Historically, there was a tendency to ascribe lesbianism to BAME women and ‘other’ nations. Anita Pilgrim draws on some examples in this article…

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Image © Motortion | Dreamstime.com | ID 161864879

The history of ‘othering’ and lesbianism in Britain


Joe Biden has been sworn in as President of the United States. Fancy running in 2024? Dr Richard Heffernan has some advice on the mechanics of the system.

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Image of Joe Biden by BarBus on pixabay.com under Creative Commons.

The US is a federal, presidential system. It is federal because it is a union of fifty individual states and power being separated between the states and their federal government; presidential because the head of the federal government, the President, is also the head of state of the US.

The President is elected by the people of the US every four years and can, by law, serve only two terms. In 2020, Joe Biden was elected as the 46th President with 51.4% of the popular vote and 306 Electoral votes (Trump received 46.9% of the popular vote and 232 Electoral…


The immune system has evolved to protect us against infectious agents, including viruses. Currently, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there is great interest in exactly how the immune system protects against viruses and the development of anti-viral vaccines. This article is a general introduction to these areas.

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Image copyright of Igor Mojzes | Dreamstime.com | ID 175635363

Immune responses to viruses

Viruses infect cells and take over the cell’s molecular machinery in order to replicate and spread. The immune response against viruses has two main components:

1. preventing cells becoming infected

2. recognition and destruction of virus-infected cells.

These two elements are carried out by different arms of the immune system. Antibodies are effective in limiting the spread of virus between cells in blood and body fluids. They can also prevent viruses from entering and infecting cells. Once a cell has become infected some of the cells of the immune system can recognise the infected cell and destroy it before viral…


A personal take on experiences before and after the Berlin Wall fell from an Open University lecturer in Classical Studies.

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Image is from pxfuel.com and royalty free.

Like many millions I watched the breaching of the Berlin Wall on TV in 1989. I’ve had two direct and brief encounters with East Germany before and after this historic event. I’m descended from a C19th German Jewish émigré family of musicians but I first visited East Germany in 1982 when we went on a camping holiday, a group of ten of us, including children.

We arrived at a campsite in Werder, near Potsdam at 3am and blundered about noisily setting up our tents on the playground, but no-one seemed too bothered. …


The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the sales of personalised books go up, but are they as beneficial as other children’s books? Professor Natalia Kucirkova explores.

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Copyright: Photo 156662534 © Fizkes | Dreamstime.com

In the pre-COVID-19 era, children’s personalised books used to be a niche market. Far from their early prototypes that merely had the child’s name stuck on the book cover, today’s personalised books feature entire families — including pets — and claim to boost children’s self-esteem and transform the publishing industry. With a personalised version of Where’s Wally, children search for their own faces. Instead of Cinderella’s castle, it is the child’s own castle.

The global pandemic has seen the mushrooming of personalised books that help children cope with school closures or processing grief. Children love stories about them, so parents…


Today is black Friday (27 November 2020) and in the current retail landscape, shoppers are presented with a multitude of promotions to encourage spending, but how significant are seasonal events and factors such as the weather?

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Image by igorovsyannykov on pixababy.com under Creative Commons.

Low prices and innovative items may not just be sufficient for retailers’ survival in today’s retail environment. Retailers should develop strategies that integrate a variety of factors including assortment, store atmosphere, price, and service interface in order to create a desirable shopping experience that may lead to increase in sales (Grewal et al., 2009). Furthermore, retailers are expected to profit from various events and…


Reflecting so far, 2020 and the unfortunate arrival of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has certainly given the Year of the Nurse, a unique position on the global health stage. Dr Rebecca Garcia, Lecturer in Nursing at The Open University, looks at the importance of nursing.

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Image by 18371568 on pixabay.com under Creative Commons.

This time last year, The World Health Organisation was making plans to raise the profile of nursing across the world, in order to celebrate Florence Nightingales 200th anniversary and to increase the global workforce. However, in December 2019, Coronavirus made an appearance initially in Wuhan, then worldwide, demanding attention from the public, health staff and governments across the world.

In the UK, the NHS responded by realigning to meet the anticipated large numbers of acutely ill patients, with nurses rapidly trained and/or redeployed to meet the demand of COVID-19 cases. Third year student nurses were asked to volunteer to help…


How has the way we communicate changed due to wearing a face mask? Dr Marina Cantarutti, Interactional Linguist and Research Associate at The Open University, shares her thoughts.

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Image by August de Richelieu on pexels.com under Creative Commons.

This year has seen the world change in ways we never could have imagined: socially distancing from friends and loved ones, remote working implemented across the UK, washing and sanitising our hands for more than 20 seconds, and now wearing face coverings in supermarkets and shops.

One of the most powerful tools in communication is the face. People can easily make a number of inferences from facial expressions about physical health, emotional state, personality traits, pleasure or pain. …


While so much progress has been made regarding the rights of the LGBTQ community, it might come as a surprise that young people in this community are at considerable risk of becoming homeless. Dr Mathijs Lucassen explores this issue and how we can overcome it.

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Image by 42 North on pexels.com under Creative Commons BY-NC 4.0 license.

We have experienced rapid social progress in terms of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/trans and queer (LGBTQ) people including, for example, marriage equality in the United Kingdom (UK) and in many other Western countries. It would therefore be logical to assume that life has got considerably better for all LGBTQ individuals. Especially when considering that this social progress has been underscored by legislative changes, which means that sexual orientation and gender reassignment are protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010.

This means that it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of their sexuality, whether they are…


The homeless and especially those who are rough sleepers, comprise a disproportionate number of people in prison in England and Wales. Dr David Scott looks at why prisons and the streets are not a replacement for a true home.

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Copyright: Image by cylonphoto

In 2018 The Chain Reports found that 15% of newly sentenced people in prison had reported being homeless before entering custody. They also found that a third people sleeping on the streets in London in 2018 had served some time in prison. Further, in 2018 of the 7,745 women sent to prison in England and Wales, 3,262 were recorded as ‘being of no fixed abode’ when arriving in custody, which is approximately 42% of the prison intake for women prisoners in that year.

It has long been documented that people living on the streets are largely without work, privacy, decent…

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