The magazine for Alumni and friends of the university of hertfordshire
ringing in the changes
New art commissions on campus
How to change your career
a diamond year
Celebrating alumni since 1952
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summer 2013 issue 11
04 Welcome Futures 2013 05 News What’s been happening in and around the University over the past year 08 Sports News The latest from the AU and Hertfordshire Sports Village 09 Yearbook Read the latest news from your fellow graduates 12 Past reunions This year’s meet-ups, including September’s Diamond Jubilee Alumni Ceremony 15 Upcoming events Save the date! 17 Campus art commissions Two new art commissions to celebrate 60 years of the University 20 Heritage Marking the centenary of World War One
21 de Havilland The campus celebrates its 10th birthday
Editor: Louise Barnes Art Editor: Dani Corbett Editorial Assistant: Suman Bassi
24 RaG Student fundraising from the 1950s to today
Special thanks to: Siobhan Madaras, Emma Champion, Steve Corbett, Jo-Anne Rowney, Trisha Teo, Frances Elliot, Julie Moore, Caroline Lawrence, David Connell, Julie Moore, Nicola Hutchison, Sarah Lloyd, Lyndall Phelps, Amisha Karia, Kelvin Ward, Farshid Amirabdollahian, Jane Housham, Julie Cooper, Liz Nolan, Kim Virgo, Debbie Greaves, Rachid Choaibi, Suzanne Ball, Ann Bruno, Dale Moss, Joanne Wearne, Sarah Koniotes, Ciaran O’Brien, Amy Scott, Lisa Antonini, Nigel Clark and Laura Johnson. Contact us: Alumni Relations Office, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 9AB Telephone: +44 (0)1707 281145 Switchboard: +44 (0)1707 284000 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.herts.ac.uk/alumni Facebook: www.facebook.com/ hertsalumni Twitter: @HertsAlumni LinkedIn: ‘University of Hertfordshire Alumni Association’ group
26 Careers and Placements Changing your career 28 Profile Alumnus Kelvin Ward’s journey to Ethiopia
29 UH Press Reading the landscape… 32 Research The robotic research supporting stroke victims and the elderly 34 Giving The Diamond Fund alumni telethon 35 Insight Supporting current students and recent graduates in today’s job market
futures❵ regular contributors…
Siobhan Madaras Journalism Graduate
Jo-Anne Rowney Journalism Graduate
Jane Housham Manager, UH Press
Emma Champion Mass Communications Graduate
Suman Bassi Alumni Relations Assistant
welcome We’d love to hear your feedback on Futures or anything to do with your time here… Please email us at: email@example.com, or write to: Alumni Relations Office, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 9AB
Seasons of change I’ve been trying to write this column for some time now, and all I keep thinking about is caterpillars. Yes, caterpillars – those insects that eat cabbages and turn into butterflies. Whilst this might seem rather peculiar, let me explain my somewhat illogical thoughts. First, it’s spring, and now that it’s finally stopped snowing, we’re starting to see daffodils everywhere and lots of plants with buds. Which is all rather lovely, and a bit like living in a Cath Kidson print. But as well as the spring-like feel, there’s the feeling of an air of change on campus which has nothing to do with the weather. With the 2020 Estates Vision well underway there is more building work on campus than we’re used to, but there’s also the feeling that, after a bit of an unattractive, chrysalis stage, it’s going to emerge looking really rather spectacular. That spirit of change and evolution is a bit of a theme in this issue of Futures. We’re celebrating ten years of the de Havilland Campus, as well as looking at the two new artworks commissioned to celebrate the University’s Diamond Jubilee. The Careers and Placements Team have also written a feature giving advice to any alumni thinking of making a career change – which is always a scary prospect, but sometimes just the clean break that’s needed. And in the spirit of what lies ahead, we’ve also got some more information on the new ‘Alumni Insight Network’ for anyone interested in imparting their advice on the world of work to students about to embark on their careers. We haven’t changed too much though, and still have the usual news, reunions and alumni profiles for you to peruse over a cup of coffee. So here’s to an exciting year of metamorphosis. After all, who doesn’t love a butterfly?
Louise Barnes Editor
Tell us what you want (what you really, really want) For the first time in a while, we’ve enclosed a full alumni survey in your copy of Futures. We’d like to know where you are and what you’re up to, and how we can help support you. In the immortal (and slightly butchered) words of the Spice Girls: ‘Tell us what you want, what you really, really want… from your old university!’ Whether you’d like more subject group reunions, want to hear more about your old sports team, or are interested in coming and speaking to students about your job, we’d love to hear from you! The survey is also available online – you can find the link at go.herts.ac.uk/ alumnisurvey. If there’s anything else you think we can do more of, whether it’s events, offers or having a page on your favourite social media site, just let us know – we’re just a click or call away. 04
futures❵ summer 2013
A snapshot of news bites from around your University this summer...
Transformations on campus 2020 Estates Vision developments have started taking place at the University. The first completed project is on the de Havilland Campus, where the atrium was remodelled in September 2012. The changes included the insertion of a first floor to promote informal learning, socialising and quiet gatherings, transforming the space into a rich and welcoming environment. On College Lane a new visitor car park has replaced the previous car park, offering pre-bookable spaces, 15 minute waiting bays, a cycle shelter and before the end of summer it will have two electrical car charging points. The new Learning Zone will be moved into the northern end of Prince Edward Hall and will open winter 2013. There are also developments being made on the Main Reception area in order to improve the overall arrival and first impressions experience, which are due to be completed in summer this year. So what’s in store for next year? A new services building at the College Lane Campus will start construction in March. Named Hutton Hub, this new facility will bring together the entire student services currently distributed across the campuses. In addition, the new student accommodation will begin its refurbishment later this summer with phase one to be completed in autumn 2014.
Cupcake champ wins enterprise ideas challenge With 178 people entering last year’s annual ‘flare’ competition, entrepreneur Lucy Clark was declared the 2012 winner after impressing judges in all three rounds of the challenge. Lucy received a cash prize of £10,000 towards her business ‘Heaven is a Cupcake’, which she successfully launched in 2010. 05
futures❵ summer 2013
Celebrating the Diamond Jubilee
In 2012 the University celebrated sixty years since it first opened as Hatfield Technical College in 1952. As part of this, a range of events took place for alumni, students and the local community. This included a series of lectures organised by the University’s Chancellor, Lord Salisbury, who himself gave a lecture on ‘The Nation State: History or Not?’. Other lectures were given by Lord Hennessy and Professor Colin Blakemore. Research was also celebrated through a dinner for research alumni. This was held on the College Lane Campus at the Forum, and was hosted by the Vice-Chancellor. Art was celebrated through James Smith’s exhibition ‘London Overspill’, which showcased a collection of pictures from Hatfield Technical College and other parts of Hatfield. UHArts also commissioned two pieces of artwork, details of which are featured on pages 17 – 19. The Olympics and Paralympics also played a role. As part of the UK-wide celebrations for the Olympics and Paralympics in 2012, the Olympic flame passed through Hatfield, which included a visit to the de Havilland Campus. Eight different posters, the ‘Changing Faces’ series, were also featured on campus to acknowledge the outstanding contributions many people have made to the University, including alumni, staff, leadership and winners of the Vice –Chancellor’s Awards.
Catching up with KASPAR In May 2011, the University launched a £1m campaign to fund a ground-breaking new research project, KASPAR, aimed at supporting the social and educational development of children with autism. To date, we have raised over £550,000 which means we are able to start phase one of the project. This will involve the redesign and manufacture of 15 KASPAR robots which will be used by more children in specialist schools and hospitals in the region. These robots will also enable the research team to collect more data and analyse the impact of KASPAR on the children’s ability to communicate and socialise. The KASPAR project formed the main focus of the University’s Healthcare Forum event with guest speaker Jane Asher, Patron of TRACKS autism and President of the National Autistic Society, held on Thursday 16 May. 06
futures❵ summer 2013
Honorary awards and alumni
Every year the University celebrates key individuals by awarding Honorary Degrees and Fellowships for outstanding contribution to academic disciplines, charity, professions or public service. At the award ceremonies in November 2012, fifteen individuals were recognised. This included esteemed author Dr Sebastian Faulks CBE, CEO of Deloitte LLP David Sproul, entrepreneur and designer Sebastian Conran, Paralympic athlete Jody Cundy MBE, and, for his outstanding achievement to the UK film industry for over fifty years, actor Sir Roger Moore KBE. Others included Patricia Lott, Anne Dunbar and Karen Middleton CBE who are all closely associated with the University. Alongside them, the achievements of alumna Commander Sarah West RN were also recognised, as the first woman to command a frontline warship in the 500 year history of the Royal Navy. Commander West also received the Alumnus of the Year award 2012. Four alumni were nominated for Alumnus of the Year 2012, with Professor Arne Holdø receiving a Highly Commended award, as Vice-Chancellor of Narvik University in Norway.
Comic Insomniacs attempt to Crush record
A team from the Students’ Union student-led radio station, Crush Radio, challenged to break the Guinness World Record by broadcasting live on air for 76 hours. The record, which is still awaiting validation, was held to raise money for Comic Relief 2013. Crush Radio attempted to beat the previous record holders of ‘Longest marathon for a radio music show DJ - team’, which was KISS FM (Germany) (73 hours) and Chris Moyles and Comedy Dave (52 hours- UK record.) The show, ‘Comic Insomnia’, took place between 3pm on 14 March and 7pm on 17 March and raised over £2,000 with additional support from the ‘Raise and Give’ (RaG) team.
This year the Alumni Association sponsored a prize at the Eastern Approaches open exhibition, for best alumni piece. The winner was alumna Jane Waterhouse for her etching ‘Hinwick: Platter’ [pictured].
Top University research news l The Old Bailey Online, a collaboration between the University of Sheffield and the University of Hertfordshire (joined for its second phase by the Open University), celebrated its tenth birthday in April. Since it went live in 2003, the site has attracted over 34 million page views l Researchers from the fashion department used 3D scanning for children aged four to seventeen to standardise sizing for the UK’s leading children’s wear retailers l The University is leading on two government-funded projects into dementia, one of the biggest challenges for healthcare and support services today l Researchers have found that youth violence is declining in the UK; the study, published in December 2012, showed that investing in violence prevention programmes actually makes a difference in lowering rates of violence in young people l The School of Humanities has performed two plays not seen on stage since they were performed during the First World War. The project, Staging World War I, takes forgotten WW1 plays into schools and the local community l Researchers from the School of Life and Medical Sciences have confirmed that taking Ginkgo Biloba supplements does not improve memory or problem solving in healthy individuals and that it “may just be a waste of money” l Lecturer in Psychology, Dr Daniel Gurney, found supporting evidence from his recent study that simple head nodding can considerably influence witness testimonies, which can make a witness more confident in their story regardless of their accuracy l Lifestyle magazine, Woman & Home, has invited Dr Kathy Lewis at the University’s Agriculture and Environment Research Unit to be their food expert, helping readers to understand food better. Her article can be found in the April issue.
futures❵ sports news 2013
Hurricanes storm to BUCS final The University of Hertfordshire American football team narrowly missed out on being crowned national champions when they were runners-up to the University of Birmingham on 20 April at South Leeds Stadium. With a final score of 17 points to 13, it was a close call for Hertfordshire’s football team, missing out on a few vital points to become national champions. This is the first year that American football has been a British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) sport and despite losing in the inaugural BUCS final American Football at the University of Hertfordshire has had an excellent year. Having convincingly won the Southern Championship League season with eight straight victories, the Hurricanes entered the knock out competition in good form defeating Sheffield in the quarter finals. They then went on to blow away the University of Bath 41 points to 12 in the semi-final to secure the re-match against the University of Birmingham, who were also their opponents in the league final in 2012. Bryn Clark, Head of Sports Development at Hertfordshire Sports Village said, “It’s a fantastic achievement for the team and the sport to reach the final in what is the sport’s first season as a BUCS recognised sport. American Football as a key focus sport and part of our Performance Programme represents very positively on the hard work which has gone into the sport. A special mention has to go to Head Coach Jim Messenger, his team of coaches and importantly the players whose commitment and performance levels this season has been outstanding”. Hertfordshire Hurricanes quarterback, Joe Thompson (pictured), studying Primary Education, lifted the inaugural BUCS runners-up trophy in addition to receiving the Bowl and League ‘Most Valued Player’ award for 2012/13. This year has been very successful for the University of Hertfordshire Athletic Union Sports Clubs across a range of sports, including three BUCS League titles. A number of our students achieved International success, representing England and some individuals won gold, silver and bronze medals.
Sporting Moments 1
Men’s Tennis 2nd, Men’s Futsal 1st, and American football have won their British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) leagues. Men’s Tennis 1st team reached the final of the South Eastern Conference Cup
American Football team won the National BUAFL Championships in April 2012 and have made the 2013 National BUAFL Final
Hertfordshire’s American Footballer quarterback, Joe Thompson (Primary Education) received the Bowl and League MVP award
Ondrej Uherka (Sports Studies/French) won gold at the BUCS Individual Squash Championships
Onajite Okoro (Pharmacy) won a bronze medal in the 60m Hurdles at the BUCS Indoor Athletics Championships
Lauren Smith (Sports Studies) won a gold and silver medal at the BUCS Long Course Championships
Jordan Nobbs (Sports Studies) made her full England Women’s Football international debut
8 9 10
Hannah Gallagher (Sports Science) represented England in the Six Nations Michael Allen (Business) represented England Students’ Rugby Dominic Husbands (MSc Music Composition for Film and Media), Joe Thompson (Primary Education), Dominic Gould (Illustration), David Jennison (Sports Studies/Psychology) and Stefan Rivera-Gonzales (Sports Studies) have all been selected to represent the Great Britain Student American Football team.
futures❵ alumni yearbook
your NEWS Find out what your fellow students have been up to since graduation...
Professor Bryan Walker I came to Hatfield in 1964 and was the first physiologist to be appointed. For 15 years I was Head of Pharmacology. During that time I was responsible for the industrial placement of SAB students and starting/tutoring the MSc in Pharmacological Biochemistry. After 1984 I spent six years as one of her Majesty’s Inspectors for Higher Education. Two years as Director of an international company of engineers was followed by 20 years as a humanitarian worker in Africa, Asia and Europe. Posts included Pharmacology chairs in Ghana and Sri Lanka and directing a Birth Defects Research Unit for three years. (I was given Life Fellowship of the Royal Society of Medicine). I am now settled in Thailand where I continue to work with Burmese refugees and Hill Tribe people. With my two humanitarian sons (in northwest Pakistan and Somalia) we have produced several publications; the most important of these is “A Guide to Voluntary and Humanitarian Work: getting started, getting in and getting on”. These can all be downloaded free from www.networklearning.org. I have been in touch with some of my former colleagues and would love to hear from students of that era. Peter Lovett, BSC(Hons) Applied Biology, 1969 After completing my BSc(Hons) in Applied Biology at Hatfield Polytechnic, I went into sales and general management in the scientific instrument field for multinational companies, working abroad for nine years. Now, just for fun, I have two new enterprises: Peter Lovett Talks and Peter Lovett Walks. My talks cover wildlife and history, and the guided walks that I run have a botanical, historical or ornithological focus. I am based in Sussex, which also colours my talks and walks! Please see www.peterlovetttalks.co.uk and www.peterlovettwalks.eu for details.
Roger Farbey, BA(Hons) Humanities 1976 I was made an M.B.E. in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Birthday Honours list (16.6.12). This was for ‘Services to Dentistry and Dental Information’. I am Head of Library
and Knowledge Services at the British Dental Association, London which I have been employed at since 1991. I graduated from Hatfield Poly in 1976 with a BA(Hons) in Studies in the Humanities.
Jennifer Skyers, BA(Hons) Combined Studies (Law, Philosophy, Business Studies) 1990 Since graduating I have had a book published entitled, “The Power Of Your Influence”. This book is available at Amazon.com (ISBN number 9781475223774). I also have my own website: www.livinglifeonpurpose.co.uk. Gill Oxford,PGCE 1993 I did a PGCE at Hatfield – with a mandatory grant living at home – I was a mature student, - and worked for 18 years after training in 1993. I further trained as a dyslexia specialist at the Hornsby Centre, getting a diploma. It was all so worthwhile – and I only stopped teaching in schools in August 2011, at the age of 70. I still teach at home. Dr Philip Bunn, MEng 1996 After leaving UH, went to UMIST (now Manchester University) to do an EngD in Cereal Processing. Now manage a small high quality flour mill in Chelmsford, Essex. Running major projects and enjoying every minute. Tamsanqa Mpala, BSc(Hons) Civil Engineering and Environmental Technology 1998 I graduated in 1998 from the University of Hertfordshire after having completed a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and Environmental Technology (CET). The three-and-a-half years that I spent at UH on the Hatfield campus were probably the best and most memorable of my life. Having left Zimbabwe as a teenager in 1995 and setting sail across the seas to begin Tamsanqa M pala my engineering
futures❵ alumni yearbook
Glasgow (Scotland) with Grontmij, I look back with pride and joy as I remember where it all begun. During this time, I also managed to complete a Master’s programme in Water Resources Engineering and Management from the University of Zimbabwe/Delft University. I attained my chartership (C.Eng) with the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) in April 2011. Presently, I am now back in Zimbabwe and comanaging an engineering consultancy firm; Hydro-Utilities Civil and Structural Consulting Engineers and also have my own website (www.ukhaamanzi.net ) where I consult in professional services within the water resources and sanitation field. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Julia Mohamed Idris, HND Medical Electronics 1999 I am now working at Quantum Medical Solutions Sendirian Berhad as a Senior Biomedical Engineer.
Maria Luisa Parisi, Business School Modular programme 2000 Qualified Prince and project manager working at Astrazeneca Uk Ltd as change lead. Nauman Latif, BEng(Hons) Electronics Engineering 2003 I now live in Canada and have recently published an interactive cookbook for iPads, called ‘Cooking with Ease’. It’s a multi-touch interactive cookbook, offering simple mouth-watering recipes with the help of its stunning and high quality photos. The recipes can be created whether you’re short of time or short of money. Many of the recipes were developed whilst I was a student at the University of Hertfordshire! I now have plans for publishing more interactive cookbooks for Apple & Android devices allowing students and novice cooks to feel more confident in the kitchen. ‘Cooking with Ease’ can now be downloaded from iTunes/iBookstore for £2.99. www.facebook.com/ 6 Thomas Pedley, 200 cookingwithease. Thomas Pedley, BSc(Hons) Computer Science 2006 I am currently based in Pune, India whilst working for IBM as the technical lead on the Vodafone Money Transfer account. In my role I’m working on the development of peerto-peer money transfers via the use of mobile phones and the software is already being used around the world in
various developing countries. Work is really busy but I love working at IBM in such an interesting, creative and challenging role, which combines management and technical skills. It’s great to have the opportunity to be based internationally and work on software that is having a positive and meaningful impact on people’s lives. Emma Howie, BA(Hons) Humanities 2007 I graduated in 2007 and not long after found out I was pregnant! I now have a 4 year old son called Joshua and am working for my local council in admin. Looking to change soon but not sure what career path to take! Dr Anthony Kasoz, PhD 2009 Since my University of Hertfordshire PhD I have been deputy secretary general of an international organisation in Bern, Switzerland and am also running an internationally active consulting, project advisory and coaching business. Alex Wightman, BA(Hons) Fine Art 2009 I graduated from the University of Hertfordshire in 2009 and now own my own photography business: ForeverImagery. I’ve applied many of the skills I learnt from the course into the images that I create. When I studied Fine Art I never really had plans to become a photographer, but I knew I wanted to use my creative skills in a future career. As I didn’t study photography a lot of the technical aspects of using a camera have been self-taught since graduating; however, the ideas and themes that appear in my photography have been nurtured from the Fine Art course. I’d thoroughly recommend this course to anyone as it truly opens you out as an artist and there are no limitations to what you can achieve. I work with a number of models wanting portfolios and use this unique style of working for attracting wedding clients, which forms my main line of work. Wedding customers hire me because they like the unusual poses that I create, as I can be editorial in the way I work. I also spend a lot of time in photoshop on the post production side to get the most from my images. I specialise in location shoots with models, and if you think what a wedding is, in a sense it is a location shoot. My customers hire me as I apply the same skills from working with models when I shoot weddings; they want something different, something more edgy.www. forever-imagery.com / www.facebook.com/ foreverimagery
futures❵ alumni yearbook
Hardika Tanna, 201
John Scott, Foundation degree Creative Enterprise 2009 Since graduation I have been working hard. I have achieved a JRQ (job related qualification) in retail skills and management. I have also been forming an acting career and worked as an extra in EastEnders and on the film The Iron Lady. The University alumni association have been great at keeping in touch – it’s lovely to continue to feel the link/ connection to where I studied.
Lorna Bill, BA(Hons) Education Studies 2010 Since graduating I have achieved my PGCE and now work at CONEL college where I am the lead lecturer in employability and the curriculum manager for four programmes within this school. Leonidas Karouzakis, BSc(Hons) Bioscience 2010 After I finished at University I returned to Greece for some time. When in Greece I served my compulsory army duty by working at a biochemistry laboratory. These days I am back in the UK and I am working in the hospitality industry. Hardika Tanna, BA(Hons) Business Economics 2010 It’s been 2 years since I finished Uni. I have since been in a fulfilling role as a Static Data and Reporting Analyst in a top asset management company, which uses my knowledge from my Business Economics degree. I
was also really excited to take part in the London 2012 Paralympic Games as a Games-maker in the transport team, located at the main Olympic park. I volunteered for a week and my role was to work with athletes, the media and VIPs to help them get to and from venues and to support with basic transport organisation. Naim Abdulmohdi, MSc Advancing Practice (Health) 2010 Started PhD and presented in the National British Association of Critical Care Nurse (BACCN) conference 2011. Omer Agbawy, BSc(Hons) Computing and Business 2010 As CEO of BubbleBee, I have overseen the company continually grow from a start-up, based in Hertfordshire, with now a presence in over fifteen UK-based universities attracting over 5,000 customers. As a team of young professionals, I and my co-founders, who are two other alumni, Shayan Mir (BA(Hons) Business Organisation) and Alejandro Munoz (BA(Hons) Business Marketing) offer Cloud storage to our consumers, enabling them to securely backup and access their data from any internet facilitated device. In addition, we are now developing our next big idea, BubbleBee Events! Find out more on our website http://www.mybubblebee.co.uk/ or through our social media channels; https://www.facebook.com/ MyBubbleBee and https://twitter.com/mybubblebee.
There have been some great reunions over the past year – here’s a sample of some of them! MPS4 50 year reunion (August 2012)
Last August the MPS4 class of 1962 (including one from the US and two from Australia) reunited fifty years after graduating with HNC or HND in Mechanical and Production Engineering. We met at the University for a guided tour by Rodney Day, Associate Head of Engineering and Technology; we were struck by the huge change in teaching methods since our time – all done by computer no textbooks, lecture notes or slide rules were in sight! We all agreed, as one of our group said, that the education we received stood us in good stead for our working lives. After an excellent cream tea provided by the Alumni Office we gathered in the evening at our favourite pub, the Lower Red Lion in St. Albans for a celebratory meal. It was a very enjoyable day meeting old friends and visiting old haunts. Peter Comben
Applied Biology, class of 1982 (September 2012)
The reunion was fantastic. We had a tour of campus from our lecturer Dr Avice Hall, who also happened to be my personal tutor for two years. We managed to get a beverage at The Forum before de-camping to our hotel to join the rest of the party and two of the lecturers spent the evening with us which was extremely generous of them with their time. A great time and many memories. Bharat Gadhoke
BA Performing Arts, class of 2000 (September 2012)
So, University of Hertfordshire BAPA Year 2000 reunion happened at last! We all look exactly the same twelve years on and I was a bit disappointed at the lack of anyone we could put in the lettingthemselves-go category! All of us seem really happy and nearly all of us have careers related to our Performing Arts degree. Hurrah!! Genuinely lovely to see you all. Felicity Courage
Hurricanes and Sirens: Rookies and Legends (October 2012)
Image courtesy of Stuart Holland photography
The Hertfordshire Hurricanes started their new season by celebrating their Alumni (legends) and welcoming in the new team of Rookies. The Hurricanes are the leagues greatest team having won the most National Championships of all time; they are in the 2013 finals to be played on 20 April. Winning this will give them their 6th national championship. Sol Rogers
IB Reunion (November 2012)
There’s never a dull moment with our International Business alumni. Our latest gathering happened in late November, they always make good company and are all very bilingual. Adah Emmanuel, HBS alumni relations administrator
IB Graduation Drinks (November 2012)
Our BA International Business students tend to be a close knit group. Even though they spend two years studying and working abroad, they maintain contacts. Treating them to a free cocktail in company of their folks at graduation was the minimum we could do keep their friendships growing. Adah Emmanuel, HBS alumni relations administrator
Mass Communications students and alumni (March 2013)
The Mass Communications team, part of the School of Humanities, held their first ever reunion for graduates of the programme which started in 2005. Alumni included graduates working as social media managers, journalists and even a songwriter. Alumni met up with current students and gave them advice on networking and the job market as well as meeting former buddies. Another reunion is planned for next year. Sharon Maxwell Magnus, Senior Lecturer (Journalism)
Would you like to meet up with your old classmates? If you’d like our help with organising a reunion or informal catch-up, just let us know – we’d be delighted to help. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we look forward to seeing your photo on these pages in the future!
A diamond is forever… As part of the University’s Diamond Jubilee, celebrating 60 years since Hatfield Technical College was founded in 1952, all pre-1992 graduates were invited back onto campus in September 2012 to receive an ‘Associateship’ award. The award recognised the role that alumni who graduated before 1992 have played in the University’s history and development. The day consisted of three awards ceremonies held in a marquee on the College Lane Campus, next to the LRC building. Over 500 alumni and their families attended, some returning for the first time since they had been students. With each of the three ceremonies personally presided by the Vice-Chancellor – and a dining marquee providing a sit-down meal afterwards – it was a truly unique and atmospheric occasion for all concerned. Alumni from the University’s predecessor colleges, which included Hatfield Technical College and Hatfield Polytechnic, were treated to tours of the College Lane Campus by current students, comparing stories of student life and their courses. Visitors were also treated to a history of the University exhibition and the chance to participate in oral histories about their student experiences in Hertfordshire. It was a fantastic day and a wonderful chance for our alumni community to share their memories and relive their student days.
Save the date! Here’s a selection of exciting events coming up over the next year. Check the events section of our website and e-futures for details, or email email@example.com for more information or to book.
School of Creative Arts Visions Festival The fourth annual Visions Festival will feature Industry Visions, with key industry speakers, and Student Visions, showcasing the best final year student work on the BA Film and Television Programme. Booking required.
School of Creative Arts Animation Expo Held in The Weston Auditorium, this full-day event includes industry lectures and screenings of the final year students’ films. Booking required.
School of Creative Arts End of Year Exhibition Showcasing all final year students’ portfolios, this exhibition takes in all subjects taught in the School of Creative Arts, including Fine Art, Graphic Design, Model Design, Photography and Applied Art.
Student Project Showcase and launch of the 2013 Formula Student car Held in The Forum, this annual event unveils the team’s latest car ahead of the start of the racing season and showcases work from across the School of Engineering and Technology.
Hypermobility Masterclass The School of Health and Social Work invites health professionals, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, podiatrists, osteopaths, sports therapists and GPs to a range of lectures, interactive workshops and demonstrations. Booking required.
BSC lecture – Information: Currency of Life? Delivered by Daniel Polani, Reader in Artificial Life, Adaptive Systems & Algorithms Research at the University of Hertfordshire. For more information, visit www.herts.bcs.org/future.
jul TBC 11-13
Physiotherapy reunion Celebrating 20 years since the University started teaching physiotherapy. Details to follow online! The Locations of Austen conference This international and interdisciplinary conference will celebrate the bicentenary of the publication of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which is set in Hertfordshire. Jane Austen’s fiction is situated in a landscape both familiar and unknowable, evoking a strikingly detailed portrait of contemporary English geography and culture even while it remains, under closer scrutiny, fabricated. The questions that the conference will consider include how Austen’s work is located in its historical moment, and the implications of mapping Austen’s fictional settings onto real topographies of the English landscape. For more details, please email Dr Penny Pritchard (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Doctor Who: Walking in Eternity conference This conference will look at the Doctor Who phenomenon as it celebrates its 50th anniversary, bringing together figures who have worked on the show as well as journalists, writers and academics from a wide range of disciplines. For more information please visit http://go.herts.ac.uk/doctorwho. Pre-hospital Critical Care Paramedics Conference The School of Health and Social Work invites paramedics and healthcare professionals working in specialist and advanced practical roles to a discussion on key issues in this area. Booking required. The Vice-Chancellor’s 2013 Public Lecture Professor Quintin McKellar CBE will deliver his annual public lecture. Booking required.
2014 JUN 28
‘Madhatters’ drama society reunion A reunion for those who were part of the ‘Madhatters’ Drama Society between 1989 and 1994. An event will be held on campus at the Elehouse – if you’d like to attend or for more information please email email@example.com. 15
Now is the time to think about a Masters Degree! The School of Creative Arts has a well-established and successful range of courses covering the whole of the creative sector; there will be a Masters course for you!
Acquiring a masters degree helps to differentiate you from others in your field and opens up a range of advanced career opportunities which will help you realise your personal and professional ambitions. Masters programmes in the School of Creative Arts allow you to develop an individual specialism while providing the opportunity to update your skills and broaden your knowledge of your chosen field. Resources are excellent and you will be supported by experts, many of whom are practitioners in their own right, while enjoying the experience of being part of a vibrant and stimulating student community. We offer both part and full-time study options for all our masters courses and we are now accepting applications to begin in September. There will be masters course for you, please contact us if you would like to discuss your options or make an application; we look forward to hearing from you! If you are a University of Hertfordshire graduate you may also eligible for a 20% discount off your fees. Please visit our website for more details. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit go.herts.ac.uk/capg for more information.
The art of celebration
o celebrate the University’s Diamond Jubilee year, the cultural arm of the Institution, UHArts, commissioned two artists to create two unique pieces of work. The commissions have been almost a year in production but now both the de Havilland Campus and the College Lane Campus boast new creative installations to mark this monumental milestone in the University’s history. Ahead of the University’s official launch, I sat down with the masterminds behind each piece, alumna Nicola Hutchison and professional artist Lyndall Phelps, to find out more about the commissions, the inspiration behind them and how they hope their work successfully marries together the University’s past, present and future. Drawing on her time at the University, ‘Invitation
to Leap, Touch, Make a Sound’ is emerging artist Nicola’s homage to youth and a piece that aims to encourage people to lose their inhibitions. “The piece can be accessed in a visual way but I also wanted to create something that on a more emotional level would encourage people to engage with the concept of opening your mind and stepping out of your comfort zone - I suppose that’s metaphorical for all kinds of learning.” The work takes the form of 15 metal spheres suspended from the underpasses that run through the centre of the College Lane Campus. The spheres hang just out of reach, daring passers-by to jump up and hit them in order to make a sound. “People will probably think that they shouldn’t touch the artwork, but this is a piece that you should touch and I hope people will dare to.” 17
Nicola, who recently completed a master’s degree in Music Composition for Film and Media at the University, describes how she always felt inspired by the architecture of the campus, and how this in turn helped to shape her ideas for the piece. “There were certain areas, particularly the space where the work is sited, that I’d always been really drawn to; I liked that juxtaposition of the older architecture and the beautiful green landscaping. So much of what people do these days is remote and online so having a physical campus where people still come together is special. I would always feel very inspired and excited about learning when I was here so I wanted to create something that looked at that relationship and encouraged people to engage with the physical space.” In contrast to Nicola’s outdoor installation, full-time artist Lyndall (also the creator of ‘Softkill’, an exhibition at the University in 2011) was commissioned to create an indoor piece for the de Havilland Campus that would bring together the history of the former aircraft site but also the history of the University itself. “I became interested in the concept of pairing, where both similarities and differences occur. The flight Geoffrey de Havilland saw in the natural world was intrinsically linked to the technologies he developed for man-made flight. Similarly, C.P. Snow’s ‘Two Cultures’ sparked debate between the academic disciplines, the sciences and the Humanities, but the University embraces both with equal vigour.” Lyndall’s creation ‘Material Flight’ now takes pride of place in the campus’ main reception and comprises fifteen wall-mounted aircraft that represent iconic de Havilland planes: the Tiger Moth, Moth Minor, Mosquito, Comet and Heron. The underpinning theme of pairing manifests itself in Lyndall’s choice of materials and the visual aesthetic of the work; each plane was built with materials used in the construction of early aircraft, the wing designs are patterns found on British moths and their arrangement on the wall is similar to how insects 18
are displayed in museum collections. “I wanted to create something that had a very strong visual presence but also made people think about the history. If somebody comes in and says ‘why are there planes up there?’ then the piece has sparked curiosity.” It was decided early on in the project that the commission would also be used as a mentoring programme between the two artists, giving Nicola the opportunity to learn from Lyndall’s expertise. While Nicola had already acquired some understanding of working in and with arts organisations, she had no experience of being the commissioned artist herself. “From Lyndall I learnt about the role of an artist but also the business roles involved in a commission and I began to gain a sense of myself in each. She was a constant lead to follow about which of the two hats I should be wearing at any given time, which boosted my confidence enormously.” But it wasn’t only Nicola who found the relationship enriching. Prior to becoming a full time artist, Lyndall spent many years working as a curator and explains how spending time with fellow artists is a source of
de Havilland planes photographs: Richard Davies
The alumnus behind the scenes…
great excitement for her. “I love the fact that each new adventure allows me to engage with completely different people, in different subject areas with different expertise and passions. It’s always great to see the finished product at the end but it’s the thinking and the ideas buzzing around that’s exciting. A mentor can be inspired by a mentee as well; it should always be a twoway relationship.” Both installations now form part of the UHArts’ Collection which holds over 450 pieces of commissioned artwork. The diverse portfolio is made up of photography, textiles, ceramics, sculptures and mixed media with over sixty percent of the work on display in and around the University. With both works now installed as permanent features, Nicola rounds up the interview by sharing her thoughts on contributing to the history of the University. “I like the idea that the work will always be there but the people will change; in that way it continues to evolve. The whole process has made me feel very aware that when you join a university, you’re joining something that continues, and that in itself is a really nice thing.” f❵
The production of both artworks commissioned for the University’s Diamond Jubilee required an expert touch. While both artists used external fabricating companies to produce their work, the fabricator involved in creating Nicola Hutchison’s work had a personal interest in the project. Like Nicola, Dale Moss is also an alumnus of the University and can vividly remember the underpasses where Nicola’s commission ‘Invitation to Leap, Touch, Make a Sound’ is sited, having himself studied a matter of yards away. It was through sheer coincidence that Dale currently works at the company contacted to produce the piece but the common-ground he and Nicola shared gave them an instant rapport. After an initial briefing, Dale worked on designing prototypes that could bring Nicola’s ideas to life. “As soon as I saw Nicola’s email, I wanted to get involved. There is so much variety with metalwork but this job was different and not something I would do every day. The hardest thing was actually acquiring the materials for the spheres because we needed something that was going to ring but also something that was as thin as possible without being breakable. It was certainly something out of the ordinary.” Dale completed his degree in Motorsport Technology and Management five years ago, and went straight into the metalwork industry. The opportunity to work on the Diamond Jubilee commission has, for Dale, felt like coming full circle. “It’s really nice to think that a piece of your work is on display at the place where you studied, especially as the University has given you the education and the knowledge to be able to do it. I’m not working in the motorsport or automotive industry but what I learned at university has allowed me to get where I am today. There is a huge talent pool of students and alumni at universities and it’s great that projects like this tap into that.” 19
The future of history
Some of the University’s schools, including Education, Creative Arts and Humanities, among others, have come together to work on projects looking at history and the past, particularly key topics such as the upcoming centenary of World War One. The Heritage Hub, now in its third year, brings together people from the various schools to approach topics like this in a new way. Whether that’s delving into lost plays from the War, looking at what New Towns were like when they were first created, or revealing the impact of the railways on communities. Whatever the topic, the Heritage Hub provides a one-stop-shop, not only for students and lecturers, but also local history groups, resident associations and the wider community. Sarah Lloyd, who heads up the group, believes the Heritage Hub is an exciting way to pool resources as well as open up the possibilities for schools, particularly those who might not traditionally work alongside each other. “The Heritage Hub provides a port of call for those outside the University who want to talk about heritage and the past. Local history groups sometimes find it difficult to know who to approach when they want to get someone to speak at an event or to help research.” And that’s something that has never been as important as it is now, with the centenary of the start of the First World War not even a year away. Sarah added:
“With the World War One centenary in 2014 coming up, we realised that it was one thing many residents’ associations, museums and local groups are working on. That’s where we can help, acting as a central point for everyone’s events. “One of the joint ventures is a project looking at the lost plays from the First World War. That brings the literature department together with other schools. The plays are rarely performed so it’s a great opportunity and people will get a chance to learn more about the War but in a new way. “The Heritage Hub also works both ways. We’re aware local groups want to do something for the centenary, and we can collect all the information and promote the events. It’s a good way for people to find out about us as well as making it easier for people to get involved.” Sarah hopes that the Heritage Hub’s website will become a great resource for anyone interested in history and learning about the past, particularly as the project develops. “I can see us in a unique position. We give a context for people to come and share the information and see how events fit together.” As a result, the Heritage Hub’s website lists all events submitted to it from various groups, providing a central place for history enthusiasts to go for a look at the past in new and different ways. “Of course, we can also learn from local experts and make projects more interesting by bringing different insights from different schools,” Sarah said. “We’ll just bring them all together to get a bigger picture of not only the county but history.” Sarah sees the Hub’s role as helping to capture and record history, before it disappears, including research into local pub signs and oral histories. She’s also conscious of supporting local history groups to do the same. “We’ve recently launched a match funding scheme for local groups. With other funds drying up that’s something good to offer. A few hundred pounds can make a big difference.” With so many exciting schemes and events on the horizon, Sarah is looking forward to seeing how the Heritage Hub develops. “At first we didn’t know what to expect or what direction it would go in. In a couple of years’ time we will have held more activities and got further with all our research projects. We’ll start to have a real bank of information and that’s exciting to think about.” Visit heritagehub.herts.ac.uk. f❵
Taking a trip down memory lane has never been so easy – or important - especially with the centenary marking the start of the First World War approaching.
futuresâ?ľ on campus
Outside The Western Auditorium The street
A decade of de Hav October 2013 marks ten years since the de Havilland Campus opened to students. We take a look at the development of the site which has housed Humanities, Education, Business, and now Law students, since 2003. Work started on the thirty-acre site which the de Havilland Campus sits on in September 2001. Building had already begun on the de Havilland Sports and Social Club, including the clubhouse and a bowling green, continuing the partnership between the University and the original de Havilland members. The new campus, which replaced the Wall Hall and Ballâ€™s Park sites, contained the usual teaching rooms, administration offices and lecture theatres, alongside a new Learning Resources Centre and the 460-seat Weston Auditorium. The new student halls, named after Hertfordshire towns and villages, were also state-ofthe-art, with internet connections in all 1,600 study bedrooms (which was pretty impressive in 2003!). The site also contains the ÂŁ15 m Sports Village. This opened in 2003, boasting an eight-lane swimming pool, gym and studios, a cricket hall, badminton courts, 21
futures❵ on campus Inside de Havilland
floodlit outdoor all-weather pitches and an impressive 400 square metre climbing wall. The campus was officially opened in November 2003 by HRH Prince Philip, fifty-one years after he opened Hatfield Technical College. The site then remained relatively unchanged until 2011, when the School of Law officially moved from St Albans. The new Law Court building contains teaching rooms, a purpose-built Mediation Centre and a fullscale replica Crown Court Room with public gallery. Since opening, the Court Room has not only been an invaluable teaching space for students, but has also been used as a backdrop for legal television drama, Silk. The most recent development has been the construction of the new mezzanine floor outside The Weston Auditorium as part of the 2020 Estates Vision, creating a social and informal learning space for students and staff. With most of the changes over the next decade set to take place on the College Lane Campus, it’s nice to know that the de Havilland Campus is looking good for the next ten years of teaching and living. f❵
The climbing wall in the Herts Sports Village
An aerial shot of the building works
The halls of residence
futuresâ?ľ on campus The new Law Court building
The de Havilland logo outside the sports and social club
The new mezzanine floor
Inside the mock Court Room
From RaG to riches...
Student society Raise and Give (RaG) has always been a key part of university life – whether you were involved or simply an entertained bystander. Legend (and Wikipedia) says that RaG started in the Victorian era, when students would leave their studies to collect rags for the poor. With its main focus on fundraising, Hertfordshire’s RaG group has supported various charities, including Children with Leukaemia. We take a look at some of the best, funniest, and weirdest RaG events that have taken place throughout the University’s history.
The Students’ Union was first opened in 1952 at the Hatfield Technical College and the first College RaG day was in October 1955. There was very little retrieved concerning the RaG events. But if you are reading this and remember being a part of any of the RaG events in this era, please get in touch as we would love to hear from you!
In the 1960s, students would often raise money through floats, processions and RaG balls. In 1964, students from Hatfield College of Technology and Mid-Herts Further Education College performed a brave (or stupid) stunt for RaG week. Dressed as burglars, they deceived the local crowd of Welwyn Garden City that they had stolen a briefcase full of money from Lloyds bank. Two additional students, who were also part of the act, pretended to be onlookers and once all the culprits were captured, they were detained for an hour before they were sent away and disciplined by the Principal. In 1966, seven students sailed a metal bedstead from Dover to Calais. After numerous tests to see if it was sea-worthy, they finally reached Calais and were greeted by the French press with a meal of steak and chips. With hopes for the bedstead to be towed back to Hatfield and feature as a centrepiece for RaG week, its whereabouts became a mystery when it broke free! It was last seen floating off into the English Channel.
In 1971, a group of students pushed a tea trolley in a 237 mile race all the way to Blackpool, and were awarded £60 by the trolley manufacturers for their 24
2012: Donation to the Herts society for the blind
efforts. Kidnapping also became a way to raise money when students ‘stole’ the red plane outside The Comet Hotel and held it to ransom.
In 1980, the public of Hatfield were invited to a slave market to ‘buy’ students for fifty pence, allowing them to do whatever they wanted with them. Within reason of course!
1962: RaG procession
1960: RaG day, stuffing as many people in a telephone box!
futures❵ student rag 2012: Hostin night in the g ladies’ Elehouse
In 1981, lecturers from the department of Electrical Engineering and Mathematics were kidnapped to raise money, although how much was raised is unknown. And in 1989, one (rather hungry) student ate 186 squares of ravioli in just over five minutes, beating the previous title holder in the Guinness book of records.
2013: RaG with Fearne Cotton, fundraising at the BBC Radio 1 Live lounge
1960: One of many RaG processions
In the 90s, RaG activities often involved students travelling as far as they could just by hitching lifts. Students Alex Carbines-Evans and Martin Wimpress travelled to Minnesota, America and back in an impressive 27 hours! It began with a lift to Gatwick and a flight with North West Airlines after which an officer and stewardess drove them to the Mall of America. Other students travelled to Poland, Belgium, Paris and Scotland. Other events that year included canoeing around the fountains of Trafalgar Square and a balloon race. In the ‘noughties’ you might think that RaG activities would have become even more outrageous, in fact, it’s nothing like it used to be…
2013: Karaoke night
2012: Students on the loose for ‘Zombie Chase’
On 3 November, a team of students took part in a ‘Zombie Chase’. Transformed into zombies, students roamed around campus with the aim of not losing their three lives whilst hunting students who were only safe at specific evacuation points. RaG raised over £400. RaG also hosted a Men’s and Ladies’ night in November at the Elehouse. It was a typical Men’s night, including a casino, Fifa tournaments and a Man vs. Food challenge; £530 was raised which went to Prostate Cancer UK. The Ladies’ night involved topless waiters selling cupcakes, cocktails and a pampering evening with Bare Essentials, raising over £200 for UK Breast Cancer Campaign.
2013 2013: Raising money for Jailbreak
On 25 January, Jailbreak, a similar event to the one held back in the 1990s, set students the challenge of travelling as far as they could in thirty-six hours from the Atrium, de Havilland Campus without spending any money. Some hitchhiked to France, Italy, Germany and Holland, altogether raising £3,116.16 through sponsorship and fundraising. Over the years RaG has definitely seen some innovative ways to raise money for good causes. Whilst we wouldn’t recommend or advocate some of the methods used over the last sixty years, it’s great to see students continuing to support charities. f❵ 25
futures❵ careers and placements
Time for a career
Change? “There’s no such thing as a job for life” is a well-worn cliché, but it’s increasingly true that there’s no such thing as a career for life either.
Why do you want a change? The main drivers for career change are usually dissatisfaction with a current job, lifestage events or a combination of the two. So if you’re unhappy at work try to work out why. Are you bored, stressed or finding the work you do doesn’t fit your personality or values? Life-stage events such as new family responsibilities or simply wanting to spend more time doing things outside of work can be motivators for change. Unexpected (and often unwelcome) events such as redundancy are also times when people take stock of their situation. Whatever your motivation, it’s important to understand it as this will help you to tackle the next two questions. What are the barriers? Funding a business start-up, covering the cost of further training, meeting current financial commitments and surviving for a period without a secure income are common and real concerns. Other worries include getting a job in a new career field as a mature entrant and the fear of making a mistake. It’s unlikely that changing career will be a completely smooth process but by doing your research and planning carefully it’s often possible to minimise difficulties, which leads to the third question: How can you make it happen? Think carefully about which aspects of your working life you want to change (and any that you’re happy with). You may realise that you do actually enjoy a lot about the work you do and it’s the organisation you work for or your level of responsibility that is causing the problem. You may feel you don’t fit in with the company’s culture or a restructure has left you feeling de-motivated. The solution may be as simple as looking 26
for a new role in a different company or making an internal move. If you feel you want to make a bigger change, ask yourself if a complete change of direction is necessary. Can you use your existing skills and experience in a different context? Maybe doing a similar job but moving from a commercial to a public sector environment (or vice versa), becoming self-employed or passing on your skills to others as a teacher or trainer would improve your situation. If you enjoy your work but want to change your work-life balance then requesting part-time work or a job-share, negotiating a change to work patterns or finding a similar job closer to home may be fairly straightforward solutions. If you decide that you do want a complete change then it’s important to make an informed decision. The Prospects website (www.prospects.ac.uk) has a free online career planner and is a good source of information about a range of graduate careers. The Windmills Online programme (www.windmillsonline. co.uk/interactive) can help you analyse your current situation and plan your next steps. Once you’ve made your decision professional bodies can often provide good information and networking opportunities. Making contacts in the field and, ideally, getting some work experience can really help you to decide whether or not to take the plunge! Before you rush to enrol on a course don’t automatically assume you will have to retrain and don’t underestimate the skills that you already have. You may already have some of the skills and knowledge needed to enter a new career field, even if it means having to take a lower level job initially.
The main drivers for career
change are usually dissatisfaction with a current job, life-stage events
or a combination of the two.
recent survey by training provider Lifetime found that a fifth of respondents wanted to change career, so if you’re considering a new direction you’re not unusual. However before making any moves, consider the following three questions.
futures❵ careers and placements
Useful resources for career changers
Prospects Planner www.prospects.ac.uk Windmills Interactive www.windmills.co.uk/interactive Gov.uk www.gov.uk
Helpful free articles on
A Career Change www.acareerchange.co.uk Careershifters www.careershifters.org The Guardian www.careers.guardian.co.uk/careers-change
If you know what you want to do but money is a barrier look into all the options first. Check out funding schemes such as Career Development Loans for courses or grants and other support for business start-ups - the www.gov.uk website is a good starting point. If you do have to take another degree find out if shortened courses for graduates are available – in some cases, such as health professions and social work, it’s possible to qualify in a shorter time. In other fields there are one-year graduate conversion courses allowing you to get to degree-level standard in subjects such as Psychology, Law and IT.
Training part-time can be another option; it will take longer but will allow you to earn while studying. Don’t forget that government bursaries are available for some professional courses, such as teaching. Work out the absolute minimum you can survive on. Few of us manage our money so carefully that there are no areas where savings can be made. Changing your career will often require a temporary or permanent lifestyle change but don’t forget to calculate the potential long-term gains. And after all – a lifestyle change is what you are probably hoping for! Suzanne Ball f❵ 27
African dream Not many of us have had the chance to help transform children’s lives, but that’s exactly what alumnus Kelvin Ward (BA(Hons) Philosophy, 2010) had the opportunity to do.
elvin, now the Alumni Relations Officer for Cass Business School, spent a few weeks teaching in Ethiopia last summer after fundraising for Hanna’s Orphanage, by taking part in fun runs, having cake days and crashing student parties. The orphanage itself was set up in 2006 by Hanna Teshome after she saw the hundreds of children left without parents living on the streets of Ethiopia. While the home only took on a few children initially, the charity now looks after over 200. It was an opportunity that presented itself through his job. “For the last five or six years Cass Business School has been helping to fundraise for the orphanage and sends two members of staff and students every year to teach out there. I was chosen to go this time, but we had to fundraise to get out there.” Kelvin dedicated his weekends, evenings, and lunch breaks to raising the money. “We had a big fundraising push and in total we raised over £10,000 between us. We had a raffle at our Christmas-do, I did a lot of fun runs – basically we begged and borrowed. I even crashed student parties to get some funding. I ran about 35km in total, by doing a mix of 5k and 10k runs every month. I also emailed everyone I knew on Linkedin. It was quite hectic, but we went all out.” Kelvin even enlisted his mum to help with the fundraising. She pulled out all the stops and managed to increase the funds, and after taking part in basic teacher training, Kelvin flew out with the rest of the group to Africa. Immediately Kelvin saw the differences in teaching in Ethiopia. “It’s different to learning languages here. All the orphanage children come from such a diverse range of backgrounds and only a lucky few have been exposed to the schooling system. For those that have you can see an improvement in English, but this is, of course, their second language as Amharic is the Native language of Ethiopia. As a result teaching English at the orphanage was challenging because classes had mixed abilities and you could
be teaching a nine year old and a sixteen year old who have the same level of English understanding.’ One of Kelvin’s best memories of his trip was the visits to see the accommodation and houses where the orphanage children live. “We went to see a group of boys and spent the day with them. We were doing some creative stuff together and some of them made me a Happy New Year card as a thank you. It amazed me that they are willing to give everything, even though they don’t have much.” Ethiopia is a beautiful country; however some aspects of daily life were hard for Kelvin to take in. “Being in a third-world country for the first time and having to deal with the poverty was really hard. You couldn’t walk down the street without being followed or approached. Some would beg. I was sitting in the car and three or four people would come to the window, some were disfigured. It’s so densely populated there are hundreds of people in one road in the same situation. I have been very fortunate in life and in comparison haven’t ever wanted for anything, so to see someone who has nothing was hard.” The trip itself seems to have inspired Kelvin, not least his meeting with Hanna Teshome. “Hanna was so inspirational; she gave up her life to change theirs. Knowing I had helped her and helped them build better futures was amazing. I’d love to go back in a couple of years. We told them they could dream. At least now they’re heading in the right direction so they can make those dreams come true.” f❵ Jo-Anne Rowney
history and landscape
know it’s very ungracious to say so, but when I first moved to Hertfordshire about a decade ago, I found the landscape – how can I put this? – boring. Not only was I moving down south from the wuthering heights of Hebden Bridge, in craggy ‘Brontë Country’ (west West Yorkshire for the more literal), but I grew up in the even craggier Yorkshire Dales. I missed the moors and the steep-sided valleys; most of all I missed the breathtaking views. But I have to admit that, after ten years of exploring Hertfordshire, I’ve grown fond of its gentler landscape
– the bluebell woods, the undulating fields, the coppiced trees. And if I’m hankering for a hill, there’s always Hastoe near Tring, Hertfordshire’s highest point at 244m above sea level (by way of comparison, the Yorkshire Dales’ highest point, Whernside, is three times as high). As a rule, if I can learn to ‘read’ a particular landscape and begin to understand not only what geological features shape it, but also what marks human activity has left, then I feel more drawn to it. Almost all of the British landscape bears the marks of human beings. As the Neolithic Revolution (which saw the beginning of the domestication of animals, arable
farming and pottery) reached Britain in about 4000 BC, there has been plenty of time for humans to leave their imprint on our land. A new book from University of Hertfordshire Press has opened my eyes to the language of Hertfordshire’s surprisingly diverse landscapes: Hertfordshire: A landscape history by Anne Rowe and Tom Williamson. The authors quote Lionel Munby, the distinguished Hertfordshire historian, who suggested in his 1970s book on the Hertfordshire landscape that ‘no stranger would think of holidaying here’. Munby seems to bear out my own prejudices, but in fact he’s at pains 29
futures❵ uh press
to persuade us that the county has much to interest the student of history, archaeology and, above all, landscape history: there’s just so much variety here. Despite the fact that much of it is now urbanised, or suburbanised (substantial areas of the south are effectively a continuation of London), the west, and especially the east of Hertfordshire still contain extensive stretches of ‘unspoilt’ countryside. Although it has no coastline and no dramatic ranges of hills, Hertfordshire nonetheless has beautiful Chilterns beechwoods, intimate, almost secretive claylands to the east, ancient coppiced woodlands west of the Lea valley and sweeping chalklands to the north. The book explains the historical processes that created what we see in the landscape today: the form and location of villages and farms, the character of fields, woods and commons, the varied building styles. In this the landscape itself acts as a major piece of evidence, for it was the geology of the land itself – how well it drained, whether the soil was fertile or less so – that determined where people chose to settle, where hamlets, villages and eventually towns grew up. There are also close links between Hertfordshire’s geology and its buildings. For example, the chalk which underlies the county contains flint. Whereas early man used it to make tools and weapons, later it became a major building material. The walls of the Roman town at Verulamium (St Albans) and most of the county’s medieval churches are built from it. In some areas of the county, coarse sands and pebbles have been cemented together by silica to form the only rock for which the county is famous, the ‘Hertfordshire Puddingstone’. This unusual stone can also be spotted in churches and other old buildings. Evidence of human settlement in Hertfordshire goes back at least 30
as far as the Iron Age when loose clusters of homes and sites for activities such as metalworking grew up around the residences of tribal leaders. These are known as oppida. The most important oppidum in Hertfordshire was Verlamion, later to become Roman Verulamium, which may have developed as early as c.10 BC when a ruler called Tasciovanus minted coins there. The large and complex oppidum near modern Puckeridge in east Hertfordshire was earlier and initially wealthier. Exotic Mediterranean goods, including amphorae of wine and fine pottery from Gaul and Italy, were being imported here in significant quantities by c.25 BC. The fact that there are no certain examples of
Roman military forts in Hertfordshire suggests that, when the Romans arrived, their rule was accepted voluntarily. Perhaps the benefits of Romanisation outweighed the negatives and the opportunity to consume more imported goods was welcomed by tribal elites. When Britain ceased to be a part of the Roman Empire and was settled by new peoples from across the North Sea, the land previously controlled by the Romans fragmented into small tribal territories. The names of some – such as the Hicce, who occupied what’s now north Hertfordshire and gave their name to Hitchin – are mentioned in early documents. Hertfordshire as such did not exist at all until the early
futures❵ uh press
tenth century when it was defined as a territory to provision and garrison the fortress at Hertford. In Britain in this period the manorial system evolved in which peasants farmed parcels of land in return for labour services rendered to their local lord. If we could watch a time-lapse film of Hertfordshire spanning the ensuing centuries, we would see the woodlands dwindling, farmland creeping up to higher and higher ground as the population grew (nearly 70,000 by the beginning of the fourteenth century!) and the impression that villages themselves were moving around the countryside – researchers now understand that settlements were a lot more fluid than was once believed and would
both expand and contract over time and sometimes relocate quite significantly. Perhaps the key factor in Hertfordshire’s development over the last half millennium and more has been its proximity to London. Many rich Londoners ventured out into Hertfordshire to build country houses where they could relax whilst also showing off their wealth. And the capital city provided a ready market for the county’s produce, particularly the malt and barley that kept London supplied with beer. Indeed, there was an almost symbiotic relationship between the city and the surrounding farmland which has been called a ‘charmed circle’: ‘The same waggon that in the
morning brings a load of cabbages, is seen returning a few hours later filled with dung. A balance as far as it goes is thus kept up, and the manure, instead of remaining to fester among human beings, is carted away to make vegetables.’ (Andrew Wynter, 1854) This ideal exchange continued even after the advent of the railways when the ‘goods’ would travel by rail – only the replacement of horsedrawn vehicles by cars brought it to an end. (The ‘dung’ was not only of the animal variety, either!) That brings us to the other major advantage of nestling up against the country’s capital: transport. Roads, railways and canals fanned out in every direction from London and Hertfordshire benefited from routes heading through it. The first turnpike road in Britain was a section of the Old North Road (Ermine Street) north of Ware, where tolls were first levied in 1663. ‘Turnpike’ refers to the pike or bar used to close the road until payment had been made, after which it was turned to the side to allow passage. The Pasqueflower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) is the county flower of Hertfordshire. This rare plant with hairy silvery leaves and purple flowers is cloaked in myth. An alternative name for it is ‘Dane’s blood’, a reference to the belief that Pasqueflowers sprang from the blood of Vikings spilled in ancient battles; they often appear on old barrow mounds and boundary banks. A more prosaic explanation is that the plant loves dry, chalky hillsides which, in Hertfordshire, are also often where such monuments are sited. Plants, rock, soil, rivers, settlements: the history of the landscape is also the deep and fascinating history of us. Hertfordshire: A landscape history by Anne Rowe and Tom Williamson is published by University of Hertfordshire Press at £18.99. f❵ 31
Robotherapy Dr Farshid Amirabdollahian, a senior lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire’s School of Computer Science, is working with the Adaptive Systems Research Group to coordinate two significant research projects, entitled SCRIPT and ACCOMPANY. These projects, with a budget totalling around €9.4M, examine the ways in which robotics systems can improve the lives of both elderly adults and victims of stroke, with the aim of promoting autonomy in the home. SCRIPT The SCRIPT initiative (Supervised Care and Rehabilitation Involving Personal Tele-robotics) is aimed at the development of robotic devices that facilitate movement of the hand and wrist - to be delivered during stroke rehabilitation. Designed as a mechanical ‘glove’ device that also supports the weight of the arm, a computer leads the user through a series of games, which encourages the therapeutic exercise. The data collected is transmitted directly to an off-site healthcare professional for assessment. Eventually, a SCRIPT system would be placed in the
households of those recovering from stroke, making an uninterrupted continuation of their rehabilitation possible. “One of the most important functions people need to live in their home is use of their hand and wrist, but people are sent home from hospital without that full function,” explains Dr Amirabdollahian, who is Coordinator and Principal Investigator of the SCRIPT project. “So, we asked: could we come up with a solution that people could take into their homes, providing the sort of recovery that wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t there?” Hand and wrist exercise is an aspect of this research that hasn’t been examined in as much detail as others, but is absolutely vital. I asked Dr Amirabdollahian why this was. “This is an iterative process,” he explains. “Until recently, we were not able to look at MRI technology, and see the relevance of what happens in the brain when we ask someone to repeat movements. This science is very, very new.” Dr Amirabdollahian describes hand and wrist movement in stroke patients as, “an essential function in the simplest of tasks.” The mechanical glove-like device provides a similar level of elbow support that a human physiotherapist would during a therapy session. “When someone has
a stroke, they often have one arm that is hanging or suspended at their side,” Dr Amirabdollahian says. “An arm is quite a heavy thing if you can’t move and control it. If you take the weight off, then they’ll be able to do some things with it.” Motivation to use the equipment is simple. “What we are doing is game-based - interactive in nature with a sufficient amount of reward which will make someone want to stay in the game and play, while in the background we utilise therapeutic interactions to aid recovery,” Dr Amirabdollahian explains. The research team studied popular games, such as Angry Birds, to look at what engages players and what drives them to move up the levels. They are also studying the science of gambling, to further delve into the psychology of playing for reward. The robot will also have the capacity to securely transmit information about the patient’s progress to healthcare professionals when they are not present in the home, as well as providing the subject with immediate feedback on their own advancement. The machine is intended to work in conjunction with the standard rehabilitation treatment already provided – not to replace human interaction in the process of recovery for patients.
ACCOMPANY The ACCOMPANY project (Acceptable RobotiCs COMPanions for AgiNg Years) investigates different aspects of robotic care assistance for the elderly. The Care-O-Bot® 3 (developed by German manufacturer, Fraunhofer IPA) would provide assistance in everyday, household scenarios, helping to maintain the user’s independence. The research team have utilised the University’s ‘Robot House’ – a real domestic environment covered with sensors – which ACCOMPANY’s Principal Investigator, Professor Kerstin Dautenhahn, has successfully used for previous human-robot
interaction studies. The facility will monitor how the user and the robot interact with one another. “This robot was invented to help people in the home, but in conjunction with the Robot House, we can learn more about the requirements and acceptability of these technologies,” says the Coordinator, Dr Amirabdollahian. Designed to resemble a butler, the ACCOMPANY system can bring drinks, alert the user to hazards such as a hob left on, and identify who is at the door. By identifying the main issues and barriers to personal independence, and by targeting these barriers using technological solutions, the project could potentially prevent elderly people having to go into care homes prematurely. Many suffering the effects of stroke or old age only have access to a limited amount of help and support per week from care assistants and family members. These projects could mean help available in the home 24/7, as well as directly aiding people’s rehabilitation and self-sufficiency. Dr Amirabdollahian sums things up perfectly. “The future of science should try to focus on things that people will find important,” he says, “not just on things that scientists find interesting for science.” Both projects are partially funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme for Research. f❵ 33
Call on me
Did you know that the University is actually a charity? Possibly not. However, universities are charitable institutions and philanthropy has enabled them to undertake transformational research, to support students through scholarship and to build 21st century learning facilities. Trisha Teo, a current Mass Communications student, visited the call rooms to find out more about the University of Hertfordshire’s recent Diamond Fund alumni telethon.
eorge Cummins is a Sports Science student who received a Gifted and Talented scholarship at the start of his course, which was funded by the University. He knows firsthand the difference that financial support can make. “When I came here, the Gifted and Talented scholarship helped me fund my course and the things I need, as I don’t get any funding elsewhere.” Recently, he and thirty-five other students, alongside the University’s Development Team, took to the call room and carried out Hertfordshire’s latest telephone fundraising campaign. The purpose of the campaign was to raise money for the Diamond Fund. The University launched the fund in 2012 to commemorate sixty years of excellence since it was founded as Hatfield Technical College in 1952, and to help safeguard the next sixty years. The Diamond Fund is also designed to help students like George, through offering support and awards. It’s also focused on helping wider projects and funds which will also go towards research and priority projects, as well as societies and sports clubs. It’s a way to give support to the best and brightest in each field, offer students a world-class experience, and give them opportunities to reach their full potential during their time at Hertfordshire. It’s also about the University’s alumni giving back to their alma mater and supporting the next generation of Hertfordshire graduates. George agrees that it’s a great cause to support. “It’s projects like this that get the University known, and they are just so beneficial to so many people.” The team working on the telephone campaign consisted of a group of talented students who were really enthusiastic about the cause. One of the fundraisers, Jodie Tham, had a great experience speaking to the University’s alumni community. “I get to have a feel of what our alumni 34
have been doing since they’ve graduated. I get to listen to their experiences of when they were at university, and I would say that’s the best part.” George Watts, another fundraiser for the campaign, agrees. “This telethon has definitely improved my confidence and I feel like the whole experience has been very beneficial, through giving me the opportunity to talk to people who have become successful in their own fields.” Debbie Greaves, Head of Fundraising, believes that the campaign as a whole has been an extremely positive experience. “Our students have benefited, and so has the University. After all, our alumni can give back in more ways than one.” Many graduates have also generously volunteered their time, showing enthusiasm in becoming career mentors to students and recent graduates, offering short internships or work placements, giving valuable industry talks about their own specific work sectors, as well as arranging tours of their workplace. The telephone campaign raised about £1,000 a night, for a fortnight. The gifts will enable the University to help students in a range of ways and disbursement of the funds will shortly begin. For more information about the Diamond Fund, visit go.herts.ac.uk/DiamondFund or email development@ herts.ac.uk. f❵
futures❵ alumni insight network
Ever Incisive Circles
If you were one of those who, when throwing your Graduation cap in the air for a photo-op, was secretly thinking: ‘what am I going to do now?’- you certainly weren’t the last. In an increasingly ‘dog-eat-grad’ world, Steve Corbett looks at how telling successive cohorts what you did do, really can make all the difference.
or some of you it may have been just a year or two ago, for others perhaps a ‘touch’ longer – but whenever it was I’m sure most of you can remember that moment in time when the unique combination of pedagogic graft, social utopia, periodic exam stress and a suitably skewed body clock rudely and abruptly became ‘the rest of your life’. That moment is commonly known to many of us as Graduation: often bringing with it the bittersweet experience of celebration, achievement, pride and complete and utter panic. Whether you have known since primary school what you want to be when you grow up - or come to the end of your degree still having no firm idea where your skills, knowledge and enthusiasm are going to take you – when the world suddenly becomes your oyster, unfortunately (as the saying goes) some people are always going to find that they’re allergic to shellfish. No matter how hard you study, that ‘ideal job’, in the sector you would ‘kill for’, that will lead you up the gilded career path ‘of your dreams’ is of course far from guaranteed. And as we are told year-upon-year these days, it’s only getting tougher out there. Today’s students – tomorrow’s graduates – are an overtly tech-savvy generation with a great deal to offer the contemporary workplace. Already having their heads in the iClouds, not only are they wirelessly connected to the latest devices and social networks, but in a world that is so heavily consumer-driven, they are the consumers in the driving seat. They came to us (just as you did) filled with raw ambition, passion and ideas, which the University is helping to channel into knowledge, skill and transferable intellect. And one of Hertfordshire’s core priorities is to provide integral support alongside this in the area of employability: to help adapt what they are doing and learning here in a vocational sense, as an important part of their studies and their student experience. As many of you will already know, to enhance this further we, in the Alumni Office, have been working
very closely with our Careers and Placements and Enterprise teams - as well as the academic schools – to provide simple, flexible ways for our alumni community to complete the cycle by providing valuable insight into their industry and career. You may have heard us make reference to the ‘Insight Programme’ in recent months: conceived as an easily accessible scheme which pulls all of these initiatives together and allows those of you who wish to, to impart advice and experience in a way that suits your circumstances (be that through providing work placement opportunities, giving talks or offering oneto-one advice to students). The scheme has had an extremely positive soft-launch over the last few months to trial how impactful the model is and we are already seeing some fantastic results. You will notice when the scheme is formally launched later this year that it has undergone a minor namechange, and is now known as the ‘Alumni Insight Network’. The reason for this is simply because we felt that the onus should be less on the programme of activity and more on the individuals who are making it happen: the fast-growing network of alumni pledging their support and insight to those following in their footsteps. In short, it cannot work without you. No-one is better placed to advise current undergraduates than those of you who have been where they are today – and it is fantastic to see so many generations of our graduates connecting and providing a cycle of support and inspiration. f❵
spring summer 2013
Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London. ÂŠ Rachel Whiteread. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery
ArtHouse 3 May-30 June Museum of St Albans
Robin Hood and his Very Merry Men 2 June 1pm The Weston Auditorium
Sculpture Tours: UH Art Collection 25 May and 29 June 3pm College Lane Campus
de Havilland Philharmonic
Saturday Morning Pictures
James Metsoja 19 July-1 September Museum of St Albans
with soloist Erdem Misirlioglu
16 June 7.30pm The Weston Auditorium
with Arts and Crafts Workshops
25 May, 22 June, 13 July The Weston Auditorium
Telephone +44 (0)1707 281127 www.herts.ac.uk/artsandgalleries 40
Futures - the magazine for Alumni of the University of Hertfordshire