Interview with Public Sociology student and Santander Universities funding award winner, Liz Deeming
Liz Deeming, 38, from Cockburnspath in the Scottish Borders, is a full-time BSc (Hons) Public Sociology student at QMU and a Santander Universities funding award winner.
As a mature student, Liz came to study at QMU in 2014 through attending the ‘Mad People’s History and Identity’ project. The project aims to widen participation in higher education, aimed at people who have had lived experience of mental health issues. The partnership, involving QMU, CAPS independent Advocacy and NHS Lothian’s Mental Health and Well-being Programme, was formed in 2013 and has delivered courses in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Originally, Liz started studying Psychology and Sociology at first year degree level, and then switched to BSc (Hons) Public Sociology in her second year.
Alongside her studies at QMU, Liz volunteers at the Veterans Community Café in Edinburgh, which links well with public sociology.
Why did you choose to study Public Sociology at QMU?
“I chose to study Public Sociology at QMU because there was a lot of in the ‘Mad People’s History and Identity’ project which I really enjoyed and found that I was good at.
“I like studying at QMU because it’s a really friendly place and very light and airy, which I find conducive to productive studying.
“So far, public sociology has taught me so much. Last year we had a module called ‘engaged sociology’. Part of this module gave me the chance to work with communities outside QMU, as well as giving me the opportunity to study in Venice, thanks to funding from Santander Universities.”
In summer 2017, funding from Santander Universities gave Liz and nine other QMU students the opportunity to embark on a unique overseas study opportunity in Venice.
The group of Psychology, Psychology & Sociology and Public Sociology students spent a week in the iconic Italian city, where they took part in a series of lectures and workshops at Ca' Foscari University of Venice.
As well as learning about the history and culture of Venice, Liz and other QMU students got the opportunity to hear from world-class academics and experts in sociology and psychology, covering topics such as health inequalities and social care in Italy, as well as taking part in discussions about the collaborative work between QMU and Ca’ Foscari, comparing social community planning in Italy and Scotland.
The students also visited San Servolo Insane Asylum Museum, where were given a guided tour of an exhibition entitled ‘Madness Locked Away’. This is comparative to the famous London asylum ‘Bedlam’ and gave students an insight into historical aspects of mental health care with a particular focus on segregation and marginalisation of the patients within this hospital.
This was this first overseas study visit of its kind that has been made possible for QMU students thanks to the generous support of Santander Universities.
Commenting on her study visit to Venice, Liz said: “This was a trip of a lifetime for me and the first time I’d travelled outside the UK in over 20 years. The experience has helped me to focus on my studies at QMU, as well as how I look at the world. The experience has also given me more self-confidence and helped me make new friends with other QMU students outside the discipline of sociology.
“As a result of the trip, I now want to go on to postgraduate studies in Public Sociology at QMU and ultimately become a lecturer in public sociology, specialising in veterans of the armed and emergency services.”
Since 2007 Santander Universities have supported QMU students and staff through a variety of scholarships, awards and internships. These include generous scholarships for new and existing students, awards for overseas research or project work, internships and grants for community projects involving students. QMU promotes Santander funding opportunities to staff and students through various internal communications channels at QMU.
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