Reinvention: Uniting the world

Polina Zelmanova

I am delighted to extend a warm welcome to our second issue of the year of Reinvention: An International Journal of Undergraduate Research, Volume 13, Issue 2 (13.2). It has been a truly challenging time this year for everyone dealing with the various effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we hope that all our readers and their families have been able to stay safe during these times. It is strange to think that this is now the second issue produced under these circumstances, but we are once again grateful to be able to continue our work and share new research. While the world seems to have come to a standstill, now more than ever it is important for us to persevere with our goals of sharing and promoting new research, providing inspiration and a platform for the researchers of the future.

When looking at the content for this issue, I was surprised to see the various links between the themes within the papers and reviews. There is a powerful sense of uniting the ‘personal’ and the global, and considering the former in the latter’s context. This is particularly prevalent in the two key themes of identity and health explored in this issue but also, of course, links so much to what is currently going on in the world. In our previous issue’s editorial, I discussed the idea of a support network between different generations, particularly seen in the relationship Reinvention nurtures between undergraduate students and the wider academic community. Issue 13.2 foregrounds the root of that idea and reframes it in a broader sense – that of uniting the world.

Uniting the world is a poignant theme for Reinvention. We take pride in being one of the few undergraduate journals to accept submissions from all over the world, publishing students from different countries and institutions alongside each other, adding this wider dimension to interdisciplinarity. In addition to this, the editorial team itself is also international, bringing together editors from Warwick in the UK and Monash in Australia with a further diversity of backgrounds from within the team, many of whom are international students themselves. The collaboration between Monash and Warwick has always been a powerful tool for the editorial board, facilitating the sharing of resources such as academic contacts, as well as cultural experience, which can feed into our discussions.

This theme resonates particularly strongly during the COVID-19 pandemic and the other events that have occurred during this period, and has added a new sense of urgency and importance to world unity. The global nature of the pandemic has made it necessary for people and nations to unite and work together despite our many differences. While the results have not always reflected the utopian possibilities of this opportunity, there is still a sense that ‘we are all in this together’. Where the leaders of the world have failed, we have seen communities come together to support each other, as has been the case with the recent examples of climate change protests and BLM. With many countries experiencing lockdowns with both local and international travel restrictions, it has been inspiring to see people finding new ways to stay connected and offer support. While we have never been further away from each other physically, in a way, we have also never been closer, with individuals and organisations experimenting with digital platforms to connect with each other, expanding their reach and, also, opening up new opportunities in preparation for when things eventually go back to a new ‘normal’.

Issue 13.2 brings together a wonderful selection of content, including five original research papers, two book reviews and two exhibition reviews. The interdisciplinary nature of the journal means that we do not intentionally publish ‘themed’ issues; however, we should not be dismissive about investigating our issues in terms of a unity of content. As you read the articles and reviews, I would urge you to view them not just as individual pieces but as a collection that, when considered together, highlights a larger message.

Our new issue opens with Jenifer Elmslie’s paper ‘The Postcolonial Legacy and LGBTQ+ Advocacy in Egypt and Lebanon’. The research uses Egypt and Lebanon, two previously unexplored examples, as case studies to examine the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ advocates. Focusing on the Middle East and North Africa, and Arab cultural identity, the paper contextualises this in a global context of LGBTQ+ activism, raising issues of difference and multitudes of identity. There is an undeniable link presented between the personal and the global, uniting the two not just through similarity, but through an equally important difference of identity.

Expanding further on the theme of identity is Cody Ritz’s paper titled ‘Constructivism over Determinism: An examination of two conflicting philosophies to voice feminisation for transgender women’. Ritz examines techniques and methods used in the feminisation of voice as part of the transition process for transgender women. Through its discussion, the paper emphasises the need to expand our notion of what contributes to therapeutic voice intervention to include not just physical attributes, but also social and cultural ones. The paper wonderfully crosses over between medical and social studies, demonstrating the paper’s interdisciplinary nature, but also the need for the inclusion and consideration of both when it comes to therapeutic voice intervention practice.

Rebecca Kirkham and Caitlin Batten’s ‘Public Perceptions on Using Virtual Reality and Mobile Apps in Anxiety Treatment: A cross-sectional analysis’ is another paper employing an interdisciplinary approach. As the title suggests, the paper examines the role that virtual reality and mobile apps can play in the mental health system and treatment, as well as what might be hindering their use. While the topic was current at the time of writing and initial review, considering these methods and ideas in the context of COVID-19 and an increasing trend towards the virtual even in the case of health shines a new urgency on the subject’s exploration.

The next paper is also a co-authored one but also an international collaboration, titled ‘Knowledge and Habits Towards Antibiotic Use and Resistance of Public University Students in Nisava Region – Southern Serbia’ by Nemanja R Kutlesic and Aleksandra Jovanovic. The study emphasises the issue of misusing antibiotics and its threat to global health. It investigates to what extent young people in the Nisava region are aware of correct antibiotic use through a comparison of responses in other countries and considers the difference between that awareness and the actual use of the medication.

Our final paper is ‘Post-Exercise Hot Water Immersion Promotes Heat Acclimation Responses in Endurance Athletes and Recreational Athletes: A systematic review and meta-analysis’ by Jack Martin. The paper looks at the uses of heat acclimation for athletes through a systematic review. While it examines the benefits of the process for all athletes, the quantitative evaluation particularly highlights whether hot water immersion can produce similar effects associated with heat training, a discussion particularly useful for non-professional athletes or athletes that have limited resources.

This issue also offers a wonderful set of reviews, complementing the original research papers. The first of these are the two reviews for the book Guest House for Young Widows – Among the Women of ISIS by Azadeh Moaveni published in 2019. The reviews come from Helen Stenger and Alicja Lysik, an academic and a student offering complementary thoughts, discussing the approach to such a complex topic as well as its importance in terms of representation. Stenger is a doctoral candidate at Monash University’s Gender, Peace and Security Centre, and her research investigates gender dynamics of rehabilitation and reintegration of women extremists, and Lysik is a recent law graduate from the University of Warwick who has just started working as a Future Trainee Solicitor at Reed Smith in London.

This is the second issue in which our book reviews have been complemented by exhibition reviews. In this issue, we have reviews of two exhibitions: Pandemic Objects: Photograph by Duncan Forbes and Marcela Chao reviewed by Sarah Sullivan, a Law (Honors) & Art undergraduate student in her fourth year of study at Monash University, and Harriet Reed’s Pandemic Objects: TikTok reviewed by Alice Kunjumon who is currently completing a Bachelor of Secondary Education (Hons) and Arts at Monash University. Both exhibitions are part of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Pandemic Objects project which re-examines and reflects on objects whose meaning may have shifted in light of the current pandemic. As has been the case with so many aspects of our lives, these curatorial projects have also taken place online, in itself shifting our ideas and experience of exhibitions and art.

Finally, concluding our issue is a guest article from Peter Halat, who is an alumni Editor of Reinvention. In his piece, Halat examines the necessity and role of undergraduate research from the perspective of a PhD student. His article reflects on his experience as an undergraduate researcher and how he has been able to utilise the skills he learnt even in postgraduate studies. I hope this piece inspires more undergraduates to think of themselves as researchers and as valuable contributors to academia, even during the early stages of their studies.

In our last issue, I urged researchers to consider the future implementations of their work. Considering the content and themes of this issue, I want to add to this the importance of framing the research within a wider context. All of the papers in this issue have a unique relationship to the world around us, on both a local and global scale, making a vital contribution not only to their individual fields but also to a wider conversation on their topics.

On this note, I conclude my role as Editor at Reinvention and pass the torch on to Auni Siukosaari who will be taking over the role following the publication of issue 13.2. Working at Reinvention has been such an incredible opportunity and has opened my eyes to academic studies beyond my own degree, which, as academia slowly steers towards interdisciplinarity, is extremely useful. It has been so inspiring to be a part of a larger undergraduate research community and meet so many people, both staff and students, who are passionate about the importance of undergraduate research. I want to thank the Journal Managers both at Warwick and Monash and the assistant editors I have worked with over the past year for contributing to such an immensely stimulating environment during our meetings and discussions – I’ve learnt so much from every single one of you in more ways than one. I want to wish you all the best and I am excited to keep following the journal and see where Auni Siukosaari takes things next, particularly as there are so many exciting projects lined up for the year ahead!

To cite this paper please use the following details: Zelmanova, P. (2020), 'Editorial', Reinvention: an International Journal of Undergraduate Research, Volume 13, Issue 2, https://reinventionjournal.org/article/view/739. Date accessed [insert date]. If you cite this article or use it in any teaching or other related activities please let us know by e-mailing us at Reinventionjournal@warwick.ac.uk.