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A SPORTING CHANCE: How we are backing our athletes It’s all about:

Widening participation

NOV | DEC09


Editor Rebecca Haroutunian Communications manager Assistant editor Phil Mills 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 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.

Contact details Channel Marketing and Communications Mithras House Lewes Road Brighton BN2 4AT +44 (0)1273 643022 communications@brighton.ac.uk Send your news to communications@brighton.ac.uk. Front page image Roanna Simmons and Simon Ledwith 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.

Next editions of Channel January–February 2010 Copy deadline 18 December Distributed on 01 February


Contents Regular features News

12

04–07 Round-up News from across the university

16 Research briefing Saving the chimps

Lead features 12–15 Lead article A sporting chance

18–19 Research feature From conflict to community

Features 08–09 Staff in focus Inside UCH 10 Opinion The difficulties of coming to university from the care system 11 Quality education Out of Africa

22 Why I became... Widening Participation Manager 23 On campus Check out Checkland 24 Events

20–21 In conversation... Our first professor of Fine Art

10 11

18–19

November | December 2009 Channel Magazine 03


UNIVERSITY ROUND-UP

Comment By Professor Stuart Laing Pro-Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs)

The New Year promises to herald the most significant change of direction for UK HE since 1997. The recent ‘Mandelson’ framework for higher education, the fees review and imminent public sector funding reductions are all creating more than usual turbulence across all English universities. Most have reacted by huddling together even more into their ‘mission groups’ – the Russell Group for the toffs, 1994 for the would-be toffs, the Million Plus group for those stuck outside the sweet shop window and the Alliance for all those who don’t like – or can’t get into – any of the other groups. At Brighton we have decided that membership of any of these groups would constitute a narrowing of our ambition and sense of purpose – as well as further fuelling that corrosive divisiveness which is leading to the promotion of short-term institutional self interest dressed up as high principle. This independence makes it much easier to take a clear-eyed view of such hugely significant, but increasingly contested, policy issues as widening participation (WP). While all political shades of opinion mouth support for WP, it remains operationally a ‘wicked issue’. At Brighton, for example, as our courses become ever more popular with increasingly highly-qualified students (while student numbers are capped), it becomes more difficult each year to ensure fairness and equality of treatment for all applicants. In this situation we are committed to advancing a broad and expanding view of what WP means. In our recent policy statement to HEFCE we noted our rapidly expanding foundation degree portfolio (many delivered by our college partners), our development of University Centre Hastings and the Cupp programme as examples of how WP involves reshaping the institution as well as enabling access to existing programmes. Meanwhile we are continuing to grapple with issues of adaptations to both facilities and understandings to meet the requirements of disability legislation and we need to redefine our policy objectives with regard to black and minority ethnic (BME) participation and broad issues of cultural and social diversity. It has been a hallmark of this university for the past two decades that we have been highly permeable, tolerant and accommodating to all who can benefit from association with us. In the tougher times ahead it will be even more essential not to be wholly distracted by issues of shortterm survival and to keep our eye on this defining sense of purpose.

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FACULTY OF ARTS Visiting Fellow The School of Humanities is hosting a visiting research fellow, Dr Alice Feldman, a lecturer in the School of Sociology at University College Dublin (UCD). Dr Feldman is co-director of the Migration and Citizenship Research Initiative and is visiting Brighton as a Marie Curie Transfer of Knowledge fellow in the programme ‘Toward a Egalitarian and Socially Inclusive Europe’. The aim of the transfer programme is to develop organisational capacity in interdisciplinary approaches to equality and social justice and, specifically to develop the Egalitarian World Initiative (EWI) at UCD. The School of Humanities is a partner in the Marie Curie programme and, in 2008, it hosted the visit of another transfer fellow, Dr Geraldine Moane. Dr Feldman’s current work focuses on the evolving notions of ‘identity’ and ‘heritage’ in the contexts of everyday social and civic life that are obscured and silenced by official, nationalist/ state-based discourses and practices. It draws on the experiences and creative agency of both ‘host’ and new migrant residents, articulated through a variety of media and methodologies, to gain greater insights into the dynamics of inclusion and belonging in the ‘new’ Ireland. She can be contacted at alice. feldman@ucd.ie (mobile: +353 868223068). See also www.ucd.ie/ sociology and www.ucd.ie/mcri.

UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON On the beat Meet PC Donna Bagguley who is working full-time with the university and students on crime prevention and community issues.

This is the first time the university has part-funded a police officer and Donna will spread her time between all five campuses. The initiative is designed to improve communications and the flow of safety and crime prevention messages. Donna will be working closely with Kevin Mannall, the university’s community liaison officer, who said: “Donna is based at Crowhurst Road police station in Hollingbury, Brighton, close to my offices in the Exion 27 building. “Donna will not be confined to just our Brighton campuses at Grand Parade, Moulsecoomb and Falmer. She will be just as active at our other sites, in Eastbourne and Hastings, and at our halls of residence.” To contact Donna, call the Sussex Police non-emergency line, 0845 6070 999, extension 12551, or email donna. bagguley@sussex.pnn.police.uk or d.bagguley@brighton.ac.uk.

DEVELOPMENT AND ALUMNI Record Breaker The university has smashed the 50,000 barrier – that’s how many former students we now keep in touch with. Sam Davies, director of Development and Alumni, tasked with forming lifelong relationships with alumni, said: “We’re thrilled with having such a large family, but we want more. We believe there’s another 50,000 out there that we want to bring into the fold.” She explained: “It’s important to us to play a role in the lives of our alumni whether they graduated this year or 40 years ago. We are there for alumni in both good times and during more challenging periods – the current economic climate is a good example of this and we have invested in expanding our careers provision. “We provide ongoing help in careers advice, professional development


UNIVERSITY ROUND-UP

FACULTY OF EDUCATION AND SPORT Chelsea School Students on the Postgraduate Certificate in Education PE course held an afternoon of health-related activities for year 10 pupils studying GCSE physical education at Seaford Head Community College. Pupils were given advice on diet, nutrition and exercise. They took part in fitness tests and were shown how to monitor fitness levels. They also learnt the principles of cardiovascular fitness and how the body functions before, during and after exercise. First year students taking the BA Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) course took to mountain bikes to help them understand how physical activity contributes to healthy functioning of the body and mind. The aim was to explore ways in which emotional wellbeing, healthy weight management, toned muscles, healthy skin and a healthy heart can all be achieved through physical outdoor activity. Seventy-five QTS PE students started their academic careers with teambuilding activities, trust games and problem-solving scenarios as part of their foundation studies in outdoor education.

and networking opportunities and also organise events and reunions to allow alumni to meet up with former classmates or to attend lectures on the latest research and other activities being undertaken here today.�

Sam said the Brighton Graduation Association was using all modern means to keep in touch, including Facebook and Twitter. Anyone wanting to reconnect can visit www.brighton.ac.uk/bga

Above: PC Donna Bagguley

They worked in groups to plan, perform and evaluate a four-hour walk over the Seven Sisters hills at Beachy Head, culminating in a raft-building session at the Cuckmere Valley Canoe Centre. Students also completed navigational exercises, camp craft and orienteering. Sessions involved students from the German Sports University in Cologne who are at Chelsea School as part of the Erasmus exchange programme. Postgraduate physical education and dance students held a day of activities on health awareness and their roles as physical education and dance teachers in developing physically-active pupils in secondary schools. Mountain biking, cheerleading, the team sport kin-ball and Latin American aerobic dancing all featured in the students’ programme.

November | December 2009 Channel Magazine 05


UNIVERSITY ROUND-UP

BRIGHTON AND SUSSEX MEDICAL SCHOOL The mobile reference tool Hand-held computers are helping students research clinical information in seconds in a trial at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS). The mobile medical educational project (MoMED), run by BSMS, a partnership between the universities of Brighton and Sussex, is the first large-scale trial of its kind in the UK. Student doctors in years three, four and five are pioneering the use of Personal Digital Assistants or PDAs which give instant access to medical reference libraries to help with their learning.

UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON A uniform approach Uniforms have been familiar sights around the university for some time but now a new one has been spotted in our corridors of learning. The dark blues worn by personnel from East and West Sussex fire and rescue services have been seen for the past year in and around the university’s Business School where senior representatives from both fire services have been studying towards the Chartered Management Institute Diploma in Management and Leadership. They have now been joined by the white shirts and black trousers of Sussex Police student officers. Previously seen only in plain clothes, the officers are wearing ‘shirtsleeve-order’ uniforms on campuses at Mithras House, Falmer, Eastbourne and on the Bognor campus of the University of Chichester. Peter Stock, himself a former Sussex Police officer and now assistant head of the university‘s Business School, said the initiative was part of the ongoing development of the Sussex Police partnership and the student officers’ foundation certificate programme.

UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON Timetable for Diversity Week A timetable has been established for Diversity Week 2009, a selection of free events for university staff and students themed around the ideas of Race, Internationalisation and Culture. It is hoped they will offer the opportunity to learn more about these issues as well as about current research and good practice that is taking place throughout the year at the university. Please note that events are subject to change and that the timetable, published under Events on the back page of this edition of Channel, will be updated regularly, so please check for the most up-to-date version at www.brighton.ac.uk/equality.

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Anyone with feedback about the events can email equality@brighton.ac.uk or call Annie Carroll, Student Equality and Diversity Adviser on 01273 642852.

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT Congratulations Clare Griffiths, business development manager (entrepreneurship), won the title Enterprise Champion in the new National Enterprise Educators Awards for enterprise education within extracurricular activity. The award came with £1,000 for the university to support her work. It was presented during the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Educations UK conference.

Above: Medical students testing handheld computers as part of a BSMS trial.


UNIVERSITY ROUND-UP

FACULTY OF ARTS Double award Louisa Taylor, a lecturer of ceramics on the BA/MDes 3D Design and Materials Practice course won two prizes at the Origin Craft fair, held at Somerset House, London. Louisa’s stackable tableware and new collection of vases were selected from 150 exhibitors for the Evening Standard Homes and Property Award: Best Domestic Product 2009. The prize was a feature article in the newspaper by journalist Corinne Julius. The following day Louisa received the UK Trade and Investment Silver Award for Creativity, Innovation and Potential to Export. She was awarded £500 to fund a research trip to the ‘Dining, Giving and Living’ event at the Ambiente Design Fair, Frankfurt in February 2010.

FACULTY OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SCIENCE Well done Trudy! Trudy Ward, former senior lecturer and practice educator with the School of Nursing and Midwifery, was awarded the 2009 Action for Sick Children Norah Rees Award for her masters dissertation. She was presented with the £500 award at the charity’s annual conference in Manchester for her work ‘Living with cerebral palsy: An exploration of the health information needs of children with cerebral palsy.’

FACULTY OF MANAGEMENT AND INFORMATION SCIENCES A change for the better A new course that helps professionals understand how to motivate people to lead healthier, happier lives, or to improve the wider community, has been launched by the University of Brighton.

make voluntary behavioural changes to improve their wellbeing or lessen their impact on the environment. The course offers career development for health and local government professionals, and students will be taught by social marketing experts including Professor Jeff French, a global leader in the application of behaviour change. The university’s Brighton Business School has forged a partnership with leading communications and community cohesion consultants, The Campaign Company (TCC). TCC has donated £5,000 towards the fees of applicants from non-profit organisations and other professionals (depending upon personal circumstances). The sum is topped up by 50 per cent through a government matched-funding scheme which encourages philanthropic donations to universities. TCC’s donation allows the university to offer one student a free place on the new course. In addition, help with fees can be provided for a limited number of other students. TCC, based in Croydon, helps organisations build relationships with hard-to-reach groups. Its clients include local authorities and NHS bodies, and TCC has worked with a variety of audiences including young people, established working class communities and people with learning difficulties. TCC chairman Jonathan Upton said: “At a time when the budgets of many organisations are under pressure we are delighted that we can do a little to help make this excellent new course accessible to those who can benefit from this most.” To find out more call 01273 642197 or email postgrad.business@brighton. ac.uk .

The Plug The research undertaken within the School of Service Management is now able to reach a wider audience with two new books translated and published for the Asian market.  A Chinese edition of Tourism Research Methods: Integrating Theory and Practice has now been published by Nankai University Press in Tianjin, China. “The Chinese edition of the book is an exciting development for us as authors, and for the university’s School of Service Management,” said Dr Cathy Palmer who co-authored the book with her School of Service Management colleague Professor Peter Burns, along with Dr Brent Ritchie from the University of Queensland, Australia. She said: “CAB International’s decision to publish a version of the book in Chinese reflects the growing significance of tourism as an academic subject within China. “Over the years many Chinese students have chosen to come to Eastbourne to study for their degree and will, therefore, have come across the English version of the book. Now that our book is published in Chinese these students will be able to chose which version to read, although their coursework will include direct quotes from the English version only.” Another book to be translated for the Asian market is Human Resource Management in the Hospitality Industry, co-authored by Steven Goss-Turner, deputy head of the School of Service Management. He said: “The book is in its 8th edition in the UK, but Mike Boella (co-author and associate lecturer) and I were delightfully surprised when we heard that the publishers, Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, wished to translate the text into Vietnamese for publication in Hanoi. We trust that nothing has been lost in the translation and hope that it is of use to the developing tourism and hospitality economy of Vietnam. “We hope it will encourage more Vietnamese students to consider programmes of study at the university.”

The Social Marketing postgraduate certificate is the first of its kind in the UK and focuses on understanding and supporting target audiences to

November | December 2009 Channel Magazine 07


STAFF IN FOCUS

IN FOCUS...

Transforming tomorrow Hastings is one of the most deprived areas of the UK and has the highest teen pregnancy rate for the whole of Europe. The average gross weekly pay is by far the lowest in the south-east. It has the top five wards in the region for the number of young people not in employment, education or training. But things are changing, with the help of the University of Brighton’s University Centre Hastings (UCH). The efforts of the UCH team saw it nominated for an award for excellence in widening participation at this year’s Times Higher Education awards. The award celebrates the achievements of a team who have seen the number of students studying at the centre soar from 50 in 2004, when it opened, to 500 this year. In recognition of its work, the centre was also recently awarded 85 extra places by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. “We had to go to the Grosvenor House Hotel in London in October for the awards ceremony and there was a great atmosphere,” said Margaret Wallis, the centre’s director. “We didn’t win, but our work was highlighted and recognised.” There are just 50 people working at the centre, including teaching staff, staff from marketing, administrative staff and those involved in Aim Higher and widening participation initiatives. Many of them work part-time. “There’s a fantastic team spirit,” said Margaret. “The staff will tackle anything. We work very closely together and everyone has to get stuck in if we are running an event such as an open day or a taster event.” A lot of the work of the centre is focused on outreach and convincing people in the community that university is something they can aspire to. “Our raison d’etre is to attract students into higher education. It is much harder in an area like this. Quite often people who have no family tradition of going to university feel it is not a place for them. We are trying to say that it is.” For people with no previous knowledge of university life, student support and counselling on issues ranging from welfare to budgeting on a grant are vital. “We provide excellent student support and guidance,” said Margaret. “Students often require a great deal of help and reassurance. Services like counselling are important to us and are well used.” Margaret said that a lot of the success of the centre has come through word of mouth. Local people who

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have attended the centre tell their family and friends and encourage them to come. “We have many examples of brothers, sisters, husbands and wives studying together. We are educating whole families over time,” she said. The centre also works with elderly people. Through the Oak Project, for instance, older people can sit alongside students for a semester and do an indepth piece of work. Three have already gone on to study for full degrees. One is 83 years old, a lifelong Labour supporter and a founding member of CND whose mother was a suffragette. He left school at


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15 and worked all his life. Now he is studying for a degree in sociology and community history. The team do a lot of transition work, including jargon-busting workshops, mentoring and crisis workshops to ensure people from a non-traditional HE background do not feel excluded. They work with local schools, running road shows and GCSE revision days and organise ‘champagne seminars’ for teachers to build awareness and facilitate local progression. The centre is keen to promote vocational opportunities in computing and business and media production and has just been awarded a grant to

develop a media enterprise centre. This year, it is planning to expand its degree programme to include degrees in broadcast journalism, post production and health and social care. It is also working closely with local employers and a student radio station is being launched this year as a result of student pressure. “People in Hastings tend to be suspicious of outsiders. You have to earn their trust and become part of the community,” said Margaret. “We hope that we are gradually doing this. It’s hard work, but the rewards are immense.”

November | December 2009 Channel Magazine 09


OPINION

Picturing children in care BY JACKIE MCCULLOUGH Jackie McCullough studied Editorial Photography and since leaving, found herself shortlisted for the Guardian’s Student Photographer of the Year competition. The theme of her work is children in care and her interest derives from her own family background. Six of her brothers and sisters were adopted and her mother and stepfather have also fostered many children. Here she speaks about her work and what universities and schools can do to support children in care to aspire to higher education. When I was in my final year of my editorial photography course at Brighton I entered the Guardian student photographer of the year competition. I sent in a picture from a series of photos titled ‘So much past’, and it was shortlisted. Since I was 11, my mum and stepdad have been fostering. I have six younger brothers and sisters who have been adopted so, although I am not from a care background, I have lived around it for 19 years. I recently undertook a project working for a company that has three children’s homes and I run workshops for children who have been in the care system. So I have a bit of understanding of the issues. I know, for instance, the disruptive impact on children’s emotions and education when placements break down and the child is moved around various foster homes – all the feelings that come with not being with your birth parents, of being moved from school to school and house to house. It is hard to concentrate and take in school lessons if there is so much emotional turmoil going on inside you. Universities like Brighton are trying to reach out more to these children. Brighton, for instance, has been awarded the Frank Buttle Quality Kite mark for its work with care leavers. I attended a meeting to discuss the university/Crew Club

I think people forget the other issues that are going on for them – for instance, wanting to find out who their real parents are, but fearing rejection by the person who was supposed to be there no matter what. project which brought six children into the university to work on a fashion project. This encourages them to see university as a possibility. If all those working with children in care got together and worked with people in the education system to discuss the barriers that these children face and how we can overcome them, that would be a step forward. However, the problem remains that if children don’t do well at school, they won’t even get near university. That doesn’t leave them with many options. We need to continue to reach out to these children and work with building up their self-confidence. A lot of my

10 Channel Magazine November | December 2009

‘Diana and Roy’ Jackie’s photo which won her the nomination

younger brothers and sisters have been in the care system since they were babies. I think people forget the other issues that are going on for them – for instance, wanting to find out who their real parents are, but fearing rejection by the person who was supposed to be there

no matter what. These are huge issues. I try to understand them, but I don’t think you really can unless you know what that gap feels like. One of my sisters put it very well. She said: “It’s hard to describe, it’s like something doesn’t feel right – there’s something missing.”


THE LONG VIEW

Quality education in Africa PROFESSOR DAVID STEPHENS High-quality training and support is transforming the way many primary school teachers in the poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa are teaching, according to an international research project funded by Save the Children, Norway. The university’s Professor David Stephens led the research team which came from Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Zambia. It evaluated an ambitious programme aimed at radically improving children’s learning in their countries. The study examined the impact on teachers and children of the Quality Education Project set up in 2000 by Save the Children, Norway, to train and support primary school teachers. By involving teachers from the region in conducting the evaluation, the Action Research project encouraged them to identify and ‘own’ their own problems and devise and implement solutions at ‘class-roots’ level. For the research, which lasted a year, Professor Stephens travelled from the dusty shores of Ethiopia’s Lake Tana to clusters of small schools lying in the shadow of the ancient city ruins known as the Great Zimbabwe monument, observing lessons, interviewing teachers and teacher educators (who are providing the training in Action Research) and talking with parents and children about the project. Examination and test data was also collected from schools involved and not involved in the project. Professor Stephens said: “There are two fundamental questions that lie at the heart of efforts to improve the quality of education in some of the poorest parts of Africa. First, what are the most cost-effective interventions and second, how do you assess the impact of these interventions?” He added: “Generally my results are positive and encouraging. Action Research has fundamentally changed the ways many teachers approach educational change. Many told us they now realise that with effective training and support they can take the initiative rather than wait for someone else to do so. We also observed some imaginative and inspiring teachers working under some daunting circumstances.”

In November Professor Stephens presented the team’s findings at a large international conference in Cambodia attended by the Save the Children Alliance, an umbrella of all the national organisations. For the Alliance this research will contribute to the scaling up and sustainability of future work in this area. He said: “There are lessons to learn, notably the danger in Action Research being interpreted more as research and less as action to actually improve pupil learning outcomes. Teachers also need to monitor and keep better track of the changes that occur in their classrooms, from the way they teach and the way their pupils learn. But this research does show that it is possible for teachers in some of the world’s economically poorest areas to be enriched by high quality training and support.”

November | December 2009 Channel Magazine 11


LEAD ARTICLE

A SPORTING

CHANCE 12 Channel Magazine November | December 2009


LEAD ARTICLE

It’s worth jotting down some of the following names or at least keeping them on the brain’s back burner for future reference. Chances are some will be ringing loud bells at future sporting events like the 2012 London Olympics. Some of those on the university’s elite scholarship programme have already chalked up a string of successes. Roanna Simmons Roanna Simmons, 32, pictured right, plays football for Great Britain deaf women and works part-time at Fulham FC Foundation as head coach of the Disability Centre of Excellence. Studying sports coaching and development and a recipient of one of the university’s disability scholarships, Roanna was picked for the GB Deaf Women team in 2000 when it was first established. She went for trials along with 50 other deaf girls. The highlight of Roanna’s career came in 2005 when the GB team won bronze at the Deaflympics in Melbourne. Her next major competition is the 2011 European championships in Bulgaria. It’s an impressive resume for someone who needed major reconstruction surgery on a knee last year after tearing a ligament. She thought her career was over, but after nine months of rehabilitation and training, she fought her way back to fitness. Roanna is full of praise for the scholarship which has helped her travel to GB training weekends and with fitness training. She said: “But it’s not just about the money the university gives. It’s also about the support.” She praised university staff for helping her and singled out Sarah Hogg, director of sport and recreation with Sport Brighton. “The support she gave me after my knee injury was tremendous.” Sarah said the scholarship scheme is supported through philanthropic donations to the university. She said: “This year saw the largest number of applicants and there is a strong breadth of talent in those awarded scholarship. “We play a key role in the development of talented athletes by providing financial, sports science and mentoring support. It’s a really valuable scheme as it allows the potential medal winners of the future to more easily combine academic and sporting commitments and achieve their goals.”

Left: Triathlete Todd Leckie, see page 15

November | December 2009 Channel Magazine 13


LEAD FEATURE

Simon Ledwith Just ask Simon Ledwith how much the scholarship has helped him. The 23-year-old said: “The scholarship is fantastic. Without it, there is no way I would have got so far in my sport. I have improved as a player, big time, and it’s thanks to the scholarship.” Simon is studying law with business but his ambition is to become a full-time cricket coach. He first played for the England blind cricket first team in 2002 and became the youngest to play in a world cup. A batsman and wicketkeeper, he explained how players use the same

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size cricket ball but that it contains ball bearings that rattle and help players track it. Each team has to have four totally blind players and then there is a mixture of people like Simon who is sight impaired. His highlight was helping England win the Ashes twice, the last time in Australia last December and his ambition now is to help the team win the next world cup, in 2011. Simon plays for the Sussex Sharks visually impaired team and this year was named player of the year when the team finished runners up in the league and the 20–20 cup.


LEAD FEATURE

Todd Leckie Triathlete, Todd Leckie (pictured on page 12) described his scholarship as: “Truly tremendous both in financial terms and in support.”

Photographs of Roanna Simmons, Simon Ledwith and Halil Zorba were taken by Andy Weekes.

Todd, 22, is training to be a doctor and has just completed his third year at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School. He has taken time out from his course to concentrate full-time on his sport and has the 2012 Olympics in his sights. His training is based at the university’s sports facilities in Eastbourne and is geared to two races, in 2011 and 2012, which, if he does well in them, would qualify him for the Olympics. A triathlete since the age of 14, Todd last year won the British triathlon championships and was fourth in the under-23 world championships in Vancouver, Canada.

Photograph on page 12 supplied by Todd Leckie.

About to take a break from medicine to start a masters degree in applied exercise physiology at the university, Todd said the scholarship has made it possible for him to travel to competitions and has helped him buy vital equipment including a new bike every year and running shoes. “This is a very strong sports university with strong sports teaching and excellent facilities to back it up.” Guy Franklin Guy Franklin (below) milks his father’s cows at their West Sussex farm in between college studies and competing to become one of the world’s top marksmen. Guy, 18, is taking a foundation degree in agriculture at Plumpton, and has his sights on an Olympic skeet clay pigeon medal. If his credentials are anything to go by then he’s got a good shot at winning one. By the end of this year he will be crowned number one in the GB junior rankings and fifth in the seniors. Last year he became the only junior to win the British senior grand prix, and he has represented the country in both European and world championships. The scholarship has helped him travel to competitions abroad: “Clay pigeon had its lottery funding cut from £5m to £250,000 this year so many contestants are self-financed. The university’s scholarship really has helped me and I’m hoping it will pay off come the Olympics.” Halil Zorba International weightlifter Halil Zorba (above), 21, is representing England against Norway and Sweden in November – his first competition this year since suffering a hip injury several months ago. He was fourteenth in the European junior championship last year, and took the British senior championship title in the 77kg class and in December last year he won silver and bronze medals in the Commonwealth championships. Taking a masters degree in civil engineering, Halil has been working with Southern Water through the university’s excellence in industry undergraduate programme. The scholarship, he said, has helped with the purchase of nutritional supplements, training gear and travel: “I have to travel to Crystal Palace for training and it’s been a big help with paying for fares.” Halil is aiming to take part in next year’s Commonwealth Games and the 2012 Olympics.

November | December 2009 Channel Magazine 15


RESEARCH BRIEFING

SAVING THE

CHIMPS Tobacco growers in Uganda’s Budongo Forest are decimating raphia palms which chimpanzees rely on as a major source of sodium.

Farmers use the raphias to produce string to tie up and hang bundles of tobacco leaves during the drying and curing process. What the growers didn’t realise until recently was how important the palms are for the 650 chimps which live in the forest.

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The university is supporting Professor Vernon Reynolds, emeritus professor from Oxford University, in a conservation project, part of which is geared to finding an alternative string for the growers. Professor Andrew Lloyd, Dean of the Faculty of Science and

Engineering, said the decimation “may represent a new and major problem for the chimps because no other major source of sodium has so far been identified.” Visit http://community.brighton.ac.uk/echannel/ researchnews/index.php


RESEARCH BRIEFING

ON THE ROAD TO BETTER SERVICES Gypsy and Traveller families believe they will receive better NHS care in the future following new research. The study found that Gypsy and Traveller families who are often suspicious due to fear of reprisals, had opened their doors to researchers and genuinely believed that change can come about as a result of their voices being heard.

Royal Sussex County Hospital

Funded by the NHS Brighton and Hove City Primary Care Trust, the study was led by Professor Valerie Hall, head of the university’s centre for nursing and midwifery research, in collaboration with the Friends, Families and Travellers organisation, and included researchers with Gypsy and Traveller backgrounds. The study found that while most Gypsies and Travellers use the Royal Sussex County Hospital’s accident and emergency department in Brighton and other urgent care services appropriately, they were more likely than other people to report poor experiences. They were also more likely to encounter poor attitudes from NHS staff, more likely to question the value of the treatment they receive, but less likely to make a formal complaint. It said better communication would improve confidence in the services being offered and it would ensure staff were more sensitive to Gypsy and Traveller needs. Researchers interviewed 25 people from the Gypsy and Traveller community who had recently experienced serious illness or injury. The report said their experiences were less favourable in terms of poor staff attitudes and perceived poor health outcomes when compared with data from the local general population. The health of Gypsies and Travellers overall was poorer than others in socially deprived areas and they have poor health expectations, the report said. Therefore, in order to increase trust and enhance uptake, services needed to be culturally sensitive and respond to lifestyle needs. The report also recommended: • Strengthening the role of outreach staff who liaise between Gypsy and Traveller families and NHS professionals.

Investigating how to maintain continuity of GP care for travelling people. • Improving Gypsy and Traveller knowledge of local NHS services and the NHS complaints system. • Exploring ideas such as first aid and life-saving training for Gypsy and Traveller communities.

National initiatives were also recommended including investigating ways of maintaining GP continuity within the travelling lifestyle and fostering trust and understanding by encouraging the Gypsy and Traveller community to be involved in designing local and national services. As a longer-term initiative, it was recommended that “thought should be given to encouraging members of the Gypsy and Traveller community to consider becoming members of the NHS workforce.”

Dr Tom Scanlon, director of Public Health for Brighton and Hove, welcomed the study’s recommendations. He said: “We know that Gypsies and Travellers tend to have poorer health and lower health expectations than other groups. This study will help the NHS and other public bodies address their needs more effectively. “We will now look at the recommendations in detail and talk to the Gypsy and Traveller communities about what we should do and how we can make changes that work for them.” * This Channel article is dedicated to Corrina Adams, one of the Gypsy and Traveller peer researchers involved in the study. Valerie Hall commented: “Her untimely death during the study is a further reminder of the need to do this type of research.”

Researchers interviewed 25 people from the Gypsy and Traveller community who had recently experienced serious illness or injury. The report said their experiences were less favourable in terms of poor staff attitudes and perceived poor health outcomes when compared with data from the local general population. November | December 2009 Channel Magazine 17


RESEARCH FEATURE

From conflict to

community Can Brighton’s award-winning Community University Partnership Project (Cupp) be adapted to countries which have endured years of conflict? Juliet Millican thinks it can and has been working with a university in Bosnia to see how community engagement can help build civil society in communities which have undergone the trauma of war. Juliet, who is development manager for Student Learning in the Community at Cupp, now plans to team up with the University of Rwanda to see if a similar approach works there. The Bosnia project came about as a result of an article Juliet wrote for the Global University Network for Innovation annual world report in 2005. The article sparked interest in Bosnia and eventually Juliet was put in touch with the University of Mostar. As part of her doctoral studies she worked with them to develop a community engagement project linked to the student learning curriculum. Working with students and lecturers and accompanied by Pauline Ridley from CLT, she ran a series of workshops on issues such as identifying suitable student projects, building partnerships with local groups and evaluating students’ practical work as part of their assessment. The students who took part came from a variety of disciplines, including law, engineering, art, psychology and drama. Many worked in primary and secondary schools in Mostar, others in orphanages, disabled people’s organisations and reforestation schemes. A number of them made short films of their work. The Action Research project finished last year with a final presentation by students. “It was incredibly moving,” said Juliet. “The students commented on what a positive impact it had had on them and how they wanted to continue with it and embed community engagement into the curriculum in every year of their learning.” There were a number of high profile cross-disciplinary projects that brought students and staff from different departments together. Engineering students, for instance, did a presentation on their work with people who had lost limbs to landmines. They designed articulated limbs (engineered joints) but found that while the people who had to wear them wanted the artificial feet to look like feet. The activity was extended to include art students who sculpted more life-like feet and drama students who did a role-playing workshop addressing the fears people have about becoming disabled.

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Juliet is seeking funding to continue this work and although a European bid was turned down, Cupp is currently part of a wider bid with Israeli and Palestinian universities. They are also hoping to identify funding for a similar partnership with the National University of Rwanda set up through the Talloires Network. Talloires is a global network of socially engaged universities headed up by Larry Bacow, (who was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Brighton in 2008).

Part of Cupp’s role is to understand how universities can contribute to civil society and I am interested in looking at contexts where civil society had been disrupted through conflict. I want to see how a sense of citizenship and community can be rebuilt and what we can learn from the experience. Brighton’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Julian Crampton, has given the partnership his support and initial conference calls between The National University of Rwanda and The University of Brighton have already taken place. “I wanted to look at whether there are elements of Cupp that are transferable to another culture,” said Juliet. “Part of Cupp’s role is to understand how universities can contribute to civil society and I am interested in looking at contexts where civil society had been disrupted through conflict. I want to see how a sense of citizenship and community can be rebuilt and what we can learn from the experience.” Cupp now also hosts a research and development programme dedicated to building a research base on university community engagement and offering support to other universities developing local partnerships. Both projects will contribute to this work.


RESEARCH FEATURE

November | December 2009 Channel Magazine 19


IN CONVERSATION

IN CONVERSATION…

Redrawing the boundaries of fine art Matthew Cornford is Brighton’s first Professor of Fine Art. Here, Peter Seddon, deputy head of the School of Arts and Media and director of the university’s Arts Practices and Performance Research Institute, asks him what Fine Art is and why today is an exciting time to be studying it. Congratulations on your appointment. The university has had various professors within the fine art field, such as painting and sculpture, but you are the first Professor of Fine Art. So I would like to begin by asking what in your view are you a professor of? Unlike simpler terms such as art or painting or sculpture, fine art is a contested term, is it not? The more recent origins of the term ’Fine Art’ stem from an early modernist nineteenth century need to exclude craftwork and other applied arts from being defined as objects of art. Fine art became the term for objects which have a purely aesthetic rather than applied or utilitarian use. Today, of course, our understanding of art histories and what art might be, is far more complicated, and many artists, designers and makers wouldn’t be comfortable with this kind of Victorian division of labour and skill. The programme I work in contains three well-established undergraduate courses in Painting, Sculpture and Printmaking, but it also encompasses a Critical Fine Art course at undergraduate level, an MA in Inclusive Arts, plus a broad-based Fine Art MA. One of my roles is to champion the entire programme in all its glorious diversity. It’s interesting to note that some universities have recently dropped the term Fine Art in favour of Art Practice, Visual Arts or Contemporary Arts. Perhaps we should debate this and my title in our next programme review? The suggestion of at least having a debate is interesting, because from your response one would surmise that the term, fine art, is highly contested. What, in your view, are the particular and special difficulties within fine art and fine art education?

20 Channel Magazine November | December 2009

Matthew Cornford (left), and Peter Seddon (right)

I never set out to climb anywhere. I just love usefully sharing knowledge.


IN CONVERSATION

This depends on whether you are an unknown artist, famous artist, curator, dealer, gallery director, teacher, student, editor, publisher, corporate investor, etc. Fine art activity has expanded enormously since my time as a student: newspapers produce pull-out supplements on important exhibitions; artists become millionaires overnight; Biennales are everywhere; Russian billionaires outbid each other for the latest work by Koons and Hirst. This celebrity culture has created wholly unrealistic expectations of what being a successful artist is and distorts the way we see and value art. I’m not overly concerned about the term fine art, but I would like art to be less about the value of objects and more about new ideas and ways of going about the world. In fine art education the special pressures come out of the historic merging of art school into universities, unlike most university students, art students expect their own studio space, access to a wide range of facilities and workshops, plus regular contact with practising artists. This creates a unique and dynamic, critical learning environment, within which many many students benefit. Brighton has managed to meet all these expectations, and I must emphasise that the situation here is very good, but to maintain this situation within a more challenging economic environment will require some agile thinking. I agree there are particular pressures operating within universities, but what possibilities do you think there are for Brighton to develop and explore fine art and all its contradictions? Firstly, I think we should not try and iron out the contradictions, difficulties, mess and other human traits inherent in the study, teaching and practice of art. We need art education that can speak the language of contemporary research cultures and funding bodies, but that does not compromise the distinctiveness of what art education does and what it can, achieve. Brighton has managed to preserve its art school culture and responded to the funding opportunities available through research. The challenge is to continue to do both. Can you elaborate a little more on the relationship between the language of research funding and what fine art does? Because art schools are now operating as departments within universities (or rebranding

themselves as universities) and research is a defining part of what universities do, we need to engage with it, and include research within the academic programme. I am keen to do this, whilst avoiding overly restrictive definitions of what is and is not research. I think of research as an umbrella term under which different types of activity can be acknowledged, supported and allowed to develop. It is also useful to understand the important differences between the two main sources of research funding for the artist within universities, the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The RAE is retrospective, and requires a written explanation after the work is produced and exhibited, whereas the AHRC, requires a written explanation before the work is made; including research questions, clearly defined area of enquiry, coherent research methodology and predicted research outcomes. Needless to say, this way of thinking alienates a lot of artists, so for many the RAE has been a more understandable system of research funding, than the AHRC. One way forward is to work and develop research bids with colleagues in other parts of the Faculty, who are more familiar with the language of research. How do you see the future and what fine art can bring to a newly expanded faculty? I am keen for the Fine Art programme to maintain its diversity of provision, continue to offer students access to a wide range of facilities and most importantly the time, space and support to explore new ways of thinking. Ideally, the Fine Art programme will grasp the opportunities that being part of an expanded arts faculty provides. This could include new cross-disciplinary projects, debates, workshops and exhibitions. These activities will be especially relevant in a rapidly changing world in which, we face an unprecedented range of threats including; climate change, water shortages, erosion of habitats, energy shortages and political and financial instability. For many of us the old ideas of how we live and work are going to change or even break down. Art departments/schools have a long tradition of producing graduates willing and brave enough to question how we live and work. Given the clear need for new alternatives, this could be a very exciting time to be an artist!

November | December 2009 Channel Magazine 21


WHY I BECAME

A CAMPAIGNER

For better access to higher education Sarah Cullen has been campaigning for better access to education since the age of 10. There was never much doubt that she would dedicate her career to widening access to higher education. Here she tells Channel how it all began. What first sparked your interest in widening participation (WP)? It is hard to identify one particular thing. I’ve been aware of inequality in education since an early age. My mother was an ardent campaigner for comprehensive education when Brighton lagged behind in the 1970s and so I was exposed to arguments about the inequities of the system. My sister and I reluctantly made the pages of The Argus demonstrating in Churchill Square. This interest has stayed with me as through my life I have experienced education from different perspectives. In my previous role as a guidance leader in a local college I regularly came into contact with students who were disaffected and struggling often through no fault of their own. Seeing the difference that support and encouragement can make is incredibly motivating. In my first week at the university I bumped into one of my ex-Falmer students who was just about to start a PGCE, an achievement she wouldn’t have thought possible when I first met her in year 11. What were your own experiences of higher education? My own experience of HE enabled me to explore the link between education and social mobility further. Ironically I benefitted from passing the 11+. Although I wasn’t a particularly conventional academic high flyer, I was fortunate to have enthusiastic and supportive teachers who encouraged me to

apply for Cambridge University. I was also part of an early WP scheme because the college I applied to used its own entrance exam which required less coaching and was meant to level the playing field for state school pupils. Studying Social and Political Science enabled me to further my interest in education and inequality. On a personal level I found the academic side of HE stimulating but socially it was difficult which I think is an experience echoed by many of the young people I work with now. How did this lead to your career in WP? This was mainly through my job at Varndean College. I was in charge of school liaison which involved working closely with local high schools and applicants. One of my link schools was Falmer where progression rates were very poor. The college and school secured funding to run an after school scheme where pupils visited Varndean for study skills support. When two larger initiatives to WP were launched I was delighted to be asked to lead this work within the college. What does your current job involve? One of the many appealing aspects of my job is its diverse nature. One day I can be involved in the production of a Widening Participation Strategic Assessment for the university and the next working with a group of primary pupils explaining what the term

22 Channel Magazine November | December 2009

lecture means. I lead the work of the Widening Participation Outreach team which includes activities that span year 5 to Access students. We also link with schools within the

university to deliver subject-specific projects such as the Fashion School for the Crew Club and an Applied Social Science Conference for college students.


ON CAMPUS

THE CHECKLAND BUILDING

Check it out! The £25million, 9,000m2 Checkland Building at Falmer campus is now open for business. Housing the School of Education and the languages and literature division of the School of Humanities and a range of support activities, the building took 19 months to complete. Specialist aspects of the building include media facilities, a 160-seat lecture theatre, and a 300-seat multipurpose hall, an Open Learning Centre, teaching rooms, computer

pools and an atrium cafe. The building provides facilities for some 7,000 students and 1,000 staff based at the Falmer site. It is a predominantly naturally-ventilated building featuring a combined heat and power plant and ‘green’ roof, planted to create a downland setting with sedum which will make it a living area, able to absorb pollution, reduce rainwater run-off and provide habitats for wildlife.

November | December 2009 Channel Magazine 23


Events PUBLIC EVENT Equality and Diversity Week Date Venue

30 November–4 December Various locations for different events and times: please visit www.brighton.ac.uk/equality and click on Diversity Week 2009

PUBLIC EVENT Burning the clocks parade Date Venue Time

Monday 21 December Central Brighton 6pm

INAUGURAL LECTURE Melanie Newport Personalised Medicine for Everyone? Developments in genetics and infection and what it means for global health Date Venue Time

Thursday 14 January Chowen lecture theatre, Falmer, Brighton and Sussex Medical School 6.30pm

INAUGURAL LECTURE Gaynor Sadlo Human Beings: built for creativity Date Venue Time

Thursday 4 March Ward Hall, Queenswood, Eastbourne, University of Brighton 6.30pm

INAUGURAL LECTURE Susannah Hagan Dreams of Leaving: ecology vs urbanity Date Venue Time

Thursday 18 March Sallis Benney Theatre Grand Parade, University of Brighton 6.30pm

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Burning of the clocks 2008


Channel 11/2009