Prestigious internship will see Maria help solve a problem like policing
A PhD student from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD), who has previously worked with Interpol to help identify victims of mass disasters by their jewellery, has won a prestigious six-month placement to be spent with the College of Policing.
Maria Maclennan, a graduate of both the Jewellery and Metal Design and Master of Design for Services programmes at DJCAD, part of the University of Dundee, will bring her design skills to bear on an ongoing research project with the internationally renowned College of Policing - the UK's professional body for policing.
The project will see Maria work within the College's Research, Analysis and Information (RAI) unit to help develop a visual and interactive online 'Research Map' of Policing and Crime Reduction research currently being undertaken across the UK. By identifying academics, research groups and police forces undertaking work in areas of mutual interest, the Map aims to facilitate knowledge exchange, networking and potential collaboration, and can help prevent a duplication of research effort.
The scholarship has been made available by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), who are also funding Maria's PhD studies. The placement will primarily be spent at Bramshill, the Hampshire base of the College of Policing.
Maria will be required to utilise her design skills in new and innovative ways, applying them within the real-world context of law enforcement. In turn, her experiences will help to inform her thesis.
Maria said, 'I would love to one day be a designer in the FBI or an artworker for MI6 - hopefully this experience will help me achieve this goal. This internship is an invaluable opportunity for me to put into practice and hone a variety of the design, research and communication skills that I've been developing throughout the course of my academic journey thus far.
'The purpose of the ESRC's Internship Scheme is to allow students to work on a dedicated, live research project outside the confines of academia. This is a great opportunity to work at the very crux of knowledge exchange research between creative and scientific disciplines - the very thing my PhD is seeking to explore.
'The internship is particularly exciting as it allows me to experience first-hand the knowledge exchange that will take place when design meets policing as opposed to me observing someone else do it, which brings a whole new personal dimension to my PhD.'
In time, it is hoped the Map will help the academic community plan their future research activities or review their existing research plans against knowledge gaps in policing-related research whilst police practitioners and staff can see how new academic research relates to current policing priorities.
Bramshill is also home to the UK's National Police Library - a central specialist library service for UK police officers and staff. The unique national collection covers all aspects of policing and related subjects, plus further eResources which enable access to the wider world of published research. The Library will be an invaluable resource to Maria's doctoral studies into 'Forensic Jewellery', which aim to investigate the potential of jewellery as a new methodological development within Forensic Human Identification (FHI) research.
Maria's PhD seeks to explore the current use, relevancies and potential of jewellery as a method of identification, and the implications this research has on the field of Contemporary Jewellery Design (CJD). She is interested in using the method of design workshops to facilitate a 'knowledge exchange' between these two traditionally disciplinarily distant fields of enquiry.
The research builds upon her Master's study which saw her work alongside Prof Sue Black and Dr Jan Bikker in the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID). The research aimed to design a Forensic Jewellery Classification System that could be considered for adoption in the FASTId project being designed as part of a consortium research project with Interpol and 5 other partners.
Jewellery has the potential to inform investigators about the person to whom it belonged, particularly if an item has a personal, religious or cultural significance. Inscriptions, engravings or hallmarks on jewellery as well as family photographs in lockets can also hold vital clues to the possible identity of a victim.