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THE MAGAZINE FOR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF HERTFORDSHIRE Shortlisted for the Heist awards’, ‘Alumni Publication of the Year’


Interview with a vanguard

How alumnus Alistair Spalding has transformed Sadler’s Wells

Tech the Halls

The planning of a Hatfield Tech Christmas Review


Sustainable futures A look at the University’s new Centre for Sustainable Communities

A clutch of campus curiosities you may not have heard...


UE... RISE OF THE SILVER VEN The community talent show that launched an iconic building

winter 2010 ISSUE 6

UH Angels 2010 The Pitch Event Hosted by Ruth Badger from the BBC programme ‘The Apprentice’ Where: The Weston Auditorium, de Havilland Campus, Hatfield, Herts AL10 9EU

When: Tuesday 16th March 2010 18.00-21.00









Be part of this exciting event and watch entrepreneur’s pitch their business ideas to our Angel Investors live on stage in true ‘Dragons’ Den’ style in a bid to gain financial investment.


To add to the excitement, Ruth Badger from BBC’s The Apprentice will be hosting the event and giving an insight into her time with Sir Alan Sugar.

04 Your say Notes popped in our proverbial pigeonhole this issue... 05 Thank you! Acknowledging a notable fundraising year

To take part or attend the next UH Angels event contact the Enterprise Events Team on:

06 News From newly launched alumni cards to newly discovered planets...

Email: Telephone: 01707 281128

08 COVER STORY The Forum’s got Talent: We report on the big launch... 12 Graduate Futures How a free consultation could boost you career 14 Retrospective Planning the 1960 ‘Student Review’

Enterprise Spotlight Enterprise Spotlights brings inspirational speakers such as Richard Farleigh, Karren Brady and Rachel Elnaugh to the University of Hertfordshire to share their wisdom, knowledge and expertise. These FREE motivational sessions are guaranteed to empower you with an enterprising spirit. To view our next Enterprise Spotlight visit For further information contact our Enterprise Events Team on: Email: Telephone: 01707 281128

16 Did you know? Little known facts from your Uni’s past...


19 Seeking advice From your Alumni Association Advisory Board

Editor: Steve Corbett Art Editor: Dani Corbett Editorial Assistant: David Ameh Publisher: Alison Coles Proofing: Dawn Howton

20 KTP success With the Enterprise and Business Development team 23 Profiles Where are they now? 25 Alistair Spalding On his Poly days and a little theatre called Sadler’s Wells...

Special thanks to: Jo Wearne, Alistair Spalding, David Whale, Rebecca Hobbs, Natalie Fountain, Katie Buckhaven, Dawn Cubitt, Lindsay Tuke, Naomi Hecker, Frances Elliott, Sarah Elvins, Eugenie Dunster, Nadine Pain, Angela Thomas, Satvinder Chahal, Ekta Shah, Nigel Gates, Professor Peter Lines, Ahmad Ziyad Maricar bin Zulkifli, Judy Angel, David Howell, Chris Wray, Professor Andrew Starr, Dr Stephen Boffey, and the Forum Cafe... Contact us: Development and Alumni Office, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 9AB Telephone: +44 (0)1707 281145 Switchboard: +44 (0)1707 284000 Email: Website:

28 Research The University’s Centre for Sustainable Communities 30 Then and Now An alum refelects on the campus after twenty years 32 UH Press Books on the paranormal 34 UHArts and Galleries Events and exhibitions in the Spring programme


Steve Corbett Alumni Relations Manager

Liz Mortimer Communications Officer, Graduate Futures

Jane Housham Manager, UH Press

Anthony Myers Level 3 Journalism Student

Satpal Kaur Bassan Journalism Graduate





We’d love to hear your feedback on Futures or anything to do with your time here… Please email us at:, or write to: Development and Alumni Office, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 9AB

January 2010. Welcome to the first edition of Futures to be published in this decade. And alongside this issue of your alumni magazine starts a whole new era of politics, fashions, trends, cultures, technologies, triumphs and heartaches... those moments in time that will never be forgotten, but no-one could ever have predicted. And how many of you – our graduating classes over the course of the last 6 decades - will be key figures in some of the events that the next ten years will be remembered for? Universities have always been leading forces in progressing society - and since our doors first opened nearly 60 years ago, our campuses have been instrumental – either directly or through some of the great minds and abilities of our alumni – in developments in areas such as transport, astronomy, pharmaceuticals, artificial intelligence, sport and the arts (to name just a few). In November of last year, we met many elated grads of 2009 (during the UK Ceremonies in St Albans) - where proud parents took ample snapshots of the bright smiles of our tomorrow. We might not know it yet, but in amongst the thousands of hugs, laughs, squeals and camera flashes taking place that week, we may have witnessed a future political leader straighten the mortar board of one of the most influential artists of the 21st Century... Enjoy your issue.

Alison Coles Head of Development and Alumni

futuresÈ IN OUR PIGEONHOLE THIS ISSUE… Uni life was great. Work life is good too, but loads of stress (especially if you are into IT); besides, you feel old, kind of. My advice to current students – enjoy uni while you can! It’s a lifetime opportunity. Bukola Ayodele, via alumni face book page. Hi. I’m glad to be in touch with the Alumni Association through Facebook. I was at Herts Uni 1995-1998 and my brother is currently the President for the Mauritius Herts Uni Alumni Association. I was in Hatfield for a few days in 2005 and couldn’t believe how everything had changed even then!!! The current students must make the most of their uni time, enjoy but work very hard and be agents of change in society! I started my degree at Balls


Park, Hertford then transferred to Hatfield to the Combined Studies Dept – and now I see that some faculties are at the amazing de Hav campus with state of the art facilities! All the best to the Alumni Association and team and thanks for keeping in touch. You are wonderful!! (Really liked today’s Facebook posting!!) Rajnish Babajee, via Alumni facebook page. Proud to be a product of this Institution... Ahmad Shukri, via alumni face book page I attended the 30th reunion of the BA in Applied Social Studies – held on 12 September 2009. During most of the students` time at Hatfield (the then Hatfield Poly) I was their Dean and also one

of their teachers. Several former teachers attended, including one of 80 and another now 85! It was a pleasant occasion, and interesting for the graduates, most of whom had not seen one another for 30 years. I was impressed how well the graduates had worn. Since most of them had been employed over the past 30 years as social workers, I am tempted to conclude (a) that social workers on the whole cultivate healthy life styles, (b) that on the whole they are not high earners, able to afford endless foie gras, brandy and cigars, and (c) that their world is far removed from the world of business lunches and dinners, with the constant temptation to eat and drink to excess! All good wishes Gabriel Newfield (staff 1970-1992)

A huge thank you to all of our alumni and friends who have donated to the University this year. Your support has enabled us to award ten new scholarships in health and the arts and we now have more scholarships funded than ever before. All those who donated to our alumni fund will be invited to meet our newest alumni scholars at our annual donor thank you evening on the 29th April 2010... so keep it free! We’ve also just produced our first ever annual ‘Donor Report’ which tells you about all of the great projects going on across the University... all thanks to you.

Jo Wearne

Development Manager If you would like a copy of our Donor Report please email Jo at


futuresÈ WINTER 2010

futuresÈ NEWS

A snapshot of news bites from around your University this winter...

University of Hertfordshire - YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL

Industry focused courses, state-of-the-art learning facilities, a vibrant student life, support and guidance, and a fertile ground to nurture it all in... These are just some of the great things our campuses have to offer students – and so to allow prospective candidates to get a taste of what it’s like to study at the University of Hertfordshire for themselves, a new recruitment video has been released, and can be viewed in hi-definition on YouTube. The video starring alumnus Aaron Wong, (a concept designer who studied BA(Hons) Graphic Design) illustrates that whatever you want from your university experience, we offer the perfect modern environment in which you can learn, develop your skills and above all have a great time doing it. Definitely worth a watch if you fancy a glimpse of what your old institution has to offer in 2010...


Global Futures Thanks to members of our Alumni Association across the globe volunteering their time, 2010 will see more international alumni activity than ever before, with new chapters due to launch in their respective countries this year. Following our Kenyan Alumni President Ekta Shah setting up a base for alums to get together in her area of the world last year (see the summer 2009 edition of Futures), our newest international representative, Mitra Sharif has kindly volunteered to coordinate a chapter in the Middle Eastern region. We are also in the early stages of setting up chapters in both France and in Turkey – giving those of you wanting to network and socialise with fellow graduates in your home countries even more opportunities to do so. The University’s Alumni Relations Manager, Steve Corbett said “It’s a great feeling to be expanding the Alumni Association so much further around the world this year – and to be launching so many new chapters at the same time! We’re really pleased to be helping to bring more alums closer together in their own countries, and I don’t imagine these will be the only new regional chapters to form in the near future. “We are always very happy to help set up international Associations in any way we can, so if anyone is interested in becoming President of one in their area, please do get in touch.” If you would like to get in contact with the President of your country’s chapter, please see the ‘International’ section of the alumni website... 06

FREE career consultations available from Graduate Futures... Whatever stage you are at in your life/career, if you are facing a period of uncertainty or are considering new options, Graduate Futures are currently offering a career review consultation that leads to helping you agree a new development plan. Their consultants will also link you up with further free or discounted support activities to help you achieve your goal. With a limited number of free consultations still available, register your interest by completing a short form on the alumni website, at: https://alumni.

Highly Beneficial...

The new Alumni Membership Card is here and now available for free through the alumni website. The new card was initiated by the University so students who have graduated from the institution can have an ‘identity card’ to associate them with their Alma Mater. The card – which allows swipe-access to the LRCs – symbolises the University’s motivation to promote a lifelong connection with its students after graduation. Membership of the Alumni Association is automatic once you graduate, and all graduates or ex-staff of the University (including its predecessor institutions) are eligible to apply. To get your card – and for more information on related access to campus facilities, services, discounts and further memberships all relating to the University – just go to the Alumni Card page on the website. Make the most of your Alumni status on campus... go.aspx?Id=460

New planets found around sun-like stars

Astronomers at the University of Hertfordshire and an international team of planet hunters recently announced the discovery of four new planets orbiting nearby stars like our Sun. These new discoveries were made using the Anglo-Australian Telescope in New South Wales, Australia and the Keck Telescope in Hawaii and include both a mysterious new class of planet that is more massive than Uranus and Neptune and a gas-giant planet in a long-period orbit like that of Jupiter. “Since Jupiter dominates the signal from our Solar System, we are now in a position to quantify how common planets like Jupiter are around stars like our Sun,” said Professor Hugh Jones of University of Hertfordshire. “Compared to the Solar System, most extrasolar systems look odd, with planets in very small or very elliptical orbits. In contrast, this new planet has an orbit that is both large and nearly circular – for the first time we are beginning to see systems that resemble our own.” “These detections are truly at the current state-of-the-art,” said Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institute of Washington, “We’ve found there’s a tremendous advantage to be gained from combining data from two world-class observatories, and it’s clear that we’ll have an excellent shot at identifying potentially habitable planets around the very nearest stars within just a few years.”

This year – new for 2010 – we have plenty more exclusive discounts, membership and entitlements to offer you, so be sure to keep an eye on e-futures every month (and on the website of course) to really make the most of your alumni benefits... Remember, as an alumnus you are entitled to discounted rates for entry to all Merlin Entertainment attractions (like Legoland, The London Aquarium, Warwick Castle, Madame Tussauds...), as well as great deals on things like car hire, conference facilities, beauty products, UHArts events, and magazine subscriptions to major titles (including Vogue, GQ and Time Magazine). To find out more about these and your full range of alumni perks, just visit the Benefits Page on the website... https://alumni.




An Appropriate Forum for Talent When the opportunity to cover the grand opening of the University’s £38 million entertainment facility, The Forum, came up I immediately put my name forward. Perhaps it was my curious mind and journalistic thirst for discovery that attracted me to this grand state-of-theart building that rose out of the ground, claiming its place on campus and the Hertfordshire skyline? Maybe it was my obsession with reality TV talent shows that enticed me to The Forum’s Got Talent? Or my nostalgic student memory of The Font that drove me to find out what The Forum had to offer? Whatever it was, I found myself at The Forum Fun Day on Sunday 13 September 2009 with an enquiring eye.


by Satpal Kaur Bassan

s I walked up College Lane I was immediately struck by how The Forum had transformed the campus’ landscape. The glass front and white painted exterior gave it an impressive futuristic look that was comparable to the design of the de Havilland campus. Standing proudly amongst the older teaching buildings, it screamed a bold statement of the progress the institution is making in its status as a leading modern university. After making it through the queue of students, ex-students, University staff and members of the general public, I was impressed by The Forum’s light and airy interior, and its stylish new bars that brought a taste of the London scene to Hatfield: a world away from the close atmosphere of The Font. It was whilst I was wandering around the light and spacious foyer of The Forum that I came across Carla Levin - 2008 alum. Her thoughts on the new venue? Carla, BA(Hons) Marketing graduate, said that she thought it was a vast improvement: ‘I think a lot of alumni will use these new facilities if they live locally or have






specific events for them.’ With the recent popularity of reality TV talent shows, The Forum’s Got Talent was then perhaps the perfect way to promote this state of the art entertainment venue to the alumni community. The two day event proceeded with the auditions on Saturday 12 September with the Final opening to the community the following afternoon. After paying ÂŁ2.50 for my entry ticket and anxiously waiting in the queue to catch my first glimpse of this state-of-the-art auditorium, I can safely say that I wasn’t disappointed. Its contemporary interior had a smell of newness that was an immediate contrast to the paint-peeling, sticky-floored Font. With multiple bars, large screens to broadcast events on the stage, ample seating in the main arena and even an upstairs gallery (with seating), my first impression of The Forum’s auditorium was simply, ‘Wow!’ Patiently waiting through the crowds always associated with such a large event we, the audience, were graced with the presence of Babs, from Heart FM, who entertained us with her wit whilst we awaited the main attraction: dance troupe and winners of Britain’s Got Talent - Diversity. Those who had been selected for the Final definitely had a tough act to follow. Nevertheless, the acts that performed in the final show made it one to remember. From the performance poet with a message, the young girls acting a piece from Wicked and the winners of the ÂŁ1,000 first prize comedy duo Double Trouble, there was something for everyone. Once the main event was over I took the opportunity to discover more of The Forum. Its impressive interior boasts four new areas which have been advertised as ‘The perfect venue for any corporate event or private party.’ The appropriately named Style Bar on the first floor was elegant with its mirrors, leather sofas, and chic wallpaper. The Coffee Bar and the restaurant on the ground floor continued the bright and airy theme of the building and offered reasonably priced food. With these new facilities at our disposal, maybe we will see The Forum hosting future events by alumni? Yes The Forum is sophisticated, grand and looks the ÂŁ38 million pounds that was spent on it. Although I am part of the generation of graduates who were exposed to the low-lit, paint-peeling dĂŠcor of The Font, the shiny new-ness of The Forum attracted me as a moth would be attracted to light. I can firmly say that The Forum blinded me with its good-looks, its choice of themed rooms, the grand auditorium and the opportunities for us alumni and the local community to use its facilities. Perhaps this event was the beginning of even more involvement for alums in its progression as a leading university? fĂˆ







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Have you been or are you facing redundancy? Are you currently out of work? These are times in your life that can cause you a great deal of stress. To help alleviate some of this pressure the government has set up a series of initiatives which are designed to help people seeking work get back into suitable employment. These include Shell Step, the Graduate Talent Pool, The National Graduate Development Programme and, the focus of this article, the Economic Challenge Investment Fund.

How does it work? A series of steps are in place to ensure that you can get the most from this offer and that the actions decided upon are individually tailored to your own needs. Step 1: Call Graduate Futures (01707 284791) or come and visit us in the MacLaurin Building (opposite the de Havilland Campus) and discuss the stage that you are currently at in your career. This will help us to determine how we can help you. From this initial conversation we will also be able to allocate you a convenient time when you can come in and talk to a Careers Consultant. Step 2: Attend your initial guidance consultation where we offer professional support. This is a completely confidential appointment where you will have the chance to talk about the direction you see your future heading and create an action plan detailing how to get there or simply have your CV checked. In this appointment you can also discuss development or training options, if any, that you may undertake and how to register. Step 3: If you have been referred then the next step is to undertake your training, development or necessary up-skilling so that you can achieve your ambitions.

by Liz Mortimer

Using your initiative:

s we look into the New Year, there has been much talk in recent months of an optimistically brighter ascent from the economic doldrums that have plagued the end of this last decade. But not 12

only is the jury still well and truly out in these early days, the not insignificant fallout of last year’s job cuts and redundancies is still affecting a great many of us. So, as we here in Graduate Futures * continue to find the most effective ways to guide you towards that thin sliver of light appearing on the horizon, making the most of the government’s Economic Challenge Investment Fund is a simple, frugal and encouraging way to start 2010.

What is the Economic Challenge Investment Fund? The Economic Challenge Investment Fund (ECIF) aims to help individuals to deal with the

effects of the recession and take positive steps to thrive and survive. It is available to assist anyone who meets the criteria to become competitive in the job market or rethink career options in the current economic climate. This is achieved through a range of funded or partially funded opportunities including continuing professional development courses and workshops. For example, you might think that you would make a more attractive contender for positions you are applying to if you learnt to speak a foreign language or received a qualification in Management and Leadership. In this case we could refer you to a range of courses either at the University of Hertfordshire or with a

for alumni



Employment support

local provider. If you are considering starting your own business, a workshop on Enterprise Coaching or an NVQ in Management and Business Start-up could help to give you the inspiration and knowledge to proceed. These are only a few of the options open to you. We have a host of certificate and diploma programmes and training ranging from courses in music and sports to those in business and management accredited by CIMA and CIM. It might be the case that you just need to talk through your options with a qualified Careers Consultant who can help you identify your strengths and development areas and then together, make a plan of action to move you forward.

Am I eligible?


http:/www. graduatefutures

To take advantage of this offer you will need to be either a University of Hertfordshire graduate or a graduate from another university but be living or based in Hertfordshire and be one of the following: L Unemployed L On notice of redundancy L At risk of becoming unemployed L Employed in sector which has risks of redundancy If you are interested in benefiting from this offer then please get in touch. We can talk you through what is involved and determine your eligibility. Just call Graduate Futures on 01707 284791 or email fÈ

RESOURCE LIBRARY Ever wondered where to find the answers to those common career questions? Graduate Futures spends a great deal of time carefully selecting and purchasing the right information resources to help you. These range from books focusing on setting up your own business to literature on volunteering abroad. To give you a taste, you can read the popular Sally Longson’s Life After series, covering your options after studying for degrees in: Art and Design Biological Sciences L Business and Administrative Studies L Engineering and Built Environment L Languages and Literature L Social Studies L L

Not only is this series available here in the MacLaurin Building but also accessible as eBooks on Voyager so you can read them wherever you are. As you can see, we really do have something for everyone. 13


Stage Flight


hortly after the last issue of Futures was published, we had a visit in our office from one of our Technical College alums by the name of David Howell. David had travelled down from Scotland, and was visiting his old campus haunts before attending the 60th anniversary of the de Havilland Comet’s first flight (which he later described to us in an email as both “special” and a “great day out”). Whilst chatting to us, he mentioned that he had been the Assistant Stage Manager for the 1960 ‘Student Review’– the stage performance put together by the ‘Tech College’ students each Christmas. He said that he thought he might still have the old folder containing the set details from the performance in his loft – and that when he got home, he would endeavour to dig it out for us. Sure enough, the following week, the most wonderfully tatty, intricately detailed folder of hand-drawn set designs arrived in our office – with a note from David, saying, “A ‘foosty’ smelling folder for you. It would appear that whoever put the rather battered folder together must have worked in Aircraft Sales, as all the sketches have been drawn on the back of Specification Sheets – presumably Comet!!” fÈ


If you have any authentic memorabilia, defining your student era – or even photos from ‘back in the day’! – we really would love to see them. Please send to our usual address (or email address) both of which can be found on our contents page (and on the ‘Contact us’ page on the website). 15

futuresÈ DID YOU KNOW?

futuresÈ DID YOU KNOW?

Myth, Mystery and Materiality... The University of Hertfordshire is nearly 60 years old. Fact. Ok, so it’s a fact you probably already knew... but did you know any of these interesting nuggets about your institution? Here are a few things to drop into conversation next time you’re in the pub... The University’s Fielder Centre near the de Havilland campus used to be an ammunitions dump and top secret weapons trade stop-over during World War II. It is rumoured that the Centre has a network of underground escape tunnels, running deep underneath Hatfield Business Park that were used during the war... 16

Hatfield House – home of the University’s Chancellor, Lord Salisbury – was used as a setting for the filming of the blockbuster action movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, starring Angelina Jolie. The grand, historic building served as the exterior of Lara Croft’s mansion - and whilst on location, Angelina drank at the Eight Bells pub just down the road in Old Hatfield. The University’s coat of arms was granted in 1992. The shield is charged with an oak tree taken from the coat of arms of the former Hatfield Rural District, the constellation Perseus and a representation of the letter “H” recalling the emblem of the former Hatfield Polytechnic. The crest, a Phoenix, represents the University’s origin in the aviation industry, and the two harts supporting the shield represent the County of Hertfordshire. The scroll along the bottom bears the motto “Seek Knowledge Throughout Life”.

The College Lane cam pus is home to one of the largest and most ad Medical Simulation Ce vanced ntres in Europe. The gr ound floor of the Health Research Building is a replication of a real ho spital casualty ward containing state-of-th e-art computerised m an nequins that are prog react to treatments an rammed to d procedures like a re al human body...

Built in 1977, The Student Union’s ‘Ele House’ is socalled due to its close resemblance to the design of the Elephant House at London Zoo.

llege first The Hatfield Technical Co mber 1952, pte opened its doors in Se s ‘officially’ wa d an , to 1,738 students Edinburgh later opened by the Duke of year. Today, on in December of that more than 13 the University is teaching ople... times that amount of pe

Former chemistry student Keith Gill was given the nickname ‘Font’, due to the legendary number of hours he spent on in the (old!) Font Bar. Despite his somewhat wayward years here, he is now the director of Derwent Valley Foods (who make Phileas Fogg snacks) - and when the Font was closed last year, one of the signs from the nostalgic watering hole was salvaged to give to him.

Legendary Queen Guitarist (and renowned astronomer) Brian May has an Honorary Doctorate from the University - and has personally endowed a scholarship in his name. The Brian May Scholarship is awarded to a postgraduate student studying an MSc by Research in Astrophysics at Bayfordbury each year.

Model design and special effects students from the University have worked as part of the teams creating behind the scenes magic on numerous box office hits such as Batman Begins, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), and every Harry Potter film to date. Before becoming famous, Hertfordshire resident and keen gardener Kim Wilde began a foundation course at St Alban’s College of Art and Design (which subsequently became the University’s Art and Design Faculty before eventually moving onto campus). During this time, she hit the big-time with her singing career however, and never did finish the course. 17

futuresÈ DID YOU KNOW?


Friends in helpful places D

The University has one of the most successful Formula Student teams in the world. The UH Racing cars can accelerate from 0-60 mph in less than 3 seconds... The team have competed in many countries and have won many awards. Students from the Engineering degrees can join the team, with students from the Sports Science, Marketing, Art and Business Schools also playing a vital role. Over 400 universities race at Formula Student events worldwide, with Hertfordshire consistently finishing in the top 10.

eep inside the widespread global machine that is your Alumni Association, central to its ever-turning cogs and complex inner workings sits a volunteer group of largely unsung heroes. Meeting up three times a year to discuss how we can continue to provide you with more services, benefits and initiatives, the Alumni Association Advisory Board is comprised of fellow alums representing numerous generations and disciplines. And each member – including all of our international presidents – brings an individual viewpoint and wealth of specialist knowledge to the fray... So – always having your best interests at heart – to impart some of this knowledge on a more personal level, a selection of the Advisory Board members would like to offer you their specialist advice or peer-to-peer conversation directly. Therefore, if you would like to ask any questions relating to any of the experiences or professions of the fellow alums featured below, here’s how to contact them and why... fÈ

The University’s BioPark in Welwyn Garden City was used as a location in Universal Pictures’ The Bourne Ultimatum, starring Matt Damon. Suites of conference rooms, offices and boardrooms in the BioPark Hertfordshire premises were transformed into topsecret CIA headquarters for the Hollywood spy thriller – and the University’s Press Team were granted access to the set during the filming of a scene.

In March 2005, University of Hertfordshire was officially certified as a Fair Trade University.

The University’s original Business School – the historic Balls Park in Hertford – is reportedly haunted... Strange, otherworldly noises have been heard in the kitchen of the halls of residence late at night by many students, along with eerie footsteps in the dark, empty corridors... 18

The Forum might be putting the University well and truly on the gig-map these days, but on Wednesday 2 May 1973, none other than Bob Marley and the Wailers played at Hatfield Poly, and on Wednesday 21 February 1979, The Police also played in Hutton Hall (a performance most noted because they played the then-unreleased song, Message in a Bottle live for the first time ever. See it at com/user/luquinomax)

The ceremonial mace was produced in 1999 by craftsman Martyn Pugh. Its design symbolises the University’s origins, expertise and associations. Its shape is inspired by the shape of an aeroplane wing symbolising the University’s aviation heritage. The head of the mace is engraved with zodiac symbols representing the University’s contribution to astronomy and also contains the DNA double helix representing the biological sciences and microprocessor chips representing information and communications technology.

Ahmad Ziyad Maricar bin Zulkifli Upon graduating from the University, I set out to gain business experience before continuing my MBA. Previously I was attached with Citibank, Cobra Group, TV3 and Ample Media. Currently I am running my own business coaching practice as the franchisee of ActionCOACH. Having been an alumnus for 5 years now, I feel that it is a great platform to network with other alums in Malaysia to tap into the vast knowledge and experience of one another. UHAAM was set-up to bridge the gap between the alumnus and university and to build a better future for ourselves, the university and for Malaysia.

Nigel Gates Nigel joined the staff as a Geographer in the Education Department at Wall Hall in 1973. He worked at the institution full-time until 1997 and then part-time until retiring from the University in 2004. In addition to his lecturing and other duties, he played a major role in the Association of University Teachers, both in the University and nationally. In 2005, in recognition of his contribution to the development of the Trades Union Movement within Higher Education and his work on behalf of the University in Teacher Education, he was awarded the Honorary Degree of Master of Education by the University of Hertfordshire.

Professor Peter Lines Peter joined Hatfield Polytechnic from BT as a Lecturer in Telecommunications, later becoming Dean of Engineering and retiring as Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University in 2001. He believes that many staff alumni have a strong loyalty to the institution and would like to be better informed of how it has developed, and perhaps to have opportunities to meet former colleagues from time to time.

Ekta Shah

After completing my degree in Tourism Management at the University, I returned to Kenya after I graduated, looking to make a difference. While applying for jobs, I travelled a lot around Kenya, met lots of people in the tourism and conservation industries and did an online Marketing diploma. I quickly learnt of the negative effects tourism had on the surrounding environment and was compelled to change things. As a result, I started African Sojourn Ltd, a tour operator which specialises in personalised and ecofriendly tourism around Kenya and the region. My company is only a year old but my long-term goal is to ensure tourism in Kenya is planned properly while ensuring the resources that allow tourism to exist are maintained for future generations. Most importantly I want to ensure that tourists get an eco-friendly and personalised ‘Journey to the African Sun’. Contact me for further information on tourism, Kenya or how to go about starting up your own company: ekta@ 19



Weighing up the savings of a university partnership

by Anthony Myers

The University of Hertfordshire has enabled Herbert Retail,* a marketleading company to make savings of over a quarter of a million pounds through re-engineering its business processes. This has been achieved by a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) – a joint development project involving subsidised graduate employment.


ach Partnership is a three-way collaboration between a business, a university and a highly talented graduate. The graduate carries out a strategic and innovative project for a business, with expert guidance from a university academic supervisor. The University of Hertfordshire, which is a leading UK business-facing institution, has more active KTPs than any other university in the region and is in the national top twenty of KTP performers. As part of a two-year project, UH KTP Associate, Liang Zong and academics from the School of Aerospace, Automotive and Design Engineering (AADE) worked with company executives at Herbert Retail to review its supply chain and to develop strategies to increase stock movement and maximise staff time. Herbert Retail is a supplier of weighing, labelling and business solutions to major UK supermarkets. It now expects to save £350,000 per annum through the efficiencies created. “Supplying to customers such as Tesco, Sainsbury and M&S requires us to be leaner and fitter each year. Liang’s project has enabled us to access the University’s help to successfully re-engineer our business processes.” Martin Brown, Managing Director, Herbert Retail Ltd A KTP Associate is employed by the University, but located at the company premises and directed jointly by the company personnel and their university supervisor. Liang Zong managed the project from beginning to the end. She has improved her interpersonal skills as well as analysis and management proficiency. It


has empowered her to play a primary strategic role in realising Herbert Retail’s potential. Following the completion of the KTP, Liang is now employed by the company in the role of Business Process Reengineering Manager. “I have played a key role in managing and implementing strategic development in Herbert Retail and transferring knowledge between the business and the University. KTP has provided me with the opportunity to manage a challenging project central to the company’s strategic development and longterm growth.” Liang Zong, KTP Associate and KTP Business Leader of Tomorrow Award Winner The partnership has also enabled the School of Aerospace, Automotive and Design Engineering to use its academic expertise to develop new processes and solutions in a commercial environment and test whether principles work well in practice. “Working with Herbert Retail Ltd on this KTP has provided a wealth of real-world examples that can be used in teaching and for further research. It has been an excellent opportunity to understand the difficulties that regional businesses face, develop realistic solutions and see them benefit the business and the development of the KTP Associate.” Dr Rodney Day, Academic Supervisor, University of Hertfordshire fÈ


www. herbertretail.

Want to find out more?

Enterprise and Business Development Team, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, Herts AL10 9AB Tel: 01707 286406 Fax: 01707 285 136 Email: Website: 21


Where are they now?

Astronomer? Psychologist? SFX-whizz? This issue’s alumni profiles: (or, what those you knew you back then are doing right now…) Geoff Angel

Year Graduated: 1989 Course Studied: BEng(Hons) Mechanical Engineering Current Employer: University of Hertfordshire Area: Hertfordshire Since graduating in 1989 as a mature student from Hatfield Polytechnic, I have worked as a Senior Design Engineer in the healthcare, medical and aerospace industries, gaining a wide experience in designing medical related products and aerospace systems. Recently I returned to the University to pursue a career in teaching engineering to undergraduate students. In my current role of Senior Lecturer, I have the opportunity to give something back to the University which originally taught me, by providing undergraduates with guidance and case studies from my own practical design experience. My contribution to the courses adds a practical dimension and realism which is much needed and appreciated by the students. The role is most challenging, but enjoyable, and I really look forward to the yearly graduation ceremonies with the great satisfaction that in my small way, I helped transform the students from fresh faced kids into graduate engineers. It’s quite sad when the students you get to know and befriend over the years, finally graduate and move on. I have now embarked on a course of study leading to a PhD; it’s strange being both ‘Batman and Bruce Wayne’, but it does make me more sympathetic to the students plight, trying to juggle the teaching and learning myself.

Dr Heather Straughan

Year Graduated: 2009 Course Studied: PhD Current Employer: Founder and Director of the Recovery In-Sight centre Area: Hertfordshire For my PhD I wrote and tested a training called In-sight, which enabled people to recover from mental health distress. Combining this training and research knowledge, and my earlier Postgraduate Diploma in international commerce and BA/MA in business studies gained abroad, I founded the Recover In-Sight centre in May 2009 with the impetus from over 150 members of two self-help groups I started in Watford and Stevenage, 10 trainers I trained in In-Sight, and 10 researchers to form the company. We have a strong recovery value orientation in delivering the research, training and peer support services we offer. We have all experienced mental health challenges at some point in our lives. The aim is to develop as a social enterprise; however we already put recovery values into action in how we run the company. After over 10 years of being involved in user involvement and seeing it fall short of really nurturing and encouraging peoples talents and creativity, the only way to ensure that the project was indeed user oriented, was to create it myself. We have won two awards for best business plan (University of Hertfordshire Flare competition) and recent graduate (federation of small businesses), and have been selected as finalists in the Hertfordshire business awards for creative innovation.

David Ameh

Year Graduated: 2008 Course Studied: BA Software Systems for the Arts and Media, and MA Interactive Broadcast Media Current Employer: University of Hertfordshire Area: Hertfordshire

I’m part of the team that handles Development and Alumni affairs at the University of Hertfordshire. I deal mainly with the media, creative and social networking aspect of the overall structure. After completing a degree with the University, I decided to throw myself in at the deep-end by doing a Master’s degree (also at Hertfordshire) before searching for a full time job. I did this to save myself some time by getting it out of the way and to perfect my skill in the field. I must say, the time spent studying under the programme not only allowed me to sharpen myself for the wider world, it prepared me for the biggest surprise I did not see coming: after completing the Master’s, and various applications, I got a job offer with the University’s Development and Alumni department - and best of all, it was the peak of the recession. I now give back all I’ve learnt and picked up at University back to the same institution that trained me. A win/win situation. 23


Terry Lynch

Year Graduated: 1988 Course Studied: Social Science (Law) Current Employer: Ministry of Justice Area: UK On graduating from Hatfield Polytechnic, Balls Park and taking the Bar Finals at the Inns of Court School of Law, London, I was called to the Bar of England and Wales as a Barrister in 1989. I secured a pupilage and tenancy at the Chambers of the late Roy Ashton in Northampton where I practiced as a Barrister and quickly established an extensive practice in high value matrimonial finance cases. In 1999 I was appointed a Deputy District Judge by the then Lord Chancellor and I was authorised to sit on both the Midland and South East Circuits. Following a nationwide competition I was appointed a full time District Judge in August 2008 by HM the Queen and currently sit on the Midland Circuit at the Coventry group of Courts. I am married to Susan and we have two children Charlotte and Elizabeth. We live on the BedfordshireBuckinghamshire border close to Woburn.

Angela Fletcher

Year Graduated: 1992 Course Studied: BSc(Hons) Computer Science Current Employer: Thinking Binaries Area: UK As a former student of Hatfield Poly, I graduated in 1985 with BA(Hons) 2:1 in Humanities. Whilst at Hatfield, I joined the sub-aqua club, and went from being a novice diver, to instructor. After graduating, I worked as a diving instructor, first in Malta, and then on the barrier reef in Australia. Back home, I obtained an MSc in Computer Studies, with which I worked both in the IT industry, and in academia as a lecturer – currently teaching for the University of Portsmouth. However, my dream was always to be a singer, and over the years I have formed various bands, and recorded my songs. Now I’ve got a website, a 6 track CD available early 2010, and have had coverage by 2 BBC radio stations and various newspapers – as an ageing mum of 2 trying to fulfil her dream!

Heather MacRae

Year Graduated: 1994 Course Studied: MA Careers Education and Guidance Current Employer: Venture Thinking Area: Hertfordshire I’m Director of Venture Thinking – an educational consultancy. Following my MA I carried on studying with the Open University and gained my MBA. I have two children and set up my own company in order to achieve a better work life balance. My current projects include developing educational outreach projects for the British National Space Centre – I helped to launch the first newspaper in space which features ideas and experiments suggested by children for Astronaut Richard Garriott to complete. Other work has included careers and education projects with MTV, London College of Fashion, Queen Mary University of London, London Borough of Newham and The Learning Trust. I was awarded the National Career Award 2009 for my work in promoting science careers.

Terry Sadler

Year Graduated: 1988 Course Studied: Fine Art Current Employer: Volunteer on visual arts projects Area: Hertfordshire After a career in advertising and raising a family, Terry enrolled in 1984 on the first Hertfordshire Fine Art degree course, then located at the Herts College of Art and Design in St Albans. On graduating in 1988, the training and enthusiasm for the visual arts resulting from the course, combined with administrative experience from earlier days in advertising, led to a virtually full-time involvement as a volunteer on various visual arts events and projects. First she set up ArtWorks with a group of fellow Herts graduates, and became involved in the organisation of the new Hertfordshire Visual Arts Forum, setting up and running the Herts Open Studios event for 9 years. In 1995 and 2000, she ran two Art at Work in Hertfordshire Awards with UH, and became project manager on several scultpure commissions in the county. 24

Breaking Convention

With a fairytale heritage stretching back to the 17th Century, today London’s Sadler’s Wells* theatre is one of the most exciting dance venues in the world. In December 2009, Steve Corbett travelled to ‘London’s Dance House’ to meet the man responsible for its distinctive, captivating success over the last decade; alumnus Alistair Spalding.


he day I meet Alistair Spalding, on my short journey between Hertfordshire and central London, Sara Cox is relaying - in her trademark-rambling style through the radio - how the evening before, she had taken her kids to see the stage production of Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman. She briefly explains that the show has become an annual tradition for her (and hers) in the pre-amble to Christmas, and that – as always – it had caused fervoured five-yearold “pogoing” in the aisles, and an excitement seemingly akin to a primary-stage Beatlemania. 25




Now in its 12th consecutive year, this seasonal production of The Snowman is as much a part of the lead up to Christmas as chocolate advent calendars and letters to Santa – a culture and ethos of the arts being integral to people’s everyday lives that is extremely important to Sadler’s Wells’ Chief Exec and Artistic Director, Alistair Spalding (“My son has seen it seven times... and he’s eight!”). And with the show being a mere (snow)drop in its rich and varied programming ocean – from the classical to the subversive – over the course of the last decade, Spalding has been responsible for firmly reinstating Sadler’s Wells as the culturally historic leviathan that the site’s 300-year lineage deserves. Having joined as Director of Programming in 2000, in 2004 Alistair Spalding stepped up to join a veritable line of leading figures – including such renowned individuals as the theatre’s Seventeenth Century founder Richard Sadler, stage actor and manager Samuel Phelps, and Lillian Baylis (who also ran the Old Vic in the 1920’s) – each of whom having given the venue their own unique stamp and respective areas of success. Referred to in the press as ‘the Lord of the Dance’ however, it is of course as an advocate of all manner of dance forms - with an eye for fresh talent and unconventional approaches - that Spalding has become known for. Since taking the reins, he has transformed the venue into not only presenting performances by www. touring companies, but also becoming a commissioning production house for dance in its own right. During his tenure so far, amongst many other projects, he has produced Matthew Bourne’s infamous all-male Swan Lake, a breathtaking show named Sutra featuring 17 Shaolin Monks, and initiated the Breakin’ Convention * International Festival of Hip Hop Dance Theatre. But with his impressive resume at Sadler’s Wells already widely documented, it is to find out more about Alistair’s journey from linguistics and philosophy student at Hatfield Polytechnic (back at the tail-end of the 1970’s), that I venture into the inner-workings of ‘London’s Dance House’... To ask exactly how a man who left school at 16 to find work in a lawyer’s office, is now very successfully running one of the most reputed arts venues in the world. “It wasn’t really by choice” he admits, of his sharp exit from his Catholic Comprehensive in Stevenage. “But I went to the careers office in Letchworth Garden City, and told them I wanted to be a lawyer or a journalist!” The tall, repose Alistair Spalding is chatting to me in his surprisingly modest office. Extremely candid and downto-earth, neither he nor any of the friendly staff I meet posses anything of the ‘theatre dah-ling’ stereotypes or artsy pretentions many people might expect to find here. Although you get the feeling of being in a tightly and efficiently run ship, the mood is very much relaxed, welcoming and informal.



From singing ducks to an all-male Swan Lake... So-called due to entrepreneurial founder Richard (‘Dick’) Sadler discovering an ancient medicinal well on the property of his newly opened ‘musick house’ in 1683 (where ‘taking the waters at Sadler’s Wells’ became quite an attraction), the venue has seen many an era of entertainment. Even the building itself has been reconstructed a total of five times since first opening its doors. Across the years, it has seen everything from jugglers, rope-dancers, singing animals and stage-fighters to becoming a playhouse, roller-skating rink, prize-fight arena and music hall – and was instrumental in popular theatre legend Joseph Grimaldi’s development of the English pantomime in the early nineteenth century. Today, the contemporary, state-of-the-art building that truly is ‘London’s Dance House’ provides a premier venue for both new and seasoned talent from all over the world. But its eclectic story goes far, far beyond its current reputation, and I would urge anybody with a passing interest in social history – let alone dance or the arts – to seek out and read more about Sadler’s Wells’ fascinating past. One that through the ages – like most rattling good yarns - has been as artistically resonant as it has deliciously debauched...

Soon realising that he would need a degree to help further his career, the young Spalding completed Legal Executive exams at night school – which were accepted as equivalent to A levels by the then Hatfield Polytechnic in 1977. Taking a combined studies course in humanities, Alistair majored in linguistics and philosophy – recalling the political landscape at the time as having quite an effect on the members of his faculty. “The linguistics tutors were all very left-leaning... They gave you exam materials in advance, things like that. They were quite rebellious.” An interesting little fact about ‘Alistair Spalding the student’, is that – despite admitting that he didn’t really have any interest in dance or the arts in those days (“I was just into seeing bands, really”) – he did actually visit Sadler’s Wells, having been persuaded to go along to a performance by his then-girlfriend. “I have to say, it didn’t particularly spark my passion at the time, but the experience did stay with me”. I ask him what immediately springs to mind when he thinks back to his ‘Poly days’? “Drinking in the Union (Font) bar!” he laughs, “Isn’t that what everyone who’s been a student says?! The engineers were always banging trays on their heads, playing drinking games”. “I remember the bands as well – some really good ska bands played there... The Specials, The Police... It was a great time“. So was he a protesting, rebel student, or a resident book worm? “Oh, I spent most of my time in the library – I’d done rebellion by that time. I had been to work already, so I was far more conscientious. I knew I really needed it, so I worked very hard.”

When I ask if he is still in contact with anyone from the Poly, he replies with no hesitation, “I am. Two people; Paul Harding and Angela Goldberg. I met them on my very first day at the coffee machine in the humanities block, and I still see them both regularly”. After obtaining his degree at Hatfield, Alistair did a postgraduate course in linguistics at Lancashire, and developed an interest in the way children learned to read. But after a false start at a career as a primary school teacher (“It turned out to be more about crowd-control”), a job ad in Time Out magazine for an ‘Arts Programmer’ in 1988 led him to Hawth Arts Centre in Crawley. “It wasn’t even built yet, but they wanted someone to put together a programme of music, art and film... I liked film, but I think it was just my enthusiasm that got me the job!” It was here that the Alistair Spalding of today really found his groove (“I knew I was in the right place”) – and with no prior experience to draw on, he was instrumental in growing the new building into a successful arts centre. And whilst catching the bug for running an arts venue, more specifically, it was also his six years at Hawth that brought out his latent – and now life-long - love of dance. In 1994, a position as Head of Dance and Performance at London’s Southbank Centre came to Alistair’s attention. By introducing more dance

to strengthen the programme, tickets sales vastly increased. “It took me to a whole new level” he recounts, “It introduced me to working internationally, and collaborating with dance companies overseas.” For someone who fell into the arts almost by accident, such obvious passion and drive for producing and presenting the very finest and most groundbreaking dance companies is both surprising and commendable. After making his mark at the Southbank, the turn of the millennium saw Spalding make the move to Sadler’s Wells... and the rest as they say is history. In January 2009, Alistair joined the board as a National Member of the Arts Council of England – which he sees as a very important part of his advocacy of and investment in not just dance, but the arts as a whole. So does he ever see himself moving in a completely different direction at some point in the future? “It’s a constant challenge” he says. “It’s never boring – which is why I’m still here. When it just becomes routine for me, then I’ll know it’s time to move on – but it should be an important part of everybody’s day to be involved in the arts, and I know that we’re a long way from that.” So with 2010 marking a whole decade since Alistair joined Sadler’s Wells, amongst his many notable achievements here, I ask what part of his career he is most proud of to-date. “Producing our own performances is probably the most rewarding thing we do – but I think I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve really made a difference here. Which is really all you hope to achieve in life... to make a difference.” SC fÈ






Community spirit

A proposed regeneration of Hatfield Town Centre from the Hertfordshire Charrette

How the University’s new Centre for Sustainable Communities is helping us to re-think – and re-plan – the way we live our lives... By Steve Corbett


s conscientious consumers – now entering the second decade of the 21st century - environmental awareness is not a virginal concept it would seem. “Help us help the planet” my Starbucks cup implores...”60% postconsumer fiber sleeve” it goes on to assure me – which I guess is the latest indication that the good old-fashioned term ‘recycled’ just


doesn’t cut it anymore? Is it just expected that everything we buy is ‘post-consumer fiber’ nowadays? Does anyone still take notice of such statements on their product packaging? Does it affect our buying choices? And - ultimately – do we as a society on the whole really care? “Scientists have described sustainability as the most important issue of time” says Professor Andrew Starr, Director of the University’s new Centre for

Sustainable Communities (CSC). “Global population is increasing, but our appetite for energy, and profligate use of food and water, are changing the face of our planet”. In 2009, the University began launching the new CSC project aimed at bringing together all of its wide-ranging work on researching and tackling sustainability issues, to help communities be supportable and maintainable, while reducing their cumulative carbon footprint. The view is to focus in on using the


www.herts. hertfordshirecharrette/ home.cfm

incredible expertise our campus has at its disposal, for practical application in society. “The CSC is for people outside the University who are interested in having problems solved” Professor Starr explains. “The Centre will undertake consulting, professional training and qualifications, knowledge transfer, and research, with bespoke teams to tackle multidisciplinary problems”. Some of the main target areas will be energy (carbon reduction), transport, technology, recycling, and town planning and public engagement. The CSC is not only actively working with a wide range of internal partners (from the School of engineering to UNO Buses), but its external partnerships also include BRE and the US National Charrette Institute. And the ‘charrette’ will be a key factor in formulating strategic plans for change in our communities. The CSC is currently partnering with the National Charrette Institute (under an exclusive license) to launch the first charrette system training courses to be offered in the UK. Already a very successful method of rehabilitating towns and specific areas in the United States, the charrette process is relatively new to the UK - with one of the only present examples having taken place at the University of Hertfordshire in June 2008 (to address the future development of the county).* The way the charrette works is to hold a series of short conferences and workshops across a number of days - where the delegates are not simply a closed ring of high-level decision-makers, but a network of stakeholder groups which incorporate members of the public, as well as experts and officials from the community. The idea is to formulate a cohesive plan for change and regeneration openly and collaboratively, including

input from every party that will be affected; residents, landowners, counselors – small local businesses as well as key business-leaders in the area. “The public engagement process is so important that it cannot be left to chance” says Professor Starr. “A charrette structures the interaction between stakeholders and designers, to optimise the outcomes.” In November of last year, I attended an open-invitation ‘Sandpit Event’, run by Professor Starr – who is clearly as personally passionate about the project as you could want its Director to be (“I won’t do a straw poll of how many of you drove here today, but it’s always interesting”). The idea was to bring together anyone from around the University with a vested interest in sustainable issues, so that they could give a three minute presentation on the nature/angle of their work. Around forty representatives attended – forming an impressive showcase of how many completely different departments and schools are each addressing sustainability in their own way. Speakers included Reader Dr Rajnish K. Calay from the Sustainable Energy Technology Centre (who are working on energy systems which incorporate the likes of bio-fuels and fuel cells), Moyra Fowler from the School of Engineering and Technology (who is working towards embedding sustainability in all teachings in Higher Education – as opposed to making it a “tick-box exercise”), John Houghton from the Department of Estates (who is looking into how the University can cut back on needless

energy waste), and Dr Woei Ping Cheng – a Senior Lecturer from the School of Pharmacy (who is conducting research into natural, sustainable nano-technology for use in medicines). The CSC is very much aware that talking to people/communities through charrette systems and public engagement strategies will be a key factor in its work. Julian Lindley - a Senior Lecturer from the School of Creative Arts who attended the Sandpit Event – mentioned at the end of his three minutes that wavering attitudes are a very real challenge in getting whole communities to acknowledge what we need to work together to achieve. He voiced his personal concern, saying that the very word ‘sustainability’ is perhaps becoming ‘boring’? “Instead of dwelling too much on the word, (society) should instead be asking what are we actually trying to sustain?” So whether we refer to them as ‘recycled materials’, ‘postconsumer fibers’ or whatever the next trendy buzzword for them will be – as long we leave the rocket science to the researchers, and embrace the use of their sustainable systems, evidence shows that we’ll be onto a good thing in the long run. And this is very much the aim of the CSC – it’s messaging and proactive problem-solving will be all about the easy, practical application of key sustainable research taking place at the University. This, along with the existing technologies that can be implemented in line with government policy can be used to not only change the way our communities live, but hopefully, really change the way we think as well. fÈ 29

Then and now


– a 20 year retrospective

David Whale, BSc(Ho ns) Computer Scienc e, 1992


While reading a profile of t became very clear to me of my previous UH lecturone on visiting the University’s Development and Alumn on a social networking siters i e, office, that I had comple tely the realisation that it was 20 missed the point of wh the Alumni years ago I first started at Association is there for at- and it was Hatfield Polytechnic final my own failing that I had not made ly more use of the University over the Font into the new Forum, and the sunk in. It caused me to past 20 years, because Carbon Footprint reduct re it’s there for ion scheme on my experiences, and toflect all of us to benefit from to name but two... . I tho ugh t of One of my favour hau this overwhelming desire get the ‘Alumni’ simply as a list where nts to see you could find old friends – but I can the University Librarite y – now the how things had changed Learning Resources Ce see now that it is much more. ntre – cle those 20 years. This was in I took a guided so arly shows how the Unive tou r aro rsity und has understood how to news, because it meant th good the University, the old parts that invest in technology. Twenty years I remember, and the new ago, areas University made such a laat the tha com puters were hived off into t I had not seen before, and sti ng their I impression on me that I w own little rooms, and the suddenly realised that eve Lib rar y ryth ing was only just starting to go back and find out moranted to had moved on, and for the better. Tod use them. ay, computers are not onl The University has clearly y benefited was a little disappointed e, but I from par t of the key infrastructure 20 years of investment and in myself of the LRC’s (one on each for losing touch for so long strategic partnerships tha campus), t have , an but d they have become the ma hel ped it to grow into the worldI wondered why this was jor delivery mechanism for class establishment that much of the it has an Alumni association isn? There’s bec high-quality content cre ome. The de Ha nd cam ated by the ’t pus University. Students use And I read all those new there? is a clear example ofvilla StudyNet this, with a - a web-based portal tha t gives they send out – so why ha sletters fantastic array of resources and them access to everything d I lost facilities not just for students, they need via a single login (an but for staff, Alumni and ywhere touch? loc also the they can access a comput al com er munity – such as the sports village and busine ss centre. Investment and growth is continual, with the recent transition of the


with an internet connection). Through it, they access email, course material, forums, social networkin g, career guidance resources and many other

facilities. All University dep artments development all at once was quite and facilities have a presen these resources for Alumn a shock to me, in other ce i too. ways it through this portal, and There are many events tak when I was reassuring to find out ing that the spoke to staff and studen place at the University suc ts about physical changes do not h as arts denote it, they all said what a gre exhibitions, recitals, spo at facility it the full story of life on cam rts and pus is – everything in one cle social activities, lecture ar location, today. What I think is imp series, short ortant is accessible from everywher courses, business advice e. Access that the growth of the Un sessions, iversity from home or halls has and these are key to brin clearly made of Hertfordshire has bee ging n based all these great resources people back to the Unive accessible on the core values and rsity, motives to all, and solved the pro because once you see wh blem I had that were around when at the I attended 20 years ago of having to University has to offer, you book – those of appropriate and will quality resources. It makes me wonder how you ever los realise that learning. Today the indust t touch. rial perhaps I might have bee Today, the University has n one of placement scheme that launched the early-adopters of this grown to be a huge eco concept me into my career still con -system, tinues when I first started to dia with many partnerships l-in to to support students throug and h their the University computers links, embedded in the loc over a transition into the workp al lace, and telephone line with a ver community, actively valuin y slow the figures still highlight g and tha t tho modem! se seeking two-way collab having done an industrial orations placement Every corner that I turned between education and are more successful at get on my industry ting the guided tour there was evi through many schemes dence of jobs and salaries that the suc h as y deserve. old mixed with new – som placements, knowledge e corridor It continues today in suc tra nsf er cee din or lab that I remembered, g partnerships and busine then next to put students on a lev ss el playing to it a huge multi-million workshops to name but pound field with employers and a few. lecturers development such as the I for one am looking forwa Film and alike, allowing them to eng rd age in Media complex, the Art to re-acquainting myself and Design positive professional arg wit h the um ent centre – all with displays s establishment that helped showing and contribute more wh me en returning off their achievements, and launch my career 20 yea offers to the University and wh rs ago, en finally of open day visits on the the resources it offers to ir branded starting their career. The me as Alumni web pages. an Alumni, and how - in e-mentoring programme retu rn for hel ps It’s not just the additional these world-class resour students to manage the ces - I can ir naturally technology, but everything find a way to contribute about high expectations better, something and what the University is tod back to the University. It’s ay, that puts them in touch with not just a experts makes me realise how we ‘list’ – it’s a thriving eco-sy ll it in industry that can help ste m – so the has kept up with the cha m make the effort today and nging fast-track and avoid som go and e of the world – such as the inte find out how the Alumni grated mistakes that the rest of Association us made! sports facilities, investme is there ready and willing to nt and Gra dua te Fut help you ure s have invested support given to the arts, make the most of what’s innovative significant time, money, on offer to and energy partnerships such as the you. Your first stops are transport into building a base of res the Alumni scheme (through the UN ources we bsite https://alumni.hert O bus and to help with career planni park-and-ride service), add ng and – and the official Universit itional acc ess . Tw y ent website y yea rs ago the on-campus accommodat – ion, and careers office was a sm k. Allo w opening up of the facilitie all office yourself plenty of time, bec s to the tucked away in the corner ause local community. of a there is much to see. fÈ building, and Twenty years ago, Hatfie ld barely given a Polytechnic was well rec ognised mention. Today, as one of the top Polyte chnics for Graduate Futures computing, which was wh y I chose has completely it. In the early days the Un iversity inte gra ted itself of Hertfordshire’s name was not into the University well known, and I used to have to through StudyNet, remind people of it’s her itage – but the ir regular over the years through inv estment, roa d-s hows partnerships, and hard wo rk, and market-stall it has become one of the top events, links institutions worldwide. Thi s is clearly into tea ching evident from how the Un iversity programmes, and of Hertfordshire’s format is even presence on successfully franchised around the social networking world, and the fact that everyone I sites such as speak to has heard of it and has a Fac ebook and good impression. De licio us, and they While seeing 20 years of building willingly open up all

futuresÈ UH PRESS

Do You Believe In Fairies?

Further reading...

Jane Housham, UH Press Manager

Welcome to the section of Futures devoted to the activities of University of Hertfordshire Press, the University’s publishing company. We publish books in a number of different subject areas, including Romani Studies and theatre history, but we also have a growing reputation for publishing high-quality books that take a skeptical view of parapsychology.


kepticism is an approach to inquiry that goes back to the ancient Greeks and the teachings of the ‘Skeptikoi’, a school of philosophers of whom it was said that they ‘asserted nothing but only opined’. In science skepticism encompasses a very widely practised set of approaches closely allied to empiricism: skeptics suspend judgement, or, going further, maintain an attitude of doubt or even incredulity until objective and impartial investigation has categorically proved something to be so. In the world of paranormal investigation (often referred to by skeptics as a ‘pseudoscience’ because of the apparent lack of convincing evidence of phenomena


such as extra-sensory perception, telepathy and psychokinesis) feelings can run high and those who believe in the paranormal are sometimes exasperated by the constant rejection of their research by skeptics. The skeptics, in turn, claim it’s often the very desire to believe in paranormal phenomena (or ‘psi’ as they are often collectively referred to) that causes people to discount the strong likelihood that such things just don’t exist. Many factors can influence the outcome of an experiment or skew analysis of a large number of experiments, including selective reporting, random number generating that is not actually random, flawed set-ups, cognitive bias and even fraud. The most influential body

The Psychology of Paranormal Belief: A researcher’s handbook by Harvey J. Irwin. Available now in paperback, price £16.99 (ISBN 9781-902806-93-8)

of skeptics was originally known as CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal), but its detractors tended to refer to it disparagingly as ‘Psi-Cop’ and since 2006 it has been renamed CSI, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. The University’s Professor Richard Wiseman is a Fellow of CSI and co-author of several key skeptical texts published by UH Press. Guidelines for Testing Psychic Claimants (co-authored with Robert L. Morris) and Guidelines for Extrasensory Perception Research (coauthored with Julie Milton) cover every conceivable way in which an experiment in these particular areas of the paranormal might risk being flawed – the idea being to get trustworthy results if humanly (or superhumanly) possible.

Magic In Theory, co-authored by Professor Wiseman and Peter Lamont, gives invaluable insights into the psychology underlying magic. Those who find themselves astounded by conjurers’ ability to make objects vanish or appear, or even to read minds, will find food for thought in the analysis of misdirection, concealment and other strategies. Budding magicians, on the other hand, will find a wealth of cool tips for improving their acts. Our latest book in this area is The Psychology of Paranormal Belief by Harvey J. Irwin. Dr Irwin has an international reputation as a researcher into the reasons why people hold paranormal or scientifically unsubstantiated beliefs. His new book systematically reviews investigations into the basis of belief in many different paranormal phenomena such as extrasensory

perception, psychokinesis, the power of prayer, communication with the dead and the existence of aliens. So his book is not so much about whether these phenomena can be proven to exist but why some of us believe in them, whether or not proofs are forthcoming. Some researchers have sought to depict the paranormal believer as essentially illogical, irrational and foolish. Others have suggested that such beliefs are most prevalent among people on the margins of society. Another view is that paranormal belief is simply one facet of a broader worldview characterised by a highly esoteric outlook on the world. Finally, some researchers propose that paranormal beliefs are best understood as serving significant psychological needs of the individual. Dr Irwin considers each of these approaches in turn

and finally puts together a new, more comprehensive theory that takes all the research into account. So, if you do believe in fairies, you may be fascinated by Dr Irwin’s integrated theory: the lack of control over our lives that we experience in childhood can lead to a lifelong need for a sense of mastery over life’s events – this can drive the formation of beliefs which seem to explain the inexplicable. Such beliefs are also affected by one’s information-processing style and socio-cultural circumstances. Stressors in one’s life can activate particular beliefs as a way of trying to reduce anxiety. Dr Irwin’s fascinating analysis of thousands of pieces of research truly deepens our understanding of why humans are prone to believe in UFOs, superstitions, mind-reading, lucky numbers and all the myriad other things that add colour to our nonmagical lives. fÈ



To find out more, visit the UH Press website. * For Richard Wiseman’s blog and lots more besides, visit




UHArts and Galleries Programme Spring 2010

20 Nov 2009 –30 Jan 2010

(Exhibition- Visual Arts) Laura Oldfield Ford ‘Britannia: 2013-1981’

29 Jan – 27 March

Image: Fantastic Mr Fox, Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

(Exhibition - Visual Arts) Clemens Stecher ‘Charade II and IV’

29 Jan – 12 March 3.00pm

(Course - Visual Arts) Art Talk Series 2

7 Feb 7.30pm

Image: Let the Right One In,

Courtesy of Optimum Releasing

(Music) de Havilland Philharmonic

9 Feb 6.30pm

(Film) Winter Chills: ‘Let the Right One In’

18 Feb 7.30pm

(Musical Theatre) *Community Event* FAME The Musical

19 Feb 7.30pm

Image: Laura Oldfield Ford, 1973 Returning (undated)

(Musical Theatre) *Community Event* FAME The Musical

19 Feb – 24 April

(Exhibition – Visual Arts) Paul Teigh and Martin Russell ‘Beyond the Plenum’

20 Feb 2.30pm, 7.30pm Image: David Blandy, The White and Black Minstrel Show, 2006. Photographer: Claire Barrett


(Musical Theatre) *Community Event* FAME The Musical

24 Feb – 24 March 6.30pm

(Course) Out of the Crypt: Understanding Horror Film

2 March 6.30pm (Film) The Age of Stupid

21 March 7.30pm

(Music ) de Havilland Philharmonic

26 March 6.30pm

(Film) Film Fatales ‘Double Indemnity’

27 March 11.00am

(Weekend Course- Film) Understanding Film Noir

27 March 3.00pm

(Music) My Mother Told Me Not To Stare

30 March 7.30pm (Music) Songwriter Competition

1 April 8.00pm

(Children’s Theatre/Dance) *Community Event* SLAM Night

3 April 11.00am

(Weekend Course – Film) Understanding Film Noir

6 April 1.00pm and 3.00pm

(Film) Family Film Club: ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’

14 April – 5 June

(Exhibition – Visual Arts) Group Show: Seriously…?

UHR, the University of Hertfordshire’s professional record label, has a growing reputation for pairing fantastic composers with talented musicians to produce new and interesting recorded works. Infuse, a division of UHR, is a record label designed to infuse students into the professional music industry through working with people already in the business.

20 April 6.30pm

(Film) Bad Film Club: ‘Megashark Vs Giant Octopus’

22 Apr – 25 Apr

(Festival) ‘UniComics’ Graphic Novel and Comic Festival

27 Apr – 6 July 6.30pm

Build up your collection of UHR and Infuse works with these fabulous new album releases…

(Course- Film) Understanding Film 2: An Introduction to Film Studies

Noël – The Plaxtol Scholars conducted by Marius Carboni

7 – 21 May (Festival) Mayfest

New releases from UHR and Infuse

Image: Nicola Streeten

9 May 7.30pm

(Music) de Havilland Philharmonic

27 May – 3 June

(Fashion) End of Year Degree Exhibition and Fashion Show

1 June 6.30pm

(Film) Stanley Kubrick Season: ‘Barry Lyndon’

13 June 7.30pm

(Music) de Haviland Philharmonic

26 June 1.00pm

(Workshop) Kubrick film/model workshop Bookings Phone: 01707 281127 Email: Online: artsandgalleries

Our venues The Weston Auditorium de Havilland Campus Hatfield Herts AL10 9EU Phone lines open: Mon to Fri 9.00am – 4.00pm Visit the Box Office: Mon to Fri 9.00am - 4.00pm (during term-time)

UH Brass Ensemble conducted by Robin Browning Sonnets without words – Richard Uttley (Piano)

Available from: UH Recordings Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Hertfordshire Company Reg. No 05846643

Margaret Harvey Gallery 7 Hatfield Road St Albans Herts AL1 3RR Open: Wed to Sat 12.30pm - 5.30pm Art and Design Gallery College Lane Campus Hatfield Herts AL10 9AB Open: Mon to Fri 9.30am – 5.30pm


More Arts Events at The University of Hertfordshire Exhibition by Paul Teigh and Martin Russell Beyond the Plenum

Questioning contemporary art’s internal dynamics, modes of reception and mediation this often humorous conjunction of high art and disposable contemporary kitsch, is beautiful, enigmatic, visually enthralling and participatory. Friday 19 Feb – Saturday 24 Aprilz Art and Design Gallery, College Lane Campus More info: 01707 284290/

Film Fatales: An Evening of Film Noir Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, US, 1944)

Would you like to inhabit a twilight world of gangsters, shadows, dangerous men and even more dangerous women? Dress up and enjoy a pre-film cocktail accompanied by the live, smoky jazz vocals of chanteuse Katie Buckhaven, followed by this Film Noir classic. Friday 26 March 6.30pm The Weston Auditorium, de Havilland Campus More info: 01707 281127/

Children’s Operetta presented by Theatre Hullabaloo and Action Transport Theatre My Mother Told Me Not To Stare

Told in an operatic, gothic style, ‘My Mother Told Me Not To Stare’ presents children with the rules that must absolutely not be broken …and then absolutely breaks them! Saturday 27 March 3.00pm The Weston Auditorium, de Havilland Campus More info: 01707 281127/

Discounts for all alumni! More information:

The Univ Art and Gersity of Hertford shire alleries S pring Pro gramme 2010

If undelivered, please return to Development and Alumni Office University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, AL10 9AB, England

Image: Double Indemnity, Courtesy of BFI

Profile for University of Hertfordshire

futures - Winter 2010  

The magazine for alumni and the friends of the University of Hertfordshire

futures - Winter 2010  

The magazine for alumni and the friends of the University of Hertfordshire

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