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Life Online Email

February 2013

Changing lives in Malawi


David Blunkett on education policies Page 2

Making dance work Page 7

Asterix co-director inspires students Page 12



David Blunkett first to speak at new Public Policy Lectures L

abour MP David Blunkett will be the first speaker in a new series of Public Policy Lectures being held at the University. The former Education and Employment Secretary, who went on to be Home Secretary and then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in the previous government, is also the founder of the charity Future for Youth which seeks to get funding from public bodies and business to provide opportunities for unemployed youth. The MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough will examine recent education policies, current government changes and the contradictions and challenges this throws up in his lecture Education for All: the contradictions and challenges of present and future policy. Held at the Luton Campus Centre lecture theatre

on Thursday, 7 March, at 11am, Mr Blunkett’s talk will consider how challenges can be met in a very different educational landscape from early years to higher education and lifelong learning. The lecture series has been initiated by Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell to reflect his commitment to the transformational potential that universities have - not only in changing students’ lives, but also through fundamental societal impact. The ticket-only lectures are free to attend and provide access to high-profile, world expert intellectuals. The next lecture will be given by MP for Buckingham and Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, on Thursday, 9 May. To book a place for the David Blunkett lecture contact Nadia March on 01582 489018 or email

“Excuse me, what radio programmes do you listen to?” Communications Team contacts Rose Taylor Head of Communications & Events Kevin Cunningham Communications Officer Simon Wesson Communications Assistant Caroline Jacobi Communications Administrator

Contributors this month Dr Janey Gordon, Professor James Crabbe & Professor Kate Jacques

t Got a news story? Please contact the comms team.

WEDNESDAY, 13 February is World Radio Day


t WAS started by UNESCO to remind people of the importance of radio to people around the globe. In the UK we are so well blessed with radio we don’t really pay it any attention. In Luton we have more radio stations than almost any other town this size in the UK, including our very own university community station, Radio LaB 97.1 FM. We can listen to news and information, sport, arts and entertainment and all sorts of music.

“…I listen when I’m in the shower so I know what the weather is - that presenter, he makes me laugh!...” But for many people around the world radio is their main source of information. Spare a thought on 13 February, for the Charland dwellers of Bangladesh, who live on silt banks in the rivers. The weather forecast may be life or death for them.

“….actually, we often have the radio on at work, the music cheers us up and the day zips past…..”

02 Life – February 2013

Remember the aboriginal peoples of Australia who listen to radio broadcasting in their own languages and to traditional music, which is from their own cultures. Music broadcasting is culturally defining, it is not just what happens between the words.

“…I try and listen to the local travel news so I get home easily…” Think about the people in South America who through their stormy political times have used radio to challenge their more extreme rulers. Consider also the occasions when radio has been used for evil, the Taliban radio stations in Pakistan which use radio to intimidate and threaten, demanding money or a child to train as a suicide bomber and remember the brave NGO workers who

run radio stations to counter these threats and to educate and inform their local communities.

“… when I’m cooking dinner, I listen to the news ….” People listen on radio receivers big and small, car radios and radio streamed on computers. Smart phones listeners can also use social media to get straight in touch with the broadcasters. Hausa listeners in sub-Saharan Africa are notable for this!

“…I text a show when there’s a competition....But no, I don’t listen to the radio much.” Wednesday, 13 February, World Radio Day, – really listen to your radio.



David Moorhead with his daughter Grace

It’s hands off handball and strap on your skis for Professor

Dedicated dad wins Most Deserving Student award A PHD student who travels across the country every week to go home to see his sick daughter has been chosen out of 200 nominees as the nation’s Most Deserving Student


avid Moorhead was presented with a Renault Twingo Extreme, as well as £1,000 for a student society of his choice, after being picked by the public for the title. “I’m absolutely blown away,” said David. “This may sound a cliché, but I didn’t expect it at all. When you look at the other nominees, there are so many inspirational stories, I didn’t think I was in with a chance. It’s very humbling; I feel a bit guilty to win really.” David’s story was submitted by his partner Samantha, who described him as “education’s biggest champion”. The 30-year-old came out of school with “nothing” and was told he was “stupid”. In fact he had dyspraxia and

dyslexia, something he would find out later in life, when he went for a test after struggling with spelling. Relieved, David decided to further himself and went on to complete a Master’s Degree in teaching at Liverpool John Moores University, before taking on a teaching role. In 2011, David, from Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, successfully applied for a bursary at Bedfordshire to research for a PhD in cinematic adaptation, with the focus on screen writing. He stays in student accommodation three days a week and travels home to see Samantha and their daughter Grace, who is seven. It was more than the commute that touched voters though. His daughter has a mystery illness, and

has to go to hospital regularly. “It’s been one thing after another, just so worrying really. It has been a nightmare,” said David. “The most difficult thing is the distance and not always being there.” David and Samantha are both studying and currently live on two bursaries, but although the car was handy to win, David said the award was mainly a confidence boost. “It will motivate me through what can be a financial and intellectual struggle,” David, who orginates from Anfield, Liverpool, said, “This has been a massive lift for the whole family, really, everyone is over the moon.” After collecting the second-hand car at the Luton campus, David celebrated victory by treating his family to a stay in a luxury hotel nearby, and then a trip to London. The Everton FC fan added: “This is a justification, proving wrong those who, mistaking my dyspraxia for laziness, told me I wouldn’t even get a GCSE. I hope there are others with learning disabilities who see this and realise it can be done.”

PROFESSOR of Sport John Brewer has been announced as the Chair of British Ski and Snowboard (BSS) after stepping down as Chair of the British Handball Association (BHA) in December. Professor Brewer said he was sad to retire from his previous role, which he thoroughly enjoyed, but was delighted and honoured to take on this new position. During Professor Brewer’s three year tenure as Chair of the BHA, he led handball teams to their first Olympic Games, in London, and rubbed shoulders with Prime Minister David Cameron and the Duchess of Cambridge as he explained to them the rules of the game. Professor Brewer said: “I am indebted to the tremendous hard work of my predecessor, Lord Colin Moynihan, and the Interim Chair Robin Kellen.” In his new role at the BSS Professor Brewer will take the reins for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, and he believes GB has some genuine medal prospects. Professor Brewer, who is also the University’s Director of Sport and Head of the Sport and Exercise Sciences Department, added that similarities in the two jobs come in the need to manage finances tightly and sensibly, and face competitors based overseas. The keen skier added: “I am excited about the challenges ahead, and look forward to chairing the BSS for many years to come.”

Professor John Brewer

Life – February 2013 03



Training for teachers gives For the past three years, tutors and students have been helping to train teachers in one of the poorest parts of Africa – and it’s proving to be as good for Bedfordshire’s trainee teachers as it is for the Malawians– Rose Taylor reports


HEN physical education student Michelle Rowe returned from a gap year in Malawi five years ago she wondered if she could continue to help schools there to build latrines and spruce up dilapidated buildings. But thanks to the help of her tutors, schools in Malawi have gained a lot more. In the three years since the University’s link with the African country was set up, staff and BEd and PE students from the Bedford campus have funded a £7,000 science block at Lizulu School and provided training for hundreds of primary teachers in science, English, maths and PE. Professor Kate Jacques was Pro-Vice Chancellor at the Bedford campus when she took up the cause

alongside Chris Rix, visiting Senior Research Fellow. “My first visit was to open the science block in 2007, which was funded using money bequeathed by a tutor to help a special cause,” says Professor Jacques, who has since retired but continues to lead the Malawi project on behalf of the University. “Michelle made the case for science in Malawi and was successful. At that point I asked what would be the most useful thing we could do for teachers there. Their response was ‘we need more training’.” On her return Professor Jacques applied for funding from the British Council’s Developing Learning Partnerships in Higher Education (DelPHE) programme. The bid was successful and the University

“Just as in this country teachers need refreshment and additional training.” Annie Smithteaching mirror reflections

received £60,000 to be spent over three years on developing teaching skills in partnership with St Joseph’s Teacher Training College in Malawi. The money has been used for the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of more than 100 primary teachers. A course takes place every Easter in the Dedza/ Lizulu region of Malawi, focusing on practical learning in English, taught by Paul Gardner; maths, led by Irene Wooldridge; science, taught by Chris Rix; and physical education, led by Mark Bowler. “Each year we select eight trainee student teachers to assist in teaching the courses,” says Professor Jacques. “The area is a rural, very poor part of Malawi and the schools have few resources. Many have no desks, furniture

or even books. The environment presents a serious challenge for our students.” Every year a team of teachers from Malawi visits the University to learn about how teachers are trained in the UK and to plan the Easter course. Four lecturers from St Joseph’s Teacher Training College in Dedza will be in Bedford from 10 to 19 March. This Easter is the final year of the programme. The Malawi Project team from Bedford will fly out to deliver the CPD course in collaboration with St Joseph’s College from 4 to 17 April. “What we are trying to do now is enable lecturers to deliver the CPD themselves,” says Professor Jacques. “Just as in this country teachers need refreshment and additional

“We are showing them how to engage children using interactive teaching and learning approaches and to make the best use of simple, locally available resources.” 04 Life – February 2013



hope for Malawi’s children l An annual Malawi Project calendar to

help to raise funds for the Malawi trip is now available. Call Kate Jacques on 01234 315230. l A fund-raising week is planned from

Abbie Brown teaching English to a primary class

4 – 8 February. Events include a sponsored 384-mile exercise bike ride – equivalent to the length of Lake Malawi – in the Hub at Bedford campus; and a Quiz night in the Hub on 7 February. Students will be selling home-made cakes throughout the week, and a barn dance will be held, more details to appear on the website at

Laura Silburn chatting with children

training. Teaching tends to be traditional, so we are demonstrating that group work can enhance learning, and that talk, discussion, sharing ideas and practical activities helps understanding.” Chris Rix, who has been on three visits and will be going again in April, says: “Numbers in Malawi primary classes can be as high as 200 to 300 and the learning tends to be passive. We are showing them how to engage children using interactive teaching and learning approaches and to make the best use of simple, locally available resources.” The team raises funds for educational equipment but equal attention is drawn to using easily accessible resources like beans and pebbles for counters, newspapers for making shapes, and reeds and sticks for measuring. Story telling and poetry writing is popular and can be done without books, while PE shows how teamwork and collaboration works to everyone’s advantage. For the University’s student teachers the experience has been invaluable.

Women at work

Andrew Haslegrave, 21, described his trip to Malawi last year as life-changing. “Just seeing the presentation about the place, before going out, made me think it was amazing,” says the fourth-year BEd student. “But nothing compares to being there. It’s such a beautiful place with beautiful people. It was amazing. I felt very lucky to be able to make a difference.” Andrew, from Benwick, near Peterborough, climbed Snowdon to raise money for his trip. “I had not had any thoughts about going to Africa in the past,” he says. “Now I’d go back in a heartbeat. You learn so much from it and you get a new respect for the opportunities we have here.” Annie Smith, a Primary Education

“It was amazing to see the impact it had on people.” student, helped to teach science to teachers during her visit last year. “It was amazing to see the impact it had on people,” she says. “It was very humbling.” Annie, whose home is in Oxford, plans to get a couple of years’ teaching experience in the UK, then go to Malawi and set up an agency to help give teachers more training. Last year a comparative study carried out by Chris Rix and Paul Gardner was featured in the Journal of Social Sciences and presented at the International Conference on Education in Samos, in Greece.

Professor Jacques and Chris Rix also presented a paper on Education in Malawi at Birmingham University at the annual Teacher Education Conference last May. The DelPHE funding comes to an end this year but the British Council has given positive feedback to the University about the success of this project and hopes that it may be possible to find funds from elsewhere so that the work continues in some form. To find out more, go to uk/project.html

Life – Febuary 2013 05



Keeping track of industrial pollution Industrial development and pollution are major problems for developing countries. Now a new tracking method developed by academics from the universities of Fudan and Bedfordshire promises to help governments develop their policies both for industrial development and for limiting industrial pollution in water courses. Simon Wesson reports


ollutants contaminating the water in developing countries could be prevented thanks to a method which tracks industrial waste as firms change location. The research, which was carried out in China to analyse the transfer of industries from the east coast to the centre of the country, was co-developed by the University’s Professor James Crabbe. The ‘evolutionary’ analysis received international acknowledgement last month when it was printed

in a key open access science journal from the Nature publishing house, Scientific Reports. The study enables scientists to pinpoint individual pollutants and also gives them a timeframe for how long the toxins have been in the water by using an ‘evolutionary tree’-style chart. Professor Crabbe, Dean of the Faculty of Creative Arts, Technologies and Science, said: “It’s very exciting because the research is combining two things: a new concept and a new methodology. “You can use the methodology we have developed

Tea in the tree to support street kids

06 Life – February 2013

MAD hatters filled the University’s Tree House as a Tea Party with a difference helped to raise funds for charity. MSc Tourism and Events Management students hosted the day-long event which featured board games, eating competitions, quizzes and a raffle. The snow outside didn’t put people off attending the event at the Luton campus and £135 was raised for the Railway Children, which supports children living on the streets across the UK, India and East Africa. Alexandra Barat-Abrams, who was project manager for the event, said: “It’s been a fun day; it was particularly entertaining to watch the doughnut-eating competition!”

in China to actually follow that pollution course and identify the industries – particularly unregulated industries – involved.” The work began in January 2012, and was carried out by Professor Crabbe and an international team including scientists from Fudan University in Shanghai, where Professor Crabbe has collaborated previously. The team took samples from two separate water systems in the Henan region. Their results show that over the past decade electronics, plastics and biomedical industries have moved west from the Yangtze Delta into the mainland of China, which has corresponded with the ‘Rise of Central China Plan’ – with many manufactures moving from the busy cities into undeveloped regions. “By using our evolutionary modelling we can predict potential pollution and show what’s happening on the ground and how regional imbalance can be looked at over a whole area,” said Professor Crabbe. “Scientists can then work with governments to help prevent that pollution, and our research will enable governments to stop unregulated industrial development in undeveloped areas, and so stop industrial pollution.”

“Using our evolutionally modelling we can predict potential pollution and show what’s happening on the ground.”



Mobile phone system to help stop bed-wetting B

ed-wetting can be a source of embarrassment for children, even though it is common, affecting 20 per cent of fiveto six-year-olds. But a new alarm system using mobile phones could help thousands of children, even teenagers, who suffer from enuresis – the medical term for the condition. Scientists at the University are developing a sensor that can be fitted inside children’s underwear so when the first drop of urine falls a message is sent to a mobile phone. Dr Tahmina Ajmal, who has been leading the work on the mobile phone alarm system, said: “The sensor would be very small and would send a signal to the mobile phone as soon as the first drop falls. That would alert the child and their

parents, who would be woken up. It could also go to a doctor’s mobile phone which could help them keep a record of when, and how frequently, the child wets their bed.” Dr Ajmal said the idea came during Dr Tahmina Ajmal a discussion with paediatricians about her work on the body-sensor network for mobile phones. “Dr Chinnaiah Yemula, clinical lead in Bedford Community Paediatrics, thought it was an excellent application of mobile phone work,” said Dr Ajmal.

“We are planning to start a collaborative project around this with the University of Bedfordshire and doctors in Bedford Community Paediatricians. Dr Samira Ajmal and Dr Anita Mittal would also be involved in the project. “It is quite a common problem, and this project would not only help the child, but would also help doctors to monitor exactly when it is happening, to see if there is a pattern, and to devise a treatment.” Approximately 20 per cent of all five- and sixyear-olds wet the bed with the problem more common among boys. In teenagers, the figure is two to three per cent up to age 14 and one per cent at 15 and over. In 70 per cent of cases it runs in the family, with the child having a sibling or parent who has suffered the same problem.

Photo: Rachel Cherry

Born to dance M

A dance students are set to showcase their talents at universities around the region – performing new dance works made for them by two leading UK choreographers. Matthias Sperling associate artist with Dance4, who has performed with Wayne McGregor and Matthew Bourne, collaborated with Siobhan Davies Dance and choreographed for Candoco among others, and Colin Poole, whose career spans performing with Phoenix and Rambert Dance companies ,and residencies at The Place and Royal Opera House, have been working on developing new choreographic works with the students.

In the coming weeks the six MA students in SHIFT Dance Company will perform at the University’s Luton and Bedford campuses as well as at the universities of Suffolk, Coventry, Lincoln and Anglia Ruskin. Dance artist Sue Hawksley, Senior Lecture in Dance at Bedfordshire and co-ordinator for the MA course said: “Not only are Matthias and Colin top performers and choreographers in their own right but they also have experience of working within the academic context. “Their creative reflection and analysis in the process of making dance work has been an immensely valuable experience for

the students”. The choreographers worked with the students to develop new material. In Sperling’s work, ‘We is a Collective Process’ the dancers learned to use structured improvisation which means the choreography will be different every time they perform. Postgraduate student Kerry Childs said: “Working with Colin and Matthias has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to create work in the professional industry. What we have been doing has engaged my thought process at a level that I had not experienced.” Professor Helen Bailey, Head of Performing Arts and English

at the University confirmed the importance of this way of learning for students within the arts in higher education – “Our degree courses in dance, theatre and performing arts are designed to provide students with an industryfacing learning experience, which gives them the chance to maximise employability as well as network with significant professional practitioners.” The Two performances at Bedfordshire will be on Tuesday, 26 Feburary at the Luton campus and Friday, 15 March at the Bedford campus, both start at 7.30pm. For full details of the other perfomances visit

Life – February 2013 07



By Caroline Jacobi


AVE you been stopped by a student ambassador asking if you’re a final year student? Please bear with them, they’re simply giving you the chance to have your say on what you like about your university and what you would like to see improve. Is it worth the effort to spend 10 minutes of your time filling in the National Student Survey? Absolutely. Thanks to students who took the time to fill in the survey last year, the Bedford campus now has a bar; nursing students are getting more handson skills with smaller study groups in simulation labs; and a new CV writing workshop is up and running. As Life reported last month, the libraries in Luton and Bedford are already open for business 24/7 – because it’s what students asked for. And £5m is being spent to recruit more staff. Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell was on hand with Beds SU President Daniel Login to open The Pub in the Hub, at Bedford. A delighted Students’ Union pulled out all the stops with a James Bond-themed opening – including a Daniel Craig lookalike – and dance students springing into action for a showcase performance.

“The Pub will make a big difference to the student experience.” The verdict has been a unanimous welcome. Mary Harmer, a first year Sport and Physical Education student, said: “I definitely think we needed a bar in Bedford; it was a long time coming. It’s a great place to visit before going into the town centre and a good place to socialise too.” Brad Robinson, 20, who is studying for a Qualified Teacher Status in Physical Education, said: “It’s massive for the Bedford campus. The bar staff are all students, which is good for both them

The opening of The Pub in the Hub at Bedford campus

You’ve got to to make it ha and the clientele, as it creates a good relationship and offers job opportunities. It’s a bar for students, run by students. The Pub will make a big difference to the student experience.” Daniel said Beds SU was “absolutely delighted” with The Pub in the Hub which, he is certain, will make a “big difference to the experience of students at this campus.”

The Pub in the Hub bar

08 Life – February 2013

“It’s massive for the Bedford campus. The bar staff are all students, which is good for both them and the clientele, as it creates a good relationship and offers job opportunities. It’s a bar for students, run by students.”


Feature Other things

You Said… We did

tell us ppen

Have Your Say – and win an iPAD or £100 in cash

You said: Give us quicker feedback Are you a third year student? All you on assignments. have to do for a chance to win one of We did: A 2Q process of feedback via Turnitin 10 iPADs or one of 30 x £100 cash prizes on BREO is up and running across the is to spare 10 minutes to take part in the University from September 2012. National Student Survey (NSS). You said: We want to have a go at applying All higher education colleges and academic skills before using them in assignments. universities are obliged to take part in We did: Students can now use the ‘Try It’ the annual NSS. workshops to independently access their It is your opportunity to give your understanding of what they are taught by the opinions on what you like about your Professional Academic Development (PAD) team – university and your course as well as the materials complement the ‘How to’ range anything you want to see improved. of workshops currently available on the PAD BREO site. You said: Give us a higher standard of accommodation. We did: The £20m student accommodation at Bedford – Liberty Living – has 500 en-suite study bedrooms. The £40m Fitzroy Court and Wenlock Court in Luton also provide state-of-the-art accommodation. You said: Help us find jobs. To have your We did: New CV writing and interview skills say log on to workshops, run by national career experts, regularly send out email alerts about the www.thestudent latest vacancies. You said: Help us access study support at Bedford. We did: Students can now speak to staff from Computer Skills, PAD and Academic Liaison librarians in a designated area in the library. Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell and Beds SU President Daniel Login at the 24/7 LRC opening at Luton campus

Beds SU Commercial Services Manager Graham Dean said: “The bar has been very well received and all the feedback so far has been very positive. The students have already organised their own quiz and karaoke nights which is great. They are all getting involved which is good to see.” The Vice Chancellor was also on hand at both campuses to officially launch the 24/7 opening of the two libraries. “Being able to use the library as and when they need it was what our students asked for,” said Mr Rammell, who has made it his mission to ensure students get the best university experience possible. Nursing students, who are based in Aylesbury and Butterfield, wanted their teaching sessions to be more practical. Their sessions in the simulation labs now constitute small study groups so everyone has a chance to use the equipment, allowing them to get more hands-on practice. Many more changes are on their way.

To have your say log on to

Life – February 2013 09



Church becomes site of innovative new project


N ECO-FRIENDLY building, designed by a University of Bedfordshire lecturer to be off the national grid, could help secure the future of an English Heritage site. The dilapidated St Mary’s Old Church in Clophill, Beds, which has been redundant since 1972, has received a grant of almost £500,000 to help repair and stabilise the site, and bring it back into beneficial use. As part of the grant, secured by the Clophill Heritage Trust, a building to provide wardens’ overnight accommodation has been designed by David Jazani, Senior Lecturer in Building Technologies and Construction Management. The design features a steel frame which will be fully recycled at the end of its useful life; extremely energy efficient straw-bale infill walls with lime render; a green-roof with rainwater

harvesting; solar panels to provide electricity; onsite sewage treatment and reed-bed; and biomass boilers for heating and hot water. David’s building is designed to stop vandalism and night-time antisocial behaviour, and there will be an area to assist with hosting and educating visitors. The scheme has received planning approval, however David has had to withdraw from the project for personal reasons. David, who specialises in energy conservation and sustainability, said: “It was a very interesting project and I hope it will help to save this site as well as train some people in heritage skills, so improving their employment prospects as well as enjoyment of the historic site by local people.” The build will now be completed by the Heritage Trust and is expected to be finished around August.

Electric vans to drive down University’s carbon footprint

What’s on...

SYMPHONIA ACADEMICA CLASSICAL music will ring through Bedford Theatre as the Symphonia Academica play an eclectic range of masterpieces next month. Bedfordshire’s professional orchestra, which has been linked to the University since 1999, will guide the audience through a diverse collection, ranging from a celebration of Benjamin Britten 100th birthday to the music of Chopin. Choreographed sequences will be performed by dance students from the University and the Luton Sixth Form College to music specially composed by the ensemble’s composer-inassociation, Richard Sisson. Special guest for the evening will be BBC Radio 3’s star presenter Petroc Trelawny who will narrate Britten’s ‘Night Mail’ and music by Satie. l The event takes place on Sunday, 3 March, from 7.30pm until 10pm. l Tickets are £10 or £5 for concessions; call the box office on 0800 3285334. l For more information call 01582 882159.

Marketing guru to talk at Knowledge Network

Head of Environmental Sustainability Adam Higgin (left) and Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell with the University’s first electric powered van


S part of moves to reduce its carbon footprint, the University has installed the first of three planned electric vehicle charging points at the Luton campus. The other two, to be installed in the coming months, will be at Luton in the Church Street car park, and at the Bedford campus. The University also took delivery of its first electric van, a Renault Kangoo ZE. The van, along with a larger model, the ZE Maxi, will be used daily by the Facilities and

10 Life – February 2013

Estates Department. The charging points are also available for use by students and staff. Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell said: “It’s a great initiative to reduce our carbon footprint but it’s also vital for the University to help us move up the Green League table. Sustainability is one of the factors that potential students consider when choosing a university and it’s positive that we are trying to reduce our carbon emissions.”

TONY Anderson is guest speaker at the Knowledge Network’s first event of 2013, at the Putteridge Bury campus on Wednesday, 27 February. After rising through the marketing ranks at British Airways and Thomas Cook, Tony became easyJet’s third employee when it launched in 1995 and worked closely with founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou to establish the company as a major force in European Aviation. Tony is now a consultant and advisor at easyGroup. Outside the travel industry Tony has held senior positions including Directorships at online bank Egg, market research company TNS and investments firm The Children’s Mutual. l The event starts at 5.30pm with coffee and registration. The talk will be followed by networking, wine and buffet. It is open to the public at £20 (Network members) and £30 (non-members) but University staff and students can attend for free l To book your place phone 0800 328 5334 or email l Visit: for information about the Knowledge Network.



Shining behind the scenes at Dancing on Ice


ANCING On Ice has captivated the UK, as millions of viewers switch on to watch their favourite celebrities brave the rink. Like every such live show, there is an army of experts who work behind the scenes to make it a success, and in ITV’s team you can now find two of the University of Bedfordshire’s very own. Former TV Production student Jodie Lockwood, who left the University with a First class honours degree in 2011, is the Production Secretary. As part of her team she has hired her friend Bryony Dilnot - who is still at the University and in her third year of the same course - as a runner. Jodie, who previously worked on Big Brother in a similar role, said working on the show had been a

really good experience. “As it’s a live production, everything is a bit ad hoc; for me it’s mainly about damage limitation and making sure everything goes to plan, and it’s been really good so far,” said the 24-year-old, who lives in Luton. “I feel the series has been going really well too: we have been in the press pretty much every day and the viewing figures are amazing.” Bryony, who has also worked on Snog, Marry Avoid, among other productions, was equally enthralled about her time on the show. “It’s going really well,” the 21-year-old, who also lives in Luton, said. “I am there every Sunday for the pre-recording and for the live show. It’s been

‘Emotional curriculum’ for trainee social workers The ‘life expectancy’ of a qualified social worker is just eight years, Caroline Jacobi reports


OCIAL workers who wear their hearts on their sleeves risk burnout, but if they fail to engage emotionally with their clients, they risk alienating them. These were the findings presented at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology last month. The conference also heard about a pioneering tool kit for trainee social workers designed to help them manage their emotions more effectively.

The study, by the University’s Professor of Occupational Health Psychology, Gail Kinman, and Senior Lecturer in Social Work Louise Grant, found that social workers who get too involved in the problems of their clients report higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression, which becomes a problem if they also lack the ability to manage their emotions effectively. Professor Kinman said: “Social workers do not have unlimited emotional resources. In order to survive in a profession that is so emotionally

really fun and I’ve met lots of the stars. I do a lot of the running for them, so it has been a really good experience.” Bryony and Jodie are both from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire and went to St John Fisher Catholic High School in the town, but didn’t know each other until they met at university. Jodie, who was a runner on Lee Mack’s All Star Cast while studying, added: “All the way through uni I tried to get as much work experience as possible, and that helped me meet the right people. “The course gave me a taste for what it was going to be like once I graduated and made me ambitious; this is one of the most difficult careers to break into so I hope this experience will help Bryony, too.”

demanding they need to learn how to reduce the empathic distress they commonly experience. “The ‘life expectancy’ of a qualified social worker is a meagre eight years. As a group they are more prone to burnout, and experience above-average levels of sickness absence. Emotional exhaustion is highly distressing and potentially life changing for the sufferer but it is also likely to have a negative impact on service users. “We need emotionally resilient social workers who are able to relate empathically and appropriately with their service users in order to maintain service standards and continuity of care.” Professor Kinman and Ms Grant have used their findings to design an ‘emotional curriculum’ to be taught alongside the academic curriculum to enhance the emotional resilience of social workers.

The training is currently being evaluated with a view to making recommendations about the national curriculum for trainee social workers. Ms Grant said: “It is really important that social work students are prepared for the realities of a career in social work which, although rewarding, is emotionally demanding. At the University of Bedfordshire we have been developing a pioneering, evidencedbased approach to enhancing social workers’ emotional resilience to ensure that they thrive in their careers, not merely survive.”

“Social workers do not have unlimited emotional resources.” Life – February 2013 11




Asterix co-director inspires students ‘It’s thanks to internet I was hired by Pixar’ says Co-director of next Asterix

Clay model for stop motion

From remote farm to Freelance of the Year


or a boy growing up on a remote farm in Nepal, with parents who were not educated, it was probably an impossible dream – becoming a big name in British TV production. Ramkrishna Tripathi – known to his peers as Samaveda – has had those credentials reconfirmed when he was named the UK’s top TV, film and commercials freelance. Samaveda, 32, who graduated with a First class honours in TV Production and received a prize for technical achievement from the University of Bedfordshire two years ago, was selected by a panel of

expert judges to take ProductionBase’s Freelancer of the Year 2012. He beat six shortlisted candidates and 300 nominations to win the title. “It’s a big, big surprise, I was not expecting it at all,” said Samaveda (pictured, right). “This is a massive thing for me, I feel like the luckiest person alive. “I think it must have been down to some of the big projects I have done like Top Gear, An Idiot Abroad, The Apprentice and The Only Way is Essex. People I know in the industry nominated me, so I’m very grateful to them.” After completing school, in Kathmandu, Samaveda took to composing music and had several hits in Nepal. He also did some programme editing for television. At the age of 19 he married nurse Prasuna who subsequently got a job at the Royal London Hospital, in Whitechapel. Three years later he followed her to the UK

ouis Clichy, co-director of the next Asterix film due to be completed in 2015 talked about his animation career during a visit to the University. His talk included behind the scene excerpts from Pixar’s classic Wall-E. Excited students were also given tips by Mr Clichy on how to succeed in the animation industry. “You don’t have to do a lot of things, just do very good short films and have a good showreel,” he said. “It’s a small world which you will discover very soon and it’s not complicated to get in touch with the right people.” Mr Clichy attributed his success to the internet and explained it was the perfect platform to show his work. “With the internet, things can move very fast. I think it’s thanks to the internet that I was hired by Pixar.” Second year Animation student Dennis Mouroutis, 19, found the talk “inspirational”. He said: “It was a bit overwhelming as this person is who you aspire to be like. I want to be that guy in five years time but it’s frightening because of the amount of work that is expected of you. “I got so much information from Louis that it will help me improve my work as an animator.” Mr Clichy’s visit to the University was part of the ‘M1 Animation Network’ event – a chance for Animation students and alumni to meet industry professionals from animation businesses along the M1 corridor. During the event a showreel of work created by the University’s Animation students was projected onto the University’s almost complete £20m Continuing Professional Development building, to demonstrate how the course is looking forward to new methods of screening work. As part of the event students from the Animation and Illustration courses at the University exhibited their work in the Gallery Space of the Campus Centre. It included clay models used for stop motion animation and storyboards showing snippets of what each animated movement is meant to look like. BA (Hons) Animation Course Leader Mark Collington said: “The course has been running for seven years and we are at a very exciting point. We aim to teach both traditional and alternative approaches to animation; with an emphasis now on outdoor, site specific, interactive, animated experiences.”

and was offered the chance to edit a TV programme for MATV – a television channel for British Asians. “I then felt if I was going to do it I might as well get trained properly,” said Samaveda. That led him to a three-year production course at Bedfordshire. On the morning of his graduation he had an interview for Evolutions TV and was offered a job by the television post-production firm within a month. Samaveda, who lives in Northolt, North West London, is now studying for an MA in digital post production at the National Film and Television School – having received a full scholarship – and started freelancing in 2012.

Life – February 2013 12

Life February 2013  

Life - the monthly magazine for staff and students at the University of Bedfordshire