Lockdown Challenges

Fancy doing a challenge that isn’t on Tik Tok? Then you’re in the right place! Test your knowledge and prepare yourself for University with our Lockdown Challenges this summer.

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We know keeping busy in lockdown can be a challenge in itself, so we asked our academics to come up with some ways you can develop your political skills before joining University.  If you would like to learn more about the cutting edge issues in Politics and International Relations today, then check out our series of lockdown challenges! 

Our challenges are all based around seminar tasks and discussions that our students would be involved in and will give you an insight into life in the department, and what it is like to prepare for and participate in seminars.

Choose your challenge!

Challenge One - The Politics of Food

What is the relationship between politics and food? For example; should politicians tell us what to eat and what not to eat? 

How to complete the challenge:

Step one - watch this short video from Dr Alasdair Cochrane, as it will give you some food for thought and instructions to complete the challenge. 

Step two - focus on one food type/stuff and create a poster that details the political story of that particular food. 

Step three - send to us! Take a photo of your poster and upload it to the politics offer holder Facebook group under the 'Politics of Food' topic tag, so you can share your thoughts and ideas with other applicants. If you aren’t a member of this group, don’t worry just request access and we will let you in! 

We will ask Dr Alasdair Cochrane to join the discussion group so he can give some feedback to the group, just like he would do in one of his seminars (don't worry he's not marking it!).

Don’t worry if you don’t want to upload it, that’s fine!

Other resources that might help you:

 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/21/opinion/coronavirus-meat-vegetarianism.html

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/apr/23/ministers-urged-to-ban-fast-food-outlets-from-opening-near-schools

You may also like to watch the following ‘The Politics of Food’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK3-Cy33pKs

 *** warning these articles and videos contain graphic images of animals

Challenge two - The Politics of Facebook

Should political parties be allowed to campaign on Facebook? Do you think political parties should be able to place political adverts on Facebook during election campaigns? 

How to complete the challenge:

Step one - watch Dr Kate Dommett’s eye opening introduction to the topic in this video.

Step two - find out more about political advertising on Facebook and look at what information is available. For instance, log in to your own Facebook account and click on the button that says ‘why am I seeing this advert’ to see the transparency information that Facebook has recently made available. 

Step three - write a short response to the question of whether political parties should be allowed to campaign on Facebook. What are your views on the use of political advertisements on Facebook during election campaigns? 

Step four - send to us! You can post your thoughts to our politics offer holder Facebook group under the 'Politics of Facebook' topic tag, where you can share, and debate with other applicants.  If you aren’t a member of this group, don’t worry just request access and we will let you in!

We will ask Dr Kate Dommett to join the discussion group so she can participate in the conversation, just like she would do in one of her seminars.

Other resources that might help you.

Explore Facebook’s Ad Library: https://www.facebook.com/help/259468828226154

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/06/stealth-political-ads-flourish-on-facebook-122539

https://comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/93/2019/09/CyberTroop-Report19.pdf

You may also like to watch the NBC Report on Political Advertisement on Social Media platforms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VNa4ebkyyo

*** warning these articles and videos may contain frustrating politicians!

Challenge three - The Politics of torture

What is the public opinion on the use of torture by the British government in the War on Terror? 

Many people believe that torture is effective, yet lots of research proves otherwise. This is often due to the arguments governments make for the use torture and how it is represented in TV and films. These interventions shape public opinion and create the notion that torture is effective, overlooking the ethical, moral and legal implications. 

How to complete the challenge:

Step one - watch Professor Ruth Blakeley’s thought provoking introduction to the topic in this video.

Step two - talk to your friends and family to see what their thoughts are. Do they think torture is effective? If so, where have these ideas come from? Start an open discussion about the use of torture and see if you can challenge some of the commonplace assumptions. 

Step three - send to us! Following your discussions, you can write your findings on our politics offer holder Facebook group under the 'Politics of Torture' topic tag, and debate with other applicants as well.  If you aren’t a member of this group, don’t worry just request access and we will let you in!

We will ask Professor Ruth Blakeley to join the discussion group so she can participate in the conversation, just like she would do in one of her seminars.

Other resources that might help you:

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2017/jan/26/does-torture-work-and-is-it-worth-the-cost-donald-trump

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/we-rsquo-ve-known-for-400-years-that-torture-doesn-rsquo-t-work/

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-017-0077

http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/torture/

You may also like to find out more about rendition through the work of Professor Ruth Blakeley https://www.therenditionproject.org.uk/

*** warning these articles containing upsetting content.

Good luck everyone!

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