Together we stand
Brightonâ€™s alliance with partner colleges
MAY | JUN 09
Will women lose out?
Animal sex change: Is fungus to blame?
Editor Rebecca Haroutunian Communications manager Assistant editor Emma Blundell Communications officer Channel magazine is published every two months by Marketing and Communications. Channel is available online at www.brighton.ac.uk/channel. Alongside this publication is our online newsletter eChannel is produced monthly at http://community.brighton.ac.uk/ echannel. For the latest news about the university, please see www.brighton.ac.uk/news. For an insight into research conducted at the university, see www.brighton.ac.uk/research.
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Front page image Plumpton College shepherd, Emma Ogden, by Andrew Weekes. Print and reproduction By DSI Colourworks, registered to environmental standard, ISO 14001. This magazine was printed using inks made from vegetable-based oils and without the use of industrial alcohol. Ninety-five per cent of the cleaning solvents were recycled for further use and 94 per cent of the dry waste associated with this production will be recycled.
September–October Copy deadline 24 August Distributed on 28 September
Contents Regular features News
4–7 Round-up News from across the university
16–17 Research briefing News and grant awards
Lead features 12–15 Lead article Together we stand – Brighton’s successful alliance with partner colleges
18–19 Research feature Mystery of animal sex change: new studies show funghi may be to blame
Regular features 18–19
8–9 Department in–focus Grape expectations: a look at Plumpton’s viticulture department 10 Opinion Will women lose out in the recession? asks Professor Jacqueline O’Reilly 11 Opinion A tale of two women. Professor Tara Brabazon examines the
differing media portrayal of two women 20 Why I became… Pat Moore on how he came to be a technician for media at UCH, via Radio Caroline and Sir Paul McCartney’s recording studio
22 On campus Seeds of change – Brighton’s Environmental Action Networks 23 Work diary A working week in the life of sports science support officer, Sarah Benjamin
21 Science In brief The ethics of genetics – stem cell research explained
May | June 2009 Channel Magazine
Comment By Professor Julian Crampton Vice-Chancellor
The university has evolved from the needs of the city in which it was established 150 years ago, forged from successful collaborations with hundreds of partners from health authorities and education providers to local, national and international businesses. These partnerships permeate every aspect of the university’s work, whether it is our research and teaching or social and economic engagement. Much of the research by Brighton’s academics has at its core the concept of academics working with business – our knowledge transfer partnerships have helped over 100 businesses. It is our research which encourages partnership working across faculties and schools, at the boundaries of disciplines and with external organisations, which is making a real difference. Researchers from architecture and design and environment and technology have just started work on the Big Lottery funded project, Harvest for Brighton and Hove, which sees food produced locally with a range of partners in the city. As a ‘professional formation’ university, we have played a pivotal role in the long march to bring a range of professions into higher education, from podiatry and midwifery to policing. We have a long history of working with local employers and are well placed to meet their needs. Our courses are professionally focused, flexible and offer close support to learners. Most recently we have developed a tailored course for engineers at Southern Water.
UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON
British inventor donates IT archive to university The British inventor of online shopping and former chairman of the university’s Board of Governors, Michael Aldrich, has donated his IT archive to Brighton. The donation coincides with the celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the world’s first online purchase which took place in the UK and forms part of the archive. Covering the period 1977–2000 the archive includes the story of the invention of online shopping. It shows how these systems revolutionised industries including retailing, car sales, packaged holidays, finance houses and credit reference. Over 100 case studies form part of the archive including pioneers of online shopping based in Sussex, such as American Express and Seeboard.
FACULTY OF HEALTH AND FACULTY OF ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE
Festival time for academics For the first time the university’s inaugural lecture series formed part of Brighton’s Fringe Festival. Professor Angie Hart discussed how we can help children beat the odds with a capacity audience. She explored the practical use of a new approach to child development which she co-innovated, Resilient Therapy™. As part of the Brighton Festival principal research fellow Barry Barker also curated a display of second year student work in the Brighton Dome foyer. The display showcased student’s work from a range of courses across the Faculty of Arts and Architecture.
SCHOOL OF HEALTH PROFESSIONS
Wheelchair to revolutionise lives It also details the span of IT innovation from pricing UK doctors’ prescriptions to processing UK driving and vehicle licenses, from electronically reading handwritten timesheets for the British Rail payroll to electronically processing cattle passports in helping to solve the BSE crisis. Michael Aldrich and his team at ROCC computing provided the IT solutions for these projects and documented many of them. Thousands of people who were involved with these projects will be invited to contribute material and the online archive will be opened to the public in December.
Dr Anne Mandy met the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire when she donated a revolutionary wheelchair for stroke sufferers and hemiplegic patients to a user at a care home. The wheelchair, which was developed by a research team led by Anne, gives people who have lost the use of one arm and one leg the ability to propel a specially designed wheelchair with the use of their good arm and to steer with their good leg. The project was funded by the Department of Health.
SCHOOL OF ENVIRONMENT AND TECHNOLOGY
Many of our recent successes have been achieved through working in partnership, from increasing our student applications, which are up by 11 per cent against a national average of eight per cent, to securing extra student numbers at University Centre Hastings. One of our key strengths is our unique relationship with our partner colleges, and together we are collaborating to deliver foundation degrees (see page 12). These partnerships are helping people secure better jobs as well as providing a stepping stone into higher education. Our university in common with almost all educational organisations is operating in a turbulent economic situation; we can only make our way through these challenges by working in partnership and being innovative.
Channel Magazine May | June 2009
SCHOOL OF PHARMACY AND BIOMOLECULAR SCIENCES
Nobel Laureate addresses students
Dr Bob Howlett, from the School of Environment and Technology, chaired the first International Conference on Sustainability in Energy and Buildings at the university. Over 50 leading international researchers attended the conference which explored renewable energy technology and the application of sustainable technology in homes and offices. The event was organised by the KES international research and knowledge transfer organisation, with the support of the World Renewable Energy Network.
Sir Harry Kroto, from the Florida State University and winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry addressed staff and students in a lecture entitled Science, Society and Sustainability. Sir Harry discussed the major aim of empowering educators worldwide as well as sharing his insights into the role of science in society and its inextricable link in achieving sustainable communities.
to endorse the existing International Travel Management BA(Hons), and more travel management elements will be added to the syllabus. The move is the next step by ITM to professionalise the business travel industry through its academy project.
STUDENTS’ UNION AND CUPP
Brighton shortlisted for awards
Caroline Saul’s delicate work is made from recycled milk containers.
SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN
Sustainable design Recent graduate and designer Caroline Saul has exhibited a series of sculptures made from recycled plastic milk bottles at the Talente international design fair in Munich. The esteemed event showcases emerging world-class design talent and attracts industry professionals and design enthusiasts. Caroline applies her training in traditional craft techniques to issues currently affecting society. With her forward thinking approach to recycling she reworks milk bottles into delicate lace-like sculptural forms.
SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
Fellowship awarded The Imperial War Museum has awarded the title of Fellow in Holocaust Education to education senior lecturer Jane Cawdell. Jane participated in
the museums teacher fellowship programme, an 18-month programme which aims to create a national network of exceptional educators who will become recognised leaders in Holocaust education. Jane has also been accepted onto the InSight immersive learning programme with the museum which examines post-1945 conflict with site visits to Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic as well as London-based seminars.
Brighton has been shortlisted for the final stage of the prestigious Green Gown Awards 2009. In their fifth year, the awards recognise exceptional initiatives by higher and further education institutions across the UK to become more sustainable. The university’s Students’ Union has been shortlisted in the Student Initiatives category for their innovative student champions scheme which sees students trained as advocates of sustainable development in education. The scheme was set up after students expressed interest in increasing the sustainable development content and principles in their courses. The university’s Community University Partnership Programme (Cupp) has also been shortlisted in the Social Responsibility category. Cupp sees staff and local communities develop real solutions to real problems, using university resources to tackle disadvantage and promote sustainable development. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 23 June in the presence of the Minister for Higher Education and Intellectual Property, David Lammy MP.
SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN SCHOOL OF SERVICE MANAGEMENT
Professionalising the travel business industry The university and Institute of Travel Management (ITM) aim to launch a degree for the business travel and meetings sector in 2012. The organisations – which recently signed the agreement at ITM’s annual conference – will work together to create tailored degrees. ITM is also set
Graduate in BBC series The Apprentice has now come to the world of product design in a new BBC2 series, Design For Life, featuring 3D Design graduate Michael Cloke. Determined to shake up the world of British design, enfant terrible of product design Philippe Starck invited applications for places on a school of design he is setting up in Paris. Hundreds of would-be British designers applied and Philippe May | June 2009 Channel Magazine
whittled them down to the best 12, including Michael. Design For Life follows the fortunes of students who must battle it out to impress Philippe. At the end of the series, one lucky British designer will be rewarded with a six-month placement at his design agency.
SCHOOL OF PHARMACY AND BIOMOLECULAR SCIENCES
Funding for PhD awarded
Sunday Times, Hugh’s life in the trade has spanned more than half a century. His many award-winning feats – seventime Sports Journalist of the Year, the only British sportswriter to be voted Journalist of the Year and the only foreigner inducted into the US Boxing Hall of Fame – mark him out as a considerable source of inspiration. See eChannel for full details. SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN
Conflict in architecture The Hospital Infection Society has awarded Dr Brian Jones funding for a PhD studentship. The aim of the project is to use a molecular genetic approach to explore potential strategies for prevention and control of long-term catheterisation infections. Due to the high prevalence of such infections across the world, this research will be of international significance.
BRIGHTON BUSINESS SCHOOL
Grant from Marie Curie A Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant has been awarded to Dr Maura Sheehan to research managing global human resources in UK multinational corporations. The research will use economics and management theory to examine how UK-owned companies have made the decision to invest in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Partly due to the relatively closed political and economic systems that existed until the late 1980s in central Europe and Russia, these regions are under-researched in the areas of internationalisation, globalisation, and human resource management.
Sportswriting legend packs a punch Hugh McIlvanney, the most respected British sports journalist of modern times, gave the fourth Annual Sport Journalism Lecture, at Chelsea School, in which he discussed his glittering career. Best-known for his contributions to The Observer and, latterly, The 6
Channel Magazine May | June 2009
What will our cities look like in the future? How can conflict be depicted? Can we read the existing landscape to reveal underlining tensions? How might we visualise such relationships and ties in the future city? These questions were explored by architecture students, who participated in the national project and exhibition, Visualisations of the 21st Century City. The students worked with Building Futures, RIBA’s think tank, along with other architecture students from across the UK to identify and respond to changes that could take place in our towns and cities over the next twenty years.
SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN
Twentieth century comes to university Some 50 members of the Twentieth Century Society recently visited the university’s Grand Parade campus as part of the walking tour, Brighton Revisited with Pevsner. The event was organised by John Ritson, site manager from Estate and Facilities Management, in conjunction with the Faculty of Arts and Architecture, to help celebrate the art school’s one-hundredand-fiftieth anniversary. The society, which campaigns for the preservation of Britain’s architectural heritage from 1914 onwards, toured Grand Parade’s main building which has been cited as a prime example of Brighton’s postwar buildings. A talk was also given by an ex-staff member in Architecture and Design, who worked with Percy Billington, Brighton Borough Architect, on the development project.
SCHOOL OF COMPUTING MATHEMATICAL AND INFORMATION SCIENCES
Making statistics heard Keith Parramore, principal lecturer, has been appointed the Royal Statistical Society’s (RSS) Guy lecturer for 2009. Keith will be presenting a series of lectures aimed at sixth form and GCSE students to draw out the importance and widespread applicability of statistics in a serious but accessible way. The RSS is the UK’s only professional and learned society devoted to the interests of statistics and statisticians.
Football focus The university is amongst just ten institutions in the country to be chosen as a Football Development Focus University for the 2008–2009 season by the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS). The university will be working with BUCS to develop football in six main areas: football foundation, workforce, disability, intra mural, futsal, club links and charter standard. Michelle Bennet and Sarah Hogg attended a ceremony to accept the university’s plaque. Brighton already achieves a good level of quality with the men’s and women’s first teams competing in the BUCS Premier League.
SCHOOL OF HEALTH PROFESSIONS
Street physio comes to Eastbourne Staff from the physiotherapy clinic at the Leaf Hospital were out in force in Eastbourne town centre offering a free advisory service to over 40 locals suffering with musculoskeletal aches and pains. Chartered physiotherapists Matt Daly and Nikki Petty were joined by six physiotherapy students. The clinic provides advanced musculoskeletal physiotherapy assessment and treatment and is a university-run project, supported by East Sussex Community Health Services. The team will be out in Eastbourne again this summer offering advice. Visit www.leaftherapy.co.uk.
Expert decision maker? What makes elite sportsmen and women excel in their decision making? This issue is being explored by senior lecturers Nick Smeeton and Bill Filby, working with professional and semi-professional teams to research their anticipation and decision-making skills. The research focuses on investigating key differences between expert decision makers and their less skilled counterparts to help develop training programmes designed to improve anticipation and decision making skills. Their research has investigated sports such as, tennis, field hockey and football and is conducted in collaboration with Liverpool John Moores and the University of the Mediterranean, France.
The Plug Angie Hart, Professor of Child, Family and Community Health at the Centre for Nursing and Midwifery Research, has co-authored Helping children with complex needs bounce back – resilient therapy for parents and professionals. This is a tried-and-tested handbook for parents exploring Resilient Therapy™, an innovative way of strengthening children with complex needs. Angie collaborated on the publication with parent-led voluntary organisation, ART, which offers support for parents of children with special needs and disabilities. Thomas Carter’s book, The Quality of Home Runs: The Passion, Politics, and Language of Cuban Baseball, explores the passion, politics and language of Cuban Baseball. Thomas, a senior lecturer in the Chelsea School is an avid baseball fan, and draws on his experiences listening to and participating in discussions of baseball in Cuba to describe how baseball provides the ground for negotiations of national, masculine, and class identities. Brighton and Sussex Medical School lecturer Sue Eckstein debut novel, The Cloths of Heaven, is a dark comic story set in an ex-pat community in Africa in the early 1990s. The novel follows the lives of a High Commissioner and his wife, who are both enjoying illicit affairs, and explores loneliness and passion in the heat of Africa. Sue is an established playwright whose work has been performed on BBC Radio 4. Dr Mark Erickson, principal lecturer in sociology in the School of Applied Social Science, has co-authored a new book that applies the discipline of sociology to the study of business and organisations. Business in Society uses classic and contemporary ideas and evidence to explore the connections between people, work, organisations and society. Written for students approaching sociology for the very first time it is aimed at people taking degrees outside social sciences such as business studies, human resources and management. Accessible and inspirational, it will help students to grasp new and exciting possibilities for thinking about business in the contemporary world.
May | June 2009 Channel Magazine
STAFF IN FOCUS
Plumpton College Plumpton College has been running courses about wine, and producing award-winning wines, for over 20 years. Channel visited the college, set in the beautiful Sussex countryside, to find out more.
Walk into the Plumpton wine centre and you’ll see students working in the lab, a wine tasting lecture being given by the world’s foremost expert on Chilean wines, bottles of Plumpton wine being labelled ready for sale, and if you look out of the window you can see some of the vines. Huge metal vats dominate the winery, alongside traditional oak barrels where wine is gently maturing. Chris Foss is the head of department. He has worked in the French wine industry in the Entre-Deux-Mers, St-Emilion and Sauternes and has visited most winemaking regions in the world. Chris has been at Plumpton since the beginning of the college’s journey into wine. Hailing from a French wine-making family, he found himself at Plumpton via a microbiology degree at Leeds, the family vineyard in Bordeaux and a PGCE from Wolverhampton. In 1988 local vine growers asked the college to put on some wine-related courses. Soon Chris was running the vineyard and winery, and teaching a range of parttime courses. The big break came in 1996 when Plumpton started running full-time HND courses awarded by the university. Now they are running foundation degrees – Wine Business and Wine Production – and an honours degree, Viticulture and Oenology, the only wine degree taught in English in Europe. There are 100 full-time and 250 part-time students, and seven members of staff. Between them the staff have a huge amount of experience of making and selling wine in the UK and internationally. Two of them, Michael Currivan, assistant winemaker, and Peter Morgan, winemaker, are Plumpton graduates. Students benefit not only from the fabulous facilities, and the experience and enthusiasm of the wine team but also from their proximity to London, the centre of the wine trade, and to the winemaking regions of France. Regular trips are organised (a group was in Burgundy at the time of our visit, and they had been to Bordeaux in December 2008) and especially good links are being forged with winemakers in the Champagne region. They are learning new world 8
Channel Magazine May | June 2009
techniques of wine production (mostly developed in New Zealand and Australia) but are able to contrast and compare these with old world methods by visiting European winemakers, thus getting a very rounded and broad experience of the major wine markets in the world. Recent years have seen huge changes to the wine department at Plumpton. A new winery, lab and classroom facilities are in place. Wine sales have reached £60,000 per year. Looking to the future there are plans to develop postgraduate courses and to increase research outputs. They have achieved a lot and developed a resource that is difficult to match but there is still lots to do. Indeed breakthroughs are already being made on the research side, and one paper has already been published in the American Journal of Viticulture and Oenology. Research being explored includes sustainability programmes for the wine industry, the effects of climate change on English wine growers, and an examination of the aroma characteristics of the Bacchus grape (an aromatic white grape grown at Plumpton). Chris has his eyes set on Plumpton becoming a wine research centre of international reputation. More information at http://www.plumpton.ac.uk.
WHO’S WHO Chris Foss head of wine department Tony Milanowski winemaking lecturer Matthew Hudson wine business lecturer
Peter Morgan winemaker Michael Currivan assistant winemaker Kevin Sutherland vineyard manager Paul Harley wine sales manager
STAFF IN FOCUS
Left: Viticulture and Oenology, and Wine Production students Trudi Garwood, Gabriel Rodriguez, Andy Cooper and Philip Priddle work in the winery. Top: Chris Foss, head of wine at Plumpton. Bottom: Viticulture and Oenology student, Robert Lewis-Crosby operates the bottle filler.
May | June 2009 Channel Magazine
As the recession bites, will women bear the brunt? BY PROFESSOR JACQUELINE O’REILLY The inroads women have made into employment may be undermined by the recession if the government does not do more to reinforce principles of fairness at work, says Professor Jacqueline O’Reilly of the Brighton Business School. Figures released for the last three months of 2008 show over 56,000 full-time female jobs were lost compared to just over 36,000 male jobs. In the past 30 years we have seen a radical increase in women, and in particular, mums who work. Previous recessions were seen as only affecting traditional manufacturing, but this recession seems to be hitting across sectors and professions. Some sectors, however, will continue to grow, for instance, the care sector, where the issues will be more about falling pay and staff retention. What is certain is that across the board there is likely to be uncertainty and much fluctuation. The Fawcett Society, which campaigns for equal pay, has issued a report in response to concerns that women could be particularly vulnerable during the recession. It focuses on five key areas: discrimination, particularly for pregnant women and women on maternity leave; pay discrimination – women are paid on average 23 per cent less than men; availability of flexible working; promoting women to board level; and closing the gender skills gap. Even before the recession, women in the UK have faced particular challenges in the workplace: the highest childcare costs in Europe which have a knock-on effect on child poverty; the gender pay gap, which widens as women progress up the career 10 Channel Magazine May | June 2009
ladder; and the sidelining of parttime workers whose experience and skills are often underutilised and undervalued. In my view there are three main ways in which the government can provide better protection for women: • requiring all organisations to audit their pay for any bias and discrimination • tailoring training schemes to women’s needs, including childcare, and to older women who are returning to work after a career break • adopting quotas for FTSE companies to ensure better governance across the corporate sector. Unfortunately, there are no easy quick fixes to the kind of problems this recession is going to raise. If the government is wise and looks to the US, where Barak Obama won massive support for addressing inequality in his first days in office, it will keep equality issues on the agenda. If it really wants to tackle issues like child poverty, it has to keep a close eye on what is happening to the jobs and pay women are getting.
A tale of two women BY PROFESSOR TARA BRABAZON One audience ridiculed, laughed, mocked and abused. The middle-aged woman on the stage wore comfortable shoes and displayed non-coiffured hair and a face void of makeup. She had delusions of being Elaine Paige. This woman was as far from fame as Simon Cowell is from obscurity. The second audience was filled with pushy photographers. A woman walked off Air Force One. She was photographed. She sat and watched London school girls dance and perform. She was photographed. She lined up with the other wives of powerful men. She was photographed. It is like feminism never happened. A patriarchal ruthlessness accompanies our celebrity culture, mocking women for such minor infringements to the body politic as shoe selection, avoidance of sun beds and a dearth of hair care products. The desire for women to be silent, beautiful and compliant is understandable. A difficult woman occupies space, does not play by the rules of men in pin stripe suits and never speaks of experiences and expertise beyond the safe narratives of marriage, children and family. There is little room for women who are more than the sum of their body and face. Living and teaching in such a time is challenging. I look at our extraordinary young men and women in our lecture theatres and hear their fears that reading
and writing, thinking and scholarship are not a pathway to success. Celebrity culture requires the handmaiden of antiintellectualism to function. The smart and educated are watched, mocked and ridiculed. The Kate Moss effect – where the best woman is a silent woman – is hurting the development of our students and the empowerment of their future. Our students are right to be concerned. How much space is there in our lives for a brilliant, talented, articulate woman who may be the wrong side of forty five, the wrong side of the Dior/ Primark divide and who has not been sucked into having fat sucked out of her thighs by an over-eager surgeon with an eye for aesthetic perfection, not socially just politics? We need to look to the women around us, rather than aspire to the perfection derived from a surgeon’s knife. Michelle Obama and Susan Boyle are great women in different ways. Both can teach us about the paradoxes of femininity. But if they are not allowed to be fully fleshed, intelligent, compassionate and complex, then women will remain the ventriloquist’s dummy of
the powerful. Women have a right to sing and dance and laugh and sweat and cry and occupy space with energy and vigour. It is up to those of us – who have been given the gift of an education – to stand up for the diverse and interesting women in our culture. There is a well educated, politically aware woman in the White House. Unfortunately, she is the first lady, not the first lady president. But while she is treated like a coat hanger and not a person, women’s rights are not being respected, women’s voices are not being heard and women’s views are not being expressed. Michelle Obama is playing the game well. She lets her frocks speak, hoping that there may be a future opportunity to express her commitments to community activism, poverty and the education of girls and women. Susan Boyle has trodden a different path. She is defiantly difficult and defiantly different. It would be easy for her to enter one of those pseudo-celebrity programmes about makeovers, weight loss or dressing for her shape. A woman who has fulfilled the great – and still profoundly underappreciated – task of caring for her mother must be respected for her sacrifice, kindness and humility. She has a voice – a powerful, evocative and extraordinary voice. But her gift is far greater than a song. Susan Boyle has provided a flick knife to celebrity culture, bursting the lie that pretends that how we look is who we are.
For those of us who teach and write for a living, rather than sing for the hope of fame or dress well to support a husband, we need to use the fodder of popular culture to improve and enlarge the spaces for women and men in the media. Susan Boyle is a reminder that there are decent, talented and defiant women who have been excluded from the main game of life not only through their personal decisions, but by public perceptions. Every day, we choose to see botoxed, airbrushed, liposucked and hairextended presenters with few qualifications beyond the identity of their husband, their bank balance, their name, their height or their weight. At universities we must applaud the well educated women who graduate each year and encourage them to sing, laugh and live a life of size and grandeur, risk and challenge. Women should not be limited by the frame of a tabloid camera or a talent show with a taste for the grotesque. We need to hear what Susan Boyle is telling us through her voice and see what Michelle Obama is reminding us through her clothes. If we listen carefully then we can hear their whisper. Make choices. Be extraordinary. Challenge. Defend. Probe. Question. But most importantly, live a life of commitment and excellence rather than bending to the predictable patterns of the mediocre and the banal.
May | June 2009 Channel Magazine 11
Michael Tierney was working in the children’s services department of a local authority. He had always dreamt of doing an arts degree, but had never had the opportunity. All that changed when he won a scholarship to do a foundation degree at Sussex Coast College in Hastings, one of the university’s five local partner colleges. Now, with an exhibition behind him, a whole new world has opened up. He is selling his work, studying for a full degree and has plans to do a masters and move onto “a bigger stage”.
BRIGHTON’S ALLIANCES WITH PARTNER COLLEGES 12 Channel Magazine May | June 2009
May | June 2009Michael Channel Magazine 13 Tierney, May 2009
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Michael is one of a growing number of students who have benefited from the University of Brighton’s partnerships with local colleges. Figures show that since 2001 when Brighton and several other universities launched their first foundation degrees, the courses have become one of the fastest growing areas of further education. In fact, some 80 per cent of our foundation degrees are taught in partnership with further education colleges around the region. The advantages of foundation degrees are clear says Professor Stuart Laing, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Academic Affairs. They offer two development opportunities for students – a stepping stone to a better job and a route into higher education. Colleges offer two-year foundation degrees. Many are closely linked to local industry with work placements often a part of the course, significantly broadening people’s job opportunities. Students can also top up their foundation degrees to a full honours degree with further opportunity to progress to postgraduate study. Brighton offers 58 foundation degrees through its partnership with Sussex Downs College in Eastbourne, Sussex Coast College in Hastings, Sussex Downs College in Lewes, Plumpton College and City College Brighton and Hove. Courses range from animal science and motor vehicle technology to garden design, business, computing and event management. Their closeness to local businesses means they are highly flexible and can respond to changing needs, whether in teaching or research. Professor Laing says: “As the development of foundation degrees gathers momentum, they are proving to be a very effective vehicle for widening access by attracting new types of students and developing a highly skilled workforce in key areas of the economy.” Michael Tierney is convinced his foundation course was a good idea. “I definitely made the right decision to re-enter education at this stage in my life,” he says.
Overview of partnership colleges City College Brighton and Hove Nestling in the heart of Brighton, a stone’s throw from the North Laine shopping area, the college was set up over 100 years ago and offers a wide range of courses to a wide range of students. Its foundation degrees include food and culinary arts, tourism and fine art. Sussex Coast College Hastings Formerly known as Hastings College, the College will have a new home from September in the Station Plaza next to Hastings station and will form a key part of local regeneration plans. Its foundation degrees vary from illustration and graphic communication to engineering and sport.
Plumpton College Based in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Plumpton offers courses in practical, land-based areas such as equine studies, countryside management and veterinary nursing. Sussex Downs College The college has two sites, in Eastbourne and in Lewes. Courses range from music production, sport and coaching development to digital media design and complementary healthcare.
Student stories Michael Keogh Nineteen-year-old Michael first realised he had a flare for cooking when he did his GCSEs. His ambition is to become a professional chef and own his own restaurant. He says the food and culinary arts foundation degree at City College Brighton and Hove offered him the chance not just to hone his cookery skills but to develop management techniques. He says a highlight of the foundation course was a bistro evening when he took charge of making a dish for a local restaurant. James Brooker James, 22, was studying Advanced Business Studies and Law and wanted to do something a bit more creative so he signed up for a foundation degree in digital media design at Sussex Downs College. He says the course has given him more confidence in his creative skills. “Before the course I was never really one for committing myself to anything that meant hard work,” he says. “But the course makes the work fun.” A highlight for him was an internship at ITV which he had to win by pitching his work to an ITV director. He hopes to do a masters course. Michael Tierney Michael is a latecomer to the study of fine art. At 34, he had spent his life wanting to do art, but had never found the opportunity to do so. He took a foundation degree at Sussex Coast College in Hastings and hasn’t looked back. His current work focuses on the background figures in paintings and photos, the strangers in the back of holiday snaps, but he is also interested in the concept of space, context and movement. For instance, one of his works is of pixels cascading out of a an image onto the floor. Not only has he won a scholarship for his work, but he has exhibited with colleagues at the Arts Forum in St Leonards. He hopes to top up his degree and do a masters. Zoe Butler Zoe wanted to combine her interest in animal welfare, animal science and medicine so a foundation degree in veterinary nursing at Plumpton College was perfect for her. She enjoys the practical side of being in theatre, but is also keen to develop her research skills. Thirty-five year old Zoe, who is determined to become a veterinary nurse, says the course has given her confidence that she is not bad at science. She says: “The scientific modules have been my strong point, proving there is a budding scientist in all of us...maybe not an Einstein, but certainly a Johnny Ball!”
May | June 2009 Channel Magazine 15
The electronic games business From shoot-‘em-ups to sing-‘em-ups, Britain’s video games developers are still leading the way Article courtesy of Britain in 2009, ESRC.
British developers are pioneers in the electronic games industry. It’s well known that they have been successful in the shooter genre, with games like 2008 blockbuster Grand Theft Auto IV, developed by RockStar North. But there are also big hits in the emerging genre of games appealing to women, families and retired people, including the SingStar franchise of karaoke games for PlayStation, created by Sony’s London Studio. The conventional view of games focuses on the evolution of consoles like the PlayStation and Xbox with ever-greater processing power and more complicated controllers. Traditions have quickly been established in this young industry to aim for photo-realistic graphics and gaming experiences simulating battle, racing and flying. Understandably these products appeal to the core market males aged 15–35. Yet the outstanding success of the Nintendo Wii, with its family flavour and women-friendly products like Wii Fit and Wii Sports, has taken the industry by surprise. Add the sustained popularity among older people of the brain training category of handheld games, and the landscape of this major consumer industry is clearly shifting. Research by Centrim’s Dr Jonathan Sapsed, an ESRC Innovation Fellow of the Advanced Institute for Management Research, shows how British developers are producing pioneering products in these new genres. SingStar, for example, has been an early and enduring hit, and
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not only with the young female market for which it was designed. Originally the concept involved a storyline with songs, but it was later pared down to its core appeal: a social, singing experience. This is now being extended to video sharing of performances on the PlayStation Network as thousands of international SingStar fans participate. Another British hit is the Buzz! franchise of quiz games, which involves gamers playing with buzzers in a TV quiz show. Buzz! is designed by Brighton-based Relentless Software, which makes special efforts to hire women and non-traditional gamers, and to provide a work environment with regular, familyfriendly hours. With his colleagues Juan Mateos-Garcia and Dr Andrew Grantham at the university Dr Sapsed is researching how work practices are aligning with the market innovations that British studios are producing. The project is funded by the ESRC and EPSRC. The industry is emerging from its early adolescence and blooming into new areas of maturity. There are still shoot-‘em-ups – but now there are sing-‘em-ups too.
Nicotine may prevent bioterrorism damage
This will build on their research into urban agriculture in Middlesbrough, where they worked with about 1,000 people living and working in the town to increase local food production and reduce food miles.
Brighton scientists say they’ve determined nicotine can delay the effects of ricin used during a bioterrorism attack.
Andre from the university, who was also a member of the steering group that developed the successful lottery bid said: “This project will move us one step further towards testing the viability of urban agriculture as an essential element of sustainable urban infrastructures.”
Jon Mabley and his colleagues at the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences found nicotine works to block the tissue-destroying effects of ricin – a highly toxic compound derived from castor beans. The study was conducted in laboratory models, but the scientists said nicotine agonists could potentially be used in patients exposed to ricin as a stopgap measure before other treatments take effect. The Brighton investigators studied the effect of nicotine on animals exposed to ricin and found it reduced organ damage and improved survival. “The protective effect of nicotine appears to be associated with its anti-inflammatory effect, suggesting a possible therapeutic strategy of activating the cholinergic antiinflammatory pathway following ricin exposure to protect against multiple organ failure,” the scientists said. “The overall effect of nicotine on maintaining liver and kidney function, while reducing systemic inflammation, may account for the reduced mortality observed with ricin exposure.” Activation of the anti-inflammatory cholinergic pathway is now undergoing testing to reduce inflammation in a wide range of diseases. The study appeared in the journal Molecular Medicine.
Putting down roots in Brighton Across Brighton & Hove, roof-top gardens, window-boxes and parkland vegetable patches will start taking root thanks to a £500,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund. The four-year project, called Harvest Brighton and Hove, promotes local food growing initiatives, and is led by the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership and Food Matters, with partners including the university, Brighton and Hove Allotment Federation and Brighton & Hove City Council. Brighton & Hove is one of the first projects in England to receive beacon status, meaning that the project is of national significance. Researchers, Andre Viljoen and Katrin Bohn from the university’s School of Architecture and Design will develop an urban agriculture map for Brighton & Hove, making recommendations about how the city can accommodate food growing sites.
The project will promote food growing in allotments, gardens, parks and in vacant land around public buildings and on housing estates. It will explore how urban food production can help reduce the carbon footprint of the city, tackle obesity and diet-related disease, and contribute to a more sustainable food system in the future. Researchers in the School of Environment and Technology will also evaluate the success of the entire project. Professor Neil Ravenscroft said: “We will be responsible for establishing a framework to assess the extent to which Harvest Brighton and Hove meets its goals, and for helping those involved to assess their contributions to these goals.”
British-Asian cricketers suffering racism Some of the growing number of English county cricketers of Asian ethnicity say they have experienced racist comments from fans and occasionally from other players, new research from the university claims. A study recently presented to the British Sociological Association’s annual conference in Cardiff, says that those of Asian ethnicity are often under pressure to not report it or to underplay its effects. Dr Daniel Burdsey from the university interviewed around half of the 25 or so British-Asian first-class cricketers, and six British-Asian cricket coaches for his paper Obscured by the sight screen? English cricket, British-Asian identities and colour-blind racism. He notes that detailed testimonies from individual players included “reports that on-field occurrences of racism have been covered up by captains and match officials”. He also notes among spectators various examples of comments such as Muslim players being mocked for their beards or their names.
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Mystery of animal sex change NEW STUDIES SHOWS FUNGUS MAY BE TO BLAME Most animals, like humans, have separate sexes – they are born, live out their lives and reproduce as one sex or the other. However, some animals live as one sex in part of their lifetime and then switch to the other sex, a phenomenon called sequential hermaphroditism. What remains a puzzle is what causes this.
Researchers at Brighton have demonstrated for the first time that fungi may have a role in sex change. Dr Christy Hunter has identified that fungi can generate androgens, such as testosterone, which stimulate and cause male characteristics in animals.This is achieved by an enzyme contained in the fungi that carries out this biotransformation. More than 1.5m species of fungi are thought to exist globally including mould, yeast and toadstools but only 7,400 species have been described. Even if just a few contain this particular enzyme it could represent a significant biological machine for generating environmental androgens and causing sex change in animals. “Up until now the triggers for sex change in animals have been relatively unexplained,” says Christy. “This is a novel source and no one has made the link that fungi can generate androgens which may have significant presence in the environment.” He explains: “The enzyme in fungi converts a compound called dehydroisoepiandrosterone (DHEA) which is the most commonly circulated steroid in your body. If you’re female this gets changed into 17 beta-estradiol and in males it gets converted into testosterone. So this pre-cursor compound is the most abundant one in humans and ultimately it will define what our sex actually is. “What I found with fungi is that they convert this (DHEA) into androgens – male sex hormones. Furthermore when animals die, their adrenal glands contain significant quantities of this compound. In the decomposition process this chemical is yielded and there is a definite possibility that these are actually biotransformed into active androgenic compounds. Hence how it gets into the environment. So the actual source is dead animals and the actual biotransformation to sex hormones is brought about by these fungi.
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Christy is investigating the level at which this phenomenon is operating. “Steroid hormones are very active in small quantities, so can they increase or even decrease masculinity? Certainly if you look at fish species you can actually get them to change from male to female and from female to male. If you look into the Great Barrier Reef for example, every 90 days you get fish changing from female to male and it happens on a continued cycle. “Fungi can be found in aquatic environments and are attached to corals and you have this symbiotic relationship between the two. They can produce steroids with androgen structures so again it might be another source – where fungi are actually triggering the sex change in fish.” What is particularly exciting about Christy’s work is that his final-year undergraduate pharmacy students are contributing to his research. “Over the past few years I designed final-year student projects to generate papers. I have had seven papers published in international journals in conjunction with students. Educationally this is really important – it shows that students are producing work of a good enough standard to get published in a scientific journal.” Christy will now extend his work to humans. “I’m really interested in what happens to steroids in a human body when it decomposes. Do they get totally destroyed or do they actually leach out into the surrounding environment? “If we can show that there is a link, this will give another route into the environment of where these androgens can actually come from. If we can find the level that this is occurring which generates something that can affect mammals, it will show a link between lower organisms, fungi and higher organisms, mammals.”
Dr Christy Hunter
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WHY I BECAME
WHY I BECAME…
A media technician Pat Moore has worked in audio for over 25 years. Starting out on Radio Caroline, Pat has enjoyed a career which has taken him all over the world, working with the likes of Sir Paul McCartney. Twenty years later Pat returned to education studying broadcast media at the University Centre Hastings where he now works as a media technician managing its world-class broadcasting facilities. How did you come to work on Radio Caroline? As a teenager I made pirate radio shows; I built the transmitters, recorded the shows on tape, and broadcast over the weekend. At 17 I sent my demo tapes to the owner of Radio Caroline and two weeks later I was on a fishing boat chugging my way 22 miles into the North Sea where the ship was anchored. I spent about four months presenting the early shift. How did your career progress to work with Sir Paul McCartney? After leaving the boat I presented a daily radio show at HMV in Oxford Street for a year. During this time I wrote to Paul McCartney’s studio to see if they had any jobs. They offered me a role as tea boy and I remained at the studio for seven years working my way up to the in-house sound engineer. What made you decide to go back into education? I left school with few qualifications and after 20 years in the industry, I wanted a change from the general madness of the recording industry. I loved the work but knew I couldn’t do it forever and needed to get some qualifications to move into a technical role. It was around this time I saw an advert for the broadcast media course. What does your job as media technician involve? I manage the broadcast media equipment that students use for their projects. I demonstrate how to use it and help with technical issues, and look after the main editing teaching room as well as the radio station and the TV studio. Our equipment is industry standard and better than you would find at the BBC.
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How has the industry changed in the last 25 years? When I started, everything was analogue, we used 24-track tape and edited it with razors, nowadays everything is digital using computers and cut and paste. When I started you could work your way up from a tea boy, but now you need to take an audio course at university. This is good but I also think learning on the job in real situations teaches you about working with people for long periods of time. What has been the highlight of your career? There are two highlights: the first was going on a world tour with Sir Paul McCartney and then spending three months mixing his live album. The second was recording the single Free As A Bird, with Paul, George Harrison, Ringo Star, Jeff Lynne and Beatles engineer, Geoff Emerick, using a recording of John Lennon singing a few verses of the song. This was my last recording session with Paul and was really special. The university recently launched a new student radio station at UCH, Burst Radio, which is now broadcasting worldwide over the internet at www.burstradio.co.uk.
When I started, everything was analogue, we used 24-track tape and edited it with razors, nowadays everything is digital using computers and cut and paste. When I started you could work your way up from a tea boy.
SCIENCE IN BRIEF
STEM CELL RESEARCH:
The ethics of genetics Repairing tendons and cartilage is just one of the potential applications for stem cells that Professor Darrell Evans, at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School is researching. The professor of developmental tissue biology explains this expanding area of science.
What is the future for stem cell research? How can treatments get from bench top to bedside? It is difficult to say. There is certainly a lot of promise and a number of studies have already shown that stem cells are able to build and repair some tissues, particularly using adult stem cells. But at present we do not know what the long-term effects of such therapies are and scientists must investigate this at the bench before embarking on extensive clinical trials. It is therefore quite likely that we will have to continue to be patient as there is probably some way to go before any therapies can be utilised on a large scale.
What is stem cell research in a nutshell? There are many definitions of stem cells, although I would characterise them as immature cells that have the ability to continually renew themselves through cell division and to specialise into a diverse range of cell types. Stem cell research is looking at ways that these cells can be used to repair or regenerate tissues.
What inspired you to get into this field? I have always been interested in the human body and that is why I became an anatomist. Looking at the body’s tissues and organs makes me want to know how they first develop and also how we might repair them when they are damaged or become diseased.
How can it be used in everyday life? Stem cell research is exciting because there is great potential to develop therapies for a wide range of conditions and diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s. If someone suffers with arthritis, for instance, stem cells might be able to be used to form new cartilage within a diseased joint thus repairing any damage.
Who inspires you as a scientist? As a biologist and naturalist I am inspired by people such as Gerald Durrell and David Attenborough, but closer to my research field scientists such as Lewis Wolpert and Drew Noden have really influenced my thinking and development.
As a biologist and naturalist I am inspired by people such as Gerald Durrell and David Attenborough
Why does stem cell research cause controversy? Stem cells can come from both the embryo and the adult but it is really embryonic stem cells that are more controversial as these cells are obtained from human embryos and therefore a number of people object to this line of research. Recently restrictions on embryonic stem cell research have been lifted in the US and this will undoubtedly lead to a resurgence of interest in the development of potential new stem cell therapies. What is your expertise in the area? We think that many of our tissues may have stem cell-like populations residing within them which may have the potential to repair tissues. My lab is looking at the cells that form musculoskeletal tissues such as tendon and cartilage and to see whether we can manipulate and re-programme particular cells to redevelop these tissues thus creating a potential repair mechanism. May | June 2009 Channel Magazine 21
SOWING THE SEEDS OF CHANGE
Brighton’s Environmental Action Networks make impact Fancy creating compost, saving water or planning a new cycle route? These are just a few examples of the successes being achieved by the university’s Environmental Action Network (EAN). Aldrich library staff are now able to create their own mulch at Cockcroft after setting up a composting system. Heather Currell and Abby Barras used the Falmer EAN to join up with fellow cyclists and create a cyclists’ route guide for Falmer staff and students. Heather says: “The EAN, being still very new, has given us a brilliant opportunity to improve the needs and issues of current cyclists at Falmer, as well as providing the potential to encourage and support new cyclists.” Cath Couper highlighted how 1,000s of gallons of water were being wasted because of old taps running for too long. New, less wasteful taps will soon be installed. She says: “I attended a sustainability [EAN] meeting during my lunch break. It was very informal and we were asked if we had any suggestions to make. I mentioned the taps – I am amazed and delighted that something is going to happen from my simple observation.” Through the EAN, you can become an environmental champion like Penny Gilbey. She and her team ran an awareness-raising campaign to highlight water wastage. She says: “Teaming up with others via the EAN meant that ideas that I had never before been able to actualise suddenly became possible. Because of my work job as a senior technician in pharmacy I was able to visually demonstrate using 3D containers the volume of water that is wasted every day against the amount of water you actually need.” Colleagues in Eastbourne are encouraging and being encouraged to forego bottled water in favour of more environmentally friendly water fountains. What do they do? The network is not just about tackling environmental issues. The aim of the EAN is becoming much broader, to encompass all aspects of sustainable development in university business. To emphasise this some have already changed their name to Sustainability Action Network (SAN). It’s an open forum for academics,
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support staff and students to bring up their own agenda items and decide ways forward. The chair facilitates, and ensures that the ideas are heard by the deans. But the action is driven by local participants. Grassroots action Each site has its own meetings, at least once each term. Some staff might decide to work together locally, like liaising with Estate and Facilities Management on a local campus issue, arranging an away day, or investigating ways to use less paper in their office. But often actions and ideas brought up at one site provide lessons for the others. Broader change These networks are also a forum for channeling suggestions and requests on broader initiatives to the Sustainable Development Policy Management Group (SDPMG), such as curriculum ideas and transport plans. These are discussed, actioned where possible, and minuted, and the SDPMG then feeds back to the EAN groups. Who attends? The meetings are open to the entire university community – and sometimes include people from outside who have been invited to let us know about wider sustainability initiatives. Professor Stuart Laing, Pro-Vice-Chancellor said: “At Brighton we have made a commitment to respond to the imperatives and obligations of sustainable development, environmentally and educationally. This cannot be achieved without grass-roots activities, and the Environmental Action Networks held termly at each campus are a way to facilitate that.”
The compost system at Cockcroft was established a year ago and is funded by the local sustainability in action fund.
STAFF IN FOCUS
Sarah Benjamin Sarah Benjamin works as a sports science support officer, in the Chelsea School’s Sports Science Consultancy. She joined the university as she wanted to work with athletes and apply her sports science knowledge. MONDAY
A 78-year-old man came in for tests to see how we can help him improve his health. We started with baseline testing, recording physiological variables at different levels of exercise intensity. I can now recommend the type and intensity of exercise that should be undertaken to maximise his aerobic capacity. We performed a lactate threshold test, lung function assessments, and a movement assessment, which will allow us to provide a conditioning program based on his body’s strengths, weaknesses and imbalances. The session was really rewarding as the man was very enthusiastic and amazed by what can be achieved using modern sports science.
Today I helped a student conducting research into gas analysis during exercise at different intensities. He is looking at expired air on a breath-bybreath basis using a Medisoft computer system. In the evening I worked with a young tennis player, giving her psychological support. The session identified the issues that are affecting her game and provided some interventions to help her address these problems on court.
I wrote up a report for the athlete I tested on Monday and sent it to him so that he can start his programme. I also wrote up the results recorded from the school visit on Tuesday and sent this to them for use in their lessons. I began to prepare a psychology session which I am to deliver at a school launching a gifted and talented programme. This is quite challenging, as the athletes range from year 7 to year 11, and the session lasts for three hours. I am including a lot of interactive components, as well giving the athletes key messages to take away.
I went to London with Jo Doust, head of Chelsea School to hold a focus group with a ramblers’ organisation. The aim of the group was to determine the effectiveness of a programme called Get Walking Keep Walking. We questioned participants on different topics, and will use the information and quotes to produce a report highlighting the positive aspects of the scheme as well as those which could be improved. It was great to see that the scheme has been a big success with the participants.
Children from Tonbridge Grammar School came in for a sports science taster day. This involved a lab tour of the facilities we use to test athletes, and for our sport and exercise science research. They were shown the environmental chamber used for replicating different environmental conditions, the altitude training tent, the Vicon motion capture system which records human movement and the force plates which measure forces in three different planes. The students performed a VO2max test which measures aerobic fitness – this allowed them to put into practice a lot of the theory they cover in their GCSE/A-level syllabuses.
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Events INAUGURAL LECTURE
Lew Perren Strategic Discourses: views from my shed Date Venue Time
Thursday 4 June G8 lecture theatre, Mithras House 6.30pm
Top to bottom: Lew Perren’s inaugural lecture poster. Work from Illustration student, Kyle Bean, to be shown at this year’s Burt Brill and Cardens Graduate Show.
University of Brighton Burt Brill and Cardens Graduate Show 2009 Date Venue Time
6–11 June Grand Parade Sat 12noon–8pm, Sun 12noon–6pm, Mon–Wed 10am–8pm, Thu 10am–4pm (tickets not required)
University of Brighton London Fashion Show Date Venue Time
Friday 12 June East Winter Gardens, E14 6.30pm (by invitation only)
University of Brighton Summer Award Ceremonies Date Venue Time
28–31 July Brighton Dome 10am–4.30pm
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LEW PERRINposter 3:Mark Power (photography) 08/05/2009 16:13 Page 1
Ai Iijima presents symbolic scissors for newlyweds that ‘cut through a life for the future’ also to be shown at the graduate show. Designs from Sarah Nicholls’ and Catherine Gerard’s collections to be showcased at this year’s Brighton Fashion Show.
Strategic discourses: views from my shed Lew Perren Professor of Management Research Thursday 4 June 2009 at 6.30pm Lecture Theatre G8 Mithras House University of Brighton Brighton BN2 4AT All are welcome – if you would like to attend please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Channel, the University of Brighton magazine.