Mark Brosnan won the ‘Best Overall Entry’ category in this year’s Images of Research competition.
How long have you worked at the Uni and what does your role involve?
I have been here for 15 years, I’ve just been to the staff recognition awards for the first time this year. I am a Professor in the Department of Psychology, and Director of the Centre for Applied Autism Research.
The Applied element in the Centre means that we get very involved in embedding the research that we do in the lives of the people in the Autistic community, so it can actually make a difference. It has always been a focus to undertake research which has real life implications.
What would you most like to achieve while at the University?
We have an autism summer school which facilitates young people on the autism spectrum entering university, and we also have an employment summer school that facilitates the autistic students getting jobs.
We’re working to link up entry points and exit points. I think it would be really nice to achieve a well-rounded and integrated Higher Education experience for autistic people who want to go to university.
Name one thing that makes you feel proud to work at the University of Bath?
The Centre here makes me proud, because of the colleagues I work with. My peers, the great PhD students, the postdocs and the undergrads – whatever the level. It’s fun to come in and work.
What piece of advice would you like to give to a student?
Increasingly higher education is being seen as a route to getting a job. It wasn’t like that in my day, it was just an area to learn. My advice would be, whilst keeping an eye on getting a job, there is more to life than working so enjoy your time at university and live in the present. Enjoy the breadth of opportunities that university can offer you.
If you could start your own dream business, what would it be?
It would be some kind of immersive entertaining app, which at the same time was doing a thorough psychological examination of you whilst you were enjoying the experience of being immersed in the app.
Where is your favourite holiday destination and why?
Scandinavian cities – I really like Reykjavik and Copenhagen and I’m going to Stockholm this year - but also Majorca and Corsica. If I want to avoid the sun it’s Scandinavia, but if I want a warm holiday it’s a Mediterranean island.
What’s your favourite book or album and why?
I guess it is still The Smiths, despite Morrissey’s recent rantings. I couldn’t choose just one album though. In their heyday in the 80s they were embracing the alternative scene as it was back then. They were counter culture but in a very safe environment. It was challenging notions of norms, which was very engaging to me.
When are you happiest?
Either when I am on holiday, or when I am at work when the research is panning out to be very interesting. It’s a great feeling when it’s all coming together and you think “WOW” – I still get the wow effect from research findings.
Which one superpower would you like to possess?
I would like to have Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth. Think how different the world would be if people could only tell the truth, and couldn’t deceive each other, they had to tell the truth about everything!
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
For the last year I have been trying to learn how to bell ring! The church tower is quite discrete from the religious service side of it. It might look easy but it’s actually very complex. I have been doing it for a year and I am still a total beginner! It’s a dying art – everyone else bell ringing is probably in their seventies, and they struggle to get young people involved. It’s difficult to do but it at the same time it is quite meditative.