at

SOCSI students celebrate Graduation

Graduation day is the culmination of our students’ hard work and determination where they celebrate their achievements with family and friends. It is the highlight of our academic calendar because it is always a joyful day! Last year, we tried to capture this joy on camera and talked to some of our graduates about what the day meant to them and what they enjoyed most about their time here. Take a look!

In 2014, our Graduation day takes place on Tuesday July 15th. Find out more at

Hawk-Eye technology research sparks national conversation

Research led by Professor Harry Collins into Hawk-Eye technology has been featured on the Conversation UK, sparking debate about its accuracy in sport.

‘Out! Goal! The ball was in! But could Hawk-Eye get it wrong?’ has received more than 10,000 views on the independent news and commentary website, in which articles are written by academics and journalists. 

The article discusses that reconstructed track devices, such as Hawk-Eye, are based on estimates which can lead to a larger than average margin for error. It suggests that these technologies are not infallible and that spectators ought to know more about how the technology works.


Professor Collins and Dr Rob Evans published their first paper on this topic in 2008 in which they used Hawk-Eye to examine the public understanding of science. A subsequent paper, published in 2012, looked in more detail at how technologies are being used in a number of sports, paying particular attention to how uncertainty is conveyed to viewers and spectators and how the same technology is being used differently by cricket and tennis .  

The Conversation article was also picked by New Statesman.

Research on pre-teen experiences of sexism receives national press attention

New research carried out by Professor Emma Renold on the views and experiences of pre-teen boys and girls growing up in a sexist society was launched last week, receiving national press attention.

Commissioned by the NSPCC and the office of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, ‘Boys and Girls Speak Out: A Qualitative Study of Children’s Gender and Sexual Cultures (Age 10-12)’, addressed the absence of young people’s own experiences in public concern and media debates surrounding sexism and sexual harassment.

The research received widespread coverage in the newspapers and online. It was featured in the Telegraph by women’s journalist Louisa Peacock and the story appeared on BBC Wales News, ITV Wales News, S4C youth programme ‘Ffeil’, Real Radio, Capital Radio, Western Mail, South Wales Echo and South Wales Argus.

The research report has also been blogged about by renowned international Dutch scholar Professor Linda Duits and has had more than 130 downloads on the first day of being uploaded onto Professor Renold’s site.

Students from Ysgol Plasmawr reading their poem at the launch of the research

Students from Ysgol Plasmawr reading their poem at the launch of the research

Not only was this the first study of its kind to be carried out with young people in Wales, but the research findings were interpreted by students from Ysgol Gyfun Plasmawr who created a poem on the sexual objectification of girls’ bodies and a short drama piece on the pressures of compulsory heterosexuality in children’s friendship cultures. The poem and the drama were performed at the launch event in the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay, in front of AM’s, policy-makers, practitioners, other academics and senior staff from NSPCC and other third-sector organisations.

Professor Renold will be working closely with the National Assembly for Wales’ cross party group ‘Childhood Sexuality, Sexualisation and Equality’ to inform future policy development and resources for practitioners over the coming year. The research was cited by Baroness Maggie Jones ahead of the proposal to the House of Lords (January 28th 2014) to amend the Children and Families Bill to make sex and relationships education (SRE) compulsory in all state-funded schools.

The poem (Mis(s)een) is below. The poem  has also been printed in the Telegraph!

To find out more about the research and its key findings, the Executive summary and full report can be viewed via this page. Boys and Girls Speak out


In one day we can hear

‘you’re fat’, ‘faf’, ‘slag’, ‘nice legs’, ‘nice bum’, ‘grown up’, ‘mature’, ‘cool’, ‘sexy’, boom’, ‘oy’, [wolf whistle], ‘slut’, ‘beautiful’, ‘hi ya princess’, ‘stuck up’ …

Our bodies are commented on, all day long,

With media telling us how to look, from zero size models and what not to wear, hearing a wolf whistle from an old guy in the street,

Can make you feel appreciated and downgraded

Uplifted and insecure

at the same time

Our bodies, commented on, all day long

Feeling good, feeling bad

It’s awkward, it’s hard.

Commented on, all day long

Wanting to tell someone, but nothing’s going to change

When you do tell someone, nothing does change

All day long

If we could press a button, would we want it to stop?

When we get value for how we look?


How would it feel to be free of this?

What would it be like to be valued for what we do, not how we look?

Bright, free spirit, funny, feisty, caring, independent, clever, bubbly, understanding, creative, outgoing, sporty, determined, radical, adventurous,

These words make us feel good

How do they make you feel?

Are we just bodies?

Just bodies?

Hip Hop meets Social Science

This week we welcome MOBO award winning artist Kingslee ‘Akala‘ Daley to the School to give a talk on ‘Hip Hop, Power and Resistance’.


Akala is in Cardiff on Thursday 5th December to give a performance at the Moon Club to showcase his fourth studio album ‘The Thieves Banquet’. One of our PhD students had the fantastic idea of inviting him to Cardiff University to give a talk to our students, although it is open to everyone!

Akala founded the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company in 2009; a music theatre production enterprise designed to create social cohesion between young people from varying social and economic backgrounds.  

‘Hip Hop, Power and Resistance’ takes place at 5.00pm on Thursday December 5th  in the Council Chamber, Glamorgan Building. It is free but booking is essential. Please register at:

Tickets for Akala’s performance at The Moon Club can be purchased from the Ents24 website

PhD funding opportunities

We are pleased to announce three new ESRC studentships available at the School of Social Sciences to begin in October 2014. Studentships

The deadline for applications for each studentship is December 6th 2013. Please click the relevant document links for further information.ESRC WDTC Logo_14

PhD Studentship in Family support and the early years
PhD Studentship in Family support and the early years [392.5 Kb] Information for candidates – Homestart [195.8 Kb]

PhD Studentship in Informing design and building capacity for a digital social science research methods platform
PhD Studentship in Informing design and building capacity for a digital social science research methods platform [441.6 Kb]
Information for candidates – COSMOS [248.5 Kb]

PhD Studentship in Creating Active Places: A mixed-methods study of young people’s activity and place making
PhD Studentship in Creating Active Places: A mixed-methods study of young people’s activity and place making [377.7 Kb]

Please apply online via the following link:

Student Volunteering: Give a little, Gain a lot

SVC Student Volunteering Cardiff (SVC)

SVC is an independent charity located in the Students’ Union (Centre for Skills, Enterprise and Volunteering, 2nd floor).

SVC facilitates more than 35 internal volunteering projects where students can learn a variety of skills to assist them in their experience and development for future employment, whilst supporting their local community.

SVC runs projects within environmental issues; classroom support; befriending the homeless and the elderly; after-school clubs for children from deprived areas; activities to support children and adults with learning and physical disabilities; volunteering in mental health wards; community engagement projects and more.

For more information about any of their projects please visit: or pop into the SVC office for a chat.

SOCSI Students may be interested in two new projects for 2013/14:

Student Tutor Project

“working with inner city schools, colleges and homework clubs; targeting children from families who have little or no history of going to university”

Teams of volunteers will facilitate weekly homework clubs in local schools and community groups across Cardiff (Schools include Willows High, Glyn Derw and Michaelston Community College with homework clubs based all around Cardiff).

The project provides volunteers with the opportunity to develop activity ideas and support young people with their learning in Maths, English or Science. Volunteers will gain an insight into the current curriculum at KS3 and KS4 and recognise the skills and techniques needed to facilitate learning and explain certain ideas and topics. Volunteers will be supported by Team Leaders who will assist in the planning and delivery of these small-group sessions.

The project is flexible, with clubs running on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons but also on Saturday mornings.

Volunteers would be required to commit to 3 hours a week, and will work alongside other volunteers on this rewarding and exciting project.

‘Home & Away’ and ‘Stepping Stones’ Projects

“supporting young people with learning disabilities to have fun in the community and learn new skills”
SVC are currently recruiting for ‘Home & Away’ and ‘Stepping Stones’; projects which support young people with learning disabilities aged 5 – 25 .

The purpose of the projects is to enable the young people to have fun, learn new skills, and provide the family with respite.

We have lots of families looking for support, for example, we are currently looking for 2 male students to visit a 17 year old boy, taking him to the cinema and out for meals! We are also looking for 1 male and 1 female student to visit a 20 year old young man, who is keen to see some live gigs with his volunteers.

These are really fun volunteering opportunities, which genuinely make a huge difference to the lives of the families. Of course, it looks great on your CV too!

All volunteer expenses will be covered. If you think you might be interested, pop into the Centre for Skills, Enterprise and Volunteering on the 2nd floor of the SU for a chat.

Gain valuable work experience with an internship

Employability is one of the major pressures that Cardiff students face, based on results from the State of the Campus 2013 project carried out by our second year students.

Gaining work experience and standing out from the crowd is therefore crucial to helping our students get ahead in the careers market once they graduate. One way of doing this is to carry out an internship – this could be over the summer or even for a whole year.

Read about the benefits of internships from three of our students who recently worked at the Welsh Government:

Ben GeesonBen Geeson-Brown spent the summer in the crime and justice team, helping out with schemes for ex-prisoners and Community Support Officer training.


Lauren Wheadon also worked over the summer, researching apprenticeship figures in Wales and Lauren Wheadoncontributing to the next satisfaction survey for work-based learning.


Gianna TomassiGianna Tomassi carried out her internship for a year at the Welsh Government’s Department for Education and Skills, contributing to a large-scale Schools website project.

Further information
Visit the University’s Careers & Employability web page
You can also contact out Student Support Officer, Dr Ian Jones, who can offer advice and support in securing a suitable internship for you. or call 029 208 70602.

Internships in the News
‘Internships: choose the right one for you’ 6th November 2013, The Telegraph
‘Student interns three times more likely to secure top jobs’ 13th June 2013, The Telegraph