One in three women will experience sexual or physical violence in their lifetime. The new £4.6 million None in Three (Ni3) research centre challenges the idea that violence to women is an inevitability.
The research centre may be the first in the world to explore the potential of computer games as an educational tool to reduce levels of violence against women and children, and has been established at the University of Huddersfield.
Ni3 was awarded £4.3 million from the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund and the University of Huddersfield’s own research fund has contributed an extra £0.3 million.
Working on a global scale, with close links with experts and campaigners in China, Jamaica, India and Uganda as well as the UK, Ni3 brings together specialists from a range of disciplines. These include the social sciences and computer technology and experts, who will collaborate on the research and development of a ‘pro-social’ computer game tailored to the priorities of the participating countries. For example the focus in the UK will be violence in adolescent relationships.
Colleagues from the School of Human and Health Sciences working on the project under Professor Adele Jones’ leadership include: Professor Daniel Boduszek (Co-Investigator), Gill Kirkman (Country Director), Dr Graham Gibbs, Dr Dominic Willmott, Dr Christopher Retzler, Vikki Hart, Paul Dagg, Jonathan Collett and Ramy Hammady. The Ni3 Centre is a cross-University collaboration with colleagues from the School of Education and Professional Development (Professor Paul Miller and Dr Eugenia Katartzi) and the School of Art, Design and Architecture (Dr Anna Powell and Professor Song Wu).
Alongside other centre partners in the UK and Barbados, there are also new posts being advertised for postgraduate researchers and games developers to join the Centre. The Ni3 collaborators in China, Jamaica, India and Uganda will recruit their own teams.
The official launch event for Ni3 in November 2017 featured a keynote address by the EU’s former ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean, Mikael Barford, who has taken a close interest in the issue of gender-based violence and the work of Professor Adele Jones at the Ni3 research centre at the University of Huddersfield. Dr Agata Debowska, a psychology lecturer at the University of Sheffield, also spoke. The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, Professor Bob Cryan made closing remarks and declared the centre open.
The project will include both qualitative and quantitative research in each country in order to understand some of the social and cultural drivers of gender-based violence in the five countries. This research will then inform the development of a computer game for each country.
There will be a systematic review of studies into gender-based violence in each country and this will enable the development of a survey designed to assess the attitudes of children and young people to violence. It will also be used to measure the effectiveness of children’s exposure to computer game intervention.
“We have to make sure that each computer game is culturally and socially appropriate and that it addresses the range of issues that have been identified in our research,” said Professor Jones. “The project has been funded for its first four years, but the intention is that it will be a permanent research centre with overseas collaborations.”