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This Week at Loughborough | 25 October

This Week at Loughborough | 25 October

October 25, 2021 Saagar Sutaria

Black History Month: Race Equity Town Hall

25 October, 2pm – 4pm, Online & in-person

Interested in starting your own business? Take your first steps towards following in the footsteps of Oprah Winfrey,

Loughborough University will hold its first Race Equity Town Hall to share the outcomes and action plan of the recently submitted Race Equality Charter (REC) Bronze application.

This event will celebrate the work done so far, explain what the key issues are as evidenced by the data gathered, and introduce the headline actions planned. In addition to this, we will announce plans for the overarching LU Race Equity Strategy, and launch the CARE X Citizens UK Listening Campaign, LSU BAME Student Council and BAME PGR Consortium.

Find out more on the events page.

Black Owned Business Showcase

25 October, 6pm, The Treehouse

This year we are bringing the Black business showcase back in person, working with the Ethnic minority network, Societies and Rag to showcase our Black Student Businesses and talents to as many people as possible. Come and join us to network and have an awesome night!

Find out more on the events page.

Happy Mondays: Make your own nature journal

25 October, 7pm – 9pm, Michael Pearson Boardroom

Artist Jessica Emsley will guide you in making your own hand-crafted book.

In this relaxed workshop you’ll explore the concept of nature journals – taking reference from contemporary culture and the historical role these observational records have played. The art of journaling and tuning into nature offer positive benefits for mental health and wellbeing so this workshop will offer you time out of studies to do something a little different.

Find out more on the events page.

Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance Alumni Talk

26 October, 5.30pm – 7pm, Online

This event will be led by Future Space and will feature a panel made up of IDIG alumni.

Join us for an informal chat in Future Space with some of our recent graduates from the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance as they talk through how their course supported them into their career.

Find out more on the events page.

Black History Month: Celebrating Black Entrepreneurship!

26 October, 6.30pm – 8pm, Online

Interested in starting your own business? Take your first steps towards following in the footsteps of Oprah Winfrey, George Washington-Carver, Michael Jordan and many more by attending our Black History Month Enterprise Event – Celebrating Black Entrepreneurship!

Find out more on the events page.

Black History Month: The many faces of minority status

26 October, 2pm – 3pm, Online

This talk draws upon the work of acclaimed anthropologist Albert Memmi to discuss what it means to be a ‘minority’ in the context of modern societies. Memmi’s work on colonialism, racism, and antisemitism is used to explore the consequences of assigning differential value and worth to members of ethnic and racial groups to justify privilege and the continuation of the status quo.

Find out more on the events page.

LEN Initiate Workshop Programme with LSU Enterprise – Work-Life Balance: Goal Setting & Planning

28 October, 6pm – 8pm, STEMLab & Online

Your Idea (tick), Business Model Canvas (tick), now let’s focus on effective goal setting and planning! This step is incredibly important when starting out and throughout running successful businesses!

Find out more on the events page.

Year in Enterprise Briefing Session

29 October, 10am – 11am, Online

Spend your placement year self-employed with our support!

Are you thinking of setting up your own business?   

Our Year in Enterprise Programme is designed to give students the chance to set up their own business during their placement year.  

With a training session plus mentoring and plenty of peer support, we aim to help you to maximise your business success. 

Find out more on the events page.

Bodies and data: A new logic of urban institutions?

29 October, 1pm – 2pm, Online

Information technologies are becoming increasingly powerful in social life and are challenging conventional analytical and historical categorizations in sociology and other disciplines concerned with the study of urban life.

Find out more on the events page.

Seed Casino

30 October, 5pm – 6.30pm, Barefoot Orchard, opposite Pilkington Library

Gamble on a walnut! Take a punt on a chestnut! Risk it all on an acorn!

‘Seed Casino’ is a pop-up casino with a difference. A playful exploration of the ways in which ecology is often framed, it’ll consist of a performance lecture from host Theo Reeves-Evison and the chance to ‘gamble’ using seeds that can be found on the University’s popular Fruit Routes trail.

Find out more on the events page.

New Leadership Opportunities for BAME Students

October 21, 2021 Noah Campbell

In response to BAME student issues raised via the Race Equality Charter process, Loughborough University has recently launched a range of initiatives to create more opportunities for minority students.

The LSU BAME Student Council (LBSC) and PGR Consortium are new connected but distinct initiatives developed to address the needs of different student groups. Find out more about these initiatives below:

Recently the BAME Staff Network consulted with BAME student leaders and the LSU to co-create the idea and collaboratively draft Terms of Reference with the main purpose of the initiative being to pool, channel and amplify the collective experiences, knowledge, and expertise of BAME UG and PG students from across the university.

Alongside the purpose, the group decided that the main function of the initiative is to continually improve the working and learning conditions of BAME students at Loughborough University, with the aim of gradually achieving racial equity with white British students. The LBSC will also aim to increase visibility of the challenges and experiences encountered as a result of institutional racism, racial discrimination and harassment in existing organisational culture, processes, attitudes, behaviours, and lack of responsiveness or inaction regarding stated concerns. It will recommend directions of travel and responsive actions to address the above. Simultaneously, it will uplift, amplify, and celebrate the achievements of students in the BAME community.

The LBSC will be a flat, non-hierarchical organisation comprised of as many members are necessary to effectively represent the diversity of the BAME student community at Loughborough across Midlands and London Campuses. It is estimated in the first instance that this will be about 30-35 members. These members will formally meet each Month.

The BAME PGR Consortium has both similar and divergent concerns to undergraduate students, which comprise most of the student organisations and societies at Loughborough. As such the PG community has found it necessary to form a PGR Consortium that is separate from, but linked to the LBSC.

These initiatives will be officially launched at the Inaugural Race Equity Town Hall 2021-22, with the call for participants open from the 25th of October to November 2021 and the first meeting will be arranged soon after that. The groups will have access to a shared budget of £10,000 dedicated solely to the carrying out initiatives and projects to advance race equity for BAME students at the university.

These initiatives are in collaboration with the BAME Staff Network, a dedicated Student Liaison, LSU Welfare and Diversity Section, and the Doctoral College.

How can I get involved?

BAME students interested in participating in the new leadership initiatives for 2021-22 can register interest here.

If you have any further questions or would like to find out more about getting involved in the LSU BAME Student Council, the BAME PGR Consortium and the BAME Staff Network, you can contact Dr Angela Martinez Dy (

Digital Mural Competition

October 21, 2021 Ella Cusack

In partnership with the University’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, LU Arts are launching a competition for a digital mural design to communicate and make visible the inclusive nature of Loughborough’s community.

LU Arts are looking for an imaginative and powerful design that celebrates all marginalised groups and their campaigns for social justice such as Black Lives Matters, AIDS awareness and LGBT+ liberation, disability rights, women’s equality and so on. 

The mural should demonstrate solidarity between these groups as well as the fully inclusive culture and community we aspire to be at Loughborough University.

The winning design will be printed onto aluminium and permanently displayed on the underside of the bridge on Sir David Davies Building (West Park), visible to passing pedestrians and traffic.

The competition is open to all UG and PG students from the East Midlands and London campuses. Entries are welcomed from all students regardless of their course. We particularly encourage entries from members of marginalised communities.


1st Prize: £500 and mural design printed onto aluminium and installed on campus
2nd Prize £150
3rd Prize £100

We will feature all the submitted designs on our website and promote them to the University and local community. All the prize-winning entries will be displayed in public locations on our campuses for a short period of time, which may include digital screens and bus shelters.


We want this opportunity to be accessible to all students. If you would like to discuss any accessibility issues in advance of applying or need further support, then please email or call 01509 222948.


Deadline for applications: Wednesday 24 November 2021

LU Arts will aim to install the finished mural in early 2022.

If you have any queries relating to this competition, then please email

Please read the competition brief in full before entering, which can be downloaded below, as this contains important information. You can then submit your entry via our online form.

PTSD: A lifelong condition

PTSD: A lifelong condition

October 20, 2021 Sadie Gration

I’m not usually shy about discussing my condition. Anyone who follows me on Twitter sees multiple tweets from me being honest about my post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What I’ve been through gives me daily reminders that life is too short (as am I) to be embarrassed about such things. These days I come across as confident, cocky and pretty much unable to hide my feelings. The gear change of this persona is enormous. It still also hides a multitude of sins. I am definitely not graceful like this one, but I’m paddling like a swan. I’m covering up fear so much of the time. Tangible, visceral fear.

I have complex, chronic PTSD. I will spare you the gory details that haunt me, but the birth of my son was the most traumatic day of mine and my family’s life. I have to emphasise that this was a very rare event, but it was one which very nearly cost me my life. The cause of my traumatic response was a four-hour fully conscious operation, in the middle of which I very nearly lost my life. All witnessed by my terrified, amazing husband, who was holding our newborn throughout.

I heard and felt everything that was said and done in those torturous hours, which is a very long time. It’s a myth that you pass out with pain. That is one thing that will stay with me for the rest of my life. The anaesthetic wore off before the operation was finished. My fear was real. I was dying. I spent several days in intensive care (and had another emergency operation) and then was moved to the high dependency unit, before I pretty much discharged myself from an unsupportive, emotionally damaging hospital.

The shining light was that my son was healthy. But I was not. I was extremely poorly. And as lots of women sadly know, because the baby is healthy, we are supposed to be grateful and carry on regardless. My life changed forever; I was terrified for so much of the time. I was convinced I was still dying. Your brain just can’t recalibrate to feel ‘safe’. I’ve had nine operations since, with the last one in May being major emergency surgery. I relived so much, yet again. ‘Feeling safe’ is not usually an option for PTSD sufferers. A safe place doesn’t necessarily exist because the lack of safety is constructed by your own mind.

I had a supportive, caring network who genuinely, repeatedly, saved my life for the next several years. I was in total shock, my body extremely damaged, and I was unable to get the mental health support I needed. Time and time again I was rejected for treatment and left to cope on my own. My flashbacks were incessant. I regularly relived every stage of my operation and hospital experience, and the lack of treatment and lack of care from those professionals who were supposed to be looking after me.

I scraped through each day and crazily returned to work as a senior lecturer at De Montfort University when my son was 9 months old. Very soon I discovered that the trauma my brain was experiencing had eradicated a large part of my working memory. I walked into a lecture theatre with 180 undergraduates and discovered I had lost the majority of my subject knowledge. This was another life-changing moment where I stood in panic as my beloved career imploded. I felt like I’d let everyone down, again. 

Some research likens the effect of PTSD to brain injury. Loss of cognitive function, memory and processing is very common. Often, I can’t find words, sometimes I can’t talk (yes, I know what you’re thinking… you don’t often witness that!). My kids get so frustrated when I ‘can’t find my words’.

I had to go off sick and then several months later took redundancy. I had already given up my beloved PhD. But I was incredibly lucky to gain a job at Loughborough University, where I had worked previously for over 10 years. And that is when my recovery chances increased. From the moment I returned to campus, colleagues were welcoming, friendly and supportive. It took huge courage to explain to managers my condition and needs. I hid it from most people, I felt so ashamed. PTSD is a hugely misunderstood condition and mine was compounded by a traumatic event (a serious sexual assault) in my 20s which my brain decided to reignite. I was embarrassed, ashamed and still rather unwell. My manager was fantastic and the empathy he showed turned him into a lifelong friend. Being in such a professional environment helped me enormously. As luck would have it, I also appeared to be good at my job.

The effects of PTSD can be physical, mental and emotional. In meetings, I doodled furiously to distract from the twitches and tics that PTSD can give you. I find them hugely embarrassing. I found coping mechanisms, I had to survive. In any meeting room, I would find a spot where I could see the door as I always needed to know I could ‘escape’. I was overwhelmed by what I perceived, to be everyone’s greater capability to do their job. But I loved coming to work, I loved my job. But I’d still sit in the car and cry all the way to work, while my hubby told me I could do this. It was just a desperation to feel safe.

Colleagues will never know the difference they made to me in the early years of my trauma. It was literally what spurred me on to get myself into work the next day. A smile from the right person would calm me so much.

Now I support students in need and it’s truly amazing to give back to those who are struggling. Reassuring them that it will get better with the correct support. And witnessing that this institution does give the correct support. My previous academic department encouraged me to dip my toe back into teaching. I had missed it greatly but had given up all hope of being in a lecture theatre again. The thought was terrifying.

‘Terrifying’ is an overused word for people who have experienced trauma. However, I put on my big girl brave pants and gave it a go. The buzz was amazing but mixed with my continual overproduction of adrenaline it made life rather exhausting. I’d come home extremely tired and unable to verbalise at all. I used my negative experiences to encourage students to see the bigger picture, stop focusing on the next goal and enjoy the moment. They had worked so hard to get to Loughborough so I wanted them to enjoy every minute and stop pressurising themselves for the next goal.

I greatly enjoyed the connection with the students I taught. Sometimes I was on crutches, sometimes I would have to sit to give the lecture – the pain was excruciating – but I really wanted to help them learn. I was passionate that we could teach and train the next generation of criminal justice practitioners who would in turn make other people’s lives better. Students with high levels of anxiety seemed to appreciate that their outwardly, confident, mouthy lecturer admitted that it’s often an act and there are challenges we all need to overcome to get where we want to be.

Speaking up when I need a break is not easy for me, but when I did colleagues supported me. You don’t have to scratch too far beneath the surface to discover that we all carry demons and challenges. I genuinely believe the more honest and open we are, the better it is for everybody. I can only cope by being honest. Some of my colleagues have had mental health challenges too, and if needed, we’d seek each other out for a proper bear hug or a quick text asking for help. I’ve been rescued from the corners of offices and meeting rooms more times than I remember by friends who work on campus. Literally huddled on the floor, too scared to move. Crying, then standing up, walking out, straight into chairing the next meeting. This was the only way to show myself I was safe, capable and still here.

PTSD and managing flashbacks means you live a double life. A traumatic life and your practical life. I’d lie awake at night, so scared about how to cope with the next time. I’d be physically sick with fear in the morning. My biggest fear was having a meltdown in front of a colleague. Yet when I deal with a student having a panic attack, I’d tell them not to be worried or ashamed by how it looks. Why do we not use our kindness on ourselves?  

I force myself to keep going. And I’m incredibly mindful about my surroundings: trying to concentrate, sometimes using my phone as something to physically look at rather than make eye contact. Whatever your coping mechanism is, it’s valuable. Just find what works for you.

My physical pain reached record levels when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. My own personal experience doesn’t find that label particularly helpful, my explanation of that definition is pain, pain and more pain. And pain that people couldn’t help me with. It was unexplained pain. We live and work on a campus that celebrates physical achievements. I watch other people exercise and it makes me genuinely sad. One day I had to drag myself up University Road hill to a meeting, it took nearly 20 minutes. At the same time, a very fit and healthy-looking student ran up and down the hill continually. I just cried. I cry when I see people completing marathons, everyone celebrates. Yet my marathon was on the operating table, just without sponsorship, the pride of others and wearing a hospital gown instead of a vest.

I like problems I can fix easily, but now I had two chronic conditions that weren’t so easy to fix. I knew I just had to keep going. My kids deserved an example of a working mum. I was incessantly patronised and misunderstood by medical professionals. Then they read my medical notes and I had to talk through the shock they experienced of what had happened to me. I was told repeatedly that they had never heard of an event like mine. Often they were surprised that I held down a job… I often feel the same!

We are blessed with a beautiful campus at Loughborough, and I have often found pockets of calm to hide in. The Chaplaincy, the Memorial Garden, or any other quiet, green corner of space on this campus can reset your day. I knew supportive colleagues I could call if I was having a wobble, and this happened often, but I was never judged.

I strongly encourage anyone suffering from any mental health issue to reach out to the support we have here. No institution is perfect, but we have the right people trying hard to do the right things for the right reasons. I value ethical and moral integrity and I have plenty of colleagues who fulfil that. That’s not as common as it should be.

I know that my PTSD is lifelong and some days I can’t face that. Over the years I have mastered the art to continue conversation even when my mind is replaying the trauma. I do sometimes wonder what my face is doing and hope that people don’t realise what’s going on. These days I cope and importantly when I don’t, I speak up.

I will never, ever forget my lowest points. There were many. PTSD is an incredibly cruel condition that tethers you to the event you most want to forget. It strikes through treacle with a cartoon baddie at your heels. It’s unrelenting. Feeling my own death was real. I will never forget that, ever. The trick is not to give it airtime if chairing a meeting. It must be banked until later, ‘later’ is never fun.

Being part of the Staff Inclusivity Network has given me an opportunity to be honest about my genuine desire to progress in my career, which is something I didn’t consider to be a reality several years ago.

Please do reach out if you think you need it. And don’t judge a book by its cover. Trauma affects people in such different ways, there is no normal and there is no rule book. But I try to remember that there is always hope. I am not special or different, my challenges are not greater than anyone else’s. I survived and I am truly grateful, I just wish I didn’t have it. I once likened it to having to take an incontinent, smelly, unpleasant, aged aunt around with you all the time! A constant unwelcome presence that shouts unwanted comments in your ear, but one that you must get used to being there.

I won’t even talk about how to cope with it during a pandemic. It was interesting to watch the rest of the world understand the concept of continual fear of death, isolation, and not being allowed to leave the house. My treatment ceased instantly, and I have still not been able to fully return to it.

It’s taken huge guts for me to write this and I imagine like the other blog writers, I have genuine concern about how I will be judged.

My kids say they are proud to be part of the Loughborough family and watching them grow up around my safe space is unbelievably precious. To think I might not have been part of their lives is unbearable.

Jenny Ardley
Community Warden

Any staff member with a mental health condition is welcome to join the Staff Inclusivity Group, which advocates for equality in the workplace for colleagues with physical or invisible disabilities. The group is also a place to seek support from one another and challenge University policies and practices.

This Week at Loughborough | 18 October

This Week at Loughborough | 18 October

October 18, 2021 Saagar Sutaria


Autumn Careers Fair 2021

19 October, 11am – 4pm, Sir David Wallace (SDW) Sports Hall

We are excited to announce that our flagship event of the year, The Autumn Careers Fair, is back and returning to campus. Over 70 employers will be promoting employment opportunities within their organisation including graduate, internship and placement roles; as well as vacation and volunteering opportunities.

Find out more on the events page.

IDIG Speaker Series: Dr Paul Tobin

18 October, 1.30pm, Online

Polycentric Pioneers: Climate Change Leadership in Europe

The Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance has organised a Speaker Series to bring together a mix of academics and practitioners discuss issues relating to diplomacy, foreign policy and international governance.

Find out more on the events page.

Happy Mondays: Halloween Mask Making

18 October, 7pm – 9pm, Michael Pearson Boardoom, First Floor, Students’ Union

With Halloween getting ever closer, get into the spooky season by making your very own creepy Halloween mask!

Surprise everyone at your Halloween party with your own papier-mâché creations, and smugly tell them that you made it yourself… This is a fun way to start off your week, get out and chat with other students while making something to take away at the end of the night. All materials will be provided and no experience is necessary.

Find out more on the events page.

Digital Twin Open Forum

19 October, 11am – 12pm, Online

Join us for an hour of open discussions on the benefits and challenges of Digital Twins through real-life use cases.

The term ‘Digital Twin’ is a hot topic currently, but there are many interpretations of what the term means.

This event seeks to share our understanding of the Digital Twin terminology with a wide sector audience trying to answer questions such as: What is a Digital Twin? How does it differ from what has been done in the past in Modelling & Simulation and Embedded Technologies? What are the valuable use cases for a Digital Twin and what characteristics does a Digital Twin need to have to make it useful for these use cases?

Find out more on the events page.

Houseplant Sale

20 & 21 October, 10am, LSU

The Houseplant Sale is coming back to Loughborough University! There’ll be thousands of plants, with over 150 different types, in all shapes & sizes. Find a large choice of colourful ceramic pots & many other plant accessories too!

Find out more on the events page.

NCSEM Autumn series: Motivation, eating behaviour and diabetes in young adults

20 October, 5.30pm – 7.15pm, Online

Each talk in the series will provide cutting-edge information relating to developments within the fields of exercise as medicine, nutrition, and behaviour change. Led by a team of world-leading academics, each talk will convey the key take-home messages from the latest research with the aim of extending the knowledge and understanding of those with a basic interest in the field.

Find out more on the events page.

LU Arts: Arts Scholarship Surgery

21 October, 12pm – 2pm, Online

Drop in to this online event for help with your Arts Scholarship application and find out more about the scheme.

If you have a creative talent that you would like to develop further then why not apply for one of LU Arts’ arts scholarships? Scholarships are available in any art form including music, creative writing, dance, performing arts, visual arts and crafts, textiles, film making and photography.

Find out more on the events page.

LEN Initiate Workshop Programme with LSU Enterprise – Business Model Canvas & Pitching Your Idea

21 October, 6pm – 8pm, STEMLab & Online

So, you have an idea – It’s now time to get your idea into action. This workshop will take you through the key building blocks that make up a business plan and how to pitch your idea to those around you

We will also be joined by a guest speaker for ‘My Enterprise Story’ – learn how our guest got started and listen to their top tips.  

Find out more on the events page.

Black History Month: Employer Roundtable Discussion

21 October, 12pm – 1pm, Online

This event will give students the opportunity to hear from a number of employees at a variety of organisations about their careers to date and some of the challenges they have faced in their work.

Find out more on the events page.

Black History Month: ACS movie night

22 October, 7pm – 9pm, Flix Cinema, Cope Auditorium

A film focused on Black history will be shown, with an opportunity for students to discuss and share personal experiences afterwards.

Find out more on the events page.

The Benefits of Joining a Society

The Benefits of Joining a Society

October 15, 2021 Guest Blogger

University can be a daunting endeavour. Coming to (usually) a completely new town/city, not really knowing what to expect, and the challenge of meeting new people and making friends are all part and parcel of the initial struggles for freshers. Luckily, pretty much everyone is in the same boat, and there is a potentially universal solution to these problems. In this blog post, we will discuss why joining a society could be one of the best things you do at uni!

Finding the right one

With the large list of societies to join, it most definitely won’t be possible to be part of each and every single one you may want to – that is, without sacrificing on what you’re really here to do (study!). That’s why it is important for you to make sure you carefully choose which one(s) are right for you. It is down to you to make the decision on this. But, make sure to join societies where you think you would best fit in.

  • Do you play a particular sport (eg football, rugby, hockey)?
  • Do you have a certain interest (eg singing, dancing, cocktails)?
  • Do you identify with a particular faith or religion (eg Afro-Caribbean, Christianity, Hindu)?
  • Do you want to add something extra to your academia (eg finance and investment, economics, architecture)?

These are all worthwhile considerations. Ideally, you want to join a society from which you will both enjoy and derive the most value, without becoming over-committed to the point where it will affect your other pursuits. Nonetheless, all these types of societies will give you a chance to develop your skills further and likely boost your employability.

The Benefits

Health & Wellbeing

As mentioned previously, one of the main benefits of joining a society is the chance to develop your skills and abilities. But, along with this, there are many other positives too. Firstly, by joining a sport/activity-based society/club, you will have the (obvious) advantage of keeping active and healthy. Sometimes uni work can be overwhelming. Everyone loves to take a ‘5-10 minute’ break between studying (let’s be honest, these 5-10 minute breaks usually extend to at least 30-40mins). What better way to spend this (extended) break-time than getting out and about! In these situations, it is also important for students to look after, not only their physical health but also their mental health. Exercise of any sort has been proven to improve both these aspects. And, there is no other place you would want to engage in such activities than the best university in the world for sport!

Meeting New People and Making Connections

Societies are also the perfect way to meet new people, and that too, who have similar interests as you. This is a great way to meet like-minded people. It is, therefore, a perfect way to break that awkward barrier of trying to make new friends. Meeting people through societies is not only a way to interact with people who share similar interests and passions, but it also gives you the opportunity to meet people outside of your course, in different disciplines, helping you with your networking skills and making connections which could be useful in the future.

Do Something Different, Develop a New Skill

Maybe you’ve always wanted to try something new, but never really had the chance to do so. Say you’re studying Law, but are not too keen on your debating abilities. Joining the debate society could be the ideal method for you to gain this vital skill for your future career in the courtroom. It is not necessary to have existing knowledge before joining a society. It could be something completely unrelated to your current skill set, but, by being proactive, you are not only benefiting yourself in the present, but also your future self.

You could also be presented with the option of being more than just a member by joining the society committee. Taking an active role in running aspects of a society can give you the perfect boost to your CV. Whether it is being the president to display your leadership skills, being the events coordinator to show your planning and organisation, or being the media coordinator to provide you with an outlet to display your creativity and marketing abilities, there is bound to be something for you to get involved in.


So, hopefully, this post has given you some reassurance that things will be okay at uni, you will meet new people and make new friends, and you can get involved and do things you enjoy. These are just some of the many benefits of joining a society. Maybe you already attended the societies bazaar last weekend (in which case this blog may be completely useless to you, and that’s a good thing 😊) and so you have begun looking at what societies you want to join. If not, what are you waiting for!

Institute for Design Innovation research: UNHCR Fellowship Project (Part 2)

October 14, 2021 Ella Cusack

UNHCR’s Innovation Service and the Institute for Design Innovation at Loughborough University London have recently undertaken research to examine the Innovation Fellowship Programme. This blog is the second blog in a two-part blog series. Read this article below.

You can read the first blog in this series here.

Illustration by Ailadi

No innovator is an island- creating an innovation capabilities framework

An innovator who ‘gets it’ won’t get far if others don’t get it too. An innovator who is motivated and curious won’t scale further than their desk if they can’t influence their colleagues. A well-positioned innovator stands on little more than a title, if the power of their position can’t be leveraged for the benefit of a team, of a vision.

The Innovation Fellowship Programme, which has been operated by UNHCR’s Innovation Service since 2012, recently collaborated with the University of Loughborough London’s Institute for Design Innovation on a research initiative with the objective of assessing the impact of the Fellowship on its participants. To achieve this, the researchers focused on assessing the participants’ individual perceptions of how the Fellowship, from 2013 to 2018, influenced a range of key innovation capabilities in their day-to-day work. Innovation capabilities are skills that allow an individual or group to innovate. Creating a framework of innovation capabilities for measuring these perceptions was a process that asked questions striking at the very heart of the Fellowship.

A framework under construction

To develop the framework, the project team began with three broad categories of skills: understandingmotivation and positioning. Understanding refers to skills that allow an innovator to understand their environment, the key issues within it, the practical reasons of unpacking a challenge and user needs, and the self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses. Motivation is the capability to engage with the work environment, the curiosity to learn, and the personal drive to collaborate and solve problems. Positioning amounts to the ability to influence the environment, the leadership and role required to implement an innovation, and the tolerance of uncertainty and taking calculated risks. Together, these three categories functioned as a baseline for creating a framework of innovator capabilities.

Except, something was missing. “Who is this superhuman?” remarked Prof. Mikko Koria, Director of the Institute for Design Innovation at Loughborough University London, “We realised that no matter what the capabilities and skills of an individual may be, they are only as useful as their ability to be used in the social environment.” For example, a management style in a team that sees alternative ideas as a threat to management’s authority or to the established way of working could well silence an all-curious, all-creative subordinate. And so, the three categories were wedded to social competences.

Understanding was paired with socialization, attributing equal value to an innovator’s ability to facilitate the understanding of others, raise awareness and negotiate. Motivation found a match in influencing, the capacity to motivate others to take action. While positioning found the social competence of directing, which focuses not on the individual position, but on the ability to direct change and to have the power to impact decision-making. The framework grew to reflect the reality of innovation in an organization such as UNHCR, that no innovator is an island. Navigating the organizational and social structures is as important as the entrepreneurial spirit of any individual.

To read the full article, please visit the UNHCR’s Innovation Services website or you can download the Adobe PDF document below.

To find out more about our Institute for Design Innovation and the Institute’s current research areas, please visit this web page.

You can read more blogs about of our Institute for Design Innovation and these areas of research here.

Our Institute for Design Innovation offer a number of taught and research postgraduate programmes, delivering high quality teaching in collaboration with industry and civil society to address real-life enterprise and social innovation needs.

You can view all of the master’s programmes offered within this Institute here.

To find out more about studying a PhD within our Institute for Design Innovation, please visit this web page.

Institute for Design Innovation research: UNHCR Fellowship Project

Institute for Design Innovation research: UNHCR Fellowship Project

October 14, 2021 Ella Cusack

UNHCR’s Innovation Service and the Institute for Design Innovation at Loughborough University London have recently undertaken research to examine the Innovation Fellowship Programme. To assess the impact of UNHCR’s Innovation Fellowship programme, our researchers first had to define what being an innovator means. Read the article below.

Characters by Ailadi

The vision of UNHCR’s Innovation Service is an organization where colleagues have the skills and opportunities to question the way they operate, to imagine new and better ways of working, and to draw on novel tools and approaches to fulfil the mandate to protect displaced communities. The Service’s Fellowship Programme is a natural byproduct of this vision. Almost as old as the Service itself, the Fellowship has stewarded scores of UNHCR staff members and colleagues from partner organizations through the learning and unlearning of innovation.

Over the course of a year, the Fellowship is structured according to modules and tasks that cover topics such as the innovation process, collaboration, user-centred design, experimentation, influencing and communication. In addition, participants choose a challenge within their work context, and, incorporating the Programme’s teaching, follow the innovation process to arrive upon and test assumptions around a possible solution. Prioritizing the attainment of new knowledge and skills over the success of any individual project, the Fellowship encourages the participants to be ambassadors of innovation in the organization, and to bring fresh ideas and a creative flair wherever they work to find solutions alongside refugee communities.

The end of each Fellowship cohort is an occasion for asking even more questions. Reflecting on the year gone by, the Fellows remark on what they have learned, the connections they have made, and the hope they carry for the future of their work in UNHCR. The meeting is adjourned (or Zoom meeting ended), and everyone goes their separate ways. The concentration of innovation growth in the Fellowship team is diffused throughout an organization of over 17,000 people, located across 135 countries.

Does every raindrop raise the sea?

Innovation Fellowship Programme Manager, Emilia Saarelainen typically reflects on another year of the Fellowship completed. With the vision of the Innovation Service and the Programme’s extensive objectives in mind, she is eventually haunted by the questions that haunt most educators: Have we made a difference? Did the lessons stick? Or, in the case of the Fellowship, is UNHCR more innovative?

To read the full article, please visit this web page or you can download the Adobe PDF document below.

To find out more about our Institute for Design Innovation and the Institute’s current research areas, please visit this web page.

You can read more blogs about of our Institute for Design Innovation and these areas of research here.

Our Institute for Design Innovation offer a number of taught and research postgraduate programmes, delivering high quality teaching in collaboration with industry and civil society to address real-life enterprise and social innovation needs.

You can view all of the master’s programmes offered within this Institute here.

To find out more about studying a PhD within our Institute for Design Innovation, please visit this web page.

Join the student panel

Join the student panel

October 14, 2021 Ella Cusack

We need the views of current students to help the University shape its approach in different areas, including the development of brand new degree programmes, marketing and design concepts, and matters relating to student access and participation in higher education.

What is the panel?

The Student Panel is a new initiative run by the University’s Market Research Team. We have always involved our students in these projects but the idea behind the panel is to enable us to reach out to students or particular groups of students quicker and in a more efficient way.

Once signed up to the panel, members will receive invitations by email to participate in a range of different market research activities throughout the course of the academic year.

Please note that the research run through the Student Panel is linked to independent projects run by the Market Research Team and is entirely separate to student feedback on modules, programmes or teaching that is coordinated by the University’s Academic Registry or through national student surveys.

Who can sign-up?

Any current students – whether you are an undergraduate, postgraduate or research student. We are keen to get good representation across the student body.

Some opportunities might be targeted at specific students if we want to seek the views of a particular group of the student body. For this reason, you may not necessarily be invited to participate in every single opportunity related to the Student Panel.

At the start of each academic year, we will contact you to check if you are still happy to be involved with the panel.

What does it involve?

The opportunities for panel members are wide-ranging. You might be invited to take part in a quick online poll, a short survey, a focus group or one-to-one interview. In the present environment, we will be holding focus groups and interviews virtually using Microsoft Teams.

The topics of our research are varied. They might involve discussing ideas for new academic programmes, providing feedback on marketing concepts or sharing information about aspects of your experiences as a student.

There is no obligation to take part in any particular projects or a given number throughout the year. When you are invited, simply sign up to those that you can attend. The time involved in each opportunity will be made clear in advance.

Why sign-up?

Being part of the Student Panel is an excellent development opportunity. You will gain exposure to different market research methods and experience them in practice.

The Student Panel is designed to help the University get things right. Signing up to the panel is a chance to contribute to the University community and help shape direction on a range of different projects.

Depending on the nature of the opportunity and length of time involved, some projects will be incentivised. The table below gives some typical examples.

Where incentives are linked to particular opportunities, the value and any specific terms and conditions, will be made clear in advance.

Research method 
Short survey Entry into a prize draw – typically £100 and 2 x £50 voucher prizes for a survey of 5-10 mins in duration.
Online focus groups / online chatsTypically £15-20 voucher for participation depending on length of session.
Physical focus groupsTypically £20 voucher for up to 60 minutes, plus refreshments.


October 12, 2021 Noah Campbell

Are you keen on racing across 22 different London locations on the Monopoly board? Whether you’re a seasoned Londoner or a new student entirely new to the vibrant city, this opportunity is for you to explore the gorgeous city in a team of fellow students whilst fundraising for a good cause this October 30th.  

Loughborough Students’ Union Rag Chair Hettie Bawden and PSSN’s Chair Iman Khan partnered up with Caritas Anchor House to tackle rising homelessness in London by bringing their #WalkTheBoard game to Loughborough University London students! 

If you’re highly competitive, you’ll be keen to learn that the fastest winning team who finishes the race around the Monopoly board will win a community chest prize from Caritas Anchor House! 

The rules are simple: 

  1. Take part individually or form a team up to 4 people  
  1. Fundraise £200 from friends and family so you can qualify for the #WalkTheBoard event on 30th October  
  1. Visit 22 locations of the London Monopoly board and keep track of your progress on the Strava app  

You and your team will start from Old Kent Road and finish at Angel. A tour of 15 miles around London’s various and unique landscapes!  

This image shows the 22 locations you will be travelling to

To register, purchase a free ticket on the LSU website here. You will receive an email detailing how to fundraise and how the #WalkTheBoard event will pan out!  If you have any further questions or want to find teammates, you can join the WhatsApp group here.

Loughborough University London would like to thank Iman Khan for writing this Blog. We wish you luck on your fundraising journey!

Loughborough University London supports WHO’s World Mental Health Day

Loughborough University London supports WHO’s World Mental Health Day

October 11, 2021 Guest Author

As part of the University’s communications about World Mental Health Day (10 October), colleagues based at Loughborough University London produced an informative blog post about mental health in the workplace, its links to ongoing equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) work at the University, as well as guidance on how to support your own mental health. The authors of this piece are members of the London campus EDI committee, and this piece was originally published on the Loughborough University London blog.

Did you know 10 October, is World Mental Health Day?  Loughborough University London joins the World Health Organization and its stakeholders in raising awareness of mental health and mobilising efforts in support around the world.

This year, our objective is to raise awareness of staff mental health within Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) dialogue in day-to-day life and in the workplace.

We all have times when we feel down, stressed, anxious or frightened, have ups and downs at work, home life or both. Many of us may ask the question, what is mental health? Do I have a mental health problem? Do I need to seek help? How can I seek help? Why is there such a stigma or fear of disclosing and talking about mental health? Will family, friends, and colleagues at work understand and support me? Is poor mental health a disability, a disorder, a health condition, a problem, part of wellbeing or neurodiversity?

We cannot answer all of these questions in one go. However, as members of the Loughborough University London Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee, we believe all our staff and students deserve to feel that mental health is not a problem but that it is part of life and whatever their experience, they will be supported. We recognise that currently, that may not always feel the case and that more can be done. We aim to mobilise our efforts not just to increase awareness, understanding and support for mental health, but to listen to staff and student needs, and believe that as a School we can achieve that together.

About mental health

MIND (2021) states that ‘Good mental health means being generally able to think, feel and react in the ways that you need and want to live your life’. During a period of poor mental health, thoughts, feelings, and reacting to situations around you can feel more difficult, or even impossible to live with. Types of poor mental health can range from commonly known conditions such as depression and anxiety to rarer health conditions such as bipolar disorder and eating disorders.

The Mental Health Foundation reports nearly half of adults believe that they have had a diagnosable mental health condition, yet only one-third receive a diagnosis. Forty per cent are uncomfortable having a conversation with someone about their mental health; 56% of people worry they might embarrass the other person and 58% feel they might offend them. Different groups, communities and cultures have different experiences which may impact their identity, experience of mental health and type of support they may seek. There is a higher prevalence of reported poor mental health amongst BAME, LGBT+, carers, women and people with physical disabilities. The Mental health Foundation also found that a wide range of experiences during the COVID pandemic related to being a key worker, bereavement, loneliness, caring for others, working from home and returning to work continues to have a significantly negative impact on mental health.

Within the workplace, MIND research found that more than one in five people experiencing stress had called in sick to avoid work; 14% had resigned; 42% had thought about resigning, and 30% of staff disagreed with the statement ‘I would feel able to talk openly with my line manager if I was feeling stressed’.

Increasingly a healthy work-life balance is recognised as being essential to reduce poor mental health. A Mental Health Foundation survey found that more than 40% of employees are neglecting other aspects of their life because of work which may increase vulnerability to mental health issues. When working long hours more than a quarter feel depressed, one-third anxious and over half more irritable. Nearly two-thirds of employees reported a negative impact on their personal life, including personal development, physical and mental health, poor relationships and home life. Concerns about returning to work after lockdown was also high.

Raising awareness

Across the London campus, we have been increasing awareness of resources and support for mental health available across the University and in the community. We have MIND information leaflets, shared information on resources and training across the University, and let’s not forget our University Mental Health Day celebrations! More recently, People and Organisational Development have revised the mandatory Welcome to Loughborough Induction to include mental health awareness.

Supporting your mental health

Going forward, the Loughborough London EDI Committee is committed to the development of an open, equal and inclusive environment for mental health. We want to create an environment where all staff and students feel that it is okay to talk about mental health, seek information or seek support for themselves or to help someone else if they choose to do so, and we are committed to helping staff and students access such resources.

In parallel to increasing awareness, educating and challenging stigma, the EDI Committee will soon be arranging a wide variety of activities to meet the needs of students and staff, such as drop-in forums, opportunities to email your ideas for activities, resources to access mental health information, and more. Our aim is to find ways in which people can talk about mental health confidentially if they choose to do so. We know finding the time, let alone the energy can be tough, especially if you are working from home, so all of your input is more than welcome. 


  • Dr Andrea Geurin – Loughborough University London EDI Chair
  • Dr Debbie Eagle – Loughborough University London EDI Mental Health Lead
  • Jenny Wong – Loughborough University London EDI Disability Lead
  • Miranda Bioh – Loughborough University London EDI HR Lead
This Week at Loughborough | 11 October

This Week at Loughborough | 11 October

October 11, 2021 Saagar Sutaria


Autumn Careers Fest 2021

11 October – 19 November

New to this year, we will be running Autumn Careers Fest, a 6-week period of events and activities running from the 11th of October to the 19th of November.

All our events will provide you with the opportunity to engage and interact with our fantastic and diverse students at Loughborough. We will be hosting a variety of events online and on-campus.

Find out more on the events page.

Choose Your Charity Challenge Night

11 October, 6pm, The Basement

Roll up, roll up, it’s time to choose your charity challenge!

We have a selection of 8 enticing challenges for you to get involved in this year, alongside a fantastic pick of good causes.

Speak to charities, learn more about the trips on offer, and find yourself the adventure of a lifetime!

It’s time to ask yourself… where will Rag take you?

Find out more on the events page.

Open Online Discussion: ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’

11 October, 7pm – 8pm, Online

Take part in a discussion around mental health in an unequal world or sit back and listen to
the discussion!

Find out more on the events page.

Book Club: Superior – The Return of Race Science by Angela Saini

12 October, 12.30pm – 1.30pm, Online

Join our regular Book Club for an online discussion of science journalist and writer Angela Saini’s non-fiction book ‘Superior: The Return of Race Science’

This is a Loughborough University London Event.

Find out more on the events page.

BCS Lovelace Lecture 2021

12 October, 4pm – 6pm, Online

Established in 1998, and administered by the BCS Academy of Computing’s awards committee, the Lovelace Medal is the top award in computing in the UK.

Winners of the Lovelace Medal are asked to present their work at the annual Lovelace Lecture, the following year.

VC Nick Jennings will be presenting one of the two lectures which is titled: ‘Multiagent systems: The Deam, the Reality’.

Find out more on the events page.

Ready, Set, Enterprise!

12 October, 6pm, The Treehouse

Our Ready, Set, Enterprise! event welcomes everyone to LSU Enterprise for the 2021/22 academic year.

Meet our student groups and get the opportunity to network and form connections with other students. The event will also feature talks from Sina Haghighat (Building your Personal Brand to Excel in your Career) and Tom Jelliffe (Founder and Managing Director of Tzuka).

Enterprise sits within Loughborough Students’ Union as the Ideas Section. Whether you are looking to build a business, hone your commercial skills, develop your CV or make some great friends, Enterprise is the section for you.

Find out more on the events page.

Accessible Bazaar

13 October, 10am, The Basement

Designed for those who may be overwhelmed by big Activities Bazaar, the Accessible Bazaar has low lighting, is quiet, there will be chill-out areas, stalls are social-distanced and there will be free social distancing lanyards.

Find out more on the events page.

Mathematics Education Centre Seminar

13 October, 2pm – 5pm, Online

This talk will describe an on-going research project which sets out to measure the extent to which asking Year 4 (8-9 years old) children to create mathematical story picture books (MSPBs) about multiplication can help to develop their conceptual understanding of the topic.

Find out more on the events page.

Voices of Diversity: Mike Wedderburn

14 October, 6pm, Online & In-person

As part of our commitment to advancing race equality, changing our culture for better, and being an anti-racist community, we are pleased to be holding an event with alumnus Mike Wedderburn as part of the Voices of Diversity series.

Find out more on the events page.

Pick a Project Night

14 October, 6pm, The Basement

Pick a Project Night is back, and it’s coming back bigger than ever!

We have 38 incredible projects for you to get involved with, from cooking for those in need to helping out in the campus nursery. Our projects all fall under one of the following 6 sections: Community Outreach; International; Overseas; Young Persons; Sports; Inclusivity.

So come along, and see how you could change your life by changing someone else’s!

Can’t wait to see you there!

Find out more on the events page.

LEN Initiate Workshop Programme with LSU Enterprise – Idea Generation

14 October, 6pm – 8pm, The Start-Up Lab 2.01 (Ideas Factory), STEMLab Building & Online

First Stop on the Initiate Tour – Join LSU Enterprise & Co to take your first steps to becoming an entrepreneur!

How do you generate business start-up ideas? How do you know if it’s going to work? Join us to find out more! 

We will also be joined by a guest speaker for ‘My Enterprise Story’ – learn how our guest got started and listen to their top tips. 

Find out more on the events page.

Credible threat: Attacks against women online and the future of democracy

15 October, 2pm – 3pm, Online

Activists. Journalists. Elected Representatives. Public Intellectuals.

When women are vocal about political and social issues, too often they are attacked via social networking sites, comment sections, discussion boards, email, and direct message. Rather than targeting their ideas, the abuse targets their identities. Identity-based attacks are particularly severe for those women from racial, ethnic, and religious minority groups or who work in domains dominated by men. Feminists and women who challenge traditional gender norms are also frequently targeted.

Find out more on the events page.

Two feet on the floor

Two feet on the floor

October 10, 2021 Spencer Graydon

This is what I tell myself to do most mornings; sometimes I don’t have to, sometimes I can’t, however most days start with the realisation that getting out of bed is the most important thing I can do. 

I’m Spencer, the Chief Executive of Imago, new to Loughborough University and really proud to be here. I have been in management positions since the age of nineteen and I still have imposter syndrome.  

In fact, over the years I have had many syndromes all in the brave attempt, or not so brave, to really hide what happens in my head, which dependant on the day, week or month can be anything from hilarious to downright scary, and it’s exhausting. 

I am 49 years old, most people don’t believe this. It’s not because of my boyish good looks but because generally I have an enthusiastic, energetic way of being. I bounce not walk, I laugh loudly, I engage with everyone, I always give my time and I never talk about things that have gone wrong or my problems. I give advice, seek the limelight and I am always open to receive a positive stroke. In short, I am a bit of a people pleaser and it’s exhausting. 

Furthermore, I never stop. I definitely don’t sleep, I am always on the go, working, seeing friends, organising a social event, attending a social event, reading something to make myself interesting, watching something to make myself interesting, phoning people just because and it’s exhausting. 

When I’m not filling every second with stuff I think, though sometimes it’s more than just thinking. I remember with regret, I worry why a friend hasn’t responded to my message, I worry more that I haven’t been able to respond to a friend’s message. I convince myself I have upset someone, everyone and I am not sure how. I over analyse but I can’t concentrate, I don’t sleep, then again, I sleep too much. I don’t want to talk, I want to be alone, I want to think about how much I should have done and it’s exhausting. 

It continues. I panic about next week (not sure what about), I convince myself that I won’t be very good, I’m certain that no one wants to see me. I feel nervous to engage with people I know, so I engage with people I don’t (no baggage there you see). I dream about winning the Lottery because then everything will be fixed, I think about starting everything new, I buy something, anything, firstly for me, actually always for me and it’s exhausting… 

You see I experience anxiety and depression, and it can be exhausting

One feeds the other, I know this now. It took me forty-six years to get there following medication, counselling, psychiatry, and a stay at The Priory (no celebrities when I was there, just jigsaws and cardboard coat hangers!). 

Now I can manage it, I choose to manage it, and I do manage it because I got help. 

I know how to look after myself, I recognise the signs that tell me I may be starting to feel unwell and most importantly I do something, even if it’s tiny. If I do something, it’s a lot less exhausting. 

So, this is what I know. 

A sign of depression for me is when I constantly look back with regret. I know I can’t change a thing but I want to – this makes me anxious because I convince myself I will make all the same poor decisions again. I’m basically giving myself an impossible conundrum. I can’t fix the past and I can’t predict the future, yet I get wrapped up in both.  

I have to live in the now, the now is what I can control, the now is what I can enjoy, the now is where I am and who I have around me. 

It sounds simple: deal with what you can, when you can, the best you can. 

I have to remember I have a narrower window of tolerance than most people. We all get the same ups and downs thrown at us every day – the biggest difference is that many more people can cope with what life throws at them.  

For those of us, and I know I’m not the only one, who experience anxiety and depression, sometimes we just don’t have the capacity and that’s when everything goes wrong (well, not necessarily everything but I do like to catastrophise!).   

Equally, when things feel like they are going well, I will do anything to keep that feeling, always on, always up.  

But I have to remember that stability is what I need, not a series of highs and lows. 

I have to look after myself. I’m not a better medical expert than my GP, so I take my medication and I take it when I should. 

I always try to practice S.H.E.D. It’s simple but it works:  

  1. Sleep: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, and don’t scroll on the phone before you close your eyes. 
  1. Hydrate: Drink lots of water – I aim to drink three litres a day. 
  1. Exercise: Now I am rubbish at this, so if anyone can help motivate me I would be delighted, but just a 30-minute walk each day can make all the difference. If you have time at lunch, go for a walk. You will be so much more productive and if you can find a team sport the enjoyment of doing something with other people is really infectious. 
  1. Diet: There is no easy way around this one. Chips, burgers, sugar and alcohol do not make for a mood free week, they create highs and lows all on their own! I am not a saint but I am mindful, I try to remember treats are called treats for a reason. 

I also know that I must have somebody to talk to. Some people have lots, others just one, however many people you have, make sure there is someone. Don’t wait like I did for forty-six years until you start talking. 

When I do talk to someone, I must not deflect, just start to talk. It doesn’t even matter what it’s about it’s just knowing that someone is there for you. 

Before I close off from these ramblings – which I hope have given you either a small insight or made you realise that it’s not just you – I would like to ask everyone reading this to take away the following: 

  • When you say to someone, “How are you?” be prepared to listen to their answer, you just might be the right person at the right time. 
  • If you do ask someone how they are, don’t always let them off with a one-word answer or a list of what they have to do that day, ask the question again, “Come on… How are things?”. Sometimes it can be hard to explain how you feel. 
  • Try not to fall into using positive cliches. “It could be worse” isn’t the most motivating quote in the world. 

I titled this piece Two feet on the floor because it is still what I have to do each day. Historically at my lowest or most anxious I simply could not get out of bed, I lay there hoping I would become less anxious whilst all the time I was achieving exactly the opposite.   

I made a deal with my doctor that I would ignore everything else that might be going on and instead get up and try, and trying means putting my feet on the floor and standing up. 

I had to try this morning, I’ll try tomorrow and I’ll keep on trying, no matter how exhausted I may be. 

Spencer Graydon 
Chief Executive, Imago Venues  

Your New DR Presidential Team

October 8, 2021 Zoe Chritchlow

Hi, everybody!

Another year dawns, and with it a new presidential team is taking over the recurring presidential team blog. I want to begin as one should begin all important and timely endeavours, by apologising for being late. We originally wanted to introduce ourselves much earlier but as tends to happen in academia, things took longer than expected.

But here we are, so without further ado:

Alex Christiansen

My name is Alex Christiansen, I am a 3rd year Doctoral Researcher in the School of Design and Creative Arts and your LSU Doctoral Researcher President for the year 21/22. My PhD work involves analysing large quantities of social media data from Russians pretending to be American or British to influence elections. It is a bit like a spy movie, except with even more xenophobia and much less action.

Here is a bad picture of me, and a decent picture of my dog:

(alt-text for visual impairment: a picture of Alex and his 8-month-old German Shepherd, Wanda. The picture is taken on a sunny British afternoon. Wanda has a red mane, big brown eyes, and her tongue is lolling in the wind, Alex is looking goofily at the camera)[AC1] 

Four fast facts…

  • I have two first names; Alex and Phillip, both of which are archetypically English despite the fact that I am from the northern part of Denmark.
  • I have a background in Corpus Linguistics, which is like regular Linguistics but bigger and therefore indisputably better.
  • I am from a country (again, Denmark) where the tallest peak is a whopping 170.86 m (that’s 560 feet, less than 1/3rd of the required height for something to be considered a mountain). As a result, I go on hiking trips as often as I can.
  • I have come to understand that the most interesting thing about me is my dog and I pledge to always include a picture of her when writing. This is now a dog blog, sorry.

As a Dane, I believe strongly in equal opportunity, a healthy work-life balance, and the strength of cooperation, and this is what will inform my every action as DR President. It has been a weird year, in every capacity, and I do want to help the university to return to a form of ‘normal’. That said, we must recognise that changes to that normal are necessary as well and the keyword here is mental health. In the 2019 PhD Survey by Nature, more than a third (36%, n = 6,300) reported anxiety and depression amongst other mental health challenges. That was before we faced a pandemic. As we build back, we must do so with this in mind – I hope that university-led initiatives such as the Doctoral Wellbeing Working Group will help us to do so, and I will do my best to make sure that it does. Meanwhile, DRs have proven repeatedly that they will stand up for each other, whether that be through academic support such as writing gyms and cross-school research groups or more human support such as buddy systems, carer networks, and mental health walks. Those people are the reason I applied for this position, and, above all, this is what I hope to support.

JD Bhadra

 My name is Jaydeep (JD) Bhadra, I am a 2nd year Doctoral Researcher in the Building Energy Research Group (BERG) in the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering (ABCE). I am your LSU Doctoral Researcher Vice-President for the academic year 2021/22. My research revolves around quantifying the potential of personal comfort systems for improving sleep quality, thermal comfort, and reduce residential cooling energy demand.

And that’s me, in a beautiful place called Khajjiar in Himachal Pradesh, India (32.549, 76.059)

Four fast facts…

  • I am from India (the biggest democracy in the world by population) and have spent good years of my life growing up in the eastern region in a state called Assam (known worldwide for its Tea). For me, the first thing in the morning is a cup of tea which gets me going.
  • During my education and professional training, I have lived in southern (Tamil Nadu), western (Gujarat), and northern (Delhi). Perhaps, that is the reason I value Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion with the core of my heart, which has been catalysed by personal experience.
  • I am an Architectural Engineer by education with a MTech in Building Energy Performance and have a fair bit of experience working in the construction industry, consultancy, and research.
  • Beside work, I like to paint, travel, and cook, which are also means of stressbusters for me.

I believe, the challenges for DRs are of different and diverse in nature, ranging from mental health and well-being, equal and fair opportunities and support, post-PhD opportunities and career, financial support, targeted support for International DRs and those with carer or parenting responsibilities. Therefore, I intend to support Alex and work closely with DR reps. Regular and transparent communication with the DR community at large will be key to understand the depth and width of challenges across different schools and will help us to effectively liaison with LSU Exec team, University’s Management and Leadership team to find appropriate solutions.

As the DR Presidential Team, we are here to represent you and be your voice. A PhD journey can sometimes feel quite isolating, but never forget that we are more than a thousand researchers across campuses – we are here to represent each one of those voices. Over the next year, we will be in close communication with the LSU executive, now a smaller team, with the role of Education Officer being taken on jointly until 2022, and our focus will always be on giving Doctoral Researchers the kind of voice they both need and deserve within the LSU and at Loughborough University itself.  

If you have any questions, suggestions, concerns, opinions, success stories, achievements, or general remarks for us, please feel to share with us and get in touch at or on various social media channels. While we cannot promise that we will find solutions for every problem, we endeavour to discuss them with the appropriate team. What we can promise is that we are here to celebrate and support you, your journey and your success stories and achievements as well as your challenges.

If you wish to help us do that, please consider applying to be either a representative or lead representative for your school. More information on both roles can be found here.

For more updates, keep an eye on this space and follow us on Twitter (@DRPresTeamLboro), Instagram (lborodrpres) and WeChat. For more DR interactions in general, consider joining the DR Facebook group.

Only use this bit as ‘hidden’ alt-text if possible. [AC1]

World Mental Health Day: Support for staff and students

World Mental Health Day: Support for staff and students

October 8, 2021 Sadie Gration

This year for World Mental Health Day, we want to recognise the challenges our staff and students have faced over the last year, and the implications this may have had on their mental wellbeing. 

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have all had no choice but to adapt to new ways of working and learning, whilst managing the hurdles that lockdowns brought to ourselves, our friends, and our family. Some of you may have experienced feelings of grief, loneliness and concern.  

Equally, the rollout of vaccines and easing of restrictions has given many of us a mixture of hope, uncertainty, joy and anxiety for the future. 

In addition, significant national and worldwide events, as well as professional and personal matters can also impact our day-to-day wellbeing. 

Recent statistics reveal that three out of every five employees experience mental health issues because of work, which can cost UK employers up to £42 billion a year due to reasons including sickness absence and replacing staff who leave an organisation due to their mental health. 

Loughborough University prioritises the wellbeing of its staff and students, and below we have listed some of our support services we encourage the University community to use if they feel they need to.  
Staff support: 

  • Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) – confidential, unlimited support on any matter that might be of concern to you which is available to access 24/7.  
  • My Healthy Advantage app – complementing the EAP, the app provides an enhanced set of wellbeing tools and engaging features to help the user’s mental and physical health. 
  • Togetherall – designed to help people get support to take control of their wellbeing and feel better. It provides 24/7 peer-to-peer and professional support (from experienced clinicians who are always online), plus a range of courses and tools to help people self-manage their wellbeing. 
  • Chaplaincy – a place where staff are welcomed to reflect, explore and express faith and spirituality. It is a place to pray, to meditate and to meet others. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 
  • The Yellow Book – an online resource with various tools and techniques to help combat stress in written and audio format. The e-book features poems, songs, readings and artwork to help with your mental wellbeing (sign-in required). 
  • Mental Health First Aiders – Loughborough staff MHFAiders are trained to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis – and can potentially avert a crisis from happening. They can do this by recognising warning signs, and they have the skills and confidence to approach and support someone experiencing poor mental health. 

More information can be found on the Staff Wellbeing pages.  

Student support: 

  • Student Services – providing emotional and wellbeing support as well as advice on any financial or accommodation concerns you might have. 
  • The LU Wellbeing app – a digital toolkit using a holistic approach to positively influence your wellbeing, incorporating mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) amongst many other techniques.  
  • Togetherall – designed to help people get support to take control of their wellbeing and feel better. It provides 24/7 peer-to-peer and professional support (from experienced clinicians who are always online), plus a range of courses and tools to help people self-manage their wellbeing. 
  • The Yellow Book – an online resource with various tools and techniques to help combat stress in written and audio format. The e-book features poems, songs, readings and artwork to help with your mental wellbeing (sign-in required). 
  • Chaplaincy – a place where students are welcomed to reflect, explore and express faith and spirituality. It is a place to pray, to meditate and to meet others. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Self-help resource: Harness the Power of Serotonin  

Serotonin, which some people refer to as the ‘happy chemical’, is a neurotransmitter that contributes to a healthier mood and sleep cycle. 

There are a few ways you can easily boost your serotonin levels: 

  1. Exercise – Whether it’s a daily walk or an aerobic class, you can feel a natural ‘high’ after increasing your heart rate and spending time outside surrounded by nature. 
  1. Diet – Your gut can boost serotonin levels significantly too. Aim to have your ‘5 a day’ of fruit and vegetables, as well as Omega 3-rich foods such as oily fish and seeds. Incorporating high protein foods like eggs, beans and some meats as well as fermented foods (eg kimchi and sauerkraut) into your diet can improve serotonin levels as well.  
  1. Avoid drinks that deplete serotonin – Stay away from diet drinks containing artificial sweeteners like aspartame, and cut down on alcohol, as regular consumption can disturb the metabolism or brain serotonin.  

Embracing my dyslexia: A journey of acceptance

Embracing my dyslexia: A journey of acceptance

October 7, 2021 Sadie Gration

I now know my story is very similar to so many. At school I was doing really well, then I hit 13 and within two years dropped down to the bottom set across the board.

It was put down to just reaching a natural ceiling, and I started to hate English and Maths. I started to focus on subjects like Design, Drama and Sports Science – the more practical they were, the more I enjoyed it.

Fast forward to university and for the first two years I was getting results in the 70-80% region for verbal and practical, but then marked in the 40’s for exams. I remember getting really upset after one exam result and talking to a member of staff. He made a throwaway comment to me: “Of course you are getting better marks in practicals than written – all dyslexics do.”

I was stunned. I’m not dyslexic, I couldn’t be. I was studying Sports Science at Loughborough. I’m not stupid. He encouraged me to get a test and low and behold I was dyslexic.

I knew so little about it and I couldn’t even spell it (obviously!). I didn’t tell anyone to start with. I was ashamed, I felt stupid. I was really embarrassed. And I started noticing all the mistakes I was making in my writing. I couldn’t tell my left from my right, and I couldn’t recite a telephone number correctly. I struggled to spell long words and often my grammar didn’t make sense. This carried on for the next 10 years.

I would then find secret methods to hide it: every word that was more than six letters long had to have a rhyme in my head; I didn’t disclose it on job applications, and I certainly didn’t publicly acknowledge it.

Then I came across a charity called Made by Dyslexia. They were supported by one of our lay members of Council, as well as a long list of business people, celebrities, and politicians, all talking about their dyslexia.

But it was different. It wasn’t about reasonable adjustments or coping strategies. It wasn’t about software to help hide my spelling mistakes. It wasn’t about putting things in place to make me seem less stupid or ‘normal’.

This charity is about empowering the GOOD skills that dyslexia gives you. It’s about creativity and imagination, and communication and emotional intelligence. It’s about visualisation and seeing 10 steps ahead. It’s about exploring and innovation, and thinking in pictures and not words – this shocked me as I assumed everyone thought like this.

I now realise that I am in the minority, but that my differences and my disability (a word that took ages to admit to) actually make me better at some things. One statistic that’s always stuck with me is that while 15% of the population have dyslexia, 40% of self-made millionaires have it. Dyslexics are known to be dreamers – so you can see why this stat appealed to me.  

I started nervously telling people. I changed my iTrent profile at work to include it. And I started tweeting about it. I was so nervous; I thought I would be treated differently, or – especially working at a university full of people who are good at writing – colleagues would stop asking me to do stuff. And I was desperate not to be treated differently.

I was treated differently. But in the best way.

I have a small group of colleagues who will always proofread work for me, including some of the senior team. And every time I request it, it is met with a smile and often a request for a red pen to mark up the inevitable mistakes.  And I am asked to work on projects that my dyslexic skills are better suited to than other colleagues.

Does it stop me from doing my job? No. Has being open about it helped? Hugely. Am I treated differently? Yes – but in a better way than I could ever have hoped for. I have had nothing but support.

Is it always easy? Not at all. I am in tears, probably weekly, when I am sat in a meeting or I get feedback about a paper I wrote and someone points out a simple spelling mistake. I feel heartbroken and silly. But not through anyone else’s doing, it’s all through my own desperation to hide the ‘bad’ and embrace the good. And I don’t want it to stop – I won’t learn about my mistakes if I don’t know.  But it doesn’t stop the upset and the self-disappointment.

It’s a constant challenge, but, for me, being open about it has meant I have a whole team of people helping me with that challenge and each one of them makes it just that little bit easier.

Ally McDonald Alonso
Vice Chancellor’s Executive Manager & Senior Recruitment Specialist, and Office Manager

This blog was written to mark Dyslexia Awareness Week (4-10 October). Any staff member with dyslexia is welcome to join the Staff Inclusivity Group, which advocates for equality in the workplace for colleagues with physical or invisible disabilities. The group is also a place to seek support from one another and challenge University policies and practices.

The pitfalls of the digital world for the practice of diplomacy

The pitfalls of the digital world for the practice of diplomacy

October 6, 2021 Ella Cusack

In this blog, Dr Dorina Baltag, Excellence 100 research fellow at the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance draws insights from the conversation at the roundtable on digital diplomacy she and Professor Helen Drake (Professor of French and European Studies and Director of the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance) organised between academics and diplomats at the 51st UACES Annual Conference. Hear what Dorina had to say below.

Today digital connectivity has become central for diplomatic actors: it is essential in their practice today to be able to engage with their publics also via social media: to explain their policies, to facilitate the export of information and to listen to feedback. During the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns assumptions have been made regarding (traditional) diplomacy – the political interaction and the techniques used to carry out political relations at the international level by state actors – that it is being transformed by the development of digital technology. However, this is not the case: neither digital technology nor COVID-19 brought a radical change in the sense of revolutionizing the functions of diplomacy. What happened, in turn, is a fast-paced process of diplomats increasing their online presence to such a degree that some engaged in a form of competition between twitter accounts of both, diplomats and Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFAs). So, how far the development of digital technology has become embedded into the DNA of diplomatic activities?

A different format for the practice of (public) diplomacy

Whereas for any citizen the information instruments such in the 21st century was a normality and part of their daily lives, for MFAs around the world was a relatively new instrument, the use of which was accelerated by the outbreak of the pandemic. It pushed European ministers of foreign affairs, for example, to increase their online presence: in April 2020 Brexit talks were held and the British Parliament made history when MPs joined remotely via video links; in June 2020 European ministers of foreign affairs held video conferences to discuss important issues such as the strategic dialogue with the USA; in July 2020 the Polish MFA participated in a webinar to prepare for the Visegrad Group Presidency. In this way, not only news about important international negotiations but also diplomatic conversations among world leaders were reaching the public.

In the world of diplomacy, the development of video conferencing brought more inclusiveness: more states had the possibility to attend virtually high political forums without having to be physically present and reduced related costs, specifically important for states from the developing world. At the same time, many states which were resisting embracing the digital era had to dive into a speedy learning trajectory so that their diplomatic esprit de corps is more tech savvy. It also created bigger opportunities for connectivity: Many deliberately engaged with a wider variety of stakeholders which pre-COVID was unimaginable to organise in an online format. This, in turn, gave the opportunity to reinforce their strategic alliances (e.g., EU-USA) via organised online transatlantic summits. A skill which becomes central is networking – on the ground, diplomats could rely on existing communication networks (an illustration of such networks can be found in this HJD article and in this teaching case-study) – an adaptation of this skills to the online world meant a more intense and frequent degree of interaction and, for some groups, the use of digital tools, improved the diplomatic interaction. And, finally, MFAs and embassies are increasingly producing political content in form of media products and adopting a media logic in their daily operations (via their Facebook or Twitter accounts), which allows diplomacy to transform from a closed, secret state affair, to becoming accessible and open to the public (or at least their messages are).

The drawbacks of COVID-19 for diplomatic practice

To frame foreign policy narratives in no more than 280 characters remains a challenging task and posting on Twitter or Facebook does not necessarily imply establishing a dialogue with the public. The practice of diplomacy relies on the work done by diplomats in third countries who serve as the ‘eyes, ears, and mouth of the state’. This means that a physical rapport matters for the establishment of a sense of community, for bonding, for building trust and engaging with different stakeholders, and for better serving foreign policy objectives. Since some international negotiations on highly sensitive topics (such as disarmament, for instance) could not be held remotely (not only due to security reasons but also due to certain negotiations techniques applied in these settings), several key players, including civil society organisations and think tanks could not engage in raising awareness and influencing the agenda-setting. Going digital impacted, among other things, the intimacy of diplomatic interactions. This comes with a hindering effect on building trust among fellow-diplomats – an essential practice used by diplomats to get access to the right information. And while COVID made everyone cautious of shaking hands, it is the shaking of hands in diplomatic circles that seals the deal – as a nice metaphor for the importance of physical interaction.

Diplomacy is defined, inter alia, by the existence of a dialogue between states, a practice fulfilled by the function of communication. Communication relies on information-gathering, information-negotiating and identifying other actors’ intentions especially central in an era of complex international relations where ‘information ricochets around the world’. Instruments like WhatsApp, Email and Telephone have been used as communication means by diplomats long before COVID-19 but were further popularised by the sense of urgency (from capitals to acquire information). This also meant that diplomatic language is distorted and misinterpreted in the world of Twiplomacy and instead of using it as a form of diplomatic action the practice has shifted towards collecting more social media likes. At the same time, the more a media logic is embraced, and communication becomes quicker, the more the quality of drafting and writing goes downhill. There is no doubt that digital tools serve as useful means to accelerate diplomatic communication, especially in times of global pandemic, but when it comes down to diplomatic activity, the practice needs to move along the continuum of technological advancement so that it serves achieving set foreign policy objectives.

To sum up, digital technology has clearly come to the front of diplomatic practice, however not without certain costs for the functions of communication and negotiation of diplomacy. At the same time, one must use caution, pragmatism, and flexibility. The digital revolution gave a lot of voice and influence to actors who did not have it before, which is a positive development, as diplomats can listen to a wider range of voices. The downside of this is that the noisiest will dominate the debate in a way which will not always benefit foreign policy. And finally, diplomats do not operate in a vacuum, hence these pitfalls should be addressed together with other key players at national level if the effects of foreign policy are intended to have the desired outcome.

We would like to say a big thank you to Dr Dorina Baltag for sharing her insights from the recent digital diplomacy roundtable.

You can find out more about the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance and the postgraduate programmes we offer here.

In May 2021, the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance held a conversation focussing on digital diplomacy, featuring Professor Helen, Drake, Dr Dorina Baltag, and Dr Aidan McGarry. To read more about this conversation, please visit this blog.

Putting the I in Bi

Putting the I in Bi

October 5, 2021 Matt Youngs

Author: Matt Youngs

I find myself entering my seventh academic year at Loughborough, but my first as a staff member. My previous voluntary and sabbatical roles as a student and as a Loughborough Students’ Union staff member gave me experience in the world of equality, diversity, and inclusion; however, my new role as the Celebration and Awareness Lead for the University’s LGBT+ Staff Network is my first foray into a formal position in the LGBT+ world. Here at Loughborough, we are exceptionally fortunate to not only have a very active LGBT+ community, but also a supportive team of senior management who strive to champion the work of the Network to create an inclusive community for LGBT+ staff and allies. That is a source of comfort for me as someone relatively new to the LGBT+ ‘scene’. Today, during Bisexual Awareness Week, I just want to take a moment to talk about my experience of bisexuality and labels.

For many people, identifying with an LGBT+ label or identity can provide reassurance, confidence and community. Conversely, for me, there are very few occasions when I identify with a specific LGBT+ label or identity: something just doesn’t sit perfectly no matter which label or identity I try on for size. At the moment, as I continue to navigate the wonderful world of the LGBT+ community, I enjoy knowing that I sit somewhere on the sexuality spectrum, most likely in the bisexual space, but without have a real need to put a name to my attraction to people.

Because of not identifying about labels, I’ve never found myself ‘coming out’ to people (I wonder whether this is a ‘luxury’ of some people in bisexual relationships living in the UK?). It seems that I can refer to past relationships or my attitude to life in a way that doesn’t attempt to hide my sexuality but doesn’t make a clear declaration either (maybe similar to the privilege that straight people have when living their life?). I do wonder how this might change now that I’m heading a work environment where many conversations involve discussions about partners, children or families: perhaps I’ll have to come out more if I enter a relationship with a same-gendered partner? But to be honest, I don’t mind at all whether people find out about my undefinable bisexual [ish] sexuality. I feel that some people will always find a reason to judge negatively (maybe because I’m allergic to eggs, wear glasses, or because I am left-handed – classic playground issues!), so trying not to care what others think has been a useful life skill for me to get used to even before I have come to better understand my sexuality.

So, from a new member of the LGBT+ Network and wider staff community, this Bisexual Awareness Week, if nothing else, I just wish to urge everyone to remember the words of Brian Tracy, motivational speaker and publicist, when you find out about someone’s sexuality (with or without a definitive label):

“the greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance”.

Matt Youngs is Celebration and Awareness Lead for the LGBT+ Staff Network, and a Graduate Management Trainee currently based in the Research & Enterprise Office.


Photo captured by Issie Bickerstaff (they/them); LGBT+ Officer, Loughborough Students’ Union

Looking after your health at university

October 4, 2021 Sophie Dinnie

For many of you, this will be your first time living away from home. The following tips will help you get set up with the NHS at your new term-time address and ensure you are able to get the care you need if you are ever unwell.

Registering with a GP

If you spend more weeks of the year at your university address than your family’s address, you should register at the Medical Centre on campus.

This is particularly important if you have an ongoing health condition such as asthma, diabetes or epilepsy.

You can register with the Medical Centre online.

If you are unwell whilst at home, you can get 14 days of emergency care at your nearest GP. After that you will need to register as a temporary resident.

Using the pharmacy

You can get your prescriptions delivered to our on-campus pharmacy as well as purchase any over-the-counter medication you may need.

Our pharmacy is located in the Students’ Union, near the Subway and is open Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5.30pm.


Dental problems cannot be dealt with by doctors, so make sure you register with a local dentist.

Not all treatment is free, even under the NHS. You may be able to apply for help with health costs, including prescriptions and dental care.

Get vaccinated

Covid vaccination

You’re now eligible for the Covid-19 vaccination. You can book to get your vaccine at one of our pop-up clinics on campus. Both UK based and international students can also book vaccinations through a GP or the NHS website. If you are an international student and you’ve had one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in your country, contact your GP for advice on the appropriate second dose to book.

MenACWY vaccination

The MenACWY vaccine protects against four different causes of meningitis and septicaemia: meningococcal (Men) A, C, W and Y diseases. It replaces the separate Hib/MenC vaccine.

All first-time university students up to the age of 25 are eligible as part of the NHS vaccination programme.

Contact the GP you’re registered with to ask for the MenACWY vaccine, ideally before the start of the academic year.

This is because you’ll be at particularly high risk in the first weeks of term, when you’re likely to come into contact with many new people.

Mumps vaccination

You are also encouraged to be immunised against mumps before starting their studies.

The MMR vaccine (for mumps, measles and rubella) is part of the routine NHS childhood immunisation schedule. This means most young people who’ve grown up in England will have had two doses of it in childhood.

If you’re not sure you’ve had two doses of the MMR vaccination, ask your GP for a catch-up vaccination.

Flu jab

Get an annual flu vaccination if you have asthma and take inhaled steroids. You should also get a flu vaccination if you have a serious long-term condition such as kidney disease.

Using the 111 service

If you have an urgent care need use NHS 111 first. This service can be found online, on the NHS App or by calling 111 24 hours day, 7 days a week. If it is an emergency, please call 999.

The NHS 111 service can tell you where to get help for your symptoms, how to find general health information and advice, where to get an emergency supply of your prescribed medicine, and how to get a repeat prescription. You may also be referred to an in-person appointment or connected to a healthcare professional.

The NHS App

Not to be mistaken for the NHS Track and Trace app, the NHS App is owned and run by the NHS. It is a simple and secure way to access a range of NHS services on your smartphone or tablet. 

You can link the app to your GP record so you can access your medicines, order repeat prescriptions and indicate whether you wish to donate your organs. It also shows your (COVID) vaccination status. If you don’t yet have it, you can download it from the App Store or Google Play. 

Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA)

As a higher education student living in England, you can apply for a Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) if you have a:

  • disability
  • long-term health condition
  • mental health condition
  • specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia

The allowance is used to support your study related costs and can be used on its own or in addition to your student finance. How much you get depends on your individual needs (not your household income) but you do not need to pay it back.

The University also provides support for disabled students via the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Team.

The Week at Loughborough | 4 October

The Week at Loughborough | 4 October

October 4, 2021 Saagar Sutaria

Funfair Stalls

4 October, 10am, Union Lawn

Head to the Union Lawn for a selection of funfair stalls and entertainment – there might even be some prizes and freebies, so don’t be shy and hit us with your best shot!

Find out more on the events page.

Freshers Workshop: Embroider your own tote bag

4 October, 2pm – 4pm, Michael Pearson Boardroom (First floor, Students’ Union)

Loughborough University Arts presents a tote bag embroidery workshop in the Michael Pearson Board Room – show up with an idea and a steady hand, leave with a custom bag for all of your things!

Find out more on the events page.

Rag Movie Night Presents: Deadpool

4 October, 6pm, The Basement

Grab some popcorn and put your feet up, we’re turning The Basement into a cinema for Rag!

We’ll be watching the 2016 superhero comedy DEADPOOL!

Find out more on the events page.

Karaoke with LSU Sing

4 October, 7.30pm, The Lounge

What’s your go-to karaoke song? Join LSU Sing in The Lounge for a night of singalongs and laughs!

Find out more on the events page.

Vintage Fair

5 October, 10am, The Basement

Kick off the new term with some old fashion! Pick up some pre-loved garms at our Vintage Fair and make sure you’re dripping for the rest of the term.

Find out more on the events page.

Bingo Lingo

5 October, 7pm, The Basement

Bingo Lingo is the newest and most exciting breed of bingo that’s sweeping across the UK! They’ve taken bingo, shaken out the dust and turned it into one exhilarating, party, raving, mad bingo night, and they’re bringing it to LSU!

Find out more on the events page.

Poster Sale

6, 7, 8 October, 10am, The Basement

Brighten up the boring walls in your halls with our poster sale! Nothing quite says “I’m an intellectual” like a Rick & Morty poster.

Find out more on the events page.

Freshers Workshop: Create your own cyanotype prints

6 October, 1pm – 3pm, Union Lawn

Indulge your creative side with Loughborough University Arts and create brilliant-blue cyanotype prints out of everyday objects!

Find out more on the events page.

NCSEM Autumn Series: Stress, sitting time and physical activity caloric equivalents

6 October, 5.30pm – 7.15pm, Online

Each talk in this series will provide cutting-edge information relating to developments within the fields of exercise as medicine, nutrition, and behaviour change.

Led by a team of world-leading academics, each talk will convey the key take-home messages from the latest research with the aim of extending the knowledge and understanding of those with a basic interest in the field.

Find out more on the events page.

Freshers Hey Ewe feat. El Sax

6 October, 10pm, The Basement

Big beats are the best, and they’re even better with a live saxophonist! Don’t miss out on the first Hey Ewe of the year with El Sax!

NB: This event is included in Hall Subs for Butler Court, Cayley, Claudia Parsons, David Collett, Elvyn Richards, Faraday, Harry French, Royce, Telford, The Holt and William Morris.

Find out more on the events page.

Petting Zoo

7 October, 10am, The Treehouse

This Freshers, we’re bringing the zoo to you! From the small and fluffy to long and scaly, there will be a whole range of animals for you to hang out with! There may or may not be a raccoon called Oreo, but we very much hope that there is.

Find out more on the events page.

The Indie Club feat. The Vaccines, Bastille, Circa Waves

7 October, 10pm, The Basement

This Freshers, we’re bringing the zoo to you! From the small and fluffy to long and scaly, there will be a whole range of Get on your dancing shoes for The Indie Club! We have members of The VaccinesBastille and Circa Waves on the ones and twos, spinning the best of indie, rock, and alternative throughout the night.

NB: This event is included in Hall Subs for Falk-Egg, Faraday, Hazlerigg-Rutland, Bakewell, Telford, The Holt and Towers.

Find out more on the events page.

ACS Annual Game Show

8 October, 7pm – 9pm, Edward Herbert

This event will include games that are entertaining as well as educational. It is a great chance to socialise with others and have fun. 

Please note: it may be possible this event will be moved to a room on campus where attendees have to show proof of a negative covid test.

Find out more on the events page.

Returners FND: Rudimental

8 October, 10pm, The Basement

We’ve enlisted the help of drum and bass chart-toppers Rudimental to welcome our returners back to LSU for one of our biggest nights of the year!

This event is SOLD OUT!

Find out more on the events page.

Freshers Ball 21

9 October, 10pm, The Basement

Celebrate the end of Freshers in STYLE at the Freshers Ball! We have music from Becky HillFuse ODGKelsey Gill and Digital Farm Animals, as well as fairground ridesphoto boothscocktails and more… don’t miss out on one of uni’s most memorable experiences!

Find out more on the events page.

Rag Colour Dash

10 October, 1pm, Union Lawn

The Rag Colour Dash event guidelines are applicable to all entrants and the following Risk Assessment and Participant Safety Briefing are intended to ensure the safety of all participants.

Before purchasing a ticket please ensure that you have reviewed BOTH the following documents:
Participant Safety Briefing
Rag Colour Dash Risk Assessment

Find out more on the events page.

MSc Entrepreneurship and Innovation: A collaboration between IESEG Paris, IIM and IIE

MSc Entrepreneurship and Innovation: A collaboration between IESEG Paris, IIM and IIE

October 1, 2021 Ella Cusack

Loughborough University London have joined forces with IÉSEG School of Management to launch a new joint master’s degree programme MSc in Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Dr Gerhard Schnyder, Institute Director of the Institute for International Management, recently visited IÉSEG School of Management in Paris to meet the first ever cohort of this new programme. Read more about Dr Gerhard Schynder’s experience below.

“Two weeks ago I had the privilege to be in Paris to meet the students of the first ever cohort of Loughborough University London – IESEG students on the new MSc Innovation & Entrepreneurship jointly delivered by the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Institute for International Management, and IESEG School of Management in Paris.

IESEG is based in a great location in Paris at La Défense business district. The main building is situated just behind the iconic Arche – where IESEG also has offices and teaching space. Thanks to the mild and sunny weather in Paris in September, we managed to have an informal meet and greet event on the lovely roof terrace of IESEG’s building. We have a great diversity of students on the programme from various European, Middle Eastern, and Latin American countries. Some have already an impressive record in establishing their own companies. Students were really excited about joining Loughborough University London for term 2 in February and had plenty of questions about living and studying in London.

Of course, I did not travel all the way to Paris just to enjoy myself. I did attend a session of the Collaborative Project module taught by Tiago Ratinho who is the co-director of the programme on the IESEG side together with IIE’s Louise Scholes on our side. Students on our programme have started the CP at IESEG a few weeks ago. The term in France starts a few weeks earlier than ours. During the session students were delivering their sales pitches for the entrepreneurial projects that they will be working on in groups until Christmas. The IESEG Collaborative Project will allow students to develop their business ideas into innovative projects in a very hands-on and entrepreneurial way. There was a wealth of exciting ideas, including projects aiming to use innovative technologies to address societal issues. It will be great to see how these projects develop over the next months.

The students will then join us for term 2 in January/February 2022. Like at IESEG, the focus of term two will be very much on students acquiring crucial skills for prospective or existing entrepreneurs to have, including modules on new venture creation, corporate finance, and institutional foundations of entrepreneurship. The programme is distinct in that it is providing students with very hands-on skills helping them in their business ventures, while also providing solid academic and theoretical skills. Students will also benefit from our sector-leading Future Space team in London who will provide extensive support as students are building their careers, reaching from CV writing, to alumni and industry networking events etc.

Students on the programme can choose from different types of dissertations: the traditional academic research dissertation or a ‘collaborative dissertations,’ where the student works with a company on a project either while doing an internship with the company or as an external. Students also get to choose if they want to do their dissertation in London or Paris.

The programme provides students with a strong interest in entrepreneurship and innovation a great opportunity to study in two of the best student cities in the world, on two very entrepreneurial campuses, with great support for their career development and their business ideas. I look forward to seeing our new partnership with IESEG flourish in the coming years.”

We would like to say a big thank you to Dr Gerhard Schnyder for sharing his experience with us in this blog.

If you would like to find out more about this programme, please visit the MSc Entrepreneurship and Innovation programme page here.

To find out more about Loughborough University London, please visit this web page.

Loughborough supports WHO’s World Mental Health Day

September 30, 2021 Noah Campbell

Did you know 10th October, is World Mental Health Day?  Loughborough University London joins the World Health Organization and its stakeholders in raising awareness of mental health and to mobilise efforts in support around the world. This year, our objective is to raise awareness of staff mental health within Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) dialogue in day to day life and in the workplace. Check out what we have done to support it below.

We all have times when we feel down, stressed, anxious or frightened, have ups and downs at work, homelife or both. Many of us may ask the question, what is mental health? Do I have a mental health problem? Do I need to seek help? How can I seek help? Why is there such a stigma or fear of disclosing, and talking about mental health? Will family, friends, and colleagues at work understand and support me? Is poor mental health a disability, a disorder, a health condition, a problem, part of wellbeing or neurodiversity?

We cannot answer all of these questions in one go. However, as members of the Loughborough University London Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee, we believe all our staff and students deserve to feel that mental health is not a problem or face stigma, but that it is part of  life and whatever their experience, they will be supported. We recognise that currently that may not always feel the case, and that more can be done. We aim to mobilise our efforts not just to increase awareness, understanding and support for mental health, but to listen to staff and student needs, and believe that as a School we can achieve that together.

About mental health

MIND (2021) states that ‘Good mental health means being generally able to think, feel and react in the ways that you need and want to live your life’. During a period of poor mental health, thoughts, feelings, and reacting to situations around you can feel more difficult, or even impossible to live with. Types of poor mental health can range from commonly known conditions such as depression and anxiety to rarer health conditions such as bipolar disorder and eating disorders.

The Mental Health Foundation reports nearly half of adults believe that they have had a diagnosable mental health condition, yet only one-third receive a diagnosis. Forty percent are uncomfortable having a conversation with someone about their mental health; 56% of people worry they might embarrass the other person and 58% feel they might offend them. Different groups, communities and cultures have different experiences which may impact on their identity, experience of mental health and type of support they may seek. There is a higher prevalence in reported poor mental health amongst BAME, LGBT+, carers, women and people with physical disabilities. The Mental health Foundation also found that a wide range of experience during  the COVID pandemic, related to being a key worker, bereavement, loneliness, caring for others, working from home and returning to work  continues to have a significantly negative impact on mental health.

Within the workplace, MIND research showed that more than one in five people experiencing stress had called in sick to avoid work; 14% had resigned; 42% had thought about resigning; and 30% of staff disagreed with the statement ‘I would feel able to talk openly with my line manager if I was feeling stressed’. Increasingly a healthy work-life balance is recognised as being essential to reduce poor mental health. A Mental Health Foundation Survey found that more than 40% of employees are neglecting other aspects of their life because of work which may increase vulnerability to mental health issues. When working long hours more than a quarter feel depressed, one-third anxious and over half more irritable. Nearly two-thirds of employees reported a negative impact on their personal life, including personal development, physical and mental health, poor relationships and homelife. Concerns about returning to work after lockdown are also high.

Raising awareness

Across the London campus, we have been increasing awareness of resources and support for mental health available across the University and in the community. We have MIND information leaflets, shared information on resources and training across the University, and let’s not forget our University Mental Health Day celebrations! More recently HR have revised the mandatory Welcome to Loughborough Induction to include mental health awareness.

Supporting your mental health

Going forward, the Loughborough London EDI Committee is committed to the development of an open, equal and inclusive environment for mental health. We want to create an environment where all staff and students feel that it is okay to talk about mental health, seek information or seek support for themselves or to help someone else if they choose to do so, and we are committed to helping staff and students access such resources.

In parallel to increasing awareness, educating and challenging stigma, the EDI Committee will soon be arranging a wide variety of activities to meet the needs of students and staff, such as drop-in forums, a way to e-mail your ideas for activities, resources to access mental health information, and more. Our aim is to find ways in which people can talk about mental health confidentially if they choose to do so. We know finding the time, let alone the energy, can be tough, especially if you are working from home, so all of your input is more than welcome! 

Dr Andrea Geurin, the Chair of the London campus EDI Committee said, “Over the coming academic year the EDI Committee will be dedicated to gathering more information about the mental health needs of our staff and students so that we can design new initiatives to best meet the needs of our community.”

We would like to say a big thank you to Debbie Eagle for writing this Blog.

We would also like to highlight the wide range of resources and initiatives that Loughborough University London provides to support your mental health:

  • A free webinar, Creating a Healthy Work-life Balance will be held on Wednesday 13th October. Places can be booked by e-mailing Chris BurtoWen in Health and Safety. A recording of the webinar will be available after the event on request to Chris Burton. 
  • Staff Wellbeing provides a wide range of internal and external support, for a positive physical, social and mental state. Resources include: support for working from home, Counselling Service, EAP, TogetherAll, mobile App and Support Groups.
  • Staff Inclusivity Group is a supportive network for those who have or affected by physical or invisible disabilities. They are currently involved in the shaping of the EDI agenda for the future of disability inclusivity across both campuses.
  • Mental health awareness and support is provided as Staff Training for all Staff and Line Managers.
  • The Wellbeing Framework  to provide a supportive, inclusive workplace can help to prevent physical and mental health problems and support people struggling with their health to stay at work and thrive is also in place. Information on disability and dynamic working support can be found here.

If you want to discuss any of the information provided in more detail, please contact Debbie Eagle (EDI – Mental Health), Jennie Wong (EDI- Disability), Miranda Bioh (EDI – London HR).

The Fair Energy Campaign launches phase two of their Energy Conservation Project

September 28, 2021 Noah Campbell

The Fair Energy Campaign champions best practices and principles in the energy supply sector, and aims to alleviate fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions by supporting customers to make informed decisions about energy suppliers.

The Fair Energy Campaign (FEC), a collaboration between Loughborough University and Citizens UK, which is financially supported by an LLDC grant was successfully soft launched in the summer of 2021 at a community event with East London Mosque. The campaign aims at reducing energy related carbon emissions within the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and legacy boroughs through behaviour change initiatives consisting of an information and action campaign to support residents to procure energy from 100% renewable sources. We envision the project as one that combats fuel poverty and climate change through the strengthening and strategic mobilisation of local communities of trust. With current developments in the energy sector with previously unprecedented increasing energy prices and Covid stricken low-income communities being hit by debt it is more important than ever to address the issues of fuel poverty.

In July, they successfully concluded pilot research phase 1 and engaged on an exciting and at the same time challenging new journey with a series of community events with local TMOs and housing organisations in Hackney and Tower Hamlets, part of the scaled-up pilot phase 2.

The Fair Energy Campaign will be hosting Pop Up sessions this coming October at the Teviot Festival with Poplar HARCA in Tower Hamlets. Further, they are presenting the ArhiBau conference, which is co-organized by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on October 7th.

This image shows a Pop up session for the campaign at East London Mosque.

Loughborough University London would like to than Anze Zadel for this blog.

Stay tuned for more information about the campaign on the campaign website here and by following @FairEneregyUK on Twitter. You can also find out more about phase one of the project here.

This Week at Loughborough | 27 September

This Week at Loughborough | 27 September

September 27, 2021 Saagar Sutaria

Welcome Party: Cayley, John Phillips, The Holt, Towers

27 September, 10pm, The Basement

Welcome to Loughborough! We’re kicking things off the only way we know how – by throwing a huge party in the Students’ Union! Expect drinks, dancing, music, and memories that’ll last a lifetime!

This event is only for members of CayleyJohn PhillipsThe Holt, and Towers, and is included in your Hall Subs – no tickets are available!

Find out more on the events page.

3D Drawing (exhibition)

28 September – 25 October 2021, 12pm – 2pm, Martin Hall Gallery

An exhibition of drawings by distinguished artists, curated by Professor Phillip Lindley.

‘3D Drawing’ features abstract and conceptual drawings by artists who work in three dimensions, whether or not they would describe themselves as ‘sculptors’.

Find out more on the events page.

Welcome Party: DC, Elvyn, Harry French, Rutherford

28 September, 10pm, The Basement

Welcome to Loughborough! We’re kicking things off the only way we know how – by throwing a huge party in the Students’ Union! Expect drinks, dancing, music, and memories that’ll last a lifetime!

This event is only for members of David CollettElvyn RichardsHarry FrenchRutherford, and is included in your Hall Subs – no tickets are available!

Find out more on the events page.

Freshers Fest

29 September, 12pm – 6pm, The Yard (outside the London campus)

Starting your studies in October 2021? The first ever Freshers Fest is here!

Come along to Freshers Fest on the 29 September 2021 12pm – 6pm at Here East to meet new people, try some new activites and explore more of what your local area has to offer!

This is a Loughborough University London event.

Find out more on the events page.

Mathematics Education Centre Seminar

29 September, 2pm – 4.15pm, Online

Dr Hugo Lortie-Forgues – ‘Communicating the uncertainty of educational effects to educators’, (Centre for Mathematical Cognition, Loughborough University)

Professor Jinfa Cai – ‘Research on Teaching Mathematics Through Problem Posing: Looking Back and Looking Ahead’, (Department of Mathematics, University of Delaware, US)

Find out more on the events page.

Techne Open Evening 2021

29 September, 5pm – 6pm, Online

Techne will be holding an open evening for you to find out about the doctoral scholarships and opportunities.

This is a Loughborough University London event.

Find out more on the events page.

Welcome Party: Faraday, Bakewell, Bill Mo

29 September, 10pm, The Basement

Welcome to Loughborough! We’re kicking things off the only way we know how – by throwing a huge party in the Students’ Union! Expect drinks, dancing, music, and memories that’ll last a lifetime!

This event is only for members of FaradayRobert Bakewell, and William Morris, and is included in your Hall Subs – no tickets are available!

Find out more on the events page.

Mini Golf

30 September, 10am, Union Lawn

Do you find normal golf too big? Want to show off your putt? Challenge your flatmates and join us on the lawn in front of the Students’ Union for a round of mini golf!

Find out more on the events page.

Switch Disco

20 September, 10pm, The Basement

The UK’s number one mashup duo are bringing their show to LSU! They’ll be chopping up your favourite tunes and mixing your favourite music all night in The Basement, and everyone’s welcome!

NB: This event is included in Hall Subs for Cayley, David Collett, Faraday, Harry French, Royce, Rutherford and William Morris.

Find out more on the events page.

Mini Golf

1 October, 10am, Union Lawn

Do you find normal golf too big? Want to show off your putt? Challenge your flatmates and join us on the lawn in front of the Students’ Union for a round of mini golf!

Find out more on the events page.

Induction Week Hackathon

1 October, 10am – 6pm, In-person & Online

How do we get more people physically active?

Do you think you can help to solve a £7.4bn problem? Do you want to work in a team, make connections and develop your skills? Do you want to learn more about the innovation process and how the Future Space team works to build sustainable solutions to real world problems? Then this is the event for you.

This is a Loughborough University London event.

Find out more on the events page.

Freshers FND: MistaJam

1 October, 10pm, The Basement

Whether you’ve heard him on the radio or in the club, it’s undeniable that MistaJam is at the very heart of the UK’s dance music scene, and he’s bringing the beats to Loughborough for Freshers FND!

Tickets for Freshers’ FND are exclusive to incoming students for 2021 and are included in Hall Subs.
NB: This event is included in Hall Subs for Butler Court, Cayley, Claudia Parsons, Elvyn Richards, Falk Egg, Harry French, Hazlerigg-Rutland, Bakewell, Rutherford, Towers, and William Morris.

Find out more on the events page.

Sport Bazaar

2 October, 10am, Sir David Wallace Sports Hall

Loughborough is one of the biggest and most successful sporting Universities in the world! Getting involved and becoming part of Loughborough’s Legacy all begins at the Sport Bazaar. Find out about all of the clubs, teams and competitions you can get involved in, and start making history!

Find out more on the events page.

UV Party

2 October, 10pm, The Basement

Break out the neon paint and your best fluorescent clothes, because tonight we’re getting lit under the UV! There will be prizes and giveaways throughout the night – this isn’t one to miss!

NB: This event is included in Hall Subs for Claudia Parsons, Elvyn Richards, Hazlerigg-Rutland, Bakewell, and Telford.

Find out more on the events page.

Activities Bazaar

3 October, 10am, Sir David Wallace Sports Hall

We present our students with thousands of incredible opportunities every year, from sledding with dogs in the Arctic to developing schools in Uganda and (almost) everything in between! With over 100 student-led societies, there’s something for everyone at LSU, and the best way to discover what’s on offer is at the Activities Bazaar!

Find out more on the events page.

Funfair Stalls

3 October, 10am, Union Lawn

Head to the Union Lawn for a selection of funfair stalls and entertainment – there might even be some prizes and freebies, so don’t be shy and hit us with your best shot!

Find out more on the events page.

Silent Disco

3 October, 10pm, The Basement

Head to

We’re turning up with the volume down! Flick between the channels on your headphones to find your favourite tunes while the DJs battle it out for your attention!

Make sure you bring £5 in cash for a deposit on the headphones, which will be returned to you at the end of the night!

NB: This event is included in Hall Subs for Butler Court, David Collett, Falk-Egg, Faraday, Hazlerigg-Rutland, Bakewell, The Holt, Towers and William Morris.

Find out more on the events page.

#Be Kind: You Got Diss

#Be Kind: You Got Diss

September 23, 2021 Noah Campbell

The #BeKind series is a mini-blog series that forms part of our LSU blog series. In this blog, Loughborough Students’ Union (LSU) London School President, Amie Woodyatt, discusses the difficult task of writing dissertations and offers some helpful tips on how to manage the workload.

Coursework and exams are finished, summer is here (albeit for around a week at a time), and we’re on the final stretch towards completing our courses. But while it may seem easy to say “I only have my dissertation left”, the effort of this year (both academic and personal) has left many burnt out.

Dissertations are a colossal piece of work and it’s completely valid to find them daunting, but remember that you still have plenty of time. Below I’ve put a few tips for taking care of yourself while getting your dissertation finished.

Block your time out

Time blocking is something I’ve done a lot of experimenting with at university; the process involves organising your day into ‘blocks’ for each task. These blocks can be different lengths for different people, but I’ve found anything more than an hour and a half leaves me open to distraction or easier to burn out.

It’s important to remember this is flexible to your goals, your capabilities on the day, and what other priorities you have. On some days I can have two-hour meetings which take a significant chunk out of my day, I simply delete or move blocks, prioritizing what needs to be done, and make sure I schedule in any lower-priority work for a later date.

Take breaks

It could be a two-hour lunch break, making sure your evenings are always free for Netflix, or a ten-minute break every forty minutes of work, however you break, make sure you do it. If like me you struggle to relax or take your mind off work, try doing something during the break.

At the moment, an active break is doing anything except for my dissertation, that could be applying for a job, replying to emails, or mindlessly scrolling TikTok (stay aware of the time if you choose the latter). I also thrive on seeing people in-person (yes, the pandemic has been hard) so at least every other weekend I make an effort to go and do something in-person.

Stay hydrated and well fed

I notoriously do not drink enough, but when my brain is working hard on my dissertation I know it’s crucial I fuel it properly. To help drink more water I put a little bit of juice concentrate in, and I put specific breaks between work blocks to make and eat food.

If you find yourself dehydrated or forgetting a meal, try the little things. Give your water a bit of zing, plan nice meals, or have snacks nearby – fruit is always great as the water content is high, too!

Plan ahead

This may be one of the most annoying but important points. Take an hour to plan out when you need to have things done by, and always give yourself extra time. Plan your best-case scenario, but also your worst. This way if unexpected life things pop up, you will be prepared and have a time contingency to work around them.

By effectively managing your time and looking after yourself, your dissertation should be finished in no time. Remember your health comes first and if you’re struggling, you can reach out to the Welfare team at

Take breaks, stay hydrated, try a little and often approach. You got diss.

Loughborough University London and Loughborough Students’ Union would like to thank Amie Woodyatt for this blog.

To find out more about the LSU in London, please visit our website.

You find out more about our library service and how they can help you undertake research here.

Freshers 2021: Budgeting

September 21, 2021 Saagar Sutaria

There are a few initial costs that come when starting university, but don’t panic! We’ve given you a rundown of what to expect so you can budget accordingly. We’ll also provide you with a few tips on how to save money over the course of the year.

When you start

Fresher subs

In order to make your freshers experience the best possible, your hall need money to do so. Your fresher subs cover your fresher T-shirt, wristband for entry to events, buses to nights in town amongst other things. You purchase your fresher subs from the LSU website. The pricing will vary depending on each hall.

TOP TIP -> The Student’s Union offer a package deal for nights out called Platinum. It includes year long free entry to LSU weekly nights out as well as your Fresher Ball ticket. If you think you’ll visit the Union a lot, it’s worth a purchase.

Room audit

At the start of the term, you fill out a room audit, making note of the condition of your bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. This way, accommodation will know that you are not responsible for causing any pre-existing damages. If at the end of the year everything is in the same condition, you don’t have to worry! If there is any damage that was not reported in the room audit, you will be charged.

TOP TIP -> Make sure to fill out your room audit as soon as you arrive as you only have a few days to compete it.

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Clubs and societies

To join an AU sports club or a society, you will need to pay an initial base fee, plus a fee provided by each organisation. These will vary in price depending on each club or society. Most sports clubs will have basic kit or stash you’ll need to buy in order to represent the team at events or fixtures, such as shorts and socks.

TOP TIP -> Buy the essentials first, such as the standard required kit (your club officers will tell you what you need) before bagging the leisurewear items.

Throughout the year

Accommodation fees

Your accommodation fees are split into installments termly (there are 3 terms over the year). Student loan payments drop termly as well, which will help cover the costs. You can get a full breakdown of your hall fee costs over the year here.

TOP TIP -> Try not to spend your student loan payments as soon as the money enters your bank account! Open a savings account and put the majority in there, budgeting by transferring over an amount each week to spend.


Every hall has a committee member in charge of stash, which is basically clothing and merchandise. If you want to take part in hall IMS (inter-mural competitive sport), you will need to purchase an IMS T-shirt from your stash rep to play. Over the course of the year, you can also purchase other items from your stash rep to show your support for your hall, from T-shirts, hoodies and hats to mugs, phone cases and cups.

Hall social events

Throughout the year, your hall will throw social events which can sometimes require purchasing a ticket. Examples of include the summer / winter balls and high-table meals that are held by each hall every year. The price of these events will vary from hall to hall.

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If you are self-catered, it’s a good idea to gather a group of people to do a combined online shopping order. That way, you don’t have to trek to and from town carrying heavy bags containing your weekly shop. Plus, you can split the cost of the delivery between you all. If you are catered but weekdays only, it’s a good idea to venture out to town on the Friday to go food shopping or visit the Purple Onion shop on campus.

TOP TIP -> Make the most of student discount deals at shops, restaurants and other services! Ask at the till if they offer discounted prices for students, and make sure you have your student card with you wherever you go.

Travel home

Before you know it, it’ll be the Christmas and Easter breaks and you’ll have to venture home. In Loughborough, there are fantastic transport links across the country, including trains and coaches. If you’re an international student, it’s worth checking with your hall what dates you can stay in your accommodation over the break, as some will be closed.

TOP TIP -> With trains and flights, it’s always worth planning ahead and booking your travel home early, as it will be a lot cheaper than buying last minute.

Although this may seem like a lot to take in, if you’re well prepared for what’s coming and budget well, managing your money at uni should come easily.

If you’re worried about your financial situation, see the fees and financial support section of our website:

It's All About Recycling

It's All About Recycling

September 20, 2021 Elliott Brown

Welcome to Recycling Week, my name is Louis and I work for your Universities waste management provider, Enva. My Role within Enva is to provide customer Engagement for the Universities. The purpose of this engagement is to help increase understanding of sustainability best practice. That could come in a lot of different forms, presentations, training or, in this case, a blog. Speaking of blogs. This is the second part of this series focusing on the waste hierarchy.

If you missed the Zero Waste Week post on reduction and reuse don’t worry, you can find it here.

Recycling week runs from the 20th – 26th of September and this year marks the week’s eighteenth birthday.

Recycling week is special because it is the one week per year retailers, brands, waste management companies, trade associations, governments and the media come together to achieve one goal: to galvanise the public into recycling more of the right things, more often.

The theme this year focuses on the Climate Crisis.

For many of us, the past year’s events have reduced opportunities to make a difference. A lot has happened that we have no control over, but the climate crisis is something we can impact every day.

Just by making small changes to our day to day lives we can help make a significant difference in the amount of waste we produce, some of which ends up in landfill. Following the same format as the previous instalment in this blog series, the goal is going to be to identify small changes that can be made that would make a big difference. This might mean that it makes recycling easier or more efficient, or it might help you improve the overall amount of waste that you can recycle.

Of course, you can:

How many aluminium cans do you use a week? Think about it, that’s your fizzy drinks. That’s your small tuna cans, sardine cans. Finally (and without any judgement!) it’s also your beer cans.

Do you make sure you recycle all your cans?

Aluminium is the most valuable thing in your recycling because of its recyclability, and because aluminium cans recycle without any loss of quality. Currently close to 70% of the aluminium cans we use globally are recycled, which is 113,200 cans per minute!

However, as you can see from those figures, we throw away a vast number of cans. That means that the 30% we aren’t recycling causes a massive issue.  For example, if we recycled all our aluminium cans in the UK, we would need fourteen million fewer dustbins. On top of that, when a can does end up in landfill it stays there for 500 years before it oxidises. Finally, from an energy perspective, to recycle one can saves the same amount of energy it takes to power a television for three hours. Aluminium cans are one of the easiest materials to recycle, all you need to do is make sure it’s completely empty and pop it in any mixed recycling bin or can bin around campus.

Be better with batteries:

Most people have batteries powering something in every room of their house. Everything from the television remote in the lounge to the weighing scales in your bathroom are likely to be battery powered. However, unlike most waste streams batteries can’t be recycled via your everyday recycling bin. Thankfully though, batteries are still very much recyclable.  To recycle batteries, it’s important to find “battery bins”. Most buildings have a battery bin in the foyer or reception which make it easier to recycle your used batteries.

Recycling batteries in the correct bin is extremely important because of dangers when batteries start to degrade. Depending on the type of battery, they can contain various dangerous chemicals such as lead, cadmium, zinc, lithium and even mercury. Batteries are the most common cause of fires at waste and recycling sorting facilities, and when these batteries rot away in landfill it is common for these chemicals to begin to leak into the ground. This can cause water and soil pollution. Each battery is believed to take over 100 years to decompose in landfill.

Over the last two years the UK has failed to meet its recycling target of 45% for the previous two years. According to “Recycle More” the U.K throws away 600 million batteries per year.

Recycling your batteries properly is one of the easiest ways to begin making a positive difference!

The plastic bottle problem:

It goes without saying that in the U.K we like a fizzy drink. In British culture a fizzy drink, a packet of crisps and a sandwich is a staple of what lunch on the go might look like. In theory, the drink element of this shouldn’t be an issue. The most recyclable element of your “lunch on the go” is usually the plastic bottle. If the bottle is empty it should be able to be put in any standard recycling bin without issue. Sadly, a lot of them aren’t.

The government reported that we go through 14 billion plastic bottles per year. Unfortunately, we aren’t keeping up with many other developed countries when it comes to recycling these bottles. Currently we recycle around 70% of those plastic bottles. This leaves around four billion plastic bottles that are not recycled every year. According to parliamentary publications, we also litter around 700,000 plastic bottles daily. This has a devastating impact on both our natural habitats and our human well-being which has led parliament to say that the use of plastic bottles is no longer a recycling nor an environmental issue but a social issue that leads to indirect taxpayer costs. 

Less contamination yields more appreciation:

One of the biggest issues encountered when working in waste management is waste contamination.

In its purest form waste contamination is putting anything into your waste stream that shouldn’t be there.  For instance, aluminium cans are perfectly fine to be recycled, however if thrown away with liquid in them that will contaminate the rest of the waste within that container, such as paper and card. Fluids even lessen the value of recyclable plastic and metal. This is a massive issue as it results in extra work for our waste segregation team and likely has a result of recycling being missed which lessens the overall sustainability of the system.

In some cases, entire bales of recyclable waste will be rejected from recycling companies due to contamination.

The two leading causes of contamination in an academic setting are disposable coffee cups and food waste.

Unfortunately, most disposable coffee cups are not recyclable. However, because some are recyclable under certain circumstances, so the topic remains cloudy with conflicting sources of information. To help with this issue the University of Loughborough have provided cup bins. The bins feed into the general waste stream.  This waste is all collected so as with all containers it is very important that the disposable cups are only disposed of when they are completely empty.

One of the key reasons it Is important to separate food waste is the contamination of waste. Your left-over soup will contaminate your recycling the same way your left-over coffee would. Food waste is collected on a different vehicle to your General waste and your recyclable waste. Putting food waste in your General waste bin will not only contaminate any recycling we might be able to salvage in general waste but it will also contaminate the recycling on the same vehicle.  

To prevent waste contamination here at Enva we have come up with a few easy tips to help with the contamination issue.

  1. Keep your recycling clean and dry.
  2. Make sure your waste goes in the right place (read the label on the bin!).
  3. If in doubt, leave it out
This Week at Loughborough | 20 September

This Week at Loughborough | 20 September

September 20, 2021 Saagar Sutaria

Institutional Issues workshop: Day 1

21 September, 9.45am – 12.40pm, Online

Crisis and Persistence: Dynamics of institutional changes at the interface of the formal and informal institutions.

This is a Loughborough University London Event.

Find out more on the events page.

Institutional Issues workshop: Day 2

21 September, 9.30am – 1.05pm, Online

Crisis and Persistence: Dynamics of institutional changes at the interface of the formal and informal institutions.

This is a Loughborough University London Event.

Find out more on the events page.

NCSEM Autumn series: Physical activity, energy balance and adiposity

22 September, 5.30pm – 7.15pm, Online

Each talk in this series will provide cutting-edge information relating to developments within the fields of exercise as medicine, nutrition, and behaviour change.

Led by a team of world-leading academics, each talk will convey the key take-home messages from the latest research with the aim of extending the knowledge and understanding of those with a basic interest in the field.

Find out more on the events page.

Welcome Party: Butler, Claudia Parsons, Telford

25 September, 10pm, The Basement

Welcome to Loughborough! We’re kicking things off the only way we know how – by throwing a huge party in the Students’ Union! Expect drinks, dancing, music, and memories that’ll last a lifetime!

This event is only for members of Butler CourtClaudia Parsons, and Telford, and is included in your Hall Subs – no tickets are available!

Find out more on the events page.

Welcome Party: Falk-Egg, Rigg-Rut, Royce

26 September, 10pm, The Basement

In our contemporary moment, erasure is everywhere. Material disappearances abound as rising seas swallow low-lying island nations, as drought extends far beyond traditional aridity zones, and as hurricanes and flash floods destroy tow

Welcome to Loughborough! We’re kicking things off the only way we know how – by throwing a huge party in the Students’ Union! Expect drinks, dancing, music, and memories that’ll last a lifetime!

This event is only for members of Falkner EggingtonHazlerigg-Rutland and Royce, and is included in Hall Subs – no tickets are available!

Find out more on the events page.

Can Paralympic sport break down barriers to assistive technology use in Africa?

Can Paralympic sport break down barriers to assistive technology use in Africa?

September 17, 2021 Noah Campbell

The Para Sport Against Stigma project is an innovative, 4-year project delivered by Loughborough University London, in partnership with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and University of Malawi, Chancellor College. This project looks at how representation, education and communication in Para sport can break down barriers to stigma to support access and adoption of assistive technology. 

Nyasha Mharakurwa (Paralympian, Zimbabwe/IPC Membership Programmes Coordinator), Stacy Konadu Mensah (Para athlete Wheelchair Tennis, Ghana) and Patrick Yaw Obeng (Para athlete, Para athletics, Ghana) have written a captivating blog focusing on what assistive technology is, the lack of assistive technology in certain parts of Africa and the opportunity for Para sport to improve access to assistive technology. Check it out below.

What does assistive technology mean for people with disabilities? Why do only 15% of people who need assistive technologies (AT) in parts of Africa have access to them?

As a person with a disability, and a former wheelchair tennis player and London 2012 Paralympian from Zimbabwe, AT has been critical in my daily life and my sporting career. Earlier this year, I took part in a panel discussion about Para sport and AT during the Knowledge Exchange Forum for the Para Sport against Stigma (PSAS) project. PSAS is an innovative project that looks at how representation, education and communication through Para sport can break down barriers to stigma to support access and adoption of AT.

During the panel, we discussed what AT means, and how certain devices and equipment are key for persons with disabilities for their independence. AT is fundamental for persons with disabilities to access areas like education, employment, health services as well as many other rights. In parts of Africa, however, there is a serious lack of access to AT. High cost and unavailability seem to be the major barriers as a lot of AT and equipment is imported from outside the continent and therefore becomes unaffordable to many persons with disabilities.

In addition, there are also socio-cultural issues which become barriers to AT adoption, such as the stigma around disability in a lot of communities on the continent. This was a key aspect of the discussions was exploring the role that Para sport could play in breaking down barriers to the adoption of AT on the African continent.

Below, I share my reflections and experiences on this topic, drawing on comments from two fellow Para athletes from Ghana; Stacy and Patrick.

Photo credit: NM Foundation Trust Zimbabwe
Alt Text: 5 black male athletes enjoy a game of wheelchair basketball.

Stigma as a barrier to AT adoption in Africa

Stigma often leads to poor standard of living for persons with disabilities because of the exclusion in many aspects of life in society such as education, employment, and access to health care that follows it.

As Stacey noted: “People think we are slow in everything we do, especially when working with person living with disability and it results to unemployment”.

I feel that stigma is, in part, caused by a lack of understanding of something and depending on the conversations taking place on the issue in a community, false knowledge can be created and propagated on the group of people, such as the association of disability with witchcraft and evil.

To read the full article, please visit the AT2030 website here.

We would like to thank Nyasha Mharakurwa, Stacy Konadu Mensah and Patrick Yaw Obeng for sharing this blog. learn more about AT2030 here.

To find out more about the Para Sport Against Stigma project, delivered by Loughborough University London, in partnership with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and University of Malawi, Chancellor College please visit this web page.

Image credit: Photo credit: NM Foundation Trust Zimbabwe

IT Services: How can we help you?

IT Services: How can we help you?

September 17, 2021 Ella Cusack

Welcome to the Student Support Services spotlight series! In this series, we will introduce you to all our of Student Support Services and let you know how we can offer you support during your studies at Loughborough University London.

In the final blog of this series, meet our IT Services team and find out how we can help you.

Meet the IT Services Team

The London IT Services team is a small team made up of the following people, Faysal Chowdhury, Dipesh Dhimar & Sylvia Easy-Hemmings, who all aim to provide you with a 1-2-1 personal service. We always stride to provide you with what you need, how you need it and when you need it where possible. 

How can we help you?

As a student, you can book to borrow IT equipment such as MacBooks, Laptops, Cameras and cables. All equipment are supplied with the relevant peripherals such as chargers. For a full list of available IT equipment please visit

The university’s IT webpages, which can be found here, has very useful resources, including how-to guides (how to set up your email, connect to printers, add print credit and), demonstrations and tutorial videos, downloadable university software, amongst many other resources.

We all still remember what it is like to be a university student and aim to make things a smooth as possible for you when engaging with us.

How can you contact us?

The physical London IT Services Desk is located on the second floor of the London campus. Please note during the current state of the pandemic we are only operating an online service:

If you do need to speak to a member of staff from the IT Service desk, please contact the Central IT Services Team on Monday (10:00 – 15:00) and Tuesday – Friday (10:00 – 16:00) on  (01509) 222333.

This blog is part of the Student Support Services spotlight series. To read other blogs in this series, please visit the blog home page.

To find out more about the London IT services, visit our website.

Your monthly health check: Looking after your eyes

Your monthly health check: Looking after your eyes

September 16, 2021 Sadie Gration

You only have one pair of eyes, which is why it’s really important you understand how to maintain optimum eye health, as well as learn more about what can damage them.  

As part of the University’s partnership with SuperWellness, this month we’ll be talking about how diet, regular check-ups, and everyday environments can impact your eye health. Further down in this blog post we’ll also be providing information on how you can claim a free eye test voucher through the University.   

Why should I get an eye test?  

You should get your eyes tested at least once every two years. By doing so, an optician can monitor your vision (and suggest how to correct it to improve your quality of life if needed), alongside checking for any common or rare eye conditions.  

Examples of common conditions include cataracts and glaucoma. Cataracts are a small disc which develops in your eye causing cloudy patches. If left untreated, your vision can worsen and even lead to blindness. However, they are usually painless and there are a few treatment options available. Glaucoma is where the optic nerve becomes damaged, resulting in increased pressure in the eye with loss of vision over time. Again, a variety of treatment options are available, and both conditions are generally much more common in older adults.  

What nutrients do I need to include in my diet to support my eye health? 

A balanced diet plays a key role in your eye function. Below are some of the fundamental vitamins and nutrients which support eye health: 

  • Vitamin C: Obtained through fruit and vegetables 
  • Vitamin E: Sourced through nuts and seeds 
  • Vitamin A: Found in animal products and colourful fruit and vegetables 
  • Omega 3: Supports visual development and retinal function and can be consumed by eating oily fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel.  
  • Lutein and Zeaxanthin: This antioxidant helps block blue light damage and is found in leafy greens, pistachios, eye yolks, and red grapes.  

What are the risks to my eye health? 

  1. UV Exposure 

We often think of UV exposure affecting our skin, but we need to protect our eyes too. Over time, UV exposure to the eyes can increase the risk of developing cataracts, growths and even cancer.   

Never look at the sun directly, and try to wear sunglasses when you are outside – even on cloudier days. Wraparound sunglasses and those with ultraviolet protection are the safest options.  

  1. Smoking 

Smoking increases the risk of destroying eye blood vessels, and can also make age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts more likely to occur, which can worsen your vision especially when left untreated.  

  1. Screen time 

A significant amount of screen time can cause dryness to the eyes, and research is finding it may possibly cause cases of near-sightedness as well.  

Take regular breaks, avoid looking at screens shortly before you go to sleep, and put dedicated time aside each day to exercise or undertake another activity that isn’t screen-focused.  

  1. Make up 

Old or out-of-date make-up will build up bacteria and can increase the chances of an eye infection. Replace products every three months (unless otherwise stated) and regularly wash your brushes in hot, soapy water.  

Also consider using a more gentle make up remover if you have particularly sensitive eyes.  

  1. Poor contact lens hygiene 

A lack of care when using contact lenses may result in inflammation or a fungal infection, so follow the hygiene instructions for your contact lenses.  

Free eye tests for eligible staff members 

Occupational Health issues vouchers for eligible staff members to have a free eye test. The voucher is conditional on testing being carried out at the University’s chosen optician, Specsavers. 

To obtain your voucher, please email and confirm the following information: 

  • That you are a PC user (DSE) at the University 
  • You have not had an eye test in the last two years 
  • Your staff number 
  • Your Department/ School 
  • Your staff contract is for 12 consecutive weeks or more. 

The voucher also entitles you to a contribution or discount for a pair of glasses if you require them.  

All staff are asked to take a Display Screen Equipment self-assessment if you have not already. Further information can be found here

You can find out more information on how to keep your eyes healthy by checking out SuperWellness’ 20-minute video. The content covers common eye issues, tips to keep your eyes healthy, and the nutrients you need to support eye health.

All images used in this article are courtesy of Getty Images.   

Future Space: How can we help you?

Future Space: How can we help you?

September 16, 2021 Ella Cusack

Welcome to the Student Support Services spotlight series! In this series, we will introduce you to all our of Student Support Services and let you know how we can offer you support during your studies at Loughborough University London.

In this blog, meet our Future Space team and find out how we can support your employability and skill development.

Hello, my name is Grace Baird and I work in the Future Space team at Loughborough University London. My role is to ensure our Digital Skills programme and wider team activities and events run effectively whilst supporting our students. As a member of the Future Space team and former student, I’ve written this blog to let you all know how to get the best out of the Future Space offer and your time at Loughborough. 

What is Future Space? 

Future Space exists to support you to connect to your future.  We can help you with your ideas and your next step in your career.  We can help you reflect on your skills and experience, set goals and access new opportunities that will enhance your CV, entrepreneurial abilities, and career prospects alongside your academic studies. 

What Organisations Do We Work With? 

  • Chelsea FC
  • Tech Mahindra 
  • BT  
  • Ticketmaster 
  • West Ham United Foundation 

…and many more. 

What Sort of Events / Activities Do We Offer You? 

The Future Space Team hosts a wide range of events and activities focusing on a range of topics including: 

  • Growing your Network 
  • Gaining Experience 
  • Developing New Skills 
  • Receiving Advice on Starting your Own Business  
  • Career Planning and Support 

The Future Space activities are split into three categories: 

Reflection and Action 

Examples:  Personal Best London, Careers Events, Mentoring Programme, Guest Lectures, Alumni Panels​ 


Examples: Workshops, Additional Programmes and Training​ 


Examples: Hacks, Digital Skills Work Insight Projects, Collaborate, Volunteering, Part-time Work, Student Ambassador Programme, Post Study Work Opportunities 

The Digital Skills Programme 

One of the many opportunities our students can get involved with is the Digital Skills programme. The Digital Skills programme provides an opportunity for our students to gain skills to support their employability and take on 6-week work insight projects with real companies and attend workshops to boost your digital skills.  Our students can apply to take part in the Digital Skills programme now with work-insight projects commencing in October 2021.  

To apply, please go to the ‘Apply for the Digital Skills Programme’ section of our LEARN page here: Please note that both the application form and video interview parts need to be completed for students to be eligible for a work-insight Project.  

For more information you can read about some previous examples of work-insight projects here.

How Do I Get Involved? 

The great news is – you already are.  In completing your registration, you will have filled in our Personal Best London questionnaire.  This will help us to make recommendations for you on activities to get involved with this year.  We will e-mail you with information and invitations to relevant activities and resources based on your Personal Best London Questionnaire responses early in Semester 1. 

The Future Space Team will also be hosting a range of Induction Events including our online ‘Future Space Welcome Panel’ on Tuesday 28th September 2021 (15:00 to 16.30 UK Time).  You can book a place at this event here   

The full schedule for Future Space induction activities can be viewed here.  

You can access these sessions either in person or online and sign up is required (Please note that there are capacity limits on in person activities and spaces will be given on a first come, first served basis).  

Once you have signed up, the team will share joining instructions with you via your email address. 

Other upcoming opportunities include: 

  • Monday Mentoring – need help setting goals?  Need more help sticking to them?  Our industry mentors are here to help. 
  • Digital Skills Work Insight Projects – The Digital Skills programme is a two-part program which gives you the opportunity to attend workshops specifically designed to help you develop your digital skills (e.g., blogging, project management, UX Design) and you can also put your skills into practice and complete a 30hr virtual project with a London SME. 
  • Collaborative Project – A feature of many of our programmes, this module offers you the chance to grow your network and make industry connections as part of a group of students to address and develop solutions for a real business problem provided by one of our partners 
  • 1-2-1 Careers Appointments – Our careers consultants offer 1-2-1 career appointments to support our students and recent graduates (e.g., CV advice and interview guidance) 
  • Thinking of starting a business or consultancy? Our LEN team can help to spark your ideas and fan your flames of inspiration.  You can sign up for the LEN newsletter here

Where can you find the Future Space Team? 

We are on the ground floor at the far end.  We are on the web here – we love to hear from our students.

You can reach out to us via e-mail and see our full range of activities and resources on our LEARN module

This blog is part of the Student Support Services spotlight series. To read other blogs in this series, please visit the blog home page.

To find out more about Future Space, you can email

Welfare: How can we help you?

Welfare: How can we help you?

September 15, 2021 Ella Cusack

Welcome to the Student Support Services spotlight series! In this series, we will introduce you to all our of Student Support Services and let you know how we can offer you support during your studies at Loughborough University London.

In this blog, meet our Welfare team and find out all the ways they are here to support you.

Our Welfare team

Hi, we are Olly and Fran and we are here to support you throughout your time here at Loughborough University London. Whether you need help in understanding your options for difficulties you might be facing with your University work or you need someone to be there to hear any external situations that have caused you concern, we want to be there for you.

How can we help you?

The most important thing to us is you and your mental health; if you’re struggling in any way, let us know as soon as you’re able to and we’ll see what we can do to help.

Have a look at our Welfare page on Learn, where you can see much more information around what we can support you with, like extensions, for example.

How can you contact us?

You can email us on our email, where we can either answer any questions you might have electronically or arrange a private meeting (via phone, video call or face to face on campus).

We are situated on 4th floor so please feel free to pop by the student service desk and ask for us if you need to. Although we cannot guarantee we’ll always be free when this happens, we’ll make sure to get in touch with you as quickly as we can.

Thank you for your time and we look forward to seeing you around the campus!

For more information about student support and services, have a look here.

This blog is part of the Student Support Services spotlight series. To read other blogs in this series, please visit the blog home page.

To get in contact with the Welfare team, you can email

The Collaborative Project: Samarkand

The Collaborative Project: Samarkand

September 14, 2021 Ella Cusack

Samarkand is a cross-border eCommerce company focused on connecting Western brands with China, the world’s largest eCommerce market. Samarkand aims to make Chinese eCommerce simple, accessible, and profitable for brands and retailers of all sizes.

As part of the Collaborative Project module, our students had the opportunity to work alongside Samarkand, to deconstruct a brief, conduct research, test ideas and put forward their proposals.

We recently caught up with Eoife, Samarkand’s Strategic Project Manager, who has kindly shared Samarkand’s experience working alongside our students as part of this module. Take a look below.

Why did Samarkand get involved in the Collaborative Project?

“We wanted to work with innovative and entrepreneurial talents to explore the future of cross-border eCommerce.

The Collaborative Project provides an excellent platform to tap into a diverse cohort of graduates with multidisciplinary background, who are eager to learn and apply their skills in tackling real-world business challenges.”

How would you describe your experience working with our students?


The international outlook of talents produced dynamic and intellectually stimulating exchange throughout the three months. Students were reflective and proactive to ask questions.

The course leader Surya were also instrumental to the success of the project with timely support that steered teams to realise their full potential.”

What did you enjoy most about working with our students?

“The winning team, Pen Pals, fulfilled the brief with a well-crafted presentation packed with actionable insights for our business. They drew on current industry data and combined it with primary research.

One of the team members, Chloe, has since joined Samarkand as a marketing intern to take Pen Pals’ eCommerce concept store into reality amongst other projects. We’d be thrilled to hire her for a full-time role once she finishes her study at Loughborough.”

What would you say to any organisations considering getting involved with the Collaborative Project in the future?

“If you are looking to spur innovation and future-proof your organisation, Collaborative Project is an excellent platform to experiment with and learn from some of the brightest talents London has to offer.

We look forward to participating in the Collaborative Project 2022 and taking our partnership with Loughborough to the next level.”

We would also like to say a big thank you to Eoife, for sharing her experience working alongside our students as part of the Collaborative Project 2020/21.

We would also like to say a big thank you to Samarkand for working with our students on the Collaborative Project and for providing a real business problem for our students to solve. You can find out more about Samarkand here.

The Collaborative Project is a module that gives students from across the University the opportunity to form interdisciplinary teams and use their individual experiences and expertise to solve a real business problem, provided by one of our corporate partners. You can find out more about the Collaborative Project here.

The Collaborative Project: Working with Samarkand

The Collaborative Project: Working with Samarkand

September 14, 2021 Ella Cusack

The Collaborative Project module allows our students to address a brief provided by a real business or organisation. As part of the Collaborative Project, current student Chloe had the opportunity to work alongside one of our corporate partners, Samarkand.

Samarkand is a cross-border eCommerce company focused on connecting Western brands with China, aiming to make Chinese eCommerce simple, accessible, and profitable for brands and retailers of all sizes

Since undertaking the Collaborative Project with Samarkand, Chloe has been offered a Summer Internship at Samarkand and has even featured in the latest Samarkand annual report.

In this blog, Chloe has shared her experience working alongside Samarkand and provided some advice for students who will be undertaking this module in the future. Check it out below.

Why did you choose to collaborate with Samarkand?

“Samarkand is a forward-thinking company focused on connecting Western brands with China. I believed my understanding of the China digital marketing landscape would make me a bridge between Samarkand and Chinese audiences, which was particularly well-suited to the project brief.”

How would you describe your experience working with Samarkand?

“It was an incredible experience. During the Collaborative Project, Samarkand’s Strategic Project Manager Eoife was highly supportive, and she provided lots of helpful suggestions for us to improve our work.

Also, it was satisfying to have an opportunity to showcase my original ideas to the company and received positive feedback.”

What did you enjoy most about working with Samarkand?

“After the Collaborative Project, I got an opportunity to work as a marketing intern at Samarkand. I’ve been working closely with Eoife on some exciting company projects. We work as a team to solve problems and create new ideas to reach our team objectives, which I found enjoyable.”

What would you say to any students who will undertake the Collaborative Project module in the future?

“The Collaborative Project is an amazing platform to network and meet potential employers. While working with real-world business partners to discuss and resolve recent issues, I’ve improved my ability to work with different stakeholders, which will be beneficial to my personal and career development.

Any students who will participate in this module should seize the opportunity to explore your career path.”

Anything else you would like to add?

“Comprehending various values and becoming a more efficient communicator will help to gain our teamwork performance, not only in academic projects, but also in the future work environment. I used to see teamwork as an ability that we were born with it. However, after undertaking the Collaborative Project, I realised there is a lot of knowledge that needs to be absorbed, and I will not be able to master it unless I practice.”

We would like to thank Chloe for sharing her experiences and congratulate her on securing a summer internship at Samarkand.

We would also like to say a big thank you to Samarkand for working with our students on the Collaborative Project and for providing a real business problem for our students to solve. You can find out more about Samarkand here.

The Collaborative Project is a module that gives students from across the University the opportunity to form interdisciplinary teams and use their individual experiences and expertise to solve a real business problem, provided by one of our corporate partners. You can find out more about the Collaborative Project here.

The Library Services Spotlight: How can we help you?

The Library Services Spotlight: How can we help you?

September 14, 2021 Ella Cusack

Welcome to the Student Support Services spotlight series! In this series, we will introduce you to all our of Student Support Services and let you know how we can offer you support during your studies at Loughborough University London.

In this blog, meet our Librarian and the Library resources available to our students.

The London Library service is run by Laura Newman, the Librarian – you should be meeting Laura as part of your induction process, and during your modules. Laura is available by email (, phone (02038051353) or by appointment on Microsoft Teams until we resume in-person fully.

Laura can help you with accessing appropriate resources, undertaking research, critically evaluating information to pick the best sources, and referencing. If you would like support with any of this, then please do get in touch with Laura.

The majority of Library resources are available online through the library catalogue – this is basically a search engine: You can find ebooks, journals, journal articles, newspapers and much more on this. It’s important that for all of your assignments you use good quality and relevant information as evidence to support your arguments, and to make sure you get high marks – finding information through the Library is a good place to start. As well as the catalogue, it’s a good idea to look at the subject guides to find the resources most suited to your particular course:

The physical library space is currently open on the London campus on the second floor, and if you have any enquiries you can ask at the IT services desk. You can borrow and return books using your student ID card on the self-issue machine in the Library. If you have any issues or need assistance with anything, please email

This blog is part of the Student Support Services spotlight series. To read other blogs in this series, please visit the blog home page.

To contact the Library, please email

This Week at Loughborough | 13 September

This Week at Loughborough | 13 September

September 13, 2021 Saagar Sutaria

Digital Twin: Holy Grail or Wholly Hype

14 September, 9.30am – 11am, Online

Hands-In this session, led by experts from the Institute of Digital Engineering, we look at one of today’s top technology trends, Digital Twins, and how it’s changing the way businesses operate, the customer experience, and its contribution to cleaner, more efficient, and safer products and services. Find out more on the events page.

Waste Panorama (exhibition)

14 – 24 September, 12pm – 2pm, Martin Hall Gallery

This exhibition explores the challenge of waste management. Waste as a throw-away or single-use article disturbs the global environment, and the control policy differs between developed and developing countries. Find out more on the events page.

Public lecture: Should the government use PACE labelling to decrease excessive calorie consumption

14 September, 5.30pm – 6.30pm, Online

The talk will discuss the role of food labelling in helping the public to choose healthy food, with a particular focus on the use of physical activity calorie equivalent (PACE) food labelling. Find out more on the events page.

Athlete body image: The impact of retirement

16 September, 2pm – 5pm, Online

This free, interactive webinar will support athletes to achieve a healthy body image during retirement. The event is part of a research project funded by the IOC Olympic Studies Centre. Find out more on the events page.

Erasure and Environment Conference

16 – 17 September, 9am – 6pm, Martin Hall

In our contemporary moment, erasure is everywhere. Material disappearances abound as rising seas swallow low-lying island nations, as drought extends far beyond traditional aridity zones, and as hurricanes and flash floods destroy towns with alarming regularity. Find out more on the events page.

Student Services Spotlight: How can we help you?

Student Services Spotlight: How can we help you?

September 10, 2021 Ella Cusack

Welcome to the Student Support Services spotlight series! In this series, we will introduce you to all our of Student Support Services and let you know how we can offer you support during your studies at Loughborough University London. In the first blog, meet our Student Services team and find out all the ways they are here to support you.

The Student Services Team

A big, big hello from the Student Services team!

Let me introduce you to the two smiley faces you will see on the Student Services desk.

Meet Asia

Asia is our Senior Support Officer who is largely involved in attendance/engagement check-ins, registration, and graduation. Asia is also the student ambassador coordinator and is involved in the recruitment and training process.

Meet Tasmin

Tasmin joined us last year and is our Support Officer, the secretary for our student and staff liaison committee and module feedback coordinator.

We are your first point of contact for any queries, questions or concerns and If we are unable to answer it, we know where to direct you!

How can we help you?

  1. General queries and referrals
  2. Proof of Student Status letters
  3. Module change requests
  4. Timetabling
  5. Leave of absence
  6. Attendance
  7. MyLboro app

How can you contact us?

Telephone: 020 3805 1348

The telephones are open Monday, to Friday 9am – 5pm so whether you fancy a chat, have an urgent question or not sure who to contact, just give us a call


Alternatively, our inbox is always open and you can contact the London student services via email.

Find us: On the fourth floor

You can also find us on the fourth floor, just as you exit the lifts. You will often see us as you head to the quiet study area so make sure you pop by and say hello!

Currently, Student Services has moved remotely, however we are still here to support you, via telephone or email, Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm

The advice team

Our advice team is located at our Loughborough campus and are just a phone call away. Our advice team can support you with financial, housing and immigration and visa advice. Our Advice team can be contacted via

Student Services web chat

If you have any questions about our Student Support Services or perhaps you have some questions and you’re not sure who to speak to:

Join the Professional Services team webchat – we are here to answer your queries on 13 September, 10:00 – 12:00 (GMT)

You can join this web chat here.

This blog is part of the Student Support Services spotlight series. To read other blogs in this series, please visit the blog home page.

For student enquiries, please email or call 020 3805 1348.

The impact of being born preterm on children’s development and education

The impact of being born preterm on children’s development and education

September 7, 2021 Centre for Mathematical Cognition

Dr Jayne Trickett and Professor Camilla Gilmore conduct research into academic attainment following preterm birth, in collaboration with Professor Samantha Johnson at the University of Leicester and colleagues at the University of Nottingham and Ulster University. In this blog post, they outline why research into school-based outcomes following preterm birth is important. 

In the UK, each year around 8% of babies are born preterm, i.e., before the start of the 37thweek of pregnancy. This means that, on average, two children in a typical sized-classroom may have been born preterm. Over the past three decades, improvements in medical care mean that more preterm-born babies survive and fewer have medical complications. However, compared with children who are born at term, children born preterm are at higher risk of difficulties with cognitive skills which can impact their learning and attainment in school. As a result, children born preterm have higher rates of special educational needs than children born at term.

The earlier that a child is born, the higher the risk of difficulties in school. Only around 1% of all babies are born at less than 32 weeks of gestation. However, babies born this early are at the greatest risk for poorer academic outcomes in childhood. Using data from the Millennium Cohort study, researchers have investigated children’s educational outcomes at age 11 years. For children born full-term, only 10% had special educational needs, but among children born at 32 to 36 weeks of gestation this was 11-17%, and for children born before 32 weeks of gestation, 27% had special educational needs. 

However, it is important to note that preterm birth is a risk factor for poorer learning outcomes, not a diagnosis. A child born prematurely may have no difficulties, or quite significant difficulties that impact upon their learning. Children born preterm may also have more subtle difficulties with processing information that impact upon their learning, but not to the extent that they would be recognised as having special educational needs.

The impact of being born preterm on school outcomes.

Children born preterm, at all gestations, have on average lower scores on standardised assessments of reading and mathematics than children born at term. Mathematics is the subject that children born very preterm tend to have the greatest difficulty with. These difficulties can start early: children born at less than 32 weeks of gestation are more likely to have poor school readiness compared with children who are born at term. This difference persists through the primary and secondary school years, so children born very preterm do not simply “catch up” with their peers born at term. As a result, preterm-born adolescents, at the end of their school years, still have significantly poorer academic outcomes than adolescents born full-term. 

Why are preterm children at particular risk for persistent problems with mathematics? 

Through examining a range of general cognitive and specific numerical skills, we have shown that preterm children’s difficulties with mathematics were not due to specific difficulties with representing and manipulating numbers, but instead stemmed from difficulties with cognitive skills that are important for learning mathemtics. Children born very preterm tend to have poorer working memory (the ability to hold and manipulate information in mind) and visuospatial processing (the ability to perceive and analyse visual information). Poorer working memory and visuospatial processing explains most of the difference in mathematics outcomes between children born very preterm and at term. Support for children born preterm therefore needs to specifically target the cognitive difficulties they have, for example by reducing the amount of information they need to process at once, or by providing appropriate visual supports when learning mathematics. 

Support for educational professionals

In a survey of education professionals, most reported receiving no training in the educational consequences of preterm birth and are unaware of the potential cognitive and educational difficulties. We have therefore developed an e-learning resource to provide education professionals with information on the long-term consequences of preterm birth and provide suggestions for how to support children in school.The resource was co-developed with teachers, educational psychologists, parents of preterm children and preterm-born young adults and is freely available to use here, thanks to funding from children’s charity Action Medical Research. This resource has been shown to improve teacher’s knowledge of outcomes following preterm birth and their confidence in supporting children.

Research continues to investigate learning and educational outcomes for children born preterm to better understand how we can support them throughout their time in school. Please email if you would like more information about this work.

Zero Waste Week - Cut it out!

September 7, 2021 Elliott Brown

Guest Blog – Louis Guest, ENVA.

Hello and welcome to zero waste week, this is the first of two blogs this month on waste and the waste hierarchy. My name is Louis and I work for your universities waste management company, Enva, where my role is to support customer engagement. The idea behind the engagement is to increase knowledge and participation in sustainability and waste management. This first blog on Zero Waste Week focusses on “Reduction” and “Reuse” to help lower the amount of waste you produce.

What is Zero Waste Week?

Zero Waste Week occurs from the 6th to the 10th of September. The premise of the week is to make people aware of the incremental changes they can make in their day to day lives to limit the amount of waste they produce. The “Zero Waste Week” Campaign was first introduced online in 2008, gaining rapid traction due to its catchy title and lofty ambitions.  As of 2017 the campaign is participated in by over seventy-three countries around the world, with many countries also adopting their own zero waste week initiatives independent of the original non-profit campaign.

Why not give it a try?

One of the more daunting barriers when deciding to participate in zero waste week is that it seems like an unachievable target. It’s important to stress that adopting a few of our tips and tricks can make a massive difference without a radical overhaul in your day-to-day life. Within this blog we aim to empower you to decide which changes would lessen your waste footprint the most and urge you to try them out.

Which trick suits you?

Sustainability, it’s a hairy subject:

Ditch your plastic razors! Plastic razors are not able to be recycled because of their sharp edges meaning that they are categorised as “general waste”. Statista reports that 60.7 million single use razors are thrown away per year in the U.K. So, what can we do to bring that number down and make a difference? Safety razors!  These are fantastic and most of all they are often cheaper than buying disposable razors. They also come with the benefits of a closer shave and less razor burn. If that hasn’t sold you, this might. Most safety razors are made from stainless steel meaning that if they do break, they’re 100% recyclable… but they don’t often break. You can still find antique razors for sale from 70 years ago! The trouble with this option comes when you need to recycle the safety blades. The most effective way to do this would be to purchase a recyclable tin that would serve as a razor blade collector. It should hold around 100 used razor blades and once in bulk most recycling centres will make it easy for you recycle. Some councils may even allow you to put your full recyclable tin in the recycling bin. However, it’s probably best to check with them first!

Rechargeable electric razors are a more ecofriendly option than the disposable razors because they can often last for years. This style of razor also offers other cost and environmental benefits in that you don’t need to use shaving cream or water.  While unfortunately some of the electric razors still need to be plugged in, thankfully most use rechargeable batteries and some even solar power!

Sanitary Sustainability:

Unfortunately, one of the UK’s leading sustainability issues is sewage related debris commonly known as (SRD). Essentially that is anything that we flush down our toilets, and included in that are sanitary pads, feminine wipes, applicators and tampons.  According to sustainability pioneer “Mooncup” Women will use around 11,000 sanitary products in their lifetime, and everyday 27,900 used tampons, towels and applicators wash onto the world beaches every single day. Other elements to consider are the plastic backing strips, the wrappers and the top sheets, none of these items are biodegradable.  Since they began in 2002 Mooncup claim their product has reduced the amount of sanitary products ending up on beaches or in landfill by 2.8 billion. The Mooncup is made of medical grade silicone, is reusable and can last for years, potentially offers greater comfort and eliminates the risk of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), with users likely to breakeven on the purchase in six to eight months.

An alternative is “here we flo” (HWF) pads and tampons. HWF offer products made of oeko-tex bamboo, organic cotton and plant friendly materials. These materials are all 100% compostable, biodegradable and recyclable. The liners and applicators are 100% plastic free. On top of all that good stuff the outer packaging is made of FCS-certified recyclable cardboard and they’re vegan and cruelty free. The product itself doesn’t sound so bad either, HWF 100% organic, PH-respecting & never over drying. Zero irritating synthetic fibers, pesticide residues, bleach, dyes, fragrances and all that other nonsense! Why not give them a try?

Use your loaf:

We all lead busy lives and this can sometimes mean that we dedicate less time to those day-to-day mundane tasks, like making lunch. We all know it’s the most cost-effective solution. However, did you also know that lunch on the go creates 11 billion items of packaging waste annually. Much of this isn’t easily recyclable. 76% percent of those who purchase “lunch on the go” say they purchase a sandwich. Unfortunately sandwich packaging is typically laminated to maintain its freshness, this means that the normally recyclable cardboard packaging cannot be recycled.

Further detriment to the meal deal is the crisp packets. While specialist recycling brand teracycle can collect used crisp packets throughout the U.K and recycle them in bulk, they cannot be recycled in mainstream recycling.  In fact, the only no specialist recyclable crisp packet out there comes from the Hertfordshire based brand “Two Farmers”. The downside however is the cost of this crisps. £21.99 is a large price to pay for a pack of twenty-four crisps considering the same twenty-four pack cost £4.00 from walkers. So, what is the answer?

Bring back the old, packed lunch! Think of the nostalgia! Less waste, more taste. Simply using an old lunch box and bringing a premade sandwich from home instead will significantly lessen your waste produced if you’re someone who eats out for lunch regularly. It might even be as easy as making more food than you need and simply having it for lunch the next day, and who doesn’t make too much pasta anyway? Finally, many lunch packers have success using a Bento Box, these are fantastic! Bento boxes function like a normal lunch box however, the built-in segregation in the box allows you to keep your lunch time salad separate from the brownie you brought for a desert!

The disposable dilemma:

Another trait of a busy life is coffee on the go. Regrettably this is another harmful habits currently plaguing our culture with 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups used per year in Britain?  Only one in every four hundred of these cups is recycled effectively. On top of the massive amount of waste, there is also the issue of the resources that are used to create these cups. It is alleged that 1 million trees are cut down and 1.5 billion liters of water are used to create these disposable cups. Thankfully we can keep our coffee cravings and by being sustainable we could also save some cash! Bringing a reusable cup to your favorite coffee shops can often get you a discount. 50p at Pret A manger, 25p at costa and Starbucks and even 20p at Greggs. All for bringing your own cup. Sounds like a no brainer to me.

At Loughborough University customers are charged a 25p supplement for a hot drink in a disposable cup.

Wasteless water bottles & Fountain fill ups.

Stay hydrated! Water is important, everybody knows that but is your hydration habit causing unnecessary waste? In the United Kingdom 38.5 million plastic bottles are used every day, just over half of those bottles make it to recycling while the other half may be end up being incinerated or worse still in landfill or our oceans.  This trend isn’t dying down either with some believing that plastic production is set to double within the next twenty years. Perhaps “Zero Waste week 2021” could be the time to make a good new habit and commit to taking a reusable water bottle with you instead.

Feel good fashion:

Finally, the big one, we are all guilty of buying some new clothes for a night out or an event. We live in a world where there are always new clothes to buy, and nobody can deny that new clothes make a person feel good. Unfortunately, it is reported by the Intergovernmental panel on climate control (IPCC) that fast fashion is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions every year. Fast fashion also needs a tremendous number of resources to be produced, it is estimated that 1.5 trillion liters of water are used annually within the industry. Another issue plaguing the industry is the distance the materials must travel to make a fast fashion product; some items travel the world as air cargo several times before their manufacture. This is a growing trend within the fashion industry, it is estimated that products being flown rather than shipped could result in over 100% more carbon emissions.

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Sustainability relates to all aspects of our life, even if the outfits we have right now would last forever it is unreasonable to expect people to stop buying clothes, it isn’t socially sustainable. Individual fashions change and that is a part of what makes us unique. The question becomes how our fashions can remain ever changing and reflective of our personalities if we cannot buy new clothes in a sustainable manor. Thankfully there is a solution, Sustainable shopping. Recently popularized by sites like Depop and Vinted, thrift shopping has never been more popular in the U.K. Buying clothes that will stand the test of time from quality materials greatly reduces the need to continue to purchase more and you can find great quality brands at a cut price when shopping second hand. Due to the fast-moving nature of fashion much of it has hardly been worn! Finally, becoming a thrift shopper can serve to make you some money! Selling your old clothes that don’t get much wear anymore online can free up some space in your wardrobe and fill up some space in your wallet.

Red Alert: Climate Change is already here

Red Alert: Climate Change is already here

August 17, 2021 Elliott Brown

The world’s leading authority on climate science, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has just published its most detailed assessment yet of how humans are driving unprecedented change to our fast-warming world.

The IPCC is the UN body created in 1988 that investigates the science of climate change to help political leaders in 195 countries with environmental policy. They last released a report for Climate back in 2013. Since then, nations across the world have been talking a good game about climate action and there are certainly some positive stories but is enough being done?? Well, the latest IPCC report is pretty damning, and it has some stark reminders for us all.

The latest report is part just the first of three parts and focuses on the physical science of climate change. The other two parts will be released in 2022 and will focus on dealing with impacts, adaptation and vulnerability and dealing with the mitigation of climate change.

What does the IPCC report say about global warming? 

Here are some of the key points, which were taken from the IPCC’s summary.

  • Human influence has “unequivocally” warmed the climate Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate.
  • Extreme weather events on the rise Human-caused climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes and is also likely the main cause of melting glaciers and ice, as a result of warming oceans and rising sea levels. You only need to look at the wildfires raging and record temperature levels being smashed across North America and EU or the unprecedented flooding in Europe in recent months. This is a glimpse of the future extreme weather events that will become more regular.
  • Sea levels will rise, but we have the ability to slow it Sea level will continue to rise well beyond 2100 and the magnitude and rate of this rise depend on future emission pathways. The report says sea levels are “committed to rise for centuries to millennia” due to continuing ocean heating and the melting of ice sheets.
  • Climate change is going to continue to affect our lives Climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of 1.5°C.
  • Climate goals of 1.5C and 2C slipping ‘beyond reach Under the historic Paris Agreement in 2015, countries agreed to limit global warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels, with an aspiration of keeping temperatures at 1.5C. Immediate, rapid and large-scale cuts to greenhouse gas emissions are needed to keep these climate goals within our grasp, the report says.
A world map showing the change in local summer temperature when the world heats up by 1.5C in the next 20 years
A world map showing the change in local summer temperature when the world heats up by 1.5C in the next 20 years
  • We have the power to do something about climate change Most adaptation needs will be lower for global warming of 1.5°C compared to 2°C. There are a wide range of adaptation options that can reduce the risks of climate change. 

You may think all of this is quite daunting and that as an individual you can have little influence on the impact of climate, but you can and here are some simple ways how:

  1. Vote – check out your local and national governments’ policies and track record on environment. Many governments are still not doing enough, Vote for change.
  2. Sustainable Investments – From tackling climate change, to equal rights and animal welfare – you can select investments based on your values.
  3. Keep doing the little things – You may not see how small actions like recycling a piece of plastic or eating meat free for a day can impact the environment, but it really does. All these little things multiplied by all of us soon adds up to significant impact.

As a team we continue to assess the impact of our actions on climate change and work with colleagues across the University to reduce these impacts. Here are just a few things we’ve been working on over the last couple of years.

  • The University Strategy currently being developed aims to have sustainability as one of the core principles.
  • We have a Climate and Environment Task Group established to make recommendations to Senate and Council on additional opportunities to address our impacts on the environment and contribute to the wider UK and global impact.
  • We are a signatory of the Sustainable Development Goals accord, we monitor and report on day to day activities which support this.
  • We have an internationally certified (ISO14001:2015) Environmental Management System which:
    • Seeks to identify the impact we have on the environment
    • Sets objectives and targets to manage, mitigate and reduce these impacts
    • Provides policies and procedures for staff and students to support the embedding of sustainability in our day to day operations
  • Energy Strategy and Decarbonisation plan for the estate.

Check out our page for more information on our Climate response

It’s easy to find this report unsettling but is important to note that there is hope and we still have the power to make the changes necessary. Every action the world takes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will make a difference. With COP26 coming up in November the world has an opportunity to really set out actions to lead us to a sustainable future.

“If we combine forces now, we can avert climate catastrophe. But, as today’s report makes clear, there is no time for delay and no room for excuses. I count on government leaders and all stakeholders to ensure COP26 is a success.”

UN Secretary General António Guterres

One thing for sure is the scientists have spoken, what happens next is up to all of us.

This article is in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Action. To read more click here.

Brexit Impact Tracker

Brexit Impact Tracker

August 17, 2021 Ella Cusack

Dr Gerhard Schnyder, Director of the Institute for International Management, has written a blog focussing on the impact of Brexit on the EU and UK Economies and Societies and Politics, entitled the Brexit Impact Tracker. Check it out below.

The good news first. On Tuesday the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published trade data for the second quarter of 2021 (April-June) and the figures show that trade with the EU is up on Q1 and now above pre-Brexit Q4 of 2020. The quarter-on-quarter increase in imports was 12.4%, the increase in exports 12.5%, the later almost entirely driven by increasing exports to the EU. So, was the Q1 slump in trade with the EU down to teething problems after all – as Brexiteers inevitably suggest every time post-Brexit economic figures show a positive trend (e.g. the Telegraph back in June)?

Comparing trade figures during a pandemic with ever changing rules about full and partial lockdowns and international travel restrictions is tricky and may mask Brexit effects. If we compare June 2021 figures to June 2018 for instance, the picture is less rosy than the quarter on quarter comparison: compared to June 2018 exports are 7.4% down, imports 2% (see table 2 here). So, the ‘good news’ about trade and the GDP growth rate of 4.8% will still be largely due to the bounce back following the easing of Covid19 restrictions, rather than to companies having adapted to Brexit and trading with EU countries like before. Indeed, the ‘teething problems hypothesis’ cannot explain away the fact that however much you invest into adapting to the post-Brexit trade world, the bottom line is that trade with the EU after Brexit is not frictionless anymore. That means higher costs for firms that some of them will not be able to afford. Despite the seemingly positive trade figures, there is mounting evidence that this situation starts hitting UK companies hard.

A stark reminder of this fact came from a widely-reported letter by James Ramsbotham, Chief Executive of the North East England Chamber of Commerce, which was sent to the Prime Minister in July, but picked up in the press this week. The letter draws a very bleak picture of the impact of Brexit on trade by companies in the North East of England: 75% of the nearly 2,500 member firms stated that the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) had negatively impacted their business and 37.5% of respondents reported a drop in their UK-EU trade. Ramsbotham puts it bluntly:

“Many of these challenges are not ‘teething problems’ but are fundamental and permanent changes to the way that our businesses trade with Europe. Businesses have reported to us that they are struggling to absorb new costs that Brexit has presented to them and, for many, this is not possible. The result of this is that their prices will be forced upwards, making them fundamentally less competitive than their European competitors.”

To read the full article, please visit Dr Gerhard Schynder’s website, here.

We would like to thank Dr Gerhard Schynder for sharing this blog.

To find out more about our Institute for International Management, please visit this web page.

Your monthly health check: How to fuel your brain and make healthy, nutritious choices

Your monthly health check: How to fuel your brain and make healthy, nutritious choices

August 16, 2021 Sophie Dinnie

Loughborough University has signed up to SuperWellness which provides nutrition-focused wellbeing services to organisations.  Each month, as part of the programme, we will focus on a different aspect of wellbeing which will be featured on this blog.

This month’s theme is healthy eating. Alongside the range of food outlets on campus offering delicious healthy options, we also have academics whose research focuses on the subject.

James Goodwin is a Visiting Professor in the Environmental and Ergonomic Research Centre, based in the School of Design and Creative Arts. He is Director of Science and Research Impact at the Brain Health Network in London and his recently published book, ‘Supercharge Your Brain’ is available from Penguin Books and Amazon.

Below, Professor Goodwin has provided some tips on what to eat to fuel your brain through busy days:

Our brains have evolved over 1.5 million years and its nutritional requirements are embedded in its structure and its function. We can’t change that, but we can embed a diet into our lifestyles that will satisfy these evolutionary needs and optimise the brain’s performance.

1. Diversify

Try to include a wide range of food types into your meals to help ensure your brain gets all the nutrients it needs, as about 75% of all processed food comes from only five animal and 12 plant species.

2. Stay in your rhythm

Regularise mealtimes. It’s not just what you eat, it’s when. Irregular eating and snacking at all hours of the day and night disturbs the body’s biological rhythms, especially the gut and the brain.

3. Hydrate

Drink 3-4 litres of pure water every day and do not rely on thirst as a guide. Drinks containing caffeine can be dehydrating – do not rely on tea and coffee for your liquid intake. The brain is about 80% water and research shows that dehydration really impairs its performance.

4. The Big Five

Five nutrients which are essential to brain health, but which are low in our modern diets are: Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Zinc and Omega 3 fatty acids. Foods rich in these nutrients include fish, eggs, chia seeds, flax seeds, fortified cereals, leafy greens and nuts, so try to implement some of these into your everyday meals.

5. Look after your gut

Eat both natural pre- and probiotics, such as whole foods (eg apple skin and core) which both feed and add bacteria to your gut. Research has shown that gut bacteria not only influences your mood, but also our behaviour and even our thinking.

6. Socialise when you eat

Wherever possible, eat together with others. Research has shown that digestion and absorption improve but further, persistent isolation and regular loneliness are inflammatory, depress brain regeneration and are risk factors for Alzheimer’s Disease.

7. Watch what you drink

Moderate, low-level consumption of alcohol confers health benefits on the brain (1-2 drinks of wine or beer per day). However, it’s a U-shaped curve. Binge drinking over the long term is detrimental to brain health especially memory and is dehydrating – a double whammy.

8.  Chew gum

Research has shown that chewing sugar-free gum in moderation (eg after meals) is associated with better memory, an increase in the brain’s grey matter and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. But look after our beautiful campus and don’t spit it on the pavement! 

Further health and wellbeing support is available via The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provided by the My Healthy Advantage app.

The EAP is available to contact 24/7, 365 days a year. You can phone them on 0800 028 0199 or use the live chat function in the app. It’s also available for immediate family members aged 16 and above, who live in the same household.

If you download the app before 31 August 2021 you will also be entered into a competition to win a Fitbit Charge 4.

Go to Google Play or the App Store and search ‘My Healthy Advantage’. Once downloaded, open the app to complete the sign-up details. You will be asked to input a code, which is MHA119084.

For more information about the Employee Assistance Programme, visit the dedicated webpage.

Evolving your business competition - Vote Now!

August 13, 2021 Ella Cusack

We are proud to present this year’s evolve competition submissions!

Evolve is a dedicated validator programme committed to supporting Loughborough University Student and Graduates from both of our campuses with the structure and practical time needed to really interrogate, test and validate business hypotheses and ideas to take their business to the next level. As part of the programme the founders have been working on showcasing their ideas and formulating clear video pitches for the competition element of the programme.

We need your help in sharing the success of the founders by watching and voting for your favourites in our two prize categories: One to watch and Best overall pitch.

Follow the link below to watch our amazing founders 1-minute video pitches and cast your votes! We have 16 submissions so, in our opinion, only 16 minutes but well spent! It’s a hard task as all of our participants are awesome but we appreciate your support.  

Please note that the deadline to vote is Tuesday 7th of September 2021.

We would also really appreciate it if you could share the link with your friends, colleagues, peers and anyone else you think would be interested in watching our budding entrepreneurs showcase their talents.

Thank you and happy viewing and voting!

You can find out more about the Loughborough Enterprise Network (LEN) and all their exciting opportunities here.

To find out more about all the excellent opportunities on offer to you by our Future Space team, please visit this blog.

Living with an invisible condition

Living with an invisible condition

August 12, 2021 Guest Author

You might not realise it, but your fellow colleague, friend, or family member could be living with an invisible condition.

Invisible illnesses are not usually life-threatening; however, they can significantly affect someone’s day-to-day life. Examples of such conditions include sickle cell anaemia, lupus, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

A member of the University’s Inclusivity Group has anonymously shared their experience of living with ulcerative colitis below to raise awareness of the condition and to make colleagues aware of the invisible conditions, illnesses, and disabilities other staff may be facing each day.

I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in May 2018, an auto-immune condition for which no one knows the cause or the cure. I’ve had some of the worst times of my life with this disease.

It’s one of the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and causes inflammation and ulceration of the inner lining of the colon and rectum. People often confuse this disease with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), which can lead to inaccurate presumptions. The two can be similar in terms of the level of debilitation, however IBD causes inflammation, increases the risk of cancer, and sometimes requires hospitalisation or surgery. 

When my condition is at its very worst I lose control of bowel movements, usually about four hours after eating. As the food passes through the digestive system my body can’t cope with holding it in; sometimes even water upsets it. This means my body is not absorbing the vitamins and nutrients it needs, and I can lose a lot of weight very quickly, which then has a knock-on effect. It leaves you feeling weak and lifeless and, if the bathroom is quite far away, it can also leave you feeling very embarrassed. My colitis seems to flare up between two to four times a year, and it’s unpredictable as to when this might happen. 

Working from home has massively helped me because I’m not rushing around in the mornings or battling the everyday anxiety of rush hour traffic. I can start work straight away at the beginning of the day and take short breaks if I feel weak. Even when my stomach is not ‘behaving itself’ whilst I’m at home, I’m still able to work a full day because I can locate myself next to the bathroom (whereas before, there were occasions where I may have had to call in sick when experiencing a flare up, for fear of being too far away from the bathroom).

Because everyone is different, it can be very trial and error in terms of prescribing medication to treat ulcerative colitis and it can take years to find a medication that works.

There is currently no cure. I’ve tried three different types of medication so far, all of which have actually irritated the disease and caused symptoms to flare up, so I’m currently not taking any medication. This means the risk of experiencing a future flare up is always around the corner.

Over the last three years I’ve worked out which foods I need to avoid to prevent a flare up, however stress or exhaustion can also trigger them. My specialist reminds me at every appointment that, by not being on medication, I’m increasing my risk of bowel cancer, but the next recommended medication I would be prescribed actually supresses the immune system (not ideal during a global pandemic), and comes with its own possible side effects such as hair loss and an increased risk of skin cancer.

I have found the University’s Staff Inclusivity Group to be a great support. We all have different debilitating situations but the members are very proactive about raising awareness of invisible illnesses, conditions, and disabilities, and about making positive changes in the workplace to improve things for everyone.

It’s also good to talk to others who have perhaps experienced misconceptions about their disability and feel like we’re not alone. One of the things I struggle most with is the ‘opposite extremes’ nature of my condition, for example when my condition is not flaring up I feel pretty much back to normal, whereas when it’s at its worst I’m too weak to get out of bed. This made it sometimes feel strange, or wrong even, to attend an Inclusivity Group meeting (where some members have to deal with a permanent disability), however being able to talk about this has helped me to realise it is part of my life, and it’s okay to ask for support when I need it, and I’ve realised that when I’m feeling well I can be a support to others. I wonder if there are other colleagues who feel like this, who might really benefit from joining the group for extra support when they need it most.

If you have been considering joining the group, come along to a session and see how you feel. You’ve nothing to lose.

For further information about the Staff Inclusivity Group, please contact Emma Nadin at Those living with or affected by physical or invisible disabilities are all welcome.

Employees living with an invisible condition that affects their work can also contact the University’s Occupational Health team for additional support. More information about the support they can offer is available here.

Local Experiences Blog Series: Smoothies, Sandwiches and Sweet Potato Fries

August 4, 2021 Ella Cusack

The Local Experiences Blog series is a mini-blog series that forms part of our LSU blog series. In this blog, Loughborough Students’ Union (LSU) London School President, Amie Woodyatt, shares her recommendations of where to go to catch up with friends and take some time away from studying.

There’s plenty going on around Here East; while London is on our doorstep, the surrounding area of Olympic Park provides convenient places to catch up with friends, grab a drink, or celebrate the end of the week with a meal on the canal. It would be impossible to cover everywhere in one blog, so to kick off the series, I’ve picked three places I’ve really enjoyed while visiting.


MOTHER is virtually a stone’s throw from Loughborough London’s building and do hip, healthy food (like toasties, tacos and burgers – very healthy for the soul!) with a range of hot and cold drinks. I highly recommend the Berry Blast-Off smoothie on a hot summer’s day.

They cater to most dietary requirements so be sure to check them out, especially if you fancy lunch while on campus!

Number 90

No90 sweet potato fries are excellent and if you’re around at the end of the week (or just feel like having a meal out) the burgers are equally hearty. There are weekly deals on different days, so if you like 241 drinks or discounts on your grub, be sure to pop in and check it out first.

There are plenty of options on the drinks menu, though it’s worth noting that some prices are not for the faint of heart… Everything is tasty, but it may not be your everyday drinks-after-work hang out.

Ginger & Mint

Based in Olympic Village, Ginger & Mint boast a huge variety (roughly 70, at a guess) of juices, smoothies and shakes. Everything from ‘Apple Zing’ and ‘Fruity and Milky’ to ‘Chocolate Heaven’ and the Acai protein shake. They also up a selection of food, including stews, salads and sandwiches.

You can grab a wrap + juice meal deal for £10, but the juices are a meal by themselves so it’s a perfect place to grab a drink with a friend!

If you haven’t been to any of these spots, I recommend you try them out by the end of the year, but Here East, Olympic Village and Hackney Wick have plenty of great places. Try something new when you next meet up with friends, it might just become a favourite sanctuary from the looming deadlines of university.

To find out more about LSU London can support you during your studies, please visit this web page.

Loughborough University London and Loughborough Students’ Union would like to thank Amie Woodyatt for this blog.

Preparing for your studies: IDIG reading recommendations

August 3, 2021 Ella Cusack

Are you studying with the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance or due to begin you studies soon? We asked our IDIG academics, post -doctoral researchers and PhD students about what books about politics and international relations that students should read to broaden their understanding and support their learning. See what they suggested below.

Reading recommendations

Why Intelligence Fails: lessons from the Iranian Revolution and the Iraq War” By Robert Jervis

This book can be regarded as a type of Haynes manual for understanding intelligence failures. It provides clearly written political and psychological case study analysis of two major intelligence failures. The failure to recognise the fragility of the Shah in Iran and the process failures leading to the assumption that Iraq had WMD’s. This book offers a good introduction to understanding the processes, pressures and pitfalls in formulating intelligence assessments. Despite being written in 2011 it is still relevant today. The section on Iraq can be used to cross reference with the UK SIS intelligence assessment and the CIA estimate of Saddam Hussein.   

Recommended by Sean Calvin (PhD student)

“The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914 – 1991” By Eric Hobsbawn

This is one of those required readings from a university course that stays with you for the rest of your life. Hobsbawm’s breath-taking (if not entirely perfect) review of the world from the start of the First World War to the end of the Cold War puts our current world into perspective by showing how much we have been shaped by that short, bloody but transformative century. It is the final book in a widely acclaimed series on world history since 1789. 

Recommended by Dr Tim Oliver, (Senior Lecturer within the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance)

“Homeland (A Novel)” by Fernando Aramburu

In the heart of Spain’s Basque Country, two friends, Miren and Bittori, find their worlds upended by violence. When Bittori’s husband runs afoul of the separatist organization ETA, a terrorist group of which Miren’s son, Joxe Mari, is a member, both women must choose between their friendship and their families. Moving back and forth in time and told through the eyes of a rich cast of characters from all walks of life, Fernando Aramburu’s dazzling novel probes the lasting legacy of conflict. A work of nearly unbearable suspense, Homeland is a searing examination of truth, reconciliation, and coming to terms with history. 

Recommended by Massimo D’Angelo (PhD student)

“Diplomacy” By Henry Kissinger

Republic of Moldova) you are taught to understand world affairs in the key of Realpolitik and the 1994 book Diplomacy written by Henry Kissinger, a former US National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, is your academic initiation. It walks you through a history of IR and the art of diplomacy of the 20th century showing the balance of power in Europe. Although today I no longer examine global affairs through the prism of the school of realism in international affairs, this book remains the departure point for Diplomatic Studies.

Recommended by Dr Dorina Baltag (Post-Doctoral Researcher)

“Heroic Leadership: the Case of Modern France” By Stanley Hoffmann, in Lewis J. Edinger (ed) “Political Leadership in Industrialised Societies: Studies in Comparative Analysis”.

Stanley Hoffmann has been an inspiration and a role model for me from the very start of my studies in international relations, and this is one of his most-cited pieces.  Hoffmann’s life experience taught him that boundaries and borders are arbitrary and permeable and he brought this to his scholarship, bringing whatever academic tools he could to the study of the realities and messes of world politics.  He made the marriage of theory and empirical research seem particularly effortless. He also had a soft spot for Charles de Gaulle and this piece on ‘heroic leadership’ is one I return to again and again when thinking and writing about diplomacy and leadership today. Oh, and he was nice and generous to other scholars and to his students.  That matters.  

Recommended by Professor Helen Drake (Director of the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance)

“Claiming the International” By Arlene Tickner and David Blaney and “Thinking International Relations Differently”

I would recommend these complementary as two of the recent most rich and inspiring collections exemplifying the evolving movement and call to diversify and pluralise  the otherwise conventional Western-dominated disciplines of International Relations and Diplomacy. The volumes bring together alternative voices and “worldings” – i.e. ways of writing and theorising that open up to the world and bring the world in – through uncovering alternative histories. In so doing, authors from across the world explore alternative ways of thinking about “the international”, “security”, “sovereignty” and “politics”. Contributions range from indigenous women’s pluralising of sovereignty to Arab scholars’ take on globalisation; from a critique of reading the world in ways that absents Africa to Chinese IR theorising; from religion and the state in Southeast Asia, to how the world “looks” from Latin America.   

Recommended by Dr Tatevik Mnatsakanyan (Lecturer in the Institute Diplomacy and International Governance)

“Spouses of the World” By Linn Eleanor Zhang

This book will reflect with those who are interested in the everyday life of transnational workers, diplomats, and their families. It has been written by members of Diplomatic Spouse Club London with the mission to share on-the-ground diplomatic practitioners’ experience over Covid-19 pandemic time, all ups-and-downs of diplomats and their spouses/families during transitions and rotation. That might be of interest to those, who are seeking first-hand storytelling about the lives of diplomats the way it is. 

Recommended by Viktoriia Stratseva (PhD student)

“Thinking Fast and Slow” By Daniel Kahneman

This book on behavioural psychology and decision-making is by the Nobel-prize winner, Daniel Kahneman. It is an accessible text that summarises and further develops a series of important articles that Kahneman wrote together with Tversky in the 1970s and 1980s. The book analyses how humans make decisions – and incidentally how people make wrong judgements due to biases and heuristics. It argues that we have two systems of thinking – System 1 (thinking fast) and System 2 (thinking slow) – and that we use both systems to make sense of the world and to operate our choices. 

Recommended Dr Nicola Chelotti (Lecturer in the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance)

“The Wretched of the Earth” by Frantz Fanon

It’s one of the most important books of the 20th century and is vital reading today. It explains how colonised people fight for freedom, and the political, social and psychological impact of colonisation. If you want to understand issues like BlackLivesMatter and contemporary racism then this is essential reading into structures of oppression and how they can be dismantled. 

Recommended by Professor Aidan McGarry (Reader in International Politics)

“Rethinking the New World” By Georg Sørensen

Few books have managed to  provide a clear understanding for the concept of the world order. This  is one of the recent attempts to theorise the world order through a wide of Western and non-Western perspectives. It is an important guide to understanding changes in the world order in the context of the rise of China. 

Recommended by Dr Cristian Nitoiu (Lecturer in the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance)

“Discourses on LGBT Asylum in the UK” By Thibaut Raboin

I came across this gem whilst searching for discursive social practices and discourses reflecting power asymmetries. I wanted to apply some context to my theoretical readings of discourse analysis outside of my immediate field of subject interest. This book offers asylum seeker discourses with many heart-breaking narratives based on their lived experiences. It provides a powerful platform for discussion of the rights of those who are not citizens, and reflects on the power of words such as ‘the citizen’ when used as a political tool. 

Recommended by Sean Calvin (PhD student)

“The Meaning of the 21st Century” By James Martin

Not only must we avoid the mistakes of the 20th Century, but – argues Martin – we must reckon with a series of challenges that will come to a head by the middle of the 21stCentury, if we are to make it through that ‘canyon’.  Some have already come, like challenge 10: a planet-wide pandemic (p230).  That means we must not only address these issues now, but we must be training the next generation of leaders in various sectors who will have to navigate us through the mid-century perfect storm.  Depending on how we do, Martin posits four ‘world scenarios’ for 2050 (chapter 18). 

Recommended by Professor Phil Buden (Visiting Professor)

“The New Public Diplomacy, Soft Power in International Relations” By Jan Melissen

The New Public Diplomacy can be mentioned amongst one of the most frequently cited titles on public diplomacy. The book was written and edited by well-known and widely respected academics in this subject area.  This book presents an extensive debate about public diplomacy and evaluates its role in foreign policy.   

Recommended by Alicja Prochniak (PhD student)

“Political Discourse and Conflict Resolution: Debating peace in Northern Ireland” By Katy Hayward and Catherine O’Donnell

This book explores the role of political discourse in conflict transformation, drawing specialist contributions from established scholars in the field of Northern Irish politics. It provides a unique and detailed insight into how political discourse shapes and influences political terrain in Northern Ireland. A must-read for those interested in gaining an understanding the importance of discourse in a region emerging from conflict, and how localized diplomacy plays a crucial role in securing an end to violence. 

Recommended by Ruairi Cousins (PhD student)

“21 Lessons for the 21st Century” By Yuval Harari

This book can be seen as a summary of Harari’s two previous books, one based on the distant past experience of humanity named Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2011) and the one the author’s vision on the potential distant future, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2016). In this book Harari looks at the current technological, political, social, and existential issues that the human race has to deal with to face its potential future threats. This piece of work will be useful for those interested in futuristic ideas in IR Theories and for those who aim to form their own holistic views on international relations from the lens of past, present, and future of humankind. 

Recommended by Viktoriia Stratseva (PhD student)

We would like to thank our Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance academics, post-doctoral researchers and PhD students for putting together this blog.

To find out more about the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance, please visit this web page.

If you would like to learn more about the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance from the Institute Director, Professor Helen Drake, please visit this blog.

Unlocking the potential of the Paralympics through Community Engagement

August 2, 2021 Ella Cusack

The countdown is on, not only for the Tokyo 2021 Paralympic Games, but also the most extensive ever free-to-air broadcast of the Paralympic Games to Sub-Saharan African countries. This step towards global engagement in the Paralympics is worthy of celebration, but as always, on closer inspection the story on the ground is more complex.

In Malawi, for example, TV is an ‘elite media’, requiring not just the TV set and subscription for satellite platforms, but also that electricity supply is available, and that the roof is strong enough for mounting a satellite dish. As such, only 12% of Malawian households have access to a TV, and in rural areas where the majority of people live, that percentage decreases to 5.4%.

And it is not just poor rural households who may miss out on engaging with the Paralympics. In urban Ghana where traditional TV ownership is relatively high, TV broadcasters are competing for viewership with apps and alternative web media. Social media, and media content by bloggers, influencers and media houses, is quickly becoming a significant media practice especially among urban youth. Viewership patterns especially among the young people is more intentional. Competing with on-demand platforms like YouTube and Netflix, viewers tend to tune to traditional TV to watch specific content rather than to discover new content. Additionally, since broadcasters – whether national or commercial broadcasters – are driven by business imperatives, if high viewership seems unlikely, the broadcasts may be aired at a time that suits the broadcaster rather than at prime time. 

An intricate understanding of local media consumption and communication practices, together with locally appropriate community engagement processes, is crucial to grounding the Games in local contexts, maximising meaningful engagement with the Games, and unlocking the potential of the Games to catalyse lasting impacts.

At a recent Para Sports Against Stigma project Knowledge Exchange (KX) Forum discussions converged around an ‘arc’ of Community Engagement activities around the Games cycle, beginning with ‘softening the ground’ before the Games, ‘grounding’ and interpretating the content during the Games itself, and ‘legacy and advocacy’ to maintain the momentum after the Games.

Softening the ground

For the broadcasting of the games to translate to viewers, ‘softening of the ground’ to bring awareness, anticipation and understanding of Para Sport needs to be built before the Games to prepare audiences and build interest for the Paralympic Games. In contexts with both high levels of TV and internet access, such as Ghana, Facebook and Instagram are likely to be important for reaching audiences and build momentum before airing. However, there are risks with flooding the internet with paid ads, where viewers may rush to skip ads or not pay any attention. During the KX some para athletes shared stories of how their YouTube videos have reached and inspired new audiences. Other new approaches  discussed included engaging internet influencers, ‘micro’ or ‘internet celebrities’ with a strong social media presence  as innovative ways to reach large audiences, known as “followers”. They could come from beyond sport, for example from comedy, music, fashion and similar sectors.   

This strategy focuses on reaching new audiences, important  to avoid ‘preaching to the choir’. National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) in Sub-Saharan Africa shared how they are developing their social media following, which is hugely positive. However, what should be kept in mind that these followers are people who already understand para sport. If the Para Sports Against Stigma project is to achieve its purpose of tackling stigma, much wider audiences need to be engaged.

Grounding the Games

The Paralympic Games itself of course could be the peak of the Community Engagement ‘arc’. In contexts with low TV ownership, the Para Sport Against Stigma project will  explore community screenings of the daily highlights packages in communities. During the KX the NPC in Zambia shared ideas on how roadshows and screenings bring communities together to watch screenings with music, food and other activities. In Malawi, Theatre for Development (TfD) activities will take place alongside the community mobile screening of the Paralympic daily highlights as a way of collectively interpreting the content after viewing. TfD has a long history in Malawi and it remains a cornerstone of community engagement activity. It is an entertainment and adult education practice which taps into traditional dance, song, and drama practices to engage communities in dialogue around issues to mobilize for community action.  

In this way,  the Community Engagement action research will explore how we can share the content via platforms and spaces appropriate to local communities, with complementary activities that interpret the content in local contexts, whether through TfD, music performances, or via bloggers and influencers. This will be key to enabling the powerful Paralympic content to achieve social engagement and impact.      

Legacy and Advocacy

The Paralympic Games and the affecting narratives of achievement and pride it generates can create incredible momentum and excitement, but it is imperative to consider how that momentum and engagement can be extended and channelled for real change. This was discussed as planning for the ‘legacy’ of the Games, and the UN Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) can be a useful focus point for advocacy. Stakeholder engagement is critical as part of this process including with schools, government ministries, religious groups, and community chiefs.

The Paralympic Games, a showcase of the achievements of people with disabilities, can help to challenge  ‘charity mindsets’ among key groups such as government ministries. It can provide a springboard for advocating for a recognition that assistive technology, access to education and employment are not gifts that people with disabilities should be grateful for, but entitlements that everybody has a right to under the UNCRPD, and additionally, that they are enablers of people with disability to live full lives.

During the KX a teacher from Zambia talked about how the I’mPOSSIBLE education package is being used to engage schools and teachers, including  an adaptation of an indigenous sport to  be an inclusive para sport. The NPCs in Malawi and Ghana also shared their experiences and plans for implementing I’mPOSSIBLE. Malawian NGOs shared their extensive experience of working with communities, including schools, religious leaders and others for inclusive education, and via radio and radio dramas. There was also future potential strategic partnership identified with engaging with corporates for sponsorship, which could send a powerful signal of inclusion and disability pride to audiences.

Continued KX

Community engagement is indispensable to realising the potential impact of the Paralympic Games in different African contexts. The PSAS project is using action research with partners to try out different approaches in practice to develop  a knowledge pool  for the kinds of community engagement processes that could ground the Paralympics in diverse contexts across the ‘arc’ of the Games cycle: the lead up, the main event, and the legacy of this year’s Tokyo 2021 Paralympic Games.

To learn more about Para Sport Against Stigma visit:

Monica Munga, Zambia will compete in the Tokyo Paralympic Games later this month.   (credit: James Varghese IPC.


Dr. Jessica Noske Turner, Senior Lecturer Media and Creative Industries, Loughborough University London

Prof. Mufunanji Magalsi, Professor Fine and Performing arts, Media for Development, University of Malawi Chancellor College

Sheila Mogalo, PSAS Consultant, International Paralympic Committee

We would like to thank Dr Jessica Noske Turner, Professor Mufunanji Magalsi, and Shelia Mogalo for writing this blog.

To find out more about the Para Sport Against Stigma project, please visit about this web page.

Life as an IDIG student

July 30, 2021 Ella Cusack

Are you interested in studying with our Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance (IDIG)?

Want to find out more about the student experience?

In this blog, hear from current IDIG students sharing their experience studying within this Institute. Take a look below.

Loughborough University London is a great place to develop career-enhancing or career-changing skills and contacts. You will study in an environment that puts business and enterprise at the heart of its curriculum.  Surrounded by businesses of all shapes and sizes, and connected to key political and diplomatic decision-makers, Loughborough’s London campus provides you with opportunities to connect with real-world problems and collaborate with the people who are addressing them. 

Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance welcome students from all over the world and we cherish the diversity of our student body. In academic year 2020-21 our students came from countries as far apart as Nigeria and China, Mexico and the Philippines, the USA and Tunisia. They joined graduates from UK universities and other places in the world to create a student body as diverse in their nationality as in their educational and professional background. We welcome students from many different academic disciplines, and from different stages in their career paths. 

Want to find out more?

Hear what current IDIG students Errol Dela-Cruz, Degraft Osei-Kwame-Jnr, Amina Sani-Bello and Paul Figg in this video!

To find out more about the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance, please visit this web page.

If you would like to learn more about the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance from the Institute Director, Professor Helen Drake, please visit this blog.

Launch your business with The Studio

Launch your business with The Studio

July 30, 2021 Ella Cusack

The Studio is currently accepting applications from finalists who want to launch their own businesses, and graduates from the last five years.

The Studio is the graduate programme of LU Inc, the University’s business incubator, located on campus at LUSEP, which brings together graduate and academic entrepreneurs with founders from across the region and beyond to create a rich and supportive start-up community.

Part of the Loughborough Enterprise Network (LEN), the Studio is designed to give graduates the best possible environment to launch their business and watch it fly. 

Studio members benefit from:

  • Workspace – up to £4,000 worth FREE workspace at LU Inc
  • Funding – chance to access up to £7,500 through the Start-Up Fund
  • Training – bespoke training programme and community events
  • Coaching and mentoring – one to one support from founders and experts
  • Connections – introductions to business leaders, experts and investors
  • Marketing – profile-raising through University communication channels
  • Exclusive offers – from partners, such as Amazon Web Services, SolidWorks and more

The Studio’s support is free – no fees, no equity, no charges. Applying is easy. Finalists and graduates are encouraged to email whatever they have which explains their idea (this could include slides, website, financials – anything to start the conversation).

Applications close at midnight on 8 August 2021. They will be reviewed as soon as they are submitted, for a swift response.

Further details on how to apply online are available on the Studio website.

Getting to know our Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance

July 29, 2021 Ella Cusack

The Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance (IDIG) is one of our seven Institutes here at Loughborough University London. In this blog Professor Helen Drake, Director of the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance, shares an overview of the Institute, the master’s programmes we offer and how the Institute can support your career development. Take a look below.

I’m Helen Drake, Professor of French and European Studies and IDIG director since 2017. That was when I left Loughborough University (East Midlands campus) to set up the new Institute. I wanted be part of the new venture of the London campus and I love how interdisciplinary it is, how dynamic, diverse, energetic.  I love the location of the campus, and love leading the Institute.

What do we do in IDIG?

Along with the six other Institutes on the Loughborough University London campus, we conduct research, we raise funds for our research, we publish, and we share our findings with other academics, our students, policy-makers and other professionals.  We each have our networks of contacts working in all sorts of professions, not only in London but in the UK and beyond, and we draw on those networks to invite speakers into our classroom and curriculum: you will meet professionals who will share their practical experience (and secrets) with you.  

What do we teach?

If you are joining us in October 2021 then we in IDIG can offer you four different master’s programmes, plus a fifth masters run jointly Institute for International Management). 

All of our programmes are designed to keep pace with the changing realities of today’s world, and our programmes all share a number of modules which we think are vital for careers across many professions, namely how to negotiate, how to conduct diplomacy in its many forms, and how to decode the central role of politics in shaping virtually all professional activity. Each programme then offers specialist content such as Peacebuilding; Media, Politics and Social Movements; Corporate Governance, State and Development; as well as other optional courses. All programmes, finally, include a dissertation as well as the Collaborative Project which is taken by all students on the London campus, and is where students collaborate with each other and with an external organization to address a challenge that is live and pressing for that organization.

Our programmes

Diplomacy and International Governance

This programme provides the most choice, allowing you to tailor your programme closely to your own goals and interests where both your studies and your career are concerned. You will be encouraged to acquire a critical awareness of the contemporary world order and explore how students and diplomats alike can learn from the past to deal with the challenges of the future. Your programme includes Foreign Policy analysis  – the bread and butter of traditional diplomacy by sovereign nation states – and you learn how the United Nations operates to contain all those nation states for the benefit (in theory) of collective world order. Graduates of this programme will be equipped with the advanced skills and expertise in order to pursue a career in diplomacy, negotiations, advocacy, lobbying, political analysis, communications or other related fields.

Diplomacy, Politics and Trade

This is our newest programme, starting in October 2021.  Diplomacy, Politics and Trade are never far from the world’s headlines. In this programme you will join the dots between them, studying the consequences of political choices for all kinds of trade; exploring the balance between politics, diplomacy and trade in response to crisis; examining the impact of scandal and sleaze in sports and many other areas of public life; and scrutinizing the political trade in truth and lies. You will emerge as a professional with the competitive skills to enhance your career prospects wherever you are in the world, and whatever your business ambitions. 

Diplomacy, Business and Trade

This is one of the first programmes ever run by the Institute.  It’s possible that you are already ahead in your business career and want to brush up on your professional skills and learn about cutting edge research and thinking about your business environment.  Perhaps you want to switch careers.  You will learn in an environment that is tailor-made to develop the skills needed to critically understand globalisation, as well as knowledge of the current issues characterising relations between diplomacy, international business, and international trade. Graduates of this programme will be equipped with the skills and knowledge required to pursue careers in diplomacy, negotiations and political analysis for government, international organisations, nongovernmental bodies, and business alike.

Security, Peacebuilding and Diplomacy

This programme explores the link between national and global security, and the role of peacebuilding in the development of multi-layered communities and nations. You will discover appropriate theories, concepts and methods associated with this area, whilst exploring the relationship between development and peacebuilding, civil-military relations, cyber security, and the wider global security context.   Graduates from this programme will be ready to pursue a career in diplomacy (traditional and otherwise), particularly in the areas of international security and peacebuilding, and in a wide variety of organisations and missions.

Risk, Governance and International Management

Our Risk, Governance and International Management MSc is run jointly by the Institute for International Management and the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance. By studying this programme, you will develop a comprehensive understanding of the strategies used by multinational companies to manage risks arising from their environment.

We would like to thank Professor Helen Drake for writing this blog and sharing further insight into our Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance.

To find out more about the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance, please visit this web page.

If you would like to find out more about the student experience in our Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance, please take a look at this blog.

To find out more about our seven Institutes at Loughborough University London, please visit this web page.

Your monthly health check: Vitamin D and the sun

Your monthly health check: Vitamin D and the sun

July 29, 2021 Sadie Gration
Image courtesy of Getty Images

As part of a new partnership with Super Wellness, the University’s Occupational Health and Wellbeing team is delighted to introduce a new series of monthly check-ins with your health. Each edition revolves around a specific theme.

This month, we’ll be looking at Vitamin D and sun health.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin produced by UV radiation from sunlight as it strikes the skin. It can help with both immune and bone health, as well as improving your mood.

Our levels of Vitamin D can be affected by various factors: age, skin colour, weight, and the time of year can all play a part.

For example, the older you are, the less able your skin will be to make Vitamin D. And if your skin is darker, you’ll typically need more sun exposure to get a sufficient level of Vitamin D.

What’s a healthy level of Vitamin D and what can help me achieve this?

Ideally, you should be striving for levels above 50nmol/L. Those with 25nmol/L or below are categorised as deficient in Vitamin D.

For those who are interested, you can test your Vitamin D levels by purchasing a home kit from an NHS laboratory. More information can be found here.

To achieve a substantial level of Vitamin D, you can try the following:

  • Eating Vitamin D rich foods: Examples include red meat, oily fish, eggs, and fortified foods such as cereal
  • Exposure: Between March and September, most people should be able to get all the Vitamin D they need from sunlight.
  • Supplements: Between the months of October to February, it is recommended to take supplements when sunlight is minimal.

Using sunscreen

Did you know that sunscreen actually reduces Vitamin D production? It’s really important everyone uses sunscreen, however you may want to consider applying it a few minutes after being exposed to the sun.

Below are some useful tips to help you understand what the various words, numbers, and ratings mean that are associated with sun cream:

  • Sun Protection Factor (SPF) can block UVB rays but not UVA. The numbers can range between 2-50+. For a good standard of protection, opt for at least SPF30.
  • The UVA seal accompanied by a star rating indicates the product conforms to EU recommendations for UVA protection. It’s recommended to choose one with at least four stars.
  • No sun cream is 100% waterproof or sweatproof, so always reapply after swimming or exercising. It’s recommended sunscreen is reapplied every two hours, and roughly 1tsp is used per body part.
  • When choosing a sun protection product, purchase one with both UVA (associated with ageing) and UVB (associated with burning) protection.
  • If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, a mineral/more natural sunscreen such as titanium oxide or zinc oxide may be more suitable for you.

For more information about sunlight and the effects of it on the body, check out Super Wellness’ poster below. If you are experiencing any issues reading the content, please use the ‘zoom in’ tool on your browser.

So much more than a floppy hat!

July 28, 2021 Dr Katryna Kalawsky

Written by Dr Katryna Kalawsky

During University Graduation ceremonies it’s easy to make a visual distinction between a graduating Doctoral Researcher (DR), a Postgraduate Taught student (aka a Masters Student) and an Undergraduate just by looking at their attire…but purple floppy hat aside, there are a LOT of differences between DRs and taught students than many don’t know about (unless you’re a DR yourself or know someone very well who is). So, to cast a little light on who these mysterious DRs are and what they do i’ve created a list of a few key facts…

  1. A doctorate (ie., PhD/EngD) is the highest academic qualification available!
  2. Those who receive this qualification become Doctors because they have made an original contribution to knowledge, written a thesis (up to 80,00 words!) that is worthy of publication, and demonstrated their understanding and application of appropriate research methods and training.
  3. Unlike the taught student populations, DRs do not have semesters or timetables, they are not part of a student cohort, and they do not undertake coursework or exams. Instead, DRs work independently on a novel research project over several years and at the end of their doctoral programme they have a Viva (also called a thesis defence) in which they are required to take part in a scholarly debate with academic examiners and defend their work.
  4. DRs arrive separately at the University and are inducted at 4 starting points each academic year (October, January, April and July) and spend 3–4 years (full-time) or approx. 5-years (part-time) researching their chosen research question(s).
  5. Some DRs are self-funded and others are funded (or part-funded) by the University/funding body/government of country.
  6. Some DRs have returned to academia from a professional career and most are in an older age bracket to undergraduates and postgraduate taught students with varying familial and financial circumstances – they juggle a lot!
  7. DRs are the ‘lifeblood’ of the University’s research capability. They also are essential to the Research Excellence Framework and raise the University’s national and international research profile – quite simply the University would not be as successful as it is without them!
  8. DRs often work with industry and make huge impact towards today’s challenges and that of the future.
  9. DRs form a vital part of the teaching experience of the taught student population at the University and contribute towards the Teaching Excellence Framework.
  10. DRs also form a crucial pastoral role at the University with ~50 appointed as Voluntary Sub-Wardens in the University’s halls of residences.

Disclaimer: The list above is by no means exhaustive…but hopefully it provides a snapshot of how awesome those receiving and undertaking a doctorate are! They are most definitely a P.retty H.uge D.eal!

Congratulations to all our Loughborough Doctoral Graduates!

Looking back at my time in Loughborough

Looking back at my time in Loughborough

July 27, 2021 Guest Blogger

Hey, I’m Oliver, a 2021 finalist within the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering here at Loughborough – studying Air Transport Management with a year long Industrial Placement at TUI, where I am now returning as a graduate. Looking back on my time in the Loughborough ‘bubble’ I’ve had some incredible experiences – so here’s a bit of a look back at the past four years of my life. 

Freshers 2017 

It all started back in 2017 and while I was never really sure if Loughborough was for me, the idea of spending the next four years of my life here was really cemented on a post-offer visit day. Having met my grade requirements on results day I was really looking forward to the next stage of my life – being away from home for the first time, meeting new people and starting to study something that was what I wanted to do.  


First year for me was really an opportunity to get used to university life and really get stuck into the opportunities that are available. The transition from sixth form to university was definitely a big step, however when I realised everyone was in the same boat, there was nothing to worry about. You can really get into the rhythm of extra reading and coursework deadlines in no time at all. 


The wealth of opportunities that are available, from sports to arts, fundraising to volunteering, and even having the opportunity to start shaping other people’s experiences for the better, really helped me and meant I wasn’t worrying about missing home (sorry mum and dad!). 

Elvyn Committee 

Having got stuck into my hall committee within my first few months, I really wanted to get the best out of my Loughborough experience and so I used this as an opportunity to really work on me! Looking back at it now, my top tip for anyone else in my shoes is to really think about what you can do extra to fit into a work environment – think about networking, leadership, public speaking… the list could go on. These are really the qualities that will help you stand out when it comes to finding internships, placements or even a graduate role while also giving you a competitive edge over everyone else! 

Rag Raid in London 

Even though the extra-curricular activities can have a serious edge to them, it can all be fun and games too (including wearing pink fancy dress in Farringdon station all in the name of fundraising for charity). It’s the opportunities like these that I know I won’t forget, and the diverse number of opportunities that are available here at Loughborough. 


I personally found myself working heavily within the Students’ Union’s Welfare and Diversity section, where I was working for the betterment of students across Loughborough and London, and helping to improve one of the best student experiences in the country. The work I did also allowed me to see what goes on behind the scenes including how the university and LSU work together. I was part of meetings with senior members of staff including the Chief Operating Officer and the Vice Chancellor and saw just how much the university is willing to do to support the students. 

We Like Sportz

While Loughborough is known for its sports (it’s not the best university in the world for sports-related subjects for no reason), I’ve never been the most active person, but Loughborough really was the perfect place to get involved in sport through other opportunities.  


The programme of opportunities across the Athletic Union, inter-hall sport (IMS) and even recreational activities, mean there really is something for everyone. Plus it’s always exciting to see the odd Olympic athlete on campus! 


I somehow found a calling for being a pundit for the final of the IMS netball league and although presenting on TV may not be for me, even getting the opportunity to stand in front of a camera and try to form coherent sentences is something I definitely won’t get the opportunity to do elsewhere! 

Placement (UK) 

The reality of life being more than a lecture theatre and a piece of coursework really hit home during my placement year, in which I went just down the M1 to work for TUI. My placement was a real opportunity to learn about everything to do with the business and what it really is like in a global corporate environment.  


Through my job I had the opportunity to work in such an exciting industry – because who doesn’t love a bit of travel – and getting to do it for an industry leader was incredible. Speaking to corporate functions across Europe, getting to shape the resorts available in the programme and getting to do things that would not usually be possible without it, including sitting in the engine of a Boeing 737! 

Placement (Cyprus) 

My placement year really was a rollercoaster of emotions, from working through the collapse of TUI’s biggest competitor Thomas Cook in my first few weeks, to visiting Cyprus on a conference, as well as experiencing first-hand the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the travel industry. These experiences really did make me adapt in ways I had never imagined – a skill that really came in use during the rest of my time at university. 


The opportunities available at TUI really showed that they valued placement students just as much as their regular employees. From working on shaping a brand-new customer proposition for the newly launched River Cruises product, through to handling some of the largest customer facing social media channels in the UK. I would highly recommend a placement, internship or year in industry to anybody. It really does set you in good stead for tackling final year head on and, while I had my concerns that it would be hard to go back to university after a year out, I was back into it like I’d never left – with a bit more knowledge on how to run a Teams meeting! 

Adapting to Covid

Nights out turned into walks watching the sunset, lecture theatres turned into Teams calls and actual trips around the world became themed nights in the house. Was I sad about having my ‘normal university experience’ cut short due to the pandemic? Of course! But university is a learning experience in itself even outside of academia, and the opportunities are always going to be there to learn how to adapt and overcome the challenges that may come along. With the support across the university this year, from academic staff who had to adapt as much as the students did, through to those in the Students’ Union and student support teams, the pandemic wasn’t stopping anyone from achieving their full potential! 


But we can’t forget that despite university being a place to have new experiences and meet new people, we also needed to put our heads down and get to work to achieve what we’re all ultimately here for – a degree! My final year research project – aka my dissertation – was really a big opportunity to put my own mark on the industry that I’ve always been interested in.  


Writing 17,000 words on the impact of alcohol in the context of British airports was one heck of a challenge, but getting feedback from people who showed an interest in the topic and work in the sector, really did show that my work as a little cog in the entire Loughborough community can have such vast impacts on a much wider scale.  

As the door on my Loughborough journey closes, I’m so thankful for the opportunities that I’ve had here, and ready to swing the next door of opportunities wide open – with one extra piece of paper and 3 additional letters to my name! Watch out world. 

What Relates to Understanding of Equivalence?

What Relates to Understanding of Equivalence?

July 27, 2021 Centre for Mathematical Cognition

Written by Dr Emine Simsek and edited by Dr Ian Jones and Dr Iro Xenidou-DervouEmine is a post-doctoral researcher at Loughborough University. Please see here for more information about Emine and her work.

Understanding of Mathematical Equivalence

A useful interpretation of the equals sign for students is thinking of it as a symbol which signifies that the two sides of an equation have the same value and are interchangeable. When solving equations, students are expected to assess the equivalence either by calculating the value on both sides of the equation, or by exploiting arithmetic shortcuts to avoid the need for calculation. Let’s call these shortcuts “relational strategies”. For example, for the following equation “Find the missing number in the equation 64 – __ =  62 – 37”, a relational strategy would be “64 is 2 more than 62, so the answer should be 2 more than 37 which is 39”.

However, research has shown that primary students often view the equals sign only as a “do something symbol” or “the answer to the problem”. They often use incorrect strategies when solving equations that have operations on both sides of the equals sign. Let’s call these strategies “operational strategies”. Two examples of operational strategies used by two Year 5 students are below. 

How can we improve students’ understanding of equivalence? The change-resistance account predicts that too much practice with only a traditional arithmetic format (equations with no operations on the right side, e.g. a + b = c) underpins unwanted incorrect strategies. This tells us that we should vary the problem format in the textbooks and other classroom resources. However, this account was based on research conducted in one country (the USA). Also, it did not account for factors such as teacher knowledge which has been shown to be important to support students’ mathematics achievement. Therefore, to explore what relates to students’ understanding of equivalence, we conducted a study across six different countries (China, England, New Zealand, South Korea, Turkey, and USA).

Our Study

We looked at whether teacher knowledge, the format of equations as presented in textbooks, or both, relate to students’ understanding of equivalence. Participants were Year 4 and Year 5 students (age range 8 to 12, 72% of the participating children were 10 years old) and their teachers across the countries.

We asked students to define the equals sign and to solve equations (e.g. 17 + 28 = _ + 27), and we calculated a performance score for each student. 

We asked teachers to predict correct and incorrect strategies that students might use to solve equations. In teachers’ responses, we looked at whether they were knowledgeable about their students’ use of operational and relational strategies. 

Finally, we asked teachers to provide the names of the current year mathematics textbooks that they used. Then, we analysed the textbooks and identified all the equations involving the equals sign on every other page of the textbooks. We then looked at how many traditional equations and non-traditional equations each textbook has. 

Traditional equations 
(no operations beyond the equals sign)
Non-traditional equations
(operations/operands beyond the equals sign)
a + b  =  c

+ 26
a  =  a
a  =  b + c
a + b  =  d
Examples of traditional and non-traditional equations

We used an advanced statistical modelling technique to analyse the data collected from 2,760 primary students and 108 teachers.

What we found?

Teachers provided more relational strategies than operational ones. This evidenced that many teachers lack knowledge about students’ use of incorrect (operational) strategies to solve equations. 

In all the countries in the study, the relevant grade textbooks had more traditional than non-traditional equations.

Students’ knowledge of definitions of the equals sign related to their equation-solving performance; students who had more sophisticated knowledge of the equals sign performed better on equations.

The teachers’ knowledge of students’ relational strategies related to the students’ understanding of equivalence but their knowledge of students’ operational strategies did not. From this and based on previous intervention studies, it can be assumed that teachers who are more knowledgeable about (students’) relational strategies support their students’ understanding of equivalence better in the classroom than those who are less knowledgeable of the issue.

We did not find evidence that the format of equations in the current year textbooks influenced students’ understanding of equivalence.

Take-home points for teachers 

  • Be aware that many students have an operational understanding of the equals sign and often use only operational strategies to solve equations. 
  • Remember that the way students define the equals sign influences their performance in equations. Support your students to define the equals sign relationally.
  • Vary the format of equations that students practice in the classroom.
  • Encourage use of relational strategies when solving equations. Below is an example of a relational strategy used by a Year 5 student.

Thank you for reading. Please contact Emine at about ways to improve children’s understanding of mathematical equivalence!

Look out for Emine’s most recent paper, coming soon:

Simsek, E., Xenidou-Dervou, I., Hunter, J., Dowens, M., Pang, J., Lee, Y., McNeil, N., Kirkland, P., Jones, I. (2021). Factors associated with children’s understanding of mathematical equivalence: A cross-cultural investigation across six countries. Submitted for Review.

What London Offers IDIG Students

July 22, 2021 Ella Cusack

As student in our Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance (IDIG), you’ll be studying and living in London, the greatest global city. The city is filled with many different institutions and home to a range of events that will help you in your studies and careers. It’s also got lots more going for it when you’re not studying. In this blog, we asked our IDIG academics to name some of the places in London they think will be invaluable to IDIG students. See what they had to say below.


Chatham House

The Royal Institute of International Affairs, also known as Chatham House, is one of the world’s oldest think tanks and one of its most famous and prestigious. Located in St James’s, it is often the venue for talks and events with leading people in government, diplomacy, business and civil society. 

A need for discussions that were both discreet and candid let to the world-famous Chatham House rule: ’that participants in a meeting are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed’. IDIG has institutional membership meaning you’ll have access to Chatham House’s hundreds of events and world-leading research.  

The Sir John Soane’s Museum

The Soanes museum is quite an Alladins cave filled with beautiful and some rather macabre curiosities in the lower ground level. It is situated discretely away from the main London attractions in a quiet square around the corner from Holborn Tube station.

The museum is free to the public and only recognisable by its light-colored façade. Formerly the house of London architect Sir John Soane, who designed the Bank of England.

Soane was a philanthropist and collector of the bizarre, sculptures, paintings, books, classical and historic antiquities. There is even a sarcophagus of the former Egyptian King Sety I. And if you have time you can pop across the other side of the square to visit the Surgeons Museum which is also free and full of scary looking implements one might expect to find in the dungeons of the Tower of London. 

Imperial War Museum

All students of international relations know the quote, ‘you may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you’. Thankfully, you needn’t experience war first-hand to take an interest in some of the weapons and consequences of modern war. The Imperial War Museum does that for you.

There are several branches of the museum, each focusing on conflicts since 1914. The main museum is in Lambeth, just over the Thames from Westminster. There are two others in London. The Cabinet War Rooms in Whitehall allow you to see the bunkers from which the British Government operated in World War II. HMS Belfast, a former Royal Navy cruiser moored on the Thames near Tower Bridge, focuses on naval warfare.  

British Library

There are libraries and there are libraries. The British Library is the latter. In fact, it and the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. are in a league of their own. Like its counterpart in the USA, it is home to more than 170 million items, with the British Library estimating it may have up to 200 million items.

All items are accessible (to varying degrees depending on age, size etc.) but to do so you’ll need to register for access to the reading rooms. If you don’t want to register for access you can still work in the study spaces (get their very early to claim a space) and cafes elsewhere in the publicly accessible parts of the library building on Euston Road, next door to St Pancras Station. The building itself is a spectacular piece of work.  

UK Parliament

The Palace of Westminster is home to the UK’s parliament. Members of the public – whether from the UK or anywhere else – are welcome to visit to watch the House of Commons and the House of Lords at work, either in the main chambers or in smaller committee meetings. Tours of the palace are available when Parliament is not meeting. If you have questions about parliament then contact Dr Oliver who spent several years working there.  


Wimbledon takes place every year over two weeks in late June and early July. If you are thinking of going and seeing world-class tennis (this is the tournament ‘they all want to win’), the IDIG team is more than welcome to share tips on how to get there (either through the public ballot, or the famous queue, or any other methods). 

Bank of England Museum

‘Money, money, money’ makes the world go round. There’s no getting away from money whether you’re interested in politics or business, trade or war. Located inside the UK’s central bank, the museum isn’t simply about the history of the bank, which is one of the world’s oldest central banks having been established in 1694. They tell a much longer and wider history of modern finance, money and banking.  

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Our campus is next to the flourishing and inviting Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park. Opened in 2012 for the Olympics, the park has plenty to offer all. With state-of-the-art sporting venues at every corner, the opportunity is there to spectate sporting greatness whilst also giving you the chance to swim, run, cycle or walk. 

You will find beautiful corners of the park filled with blossoms (from Europe to Asia) to the UK’s largest sculpture (the red tower thing) and tunnel slide that will whizz you back down to earth. Several large bridges connect the park together and offer many picturesque views. You can even watch the Hammers in the London Stadium itself (the home of West Ham United).  

National Maritime Museum

If there’s a centre of the world it’s the place from where time and distance are measured. That place is London, specifically Greenwich. Home to the Greenwich Meridian and Greenwich Mean Time, it’s also home to a series of museums known as the Royal Museums Greenwich. One of them is the National Maritime Museum, which tells the story of both British and global maritime history. 

This is not simply about trade and war, but also about the social, political and cultural effects of maritime links. 

South Bank

The South Bank of the Thames contains some of London’s most famous landmarks. Take some time to visit Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, a world-renowned theatre in the heart of London with a diverse programme of events, plays and projects. Nearby Borough Market offers a wide range of food that will meet and exceed everyone’s expectations and is an ideal complement to an evening performance at the Globe. 

There’s also the Tate Modern and the London Eye. This is also a good place to join one of the two best ways to see London: the River Bus. Run by TFL, you pay by touching in and touching out, which is the same way as you do on the Tube or a bus. River buses run up and down the Thames, offering great views and each has a little onboard café. The other best way to see London is to simply grab the front seats on the top deck of any of the double-decker buses that cross London. Routes 24, 9 and 11 offer the best sights.  

London’s Canal 

One of the hidden gems of London is the system of its canals. You can walk, run or cycle there in a relaxing and charming atmosphere. While walks around the river Thames (AKA the Thames Path) might be well known, the size and width of the London canals are less so.

The Regent’s Canal is probably the most famous part of the system, especially around Little Venice or Camden Town. But the canals are also close to the Loughborough University London campus in East London. From there, you can reach Victoria Park and get to Angel; or take another route, go south and meet the Thames around Limehouse. 

There’s also a Canal Museum.   

We would like to thank our Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance academics for putting together this blog.

If you would like to find out more about our Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance, please visit this web page.

My Loughborough Journey in 11 Memories

My Loughborough Journey in 11 Memories

July 21, 2021 Lety

My name is Lety, I’m a Brazilian-Italian Loughborough Alumni about to graduate with a First-Class Honours in Sport Science with Management, and this is my Loughborough journey in 11 memories. 

Memory 1 – Arrival

Like most nervous freshers, I remember being both simultaneously excited and anxious during the first few days. As my parents dropped my off at Royce (my home for the next two years), they managed to snap a quick, yet obligatory picture of me by the iconic Loughborough sign before leaving me to start my journey. Little did I realise that the next four years would fly by faster than Usain Bolt 

Memory 2 – My Degree 

When I chose to do Sport Science with Management, I had a relatively good idea what I was getting myself into, yet I didn’t expect for my degree to have a substantial amount of practical work. Despite coming as a surprise, the hours I spent in the lab doing hands-on projects were probably the most enriching and valuable learning experiences that I was very lucky to be a part of. As a very visual and kinaesthetic learner, being able to carry out theories and examples in real-life, helped not only reinforce what I already knew, but also allowed me to gain new knowledge that would prove useful in the following years.  

Memory 3 – AU Football 

One of my primary goals when coming to university was representing Loughborough through Football – my passion sport. I dedicated hours during the summer months and even arrived a few days early to join pre-season training to try and increase my chances of making it through trials. Rewardingly, my hard work paid off and I made the 4th AU team!  


Being a part of AU was when I truly felt integrated as part of the Loughborough family. Putting on an African violet uniform and learning the “Loughborough Walks on Water” chant made me proud to say I came from Loughborough and was an overall incredible experience. It taught me the meaning of dedication, perseverance, and definitely time management! Although I hung up my boots at the end of the season, it’s safe to say I cherished every game and every minute I was on the pitch.! 

Memory 4 – Tape on Tape 

There are so many ways to enrich your skill set at Loughborough and I felt very privileged to be able to take part in several courses that have enhanced my knowledge and CV. Through my school (SSEHS), I was able to obtain skills such a First Aid and Kinesiology taping, among other abilitiesThese are skills that will stay with me for life and that I have been able to use outside of my degree, which is invaluable.  

Memory 5 – LSU Classical 

Like sport, music has been an important part of my life. I’ve been playing the violin for 18 years now and, luckily, I continued my musical hobby through one of Loughborough’s many societies – LSU Classical. One of my favourite memories was a concert we held during my second year “A Journey Through Time”. It included all my favourite film music and we had the largest orchestra in Loughborough’s history with over 50 musicians. I can also proudly say that I worked with the Media Rep to design our campaign strategy, which helped us sell out for the first time! 

Memory 6 and 7 – Sport Sec – Royce Hall Committee 

Hall life is so special at Loughborough and it’s hard to even describe it to those who have yet to experience it. Like many things at Loughborough, halls and committees are led by students, for students and that creates a unique atmosphere where students’ wishes are a priority.  


As part of my 2 years at Royce, I spent a year as part of the Royce committee, as one of the four sport secs, as well as Royce’s female football captain. Despite being a substantial amount of extracurricular work, it taught me teamwork, leadership and events management, which are skills for life. It was a rewarding experience, especially as we managed to bump Royce up from 8th place to 5th place in overall IMS ranking, as well as I managed to bump up the female football team from 13th to 4th place. We also won first place for Rugby 13s, Rugby 7s, Table Tennis, Swimming, and Women’s Most Improved Hall. Shout out to my rocks Juan, Jas, and Zander! 

Memory 8 – Placement with Hilton 

After being rejected 23 times and a whole lot of perseverance, I joined the EMEA Hilton team as a Customer Engagement, Loyalty, and Partnerships Intern for my placement year. What’s amazing about a year in industry is that you learn what the real world of work is really like and it’s truly an eye-opener!  


You can put theory into practice and learn the tricks and tips of the trade! I never thought I would end up in Hospitality, Travel and Leisure, as my degree is in the area of Sport, but after spending a year with Hilton, I fell in love with the industry.! Despite being furloughed for the final three months of my journey, I still thank my team for their patience, teachings, and mentorship. 

Memory 9 – The Return to AU: Handball 

After ending my AU Football journey at the end of first year, I didn’t think I’d come back to represent Loughborough at the AU sport level, yet I took a chance and tried out for the AU Handball team. Stepping out of my comfort bumble and trying a new sport was probably both the most challenging and rewarding decision I took for my final year! Despite getting injured at UniChamps I can still stay I had an unbelievable AU Handball season, made amazing friends and became a part of an incredible club that gave me the opportunity to put on that African violet uniform again and represent Loughborough with pride.  

Memory 10 – International Students’ Network (ISN) 

Loughborough has a beautifully diverse student body, and being a part of the international community has been very special. When home is so far away, the international community takes you in and creates a home away from home. Being a part of this wonderful community encouraged me to take on the Marketing Officer role at the International Students’ Network (ISN).  


Together with this hard-working committee, I hopefully managed to give back to the international community that has been my family for the past four years. Although with its challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I personally believe ISN put together an array of interesting and welcoming events and campaigns to keep fostering the spirit of the community in the darkest of times.  

Memory 11 – Graduation: What next? 

Like many students, I was not ready to leave the Loughborough bubble and I’m still not ready. Luckily, Loughborough offered the Master’s degree I was looking for, so I’m happy to say that I will be pursuing a MSc in International Business here next year.! I look forward to the new challenges, modules, and knowledge I hope to gain from studying a completely new subject from my undergraduate degree. Bring it on!  

IDIG Recommendations: Podcasts, Radio and TV Shows

July 20, 2021 Ella Cusack

What podcasts should an Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance (IDIG) student listen to?

We asked some of our IDIG academics, fellows and PhD students to offer their suggestions for the best podcasts to listen for studying diplomacy and international governance. Hear what they had to say below.

Podcasts recommendations

Dr Tim Oliver (Senior Lecturer): Undercurrents (Chatham House)  

The regular podcast of Chatham House features interviews with experts from Chatham House and sometimes elsewhere.

Each podcast delves deep into a topic of global politics with experts offering their insights. IDIG has institutional membership of Chatham House so many of these experts will appear at and lead events IDIG students can attend in-person or online. 

Neil Mortimer (PhD Candidate): IfG Live (podcast of the London-based Institute for Government) 

IfG Live offers several weekly discussions, debating UK-based political affairs & offering ground-breaking insights from politicians, senior civil servants, academics, analysts & experts. This unique mix of expertise enables the podcast to touch upon a wide range of topics, whilst offering diverse perspectives. In this crisis-laden & unpredictable era for governments across the world, IfG not only simplifies, but engages with cutting-edge research, steering clear of political jargon.  

Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic attains a strong interest – with thoughts not only discussing the outbreak from a political standpoint, but with an eye cast on the future solutions, as we prepare & adapt for the next challenge. With the world changing & our lives becoming busier, this is somewhere you’d want to stop by & listen to distinctive points of view. 

Dr Dorina Baltag (Post-Doctoral Researcher): The World in 30 minutes  

Chaired by Mark Leonard, the founder and director of ECFR (European Council on Foreign Affairs), this is a weekly series where the host explores big issues in foreign policy with invited guests. Most of the podcasts offers insights into developments that affect European countries.

The latest themes covered Europe’s pandemic politics and the way in which the virus changed the public’s world view; how solidarity was felt in the different European countries during COVID-19; on anti-racisms protests in the US and Europe or the peace process in Libya. 

Dr Cristian Nitoiu (Lecturer): Foreign Correspondent 


My recommendations is the weekly  documentary shows Foreign Correspondent on the Australian ABC news channel. The episodes focus on timely issues around the world. Some recent stories include China’s changing  foreign policy, the role of the church in Russia or Poland or the conflict in Syria during the coronavirus crisis.  

I really appreciate the Australian perspective on reporting which is very detailed, insightful, self-aware (and self-critical) and objective. It is very difficult nowadays to comes across quality reporting about world affairs that is sensitive to different points of view and does not try to convey an underlying normative or civilizational message.  

Dr Dorina BaltagGlobal Dispatches 

This is a podcast that brings together diplomats, journalists, policymakers and scholars to discuss a range of diverse issues on foreign policy and world affairs.

The host of the show is Mark Leon Goldberg, the editor of the United Nations and global affairs blog UN Dispatch and co-founder of the social enterprise – the Development and Aid World News Service. This podcast was also named as one of 27 “podcasts to make you smarter” by the Guardian. 

Professor Helen Drake (Director of the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance) : Podsave America 

Democrat policy wonks are all over the USA’s current political scene with their incisive analysis and irreverent humour.  Invited guests dissect US politics from the Supreme Court down to the smallest district, rooting out cant and bad faith where they find it, and exposing all manner of political activity to their merciless gaze.

Opinionated, yes, but also highly informed, experienced and above all passionate to galvanize US democracy in line with the values that they believe characterise today’s USA, and above all, its youth. 

Massimo D’Angelo (PhD Candidate) – You and me both  

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sits down for candid, in-depth, and sometimes hilarious conversations with people she finds fascinating.

With help from her guests, Hillary will tackle the topics that shape our lives, from faith to the pressing political issues of our time to cooking tips for the cooking-challenged. 

Professor Aidan McGarry (Reader in International Politics) – Talking Politics 

Talking Politics on Twitter: "Enjoying our summer series of shorter  guide-style episodes? Help us spread the word with a RT – and if you have  time, a review on your podcast provider

Talking Politics is produced through the London Review of Books. They have a series called ‘History of Ideas’. It takes big concepts like freedom or liberty or the state or patriarchy and uses key thinkers to discuss them, usually analysing their key books and arguments.

It gets to the point and serves an a useful introduction to key thinking and thinkers on central political ideas which have occupied political theorists for centuries. 

Ruairi Cousins (PhD Candidate) – Hidden Histories of the Northern Ireland Troubles    

Gareth Mulvenna and guests takes you on a journey through the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. It covers issues surrounding conflict, security, political tensions, identity, international relations, crime and much more. 

Sean Calvin (PhD candidate) – The Claw Hammer investigation at Scotland Yard read by Orson Wells 

A crime thriller podcast based on strolling through the black museum, which are stories based on actual Scotland Yard cases.

Wells narrates how the museum host would casually pick up or point out various murder weapons and examine them then explain the related crime in forensic detail.  

Radio and TV show recommendations

Dr Tim OliverIn Our Time 

For over 20 years this radio discussion show has been one of the most successful and popular shows broadcast by the BBC. Chaired by veteran broadcaster and polymath Melvyn Bragg, each programme is essentially an academic seminar involving Bragg and three academics who are top in their fields, discussing a specific cultural, scientific, historical, philosophical or religious topic.

Its weekly audience of millions of listeners, along with the millions who each week download one or more of the 900 episodes freely available on the BBC archive, is proof that hard, intellectual thinking can be accessible and popular. 

Dr Nicola Chelotti (Lecturer): RadioLab  

WNYC Radiolab logo.svg

RadioLab is a New York-based documentary radio. It presents itself as a radio show and podcast weaving stories and science into sound and music-rich documentaries. But it covers also many stories related to politics (recently, 6 excellent episodes called “The Other Latif” on an alleged Al-Qaeda’s top explosives expert). The best thing of these docu-stories is that they combine rigorous evidence, traditional investigative journalism and innovative storytelling methods. 

Professor Helen Drake:  Rethink 

BBC Sounds - Rethink - Downloads

The BBC in June 2020 started a series of 6-minute ‘essays’ designed to ‘RETHINK’ the world, the planet and its humans in the light of Covid-19.  A recent  highlight is the Dalai Lama on ‘Rethinking Ancient Wisdom.’

The essays cover a huge range of topics (health, sport, the body, debt) – you name it and it is probably there. 

Dr Tatevik Mnatsakanyan (Lecturer) – Aeon  

Aeon (digital magazine) - Wikipedia

Aeon is a digital magazine publishing essays, videos and short documentaries on some of the most pressing issues of our time and offering provocative thinking on big questions by leading thinkers on science, philosophy, society and the arts. Its Philosophy section contains entries on Political Philosophy, History of Ideas, and Ethics, as well as sections on timeless themes such as Meaning and the Good Life, Values and Beliefs, and Cosmopolitanism.

The scale and depth of coverage on Aeon make us think and look for the “political” in less immediately obvious places.   

Alicja Prochniak (PhD candidate) – Then and Now 

Then and Now is a YouTube Channel filled with video essays about history, politics and philosophy. I’d recommend starting with is ‘The Shock of Modernity.’ 

We would like to thank all of the academics, fellows and PhD candidates from our Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance for contributing to this blog.

To find out more about the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance, please visit this web page.

My #LboroGrad: Amy Ward

July 16, 2021 Guest Blogger

Ten years ago I started my undergraduate degree and in 2014 I experienced my first (and what I thought would be my only) Loughborough graduation ceremony. My most vivid memory from that day was VC Bob telling us to look to the audience to find our families. I remember looking behind me and seeing my parents and my grandad, wearing his purple shirt and tie, peering through and cheering me on whilst thinking this was a really special finale to what was the best university experience I could have asked for. 

Little did I know that I would be back on campus in 2016 studying my MSc in Work Psychology, part-time, alongside a full-time job. My postgraduate experience with Loughborough was entirely different, going from living in halls for three years to now living two hours away from the Loughborough bubble, going to work Monday to Wednesday and then attending block teaching on Thursdays and Fridays. Having the support of my programme leader and the flexible nature of the course allowed me to juggle my degree alongside my personal and professional life whilst being able to really enjoy the content at my own pace and utilise it in a practical way in my day-to-day work.  

I envisaged my MSc would take me two years to complete, however I ended up choosing a few modules per year across a three-year period, plus I had a year break from learning when I was going through a period of growth in my career and some significant personal events. Covid then unfortunately postponed graduation last year, so here we are five years later finally looking forward to my MSc graduation and I feel so proud that I finally made it. 

My biggest piece of advice when thinking about a master’s is to consider why are you doing it and how are you going to do it. 

For me, I had to have strong reason for undertaking such a big commitment, I saw it as an opportunity to support advancing my knowledge, my credibility and ultimately my career and I still felt like I wanted to learn more within the academic space, it felt like the right time for me.  

I am also so pleased that I made the decision to do it whilst working, even though this is no mean feat, and I would stress to anyone to seriously consider the impact of trying to juggle both! The master’s was directly relatable to my everyday work and being able to apply theory straight into practice or vice versa, bringing my experience to the classroom and the assessments, really helped bring the content to life and made everything I was learning much more purposeful and meaningful. 

In summary, I would say choose your subject wisely and make sure the programme is able to deliver not only the content you want to learn to support your career or interests, but also make sure it is a course that can be delivered in a way which enables you to manage other commitments in life. Without Loughborough offering such a flexible learning model, I would not have been able to take part in the MSc. 

After what was a long, tough, but very rewarding five-year journey, it means a huge amount to me and my family that we are able to come together to celebrate on campus. We know of many universities who decided not to host class of 2020 ceremonies this year, so I feel very grateful to Loughborough to have this opportunity. I am personally looking forward to the set-up of the day. Being hosted in a marquee outside (it’s due to be sunny!) and having a post-ceremony reception makes the day feel different and unique compared to my undergrad ceremony but it will still have the same Loughborough family feel and campus buzz to it – I can’t wait to see some familiar faces and catch up with friends! 

I feel very lucky that my parents are able to join me, especially with my dad normally living abroad, and I am really happy that they can both be back in Loughborough 10 years after my first day on campus. However, I am acutely aware that unfortunately some of my peers are still being significantly being affected by covid and that they themselves or their family may not be able to travel. I hope that wherever you are in the world you are able to celebrate your achievements with your loved ones and I hope you are still able to make it a really special occasion. 

Congratulations to the Classes of 2020 and 2021 and welcome to the #LboroGrad Family! 

London SME's: We need you!

London SME's: We need you!

July 16, 2021 Ella Cusack

Since March 2020, Loughborough University London’s Digital Skills Programme has helped around 150 London based SME’s to grow capacity, increase audience and upskill in digital tools.

We have seen around 75 Postgraduate students, many with previous professional backgrounds, collaborate with SME’s within the London Boroughs to increase capacity through digital skills.

We have also offered a series of digitally focused workshops in partnership with Echo, aiming to upskill SME’s in digital working practices such as digital marketing, social media strategy, SEO, UX/UI and more.

As part of the Digital Skills programme, YOU can offer a work insight project to a Loughborough University London master’s student.

Companies must agree to:

  • Outline the digital work insight project
  • Offer a minimum of a 30 hour insight project to a Loughborough University London master’s student
  • Confirm that the student completed the project and offer an endorsement to the student for their input on the project.

To find out more information about the Digital Skills Programme, please visit our website.

Did I need the law to be my non-binary self at work?

Did I need the law to be my non-binary self at work?

July 14, 2021 David Wilson

To mark International Non-binary Day 2021, David Wilson reflects on their own experiences and where non-binary people find themselves in the UK in 2021.

Can there be a bigger cliché in queer circles than “I wasn’t like the other kids at school”?  Maybe not.  But it’s true.  First I grew my hair long, inspired by heavy metal and grunge bands. But I cut it again under social pressure.  A few years later I discovered gender non-conforming musicians like Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal of Placebo, and Nicky Wire and Richey Edwards of Manic Street Preachers and I started wearing makeup and clothes classed as feminine.

Image shows the bands Placebo and Manic Street Preachers with members wearing makeup and clothes classed as feminine
Placebo (left) and Manic Street Preachers (right) subverting gender norms in the mid 90s

I reined it in again when I started university – worried about alienating the people I’d meet and failing to make friends.  It became a “nights out only” look.  When I started working I wanted to seem grown up and responsible which, particularly for someone read as male, means quite a conservative appearance.  Arists such as David Bowie had been pushing boundaries on stage and screen for decades, but even today there’s not much latitude in “male” office wear.

In their autobiography, “Sissy.  A coming of gender story”, Jacob Tobia writes of entering the workplace “A first glance professionalism tries to convince you it’s a neutral word purely meant to signify a collection of behaviours, clothing and norms, appropriate for the workplace.  “We just ask that everyone be professional” the cis white men will say, smiles on their faces, as if they’re not asking for much. “Uh, we try to maintain a professional office environment…” but never has a word been so loaded with racism, sexism, heteronormativity or trans exclusion.  Whenever someone is telling you to “be professional” they’re really saying “be more like me”.”

“I wish I could dress like that at work” I’d think. Every time. For years.

Image shows a photo of Jacob Tobia wearing makeup and clothes classed as feminine and the cover of their autobiography
Jacob Tobia

Nobody told me I had to dress that way, but that’s not how social norms work.  You just pick them up.  I’d see women coming to work in all sorts of outfits, all sorts of fabrics and colours, some with makeup, some with none.  “I wish I could dress like that at work” I’d think, every time I saw them.  Every time. For years.

Then in 2016 I learned a few key things:
The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination based on “gender-reassignment”.
Gender re-assignment covers social transition (how we present, changes in names, pronouns etc.) as well as medical transition (e.g. hormones or surgery).
While it hadn’t been tested in court, it was very likely this protection extended identities that fell outside the gender binary – not just trans men and trans women. (This has since been established in an employment tribunal).

I brought this information to my manager and assertively informed her I’d be coming to work looking different from now on.  She was a little taken aback, but supportive.  I started coming to work in dresses, skirts, heels, makeup, and in the hoop earrings for which I’ve become known.  I wore these things to the office, to meetings, to negotiate with senior university managers on behalf of UCU and I waited for the backlash, the snide comments, the laughter.  They never came.  I asked for IT systems to be changed, and for the University to establish a working group to improve support for trans and non-binary staff and students, and the requests were granted. The irony of working in IT and pushing against binaries was not lost on me.

In 2016 we were riding a wave of interest about transgender people.  The Transgender Tipping Point was declared in 2014 when Laverne Cox, star of Orange Is The New Black, appeared on the cover of Time magazine.  Caitlin Jenner had followed in Vanity Fair in 2015.  Recognition and acceptance were here.  But from progress comes a backlash and now far too much time and energy is spent on a confected war between the trans community and so-called “gender-critical” women fearful that increased rights for trans women decreases their protections from men.  These groups, natural allies in the face of patriarchy, have been turned against each other in order to maintain the status quo. 

Image shows Laverne Cox on the cover of Time magazine
Laverne Cox on the cover of Time in 2014
Image shows Caitlyn Janner on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine
Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair in 2015

Stonewall, the LGBT+ charity founded by national treasures such as Ian McKellen, has been vilified by the press and the government for supporting the vulnerable trans community and organisations have come under pressure, including from Equalities Minister Liz Truss, to dissociate from them.  At Loughborough however we have made steady progress towards better understanding and inclusion of the trans and non-binary members of our community and we have remained a member of the Stonewall Diversity Champion program. 

This week to celebrate International Non-Binary People’s Day, Stonewall have released posters for schools and colleges featuring a range of non-binary folk talking about their work and their interests in order to help normalise our existence and increase our visibility for the next generation.  I am proud to have been invited to participate in this campaign, proud to be a poster child for Stonewall during their rough ride.  Just as I’m proud to be seen around campus and in the rest of the world because as much as I still fear the backlash might come at any moment, I am no longer prepared to repress who I am.  I want to be seen and make it easier for others to be themselves and be seen.

The Parliamentary Women and Equalities Committee urged government in 2016 to “look into the need to create a legal category for those people with a gender identity outside that which is binary…” noting several countries had already done so. In 2020 the UK Government decided to shelve plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act, and in May 2021 responded to a petition to asking for legal recognition for non-binary gender saying it had no plans for this, and that it would have “complex practical consequences”.  Consequences which countries such as New Zealand, Malta and Pakistan and others have been able to overcome.

Did I need legal protection to be my non-binary self at work? 

Did I need legal protection to be my non-binary self at work?  Would anyone have stopped me if I’d just come in dressed how I wanted to years earlier?  We’ll never know.  But I didn’t feel able to do it, so in that sense yes, I needed the legal protection.  In 2016 I thought we were on a one-way street to greater acceptance and legal recognition. Now I fear that progress is stagnating and may even be reversed as we see in Poland and Hungary.  I hope that I’m wrong. But most of all I hope that whatever happens in law we heal the wounds in public opinion and work together to address gender-based violence and oppression in all its forms.

Photo by Delia Giandeini on Unsplash

The LGBT+ Staff Network: A new chair and a new direction

The LGBT+ Staff Network: A new chair and a new direction

July 12, 2021 Sadie Gration

As part of its commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), Loughborough University’s People and Organisational Development team has helped to establish multiple Staff Networks over the years where members can support each other, raise concerns, and influence change. There are nine Staff Networks to date, with one of the longest-serving ones being the LGBT+ Staff Network.

With a newly elected Chair leading them, the Network has undergone a change in its structure, purpose, strategy and a slight rebranding of its name – from the LGBT+ Staff Group, to the LGBT+ Staff Network. These changes aim to signal a new way of working and engaging staff across the University to facilitate LGBT+-related change and activities.

I spoke with the new Chair, Chris McLeod, to find out more about the Network’s new direction and how this will better support LGBT+ staff and allies on our campuses.  

Chris, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?  

“Yes of course! I’m a Research Associate and University Teacher in Psychology at the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, I’ve been at Loughborough University since 2016 and I was the LGBT+ Student Officer at Loughborough Students’ Union from 2017-2019. I’m now delighted to have been elected as the new Chair of the LGBT+ Staff Network.”

What does the LGBT+ Staff Network mean to you?

“Feeling part of an LGBT+ community has been a crucial element of my life over the last five years. When I first came out in 2008, I didn’t have people around me who had similar experiences to me, and I had no idea at that point how much an LGBT+ community would benefit my life and how much I was missing in not seeking it. Now I’ve seen how much support and strength you can get from being around others with similar experiences, I know the LGBT+ community will always be a fundamental part of me and my life. So, for me, the LGBT+ Staff Network means community, understanding and strength.”

What do you think the group’s current strengths and weaknesses are?

“When it comes to our strengths: we have a place to bring LGBT+ staff together, we have amazing staff who are keen to attend meetings and take on actions, collectively we have pushed for changes to structures, processes and LGBT+ representation here over the years, and the University acknowledges and supports our existence.

“But I also think we have a few weaknesses to address. We don’t fully understand our purpose (are we a social and support group for colleagues, or are we a group that advocates for the LGBT+ community at the University and strives for change?), we probably only regularly engage with around 2% of LGBT+ colleagues across the institution, we don’t always feel that LGBT+ specific issues are at the forefront of the mind for making systemic and structural changes on our campuses, and often we find a lot of the work we do is done by a small number of people.”

Why did you decide to change the name from ‘group’ to ‘network’? Is this part of a larger plan?

“Yes, that’s right! It may seem like a small and insignificant change, but I actually think that this small tweak will help to change the way we work, and the way staff engage with LGBT+-related activities at the University. From listening to various community voices and drawing some conclusions from this, I felt that the term ‘group’ seemed very exclusive – it’s a closed, limited and quite intimidating concept. Having a ‘group’ even led to the perception that you have to come into this closed group just to ‘be’ LGBT+ or an ally on our campuses. This is not what we want, at all! Whereas, I believe a ‘network’ in concept is very different. A network is expansive, unlimited and open where everyone who is LGBT+ or an ally on our campuses is part of the LGBT+ Staff Network – it’s not a closed group, but an open network of people. Instead of monthly meetings to enable ‘the group’ to come together, the network now has monthly meetings where any staff can come to meet and discuss issues, represent the community’s voices and provide a forum for support and to facilitate change.

“So, the name change is a small thing, but I think it plays a key role in shifting our focus from being exclusive to being expansive. Through refining how we work, I believe we can establish a position as a key EDI advisory forum for the University when systemic and structural changes are being reviewed. We can bring LGBT+ staff – as well as other minoritised and liberation communities – together to collaborate and progress EDI work. And in addition, we can ensure LGBT+ staff are at the forefront of the mind for our University’s change makers and have a seat at the table when decisions are being made.

“I appreciate this doesn’t come easy. I know there are currently resourcing and workload issues, as many staff struggle to find the time to incorporate LGBT+ advocacy and activism into their everyday roles. However, by working together as a community – both an LGBT+ community and a Loughborough community – I think we can make meaningful change to improve the experience of people working and living at this University.”

That all sounds great, Chris. Do you have a plan of action of how you plan to go about this that you’re happy to share with us?

“Yes of course. I envision us implementing these opportunities with six key changes.

  1. A change of concept

“I basically covered this earlier, but in short, the change from a group to a network allows us to be more expansive with our thinking. Staff can attend our monthly meetings (either regularly or ad hoc) to highlight issues, discuss campaign or event ideas and represent LGBT+ staff voices across our campuses.

2. A change of structure

“We should ensure the Chair is elected or re-elected on a specific manifesto every two or three years. This way the Chair is held accountable and is representative of the community. I also think that we should have committee positions to broaden the work we do across our campuses and to provide developmental opportunities for our LGBT+ staff. After discussing this with other Staff Support Network Chairs, and in understanding the needs of our community, roles I’d like to introduce include a Collaborations Lead, a Loughborough London Champion, and a Trans, Non-Binary and ‘Plus’ Lead, among others. These roles will be advertised on the LGBT+ Staff mailing list over the summer.

“I also want to ensure our monthly meetings are open to non-committee staff, whether it’s regularly or as a one-off, so they can fully contribute to and critique ideas, but don’t have to take on actions if they don’t want to.

3. Collaborating with others

“We need to work with others who have similar experiences and ambitions. And for those who we already collaborate with, we need to engage with them even more. This includes the student LGBT+ Association, other Staff Networks, Stonewall (through our partnership as a Diversity Champion), and external partners such as our alumni.

4. Researching University structures, processes and experiences for LGBT+ staff

“The University has a Trans and Non-Binary Working Group who, at the time of writing, have a survey running to understand the experiences of trans and non-binary students and staff at the University. This will be an incredibly helpful survey for us to have some initial understanding about the experiences of some of our LGBT+ folk. I hope we can leverage off these results to then take part in a more widespread survey looking at the University’s structures, processes and staff experience to understand how our University matches up against best practice and to find out where we can make meaningful and nuanced changes. Engaging with an external organisation and process to help us do this will be key, and Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index may be just what we need to facilitate this!

5. Engaging in higher-level strategic planning and change for EDI at Loughborough

“In the past, Staff Networks worked in their silos. It often seemed more likely that student groups or Human Resources were able to make significant change happen. But now we have a better structure. All our Networks can come together at the University’s new EDI Advisory Forum, which feeds back information to the EDI Subcommittee (hopefully soon to be the EDI Committee), which then informs University Council who are able to make systemic changes.

“There’s also been a big shift in the Networks working with Schools and Departments across the University to facilitate change in specific areas, which is great to see.

6. Increasing our visibility

“Finally, we need to keep pushing for visibility of our Network. Whether that’s through internal forums, allies, HR, or marketing platforms such as our website, social media, and internal communication channels. We also need to increase our visibility with senior management too, and I’m delighted to announce two new Executive Sponsors of the LGBT+ Staff Network: Director of Finance Andy Stephens, and the Dean for Social Sciences and Humanities Professor Lisanne Gibson.”

That all sounds amazing Chris, and it’s been great to speak with you today. Do you have a last message for anyone reading this?

“It’s been great to speak. Thank you for giving me and the Network a forum to talk about our direction. If you haven’t already, please check out the LGBT+ Staff Network’s dedicated webpage to find out more about us. We also have a blog which regularly features contributions by our amazing LGBT+ staff who write inspiring and thought-provoking reads. You can also keep up-to-date with our initiatives by following us on Twitter @LboroLGBT.

I can’t wait to work with LGBT+ colleagues and allies across the University to move forward with this vision, and if anyone has any questions or feedback, you are welcome to email me at”

Research, charity work, and life at Loughborough: How I’m striving for positive change at the University

Research, charity work, and life at Loughborough: How I’m striving for positive change at the University

July 9, 2021 Sadie Gration

My name is Ruby Appiah-Campbell. I am married with two children, and I have a number of roles at Loughborough University. I am a full-time Doctoral Researcher in the School of Business and Economics, a University Teacher, a Research Assistant working on a British Academy funded project, and a sub-warden for Cayley Hall.

Before starting my PhD, I was a banker for ten years with Standard Chartered Bank and Stanbic Bank, where I rose through the ranks into a management position. One fateful day in January 2016 after a good day at work, I was driving home in my car alone and thinking how I loved my job and how life was generally perfect. However, I realised that perhaps I could contribute more to other people’s success – especially young people – as I have always been passionate about education. I wanted to support young people to reach a reasonable and sustainable life.

This dream could only be made possible by making certain critical decisions and following them through. I decided to quit a job I genuinely enjoyed to get myself into an environment where I could better understand the ever-changing needs of young people in order to support them to aspire and achieve.

I started the journey by enrolling on a Master of Research programme in 2017, even though I already had a Master’s in Business Administration while working in the banking industry. I moved on to start a full-time PhD in 2018 and took up roles to get me closer to students to understand their lives, wants and needs.

My intentions led me to start teaching and taking up a Sub Warden role in Cayley Hall, where I  provide pastoral care. My passion for supporting young people has increased through my interactions with students, from undergraduates to postgraduate researchers, and from witnessing the wide array of challenges faced by students from diverse backgrounds.

My doctoral studies and my Research Assistant role have impacted my outlook on various issues I encounter while interacting with students and staff of the University.

My PhD research focuses on addressing how two competing forces – the rise in ethnocentric attitudes (eg ethnic group self-centeredness) and the call for prosocial behaviour (eg sacrificing for the benefit of others) can coexist.

I conducted interviews with and collected survey questionnaire data from Loughborough staff and students. The initial results from my data analysis and ongoing experiences threw more light on the current state of the University. I found a lack of institutional engagement with BAME students in particular, resulting in a feeling of not being cared for. Hence, they do not fully benefit from the fantastic Loughborough University experience for which we have such a high reputation.

My recommendation for a positive BAME student experience at Loughborough University is for both the University* and the Students’ Union’s Senior Management team to recognise the need for specialised workshops and training to enable them to view occurrences through the lens of the underrepresented students. This recommendation which stems from my research, is critical to engineer initiatives from the top.

Additionally, the research I’ve been involved with for the past year as a Research Assistant focuses on young people. We have conducted over 20 interviews with students, collected 500 survey responses  from young people, and did some initial analyses showing various insecurity, personality, and trust issues among them. These observations from research and personal interaction with the community have propelled me to support students in general and, more significantly, underrepresented students.

My desire to address these issues led me to launch a charity called Life Beacon. It is the hub for several initiatives driven by knowledge from my research and my Christian faith that benefit both home and international students. The primary objective of Life Beacon isto advance education among the underrepresented student groups by educating and mentoring young people to develop a firm and stable foundation to achieve a sustainable life. The initiative, which started as a passion, has now been registered under charity commission as Life Beacon International to enable students who volunteer in any capacity to be able to reference their activities on their CVs. More details of the work we do can be found here.

One initiative of Life Beacon is called ‘Going to University’. This project aims to reduce the increased mental health challenges among young people and support them to develop a sustainable lifestyle. We intend to provide knowledge and guidance to young people in sixth forms and colleges to quickly identify their strengths, genuine interests and provide an overview of university education through fun activities in a more relaxed environment.

The knowledge acquired through these activities helps pupils ask relevant questions during university open days about courses, modules, and entry requirements. Some of the activities also provide them with an overview of what they should expect at University, such as independent study and attending lectures. Subsequently, this will help them enjoy university education since they will be better prepared for the new way of learning.

Life Beacon has also supported LSU-led events and provided opportunities for students to volunteer in various capacities to learn new skills, which helps them stand out when applying for internships and placements. In addition, we’ve also offered mentoring and coaching schemes for them. We’re currently working on several initiatives for the next academic year and look forward to collaborating with a number of student groups, including the PhD Social and Support Network, the LSU BAME Student Council, as well as Staff Networks and the wider institution.

My desire is to see many young people achieve their lifetime dreams through a sustainable journey with more support from Loughborough University’s Senior Management Team,  as well as other staff and student groups as our Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) work progresses.

*To find out more about about the University’s ongoing work towards the Race Equality Charter – which includes the Race Equality Guiding Principles developed by the BAME Staff Network  – visit the dedicated webpages here.

#Be Kind: Let’s Talk Mental Health

July 8, 2021 Ella Cusack

The #BeKind series is a mini-blog series that forms part of our LSU blog series. In this blog, Loughborough Students’ Union (LSU) London School President, Amie Woodyatt, discusses the importance of taking care of your mental health and shares some useful resources to help support you.

University is ordinarily a high-pressure environment. Add a global pandemic, completely different learning and working conditions, and a tougher job market, and it’s understandable that student mental health is getting worse across the UK. This is often a difficult conversation for many, but hopefully this blog may provide some comfort and useful information.

You are not alone. Whether you’re dealing with increased anxiety about being social again or still struggling with day-to-day motivation for simple tasks, there are always people you can reach out to.

In London, the Welfare team are available via email, phone, or you can book in a meeting; LSU Advice can help reassure you about any questions you may have; and if you’d like to talk to peers first, your Institute Reps, the London Postgraduate Support & Social Network (PSSN), and School President are all here to support you.

You are valid. Your feelings are valid. Even if it feels small or insignificant, or doesn’t feel ‘as serious’ as someone else, your mental health is important, and if you are struggling you should reach out.

The number of cases of mental health diagnoses is increasing at Universities; even if you don’t seek a diagnosis, finding the right support for you can be a breath of fresh air. Extra time in exams, counselling, DSA – there are plenty of systems Loughborough have in place to make your time here easier.

Everyone has different timelines. In the generation of Instagram and TikTok, it’s so easy to get swept up in the highlight reels of others’ lives and put pressure on ourselves to be at a certain stage by a certain point.

We’re all different, though. Whether you’re doing your postgraduate study at 23 or 43, our paths are all unique, so, while it’s difficult, try not to compare yourself to others. We all have our own struggles and will reach our own milestones in our own time.

Try and do the basics when you’re struggling. Healthy food and staying active is not a cure for mental illness, but can help produce serotonin and dopamine to support your mental wellbeing. Cooking or going for a walk with friends can also be socially beneficial; if you feel comfortable, try a hug too, get some free oxytocin!

Importantly, if you do find yourself really struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. LSU Advice, London Welfare, your GP, and charities are always there to support you personally and academically.

Remember there’s no shame in getting support, times are hard, it’s understandable and valid to not feel okay. The important thing to do is to take steps to look after yourself.

Useful resources

Take a look below at a number of useful resources that you may find helpful.

LSU Advice

London Welfare

You can also find out more about how our Welfare team are here to support you here.


Find out more about how MIND can support you here.


Find out more about how Samaritans can you support you here.

116 123


(text ‘SHOUT’ to) 85258


111 for non-urgent support

999 for urgent support

The most important thing to our Welfare team is you and your mental health; if you’re struggling in any way, let them know as soon as you’re able to and they will see what we can do to help. You can contact the Welfare team by emailing

To find out more about LSU London can support you during your studies, please visit this web page.

Loughborough University London and Loughborough Students’ Union would like to thank Amie Woodyatt for this blog.

This Week at Loughborough | 5 July

This Week at Loughborough | 5 July

July 5, 2021 Jess East

Artist talk: Matthew Raw (ceramics)

5 July, 6 – 7pm, Online

Matthew Raw is a ceramic artist who explores the physical and communicative properties of the ceramic tile. This event will introduce you to Matthew’s practice and discuss the project. Find out more on the events page.

Book Club: Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez

6 July, 12.30 – 1.30pm, Online

Join our regular Book Club for an online discussion of Paul Mendez’s coming-of-age story Rainbow Milk. Find out more on the events page.

Applied Cognition Technology and Interaction Group (ACTInG) research networking day

6 July – 1 – 5pm, Room B114, Brockington building and on Zoom

Listen to keynote speakers from the Applied Cognition, Technology and Interaction Group, a group supporting the wellbeing, mental health and independence of people living with dementia, cognitive impairments and associated disabilities. Find out more on the events page.

LboroAppliedAI online seminar

8 July, 4 – 5pm, Online

Exploring deductive and inductive approaches to generating chemical process knowledge through machine learning. Find out more on the events page.

New Programme Spotlight Series: MSc Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics

July 2, 2021 Ella Cusack

The ‘New Programme Spotlight Series’ will be looking at all of our exciting new programmes, launching in October 2021. This blog will focus on the new MSc Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics programme.

The MSc Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics programme is part of our Institute for Digital Technologies and will welcome its first ever cohort in October 2021.

Dr Varuna De Silva will be the Programme Director for this programme. We recently caught up with Varuna to discuss this new and exciting programme, here what he had to say below.

Why was this programme developed?

This programme was developed as a result of our industrial engagements, previous successful MSc programmes and because of our discussions with Alumni, to give students from a diverse background an opportunity to retrain in Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics to be productive and job ready in the emerging AI driven economies.

Who is this programme for?

This programme is suitable for anyone with a good undergraduate qualification. We are looking for analytical students with a growth mindset, and an attitude to develop themselves in to AI technologists. We welcome students from a variety of backgrounds, such as business, marketing, finance, economics, media analytics, sports, computer science, engineering to name a few. If anyone is in doubt, they can apply and we will consider applications on a case-by-case basis.

What career paths is it likely graduates from this programme will go on to pursue?

This programme will open many career paths to students in various industries who are transitioning in to AI and Data driven businesses, such as business consultancies, Marketing and finance, Engineering and healthcare to name a few.

Why are you looking forward to teaching this programme?

We carefully structured this programme to cater to a wide group of students, with very exciting new modules covering a large area of AI and DA, while providing examples of many different applications and opportunities presented by such technology. We are looking forward to work with students to help them navigate this exciting and prosperous domain.

If you have any questions, or doubts if you are the right person to do this course, then you can contact Dr Varuna De-Silva directly.

We would like to say a big thank you to Dr Varuna De-Silva for providing more useful information about this new programme. If you would like to find out more about the Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics MSc programme, please visit this web page.

To find out more about how to apply for a masters programme, please visit this web page.

You can find out more about the Institute for Digital Technologies here.

Careers and Gender Q&A with an Architecture student

July 2, 2021 Guest Blogger

Hi, my name is Danielle and I am studying B(Arch) Architecture, currently in my placement year (third year). During my placement year I have worked for three different companies in the architectural and construction industry and I will be back in Loughborough for my final year this September.

What made you want to pursue Architecture – were you influenced by a role model, or was it down to subjects you enjoyed?

The starting point for my interest in architecture evolved from living just a train journey away from London. Each time I visited, I explored a different part of London and fell in love with its Architecture and growing built environment. I was inspired by one architect in particular during Sixth Form: Norman Foster. Through my Art A-Level, I had the opportunity to write a Personal Study through which I explored in what ways had Norman Foster’s style been influenced by the Modernist architecture movement. This furthered my interest in the subject as I was able to explore architectural history and theory as well as architectural design.

Were there any subjects at GCSE (or A Level) that made you think Architecture would be a good subject to study at a higher level?

I studied Art at both GCSE and A-Level which allowed me to explore Architecture in more depth and develop my interest in this subject. I particularly enjoyed the freedom that studying Art provided, as I was able to focus on Architecture for a project, which ultimately led to my decision to pursue at University. I was also studying Maths at A-Level, which developed my interest in the technical side of Architecture. 

At A-Level I studied Art, Maths, Business Studies and Spanish (AS Level). Before choosing my A-Level options I did some research to see which A-Levels universities required for Architecture. I found that most universities preferred applicants to have Art A Level or Graphics/Product Design and a small portion required Maths and potentially Physics. However, it depends on the type of course you apply for, whether that’s a B(Arch), BSc (Hons) or a BA (Hons), so make sure to research what each university is looking for.

Have you faced any challenges along the way? Such as not being given access to information or being put off because of your gender? 

Being the only student from my school to apply to Architecture was challenging initially; I felt there was much more support put in place for other courses with a high volume of students applying. However, when visiting open days, I made sure to ask lots of questions regarding the application process, what the course was like and entry requirements. I presented the information to my teachers who then advised me during the application process. When visiting Loughborough University, it was so encouraging to see such a large number of females studying Architecture, challenging the stereotype that the Architecture, Construction and Engineering industry is male-dominated.

You are on placement now, how have you found being in industry? 

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the industry, being exposed to several different work environments. During my first placement, I was surrounded by female architects which was extremely empowering and inspiring to me. It was great to learn about their experiences in the industry and how it had developed over time. For my second placement, I was able to gain experience in a larger construction firm. Despite the projects I worked on being heavily male-dominated, it was promising to see the vast number of females throughout the business, including female apprentices and females in high authority positions.

Why do you think the uptake of subjects such as Architecture is still low for females? In your opinion, do you think this is changing?

I think there still remains a significant stigma surrounding females in the Architectural industry, fuelled by the male-dominant culture. However, I feel that this preconception is being challenged by the promotion of Women in Stem and Universities seeing an increased number of female applicants to Architecture. In particular, it was great to see a 50/50 split of female to male in my LU-Arc cohort, as well as a levelled ratio amongst LU-Arc staff members, inspiring and encouraging female engagement in the field. In 2020, Loughborough University’s Architecture programme saw a rise in female applicants, resulting in 67% of the cohort being female. This is extremely promising, setting a standard to follow and one which will hopefully continue to develop in the professional work environment in the coming years.

What are your career plans?

After returning for my final year and graduating from Loughborough University, I would like to gain some more industry experience in the architectural and construction field expanding upon the knowledge I have learnt this year. I hope that my year in the industry as a graduate will aid in my decision to undertake the Master’s programme in Architecture, following the path to becoming a fully qualified architect.

Any advice you would give to students thinking about their Post-16 options and university? What research would you recommend? 

My advice would be to research as much as you can on areas that interest you. Make a list of all the subjects that you enjoy and could see yourself potentially studying at university or working in the industry. From this, you can look at a range of university courses that might be suited to your interests. The most important factor to consider is whether you will enjoy studying this subject at university! You can visit university websites and look at module breakdowns to see what you will be studying.

IDIG End-of-Year Debate: Between Peace and Diplomacy

July 1, 2021 Ella Cusack

Last week, master’s students and PhD students from the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance (IDIG) came together for the IDIG End-of-Year Debate. The debate featured recent problems and discussions about diplomacy, its functions, areas of potential development and transformation. In this blog Current PhD student, Alicija Prochniak, shares her own insights and thoughts from this event. Take a look below.

The debate, in its structure, posed a very challenging and thought-provoking question about the relationship between peace and diplomacy, and challenged us to think about instances and mechanisms through which the outcomes of diplomatic practice can produce violence or conditions for violence, rather than peace.

During the course of the IDIG End-of-Year debate, participants took on the challenge and explored various ways of unpacking such proposition – through examples and situations, as well as conceptual thinking. Below, I would like to share some of my own thoughts on the problem-provocation set out in the debate. 


Today’s understanding of diplomacy in the world is largely a product of the post-Renaissance state system that developed in Europe since the Peace of Westphalia.

By the end of the 20th century, the majority of the countries around the world had adopted the diplomatic customs pioneered and practised in Europe. The ancient definitions as such did not entail that diplomacy itself was a peaceful task. The latter understanding and connotation became more prevalent especially due to  events in the 20th century, when the main task of diplomacy, during and after the two World Wars, the Cold War and the outbreak of civil wars following the collapse of the USSR were said to be the maintenance of peace. The main diplomatic efforts in the 20th century were hailed as concentrating on peaceful resolutions.

Nonetheless,  diplomacy should not be equated with peace. More recently, scholars have demystified these preconceptions and presumptions about diplomacy.  

Thus, Cohen has argued that placing diplomacy and violence/war on two opposite ends of the spectrum is a form of political myth, functioning mainly in the European and Western circles.[1] Other scholars, on the other hand, have alerted to the blurring lines between diplomacy and violence.[2]  The main task for students and scholars of diplomacy is to challenge the assumption that diplomacy and violence are contractionary and mutually exclusive terms. Moreover, the critical tasks of academia must be to investigate the premises of such false assumptions, explore new ways of conceptualizing the notion of diplomacy and observe the practice, in particular cases when diplomacy and violence go hand in hand, or where diplomacy produces violence.

In order to do this, the starting point is to accept that violence must be traced and critiqued in more than just its physical form. Indeed, Johan Galtung[3] has famously stated that it is also a form of violence when social and political structures and institutions end up harming people by creating conditions that prevent them from meeting their basic needs or lead to inequalities. Galtung calls these conditions  ‘structural violence’.

Diplomacy and Violence: Against Reconciliation?

One area, where diplomacy may not be described with the term “peace” could be explored in relation to reconciliation processes. The narrative of reconciliation was the main approach of the South African government after the period of Apartheid in this country. The government adopted a strategy of reconciliation, and despite its critics, it may be argued to have helped the society to move beyond some of its historical resentments and differences.

However, more often than not, official government narratives of state and national identity building appropriate the agenda of past conflicts, the memories of injuries, damages, and traumas, as well as incorporate or else enhance prejudices and resentments towards their political agendas.

In situation where representations of “Self” and “Others” are built on simplistic binary oppositions, and foreign policy is guided by the resultant anger and hatred, rather than reconciliation efforts, we witness a situation where the tools of diplomacy are put to use to produce conditions for violence, or directly help escalate violence rather than promote peace. There are political leaders who use divisions along ethnic or ideological lines within and across  nations in order to gain popular political support; using diplomatic tools to advocate for the recognition of their cause (political support aboard), or more rights for the leader’s group leading to political polarization of society. In these instances, the tools of diplomacy are used to institutionalize the leaders’ positions and the status quo, and to preserve the division which in effect may lead to more physical violence. This situation is currently witnessed in some Eastern European countries where Russian-speaking minorities and their rights within different nations lead to political unrest. 

Diplomacy, Violence and the Structure of Global Trade

Another area where diplomatic practice can be traced to the potential production of violence is the inherent in the very structure of global trade. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) could be seen as indisputably one of the major achievements in the workings of International Organizations. In 2003, following the recommendations of the Fowler Report, United Nations General Assembly set up the process to stop the illicit diamond trade between the developing countries and the rest of the world.

However, the institutionalization of global trade, the large number of international organizations which regulate the transaction flows, and their historical legacy do not always provide fair and equitable conditions for economic relations. Scholars have argued that the broad acceptance of the market logic, the way markets operate and their importance for global politics, have led to situations of structural violence.

On a global level, such approaches and political practice are in fact sanctioned and preserved through diplomatic exchanges. In today’s globalised world, states are competing for means to create wealth within their territories[4]. This, however, is producing unequal structures: the structuralist approach in political studies argues that international capital today increases the level of surplus value extraction through the use of overseas workers to maintain the profitability of the national economies[5]. Modern society is thus characterized by the place given to economic and market institutions. In such circumstances, the usual tools of diplomacy and negotiations between countries may actually extend and preserve the conditions of structural violence. 

Developmental theorists such as Raul Prebish have argued that capitalism may be preserving and increasing global inequalities; as the structure of global trade often traps countries in a vicious circle of dependency and poverty[6]. The current terms of commerce make it difficult for countries that export primary commodities to develop. The prices of raw materials and commodities are much lower in relation to the high prices of manufactured goods and technology which those countries most often have to import. The additional problems of overpopulation, unfavourable weather conditions for agriculture, dependence and unstable commodity export markets set conditions which developing countries cannot escape without assistance from outside[7].

For example, recently the European Union banned the use of palm oil in biofuels because of concerns that its cultivation accelerates deforestation and global warming. However, the export of palm oil was a major source of income for certain countries. While dependence on the export of such commodities has proven not to be the most sustainable model of development for such countries, this diplomatic act, nonetheless, demonstrates how the imposed ban may inflict the violence of hardship on these countries, without the provision of alternative and fairer means of economic sustenance and interaction. Here, we witness the violence of trade diplomacy cloaked in the innocence of “doing good to the planet” and of one-sided “environmental diplomacy”.

Concluding thoughts

The Loughborough London IDIG End-of-Year Debate proved to be a very successful way of encouraging students to share their knowledge, experiences and stimulated critical thinking and discussion. All students came up with very interesting examples and ideas which were also discussed in smaller working groups to allow deeper deliberations. It would have been difficult to describe here, in such a short blog post, all the insightful comments presented by all the participants. Therefore, only two of the discussed cases, and my thoughts on them, were included above. However, I believe all participants agreed that while the conditions to transform current practices may be challenging, there are still opportunities for the discipline of diplomatic studies to transform into a more nuanced research area addressing the problem and the question posed at the centre of this debate. Further examination and debate within the field, as well as inter-disciplinary consultations, can help the academia to better understand the nature of violence and its relationship with diplomacy and political practice. This new research would help develop innovative scholarly thinking, as well as diplomatic policies and solutions which could address more adequately the reality of structural violence in its many forms.  

We would like to say thank you to Alicja Prochniak for writing this thought-provoking blog and sharing her insights. You can find out more Alicja’s research here.

To find out more about the master’s programmes offered by the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance, please visit this web page.

To find out more about our PhD opportunities within the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance, please visit this web page.


[1] Cohen, Raymond (1999) ‘Reflections on the New Global Diplomacy: Statecraft 2500 BC to 2000 AD’, in Jan Melissen (ed.), Innovation in Diplomatic Practice, Palgrave MacMillan, Pages 1-18.

[2] Barston, R. P. (2006) Modern Diplomacy, Third Edition, Pearson Longman, p. 1.

[3] Galtung J. (1969) ‘’Violence, Peace, and Peace Research’’, Journal of Peace Research, Sage Publications, Vol.6, No.3, p.167-191.

[4] Strange, S. and Stopford John M. (1991) Rival States, Rival Firms – Competition for World Market Shares, CUP.

[5] Watson M. (2014) Historical Roots of Theoretical Traditions in Global Political Economy, Ch. 2 in Ravenhill, J. (ed.) Global Political Economy, Fourth Edition, OUP.

[6] Gilpin, R. (2001) Global Political Economy: Understanding the International Economic Order, PUP.

[7] Gilpin, R. (2001) Global Political Economy: Understanding the International Economic Order, PUP.

New Programme Spotlight Series: MSc International Project Management

New Programme Spotlight Series: MSc International Project Management

July 1, 2021 Ella Cusack

The ‘New Programme Spotlight Series’ will be looking at all of our exciting new programmes, launching in October 2021. This blog will focus on the new MSc International Project Management programme.

The MSc International Project Management is part of our Institute for International Management and will welcome its first ever cohort in October 2021.

We have spoken with Dr Gerhard Schnyder (Director of the Institute for International Management) and Dr Vivien Chow (Lecturer in Construction Engineering Management) who have shared more information about this exciting new programme. See what Gerhard and Vivien had to say below.

Why was this programme developed?

The MSc International Project Management programme incarnates the philosophy of Loughborough University to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration both in research and teaching. The Institute for International Management (IIM) therefore teamed up with our School of Architecture Building and Civil Engineering (ABCE) in order to deliver a new and innovative programme that seeks to leverage our respective strengths in international business, cross-cultural management and project management in construction and other industries.

Who is this programme designed for?

The programme is particularly aimed at people who are in positions where they professionally managing projects across national borders. One group of students we expect to benefit particularly from this programme is people with backgrounds in architecture, construction or engineering,  and have professional responsibilities for managing teams.

What are the graduate career destinations for this programme?

ABCE and IIM have strong links with a broad range of companies and their students go on to work in various industries. The programme will be taught at Loughborough University London whose campus is situated on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Hackney Wick. This area is itself a hotspot for entrepreneurial activity in particular in digital and creative industries. It is a stone throw away from Old Street’s ‘digital round about’ which is home to many digital start-ups. Start-up companies are increasingly so-called ‘born global’ companies, which means they are active around the world and their activities therefore involve international project management. We involve employers in our programmes throughout our programmes, most importantly through the collaborative project and the collaborative dissertation organised by our sector-leading Future Space team.

ABCE has over the past four decades nurtured relationships with a broad range of construction and engineering organisations through a consortium arrangement. Our industry partners have contributed to teaching, research and enterprise activities, including our recent research projects into the High Speed 2 Railway project (more commonly known as HS2) and the Thames Tideway Tunnel project. These ongoing partnerships inform our teaching to ensure that we deliver advanced, current, and industry-ready knowledge that prepare our graduates for advancement into leadership positions managing complex projects, including large-scale infrastructure projects.

What are you most looking forward to in teaching this programme?

I greatly enjoy interacting with students from various countries with various backgrounds and having my views and ideas challenged by hearing about their experiences. We are expecting that this programme will appeal to students with a somewhat different background and previous work experience from our current students. I’m expecting the MSc IPM cohort to add to the diversity of our student body, which will further contribute to the intellectually stimulating environment we have created at Loughborough University London. I’m very much looking forward to that.

Why Loughborough University London?

Loughborough University London is unique in the sector in at least two respects: Firstly, it is a structurally interdisciplinary place, with seven institutes set up along thematic rather than disciplinary lines. Secondly, it has an outstanding, sector-leading Future Space team focussing on collaborative learning between academics and people from industry. The Collaborative Project is the best example of that. This creates a very stimulating environment that fosters collaboration across academic silos and beyond the walls of the ivory tower.

The MSc International Project Management fits perfectly into this environment and students on the programme will great benefit from the innovative way in which we deliver our teaching.

We would like to say a big thank you to Dr Gerhard Schnyder and Dr Vivien Chow for providing more useful information about this new programme. If you would like to find out more about the International Project Management MSc programme, please visit this web page.

To find out more about how to apply for a masters programme, please visit this web page.

You can find out more about the Institute for International Management here.

New Programme Spotlight Series: MSc Diplomacy, Politics and Trade

New Programme Spotlight Series: MSc Diplomacy, Politics and Trade

June 30, 2021 Ella Cusack

The ‘New Programme Spotlight Series’ will be looking at all of our exciting new programmes, launching in October 2021. This blog will focus on the new MSc Diplomacy, Politics and Trade programme.

The MSc Diplomacy, Politics and Trade programme is part of our Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance and will welcome its first ever cohort in October 2021.

We have had the opportunity to speak with Director of the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance, Professor Helen Drake, who has shared her thoughts on this new programme launch. Here what Helen had to say below.

Why was this programme developed?

Diplomacy, Politics and Trade are matters never far from the world’s headlines, and we developed this new programme to invite students to join the dots.  We will explore the consequences of political choices for all kinds of trade; scrutinise the balance between politics, diplomacy and trade in response to crisis; examine the impact of scandal and sleaze in sports and many other areas of public life; and critique the political trade in truth and lies. We want students to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to operate professionally across cultures as well as time zones.  

Who is this programme designed for?

This programme is for students from many academic and professional backgrounds.  Graduates of degrees in politics, business, management, law, economics, history, anthropology and international relations, amongst others, can come and discover how their specialist knowledge fits into the bigger context of world affairs, and develop the tools to further their knowledge and understanding. Students with professional experience will bring their expertise to the classroom while learning new codes for developing (or changing ) their careers. 

What are the graduate career destinations for this programme?

This programme prepares its graduates for the many professional roles and careers where they will need a grasp of the complexity of their operating environment: in government service; international government and non-governmental organisations and institutions; public and private enterprise from multinational to local levels; policy-making and research consultancies and think-tanks; grass-roots movements and social enterprises.  

What are you most looking forward to in teaching this programme?

This is a chance for me and my colleagues to take students with us behind the headlines, to really get a grip on how politics and diplomacy shape  operating environments of all kinds.  I feel passionately about the need to understand what makes the world go round, and politics and diplomacy are absolutely part and parcel of this.  Once we join the dots between politics, diplomacy and trade we can, together with the students, begin to understand the news, and decide how we want to participate in the world we work and live in. 

We would like to say a big thank you to Professor Helen Drake for providing more useful information about this new programme. If you would like to find out more about the Diplomacy, Politics and Trade programme, please visit this web page.

To find out more about how to apply for a masters programme, please visit this web page.

You can find out more about the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance here.

Final DR President Update

June 29, 2021 Zoe Chritchlow

Written by Nathan Ritchie

As I approach the end of my tenure as Doctoral Researcher President, I want to write my final blog for Doctoral College and reflect on the past academic year and say some words of thanks. Being a representative, an active one that is, is full of peaks and pits, but I have thoroughly valued my experience this year and have really appreciated getting to know more about the Doctoral Researcher community, and Loughborough University as a whole this academic year.

There are only a certain number of things you can achieve in one academic year as a representative. It is made more difficult when you are approaching the deadline of your PhD, and I haven’t managed to achieve everything I set out to at the beginning of the year. Regardless of what I have achieved, one of the things I am most proud of, is I have never been late to a single meeting, always kept my engagements, and I have been generous with my time. I believe when you are representing a community, and working alongside other busy people, it is essential to be professional in this manner. So, when looking back on a year of activity, I have to say, this might be my proudest accomplishment.

This professionalism and engagement has allowed me to be first Doctoral Researcher President to do a number of things, these include:

  • Establish the foundation for a PGR parents and carers community.
  • Organise representative forums to discuss PGR relevant issues such as University Covid-19 support, international PGRs, and PGR teaching.
  • Attend London SSLC meetings
  • Foster a cohesive and supportive group of Lead Representatives
  • Run a social media campaign highlighting the breadth of environmental Doctoral research at Loughborough University
  • Communicate via WeChat with Chinese PGRs in their own language with monthly newsletters
  • Form a proposal for free menstrual health hygiene products
  • Advise on the creation of buddy systems in four schools.
  • Raise over £800 for mental health services at Loughborough University

Apart from these firsts, here are a few other of my regular activities:  

  • Met on a regular basis with the Education Executive Officer, Ana Maria Bilciu, Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor of Doctoral College Liz Peel, Researcher development staff, Katryna Kalawsky and Duncan Stanley.
  • Facilitated consultations or had meetings with Director of Finance, Organisational Development, Loughborough Students Union Executive, Library, Centre for Faith and Spirituality, UCU Casualisation Officer, Student Services, Vice Chancellor, Head of Wellbeing Services, Chief Operating Officer.
  • Lobbied for a Postgraduate Executive Officer at Loughborough Students Union.
  • Revisited and renewed SSLC Code of Practice
  • Attended SSN events when possible.
  • Attended Wellbeing Working Group.
  • Presented at/hosted two events at the Wellbeing Fortnight
  • Presented at four inductions
  • Promoted Employee Assistance Programme and LEAP scheme along with other university activities.
  • Was part of the promotion for the university record breaking PRES turnout. 
  • Attended Doctoral College Sub-Committees, and Research Committees
  • Created an Instagram account for the Presidential Team
  • Chaired three lead representative meetings.

If I was to highlight one achievement during the year, it would have to be the additional financial support and institutional awareness I along with others managed to achieve for parents this year. This was a particularly proud moment because I knew that not only the parent would benefit from institutional support, but also their children. There is still a lot to do in this regard, to ensure that PGR parents and carers, especially single parents, are not significantly disadvantaged compared with other PGRs, but the first steps were made this year. A special thanks goes to all the parents that helped me on this.  

Other thanks are in order. I must firstly thank Tymele Deydier and the rest of the SSN committee for continuing to think of ways our community can pull together. They have adapted brilliantly in tough times to keep a sense of community going. I am not an active member of the Writing Gym, but I know through others, that they have continued to provide a space of support, conversation, and work throughout the year also, so thank you to you all.  Also, thank you for the excellent work Chloe Blackwell and Rachel Armitage have done again this year in Heads Together, and good luck to the next organising committee. I have never been a sub-warden but have had the chance to communicate with them throughout the year, and I really appreciate the work they have done to keep this campus operating. They do not get enough credit. Also, a big thank you to the many PGRs working at the Covid testing centres, what a unique (hopefully once in a lifetime!) experience.

Thank you to all the representatives who have worked selflessly for the benefit of their community this year. An active, passionate rep is a special breed, a group I am happy to have been a part of for the past 8 years. A special thanks to the Lead Reps, especially Brett Friskney, Ursula Davis, Guy Tallentire, Jose ‘Pepe’ Salazar-Vela, Tymele Deydier, Percy Reyes-Paredes, Stan Windsor and Angelina Pan. Angelina deserves special mention as an exemplary lead representative, especially as a first year. I must also thank the ‘unofficial’ representatives on specific matters, who have stepped up to the plate in the process displaying their passion and conviction. These include Demi Wilton, who did some fantastic work for parents this year, and has become a friend in the process. Petra Salaric who brought the issue of menstrual health and period poverty to my attention this year, we worked together on a proposal to get this addressed at this institution which has been well received. Also, thanks to Alex Christiansen, whose ideas for Research Culture and buddy systems have been insightful and helpful.   

Thank you to the Doctoral College for working with me this year. I especially respect the human touch they showed me by sending me cards during two big moments in my life this year. I cannot be the easiest representative to get along with at times, nor do I strive to be, but I have appreciated Liz Peel’s patience and willingness to exchange views on the range of PGR related issues that have cropped up this year. Thank you also to Sam Marshall, who has reached out to me on several occasions to get the views of Doctoral Researchers on various matters throughout the year. I have also valued my interactions with both Duncan Stanley and Katryna Kalawsky, both who have felt very much like part of the furniture during my Doctoral Researcher experience. I should also thank Jenna Townend and Will Burns, who are both allies of the DR community. A final word of thanks to Zoe Crowson, who really is the unsung hero there at the Doctoral College.

I should also thank the Loughborough Students Union for working with me this year. I stand by the conclusions I have reached about the way the Union structures fail Doctoral Researchers, but I have found the staff professional, helpful and friendly. Particular thanks to Chloe Oliver, who does a lot of the behind the scenes work for DR representation and manages it all with a smile! Thanks also to Nicky Conway, who has also been supportive, and I know through speaking with other PGRs, how great Nicky has been with offering advice to some of our PGRs this year. Thank you also to LSU Executive. Especially Ana-Maria Bilciu, who has elevated PGR voices at the highest level of both University and LSU committees. This should not go unrecognised and should be commended. Thanks also to Alex Marlowe, who is always open to exchange views with me, and has made positive steps forward in terms of engagement with DRs.

A final word of thanks goes to those closest to me who have offered support in different ways. First to my closest colleagues in my department who I will be leaving behind this year, Sophie Parslow (who was also a fantastic rep in her day), Tasha Kitcher, Hannah Thompson, Manuel Torres-Sahli, Dayei Oh. Also, to my last buddy, Yanning Chen. Thanks more widely to the whole Communication & Media Department at Loughborough Uni, PGRs and staff. My last thanks, in this rather, gluttonous thank-fest goes to my partner, Ela Mikolajczyk and my son Hugo Ritchie. Those two are the ones who have really made the most sacrifice this year so that I can start work early and finish late, 7 days a week.

I leave my current role and my time as a DR at Loughborough with a good feeling that other PGR reps, perhaps more careful and eloquent than I, will continue to work alongside progressive staff members for the benefit of the DR community. The DR experience must evolve alongside our understanding of mental health, advancements in technology and social justice. This can be achieved through consistent dialogue between DRs, University staff and LSU. But also, through a commitment to work productively, a progressive and cohesive vision and an ability to confront difficult truths for the wider benefit of the community. As a population, Doctoral Researchers are the most experienced and educated group of students at the University. But far from being only students, we are researchers, teachers, sub-wardens, Covid testers and much more. Not to mention that some of us will play our part in shaping the higher education sector for years to come.  We should therefore proceed with the upmost confidence, safe in the knowledge that our contribution to this University is an invaluable part to its success.  

Many thanks Nathan

New Programme Spotlight Series: MA Design and Branding

June 29, 2021 Ella Cusack

The ‘New Programme Spotlight Series’ will be looking at all of our exciting new programmes, launching in October 2021. This blog will focus on the new MA Design and Branding programme.

The MA Design and Branding programme is part of our Institute for Design Innovation and will welcome its first ever cohort in October 2021.

Dr Antonius van den Broek is the Programme Director of this new programme. We recently spoke with Antonius who shared some important insights into this innovative new programme. See what Antonius had to say below.

Why was this programme developed?

Branding has always been a central theme in our teaching, and we recognised that an emphasis on branding would help our students in their future career. Moreover, we see that brands play an increasing role throughout societies; from personal branding to the products and services, to internal organisational branding and even branding of countries.

Who is this programme for?

This programme is for students who recognise the potential design can have beyond making products and services beautiful. Being part of the Institute of Design Innovation, this programme comprises of a range of subjects around design, but essentially students learn how to utilise design as a strategic asset. We see design as a mindset and way of thinking that can be utilised and applied by any discipline in any context. As such, our programme is not limited to students with a design background, and in fact we very much welcome students from other disciplines that want to learn how to be creative while making business sense.

What career paths is it likely graduates from this programme will go on to pursue?

As we believe design is all around us, the strategic mindset in combination with the design approach will equip our students in a range of industries, small and large organisations. We see students employed by brand and design agencies, marketing agencies, in government, strategy and market analysis, and perhaps most excitingly, some of our students are starting their own business. 

Why are you looking forward to teaching this programme?

I am really looking forward to teaching on the core module of the programme “Design Strategy and Branding” where we will be looking at the strategic dimensions of design. Seeing students broadening their view on the strategic “powers of design” and seeing them grow in their thinking and the way they can defend their arguments is a very rewarding. I also look forward to supervising students on their dissertation; here teaching blends with independent applications of subject areas and personal interests that students have, a great mix where theory meets practice.

Thank you to Dr Antonius van den Broek for sharing her insights about the MSc Service Design Innovation programme. To find out more about this programme, please visit this web page.

To find out more about how to apply for a master’s programme, please visit this web page.

You can find out more about our Institute for Design Innovation, here.

This Week at Loughborough | 28 June

This Week at Loughborough | 28 June

June 28, 2021 Jess East

Publishing Pride: Studying LGBT+ Lives and Experiences

30 June, 7pm, Online

In association with Cambridge University Press, our very own Professor Liz Peel is part of a live roundtable with Press authors about the role of academic work in exploring LGBT+ topics, issues and lives. Find out more and book your place on the events page.

Public lecture: Obesity, ethnicity and COVID-19 – One year on

1 July, 5.30 – 6.30pm, Online

This public lecture will be delivered by Cameron Razieh, Epidemiologist and Statistician working at the Diabetes Research Centre at the University of Leicester on Thursday 01 July 2021. Find out more on the events page.

New Programme Spotlight Series: MSc Service Design Innovation

New Programme Spotlight Series: MSc Service Design Innovation

June 28, 2021 Ella Cusack

The New Programme Spotlight Series will be looking at all of our exciting new programmes, launching in October 2021. This blog will focus on the new MSc Service Design Innovation programme.

The MSc Service Design Innovation is part of our Institute for Design Innovation and will welcome its first ever cohort in October 2021.

We recently caught up with Dr Ida Telalbasic, the Programme Director, to learn more about this exciting, new programme. Hear what Ida had to say below.

Why was this programme developed?

The Service Design Innovation programme was developed in order to enhance service design skills and knowledge through theoretical and practical application individually and in multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary teams. The aim of the programme is to develop collaborative behaviour through active learning and teamwork, analysing and evaluating problems and responding to challenges in real time.

Who is this programme designed for?

This MSc will appeal to students from a variety of backgrounds including: product design, graphic design, product-service-systems design, architecture, media, marketing, branding and business. The programme sits in the intersection of social and enterprise innovation, mostly within organization, exploring strategic innovation opportunities in diverse sectors.

What are the graduate career destinations for this programme?

This programme aims to prepare professionals for careers in the service economy, as service designers, and strategic designers. These professionals will be able to manage innovation processes, service development, design of services, and the exploration of strategic innovation opportunities within the private, public, and third sector, including social enterprises and the more general field of service ecosystems.

What are you most looking forward to in teaching this programme?

I am looking forward to teaching this programme as this is an exciting area of design to explore, especially as we live in a primarily service dominant economy. I am keen to contribute to developing an understanding of the importance of services systems and the role services play in innovation management processes within organizations.

Thank you to Dr Ida Telalbasic for sharing her insights about the MSc Service Design Innovation programme. To find out more about this programme, please visit this web page.

To find out more about how to apply for a master’s programme, please visit this web page.

You can find out more about our Institute for Design Innovation, here.

The Journey of a Lifetime

The Journey of a Lifetime

June 25, 2021 LU Arts

By Shreyans Nilvarna

The journey of a lifetime is a story of an internal journey of realization through a literal journey around the world. This is from the point of view of a young adult who in the middle of his life realizes that the world is not what he seems to have understood it to be. The journey moves from confusion to reality and then through metaphorical hell and heaven. It will follow the realities of today’s world through a series of poems.

1. Existence – The question of who?

I grew through these roots,
A gentle journey,
A journey creating so many,
“Who are you?”, asked somebody.

For the heart of the rain forest,
I am an animal.
In the eyes of the bearded children of Ganges,
I am a saint amongst all.

Touching the ground, aiming for the sky,
I found myself in Mecca.
Lighting candles on the Altar,
I am a traveler from afar.

Running through the desert,
I am the future of the Pyramids.
And in the high mountains,
I reach out to the peaks.

I also represent anyone,
On the receiving end of the torture you give,
I am the nightmare you fell asleep,
And woke up in it,
Perfect time to have some remorse,
To show for your sins,
No, it’s hopeless,
I am the denial you’re endlessly in,
But you refuse to believe,
Here we go all over again.

I am an Indian, a German, a French,
I am a Hindu, A Muslim, a Christian,
I am the creator, the destroyer,
I am everything except a human.
The world takes me in,

But on the inside, I’ll always be an outsider.

2. Omnipresence

Somewhere a part of me,
Is breaking away slowly,
Burning cries in deep rubble,
Tears draining the earth,
The piercing daggers in my back,
Somewhere I bleed through my hat,
A part of me is alive though,
The one that’s made of gold,
Trying to survive the ferocious pain,
Everything is unchanged,
A part of my soul dies every day,
There’s a reason for that somewhere,
The cold is warm,
The green is gone,
The wings that met the blue,
Find it hard to move,
A few take the lead,
Others wait to be fed,
How can I survive this way,
When I die a little each day?
Buried in so deep,
I can only hear the world shouting,
Everyone walking for themselves,
Stocking up their own shelves,
No one stands for all,
Can we ever change it all?
As the world turns,
And another part of me burns,
I vow to breathe life into death,
Bring life back from the dead.

3. The love that exists

Holding you in my arms,
In the little times,
I’ve been around the sun,
I’ve searched for someone to love,
I think I’m lost,
And I look in your eyes,
Again and again,

Throwing my heart off the edge,
Looking at your aging soul,
The heart that beats outside the door,
It’s wounded,
Easily, brutally cartooned it,
And I look in your eyes,
Again and again,

But it still beats to the rhythm,
For the dance of the others,
Your tears flow through the deserts,
The trees sway through the wind,
It’s easy to be lost in you,
And I look in your eyes,
Again and again,

There’s a devil in you,
Making hell in heaven,
Run into my arms,
Maybe he’ll destroy himself,
It’s easy for him to be lethal,
And I look in your eyes,
Again and again,

We’ll mend your soul,
We’ll keep you together,
In the dark,
I’ll give you stars,
To keep you alive,
And I look in your eyes,
Again and again,

Catching my breath again,
Watching you smile,
I see the pain behind those eyes,
With my throat choked with guilt,
I sell my soul for you,
And I look in your eyes,
Again and again,

A traction,
Gravity towards the other,
Afraid of the blues,
In my universe,
You are the world I choose,
And I look in your eyes,
Again and again,

When the love for you rises,
The eyes will shine again,
Now stay in my arms my love,
I’ll keep you safe,
I look for the answers,
And I look in your eyes,
Again and again.

I am Shreyans Nilvarna and I am from India. I first started writing poetry when I was 7 but it was a very simple style of writing. I picked it up again at the age of 14 and I have not looked back since then. I have written over 300 poems and have even published a collection of my work titled ‘Meraki’. I currently study Sport Business and Innovation but have an active interest in writing now and then. An interesting thing is that I write all my poems in a single flow. Almost all of them are unedited and are the first draft as I had written them. I like to use my words to help word down a feeling, an emotion, or just make people happy!

New Programme Spotlight Series

June 25, 2021 Ella Cusack

Here at Loughborough University London, we are very excited to announce the launch of FIVE BRAND NEW master’s programme!

We have developed the New Programme Spotlight Series to provide a bit more insight into each of these programmes and help you decide if the programme is perfect for you!

In this New Programme Spotlight Series, we will speak and gather insights from each of the Programme Directors and this series will begin w/c 28 June. We would recommend keeping an eye on our Twitter and Instagram channels so you don’t miss the release of each of the blogs!

Our five new programmes welcoming their first ever cohort in October 2021 are:

MSc Service Design Innovation

Institute for Design Innovation

This programme explores the makeup of a successful service designer and seeks to uncover how service design innovation knowledge, behaviour and skills can influence and inform the design innovation process.

MA Design and Branding

Institute for Design Innovation

This programme will encourage you to explore dynamic, contingent relationships between the strategic use of design and branding.

MSc Diplomacy, Politics and Trade

Institute for Diplomacy, Politics and Trade

This interdisciplinary programme connects the worlds of business, politics and diplomacy and focusses on the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to operate professionally across cultures as well as time zones.

MSc International Project Management

Institute for International Management

This programme will provide you with the knowledge and the skills necessary for successfully managing international projects in various organisations that operate across borders and with a multinational workforce.

MSc Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics

Institute for Digital Technologies

The Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics MSc programme is aimed at providing students with a comprehensive understanding of data analytics and applied Artificial Intelligence in the digital age and developing their skills to address associated challenges with the use of AI and Data Analytics tools in the most effective way.

Stay tuned to find out more information about each of these programmes!

To discover more about all the master’s programmes we offer here at Loughborough University London, please visit our website.

To find out more about how to apply for a master’s programme, please visit this web page.

If you would like to learn more about our Institutes, please visit this web page.

Mother F****r

Mother F****r

June 25, 2021 LU Arts

An excerpt from Worse Either Way by N/A Oparah

He didn’t tell you he still lived with his mother until you walked in on her in the bathroom. She had on a
black, silk bonnet and a fluffy, cotton robe with floral patterns that matched the curtains you’d earlier made
fun of him for. She nodded to you via her reflection in the mirror then spat out the suds of her toothpaste.
Her lips had an outline of white on them, a speckle on her chin, when she turned to greet you.

“Good morning hun, what’s your name?”

You were sure this was wrong. You looked her up and down, taking inventory of her lines and folds,
hoping, that instead of a mother, this was another woman he’d brought home that same night. Called her a
taxi cab that followed behind you both. Fucked her when he went to the bathroom those two times and then
again after you fell asleep. That would make more sense to you: two, one-night stands in the same night.
More than living with mommy. You were older than him too, by much less, sure, but maybe he had a type
and you are just a less extreme instance of his preferences.

You hadn’t thought to ask him if he lived with his mother. This was his response to your confusion when
you reentered his bedroom. This was true.

You wanted to argue with him but you could hear his mother fumbling around in the kitchen. You didn’t
want her to think you were the sort of woman who both slept with near strangers immediately and argued
with them first thing in the morning. You began to dress.

“You don’t want to stay?”

You’ve never felt no so clearly. The answer sprung from every part of you. Your lips let the word slip like
deliverance. “No.”

“You sure?”
There was a knock on the bedroom door.
“You all almost done in there? Grandma’s coming back soon. You need to wash those sheets in time.”

You swung your head towards him and mouthed, “grandma?”

He was putting on basketball shorts over baby blue boxers. He shrugged his shoulders a bit.

You started to wonder if this was even his house at all. If you remembered correctly, it was a two bedroom
apartment in the middle of a neighborhood you wouldn’t visit on purpose. He saw your confusion and

“I’m usually on the couch. This is my gran’s room, the other is my mom’s.”

“Can you walk me out? I don’t want to run into your mom alone.” Each word came out slowly, you were
trying not to curse.

He nodded and stood, still drunk. The morning hadn’t sobered him like you.

You could see the front door. Its three blockades: one door chain, one knob key lock, one cylinder night
latch, between you and exit.

Only the chain was left to undo when she called you over.

“Stay, come eat.”
“No,” said everything in you again, this time perfecting the harmonies, increasing the volume. “I really have to….”
“Come on, just for a bit,” he suggested, betraying.
“I’m sorry, but I…”

You could see he was now intentionally fumbling with the chain. Postponing your escape. He scooted the cylinder
along the plane subtly back and forth so it never found its opening at the end.

His mother arrived behind you and placed both hands on your shoulders. Her hair was now out in a thick black bob
and instead of a robe, she wore a pajama set that also matched her robe and the blinds.

“Take a seat,” she said putting you in one.

There was a bowl for eggs, a plate of bacon, and a tupperware condensing on the side from the heat of fresh
pancakes. The table was in a small clearing between the kitchen and living room. From where she placed you, you
could see almost all of the apartment. You now noticed how many family photos and old people things were
hanging around the house.

“Help yourself,” she ordered.

You sat with your hands in your lap as this man and his mom began to eat. They turned on the tv in the next room
and watched it from the dining table. Their conversation splattered between commentary on the episode of Love
Island (they’d both seen the episode at least once), his grandmother’s imminent return and wellbeing, and updates
from their weekends.

You could see the food in each of their mouths as they talked. The yellows and browns mixing together, finding
refuge between teeth and on the upper line of lip. His mother allowed several crumbs to return to the table half

“Are you one of those girls who don’t eat on dates?” His mother laughed out the question, adding a small sphere of
half-processed egg to the pancake she stacked on your plate.

He answered for you, “Nah… she eat.” He winked at you. They erupted.

You were stone.

You forced yourself to swallow four bites of egg before leaving and promised yourself you’d never let yourself be in
that position again. That was the first of forty-two times you made that promise.

Ngozi Oparah is a queer, first-generation Nigerian-American writer. Her other work has appeared in Madwomen in the Attic, QXotc, Five:2:One, Fictional International, A Velvet Giant, and other journals. Ngozi has received residencies in writing, art, and narrative media from Can Serrat in El Bruc, Spain and Proyecto Lingüistico Quetzalteco in Xela, Guatemala. Ngozi holds an MFA in Creative Writing from California College of the Arts and a B.S. in Neuroscience & Philosophy from Duke University. She is the Director of Community Programs at StoryCenter, a digital storytelling non-profit in Berkeley, CA. She is studying towards a PhD at Loughborough University in Creative Arts and Design in the UK.

Interface: The Interdisciplinary Nature of Drawing Recording

June 25, 2021 Deborah Harty

Interface: The Interdisciplinary Nature of Drawing

12.30-13.30 (BST) Thursday 24th June 2021

A discussion and Q&A with artists and researchers about how drawing can work across disciplines.

Deborah Harty, Chair of the Drawing Research Group (DRG) at Loughborough University will open this event with an introduction to the work of the group, highlighting some of the research undertaken by its members. This will be followed by a presentation by the artist Claude Heath. Claude has collaborated with John Stell, a computer scientist and mathematician from Leeds University, and will discuss their joint article to be published in Leonardo: ‘Out of sight but not out of mind: A diagrammatic conversation on relational drawing.’ This article reflects on their longstanding dialogue, using a common visual vocabulary of loops, connections and negative space, plus a shared interest in exploring the physicality of practice.

Saul Albert, Lecturer in Social Sciences (Social Psychology), who has collaborated with Claude on other interdisciplinary projects which use drawing as a research tool, will then lead a discussion with Claude and members of the DRG followed by a wider Q&A.

Claude Heath is an artist who has exhibited drawings widely, including at The British Museum, The Henry Moore Institute, The Centre for Drawing at Wimbledon School of Art, Pinakothek der Moderne Munich, Museum fur Gegenwartskunst Seigen, and Kupferstichkabinett Museum of Prints and Drawings Berlin. His PhD ‘Drawing out interaction: Lines around shared space’ was from the COGSCI group at Queen Mary University of London. Find out more about Claude’s work here.

John Stell is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Computing at Leeds University, working on spatial knowledge representation in Artificial Intelligence. His background includes a BA in Fine Art from Leeds College of Art and interdisciplinary projects spanning computation, mathematics, fine art, and the humanities.

This event is part of Interface: a week of discussions and events that showcase interdisciplinary practice.

Postal loans at the Library

June 23, 2021 Ella Cusack

We’re pleased to announce that we have now restarted postal loans between Pilkington Library in Loughborough and the London campus!

If there are any books that are only available in Pilkington Library that you would like to borrow, please email a link to the book and your ID number to The books will be posted to London and you will get an email from when they are ready for collection.

We have also recently subscribed to a new collection of resources, the Human Kinetics Library Collection. This is ‘dedicated to the research, teaching, and understanding of kinesiology, sport, and exercise science’, and has some materials (among other things) on Sport Leadership, Management, and Analytics which might be of interest specifically to those in the Institute of Sport Business. The collection has over 165 ebooks and 200 videos. The resource is available here.

Finally just a reminder that with the introduction of Multi-Factor Authentication this will affect how you access Library resources. You will need to ensure you have logged into the VPN as usual, and then authenticated via Duo to ensure it has fully connected. Then you will have full access to the online library as normal.

To find out more about the Library services at Loughborough University London, please visit this blog.

If you want to find out more about study at Loughborough University London, please visit our website.

Calling all students: Let us know what you think about how the University communicates to you

Calling all students: Let us know what you think about how the University communicates to you

June 22, 2021 Ella Cusack

By being a student at Loughborough, you’ll regularly receive and view communications from us.

Whether it’s through our social media channels, the weekly e-newsletter, on our website, or maybe somewhere else, you’ll have interacted with a number of our channels because of content created for you.

We want to know what works well and where we could do better, which is why we’ve created a short survey, open to all students across both of our campuses, about internal communications.

The survey will ask you questions about what sort of University-related information is important to you; which of our channels you use, and which channels you want us to use more or less of; and whether you think our communications are relevant, clear and interesting.

By taking part, you can also enter a prize draw with one £100 voucher up for grabs and two £25 vouchers available – simply provide your email address at the end if you’d like to take part.

You can access the survey here.

Please note the survey will close on Wednesday 30 June.

My Experience (so far) in Mechanical Engineering

My Experience (so far) in Mechanical Engineering

June 22, 2021 Guest Blogger

Hi, I’m Rebecca and I’m a Mechanical Engineering student at Loughborough’s Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering, currently on placement with Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team! 

Why Engineering? 

At school, maths and science were my favourite subjects by far so in Year 12 my Physics teacher, a Mechanical Engineer himself, suggested I apply for aEngineering Experience residential (coincidentally at Loughborough University!).  The experience consisted of sample lectures and workshops in 4 different engineering disciplines, with a chance to speak to current students about their university experiences.  I enjoyed it so much that I decided to study Mechanical Engineering at University.  

Why Loughborough? 

I chose Loughborough for its strong links to industry and the family feel I got as soon as I stepped onto campus – it’s not called ‘the bubble’ for nothing! Each year there are a couple of group projects, with one normally sponsored by a company; these are by far my favourite parts of the course! The placement year offered by Loughborough is an amazing opportunity to practice what you’ve learnt and discover what you do (and don’t) like when it comes to working in engineering.  

What is it like as a female in engineering? 

Although there are more than 1 million women currently working in STEM in the UK, there is still a big lack of visibility of these women which can be disheartening at times. Thankfully there have been many fantastic initiatives set up in recent years such as the FIA’s ‘Girls on Track’ and Susie Wolff’s ‘Dare to Be Different’ (for those interested in working in motorsport).  At Loughborough, there are great support networks who help to create a supportive environment across the university, ranging from the people on your course to lecturers and the various engineering societies.  Alongside having some incredible friends on my course, I have also been lucky enough to become a STEM Ambassador and mentor young people, particularly girls, of all ages on the wide variety of jobs available in engineering.  Seeing others get excited about engineering and the work you do is great motivation to keep pushing for success so that we can be the best role models possible for the next wave of female engineers.  

#BeKind - Taking care of yourself

#BeKind - Taking care of yourself

June 21, 2021 Ella Cusack

The #BeKind series is a mini-blog series that forms part of our LSU blog series. In this blog, Loughborough Students’ Union (LSU) London School President, Amie Woodyatt, considers the importance of taking time out for yourself during deadline and exam season.

Deadline season and exam season is probably the worst season… you’re stressed, you realise there’s a section of the module you haven’t revised or a part of your coursework you have forgotten, and it’s instant noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But trust me when I say – if you have a few exams over a few weeks, that’s not going to last!

Everyone works differently, of course, so finding ways to produce your best work and being productive is down to individual preference. Make sure you schedule time off, though. See friends over the weekend, eat something green, take a walk outside over lunch (especially if it’s nice weather!) – give your brain a break.

From my personal experience, here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way to help maximise your productivity:

Manage Your Time

Sometimes last-minute, repetitive revision can help solidify key facts, but if you know the date of your exam, block time into your calendar to revise. It could be 30 minutes a day, an hour on Friday morning (because everyone hates Fridays so you may as well revise) or 2am each day. Everyone has different times where they work best, just schedule a little and often over a month, properly time block it, and you’ll be calmer approaching the big day.

This is the same for coursework too. If you know the due date in advance, make sure you have blocked out enough time to save you the stress of trying to desperately finish your work the night before.

Eat Good Food

I’m not saying instant noodles aren’t good, carbs are the best, but you also need fats and protein to support those work sessions. Get some easy-to-eat nutritious snacks, I’m talking fruit, nuts, or antipasti if you’re feeling fancy. Pesto pasta with chicken/equivalents and veggies thrown in is super easy, or swap the pesto pasta for risotto rice. Frozen veggies are also easy to keep, quick to defrost and cook, and make a great side to your chosen piece of protein.

Drink Water

Human beings are mostly water, so if you want your brain to function at it’s best, stay hydrated! The body will start to shut down if it doesn’t have enough H2O, and I’m not talking about the water you put in your coffee to stay awake. If you’re bored of water (valid), try adding a splash of juice concentrate – I find it’s easier to drink 2L a day if it tastes nice (yep, 2L, that’s what we should be aiming for). You can also check if you’re dehydrated by pinching the skin on a minor knuckle (the first bend of your finger); if the skin quickly returns to normal, you’re hydrated, but if it stays up or takes longer to return, have a drink!

Do Something You Enjoy

Taking breaks will help so much in the long run, so be sure to stretch, go for a walk, or take a nap if you notice yourself slowing down. Don’t be hard on yourself when you do take breaks; splitting work into 30-40-minute blocks has been proven to aid focus – working for hours at a time will boggle most brains. You deserve a break!

Remember that everyone works differently, if you find yourself working at anti-social hours, that’s okay – if it works for you, go ahead, champ. Just listen to your body, fuel it well, and remember to reach out to friends, family, and Welfare if you feel you need support.

We’d love to hear from you about the topics you’d like to be covered as part of the LSU London blog series.

Loughborough University London and Loughborough Students’ Union would like to thank Amie Woodyatt for this blog.

To find out more about the LSU in London, please visit our website.

You can find out more about our Welfare team and how they can support you during your studies, here.

Interface: The Interdisciplinary Nature of Drawing

June 21, 2021 Deborah Harty
Claude Heath, Pepper Plant, 2001. Acrylic ink on paper, mounted on board, on aluminium, two panels, each 45.8 x 56 cms. 

Interface: The Interdisciplinary Nature of Drawing

12.30-13.30 (BST) Thursday 24th June 2021

We would like to invite you to a discussion and Q&A with artists and researchers about how drawing can work across disciplines. The event is free however, booking is required. 

Places can be booked here:

Deborah Harty, Chair of the Drawing Research Group (DRG) at Loughborough University will open this event with an introduction to the work of the group, highlighting some of the research undertaken by its members. This will be followed by a presentation by the artist Claude Heath. Claude has collaborated with John Stell, a computer scientist and mathematician from Leeds University, and will discuss their joint article to be published in Leonardo: ‘Out of sight but not out of mind: A diagrammatic conversation on relational drawing.’ This article reflects on their longstanding dialogue, using a common visual vocabulary of loops, connections and negative space, plus a shared interest in exploring the physicality of practice.

Saul Albert, Lecturer in Social Sciences (Social Psychology), who has collaborated with Claude on other interdisciplinary projects which use drawing as a research tool, will then lead a discussion with Claude and members of the DRG followed by a wider Q&A.

Claude Heath is an artist who has exhibited drawings widely, including at The British Museum, The Henry Moore Institute, The Centre for Drawing at Wimbledon School of Art, Pinakothek der Moderne Munich, Museum fur Gegenwartskunst Seigen, and Kupferstichkabinett Museum of Prints and Drawings Berlin. His PhD ‘Drawing out interaction: Lines around shared space’ was from the COGSCI group at Queen Mary University of London. Find out more about Claude’s work here

John Stell is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Computing at Leeds University, working on spatial knowledge representation in Artificial Intelligence. His background includes a BA in Fine Art from Leeds College of Art and interdisciplinary projects spanning computation, mathematics, fine art, and the humanities.

This event is part of Interface: a week of discussions and events that showcase interdisciplinary practice. Individual events are listed under ‘What’s on’.

This Week at Loughborough | 21 June

This Week at Loughborough | 21 June

June 21, 2021 Jess East

Doctoral Summer Showcase 2021

21 June 2021 – 25 June 2021

The annual Summer Showcase is the perfect opportunity for doctoral researchers at both campuses to show off their work to a public audience. Find out more on the events page.

Keep Calm Week: Puppy Petting

21 June, 10am – 4.30pm, Loughborough Students’ Union

Could you do with a break from working? Well, look no further than our beloved Puppy Petting! Spend a bit of time petting them, chatting to them and handing them treats. (Booking is required). Find out more and book on the events page.

Interface: Shared Language (interactive session)
22 June, 12.30pm, Online

A playful interactive session for academics/researchers from different subject areas through the sharing of images and encouraging interdisciplinary conversations. Find out more on the events page.

Interface: Advanced Technologies in Textiles Art and Design – Laser as a Dyeing Tool

22 June, 4 – 5pm, Online

Artists and designers come together to show how laser processing technology can be used within Textiles. Find out more and book your place on the events page.

Creative Arts Degree Show 2021

18 June – 27 June

The Creative Arts show runs from 18th June to 27th June and features work from final year students in Fine Art, Graphic Communication & Illustration and Textiles, alongside students from Foundation Art & Design. Find out more and book your place on the events page.

Design Show 2021

23 – 27 June

The Design Show runs from 23rd June to 27th June and features work from final year students in Product Design & Technology, Industrial Design and User Centre Design. Find out more and book your place on the events page.

Women in Engineering Day panel discussion: Life outside of work

23 June, 12.30 – 2pm, Online

This lunchtime panel brings together academics from different Engineering Schools at the University to discuss their lives outside of academia. Find out more on the events page.

BERG seminar: Open science and transparency in modelling

23 June, 1pm, Online

Dr Malvika Sharan, Prof Neil Strachan and Dr Steven Firth will present on open science and transparency in modelling. Find out more on the events page.

Interface: Collaborative Touch – A discussion between sport and performance

23 June, 1 – 2pm, Online

This roundtable event brings together five academics/practitioners with a view to reimagining that most potent of presences in sport and performance: the body. Find out more on the events page.

Postgraduate Virtual Open Event

23 June, 4 – 6pm, Online

Join us at our Postgraduate Virtual Open Day to find out all you need to know about studying a master’s at our Loughborough or London campus. Find out more and book your place on the events page.

Creatures of the Lines: First cut and discussion

23 June, 6 – 8pm, Online

A screening of the first cut of Sonia Levy’s Radar commissioned film. Find out more on the events page.

Interface: The Interdisciplinary Nature of Drawing

24 June, 12.30 – 1.30pm, Online

A discussion and Q&A with artists and researchers about how drawing can work across disciplines. Find out more on the events page.

LGBT+ Pride March

24 June, 12.45 – 2pm

Our annual LGBT+ Pride March organised by the Loughborough University LGBT+ Staff Group and the LSU LGBT+ Association. Find out ore on the events page.

IAS Time Theme: Living in the Anthropocene – How to Deal with a New Epoch

24 June, 3 – 5.30pm, Online

The IAS is delighted to announce the final event in the programme for the Annual Theme on Time. Find out more on the events page.

Final-year Creative Arts student vlogs

Final-year Creative Arts student vlogs

June 18, 2021 LU Arts

By Rosie Midwood, Sara Osman, Emma Sutherland and Mali Wheeler

Every year the final-year students in the School of Design and Creative Arts put together a final collection to be shown in the Design and Creative Arts Degree Shows. This is the culmination of their work throughout their degree course and a platform to raise their profile prior to graduating and starting their careers, as well as an opportunity to share their work with family and friends.

LU Arts commissioned four Creative Arts students to put together a short video charting their progress as they worked towards the installation of their collection in the exhibition for 2021. Theses videos give a fascinating insight into the processes involved and the range of skills and techniques the students have used to complete their collections.

Alongside their videos (which you can watch below), we asked each of the students to tell us a bit more about themselves and their art practice.

Rose Midwood (Textiles)

I have been at Loughborough for five amazing years. I first completed an art foundation before choosing to study textiles, specialising in print design in my second year. I have also completed a placement year working as an assistant graphic designer at Nutmeg, Morrisons Clothing.

At a time when the world has ground to a halt, the British countryside has re-emerged as a crucial space for relaxation, inspiration and exploration. Harking back to a simpler way of living, it hopes to encourage young people to step away from their indoor comforts and instead learn about, and engage with, nature. Full of colour and character, the prints hope to bring joy and interest into the lives of the young people they are designed for. Adopting an accurate, yet friendly, painting and drawing style has created charming prints that tell stories and immerse the viewer into woodland environments. Predominantly a screen printed collection, it celebrates the more hands on, tactile processes over digital design, again encouraging a more creative approach.

The textiles have been designed for interactive products, including tents, camping chairs, floor cushions and quilts that can be used indoors or out – they intentionally encourage adventures irrespective of the setting. Responsible design considerations is also at the heart of the brand, designing textiles that last, so our environment will last as well. Fundamental to this is challenging the increasing throwaway culture; making longevity desirable. The intention of my Curious Collection is to produce durable, timeless designs, encouraging a ‘buy less but better quality’ mentality. Curious is a collection that hopes to capture the nations rediscovered love of our local landscapes, designing uplifting prints to create environments for all children to play, learn and grow in.

You can follow Rosie on Instagram @rosie.midwood_design.

Sara Osman (Fine Art)

I am a Turkish Cypriot artist born in London, 1999 and I am a final year Fine Arts student at Loughborough University specialising in Installation Art.

The key themes of my practice are grief, examination, and self-development. I use the following psychoanalysis techniques: meditative texts, passages from journals and conversations with my healthy adult to support the anxious mind. I expose my struggles to not only strengthen and understand my psyche but to normalise everyday anxieties and challenges to ground and build a relationship with the viewer.

Using installation to present my work has emphasized the sense of poignancy and stillness which corresponds with the sensitive context and disastrous parts. The mind (the mindful text) and body (the disastrous parts produced by the body) are not aligned which suggests that further healing is required. Hence, I use the following materials: Latex, Plaster, Sand and Metal to physically see and feel the properties change over time. This allows me to become aware of my senses and bodily moment to further silence the anxious mind and ground myself in the present. Primarily, the materials, processes, and context collectively act as a form of therapy for myself, but I also aim to guide the viewer and provide them with a sense of hope.

I have exhibited in galleries across the UK including: The Manufacturing Technological centre in Coventry, The Bank of Cyprus in London for three consecutive years, New Walk Museum and Art Gallery in Leicester for two consecutive years and I am currently curating my solo show in Martin Hall, Loughborough. More recently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been featured in several virtual exhibitions and magazines, including: WAVE Press magazine that successfully marked International Woman’s Day 2021, The Holy Art’s virtual exhibition PHENOMENON that showcased the work of the brightest emerging and established artists on the international scene and The Spring Exhibition hosted by Shim Art Network and published on TDSA, Vane Gallery and Artsy.

After university I hope to continue to develop my arts practice, and exhibit further in physical/ virtual exhibitions and magazines.

You can follow Sara on Instagram @sarah.kew

Emma Sutherland (Textiles)

I am a final year printed textile student that has chosen to concentrate on colour and storytelling in my final year of University. My collection is based around Rock, Cornwall and celebrates the people who live there through narrative and abstraction. A collection of 10 screen printed final pieces and 1 digital, all designed for lifestyle pieces that you would need down in Cornwall.

This is my 5th year at University having done an art foundation and a year in industry. During my placement I was lucky enough to work in Copenhagen, London and Sydney, in print and design studios. I have a love for screen printing that I want to pursue. I wish to grow in the fashion industry and continue my love for design and curation. With my passion for telling stories and design abilities I intend to be daring and innovative with the decisions I make.

My time at Loughborough has been incomparable and has enabled me to achieve my best potential. It has given me incredible possibilities and has encouraged me to push myself further at each stage of the design process. My work is designed to provoke positivity and happiness through colour and imagery. and hope the viewer finds as much joy in my work as I do.

You can follow Emma on Instagram

Mali Wheeler (Fine Art)

My practice is based on my favourite hobby: Irish Dancing. I noticed that historically dance is usually only observed by artists figuratively, I wanted to take my work in a different direction. I chose to view dance performance from a dancer’s perspective as opposed to the audience’s, this therefore involves the translation between mind and body. I view this from a substance dualist’s perspective, where the mental (non-physical) and the physical are two separate substances. For a dancer, in order for the body and mind to communicate they must read, learn, retain and translate the information into action, this is a continuous cycle between the mental the physical. I utilise Sol LeWitt’s definition of ‘Conceptual Art’ to present this dualism, I therefore only use what is necessary to present my concept. I had to strike a balance in my visual language to ensure that my outcomes were only informative. For this purity I focus on diagrammatic art and gestures.

As a dancer and teacher, I realise that there is a particular pressure on the performance aspect of dance (above practicing and other elements) and so I chose to use the moment a dancer steps out on stage to focus on. In this moment, time and space seem disassociated with a dancer’s sense of being, there is a concentration on the dance as a whole. I present this by mapping the movement of the dancer throughout a whole dance, through blocked shapes and lines I map either a bird-eye view or a mirror-view of the dance. When produced there remains an ambiguity of where these maps are situated in space and time, this is because they are outside of the physical being. I am turning the mental into the physical so that it can be read.

I also use performance painting to create a more direct trace of the movement to map a dancer’s steps. The use of paint on my feet removes the dancer even less and makes their presence closer. This is because the notion of an ordered reproduction is removed, and spontaneity preferred. My mediums vary throughout my works, from drawing to painting to sculpture to light boxes, all of these function as vehicles to represent my concept. This project has seen me try many different ideas in a quest to find clarity in something that is not physical, therefore, I have an abundance of different outcomes.

When presenting my work, I aim to create an emphasis on the hectic nature of a dancer’s mind, however, it will be ordered enough to exaggerate the repetitive learning aspect a dancer experiences when translating the mental into the physical. It will be an immersive experience and situate itself innovatively within contemporary art practice.

You can follow Mali on Instagram @maliwheelerart.

The Creative Arts Degree Show runs from 18-27 June at Loughborough University and is free to attend but booking is required. You can find out more including how to book on the Loughborough University website.

Sara Baartman

June 18, 2021 Catherine Armstrong

by Keisha Vinda

Sara Baartman. Sara Baartman. Sara Baartman. I always intended for my dissertation topic to be representative of myself as not only a woman, but a black woman. I wrote this dissertation so that the history of Sara Baartman, a Khoikhoi woman from the Cape who was exhibited in Europe, could be heard. Black women should no longer be lost voices throughout the historical record.

The first chapter of my dissertation focuses on the exhibition of Sara Baartman in both London and France. I focus on the way in which her body was ‘othered’ by audiences and subjected to a voyeuristic gaze against her will. The agency of Baartman can be uncovered via court documents where witnesses expressed her disapproval of her exhibition through her demeanour and body language. It provided insight into Baartman’s own views regarding her exhibition which humanises her historical record.

Chapter two focuses on the exhibition of Baartman’s body after her death. I discuss how even in death the exploitation and subjection of harm onto the black female body continues. Whilst alive Baartman’s body was used to entertain public audiences, in death it was used to entertain prying French scientists who would use her body as a specimen to inform the scientific world of the supposed inferiority of the African female body.

The final chapter of my dissertation focuses on Baartman’s legacy and the way in which we can draw parallels between her story and that of black women in modern society. I chose to refer to Caster Semenya and Serena Williams due to the fact that they are two black women in modern society who are mistreated or ‘othered’ due to the way their bodies look. Both women have been plagued by misogynoir due to their bodies and the meanings that are attached to them due to not upholding stereotypical Western standards of femininity and beauty.

The research process for my dissertation consisted of searching through various archives such as the National Archives and the British Library to discover various nineteenth century primary sources. The primary sources that make up my dissertation include caricatures, newspaper extracts, poems, photographs and court documents.

What fascinated me the most about Sara Baartman? The little that we hear about her. I was able to write a whole dissertation about this person yet eighteen months before writing about her, I didn’t even know she existed. Being presented with the task of writing a dissertation allowed me to learn so much about this woman and I am so thankful. I have shared this story with family and friends of which all shared the same level of fascination.  There was no other topic I could’ve written about other than this one. It’s important. It hits close to home. It made me think.

This dissertation topic is based on someone from the past but with so many parallels to our present. I wrote this dissertation with the hope that it will encourage others to speak up for black women throughout history, and let their stories be heard.

Bio: My name is Keisha Vinda, I enjoyed 4 years of study at Loughborough University where I completed my bachelor’s degree in History. I have recently graduated and am currently in the process of training as a history teacher. The course at Loughborough allowed me to explore a range of different histories which provided me with the necessary skills to become a better historian. My time at Loughborough has undoubtedly strengthened my love for studying History due to the independence offered to students with regard to the direction of which they choose to take their research.

Photo by Jackson David on Unsplash

Sustainable Student Series: Be too cool to be unsustainable!

Sustainable Student Series: Be too cool to be unsustainable!

June 17, 2021 Elliott Brown

This post is part of our Sustainable Student Series. A collection of stories, opinions, and experiences of Loughborough students on their journey to becoming more sustainable. Want to contribute? Email submissions to

As term time draws to an end, tenancy agreements both on campus and off will be drawing to a close too. And we all know what that will mean. Stacks of student waste dumped in or near disposal units or along the streets of student housing saturated neighbourhoods. In the rush of throwing the last parties but also wanting to try and scrape deposits back after a year of sloppy maintenance and living, being responsible with your waste and unwanted items often ends up at the bottom of many student’s to-do list!

But that doesn’t have to be the case! It’s no longer cool to do the bare minimum. As students, we have as much responsibility as the next citizen to play our part in being kind to the planet. And that extends to our relationship with unwanted clothes. Within the UK, our relationship with our clothes has changed. Consumers are a lot more engaged with how sustainable their clothes are and are demanding better practices from the brands they engage with. But has it changed enough?

The fashion industry produces 20 per cent of global wastewater and 10 per cent of global carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping. If nothing changes, by 2050 the fashion industry will use up a quarter of the world’s carbon budget.

In our data and information saturated lives, many of us know the impact of various types of clothing habits on national and global scales but sometimes there can be an easy disconnect from our own personal habits and day to day choices with our clothing consumption. And an even bigger disconnect with the clothes we choose to say goodbye to. And yes, every conscious choice towards making sustainability a priority matters but sometimes when important issues are out of sight, they do stay out of mind!

The picture is positive though! According to a WRAP report in 2017, the amount of clothing that is going to landfill has dropped by 50,000 tonnes since 2012 and people are wearing the same clothing items for longer. Garments that last longer reduce production and processing impacts on natural resources but only if new purchases are avoided! In order for our sustainability efforts to have a meaningful impact, we need to get more comfortable with the idea of being more radical about our clothing consumption and what we do with them after they’ve served their purpose for us. Check out how former LSU President Salome Dior turned her old stash into a blanket.

And although things are getting better overall, as students, we can play our part in creating a better future with how we deal with our clothes too. It’s a step but it’ll take a couple more steps before you get to a finished state. The change that is required to address the impact that the clothing industry has in the UK and beyond, from us the consumers perspective, requires constant re-evaluation and negotiation. That’s with ourselves, our habits and our preferences when it comes to clothes.

And this isn’t just for our own sense of merit at having ‘done a good thing today’ but it’s also knowing that it’s actively moving the total estimated value of clothes that are sent to landfill down from the £140bn it was in 2015. It’s helping to counteract the increase in total carbon footprint that our clothing consumption has had over the last 10 years due to the increase in the total amount of new clothes being bought. It’s taking a ‘no’ stance against the unequal distribution of negative social and environmental impacts that the clothing industry continues to have on a global scale

This is for the everyday student, not just the ultra-activist/hypster type. It’s about bringing back to mind what might be out of sight. That might be selling your unwanted clothes on Depop or Vinted or giving them away to charities. It might be disposing of waste material specifically at the tip instead of throwing it in the general waste bin. Or it might be getting creative to make that old top ‘wearable’ again. Making intentional changes to your habits will look different to the next person but it’s something that can be done!

At LboroVintage (LV), we love to bring back to mind what might be out of sight. We’re a vintage clothing business that was started up by two Loughborough University students in 2019 who had a heart for sustainability and community. They wanted to help make sustainable fashion feasible for students and the wider town of Loughborough. We always bring the reason why we do the business that we do back to raising awareness on the issue of sustainability, even if it’s not the most popular of topics.

So whatever choices you make this summer move in day, make the choice that puts our planet and environment first. Just because we might have the privilege of making the lazy choice, shouldn’t mean that we should!

If you’re on campus and wondering what this could look like for you, why not check out Loughborough University’s Give ‘n’ Go campaign to find out how you can make better choices in your waste disposal at the end of the academic year!

Written by Hope Nyabienda, on behalf of LboroVintage

This article is in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. To read more click here.
Men's Health Week: Mental health

Men's Health Week: Mental health

June 16, 2021 Sophie Dinnie
Jamie is a first year Psychology and Criminology student and in this blog he talks to his friends about the stigma around men’s mental health.
A Londoner's Guide: Walking and running routes

A Londoner's Guide: Walking and running routes

June 15, 2021 Ella Cusack

This blog is part of the ‘Londoner’s Guide’ blog series to help students navigate the big city. With the weather improving, we have put together a short guide of local walking and running routes, to help you explore London whilst getting some exercise!

Queen Elizbeth Olympic Park

Here at Loughborough University London, we are fortunate enough to be located on the beautiful Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Set across hundreds of acres, there’s lots of trails and routes to explore at the Park.

Inner City Oasis

Inner City Oasis is a 5.7 mile (13,000-step) route located near King’s Park, London, England. This route has an elevation gain of about 91.8 ft and the route passes a lovely canal with barges, horse paddocks and picnic areas!


There a number of different walking/running routes for you to explore through Hackney’s Parks and Open Spaces. The routes vary in lengths so there is something for everyone. If you are looking for a mainly flat routes, this one is for you!

St James’s Park

Why not get in some sight-seeing on your walk/run? Whilst this route is slightly longer (11.6 miles), you will pass a number of London’s must-see attractions, including the Tower of London, The Shard, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and much more!

To find out more about Loughborough University London’s unique location, please visit our website.

This Week at Loughborough | 14 June

This Week at Loughborough | 14 June

June 14, 2021 Jess East

IAS Spotlight Series – Remote Geopolitics: The Arctic and Beyond

14 June, 1 – 3pm, Online

Following the success of the first Institute of Advanced Studies Arctic Geopolitics Spotlight Series workshop, Dr Duncan Depledge and colleagues have organised a second Virtual Workshop on ‘Remote Geopolitics: The Arctic and Beyond’. Find out more on the events page.

Keep Calm Week: Puppy Petting

15 June, 10am – 4.30pm, Loughborough Students’ Union

Could you do with a break from working? Well, look no further than our beloved Puppy Petting! Spend a bit of time petting them, chatting to them and handing them treats. To book and find out more visit the events page.

Public lecture: Supplements in sport – risk or reward

15 June, 5.30 – 6.30pm, Online

This public lecture will be delivered by Dr Stephen Mears, Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Nutrition at Loughborough University. Find out more on the events page.

Collaborative Project Show 2021

16 June, 1 – 3pm, Online

Join us for an afternoon of discovery and discussion around project-based innovation and collaborative solutions. Book your place and find out more on the events page.

Mathematics Education Centre Seminar

16 June, 2 – 4:15pm, Online

Presentation and Q&A: Professor Camilla Gilmore, ‘Mathematics learning difficulties in children and adolescents born preterm’. Find out more on the events page.

Interface: What’s Up With Everyone? Storytelling and mental health

16 June, 3 – 4pm, Online

What’s Up With Everyone is a research project that explores how animated storytelling might increase mental health literacy in young people.

Letters To Emma Theatre Production

16 – 18 June, 7pm, Martin Hall

The Drama finalists at Loughborough University will be performing an adaptation of ‘Letters to Emma’, written by Dr Carolyn Scott-Jeffs. Book your tickets and find out more on the events page.

LGBT+ Pride Month 2021: Doing and Performing Gender and Sex

17 June, 2 – 3pm, Online

This talk gives an overview of the development of different sociological approaches to sex and gender and emphasises the importance of intersectional analyses. Find out more on the events page.

Interface: Sarah Selby in conversation with Daniel Chadash

17 June, 6 – 7pm, Online

Digital artist Sarah Selby will discuss her artwork, which she is in the process of realising after a year of research and development, alongside Daniel Chadash from Twist Bioscience in Miami. Find out more on the events page.

The Whole Earth Chanting

18 June, 7pm, Emmanuel Church

The Whole Earth Chanting is a stunning musical work produced by the artist and quantum physicist Libby Heaney and the musician Nabihah Iqbal (Ninja Tune). Find out more on the events page.

Working with RingCentral on the Collaborative Project

Working with RingCentral on the Collaborative Project

June 11, 2021 Ella Cusack

We recently caught up with RingCentral about their experience working alongside our students on the Collaborative Project. With the Collaborative Project Show 2021 just round the corner, RingCentral discussed why they are looking forward to this exciting showcase. Check out the interview below.

Why did RingCentral get involved in the collaborative project?

Creating successful partnerships between business and academia has always been a priority for RingCentral. As a global leader in cloud communications, we see it as our responsibility to work with as many academic institutions as possible to help educate and upskill students by taking part in innovative initiatives such as the Collaborative Project.

Students will become a fundamental part of the workforce of tomorrow, so it’s important they put what they learn in the ‘classroom’ into practice. By engaging with academia, businesses such as RingCentral can provide students with a means of applying their academic knowledge to real-world problems.  

What have you enjoyed the most about working with our students?

Where do I start? Having been involved with the Collaborative Project on many occasions now, what I have enjoyed the most is the level of engagement the students have shown throughout the process and the desire they each have to go that one step further during the research process. This level of commitment meant the quality of their final presentations and reports have been extremely professional, and the insights they provided both original and relevant.  

Why are you looking forward to the Collaborative Project Show 2021? 

As the second Collaborative Project Show I will have attended, what I am looking forward to the most is seeing the final output from the winning team working on the RingCentral brief and the innovative solutions the other groups working on other partner briefs have managed to develop. With an extremely high calibre of post-graduate students and Loughborough University London, I do not doubt that we’re going to be in for yet another amazing show!

We would like to say a big thank you to RingCentral for working with our students on the Collaborative Project and for providing a real business problem for our students to solve You can find out more about RingCentral here.

The Collaborative Project Show 2021 is going global this year! This event takes place on 16 June 2021 – you can still register to attend here.

The Collaborative Project is a module that gives students from across the University the opportunity to form interdisciplinary teams and use their individual experiences and expertise to solve a real business problem, provided by one of our corporate partners. You can find out more about the Collaborative Project here.

Alumni start-up signals the end of patchy Wi-Fi

Alumni start-up signals the end of patchy Wi-Fi

June 11, 2021 Ella Cusack

Alumnus, Andres Urena, studied within our Managing Innovation in Creative Organisations MSc programme within our Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Andres has recently launched Oscar Internet, aiming to improve home internet connectivity

Andres was excited by a 5G service available to him for studying, but soon found that the signal in his home was poor. Fashioning an outdoor antenna to improve his signal, Andres experimented and improved his personal Wi-Fi connectivity, and was inspired to help others, too, so he founded Oscar Internet.

Oscar cubes provide a single Wi-Fi signal in a home. Instead of having different signals, Oscar decides which signal is the strongest from where you are connecting so that users don’t have to switch between bandwidths.

The technology amplifies the Wi-Fi signal from the router, rather than repeating.

This is his third start-up. He said: “Although the pandemic has been very hard for most international students, finding my next passionate venture in the midst of all this has been a true gift”.

He has so far attracted more than 300 customers and is interested in raising funds to support his start-up business.

You can find out more about Oscar Internet here.

This story is part of #LboroInnovation. Check out more #LboroInnovation stories here.

Letters to Emma - A Final-Year Drama Production

Letters to Emma - A Final-Year Drama Production

June 11, 2021 LU Arts

By Ellie Blake

With online teaching and Zoom calls being the new norm for the past year, an in-person final production seemed off the cards for us Drama finalists at Loughborough. When a socially distanced performance became feasible, we jumped at the opportunity to produce a final show before graduation and celebrate the return of live theatre.

 An original play, written by our talented module leader Dr Carolyn Scott-Jeffs, presented a unique opportunity to explore topical themes of social media and mental health as a small theatre company. This contemporary psychological drama, directed by Neve Lawler and Erin Windmill, has been creatively contemporised and delves into the pressures of modern-day life from a student perspective. With a cast and crew of 22 students, professionally producing a show has been a challenging yet equally exciting process and we have created a piece of theatre we are proud of.

The cast and crew of Letters to Emma

Starring Cody Stanley and Tabitha Cuddeford, alongside Ciara Gaughan and Maia Badenjiki, as alternating leads, we have artistically explored the contrasting worlds of Emma Dear and Anna Seward. Emma is a final year University student, researching the work and life of 18th century poet Anna Seward as the subject of her dissertation. She has been ‘ghosted’ by her boyfriend, her parents are a nightmare, her nan has more fun than she does, and she never actually sees any of her friends. Overwhelmed by cyberspace, our protagonist battles with concepts of time and history as her and Anna’s parallel lives unfold. Influenced by Black Mirror, Doctor Who, Caroline Flack: Her Life and Death as well as mainstream cancel-culture, we believe this play is one that will resonate with many young people and investigate the effects of our contemporary culture. Our talented team of writers have modernised the script even further, adding new scenes that centre on modern day dating apps and important women of history. The writers, in collaboration with the directors, felt it was crucial to shine focus on the play’s feminist themes and important conversations on young people’s mental health.

Given our module’s title, ‘Theatre Practice’, it was essential that as a cohort we organised ourselves as a small theatre company. This offered an array of roles for students to choose from, including producing and directing to set design and acting. Our gifted pool of actors have worked tirelessly in less than desirable circumstances over a span of 10 weeks. Consistent energy and commitment in rehearsals has helped to form a fun and light-hearted space where creative ideas can flow.

When talking to one of the lead actors, Cody Stanley, she described the process as a ‘valuable learning experience’, praising her fellow cast members for the amount of hard work put into making the show a success. She described her key methodologies in the development of Emma’s character, which she said had stemmed from Stanislavski’s acting techniques. For those unfamiliar with this practitioner, his methods focus on creating realism and a sense of truth within an actor’s performance. In applying this to her work, Cody has found it useful to imagine Emma in a series of ‘given circumstances’ relating to the play, considering how her character would react to situations as opposed to how Cody herself would. As the play focuses heavily on social media, creating an Instagram account for Emma and considering her interactions and posts on the platform was crucial in creating an authentic character.

Creating a sense of realism was equally as important for the other lead protagonist, Anna Seward, as her character is based on a real-life historical figure. The original play was in fact written specifically for the Lichfield Garrick to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the birth of David Garrick himself. Therefore, much of the process of creating Anna’s character was founded on research into her real-life, thereby endeavouring to maintain a sense of authenticity.

Being a lead actor in a final year production comes with undoubtable pressure, heightened even more so in the current climate where face masks, protective gear and social distancing are the norm. Nonetheless, Cody states how her role has helped to shape her as an actor, and she has relished in the real-world experience of being on stage. She hopes to attend a Drama school next year, where her talent can shine even further.

For those with an interest in the technical side, lighting, sound and comparable roles offered a great opportunity to help bring this multi-media play to life. The focus on social media and the anxieties of modern-day society has led to a production full of cameras, projections and voiceovers, artistically inspired by Katie Mitchell’s theatre. As we come closer to the end of our drama studies at Loughborough, we have striven to be bold in our artistic decisions. We have therefore chosen to avoid traditional proscenium staging and opted for a thrust stage instead, offering a more immersive experience for our audience. Our set designer, Evan Searle, has worked diligently to merge the two protagonists’ worlds together, combining an 18th century-style desk and a modern bedroom setting onto a single raised stage. Inspired by Frantic Assembly’s Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, we hope our creation will pull spectators headlong into the universe of the play.

Delivering a full-scale production is undoubtedly a lot of work, stress and unforeseen obstacles, but at a time where theatre has been facing an uncertain future, it has been a thrilling and rewarding process. Theatre can offer a respite from the real world and, despite these particularly dark themes, it shares and reflects the confusion and chaos that engulfs us in the modern day. Theatre helps us ask questions, explore the world we are in, and remind us that we are not alone. We could not think of a more fitting end to our studies at Loughborough University than collaboratively creating this final piece.

Letters to Emma will be performed at the Martin Hall Building at Loughborough University from the 16th to 18th June 2021. With the collective effort of a talented cast and crew, we have created a performance we are extremely proud of and can’t wait to share it with a live audience. You can book tickets here and follow us on Instagram @letterstoemma_.

I’m Ellie Blake, a final year English and Drama student at Loughborough. I have a huge interest in journalism and hope to pursue a career within this industry, be it investigative and environmental journalism or documentary filmmaking. It may not come as a surprise that I enjoy writing, but I am also passionate about travelling and volunteering and I hope to be able to do more of this after my graduation. 

Call for Papers - London Workshop on Institutional Issues 2021

Call for Papers - London Workshop on Institutional Issues 2021

June 11, 2021 Ella Cusack

The Institute for International Management, here at Loughborough University London, is a part of the Friday Association for Institutional Studies, a collective group holding a call for contributions to the fourth annual London workshop on institutional studies.

The Friday Association for Institutional studies includes members of Birkbeck Centre for Political Economy and Institutional Studies (CPEIS), and the Centre for Comparative Studies of Emerging Economies (CCSEE) at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES USL), alongside the Institute for International Management.

Contributions are requested for the theme of ‘Crisis and Persistence: Dynamics of institutional changes at the interface of the formal and informal institutions’.

Questions of interest include but are not limited to:

  • What are the antecedents of different types of institutional change in times of crisis?
  • What interactions exist between formal and informal institutions during crises?
  • How do informal institutions affect institutional change during crises?
  • Can crises reshape human behaviour above and beyond the “formal rules of the games”?
  • How/when/where do informal institutions provide resilience to institutional orders in crisis?
  • How/when/where do they undermine institutional stability or support institutional change?

How to submit?

Please send an abstract (max. 500 words) or a full paper (if available and preferred by the
submitters) by 18 June 2021 to The submission should be sent with “Institutional Change Workshop” in the subject line.

To find out more, please visit the UCL website.

To learn more about our Institute for International Management, please visit this web page.

DRN Temporal Drawing: Queer Traces Recording

June 9, 2021 Deborah Harty

Thank you to Daniel Fountain for chairing the final event in the series in the Temporal Drawing series, to presenters Coco Guzman and Maurice Moore for their inspiring presentations and to everyone who attended the event.

Video also accessible at:

DRN Temporal Drawing: Drawn to Time Online Exhibition

June 9, 2021 Deborah Harty
James Carey To hazelhurst and back [seventeen hours drawing/erasing]
assembled residues from the process of drawing and erasing, 2017

Drawn to Time is an online exhibition of international contemporary drawing, selected by guest curator Susan Kemenyffy (USA). The exhibition accompanies the Drawing Research Network‘s 2021 Temporal Drawing series of research presentations organised by the Drawing Research Group (DRG) at Loughborough University.  Submissions were invited to the call for drawings in response to the theme of ‘temporal drawing’ suggesting that temporality is not only inherent in drawing, both as a process and as a product, but is also its fundamental condition. Submissions were invited from anyone practicing drawing in a traditional or expanded way and we received over 370 drawings from artists across the globe in response. From the submissions, Susan selected 30 drawings that represented diverse approaches and responses to the theme. 

View the curated exhibition here:

Measuring deep learning in educational research

Measuring deep learning in educational research

June 8, 2021 Centre for Mathematical Cognition

Written by Dr Ian Jones. Ian is a Reader in Mathematics Assessment at the Mathematics Education Centre, Loughborough University. Please see here for more information about Ian and his work.

Quantitative research studies are increasingly valued by researchers, policymakers and teachers, but the findings are only as good as the measures of learning used. It is straightforward to measure some types of learning such as recalling facts and applying algorithms, but we are typically interested in deeper learning, such as understanding of concepts or applying knowledge to novel problems. Unfortunately, deep learning is harder to define and harder to measure, and this inhibits both the quantity and quality of educational research. 

To address this problem, researchers at Loughborough investigated efficient methods for producing high-quality measures of deep learning. To do this we adapted and applied measures based on comparative judgement methods. The measures we produced are quite distinct to the traditional tests and scoring rubrics that dominate quantitative studies in educational research. Subject experts are presented with two pieces of student work and asked, simply, which student has demonstrated the deeper learning based on the evidence presented. Many such pairwise decisions from a group of subject experts are collected and then sent to an algorithm to produce a score for each piece of work. The algorithm, based on the Bradley-Terry model, is like a more sophisticated version of calculating points from match results in football. Our comparative judgement-based methods have been shown to be efficient, reliable and valid across a range of target domains and learning contexts. 

An example of using comparative judgement to measure deep learning was provided by research led by Dr Ian Jones at Loughborough University. We ran an intervention study in which older primary students were introduced to simple algebra using one of two software packages: Grid Algebraor MiGen. Following the intervention, the main measure was based on an open-ended mathematics prompt as follows.

Explain how letters are used in algebra to someone who has never seen them before. You can use examples and writing to help you give the best explanation that you can. 

Students had 10 minutes to complete their answer on a single page. A group of subject experts then made pairwise judgements of students’ responses to the mathematics prompt, and from these decisions we generated a score for each participant. The results showed that students in the Grid Algebra intervention outperformed those in the MiGen intervention. 

An example comparison

To validate our results, we also administered a standard algebra test that we adapted from the literature. The standard test purports to measure understanding of algebra concepts and so provided a yardstick for our novel comparative judgement-based method. When we conducted the analysis again, but this time using scores from the standard test, we replicated the results produced using scores from the open-ended mathematics prompt. Importantly, the design and implementation of the comparative judgement-based method was far more efficient than the design and implementation of the standard test. Moreover, our approach is flexible and can be readily applied to any target concept without the time and expense required to develop and validate a traditional measure. Therefore, we concluded that comparative judgement-based methods have the potential to improve the quantity and the quality of quantitative educational research studies.

Researchers interested in using comparative judgement methods can do so using the freely available comparative judgement engine at We have recently developed a how-to guide for researchers interested in comparative judgement which is available here You are also welcome to get in touch with Ian at further advice and assistance.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) at Loughborough University – why bother?

June 8, 2021 Sadie Gration

Issues of equality, diversity and inclusion have gained renewed prevalence recently. Internationally, we have seen media coverage of the heinous murder of George Floyd and subsequent Black Lives Matter protests, a global strengthening of the Me-Too movement against sexual violence and harassment, alongside global campaigns for improved social justice for LGBTQ communities.

We have also seen national outrage at the tragic murder of Sarah Everard, and Prince Harry has raised awareness of the trauma and compounding stigma and marginalisation that we can all experience when dealing with mental health challenges.  

By Veronica Moore

Here at Loughborough University, we too are seeing changes. Colleagues have worked hard towards the Race Equality Charter submission and continue to show commitment to addressing gender inequality in academia through Athena Swan. As a Stonewall Diversity Champion, the University also aims to provide a supportive and inclusive environment for the LGBTQ+ community.

Perhaps most notably, our senior leaders have made a critical shift in their response to EDI by publicly acknowledging that Loughborough University has policies and practices that are institutionally racist. Loughborough is not alone being institutionally racist as an HEI, but to acknowledge this and most importantly to commit to making a change is significant.

We also have a new and already acclaimed LU Race Equity Strategy in the final stages of development (design led by Dr Angela Martinez Dy, Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Advocacy Lead, BAME Staff Network).

Across the institution, student and staff networks are increasingly bringing attention to disparities in the treatment and experience of those in our community who have protected characteristics or who are otherwise identified as marginalised. Gradually, we are also working towards giving more platforms for non-academic staff, lower grade staff and disabled staff and students to be heard.

But why is this work important?

This shift signifies that at Loughborough there is a growing community that is energised and motivated for change. The alternative is that we become so desensitised to living with discrimination that it remains the norm, and we fail to recognise the devastation discrimination brings to some of us and the social losses it brings to us all.

As a higher educational institution, discrimination particularly limits our collective potential and robs us all from benefitting from the richness and vibrancy that comes from a diversity of talent and freely expressed ideas and perspectives. We know that institutional discrimination leads to measurable gaps in student attainment for some groups and loss of retention of students and staff.

For those on the sharp end, whether the discrimination be against sexual orientation or belief or be it rooted in sexism, ablism, racism, genderism or ageism, the trauma experienced can have a deeply destructive and long-lasting impact on an individuals’ lived experience.

One of the many positive outcomes of Loughborough University’s aspiration to work towards proactively promoting EDI is the creation of a new EDI subcommittee. This started in February 2021, and it is anticipated that it will be superseded by a full Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee in 2021/22.

The purpose of the EDI subcommittee, currently linked to the Human Resources Committee, is to govern the leadership, development and implementation of the University’s developing Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion strategy. It is intended to embed EDI in all University business, to support its duty to ensure legal compliance with the Equalities Act 2010 and its intended aim of protecting people from discrimination in the workplace, and to hold the University to account to this commitment.

Alongside the EDI subcommittee, the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Advisory Forum (EDI – Advisory Forum) co-chaired by Dr Angela Martinez Dy and Dr Asya Barutcu has also been established. The EDI-Advisory Forum is an opportunity for everyone in the University community to be involved in the work of improving equality, diversity and inclusion, and to influence by informing the future priorities of the EDI agenda. The regular and transparently run forum will centre on the issues faced by groups with protected characteristics, and other experiences of marginality, across the University and share good practice, failures, and challenges around EDI from within and outside of the Loughborough community. 

If you would like to get involved and hear more about Loughborough University’s EDI developments, please drop in to the first meeting of the EDI Advisory Forum on 8 June between 10am and 11.30am. You can join the meeting here.

Veronica Moore
Head of Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity
Chair of EDI Subcommittee
Co-Chair of the BAME Staff Network

This Week at Loughborough | 7 June

This Week at Loughborough | 7 June

June 7, 2021 Jess East

Bike Maintenance Workshop

7 June, 5.30 – 7.30pm, Public Workbench, Student Village

Learn how to take care of your bike in this informal workshop.

Cycling is a fantastic way of getting around and has seen a huge increase in popularity over lockdown. If you are interested in getting a bike or have one but want to become a little more competent with it, then come along to this workshop.

We will look at the basics of maintaining the bike but also highlight key items that every bike owner should own to enhance their safety. We will also show you what you can do to maintain your bike.

Please bring your bike and, if you have them, tyre removal levers for COVID-safe practices. Find out more on the events page.

Book Club: The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla

8 June, 12.30 – 1.30pm, Online

Join our regular Book Club for an online discussion of The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla.

Inspired by discussion around why society appears to deem people of colour as bad immigrants – job stealers, benefit scroungers, undeserving refugees – until, by winning Olympic races or baking good cakes, or being conscientious doctors, they cross over and become good immigrants, editor Nikesh Shukla has compiled a collection of essays that are poignant, challenging, angry, humorous, heartbreaking, polemic, weary and – most importantly – real. Find out more on the events page.

DRN Temporal Drawing: Queer Traces

9 June, 11am – 12.30pm, Online

The Drawing Research Network Temporal Drawing Events have been organised by staff and PhD researchers from the Drawing Research Group at Loughborough University, chaired by Deborah Harty.

This panel brings together two international queer artists whose practices centre around the traces of lives, bodies and experiences. Find out more information on the events page.

Keep Calm Week: Puppy Petting

10 June, 10am – 4.30pm, Loughborough Students’ Union

Could you do with a break from working?

Well, look no further than our beloved Puppy Petting! Spend a bit of time petting them, chatting to them and handing them treats.

You can book 30-minute slots from 10am-1.30pm and 2.30pm-4.30pm on the following days:
Thursday 10 June
Tuesday 15 June
Monday 21 June

Booking is required and you can find out more information on the events page.

Migration and Visual Arts

Migration and Visual Arts

June 4, 2021 LU Arts

By Corinna Citro

The process of my grandparent’s migration to England has always both fascinated and inspired me. It has shaped my life and my understanding of identity and multiculturalism. I grew up with two cultures and have been blessed with a wealth of both Italian and British traditions, enjoying music, food, dance, art and language. However, at times I cannot help but feel ‘in-between’ lives and countries, neither fully here nor fully there which is why, I believe, I have spent my years in education expressing notions of my identity and heritage through visual arts as a method of understanding and celebrating my identity, heritage and sense of belonging.

My name is Corinna and what I enjoy and love most about life evolves around creativity, culture and family, which I find are intertwined within my studies. I am currently in my final year at Loughborough University studying Fine Art where I have been able to develop my knowledge and artistic skill set through comprehensive research and experimentation with guidance from tutors. This has allowed me to develop my creative ability and explore my identity and heritage with confidence and curiously within the arts.  Whilst at university I have been able to experiment with specialised mediums such as paint, film photography, print and ceramics and have become accustomed to materials and techniques directly linking to the migration process of my grandparents such as brick work, lace and embroidery (see figures below of recent experimentation).  

A four-year contract from the government to work for the London Brick Company allowed my grandfather (on my mother’s side) to move from Northern Italy to England at the age of 19. In my second year at University I spent time exploring minimalist installation work with LBC bricks and found that I became physically and emotionally connected to my work when I used these mediums to explore, engage and revisit his experiences. Similarly, my grandmother (on my father’s side) left Southern Italy to move to England and spent her time sewing and cleaning to enable her to make a living and begin a new life in England.

I use their archived voice notes and conversations about the difficult experiences of both labour intensive and repetitive daily routines and present this through text and sound within my work. Using my own motif designed from their memories of Italy and family members, I practice embroidery techniques on lace and use this to print with and to further explore and create pieces linking my identity and heritage to my work. The time-consuming process becomes an important element within my work, a time for reflection. As a result, the delicate prints act as a preservation of this migratory experience, this memory as a frozen fragment in time. The pieces celebrate my grandparents (and many others who have similar experiences) achievements whilst projecting my Italian roots.

My Dissertation research highlights key figures who have experienced forms of familial migration including cultural theorist Homi Bhabha and philosopher and feminist theorist Rosi Braidotti. Both of whom challenge notions of thought and reflect on the complexity of our modern society and how one can use ‘conceptual [and theoretical] creativity’ in order to ‘learn to think differently about ourselves and the process of deep-seated transformation’ (Braidotti, 2008). Through this research I have learnt how I can use nomadic consciousness and creative ability to develop my critical thought and understanding. These notions have influenced the conceptual elements of my artwork and thought process around notions of identity.

Artists Sonia Boyce and Yinka Shonibare are also influential figures who reference heritage and identity through visual arts. Boyce, an important member and advocate of the Black British Arts movement, explores themes of gender, race and religion. Her fascinating works raise questions about representation and her continuously developing style results in a range of diverse works that speak to the public through archives and shared memory. Shonibare’s use of patterned batik highlights a history of commodity, trade routes and African representation within changing societies. His medium choice creates innovative, colourful and exciting works that comment on his heritage and cultural hybridity. Both artists have taught me so much and inspired my work throughout this year.

Sonia Boyce, 1987, From Tarzan to Rambo: English Born ‘Native’ Considers her Relationship to the Constructed/Self Image and her Roots in Reconstruction, [Photographs, black and white, on paper, photocopies on paper, acrylic paint, ballpoint pen, crayon and felt-tip pen]. 1250 x 3600mm

Recently my research has developed further into themes of Identity and the ‘In-between’ through installation. Korean artist Do-Ho Suh, specifically his compelling installation Seoul Home/L.A. Home/New York Home/Baltimore Home/London Home 1999 (see figure below), makes a statement of his identity and explores notions of displacement. Replicating his childhood home with transparent green silk, he projects his experience of transcultural travel and perhaps comments on notions of the ‘in-between’ felt by those with ties to multiple countries. His stimulating use of space allows for viewer interaction, resulting in a thought-provoking place for reflection. This has fuelled my interest in installation art which I have been exploring in my final semester leading to exciting possibilities for our degree show.   

Do-Hoh Suh (1999) Seoul Home/L.A. Home/New York Home/Baltimore Home/London Home/Seattle Home/L.A. Home, Silk, 378.5 x 609.6 x 609.6 cm, 149 x 240 x 240 inches

When connecting notions between migration and visual arts, it’s worth mentioning one of the most valuable learning opportunities of my university experience so far, which was completing a 6-month work-based internship for sculptor and designer Nacho Carbonell in the Netherlands 2019-2020. From getting hands on experience within the creative industry to developing professional and personal skills, I was able to work collaboratively and form new bonds with international artists whilst gaining an understanding of gallery and client relationships.

This inspiring experience has filled me with optimism and encouraged me to push my creativity further. It has given me insight into the endless possibilities and ever-changing perspective of art and design. I would highly recommend, once COVID-19 restrictions have lifted and when safe to do so, to undertake a placement year if possible, to complete internships and to explore every opportunity made available aboard. The experience of movement and collaboration is beyond enriching. My new understanding of visual art, migration and culture has led to progression in my research and future career aspirations.  

So far, my research and experiences have shaped me as an artist, as a thinker and a doer. I aim to continue researching, traveling and learning as much as I can about art and culture.

You can follow Corinna on Instagram @corinnacreative.

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