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This Week at Loughborough | 27 May

This Week at Loughborough | 27 May

May 24, 2024 Orla Price

General:

Loughborough Cycling Festival 2024

27 May 2024, 8.30am, Loughborough campus

Prepare to be wowed by elite cycling races showcasing some of the nation’s top talents while enjoying a day packed full of fun for every member of the family.

From food stalls and refreshments to bouncy castles, interactive cycling activities, and visits from the fire and police services, there’s nonstop excitement for everyone to enjoy.

Find out more

IAS Research Summit Sandpit (in-person)

29 May 2024, 9.30am-11am, International House

Do you have an idea for an Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) Research Summit, or would you just like to learn more about how to become involved with their programmes and brainstorm potential topics with colleagues? Then bring your ideas, thoughts, and colleagues to this Sandpit Event.

Find out more

IAS Seminar: Identity Investments

29 May 2024, 12pm-1pm, International House/Zoom

Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) Visiting Fellow Professor Joel Stillerman will deliver a seminar on their research.

This presentation provides an overview of conceptual and empirical arguments from the book ‘Identity Investments’. It uses the concepts of identity investments and precarious privilege to understand Chile’s middle classes in contrast to other studies that emphasise opportunity hoarding and social mobility. Identity investments are deeply held values that motivate middle-class market behaviour.

Find out more

The Art Schools Project – In Conversation with John Beck and Matthew Cornford

29 May 2024, 1pm-2pm, Loughborough campus

Artists John Beck and Matthew Cornford will discuss their long-term initiative, The Art School Project, and will be joined by Jill Vincent and Jonathan Hale who have been instrumental in the development of The Generator, a new arts space within Loughborough’s original art school building on Frederick Street.

Find out more

”The world in your book does not have to be realistic – just plausible”: Creative Writing Workshop

30 May 2024, 3pm-4pm, MAR105 (Matthew Arnold)

Join bestselling author Jasper Fforde for a creative writing workshop on absurdist fiction. Jasper Fforde is the author of 17 books. His work blends a range of genres including fantasy, crime and sci-fi. He is most well-known for his Thursday Next series, beginning with his debut novel, ’The Eyre Affair’ in 2001.

His most recent novel, ’Red Side Story’, was published in February 2024 and is the second book in his Shades of Grey series. Fforde’s bestselling series explores a world whose hierarchies are based on the colour spectrum.

Find out more

Red Side Story: A talk by Jasper Fforde

30 May 2024, 5pm-6pm, LDS017 (Design School)

Jasper Fforde, author of 17 published books, will discuss his latest book, ‘Red Side Story’. With references to his earlier novels, Fforde will explore how he has used satire in allegory-fantasy to counterpoint political and social issues in the world today.

Find out more

MA Creative Writing Student Readings

31 May 2024, 11am-1pm, Stanley Evernden Theatre

Come along for readings from this year’s Creative Writing master’s cohort. Stanley Evernden Theatre has step-free access.

Find out more

Charly Cox: Poetry Reading and Conversation

1 June 2024, 2pm-4pm, Stanley Evernden Theatre

Charly Cox is a poet, artist and activist. Her work centres around gender equality and destigmatizing and advocating for better care and rights for those with mental illness. Charly has published three poetry collections with Harper Collins. Her debut, ‘She Must Be Mad’, was a bestseller of 2018, awarded her a place on the covered Forbes 30 under 30 list and ELLE Magazines Power Players.

Find out more

Emily Hauser at Loughborough University Literary Festival

2 June 2024, 2pm-3pm, Stanley Evernden Theatre

Emily Hauser writes historical fiction, focusing on the untold stories of the women of ancient Greece and Rome. She has published four novels, the most recent of these being ‘Ancient Love Stories’. This illustrated collection retells love stories from history.

Find out more

Exhibition: The Art Schools of the Midlands

16 May-28 June 2024, 12pm-2pm, Martin Hall Exhibition Space

Martin Hall Gallery presents ‘The Art Schools of the Midlands’, the latest iteration of John Beck and Matthew Cornford’s ambitious Art School Project exploring the history and legacies of the nation’s art schools. The project combines original photography, textual and archival materials to examine the vital role art schools have played, and continue to play, in the cultural and economic life of our towns and cities.

Find out more

Careers:

Start-Up Programme

29 May 2024, 6pm-7.30pm, Start-Up Lab (STEMLab)

This dynamic five-week journey will equip you with the essential skills and knowledge needed to elevate your Start-Up venture. Delve into crucial topics such as goal setting, mindset development, market research, networking strategies, business registration, intellectual property, finance options, and more!

Participants will also gain access to exclusive mentoring sessions and hear from esteemed industry experts, including Loughborough Enterprise Network (LEN) Legends, who have navigated the entrepreneurial landscape with great success.

Find out more

Breakfast Study Cafes

30 May 2024, 8am-11am, CC110 (James France)

Boost your productivity on campus at the Student Success Academy’s Breakfast Study Cafes. Drop in for one, or all sessions where you can enjoy a morning study session, a free drink, and some baked goodies.

Using a study planner to set goals for the sessions, study with the Pomodoro technique in sessions one and two (8am-9am and 9am-10am), and work at your own pace in session three (10am-11am).

Find out more

Five minutes with: Graeme Fowler

Five minutes with: Graeme Fowler

May 24, 2024 Guest blogger

What’s your job title and how long have you been at Loughborough?

I’m a Senior IT Specialist. I’ve been here forever! I was an undergraduate in Chemical Engineering 1990-93, and then returned 18 years ago to work here. As the old slogan goes ‘Loughborough is for life.’

Tell us what a typical day in your job looks like?

Each day starts with checking the overnight system notifications to make sure everything’s running smoothly and dealing with those things that need attention. I’ll then move on to a mix of project work – decommissioning old systems, upgrading current ones, and adding new developments never stops – and escalations of service requests from our Service Desk team. Add in a sprinkling of team meetings (I work across two separate teams), project meetings, requests for help from colleagues and keeping up with developments in technology and security makes some days a bit of an adventure.

What’s your favourite project you’ve worked on?

There have been many, but a couple stand out. Moving student email from Google to Microsoft 365 was a particularly good one, as we scheduled two weeks to migrate the mailbox data and were able to optimise the process so well it took just under three days! Also, the replacement of our storage platform in 2016 was a major challenge for ourselves, the supplier and the equipment manufacturer. We started out with a platform that couldn’t meet the tender requirements and pushed through the problems to end with one that vastly exceeded them.

What is your proudest moment at Loughborough?

I’d love to say something like “completing such-and-such-a-project” but… settling here, meeting my wife, getting married, raising two kids. When I came for an interview way back in 1988 I loved the campus and the bits of town I saw, and with a brief break living in Leicester I’ve been here ever since.

Tell us something you do outside of work that we might not know about?

I’m a motorsport volunteer. I started out as a trainee marshal in 2009 at Donington Park and it’s become a major part of my life. I’m now what’s termed a Grade 3 Marshal – a Post Chief – which means at most meetings I’ll be leading a team of other marshals from complete novices to those with similar or more experience than me, with responsibility for track, car and driver safety, signalling (flags and lights), observation and reporting back to race control. Marshalling has taken me all over the world, from Silverstone to Australia. I’ve been trackside at the Le Mans 24 Hour race three times, I’ve marshalled Supercars in Adelaide, been the Safety Car Observer for a variety of clubs and the British GT Championship, and I’ve been at nine British Formula 1 Grand Prix. The last time I was at the GP in 2022 I was the Post Chief on the first corner, where George Russell and Zhou Guanyu came together with the latter ending up trapped in his car between the barrier and debris fence. As a team, we simply knuckled down and got on with solving the problems in front of us – is he OK (yes), how do we get him out (carefully), and how on Earth do we lift a car out from the gap with no roll hoop (creatively!). In the 15 years I’ve been marshalling that was probably the incident I’m most proud of having been involved in; getting to lead that team of like-minded volunteers was an honour and a privilege. As a bonus, it wasn’t raining!

What is your favourite quote?

Russell: “Can we keep him, please?” – Carl: “No.” – Russell: “But it’s a TALKING DOG!”

If you would like to feature in ‘5 Minutes With’, or you work with someone who you think would be great to include, please email Sadie Gration at S.Gration@lboro.ac.uk.

DRN2024 Drawing Repetition: Bodies in Motion

May 23, 2024 Deborah Harty

11.00-13.00 (BST) 5 June 2024 [online]

Hosted by the Drawing Research Group at Loughborough University

Tickets: https://buytickets.at/drawingresearchgroup/1269224

Chair: James Bowen

This panel brings together researchers investigating drawing through the movement of bodies, in relation to choreography, disability embodiment, and live drawing performance.

Ella Emanuele’s research investigates the interplay between dance, drawing, and time-based media. The work has evolved to include collaborative & participatory approaches, where the resulting installations, films, drawing, bookwork, and performances are brought into being as a result of the context they are in. Her presentation will discuss the use of repetition as a methodological strategy to emphasise a choreographic view of drawing abstracted from the materiality of the drawn line. Driven by action-based approaches the movements of the body in motion are interpreted as drawing. Task-based instructions and other systematic methods of working generate a choreographic view of drawing through a seriality of dance movements.

Rachel Gadsden–Hayton’s research investigates how the lived experience of disability serves as a catalyst to consider how the physical and phenomenological activity of repetitive action may influence the process and aesthetics of drawing. The research itself is determined by the specifics of disabilities, and by the embodied, expressive, and dialogic character of collaborative practice. Through a series of performative drawing exemplars, she will analyse her practice and that of two other disabled artists: Jeremy Hawkes, Aus, Siu Fong Yeung, HK. Collaborating since 2019, they are affected, individually and collectively, by concepts of ‘repetition’. The objective is to provide insights into disability embodiment and to reveal phenomenological intuitions of disability through the repetition of drawing in its potentiality.

Ram Samocha’s research focuses on the issues of personal and global transformation and combines drawing with video, installation, and live performance. Ram often mixes modern and traditional drawing techniques while searching for new ways to combine between two and three dimensions. Ram’s presentation will explore the fundamental role of repetition in live drawing performances, showing how it affects the connection between the artist’s body, its movements, and the marks they make. Through analysis of a series of drawing performances the presentation will seek an articulation of repetition and live drawing as symbiotic.  

The session will be chaired by James Bowen.

Biographies

Ella Emanuele is an artist, researcher, and the course leader of the BA (Hons) Drawing at Falmouth University. Her practice-based research explores dance and choreography as generative modalities for contemporary drawing. https://www.falmouth.ac.uk/staff/rossella-emanuele

Rachel Gadsden–Hayton is an artist, researcher and disability culture activist who exhibits her work internationally, with the aim to develop cross-cultural dialogues considering notions of humanity. She was the guest artist for the ‘Big Draw Netherlands Festival’ 2023 and presented TransHuman at the Museum Arnhem, and Extrapol, Nijmegen. Rachel was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from South Bank University, 2016. www.rachelgadsden.com

Ram Samocha is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, and educator whose work combines drawing with video, installation, sound, and live performance.

Ram is the founder and artistic director of Draw to Perform, an international community for drawing performance practice. https://drawtoperform.com

James Bowen’s research investigates the intersection of drawing and sound. James teaches Fine Art at Loughborough University and completed his PhD ‘Voice as a Tool for Drawing’ at Loughborough in 2023. 

Staff Profile

Embodied Math: How Physical Experience Shapes Learning

Embodied Math: How Physical Experience Shapes Learning

May 22, 2024 Centre for Mathematical Cognition

Written by Dr Venera Gashaj, Prof Korbinian Moeller and Dr Dragan Trninic. Venera is a postdoctoral researcher in the Centre for Early Mathematics Learning at Loughborough University. Venera has a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology and investigates how physical movements contribute to understanding mathematical concepts. Korbinian is a Professor of Mathematical Cognition exploring mathematics skill development through hands-on experiences. Dragan has a Ph.D. in Science and Mathematics Education and examines how physical and social environments influence STEM learning. Edited by Dr Beth Woollacott.

Introduction

Have you ever wondered how humans think? It’s intriguing that while our capacity for thought appears boundless, some scientists argue that it’s deeply rooted in our physical bodily experiences. This is the essence of embodied cognition which aims to describe the close relationship between our minds and bodies. In this blog post, we delve into what embodied cognition means and explore how understanding it may significantly transform our approach to learning.

Does our body influence how we think and learn?

Consider how often we use physical metaphors to describe our (emotional) states or concepts. We say we feel “down”, or that we need to “lend a hand”. This reflects our natural inclination to associate abstract ideas with tangible bodily experiences like temperature, spatial orientation, or specific body parts. But why do we have the tendency to use such physical metaphors?

The idea of embodied cognition emphasizes how bodily experiences shape our thinking and our mind. Unlike viewing the mind as software working on abstract codes for reasoning, embodied cognition suggests that interactions with the physical world shape our thinking and learning. Essentially, our thoughts are influenced by our physical interactions and experiences in our environment, not solely confined to abstract mental processes.


…embodied cognition suggests that interactions with the physical world shape our thinking and learning


Consider encountering something new, like learning a sport or board game. Your mind records more than just the rules, it captures all sensations: sights, sounds, smells, movements, and body involvement. Later, when faced with a similar situation, your brain will unconsciously replay parts of this recording to better deal with the new scenario. Psychologist Lawrence Barsalou1 calls this the simulation view of cognition, where we simulate or replay specific bodily experiences mostly without realizing it. For example, thinking about using a hammer was found to activate brain regions which were also active when physically using one.

This illustrates how we use perceptual, motor, and internal sensations to interact with and make sense of the outside world. This association is clear with tangible objects like a hammer but more complex with abstract ideas like mathematics, which lack direct sensory experiences.

How do we grasp abstract notions?

Embodied cognition addresses a key challenge in cognitive sciences (how to associate abstract ideas with concrete examples) by emphasizing the importance of associating abstract ideas with past experiences2. For an example from education, consider the abstract concepts within mathematics. In mathematics, it has repeatedly been observed that children typically use their fingers when counting and performing initial calculations; something which seems to establish an intuitive association that enhances mathematical understanding. This embodied approach associates mathematical ideas with bodily experiences, making mathematics more accessible and easy to grasp than mere memorization approaches. Interestingly, this is in line with evidence from neuroscience indicating that the same brain regions are active when moving our fingers as when just thinking about numbers3. As such, there seems to be a direct link between our bodies and basic mathematical concepts such as numbers.

The pictures below illustrate how the body contributes to learning mathematics, specifically foundational skills including counting, understanding magnitude (or size), and performing basic arithmetic.

In Panel A, the use of fingers is highlighted as a valuable tool for counting, with each extended finger representing one counted item, and the consistent order in which fingers are extended reflecting the fixed sequence of number words for counting. This systematic use of fingers creates specific patterns that correspond to particular numbers (e.g., index and middle fingers represent two objects counted).

Consequently, these finger patterns also signify the quantity of the counted set, providing a unique association between specific finger configurations and numerical magnitudes, as shown in Panel B.

Panel C exemplifies how fingers play a crucial role in learning basic arithmetic by facilitating the composition and decomposition of numbers. For example, extending five fingers to three already extended fingers gives eight extended fingers, and therefore, the number eight is represented through the composition of five and three (fingers). Through consistent finger use in counting, magnitude montring (showing numbers with fingers), and basic calculations, the brain establishes systematic associations between numbers and fingers/finger patterns4.

Over time, this process facilitates the development of a specialized mental representation of numbers by finger-based codes, similar to dot patterns, numerical digits, and verbal number words5. Ultimately, we become proficient in utilizing these finger-based representations, enabling the mental manipulation of finger-based numerical concepts without actual physical finger movement. The diagram illustrates the progression from physically counting on fingers (in Panels A-C) to mentally simulating finger-counting whenever numbers are contemplated (Panel D).

Can such embodied representations also facilitate advanced mathematics?

Traditional math classes typically involve students sitting quietly, but Dr. Tao, a Fields Medal recipient (comparable to the Noble Prize) and mathematician at UCLA, described how he approached a complex problem by lying on the floor and rolling around. He was trying to conceptualize a mathematical description involving waves rotating on top of each other. By physically embodying the concept and simulating the motion of waves, he found that this helped him develop a clearer intuition. Moving his body in a way that mirrored the mathematical problem enabled him to “see” the problem from a new perspective. Of course, this does not mean every student should start rolling on the floor to understand mathematics. However, while this approach may not suit every student, it highlights how bodily actions can aid in understanding mathematics problems – even complex ones.


Moving his body in a way that mirrored the mathematical problem enabled him to “see” the problem from a new perspective


Moreover, this example challenges the conventional notion that effective learning in mathematics requires strict adherence to quiet, seated classroom behavior. Mathematicians often engage in dynamic behaviours such as walking around, changing positions, and gesturing while grappling with mathematical ideas. This embodied perspective underscores the effectiveness of hands-on activities and experiential learning in education. Students can deepen their understanding and develop a more intuitive grasp of mathematical principles by physically engaging with them.

References

  1. L. W. Barsalou, “Grounded cognition.,” Annual Review of Psychology, vol. 59, pp. 617-645, 2008.
  2. M. H. Fischer, A. M. Glenberg, K. Moeller and S. Shaki, “Grounding (fairly) complex numerical knowledge: an educational example.,” Psychological Research, pp. 1-9, 2021.
  3. M. Penner-Wilger and M. L. Anderson, “An alternative view of the relation between finger gnosis and math ability: Redeployment of finger representations for the representation of number.,” 2008.
  4. R. Barrocas, S. Roesch, C. Gawrilow and K. Moeller, “Putting a finger on numerical development–reviewing the contributions of kindergarten finger gnosis and fine motor skills to numerical abilities.,” Frontiers in Psychology, no. 11, p. 1012, 2020.
  5. Moeller, K., Fischer, U., Link, T., Wasner, M., Huber, S., Cress, U., & Nuerk, H. C. (2012). Learning and development of embodied numerosity. Cognitive processing, 13, 271-274.

CRCC members co-publish book with the European Election Monitoring Center on Party Campaigning in European Parliamentary Elections 1979-2019

May 20, 2024 Iliana Depounti

The Political Communication theme is delighted to announce the publication of a timely new book by members Dominic Wring and Nathan Ritchie(eds.) Europe Votes: Party Campaigning in European Parliamentary Elections 1979-2019, a joint venture involving the European Election Monitoring Center and ourselves which is now free to download from its own dedicated website https://www.europevotesbook.com

This book offers a comprehensive look back at how political campaigning has evolved in the second largest democracy (after India) of 400 million citizens – and does so as member states go to polls next month for the tenth European elections.  Europe Votes features twenty experts analysing developments in their own countries from, where applicable, the inaugural elections of 1979 to the most recent ones in 2019.  The Foreword to the collection has been kindly provided by Joyce Quin, a former Member of the Brussels and Westminster Parliaments, who was the UK Minister for Europe and currently sits in the House of Lords.  In her contribution, Baroness Quin reflects on her formative experiences as a successful candidate in the first European elections and her subsequent career as a politician in the only member state to have left the European Union. 

Every chapter of Europe Votes features content from the European Elections Monitoring Center archive which holds more than 15000 campaign items.  This unique collection of material, compiled by the EEMC with support from the EU, is now available to consult online.  The archive includes items from each of the previous European elections, every member state that has participated, and from the political parties that have secured most parliamentary representation.  Europe Votes focuses on nine selected countries: the so-called ‘big four’ of France, Germany, Italy and the UK, and five members- Greece, Spain, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Hungary- that joined (in that stated order) during one of the subsequent waves of European enlargement.  An additional chapter revisits the Brexit controversy through an examination of the final European elections held in the UK on the eve of the country’s departure from the EU.

Europe Votes considers specific developments in the member states with chapters offering insights into successive European election campaigns in the featured countries.  There are, however, some common themes that emerge.  For instance, the three mainstream EU party groupings – conservative, social democrat and liberal – have been quite electorally resilient despite growing challenges from the Greens and more recently the various Eurosceptic forces.  The latter may have been increasingly effective in promoting their case to the electorate but rivalries involving the United Kingdom Independence Party, Alternative for Germany, French National Front, and Lega in Italy – plus an assortment of likeminded politicians in other countries – has so far tempered these parties’ ability to exert more concerted influence within the European Parliament.  The 2024 elections may of course change this situation.  

Growing criticism of the EU has been a marked feature of successive European elections.  Several contributions touch on this, with the Italian chapter making telling reference to what is termed ‘strategic Euroscepticism’.  This phenomenon can be observed when politicians adopt anti-EU messaging during campaigns but subsequently moderate their positions once elected.  Two striking examples of this documented by Europe Votes are the France and Sweden cases where some of the most strident campaigners have muted their previously expressed support for ‘Frexit’ and ‘Swexit’ respectively.

Europe Votes incorporates material from the EEMC archives to illustrate some of the most important issues, parties, and personalities that have defined the various campaigns held over forty years.  Examples of this in the book include:

  • cultural icons- in the form of flags and mythological figures such as France’s Marianne (1992), a figure in traditional Greek dress (2009) and the parties wanting to secede from Spain (and other states) while remaining within the EU (2019)
  • sovereign nations- the Swedish Greens use their country’s physical shape to make a sceptical point (1999) while UKIP draw on the iconic southern English cliffs of Dover to promote their ‘Take Back’ slogan (2014), a message that would gain notoriety two years later in the country’s EU Referendum
  • European (dis)integration- while the Italian Lega warns that EU immigration policy could subjugate native populations (2009), the Czech SPD features prominent allies from other countries to help amplify its sceptical message (2019)
  • The Euro- or more precisely its critics who, literally from left to right, include the Greek Communists (2004) and Alternative for Deutschland (2014)
  • Environmental concerns- the UK Greens’ surge (1989) has contemporary resonance while the Swedish Left Party promotes climate activists and simultaneously denounces oil lobbyists (2019).
  • Yes to EU- even the most Eurosceptic countries have politicians who are prepared to champion the European Union such as the Hungarian (2014) and UK (2019) oppositions, that latter of which makes a popular cultural reference to the 1970s era in which Britain originally joined the then European Economic Community
This Week at Loughborough | 20 May

This Week at Loughborough | 20 May

May 17, 2024 Orla Price

General:

IAS Research Summit Sandpit (online)

22 May 2024, 12pm-1.30pm, Zoom

Do you have an idea for an Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) Research Summit, or would you just like to learn more about how to become involved with their programmes and brainstorm potential topics with colleagues? Then bring your ideas, thoughts, and colleagues to this Sandpit Event.

Find out more

UCU: Drop-in session for staff on non permanent or casual contracts

22 May 2024, 12pm-1pm, MS Teams

A drop-in meeting for members of staff who are on non-permanent or casual contracts. This meeting is hosted by Loughborough UCU and is open to both UCU members and other members of staff at Loughborough University.

Find out more

General Assembly: An open forum for all staff

22 May 2024, 2pm-3pm, EHB110AB/MS Teams

General Assembly is a forum open to all staff at the University.

For the 23/24 academic year, a new approach to General Assembly has been established. Termly sessions will now take place instead of annually, this will be the third assembly this academic year.

Find out more

Music for Moving Images: A workshop with Jon Dix

22 May 2024, 2pm, D003 (James France)

Join composer, producer and sound designer Jon Dix for a free workshop on making music for film, TV, games and apps. Jon is a composer, producer and sound designer who’s produced music and sound design for TV programmes (Queer Eye, Selling Sunset) movie trailers (Blue is the Warmest Colour, The Pass), adverts (Cadburys, Nike, BBC) and games (Giant Boulder of Death, Robot Unicorn Attack 2).

Find out more

Poverty Measurement: New trends and challenges

22 May 2024, 4.30pm-5.30pm, MS Teams

Join this seminar titled ‘Poverty measurement: New trends and challenges’ with David Antonio Rojas Rosey, Executive Director of Poverty Measurement, Coneval and Mariana Galindo Orozco, Director of Poverty Measurement, Coneval.

Find out more

Maia 4th Anniversary Event

23 May 2024, 4pm-6pm, Burleigh Court

Maia, Loughborough University’s Women’s Network, has hit their four-year anniversary and the committee invites members to join their annual celebration.

Find out more

Win from Within: A sport psychology series

23 May 2024, 6.30pm-7.30pm, Dan Maskell Seminar Room (Tennis & Squash Centre)

The ‘Win from Within’ series at Loughborough Sport is dedicated to unlocking the full potential of every athlete, regardless of their experience or sporting background. These workshops are designed to introduce you to the power of sport psychology and how it can optimise your development both within and outside of sport.

This week’s session will focus on thriving under the pressures of competition.

Find out more

LSU Stage: Little Women

25-26 May 2024, Cope Auditorium

Come and enjoy a stage adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel ‘Little Women’. Allow yourself to become immersed in the lives of the March family and their neighbors, brought to life by some of the University’s finest acting talents from the LSU Stage Society.

  • Saturday 25 May: 7pm-9pm
  • Sunday 26 May: 2pm-4pm

Find out more

Exhibition: The Art Schools of the Midlands

16 May-28 June 2024, 12pm-2pm, Martin Hall Exhibition Space

Martin Hall Gallery presents ‘The Art Schools of the Midlands’, the latest iteration of John Beck and Matthew Cornford’s ambitious Art School Project exploring the history and legacies of the nation’s art schools. The project combines original photography, textual and archival materials to examine the vital role art schools have played, and continue to play, in the cultural and economic life of our towns and cities.

Find out more

Careers:

Master’s Futures: Building Your Network to Develop Your Postgraduate Career

20 May 2024, 12pm-1pm, MS Teams

For many postgraduate students networking can seem intimidating, but this session will help you develop your confidence and knowledge of networking skills.

Find out more

Online Study Session

21 May 2024, 5.30pm-7.30pm, MS Teams

The Academic Success Team is inviting you to an Online Study Session – commit the time to study, set goals, and stay accountable and focused with a like-minded community.

Find out more

International students: Finding work in your home country or globally

24 May 2024, 12pm-1pm, MS Teams

Student Circus are delivering this session and will provide invaluable information including how to access numerous vacancies and what to consider when looking for a job.

Find out more

Prioritising self-care over the exam period

May 16, 2024 Orla Price

Taking time away from studying during exam season is vital to avoid burnout and is important in maintaining good mental health. Loughborough provides a range of opportunities to relax and enjoy time away from revising and coursework during this period.

Hall days are a great opportunity to engage with the people you live with and enjoy games and food. Hall committees work hard to organise these days for residents and often communicate activities over social media, make sure to keep in the loop via your Hall’s social media pages to get involved with these activities!

Loughborough is well-situated with connections to many cities around the UK including short journey times to Leicester and Nottingham. This can be a nice opportunity to explore these areas and take a break from studying on the weekends. Loughborough town has many cafés and shops, which are great for a short break from studying.

There are also many balls held within communities under the University and the Students’ Union, including the Athletic Union ball, Hall balls, and Society balls. If you are involved in any student communities, it can be fun to celebrate the achievements of your club or society and a unique opportunity to socialise with other members.

Exercise can also be a great way to unwind in your downtime and provide great mental health benefits. Powerbase and Holywell gyms on campus offer great facilities and are close to study spaces for ease. There is also plenty of choice if you’d like to get involved with sports at the Uni, this can be through the Athletic Union, My Lifestyle, Intra-Mural Sport (IMS), or through Loughborough Students’ Union.

Loughborough campus provides many outdoor spaces to take time away from studying. The Paddock is a great area during the summer, with lots of students spending summer evenings playing games and enjoying the area. Burleigh Wood is also a nice place to take a relaxing wander (especially when the bluebells are in season), as well as the rest of campus!

The Sustainability Team often run events as part of Fruit Routes, which can offer students a great way to relax during and spend some time volunteering on campus. Many events are run throughout the year, but this is a nice opportunity to switch your mind off during exam season.

If you have any concerns during exam season, Student Wellbeing Drop-in Sessions are running every week at the Bridgeman Building and can offer students a range of help around mental health, financial issues, and more. Students can also refer to the LU Wellbeing app and Togetherall for further support.

The importance of taking regular breaks at work

The importance of taking regular breaks at work

May 15, 2024 LU Comms
A pink an orange illustration of a kettle, carton of milk and a mug of tea with a clock layered over the top.

It’s easy to get stuck working for hours on end without giving yourself a break, especially when you feel you are too busy, and this can lead to burnout. Integrating regular breaks into your working day is crucial to allow your mind time to rest.

Research shows that taking regular breaks improves productivity, reduces stress levels, enhances creativity, and improves our physical health. A short break allows you to pause and rest so you can resume tasks with new energy.

Harvard Business Review noted: “A longer break does not necessarily equate to a better break. Disengaging from work only for a few minutes but on a regular basis (micro-breaks) can be sufficient for preventing exhaustion and boosting performance.

“Further, timing of the break matters — shorter breaks are more effective in the morning, while longer breaks are more beneficial in the late afternoon. This is because fatigue worsens over the workday, and we need more break time in the afternoon to recharge.”

Challenge yourself to take micro-breaks during the day

  • Schedule breaks – Add short breaks to your calendar at the start of the day to ensure you take time to rest between tasks and meetings.
  • Monitor your energy levels – When you notice yourself feeling tired or losing concentration, it’s likely time for a quick break to recharge.
  • Plan break times with colleagues – If you’re working on campus, plan a rest break with another colleague so you can help each other to stick to this.
  • Set an alarm on your phone – Alarms can prompt you during the day if you struggle to stick to break times.
  • Pay attention to the benefits you experience after taking a break – This will motivate you to take breaks in the future.

Try the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is useful if you get distracted while working and want to use breaks to be more productive. The technique ensures that periods of working are productive and short breaks offer moments of relaxation, promoting a healthier balance between work and rest.

  • Identify a task that you need to complete
  • Set a timer for 25 minutes
  • Work on the task until the alarm sounds
  • Take a five-minute break
  • Repeat the process and then every four Pomodoros, take a longer break

Ideas for a quick but effective break

  • Take a brisk walk – A brisk daily walk can give your body a boost and lift your mood.
  • Get outdoors – Being outside in natural light and enjoying the quiet calm of nature can help you feel more relaxed.
  • Focus on your breathing – Try a short breathing exercise to relieve stress and relax your body.
  • Do something creative – If you have a creative hobby that you enjoy, this is a great way to relax your mind.
  • Stretch BBC noted: “Microbreaks are thought to help us to cope with long periods at our desks by taking the strain off certain body structures – such as the neck – that we’re using all day.”
  • Make yourself a drink or snack BBC Good Food has compiled a list of delicious energy-boosting snack recipes.
  • Interact with a pet – Interacting with animals can help to relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety and bring us joy.

The best way to integrate regular breaking into your working day is to find a schedule that suits you. Experiment with taking breaks of varying lengths at different times of day until you learn what works best for you.

Response to the Migration Advisory Committee review

Response to the Migration Advisory Committee review

May 14, 2024 Nick Jennings

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Nick Jennings says universities welcome the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) review findings, but more still needs to be done to ensure international students feel welcome and supported in the UK.

It is a great relief that the MAC review has found what we in the sector already knew, that there is no evidence of widespread abuse of the UK’s graduate visa route.

At Loughborough we are justifiably proud of our international community. Students and staff from across the world enhance the cultural diversity of our campuses and local regions, bringing different perspectives that inform our teaching, research and innovation activity. The skills, knowledge and experiences international students acquire during their studies enable them to a have a significant economic and social impact – both here in the UK and in their home nations.

A recent report looking at the economic gain to the UK of hosting international students found the net benefit associated with just one annual cohort to be around £37.4 billion. And data from UUK shows universities make a £130 billion contribution per year to the UK economy and support more than 750,000 jobs.

Working with our partners in Government, we need to celebrate the contribution international students and universities make. The sector needs to unite in challenging the often-toxic narrative that surrounds this debate by sharing stories that truly reflect the transformative impact of our international communities.

And I would echo the call from UUK for the Government to provide much needed reassurance, both to universities and international students, that the Graduate route is here to stay. It is crucial the sector has stability.

My road to recovery: Finding belonging at 24 years old

My road to recovery: Finding belonging at 24 years old

May 13, 2024 LU Comms
India standing in front of Hazlerigg Building on Loughborough University campus.

Final-year Psychology student, India Blakemore, reflects on her experience of mental health challenges, her road to recovery, and the support she received whilst studying for her degree. 

Why it was always going to be Loughborough 

I was inspired to study at Loughborough when my dad graduated there with a diploma in 2012. I attended his graduation at 14 years old, and since then, I have always wanted to graduate at Loughborough. I had a photo taken in his gown and wanted to recreate this at my own graduation. 

India at 14 years old wearing a graduation cap and gown.

However, having suffered from mental ill health since I was a child, I’ve been in numerous services with various diagnoses. I rarely attended lessons at sixth form due to my extreme anxiety and a few symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After re-sitting my first year of sixth form at a different school, with incredible support I managed to achieve grades that allowed me to study for my chosen degree at my dream university. I began university in 2018 with these pre-existing mental health problems which I had been receiving treatment for under secondary care services back at home. I didn’t anticipate how difficult the transition to university would be mentally; I thought this would be the fresh start I needed.

My anorexia nervosa, mood, and anxiety rapidly declined, which led to almost daily GP visits, crisis team visits, welfare checks, ambulances and hospital trips. My difficulties led to me being placed under the Fitness to Study Procedure which I found incredibly hard to deal with, but looking back, it was the best thing that could have happened. This procedure involved meetings that explored what was the best support for me, including being sent home periodically; however, I was ultimately admitted to a specialist eating disorder unit at the end of my first semester. Due to the struggle of being in a ward environment and going through refeeding, I took my first leave of absence for the rest of my first year. 

Putting University life on hold to focus on recovery

The summer before I was due to begin university in 2020, I was admitted to an acute mental health unit under section. I was discharged with community support after 28 days of assessment and then began my second year of studies. I returned as a Fresher Helper, surrounded by friends, but unprepared for university life again; I wasn’t managing despite probably ‘looking’ happy on the outside. I was receiving treatment at an urgent care centre daily as I struggled to regulate my emotions and internal distress; I became in denial there was anything wrong. 

An emergency Fitness to Study meeting was held just a few days after Freshers’ Week, where I was sent home as it was clear I could not manage my mental health safely at university. I was heartbroken and felt like a failure as I was already so many years behind in my education. 

A few days after returning home, I was sectioned again. I was discharged and re-admitted continuously. During this leave of absence in 2020, I received an autism diagnosis, which explained a lot of my difficulties in trying to fit into a neurotypical world as an undiagnosed neurodivergent. I finally felt like I had an explanation as to why I felt so different and found it difficult to regulate my emotions. 

The final time I was sectioned was under section three for treatment; I went to two different acute wards and then moved to Milton Keynes (two and a half hours from my home) to commence inpatient dialectical behavioural therapy. This ended up being a 14-month admission in total. Whilst in hospital, I had regular contact with the University, and I also visited Loughborough with hospital staff. Not long after I was discharged, I had my last Fitness to Study meeting to discuss my return and I was taken off this procedure with a support plan in place. 

Showing courage in the face of adversity

I returned to study in 2022 after a two-year leave of absence; this was not an easy transition, going from the four walls of a hospital to being completely independent again. I had a short period of instability but used the support around me (such as the University’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Team, NHS Community Mental Health Team, NHS Crisis Team, and my School) to remain at Loughborough. A few months in, I finally found my feet and found belonging at 24 years old. I received an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis in early 2023 and started medication. This changed my life, and I finally understood so much; I no longer found myself experiencing extreme emotions and therefore could focus on my studies. 

I secured a job in the NHS as a Lived Experience Co-trainer, and a short time later, I began delivering personality disorder training to staff within the trust. For this training, we were shortlisted for a Health Service Journal Digital Award which I attended in June. 

India with a table of her colleagues at the Health Service Journal Digital Award ceremony.

I then secured another job in July with the same trust as a Clinical Support Worker. I have worked a few shifts on an acute mental health ward; however, I now work regularly within the Complex Needs Service in the community (working with those with personality disorders/difficulties). Within this role, I have assisted in developing psychoeducation for clients entering the service; working on the personality disorder strategy for the trust; attending the outcome measures and research meetings; and working with others in the team on our Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSAs). 

As part of my Lived Experience Co-trainer role, I sat on a panel at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London to explain to other services doing the same quality improvement (QI) project how important it is to involve a lived experience voice and what I have gained from it as well as what I added to the project.

India speaking on a panel at the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Alongside paid work within the trust, I volunteer in different areas; I am a Governor, I sit on interview panels, and I am an Expert by Experience for the lead provider collaborative EmpowerED

India sat at a desk and laptop wearing an NHS lanyard.

EmpowerED is the eating disorder lead provider collaborative, which covers the trusts and independent providers in the North West. As an Expert by Experience, I have delivered a talk at a government event and training to over 70 clinicians. I currently host the EmpowerED Podcast alongside another Expert by Experience where we speak with guests from across the collaborative about eating disorders in order to spread awareness. For World Mental Health Day 2023, I featured on The Full of Beans Podcast, an eating disorder awareness podcast by Hannah Hickinbotham. 

Outside of my work with the trust, I am a member of the Emotion Dysregulation in Autism Youth Lived Experience Advisory Group, where I get involved in many opportunities to share my experience within learning environments, workshops, and more. 

Through volunteering for Shout, I was nominated as 1 of 100 young people to attend last year’s Royal Foundation World Mental Health Day event, where I networked and heard from The Prince and Princess of Wales, Dr Alex George, and others. Being invited to such a prestigious event was an honour. 

India sat behind a table at the Royal Foundation World Mental Health Day event.

These are just a few of my achievements since I discharged myself from hospital in April 2022, there are many more exciting opportunities that I am going to be involved with in the near future. 

I like to be busy and keep my mind occupied. In order to juggle working alongside studying I plan my weeks as far in advance as possible, so I always know what I have on each week. I prioritise my university work and try to fit everything else around this. However, all the extra things I participate in will hopefully aid my degree and future career. 

Reflecting on my Loughborough journey 

Loughborough has made me a very determined and resilient person, and I am extremely grateful for the support I received despite all of my absences. No matter how poorly I became, support from the University has always been there, waiting for me when I became well enough to study again. I am so grateful to everyone who has been involved with me at the University for never giving up on me and seeing my true determination to attain my degree. 

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Team at Loughborough have gone above and beyond, they have always done all they can to enable me to continue studying whilst also acting in my best interest when I deteriorated to the point I could no longer study. They have been my biggest advocate and supported me through everything I have been through in the past six years. 

The School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS) have also been a great support; my Personal Academic Tutor has been consistent since my first year, which has enabled me to talk to her about any academic concerns whilst also understanding my circumstances. The Student Support Team within the School has also done everything they can to enable me to get through my degree whilst facing difficulties. 

My Hall Warden has also been a massive support, despite my presentation, which may have been difficult to witness, she has supported me and acted in my best interest to ensure my welfare. 

Looking to the future 

Nearing the end of my degree I have faced further obstacles, including a hospital admission over Easter for a relapse in my eating disorder. My degree has been my main source of motivation, and the University has been incredibly accommodating, as they can see my determination despite the many hurdles. 

My proudest achievement is that despite all the setbacks over the past six years, I have bounced back each time more determined to graduate. I haven’t let my mental health stop me from completing my degree; although it is taking more time than I expected, I am still going to graduate. I have an offer for a master’s degree and hope to apply for a Clinical Psychology Doctorate in the near future to work within secondary mental health services. 

My advice to incoming Loughborough students would be no matter how difficult it will be to move away from home and into university to study, it will be worth it, and there is plenty of support around to guide you. Don’t be afraid to ask for support, everyone needs guidance occasionally, even those who you wouldn’t think of. It is a strength to ask for help when you feel that you need it. 

Mental health support available to Loughborough students 

If you are a student and need support with your mental wellbeing, there are a number of teams at the University who are here to help you through practical and pastoral support. The Mental Health and Wellbeing Team at the University work with you to find strategies to support your wellbeing and to overcome any barriers which mental health difficulties present to your studies.  

Each of Loughborough’s Halls of Residence has a dedicated Warden team who are responsible for providing any pastoral or welfare support that you may need. You can find contact details for your Warden team by clicking through to your Hall and then looking under the ‘Hall contacts’ tab. Additionally, the Community Warden team is available to provide pastoral support to students living off-campus in the Loughborough area. Read more about how they can help you and get to know the team on their dedicated webpage. 

Further services available for students can be found below: 

  • 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 (please note that sign-in is required).  
  • The University Chaplaincy – (Email: chaplaincy@lboro.ac.uk, Tel: 01509 223741) offer a confidential listening service and can also signpost to other services if you need  additional support. University Chaplains are here to listen, care and help all staff and students. No appointment is necessary. 
  • Nightline – a confidential, non-advisory listening and information service run for students by trained student volunteers from the University. 

 

This Week at Loughborough | 13 May

This Week at Loughborough | 13 May

May 10, 2024 Orla Price

Mental Health Awareness Week:

Student Wellbeing drop-in sessions

13-17 May 2024, 11am-2pm, Pilkington Library

These drop-in sessions offer quick advice or guidance on mental health and wellbeing. Your concerns may be related to life events, wellbeing, financial difficulties, physical health, or injury. Students are welcome to drop in with any queries they may have and to find out about the support available at the University.

Please don’t feel your concerns need to be managed alone, there are lots of options for support at Loughborough University. The Wellbeing Team is here to support you with problems that may impact you on your academic journey. The team may also help to connect you with another team or service that is better able to do so.

Find out more

Managing Anxiety

14 May 2024, 12pm-1.30pm, BRI 2.12 (Bridgeman Building)

In this workshop, we will explore ideas of how to recognise what is happening when you experience anxiety, and strategies to begin managing different reactions.

Find out more

Dealing with Loneliness

14 May 2024, 3pm-4pm, MS Teams

This online workshop will cover the following topics:

  • What is loneliness?​
  • Loneliness in relation to university life​
  • How loneliness impacts our behaviour​
  • Signs of loneliness​
  • Discover who you are and your values​
  • How to approach loneliness​
  • Social connection ideas​
  • Continuing your journey and seeking support

Find out more

More Talk and Action: Men’s Wellbeing Workshop

14 May 2024, 3pm-5pm, Rutland Building

This workshop offers a safe space in which men can talk about the challenges they face and learn practical tools to improve their health, wellbeing and coping strategies.

The session will include discussion, team activities and some self-reflection. Attendees can expect to cover where we go wrong with men’s health, the link between money and mental health, boosting good behaviours, managing worry, problem solving and thinking well.

Find out more

Mental Health Awareness Week Stalls

15 May 2024, 10am-1.30pm, The Atrium (Edward Herbert Building)

A variety of stalls are being held in the Atrium to mark Mental Health Awareness Week:

Come along and have a chat, cookies and other freebies will be on hand.

Find out more

Student Wellbeing Drop-in Session to mark Mental Health Awareness Week

15 May 2024, 11am-1pm, Innerspace (Edward Herbert Building)

This drop-in session offers quick advice or guidance on mental health and wellbeing. Your concerns may be related to life events, wellbeing, financial difficulties, physical health, or injury. Students are welcome to drop in with any queries they may have and to find out about the support available at the University.

Find out more

Sensory Stitch

15 May 2024, 11.30am-1.30pm, EHB209/10 (Edward Herbert Building)

Join LU Arts during Mental Health Awareness Week for a chance to unwind and explore the sensory potential of stitch and its benefits to wellbeing.

The session will begin with guided mark-making on paper, using tools to produce small, neat marks, spillages, and textured marks. You will then translate the expressive marks into stitches, with demonstrations of a range of embroidery techniques, from smaller stitches to 3D techniques.

Find out more

Beach Fest

15 May 2024, 12pm-5pm, Beach Park (Holywell)

Beach Fest brings together My Lifestyle, Social Sport Programme and the Coach and Volunteer Academy (CVA) to deliver a festival of activity including beach volleyball, spikeball and rounders. There will also be a surf simulator, mocktails, hotdogs, t-shirts and ice cream, all free of charge. This event provides an opportunity to meet new people, relax from exam stress and have fun.

Find out more

LSU Classical String Quartet

15 May 2024, 1pm-1.30pm, The Atrium (Edward Herbert Building)

LboroStrings, LSU Classical’s student string quartet, was formed in 2022 and has since performed at a variety of events and concerts. Their repertoire ranges from traditional classical pieces to contemporary pop covers, and they love bringing a touch of pizzazz to the events at which they play. The Quartet will be playing in the Atrium to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.

Find out more

Laughter Club (staff)

16 May 2024, 12.15pm-1pm, Chaplaincy Innerspace, EHB217 (Edward Herbert Building)

Try something new and join the University Chaplaincy for their monthly Laughter Club. Combining playfulness, laughter, and breathing for pleasure and health, laughter yoga provides a serotonin boost to help you feel good for the rest of the day.

Find out more

General:

Pint of Science

13-15 May 2024, 6.30pm-8.30pm, Loughborough

The international science outreach festival Pint of Science returns to Loughborough as the University’s research community make their way from labs and offices to local cafés, restaurants and pubs to share their research stories. Over 55 scientists and researchers will deliver 21 talks, demonstrations and live experiments in relaxed and informal environments across Loughborough town centre.

Esquires Coffee, Public and Plants Cafe, Albert House, PETER Pizzeria, The Swan in the Rushes, Champs Bar and Grill and Revolution will host a full programme of events.

Find out more

REACH Network Meeting

14 May 2024, 12pm-2pm, D002 (James France Building)

This will be the first Race, Ethnicity, and Cultural Heritage (REACH) Network meeting with new co-chairs Nik and Dora and a visit from Richard Taylor. The Network aims to set a strong foundation of community, trust, and respect as this meeting opens a new chapter of REACH.

Find out more

Reflect and Rejoice (University Choir)

15 May 2024, 7.30pm, Cope Auditorium

‘Reflect and Rejoice’ is the University Choir’s annual spring concert. In the first half, the Choir will be in a reflective mood as they perform ‘Requiem’ written by Matthew Coleridge in 2014-15 shortly after he became a father. In the second half, rejoice with the Choir as they sing some familiar favourites by Handel, Phipps, Lloyd Webber and Barlow, and Graham and Lovland. 

Once again, the Choir is delighted to be joined by members of LSU Classical who will be accompanying part of the programme. Tickets available on the door (subject to availability), cash sales only. Please note that tickets are non-refundable unless the event is postponed or cancelled.

Find out more

BBC Radio 4 quiz ‘The Third Degree’ recording

16 May 2024, 5.30pm, James France

Support the Loughborough staff and students taking part in the BBC Radio 4 ‘The 3rd Degree’ quiz by attending the campus recording. ‘The 3rd Degree’ is a show that pits three undergraduate students against three members of staff in a general knowledge and specialist subject quiz.

Each of the three students are studying one of the three subjects taught by the three members of the staff team, with rounds including team and individual questions, and quickfire bell-and-buzzer rounds.

Find out more

Flix Cinema Screening: Bottoms

16 May 2024, 6.30pm-9pm, Cope Auditorium

‘Bottoms’ is directed by Emma Seligman and starring Rachel Sennott, Ayo Edebiri, Havana Rose Liu and Nicholas Galitzine. Unpopular best friends PJ and Josie start a high school fight club to meet girls and lose their virginity. They soon find themselves in over their heads when the most popular students start beating each other up in the name of self-defense.

Find out more

Stump the Odds

17 May 2024, 9.30am, National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM Building)

Stump the Odds is a one-day event on the gambling harms in cricket. The event is part of a seedcorn grant from the University of Bristol Gambling Harms Research Hub. It will involve a conference-style networking event, as well as a research element aimed at understanding the key areas for future research within this area. 

This event aims to engage national & international academic, sporting, charitable, and clinical partners, providing the opportunity to present research and reflections in the area.

Find out more

Women in Enterprise Conference

18 May 2024, 10am-4pm, Loughborough University Stadium

This conference is a celebration of innovation, resilience, and the transformative power of female leadership.

Dive into thought-provoking discussions on:
• Empowering Women Entrepreneurs: Challenges and Triumphs
• Innovation: Nurturing Entrepreneurial Mindsets – Confidence vs. Imposter Syndrome
• Sustainability and Social Impact: Women Driving Change
• Applying for Funding: Unlocking Financial Opportunities
• Creating Networks and Getting Support: Top Tips Panel

Connect with like-minded individuals, exchange ideas, and gain insights from successful women who have conquered challenges in the entrepreneurial world. Network throughout the day and explore the incredible talent within the Loughborough Enterprise Network.

Find out more

Loughborough International Athletics

19 May 2024, 11am-6.30pm, Paula Radcliffe Stadium

Loughborough International Athletics (LIA) is widely recognised as the curtain raiser to the outdoor season with an action-packed day of first-class athletics. Once again, Loughborough athletes will compete against teams representing England, Wales, Scotland, GB&NI Under-20s and the National Athletics League. The event will offer a great day out, where friends, families and athletics fans alike can enjoy an event full of action-packed fun and excitement.

Find out more

Careers:

Exam Success Workshop

14 May 2024, 6pm-7pm, WAV041 (Wavy Top Building)

Come along to the Student Success Academy’s ‘Exam Success’ workshop to discover new techniques to help you prepare for, and succeed in your exams.

Find out more

Finalist Futures: Moving On

14 May 2024, 6pm-8pm, James France Exhibition Area

Join us at this informal event to find out how we can support your career planning before and after you graduate. You have a lot going on right now so come along for some top tips to help build your confidence and take action when the time is right for you.  Don’t miss out on some free food, a freebie and a chance to win a prize!

Find out more

Breakfast Study Cafes

16 May 2024, 8am-11am, WPL201 (STEMLab)

Boost your productivity on campus at the Student Success Academy’s Breakfast Study Cafes. Drop in for one, or all sessions where you can enjoy a morning study session, a free drink, and some baked goods. Using a study planner to set goals for the sessions, study with the Pomodoro technique in sessions one and two (8am-9am and 9am-10am), and work at your own pace in session three (10am-11am).

Find out more

Start-Up Programme

17 May 2024, 6pm-7.30pm, Start-Up Lab 2.01 (STEMLab)

This dynamic five-week journey will equip you with the essential skills and knowledge needed to elevate your Start-Up venture. Delve into crucial topics such as goal setting, mindset development, market research, networking strategies, business registration, intellectual property, finance options, and more!

Participants will also gain access to exclusive mentoring sessions and hear from esteemed industry experts, including Loughborough Enterprise Network (LEN) Legends, who have navigated the entrepreneurial landscape with great success.

Find out more

Loughborough London:

IAS Friends and Fellows Lunch

13 May 2024, 12pm-1pm, Outside LDN.1.04 (London campus)

The Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) will be hosting this informal gathering over lunch where we will be joined by all fellows here for a week of activity under the IAS Annual Theme for 2023-24 ‘Gestation: Bodies, Technologies, Ecologies, Justice’ – Dr Lindsay Jane Barnes, Ms Nompumelelo Gumede, Dr Åsa Virdi Kroik, Dr Sophie Lewis, Dr Luiza Prado and current IAS Open Programme Fellow Dr Marina Cino Pagliarello.

Find out more

IAS Seminar: Roundtable Enemy Feminisms: Sophie Lewis in conversation with Victoria Browne and Jilly Boyce Kay

13 May 2024, 1pm-2.30pm, LDN.1.04 (London campus)

This event is part of the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) Annual Theme for 2023-24, ‘Gestation: Bodies, Technologies, Ecologies, Justice’. Sophie Lewis, author of the forthcoming book ‘Enemy Feminisms: TERFs, Policewomen, and Girlbosses Against Liberation’, is in conversation with Victoria Browne and Jilly Boyce Kay.

Find out more

Screening: Rubus I: Workers by Rehana Zaman with an introduction by the artist

13 May 2024, 3pm-4pm, LDN.1.04 (London campus)

This event is part of the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) annual theme for 2023-24, ‘Gestation: Bodies, Technologies, Ecologies, Justice’. As part of the Radar programme for Gestation, there will be a screening of ‘Rubus I: Workers’ by Rehana Zaman, with an introduction from the artist. Rubus is an ongoing body of work that encompasses moving image, sound works, scripts and performances, in collaboration with artists, poets, writers, farm workers and plant microbiologists.

Find out more

Meet the IAS team

14 May 2024, 10am-12pm, LDN.1.04 (London campus)

The Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) is running this informal drop-in session for any colleagues to come and meet the IAS team. They can discuss what they do and how you can interact with them to bring outstanding international scholars, academics, policy-makers, artists, activists and/or public intellectuals to both the Loughborough and London campuses to initiate new or develop existing collaborations.

Find out more

IAS Seminar: Gestation – Justice

15 May 2024, 1pm-3pm, LDN.1.04 (London campus)

This event is part of the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) annual theme for 2023-24, ‘Gestation: Bodies, Technologies, Ecologies, Justice’. This roundtable brings together diverse scholars working across medicine, political philosophy, communications and behavioural science to consider existing inequities and their intersections, and how expanded concepts of gestation may lead to greater justice.

Find out more

Performance by Nat Raha

15 May 2024, 3.30pm-4.30pm, LDN.1.04 (London campus)

Radar has invited poet Nat Raha to perform as part of the Gestation programme. Nat’s performance will connect to themes of queer and transfeminist world-making, and collective living as a resistant practice, in a lineage of queer and trans feminist of colour thought. This continues a dialogue between Nat and Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) visiting fellow Dr Sophie Lewis, who will be speaking as part of the wider roundtable events. This is the first part of Nat’s work with Radar, which will unfold later in the year.

Find out more

IAS Seminar: Gestation – Ecologies

15 May 2024, 10am-12pm, LDN.1.04

This event is part of the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) annual theme for 2023-24, ‘Gestation: Bodies, Technologies, Ecologies, Justice’. This roundtable will propose a reflection about gestation from the perspective of carrying and caring, accentuating the idea of a lasting process that is not limited or circumscribed to pregnancy and birth, and that encompasses a collective engagement with the generation and protection of life.

Find out more

IAS Seminar: Gestation – Justice

15 May 2024, 1pm-3pm, LDN.1.04 (London campus)

This event is part of the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) annual theme for 2023-24, ‘Gestation: Bodies, Technologies, Ecologies, Justice’. This roundtable brings together diverse scholars working across medicine, political philosophy, communications and behavioural science to consider existing inequities and their intersections, and how expanded concepts of gestation may lead to greater justice.

Find out more

IMCI Speaker Series on Gestation and Storytelling

16 May 2024, 10am-12pm, LDN.3.23/Online

The Institute for Media and Creative Industries (IMCI) and the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) invite you to this ‘Speaker Series on Gestation and Storytelling’.

During this round of conversations, three women share their experience of how stories about gestation, reproduction, birth, and parenting are transmitted through generations and communities, framing the way people deal with carrying and caring for life. They will also discuss how mainstream channels proliferate stories about gestation that help (or not) the situation at the community level.

Find out more

Living comfortably during exam season

May 10, 2024 Orla Price

Exam season can be an incredibly stressful time for students at university. If you are living in shared accommodation, it’s important to be mindful of others around this period and minimising stress in your living environment.

Going into the summer exam period, you should consider whether your schedule is functional and maintainable to avoid conflict and upset for yourself, as well as others around you.

Ensure that you have a clean and tidy workspace for revising to keep you on track and include frequent breaks into your schedule. If you work at a desk, organise it accordingly so that you don’t have to waste time searching for material that you may need. Try and stand up or go for a walk every hour or so for a break, so you can come back to your work later and feel refreshed. It can also be helpful to do some physical activity in the evening to wind down from a day of studying, such as playing sport, going to the gym, or as simple as going for a walk.

Living in halls of accommodation can be challenging when there are lots of other students sharing the living spaces. You can create a better area to study and relax at home if you share your exam schedule with flatmates, so they know when to keep noise to a minimum and reduce stress for you. Hall wardens typically send out emails during this time to notify residents to keep the volume down past 11pm, but be considerate of the actions you take if you are heading out a bit later than usual with friends.

Your nutrition is integral to getting you through exam season sustainability. There are many accessible resources for students to find recipes for during exam season, some can be found on the Student Life blog. It’s important to incorporate proper meals into your revision schedule and make the time for mindful eating when you can.

For students living at home, have a conversation with whoever you live with so they can be more mindful around the exam period. Discuss if you’d like to use shared areas, such as a lounge, dining room, or kitchen to study, so you can minimise interruptions and stay out of the way of daily activities at home. Getting your family and friends onboard with your schedule before your exams start can be helpful to enter exam season in a relaxed way and so you can hopefully maintain a good balance between revision and home life. Utilising University facilities during this time may also be helpful, so seek out appropriate study spaces such as the Library, EHB Atrium, Wavy Top study spaces, and other areas around campus.

Regardless of your living situation, try to make the best of your current conditions to ensure that you get through the exam season comfortably and healthily with minimal stress.

Good luck!

Five minutes with: Dr Laura Jenkins

Five minutes with: Dr Laura Jenkins

May 8, 2024 Guest blogger

What’s your job title and how long have you been at Loughborough?

I’m a University Teacher in Psychology and I’ve been here since September 2018.

Tell us what a typical day in your job looks like?

During semester time, I teach quite a lot so I’m either in a lecture theatre or in my office preparing for that week’s teaching. As I’m a Module Leader for multiple modules, some of the work is more admin based such as updating Learn documents and planning assessments and marking.

On teaching days, I can be doing a number of things such as meeting with personal tutees or dissertation students about their work. I also have times where I am purely marking (with limited meetings). As I teach cohorts of up to 350 students, there is often a lot of work to mark, although this is not done by me only.

What’s your favourite project you’ve worked on?

I have recently completed a project on Vevox to show how much our students enjoy using it during teaching sessions. I presented this work at the International Conference on Psychology, Counselling and Education and have recently had an article accepted for publication within Psychology Teaching Review.

What is your proudest moment at Loughborough?

Being awarded a STAR Award from the School of Sport Exercise and Health Sciences for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Education and Student Experience’ in 2023.

Tell us something you do outside of work that we might not know about?

I’m just learning how to play darts. My partner has played darts for many years and he is now teaching me how to play. I even have my own set of darts now.

What is your favourite quote?

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

If you would like to feature in ‘5 Minutes With’, or you work with someone who you think would be great to include, please email Sadie Gration at S.Gration@lboro.ac.uk.

Reflections on Race Equality Week: Two months on  

May 8, 2024 Sadie Gration

The Legal Services team participated in the Race Equality Matters 5-Day Challenge for Race Equality Week 2024 at the beginning of February.   
 
The theme for the 5-Day Challenge was #ListenActChange. Race Equality Matters explained this theme was selected after feedback from their community found that there is still much work to be done for the focus to shift from just words to meaningful action and change. All of us in the Legal Services team wanted to participate in the week’s activities, recognising that we all have a part to play in bringing about the changes needed and that there is always more for us to learn. 

It was easy to find time each day to do the brief daily challenge. I had downloaded the materials in advance, so I had them to hand and simply shared the relevant ones with the rest of the team via our MS Teams chat each day.  Everyone did the challenges themselves, at a time convenient to them. Each one took around five minutes and was designed to prompt self-reflection and consideration as to what action we could each take to help drive change.  

The final challenge of the week was to make a Big Promise. This built on all the challenges of the previous days, each of which raised awareness of the issues faced in achieving race equality and the impact of not taking action. They were thought-provoking and covered a whole range of important themes, including the impact of microaggressions, understanding different cultures, the impact of public praise, and the importance of creating a culture of belonging. 

I have made a deliberate effort to educate myself on racial inequality over the last few years. I am a white British woman, who grew up and went to school in a predominantly white, British area. I recognise that for much of my life, issues of race inequality were not at the forefront of my mind and have not directly impacted my life.  

I have had to make a conscious effort to learn about racial inequality and consider the ways that I can contribute to the effort to make a difference. I felt challenged by the call to action by this year’s Race Equality Week as I recognised that there is more that I could (and should) be doing in order to become a much more effective ally. 

The Big Promise covers many of the different roles we may find ourselves in on the journey to race equality – be that as a leader in an organisation, as an ally, or as an ethnically diverse colleague. I see myself as an ally on this journey, and my Big Promise is in that capacity – to learn and proactively act anti-racist. 

Some members of the team have made a similar promise. Others have made different promises. While we did the week’s challenges as a team, it was very much an individual activity for people to engage with and take forward in a way that was appropriate for them. It wasn’t something I wanted to direct or facilitate beyond simply making the challenges available and accessible.  Each member of the team has decided on the Big Promise they feel is appropriate for them.  

I found doing the challenges really worthwhile. They have provoked me to look at the ways that I can step up in my allyship and be more proactive about looking for opportunities to act on what I have learned.  I feel much better informed about the impact of certain beliefs, thoughts, or actions and as a result more confident about being actively anti-racist. I am sure I will revisit the challenges again in the future. 

The challenges are still all available on the Race Equality Matters website, so if you have not yet done them, I would highly recommend taking a look and participating. They were engaging, thought-provoking and accessible with many practical suggestions on things people can do right away to start to bring about positive change wherever they are.  

Helen Taller 
Senior Solicitor (Property and Estates) 

Hedgehog Awareness Week

May 7, 2024 Lottie Ambridge

The 5th to the 11th of May 2024 marks Hedgehog Awareness Week, which is a campaign organised every year by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. This year, the charity has selected the theme: ‘Welcome Wildlife!’ which is about creating safe green spaces, gardens & environments for hedgehogs and other animals to live.

It turns out that hedgehogs are a great ‘indicator species’. This means that they don’t require much to survive, so if they are struggling, it indicates that the environment is in some way insufficient. This can be a cause of concern for the survival of other species, including humans, so we really should be paying attention… (North East Post – Hedgehog Awareness Week; Cornwall Wildlife Trust, 2024).

Source: National Geographic – Hedgehog

What can you do?

Hedgehogs are under threat, after undergoing significant population declines in recent decades. We need to reverse this by removing threats and installing practical conservation measures (The British Hedgehog Preservation Society, 2024). To gain an improved understanding of why hedgehogs are struggling, the British Hedgehog Preservation Society have partnered up with some other organisations to launch a new National Hedgehog Monitoring Programme (NHMP). You can read more about this programme and how you can get involved following this link National Hedgehog Monitoring Programme.   

In addition to this, there are a few small things we can all do to ensure our gardens and local area are safe for hedgehogs. A few examples would be:

  • Avoid using pesticides and poisons which could harm hedgehogs or disrupt their food chain.
  • Cover up drains so that hedgehogs don’t fall into them.
  • Do not litter; encourage others to do the same, as litter can cause harm to wildlife.
  • Make sure you put away any sports nets from your garden and ensure that any other netting is high up enough that hedgehogs can pass under it so do not get stuck.
  • Check for hedgehogs before you mow or strim the lawn, and before you light a bonfire as they sometimes make nests in log piles!
  • You could also add some hedgehog-friendly features to your garden such as ‘hedgehog highways’, feeding stations, log piles, pools or ponds, and hedgehog homes.

To find out more about the BHPS and what you can do, visit North East Post – Hedgehog Awareness Week.

Source: The College of Animal Welfare

What’s been happening in the world of hedgehogs?

Its important to highlight the good news, so I wanted to bring your attention to this inspiring story of a student who has been campaigning for hedgehogs.

Lyndon Howson, a student studying for a Zoology degree at the University of Chester, has won the ‘Mammal Champions Award’. This is in recognition of his efforts in coordinating the Hedgehog Friendly Campus campaign at his university. His passion for wildlife, ‘outstanding dedication’ and leadership when volunteering for this role have been impressive, and as such he has been given this national award. Not only this, but he has also now been selected by Universities UK to feature in the ‘100 Faces’ campaign which aims to celebrate the positive impact of ‘first-in-the-family’ students and graduates in the UK. 

The initiative led by Lyndon, alongside another student project coordinator, has experienced an impressive transformation over the past 18 months, with the team growing from seven to 170 individuals. With the support of volunteers and staff, Lyndon has organised many activities such as:

  • Camera trapping surveys.
  • Hedgehog tunnels.
  • Habitat management.
  • Meadow planting.

All these efforts have been part of the Hedgehog Friendly Campus scheme adopted at the University of Chester, which is a national accreditation programme funded in part by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and delivered by Students Organising for Sustainability UK (SOS-UK). Loughborough University has also been involved in this programme – more on this later.

Not only have the volunteer numbers increased due to Lyndon’s efforts, but the hedgehog numbers have increased! There are now eight on campus (when before there were none) and three hoglets were born last year. Amazing!

To read more about Lyndon’s story and the Hedgehog Friendly Campus scheme, please visit this webpage: FE News | National award for student wildlife champion 

What are we doing?

Here at Loughborough University, we strive to protect hedgehogs by:

  • Taking practical measures.
  • Educating others & raising awareness.

Last academic year (2022-23), we gained the bronze level of the Hedgehog Friendly Campus award. This involved a group of staff and students working together to organise initiatives such as:

  • Promoting the campaign.
  • Undertaking workshops.
  • Holding fundraisers.
  • Distributing flyers.
  • Brainstorming creative ideas to raise awareness of hedgehog protection.

Another key activity which helped the team achieve their goals was running staff and student litter picks, with over 23kg collected within only 30 minutes! We have undertaken some litter picks this academic year too, to protect the hedgehogs and other wildlife, and ensure campus remains clean and tidy!

Another success story is that of a hedgehog rescue on campus…In September 2022, Kaz Setchell, the Gardens Manager, and Rachel Senior, former Assistant Gardens Manager, found an underweight and unwell hedgehog on campus. After taking the hedgehog Kazzie to Barrow Hedgehog Rescue, she was able to be passed onto the vet so medicine could be administered. The problem had been Kazzie was far too small to hibernate that winter, so she was given a home with Rachel Senior until she was healthy again, which took around a month (after receiving lots of food donations!). Kazzie was re-introduced to the wild that spring and released into a garden near where she was found.

Source: Wildlife | Estates and Facilities Management | Loughborough University (lboro.ac.uk)
Source: Loughborough achieves Bronze in this year’s Hedgehog Friendly Campus initiative | News and events | Loughborough University (lboro.ac.uk)

To read more, visit our webpages:

Wildlife | Estates and Facilities Management | Loughborough University (lboro.ac.uk)

Loughborough achieves Bronze in this year’s Hedgehog Friendly Campus initiative | News and events | Loughborough University (lboro.ac.uk)

This article is in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life on Land. To read more click here.

Another success story: Biodiversity Week

May 3, 2024 Lottie Ambridge

From 29th April- 3rd May, we hosted another themed week: Biodiversity Week.

Why?

We thought it would be a nice idea to host a Biodiversity Week to draw attention to the importance of protecting species and appreciating the world around us. This will become increasingly important as the climate continues to change, affecting species and their habitats on a global scale. Being outside in nature can also have such a positive impact on our mental health:

  • According to the Mental Health Foundation, people who are more connected with nature are usually happier as nature can generate many positive emotions such as calmness, joy and creativity. Nature connectedness is also associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety.
  • According to  Mind, spending time in nature can help you feel more relaxed and improve confidence and self- esteem, as well as giving you the opportunity to meet new people and connect with your local community.

What happened?

The schedule of events was as follows:

Monday 29th April: Evening Blubell Walk, Burleigh Wood.

Its that time of year again when the Burleigh Wood showcases a stunning display of bluebells! The ‘best I have ever seen’ is often what our Assistant Gardens Manager, Rich, claims. If you haven’t already, make sure to go and check this out! It is important we take time out of our busy schedules to appreciate the nature around us; this can have such a positive impact on our mental health, and I promise you, the Burleigh bluebells will not disappoint. If you have the time to venture a bit further from campus, the Outwoods also has a wonderful landscape of bluebells!

This walk was led by Assistant Gardens Manager, Rich Fenn-Griffin, who has a wealth of knowledge about trees and the woodland areas on campus, as he supports the maintenance and protection of them all year round. The event was open to staff, students, and the community, and had an impressive turnout.

Tuesday 30th April: Dawn Chorus Walk, Burleigh Wood

On the following day, we returned to the on-campus woodland to spot some birds!

This walk was led by student Curtis Burbridge, who has a fountain of knowledge when it comes to birds. There were over 10 people on the walk, which is impressive considering it took place at 6:30 in the morning! There was good engagement from all the participants, who seemed to enjoy the experience and find out a lot from it.

Curtis commented that:

“Species wise we heard at least 12 different, with highlights of Song Thrush and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Although my favourite moment, which I’m sure Rich will agree with, is when we had a treecreeper climb the tree in front of the group just after we had been describing them!”

“It was also beautiful to be surrounded by the bluebells whilst participating on the walk and the weather was perfect!”

Rich agreed with this:

“I can confirm that the tree creeper appearing on cue was quite something.  I joked that it was on a string as it shot up the tree and then flew off across the wood.  The song thrush was also delightful.”

It certainly sounds like a lovely morning.

The group on the Dawn Chorus walk looking up into the trees at the birds. Source: Curtis Burbridge.

Tuesday 30th April: Welfare Walk and Litter Pick

As part of Geography’s Welfare Week, co-ordinated by Grace, their department SIO for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, we collaborated for a ‘Welfare Walk and Litter Pick’. The weather was beautiful, and we had a lovely stroll around the campus, uplifting our moods, and picking up a few bits of litter along the way. This helps improve the look of the campus and protect the local wildlife form harm.

Grace reflected that:

“The weather was lovely and we collected 2 large bags of rubbish before treating ourselves to an ice cream for our hard work! We would like to say a massive thank you to Lottie and her colleagues for giving up their time and letting us use their equipment for this event. I highly recommend getting involved in future sustainability activities!”

Sustainability Assistant Lottie and Geography Research Assistant Jay collecting litter on the walk.
Sustainability Assistant Lottie collecting litter.

Thank you to everyone involved and we look forward to supporting future events. If you have any ideas for these, do not hesitate to get in touch with our Sustainability Team sustainability@mailbox.lboro.ac.uk or our Sustainability Assistant enviroassist@lboro.ac.uk .

This article is in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life on Land. To read more click here.

Sewage… what’s the problem?

May 3, 2024 Lottie Ambridge

Credit for this blog content: ‘Barbour Consolidated legislative update services’

Not the most fun topic but an important one…this article is about the impact sewage is having on waterways in the UK.

According to the Environment Agency, there were 3.6 million hours of sewage spills in 2023 compared to 1.75 million hours in 2022. On average, in 2023 there were 1,271 spills a day across England, compared to 825 a day in 2022… this is difficult to put into context, but the fact that the spills have more than doubled in just one year is enough to cause concern. But what caused this and what has this got to do with climate change?

These record levels are due to heavy rain – this is one of the extreme weather impacts caused by climate change. You can read more about the predicted rainfall patterns on the Met Office website .

The industry body for sewage companies, Water UK, have described the levels of sewage spills as ‘unacceptable’. Environmentalists say that, although these spills are not ‘illegal’ as such, they should only happen in ‘exceptional weather’. The Environment Agency commented: “It is important to note that heavy rainfall does not affect water companies’ responsibility to manage storm overflows in line with legal requirements”.

Source: Greenpeace

Why is this happening?

  • The way the UK sewage system works is that rain and sewage share the same pipes.
  • If there is too much rain, sewage treatment works can become overwhelmed.
  • Sewage is spilled into waterways to prevent the system backing up.

Why is the sewage a problem?

  • The spills include human waste, wet wipes, and sanitary products.
  • These can pose a serious risk to local wildlife, as well as swimmers and others who use the UK waterways.
  • This can also cause blockages of the sewage system, which can lead to further spills.
  • Although rain can help to dilute the sewage, academics warn that there is still a risk to the local environment and anyone swimming in these bodies of water.

Dr Dania Albini, Research Fellow in Biosciences at University of Exeter, said: “Sewage pollution in the UK severely impacts waterways, with not a single river in England rated as healthy according to the latest Rivers Trust Rivers report”.

How is sewage affecting living organisms?

Albini went on to explain that sewage being present in rivers can reduce the oxygen levels in the water, which harms aquatic life. This also “causes sickness [in humans] due to the presence of harmful microorganisms and parasites”.

The data…

  • Recent data revealed by the Environment Agency was taken from monitoring stations installed at combined sewer overflows (CSOs).
  • CSOs were developed as overflow valves – these reduce the risk of sewage backing up into people’s homes during heavy rainfall when sewer pipes become overloaded.

The dilemma…

  • Due to higher rainfall in 2023 (20% above average), the overall number of spills was expected to be higher.
  • In 2023, all 14,580 CSOs were fitted with monitors, compared to 2019 when only 57% were fitted with monitors, meaning only half of spills were recorded.

James Wallace, CEO of charity River Action, told BBC News: “Water companies are not being made to invest in fixing their leaky pipes – as long as we have an Environment Agency and Ofwat that are incapable of doing their jobs then we are not in a position to expect water companies to behave”.Ofwat and the Environment Agency are conducting separate investigations into England’s nine sewerage companies; the outcome of these is expected this year (2024). However, these two agencies are also under investigation by the independent Office for Environmental Protection who are concerned they have interpreted the law incorrectly on sewage discharging, by allowing spills whenever it rains rather than only when there is “exceptional” rainfall.

So, we will see what happens over the upcoming year. The best thing you can do is stay informed, and take action to reduce your impact on the environment.

If you would like to read more about this subject, please visit the below link: Event Duration Monitoring, Storm Overflows: Annual Returns.

This article is in support of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water. To read more click here.

Good news: Freedom for the fish

May 3, 2024 Lottie Ambridge

We hear so much about climate change and biodiversity, but it often feels far away, for example the countless images of polar bears balancing on the edge of a melting iceberg… But there is plenty happening near us in Loughborough too, and not all bad! Read below about the fish pass which has just been created on the River Trent, which is going to help fish move more freely and access habitats. Something to feel positive about.

Credit for this blog content: ‘Barbour Consolidated legislative update services’

The country’s largest fish pass has just been completed… but what does this mean?

Due to a recent development on the River Trent, it will now be easier for fish to reach their spawning and feeding grounds. The Colwick (Holme Sluices) fish pass has taken two years to construct and will now open up the River Trent and its tributaries for migratory fish to allow them more access to habitats. The fish affected include salmon, trout, and eels. This development is part of work completed by the Environment Agency to improve fish passage across the country; this marks a significant step in the right direction towards restoring the River Trent catchment to its original state.

It will now be easier for fish to navigate past the Holme Sluices, which is a major flood risk management structure built in the 1950s to help protect Nottingham from flooding.

“The fish pass will open up the River Trent for all fish species and is the first scheme of the ambitious Trent Gateway Partnership which aims to remove all barriers to fish migration along the River Trent – the third longest river in the country”.

“There are a number of barriers to fish migration within the River Trent catchment, including Holme Sluices, which is the largest barrier to the natural migration of fish in the Midlands. By installing fish passage, it will become easier for salmon and other fish to reach their spawning and feeding grounds”.

“We are working with partners to improve the situation and hope that the Colwick fish pass will serve as a catalyst for other Trent Gateway projects, which will in turn enhance the river and boost the local economy”.

The fish pass:

  • Includes a two-metre high fully automated radial gate which constantly monitors the water levels and flow rates in the River Trent. This means it will open and close based on the differing water levels throughout the year.
  • Is 200m long, 6m deep and 6.5m wide.
  • Is divided into 20 ascending chambers into which water flows through narrow slots. Fish will be able to pass through these slots and rest in the chamber above before continuing to swim upstream. They can then lay their eggs upstream in the gravel riverbeds of the River Dove and the River Derwent, which are tributaries of the River Trent.
  • Includes an eel pass which will help support the European eel, a ‘critically endangered’ species.
  • Includes a public viewing platform above the water with interpretation boards informing and advising visitors about the local wildlife both in the river and on the surrounding land. This includes the fish expected to use the pass.
A salmon leaping upstream on its way to its spawning grounds. Image by Kevin Wells, Source: Geographical Magazine.  

If you would like to read more about this subject, please visit the below link:

Colwick (Holme Sluices) Fish Pass Briefing.

This article is in support of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water. To read more click here.  

DRN2024 Drawing Repetition: Tracing Technology Recording

May 3, 2024 Deborah Harty

Tracing Technology was the second in series of DRN2024 events exploring the theme of drawing repetition. Thank you to our speakers Claire Anscombe, Dave Hawey & Hilary Judd, to chair Lucy Brennan-Shiel and to everyone who attended.

This Week at Loughborough | 6 May

May 3, 2024 Orla Price

General:

Arts Scholars’ Showcase

7 May 2024, 5pm-7pm, Martin Hall

Join LU Arts for this year’s Arts Scholars’ Showcase, which features the nine scholarship winners for 2023/24. This year’s winners come from a variety of subject areas and backgrounds with a mix of undergraduate and postgraduate students. Their art forms include creative writing, music, dance and drama.

Find out more

Eras Tour Prep 101

7 May 2024, 6pm-8pm, LSU Council Chamber

Swift Soc will host a night of preparation before the Eras Tour with friendship bracelet and poster making! 

Find out more

Drag Night

7 May 2024, 7pm-9pm, The Lounge (LSU)

Come and see the most outstanding drag performers in town! Stick around after the performances for the Q&A and get there early, as the first 50 people to arrive will win amazing prizes.

Find out more

IAS Seminar: When autofiction becomes impossible

8 May 2024, 12pm-1pm, International House/Zoom

Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) Visiting Fellow Associate Professor Endre Lund Eriksen will deliver a seminar on their research. In this lecture, Endre Lund Eriksen tells of an impossible artistic research project, that through detours ended up in an award winning animated short film for kids.

Find out more

Hear from Standing Together: The largest Jewish-Arab grassroots movement for peace in Israel

8 May 2024, 1pm-2pm, MS Teams

The Loughborough UCU branch will be hosting a meeting with two speakers from Standing Together, a social movement of Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel pursuing peace, equality, and social and climate justice. 

Find out more

Distinguished Speaker Series: Sir Peter Bonfield

9 May 2024, 5.30pm, CC012 (James France)

Sir Peter Bonfield is a leading international business executive with extensive experience in the fields of electronics, computers and communications. Sir Peter has been involved with a diverse portfolio of companies operating at main board level in the USA, Europe and the Far East. Change management in international technology companies has characterised his work.

Find out more

Win from Within: A sport psychology series

9 May 2024, 6.30pm-7.30pm, Dan Maskell Seminar Room (Tennis and Squash Centre)

The ‘Win from Within’ series at Loughborough Sport is dedicated to unlocking the full potential of every athlete, regardless of their experience or sporting background. This week’s session will focus on perfecting pre-performance preparation.

Find out more

Flix Cinema Screening: Mean Girls (2024)

9 May 2024, 6.30pm-9pm, Cope Auditorium (Edward Barnsley)

Mean Girls (2024), directed by Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr, starring Reneé Rapp, Angourie Rice, Christopher Briney and Tina Fey.

Find out more

Student Leadership Conference

11 May 2024, 10am-5pm, LSU

The annual Student Leadership Conference by Loughborough Students’ Union empowers the student community through a day of seminars, panel discussions, networking sessions, interactive workshops, and resource hubs at a student-friendly price.

During the conference, you will have the opportunity to gain valuable insights from experts on topics such as emotional intelligence, public speaking, inclusivity, boundary-setting, delegation, and much more.

Find out more

Exhibition: Tearing up Vogue and Mining the Detritus

2-10 May 2024, 12pm-4pm, Martin Hall Exhibition Space

This exhibition will display a body of practice-based doctoral research in montage by Ehryn Torrell (IRPH, SSH). Montage is not a singular artistic medium like painting or drawing, but rather it is intermedium (Higgins, 1965). It often includes the act of cutting up and reassembling photographic images to say something about representation and ways of seeing.

Find out more

Careers:

Start-Up Programme

8 May 2024, 6pm-7.30pm, Start-Up Lab (2.01) STEMLab

This dynamic five-week journey will equip you with the essential skills and knowledge needed to elevate your Start-Up venture. Delve into crucial topics such as goal setting, mindset development, market research, networking strategies, business registration, intellectual property, finance options, and more!

Find out more

Stay Connected – Navigating the Workplace Workshop

9 May 2024, 12pm-1pm, EHB 1.04 (Edward Herbert)

Workshop on Navigating the Workplace ahead of you starting your placement year. Open to students who are going on placement for the 2024/25 academic year. Topics covered include workplace behaviour, bullying and harassment, health and safety and managing conflict.

Find out more

Fellowship Application for PhDs

9 May 2024, 6pm-8pm, West Park Teaching Hub

Join us at this informal event to find out how we can support your career planning before and after you graduate. Don’t miss out on some free food, a freebie and a chance to win a prize!

Find out more

DRN2024 Drawing Repetition: Habitual Behaviour

May 3, 2024 Deborah Harty
Junuka Deshpande, The Cookbook Drawings (detail).

Hosted by the Drawing Research Group at Loughborough University
Tickets: https://buytickets.at/drawingresearchgroup/1248618
Chair: Rachel Gadsden-Hayton

Habitual Behaviour is the third in the series of DRN online events exploring drawing repetition. The panel brings together researchers investigating aspects of habitual behaviour in relation to repetition within contemporary drawing practice.

Lydia Halcrow‘s presentation will explore artists working through repetition and daily practices of
durational drawings to explore the emotional traces exposed through this ongoing action.
It will include reference to my own drawing practice that formed a practice-based PhD completed in 2022 as a mode of embodied and experimental mark-making made through the repetitive act of walking and scoring as a form of experimental drawing. The central premise of the presentation is that the act of repetition and time can only reveal a knowledge after it has unfolded and the repetitive marks made over a duration form a whole. The patterns revealed can tell alternative stories about body and place and about human emotions held in everyday encounters. The repetition thus becomes a ‘blind’ drawing process that documents daily encounters and emotions, with a deeper understanding of the entanglements of body and place emerging over the duration of the drawings.

Meera Curam’s presentation explores the intricate complexity of rhythm present in the cultural tradition of drawing Rangoli or Kolam. Rangoli is an everyday early morning practice, drawing patterns using rice flour or paste, stone powder, sand and red earth is known by many names in south India, such as Rangoli, Kolam, Muggulu and Alpana. While these patterns hold cultural prominence with deeper meanings and complex mathematical sequences, there is scope to understand the intricacies of sequences, intuition, and embodied knowledge.
The presentation expands on the practitioner’s intuitive embodied knowledge and innate ability to construct continuous, repetitive patterns through seemingly simple loop drawings. The fundamental rhythm of lines over dots evolves into intricate designs, prompting inquiry into the interconnectedness between mind and body movements. Drawing from Bourdieu’s theory of Social practice (Bourdieu, 1990) and applying the situated practice and habitus in connection with the everyday practice of Rangoli. Despite the cultural prominence of Rangoli patterns, their hidden complexity of rhythm, encompassing symmetry, asymmetry, and the organic flow of dots and lines, often remains unnoticed.
This paper aims to bridge the gap of acknowledging the intuitive knowledge system by offering insights into the often-overlooked complexity of rhythm within the seemingly mundane act of drawing Rangoli. By unravelling the sophistication inherent in this everyday cultural practice, the abstract contributes to a deeper understanding of the artistic and cultural dimensions embedded within the rhythmic intricacies of creating Rangoli.

References
Bourdieu, P. (1990). The logic of practice. Stanford University Press.
Nagarajan, V. (2018). Feeding a Thousand Souls: Women, Ritual, and Ecology
in India- An Exploration of the Kolam. Oxford University Press.
Author’s Bio : Meera Curam is a Visual Artist and Textile Designer, presently
engaged in doctoral research at De Montfort University, Leicester, United
Kingdom. Her research delves into the Rangoli/Kolam tradition in South India
for her PhD. Her focus is on its embodied knowledge, underlining the
significance of Tangible and Intangible Heritage, and addressing the oversight
regarding the intuitive complex mathematical sequences employed by women
practitioners.

Junuka Deshpande‘s presentation will share examples of an autoethnographic exploration presenting a series of drawn responses to domestic encounters. These responses are aimed at making meaning of the experience of struggle /friction in an everyday repetitive routine of domestic space as a woman, mother, and an artist. Each encounter, like a terrain in a site, consists of an experience. Through drawings Junuka respond to expand the moment of feeling into a narrative, understanding it in parts through multiple drawn frames that create an illusion of movement.

Each drawing starts with a feeling that completes itself through subsequent drawings, building on the previous one. The surfaces over which Junuka draws are pages of a cookery book with recipes printed on them. The names of the recipes, the ingredients, quantities, and instructions provide a recurring background to the drawings creating an experience of friction, conversation and repetition through mark-making process that involves repeated imagery and technique.

The project explores the idea of drawing through embodied responses to an embodied experience as lived. Junuka plays with the idea of temporality embedded in a lived experience and temporal expansion of the same in the response through drawings. Each drawing is like the previous one and yet unique as it is created without the conventional device such as a light box or a tracing paper. The repetition is driven by friction and dialogue with normative societal constructs of gender, its relation to materiality, comforts in assigned roles and certain routines. These routines in turn start to define oneself and the breathing body that senses the hierarchical structures of power. Hence each frame has a part of that feeling, aiding the process of transformation, and creating an experience of meaning-making. The small and big differences in each individual drawing make them worth both- a pause and a play of movement.

Biographies

Lydia Halcrow is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Bath Spa University, her practice-based PhD
was situated at the intersections between drawing, print, painting & installation investigating body and place through repetition. Her chapter ‘Tuning in: walking, slowing, sensing’ explores the interconnections between mark-making, place and repetition, in Art and Creativity in an Era of Ecocide (Bloomsbury). Her work is shown nationally & internationally.

www.lydiahalcrow.com
Instagram @lydiahalcrow

Meera Curam is a Visual Artist and Textile Designer, presently engaged in doctoral research at De Montfort University, Leicester, United Kingdom. Her research delves into the Rangoli/Kolam tradition in South India for her PhD. Her focus is on its embodied knowledge, underlining the significance of Tangible and Intangible Heritage, and addressing the oversight regarding the intuitive complex mathematical sequences employed by women practitioners.

Junuka Deshpande’s primary interest is in the practice of observation. The practice inspires her to engage in the process of image making through drawing and mixed media images. She explores image making and image construction as sensemaking processes in her practice as an artist and an educator. Her professional journey as a film maker across forests, islands, cities and villages has led her to question implicit notions of self and hierarchy embedded in creative-perceptive processes. She is engaged in exploring methods of drawing and image making to understand outer and inner world. Junuka teaches at Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design and technology in Bangalore and works on projects that engage with place- based pedagogy.

Rachel Gadsden-Hayton is an artist, researcher and disability culture activist who exhibits her work internationally, with the object being to develop cross-cultural dialogues considering notions of humanity. She was the guest artist for the ‘Big Draw Netherlands Festival’ 2023 and presented TransHuman at the Museum Arnhem, and Extrapol, Nijmegen.
Rachel was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from South Bank University, 2016.

www.rachelgadsden.com

Forensic Conversations in Criminal Justice Settings: One-day Symposium

Forensic Conversations in Criminal Justice Settings: One-day Symposium

May 2, 2024 Iliana Depounti

The criminal justice system encompasses a wide range of interactions, from police officers engaging with the public on the street to police interviews with witnesses and suspects, emergency calls, discussions between suspects and solicitors, cross-examinations in court, interventions with children embroiled in the law, jury deliberations, and managing behaviour in prisons. These conversations are the site in which the fundamental activities of the criminal justice system are accomplished, and where professional parties and people caught up in the system negotiate institutional constraints, interpersonal tensions, and opposing agendas, with life-changing consequences for the people involved.  

Researchers who study real interactions in systematic detail using conversation analysis and ethnomethodology bring radical insights into the nature of such interactions. The innovative, empirical findings they generate contribute to professional training and policy development. CRCC members Dr Emma Richardson and Dr Laura Jenkins, along with Dr Alexandra Kent (Keele University) are organising an inaugural, one-day international symposium to bring together such researchers using these methods in a warm and collegial event to facilitate networking, share novel findings, and collaborate in joint analysis of emerging projects. This free event will take place at Loughborough University and online.

About the organisers

Dr Emma Richardson (Communication and Media) is a Lecturer in Language and Social Interaction. Her research focusses on improving access to criminal justice for victim-survivors of gender-based violence by using conversation analysis, applied to legal and forensic settings. Emma works closely with police partners, examining audio recorded emergency and non-emergency police calls and video recorded investigative interviews of the public reporting domestic violence and abuse and rape and serious sexual offence. Her work informs training and guidance.

Dr Laura Jenkins (Criminology, Sociology and Social Policy) was awarded the competitive Vice Chancellor Independent Research Fellow to deliver new insights into interactions between youth justice workers and children in conflict with the law. She records children’s encounters with the youth justice service, using conversation analysis to investigate how higher-level youth justice policy and guidance, particularly the “Child First” approach with an emphasis on children’s active collaboration and engagement, gets implemented at the coal-face of service delivery. This priority work has led to Dr Jenkins’ sharing her expertise with the Youth Justice Board, the police’s Vulnerability Knowledge and Practice Programme, and the Ministry of Justice.

Dr Alexandra Kent (Keele University) is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology. Her research focuses on how individuals seek help from public institutions during times of personal difficulty or crisis. She uses conversation analysis and discursive psychology to explore how the conversations operate. She works with emergency and non-emergency police calls and non-emergency instant message conversations between the police and members of the public to explore how these types of interactions can be managed effectively and efficiently. From this work she has developed and delivered training input and guidance for police staff.

The organisers are delighted to welcome Dr Emma Tennent, as an invited speaker from the University of Wellington, who will share her findings on help-seeking in calls to the police classified as ‘family harm’.

Call for Abstracts

The organisers are currently inviting abstract submissions from researchers at all career stages and from across the globe wishing to deliver oral presentations to share recent findings or ongoing investigations arising from analysis of authentic (recorded) interactions in criminal justice settings, or data sessions in which presenters share a short audio/video clip and facilitate analytic discussion with participants. Organisers request that presenters provide a transcript adhering to the detailed Jefferson system adopted by conversation analysts. Clips can be in any language but please provide an English translation.

Presentations and data sessions can be delivered either in person or online. Please use this link to submit your abstract by Friday 31st May.

Conference registration will open in July. The organisers look forward to welcoming you in September!

From the Vice-Chancellor – April 2024

From the Vice-Chancellor – April 2024

April 30, 2024 Nick Jennings
Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Jennings in front of stained glass windows in Hazlerigg Building.

In my April newsletter: the 2024 QS World University Rankings by Subject, this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Awards, Loughborough’s visit to the US, the student enterprise start-up fund and the Whatuni Student Choice Awards.

Loughborough ranked best in the world for sports-related subjects

The QS World University Rankings by Subject are one of the most well-respected international league tables and I was delighted to see Loughborough in the global top 100 in eight subject areas.

We retained our ranking as the best university in the world for sports-related subjects for the eighth consecutive year – an outstanding achievement.

Sports-related education and research have been central to Loughborough from the institution’s very earliest days and they remain a key part of our University strategy today. The School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS), the Sports Technology Institute and the London-based Institute for Sport Business are all renowned for the fundamental and applied research they undertake and the quality of the education they offer to our students.  

The QS rankings are based on the opinions of academic staff who have a speciality in the subject area, and employers who recruit graduates from those disciplines. They also take into account research output and impact, with both citations and paper output measured over a five-year period. Our performance in the rankings shows that our work in this field is recognised and valued by the international academic community.

Loughborough placed in the top 50 in two other areas. We were ranked 22nd in the Library and Information Management subject category, which reflects work undertaken in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities and Loughborough Business School, and we were 32nd in Art and Design.

The University secured top 100 rankings in five further subjects: Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering; Architecture and the Built Environment; Communication and Media Studies; Anatomy and Physiology, which reflects the work undertaken in SSEHS and the School of Science; and Petroleum Engineering, which is undertaken in the Schools of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering and Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering.

Enhancing our standing in the QS rankings is a key objective in our strategy, and a significant driver for Project Reputation – one of the enabling projects that is addressing the organisational changes we need to make to progress our strategic aims. To have consolidated our international standing in all of these areas is an important step forward in our reputational ambitions.

A purple background with gold text reading 'Vice-chancellor's Awards' and gold beams surrounding it.

Launch of the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards 2024

From tomorrow you’ll be able to nominate your colleagues for this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Awards, which recognise and celebrate the ways that staff from all areas of the University have demonstrated their commitment to our strategic aims and values.

There are eighteen awards available across six categories, details of which are available on the dedicated webpage, alongside guidance on writing and submitting a nomination. 

 The University could not achieve what it does without the hard work, dedication and creativity of individuals and teams from across our campuses and these awards enable us to celebrate that. You can see a short video of our 2023 winners on the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards webpages, who reflect on how their work is contributing to the delivery of the University strategy. I would encourage you all to reflect on the past year and to nominate those who you think have made a real difference. 

I look forward to meeting all the shortlisted nominees at the awards ceremony in September. 

Lily Rumsey, Loughborough's Director of Global Engagement, and Professor Jo Maher, the University's Pro Vice-Chancellor for Sport, are pictured with colleagues from the University of Oregon next to a statue of the Oregon mascot.

Building partnerships in the US

This month I led a University delegation to the US to discuss research, innovation and sports partnerships, and to meet with some of our US-based alumni. Visits such as these are an important part of our strategic aims and also support the work we are doing under Project Reputation to raise the University’s global profile.

The visit was split into two tracks, with the first focusing on our Climate Change and Net Zero theme and the second on the Sport, Health and Wellbeing theme. 

Professor Kurt Barth (our Special Envoy for North America), Lily Rumsey (the University’s Director of Global Engagement) and I visited Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin to explore potential research collaborations in energy, the environment and engineering.

As part of the Sport, Health and Wellbeing track, Professor Jo Maher, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Sport, met with the NFL to explore how our relationship with them could be further enhanced and visited the Chicago Bears franchise to discuss potential collaboration opportunities.  

We met with the University of Oregon to plan the inaugural summit of the Global Sport University Network (GSUN), which will take place in September. The GSUN partners harness their combined knowledge of sport to address globally important topics, such as health and sustainability, that no one university could fully address on its own. 

We visited the Austin Technology Incubator, affiliated with the University of Texas at Austin, that supports staff and students in their exploration of deep technology solutions. In Chicago we met with student innovators at DePaul University’s Coleman Entrepreneurship Centre and at the city’s British Consulate General we were able to showcase the University’s expertise in climate change and net zero and the world-leading sports ecosystem we have.

The visit was a great opportunity for us to strengthen existing partnerships and explore potential new ones, and to be able to update some of our alumni on the exciting developments happening at the University.

Student enterprise goes from strength to strength

Providing our students with opportunities to develop their entrepreneurial spirit is one of the core aims of the Education and Student Experience core plan, and the Loughborough Enterprise Network (LEN) enables us to support our students to create the businesses, solutions and technologies of the future. Almost 10% of our students are now involved in entrepreneurial activity.

Within our LEN ecosystem we have three key stages – Skill-up, Start-up and Scale-up. Skill-up allows students to engage in activities and enhance the skills they’ll need if they run their own business. Start-up provides funding and support for the initial stages of students’ and graduates’ ventures. Scale-up enables students to gain funding for proof of concept and mentoring support to make their businesses ‘investment ready’. 

The latest round of Start-up funding closed last month, with 90 applications received in total. A longlist will shortly be asked to submit further information on their ideas, and then a shortlist of 16 students and graduates will be invited to pitch to a panel of experts for their chance to receive up to £25,000 of funding for their businesses.

Since LEN’s launch in 2019, we’ve seen a 20% increase year on year in applications for funding, with a 50% increase in female students applying – so far this year, 46% of funding applications have been from our female entrepreneurs. 

Graduate Kate Allan was an early recipient of Start-up funding from the University. In the final year of her MEng in Product Design Engineering, Kate set up Exphand Prosthetics from LUinc, the University’s incubator on the Science and Enterprise Park (LUSEP). Her company develops 3D printed, lightweight, adjustable and affordable prosthetic upper body limbs for children. Last year Kate won an Innovate UK Women in Innovation Award, which were set up in 2016 to boost the number of women entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders in the UK.

A group of staff from Loughborough stood on the stage holding an award and smiling at the camera.

Top for facilities at the Whatuni Student Choice Awards

Last week Loughborough was named the Best University in the UK for Facilities at the 2024 Whatuni Student Choice Awards (WUSCAs). This is the fourth time Loughborough has taken the top spot in this category.  

The Whatuni Student Choice Awards (WUSCAs) are one of the highlights in the higher education calendar, as they are based on the views of students across the UK and give us crucial feedback on the areas where our students think we’re doing well. The students’ reviews also give prospective students genuine insight when they’re making decisions about what and where they would like to study.  

Our outstanding sports facilities and pitches, the state-of-the-art labs and the modern, well-equipped teaching spaces all drew particular praise from our students. It is clear that our buildings and outdoor spaces, and increasingly the sustainable way in which we develop and manage them, are important to both our current and future students, as well as to our staff. 

Congratulations to all those who are involved in the development and maintenance of our outstanding campuses.

CRCC member Vaclav Stetka leads the presentation of the 2024 Media Freedom Poll

April 29, 2024 Iliana Depounti

Dr Vaclav Stetka – CRCC’s Political Communication theme lead and Reader in Comparative Political Communication – has presented the key findings of the 2024 Media Freedom Poll on 25 April in Budapest, during a high-profile event featuring representatives of regional news organizations as well as the Vice-President of the European Commission Vera Jourova.

The data from the representative survey, which was collected in March 2024 in four Central European countries – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – by a Czech research company Median, show growing concerns over media freedom in Slovakia and Hungary, but a significant decline in Poland, where the share of people concerned over media freedom has dropped from 71% in 2023 to 53% in 2024, reflecting the outcomes of the October 2023 elections that resulted in the departure of the right-wing populist government. Among other findings, the poll has also revealed people’s fears of Russia’s influence on the information environment and public opinion in their respective countries, with 67% of citizens across the four nations saying they are concerned about it.  

CRCC’s member Vaclav Stetka, who led the design of the 2024 Media Freedom Poll, presented its findings at the public launch in Budapest

Commissioned by the Committee for Editorial Independence, of which Vaclav Stetka is a member, and supported by Reporters without Borders, the Media Freedom Poll is an annual survey mapping people’s attitudes to media freedom and independence in Central Europe. The survey also regularly includes questions about people’s opinions about media plurality and ownership transparency, perceived importance of journalistic values such as impartiality, balance or truthfulness, as well as about their support for measures that aim to safeguard media freedom.

The public launch of the 2024 findings took place at the headquarters of HVG, one of Hungary’s last independent publishers. Chaired by Tessa Szyszkowitz, the Chair of the Committee for Editorial Independence, the press conference included Márton Gergely (HVG) and Veronika Munk (Telex/Dennik N), Beáta Balogová (editor-in-chief of the largest Slovak quality daily SME), Bartosz Wieliński (Gazeta Wyborcza), as well as a representative for Reporters without Borders Austria, Alexander Dworzak. The Vice-President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, Vera Jourova, commented on the poll via a pre-recorded message, citing the poll’s findings showing people’s continuing expectations for the EU to take concrete steps to protect media freedom as an inspiration for the European Media Freedom Act, which has been adopted by the European Parliament earlier this year.

Panel discussion on the 2024 Media Freedom Poll, featuring representatives of local news organisations

Just like last year, the launch of the 2024 Media Freedom Poll has been covered by regional as well as international media, including The Guardian, Balkan Insight, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Gazeta Wyborcza, TVP.info, Visegrad Insight and many others.

Sport inclusivity  

Sport inclusivity  

April 29, 2024 Sadie Gration

Loughborough is synonymous with sport. It is part of the University’s DNA and recognised across the campus for the positive impact it can have, improving health and wellbeing. 

However, the ongoing debate around trans athlete participation in performance sport has been used by some to promote hate, resulting in members of the trans community being excluded. 

Loughborough’s Chancellor and President of World Athletics, Lord Sebastian Coe, and the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nick Jennings met with representatives from the Student and Staff LGBT+ networks to discuss the issues facing the trans community. This included decisions made by World Athletics, and other sport governing bodies, around the female category. 

Sharing his thoughts, Lord Coe said: 

“The decision made by World Athletics was to preserve the female category at the elite level of athletics until more research and information regarding the impact of male puberty on transgender athletes is available. We are not suggesting this decision is appropriate for every level of sports participation. I am acutely aware that decisions like this, are often used to promote hate and exclusion to a group in need of our support more than ever. I am personally committed to ensuring World Athletics continues to work with coaches through education, learning from the research undertaken and calling out the transphobia that can exist in sport. World Athletics’ Council has also created a Working Group on Gender Diverse Athletes, an expert advisory body charged with keeping abreast of developments in law, science, sports, and society concerning gender diverse athletes. The Working Group will present its final report to World Athletics’ Council before December 2024. 

“Our history in athletics has often been pushing the boundaries of social issues – Jessie Owens black representation being one of our proudest moments in the sport’s long history – and I am proud that we continue to be at the centre of societal discussion.”  

Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Jennings commented: 

“I was incredibly proud of our LGBT+ student and staff networks in how they presented and discussed these issues with our Chancellor. This is a contentious topic in which strongly diverging views are held. As a University we want to use our resources and research to ensure fairness, dignity and respect in all sports. We need to engage in dialogue and work together to support all our students and staff, and ensure they feel a sense of belonging to the Loughborough community.  

“Therefore I, and other staff who attended, will look to meet with the LGBT+ Student and Staff networks again to look at how we can continue to work together to raise awareness and support all members of the Loughborough community.” 

Representatives from the Staff and Student LGBT+ Networks said:  

“We were pleased to be able to highlight the barriers to sports participation experienced by many trans people, and felt that these were listened to and understood. Sport has so much to offer individuals and society in terms of social contact, the joy of learning and teaching new skills, camaraderie and belonging, and of course the huge role that physical activity needs to have in tackling crises in mental and physical health. More people participate in sport for these benefits than for any hope of Olympic medals. To this end, it is helpful for Lord Coe to emphasise that the decisions around the female category at the elite level are not intended to create exclusion in grass-roots sport or to support transphobia. 

“Ultimately sports need to find ways to produce meaningful competition between individuals of all natural abilities, where competition is the primary aim, whatever their gender. In the meantime, we mustn’t allow the specific concerns of elite sport to make us lose sight of the much broader benefits to society of promoting participation for all.” 

Both Loughborough University and World Athletics strongly support the trans community in participating in sport, and in society more widely. 

How AI Is Reshaping Our Universities

How AI Is Reshaping Our Universities

April 29, 2024 Nick Jennings
Abstract illustration of a human brain made up of lines and dots.

This article was originally published on The Chronical of Higher Education website.

In 2024, The Chronicle of Higher Education carried out a survey on how generative artificial intelligence (AI) is perceived in U.S. colleges and universities. The administrators surveyed viewed the emerging technology as both a threat and an opportunity to their institutions. 

Professor Nick Jennings, vice-chancellor and president of Loughborough University in the United Kingdom, has dedicated all of his professional career to researching AI — with a focus on exploring AI autonomous systems, multi-agent computing, and cybersecurity. Jennings is in a unique position to see the different ways in which AI is influencing the higher education landscape, not just at Loughborough but across universities.

The highest peak of AI interest in 30 years

Artificial intelligence dates back to World War II. In Jennings’s 30-year history with AI research, he has seen different peaks and troughs of interest in the technology. 

He recalls periods of time where it was difficult to obtain funding because AI research was deemed a “failed technology.” “We’re clearly now on the upside of AI research,” according to Jennings. “This is probably the biggest peak that I’ve seen in my career. And it’s likely to be the biggest peak of any AI researcher’s career.” 

The opportunities AI presents for higher-education institutions

AI’s widespread use thanks to readily-available tools like Chat GPT and Bard means that the technology has affected every field or industry. From marketing to environmental conservation, people are looking for ways to use artificial intelligence to boost their outputs and make their working lives easier. Higher education is no exception. 

Improving the way we teach

Perhaps the most obvious area in which AI can reshape higher education is in the ways we teach and the experiences we create for students. Without AI, the best we could hope for would be to tailor teaching and assessment methods to specific classes or even subsets of students within those classes. AI gives us the potential for a personalized learning experience for every student. 

Bringing AI into the classroom isn’t about replacing the educator, but about empowering efficiency and effectiveness. “I believe that there’s always going to be a position and a role for excellent educators to excite and enthuse and to bring that human experience into the classroom,” according to Jennings.

A big way AI can help achieve that is by giving educators the opportunity to obtain feedback in real-time. Traditionally, feedback is limited to post-lecture evaluations, often excluding input from the silent majority who may not actively participate in class discussions. AI technology can be used in the classroom to infer how each student is progressing.

Turning higher-education institutions into modern, digital organizations

Higher ed can increasingly turn to AI to impact things outside of the classroom, including administrative processes and student life.  

Across departments and roles, AI is being used to carry out the time-consuming, administrative tasks — freeing up time for student interaction. For example, we’re seeing HR departments use AI in payroll systems, and marketing departments using AI to boost their recruitment campaigns.

Many universities are experimenting with AI-powered chatbots as a first line of support for students. But a chatbot can help up to a certain point and with certain issues. If queries progress past the abilities of the chatbot, a human must be available to step in.

This same technology can be used to provide students with personal digital assistants. The more a student interacts with their assistant, the more it learns about that student’s needs and preferences. It can point out seminars or sporting activities that might be interesting based on that student’s previous activity.

Institutions are also experimenting with using AI-powered apps for mental health. With student consent, these apps can note changes in behavior and moods and can prompt students to seek help or rest. 

Boosting research efforts

Of all the areas in which AI is changing higher education, Jennings believes that research has progressed further than any other. 

We’ve seen entirely new research fields emerge because of AI, including the rights or ethics of sentient machines, as well as computational creativity. And there are fields where AI has improved the quality of research, such as in helping to identify concrete defects in buildings. 

AI can also help and assist researchers in a variety of ways. By using computational-driven AI methods, researchers are able to find new molecules to help create vaccines and medication significantly faster. A popular example is Google DeepMind’s AlphaFold — an AI-powered system that has been successful in predicting protein structures with remarkable accuracy. 

At Loughborough University, researchers are looking to use AI for data analytics and sport performance to understand what makes a team better. “There is no shortage of statistics around individual performance,” according to Jennings. “The next wave is figuring out how teams or groups get better.” 

Experimentation and innovation: The key to fair AI usage in higher education

Of course, not every institution or educator has welcomed AI with open arms. It has been interesting to see the different reactions to AI. Some universities outright banned the use of tools like Chat GPT but Nick doesn’t believe that this is a wise approach. 

“It’s a tool. Banning it is a bit like banning students from using Google Search[…] If using Chat GPT puts your students at an unfair advantage of passing a test or an assignment, perhaps that is more of a reflection on the exam and the questions you’re asking.”

Instead, Loughborough University is trying to develop a “fair use of AI” as one of its guidelines. Since it’s a fast-moving area, it’s not overly prescriptive. It’s more about developing guidelines and expectations around the technology based on trust on both sides. Together with the students, the university is creating an environment of experimentation and innovation where both students and staff can play with the technology and figure out what works for everyone. 

“AI is going to impact our universities and I think the thing to do is to be on the front foot. Think of the positive things that we can use AI for in our education, in our research, in the way that we run our universities, and see how it complements and works in partnership with our staff and our students.”

This Week at Loughborough | 29 April

April 26, 2024 Guest blogger

Evening Bluebell Walk  

29 April  | 7pm -8pm  |  Burleigh Wood 

Meeting at the gates to Burleigh Wood (What3Words – faces.rock.edge) following a short introduction, we will take a gentle stroll around the wood, stopping to learn about the plants and ecology of the wood (including the locally famous bluebell display). The walk will be led by Assistant Gardens Manager Rich Fenn Griffin.  

Find out more

The Mark Drama  

29 April  | 7:30pm – 9:30pm  | The Basement, Loughborough Students’ Union 

The Mark Drama is the remarkable story of Jesus Christ as told by Mark’s gospel performed by the Loughborough Christian Union.  

Find out more

Dawn Chorus in Burleigh Wood  

30 April  |  6:30am – 7:30am  | Burleigh Wood  

Listen to the dawn chorus and identify the birds we can hear around the wood on a gentle walk. The walk will be led by Curtis Burbidge accompanied by Assistant Gardens Manager Rich Fenn Griffin.   

Find out more

Motivation for your studies workshop  

30 April  | 6pm – 7pm  | WPL201, STEMlab 

Come along to the Student Success Academy’s ‘Motivation for your Studies’ workshop to find out what motivates you and learn new techniques to help you stay focused on your studies.  

Find out more

IAS Seminar: From diatoms to DNA : lakes as sentinels of global change  

1 May  | 12pm – 1pm  | International House and Zoom Webinar  

Institute of Advanced Studies  (IAS) visiting fellow Dr Adam Heathcote will deliver a seminar on their research. Dr Adam Heathcote will share a few examples of classical (e.g geochemistry, diatoms, algal pigments) and new (sediment DNA) techniques of using lake sediment archives to reconstruct environmental history and predict how these ecosystems may respond in the future. 

Find out more

Flux Inauguration  

1 May  |  2pm – 3pm  | Claudia Parsons Hall Courtyard 

Join LU Arts to officially welcome the newest sculpture to the Loughborough University sculpture collection.Flux is a brand new sculpture for campus, produced by Chiara Brown, Fred Hendry-Briars and Andrea Pocock, all of whom were Loughborough University students when commissioned. 

Find out more

Hidden Gems Sculpture Tour  

1 May  | 3pm – 4pm  | Claudia Parsons Hall Courtyard  

Discover some of the lesser known sculptural gems on the Loughborough University campus. Loughborough University’s campus is home to over 40 sculptures, many of which are prominently located. Some, however, are a little more off the beaten track. Led by the University’s Curator David Bell, this tour will take in some of the campus’ lesser-known sculptural gems. 

Find out more

Art Unlocked: Loughborough University Sculpture Collection 

1 May  |  5:30pm – 6pm  |  Online  

To coincide with sculpture week, David Bell ( our Art Collection Curator ) has been invited to deliver a talk. Learn how Loughborough University’s sculpture collection tells a story about changing trends in British public art. We bring the collection to life for those who visit, live, study or work on our campus. 

Find out more

IMS Football Cup & Plate Finals 

1 May  | 4pm & 9pm  | Loughborough University Stadium  

Get down to the Loughborough University Stadium as our halls battle it out to win the IMS Football Plate Cup Finals. The afternoon’s first game will see Royce take on Harry French in what will undoubtedly be an almighty clash for the IMS B Plate title. Kick off 4pm. Later in the evening, tension is set to rise as Robert Bakewell and Telford battle for the IMS Football Cup. This match will determine the 2023/2024 IMS Football champions. Kick off 7pm. 

Find out more

Tearing up Vogue and Mining the Detritus 

2 May – 10 May  |  12pm – 4 pm  | Martin hall Exhibition Space  

This exhibition will display a body of practice-based doctoral research in montage by Ehryn Torrell (IRPH, SSH) 

In her practice-based research, Torrell has asked the following questions: How can montage allow an artist to deconstruct and challenge fashion media, particularly the racialised and gendered bodies in Vogue magazines? What methods of montage might be used? Does using a fashion magazine as source material risk giving voice to already dominant or normative images of women? 

Find out more

Chrome Sliced by Silver : Publication Launch and creative workshop  

3 May  |  6pm – 7pm  | MHL0.07, Martin Hall 

Try out some creative writing prompts and pick up a free copy of “Cleaved Into” and “Chrome Sliced into Silver”. ‘Cleaved Into’ is a pack full of activities prompting creative engagement with the University’s sculpture collection. As part of Sculpture Week 2023, we ran a workshop where participants used some of its prompts to produce their own pieces of creative writing. These have been collated into a new ‘zine, ‘Chrome Sliced by Silver’. 
 
To celebrate the publication of this ‘zine, you’re invited to this informal workshop where you’ll be able to try out some of the exercises yourself. This is a fun way to engage creatively with sculpture, on campus and beyond. 

Find out more

Lightning Netball vs Manchester Thunder   

4 May  | 6pm  | Sir David Wallace  

Lightning Netball are taking on Manchester Thunder in a bid to retain their 2023 Netball Super League title, and need your support!  

With unrivalled match day experience and fun for all the family, why not witness our team in action whilst watching some of the best sporting talent in the country? 

Watch the action unfold whilst enjoying light refreshments, entertainment and fun for all the family. 

Find out more

Lightning Wheelchair Basketball vs Cardiff Met Archers 

5 May  | 4pm  | Netball Centre  

Head down to the netball centre to support Loughborough Lightning as they take on Cardiff Met Archers, 4pm tip off. 

Our two-time title winning Lightning team are back on campus for another fixture of the 2024 British Wheelchair Basketball Women’s Premier League season. With unrivalled match day experience and fun for all the family, why not witness our new look team in action for the first time this season whilst watching some of the best international sporting talent.  

Find out more

Canal Strategy and Future Governance Launch Event Summary

April 26, 2024 Loughborough University London

Loughborough University London’s Dr Anna Grosman and Dr Sharon Prendeville, hosted the Canal Strategy and Future Governance launch event earlier this year (Wednesday 7 February 2024), in collaboration with Your Canal Boat CIC’s Erik Ellman and Dr Luke Muscutt.

Situated along the banks of the Hackney Cut canal, the event took place at Loughborough University London’s Here East campus, drawing an audience of representatives from local governance, Greater London Authority, Industry vanguards, canal community luminaries and an array of other key actors to address the capacity of canals to serve as dynamic public realms for community transformation.

The event began with a presentation by Dr Anna Grosman and Dr Sharon Prendeville, showcasing their community-driven research titled “Navigating Canalside Commons: Collaborative Strategies for Urban Waterways.” Delving into the rich tapestry of UK canal systems, they described the intricate interplay between civic growth and natural ecosystems, advocating for the need for balanced approaches in urban planning and regeneration. Central to their discourse was an exploration of the complex network of stakeholders engaged in canal-side spaces. An interactive mapping exercise unfolded, inviting audience members to map out these stakeholders, facilitating a deeper understanding of the presentation’s themes.

Grosman, Prendeville and Ellman (2024). ‘Community-led governance and collaborative strategies for canalside spaces’, Loughborough University and Your Canalboat CIC.

The crux of the report underscores the transformative potential inherent within canals as vibrant public spheres. The complexities around land ownership and ambiguity around local policy emerged as key challenges, impeding the management and development of canal-side spaces. Proposals stemming from the research emphasised the imperative need for innovative governance frameworks, robust community engagement, and a steadfast commitment to ecological practices, with a proposed community tool envisioned to empower collective land stewardship.

The presentation was complemented with the premiere screening of “Harnessing the Potential of London’s Canals”, a short film made by Tom Walker of www.tomwalkerfilm.com, as part of the wider project, Canal Strategy and Governance. This documentary offered a compelling portrayal of the current state of underutilised spaces along canals within the boroughs of Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, and Hackney. Through insightful narratives, it traced the endeavours of key actors engaged in policymaking, community building, urban design and educational initiatives aimed at revitalising these areas.

Offering alternative insights, Loughborough University esteemed expert ecohydrologist Professor Paul Wood, followed with a presentation of selected research on “The Hidden Biodiversity of the Canal Linking our Rivers, Towns and Cities.” He screened an excerpt from a mesmerising film by Artist, Sonia Levy, named “Creatures of the Lines” that captured the ethereal visuals and sounds of our canal’s subaquatic realm, exhibiting the mystique of canal ecology.

Sonia Levy, ‘Creatures of the Lines’

Professor Wood elaborated upon the scarcity of ecological quality assessments pertaining to canal systems, attributing this gap in part to their artificial genesis as predominantly anthropogenically engineered ecosystems. Diving into the concept of reconciliation ecology within the agricultural and urban milieu, Professor Wood advocated for the cultivation of natural biodiversity within human-made landscapes. By fostering symbiotic relationships between ecological diversity and human utilisation, he posited the potential for establishing a more sustainable socio-ecological paradigm that obviates the need for a trade-off between biodiversity conservation and human activities. 

After a short tea break, the first of two round table conversations commenced. Participants discussed the challenges in shared governance of canals and strategies for effective stakeholder communication and collaboration. Panellists included Sasha Galitzine from Gerry’s Pompeii, Canal and River Trust’s Sîan Palmer-Ferry, Asia Grzybowska from Smallwood Architects, Calvin Po from Dark Matter Labs, Loughborough University’s Professor of Communication John Downey and lastly Rachel Chapman of Westminster City Council. 

Canal Strategy and Future Governance Launch Event, Loughborough University London, 2024

The second round table discussion, chaired by Dr Pandora Syperek, touched on various subjects including the Integration of ecological sustainability in canal-side development, balancing commercial, recreational, and residential uses of canals, and inclusive design principles for Canalside spaces. Panellists included Professor Wood, Francis Castro from Greater London Authority’s London Nature Recovery Programme, Hannah Reid from Thames 21, Matt Hopkins from Group 19 Architects, Katherine Spence from Westminster City Council’s Place Shaping team and project leader of Meanwhile Gardens, Chandrika Dalpat. 

Highlights of the panel discussions included Sîan Palmer Ferry’s delineation of the Canal and River Trust’s commitment to supporting canal communities. She outlined the organisation’s long-term strategy, emphasising a concerted effort towards collaborative partnerships considering the substantial £300 million funding reduction recently imposed by the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs. 

Calvin Po from Dark Matter Labs also brought forth compelling insights regarding the intricate and interconnected social dynamics within canal spaces, which are often overlooked by conventional property-centric governance structures. He emphasised the importance of integrating the concept of relationality into canal management practices, suggesting that design approaches should strive to foster alternative systems that promote a culture of stewardship and care, rather than perpetuating extractive and possessive attitudes towards the value associated with canal environments. 

The event underscored a prevailing sentiment among attendees—a shared conviction regarding the profound symbolism inherent in canal spaces. These waterways embody a collective resilience, their very essence reflecting the adaptability of societies amidst the intricate web of urban challenges. In preserving the sanctity of public spaces, canals emerge as conduits of urban vitality and social cohesion, nurturing a sense of interconnectedness that transcends the noise of urban life. 

An overarching insight gleaned from the event, emphasised by Francis Castro of the Greater London Authority, pertains to the crucial role these gatherings play in convening diverse stakeholders. They serve as vital platforms for building dialogue, aligning interests, and fostering collaborative efforts to address the multifaceted challenges confronting canal spaces and their associated communities.  

Embracing Castro’s perspective, attendees concluded the event by discussing the feasibility of subsequent meetings aimed at sustaining momentum, nurturing ongoing dialogue, and amplifying avenues for engagement with local governance. A collaborative effort positioned to initiate lasting and transformative impact. 

Special thanks to all attendees for their invaluable input, Loughborough University London for hosting the event and both Dr Anna Grosman and Dr Sharon Prendeville for organising such a successful occasion. 

Written by Finn Livingstone, MSc Service Design Innovation student at the Institute for Design Innovation, Loughborough University London. 

Lesbian Visibility Day

Lesbian Visibility Day

April 26, 2024 Guest Author

Am I allowed to use the word clitoris in a work environment? 

If I can say kidney, I can say clitoris. Compared to the kidney, which is five inches long, the major female organ, called the clitoris, is 9-11 inches long – and continues to grow through life. Did you know it could be two and a half times bigger in your 90s than in your teens? I bet you didn’t! Most of us know hardly anything about this organ at all. It was even removed from the “Dr’s Bible”, Gray’s Anatomy, in 1947! Yes, an organ was erased from a medical textbook! 

Why? And what does that have to do with Lesbian Visibility Day?  

If you are asking that question, then you are definitely not a Lesbian. So here, I’m making this visible by talking about it, and how women and their organs were, and still are considered to “threaten the Patriarchy”. And how Lesbians are understood to have defied this and consequently become an even bigger threat. Thus experienced, and still experience, further marginalisation.   

I would like to note here that not everyone who identifies as a woman and/or a Lesbian has a clitoris, and not everyone who has a clitoris identifies as a woman. What has been made so plainly clear to me in researching for this post is that our research studies and historical texts are significantly biased towards cisgender identities. I write this blog with this inequity firmly in mind and with a passion for us to do better at including minorities within minorities in future research.  

With this in mind, I’m going to start with a very brief history… 

The clitoris throughout history has had various names. It was referred to in medical or scientific text as ‘Devil’s treat’ (1486). ‘Shameful member’ (1545). ‘Seat of Venus’ (1559).  

Lesbianism was never illegal. The UK partially decriminalised same-sex relations between men in 1967, but that didn’t apply to women, as same-sex relations between women were not illegal. In fact, whilst there were cases in the 1800s where women were prosecuted for having sex with other women, they were kept very quiet. The reason for that is that men didn’t want “respectable” women – their wives or daughters – to find out such “indecency” existed (which would have upset the Patriarchy!). 

In the early 1900s, Freud described the clitoris as infantile, and a mature, feminine woman ultimately has to switch to only having orgasms through vaginal intercourse or “risk psychological disorder” (Freud considered Lesbianism as one of these psychological disorders, despite his own daughter identifying as a Lesbian.) If a woman is unable to have an orgasm like that, they are “frigid”.  

Throughout the 1900s, Feminism was often associated with Lesbianism. Lesbians, as well as Feminists, were called “man-haters”, and other derogatory terms. Straight women risked being perceived as Lesbians if they wanted to join the Feminist movement. Homosexuality was classified by the World Health Organisation as a mental disorder until 1990.  

Are you starting to see the connection now? 

You might say, “But all of this stuff is in the past…”. Is it? 

In 2005, a study described that “in light of gender inequality and a social construction of sexuality, endorsed by both men and women, that privileges men’s sexual pleasure over women’s, such that orgasm for women is pleasing, but ultimately incidental”. 

It was also in 2005 when the anatomy of the clitoris was finally mapped by Helen O’Connell.  We have known the shape of the clitoris for less than 20 years.  By contrast, the optic nerve and its relationship to the eye were described by anatomists in the 12th century. 

In 2016, the term “the orgasm gap” was used in a study, which observed that 95% of heterosexual men have an orgasm “usually or always” vs 65% of heterosexual women. This number goes up to 86% for Lesbian women. 

It was in a study in 2017 that researchers confirmed the absence of an anatomic “G-spot”, as previously believed. “G-spot” is now known to be part of the clitoris network. 

In a study in 2022 at the University of Manchester, less than 10% of participants labelled all female external genitalia on a diagram correctly. Interestingly for this study, the participants were asked to identify their age, race, education, etc, but not their sexual orientation. 

Interesting history, isn’t it? 

But for me, the most shocking fact of all that stood out throughout history is that women have an organ that is for pleasure only. So, what is stopping us from making the most of that? The hundreds of years of dominance and privilege held by men, The Patriarchy.  

Can you see, how throughout history, Patriarchy has been keeping female pleasure at bay? And how Lesbians have interrupted that and therefore caused a threat? Therefore, they need to further marginalise them as a group?  

Another interesting part of this narrative is that when Lesbians started to be socially more accepted, the narrative quickly changed to please the “male gaze”. From the 1990s, media representation of woman-woman relationships and representation was designed to please men. In many TV programmes or films, two women kissing were actually portraying heterosexual characters kissing to try to be more attractive for men in the show, or men in the audience. Gilmore Girls and Friends are just a couple of examples of this.   

But it’s not just men. The Patriarchy has influenced the way heterosexual women think of Lesbians, just like the 2005 study quoted above found.  

I don’t have a study to prove this, but I have however the lived experience, as well as the lived experience of peers to showcase this: Straight women have used Lesbians to try to attract men. Many of us have seen this, especially on a drunken night out. Straight women “use” or “lead on” Lesbian women to make themselves feel better. Straight women think Lesbians flirt with them when looking at their new haircut or outfit. Or even if looked at for an extra second too long… 

Lesbians have to be very careful. Lesbians are constantly profiled. Lesbians are stereotyped.  

Well, surprise! Lesbians are not all butch. Lesbians don’t fancy all women. Lesbians don’t hate men. And not all Lesbians have clitorises. 

Anyhow, based on research, on stats and on lived experience, this is where we are now. But Lesbians do know a bit about the clitoris. And now you do too. 

Bonnie Erdelyi-Betts
HR Project Manager and Projects Lead for the LGBT+ Staff Network

Five minutes with: Renae Huggan-Broughton

Five minutes with: Renae Huggan-Broughton

April 25, 2024 Guest blogger

What’s your job title and how long have you been at Loughborough?

I am currently working in Human Resources as a Project Manager. I have worked at Loughborough for just over three years, starting as a Graduate Management Trainee before starting my current role.

Tell us what a typical day in your job looks like?

Oh wow, a typical day is really hard to describe but I’ll give it a go.

Picture this, it’s a Monday morning and my day starts with diving into emails and responding to any questions or updates from colleagues on my projects. Within HR, I manage three programmes of work: HR Digital, Reward & Benefits and Employee Experience with several projects in these. Outside of HR, I also support the Sport Capital PMB.

I’ll then usually head off on a day of meeting after meeting. These are a great opportunity to collaborate, brainstorm, problem-solve and implement upcoming projects and initiatives with colleagues. Occasionally that might be process mapping (I do love a good process change project) and scoping new projects. And then it’s back to my desk to analyse any data, write any papers or have a bit of a chit-chat with someone next to me in the office (I like to call these project wellbeing updates).

What’s your favourite project you’ve worked on?

When I moved into HR last year, I started working on the Staff Experience Survey. This involved working with Schools and Professional Services to track progress on the local actions from the 2022 survey and later involved working with People Insight to coordinate the delivery of our 2023 Staff Experience Survey. This work has definitely been one of my favourite projects.

Personally, I have really enjoyed overseeing the mechanism for colleagues to have their voices heard and to ensure accountability that actions will be delivered on the back of this. So, it has been a really rewarding project to manage.

P.S. If I may, a very close second, would be supporting Nina Kitcher and colleagues in Loughborough Sport and VCO to run an event in Budapest for the World Athletics Championships but I’ll save that for another day.

What is your proudest moment at Loughborough?

As a former Sport & Exercise Science student, graduating in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic was definitely a proud moment but let me use this to pivot and share a couple highlights as a staff member.

The first was supporting the University’s response to the pandemic by assisting the Covid Gold Group, Logistics group, Team Dates Group and Study Spaces Group (there really were a lot of Covid groups). It was also rewarding to support the Covid Logistics Hub to ensure isolating students received food and everything they needed whilst taking calls from concerned parents and guardians.

My second proudest moment has to be supporting our graduation ceremonies. As a staff member, I am now aware of just how much work goes into making these ceremonies happen and making them special for graduates and their loved ones. Colleagues in the Events team, Registry, E&FM, Schools and VCO do an amazing job pulling these together and being a small part of aiding this effort is always a joy. As a women’s football fan, getting to see Mary Earps in the Winter 2023 ceremonies is also a real highlight.

Tell us something you do outside of work that we might not know about?

Outside of work, my time is generally split between a mix of church, sports, literature and music. I am involved in my local church, Open Heaven Church, where I serve on our leadership team and love doing a Sunday talk or catching up with people during the week.

You’ll also find me on the football pitch as vice-captain and centre forward (the one that tries to score the goals) for a local football team, Loughborough Foxes.

And then, if I’m not chasing a ball around in the cold, I’ll either be somewhere warm with a fiction book or DJing at a wedding or party. And for anyone wondering or wanting some recommendations, my top three favourite books (at the moment) are My Dark Vanessa, Homegoing and Open Water and my top three music artists (also at the moment) are Cleo Sol, Hulvey and the Hamilton/Encanto soundtracks.

What is your favourite quote?

I’m not very good at remembering quotes but one of my favourite bible verses is ‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love’ (1 Corinthians 13:13).

If you would like to feature in ‘5 Minutes With’, or you work with someone who you think would be great to include, please email Soph Dinnie at S.Dinnie@lboro.ac.uk.

Debate session: The legacy of the War on Terror

April 24, 2024 Loughborough University London

Student Representatives Ginerva Grant and Bilal Arif​ from the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance are hosting a debate session this Monday 29 April. The topic of debate will be “The Legacy of War on Terror”, discussing whether or not sovereign states have the right to invade/attack other sovereign states that host a terrorist organization.

The session will take place on our campus in room 104 from 5 pm until 7 pm. This is a great opportunity to meet students from other institutes and improve your speaking skills and communication skills in a low-stakes and friendly environment.

There is no need to sign up for the session, if you wish to be part of this debate you can just show up on the day.

If you have any questions about the event please email Ginerva Grant at g.grant2-22@student.lboro.ac.uk

World Book and Copyright Day 23rd April

April 23, 2024 Cristina Rusu

On the 23rd of April each year, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) celebrates World Book and Copyright Day.

Image of a world, books and the copyright symbol. Text says World Book and Copyright Day

The death anniversary of William Shakespeare, Miguel Cervantes and Inca Garciloso de la Vega as well as the birth or death of several prominent authors, was chosen in 1995 by UNESCO to become the World Book and Copyright Day. That date is 23rd April.

The day in itself is a celebration of everything relating to books but also to highlight the importance copyright has in the dissemination of some of our favourite reads.

Thanks to copyright, thousands of authors and publishers around the world can publish works that enrich society, through creativity, diversity and access to knowledge.

Copyright is an Intellectual Property (IP) right which allows the creator of an original work, certain economic rights as well as the right to modify, adapt, and disseminate the work. Copyright is automatic and in the UK it lasts for the lifetime of the author plus 70 years.

Copyright protects different categories of work, from literary, dramatic, artistic and musical works, films and sound recordings as well as broadcasts and typographical arrangement.

Books fall into the literary works spectrum. However, sometimes a book can have multiple types of works included.

Image showing different copyright components of text and duration of copyright protection

Using certain material from a book can sometimes become problematic. Multiple rights holders, means multiple people to request permission from. At times, a publisher might own the copyright and using the material in any way would mean that permission must be requested from publishers which also could mean paying a fee.

While copyright was created to protect creators and their original work, it has become a way for publishers to keep the power over the creations. Alexander Pope described it this way:

What Authors lose, their Booksellers have won,

So Pimps grow rich, while Gallants are undone.

While during Pope’s time, publishers indeed had a lot more power over authors, nowadays, with Open Access for publications, the authors can keep the copyright to their creations and share them widely for the enjoyment and use of the public.

Have a look below at the multiple resources available at Loughborough as well as the multitude of free resources, either because they have been published Open Access or because copyright expired, and they are now part of the public domain.

Loughborough University Catalogue

Authors, copyright, and publishing in the digital era / by Francina Cantatore, 2014

China’s creative industries copyright, social network markets and the business of culture in a digital age / Lucy Montgomery, 2010

Copyright versus open access on the organisation and international political economy of access to scientific knowledge / Marc Scheufen, 2015

E-publishing and digital libraries legal and organizational issues / edited by Ioannis Iglezakis, Tatiana-Eleni Synodinou, and Sarantos Kapidakis, 2010

Judiciary-friendly forensics of software copyright infringement / Vinod Polpaya Bhattathiripad, 2014

Piracy the intellectual property wars from Gutenberg to Gates / Adrian Johns, 2010

Publishing law Hugh Jones and Christopher Benson, 2014

Rethinking copyright history, theory, language / Ronan Deazley, 2006

The copyright wars three centuries of trans-Atlantic battle / Peter Baldwin, 2014

The digital rights movement the role of technology in subverting digital copyright / Hector Postigo, 2012

The EU Artificial Intelligence Act regulating subliminal AI systems / Rostam J. Neuwirth, 2022

The rhetoric of intellectual property copyright law and the regulation of digital culture / by Jessica Reyman, 2009

Wired shut copyright and the shape of digital culture / Tarleton Gillespie, 2007

Directory of Open Access Books

Copyright’s Broken Promise  – Willinsky, John (2022)

Copyright and Cartography  – Alexander, Isabella (2023)

Copyright, the Freedom of Expression and the Right to Information  – Mendis, Sunimal (2011)

The Copyright Pentalogy : How the Supreme Court of Canada Shook the Foundations of Canadian Copyright Law  – Michael Geist (2020)

The Digital Public Domain: Foundations for an Open Culture  – Dulong de Rosnay, Melanie; De Martin, Juan Carlos (2012)

The Greatest Films Never Seen: The Film Archive and the Copyright Smokescreen – Op den Kamp, Claudy (2017)

What if we could reimagine copyright – Giblin, Rebecca; Weatherall, Kimberlee (2017)

Whose Book Is it Anyway?: A View from Elsewhere on Publishing, Copyright and Creativity  – Jefferies, Janis (Editor); Kember, Sarah (Editor) (2019)

Project Gutenberg

Open Library

UCL Press

For more books on copyright, visit our World Book and Copyright Day stand in the University Library, level 3.

Image of two people sitting and reading with text in the middle saying World Book and Copyright Day 23rd April
How to get quality sleep

How to get quality sleep

April 23, 2024 LU Comms
Pink, purple and orange illustration of a bed with a lamp, journal, pen, headphones, phone glass and alarm clock beside it and clouds with 'zzz' floating above the bed.

A good night’s sleep is one of the most valuable investments we can make in our overall health and happiness, with almost every major disease in the developed world – Alzheimer’s, cancer, obesity and diabetes – being linked to poor sleep.

Sleep is a vital process that refreshes the body and mind, impacting our physical health, cognitive function, emotional stability, and general quality of life. The Mental Health Foundation states that: “Sleeping helps to repair and restore our brains, not just our bodies. During sleep we can process information, consolidate memories, and undergo a number of maintenance processes that help us to function during the daytime.”

Dr Iuliana Hartescu, of Loughborough University’s Clinical Sleep Research Unit, has studied the benefits of a restful night and the relationship between sleep, exercise, and diet, which, she says, operate as a ‘health trinity’. She noted: “When you’re more rested you’re more likely to be physically active, more likely to eat at the right times of the day, and you’re more likely not to let fatigue interfere with your motivation to stick to your diet.”

Challenge yourself to sleep for at least seven hours per night

Here are some strategies you can use to enhance your sleep quality:

  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule: Establishing a regular sleep cycle helps regulate your body’s internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up naturally. Aim for consistent bedtimes and wake-up times, even on weekends. A sunrise alarm clock can help with this.
  • Create a restful sleep environment: In your bedroom, minimise noise, light, and distractions. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows, and ensure your bedroom is cool and well-ventilated. Consider using white noise or earplugs to block out disturbances.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: Engage in relaxation before bedtime to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down. Activities such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, gentle stretching, or taking a warm bath, can help alleviate stress and tension.
  • Write down your worries: If you lie awake worrying about tomorrow, make a note of what’s on your mind before you try to sleep, this can help to put your mind at rest.
  • Limit screen time before bed: The blue light emitted by electronic devices can interfere with the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. Avoid screens at least an hour before bedtime or use blue light filters to minimise the impact on your sleep quality.
  • Use a sleep diary: Record information about your sleep habits to help you understand what could be affecting your sleep and help you to explain any problems to a doctor. The Sleep Charity has a sleep diary template which you can download and try.
  • Watch your diet and lifestyle: Avoid consuming stimulants like caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime. Additionally, try to limit your alcohol intake, as it can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to poor sleep quality. Regular exercise can promote better sleep but avoid vigorous workouts too close to bedtime.
  • If you can’t sleep, don’t worry about it: Don’t lie awake worrying, get up and do something relaxing like listening to a podcast or reading until you feel tired enough to sleep.

Apps to help you sleep more easily and soundly

  • Headspace – Includes ‘sleepcasts’ which are like adult bedtime stories that help you visualise calming experiences, such as a slow-moving train or a walk through a garden.
  • Noisli – Lets you choose from different sounds such as thunder, wind and white noise to create your ideal sleep soundtrack.
  • Calm – Sleep stories for kids and adults, read aloud by people with soothing voices, including celebrities like Harry Styles.
  • Sleepful – A sleep-improvement app based on cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia, created by Loughborough University in collaboration with the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine.

More helpful resources

If you’re having trouble coping with sleep problems, visit Mind for practical suggestions and information about where to get support, or visit your GP.

Voices of Diversity

Voices of Diversity

April 22, 2024 Sadie Gration
Image: Courtesy of Getty Images

The EDI Services team has recently been hosting a Voices of Diversity allyship series. This series focuses on panel-led discussions consisting of students, staff, and alumni that highlight a particular topic area of allyship. 

The first event was ‘How to be an ally for people who wear the hijab’. Discussions are focused on what people from a diverse group would like from an ally and how people can be an ally to someone from this group. This series aims to create ways and spaces to build communities of practices where we have opportunities to hear the lived experiences of non-experts regarding a particular topic area.  

The series is aimed at all members of our community, as well as external stakeholders and the events have been well attended. We have recognised the potential of these types of events to attract people who traditionally do not view themselves as an ally. Men in particular are underrepresented at these events and we want to let people know the events are open to all; everyone has the potential to learn about another person’s lived experience and how their input and support could impact their environment.

In EDI Services, we feel these events are important because they can affect some key practices in the workplace, such as challenging/questioning bias, raising the profile of marginalised voices, and helping to create physically and psychologically safer workspaces. The outcome of good allyship is a more recognisable inclusive workplace where this sense of belonging we all talk about actually becomes more of a reality.

All this is great, but we do recognise this type of change takes time and as all evidence suggests, change takes place when people have opportunities to meet on common ground, discuss and reflect in a relaxed setting and we are aiming to create and foster a culture where we each contribute to an others sense of belonging, wellbeing and safety.

If you are interested in attending one of the allyship events, please visit our website to see a calendar of dates and contact EDI services at Edi@lboro.ac.uk to register your interest.

Denise Coles
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Manager

This Week at Loughborough | 22 April

This Week at Loughborough | 22 April

April 19, 2024 Orla Price

General:

National Theatre Live: Nye

23 April 2024, 7pm-10pm, Cope Auditorium

Michael Sheen plays Nye Bevan in a surreal and spectacular journey through the life and legacy of the man who transformed Britain’s welfare state and created the NHS.

Find out more

IAS Seminar: Environmental Performance

24 April 2024, 12pm-1pm, International House/Zoom

Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) Residential Fellow Professor Jane Chin Davidson will deliver a seminar on their research, fully titled ‘Environmental Performance: Art, Science, and Trans Terminology for Ecological Justice in the Global Context’.

Find out more

Bluebell Walk

25 April 2024, 12pm-1pm, Burleigh Wood

Meeting at the gates to Burleigh Wood (What3Words – faces.rock.edge), following a short introduction, the group will take a gentle stroll around the wood, stopping to learn about the plants and ecology of the wood (including the locally famous bluebell display). The walk will be led by Rich Fenn Griffin, Assistant Gardens Manager.

Find out more

Project Expectations Focus Group – Reward & Recognition

22-26 April 2024, Loughborough Campus

Come along for a collaborative focus group session on Reward and Recognition as part of Project Expectations on the East Midlands campus

  • Monday 22 April, 2.15pm – 3.15pm – SMB002, Stewart Mason Building
  • Thursday 25 April, 10.15am – 11.15am – DAV1106, Sir David Davies
  • Friday 26 April, 2.15pm – 3.15pm – Online via Microsoft Teams

Find out more

Health From Cradle to Grave: Birthing Chair to Death Couch

27 March-23 April 2024, 12pm-2pm, Martin Hall Exhibition Space

An exhibition highlighting the work from English at Loughborough University’s Health Humanities Research Network. The exhibition’s themes translate and distil high-quality research on health, society and culture across time and space into material objects, art, poetry, life writing, and literature.

Find out more

Careers:

Baker Hughes: Women in Solution Selling Externship

23 April 2024, 9.30am-4pm, Online

This externship will allow women currently enrolled in university in Europe to build the curiosity and skills required to thrive in complex sales and commercial roles. The opportunity will provide a variety of perspectives, and subsequent challenges, from energy technology industry leaders.

Find out more

PhD: Create a CV

24 April 2024, 1.30pm-2.30pm, Graduate House (Training Room)

Whether you’re a seasoned researcher or just embarking on your doctoral adventure, this session is tailored to help you stand out in the competitive world.

Find out more

Rethinking Our Communicative Pasts: Radical and Reparatory Perspectives

Rethinking Our Communicative Pasts: Radical and Reparatory Perspectives

April 18, 2024 Iliana Depounti

The CRCC scholar Burçe Çelik, along with Anaïs Carlton-Parada (Loughborough University London) and Nelson Costa Ribeiro (Universidade Catolica Portuguesa) are co-organising a two-day international workshop at the Loughborough University London campus on 25 and 26 April 2024.

Bringing more than 25 leading and emerging scholars together, the workshop aims to foster discussions on how to employ historical and archival research for a radically inclusive study of media, communication and culture that problematises the West-centric (and masculinist) epistemologies.

While discussions on decolonisation of Westcentric knowledge and canon are ongoing in the UK and beyond, the workshop aims to expand and complicate this discussion by mainly asking:

‘How can we approach our shared communicative pasts to produce novel perspectives and conceptualisations towards a radically inclusive study of media, communication, and culture? Moreover, if theory often relies on a (mis)interpretation of the past, how can we rethink the past and the past-presents to challenge dominant theoretical approaches and conceptualisations in our discipline?’

In particular, we aim to complicate these approaches which are ill-fitted with heterogeneous experiences of the Global South, racialised bodies and collectives, and colonised and oppressed populations.  If history and archives have been key to the architecture of epistemic and epistemological injustices, how can we think of the transformation of historical and archival research toward the formation of reparatory historical narratives? How can we learn from the experiences of those whose pasts were excluded from dominant narratives?

Throughout these two days, panels and roundtable discussions will focus on issues ranging from questions around media and empires, counter-media and counter-archival movements, radical histories of communication to feminist and more-than-human constructions of memory and time and reframing representations of marginalised historical actors.

There will also be a seminar by Dan Schiller on a critical history of telecommunications and US imperialism, and by Martha Evans on liberation movement communication in South Africa. The workshop will also feature a book talk on Communications in Turkey and the Ottoman Empire: A Critical History with discussions by Nelson Costa Ribeiro, Ana Cristina Suzina and Burçe Çelik.

The event will be also live-streamed and all can join by using the links in the program below.

Rethinking Our Communicative Pasts: Radical and Reparatory Perspectives  25-26 April 2024  Room 401 (4th floor)  (Loughborough University London, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park  The Broadcast Centre Here East, Lesney Avenue, London, E20 3B)     

Thursday 25 April (Teams LINK; bit.ly/3W182wq)  

9:00 –9:30 Registration & Welcome   
Burçe Çelik (Loughborough University London), Anaïs Carlton-Parada (Loughborough University London), Nelson Costa Ribeiro (Universidade Catolica Portuguesa)   

9:30 –11:30  Panel 1: Media and Empire: Pasts and Presents                  
Chair: Nelson Costa Ribeiro   
Lee Grieveson (University College London): “The Past Keeps Becoming the Future”   
Simon Potter (University of Bristol): “Building Empires on Air: (Re)writing Histories of British Public and Colonial Broadcasting”   
Anjali DasSarma (University of Pennsylvania): “Narratives of White Normativity and the Political Economy of Slavery: Revisiting Publick Occurrences, The Boston News-Letter, and the Origin Story of America’s Early Press”   
Isadora de Ataide Fonseca (Universidade Católica Portuguesa): “Imperial Public Sphere: A Resilient Concept to Rethinking Our Communicative Past?”   
Dominique Trudel (Audencia Business School): “Exploring New Territories in the History of Media and Communication Research: Robert Estivals and French SIC as Political Avant-Garde”      

11:30 –12:00 Coffee Break   

12:00 –13:00 Roundtable: Cultural Imperialism and Counter-Movements (NWICO)     
Lars Diurlin (Stockholm University), ShinJoung Yeo (CUNY, Queens College),  Sašo Slaček Brlek (University of Ljubljana)    Moderated by Thomas Tufte (Loughborough University London)
 
13:00 –14:00 Lunch   

14:00 –15:00 Roundtable 2: Towards Radical Histories in Media and Communication     
Omar Al-Ghazzi (London School of Economics), Philipp Seuferling (London School of Economics), Wendy Willems (London School of Economics)   Moderated by Burçe Çelik    

15:00 –15:30 Coffee break   

15:30 –16:30 Seminar by Dan Schiller (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)   “Telecommunications and US Empire: A Brief History” Introduction and Moderation by ShinJoung Yeo   
17:00 –18:00+  Book Talk with Drinks (@ Future Space, Ground Floor)  Communications in Turkey and the Ottoman Empire: A Critical History  Burçe Çelik, Nelson Costa Ribeiro                  
Moderated by Ana Cristina Suzina (Loughborough University London)     

Friday 26 April ( bit.ly/43YU2F6)   9:30 –11:00

Panel 3: Memory and Time   
Chair: Pandora Syperek (Loughborough University London)   
Victoria Browne (Loughborough University): “Feminist Historiography and the Pasts and Presents of Abortion Activism”   
Clara de Massol de Rebetz (Kings College): “Remembering the Anthropocene: Memorials Beyond the Human”    
Kaya de Wolff (University of Frankfurt ) and Jephta U Nguherimo: “Our Problem is that we don’t write papers”: Co-authoring as an Approach to Decolonise the Scholarship Related to the Memory of the OvaHeroro and Nama Genocide”    
Claudia Magallanes-Blanco (Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla): “Forget About the Media. Let’s Focus on (Indigenous) Communication”   

11:00 –11:30 Coffee Break   

11:30 –13:00 Panel 4: Politics of Erasures and Counter-Archives     
Chair: Anais Carlton-Parada (Loughborough University London)   
Farangis Ghaderi (University of Exeter): “Erased Kurdish Women’s Histories: In Search of Kurdish Women’s Voices in Archives”   
Asli Ozgen-Havekotte (University of Amsterdam): “(Un)Seen, (Un)Heard: Diasporic Audiovisual Heritage and Speculative Turn in Archival Studies”   
Sahika Erkonan (University of Cambridge): “Embodiment and Counter-Memory in the Diaspora: The Case of the Armenian Genocide”   
Afaf Jabiri (University of East London): “Epistemic Violence of Anti-Palestinianism, Intersectionality and Decoloniality of Feminist Knowledge”  
 
13:00 –14:00 Lunch   

14:00-16:00 Panel 5: Rethinking Historical Actors and Representations   
Chair: Burçe Çelik   
Kristin Skoog (Bournemouth University): “(Re)searching Women in Broadcasting History”    Stephanie Seul (University of Bremen) “Writing Women into the Historical Narrative of War Reporting: Avis Waterman, “The Times” Correspondent on the Italian Front During the First World War”   
Manuel Carvalho Coutinho (Universidade Catolica Portuguesa): “If (only) Archives Could Speak: Portugal’s Censorship Records and Its Historical Implications”   
Naomi Smith (Birkbeck College): “An Intersectional Analysis of National Television News Coverage of the 1992 Los Angeles Uprising”    
Farbod Honarpisheh (Yale University): “Our Disciplinary Past: Zigzagging Our Ways in and out of History and Frame”    

16:00 –16:30 Coffee Break   

16:30 –17:30  Seminar By Martha Evans (University of Cape Town):    ‘Covering Our Tracks’: Archival Research on Liberation Movement Communication in South Africa”  Introduction and Moderation by Cuthbeth Tagwieri (Loughborough University London) 

DRN2024 Drawing Repetition: Rhythm & Syncopation Recording

April 16, 2024 Deborah Harty
Recording of the first event in the series of DRN events organised by the Drawing Research Group at Loughborough University exploring drawing repetition.
Sustainability Fortnight Success (Part 2)

Sustainability Fortnight Success (Part 2)

April 16, 2024 Lottie Ambridge

From the 11th to the 22nd March 2024, Loughborough University’s Sustainability Team, in collaboration with other departments and organisations, held Sustainability Fortnight. This was the first time we have held events over a two-week period, and we were really pleased to see so many staff and students getting out and engaging with all that we had to offer.

Sustainability Fortnight 2024: Week 2 Review

The fun didn’t end after week one, as we had another full week of activities!

On Tuesday 19th, we had a fantastic day in the Edward Herbert Building again:

  • Firstly, we had Quorn chefs cooking up some delicious vegan tacos for everyone to taste! Quorn are on a mission to save the planet by reducing the carbon emissions produced through food production, especially livestock grazing. So, their products are a great addition to your diet if you want to save the planet, without compromising the taste! You can read more about Quorn’s carbon emissions and sustainability commitment on their website.
  • Outside EHB, we welcomed back Bike Buddies, who helped multiple people over the 3-hour slot, with various bike repairs and advice.
  • Then, at 1pm, our Assistant Gardens Manager, Rich Fenn-Griffin delivered a ‘Biodiversity Talk’, in which he highlighted the various species occupying campus, from toads to trees to badgers. Rich spoke about his background and inspiration to work with nature, and why it is so important we take care of everything around us, so we can enjoy the biodiversity of our campus today, but also to preserve species for future generations. Stay tuned to find out more about our upcoming Biodiversity events…
Quorn tasters.
Bike Buddies performing a bike repair.

On Wednesday, the amazing Action team at LSU led the Food Drive, in which students from halls across campus donated unwanted food items to be delivered to local food banks. This helps tackle food poverty – one key aspect of societal and environmental sustainability, as our food systems are under increasing pressure and are threatened by the impacts of climate change. The food drive was a success, and we are pleased to be helping the local community and contributing to a more sustainable future in this way.

Next up, we hosted a Green Careers Workshop to inform students of the varying career paths available in sustainability, and how many skills can be acquired and transferred through working in a so called ‘green’ job.  Following on from this, we held a panel of experts, including a Loughborough University PhD student, a member of our alumni, and a professional from environmental start-up Carbon Jacked, who are based in Loughborough. Keep your eyes peeled for more on this as we are about to launch an exciting project with them, delving into sustainability in sport!

For some evening entertainment, the ’50 years of Litter on Skye’ film was shown on screen for the very first time, alongside a public lecture from Dr Tom Stanton, who led the research. This was an alarming insight into the amount of litter found over the years on some of Scotland’s most beautiful beaches, and how Loughborough University researchers are becoming part of the solution for this.

The film screening was well attended by many staff and students.

To round off the events, we had a special guest visit from TV personality Gregg Wallace, who sat on the ‘Food for Thought: A Fresh Perspective on Food’ panel with other industry experts. The panel included our very own Dr Elliott Wooley and Head Performance Chef in the Elite Athlete Centre (EAC) Varun Shivdasani, as well as Louis Guest from our waste management provider, Enva . All these panellists offered a unique and valuable perspective on topics such as food waste, meal planning, healthy eating, eating locally, and the contributions of the food industry on global warming. The event had a great turnout, and we would welcome the idea of more talks like this in future, as there are so many important sustainability-related topics to discuss! (All attendees were also rewarded with a free lunch from the LSU hummus bar – Humpit – I would highly recommend this! )

The panel (left to right): Louis Guest, Dr Elliott Wooley, Varun Shivdasani and Greg Wallace. This was hosted by Elliott Brown (far right), who is the University’s Sustainability Manager.

Thank you so much for reading and thank you to those involved in organising and attending all the activities. We are constantly striving to make Loughborough University a more sustainable community, and hope that these events have provided opportunities for you to get involved! Do not hesitate to reach out to Sustainability Assistant, Lottie, on enviroassist@lboro.ac.uk if you have any questions or suggestions for upcoming events; we are always willing to hear from both students and staff!

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

Sustainability Fortnight Success

Sustainability Fortnight Success

April 16, 2024 Lottie Ambridge

From the 11th to the 22nd March 2024, Loughborough University’s Sustainability Team, in collaboration with other departments and organisations, held Sustainability Fortnight. This was the first time we have held events over a two-week period, and we were really pleased to see so many staff and students getting out and engaging with all that we had to offer.

Sustainability Fortnight 2024: Week 1 Review

The events kicked off with a clothes swap event organised in collaboration with the LGBT+ association, which offered students an opportunity to give their clothes a second life.

On the second day, we unveiled the brand-new Sustainability Mural on the side of the Schofield Building, which was designed by the talented Jasia Pang. Sustainability colleagues came together with LU Arts colleagues, alongside Vice Chancellor Professor Nick Jennings and Visiting Member of the University Dr Jo Jennings, to celebrate this wonderful piece of artwork which will hopefully inspire students and staff to adopt more sustainable practices in years to come.

A photograph of everyone who came together for the unveiling of the Sustainability Mural.

We also had a local bike repair company pay a visit to campus to offer out advice on taking care of your bike and help with small repairs. Thank you to Bike Buddies for coming along and we look forward to welcoming you back to campus in future.

Following on from this, we held our second ever Repair Café in Martin Hall, where staff and students could bring along any broken items such as textiles, to receive advice on how to keep these items going for longer rather than buying new or throwing them away! We are determined to be a part of the circular economy and encourage habits such as taking care of our items and repairing where we can. Stay tuned for information about future Repair Cafés on our campus and in the local area…

The Tuesday was finished off with the Sustainable Fashion Show, run by colleagues in the Students’ Union. After months of build-up and hard work from staff and students alike, this event was a huge success! The event saw around 170 attendees, with 36 different looks being showcased down the runway, 4 sustainable student business stalls, and 86 students involved in pulling it off. Congratulations to those involved!

Next up, we held our day-long Grime Scene Investigation! You may be wondering what on earth this is… basically, the Sustainability Assistant, along with colleagues from our waste contractor Enva, and student Sustainability Ambassadors, took part in a waste audit. We weighed bags of rubbish from student halls, and then sorted through these to find out how well each hall was segregating their waste into ‘general’ and ‘recycling’. It was interesting to find out about some of the recycling habits within halls, and the key areas we need to address with future messaging and engagement activities. Huge shout out to the Sustainability Ambassadors who got stuck in to helping on the day – we would not have been able to do this without you and I hope that you found the day interesting!

The Grime Scenes Investigation Day, where full PPE was worn to ensure protection from the waste being handled. On the left, Lottie Ambridge (Sustainability Assistant), and on the right, Abi Brown-Stark (Sustainability Ambassador).

On Thursday 14th, we held our Sustainability x Wellbeing fair, for University Mental Health Day in the Edward Herbert Atrium. This was a lovely day, packed full of fun, advice, inspiration on living more sustainably, and even live music! We invited various companies to take part in our Mini Sustainability Fair:

As if this wasn’t enough, the LGBT+ association held their second clothes swap of the fortnight, offering a space for people to experiment with clothing and different styles, and pick up some unique pieces they may not have found otherwise.

Overall, this was a brilliant day, and an excellent collaboration – it is so important to realise the many cross benefits of wellbeing and living sustainably. For example, the Mental Health Foundation has found that nature connectedness is associated with lower levels of poor mental health, including depression and anxiety. And, according to Mind, spending time in nature can help make you feel more relaxed, and improve confidence and self-esteem.

The outside of the Edward Herbert Building, decorated for University Mental Health Day.

To round up week one of fun, we took a stroll around the orchards on campus, with Fruit Routes artist Mita Solanky, for the ‘Fruit Routes Spring Walk’. Students, staff, and members of the community came together to spend some time in nature and get to know the campus better! We saw lots of beautiful plants, trees, and blossom along the way, and shared stories and experiences over tea and cake back at the LAGS  garden.

Blossom photographed on the spring walk by Chloe Cheng.
It was lovely to see staff, students, and members of the community coming together for the walk. Photo by Chloe Cheng.

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

Fashion, Identity, and Sustainability

April 16, 2024 Lottie Ambridge

This is a guest blog, written by Jennifer Agu, who is one of Loughborough University’s Sustainability Ambassadors, and is also studying for a Biotechnology MSc in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Loughborough University.

My enthusiasm for personalization, conscious decision-making, and design came to life as I worked alongside the Production Team for the Sustainable Fashion Show organised by the Loughborough Enterprise Network.

However, it is my Nigerian upbringing and experience studying for a biotechnology master’s degree and my role as a Sustainability Ambassador at Loughborough University that have truly shaped my perspective on the interconnectedness of sustainability and identity.

Now, I am thrilled to share my thoughts and insights on the crucial connection between fashion, identity, and sustainability. Through this blog post, we will explore a world where fashion intertwines with identity and sustainability, uncovering the potential for positive change through conscious consumption.

Fashion and Second-Hand Clothing

Growing up in Nigeria, I witnessed firsthand the importance of fashion as a form of self-expression and cultural identity. This form of fashion allowed for self-expression and creativity while being affordable. However, I soon realized that second-hand clothing was often excess clothing donated by Western countries, which raised concerns about the industry’s impact on textile waste and the exploitation of lesser-developed nations.

Figure 1: One of the most popular second-hand clothing markets in Port Harcourt, Nigeria [1]

Personalization and Identity

My journey in understanding the significance of fashion as a communication of identity became evident when I moved to Loughborough. Pink is one of my mother’s favourite colours and she gifted me a pair of pink Crocs right before I relocated. I wore them a lot as they reminded me of home and made me feel close to her. This sparked my interest in incorporating pink into my identity. I explored various avenues such as learning to style my hair in braids, acquiring a pink wig, collecting a pair of bright pink sandals I saw listed on the Olio app and experimenting with accessories to communicate my inner emotions outwardly.

Figure 2: Pink wig I got at the local Salvation Army, 34 Devonshire Square, LE11 3DW.

Industrialization, Environmentalism, and Social Justice

Witnessing the direct impact of industrialization on my hometown, particularly in the textile production sector, fuelled my ever-growing interest in environmentalism, social justice, waste minimization, and sustainability. It became clear to me that embracing green living practices required self-critique, especially when it came to our consumption patterns. These reflections are even more crucial in the face of the prevailing fast fashion culture.

The Pitfalls of Fast Fashion

Fast fashion’s allure lies in its promise of convenience and affordability, catering to our desire for instant gratification. However, these promises come at a cost. As consumers, we are often disconnected from the design process of our clothing, making it difficult to ascertain the intended use and disposal methods. This is where personalization becomes significant [2].

 
Figure 3: Pink sandals I got off Olio!

Conscious Decision-Making and Responsible Consumption

Conscious decision-making is a simple yet powerful approach to expressing oneself in a manner that aligns with personal values. It involves distinguishing between wants and needs. Previously, I used to buy bodycon dresses from fast fashion brands for every event, only to realize that the low-quality clothing resulted in both waste and wasted money.

Figure 4: Photo from ‘Inside Out’ campaign that started as a response to the factory tragedy that occurred on 24 April 2013 in Dhaka, Bangladesh[3] Photo Credit: Sebastian Damberger and Fritz Straube, Haar und.

The Impact of Fast Fashion on Global Capitalism and Workers’ Conditions

Fashion, politics, and identity are deeply intertwined due to fashion being historically political. By consuming fast fashion, we inadvertently contribute to global capitalism while impoverishing textile workers in countries like Bangladesh, China, and India, as they endure unfavourable conditions to meet the demands of mass consumption. It is crucial to consider the ethos and treatment of workers by fashion companies and designers, especially in mass-production settings.

Figure 5: Children whose garment worker parents died in the 2013 Rana Plaza tragedy hold a placard to demand justice in this 2015 photo. (Photo by Stephan Uttom Rozario / A long road to justice for Rana Plaza victims – UCA News)

Defining Sustainable Fashion

Defining sustainable fashion can be challenging due to the various interpretations of sustainability. However, a rule of thumb is to consider the value of clothing in terms of reusability, longevity, and fabric quality. By prioritizing these factors, we create opportunities for personalization through upcycling and styling, fostering a more meaningful relationship with our clothes and minimizing textile waste.

Promoting Responsible Consumption

To effectively manage clothes we no longer want, it is imperative to adopt responsible end-of-life strategies. Donating to charity shops such as Loros, the British Heart Foundation, and the Salvation Army is an effective way of extending the lifecycle of garments.

These actions not only contribute to waste reduction but also initiate meaningful conversations about responsible consumption.

Figure 6: As seen in British Heart Foundation, Clumber St, Nottingham NG1 3G.

As we embark on the journey towards responsible consumption and production, let us remember that everyone, regardless of social status, deserves a decent material standard of life. While fast fashion may seem appealing in meeting our immediate desires, it perpetuates a linear economy that disregards the environmental impacts of production and disposal [4].

In a traditional linear economy, resources are extracted, transformed into products, and eventually discarded as waste after their use. In contrast, a circular economy seeks to close the loop by creating a continuous cycle where products and materials are reused, repaired, remanufactured, or recycled to create new value.

To shift towards a more sustainable and circular economic system, it is essential to understand that identity and mindful consumption are deeply interconnected, and as such our fashion choices have the potential to shape a more sustainable and meaningful future.

By embracing sustainable fashion practices, we can forge a more equitable and environmentally conscious future. You can make an impact in the collective action by being part of this Fashion Revolution Week 2024 happening between April 15th and 24th.

Wishing you the best in your journey!

The Give ‘n’ Go campaign is a great way to donate your unwanted garments during the end of year move outs!

This article is in support of UN Sustainable Development Goal 12 ‘Responsible consumption and production’.  To find out more, click here.

References

  1. Port Harcourt People [@AskPHPeople]. (2018, October 12). Important Markets in Port-Harcourt. #PHCity [Image attached] [Post]. X formerly known as Twitter. https://twitter.com/AskPHPeople/status/1050773644337664000
  2. A. Gwilt and T. Rissanen, Shaping Sustainable Fashion: Changing the Way We Make and Use Clothes. Taylor and Francis, 2012.
  3. K. A. Plonka, “Inside out – the fashion revolution campaigns for consumers’ awareness of working conditions,” FairPlanet https://www.fairplanet.org/story/inside-out-the-fashion-revolution- campaigns-for-consumers-awareness-of-working-conditions
  4. Thomas, A., Bilge, I.S. and Ballam, T. (n.d.). Greening and Indigenizing the Carpentry Trade. [online] pressbooks.bccampus.ca. Press Books. Available at: https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/cicancarpentryproject/front-matter/definitions/
Jilly Kay appears on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour

Jilly Kay appears on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour

April 16, 2024 Iliana Depounti

Jilly Kay – a CRCC member and Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media at Loughborough University – appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour to discuss her research on ‘femcels’ – women who identify as involuntary celibate. The discussion with presenter Emma Barnett can be heard at 48 minutes into the programme. She also recently provided consultation for a new Channel 4 documentary on ‘femcels’ – women who identify as involuntary celibate. The documentary, entitled Radicalised? Are Femcels the New Incels? is presented by journalist Ellie Flynn and asks whether femcels can be considered part of a new incel movement, and if so, whether this community may have similarly disturbing implications. The trailer for the documentary can be viewed here.

Jilly has published research on femcels, and has previously provided media commentary on the phenomenon for the Atlantic and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. She has a forthcoming article in the European Journal of Cultural Studies entitled ‘From femcels to ‘femcelcore’: women’s involuntary celibacy and the rise of heteronihilism’, co-authored with Jacob Johanssen (St Mary’s University). Her interest in femcels forms part of her ongoing research into the ‘femosphere’, a loose ecology of female influencers and communities which, she argues, mirrors and reproduces the fatalistic and reactionary logics of the manosphere.

Jilly Kay is a Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media at Loughborough University. She is a co-investigator on the project ‘Re-CARE TV: Reality Television, Working Practices and Duties of Care’ (2023-26), within which she leads the work package on reality television participation. She is co-lead of the Media, Memory and History research theme at Loughborough University, co-convenor of the Media and Gender research group, and co-editor of the European Journal of Cultural Studies.

The middle of the end

April 15, 2024 Gary Brewerton

So today the University’s new reading list system (https://lboro.rl.talis.com/index.html) went live and we set redirects from LORLS to point to it. We’ll still be running the LORLS server for a couple more months for the benefit of library staff but then it will be decommissioned.

The data migration exercise seemed to go very well although it was interesting to note that despite the two systems having very similar internal data structures there were issues around our allowance for “lists within lists” and how the two systems treat items at draft status. But luckily these issues were easily resolved.

This Week at Loughborough | 15 April

April 12, 2024 Orla Price

Spring Staycation:

Free Lunch and Springtime Quiz

16 April 2024, 12pm-1pm, Cayley Dining Hall

Come along to Cayley for a free two course meal and celebrate the last week of the holidays with the International Student Experience team. We have limited spaces so book early to avoid disappointment. 

Find out more

LU Arts Workshop Crochet a Granny Square

17 April 2024, 1pm-3pm, Edward Barnsley Building, Room 63108

During this relaxing session, you’ll take a break and learn how to make basic granny squares while exploring the calming properties of mindful crocheting. Let your creativity flow as you create these cozy squares, perfect for crafting blankets, scarves, and more!

Find out more

Eid 2024 Celebratory Lunch

18 April 2024, 12pm-2pm, The Treehouse (LSU)

Loughborough University’s Race, Ethnicity, and Cultural Heritage (REACH) Network invites staff, students, and the wider community to join them once again in celebrating the Eid-al-Fitr festival on campus. 

Come and be part of this vibrant occasion, discover the significance of Eid-al-Fitr, indulge in diverse cuisines from around the world, capture memories through photo opportunities, and get adorned with beautiful henna designs by a talented artist. 

Find out more

LSU Scavenger Hunt with the International Students’ Network

20 April 2024, 10am-1pm, Hazlerigg Fountain

Embark on a thrilling journey where each ‘riddle’ station holds a hidden hint waiting to be unlocked. There will be a committee member at each station to help out teams. Crack the riddles, follow the clues, and race against time to uncover the ultimate treasure. In the end, the students or team with the most riddle answers cracked wins the prize unless someone manages to find hidden ‘treasure’ first. 

Find out more

General:

Learning and Teaching Conference 2024: Inspire and Engage

16 April 2024, 9am-4.30pm, James France/Online

The 2024 Learning and Teaching conference celebrates the inspiring and engaging teaching practices across the University and provides an opportunity for colleagues to network, share good practice and discuss ideas to enhance the student experience.

Find out more

Project Expectations Focus Group – Reward & Recognition (Loughborough)

16 April 2024, 11.15am-12.15pm, LDS018 (Design School)

The focus groups will be hosted by Colette Cloete (Reward and Benefits Manager and Reward and Recognition workstream lead) and presents a unique opportunity to collaboratively shape and develop the University’s Reward and Recognition Framework.

Find out more

RAeS: Sustainability in Aerospace – a Combustion Perspective

16 April 2024, 7.30pm-9pm, U020 (Brockington Building)

In this lecture, the overall strategy and ambition of Rolls Royce with regard to sustainability will be covered followed by an explanation of what that means for the combustion section. The results of a recent hydrogen engine test campaign will be presented and discussed. This lecture is jointly sponsored by Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

Find out more

Project Expectations Focus Group – Reward & Recognition (London)

18 April 2024, 11.15am-12.15pm, LDN205 (London Campus)

Come along for a collaborative focus group session on Reward and Recognition as part of Project Expectations. The focus groups will be hosted by Colette Cloete (Reward and Benefits Manager and Reward and Recognition workstream lead) and presents a unique opportunity to collaboratively shape and develop the University’s Reward and Recognition Framework.

Find out more

Health From Cradle to Grave: Birthing Chair to Death Couch

27 March-23 April 2024, 12pm-2pm, Martin Hall Exhibition Space

An exhibition highlighting the work from English at Loughborough University’s Health Humanities Research Network. The exhibition’s themes translate and distil high-quality research on health, society and culture across time and space into material objects, art, poetry, life writing, and literature.

Find out more

Digital activism for political participation: Women’s rights advocacy in Africa and the United Kingdom

Digital activism for political participation: Women’s rights advocacy in Africa and the United Kingdom

April 11, 2024 Iliana Depounti

Talk by Professor Innocent Chiluwa- Visiting Professor at the CRCC

30th April, at 1-2pm in WAV040 Wavy Top at Loughborough University and on MS Teams https://shorturl.at/uvzS6

The Centre for Research in Communication and Culture (CRCC) is hosting the talk, co-sponsored by the Political Communication and Language and Social Interaction themes.

The talk explores women’s rights advocacy in Africa and the United Kingdom. Women’s rights to political participation and inclusion in leadership have been a prominent topic of conversation in social discourse, human rights campaigns, and academic studies. Digital media campaigns for more political opportunities for women in Africa and the United Kingdom show that women are still quite politically marginalised despite some moderate progress.

Interestingly, social media (SM) affordances have given impetus to local women’s rights groups (WRGs) in the UK and commonwealth countries of Africa to mobilise and campaign for equal opportunities and parity in national governments. Professor Chiluwa’s study will examine online activism by two WRGs each from Africa and the UK to answer the following questions: what is the character of modern WRGs in the light of conflict and new social movement theories? What is the structure of digital campaign approaches in Africa and the UK (e.g., what SM platforms are mostly used)? And lastly, how do we compare the structures of campaign discourses of WRGs in Africa and the UK?

Innocent Chiluwa is a Professor of Applied Linguistics (Discourse Studies), Media and Communication. He was the head of the Department of Languages (and later) Dean of the College of Leadership and Development Studies at Covenant University, Nigeria. He is a visiting Scholar at the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. He is a Georg Forster Senior Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) and was a Humboldt scholar and visiting professor at the Department of English, University of Freiburg in Germany. He has published books and edited volumes in media studies, social media and society, discourse and conflict studies and deception studies. He has also published extensively in reputable peer-reviewed journals and contributed several chapters in books and encyclopaedias. He is on the Editorial Boards of Discourse & Society (SAGE), Journal of Multicultural Discourses (Routledge), Journal of International and Intercultural Communication (Taylor & Francis) and Humanities and Social Sciences Communications (Springer Nature).

Five minutes with: David Bell

Five minutes with: David Bell

April 11, 2024 Guest blogger

What’s your job title and how long have you been at Loughborough?

I’m the Curator for the Arts Collection and Music Programme. I’ve been here 6.5 years but my role has changed a lot in that time.

Tell us what a typical day in your job looks like?

I’ve read a few of these features and it seems everyone denies having a ‘typical day’. And who I am to buck the trend? A given day could involve researching the best kind of wax to use on one of our bronze sculptures, helping a student music society find a rehearsal space, working with Estates colleagues to hang artworks, and wondering if I’ll ever find time to tidy the art store. The next might involve planning a new round of music tuition for students and staff, updating information about our art collection on artuk.org, helping collate a ‘zine featuring creative writing responses to our sculpture collection, and wondering if I’ll ever find time to tidy the art store.

What’s your favourite project you’ve worked on?

Last year’s Sculpture Week was our first, and was a real highlight for me. I’ve really enjoyed planning this year’s too, which will feature the inauguration of a new work, produced by three Loughborough students! Our collection contains works of international significance, and can be used to tell stories about the changing functions of public art and the institution’s history. I love sharing these, but also programming events to explore the ‘unofficial’ histories of our sculptures: what associations they spark (“a giant tap”, “sheets of falling paper”, “the relic of an ancient civilisation”); how they help people orient themselves on campus; or how one has been adopted as a mascot for a nearby student hall, with an annual party thrown in its honour. Public sculpture is just that – public, and it comes to life when its public is active in determining its meaning.

Find out more about Sculpture Week.

What is your proudest moment at Loughborough?

We wouldn’t be able to hold Sculpture Week if our sculptures weren’t worth experiencing and, to that end, I’m most proud of establishing an ongoing programme of conservation and restoration, which will help ensure this huge asset can be enjoyed by the University and its public for years to come. Keep an eye out as you travel around campus and you might notice a sculpture that looks better than it had previously, or even see a conservator applying that wax I’d so assiduously researched.

Tell us something you do outside of work that we might not know about?

My partner just enrolled me in an improv comedy class for my birthday. I’ve told absolutely nobody about this and intend on keeping it that way, so if anyone asks about it I’ll know they’ve been reading this feature. (I offer no assurances regarding the quality of any future wisecracks.)

What is your favourite quote?

I was on holiday in Lyon when my love of 1* restaurant reviews reached new heights with a coruscating takedown of a very expensive restaurant. ‘The waitress was friendly’, it said, ‘like a prison door.’ Marvellous.

If you would like to feature in ‘5 Minutes With’, or you work with someone who you think would be great to include, please email Soph Dinnie at S.Dinnie@lboro.ac.uk.

Spaced and interleaved practice - what are they and what are their roles in improving mathematics performance?

Spaced and interleaved practice - what are they and what are their roles in improving mathematics performance?

April 9, 2024 Centre for Mathematical Cognition

Written by Bobo Kai Yin Chan, a third-year doctoral researcher at the Department of Mathematics Education, Loughborough University. Bobo has a psychology degree and a master’s degree in applied psychology. Her research interests include cognitive load theory, spaced practice/spacing effect, and educational psychology. Edited by Dr Bethany Woollacott.

This blogpost reviews existing literature on spacing and interleaving research. Bobo is currently supervised by Dr Ouhao Chen and Dr Hugues Lortie-Forgues with this meta-analysis mainly supported by Dr Lortie-Forgues.

Introduction

Researchers are keen to look for ways to improve mathematics performance and achievement. Spaced and interleaved practice are two approaches which aim to improve learning by considering how learning materials are connected and distributed across learning sessions. Both approaches typically work well in mathematics education as well as other areas of learning (such as memorising words and rules, and learning languages3,5).

In this blog post, I discuss existing spacing and interleaving research in mathematics education and general education. I also highlight the importance of collecting together all the evidence from previous studies via a meta-analysis, aiming to understand the general effectiveness of spacing and interleaving practices for mathematics achievement.

What is spaced practice and interleaved practice, and how do they affect mathematics learning?

Spaced practice refers to inserting a time gap between learning sessions, exemplified in the blue diagram below. Reproduced from Weinstein et al.10.

Interleaved practice refers to intermixing similar problems across different learning sessions, exemplified in the green diagram below. Reproduced from Weinstein et al.10.

These effects have been comprehensively researched and found to be effective for learning and retaining knowledge in various subject areas, including paired-associate tasks (e.g., pairing vocabulary with its meaning) and memory tasks3.

Previous research has indicated that both spaced and interleaved practices could yield positive effects for mathematics learning and other domains. In mathematics education research, more research has investigated the effectiveness of interleaved practice compared to spaced practice; I review the existing evidence for each type of practice next.  

Existing evidence on spaced and interleaved practices in non-mathematical domains

There are multiple meta-analyses (collections of evidence from previous studies) documenting spaced and interleaved practices in non-mathematical domains.

One meta-analysis conducted on spaced practice focusses on how the use of spacing impacts learning a second language. The results of this meta-analysis revealed that learners who learnt by spacing new vocabulary recalled more words than those who learnt the same new vocabulary simultaneously5 (i.e., massed practice).

Another meta-analysis compared spaced and massed practice in 271 verbal memory tasks (e.g., memorising and recalling vocabulary), specifically investigating the effect of distributed practice and lag effects. Distributed practice refers to separating learning into two or more sessions using temporal gaps between sessions, while lag effects refers to the impact of differing lengths of spacing used between learning sessions (where longer spaces typically results in better learning than shorter ones). The results of this meta-analysis found a significant difference in learning when spacing the verbal memory tasks, suggesting that distributed practice is useful for memorising and recalling vocabulary. In addition, lag effects were found to benefit learning when the intervals between learning sessions were at least a day to three months, rather than intervals spaced within the same day.

For interleaved practice, Brunmair and Richters’ meta-analysis examined the effectiveness of interleaving in various domains, including paintings, mathematical tasks, artificial pictures, expository texts, words, and tastes1. Their findings suggest that interleaved practice might not be beneficial for learning words (unlike spacing) but could be advantageous for classifying paintings. Their results also suggest a small benefit of using interleaved practice during mathematical tasks.

Existing spaced practice research in mathematics education

Based on the aforementioned information, the spacing effect appears effective in tasks that heavily rely on memorizing words, rules, and language learning. However, mathematics demands more than just memorizing terms; it also requires learners to select the correct strategies to solve mathematical problems and to use the correct procedures to calculate the answers 2. Therefore, although the spacing effect could be potentially beneficial for mathematics learning, the complexity of learning mathematics goes beyond memorising words or learning grammatical rules.


although the spacing effect could be potentially beneficial for mathematics learning, the complexity of learning mathematics goes beyond memorising words and learning grammatical rules


Studies investigating spaced practice in mathematics have generated mixed results.

One study with students aged 8 to 10 suggested that students might benefit from spaced practice when learning mathematical words6. Similarly, a recent study involving students aged 12-13, compared spaced and massed practices when calculating basic probability and permutation problems. The study revealed that students who engaged in spaced practice demonstrated superior post-test scores and more accurate predictions about their performance on the post-test than the students who engaged in the massed practice4.

However, spacing practice is not always effective for learning. For instance, another study investigated the effectiveness of spaced practice with undergraduate students, comparing spaced and massed practices by asking students to solve some permutation problems. All students took two post-tests one week and five weeks after the final practice session. The results suggested that students might only benefit from spaced learning when learning conceptual knowledge but not when learning procedural knowledge9.

Existing interleaved practice research in mathematics education

As previously mentioned, there are comparatively more studies investigating interleaved practice in mathematics education compared to spaced practice.

Several studies have investigated interleaved practice in mathematics learning by interleaving similar problems or topics. For example, a study with students aged 12 to 13 involved the students solving the same practice algebraic problems over 3 months except that one group were given the problems via an interleaved approach and the other group via a blocked approach. Students were tested on their algebraic skill at the end of the 3 months and then again 1 month later. Results suggested that students learning via the interleaved approach solved more problems correctly at both time points compared to the blocked group8.

However, another study found that interleaved practice was not beneficial for students of a similar age learning mathematics. Students aged 10 to 12 were required to complete some problems about fractions which were given either by an interleaved approach or a blocked approach. Results revealed no significant differences between students’ learning, irrespective of whether they completed the problems via an interleaved or blocked approach or whether students had low or high prior knowledge7. Therefore, it remains inconclusive whether interleaved practice is beneficial for mathematics achievement.


…it remains inconclusive whether interleaved practice is beneficial for mathematics achievement.


Since the results of previous studies were inconclusive, it is essential to gather evidence to find the overall impact of spaced and interleaved practices in mathematics education, including their impact on mathematics achievement and the possible factors influencing both effects. As part of my PhD, we are currently conducting a meta-analysis to systematically determine the effects of spaced and interleaved practices on mathematics achievement.

Conclusion

Previous research has suggested that spaced and interleaved practices might be beneficial to some subject areas, like memory tasks and classifying paintings. However, there seems to be inconclusive evidence that either spaced or interleaved practices benefit mathematics learning. As such, we are currently conducting a meta-analysis to fully understand the current evidence on the effects of spaced and interleaved practice on mathematics achievement.

References

1. Brunmair, M., & Richter, T. (2019). Similarity Matters: A Meta-Analysis of Interleaved Learning and Its Moderators. Psychological Bulletin, 145(11), 1029–1052. https://doi.org/10.1037/bul0000209

2. Munoz-Rubke, F., Vera-Bachmann, D., & Alvarez-Espinoza, A. (2019). Learning math: Two principles to avoid headaches. Frontiers in Psychology, 10(SEP), 1–5. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02042

3. Cepeda, N. J., Pashler, H., Vul, E., Wixted, J. T., & Rohrer, D. (2006). Distributed practice in verbal recall tasks: A review and quantitative synthesis. Psychological Bulletin, 132(3), 354–380. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.132.3.354

4. Emeny, W. G., Hartwig, M. K., & Rohrer, D. (2021). Spaced mathematics practice improves test scores and reduces overconfidence. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 35(4), 1082–1089. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.3814

5. Kim, S. K., & Webb, S. (2022). The Effects of Spaced Practice on Second Language Learning: A Meta-Analysis. Language Learning, 72(1), 269–319. https://doi.org/10.1111/lang.12479

6. Petersen-Brown, S., Lundberg, A. R., Ray, J. E., Dela Paz, I. N., Riss, C. L., & Panahon, C. J. (2019). Applying spaced practice in the schools to teach math vocabulary. Psychology in the Schools, 56(6), 977–991. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.22248

7. Rau, M. A., Aleven, V., & Rummel, N. (2010). Blocked versus interleaved practice with multiple representations in an intelligent tutoring system for fractions. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Including Subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), 6094 LNCS(PART 1), 413–422. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-13388-6_45

8. Rohrer, D., Dedrick, R. F., & Stershic, S. (2015). Interleaved practice improves mathematics learning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107(3), 900–908. https://doi.org/10.1037/edu0000001

9. Ebersbach, M., & Barzagar Nazari, K. (2020). No robust effect of distributed practice on the short- and long-term retention of mathematical procedures. Frontiers in Psychology, 11(April), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00811

10. Weinstein, Y., Madan, C. R., & Sumeracki, M. A. (2018). Teaching the science of learning. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41235-017-0087-y

This Week at Loughborough | 8 April

April 8, 2024 Orla Price

Spring Staycation:

Spring Pizza Party

9 April 2024, 1pm-3pm, Granby Common Room (Student Village)

Come along for our daytime Pizza Party for free Pizza, games, music and more. This event will be very popular so book early to avoid disappointment.

Find out more

My Lifestyle: Turn up and play – Basketball

9 April 2024, 2pm-3pm, New Victory Hall (Holywell Sports Complex)

The My Lifestyle programme is a FREE and inclusive recreational sport and physical activity offer, that is open to and welcomes everybody of any ability. Come along for a free game of basketball and make new friends. Please note this session is self-guided. 

Find out more

ISE Five-a-side Indoor Football Tournament

11 April 2024, 6pm-8pm, New Victory Hall (Holywell Sports Complex)

Come along and represent your country in our indoor football tournament. This is your chance to win our Easter Cup alongside some chocolatey prizes. 

Please book on the Loughborough Sports App (on the MyLifestyle tile). Booking will open one week before the event. If you have a team already, you need to make sure all your team members book individually. Numbers are limited so book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Find out more

LU Arts Workshop Chinese Painting

12 April 2024, 1pm-3pm, Edward Barnsley Building, Room 63108

During this engaging workshop, you’ll learn the techniques and intricacies of Chinese Painting, capturing the beauty of traditional brushwork and vibrant colours. Let your creativity flow as you create your own masterpiece to cherish or share with loved ones.

Find out more

General:

Inspiring Minds: Social Sciences and Humanities

9 April 2024, 9am-4pm, James France

Inspiring Minds is Loughborough University’s series of taster days for Year 12 students. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn more about the options available at the University and how to get there.

Find out more

IAS Friends and Fellows Coffee Morning

10 April 2024, 10.30am-12pm, International House

The Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) are hosting this informal gathering with coffee and cakes, where we will be joined by the fourth Residential Fellow of this academic year, Professor Jane Chin Davidson.

Find out more

Inspiring Minds: Sport

10 April 2024, 9am-4pm, James France

Inspiring Minds is Loughborough University’s series of taster days for Year 12 students. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn more about the options available at the University and how to get there.

Find out more

Inaugural Lecture

10 April 2024, 5pm, EHB110B (Edward Herbert Building)

Loughborough University extends a warm welcome for everyone to attend these engaging public events, delivered by its Professors on campus.

Professor Yu’s lecture will explore how integrated processes – combining biological and electrochemical reactions – can provide a crucial route to achieving a healthy circular economy that supports sustainable development.

Professor Christie will show how the preparation of small molecules can now be achieved rapidly by machines, as well as how chemistry can influence biological systems.

Find out more

Health From Cradle to Grave: Birthing Chair to Death Couch

27 March – 23 April 2024, 12pm-2pm, Martin Hall Exhibition Space

An exhibition highlighting the work from English at Loughborough University’s Health Humanities Research Network.

The exhibition’s themes translate and distil high-quality research on health, society and culture across time and space into material objects, art, poetry, life writing, and literature. The work on display represents individual research endeavours and narrativises the sickness, health and wellbeing contexts across time and space.

Find out more

Here Be Dragons - Transgender Visibility and

Here Be Dragons - Transgender Visibility and "The Others, Out There"

March 31, 2024 David Wilson

Who are “The others, out there”? Do they breathe fire?
And what do they have to do with International Transgender Day of Visibility?

Content Warning – this post may contain satire.

It can’t have escaped your attention that trans, non-binary and gender-non-conforming people are everywhere now. You can barely move for them. Go anywhere and you see them. The pub? Can’t get to the bar for all the trans people. Restaurants? Can’t get a table because of all the trans people. Beacon Hill? Can’t see the view for all the trans people. They’ve taken over the BBC, they’ve taken over NASA (probably), and they won’t stop until they’ve turned all the kids trans and filled every bed in every women’s shelter. You’re not safe but, more importantly, neither are your children.

Okay, so maybe you don’t actually see them first hand. But you’ve heard about them. You’ve read about them. They’re not in your street, your town, or your school. But you’ve been assured they’re everywhere else. Trans people have never been more visible. But admittedly, you’ve no idea when you last saw one, or maybe even if you’ve ever actually seen one.

This Trans Day of Visibility, I started out by thinking maybe we’d like to be a bit less visible right now. But actually it’s not us that’s visible. It’s the spectre of us. The threat of us. The ever-present danger of us. Biggest threat to women? Trans people. Biggest threat to kids? Trans people. Biggest threat to your safety and security? Well, okay, refugees in small boats, but trans people aren’t far behind. For such a small part of the population, we really punch above our weight.

Or do we? Maybe the biggest threat to women is the ongoing gender inequality that pervades so many aspects of our society. From the effectiveness of drugs tested exclusively on men, to the safety systems in cars designed around the average man’s height and weight. That and the crumbling NHS which is increasingly leaving them suffering for months on waiting lists rather than providing them the treatments and operations they need, or leaving them extracting their own teeth rather providing them with NHS dentistry.

And maybe the biggest threat to children is growing inequality and a broken food system, leaving children under-nourished but over fed, and as a result shorter but more over-weight than their European counterparts. That and the crumbling NHS which is increasingly unable to treat the illnesses they’re being lumbered with from ages unheard of previously. Not to mention the climate crisis which threatens existential-level dangers in their lifetimes.

But these are big, scary, structural problems. And tackling them requires big, brave, structural solutions, which would upset the old structures still benefitting the few who run them. Better to find a bogeyman, or a bogeytrans, and shout the age-old rallying cry “They’re coming for your children!” to distract people from the real dangers. These tactics have been used for centuries and it doesn’t matter if you’re scapegoating people who are Jewish, Black, Gay, Working Class, Migrants, Trans or any other marginalised group. Pick a relatively small population with less power than you and use this time-honoured visceral message to get the mob to turn on them.

A picture of a king and his advisor looking out at an angry mob. The advisor tells the kind he doesn't have to fight them if he turns them against each other.

The method has two great advantages. Firstly you can turn marginalised groups against each other, so they spend all of their energy infighting, instead of fighting the people who oppress them. And secondly you can distract everyone else from looking at the real existential issues they face.

When the Irish “Yes” campaign were planning their strategy to get the public to vote for marriage equality, they sought the experience of campaigners in the US who had tried, and failed, to pass similar legislation in multiple states before finally starting to succeed. They explained that people see the world in 3 layers. “Me and mine”, “My community” and “The others, out there”.

3 concentric circles.  The innermost says "me and mine", the mid layer says "my community" and the outermost says "The others, out there, here be dragons and queers"

Those with gay people in their lives, in their “Me and mine”, overwhelmingly supported marriage equality. Most others saw it as an issue for “The others, out there” so didn’t have very strong feelings either way though had a vague tendency towards “live and let live”. But when scaremongering campaigns told them marriage equality would somehow pose a threat to their children or their families, their “Me and mine”, it was a powerful way of creating opposition. A big part of the Irish campaign was therefore about demystifying and normalising gay people. In many cases gay couples going door to door not to make rhetorical, political arguments, but simply to show voters who had never knowingly met gay people before that they weren’t so different to them and certainly didn’t resemble the demonic forces they’d read about. Maybe not even so different from their “Me and mine” group.

Laverne Cox on the cover of Time magazine
Laverne Cox on the cover of Time in 2014
Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine
Caitlyn Janner on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine in 2015

Since the so-called “Transgender tipping point” in 2014-15, when Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner graced the covers of Time and Vanity Fair respectively to worldwide fanfare, we have seen a huge and growing backlash against our community. Fears of the unknown are stoked and we joined asylum seekers and refugees as the demons-de-jour for the right-wing press and politicians. As with talk of the terror of “small boats”, such has been the success of the campaign that the political and media liberal left, who you might expect to oppose these views, has failed to do so. In some cases they even join in the attack in order to appeal to voters.

In the face of so much hostility I’ve never felt more like staying at home and hiding. But it’s never been more important for us to be out there, being visible. Showing the world that whether we “pass” as cisgender, or not, whether we look exactly like everyone else, or not, we’re not the demons some would have you believe. And maybe if you want to make the world better and kinder and safer for women and children and your “Me and mine” there, are things we can all work on together instead.

Look out for me arriving on your doorstep any day now 😉

Footnote
In the early days of global naval exploration, mapmakers would often place monsters and other imagined creatures to marked unexplored areas, like those seen in Ortelius’s 1570 Theatrum Orbis Terrarum map.

International Transgender Day of Visibility is marked every March 31st, dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of the discrimination they face worldwide, as well as a celebration of their contributions to society.

Featured map photograph from the United States Library of Congress.
King image by Dave Corley of speedbump.com

The attempted assassination of Saint Pope John Paul II

The attempted assassination of Saint Pope John Paul II

March 28, 2024 Peter Yeandle

By Elena Leman-Torresi

As a component of my final-year module, PIC604: State, Violence and Terrorism, I was tasked to write a critical analysis of a terrorist attack. This essay prompted me to research and think more closely about the definition of a terrorist attack, the perceived legitimacy of an attack, and the different responses/approaches taken after the attack. I decided to research the assassination attempt on Saint Pope John Paul II in 1981.


In 1981, while making his regular rounds in St Peter’s Square, Vatican City, the then pontiff, Pope John Paul II was shot by two bullets from within the crowd. The perpetrator was Mehmet Ali Ağca. To this day, Ali Ağca’s true motives remain unclear and dubious. Ağca was a Turkish national and spent much time with the nationalistic group, The Grey Wolves. He claimed once that the attack on the Pope was for revenge for a previous seizure of a mosque (not linked back to the Vatican in any way) and for the glory of the Turkish nation. A second motive he declared was he was trained by the KGB to carry out this attack as Pope John Paul II was a firm anti-communist who regularly funded the independent trade union Solidarnosc in his home country of Poland (see Faunt, 2015, for details). Lastly, it is important to note that Ağca was subsequently diagnosed with severe anti-social disorders and behaviours and narcissist injuries. It can never be confirmed how much his mental illness was a factor in the attack.

While it is easy for Catholics and non-Catholics alike to condemn the violent act committed by Ağca, if this module has taught me anything, it’s that careful analysis of the response to the attack is equally as important as the initial media telling of the attack itself. I took particular interest in the relationship between the representation and response of the media to the shooting and public perceptions of terrorist attacks. Moreover, from Kearns et al (2018) I learnt that Muslim and Middle Eastern perpetrators are far more quickly labelled terrorists by the media and public at large and often discussion of their mental health issues and their grievances/motives are discounted or omitted, unlike their European/white counterparts. So: without condoning the actions of Ağca, the media’s initial lack of discussion of his mental health issues and his grievances may have led the public to form speculative and uninformed conclusions which in turn might have exacerbated public panic.

As a Catholic, I was also very intrigued by the Vatican’s response. While most larger states would likely have employed militaristic responses or adopted suppression tactics, the Vatican used judicial responses. Ağca was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of ten years. However, what was unique about the Vatican’s response was the use of conciliatory tactics, seldom used by states. In line with Catholic social teaching, Pope John Paul II (who survived the attack) visited Ağca in prison in 1983 and forgave him. Following on from this, Ağca was pardoned by the Vatican and extradited to Turkey after 19 years in custody. While an incredible act of forgiveness and charity by the Pope, Ethan Bueno de Mesquita (2015) speculates that the Vatican City also potentially stood to gain collaboration with Ağca in other counterterrorism efforts.

I mentioned earlier that I was motivated to research this topic as I am Catholic. I should also add that I became fascinated by this assassination attempt after watching a documentary entitled Vatican Girl (2022) which focuses on the abduction of a young Vatican City citizen, Emanuela Orlandi. It is speculated that Ağca played an instrumental role in the planning and kidnapping of Emanuela. There is also the suggestion/theory that she became a victim in the broader subsequent considerations of statecraft and diplomacy between the Vatican and the outside world. My thoughts and prayers are with the Orlandi family.

The module prompted me to reevaluate my perceptions and definitions of terrorism, including an appreciation of its many complexities.


About me:

I am currently a final-year undergraduate student, studying History and International Relations. I first knew I wanted to study history academically during my GCSE history course. I have recently been elected chair of the Catholic Society for the upcoming term and my studies and my faith converge in a fascination with Church history.


Recommended further reading:

The illustration is Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican. Photo by Hoàng Vũ and courtesy of pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/papal-basilica-of-saint-peter-in-the-vatican-16594740/

From the Vice-Chancellor – March 2024

March 28, 2024 Nick Jennings
Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Jennings in front of stained glass windows in Hazlerigg Building.

In my March newsletter: New Doctoral Training Centres, BUCS Big Wednesday, International Women’s Day, the Leicestershire Innovation Awards, the Vibrant and Inclusive Communities ambassadors, and the new brand campaign.

Students and staff working in an engineering lab.

New Centres for Doctoral Training announced

This month UK Research and Innovation announced more than £1 billion of investment in new Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs), which train researchers to address science-related problems for the benefit of society. I am delighted that Loughborough will lead the £20 million EPSRC CDT in Engineering Hydrogen Net Zero (EnerHy) and will be a partner in a further two: Offshore Wind Energy Sustainability and Resilience and Digital Transformation of Metals Industry

Led by Dani Strickland, Professor of Electrical Power Engineering, EnerHy has been developed in partnership with Cranfield and Strathclyde universities and more than 60 industry and civic partners. EnerHy will allow us to expand our existing research and develop the skilled workforce needed to enable rapid growth in green hydrogen-related technology.  

The CDT is also part of our ambitions for The Hydrogen Works – a strategic consortium led by Loughborough to drive skills, innovation and productivity to create a hydrogen superpower in the East Midlands.

The consortium is a partnership with the East Midlands Freeport and East Midlands Hydrogen, which will bring together academic experts and industry partners to make a significant contribution to realising the role that hydrogen will play in a sustainable future. It will drive an expansion of Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park that will co locate a skilled ecosystem alongside incubation and manufacturing, and research and innovation. It will also provide a skills exchange with the East Midlands Institute of Technology Future Energy Skills Hub, which aims to create the advanced workforce in clean energy needed by industry. 

Earlier this year, we were also announced as a partner in the Natural Environment Research Council CDT in Flood Risk. These CDTs show how we are collaborating in areas of research that have real impact to society.

The University has also launched a new research cluster in Model Based Systems Engineering which will receive funding direct from industry for PhD studentships, after being identified as the leading university in this emerging area.

This new funding equates to around 100 new Doctoral Researchers over the course of the respective programmes and a £30M investment in these research areas.

Loughborough basketball players lifting a trophy and celebrating.

Loughborough hosts BUCS Big Wednesday

Campus was the epicentre of student sport this month when the University hosted BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) Big Wednesday. The event saw more than 2,000 student athletes here, with their coaches and performance support staff, to compete in 57 finals across 16 sports, drawing a crowd of almost 2,500 spectators.  

BUCS showcases the highest level of university sport, and Loughborough has been crowned overall champions for the last 42 years. It was fitting, therefore, for us to host the landmark event again this year, as we shall for the next two years. 

By the end of the event, Loughborough had secured victories in men’s and women’s badminton, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s tennis, women’s netball and women’s football. 

Hosting an event of this magnitude is a significant undertaking and its success is testament to colleagues across the University, the athletes, coaches, officials and support staff who were part of the competition, and more than 100 student volunteers from the University’s Coach and Volunteer Academy (CVA).

This event truly embodied our strategic aim of Sporting Excellence and Opportunity.

Grey background with purple and blue blobs. Text reads 'International Women's Day' and 'MAIA'.

Celebrating International Women’s Day

This month we marked the annual International Women’s Day, with a range of events and stories to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and to make a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. The event is an opportunity to mark progress made but also to highlight the erosion of women’s rights around the world, as well as the effects of gender violence and abuse. 

Our dedicated webpage features all the events run by both the staff and student networks, as well as inspiring stories of women at Loughborough. This year, Loughborough Sport ran a series of events under the EmpowerHer banner, to provide opportunities for women and non-binary students and staff to conquer barriers to physical activity in environments where they can feel comfortable and supported.

The theme of this year’s event was inclusion, which resonates very clearly with our strategic theme of Vibrant and Inclusive Communities. Inclusion is a fundamental principle that should be woven into the fabric of our society. It is about ensuring that every voice is heard, every perspective is valued, and every individual is given the opportunity to thrive.

The University's winners and finalists with VC Professor Nick Jennings.

Three awards for Loughborough at innovation event

This month the University hosted the Leicestershire Innovation Awards at SportPark Pavilion 4 – the first building on campus, and one of just a handful in the UK, to have attained Passivhaus Sustainability status.  

A record number of entries were made to this year’s event, with almost 100 nominations submitted, and I was delighted to see Loughborough come home with three awards. Two of the University’s winners were Loughborough graduate start-ups – both launched from LUinc., the University’s incubator on Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park (LUSEP).  

Moti Me, a physiotherapy-focused product to help children with disabilities, won the Innovation in Sport, Wellbeing and Accessibility category. The company was founded in 2021 by Katie Michaels, an Industrial Design and Technology graduate.  

The Bug Factory, which was set up by Thomas Constant, who graduated from Industrial Design and Technology, received the Innovation in Food and Drink award. Thomas has created scalable, accessible and sustainable insect protein.

The third award, in the Innovation in STEM industries category, recognises the University’s pioneering work in the field of green energy. A team led by Professor Dani Strickland has developed the world’s first lead-acid battery-electrolyser, a low-cost system that makes it viable to use excess renewable energy to produce hydrogen gas. The innovation is being accelerated for use in renewable energy-powered microgrids that support the world’s poorest communities that have no access to electricity or clean cooking.

Our success at the awards is testament to the breadth of innovation among our staff and students. Congratulations to all the commended finalists and winners who showed real ingenuity and determination in addressing some of today’s most pressing challenges.

Vibrant and Inclusive Communities ambassadors appointed

Politics students Ghanim and Ahmad Muhammad Al-Muftah have been appointed as the University’s ambassadors for the Vibrant and Inclusive Communities strategic theme.

The theme ambassadors will help to enhance the University’s reputation and profile by acting as advocates for the University’s activities and achievements through their networks. 

Ghanim and Ahmad will work closely with the theme’s Associate Pro Vice-Chancellors, Professor Rebecca Cain and Professor Emily Keightley. 

Ghanim Muhammad Al-Muftah is a Qatari brand ambassador, goodwill ambassador and entrepreneur. He was appointed an ambassador for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and appeared alongside the US actor Morgan Freeman at the event’s opening ceremony.  More recently he attended the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup and attended the gala dinner alongside the FIFA President, Gianna Infantino, and Sheikh Rashid Al Nuaimi, President of the United Arab Emirates Football Association. Ghanim, who was born with Caudal Regression Syndrome, a disorder that impairs the development of the lower spine, is supported by his brother Ahmad.

Ghanim and Ahmad join alumnus Steve Varley who was named the ambassador for the Climate Change and Net Zero strategic theme in December 2023. 

VC Professor Nick Jennings in front of a purple background.

The World Can’t Wait campaign is launched

Our new brand campaign – to position ourselves as a bold, ambitious university that seeks to make change for a better world – has now been launched. You may have noticed the billboards and banners that have been put up on campus on the end of the Schofield Building and at the two main entrances to campus. 

The campaign began in earnest mid-month with an advertisement in the Times Higher Education – an open letter from me asking the sector to collectively take a stand and change the narrative that’s currently so damaging to higher education. In my accompanying thought leadership article, I outline why the UK’s universities need to turn the tide by showcasing the wide-ranging impact we have on individuals, regions and countries worldwide. 

The brand campaign has emerged from Project Reputation, one of the six strategic enabling projects. Project Reputation aims to distil and project our distinctive strengths and enhancing our reputation as a leading university.

Universities are operating in a very challenging environment at the moment. If we are to be financially secure and deliver value for our students and academic partners, research collaborators and policy makers, we all need to show the benefits that universities bring.

DRN2024 Drawing Repetition: Tracing Technology

March 27, 2024 Deborah Harty

11.00-13.00 (BST) 17 April 2024 [online]

humhyphenhum (Deborah Harty & Phil Sawdon), 2019, still from Tracing Drawology, The Chapel, YSP.

Tickets: https://buytickets.at/drawingresearchgroup/1207696

Tracing Technology is the second in the series of online DRN events exploring drawing repetition, hosted by the Drawing Research Group at Loughborough University. The panel brings together researchers investigating aspects of technology in relation to repetition within contemporary drawing practice.

Claire Anscomb will discuss recent developments in image-making processes that have repetition built into their design. A text-to-image AI generator outputs new images in the likeness of billions of images that already exist. What can further repetition bring forth from these images? The proposed presentation will tackle this question by examining a series of drawings made after AI-generated images.

The series focuses on AI-image generation processes and the lack of transparency around the sources of energy that fuel the data centres that are crucial for their operation. The process of making the images entailed training an AI image generator, Playform, on a series of images of power stations located in the same geographical areas as Microsoft’s data centres, and then reworking the results in DALL-E (owned by OpenAI, who use Microsoft’s data centres). From these outputs, five images were selected that represented key stages in the image generation process, which were copied meticulously through drawing. A sheet of carbon paper was kept beneath the drawing surface.

It will be proposed that the repetition of the AI-generated images through drawing, and the repetition of these marks through the carbon paper makes manifest the approximations that permeate the processes of AI image generation. Further, in addition to translating the formal properties of the generated images, it will be argued that this process, which recorded the labour and energy that went into the production of the drawn images embodies and foregrounds the physical resources that are obfuscated but necessary to produce the outputs of AI image-generation processes.

Dave Hawey’s presentation, will reflect on his use of repetition in his drawing process. Initially, his research-creation takes a technocritical stance to address his ambivalent relationship with technology. That is to say, Hawey is both fascinated and concerned about what technology enables, in terms of image creation and mediated aesthetic experience. In addition, he shares many authors’ point of view that abusive technology (and its hegemonic neoliberal capitalist ideology) is causing serious social, psychological, and environmental consequences. As these ideas inspire the aesthetics and narratives in Hawey’s drawings, he extensively uses repetition as a fundamental principle. In this presentation, Hawey aims to explore “How does repetition within the drawing process provide insight into the relationship with technology?” As a case study, Hawey will analyze the drawing process from his recent work “Tree of Life” by looking at three uses of repetition: as a crafting method, a communication method, and a meditation method. In this sense, he will first show how the repetition of tiles, lines, and patterns suggests perceptual/aesthetic effects (e.g., a sense of structure, rhythm, calm, predictability, illusion, attention). Then, he will show how he uses repetition to communicate meanings (e.g., denotative, connotative, allegoric) such as anxiety regarding the recursive and rationalistic nature of the technological world. Finally, as the repetition of the same gestures helps Hawey enter a meditative and soothing flow, he reflects on its beneficial psychological effects on dealing with his relationship with technology.

Hilary Judd will discuss how using a typewriter as a drawing machine is inherently repetitive. Working with the limitations of a machine designed for writing to create imagery promotes creativity; the restrictions of the carriage, the marks and shapes that can be made by certain keys, blurring, smudging, and overlaying to build up areas of density, light and shade. A laborious yet mediative process.

The project began as a ‘warm up’ to start a studio day. Drawings posted between long term collaborators, received, and returned with new marks from the other’s studio. The collection of drawings we have amassed is the result of habitual behaviour, a weekly practice of drawing and communicating.

Judd will present the latest typewriter drawings that explore notions of caring and the passing of time. The repetition of daily rituals, frustration, incremental goals and feeling like a ‘job’ of work connects very closely to the drawing process. Stuckness – being stuck in a domestic environment can fuel the desire to be creative. The sound of the strike of metal on paper feels productive. Small characters build to create an expressive image. The time-consuming nature of this drawing process inspired a series of eight pairings of drawings around caring that became a large A2 artist book called ‘The Trick’. Being a mother/caring for a mother can feel like a trick, one in which you need the help and support of others, often with starkly unequal gender divides. The book necessitates 2 people to work together in order to reveal the drawings.

The event will be chaired by Lucy Brennan.

Biographies

Claire Anscomb is a philosopher and artist. She was the 2021-22 British Society of Aesthetics Postdoctoral Fellow in the Philosophy Department at the University of Liverpool. Since September 2022, she has been a Lecturer in Fine Art at De Montfort University.

Dave Hawey has been a professor of digital art and design at the School of Digital Arts, Animation and Design (UQAC) for the past 16 years. He did his Master of Arts on the Japanese aesthetics in his digital painting process. He did his doctoral research in design on the practice of artist-developers working in the industry, to highlight their professional skills and reflective design process.

Hilary Judd [Carriage return] began in 2018 as a postal exchange of typewriter drawings with myself and artist Lucy-May-Schofield. Initially, a call and response, we have since created art works, connecting to themes exploring our lives and experiences. The project has unveiled new opportunities to extend the traditional remit of artistic practice.

Lucy Brennan is an artist and doctoral researcher at Loughborough University.

https://www.brennanshiel.co.uk

Clear space, clear mind

Clear space, clear mind

March 26, 2024 LU Comms
Purple illustration of a desk, sofa, table, shelves and cleaning equiptment with a pale orange brain shaped cloud on top.

From overflowing desks to dishes piled in the sink, the clutter around us can weigh heavily on our minds, leading to increased stress, decreased productivity, and a sense of overwhelm.

Verywell Mind noted that: “To the brain, clutter represents unfinished business and this lack of completeness can be highly stressful for some people.” Clutter and mess can create feelings of anxiety but by cleaning and organising, we can create a more relaxing environment that helps us to feel calm and focus on daily tasks.

Having dust and dirt settle in our work and living space can also aggravate our respiratory system, so clearing up our space also clears the air that we breathe.

Benefits of cleaning and decluttering:

  • Helps you gain a sense of control over your environment
  • Provides a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction which translates into motivation
  • Can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety
  • Can reduce fatigue and improve concentration

Challenge yourself to declutter your workspace and home

  • Start small – Set aside dedicated time each day to tackle a specific area, whether it’s your desk, kitchen, or living area. Break tasks into manageable chunks to prevent overwhelm and celebrate accomplishments along the way.
  • Set a timer – Set a timer for 10 or 20 minutes and tidy as much as you can in this time, once the timer stops, you can relax. This can help if you feel overwhelmed and are unable to devote much time to cleaning.
  • Ask for help – You might be in a situation where you feel like cleaning is not a task you can tackle alone, in this case, consider asking friends or family to help you.
  • Donate things you don’t needGiving to others can also boost your happiness and create a sense of reward.
  • Make it fun – Listen to upbeat music or a podcast, take before and after pictures of your space, and treat yourself for working hard.
  • Aim to make decluttering an ongoing practice – Regular maintenance is key to sustaining a clutter-free environment and reaping the mental health benefits it offers.

When working in shared office space, it’s also important to be mindful of other people’s wellbeing too. If you have been working on a hot desk or using a shared space, make sure you leave it clean and tidy for the next person to use.

A great method to follow for decluttering is Marie Kondo’s ‘KonMari Method’ which encourages discarding items that don’t “spark joy” and tidying by category rather than by location. If you want to see the KonMari Method in practice, check out the Netflix series ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’.

Some members of Loughborough University staff discussed their thoughts on decluttering:

Sarah Van-Zoelen, Specialist Occupational Health and Wellbeing Nurse Manager commented: “I love declutter dollies, I find that I cannot be effective, focused or be able to relax if my environment is messy and cluttered. We all live with lots of stuff, but there is definitely a ‘tipping point’ when things get out of hand and the only way to rebalance is to sort the environment that I live and work in.”

Stephanie White, Development Manager (Trusts and Foundations) said: “Selling some of my clothes and things on places like Vinted has also made me more mindful of what I buy going forward, and improved my wellbeing as I can see a clear difference in my living space by removing the clutter.”

Sarolta Batki, People Development Officer at Loughborough Sport, also commented: “I have been involved in an organised office clear up more than once. Getting together and making decisions on where to store what, how to use the storage space, what needs getting rid of, what could we buy/replace in the office to help with work/productivity, even hoovering up and cleaning the desks together is really empowering.

“I mean this in the sense that for a lot of your job, you are told what to do – but having some autonomy on making your workspace comfortable and nice for yourself is at least giving you some control and is hugely beneficial for your wellbeing at work.”

Remember that there may be times when things won’t go as planned and you might not be able to tidy up, so make sure you have other tools that you can use to destress and unwind. You can find self-care tips on our stress awareness blog.

This Week at Loughborough | 25 March

This Week at Loughborough | 25 March

March 22, 2024 Orla Price

Spring Staycation:

Academic Language Support Service Workshops

25-26 March 2024, 10am-12.30pm & 12.45pm-3pm, EHB205

ALSS will be running two workshops across both days. You can come along to just one or both. Registering for both the morning and the afternoon session is encouraged. Drinks and Easter treats will be served at approximately 12pm. If you are coming for the whole day, don’t forget to bring your lunch!

Find out more

International Students’ Employability Day 2024

25 March 2024, 12pm-4pm, Stuart Mason Foyer

Join us for an exciting in-person event in the Stewart Mason building on campus. This event is specifically designed for international students, offering a unique opportunity to network, gain insights from international alumni and explore career prospects.

Find out more

Chaplaincy event: Waiting for Easter- the journey to the cross

26 March 2024, 2pm-4pm, EHB First Floor

Come and reflect on the journey Jesus took from his arrival in Jerusalem, to his crucifixion a few days later. We will use prayer, art, music, silence, and storytelling to explore this important week in the Christian calendar and end with traditional English Easter refreshments, including Hot Cross Buns. All welcome. 

Find out more

Trip to historic Oxford – SOLD OUT

27 March 2024, 9am-6.45pm, Pick up from Wolfson School/Amber Rooms

Oxford, The City of Dreaming Spires, is one of the most famous cities in the UK. Known the world over for its University. For over 800 years, it has been a home to royalty and scholars. Nowadays, the city is a bustling cosmopolitan town. With its mix of ancient and modern, there is lots to do including many historic buildings, colleges or museums as well as a vibrant shopping experience.

Find out more

Easter Staycation – Origami Jewellery

28 March, 1pm-3pm, Room 63108 (Edward Barnsley Building)

During this engaging workshop, you’ll learn the ancient Japanese art of origami and how to transform delicate paper folds into stunning wearable pieces. From elegant earrings to charming pendants, let your creativity soar as you craft unique accessories to adorn yourself or gift to loved ones.

Find out more

Easter Bunny Bingo

1 April 2024, 1pm-3pm, Granby Common Room

This is an event that you won’t want to miss. Easter Monday is a public holiday in the UK and is a day that families spend together. Come along for a game of bingo, a free buffet lunch, music and more. The top bingo prize will be a £30 Amazon voucher. 

Find out more

LSU Easter Egg Decorating Competition

4 April 2024, 11am-1pm, LSU Council Chamber

Come along for an Easter Egg decorating competition with a prize awarded to the best decoration! 

Find out more

General:

Neuromorphic technology: A giant leap for AI

26-28 March 2024, Online

  • 26 March: 9am-5pm
  • 27 March: 9am-5.15pm
  • 28 March: 9am-5.40pm

This online event will convene a community of world-leading international researchers and innovators working on cutting-edge neuromorphic hardware and brain-inspired algorithms, pivotal for the future of AI and computing in the UK.

Find out more

Health From Cradle to Grave: Birthing Chair to Death Couch

27 March-23 April 2024, 12pm-2pm, Martin Hall Exhibition Space

An exhibition highlighting the work from English at Loughborough University’s Health Humanities Research Network. The exhibition’s themes translate and distil high-quality research on health, society and culture across time and space into material objects, art, poetry, life writing, and literature.

Find out more

Inspiring Minds: Business and Economics

4 April, 9.30am-4pm, James France

Inspiring Minds is Loughborough University’s series of taster days for Year 12 students. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn more about the options available at the University and how to get there.

Find out more

Inspiring Minds: STEM

5 April 2024, 9am-4pm, Sir David Davies

Inspiring Minds is Loughborough University’s series of taster days for Year 12 students. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn more about the options available at the University and how to get there.

Find out more

The Launch of the LUMEN Curriculum

The Launch of the LUMEN Curriculum

March 22, 2024 Centre for Mathematical Cognition

Written by Dr Colin Foster. Colin is a Reader in Mathematics Education and interested in educational design in mathematics. He is the Director of the Loughborough University Mathematics Education Network (LUMEN), and Lead Author of the LUMEN Curriculum. There is a link to LUMEN at the end of this blogpost. This article is edited by Dr Bethany Woollacott.

Introduction

Over the last few years, the principal focus of the Loughborough University Mathematics Education Network (LUMEN) has been on designing a complete, fully-resourced, research-informed, free mathematics curriculum for schools. We’re very excited that this is now complete and available on the LUMEN website. In this blogpost, I will outline our thinking behind these resources, as explored in more detail in our paper on the design principles and our more recent paper on the challenges of applying some of these principles (both linked at the end of this blogpost). I will also explain what the LUMEN Curriculum looks like and how we envisage it being used.

Why more mathematics teaching resources?

The world is awash with mathematics teaching resources, so what is our excuse for creating yet more? Indeed, some of the resources out there are of exceptionally high quality and have been very influential in our work. However, the majority of what is freely available online is low-quality. Many busy teachers sit up late at night trying to separate the diamonds from the glass. Even if they manage to find some high-quality resources for tomorrow’s lesson, there is the problem of coherence: “a collection of great tasks does not necessarily add up to a great collection of tasks”. A whole bag of individually great resources does not necessarily provide a great collective experience for students.

A collection of great tasks does not necessarily add up to a great collection of tasks

Some schools avoid this endless search for individual resources by purchasing a commercial scheme, such as a set of textbooks. However, these materials are often also perceived to be of poor quality, and they are rarely informed by research or trialled in real classrooms with real teachers. Although they present with a superficial consistency in terms of page design, on closer inspection they may be no more coherent than the individually-sourced materials. Ideas are often poorly connected and organised to support students’ learning across different topics and successive school years1.

Research-informed, free and editable

In the Centre for Mathematical Cognition, we are fortunate to have the largest team of researchers focused on mathematics education than anywhere in the world. This has enabled us to draw on research from across mathematics education, cognitive science and educational design to produce a highly research-informed Curriculum1.

In the Centre for Mathematical Cognition, we are fortunate to have the largest team of researchers focused on mathematics education than anywhere in the world.

Funding from Research England has enabled us to make these resources available completely free of charge. School mathematics department budgets are tight, and it can be frustrating when a department’s main expense is a set of textbooks that perhaps they do not even like very much. The LUMEN Curriculum is completely free and easy to access – with no annoying login required.

Another unique feature of the LUMEN Curriculum is that it is completely editable (Creative Commons CC BY NC SA), giving teachers agency to edit the resources to suit their context. This contrasts with commercial resources, which are locked as pdfs or printed pages, leaving teachers powerless even to correct egregious errors. Teachers often say about materials, “I like it, but…”, suggesting that they would use it or like it better if they could change something. It is not just about quality but suitability for the context. Most educational resources are “Take it or leave it“. The LUMEN Curriculum is “Take it or leave it … or adapt it and improve it”, allowing teachers to make changes however they wish.

Editability also raises exciting possibilities for schools to easily trial different versions of the Curriculum with different classes. For example, we use colour purposefully throughout many of the units in the Curriculum. But how effective is this? Schools can easily ‘Select All’ and change everything to black, and trial this version with one class against the colour version with another class, collecting local evidence of ‘what works’ in their context.

What does the Curriculum actually look like?

We have tried to make the materials easy to read and pleasant to look at while applying principles from cognitive science. For example, we have used images where they support learning but have avoided redundant pictures that could be distracting2. We also include lots of ‘Discuss’ boxes, which are intended for the teacher to use with the whole class, with students possibly responding on mini-whiteboards. These are interspersed with ‘Try this’ boxes for students to work on independently.

We use a fixed set of diverse, friendly student characters throughout the materials. These characters often model being wrong. We want students to see that making mistakes is OK and that mistakes are something to learn from. Often the fictional students disagree about things and the real students have to sort out what is going on. Or the fictional students do things in different ways, enabling the real students to make sense of what the fictional students have done, and decide which approach they prefer in different situations and explain why.

Throughout the Curriculum we use the number line as our primary representation. We have written in detail3 about why we use this in preference to other common representations of number, and we argue for the advantages of a single main representation of number, rather than lots of switching about. We see multiplication as stretching the number line and multipliers as perhaps the biggest single idea across the Key Stage 3 (age 11-14) curriculum.

Although we build on the foundations students have laid at primary school, we start a long way back, to cater for students who are not yet secure with important ideas. We anticipate that teachers will make the judgement to omit things that are too basic for their students, but we would rather provide too much than leave teachers searching for supplementary material to fill gaps.

The availability of manipulatives and technology varies dramatically from school to school, and we have approached this by making almost everything do-able without. However, we have often suggested where practical equipment can be used, and we link to free or widely-available software such as GeoGebra or spreadsheets for many of the tasks. In particular, the main Algebra units are highly based on the free Grid Algebra software, which is easily accessible from any browser. (Links to Grid Algebra and the recent CMC blogpost on Grid Algebra are below).

Please spread the word about the LUMEN Curriculum among schools and teachers and let us know what you think using the link below!

The development of the LUMEN Curriculum has been funded by Research England through the Centre for Mathematical Cognition.

References

1. Foster, C., Francome, T., Hewitt, D., & Shore, C. (2021). Principles for the design of a fully-resourced, coherent, research-informed school mathematics curriculum. Journal of Curriculum Studies53(5), 621–641. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2021.1902569

2. Foster, C., Woollacott, B., Francome, T., Shore, C., Peters, C., & Morley, H. (2024). Challenges in applying principles from cognitive science to the design of a school mathematics curriculum. The Curriculum Journal. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1002/curj.249

3. Foster, C. (2022). Using coherent representations of number in the school mathematics curriculum. For the Learning of Mathematics42(3), 21-27.

This Week at Loughborough | 18 March

This Week at Loughborough | 18 March

March 15, 2024 Orla Price

Sustainability Fortnight:

Dr.Bike Maintenance Session

19 March 2024, 11am-2pm, Outside EHB

This session is a chance for you to seek advice on taking care of your bike, receive repairs, and pick up any accessories which might be useful.

Find out more

Biodiversity Talk with the University Gardens Team

19 March 2024, 1pm-2pm, EHB110A

An in-person talk with the Assistant Gardens Manager, Rich Fenn-Griffin about biodiversity, how it affects us on campus, and how we can act to preserve the natural world for future generations.

Find out more

Action Food Drive

20 March 2024, Across student halls on campus

Students in halls are encouraged to start collecting food items from 4 March to be donated to charity. On 20 March, the food items will be collected and delivered to local food banks for people who may not otherwise have access to food.

Find out more

Green Careers Workshop and Panel

21 March 2024, 11am-2.30pm, WAV041 (Wavy Top)

The workshop (11am-12.30pm) will include a brief introduction to sustainability and the climate crisis, the future of green jobs, skills for the future, and purpose-driven careers.

It will be followed by a panel (1.30pm-2.30pm) including guest speakers with varying employment backgrounds, who can offer valuable insights into the future of work and offer advice to jobseekers.

Find out more

Fruit Routes Barefoot Holi

21 March 2024, 12pm-5pm, Barefoot Orchard/Pilkington Library

Come along for a spring bonfire and celebration of colour. There are three different elements to this event. You are welcome to attend any or all of the events on the day.

Find out more

Film Screening: 50 years of Litter on Skye

21 March 2024, 6pm-8pm, Edward Herbert Building

This event will present the work of the 50 Years of Litter on Skye team. It will highlight the extent of litter on these remote coastlines, and untangle the unseen connections that communities who are geographically isolated from Skye, such as those in Loughborough, have with the litter that has been washing ashore on the island for over half a century.

Find out more

Food for Thought: A fresh perspective on food with Gregg Wallace

22 March 2024, 12.30pm-2.15pm, The Lounge (LSU)

Join the Sustainability Team, MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace, and other industry experts for a lunchtime panel discussion on the future of food and how going vegan, eating seasonally, meal prepping and considering the impact of food waste, can all help support the future of our planet.

Find out more

General:

University Chaplaincy Interfaith Iftar Meal

18 March 2024, 6.30pm-8.30pm, EHB Atrium

The University Chaplaincy invites you to an Interfaith Iftar Meal to mark the breaking of fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Students and staff of all faiths and none are invited to attend this special meal and to learn more about Ramadan and why Muslims fast.

Find out more

Student Live Lounge

18 March 2024, 7.30pm, The Lounge (LSU)

If you enjoy live music and discovering new artists then join us for a special, laid back evening as we present the best talent from Loughborough University. If you’re a student and you would like to perform at this event then you need to register your interest in advance as there are limited slots available.

Find out more

Postgraduate Accommodation in Loughborough Q&A Webinar

19 March 2024, 12pm-1pm, Online

Come along for a webinar and Q&A session on postgraduate accommodation on and around the Loughborough campus. Whether you’re interested in the halls of residence or renting University-approved student houses in Loughborough itself, students and staff will be on hand to answer your queries.

Find out more

Higher Education Smart Campus Associations’ (HESCA) annual conference

18-19 March 2024, 9.30am-6pm (18th) & 9am-4pm (19th), Holywell Park Conference Centre

Loughborough University is pleased to be hosting the Higher Education Smart Campus Associations’ (HESCA) annual conference for 2024. This is an excellent opportunity to collaborate, share experiences, and learn from the work of other higher education institutions and various suppliers and industry experts for smart campus technologies.

Find out more

Quorn Food Tasting

19 March 2024, 11.30am, EHB Atrium

Quorn will be showcasing bitesize portions of their alternatives to meat dishes, offering you the opportunity to understand more about food choices and carbon emissions, as well as grabbing a free sample. Dishes include: ‘Meat half way’ chilli, new vegan burger, and a vegan beef curry.

Find out more

Futurecasting Workshop with Studio Hyte

19 March 2024, 3pm-6pm, Design School

Are you interested in futures thinking, science fiction, creative writing, sustainability, or speculative design? Come along for an introductory session to futurecasting where you will gain skills in defining, describing, and developing plausible future scenarios related to climate justice.

Find out more

Postgraduate Accommodation in London Q&A Webinar

20 March 2024, 12pm-1pm, Online

Come along for a webinar and Q&A session on postgraduate accommodation at the London campus. Students and staff will be on hand to answer your queries about the options available, what it’s like to live in one of the world’s most diverse and vibrant cities and more.

Find out more

IAS Seminar: Engaging the Entire Humanitarian Clean Cooking System: Unlocking Institutional Scale

20 March 2024, 12pm-1pm, International House/Zoom Webinar

This seminar will explore the state of the humanitarian energy sector, the role of clean cooking, and how the institutional scale may unlock more efficient and effective pathways to the completion of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7 – sustainable energy for all.

Find out more

Opportunities in China

20 March 2024, 2pm-4pm, U.122 (Brockington Extension)

Are you interested in living and working in China? Ambright Education Group are receiving applications from final-year students at Loughborough for the role of Assistant English Teacher in Chinese schools from September 2024 to June 2025.

Find out more

Writing funny characters for TV, radio, theatre and stand-up

20 March 2024, 2pm-5pm, SMB103 (Stewart Mason)

Join LU Arts for this writing workshop with experienced guidance from Carolyn Scott-Jeffs and Tom Stevenson. There will be an exploration of character comedy, followed by set exercises on creating new characters, developing existing characters, and how to make them funny in the context of your story. The session will conclude by sharing examples of work and receiving feedback.

Find out more

SDCA Postgraduate Pathways

20 March 2024, 5pm-7pm, LDS 0.17 (Design School)

Come along to this event to discover more about postgraduate study in the School of Design and Creative Arts (SDCA). Hear from the Dean of the SDCA, speak with current postgraduate students, and meet the postgraduate programme leads to find out about design and creative arts master’s degrees and PhD opportunities.

This event is open to both current SDCA students and those studying within other schools.

Find out more

Breakfast Study Cafes

21 March 2024, 8am-11am, DAV1109 (Sir David Davies)

Drop in for a morning study session, a free hot drink and some baked goodies. Use a study planner to set goals for the session and use the Pomodoro technique to help you achieve these during the first two sessions (8am-9am and 9am-10am). In the third session (10am-11am) you can work at your own pace.

Find out more

National Theatre Live: The Motive and the Cue

21 March 2024, 7pm-10pm, Cope Auditorium

Mark Gatiss and Johnny Flynn star as John Gielgud and Richard Burton in their infamous Hamlet rehearsal period in the 1960s. Filmed live on stage at the National Theatre, ‘The Motive and the Cue’ is a new play by Jack Thorne, directed by Sam Mendes.

Find out more

Exhibition: By some means or Other

28 February-22 March 2024, 12pm-2pm, Martin Hall Exhibition Space

This exhibition brings together five artists selected to take part in the national Artists Access to Art Colleges (AA2A) artist residency scheme in the School of Design and Creative Arts at Loughborough University. The work on display showcases a selection of their diverse projects ongoing since October 2023.

Find out more

Careers:

International Futures- UK Etiquette and Professional Behaviour

18 March 2024, 6pm-7pm, MS Teams

As an international Student understanding UK Etiquette and Professional behaviour, is essential to be successful in your Career Journey. This session will help you navigate and understand expectations about professional behaviour in the workplace. 

Find out more

Skill-Up: Business Planning

20 March 2024, 6pm-7pm, Start-Up Lab (STEMLab)

This week’s session will help you to examine all aspects and areas of your enterprise and what key considerations should be given for short and long term growth.

Find out more

Master’s Futures: Postgraduate Career Planning

22 March 2024, 1pm-2pm, EHB002 (Edward Herbert)

This session is designed to support Postgraduate students in creating a career plan, that allows them to determine their skills and interests, set career goals, and put actions in place. 

Find out more

CRCC member Jilly Kay speaks at the international symposium ‘Log Out!’ at the University of Toronto

CRCC member Jilly Kay speaks at the international symposium ‘Log Out!’ at the University of Toronto

March 15, 2024 Iliana Depounti

Jilly Kay – the co-lead of our Media, Memory and History theme and Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media at Loughborough University – was an invited speaker at the University of Toronto on March 6th, 2024.

The symposium, hosted by the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology (ICCIT), was entitled ‘Log Out! The Technopolitics of Refusal’, and focussed on tactics of refusal within our current era of techno-capitalism. Jilly presented a paper entitled “Andrew Tate for girls”: dark feminine influencers and micro-fascist mirror-worlds. She argued that the technopolitics of the manosphere – and its logics of bio-essentialism, evolutionary theory, political fatalism, and the ‘red pill’ philosophy – are increasingly mirrored by female dating influencers. This research forms part of her larger project on ‘reactionary feminism’ and the rise of the ‘femosphere’ – the loose collection of female-centric online communities and influencers which, she argues, is best understood as a gender-flipped version of the manosphere.

Speakers at the event also included Nicole Charles (University of Toronto), Leopoldina Fortunati (University of Udine), Gavin Mueller (University of Amsterdam), Sarah Sharma (University of Toronto) and Rinaldo Walcott (University of Buffalo), and a number of contributions by the University of Toronto doctoral students. 

During the trip to Canada, Jilly also gave a talk at Western University, to staff and students in the Sociology department.

Jilly Kay is a Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media at Loughborough University. She is a co-investigator on the project ‘Re-CARE TV: Reality Television, Working Practices and Duties of Care’ (2023-26), within which she leads the work package on reality television participation. She is co-lead of the Media, Memory and History research theme at Loughborough University, co-convenor of the Media and Gender research group, and co-editor of the European Journal of Cultural Studies

The world can't wait. And neither can we

The world can't wait. And neither can we

March 15, 2024 Nick Jennings

Professor Nick Jennings has written an open letter to the sector asking that we collectively take a stand and change the narrative that’s currently so damaging to higher education.

He asks the UK’s universities to turn the tide and shape a narrative that’s truly reflective of the wide-ranging impact we have on individuals, regions and countries worldwide.

Read the full letter

Why Artificial Intelligence Can’t Replace CEOs

March 14, 2024 Nick Jennings
Image courtesy of Getty Images

This article was originally published on Outlook.

When we reflect in years to come, we’ll probably agree that 2023 was a breakthrough year for Artificial Intelligence (AI). Powerful chatbots such as ChatGPT have sparked a society-wide surge of interest in AI technology; and all around the world people are pondering its implications, debating whether it will bring a positive revolution or the beginning of the end for life as we know it. 

Despite its recent rapid advancements, AI isn’t new. I’ve spent the last 30 years researching AI and we can trace its foundations back to at least the 1950 research paper ‘Can Machines Think’ written by the British mathematician Alan Turing. Over the course of the 70-plus years since, interest and advances in AI have come and gone. Today it’s so much more than a thought experiment, as it routinely impacts our daily lives. 

Some advocate grasping the opportunities with both hands, believing it will change the world for the better; then there are those who advise real caution, wary of the potential extent of its impact. Both sides are right and have valid points to make. Yes, AI is transforming society, and this will become ever more pronounced as the technology improves and we think of more creative ways to deploy it. 

But AI systems will not become all-powerful, take over the world, or lead to human extinction.  

In conversations I have, one of the common concerns is AI’s potential impact on people, particularly whether it will render jobs obsolete. While there will be increasing use of AI to automate some routine tasks within jobs, I see less scope for wholesale replacement of jobs. AI will also, of course, create new types of jobs.  

If we consider leadership roles, such as a CEO or a Vice-Chancellor, AI systems just don’t have the human elements that are crucial for effective leadership. AI systems are poor at social interactions; they don’t know how to be effective collaborators, good team players or robust challengers of human decisions. AI systems don’t inspire and motivate staff in the way that the best CEOs do. 

And there are issues with the way AI systems make decisions — most can’t readily explain why they made a particular decision — and chatbots in particular are prone to hallucination, which means they can give convincing, but entirely fictitious, answers. They have no intuition or insight about when they may be wrong. 

So, while it’s likely that AI will be used to enhance CEO roles, its inability to replicate fundamentally human qualities such as emotional intelligence, creativity, strategic vision and interpersonal skills limits its capabilities.  

In my opinion, CEOs should be thinking about how AI systems can better partner with people. This is a significantly understudied area. At the moment, many human-computer interactions are awkward. Computers have rigid interfaces and humans need to adapt to them. 

Computers need to be more flexible, better problem-solving partners, better collaborators, and better advice givers. AI systems will be most effective when they work in partnership with humans, making the most of the complementarity between the tasks that smart machines are good at and those at which humans excel. 

CEOs should be thinking, and learning, about how these powerful tools can enhance their work — and that’s where the higher education sector has a significant role to play. 

We have a duty to prepare our students to be purpose-driven people, part of a global workforce in which they routinely use AI tools in a responsible manner to help organisations perform better. The DigiLabs we’re creating at Loughborough University, for example, will ensure that our graduates are future-fit for the world of work in which digital skills, data analytics, and virtual and augmented reality play a key part. As employees or company CEOs, they’ll be able to reap the positive benefits of AI and machine learning.  

Overall, I believe AI systems will be positive for society, helping us tackle global challenges such as climate change, population health and productivity. But we need to consider how best to progress in a responsible way. 

AI will soon power even more of our lives. Early glimpses of this are evident today, but we have only just started to scratch the surface of what AI can do for our businesses.   

Navigating copyright in the Digital Age

Navigating copyright in the Digital Age

March 12, 2024 lbcr

Have you ever found a nice image on the great, wide web and decided to download and use it? Have you ever come across an array of Creative Commons licenses and their meaning was daunting or confusing? Hopefully the next few paragraphs will help you navigate copyright in the digital age.

So, what exactly is copyright? Copyright is defined as an exclusive economic right granted to the creator of original work to permit or prevent other people from using it. In plain language, copyright is a right given to a creator (human creator) to use the work created in any way shape or form they wish. They can sell it, bequeath it, or decide to give their copyright up and make it available for anyone to use without restriction. You might come across items that are licensed as Creative Commons Zero, those are free to be re-used without issues.

You can also find items that are in the public domain, not to be confused with publicly available. Public domain items are works, where copyright has come to an end, and they can now be used by the public without fear of copyright infringement. However, do be careful. Certain items can have trademarks attached to them, so they work differently.

How do you navigate this mishmash of reusable, free and all rights reserved works that you can find on the web? Well, there are some handy questions to ask yourself:

Be aware that anything that says “fair use” does not apply in the UK. In the UK we use the term “fair dealing”.

The ‘fair dealing’ principle in the UK, is much more restrictive than the US ‘fair use’ principle. In simple terms, the question to ask yourself when applying the ‘fair dealing’ principle is how would a fair-minded person use this material? The below infographic should help with ‘fair dealing’ use.

More information on ‘fair dealing’ can be found in the Fair Dealing: A quick guide on our repository.

Licenses are very useful when it comes to knowing what can or cannot be done with copyright materials. So here is a quick overview of the different licenses:

  • All Rights Reserved (ARR): The most restrictive license, granting the copyright holder exclusive control over all aspects of the work’s use.
  • Creative Commons (CC) Licenses: A family of open-content licenses that provide a flexible approach to copyright management. CC licenses offer different levels of permission, from non-commercial use to commercial exploitation with attribution.
  • Software licenses: Legal instruments governing the use and redistribution of software.

You can find more information on licenses in our Licenses section on the Copyright webpages.

Important to remember is the fact that materials found online have the same protection as physical materials, like books or paintings. Before you save and re-use, make sure you know what you can or cannot do with the material and most importantly of all, make sure to credit the author. If you still struggle with licensing and re-use of digital material, get in touch with Loughborough University’s Copyright and Licensing Manager.

Morality, Research and Debate

March 11, 2024 Loughborough University London

Morality, Research and Debate  

By Ginerva Grant  

In my capacity as institute representative for IDIG, my peers and I put on a debate in the parliamentary style which asked the question: ‘Would you support the use of cluster bombs in the conflict in Ukraine by the Ukrainian government?’ 

For those unaware, cluster bombs are a type of cluster munitions that the United States announced they were sending to Ukraine last July as part of a new aid package. These munitions are banned in over 100 countries for their high dud rate and violent dispersal.   

I don’t come from an international relations background. My experience is limited to the news, television shows, and the literature I have read and work I have done in aid of a post-graduate degree in the subject. As one of the selected debaters for the ‘pro’ side of the argument, research was required, so I employed the usual methods.  

This involved me drawing on information I remembered from news stories, opinion pieces, academic literature, as well as examining NGO websites. I even managed to find a technical guide to cluster munitions!   

Yet as I sorted through the articles to craft my own arguments, a singular intrusive thought saturated each attempt: ‘all wars are crimes’. I recognized it immediately for what it was, a quote from ‘The West Wing’, an American television series written by Aaron Sorkin, where the White House Chief of Staff realizes that in bombing a military target, he had, in fact, killed 11 civilians.   

I would search for a counter argument to reporting discrepancies in dud rates and it would be there whispering: ‘all wars are crimes’; I would move on to explain inefficiencies in unitary munitions or supply shortages and it would tap me on the shoulder with a simple insinuation. Was it meant to absolve me? Wars are, after all, lose-lose situations where the only thing being decided is who loses how much. Or was it a censure against casualness? My arguments seemed so logical and straightforward, that at the conclusion of my research, the opposing side seemed grounded in mere moral equivocations.   

My thoughts were so muddied by the end that only after a tea break was I able to right the ship and remember, mine was not to question the right or the wrong side of it but to argue my side the best, to foresee all possible counter-arguments and be ready to proudly address the other side with a jaunty, ‘this is why you are wrong’. So that’s what I did, nose to the grindstone and it produced an inconclusive result because though the pro-side was better argued, audience members remained unwilling to approve of the usage of cluster munitions in any way.   

Following the debate I briefly interviewed my colleagues on (1) how they felt about cluster bombing prior to their research (2) whether emotions played a role in the way they researched or the formation of their arguments (3) and if the debate changed their stance on cluster munitions. Both members of the con team were against cluster bombs prior to the debate and their stances did not change at its conclusion, though both believe their research was emotionally driven, one felt they maintained their rationality. My partner and I on the pro side entered the debate slightly left of neutral and exited it the same, though while my partner found his approach to be evenly rational, I found my own research to be a tumultuous trip between pragmatism and guilt.   

Dramatic, right?  

It was merely a debate over a decision that had been taken months ago that no one in that room had the power to influence.  

And yet…  

We don’t have the decision-making power, so we do this instead. Argue and debate because we all have opinions and, for an academic especially, nothing is better than someone with a well-argued and well-reasoned opinion. Arguing our point well is what we are trained to do, after all. So, when I took the stage on Thursday the 15th of February, almost two years into the war in Ukraine, I argued to win. Because of course they had a right to use cluster munitions, they were deployed on their own land, no party involved was or is a member of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, ‘armchair’ assessments are superfluous, these munitions are important for tactical advancement-  

And on and on it goes.  

But whether it is civilians or soldiers that are dying, now or in the future, because of these munitions’ usage, by either side, there will be bloody and violent deaths.   

All wars are crimes.  

Because of course they are. 

This Week at Loughborough | 11 March

This Week at Loughborough | 11 March

March 8, 2024 Orla Price

University Mental Health Day:

Low Sensory Room

14 March 2024, 10am-2pm, Chaplaincy Quiet Room (Edward Herbert Building)

The room will be a low sensory area where fidget toys and colouring books will be available to use.

Find out more

My Lifestyle

14 March 2024, 10am-2pm, EHB Atrium (Edward Herbert Building)

Drop by to meet friendly staff who can explain and direct you to any sporting or physical activity opportunity available to you on campus. Staff will be able to talk through the Loughborough Sport app and answer any questions you may have. There will also be a mini game to play.

Find out more

Anxiety: when this becomes a problem

14 March 2024, 10.30am-11am, EHB2.11 (Edward Herbert Building)

Anxiety is our body’s natural response to perceived threat and often leaves us with feelings of worry, fear, or unease. The Wellbeing Team will explore some ideas of how to recognise what is happening and strategies to begin managing different reactions.

Find out more

Video Room

14 March 2024, 10.30am-1.30pm, EHB2.09 (Edward Herbert Building)

A series of short films around subjects relating to different mental health problems will be shown. There may be some sensitive subjects in the films so there will be members of staff on hand to discuss any issues raised.

Find out more

Navigating the recruitment process

14 March 2024, 10am-12pm, Chaplaincy Innerspace (Edward Herbert Building)

The Careers Team will discuss navigating the recruitment process with a disability. The talk will cover adjustments and disclosure, amongst other related issues.

Find out more

LSU Classical Performance

14 March 2024, 12pm-1pm, EHB Atrium (Edward Herbert Building)

LboroStrings, LSU Classical’s student string quartet, was formed in 2022 and has since performed at various events and concerts. Their repertoire ranges from traditional classical pieces to contemporary pop covers.

Find out more

Sewing the Stress Away

14 March 2024, 12pm-2pm, Innerspace (EHB217), Centre for Faith and Spirituality

Join LU Arts on University Mental Health Day for a chance to unwind and create a simple canvas banner.

You will be given your own canvas banner to decorate with embroidery, felt, ribbons and beads. You can sew flowers, affirmations or something abstract, it’s up to you. You do not need any prior sewing experience; Penn will teach you some basic stitching techniques and will be on hand to offer help and guidance.

Find out more

Mindfulness Session

14 March 2024, 12.30pm-1pm, EHB2.11 (Edward Herbert Building)

Event hosted by Hayley Whelport (Cognitive Behavioural Therapist). It can be easy to rush through life without stopping to notice much. Paying more attention to the present moment, to your thoughts and feelings, and the world around you can improve your mental wellbeing.

Find out more

Laughter Yoga (staff)

14 March 2024, 12.30pm-1.15pm, Innerspace (EHB217), Centre for Faith and Spirituality

Laughing for no reason, just laughing. These sessions boost serotonin and leave you feeling good for the rest of the day! As part of University Mental Health Day, the Chaplaincy invites you to join one of these sessions, led by Chaplain Anthony Gimpel, combining playfulness, laughter, and breathing for pleasure and health. There are 15 spaces available for the staff sessions.

Find out more

Choose to disclose talk

14 March 2024, 1.15pm-1.45pm, EHB2.10 (Edward Herbert Building)

The Mental Health Support Team will provide an overview of the benefits and support available when a student discloses a mental health problem, followed by a Q&A and general discussion.

Find out more

Laughter Yoga (students)

14 March 2024, 1.45pm-2.15pm & 2.30pm-3pm,

Laughing for no reason, just laughing. These sessions boost serotonin and leave you feeling good for the rest of the day! As part of University Mental Health Day, the Chaplaincy invites you to join one of these sessions, led by Chaplain Anthony Gimpel, combining playfulness, laughter, and breathing for pleasure and health. For students, there are 10 spaces available per session.

Find out more

Sustainability Fortnight:

Clothes Swap

11 March 2024, 12.30pm-4pm, Royce Hall Common Room

This is a collaboration event between the Sustainability Team and the LGBT+ association to provide a space for donating unwanted clothes and picking up some new pieces. If you have spare clothes that you no longer wear or would like to get some new clothes in a sustainable way, come along to this LGBT+ friendly event.

Find out more

Repair Café

12 March 2024, 1.30pm-4pm, Martin Hall Cafe

The Repair Café is a space for you to bring any broken items for our volunteer repairers to attempt mending, and to offer you advice on how to perform future repairs. 

Find out more

Reclaiming the Runway: Sustainable Fashion Show

12 March 2024, 7pm, The Basement (LSU)

Reclaiming the Runway is a student-led Sustainable fashion show exploring and showcasing the way technology has changed the way we interact with fashion and how it is helping make fashion more sustainable. There will be 4 categories: Re-wear, Re-invent, Re-connect and Re-purpose, showing the different ways fashion, technology and sustainability interact and affect us, communities and the planet.

Find out more

Grime Scene Investigation

13 March 2024, 11am-4pm, Square outside Robert Bakewell Hall

This event is an opportunity to audit your waste and find out how successful each hall is at segregating their recycling. Waste will be collected from the halls and sorted through to identify who has segregated their waste the most efficiently into general waste and recycling.

Find out more

Mini Sustainability Fair

14 March 2024, 11am-3pm, The Atrium (Edward Herbert Building)

At the Mini Sustainability Fair, there will be multiple stalls set up in the Edward Herbert Building (EHB), each one offering a unique perspective on sustainability and the climate emergency. Leicestershire County Council will be attending to play the ‘How Bad Are Bananas’ game which is a fun, engaging, and educational activity highlighting the various carbon impacts of activities and the items we consume.

Find out more

Fruit Routes Spring Walk

15 March 2024, 2pm-3.30pm, Meeting at Barefoot Orchard

A scenic stroll around the fruit orchards and green spaces of campus with Fruit Routes Project Artist Mita Solanky and Sustainability Assistant Lottie Ambridge. This will showcase the locally grown fruit we have access to here on campus as well as encouraging spending time in nature to improve wellbeing.

Find out more

Smoothie Bike on the Lawn

15 March 2024, 2pm-4pm, Loughborough Students’ Union Lawn

An exciting opportunity for students to make their own smoothies by pedalling the bike, which is a sustainable source of energy! Fruit will be available to purchase on-site during the day for this activity. The event will be taking place on the Loughborough Students’ Union lawn which is the grassy area at the front.

Find out more

General:

IAS Seminar: Electric Vehicle (EV) Tribology & Technology

11 March 2024, 12pm-1pm, International House/Zoom

Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) Visiting Fellow Dr Jonny Hansen will deliver a seminar on their research. This talk explores the key role of tribology in advancing electric vehicle (EV) mobility. Emphasising the intricate connection between the electrical and lubrication regimes in EV bearing contacts, the presentation highlights the challenges posed by electrified conditions to the traditionally considered relative safety of the elasto-hydrodynamic lubrication (EHL) regime.

Find out more

Master’s Admissions Q&A Webinar

12 March 2024, 12pm-12.45pm, Online

Come along for a webinar and Q&A session on applying for a master’s degree at Loughborough University. Students and staff will be on hand to answer your queries about the application process, personal statements, key deadlines and more.

Find out more

IAS Friends and Fellows Coffee Morning

13 March 2024, 10.30am-12pm, International House

The Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) are hosting this informal gathering with coffee and cakes, where we will be joined by Open Programme Fellows Dr Yoel Asseraf and Professor Kalanit Efrat. Both are hosted by Professor Anne Souchon from the Loughborough Business School.

Find out more

Create & Connect

13 March 2024, 2pm-3.30pm, Collaboration Station (LSU)

LU Arts and the International Student Experience Team are running a 5-week programme for international students to help you connect with each other and do something creative in your spare time. The weekly sessions in the Students’ Union are a mixture of workshops and art activities with a weekly theme, run by one of our arts workers. In the final week, we will be delving into Easter fun and looking at getting creative with egg art!

Find out more

For the love of letters: Ford Madox Ford, correspondence, and the golden age of the postal service

13 March 2024, 4pm-5.30pm, Martin Hall (Room 117)/Online

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, friends, family and lovers could keep in constant contact by postcard and letter. During the golden age of the postal service, Londoners could send and receive messages up to twelve times a day. This enabled the writer Ford Madox Ford to send a constant stream of love letters to his fiancee Elsie Martindale against her parents’ wishes, and later to stay in touch with their children while he travelled abroad.

Find out more

Futurology Conference – Reaction Engines

13 March 2024, 5pm-7pm, MS Teams

Reaction Engines will deliver a talk about future technologies in engineering consultancies and sustainable practices. This conference is one of four online conferences with speakers from engineering and technology companies who will be discussing topics from leading technologies in their industry, sustainability, their company role and employability.

Find out more

IAS Seminar: Manifesting Chutzpah in business

14 March 2023, 12pm-1pm, International House/Online

Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) Visiting Fellows Dr Yoel Asseraf and Professor Kalanit Efrat will deliver a seminar on their research, fully titled ‘Manifesting Chutzpah in business: How Chutzpadik behaviour affects advertising effectiveness and export performance’.

Chutzpah helps you stand out. This is particularly evident in advertising (through differentiation), and exporting (increasingly predicated on entrepreneurship). Yet, knowledge of Chutzpadik behaviour in business in general, and advertising and exporting in particular, is fragmented.

Find out more

Jewellery Workshop

14 March 2024, 6pm-8pm, The Treehouse (LSU)

Hosted by enterprising student Elodie Delens Jackson, an opportunity for students to learn how to make their own jewellery from scratch.

Find out more

Flix Cinema Screening: ‘Ferrari’

14 March 2024, 7pm-9.30pm, Cope Auditorium

‘Ferrari’, directed by Michael Mann, starring Adam Driver, Penélope Cruz, Shailene Woodley and Patrick Dempsey. During the summer of 1957, bankruptcy looms over the company that Enzo Ferrari and his wife built 10 years earlier. He decides to roll the dice and wager it all on the iconic Mille Miglia, a treacherous 1,000-mile race across Italy.

Find out more

How to be an ally for people experiencing the menopause

15 March 2024, 3pm-4pm, EHB110B (Edward Herbert Building)

Join this panelist event on what it is to be an ally and what allyship means to people experiencing menopause. Panelists for the event will be Eef Hogervorst, Aakif Imthiyaz, Emma O’Donnell and Oliver Hooper, who will share their thoughts insights, research, and experience regarding menopause and also provide attendees with practical support tips.

Find out more

Exhibition: By some means or Other

28 February-22 March 2024, 12pm-2pm, Martin Hall Exhibition Space

This exhibition brings together five artists selected to take part in the national Artists Access to Art Colleges (AA2A) artist residency scheme in the School of Design and Creative Arts at Loughborough University. The work on display showcases a selection of their diverse projects ongoing since October 2023.

Find out more

Careers:

Insight Global Wants Loughborough Graduates!

12 March 2024, 10am-4pm, James France Exhibition Area

Come along and speak with Insight Global on Tuesday 12th February, where you can hear more about their Graduate Sales Programme! Insight Global will also be giving out FREE merchandise to those they speak with. 

Find out more

East Midlands Conversations: Applying for work with a disability

13 March 2024, 1pm-2pm, MS Teams

In this session you will hear from speakers about their experiences around managing their disability in the recruitment process and at work, identifying positive changes that can be made in the workplace, top tips and advice around sharing information about a disability and asking for adjustments and more.

Find out more

Talent Match – Summer Internship Launch Event

14 March 2024, 12pm-1pm, EHB104 (Edward Herbert Building)

Are you a motivated first, second, placement year or final year student or 2023 graduate seeking real-world experience over your summer vacation? We invite you to our Summer Internships Launch Event!

Find out more

Five minutes with: Elaine Beaken

Five minutes with: Elaine Beaken

March 7, 2024 Guest blogger

What’s your job title and how long have you been at Loughborough?

I’m the Careers Development Co-ordinator and also the Cayley Warden. I’ve worked here 22 years – I started in HR as a HR Officer, moved to the School of SSH as a Student Admin Manager and am now in Careers Network.

Tell us what a typical day in your job looks like?

I am fairly new to my substantive role as Careers Development Co-ordinator. However, a typical day at present involves organising a timetable of events for the new term or coaching students through one-to-one sessions on careers-related matters either by individual appointments or at the East/West Park Hub. In my role as a Warden there is no typical day. I help with signposting on various issues such as heating issues, water leaks or student wellbeing issues. At this time of year I’ll be working closely with the Student Accommodation Centre to agree which students will be returning to halls next year.

What’s your favourite project you’ve worked on?

Cayley move in day is my favourite day of the year. Greeting new students into the hall is the most rewarding part of my role. Most students arrive very nervous, anxious and apprehensive (as do their parents/carers), and my role is to provide a warm, friendly welcome and to reassure them that the way they’re currently feeling is normal and that everyone is in the same boat. That evening at dinner in the hall it’s lovely to watch them making new friends.

When I first started in HR, I was asked by the Registrar to put together a Flexi-Time Policy and trial it, I was very happy that the University adopted the policy and it’s still running today.

What is your proudest moment at Loughborough?

This is a hard question! Apart from graduating myself having completed the CIPD, I’d say the proudest moments have been in my role as Warden. Once I’d been a Warden for three years, I saw my students graduate and them keeping in touch with me via social media makes me really proud of them. I was also super proud of the Admin Team (the A Team) in SSH for the way we managed to support each other and deliver a high quality of service to our students and academics during Covid.

Tell us something you do outside of work that we might not know about?

I’m sure anyone who knows me knows I love dancing. I attend a dance class once a week called On Broadway where we learn a dance to a Broadway song over four weeks. It’s a lot of fun and a good way to make friends and destress.

What is your favourite quote?

“He who dares wins” – Del Boy!

I live by this and like to push myself out of my comfort zone. I don’t stay still for long!

If you would like to feature in ‘5 Minutes With’, or you work with someone who you think would be great to include, please email Soph Dinnie at S.Dinnie@lboro.ac.uk.

Beyond the Bin: Inside Enva's Waste Management Site

March 5, 2024 Lottie Ambridge

This is a guest blog, written by Sai Kulkarni, who is one of Loughborough University’s Sustainability Ambassadors, and is also a Doctoral Researcher in the Department of Geography & Environment, Loughborough University.

Along with a team of Sustainability Ambassadors and the Sustainability Assistant from the University’s Sustainability Team, I recently had the opportunity to visit the Enva Waste Disposal Site in Nottingham to observe waste management practices first-hand. Welcomed by Louis Guest, we were briefed on the operations, detailing the process from waste collection to recycling.

Our tour began with donning safety gear and stepping onto the site, where we witnessed the bustling activity of waste management in action. One particularly impactful moment was observing the enormity of the waste collected at the site. We were amazed by the scale of operations and the meticulous segregation techniques employed to divert materials from landfills. From cardboard to metals, every type of waste was sorted with precision, ensuring maximum recycling efficiency. The segregation process, which involved a ballistic separator to separate 2D and 3D materials, further demonstrated Enva’s commitment to complete segregation. It showed us just how big of an impact waste management has on our world, and it’s something we won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

Louis also mentioned Enva’s innovative use of Refuse Derived Fuel from biodegradable materials for energy production, exported to Sweden and Denmark, showcasing their sustainability efforts.

This visit provided valuable insights into the waste management process, including the role of Enva in managing Loughborough University’s waste output. Learning about the destination of our waste and the recycling process further emphasized the importance of responsible waste management.

Overall, this visit to the Enva Waste Disposal Site was eye-opening, to say the least. We often chuck things away without a second thought, but seeing the mountains of waste in one place was a real wake-up call. It got me thinking about how we could make a big difference by just sorting our waste at home.

Nik, one of our Sustainability Ambassadors, shared his reflections: “Seeing the whole waste disposal process gave me a better appreciation for how much work goes into making sure as much waste as possible is recycled, from complex sorting machines to manual sorting. One thing I learnt was the importance of reducing how much waste we produce; whilst it is important to recycle as much as possible, it is even better to reduce our waste by reusing, repairing, and trying to purchase items with less packaging. Louis Guest from Enva was extremely informative, taking us through each step of the recycling process and explaining how each machine works”.

This article is in support of UN Sustainable Development Goal 12 ‘Responsible consumption and production’.  To find out more, click here.

The importance of sustainability at Loughborough University from a student’s perspective

The importance of sustainability at Loughborough University from a student’s perspective

March 5, 2024 Lottie Ambridge

This is a guest blog, by Katie Edwards, the new student Campus and Sustainability (CAS) representative for Robert Bakewell hall. This blog was written as part of the hustings process, where new representatives are elected for hall committees, and will contribute to the Green League rankings.

There are many reasons why we need to be more sustainable here at Loughborough University. Some of the main reasons are creating a healthier environment, slowing climate change, and preserving our planet. Studies show that the Earth’s biocapacity is declining, and many of the resources we currently rely on are not infinite. Therefore, it is extremely important to be more sustainable to preserve the number of resources we are using up. We need to be able to save and protect these resources for ourselves and future generations.

 Loughborough University is well known for having a green and biodiverse campus which has many social and environmental benefits. This is extremely important because nowadays so much of our waste ends up in oceans and landfills where it is affecting the environment and its biodiversity. We are unconsciously destroying our planet.  

Here at the university, we need to act in a more socially responsible way to be able to make a positive impact against climate change and striving for net zero. We can achieve this by spreading climate change awareness and helping people to become more sustainable. As a community we need to adapt to create a better future. 

We can easily become more sustainable by introducing a few simple elements into our lifestyle such as:

  • Recycling
  • Taking shorter showers to save water.
  • Turning off lights when not in use to save energy.
  • Travelling using the bus to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Limiting food waste by meal planning and not over buying food.
  • Shopping sustainably by buying second hand clothing because the textiles & fashion industry is the second biggest contributor to climate change (Sustain Your Style, 2024).

There is no better time to act than now, because waiting only limits our options.

Please visit this link to watch a video which inspired some of the points discussed in this blog post. https://youtu.be/EbZcQe9J-EE?si=I-NQEZKK0IMg7PVI

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

If you’d like to write a blog for us to support the Student Green League, email enviroassist@lboro.ac.uk with your topic suggestion.

Seen and Heard: A Lesson in Resilience and Embracing Inclusion

March 4, 2024 Guest Author

Growing up as the youngest of three girls, I was always encouraged to consider other people’s perspectives and to understand diverse experiences – a lesson instilled in each of us by our late mother. She was a strong yet compassionate woman who always demonstrated a level of mental toughness I admired, and this early exposure to empathy and inclusivity, laced with a fierce sense of justice, laid the foundation for my lifelong commitment to understanding and acceptance.

In 2014, I was introduced to the concept of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) – a framework for inclusive teaching and learning that resonated with me strongly. Since then, I have actively incorporated the key principles of multi-modal learning in my teaching practices. However, it wasn’t until I was 40 years old when I discovered I have ADHD that I realised why UDL held such resonance with me. Suddenly, the challenges I had faced throughout my life, but particularly in my academic journey, became clear. I’d always known I had to work hard to achieve good grades at school and I had assumed this was just how it was for everyone, but since learning that ADHDers have to work twice as hard as neurotypical people, I felt validated: concentrating for long periods, sitting still and remembering key information never came easily to me, and now I knew why.

Navigating the academic landscape with ADHD comes with its own unique set of challenges: for example, one of the traits of ADHD is rejection sensitivity dysphoria (RSD), which means we take rejection super personally. As an academic, rejection is a frequent occurrence in the job – grant applications, paper publications, bored-looking students as you try desperately to deliver the most engaging lecture of your life (but feel constrained by the directive to deliver two-hour sessions and get timetabled in the graveyard shift)…I could go on. My point is this: it takes a lot of resilience to stay the course and a daily effort to overcome the constant internal chatter that says you’re “not good enough”.

It was this experience of going through the process of coming to terms with my diagnosis and finding my way in a new world that really brought the importance of inclusion to the fore. My line manager, my colleagues, and my School have all truly embraced the meaning of creating an inclusive work environment, and for that, I could not be more grateful. I have never felt more seen, heard, and crucially supported than I have in this past couple of years. I finally understand that my “butterfly brain” is a strength as a scientist, my sensitivity is a gift in empathising with my students, and my poor working memory is not my fault. I also understand that just because I can do twice as much work in half the time, doesn’t mean I should – and it certainly can’t be sustained. That way, burnout lies! This entire experience has shown me the transformative impact of genuine acceptance and support in the workplace, and I am committed to “paying it forward” by extending this acceptance to support others.

So, when the opportunity arose to apply for a role as Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Lead for Learning & Teaching in our School, I knew instantly I wanted to apply, and I have been so lucky to work alongside Dr Chris McLeod in this role as co-lead, to drive forward the strategy to foster a truly inclusive teaching and learning ecosystem within our School. As a team, we are dedicated to inspiring inclusion and empowering others to embrace diversity, to create a culture where everyone, regardless of their background, feels valued and included.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, I invite you to draw inspiration from others around you, considering their experience, their resilience, and their commitment to inclusion. Together, we can create a world where everyone feels seen, heard, and empowered to thrive.

Dr Mhairi (Vari) Morris, Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry

More information about the International Woman’s Day programme at Loughborough University.

DRN2024 Drawing Repetition; Rhythm & Syncopation

March 1, 2024 Deborah Harty

13th March 2024 11.00-13.00 (GMT)

The first in the series of events exploring Drawing Repetition.

Serena Smith, rolling stone, 2023

Tickets are available here: https://buytickets.at/drawingresearchgroup/1178385

This panel brings together researchers investigating the rhythmic trace in contemporary practice, in relation to repetitive, variable, sequential, and choreographic acts of drawing. 

Kelly Cumberland’s research explores repetition and difference in terms of a series of rhythmic formulations, which constantly change between stillness and movement when looking at a drawing. Her presentation will consider how the ‘gathering’ and ‘dispersal’ of rhythm and pattern within drawing highlight structural variations and possibilities. In relation to her dissected drawings and biomorphic installations, she will share aspects of working methods that enable haptic spaces to evolve through the multiplication and reduction of marks. And with reference to works that capture evolutionary shapeshifting cellular imagery in various sculpted and spatialised black and white worlds, she will expand upon how these recordings of sequence and behaviours, result in a rendition of changing forms and their various expansions and contractions.

Dr Joanna Leah’s presentation will propose that the repetitious and choreographic acts of drawing violently and energetically resist form as a force of alteration.  Drawing on the ‘formless’ methods of Bois and Krauss (1997), she will consider how the rhythmic beat of repetition is like breathing time. Performed in acts of language, this repetition might be encountered in ‘cut, cut, cut’ or ‘push, push, push’, as the forces of a vital rhythmic beat that suspends the work in a temporal encounter, that resists completion and is ever open to deviation. With reference to three works of drawing with air, water and light, her presentation will demonstrate repetitious actions mapped in one place, in a method that layers numerous moments on top of one another, as a means to process one place and one moment.  

Danica Maier’s site-specific drawings merge textiles, fine art, and text, to function as tools for exchanging ideas across these domains, and emphasise the fusion of mark-making with, and as, writing. Her performative talk will discuss the unrepeating-repeat as a core method within her practice; mimicking a formal presentation, she will convey and embody how the unrepeating-repeat can prompt shifts in perspective, through a circularity that has subtle yet meaningful variations.  Critically underlying her method, is the perceptual shift engendered by ‘aspect-seeing’ (Wittgenstein 1953). In the context of drawing, she tactically engages this notion of an unrepeating-repeat and uses subtle shifts to hide and reveal meanings, with the intention of giving viewers an experience of perspectival seeing and understanding. Through these drawn environments, Maier proposes, the subtle variation of the unrepeating-repeat can operate as soft rebellion or seductive illuminating tool.   

The session will be chaired by Serena Smith.

Biographies

Kelly Cumberland is an artist and PhD practice-based researcher at the University of Leeds. She is exhibiting and presenting nationally and internationally and is also an academic acquiring an extensive portfolio of teaching experience both at undergraduate and postgraduate level and has been lecturing since 2001. 

https://kellycumberland.art/

Dr Joanna Leah is an artist, researcher and Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University whose practice explores choreographic tactics in diagrammatic drawing, writing, installation, and performance to investigate movement patterns and systems.  Joanna’s work explores expanded drawing practices to fracture the narratives of place, ecologies and systems, poetic gestures as spatial critiques.

https://www.joannaleah.com/

Danica Maier is an artist and Associate Professor at Nottingham Trent University, draws from her background in painting and textiles in projects like “Returns,” exploring post-industrial landscapes and craft skills. “Bummock,” which delves into unseen parts of archives and collaborating on “Score: Mechanical Asynchronicity “, creating visual-musical graphic scores using historical lace patterns. Recent chapter, ‘The Unrepeating-Repeat,’ features in the anthology ‘Pattern and Chaos’ by Intellect Publishing.

https://www.danicamaier.com/

Serena Smith is an artist, writer, and doctoral candidate at Loughborough University. Drawing on a transdisciplinary field, lived experience in the printmaking studio, and genealogies of knowledge that inform the artisan practices of lithography, her ongoing research explores the language of stone lithography.http://www.serenasmith.org/

This Week at Loughborough | 4 March

This Week at Loughborough | 4 March

March 1, 2024 Orla Price

National Student Money Week:

The Super Saving Treasure Hunt

4-10 March 2024, Loughborough Campus

During Student Money Week, you can also take part in a treasure hunt around campus. The treasure hunt clues will be based on key information linked to financial literacy and topics including the cost of living, student loans, and bursaries.

Find out more

Ready, Steady, Save! Student Money Fair

4 March 2024, 11am-2pm, James France Exhibition Space

Are you ready to take control of your finances and become a budgeting expert? Join the Student Money Fair, the ultimate event to empower you with money-saving tips and tricks.

Find out more

Save money, reduce food waste with Gumbo

5 March 2024, 1pm-2pm, MS Teams

As part of Student Money Week we are excited to have Jacob Strauss running a session on reducing food waste and saving money. He will share how Gumbo can do this to support you. 

Find out more

Hints and Tips to Finding Part-Time Work Opportunities

5 March 2023, 12pm-1pm, CC021 (James France)

This session will focus on work opportunities that can help to supplement your finances while studying.  During the hour workshop we will cover a range of areas designed to help you in your search and provide practical advice.

Find out more

Maximise Your Money

7 March 2024, 12pm-1pm, MS Teams/Phone

This session will help educate you on how to budget, provide you with top tips for maximising your money and highlight the key support services available to you at Loughborough University.

Find out more

Finalist Futures: Finances After Graduation

12 March 2024, 12pm-1pm, MS Teams

Are you a final year student and considering what is next after graduation? There can be lots of changes and understanding how to maximise your money can help you get set for your next step!

Find out more

International Women’s Week:

International Women’s Day 2024 Launch Event

4 March 2024, 12.30pm-1.30pm, Pilkington Library

To mark the start of International Women’s Day, an event that occurs globally on 8 March every year to highlight the work of incredible women who have and do campaign for women’s rights.

Maia, Loughborough University’s Women’s Network, will be hosting a week of exciting events around the theme of ‘inspiring inclusion’.

Find out more

Placard Making Workshop for International Women’s Day

4 March 2024, 4pm-6pm, Council Chambers (LSU)

We are inviting participants to consider what makes them feel empowered. To do this, you will be provided with prompts and guidance on how to make a protest poster. Using examples of handmade protest posters to explore general themes and the use of colour to help with expressing your ideas intentionally.

Find out more

Self Defence Class – EmpowerHER at Loughborough (staff)

5 March 2024, 12.30pm-1.30pm, Martial Arts Centre

This session is exclusively for Loughborough staff. It aims to boost confidence and impart valuable skills. This event is part of the EmpowerHER schedule.

Find out more

Maia: Meet the new co-chairs

5 March 2024, 12.30pm-1.30pm, Edward Herbert Building Atrium

Maia, the University’s Women’s Network, invites you to this lunchtime connect over coffee event hosted by Maia’s new co-chairs and other committee members.

Find out more

‘You think like a woman!’ Professor Ksenia Chmutina, Claudia Parsons Memorial Lecture Series

5 March 2024, 1.30pm-2.30pm, WPT003 (West Park Teaching Hub)

The Claudia Parsons Memorial Series returns for International Women’s Week 2024 with Professor Ksenia Chmutina’s lecture entitled ‘You think like a woman!’: A personal reflection on failures, friends, and a fight for justice from a disaster scholar perspective.

Find out more

Women in Sport: Coffee and cake catch up

5 March 2024, 2pm-2.30pm, Edward Herbert Building Atrium

As part of Loughborough EmpowerHER week, join Loughborough Sport for a coffee break with other women in sports or those aspiring to join the sports community. This is a chance to connect with like-minded individuals, gain inspiration, and forge valuable connections. There will be coffee and cake for everyone to enjoy.

Find out more

International Women’s Day Campus March

6 March 2024, 12.30pm-1.30pm, Hazlerigg Fountain

Loughborough Students’ Union will be joining Maia, Loughborough Women’s Network on a march around campus, starting and ending at Hazlerigg Fountain, to mark International Women’s Day and to embody the theme of inspiring inclusion. All staff and students are welcome.

Find out more

Maia: Connect over coffee (London)

6 March 2024, 3pm-4pm, Future Space (London Campus)/Online

Come and grab a drink, find out more about Maia, and meet other members. This is also an opportunity to discuss ways you can get involved in the Maia network and input into the planned photography project happening in the Spring.

Find out more

International Women’s Week: Connect over coffee

7 March 2024, 11am-12pm, Edward Herbert Building Atrium

Maia, Loughborough University’s Women’s Network, invites all staff and students to this informal networking opportunity in celebration of International Women’s Week. Maia welcomes engagement from all colleagues across campus regardless of gender because, “gender equality is a human right, not a female fight.”

Find out more

Self Defence Class – EmpowerHER at Loughborough (students)

7 March 2024, 12.30pm-1.30pm, Martial Arts Centre

Exclusively for Loughborough students, this session is for all experience levels, aiming to boost confidence and impart valuable skills. Don’t miss this opportunity to unleash your inner strength!

Find out more

International Women’s Day Walk (London campus)

8 March 2024, 12pm-1pm, Loughborough London campus

Come along for an International Women’s Day walk along the canal side, where we come together to create a safe space for women and allies. Take some time out of your day to connect with others and honour women’s achievements worldwide.

Find out more

UV Zumba – EmpowerHER finale event

8 March 2024, 12.30pm-1.30pm, Martin Hall Theatre

Women and non-binary students and staff are invited to this event led by our friendly activators. Come and dance along with UV and disco lights. This event is part of the EmpowerHER schedule.

Find out more

Maia: Movie and pizza night

8 March 2024, 4.30pm-8.30pm, Pilkington Library

To mark the end of a week of exciting events for International Women’s Day, the Maia Network are hosting this movie and pizza night. Children are welcome but please let us know in advance so we can screen a suitable film.

Find out more

General:

DR Managing Unhelpful and Critical Thinking

4 March 2024, 2.30pm-4pm, Graduate House (Training Room)

This session is designed to provide you with some information and practical skills to help you be less critical and more compassionate towards yourself. It will explore both self-compassion and self-criticism and how these traits can impact our thinking and our behaviour.

Find out more

Speech Bubble

4 March 2024, 7.30pm, The Lounge (LSU)

Come along for a relaxed and friendly evening of performance poetry showcasing the best spoken word talent on campus. As well as the open mic slots, Speech Bubble will feature a professional poet.

Any Loughborough University student or staff member can perform at this event but please book a slot in advance as places are limited.

Find out more

IAS Friends and Fellows Coffee Morning

5 March 2024, 10.30am-12pm, International House

The Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) are hosting this informal gathering with coffee and cakes, where we will be joined by the third Residential Fellows of this academic year, Dr Benjamin Robinson, along with Open Programme Fellows Dr Jonny Hansen and Dr Yuzhou (Jodie) Sun.

Find out more

Managing Anxiety

6 March 2024, 11.15am-12.45pm, BRI 2.12 (Bridgeman Building)

In this workshop we will explore some ideas of how to recognise what is happening and strategies to begin the manage different reactions.

Find out more

IAS Seminar: ‘Militant Africa’ in the Twentieth Century…

6 March 2024, 12pm-1pm, International House/Zoom

Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) Visiting Fellow Dr Yuzhou (Jodie) Sun will deliver a seminar on their research, fully titled ‘‘Militant Africa’ in the Twentieth Century: Modern China’s Historical Discourses of War and Military in Africa’.

Find out more

General Assembly: An open forum for all staff

6 March 2024, 2pm-3pm, EHB110A&B/MS Teams

General Assembly is a forum open to all staff at the University. For the 23/24 academic year, a new approach to General Assembly has been established. Termly sessions will now take place instead of annually, this will be the second assembly this academic year. In this session, our Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Jennings will be joined by Professor Dan Parsons and Jennifer Johnson.

Find out more

Queer Nature Walk

6 March 2024, 1.30pm-3pm, Meeting at Barefoot Orchard (near Pilkington Library)

Join LiLi Kathleen Bright and take a different look at the plants and trees on campus on this fun and relaxed queer nature walk, which is open to all.

We’ll be looking at plants with queer associations, both scientifically and culturally; for example, yew trees changing sex, violets association with Sappho. We’ll also be talking more generally about queer botany, e.g. use of language – seed producing flowers rather than female flowers.

Find out more

Create and Connect

6 March 2024, 2pm-3.30pm, Collaboration Station (LSU)

LU Arts and the International Student Experience Team are running a 5-week programme for international students to help you connect with each other and do something creative in your spare time. The weekly sessions in the Students’ Union are a mixture of workshops and art activities with a weekly theme, run by one of our arts workers. In the fourth week, we will be following in the footsteps of the artist Vincent van Gogh, who was born in March.

Find out more

Progress to Postgrad

6 March 2024, 2pm-4pm, James France Building

Unlock the gateway to your professional aspirations with Loughborough University’s career-enhancing postgraduate study options. Whether you envision expanding your expertise, delving deeper into your field, or pursuing advanced research opportunities, our diverse range of postgraduate degrees await.

Find out more

Futurology Conference – Ford

6 March 2024, 5pm-7pm, MS Teams

Ford will deliver a talk on extended reality (XR) in engineering and manufacture of automotives.

This conference is one of four online conferences with speakers from engineering and technology companies who will be discussing topics from leading technologies in their industry, sustainability, their company role and employability.

Find out more

Flix Cinema Screening: ‘Priscilla’

7 March 2024, 7pm-9pm, Cope Auditorium

‘Priscilla’, directed by Sofia Coppola, starring Cailee Spaeny, Jacob Elordi, Dagmara Dominczyk and Ari Cohen.

Based on Priscilla Presley’s memoir, when teenager Priscilla Beaulieu meets Elvis Presley at a party, the man who’s already a meteoric rock ‘n’ roll superstar becomes someone entirely unexpected in private moments: a thrilling crush, an ally in loneliness, and a gentle best friend.

Find out more

Exhibition: By some means or Other

28 February-22 March 2024, 12pm-2pm, Martin Hall Exhibition Space

This exhibition brings together five artists selected to take part in the national Artists Access to Art Colleges (AA2A) artist residency scheme in the School of Design and Creative Arts at Loughborough University. The work on display showcases a selection of their diverse projects ongoing since October 2023.

Find out more

Careers Events:

Get into Teaching: Talk About A Career In Teaching Over A Coffee

5 March 2024, 10am-4pm, Outside Careers Hub East

The Explore Teaching Advisers will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about a career in teaching, whether it be just an idea or something you want to pursue further.

Find out more

Breakfast Study Cafes

7 March 2024, 8am-11am, D102 (James France Building)

Do you want to boost your productivity whilst on campus? Come along to the Student Success Academy’s Breakfast Study Cafe, running fortnightly on Thursday mornings this term.

Find out more

International Futures: Working in the UK for International Students

7 March 2024, 12pm-1pm, MS Teams

In this session you will learn about typical UK working cultures including common organisational structures, communication styles and ways of working.

Find out more

“If at first you don’t succeed”: An example of how early years practitioners encourage children to try again in mathematics learning interactions.

“If at first you don’t succeed”: An example of how early years practitioners encourage children to try again in mathematics learning interactions.

March 1, 2024 Centre for Mathematical Cognition

Written by Natalie Flint, Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Centre for Early Mathematics Learning (CEML). Her interests are in how learning interactions unfold in early years education settings. There is a link to the CEML website at the end of this blogpost for more information about the research happening in the centre. Edited by Dr Bethany Woollacott.

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, and try again” is a classic idiom that conceptualises a general attitude to how we approach hurdles and barriers throughout our lives. Moments which could potentially be interpreted as ‘failures’ are to be reinterpreted as ’learning opportunities’ – particularly in education contexts. Here, we explore how Early Years practitioners encourage children to try again in mathematics learning interactions.

The Science of Conversation

Conversation Analysis is a systematic method used for analysing ordinary, naturally occurring interactions, focussing on action, or what we do with words, and sequence, or the organisation and structure of talk. Through the analysis of action and sequence, we can learn how real interactions unfold (see Clift, 2016).


Conversation Analysis is a systematic method used for analysing ordinary, naturally occurring interactions, focussing on action, or what we do with words,and sequence, or the organisation and structure of talk.


In the study we discuss here, we used Conversation Analysis to evaluate the interactions children in the early years were having with practitioners, their families, their peers, and the world around them. In particular, we explored a specific interactional moment in mathematics learning interactions: what do practitioners do to encourage children to try again? We analysed video data from naturally occurring preschool/classroom interactions in English education settings with 3–4-year-old children. Conversation Analysis enabled us to examine exactly how these children’s learning interactions played out.

How to Encourage a Child to Try Again

To examine how these interactions unfold, we consider interactions to comprise a number of ‘moves’ framed as IRE or IRF patterns, exemplified in the diagram here. IRE and IRF patterns are well-documented in education (see Mehan, 1979; Sinclair & Coulthard, 1975).

In our study, we were interested in what can happen in the third turn (highlighted in the diagram): once a practitioner has initiated and a child has given an incorrect response, how does the practitioner encourage the child to provide another response and try again? This classic structure is typical in early years classrooms, but advice on how to formulate evaluations, feedback and follow-up in early years contexts is scarce. Our study aimed to capture some of this feedback to understand which types of feedback are most effective in encouraging a child to ‘try again’.

The following example exemplifies an IRE/IRF pattern observed over multiple extracts. In this particular extract, two teachers are sat with a group of children at the start of the day for circle time and have just talked about the day of the week and the date. Teacher-1 initiates with a question about what month they are in. (Talk transcribed in square brackets “[ ] “ is spoken in overlap).

Here, the IRE/IRF sequence is initiated by teacher who asked the group “what month are we in”. One child, Maisie, responds quickly (as is illustrated in the transcript by “=”), with a month, but not the month they are currently in. It is at this point that we see some evaluation, feedback or follow-up. Both teachers give feedback which is encouraging and supportive at lines 6-9.

Their initial feedback to Maisie’s answer acknowledges that Maisie’s attempt is of the right category of answer (i.e., Maisie answers “June” rather than “Monday”). The teachers do not attempt to correct Maisie, which often occurs when an answer is treated as a typical repair (i.e., some issue with speaking, hearing or understanding that participants aim to deal with as swiftly as possible – which we see in all types of talk – not just in interactional contexts or with children). Instead, they simply acknowledge the attempt and evaluate it.

Following this initial evaluation of her first answer, Maisie attempts again. After another attempt from Maisie, the teacher begins to give feedback which scaffolds and guides the child to getting the answer (although this is initially cut off as Maisie attempts a third guess). After more than one attempt, the teacher provides feedback which prompts Maisie to draw on a particular area of knowledge. Here, Teacher-1 reminds Maisie of the name of the previous month, thus encouraging her to orient to her knowledge of the sequence of the months of the year. This prompt requires the children to do more than ‘guess’ by naming a month, but instead prompts them to remember sequences and patterns that they might know. This prompt encourages Maisie to draw on this area of knowledge, thus leading to her (and another child) to getting the answer at lines 17-18. Following this answer, Teacher-1 praises the child for finding the answer and repeats the answer.

In sum, the teacher offers encouraging support following the first attempt, and scaffolding encouragement following further attempts. And it is this that ultimately encourages the child to find the answer. Once the child reaches the answer, the teacher gives praise and confirms the answer.


…the teacher offers encouraging support following the first attempt, and scaffolding encouragement following further attempts.


Upgrading Feedback

The IRE/IRF structure is one that may be familiar to many practitioners. However, knowing how to give useful feedback that encourages children to try again can be difficult to navigate. Here we recognise a pattern of initial encouraging feedback that does not attempt to guide or scaffold after a first attempt, and further feedback that guides and scaffolds the child to find the answer after another attempt.

In this example, the teacher gives encouraging feedback which allows the child to try again, and following another attempt, provides a reformulated question which scaffolds the child to find the answer for themselves. This practice allows the child to find the answer by providing additional information so that the child can use this information and work out the answer.

We want to thank the nurseries/schools, practitioners, and children for participating in this research. We are grateful to the educational practitioners with whom we co-designed the game, and those who helped with the piloting phase. This work was partially supported by UKRI Economic and Social Research Council [grant number ES/W002914/1]).

References

Clift, R. (2016). Conversation Analysis. Cambridge University Press.

Mehan, H. (1979). Learning Lessons. Harvard University Press.

Sinclair, J. M. H., & Coulthard, M. (1975). Towards an Analysis of Discourse: The English Used by Teachers and Pupils. Oxford University Press.

Visual depictions of the Rohingya crisis: Exodus, cultural othering, genocidal aggression—and audience aversion to graphic portrayals  

March 1, 2024 Iliana Depounti

Talk by Professor Erik Bucy – US-UK Fulbright Scholar in Communication and Media, Loughborough University 

Respondent, Dr Ronan Lee – Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow, Loughborough University London 

26th March 2024, at 2-4pm, in U1.22 Brockington Building at Loughborough University and on MS Teams 

The Centre for Research in Communication and Culture (CRCC) and the Challenges to Democracy and the Public Sphere (CHADS) platform are co-organising the event at Loughborough University Midlands campus.

Professor Erik Bucy is the US-UK Fulbright Scholar in Communication and Media and Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies at Loughborough University, is delivering the talk; which will be followed by Dr Ronan Lee‘s response. Ronan is working on the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar. The talk will be chaired by Professor James Stanyer.

The talk explores how the genocide of the Rohingya in Myanmar has been visually framed in the news and understood by audiences. It develops an inventory of visual frames used in coverage of the crisis and addresses the consequences that viewer interpretations of images of conflict and mass displacement can have for humanitarian support and perceptions of event severity

The Rohingya people of Myanmar (formerly Burma) have been described by the UN as the ‘most persecuted ethnic group in the world’. Yet despite recognition of the Rohingya’s attempted eradication as a genocide, this humanitarian crisis is rarely the subject of intensive news coverage and largely flies under the radar of international media. When the Rohingya’s plight does appear in the news, media coverage tends to portray this religious and ethnic minority as a displaced people fleeing their native Myanmar rather than depicting the reality of genocide and the gruesome visual truth of systematic, violent elimination. To document how an ongoing genocide is visually framed in news and understood by audiences, this article develops an inventory of visual frames used in coverage of the crisis, then employs a ‘picture prompt’ method of soliciting responses from viewers to document how these frames are received and interpreted. Analysis of 2132 responses from 533 online participants reveals stark differences in viewer evaluations of more graphic portrayals compared to mundane depictions of the crisis. The study summarizes the consequences that viewer interpretations of images of conflict and mass displacement can have on humanitarian support and perceptions of event severity.

Erik Bucy is the Marshall and Sharleen Formby Regents Professor of Strategic Communication in the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University. For the 2023-24 academic year, Bucy is appointed as a US-UK Fulbright Scholar in Communication and Media and Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies at Loughborough University. His research focuses on visual political communication, news literacy, misinformation and public opinion about the press. The focus of his Fulbright research project is a book-length study of media accountability and news evaluation at peak moments of press scrutiny.  

Ronan Lee is a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow at Loughborough University London working on Asian politics and history, the Rohingya, Myanmar, genocide, hate speech and citizenship. Dr Lee’s book “Myanmar’s Rohingya Genocide: Identity, History and Hate Speech”, published in 2021 was banned by the Myanmar military junta. He was awarded the 2021 Early Career Emerging Scholar Prize by the International Association of Genocide Scholars. Ronan has a professional background in politics and media. He was formerly a Queensland Member of Parliament and served on the front bench as Parliamentary Secretary in Justice, Main Roads and Local Government portfolios.

James Stanyer is a Professor of Communication and Media Analysis in the Department of Communication and Media at Loughborough University and the Director of the Centre for Research in Communication and Culture.

From the Vice-Chancellor – February 2024

From the Vice-Chancellor – February 2024

March 1, 2024 Nick Jennings
Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Jennings in front of stained glass windows in Hazlerigg Building.

In my newsletter this month: High profile visitors on campus, new international postgraduate scholarships, the new Culture and Creativity strategy, LGBT+ History Month, and an exciting brand campaign set to be launched.

Vice Chancellor and colleagues stood with the High Commissioner of Kenya and his delegation in front of the Hazlerigg Building entrance outside.

University welcomes influential visitors

The University has welcomed a number of high profile and influential visitors this month. 

Staff, students, alumni and guests from regional and national businesses gathered at Loughborough Business School (LB) to hear the Bank of England Governor, Andrew Bailey, give an overview of the state of the banking sector as part of LB’s Distinguished Speaker series. Mr Bailey’s lecture focused on the future issues that are important for banks and for broader monetary and financial stability. 

Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Scientific Adviser for the UK Department of Health and Social Care, visited the University’s Centre for Lifestyle Medicine and Behaviour (CLiMB) and the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport (PHC), before joining colleagues at the National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) currently being developed at Stanford on Soar, on the outskirts of Loughborough. Through their pioneering research, the three centres will, or already do, impact positively on the people’s health and wellbeing. 

Andrew Griffiths MP, Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation, was joined by Loughborough MP Jane Hunt on a visit to the National Centre for Combustion and Aerothermal Technology (NCCAT), where they learned about the Centre’s work, including the Rolls-Royce-led project with easyJet to develop hydrogen combustion engine technology capable of powering a range of aircraft. The Minister also heard about our ambitions for The Hydrogen Works – a Loughborough-led strategic partnership to create a hydrogen superpower in the East Midlands to help address the challenges to deliver energy security, net zero and reduce Britain’s productivity gap. 

Then last week a group of students from Kenya, senior colleagues and I welcomed His Excellency Ambassador Manoah Esipisu, the High Commissioner of Kenya, to the University. We discussed current research linked to the region, such as sustainable energy solutions, child nutrition and social development, as well as future opportunities. Dr Sola Afolabi and Dr Hibbah Osei-Kwasi, our International Special Envoys for Sub-Saharan Africa, presented our plans for building further partnerships in Kenya and the East Africa region.   

Visits and events such as these are important contributions to our strategic aims and themes. They expand our network of influential contacts, allow us to showcase the University to people who can have a positive impact on what we do, and grow the number of individuals that can speak positively about and with knowledge of Loughborough.

New international scholarships announced

This month we announced a new scholarship package to support international students who are looking to study for a master’s degree. The Global Impact Scholarships have been developed to enable bright students from the Least Developed Countries to study at Loughborough by removing financial barriers that might prevent them from applying. We want to attract high calibre graduates with the ability and commitment to lead and drive sustainable change within their communities following their studies. 

When looking to study abroad, students can often be deterred by the costs involved. By providing the funding to cover the majority, if not all of their tuition fees, those who receive one of our Global Impact Scholarships will be able to fully immerse themselves in the experience we offer here at Loughborough, without worrying about financial pressures. 

The provision of scholarships such as these support several objectives within our International Engagement and Impact core plan; they enhance our global reputation and profile and, as a consequence, enable us to diversify our international student population and foster an inclusive community.

A handwritten note from an Arts Scholar.

Culture and Creativity Strategy launched

Culture and creativity are part of all our lives. They enrich our understanding and appreciation of the world, introduce us to new ideas and new ways of living, and support our mental health and wellbeing.  

They are also essential components of the experience we offer to both our students and staff. This month we launched the University’s Culture and Creativity strategy. Through its seven goals it will support the delivery of many of our wider University strategic aims. For example, it will nurture our students’ creativity as part of their University experience to enhance their learning and skill development and add value to their future employability; it will amplify our research through public engagement and enable us to forge new partnerships; and it will enable us to celebrate the diversity of our community. 

We know that a significant proportion of our staff and students regularly engage with the cultural activities on offer at the University through LU Arts, from NT Live screenings and music tuition to pottery and creative writing evening classes. These activities are important to personal development and wellbeing, and the new Strategy will enable us to enhance our cultural opportunities still further.

Hazlerigg building and fountain lit up at night by rainbow coloured lights.

LGBT+ History Month marked at the University

Each year our LGBT+ Staff Network and Students’ Union Association work incredibly hard with colleagues across the University to put together an outstanding programme of activities to mark LGBT+ History Month – and the events throughout February were as poignant, thought-provoking and engaging as ever. 

The theme for this year’s History Month was Medicine, focusing on the contributions of LGBT+ people to healthcare and the health inequalities still faced by the community today. 

At the keynote event, Jacob Stokoe shared his experiences as a pregnant trans person and the hurdles he faced in accessing maternity services. Jacob was joined by Loughborough alumna Lisa Vine, a former Chair of the Students’ Union LGBT+ Association and now an award-winning LGBT+ advocate, and Katie Neeves, a photographer and TV presenter who describes herself as a woman on a mission, to show that it’s not only OK but actually cool to be trans.  

We had a display in the library of articles and research from our archives, showcasing LGBT+ experiences of, and contribution to, medicine through the years. Our Academics’ and Doctoral Researchers’ work covers a wide variety of issues: from pregnancy loss in lesbian and bisexual women, to dementia support for caregivers in the LGBT community. 

And throughout the month the Hazlerigg Building was illuminated with the colours of the rainbow. 

LGBT+ History Month enables us to mark achievements, successes and progress, but it also allows us to reflect on the prejudice, discrimination, intolerance and abuse still faced by the community today. 

Sometimes in this area we have to have difficult conversations about issues that generate real depth of feeling. There are often differing and incompatible views. One such example is that the University is currently exploring partnership options in Saudi Arabia. I believe that we should discuss the associated issues openly and honestly as a community. I recognise that participating in these discussions takes courage and my colleagues and I are always grateful for the open and authentic way in which such engagement occurs.

Exciting brand campaign to be launched

Next month we will begin to roll out a major brand campaign that aims to raise the University’s global profile. Through advertising, digital content and media coverage, for instance, we’ll target a range of audiences, including academics, employers, policymakers and prospective postgraduate students, to encourage them to study, partner or work with us. 

The campaign is a significant initiative under Project Reputation, one of the six enabling projects that have been established to consider the operational changes that are needed to ensure we are well placed to progress our strategic aims. 

The campaign will include an advertisement in the Times Higher Education early next month. I won’t reveal the concept just yet, but I think it’s really exciting and will help us to position ourselves as a bold, ambitious university that seeks to make change for a better world.

CRCC welcomes visiting professor Dr Innocent E. Chiluwa

February 28, 2024 Iliana Depounti

Professor Chiluwa will be visiting Loughborough University for the next six months and collaborating with members of the Language Social Interaction and Political Communication themes at the CRCC. 

Innocent Chiluwa is a Professor in Applied Linguistics (Discourse Studies), Media & Communication. He was the head of the Department of Languages (and later) Dean of the College of Leadership and Development Studies at Covenant University, Nigeria. He is a visiting Scholar at the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. He is a Georg Forster Senior Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) and was a Humboldt scholar and visiting professor at the Department of English, University of Freiburg in Germany. He has published books and edited volumes in media studies, social media and society, discourse and conflict studies and deception studies. He has also published extensively in reputable peer-reviewed journals and contributed several chapters in books and encyclopaedias. He is on the Editorial Boards of Discourse & Society (SAGE), Journal of Multicultural Discourses (Routledge), Journal of International and Intercultural Communication (Taylor & Francis) and Humanities and Social Sciences Communications (Springer Nature).

A few words about his research from Dr Chiluwa:

‘My research in the last 5 years has focused on the investigation and analyses of political and conflict discourses in the media and Internet – especially discourses produced by social movements, minority groups, civil societies, rebel groups and terrorist organizations in the form of resistance, protests, activism or dissent and their wider implications for peace and security. Discourses that show evidence of linguistic violence, language aggression and hate speech have been of special interest to me.

In 2022, I received funding from the Centre for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS, Bochum), to investigate the impact of digitisation on online equality campaigns of women’s rights groups in Africa (Nigeria and Ghana) and Europe (Germany and Norway). Part of the results of that study has just been published in New Media & Society: https://doi.org/10.1177/14614448231220919

The current study entitled: “Social media activism and women’s rights advocacy for political participation in Africa and the United Kingdom” is a continuation of the CAIS study and will examine online campaign discourse structures on women’s political empowerment in other Commonwealth African countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Uganda, and compare them with those of their counterparts in the England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. My choice of these countries is basically based on online visibility of the groups under study. Specifically this study will examine the character of modern women’s rights advocacy groups (WRAG) in the light of conflict theory and new social movement theories; compare digital campaign approaches, including social media platforms mostly used by WRAG in Africa and the U.K.; analyse the discourse structures of campaign discourses (i.e., discourse analysis of online campaign discourses). Is there a resistance to the British colonial legacy on women’s political empowerment in Africa? The study will also examine the impact of new media technology on gender campaigns and interrogate whether there are lessons from the U.K. women’s groups in the light of greater achievement of British women in modern U.K. legislative governments.

I hope to obtain data from the social media accounts of the WRGs under study covering the period between 2019 and 2023. This time covers the period of main national elections in the countries. This study will contribute to our understanding of the impact of social media on women’s rights campaigns in Africa and the U.K. as well as highlight methods in qualitative discourse analysis of the social media campaign data. Hopefully, the research outcomes will be of interest to graduate students, scholars and practitioners in linguistics, media and communication, sociology and social Psychology.’

Please see below for Dr Chiluwa’s recent publications:

Chiluwa, I. (2024). Discourse, digitisation and women’s rights groups in Nigeria and Ghana: online campaigns for political inclusion and against violence on women and girls. New Media & Society (SAGE).https://doi.org/10.1177/14614448231220919

Chiluwa, I. & Ononye, C. (2024). The #PantamiMustGo political activism: a textual analysis of narrative agency in protest discourse. Discourse Studies 26 (2) https://doi.org/10.1177/14614456231221076

Chiluwa, I. (2023). #EndSARS protests and the search for social justice in Nigeria: Examining activist discourses on police brutality, politics and human security. Protest 3(2), 200-224 (Brill).https://brill.com/view/journals/prot/3/2/article-p200_003.xml

Awopetu, I. & Chiluwa, I. (2023). Resistance in visual narratives: A multimodal CDA of images of the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria. Visual Communication Quarterly 30(3), 157-169 (Taylor & Francis). https://doi.org/10.1080/15551393.2023.2232296

Ononye, C., & Chiluwa, I. (2023). ‘There’s still something positive about the Niger Delta ecology’: Metaphor and ideology in the Niger Delta poetic discourse. Language and Literature, 32(3), 275-296. (SAGE). https://doi.org/10.1177/09639470231158694

Aminu, P. & Chiluwa, I. (2023). Reinventing identity and resistance ideology in protest narratives: The case of Oduduwa secessionist group on Facebook. Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict 11(2), 200-225 (John Benjamins). https://doi.org/10.1075/jlac.00078.ami

Chiluwa, I. (ed). (2022) Discourse, Media and Conflict: Examining war and resolution in the news. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chiluwa, I. & Chiluwa, I. M. (2022) ‘Deadlier than Boko Haram’: Representations of the herder-farmer conflict in the local and foreign press Media, War & Conflict 15(1), 3-24 (SAGE). (First published online in 2020)

Chiluwa, I. (2022) Women’s online advocacy campaigns for political participation in Nigeria and Ghana. Critical Discourse Studies, 19(5), 465-484. (Taylor & Francis). DOI: 10.1080/17405904.2021.1999287

Chiluwa, I. (ed). (2021) Discourse and Conflict: Analysing text and talk of conflict, hate and peacebuilding. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Chiluwa, I. (2021) Resisting corruption in the Nigerian legislature: A critical discourse analysis of news and opinion articles on legislators’ salaries. Discourse & Communication 15(5), 519-541 (SAGE).

CRCC Member Natalie-Anne Hall publishes book on Brexit, Facebook, and Transnational Right-Wing Populism

CRCC Member Natalie-Anne Hall publishes book on Brexit, Facebook, and Transnational Right-Wing Populism

February 26, 2024 Iliana Depounti

The 2016 “Brexit” referendum heralded an age in which disinformation and divisive messaging spread on social media play a significant role in politics. The world is still grappling with how to deal with the impact of this on the health of democracy and society.

While the majority of research in this area has focused on observing or monitoring online content, this approach leaves something out. It separates that content from the people who post, see and interact with it, and the contexts in which they do so. This means we still know relatively little about people’s experiences of engaging with misleading, hateful, discriminatory, or extreme content. To understand why such messaging appeals (or does not appeal) to people, and the impact that it has on them, we need to seek experiences and interpretations from users themselves.

In her recently published book Brexit, Facebook, and Transnational Right-Wing Populism published by Lexington Books, CRCC member Dr Natalie-Anne Hall documents the first study to connect right-wing populist online content with offline lives. The book draws on an innovative, multi-method study with “pro-Brexit Facebook users” after the referendum. Hall recruited 15 Facebook users who had publicly shared at least one pro-Brexit post within the past month, conducted two in-depth interviews with each, and observed what they posted to Facebook over a one-month period. The aim was to understand why people engaged in pro-Brexit Facebook use and what it meant to them.

The study was set within the divisive context of post-2016 Britain. At that time, Brexit was a prominent, daily topic in the news. Theresa May was struggling to negotiate an exit deal in the face of parliamentary, EU, and public opposition. Meanwhile, Remain supporters decried the result of the referendum as invalid, as a potential economic and diplomatic disaster, and a social disaster in the form of a triumph of racist attitudes.

Although the post-referendum period has seldom been the focus of populism research, these conditions were ripe for exploitation by right-wing actors using the typical populist devices of people-centrism and anti-elitism. By claiming that the democratic mandate or “will of the people” was under threat and that metropolitan elites and those with political power did not have the interests of “the people” at heart, politicians, media, and other nefarious actors were able to fan the flames of discontent among the Brexit supporting public. On Facebook, dozens of pages and groups emerged around support for Leave, some with hundreds of thousands of followers, calling for something to be done about the “traitors” allegedly derailing Brexit.

As Brexit, Facebook, and Transnational Right-Wing Populism demonstrates, this provided the opportunity for the racist and illiberal attitudes that were crystallised by Brexit to continue to be salient online in the aftermath of the referendum. The connected affordances of social media allowed the pro-Brexit “milieu” on Facebook to become integrated with a vast array of right-wing causes, populist and far-right voices and ideologies, from around the world. This enabled online support for Brexit to be about more than Euroscepticism or even Britain.

In this milieu, insidious links were constantly being drawn between things like gender rights and multiculturalism; political correctness and “open borders”; or European integration and media bias. For the users who were participating in this milieu, an interest in Brexit became merely a starting point for the development and articulation of an array of concerns that bore no obvious relation to the issue of Britain’s membership in the EU.

The analysis in the book reveals that these interconnections were facilitated by the discursive devices of White victimhood and what Hall calls ‘Right victimhood’. While White victimhood is well-documented in the study of online racist movements, Right victimhood is a newly significant and overlooked discourse. It claims that progressive cultural and minority rights agendas are malevolent oppression of those with conservative views. Right victimhood legitimises hostile attitudes towards minoritised members of society by demonising the movements that advocate their protection. Right victimhood is seen in rhetoric about “cancel culture” and the “wokerati” that has entered the vernacular of mainstream politicians.

On Facebook, these transnationally-shared victimhood sensibilities connected the pro-Brexit Facebook milieu to the conspiracy theories of the Great Replacement and Cultural Marxism popular with the transnational far-right today. In this way, the “mainstream” political issue of Brexit acted as a catalyst for engagement with more extreme and international forms of right-wing politics.

Hall’s findings have important implications for how we understand the role of social media platforms in engagement with right-wing populist politics globally, and in the propagation of the exclusionary, illiberal, and racist ideas that are inseparable from right-wing populism. They are evidence of the strength of the transnational far and populist right’s reach, enabled by the algorithmic affordances of social media. The book should serve as a warning to policymakers and civil society. In 2024, this will be ever more important, as the world goes to the ballot box amidst increasingly sophisticated online manipulation tactics and dog-whistle “culture war” political rhetoric.

Bio:

Natalie-Anne Hall is a Lecturer in Social Sciences at Cardiff University. She was a postdoctoral research associate on the Everyday Misinformation Project at Loughborough University and holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Manchester.

This Week at Loughborough | 26 February

This Week at Loughborough | 26 February

February 26, 2024 Orla Price

LGBT+ History Month:

Pilkington Library LGBT+ History Month Display

1-29 February 2024, Pilkington Library

This year’s Library display explores the theme of Medicine, looking at LGBT+ experiences in and contributions to Medicine through history. The display also showcases articles and research from the Loughborough archives and relevant works currently held in the Library collection.

Find out more

LGBT+ History Month Keynote Talk: Experiences in Healthcare

27 February 2024, 2pm-4pm, SMB017 (Stewart Mason Building)

The LGBT+ Staff Network invites staff, students, and members of the Loughborough community to come along to this LGBT+ History Month keynote event on this year’s theme of ‘Medicine – #UnderTheScope’.

There will be three fantastic guest speakers at this year’s keynote event. They bring a wealth of lived experience, knowledge and expertise, and are trans activists and advocates.

Find out more

How to be a Christian ally to LGBT+ community

29 February 2024, 1pm-2pm, EHB209 (Edward Herbert Building)

Are you a progressive Christian? Do you want to be a better ally to LGBTQ+ people, but don’t know where to start? Join the University Chaplaincy for bible study, conversation, and to reflect on how Christians can be more active in their allyship.

Find out more

Careers Fest:

Teach First: Learn more about the top graduate schemes whilst getting a free bag of sweets to take away!

26 February 2024, 10.30am-3pm, Outside Careers Hub East

Teach First, a Times Top 100 Employer, are sweetening the start of 2024 with their Pick and Mix stand on Monday 26th February. Learn more about one of the top graduate schemes in the country from recruiters whilst getting a free bag of sweets to take away!

Find out more

Leap Ahead with your LinkedIn

26 February 2024, 12pm-1pm, SMB017 (Stewart Mason Building)

Find out how to leverage LinkedIn opportunities such as connecting with new people, creating your personal brand and even how you can secure a placement through LinkedIn! G Team Academy will walk you through how you can set up and thrive on LinkedIn through simple and manageable activities!

Find out more

IBM Alumni Employer Panel Event

26 February 2024, 5pm-8.30pm, EHB001 (Edward Herbert Building)

IBM Alumni’s will offer you insight into their company with a panel of employees in varying grades/roles. Free refreshments and dinner will be available to those that attend!

Find out more

Public Sector Employer Panel Event

26 February 2024, 5pm-8.30pm, EHB001 (Edward Herbert Building)

Public Sector employers will offer you insight into their company with a panel of diverse employees of varying grades/roles. Organisations attending the panel include Linklaters LLP, Ministry of Justice, HM Prison and Probation Service. Free refreshments and dinner will be available to those that attend!

Find out more

Future Talent Programme: Creative Package

26 February 2024, 6.30pm-7.30pm, SMB017 (Stewart Mason Building)

The Future Talent Programme’s creative package is a tailored offer for you to access 1:1 career advice, expand your network, attend industry focused events and complete a 2-day work experience on the London campus through the Creative Hackathon.

Find out more

Elevate Your Prospects – Elevate Your Applications

27 February 2024, 1pm-2.30pm, WAV037 (Wavy Top Building)

These 4 interactive sessions are tailored especially to first and second year students. In this session you will get an overview of how to elevate your CV and Cover Letter for the job you want.  You will also gain an understanding into what employers are looking for and the skills to use in interviews. 

Find out more

Hear How You Can Teach Abroad in 2024 With Impact Teaching!

27 February 2024, 6pm-7pm, WAV011 (Wavy Top Building)

Learn more about the fantastic opportunities they have for teaching abroad. They have an exciting new summer camp programme in the US. You can earn $2,000 over the summer at the camp! They also have opportunities to teach abroad in China, Thailand, Vietnam, Poland and Hungary.

Find out more

Juggling Competing Priorities Workshop

27 February 2024, 6pm-7.30pm, WPL201 (STEMLab)

Come along to the Student Success Academy’s Juggling Competing Priorities Workshop. Here, you can take part in activities and learn techniques to help you confidently balance your studies, hobbies and job applications.

Find out more

International Students – How to find employers that will sponsor

27 February 2024, 6.15pm-7.15pm, EHB001 (Edward Herbert Building)

It is vital to understand the best ways to find employers who sponsor jobs in the UK so you can discover the right jobs, apply for those roles and improve your success rate. Attend this session, where we can help you to navigate the UK employment market and streamline your search! 

Find out more

Master’s Futures: Creating a Postgraduate Style CV

28 February 2024, 12pm-1pm, SCH.0.01 (Schofield Building)

Find out how to create a Postgraduate Style CV that makes you stand out from the crowd! At this session you will hear what employers are looking for, learn about CV structure, understand how to tailor your CV, and gain hints and tips of how to stand out from the crowd.

Find out more

Get Ahead Together: Success in your second year

28 February 2024, 1pm-2.30pm, Wavy Top Building

Get Ahead Together is a group mentoring programme for first year and foundation students which helps you to gain first-hand insights and exclusive tips from experienced peer mentors and achieve success in your first year and prepare for the transition into your second year. Attendees will receive a free weekly meal and a workbook.

Find out more

Finalist Futures: Impressing at Interviews

28 February 2024, 2pm-6pm, G.0.06 (G Block)

This session will cover the various formats of interviews and the question types you might encounter, the differences between good interview answers and bad ones, a segment on practising your interview responses and techniques in a safe environment with other students, plus much more!

Find out more

Skill-Up: Public Speaking & Pitching Yourself

28 February 2024, 6pm-7.30pm, Start-Up Lab (STEMLab)

This week’s session will provide structure, tips and guidance on how to develop your confidence in public speaking and pitching yourself skills.

Find out more

Get Ahead Together: Success in your second year

28 February 2024, 6pm-7.30pm, Stewart Mason Building

Get Ahead Together is a group mentoring programme for first year and foundation students which helps you to gain first-hand insights and exclusive tips from experienced peer mentors and achieve success in your first year and prepare for the transition into your second year. Attendees will receive a free weekly meal and a workbook.

Find out more

Virtual Mock Assessment Centre

28 February 2024, 6pm-7.45pm, MS Teams

Attend this virtual Mock Assessment Centre, where you’ll hear first-hand what to expect and how to prepare effectively. Employers from a range of top organisations will be attending. This event is delivered by our experts in Careers Network. 

Find out more

Elevate Your Prospects – Elevate Your Interview Skills

29 February 2024, 1pm-2.30pm, D201 (James France Building)

These 4 interactive sessions are tailored especially to first and second year students. Join us to gain the confidence, knowledge, and techniques needed to excel in any interview scenario. Elevate your interview skills, elevate your opportunities!

Find out more

START-Up Fund Information session

29 February 2024, 2pm-3pm, MS Teams

The LEN Team will be hosting Start-up Fund Information sessions to help you prepare for your application. The Start-up Fund (SUF) is not just a grant; it’s your key to unlocking up to £5000 in support for your business ventures, whether they be existing enterprises, developed ideas, or groundbreaking new concepts!

Find out more

In-Person Mock Assessment Centre

29 February 2024, 6pm-8.15pm, James France Exhibition Area

Attend this in-person Mock Assessment Centre, where you’ll hear first-hand what to expect and how to prepare effectively. Employers from a range of top organisations will be attending. This event is delivered by our experts in Careers Network. Free pizza will be available for those that attend. 

Find out more

PowerPoint Presenting – Tricks to perfecting your PowerPoint

1 March 2024, 12pm-1pm, N004 (Haslegrave Building)

This interactive session is designed so you will be able to practice some tips and tricks to get the perfect presentation, ask questions and learn about the power of PowerPoint.

Find out more

General:

RAeS – Lockheed Martin Space in the UK

27 February 2024, 7.30pm-9pm, U020 (Brockington)

This talk by Grant Lewis (Project Manager, Lockheed Martin) will provide an overview of the Lockheed Martin Space business area before moving on to discuss the critical importance of space to the United Kingdom and the need for the UK to have its own space launch capability.

Find out more

IAS Seminar: Being active in Ghana – A CLiMB Ghana study

28 February 2024, 12pm-1pm, International House/Zoom

Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) Visiting Fellow Dr Daniel Boateng will deliver a seminar on their research. Using a survey, the study aims to assess a range of feasible physical activities available to Ghanaians and evaluate adults understanding, attitudes, and behavioural patterns towards physical activity.

Find out more

Book Club: Fiona and Jane by Jean Chen Ho

28 February 2024, 12.30pm-1.30pm, AST Office (Level 3, Pilkington Library)

Join the University Book Club run by staff from Pilkington Library for a discussion of Jean Chen Ho’s debut novel Fiona and Jane.

Find out more

Peace Cafés

28 February 2024, 1.30pm-2.30pm, WAV040 (Wavy Top) & U006 (Brockington)

In order to promote healing, fellowship and community, the Chaplaincy will be organising two Peace Cafés – one each for members of the Jewish and Muslim communities. The Peace Cafés will be focused on community and healing. They will not be a forum for political debate.

The cafés will be facilitated by members of the University Chaplaincy Team. Refreshments will be provided.

  • For Jewish staff and students – WAV040 (Wavy Top)
  • For Muslim staff and students – U006 (Brockington Extension)

Find out more

Exhibition: By some means or Other

28 February-22 March 2024, 12pm-2pm, Martin Hall Exhibition Space

This exhibition brings together five artists selected to take part in the national Artists Access to Art Colleges (AA2A) artist residency scheme in the School of Design and Creative Arts at Loughborough University. The work on display showcases a selection of their diverse projects ongoing since October 2023.

Find out more

Flix Cinema Screening: ‘The Boy and The Heron’

29 February 2024, 7pm-9.30pm, Cope Auditorium

‘The Boy and The Heron’, directed by Hayao Miyazaki and starring Soma Santoki, Masaki Suda, Aimyon and Takuya Kimura.

Mahito, a young 12-year-old boy, struggles to settle in a new town after his mother’s death. However, when a talking heron informs Mahito that his mother is still alive, he enters an abandoned tower in search of her, which takes him to another world.

Find out more

Five minutes with: Liam O'Connell

February 22, 2024 Guest blogger

The Graduate Management Trainee (GMT) Scheme is open to current Loughborough University staff as well as recent graduates.

Current GMT, Liam O’ Connell, provides some insight into his experience.

What was your job at the University before applying to become a GMT?

I was a Food and Beverage Assistant in the Catering Team within Estates and Facilities Management. My responsibilities included bartender duties, catering dining halls and sporting events and table service for functions.

What made you want to apply to the scheme?

I wanted to explore diverse career paths, leverage my strengths and identify areas for professional development. The scheme’s six tailored placements provide this opportunity and the University’s commitment to exposure to senior leaders and strategic projects fuelled my passion to contribute meaningfully.

Did you have any reservations as a current staff member?

I had some nerves, as is normal when starting a new job, but working on campus for eight years provided a solid foundation. It’s a really supportive environment so any doubts I had were short-lived.

What have you learned from being a GMT?

Communication and authenticity are paramount. I’ve gained confidence in expressing my thoughts and have learned the importance of stepping out of my comfort zone. The scheme emphasises flexibility and offers so many opportunities for professional development.

What has been your favourite project so far?

In my initial placement as a Data Analyst and User Experience Office in the Library, I led a data audit and contributed significantly to a Library spaces survey. This project helped to shape Library services in line with its strategy. Currently, we’re planning an innovative flagship event to promote the University-wide strategy and this has been an exciting opportunity to be creative.

What impact are you hoping for the scheme to have on your career?

It’s already been transformative. The responsibility and support have facilitated crucial skill development and I anticipate continued growth throughout my remaining placements.

Find out more and apply to the Graduate Management Trainee Scheme.

If you would like to feature in ‘5 Minutes With’, or you work with someone who you think would be great to include, please email Soph Dinnie at S.Dinnie@lboro.ac.uk.

"Being anti-racist is relevant to everyone's role": Reflections on Race Equality Week

February 21, 2024 Sadie Gration

I participated in the Race Equality Matters 5-Day Challenge at the start of February. I also encouraged my entire team to do the same and made this easy for them to do by having a dedicated person download the challenges and email them out to the whole team. A daily reminder makes it so much more likely that people will engage. Sometimes that journey of development and reflection just needs a little nudge.  I don’t know how many people from the team participated, it isn’t something I wanted to monitor in a performative way.

Instead, I wanted to make it easy for people to engage with an agenda that they might otherwise consider to be for “the EDI Team” or not related to their job. Being anti-racist is relevant to everyone’s role. But it is not always immediately obvious what it means. And being anti-racist is different to not being racist.

I found the bite-sized resources to be a really clever way to engage with an anti-racist agenda. I mean, who can’t spare five minutes of their day to learn something new about a topic that matters so much?

This year, the focus of my learning was around understanding, recognising and gaining confidence in calling out harmful behaviours (these are called microaggressions in the material but we had a useful email exchange within the team about why this is not a good term – so we agreed to think about them as harmful behaviours).  I think the reality is that we will witness harmful behaviours – be that around race, power or anything else. It’s easy to look at the floor, pretend you haven’t heard it or be a bystander and I expect most of us know a time where we did just that.  My personal takeaways were some useful techniques for following up on incidents where I have witnessed harmful behaviours:

  1. Probing questions to the person who made the comment to help them reflect on their behaviour rather than being instantly defensive. We learn more through reflection than attack and defence. So, a simple question “What made you say that?” could really start to shift the dial.
  2. Importantly, following up with the person who experienced the harmful behaviour. They will likely be feeling hurt or lonely following the event and it may not be the first of the day, week, or month. So, if we have witnessed harm, we have a duty of care to check on the person and see what we can do to help them.
  3.  I would encourage all staff who have not already done so to take 20-30 minutes over the next week to review these five-day challenges which can be found at: 5 Day Challenge – Race Equality Matters

Amanda Silverwood, a member of Miranda’s team commented: “I think it’s really important for managers to expressly give their team permission to spend a part of their working day participating in EDI activities. It shows that you believe that EDI is everyone’s responsibility and that it impacts everyone’s work.   

“The Race Equality Matters 5-day challenge is the perfect activity. It’s low-pressure, accessible and something that everyone can find time to do. It also has meaningful outcomes with practical steps that people can implement immediately such as actively seeking out a book, film or podcast based on a different culture from your own.”  

Miranda Routledge
Director of Strategic Planning and Chief of Staff

Working outside of academia - the benefits of a different perspective

February 21, 2024 Beth Woollacott

Written by Tanya Gleadow. Tanya is a doctoral researcher at Loughborough University. Tanya’s PhD research combines her decade of teaching experience with her previous career in STEM and computing outreach, looking at how the current computer science curriculum influences ideas about data science education. Edited by Dr Bethany Woollacott.

This post is a reflective account of my recent three-month placement with the Department for Education. The placement was part of a PhD pilot scheme funded by the Economic and Social Research Council Doctoral Training Partnership who are also funding my PhD. The scheme enabled me to fully focus on the placement by facilitating a three-month extension to my PhD studies. For more information on UK Research and Innovation funding opportunities, please use the link at the end of this blogpost.

Introduction

Most of us interact with policy makers at arm’s length, and when a possibility to work within the heart of policy presented itself, it was a unique opportunity to gain a different perspective to that of academia. Usually, we are on the outside looking in, or at the business end of a policy putting it into practice. So, what really goes into making educational policy?

The role

The placement involved working on live projects alongside experienced officials and other experts to facilitate analysis and advice to those across the government. It involved assessing existing research and expert advice from a range of sources and synthesising that evidence into formats suitable for policymaking audiences. I was using my academic research skills in a fast-paced environment – no waiting months for a review process. I might be giving a presentation in a few days, but the reasoning and research still had to be as thorough as for a conference paper. I thought that governmental work would move slowly like academia does, but it moves at a rapid pace, constantly refining through several iterations. As with academia, high standards of rigour are expected.

My takeaways

From the experience, I gained a lot of confidence in my reasoning and persuasion skills. Giving presentations to policymakers and having to defend my work felt like excellent practice for a viva! In addition, the work involved collaborating with a range of experts which gave me valuable experience in writing for different audiences and working with others to achieve common goals. The breadth of expertise you have access to as a civil servant allows you to ask a lot of questions to some very interesting organisations.


Giving presentations to policymakers and having to defend my work felt like excellent practice for a viva!


The experience made me reflect on the accessibility of our research to others, and on how best to include those from outside the ‘academic bubble’, such as publishing Open Access and using less academic language, even if this means publishing somewhere that is outside of traditional academia. In the Civil Service you have access to training and experiences that may not be available to you at a university – for instance I was able to access ONS (Office for National Statistics) training and improve my skills in understanding and communicating data and statistics to the public.

So… what really goes into making educational policy?

Through the internship, I noted that policy work involves a lot of thorough research, coming up with potential solutions, and exploring them with people and organisations who have faced similar challenges. It also gives you a chance to test ideas and defend them against a panel of questions from others in government. This was an excellent opportunity to improve my written and verbal communication and, in turn, take written and verbal feedback. Often in academia we are speaking to similarly oriented minds in our narrow research areas, yet in a policy context I found myself working very broadly to build overviews and context to a particular problem. Standing back from the detail and being able to perceive a project’s situation and direction was a chance for reflection, and I feel that it would be a beneficial exercise within an academic setting too. I would encourage others to look outside their field to see where their work could be applied to wider contexts.


I would encourage others to look outside their field to see where their work could be applied to wider contexts.


I also realised that different thinking was valuable in this context – being able to generate ideas rapidly and problem-solve, as well as being able to explore ideas at pace, were all key to exploring policy development.

In summary

This placement away from my academic work not only improved my ability to research and explain, it also strengthened my existing skills in a different context. Being able to step back from my “day job” and into a different environment gave me a sense of perspective it might have been hard to gain otherwise. I look forward to taking these new and developed skills back into my role in academia and sharing them with my colleagues and peers, and I would whole-heartedly recommend this experience to anyone looking for a fresh perspective.

Placements can be hosted by any organisation for the funding pathway via the DTP, but you can also look at the UK Research and Innovation funding opportunities if you are not part of a Doctoral Training Partnership.

Uncovering the key factors influencing negotiation behaviour

February 20, 2024 Loughborough University London

By Elizaveta Lapina

Exploring the extent of cultural influence on negotiation processes, along with the role of personality traits, academic background, and religious affiliation.

Regardless of one’s profession or status – be it a businessperson, teacher, salesperson, or diplomat – the process of negotiation is inevitable. Negotiations are strongly influenced by cultural differences that shape the way we communicate, perceive situations, and resolve disagreements.

My research specifically examined the intersection of cultural differences, personality traits, field of study, and religious affiliations and their influence on negotiation styles. The main purpose was to identify how the most important cultural differences influence negotiation behaviour. A better understanding of cultural differences can help us better appreciate effective negotiation strategies. To investigate this, I designed and surveyed 107 university students.

It is already known that some cultures favour direct communication, while others lean towards a more indirect approach. Attitudes towards time and punctuality also differ from culture to culture. More importantly, each culture has its own set of norms and values that determine what is considered fair or acceptable during negotiations.

In academic circles there exists lively debate around two main points of view: whether culture is the primary factor influencing negotiation style, or if it is just one of several factors. Research has shown that cultural differences complicate negotiations, often leading to misunderstandings. However, some scholars argue that culture is just one piece of the puzzle, with individual differences, power dynamics, and situational factors also playing a significant role.

Through my research, I surveyed university students of different nationalities, fields of study and beliefs, both online and offline. Despite initial interest, some online participants forgot to complete the questionnaire. On the contrary, face-to-face data collection proved to be more effective. The bulk of the data was gathered from the British Library, resulting in the respondents being surveyed direct.

The survey built on previous research and explored negotiation styles and factors such as cultural background and personality traits. After collecting responses, statistical techniques were used to organise and analyse the data, to understand key characteristics and significant differences, or relationships between variables. 

From the survey and wider analysis of the topic, I concluded that culture is not a major factor in negotiation, although cultural differences do influence the negotiation process. For example, people consistently chose either high-context or non-context negotiation styles, emphasising the importance of these styles in decision-making processes. High-context cultures, such as in Arab countries and China, tend to favour indirect communication, place a high value on context and hierarchy, and value long-term relationships. Conversely, low-context cultures, such as those in the US and Germany, prefer direct and clear communication that focuses on short-term relationships. Furthermore, evidence found that American students exhibit a higher propensity to take risks in negotiation, while their German counterparts were more risk-averse. Chinese students favoured a more formal negotiation style, while German students tended to prefer a more informal style.

The study showed that psychological characteristics had the most significant impact on the negotiation process. Emotional stability, in particular, significantly influenced two types of negotiation behaviour: communication style and time sensitivity.

Those with higher emotional stability often used indirect communication and were time-sensitive, preferring to close the deal quickly. Extraversion and agreeableness significantly influenced their approach to negotiations. Individuals who scored higher on these qualities tend to take a more emotional approach to negotiations.

Openness to experience and emotional stability were also key predictors of a rational approach to negotiation. Individuals who scored higher on these qualities often favoured rational tactics. Openness to experience also significantly influenced preference for more generalised forms of agreement. Extraversion and agreeableness significantly predicted risk-taking propensity. More extroverted individuals were likely to take more risk, while more accommodating individuals tend to be risk averse.

The research also found that a person’s field of study, religion, and gender had some influence on negotiation tendencies. Business and economics students showed a significantly higher tendency to take risks in negotiation compared to other majors. Males, meanwhile, were more inclined to take a rational approach while females were more inclined to choose an emotional approach.

In conclusion, the study suggests that negotiation behaviour is influenced by many overlapping factors. Although culture plays a role, its influence is neither uniform nor deterministic. Psychological characteristics are more significant in predicting negotiation behaviour. There are, however, gaps and limitations in the current findings. By applying a nuanced approach and dynamic methodology, future research can provide a clearer picture of the cultural complexities of negotiation behaviour. An improved appreciation of this will enable negotiators to navigate cross-cultural interactions more easily in an increasingly globalised world.

Ukraine and the Kurdish Question: A Dissertation Reflection

February 20, 2024 Loughborough University London

In 2024 Will Marshall was one of two winners of IDIG’s prize for best dissertation. In this blog post, he reflects on both his dissertation and the lessons he would pass on from writing an award-winning dissertation.

Choosing My Topic

As a student on the MSc Security, Peace-building and Diplomacy course, I decided to write a dissertation that compared the conflicts and political situations in Ukraine and Kurdistan. The start of my research corresponded with the one-year anniversary of the Ukraine conflict, the consequences of which reverberated across the world and the study of international relations.

However, the majority of coverage seemed fixated with macro-analytical perspectives on the war’s global repercussions: the impact on Europe, East vs West tensions, energy markets, responses by the superpowers, realignments of global alliances. Absent from this coverage was consideration of how the conflict was changing smaller, more specific conflicts and political situations. 

At this time, I was also studying debates about state secessionism and the global barriers to the independent recognition of aspiring regions. In this area of study, the case of Iraqi-Kurdistan, with its significant historical injustice, alongside the exceptional resilience and fortitude displayed against adversarial forces simply through the autonomous region’s existence, drew my attention.

Based on these elements, I decided to research how the Ukraine conflict was impacting the independence prospects of Iraqi-Kurdistan. The motivation of this decision was two-fold, firstly; explore in more detail one of the wider global consequences of the Ukraine conflict. Secondly; add to the existing analysis of the contemporary status of Iraqi-Kurdistan’s independence struggle, and the prospects of alleviation for the stateless denigration of the Kurdish people.

Researching my Topic

I began by developing a framework centred upon a key concept within state recognition discipline: remedial secession, specifically in reference to its legal precedence that developed following the anomalous case of Kosovo in July 2010. The Kosovan case is unique in the field of international law, as the International Court of Justice legally advised the permission of Kosovo’s secession from Serbia, without the normatively implemented conditional presence of de-colonisation or foreign invasion within the case, contradicting previous convention.

Instead, it was argued that Kosovo’s secession was legitimate due to the systematic addressment, or ‘remedy’, it represented against the oppressive subjugation ethnic Kosovans faced through retained existence within the state entity of Serbia. Central to this ruling, however, was the advocation of the US and Western powers in favour of Kosovo. This adds a dimension, and perhaps condition, to remedial secession of ‘the politics of recognition.’ It suggests the notion that legal deployment requires significant support from existing international powers.

Designing a framework around remedial secession and the Kosovan case meant firstly identifying the impacts the Ukraine conflict had on Iraqi-Kurdistan to assess whether these impacts made the prospect of the region’s independence through the vehicle of remedial secession, and indeed political advocation of such action by international powers, more or less likely.

To be able to argue the conflict had increased the prospects of independence would therefore require evidence showing the conflict had instigated a great risk of persecution for the Kurdish populace within the wider state entity of Iraq, alongside evidence of international actors showing greater political motivation to advocate for the secession. The intention of this process was to add a degree of validity to the research’s findings, as its argumentation would subsequently be predicated on an existing legal precedence and real-world contextual background.

However, the unexplored nature of the dissertation question meant secondary sources were going to be an inadequate source of evidence. I decided the best way forward would be to conduct interviews. Securing interviews with individuals with the relevant credentials and authority to speak on the matter was a difficult process. However, through careful research and perseverance, I was able to secure several interviews. The information they supplied was indispensable to my overall analysis and research findings.

Summary of My Findings

My hypothesis was that the Ukrainian conflict had enhanced Iraqi-Kurdistan’s independence recognition prospects. This view was based on the work of Mikulas Fabry, who developed the idea within the state recognition discipline that great-power conflict, such as was the case in Ukraine, served to create ‘cracks to the barriers of recognition’. This notion was coupled with personal observations of political opportunities associated with Iraqi-Kurdistan’s possession of oil, alongside a global polarisation that allowed for geo-political manoeuvring by the Iraqi-Kurdistan region.

However, research findings soon displayed the inverse to be true. For example, the Iraqi-Kurdistan region’s possession of oil did not deliver international leverage. This was caused by a significant lack of internal political cohesion by the region’s main political parties (the Kurdish Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan), which was the result of disputes over the oil sector. Iraqi-Kurdistan’s segregated governmental structure between the KDP and PUK meant it lacked the institutional integrity and political capability to effectively capitalise on the global economic opportunity presented by the energy market politics of the Ukraine conflict.

I soon found other empirical examples. Each pointed to the damage to independence aspirations caused by political factionalism within Iraqi-Kurdistan itself. This also led to a loss of investment and engagement in the region as international powers diverted attention elsewhere during the Ukraine conflict. In this sense, the conflict was drawing away the material capacities of international actors, which was having a detrimental impact on the region’s independence prospects.

This notion was most strikingly displayed in my own conversation with one interviewee who had previously worked for the UK Diplomatic Service in Ebril, in Iraqi-Kurdistan. They recalled an instance, shortly after the Russian invasion, wherein a US diplomat had bluntly informed Kurdish officials “look what’s going on, we do not have the bandwidth for this, there’s a war in Europe”. For several years the US had attempted to mediate and find reconciliation between the KDP and PUK, with limited progress made. The Ukraine war meant leaving the historically antagonistic Kurdish parties to their own devices. Without a stable political settlement, the notion of the region being granted remedial secession was subsequently implausible.

It was therefore evident the Ukraine conflict had not boosted but instead infringed the prospects for an independent state recognition of the Iraqi-Kurdistan region. The chance of remedial secession was fleeting, through a combination of the Iraqi-Kurdistan’s troubled political dynamics and the Ukraine conflict relegating the region’s importance to international actors. This does not mean the Kurdish fight for independence will stall. As remarked by one of my interviewees; ‘it will always be the fire in the hearts of the Kurds to be free’, their cause has lasted over a century, and will no doubt continue to persist until that ultimate ambition is reached.

Lessons for Others

The process of researching my dissertation was challenging, at times stressful and demoralising, but ultimately very rewarding. I would offer the following points of advice:

Decide on a topic early

  • This is one of the hardest steps. Once you have decided on a topic you can begin work on moulding the question and building your research incrementally, it allows the other steps to fall into place more naturally. Quickly deciding on a topic will allow you the freedom to explore it, which will lead to you adapting your initial ideas. The alternative is jumping between topics, which delays you exploring a topic in-depth.

Ask a Question to Which You Want to Know the Answer

  • A personal curiosity for what you are researching is a great motivational element that will help push you through the inevitably extensive research process, which otherwise may become arduous and disengaging. If you are interested in finding the answer, it will likely mean the topic is relevant, original and dynamic in its content.

Accept the Limitations of Your Research – and Address Them

  • One of the mistakes I made in my undergraduate dissertation was neglecting the gaps in my research when forming conclusions. You have a limited word-count and timeframe, so cannot address every element your question raises. This is okay, just ensure you acknowledge the gaps, and even mistakes you made, somewhere in your dissertation.

Expand Your Research Beyond Desk-Based Approaches

  • If applicable, broaden your research beyond the existing literature base. It may seem like creating more work for yourself, but it will introduce new dimensions to your dissertation. If your question is unique and original, chances are you will not necessarily find literature that directly addresses it. Alternative research methods, such as interviews and surveys, will allow you to gather referenceable sources and data that will directly support your arguments. You may also discover information that makes you rethink your question or where you want your research to go.

Incorporating fitness around working life

Incorporating fitness around working life

February 20, 2024 LU Comms
Purple and orange illustration of two people walking together outdoors.

Finding the right balance between work and personal wellbeing can be challenging and when our calendars get busy, it’s easy to neglect our health.

Many of us spend hours sitting every day at our desks, in the car and watching TV. Incorporating fitness into your daily routine not only helps maintain good health but can also improve productivity, concentration, and overall job satisfaction.

Some of the benefits of regular exercise include:

  • Reduced risk of major illness: Research led by the University of Sydney, Australia, in collaboration with other major institutions including Loughborough University, found that short bursts of daily activity are linked to reduced cancer risk
  • Stronger bones and muscles
  • Better fitness and energy
  • Improved mood and brain function
  • Lower stress and better sleep

Research at the University has also found that playing sports benefits team function and organisational productivity, as well as employee health.

Find out more about the benefits of exercise on our wellbeing.

Challenge yourself to incorporate at least twenty minutes of exercise into your daily routine

Here are some practical ways to seamlessly integrate fitness, making it an enjoyable part of your day:

  • Schedule dedicated time in your diary for exercise just as you would for any work-related task and treat this as a non-negotiable part of your routine.
  • Take active breaks throughout the day, this could be short workouts, stretching, or quick walks.
  • If possible, consider alternative commuting options that involve physical activity such as walking or cycling to work, using public transport with a walk to the station, or parking a bit further away.
  • Suggest a walking meeting with a colleague instead of sitting across a table.
  • Every time you make or answer a call, get up and walk around, this will add to your daily step count.
  • Use your lunch break to take a walk, run or even go for a quick gym or swimming session.
  • Try simple desk exercises and stretches which can help combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting.

Quick but effective workouts

Apps and resources that can help to plan, motivate and give you fitness ideas

  • Couch to 5K – NHS running programme for beginners that will assist you in gradually progressing toward running 5km in just 9 weeks
  • Active 10 – Tracks your steps and helps you to set active goals
  • We are Undefeatable – Has great advice on getting active for those living with disabilities and health conditions
  • Activity Alliance – Exercise advice, workouts, videos and activity guides to support disabled people to be and stay active

The key to incorporating fitness into your working life is to find activities you enjoy. Whether it’s dancing, cycling, swimming, or yoga, choosing activities that bring you joy will make it easier to stick to a routine. Experiment with different activities until you find what resonates with you.

You can try out a variety of sports at the University through the MyLifestyle programme, a free and inclusive recreational sport and physical activity offer, open to everybody of any ability. There is a series of sports and activities taking place during a weekly timetable including UV zumba, wheelchair basketball, yoga, and much more. These sessions are a great opportunity to keep fit, meet new people and have fun. There are also staff sport sessions you can join, taking place on a weekly basis including badminton, squash and football.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel immediate benefits from adding fitness to your routine, if you can focus on forming new habits then results will develop over time.

Playing Politics: Public Diplomacy in Football 

February 16, 2024 Loughborough University London

By Eamonn West, Winner of the 2022 Dissertation Prize in the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance, Loughborough University London 

The blurring of politics and international relations into more mundane aspects of our daily lives has always proven extremely interesting to me. It’s easy to write off international politics as focused on grand conferences between superpowers or diplomatic deliberations on issues on the other side of the world. Yet, the interconnected world of today facilitates a level of public diplomacy never seen before and is fascinating.  

Thailand’s government funds Thai restaurants and chefs abroad to help establish their international presence through gastro-diplomacy, IKEA works in unintentional tandem with Sweden to improve Sweden’s global image, and Denmark even recreated their whole country in the video game Minecraft and allowed people to download it for free. Establishing a presence in the international public’s consciousness and expanding soft power has become a critical objective of a nation-state’s diplomatic ambition- and is a fresh, exciting and understudied aspect of international relations. However, while states may aim to improve their soft power through unique and modern methods, this is not always the case- soft power campaigns can backfire, shining a negative light on the state and causing soft disempowerment.  

Sport is a particularly useful medium to communicate with a global audience due to both it’s scale and popularity, as well as the intense emotional bond it causes, resonating with people regardless of geography or social dividers. While all sports are observing an increase in state involvement, football- as the world’s most popular game- acts as an excellent case study for the broader ramifications of this trend in sport. As a football fan myself, I’m particularly drawn to the involvement of states in the sport I love, especially as it is an exponentially increasing trend. Thus, I decided to focus my dissertation on the role of public diplomacy within football specifically.  

Originally I had the intention to analyse the involvement of specific states within football, and evaluate their various strategies, successes and failures; however, it became apparent early in the research process that their strategies were often similar and intertwined. As such, therefore, my dissertation instead focused on evaluating the different methods states use to increase their involvement in football. I identified three primary methods: hosting sporting mega-events, sports club ownership, and sports club sponsorship. On top of this, I also identified three primary actors which used these methods; the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, who would remain my focus throughout.  

The role of mega-events in football and sports through the lens of international relations has much more research than other aspects, despite this arena of public diplomacy being heavily understudied. It is understandable why; they seize global international attention and can prove to be an efficient tool in presenting a tailored image to the outside world. The primary benefit and risk attached to mega-events is the level of attention and discussion surrounding them. While they can prove to be colossal events which put their respective countries on the map, they can also bring significant focus on the negative aspects of the country. Qatar’s 2022 World Cup is a recent clear example of both soft power gain and soft disempowerment- being both a great success in establishing Qatar’s brand internationally, yet marred with major attention on their human rights violations. 

Both sports club ownership and sports club sponsorship benefit from the institution the state is attaching itself to. Mega-events are highly effective, but short term- they bring global attention, but for a limited period of time, and thus require a broader, comprehensive strategy to be a part of. Conversely, the strength of sports club ownership and sponsorship is the long-term and medium-term attachment that it brings. Mega-events primarily influence perceptions over the course of the event itself, whereas club ownership and sponsorship benefit from influence whenever their club plays, week in, and week out. They even benefit in the off-season, with discussions about clubs due to transfers, with specific players from countries bringing localised attention from new regions.  

There are several strategies within sponsoring or purchasing specific clubs; the UAE model of the City Football Group purchases numerous clubs across the globe, creating international networks which benefit each other, as well as diversifying the nation’s image across football. Qatar instead has focused primarily on one club- Paris Saint-Germain, utilising its location in Paris to strengthen diplomatic ties with France, and co-opt the fashion-focused brand of the city. Both sponsorship and ownership perform similar roles but diverge around cost and direct attachment to the club- sponsoring a club is cheaper, but carries less potential for association- therefore reducing risk but also the potential benefits. 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed researching this topic and exploring deeper into the sport which consumes far too much of my life. The links between states and sports seem only set to deepen, and I believe much greater academic attention should be paid to this growing realm of public diplomacy.  

Reflections on the Writing of my Dissertation 

February 16, 2024 Loughborough University London

By Christian Scott, Winner of the Runners Up 2022 Dissertation Prize in the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance, Loughborough University London  

Espionage has always been a subject matter that has interested me, stemming back to my love of James Bond films as a child. However, I think that it is a topic that is often mischaracterised, considered in a negative context as a manner for one nation to steal secrets from another. Whilst this is sometimes the case, I believe there are also many examples of espionage being used in a far more positive sense to try to gain information to prevent, de-escalate or end conflicts and improve diplomatic relations. It is also true that spies do not often receive the credit they deserve for their role in shaping key events due to the secrecy in which they operate. My dissertation focused on the importance of one such spy: Oleg Gordievsky in ending the Cold War which so easily could have concluded with the use of nuclear weapons without his contributions.  

Gordievsky is an inspirational man who risked his life on a daily basis for over 10 years in working for Britain covertly because he believed in the values of a democratic society which we now enjoy the benefits of. He is still under 24/7 surveillance living in the UK as he is still a potential target of Russian retribution, particularly following the attempted assassination of another former military intelligence officer who worked for Britain named Sergei Skripal. 

I had wanted to write about Gordievsky ever since reading ‘The Spy and the Traitor’ by Ben Macintyre, which describes Gordievsky’s life and incidentally is a must-read. I had wanted to interview Macintyre as he is one of the few people to have actually met Gordievsky and talked to him in detail in the researching of his book but unfortunately, he was unavailable for an interview. As such I needed another method of research. I determined to research Gordievsky’s impact through an examination of Margaret Thatcher’s speeches towards the USSR in the period before and after she began receiving intelligence briefings regarding the USSR from Gordievsky. This may seem an unusual way to measure the influence of a spy on UK public policy, but due to the secrecy of his work, very little has actually been published about Gordievsky from official UK government sources. Despite the general availability of much of Thatcher’s speeches online, most are within the confines of PMQ’s or interviews where many others are speaking, this meant that all 292 sources within the chosen time period of 1979-1985 had to be manually edited to prevent the skewing of collected data.  

Thatcher had been called the Iron Lady, due to her tough stance on communism and constant criticisms of the USSR’s leadership in the years up to 1983. Just two years later however, Thatcher had declared Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev ‘A man one could do business with’ and had secretly urged the US to cease its aggressive rhetoric towards the USSR leading to significantly improved diplomatic relations. The discourse analysis utilised demonstrated that Gordievsky was pivotal in causing that shift in Thatcher’s thinking and vastly improving the West’s relationship with the USSR. Incidentally, I was very fortunate that in writing this dissertation I had the supportive presence of my supervisor Dr Tim Oliver who aided me in defining my objectives and providing me with the support I needed to produce the study. 

However, the aim of this study other than to illustrate Gordievsky’s importance to world history, was to highlight how espionage can be used in conflict resolution. This is particularly pertinent at present, as this should be considered by Western nations in Russia’s current conflict with Ukraine. At a time when global politics is increasingly being seen in the zero-sum manner of the Cold War era, with rising tensions between NATO, Russia and China, it seems a good time to reflect upon how we interact with other people and nations, as well as how our efforts; overt or secretive, should be focussed on trying to improve understanding and collaboration, rather than aiming to gain superiority over others. 

This Week at Loughborough | 19 February

This Week at Loughborough | 19 February

February 16, 2024 Orla Price

International Week:

International Day Stall

19 February 2024, 12pm-4pm, The Basement (LSU)

Attendees can expect to explore different cultures through food, performances and games representing the variety of cultures present around campus.

Find out more

International Creative Fair

20 February 2024, 12pm-5pm, The Basement/The Treehouse (LSU)

Students will be able to share their culture with other students on campus through teaching them how to make arts and crafts.

Find out more

Careers Fest:

4 Steps to Successful Presentations

19 February 2024, 12pm-1pm, CC014 (James France Building)

Students who attend this session will be provided with a voucher for a free lunch! This workshop will allow you to learn top tips to planning your presentation, how to develop your presentation skills and develop your confidence when presenting. 

Find out more

Spring Careers Fair

20 February 2024, 11am-4pm, Sir David Wallace Sports Hall

Employers will be exhibiting their employment opportunities in all sectors, and the Careers Fair is open to students from all disciplines and year groups. This is your last opportunity to meet with representatives from numerous organisations, all under one place this academic year. Organisations such as Unilever, Aldi, AWE, Textron Specialized Vehicles, City Year, Siemens, Civil Service Fast Stream and many more will be attending.

Find out more

AFBE x Balfour Beatty Engineering Transition Event

21 February 2024, 1pm-6pm, DAV030 (Sir David Davies Building)

Balfour Beatty and the Association For BME Engineers (AFBE) will be running a Transition Event. This will give you the opportunity to practice your interview skills, hear the inspiring careers of engineering leaders and recent graduates, boost your assessment centre performance and network with like-minded professionals and peers.

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Get Ahead Together: Ultimate Student House Survival Workshop

21 February 2024, 1pm-2.30pm, Wavy Top Building

The session will cover where should I live, overcoming challenges of student living, first hand advice and tips from mentors from your academic school on their experiences. Attendees will receive a free weekly meal and a workbook full of useful resources and tips.

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Masters Futures: Building Your Network to Develop Your Postgraduate Career

21 February 2024, 6pm-7pm, MS Teams

For many postgraduate students networking can seem intimidating, but this session will help you develop your confidence and knowledge of networking skills.

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Get Ahead Together: Ultimate Student House Survival Workshop

21 February 2024, 6pm-7.30pm, SMB017 (Stewart Mason Building)

The session will cover where should I live, overcoming challenges of student living, first hand advice and tips from mentors from your academic school on their experiences. Attendees will receive a free weekly meal and a workbook full of useful resources and tips.

Find out more

Breakfast Study Cafe

22 February 2024, 8am-11am, West Park Teaching Hub (008)

The Academic Success Team are hosting Breakfast Study Cafes to help you set aside time to study and increase your productivity whilst on campus. Drop in for one or all the sessions starting at 8:00 am, 9:00 am, and 10:00 am and study with structure.

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Elevate Your Prospects – Elevate Your Networking

22 February 2024, 1pm-2pm, D002 (James France Building)

These 4 interactive sessions are tailored especially to first and second year students. This session will give you the skills you need for successful networking including some hints and tips with LinkedIn and advice on how and where to find opportunities. 

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Group Coaching on Procrastination

22 February 2024, 6pm-7.30pm, WAV011 (Wavy Top Building)

In a small group you will work through the GROW model of coaching to help you set some actions around beating your procrastination beast. This session is overseen by two Coaches who will facilitate your group discussions.

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Word Wizardry – Tricks to formatting large documents with ease

23 February 2024, 12.30pm-2pm, U.0.05 (Brockington Building)

This session will cover details on how to do lots of these things that will help make your document look and feel structured, professional and effective.

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LGBT+ History Month:

Pilkington Library LGBT+ History Month Display

1-29 February 2024, Pilkington Library

This year’s Library display explores the theme of Medicine, looking at LGBT+ experiences in and contributions to Medicine through history. The display also showcases articles and research from the Loughborough archives and relevant works currently held in the Library collection.

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Feminism and Trans-liberation

20 February 2024, 1pm-2pm, MS Teams

Some people perceive a conflict between the needs of feminists and the trans community but, like the distrust of immigrants sown among the working class, this is a conflict contrived by those who actually hold the power and who would prefer marginalised groups to fight among themselves than work together for systemic change. This webinar looks at why these groups should resist this divide-and-conquer tactic and work together to break down gender stereotypes and patriarchal norms.

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Screening of ‘Boy Erased’ (2018)

21 February 2024, 5.15pm-7.45pm, Seminar Room 1 (Pilkington Library)/Online

Based on a true story, the son (Lucas Hedges) of a Baptist preacher (Russell Crowe) is forced to participate in a church-supported gay conversion program after being forcibly outed to his parents. The screening will be followed by a discussion of the themes, which will be held in person and online.

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How to be a Christian ally to LGBT+ community

22 February 2024, 1pm-2pm, EHB209 (Edward Herbert Building)

Are you a progressive Christian? Do you want to be a better ally to LGBTQ+ people, but don’t know where to start? On Thursdays, during LGBT+ History Month, join the University Chaplaincy to reflect on how Christians can be more active in their allyship. Join these sessions for bible study and conversation, thinking about allyship as Christian discipleship.

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Queer Arts and Crafts – Keith Haring painting

23 February 2024, 1pm-3pm, SCH.0.04 (Schofield Learning Zone)

Painting session inspired by the work of Keith Haring (pop artist and social advocate for queer rights). All materials will be provided, no experience necessary. 

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General:

Critical Thinking Workshop

19 February 2024, 6pm-8pm, EHB001 (Edward Herbert Building)

This workshop is an exclusive opportunity for Part A students of Black heritage to elevate your critical thinking skills to maximise your chances of securing your best degree outcome.

In this session you will:
• Understand what critical thinking is and why it is important in achieving a first class degree
• Be able to explain the difference between analysis and evaluation
• Know how to apply critical thinking when reading journal articles and academic texts

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Super Work From Home Webinar

21 February 2024, 1pm-2pm, MS Teams

Working from home can play havoc with our eating habits and exercise routine, with knock-on effects for sleep, mood, and energy levels. The Super Wellness five-step plan is here to help you navigate the pitfalls and put in place habits that work for you whilst supporting mental and physical health.

This webinar will cover:

• Putting a structure in place – weekly, daily, and tricks to keep focused
• Creating your healthy environment at home – getting rid of temptations, stocking up on alternatives you can enjoy, and using ’nudging’ to make healthy habits easier
• Trying out new recipes including ideas for breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner, and things to make with kids
• Cultivating positive relationships and mental wellbeing

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Create and Connect

21 February 2024, 2pm-3.30pm, Collaboration Station (LSU)

In the third week, our theme will be the UK, which is a fantastic opportunity to reflect on what this nation means to you and to capture it on paper.

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National Theatre Live: Vanya

22 February 2024, 7pm, Cope Auditorium

Andrew Scott (Fleabag) brings multiple characters to life in Simon Stephens’ (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) radical new version of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya.

Hopes, dreams, and regrets are thrust into sharp focus in this one-man adaptation which explores the complexities of human emotions.

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Students Sustainability Hackathon

23 February 2024, 9.15am-12.45pm, Loughborough University Stadium

This event is open to those with an interest in sustainability and anyone with a desire to network and contribute to something special.

The Students Sustainability Hackathon gives you the chance to voice your opinion and pitch ideas to some of the key figures at the University. Bringing together students, the Sustainability Team, and University academics, in a one-off event to get creative and be proactive in thinking about the future of Sustainability at the University, but also how our role as a university impacts the natural world and the global community. 

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Vigil in support of Ukraine

23 February 2024, 2pm-4pm, Hazlerigg Fountain

It will be the day when we will be honouring the members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine who have fought and fallen and remembering those civilians who were tragically killed. The commemorative day will start with speeches from the Chaplaincy, Vice Chancellor, and members of the Ukrainian Society followed by a vigil around the Loughborough University campus.

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Imprint/Dismantle

10-21 February 2024, 12pm-2pm, Martin Hall Exhibition Space

Discover the work of Loughborough University’s Graduate Artists for 2023/24. Step into the captivating realm of Imprint/Dismantle, where the works of Loughborough’s three graduate artists converge in a dynamic investigation of perception and transformation. 

Find out more

Practical guidance for writing Your Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) PDR Objectives

Practical guidance for writing Your Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) PDR Objectives

February 16, 2024 Guest Author
Image courtesy of Getty Images

As employees, you are asked to have an EDI objective in your PDR each year.  Essentially this is to help create fairer, more inclusive, and equitable working practices for all and move away from the notion that EDI is only practised by a few, well-intentioned individuals, to a place where ‘EDI is everybody’s business.’

The context for the EDI PDR Objectives

All employees must work within the parameters of UK Law.  In this instance, it is specifically the Equality Act (2010) and the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED). The Duty requires all public bodies to proactively take steps to:

  • Foster and promote good relations between those with protected characteristics and those who do not
  • Eliminate discrimination, victimisation, and harassment
  • Advance equality of opportunity between groups of people of diverse backgrounds and with diverse needs.

Loughborough University’s ‘Creating Better Futures. Together’ Strategy

Our University Strategy states: “We will prioritise activities that identify and remove systemic inequities, associated with protected characteristics and marginalised groups, as well as promote and progress equity and inclusion.”

Therefore, to make a conscious effort to ensure the above is at the forefront of planning and decision making we are asking for all colleagues to put EDI at the forefront of their day-to-day activities. By everyone having an EDI objective we stand a much greater chance of achieving the above ambitions.

Setting your EDI Objective

To set your EDI Objective, or to help team members set theirs, it helps some people to think about areas where protected and marginalised groups/individuals are either not thriving, succeeding, or represented in your area of work, for example. You may know this from individual disclosures of discontent, staff and student survey results or not being able to attract and retain diverse people/groups in your team/teams.  Once you have identified an area where EDI input is required, you are now ready to think about what you would like to achieve with respect to that area of work. Below are three real-life work examples to illustrate this point.

Example 1. A number of students have complained that you as their lecturer do not intervene when other students make jokes about groups from protected and marginalised backgrounds. You also do not enquire why people from these groups are not happy taking part in certain activities, namely ones with the ‘name callers’.  In the email to you, the students said they were confused as they had heard you state that “this is an inclusive institution where discrimination will not be tolerated.” You secretly acknowledge the students’ complaints are valid but often do not feel equipped to intervene. What objective can address this for the lecturer?

Example 2. A senior manager who frequently chairs interviews for grade 8 and 9 posts. A panel member stated Black candidates were overly scrutinised in an interview and judged on criteria that were not in the person specification. They reported this to the person in charge of recruitment in HR. When the senior manager and HR reviewed their recruitment data, it showed Black candidates at this level seldom made it past the interview stage and on the rare occasion they were offered the post they declined. The HR person agreed to investigate this practice. What objective can address this for the senior manager?

Example 3. A manager sent out an anonymous annual questionnaire for team members to complete regarding the extent to which they felt they could bring their true selves to work, in terms of the food they ate, the way they spoke, the clothes they wore and how able they were to admit to making mistakes. When the results came back and management analysed the data, it showed a significant number of people commented they did not feel they could bring their true selves to work due to their religious practices never being acknowledged, their hidden disabilities, being attributed to people ‘milking the system’ and comments such as, why can’t we have a straight Pride Month. What objective can address this for the management team?

Choosing your EDI Objectives

When you have identified areas where groups such as the above are not for whatever reason (reasons can be multi-varied and complex) thriving, succeeding or represented then you can decide what you want to achieve or change. The change will form the basis of your PDR Objective.

Below are examples of objectives you could set to address similar issues in your own practice.

Objective 1 – To improve my skill and confidence to challenge inappropriate behaviours in a teaching setting over the next 12 months.

Actions to ensure this objective is successful:

  • Learn more about Bystander Intervention to understand how and when it is safe to intervene with discriminatory behaviours
  • Have conversations about the bystander role and discriminatory behaviours with your team. Listen to how others have intervened in similar situations
  • Attend the Inclusive Practitioner training and discuss and reflect on learning with your team
  • Regularly remind yourself of this objective
  • Ask your students if they feel your practices are fair and inclusive.

Objective 2 – All Interview panellists including the hiring/senior manager to undertake biases training and read discriminatory material relevant to recruitment processes before they sit on a grade 8 &9 recruitment panel.

Actions to ensure this objective is successful.

  • Ensure all panellists have undergone HR recruitment training
  • Make sure all panellists are educated about the ways anti-blackness presents in the hiring process and attend unconscious bias awareness training
  • Complete the Belonging and Inclusion online resource
  • Capture feedback, especially from Black candidates after the interview process to determine their perception of the process
  • Regularly review recruitment data including offers to Black candidates and acceptance from Black candidates.

Objective 3 – To improve cultural competence and diversity awareness knowledge, as it relates to creating more diverse and inclusive work cultures and spaces by the next annual questionnaire.

Actions to ensure this objective is successful:

  • For the manager and staff to complete anti-discriminatory Belonging and Inclusion online training
  • Offer the manager and staff the opportunity to attend relevant Learning and Development workshops such as Disability Confidence
  • The manager should provide colleagues with opportunities to discuss how valued they feel
  • The manager should attend and allow staff to attend EDI events (advertised in University-wide communications) during work hours
  • Consider hosting cultural awareness days
  • Invite all managers in the Department to go on the Inclusive manager training session
  • To find time to discuss questionnaire results with colleagues and decide on the next course of action with colleagues.

Summary

This blog has focused on the following to help ensure Loughborough University colleagues act in equitable ways, embrace and celebrate diversity, whilst creating an environment where people from diverse backgrounds are successful and represented in all aspects and areas of the University:

Appendix 1: Glossary of terms

Objectives – Something you plan to achieve
Equality Act – Anti-discriminatory legislation
Public Sector Duty – Makes sure public authorities and organisations promote equality in every aspect of their day-to-day business.
Systemic – Relates to a system eg that behaviour only exists because the system allows and upholds it.
Protected Groups – Groups that the law says it is unlawful to discriminate against.
Inequities – Lack of fairness or injustice.
Marginalised groups – Groups that experience discrimination and exclusion.

Appendix 2: Additional anti-discriminatory Resources

Europe Votes: CRCC hosted a high-profile event on European Elections

February 15, 2024 Iliana Depounti

The CRCC’s Political Communication strand recently hosted a two-day event at the Houses of Parliament and Loughborough London. The event formed part of a European Union funded European Elections Monitoring Center (EEMC) project devoted to creating the first ever continental wide archive of electoral advertising covering all 28 member states and currently holding nearly 15000 items freely available through the EEMC website. Founded and led by Professor Edoardo Novelli of Roma Tre University, the Center has involved more than 50 teams in universities and institutes from across the continent with specialist interests in political communication and election campaigns. The EEMC’s UK representatives Dominic Wring and Nathan Ritchie are currently finalising Europe Votes, an edited volume featuring chapters analysing the development of EU Elections in nine member states from the first campaign in 1979 to the most recent in 2019.

The European Election Monitoring Project Team

Following a tour of Parliament, an EEMC delegation comprising several contributors to Europe Votes participated in an expert panel session featuring members of both Houses and the Center’s Director. Chaired by Dominic Wring, the event took a retrospective look at how EU election campaigns have evolved over forty years. Professor Novelli talked about the EEMC’s various projects and demonstrated the value and importance of its latest work identifying and collating archival material from across Europe. Guest speakers Baroness Joyce Quin and MP Alyn Smith drew on their experiences as candidates and former Members of the European Parliament who successfully contested the inaugural and most recent elections respectively.  Baroness Quin, who subsequently served as an MP and Minister for Europe and has contributed the Foreward to Europe Votes, explained how the European Parliament has come to be an increasingly important representative forum in the years since she was a member. Alyn Smith drew on his service to reflect on how MEPs from different countries and political groupings campaign and work together for common purposes. Both speakers welcomed the creation of the EEMC project, recognising its critical role in preserving the memory of EU election campaign material that can all too readily be lost if ephemera of this kind are not archived for posterity.

Event at Houses of Parliament (from left to right: Dominic Wring, Eduardo Novelli, Baroness Joyce Quinn, and MP Alyn Smith

The event held at the London Campus was introduced and hosted by our colleague Helen Drake, Professor of French and European Studies and Director of the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance.  Contributors to Europe Votes from different member states gave talks on the EU election experiences in their respective nations. Presenters included Edoardo Novelli, Melissa Stolfi (University of Rome Tre) Bengt Johannson (University of Gothenburg), Anne Jadot (University de Paris Est), Alexandre Borelli (University de Lorraine), Christine Holtz-Bacha (Friedrich-Alexander University), Sergio Perez Castaños (University de Burgos), Stamatis Poulakidakos (University of Western Macedonia), Orsolya Szabó Palócz and Péter Stumpf (both University of Szeged). The discussions covered various subjects, notably the prominence of domestic issues in EU election campaigns compared with the attention devoted to more pan-European affairs. Other topics considered included the professionalization of campaigning, changes in the visual styles and imagery, and the evolution of populist messaging across member states.

Dominic Wring presenting at Loughborough London Campus

The organisers would like to thank: Baroness Joyce Quin and MP Alyn Smith for their illuminating talks; Jane Hunt MP and her team for hosting our visit to Parliament; Helen Drake and London colleagues for their warm welcome; Edoardo Novelli and Melissa Stolfi for their pioneering work leading the European Election Monitoring project; Sandy Robertson and Paddy Smith (from the Policy Unit), Mirva Villa and Demi Wilson for their invaluable support; and our presenters and attendees for their contributions to Europe Votes and collegially participating in the engaging discussions that took place over both days.

Reflections on anti-racism, allyship and action over words

Reflections on anti-racism, allyship and action over words

February 13, 2024 Sadie Gration

As we mark not only Race Equality Week 2024 but also as I approach my four-year work anniversary at Loughborough, it felt like an appropriate time to reflect on my own experiences of supporting anti-racism at the University.

For anyone who knows me, I am not someone who can easily stand still, both in a personal and professional context. If things need to be done and are not in my mind moving quickly enough then I often grow increasingly impatient to the point where I tend to just “crack on” and do something.  Likewise, I get deeply frustrated when opportunities are missed or even worse when claims are made about progress and performance which are not backed up by real impact and evidence. This is true of any project but particularly in relation to our EDI mission.    

Having spoken candidly to colleagues and friends from different ethnic backgrounds over the past several years, this sense of frustration is not only magnified tenfold for them but is deeply personal and can dredge up painful memories based on lived experiences. I like to think of myself as an ally, someone who is very comfortable to call out unacceptable behaviour or, more positively, work to create spaces where different voices are elevated. But the fact remains that I am a white man in a senior leadership position, I have the luxury of choice as to the extent to which I engage, in whether I’m passive or active. 

Since I re-joined the University in June 2020, it’s been a privilege to be closely involved with the Race Equality Charter and some excellent related anti-racism initiatives.  More recently as part of the University Leadership Group, I have been involved in the development of the new University Strategy.  I am delighted to say that the clear commitment to EDI that runs through this for all staff and the tangible steps that are being taken such as embedding EDI commitments into the PDR process, mean that being anti-racist is no longer optional.  We cannot nor should we abdicate the responsibility each and every one of us has to proactively make Loughborough a place where all members of our community feel that they belong.

As part of Race Equality Week, I have been engaging with the 5-Day Challenge culminating in The Big Promise.

The 5-Day Challenge consists of five activities, taking five minutes each day, over five days. These include crucial themes such as identifying and addressing microaggressions; understanding different views and cultures; and ensuring that praise and recognition is delivered inclusively.

The Big Promise particularly resonated with me because it speaks very openly about how “PR gesturing” is not only meaningless but the damage it can do in this space. That the promise itself is a public commitment to positive change and action, not just words, which has to be measurable and for which leaders are held accountable.

The promise can relate to one or more of seven distinct actions, which include having in place a published zero-tolerance policy to racism and microaggressions and a clear action plan for the recruitment, retention and promotion of ethnically diverse staff.

By coincidence I was in India on behalf of the University during Race Equality Week and so it felt particularly pertinent to be engaging with such thought-provoking content. As I met with stakeholders to tell them about the Loughborough community of which we are so proud and that is a great destination for prospective students and partners, it made me reflect even more on how far we still have to go and my own personal contribution to this.

I like to think I am a sociable, compassionate and inclusive leader who makes the time to educate myself about key issues. Whilst the 5-Day Challenge reassured me and reinforced much of what I already know, the Big Promise did make me stop and really question whether I am consciously doing enough each day to play my part in combatting systemic racism. I fear I have become complacent, and in response, I need to refocus where I put my efforts to make a real difference to those members of our community for whom this is not a choice. 

Martyn Edwards
Director of Marketing and Advancement

This Week at Loughborough | 12 February

This Week at Loughborough | 12 February

February 9, 2024 Orla Price

Para Sport Takeover Week:

Panel Discussion – Para Sport at Loughborough

14 February 2024, 4.30pm-5.30pm, Function Room, Holywell Stadium

This panel discussion is open to all where you will hear students, athletes and those working in the field talk about Para Sport at Loughborough.

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Para Sports Day

17 February 2024, Loughborough Campus

IMS will be hosting a Para Sports Day, where halls will battle it out to become champion in several Para Sports including wheelchair tennis, wheelchair handball, new age curling and walking football.

Find out more

Careers Fest:

EY Adventure Awaits

12 February 2024, 10am-3pm, Outside Careers Hub East

Our ‘EY Adventure Awaits’ Spring campaign gives students the opportunity to delve into the world of EY in a hands-on and exciting and immersive way, through exciting AR games, quizzes and giveaways, and more!

Find out more

International Futures – UK Etiquette and Professional Behaviour

12 February 2024, 12pm-1pm, Schofield

This session will help you navigate and understand expectations about professional behaviour in the workplace. 

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UBS: Find out more about their ‘Unlock your Potential’ competition over a free hot drink, and the chance to win a £1000 Apple Voucher!

13 February 2024, 10am-3pm, Outside Careers Hub East

UBS will be promoting their new competition called ‘Unlock your Potential’. Students that enter the competition will receive a free hot drink and can be in with a chance of winning a £1000 Apple Voucher & a personal mentoring session with UBS.  

Find out more

How to Succeed in Group Work: Understanding Others

13 February 2024, 12pm-1pm, CC029A (James France)

This session will help you understand others, gain top tips for group work success and provide you with take away strategies to improve your group work at university and in the workplace. 

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Elevate Your Prospects – Prepare For The Fair

13 February 2024, 1pm-2.30pm, MS Teams

Join us for a comprehensive session designed to help you make the most of this event and stand out to potential employers. We will be covering how to prepare before you arrive, how to interact with employers whilst there and the most effective ways to follow up after the event with employers. 

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Time Management 101

13 February 2024, 6pm-7.30pm, WAV011 (Wavy Top Building)

Come along to the Student Success Academy’s Time Management 101 Workshop where you can take part in activities and learn techniques to schedule and prioritise your time effectively.

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Mock Assessment Centre

13 February 2024, 6pm-8.15pm, West Park Hub

Attend this in-person Mock Assessment Centre, where you’ll hear first-hand what to expect and how to prepare effectively. Employers from a range top organisations will be attending. Free pizza will be available for those that attend. 

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Get Ahead Together: Assessment Resilience

14 February 2024, 1pm-3pm, WAVB01 (Wavy Top Building)

Get Ahead Together is a group mentoring programme for first year and foundation students which helps you to gain first-hand insights and exclusive tips from experienced peer mentors and achieve success in your first year and prepare for the transition into your second year.

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Prepare, Pursue, Progress

14 February 2024, 1pm-5pm, U.0.06 (Brockington Building)

Attend a ‘Managing My Wellbeing’ workshop by the Wellbeing team, an ‘Academic Success’ session with the Academic Success Coaching team, and learn about ‘Finding The Balance’ with FTP Peer Mentors.

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Finalist Futures: Making Successful Applications

14 February 2024, 2pm-4pm, SMB1.03 (Stewart Mason)

First impressions count! Employers receive hundreds of applications. How can you make sure that yours stands out? This session will cover top tips on how to make a successful application.

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Get Ahead Together: Assessment Resilience

14 February 2024, 6pm-8pm, SMB017 (Stewart Mason Building)

Get Ahead Together is a group mentoring programme for first year and foundation students which helps you to gain first-hand insights and exclusive tips from experienced peer mentors and achieve success in your first year and prepare for the transition into your second year.

Find out more

International Futures: How to create a UK-Style CV

14 February 2024, 6pm-8pm, SMB017 (Stewart Mason Building)

This workshop will help you learn how to write a UK-style CV, which will make you stand out to employers. You will learn what a UK style CV should like, the importance of creating a good-quality CV and other hints and tips along the way.

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The Fire Service’s day: Look inside the fire engine and receive further information about opportunities available

15 February 2024, 10am-4pm, Shirley Pearce Square

Speak to firefighters, look inside the fire engine, and try on the full fire kit! At the same time, you can receive further information about our office departments, ranging from Finance, ICT, HR, Media, and many more!

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Elevate Your Prospects – Elevate Your Job Search 

15 February 2024, 1pm-2.30pm, U.0.06 (Brockington Building)

These 4 interactive sessions are tailored especially to first and second year students. In this session you will learn how to effectively search for those all important opportunities.

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LGBT+ History Month:

Pilkington Library LGBT+ History Month Display

1-29 February 2024, Pilkington Library

This year’s Library display explores the theme of Medicine, looking at LGBT+ experiences in and contributions to Medicine through history. The display also showcases articles and research from the Loughborough archives and relevant works currently held in the Library collection.

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Queer Arts and Crafts – Origami Flowers

13 February 2024, 1pm-2pm, SCH.0.04 (Schofield Learning Zone)

Come along to this Origami Flowers making session, which will also touch on the symbolic use of flowers in the queer community across history. As St Valentine’s is the day after, people can make flowers for their loved one(s)/themselves.

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Post-It Note Poetry13 February 2024, 1pm-3pm, The Lounge (LSU)

Grab a post-it note, let your thoughts flow, and weave your poetic expressions on the theme of LGBT+ History. Join this drop-in workshop to create your own poem on a post-it note. Arts worker Anna Loughran will be present to facilitate, prompt and provide guidance on how to write short poems.Find out more

How to be a Christian ally to LGBT+ community

15-29 February 2024, 1pm-2pm, EHB209 (Edward Herbert Building)

Are you a progressive Christian? Do you want to be a better ally to LGBTQ+ people, but don’t know where to start? On Thursdays, during LGBT+ History Month, join the University Chaplaincy to reflect on how Christians can be more active in their allyship. Join these sessions for bible study and conversation, thinking about allyship as Christian discipleship.

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Staying Alive: Pride, Prejudice and LGBTQ+ Television in the 1980s

15 February 2024, 4pm-5pm, Seminar Room 1 (Pilkington Library)

How were LGBTQ+ people represented on screen in the early eighties, between the election of Margaret Thatcher and the advent of HIV/AIDS? In this session, we’ll look at excerpts from one of Channel 4’s earliest and most controversial gay-oriented programmes ‘One in Five’, to see why it divided the gay community and prompted MPs to call for the new station to be shut down.

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General:

Creating a Hydrogen Superpower in the East Midlands

12 February 2024, 8.30am-10am, LUSEP (Science and Enterprise Park)

This breakfast networking event is for all interested in how a future hydrogen economy develops, from producers to users and anywhere along the value and supply chain.

Loughborough University, in partnership with the University of Nottingham and the East Midlands Freeport, invites you to share challenges, concerns and insights in hydrogen and its implications and opportunities for the regional economy. 

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RAeS – Selling Airlander by George Lan

13 February 2024, 7.30pm-9pm, U020 (Brockington Building)

Royal Aeronautical Society (RAes) ‘Selling Airlander’, a lecture by George Lan, Executive Director – Sales, Hybrid Air Vehicles. The lecture will cover a general aircraft overview, discuss markets and give a programme update for both Airlander 10 and 50.

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IAS Seminar: Using oesophageal balloon catheters to measure respiratory muscle function

14 February 2024, 12pm-1pm, International House/Zoom

Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) Visiting Fellow Viviana Shiffman MSc will deliver a seminar on their research titled ‘Using oesophageal balloon catheters to measure respiratory muscle function: the how and why’.

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Sustainable Fashion Show: Fabric Stitching

14 February 2024, 1.30pm, Council Chamber (Hazlerigg Building)

To prepare for the Sustainable Fashion Show on Tuesday 12 March, LSU Enterprise is running a fabric stitching workshop for the student designers and anyone interested in becoming one.

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Create and Connect (weekly sessions)

14 February 2024, 2pm-3.30pm, Collaboration Station (LSU)

LU Arts and the International Student Experience Team are running this five-week programme for international students to help you connect with other international students and do something creative in your spare time.

In the second week, delve into the theme of ‘love’ (for anything) and let your heart guide your creations.

Find out more

International Day Of Women and Girls in Science – Celebration Event

14 February 2024, 2.30pm-4.45pm, CC021 (James France)

A panel of female academics from across the School will participate in a roundtable discussion on their academic journeys and will touch on topics around women’s participation in science and their contributions. There will be opportunities to pose questions and comments to the panel on the day.

Find out more

Flix Cinema Screening: ‘Bottoms’

15 February 2024, 7pm-9pm, Cope Auditorium

‘Bottoms’, directed by Emma Seligman, starring Rachel Sennott, Ayo Edebiri, Havana Rose Liu and Nicholas Galitzine. Unpopular best friends PJ and Josie start a high school fight club to meet girls and lose their virginity. They soon find themselves in over their heads when the most popular students start beating each other up in the name of self-defense.

Find out more

Startup Support Series – Setting Up For Success

10 January-14 February 2024, 10am-12pm, Careers and Enterprise Hub, Loughborough Town

Is your startup idea and plans ready for success in 2024? Whether you’re in the idea validation stage, gaining early traction, or ready to scale, this event series is tailored to empower you at every stage of your business journey.

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Startup Drop-in Sessions

10 January-14 February 2024, 12pm-2pm, Careers & Enterprise Hub, Loughborough Town

You can book one of these weekly drop-in sessions which offer a welcoming space to help you in your startup journey. You can find out more about the help, support and funding you can get and any other topics that help support you in progressing your business to succeed.

Find out more

Startup Support Series (evenings) – Setting Up For Success

11 January-15 February 2024, 5pm-7pm, Careers & Enterprise Hub, Loughborough Town

Is your startup idea and plans ready for success in 2024? Whether you’re in the idea validation stage, gaining early traction, or ready to scale, this event series is tailored to empower you at every stage of your business journey.

Find out more

Exhibition: Imprint/Dismantle

10-21 February 2024, 12pm-2pm, Martin Hall Exhibition Space

Step into the captivating realm of Imprint/Dismantle, where the works of Loughborough’s three graduate artists converge in a dynamic investigation of perception and transformation. 

Find out more

Five minutes with: Lisa Brooks-Lewis

Five minutes with: Lisa Brooks-Lewis

February 7, 2024 Guest blogger

Lisa Brooks-Lewis gives insight into what it is like to do an apprenticeship alongside your job, as part of National Apprenticeship Week.

Find out more about apprenticeships at Loughborough University.

What is your current job role?

I am the Social Impact and Inclusivity Manager in the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Services.

Tell us about your apprenticeship role?

I am on the last element of the apprenticeship in Strategic Leadership. So far I have completed modules in Business Ethics, Strategic Information Systems, Organisational Resources and Strategic Marketing.  

What inspired you to do an apprenticeship?

Having worked within the University for nine years, I was really interested in learning more about strategic drivers in Higher Education, learning how to analyse our current position institutionally and looking for interventions to support the University’s strategic priority of creating a vibrant and inclusive environment. This course supports my skill set of problem-solving, working with stakeholders and identifying solutions based on frameworks or theory.  

What is it like doing this alongside your job?

I have a very supportive academic mentor and line manager, Veronica Moore, who has supported and enabled me to work alongside stakeholders both internally and externally to fulfil the demands of the apprenticeship. My EDI services colleagues are extremely supportive, they listen to me talk about my learning. Taking on studying, working, being a mum and being neurodiverse means that I must ensure I organise myself and use assisted technology to support this activity. Some days are harder than others.  

What is your favourite project you’ve worked on within your apprenticeship?

Recently, as part of my role stemming from the apprenticeship, I started undertaking an audit of special category data, how this data links to the EDI work across the University, the governance structures, information systems and how this data is used currently. I’m hoping to use this to support our strategic endeavours moving forward making short-term and longer-term recommendations.  

What do you hope to do with your apprenticeship in the future?

As I move into the final element of my apprenticeship, I hope to continue on to the master’s. I hope to continue to support the strategic priorities within Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity. 

If you would like to feature in ‘5 Minutes With’, or you work with someone who you think would be great to include, please email Soph Dinnie at S.Dinnie@lboro.ac.uk.

Our Green 2023 Resolutions - What Happened Next?

February 5, 2024 Lottie Ambridge

Guest blog by Helen Taller, on behalf of Loughborough University’s Legal Services team. This post follows on from our previous entry where we identified a series of green pledges to help reduce our negative impact on the world and support progress towards net-zero.  

As we know, a key theme of the University strategy (Creating Better Futures. Together) is Climate Change and Net Zero. Whilst we, alongside other teams across the University, continue to embody our values in our working lives, we are also keen to embody these in our lives beyond Loughborough University. By using the WWF carbon footprint calculator, we each picked out resolutions and pledges for 2023… 

  • Recycle soft plastics that are not collected at kerbside collection services, by keeping them out of the general waste and collecting at home to take to supermarkets with soft plastic recycling collection points.  According to the Big Plastic Count that was undertaken last year by Greenpeace, nearly 100 billion pieces of plastic packaging are thrown away by UK households every year.   
  • Increase biodiversity in the garden through wildflower planting.  This will keep the birds, bees and the butterflies happy – but as a bonus might boost your mood too! 
  • Reduce meat consumption by incorporating regular meat free days into our weeks – According to the UN, global meat consumption must fall if we are to fight climate change. 
  • Start buying household cleaning products from zero waste shops to reduce reliance on single use plastic packaging and support local businesses. 
  • Buy no ‘new’ clothes / shoes in 2023 – second hand only.  According to a report by the charity wrap, £140 million worth of clothing is sent to landfill in Britain EACH YEAR.  The availability of second-hand clothing / goods has never been greater – with Vinted, Depop, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and of course charity shops to name a few – there are plenty of options! 
  • Buy fresh produce from local shops and businesses instead of supermarkets to reduce plastic packaging and food miles and increase the proportion of organic fruit and vegetables that we buy. 
  • Reduce wasted water by saving the runoff when waiting for water to get hot and using in other ways – for example to water plants, boil veg, etc.  This UNICEF article has some more ideas on ways to save water. 
  • Start using a wonky veg box scheme to reduce wasted produce and unnecessary packaging. 

We were hoping to see these pledges become new habits through 2023, as well as inspiring colleagues to make a green pledge of their own. So how did we do… 

  • Recycling Soft Plastics: Now that we separate our soft plastics (things like plastic wrapping), we were shocked by the vast amount of small plastics a young family gets through! Whilst supermarkets are increasingly offering means of recycling these at their stores, it isn’t always easy to access or quick to actually do – for instance posting individual soft plastics into the recycling unit rather than just popping them all into a bag. Recycling soft plastics is definitely possible – but not yet as easy as it could be! 
  • Enhancing Biodiversity: Protecting space in our gardens for wildflower planting was relatively straightforward. We are yet to see the full rewards of this in light of other work being done in our gardens – however we are hopeful for some beautiful flowers in the spring whilst also increasing biodiversity! 
  • Reduced Meat Consumption: We have had mixed success in ensuring at least half of our weekly meals are vegetarian. Using ‘Wonky Veg Boxes’ (reduced price veg that is grouped together because it doesn’t necessarily look perfect – but tastes the same) was a good way to go about this – for the most part. Whilst they are great value, there is sometimes a lack of variability in the boxes – trying to make meals for the week from just a box of carrots was not straightforward as you can imagine. We found that setting a number of meat-free meals per week was a happier middle ground here. Using the ‘Too Good To Go’ app was a quick win in this area – reducing food waste (for a reduced price) from local shops and cafes. We learnt that a surprising numbers of colleagues around campus are using Olio – another app which further minimises food waste by making specific food items available to reserve or collect.  
  • Zero-Waste & Local Shopping: A couple of the team tried Hello Fresh boxes in an effort to eat healthier and minimise food waste – but were disappointed by the large amounts of non-recyclable packaging in the boxes. By contrast, shopping locally for fruit and vegetables was more successful. We had assumed that buying from a local greengrocers would be far more expensive, but found that the produce is not only cheaper but often lasts longer and tastes better! 
  • No ‘New’ Clothes: We’re pleased to report that this was a great success! It has indeed been possible to not purchase any new ‘1st hand’ clothes. By using apps like Vinted and Depop, we have been giving clothes a second life. It also doesn’t hurt that we could specifically search for the kind of item we needed – definitely one that we would recommend to colleagues.  

Having reflected as a team on how we have (both successfully and unsuccessfully) stuck to our pledges, we hope that colleagues are inspired to have these discussions within their own teams and to get involved in doing something! To lean on the rhetoric of our last blog post: 

After all, “to do good, you actually have to do something”  

(Yvon Chouinard, founder of the company Patagonia).   

If you have any questions or thoughts you’d like to share with us – please do let us know (B.Mason4@lboro.ac.uk).   

This article is in support of UN Sustainable Development Goal 12 ‘Responsible consumption and production’.  To find out more, click here.

This Week at Loughborough | 5 February

This Week at Loughborough | 5 February

February 2, 2024 Orla Price

LGBT+ History Month:

Pilkington Library LGBT+ History Month Display

1-29 February 2024, Pilkington Library

This year’s Library display explores the theme of Medicine, looking at LGBT+ experiences in and contributions to Medicine through history. The display also showcases articles and research from the Loughborough archives and relevant works currently held in the Library collection.

Find out more

LGBT+ History Month 2024 – Launch Event

5 February 2024, 5.15pm-7pm, The Lounge (LSU)

This year, we open LGBT+ History Month with the illumination of our iconic Hazlerigg Building with the colours of the rainbow. All are welcome at this event for members of the Loughborough LGBT+ community and allies to get together over food and drink to celebrate the month ahead. We will hear words of reflection from representatives of the LGBT+ Staff Network and the LGBT+ Student Association, along with a member of the University Senior Leadership Team.

Find out more

What is gender?

7 February 2024, 3pm-4pm, MS Teams

This session will explore the concept of gender as a social construct, how gender and sex are interrelated but different, and how neither is binary. The session will invite people to reflect on their own experiences of gender.

Find out more

Careers Fest:

Breakfast Study Cafe

8 February 2024, 8am-11am, WAV041 (Wavy Top Building)

Do you want to boost your productivity whilst on campus? Come along to the Student Success Academy’s Breakfast Study Cafe, running fortnightly on Thursday mornings this term.

Find out more

General:

Exhibition: Within and Without Home

5-16 February 2024, 10am-4pm, Charnwood Arts

Within and Without Home is a collection of creative work by doctoral researchers in the HOME Centre for Doctoral Training at Loughborough University. The PhD projects are focused on home and homelessness, aiming to approach the problem in a creative way, from multiple perspectives.

Find out more

University Choir Taster Session

5 February 2024, 7pm-9pm, Cope Auditorium

The Choir has just started learning new repertoire ahead of their next concert in May so now is the perfect time for potential new members to come along and give it a go – especially now that exams are over!

The rehearsal on Monday 5 February will be a taster session to give you a chance to sample the new music – modern and ancient classical pieces with a smattering of lighter items. All welcome, just turn up on the night, with no commitment or obligation to join afterwards. You’ll be sure of a warm welcome from Music Director Eleanor Graff-Baker and existing members. No prior singing or choir experience is necessary.

Find out more

Create & Connect

7 February-13 March 2024, 2pm-3.30pm, The Collaboration Station (LSU)

LU Arts and the International Student Experience Team are running a five-week programme for international students to help you connect with each other and do something creative in your spare time. The weekly sessions in the Students’ Union are a mixture of workshops and art activities with a weekly theme, run by one of the arts workers.

Find out more

Flix Cinema Screening: ‘How To Have Sex’

8 February 2024, 7pm-9pm, Cope Auditorium

‘How To Have Sex’, directed by Molly Manning Walker and starring Mia McKenna-Bruce, Lara Peake, Enva Lewis, and Shaun Thomas. Three British teenage girls go on a rites-of-passage holiday, drinking, clubbing and hooking up in what should be the best summer of their lives. 

Find out more

Year of the Dragon Celebration Lunch

9 February 2024, 12pm-2pm, The Treehouse (LSU)

The Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage (REACH) Staff Network Group with the help of the Student International Group has organised this celebratory lunch for Lunar New Year.

Find out more

Exhibition: Imprint/Dismantle

10-21 February 2024, 12pm-2pm, Martin Hall Exhibition Space

Step into the captivating realm of Imprint/Dismantle, where the works of Loughborough’s three graduate artists converge in a dynamic investigation of perception and transformation. 

Find out more

Startup Support Series – Setting Up For Success

10 January-14 February 2024, 10am-12pm, Careers & Enterprise Hub, Loughborough Town

Is your startup idea and plans ready for success in 2024? Whether you’re in the idea validation stage, gaining early traction, or ready to scale, this event series is tailored to empower you at every stage of your business journey.

Find out more

Startup Drop-in Sessions

10 January-14 February 2024, 12pm-2pm, Careers & Enterprise Hub, Loughborough Town

You can book one of these weekly drop-in sessions which offer a welcoming space to help you in your startup journey. You can find out more about the help, support and funding you can get and any other topics that help support you in progressing your business to succeed.

Find out more

Startup Support Series (evenings) – Setting Up For Success

11 January-15 February 2024, 5pm-7pm, Careers & Enterprise Hub, Loughborough Town

Is your startup idea and plans ready for success in 2024? Whether you’re in the idea validation stage, gaining early traction, or ready to scale, this event series is tailored to empower you at every stage of your business journey.

Find out more

From the Vice-Chancellor - January 2024

From the Vice-Chancellor - January 2024

February 1, 2024 Nick Jennings
Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Jennings in front of stained glass windows in Hazlerigg Building.

In my first newsletter of 2024: Looking ahead to the coming year, technology to enhance the student experience, outcomes from the Staff Experience Survey, research to address regional health inequalities and a Living Well inquiry. 

A look ahead through 2024 

I want to begin my first newsletter of 2024 by looking ahead to some of the exciting developments and events that will happen this year. 

In March, Professor Dan Parsons, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation (R&I), and Jennifer Johnson, Director of R&I, will hold a series of roadshows to enable staff to learn more about the University’s R&I vision, as outlined in the core plan. The plan for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is expected in the spring, with the Sporting Excellence and Opportunity core plan due in the summer. 

The University Sustainability Strategy, which is being led by the Associate Pro Vice-Chancellors (APVCs) for Climate Change and Net Zero, Dr Kathryn North and Professor John Downey, is due in the spring. The strategy will guide the delivery of the objectives within our Climate Change and Net Zero theme and cover all aspects of University life, from our research and innovation to the way we develop and manage our facilities and estates.  

In the autumn we’ll admit our first cohort of ONCAMPUS Loughborough students to our undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes. The ONCAMPUS initiative – which delivers academic programmes through our partnership with Cambridge Education Group, to prepare international students for progression into university – is a key action within our International Engagement and Impact core plan.  

From July to September, we’ll be cheering on a delegation of Loughborough-linked athletes at the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In the build up to the Games, the University will host ‘kitting out’ for ParalympicsGB athletes and support staff, who’ll collect their official Adidas kit from the Loughborough campus before heading off to Paris. 

And at some point this year we’re likely to have a General Election, providing an opportunity for academics in the Centre for Research in Communication and Culture to again undertake news audits of the coverage, showcasing our research expertise across the country and beyond.  It’s certainly going to be another busy year.

Two people standing in front of a white screen with a camera opposite, they are projected as holograms in a blue box to the left of the room.

Holoportation technology to enhance students’ educational experience  

It’s always good to see Loughborough described as ‘trailblazing’, which is how The Guardian reported our use of the new holoportation technology being piloted on campus. We are the first university in the UK to incorporate this AI-powered tech that projects lifelike avatars into our education offering. 

The technology enables us to live-beam guest speakers from global universities and industry into lectures to give talks and answer students’ questions, just as if they were in the room together, giving students and staff access to professionals they may not otherwise have the chance to engage with. 

It can be used for presenting 3D digital objects for close inspection as they can be rotated and studied in more detail than through current methods. Similarly, students will be able to showcase their own work – such as product designs or fashion shows – to broader audiences. 

We will also be able to use the tech to present pre-recorded messages and talks, from industry partners and alumni, for instance, and provide interactive guidance and information for prospective students, their parents and guardians at recruitment events, such as the University open days. We have already used the technology to capture our Chancellor Seb Coe, giving a ‘virtual’ welcome to those who’ll attend our next open days. 

The new technology will significantly enhance the learning experience for our students and aligns with our strategic aims to strengthen our sector-leading student experience through the use of the latest digital technologies. The technology could also contribute to our sustainability strategy as part of our Climate Change and Net Zero strategic theme by removing the need to fly in guest speakers and reducing the amount of materials used by students in building their prototype designs. 

Pink and purple gradient background with an illustration of a hand pointing to a form, text alongside it reads 'Staff Experience Survey'.

Results of the 2023 Staff Experience Survey 

Last November we undertook our second Staff Experience Survey to gain an insight into how colleagues feel about working at the University. More than 2,300 people completed the survey – approximately 62% of the staff population. Thank you to all those who took the time to share their experiences. Your feedback will help us to understand what we’re doing well and, importantly, where we could improve.  

The survey questions were grouped under nine themes: purpose, our values, autonomy, enablement, leadership, reward and recognition, wellbeing, EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion) and engagement. Overall scores for all the themes showed improvements compared to the 2022 staff experience survey, with ‘autonomy’ and ‘leadership’ showing the largest increases, of three points each, in favourable responses. The ‘purpose’ theme had the highest overall score, with 81% of respondents responding favourably.  

This year, we included questions on our values: 76% of respondents said they understood the University values and 50% said they saw the values being upheld in other’s behaviour.  

We have also been able to benchmark the University’s performance against that of other UK universities. Loughborough exceeds the higher education benchmark in six themes, however feedback on ‘our values’, ‘wellbeing’, and ‘reward and recognition’ scored slightly lower than the benchmark data. 

Further details of the results – including a breakdown of the response rates across the Schools and Professional Services and the responses for each question – will be made available online shortly. 

The results of the survey are certainly pleasing, but we are aware that there are areas that need to be addressed to improve our staff experience. Project Expectations, for example, has a dedicated workstream linked to ‘reward and recognition’ – through this we are reviewing the benefits we offer, following the Employee Benefits Survey we undertook in September 2023; we have undertaken a benchmarking exercise on pay; begun to roll-out a new long-service awards initiative; and expanded the annual Vice-Chancellor Awards, which recognise the incredible work of staff across the institution.  

Through the workstreams linked to leadership we are reviewing the line management structure in Schools, have implemented termly General Assemblies, and revised the PDR process.

At a local level, the leadership teams in Schools and Professional Services will be sharing results for their areas with their staff and be required to develop and implement their own action plans in response to the feedback from the survey. 

A line of cars queuing along a road.
Image provided by Getty

Working in partnership to tackle regional health inequalities 

The government-funded National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has awarded £5.25m to the Public Health team at Leicestershire County Council, to enable the council to work with universities in the East Midlands, including Loughborough, to look at ways to reduce health inequalities across the county.  

The funding will enable us to continue our impactful research that will change lives for the better. Loughborough’s participation in the initiative is being spearheaded by Professor Lauren Sherar from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences. 

With high levels of asthma, cancer, obesity and heart disease across the county, the research will hopefully contribute to a reduction in these conditions and the causes of inequality. The priorities for the research will be identified by communities within Leicestershire to ensure that the research is relevant and meaningful to local areas and the inequalities they face. The research and resulting action will then become part of the day-to-day business of the council to bring about sustained culture change.  

The funding has been awarded through the NIHR’s Health Determinants Research Collaborations (HDRC), which use research findings to understand how decisions impact on health and health inequalities. This important work maps directly on the University’s strategic aim of delivering improvements to public health and wellbeing. It also aligns to the Health, Wellbeing and Sport theme of the Universities Partnership initiative – a civic agreement between Loughborough, De Montfort and Leicester universities, as well as the city and counties of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, to work together for the benefit of local people and the prosperity of the region. 

Living Well inquiry launched by the Policy Unit 

Next month the University’s Policy Unit will launch a Living Well Inquiry, looking into what is needed to live well in 21st century Britain. It aims to bring together research from a variety of disciplines throughout the University under one overarching banner to provide a guide for action for the next government. 

The Inquiry will have four key themes – Smart Living, Clean Living, Healthy Living and Dignified Living. Researchers from across the University will be able to contribute to the Inquiry by using their research, attending events and participating in podcasts, for instance.  

Two Co-Fellows have been appointed to run the inquiry – Dr Holly Collison-Randall, a Senior Lecturer in the Institute for Sports Business at Loughborough University London, and Dr Mark Monaghan, a Reader in Criminology in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities. 

The Inquiry is an opportunity for Loughborough to drive new thinking about Living Well, influence debate by influential groups, and promote the interdisciplinary and innovative research being conducted across our three strategic themes.    The Living Well Inquiry work programme is currently in development. If you wish to take part, please contact the Policy Unit team.

When 77 = 11 + 33: A response to recent ZDM articles

When 77 = 11 + 33: A response to recent ZDM articles

January 31, 2024 Beth Woollacott

Written by Dr Ian Jones and Dr Emine Şimşek. Ian is a Reader in Educational Assessment and Head of the Department of Mathematics Education here at Loughborough. His thesis submitted in 2009 proposed a substitution view of the equals sign that is distinct to the more widely reported sameness view. This blog post is a response to recent articles in ZDM that suggested substitution is in fact not so different to sameness after all. Emine is a former member of the CMC whose thesis submitted in 2019 was a comparative study on how textbooks and teachers influence students’ views of the equals sign. She is currently at the Turkish Ministry of Education. Edited by Dr Bethany Woollacott.

We submitted this short note to ZDM (an international mathematics education journal) in response to recent articles they had published. Unfortunately, the journal informed us that they have a policy against publishing responses to articles appearing in their journal, so we are instead posting it here.

Introduction: children’s understanding of the equals sign

It is widely reported that many children view the equals sign (=) as an instruction to perform arithmetic operations and then write down the answer. This is called the “operational” view, and contrasts with viewing the equals sign as meaning the value on the left is the same as the value on the right. This is called the “relational” or “basic relational” view, or as we shall call it here the “sameness” view. The operational/sameness dichotomy is a stable result that has been observed across many contexts and learners (e.g. Şimşek et al.5).

Jones and Pratt4 proposed a substitutive view of the equals sign that is complementary to and distinct from the sameness view. They defined the substitutive view in terms of interpreting a presented equation as a rule for making substitutions. For example, given i2 = –1, then where we encounter i2 we can substitute –1, and vice versa.

In a recent issue of ZDM (linked at the end of this blogpost), three articles1,2,3 considered the substitutive view of the equals sign, arguing to a lesser or greater extent that the substitutive and sameness views are effectively indistinct because the latter necessarily implies the former. Their views conflict with Jones and Pratt4 who proposed the substitutive view (i.e., that one side of the equals sign can be replaced by the other) as complementary and distinct to the widely reported sameness view (i.e., that each side has the same value). In the following, we respond by summarising the published evidence in support of the distinctiveness of the sameness and substitutive views of the equals sign, and showing that this evidence withstands the arguments presented across the three ZDM articles. Specifically, differences of opinion about the distinctiveness of the two views seems to derive from how a substitutive view of the equals sign is defined.

Evidence that substitutive and sameness views are distinct

There are three sources of evidence that the sameness and substitutive views are distinct. First, Jones and Pratt4 presented a study in which secondary students attempted arithmetic computer puzzles that contained equations, such as 31 = 30 + 1, that could be used to make substitutions of expressions towards a task goal. For example, after selecting 31 = 30 + 1, the students could click any other occurrence of 31 (or 30 + 1) and it changed to 30 + 1 (or 31). Jones and Pratt noticed that students seemed not to be paying attention to sameness when making substitutions to achieve the task goal. They investigated this directly by creating solvable puzzles containing untrue equations, such as 77 = 11 + 33 and other absurdities in the example puzzle shown below, and found that students attended to making substitutions without noticing the lack of sameness.

Second, Jones et al.6 adapted items from an instrument7 in which students rated the ‘cleverness’ of presented definitions of the symbol =. Earlier versions of the instrument contained definitions reflecting an operational view (e.g., “= means the answer to the problem”) or a sameness view (e.g., “= means that both sides have the same value”), and Jones et al.6 added definitions reflecting a substitutive view (e.g. “= means that one side can replace the otheræ). Jones et al.6 administered the instrument to students in England and in China, finding that there were three clear views of the equal sign as predicted: operational, sameness and substitutive. They found this result using a Principal Components Analysis which revealed a three-factor solution cleanly reflecting the three views of the equals sign, shown in the table below (taken from Jones et al.6, p. 170).

The third piece of evidence showing that the sameness and substitutive views are distinct is that offered by Şimşek et al.8. They administered an instrument containing definition items like those described above, as well as algebra items, to secondary students. Some of the algebra items were “typical” of secondary examinations (e.g. “What is the value of y if 5y + 3 = y + 15?”) and some were “conceptual” (e.g. “If e + f = 8 then e + f + g = __”, from Brown et al.9). Şimşek et al.8 reported that student endorsement of operational and sameness definitions, but not substitutive definitions, predicted performance on the typical items. Conversely, endorsement of substitutive definitions was the sole predictor of performance on the conceptual items. The detailed results are in the table below taken from Şimşek et al.8, p.30. As stated by Donovan et al.3, consistent findings have been independently observed by Szkudlarek et al.10.

Challenges from the recent ZDM articles

Kieran and Martínez‐Hernández2 argued that sameness and substitution are effectively indistinguishable:

“it is precisely because 30 + 1 is the “same” as 31 (i.e., by the addition structure, 30 + 1 = 31, and by symmetry 31 = 30 + 1) that the substitution is tenable. From this perspective, exchanging depends on the support of sameness” (p.1225)

Kieran and Martínez‐Hernández2 further stated:

“substitution follows logically from the sameness conception” (p.1136)

Donovan et al.3 agreed:

“substitution does not constitute a wholly different conception of mathematical equivalence but rather logically follows from the sameness conception. That is, two amounts can be swapped or substituted because they represent the same values” (p.1211, italics in original).

It is certainly true that sameness implies substitution, but not that substitution requires sameness. Above we gave the example of 77 = 11 + 33 for which sameness does not hold, and yet Jones and Pratt4 reported students replacing 77 with 11 + 33 (and vice versa) in order to solve arithmetic computer puzzles. As Donovan et al.3 put it, “students were able to use the given equations 30 + 7 = 37 and 50 + 8 = 58 as rules for making notational transformations to the expression 37 + 58 without considering the “sameness” of the sides of the equations” (p.1200). We therefore agree with Kieran and Martínez‐Hernández2 that “holding a substitutive view without a sameness view is potentially problematic” (p.1136), but this observation supports rather than diminishes the distinctiveness of the two views. Kieran and Martínez‐Hernández2 also suggested that “Taking a cue from our students who referred to both truth-value and exchanging with the singular term of ‘sameness”, we suggest that invisible sameness is integral to activity” (italics in original, p.1226). However, as Kieran and Martínez‐Hernández2 also pointed out, lack of precise language might lead to students not using terminology regarding exchanging or substituting; but this does not imply that exchanging depends on the support of sameness.

This difference of opinion over the degree of distinctiveness of the substitutive and sameness views resides in how the former is defined. For Kieran and Martínez‐Hernández2,  the substitutive view is independent of the symbol = and instead relates to knowledge of arithmetic facts. So, when a student, Miguel, justified the truth of 7+7+9=14+9 by saying “I did it by adding seven and seven … which is fourteen, the same than there [right side]” (p.1217), Kieran and Martínez‐Hernández2 interpreted this as Miguel substituting, or exchanging, 14 for 7 + 7. Donovan et al.3 also followed a definition grounded in knowledge of arithmetic facts rather than in presented equations: “A substitutive view also allows one to replace 21 in the expression 21 + 9 with 11 + 10, because 21 = 11 + 10” (p.1200).

A substitutive definition based on knowledge of arithmetic facts differs from the definition of the substitutive view given by Jones and Pratt4: “statements such as i2 = –1 can be interpreted as a rule for substitution, namely that i2 can be substituted by –1 (and vice versa)” (p.4). According to Jones and Pratt’s4 definition, an equation must be presented for there to be a substitutive view of the equals sign, and whether both sides have the same value is strictly speaking irrelevant. Contrastingly, sameness is hardwired into the definitions of substitution provided in the recent ZDM papers. As such, the distinctiveness or otherwise of the substitutive and sameness views – or more precisely the extent to which the former depends on the latter – is a consequence of the definition used.

References

[1] Kieran, C. (2022). The multi-dimensionality of early algebraic thinking: background, overarching dimensions, and new directions. ZDM–Mathematics Education, 54(6), 1131-1150. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11858-022-01435-6

[2] Kieran, C., & Martínez-Hernández, C. (2022). Coordinating invisible and visible sameness within equivalence transformations of numerical equalities by 10-to 12-year-olds in their movement from computational to structural approaches. ZDM–Mathematics Education, 54(6), 1215–1227. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11858-022-01355-5

[3] Donovan, A. M., Stephens, A., Alapala, B., Monday, A., Szkudlarek, E., Alibali, M. W., & Matthews, P. G. (2022). Is a substitute the same? Learning from lessons centering different relational conceptions of the equal sign. ZDM–Mathematics Education, 54(6), 1199–1213. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11858-022-01405-y

[4] Jones, I., & Pratt, D. (2012). A substituting meaning for the equals sign in arithmetic notating tasks. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 43(1), 2–33. https://doi.org/10.5951/jresematheduc.43.1.0002  

[5] Şimşek, E., Xenidou-Dervou, I., Hunter, J., Dowens, M. G., Pang, J., Lee, Y., McNeil, N. M., Kirkland, P. K., & Jones, I. (2022). Factors associated with children’s understanding of mathematical equivalence: An investigation across six countries. Journal of Educational Psychology, 114(6), 1359–1379. https://doi.org/10.1037/edu0000747

[6] Jones, I., Inglis, M., Gilmore, C., & Dowens, M. (2012). Substitution and sameness: Two components of a relational conception of the equals sign. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 113, 166–176. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2012.05.003

[7] Rittle-Johnson, B., Matthews, P., Taylor, R. S., & McEldoon, K. L. (2011). Assessing knowledge of mathematical equivalence: A construct-modeling approach. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103, 85–104. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021334

[8] Şimşek, E., Xenidou-Dervou, I., Karadeniz, I., & Jones, I. (2019). The conception of substitution of the equals sign plays a unique role in students’ algebra performance. Journal of Numerical Cognition, 5(1), 24–37. https://doi.org/10.5964/jnc.v5i1.147

[9] Brown, M., Hart, K., & Küchemann, D. (1984). Chelsea Diagnostic Mathematics Tests. NFER-Nelson. See http://iccams-maths.org/CSMS/   

[10] Szkudlarek, E., Donovan, A. M., Stephens, A., Alapala, B., Monday, A., Alibali, M. W., & Matthews, P. G. (2021). Children’s equal sign definition endorsement predicts performance on tests of equivalence knowledge. Poster presented at the Society for Research on Child Development Biennial Meeting. (Virtual conference)

This Week at Loughborough | 29 January

This Week at Loughborough | 29 January

January 26, 2024 Orla Price

LGBT+ History Month:

Pilkington Library LGBT+ History Month Display

1-29 February 2024, Pilkington Library

This year’s Library display explores the theme of Medicine, looking at LGBT+ experiences in and contributions to Medicine through history. The display also showcases articles and research from the Loughborough archives and relevant works currently held in the Library collection.

Staff and students can access further resources via the Library’s LGBT+ Research Repository collection.

Find out more

General:

School Stories

29 January 2024, 8am-5pm, Geography Foyer (Bell Building)

To follow on from the naming of the Bell Building, the School of Social Sciences and Humanities EDI Committee is hosting the first of its events in its School Stories Project. Aimed to allow School members to tell their own stories, the event will start by exploring the stories of the Bell, Brockington and Martin Hall Buildings.

Find out more

Arts In Motion: Campus Sculpture Walk

30 January 2024, 1pm-2pm, Loughborough Campus

Join Loughborough University curator David Bell for a walking tour of some of our campus sculptures. Taking in works by world-renowned sculptors including Lynn Chadwick and Atta Kwami as well as hidden gems by former staff and students. We’ll explore works in a variety of materials and styles: from modernist bronze icons to a recent work made from fungi roots. 

Departs Shirley Pearce Square by Martin Hall main entrance, ends at Pilkington Library

Find out more

Peace Cafés – London

31 January 2024, 11am-12pm, Loughborough University London, LDN017 & LDN205

To promote healing, fellowship and community, the Chaplaincy is running two Peace Cafés, one each for members of the Jewish and Muslim communities. The Peace Cafés will be focused on community and healing. They will not be a forum for political debate. The cafés will be facilitated by members of the University Chaplaincy Team and refreshments will be provided.

  • For Jewish staff and students – LDN017
  • For Muslim staff and students – LDN205

Find out more

Making Sure You Get Your USS Back Pay

31 January 2024, 12.30pm-1.30pm, MS Teams

Loughborough University and College Union (UCU) branch is holding an open meeting to discuss the recent changes to the USS pension scheme. It is especially important that colleagues who have opted out of USS are aware of the implications of how restoration of the lost 2020-2023 benefits will be implemented. There is a significant financial benefit to joining the scheme before 1 April 2024 that will not apply after that date.

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Talk Sport Conference

1 February 2024, 12pm-4.45pm, James France Exhibition Centre

The Talk Sport Conference 2024 welcomes major players in the sports, exercise and health industry, to lead career-focused presentations that aim to develop your employability skills and knowledge and provide career insight and advice.

The event will feature industry specialists such as the Lead Consultant at Two Circles, the Director and Producer at Netflix, Amazon Prime and BBC, the Senior Exercise Physiologist at University College London and many more.

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Policy Masterclass: Policy Placements and Fellowships

1 February 2024, 12pm-12.45pm, MS Teams

Charlotte Hamilton, Policy Unit Manager, will give an overview of the landscape of opportunities for policy placements and fellowships. The Policy Unit undertook a review of opportunities in summer 2023 and this masterclass will highlight the results, the types of opportunities available at different career stages, and options for addressing gaps. Charlotte will also highlight current placement opportunities and the support offered by the Policy Unit.

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IAS Seminar: Virtual Reality in Criminological Research

1 February 2024, 12pm-1pm, International House/Zoom

Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) Visiting Fellow Dr William (Patrick) McClanaghan will deliver a seminar on their research. In this talk, Dr William (Patrick) McClanaghan will draw on his own research using VR to assess burglary decision-making in a sample of incarcerated burglars to show how VR can help us better understand and prevent crime. Additionally, he will provide examples of how VR can be used as a re-entry and rehabilitation tool to prevent re-offending.

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Laughter Yoga Session

1 February 2024, 12.30pm-1.15pm, EHB 209 & 210 (Edward Herbert Building)

Join Chaplain Anthony Gimpel, a trained laughter yoga instructor, for this session of wellbeing laughter; combining playfulness, laughter and breathing for pleasure and health. You’re advised to bring some water with you and wear comfortable clothing.

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Voices of Diversity: How to be an ally for people who wear the hijab

1 February 2024, 1pm-2pm, EHB 104 (Edward Herbert Building)

As part of Loughborough University’s Voices of Diversity programme, EDI Services are pleased to launch ‘How to be an Ally’, a new series of panel discussions led by Loughborough staff, students and alumni. To align with World Hijab Day, the topic for this panel is ‘How to be an ally for people who wear the hijab’.

This event will address themes around race, religion and gender, in alignment with Loughborough’s EDI strategy, Race Equity work and Athena Swan work. The panel will explore the religious and spiritual relevance of the hijab and what it means to those who wear it.

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Startup Support Series – Setting Up For Success

10 January-14 February 2024, 10am-12pm, Careers & Enterprise Hub, Loughborough Town

Is your startup idea and plans ready for success in 2024? Whether you’re in the idea validation stage, gaining early traction, or ready to scale, this event series is tailored to empower you at every stage of your business journey.

Find out more

Startup Drop-in Sessions

10 January-14 February 2024, 12pm-2pm, Careers & Enterprise Hub, Loughborough Town

You can book one of these weekly drop-in sessions which offer a welcoming space to help you in your startup journey. You can find out more about the help, support and funding you can get and any other topics that help support you in progressing your business to succeed.

Find out more

Startup Support Series (evenings) – Setting Up For Success

11 January-15 February 2024, 5pm-7pm, Careers & Enterprise Hub, Loughborough Town

Is your startup idea and plans ready for success in 2024? Whether you’re in the idea validation stage, gaining early traction, or ready to scale, this event series is tailored to empower you at every stage of your business journey.

Find out more

World Environmental Education Day

January 25, 2024 Lottie Ambridge

Guest blog by Louis Guest from Enva.

World Environmental Education Day, which takes place on 26th January 2024, aims to raise awareness of the challenges that face our world such as pollution, deforestation, and waste disposal, and how we can prevent them from being an even more prevalent issue.

World Environmental Education Day – 26th January 2024 

As the world around us changes, an awareness for our environment has never been more necessary. World Environmental Education Day, which takes place on 26th January 2024, aims to raise awareness of the challenges that face our world such as pollution, deforestation, and waste disposal, and how we can prevent them from being an even more prevalent issue in the future. 

Waste is a key factor to the environment as it contributes to climate change. With waste going to landfill, methane, a greenhouse gas, is released and contributes to the effects of climate change. Likewise with incineration, this creates an excess of CO2, another greenhouse gas that exacerbates climate change. These are factors we need to be aware of so we can reduce the gas being released into the atmosphere by human activity. We can do this by following the waste hierarchy when deciding what to do with our waste.

So, what can you do to get involved in world environmental education day? 

  • Take some time to learn about our environment. – the WWF website is well worth a visit; it contains useful information about the biggest challenges facing our environment today.
  • Pay close attention to your day-to-day activities and ask yourselves, “could they be undertaken more sustainably?” This could include recycling, carpooling and public transport, or stopping the use of single use plastics by taking a reusable water bottle with you.

As we celebrate World Environmental Education Day here at Enva, we thank you very much for taking the time to read our blog and we hope to keep you informed on future dates in the environmental diary.

Five minutes with: David Whitfield

Five minutes with: David Whitfield

January 25, 2024 Guest blogger

What’s your job title and how long have you been at Loughborough?

I’m a Doctoral Researcher in Geography and Environment. My PhD focuses on river geomorphology; essentially, I research how and why rivers are the shape they are, what has shaped them in the past, and what’s likely to influence their shape in the future. My PhD began in October 2021, so I’ve been here for over 2 years!

Tell us what a typical day in your job looks like?

I like to mix up my week and make every day a little different. Some days I’ll be based in the lab (either to help with teaching or for research). We’ve got two big flume tanks which we use to simulate river environments, so whenever possible, I fill it with rocks, gravel and sand and try to understand how rivers transport their sediment. And when the weather favours us, I try to get out into the field and see those processes in action too! On more desk-based days, I’m usually processing field data, writing it up, and jumping between meetings.

I try to keep busy with plenty of side projects, too. At the moment, I’m chairing the British Society for Geomorphology’s Postgraduate Forum, where we organise workshops and networking events for PhD geomorphologists across the UK. And most importantly of all, I try to put aside a bit of time each day to take a break and chat with colleagues. Geography (and the School of Social Sciences and Humanities more widely) has a super collaborative research culture and a really broad range of research areas, so it’s always great to grab a coffee and hear what everyone else in the office has been busy researching.

What’s your favourite project you’ve worked on?

Last year, I was a local co-ordinator for Loughborough’s Pint of Science festival, a three-day public outreach event, where we invited over 20 researchers (mostly early career researchers) to give science talks at pubs, cafés and restaurants across town. We held seven events in total, showcasing some of Loughborough’s newest and coolest research, from Sports Science and Nutrition to Earth and Environmental Science, to Social Sciences and Science History. Pint of Science Loughborough was entirely PhD Researcher-led; organised by an interdisciplinary team of Doctoral Researchers from schools all across the University. From over 40 universities holding Pint of Science events, Loughborough’s was second in most tickets sold.

What is your proudest moment at Loughborough?

In June 2023, I was super grateful to have been awarded the Loughborough Experience Award for ‘Services to the Doctoral Community’. Since starting at Loughborough, I’ve been really inspired by the collaborative and supportive Doctoral community across campus, and throughout my time here, I’ve tried to get stuck in wherever I can! As a conservationist and environmental geographer, the activity that stands out the most for me is the Big Green Hike fundraiser walk which I’ve organised annually alongside the PhD Social and Support Network. Over the hikes we’ve completed so far, almost 40 Doctoral Researchers have teamed up to raise money for environmental charities to support rewilding projects across the UK.

Tell us something you do outside of work that we might not know about?

Even though my research is mostly field-based (and usually pretty wet and cold), I still can’t get enough of being outdoors! Whenever I get a chance, I try to visit the Peak District for a hike and some extra geological sightseeing. It’s particularly fun to bring some colleagues along for a geomorphology tour (whether they want it or not).

What is your favourite quote?

Not strictly a quote, but a lyric that always resonates with me whenever I’m feeling unmotivated, and gives me a gentle reminder to stay ambitious, and to keep chasing the next goal: “Don’t you know that only fools are satisfied? Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true” (Billy Joel, Vienna).

If you would like to feature in ‘5 Minutes With’, or you work with someone who you think would be great to include, please email Soph Dinnie at S.Dinnie@lboro.ac.uk.

This Week at Loughborough | 22 January

January 19, 2024 Orla Price

IAS Seminar – Shoulder health in wheelchair athletes

22 January 2024, 12pm-1pm, International House/Zoom Webinar

Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) Visiting Fellow Dr Fransiska M Bossuyt will deliver a seminar on their research.

The speaker discusses a research trajectory from basic science through to applied clinical application. The talk specifically delves into how repetitive activities, such as fatiguing wheelchair propulsion, impact shoulder biomechanics and tendon structures.

Find out more

IAS Seminar: Media Coverage and Pandemic Communication in Times of Populism

23 January 2024, 12pm-1pm, International House/Zoom Webinar

Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) Visiting Fellow Professor Danilo Rothberg will deliver a seminar on their research.

This talk is based on research conducted as part of the research project ‘Pandemic Communication in Times of Populism’ (PANCOPOP), led by Professor Sabina Mihelj. His talk will discuss preliminary results of this strand and delve into five generic frames that emerged from a qualitative analysis of more than two thousand news stories, comprising fourteen issue-specific frames that intertwine in surprising combinations.

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IAS Seminar: Beacons of Cultural Diplomacy or the Back Door into Britain?

24 January 2024, 12pm-1pm, International House/Zoom Webinar

Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) Visiting Fellow Professor Caroline Ritter will deliver a seminar on their research titled ‘Beacons of Cultural Diplomacy or the Back Door into Britain? The English-Language School Industry in the United Kingdom’.

This lecture will trace the growth of English language schools in Britain between the 1950s and the early 2000s to show how a post-imperial nation confronted the political tradeoffs of globalisation.

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Inaugural Lecture: Professor Ashleigh Filtness and Stacy Clemes

24 January 2024, 5pm-6.30pm, EHB110B (Edward Herbert Building)

Inaugural Lectures have been an essential feature of university life for centuries.

Loughborough University continues to value the tradition, encouraging new Professors to deliver them and all staff and students to attend.

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Maximus mental health support clinic

24 January 2024, Online

If you’re feeling anxious, overwhelmed, stressed, or experiencing a mental health problem that is making work difficult for you, you can access external support with Maximus. Maximus have virtual, confidential one-to-one appointments available for Loughborough University staff on 24 January.

Maximus has supported more than 12,000 people through the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service to improve their health, cope better with work, and feel happier.

Those who would like an appointment before the clinic date can do so by contacting Maximus.

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Improvisational Theatre: Fake it till you make it! With Ida Lassing

24 January 2024, 6pm-7.30pm, Martin Hall Theatre

Calling all theatre fans! Whether you have been on stage since you could walk or want to see if theatre could be something for you, this workshop is open to all levels of experience. Together we will be taking part in theatre games and develop improv skills that you can use in anything from theatre to presentations.

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Workshop by Amanda Harrington: ‘What were the warning signs of the Holocaust?’

25 January 2024, 1pm-1.50pm, SMB 0.02 (Stewart Mason Building)

Both students and staff are welcome to attend this lecture led by Amanda Harrington, Associate Lecturer at Loughborough Business School, as part of the University’s programme to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day 2024.

The Holocaust didn’t just happen. A lot happened during the build-up. A lot was ignored or considered not important in ‘minor’ infringements on freedom. During the workshop, examples will be shared and discussed of the early signs. We will have the opportunity to reflect on the impact of such early moves to limit individual and group freedoms.

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National Theatre Live: Dear England

25 January 2024, 7pm-10pm, Cope Auditorium

From the pitch to the stage, Joseph Fiennes stars as Gareth Southgate in this gripping examination of nation and game. Filmed live on stage at the National Theatre, ‘Dear England’ is a new play by James Graham and directed by Rupert Goold.

Tickets are non-refundable unless the screening is postponed or cancelled. Subject to availability, card payments only can be taken on the door.

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IAS Open House

26 January 2024, 10.30am-3.30pm, International House

Find out how you can interact with the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) to bring international fellows to Loughborough, initiate new collaborations or develop existing ones across a range of opportunities and programmes.

Come along at any point during the day to meet the IAS team, previous annual theme leads and hosts of IAS fellows, as well as the newly appointed IAS Academic Advisory Board to ask any questions.

Find out more

Lecture by Dr Paul Maddrell: The Preventability of the Holocaust

26 January 2024, 1pm-2pm, EHB 104 (Edward Herbert Building)

Both students and staff are welcome to attend this lecture as part of the University’s programme to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day 2024.

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Holocaust Memorial Day 2024 – Gathering to Reflect

26 January 2024, 4pm-4.40pm, Hazlerigg Fountain

Both students and staff are welcome to attend this event as part of the University’s programme to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day 2024.

Lead Chaplain Reverend Elizabeth York will host this short gathering including a reflection with readings, poems and a minute’s silence.

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Holocaust Memorial Day 2024 – Queens Park Commemorative Event

27 January 2024, 12pm-1pm, Queens Park Bandstand

Together with Loughborough town, University staff and students are invited to join a commemorative event led by members of the town’s community. A ceremony to remember all the victims of genocide. The borough will share their act of commitment and those present will be invited to place a pebble on the commemoration stone.

Members of the Chaplaincy team will be available to meet any students or staff on campus who wish to attend and walk together to Queens Park, meeting at 11.30am at Hazlerigg Fountain and leaving at 11.40am.

Find out more

Startup Support Series – Setting Up For Success

10 January-14 February 2024, 10am-12pm, Careers & Enterprise Hub, Loughborough Town

Is your startup idea and plans ready for success in 2024? Whether you’re in the idea validation stage, gaining early traction, or ready to scale, this event series is tailored to empower you at every stage of your business journey.

Find out more

Startup Drop-in Sessions

10 January-14 February 2024, 12pm-2pm, Careers & Enterprise Hub, Loughborough Town

You can book one of these weekly drop-in sessions which offer a welcoming space to help you in your startup journey. You can find out more about the help, support and funding you can get and any other topics that help support you in progressing your business to succeed.

Find out more

Startup Support Series (evenings) – Setting Up For Success

11 January-15 February 2024, 5pm-7pm, Careers & Enterprise Hub, Loughborough Town

Is your startup idea and plans ready for success in 2024? Whether you’re in the idea validation stage, gaining early traction, or ready to scale, this event series is tailored to empower you at every stage of your business journey.

Find out more

LU Conservation volunteers: 2023 summary

LU Conservation volunteers: 2023 summary

January 18, 2024 Lottie Ambridge

Guest blog by Rich-Fenn-Griffin, Loughborough University’s Assistant Gardens Manager. December, 2023.

Firstly, thank you to the volunteers who joined us in Burleigh Wood on 6th December for coppicing and dead-hedging. It was great to have so many people getting stuck in and as the old saying goes ‘many hands made light work’.

I particularly like this photograph, as the general scene would have been recognisable to a 19th century woodsman. Yes, the clothes and tools would be slightly different, but the activities would be very much the same. There would also be a similar number of people helping, although more children (by our standards) would be involved. They would also have coppiced the oak as well, but we think that’s a step too far in changing the aesthetic of the woodland (again, by modern standards).

From myself and the Gardens team who work with us to deliver the Conservation Volunteering, I would like to thank all who have braved the British weather and helped. It does make a real difference to biodiversity.

New Year, new you?
Perhaps you’ve not joined us for a conservation volunteering session yet? Perhaps your new resolution is to help turn biodiversity loss in biodiversity gain? Then, get stuck into 2024 with our Conservation Volunteering sessions. Dates, times and locations are listed below. If you fancy coming along, simply email Gardens@mailbox.lboro.ac.uk and state which session you want to attend. You can reply up to 24 hours before a session is due to take place.
We look forward to welcoming new and experienced volunteers to our New Year sessions.

DateTimeLocationTask
24th January 202413:15-15:00Holywell Wood (https://w3w.co/salads.gave.index)Coppicing and access control
7th February 202413:15-15:00Burleigh Wood (https://w3w.co/fumes.sting.discouraged)Coppicing and access control
21st February 202413:15-15:00Burleigh Extension Wood (https://w3w.co/fumes.sting.discouraged)Coppicing & brash removal
6th March 202413:15-15:00Carbon Offset Wood; (https://w3w.co/fumes.sting.discouraged)Removing tree guards

This article is in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life on Land. To read more click here.

LU Conservation volunteers: Sowing for the future

January 18, 2024 Lottie Ambridge

Guest blog by Rich-Fenn-Griffin, Loughborough University’s Assistant Gardens Manager. November, 2023.

Many thanks to all of you who came out to plant bulbs and sow wildflower seeds in the Carbon Offset Woodland -especially given the weather in the morning.  The Carbon Offset Woodland was planted about 20 years ago as both a carbon and biodiversity offset for development work done elsewhere on campus.  Despite being small, the trees are mostly native (or long naturalised) and come from a wide variety of species.  The area retains a little acidic character with European gorse bounding the paths in the middle of the wood.  Before the woodland was planted the area was used for growing crops.  As such, there was little to no diversity in the plants and as the trees grew up the ground became dominated by grasses.  Woodland ground flora take hundreds of years to develop, and although some shade tolerant species have moved in from the old hedgerow, overall, the wood is quite plant species poor.  To kickstart a more woodland ground flora, the volunteers were tasked with planting native bluebell bulbs and sowing wildflower seeds.

Planting bluebell bulbs might sound straight forward but the soil here is very thin and rocky.  Bluebells prefer to be planted 10 cm underground.  First, a hole was dug with a trowel and a few bulbs put in (facing the right way up) and then filled back in.  The bulbs were distributed along the central path near the top of the wood, so hopefully next year they’ll be be a lovely bluebell display which will add colour and provide vital nectar and pollen for early foraging bumblebees.

Abi demonstrating how much effort it was to get the trowel in the ground to plant the bluebells.

The work of the sowing team was not any easier.  They had to scarify the soil surface by raking away the grass.  The seed could then be broadcast onto the soil and lightly tamped in.  As most of these wildflowers are biennial, these sowings will not flower until spring/summer 2025.  However, we should be able to judge some success next year by noting the number of new plants growing in the area.  With careful management, we will encourage the spread of the wildflowers throughout the woodland, making this place into an excellent resource and breeding ground for insects.

Here Saleh is scarifying the soil surface to reduce grass competition before sowing wildflower seeds.

This article is in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life on Land. To read more click here.

LU Conservation volunteers: Coppicing and dead-hedging

January 18, 2024 Lottie Ambridge

Guest blog by Rich-Fenn-Griffin, Loughborough University’s Assistant Gardens Manager. November, 2023.

Thank you to the amazing volunteers who braced the November weather to help with the coppicing and dead-hedging in Holywell Wood. Five students (Rose, Jess, Curtis, Mia & Caitlin) were joined by two staff members (David and Paul) as well as Steve and Luke (from the Gardens). Together this ace team laid into the tasks with boundless energy and enthusiasm.

Coppicing is an old form of woodland management. In the days before plastic, almost everything that was used in the house was made from wood. A renewable source of wood could be obtained by cutting hazel (other trees such as oak and ash were also used) to the ground and letting it resprout. This cycle was repeated every 10-15 years. The coppicing wasn’t all done at the same time but done by areas in the wood called coupes. There would usually be the same number of coupes in the wood as years in the coppice cycle. Hence, you wouldn’t clear coupe one again until 10 years later in a 10 year cycle. As coppicing reduces the canopy cover in an area it lets lots of light in and this causes a profusion of flowers not normally seen in the shade. This attracts lots of different insects into these areas and as such birds and other animals that feed on them. This wildlife would move to newly cut coupes as the old coupe became shaded again. This system of managing the woods has lasted for over a thousand years and is crucial for supporting high levels of biodiversity in British Woodlands.

Dead-hedging was the traditional way of controlling the movement of animals in the wood. In previous years, pigs were put into the woods to feed on acorns in the autumn (called pannage). To prevent them (and deer) nibbling the young coppice shoots, woodsmen use to create dead-hedges around the coupes. These are created by stuffing all the twiggy bits cut off the hazel poles in between a set of parallel posts.
In both these cases, it just so happens that these practises are great for encouraging biodiversity in the wood. Coppicing increases plant diversity which in turn allows more species of insect to inhabit the wood. Dead-hedging makes a great big pile of brash where insects and small mammals can overwinter from the cold. Woodland birds can pick through these piles looking for bugs to eat. These are especially useful in spring when birds need to feed their young and find space to nest.


Continuing these ancient practises is no longer about the need for wood or controlling animal movements but is now mainly focused on conserving the exceptional biodiversity of Holywell and Burleigh Woods.

This article is in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life on Land. To read more click here.

LU Conservation volunteers: Raking, cutting and digging

LU Conservation volunteers: Raking, cutting and digging

January 18, 2024 Lottie Ambridge

Guest blog by Rich-Fenn-Griffin, Loughborough University’s Assistant Gardens Manager. This was written after the first conservation volunteering activity in the autumn term.

Many thanks to our first group of volunteers who were out in Holywell Wood in the glorious autumn sunshine.  Holywell is the quietest of our two ancient woodlands, only being accessible to University staff and students. 

The first task was raking the cut vegetation from the main ride (completed by Rose, Jack, Gursimran, Issy and Caitlin).  Rides were created in woodlands for two main reasons: firstly to make it easier to get into the wood to get timber out, and secondly, when deer hunting was common in woods it made them easier to ride through (hence the term ride). 

Historically, the rides were kept open by a combination of felling trees and grazing animals.  The volunteers today were mimicking these animals.  By raking up the cut vegetation and taking most of it off-site they were pretending to do the nutrient transfer out of the wood that would have happened with grazing animals. 

As a rule, for every two bags of raked cuttings taken out, one bag was left in a pile on site (this is a great habitat for insects).  This keeps the nutrient levels in the ride soil low which favours a more diverse range of wildflower species than if we just left the cuttings to rot down.  Please pop into the wood in the spring and early summer to see the range.

Jack (after finishing the ride) helped the University Arborist take down the bird boxes in the wood.  This might sound a bit counterintuitive for conservation but bird boxes in this context actually hinder the survival of one of our rarer species.  This is because bird boxes provide homes for their competitors.  To tip the scale in the favour of this rarer species we have decided to take most of the bird boxes out from the wood.

Lastly, Rose and Issy installed a support in the forest school area as part of a new balance beam extension to the stepping stones.  They expertly measured everything up and hopefully will have the opportunity to finish it off in the near future.

Next time on LU Conservation Volunteers . . .

We will be working in the new Carbon Offset Woodland (adjacent to Burleigh Wood).  This wood was planted about 20 years ago on old arable land.  As such, it now has plenty of trees but little in the way of ground flora.  To give things a helping hand in the right direction, we’re going to plant bluebells and sow wildflower seeds to create more habitat for pollinators and kickstart the woodland to becoming more biodiverse.

If you want to help out, please look out for and respond to the next invite email. 

To find out more, please get in touch at gardens@lboro.ac.uk

This article is in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life on Land. To read more click here

CRCC member – Brendan Lawson – publishes “The Life of a Number”

CRCC member – Brendan Lawson – publishes “The Life of a Number”

January 18, 2024 Iliana Depounti

Do numbers have a life of their own or do we give them meaning? How does data play a role in constructing people’s perceptions of the world around them? How far can we trust numbers to speak truth to power? In an increasingly datafied world, these questions need answers.

Lecturer in Media and Communication Dr Brendan Lawson aims to shed light on this new dawn of data in his new book ‘The Life of a Number’. This exciting project traces the life of eight numbers – from “One billion items of PPE” to a data visualisation of daily cases – to help the audience navigate the data deluge of the 21st century.

According to Brendan Lawson, the author, the book “provides both empirical and theoretical insights to the meaning of data in the modern world by bringing together a range of disciplines and fields – including Media and Communication, History and Philosophy of Statistics and Critical Data Studies – into a methodological framework that sees number being created, gain meaning and drop from public discourse.”

One of the key concepts, he explains, is the idea of ‘data bounds’.

“Certain ideas are bound by datasets and statistics, such as the way the economy has come to be represented by Gross Domestic Product and inflation. In these settings, data is the logical reference point to discuss, think and practice. We become bound by data.” 

The book has already been well-received by notable academics in the field.

“This fascinating book provides two important interventions. First, it provides a critical toolkit for making sense of how quantitative data are used to understand social phenomena. Second, it provides insight into how statistics drove policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. An engaging critique of evidence-based journalism and policy making.” Rob Kitchin, Maynooth University.

If you want to listen to Brendan talk about the book – alongside other projects – you can listen to a recent podcast on The Trumanitarian: https://trumanitarian.org/episodes/hugeness/

The book is now available to purchase from Bristol University Press with a special launch discount of 50% off epub and hardback editions if you order by 23rd May with code POBR50.

Dr Lawson was awarded his PhD from the University of Leeds in 2020. He has worked on a number of temporary contracts at Loughborough University from 2021 to 2023. Last year, he was appointed as a permanent Lecturer in the Communication and Media Department. His research focuses on the way numbers become meaningful in society, with a recent shift towards climate change.

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