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Bridge 2012/13

Our friends in the North Sunderland graduates helping to shape the new BBC




The New Northern Lights

eptember 1, 2012, marks the 20th anniversary of Sunderland becoming a university. My relationship stretches beyond those 20 years. I studied here in the early 1980s and I’ve kept in close contact ever since. I’ve seen a remarkable change during that time, particularly since becoming a university in 1992. Today, the University has around 20,000 students from across the world, supported by more than 1,600 staff. This summer, students from 90 countries – encompassing half of the nations of the world – graduated in Sunderland. It’s such a difference from 20 years ago. Our academic offer has changed considerably. In 1992, the dominating subject areas were engineering, pharmacy, a relatively narrow computing offer and a large and very popular set of humanities subjects. Today, we have such a broad and varied offer – from journalism and animation to computer forensics and physiological sciences. One of the University’s key strengths is its talent for, not only adapting to change, but embracing it. The University’s ability to look ahead, prepare for and adapt to changes within higher education and society has meant it is always one step ahead. You will see examples of that vision throughout this issue of Bridge magazine, both in the pioneering work of our University, and in the remarkable careers of our graduates. I suspect we will see further significant change over the next 20 years. What that will be I don’t know, but what I do know is that Sunderland will be at the front of the queue.

Steve Cram Chancellor University of Sunderland

10 Dr Gita Ramjee


Sunderland graduates are playing a big part in the new-look BBC

The Head of AIDS Research at the South African Medical Research Council on her Sunderland days

“I believe in BBC’s move to the North. The BBC was much too South of England biased.” –Greg Dyke

16 Charlie Spedding The Olympic Medallist takes a trip down memory lane

26 Arctic Adventures How the logbooks of Arctic explorers are shedding light on climate change

34 global thinking p. 30 Passionate people, Passionate partners


Building on the good work achieved by One NorthEast

Pam Tatlow on the importance of international strategies

36 Alumni: out and about Alumni events from Bahrain to Nigeria, and Hope Winch to Crook Hall.

38 Alumni: where are you now? Catch up on your old classmates – and tell us what you’ve been up to

42 JoNny carliSLe How the Futures Fund helped a talented swimmer take the plunge

“The University’s ability to look ahead, prepare for and adapt to changes within higher education and society has meant it is always one step ahead.”

A beautifullyformed heritage The National Glass Centre is restoring Sunderland’s heritage


A formula for success Our role in a multi-billion pound industry

“Glass has been as important an industry as shipbuilding.” University of Sunderland Marketing and Recruitment 3rd Floor, Edinburgh Building City Campus, Chester Road Sunderland SR1 3SD +44 (0) 191 515 3664

Bridge is produced by White Light Media on behalf of the University of Sunderland. Unless otherwise indicated, copyright belongs to White Light Media and the University of Sunderland. Reproduction in whole or part of any material contained in Bridge is prohibited without prior written consent.

The views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Sunderland or White Light Media. While all due care is taken regarding the accuracy of information, no responsibility can be accepted for errors. Any advice given does not constitute a legal opinion. | Bridge | 3

A formula for success

The British automotive industry is recognised as among the best in the world, and the young engineering talent that supports it through research and development is second to none. Sunderland can rightly claim its place in this multi-billion pound industry – Tony Kerr found out about the local talent under the bonnets of some of the world’s greatest machines…


n 2010, motorsports generated an estimated £5 billion for the UK’s economy, and all of the sport’s greatest exponents – from Lotus, McLaren, Red Bull Racing to Sahara Force India – have bases in the UK. But even that looks like small change compared to the turnover of volume car manufacturers such as Ford, Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Vauxhall. In 2011, the UK automotive

manufacturing sector had a turnover of £50 billion, generating £29 billion in exports, and employing around 730,000 people. Britain is seen as at the leading edge of automotive technologies in terms of engineering excellence and performance delivery – and, remarkably, the University of Sunderland has graduates in just about every single one of those world-beating corporations. | Bridge | 5

AUTOMOTIVE A formula for success John Wood

The University of Sunderland began its love affair with this most glamorous of industries in 1993, when the legendary Sir Stirling Moss helped Sunderland launch the UK’s first automotive design and manufacturing degree. Since that date dozens of students have refined their skills not only in the classroom and the workshop, but also on the track, racing their own hand-built Formula Student cars since 2004. John Wood co-captained the Formula Student Team from 2009 to 2011, and has no doubt that his success on the track and in the classroom at the University of Sunderland led to his career taking off in spectacular style. “I completed my final race for Formula Student at Silverstone in July 2011, and started at McLaren Automotive in Woking a week later,” says John. John is now working on the new McLaren MP4-12C supercar as a Supplier Quality Assurance Engineer, ensuring the quality standards for the car’s chassis components are maintained. The young engineer is responsible for the 12C’s wheels and tyres, the high performance carbon ceramic brake system, the ProActive Chassis Control system and the hydraulically actuated air brake.

“McLaren Automotive’s relationships with universities that have a strong academic record is key to our success.”

“For me to be offered a position with McLaren Automotive straight out of university is absolutely fantastic,” says John. “The skills I acquired in my degree and as part of the Formula Student Team have proved invaluable. The MP4-12C is such a groundbreaking and technologically advanced car that university-level engineering knowledge is essential.” Production of the MP4-12C takes place in the £50 million McLaren Production Centre (MPC) which was opened by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, at the end of 2011. “The MPC is the birthplace of every future McLaren sports car,” says Dick Glover, director of research at McLaren Automotive. “The company is a technological pioneer, and we are always looking at ways to improve and offer our customers the ultimate in performance. “McLaren Automotive’s relationships with universities that have a strong academic record is key to our success. We want to recruit not just technical experts but people Dick Glover who have the attributes and

behaviours to help McLaren remain at the forefront of technology. Confidence, but not arrogance, an innovative approach, enthusiasm and excellence in academic achievement are key traits.” Dan Thompson was joint Team Captain for the 2010-2011 Formula Student car alongside John Wood. Dan, who now works as Chassis Design Engineer for Nissan Cranfield, is keen to break down the stereotypes surrounding the automotive industry. “People too often think of engineers as working on a production line or a bloke in an oily boiler suit with a spanner, and that simply isn’t true,” says Dan. “The aspiration of many young engineers is to be part of an organisation which makes real changes in the world, working in everything from energy generation, pharmaceuticals, large automotive companies and thousands of other technical industries.” In 2011, the University of Sunderland’s Formula Student team joined forces with Coventry University to become the first universities outside of the USA to take part in the Indianapolis 500 student race – and came in third place, under the direction of Team Captains John Wood and Dan Thompson. SU11 was the team’s most technically accomplished

Facts & FigureS:

£1.378 trillion

the amount the IMF (International Monetary Fund) calculated that Formula 1 was worth in 2009

£4.8 billion

the average amount Formula 1 generates, in TV exposure alone

£5 billion

estimated to be generated by motorsport in the UK in 2010

“I completed my final race for Formula Student at Silverstone in July 2011, and started at McLaren Automotive in Woking a week later.”

£50 billion

in turnover in 2011 by the automotive manufacturing sector in the UK


people employed in the automotive industry in the UK Dan Thompson | Bridge | 7

AUTOMOTIVE A formula for success

Formula Student car, with state of the art suspension, steering and braking systems, designed by Dan Thompson; and a modular aluminium honeycomb monocoque chassis, designed by Adam Harrison. Adam is just a very short drive from fellow Formula Student graduate John Wood at another iconic automotive brand. He works as an engineer for Sahara Force India. For the team, who have been in the UK since 2007, England is the ideal base due to facilities and expertise. “It’s true that the UK has a strong engineering spine,” said a representative for the company, which counts Paul Di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg and Giancarlo Fisichella among its talented pool of drivers. “But the UK not only supports design, it also is able to manufacture the necessary precision components in the short lead in time that we require.” “I’m into my fifth week of employment with Sahara Force India, and I’m currently getting myself up to speed with the team’s design challenges,” says Adam. It is early May, and the BSc Automotive Product Design graduate, who was joint Team

“My degree from the University of Sunderland equipped me with the skills to be able to handle the incredibly varied, incredibly demanding world of engineering.” Adam Harrison

Captain for Formula Student in 2010, has just been appointed Junior Model Designer at the Sahara Force India Formula One Wind Tunnel. “My degree from the University of Sunderland equipped me with the skills to be able to handle the incredibly varied, incredibly demanding world of engineering in terms of my design and engineering ability, but especially the skills I gained in hands-on project management in my five years with the Formula Student Team. “Motorsport in the UK is a great opportunity for young graduates. It is an incredibly diverse, fast-paced industry, which is driven by the desire to push the boundaries of innovation and technological development to produce the best results possible both on and off track.” The first female graduate from the Automotive Engineering degree was Julie Liddle, who raced with the team from 2007, graduating with First Class Honours, and immediately landed a post as Supplier Quality engineer for GM, based in Luton, Germany and Ellesmere Port, working on components for the Vauxhall Astra and Zafira lines. “I learnt a lot from an engineering perspective while in the Formula Student team,” says Julie, who rose to Lead Supply Quality Engineer for the Zafira while working in Germany for GM, “It was a challenging opportunity, and I’m really glad it’s an opportunity available to students.” In 2012, Julie left GM and now works as a Launch Engineer for Johnson Controls, one of the biggest automotive tier one

suppliers in the world, responsible for the upfront work for new products. Since March she has worked on four new product introductions, for the Jaguar Landrover Evoque and the Freelander, and says the stereotype of engineering being the preserve of men in greasy overalls is an oldfashioned one. “I am two years out of university and one small step away from management level. Being a woman isn’t an issue. The automotive industry is about driving customerfocused results in a timely manner with integrity. As long as you have the skills to deliver, you don’t mind the occasional unsocial hour, and if you are prepared to learn, you’ll go far.” It is clear that the automotive sector offers huge opportunities for young, highly-skilled graduates, “While I was at the University of Sunderland my dream job was to become a design engineer for a proper automotive manufacturer,” says Dan Thompson. “And at Nissan Cranfield that is exactly what I do now, working for an organisation which makes real changes in the world.” So are there any disadvantages to a career in the automotive industry? “The first thing any of my friends ask me is ‘can you get hold of any free tickets?’” admits Adam Harrison, despite the fact he has worked for Sahara Force India for just over a month. “But I’m in the fortunate position that many of my friends from the University of Sunderland have gone on to work in the automotive industry, so our conversation never strays far from the topic of these amazing four wheel creations.”

Julie Liddle

“Being a woman isn’t an issue. The automotive industry is about driving customer-focused results in a timely manner with integrity.” | Bridge | 9


Dr Gita Ramjee

Wearmouth Hall, circa


Dr Ramjee, Head of AIDS Research at the South African Medical Research Council, recalls her time at the University of Sunderland.

Graduated BSc (Hons) Combined Studies (Chemistry and Physiology), 1980

‘‘I “I loved my time in Sunderland. I lived in Wearmouth Hall, and we mixed with students from all disciplines which I think was a big plus.”

loved my time in Sunderland. I lived in Wearmouth Hall, and we mixed with students from all disciplines which I think was a big plus. We worked hard but had a lot of fun too especially in the first two years – and I met my husband in Sunderland. “After graduation, I married and went to live in South Africa. It was 1980, and apartheid was still in force, so it came as a big shock given the life I had just left as a student in Sunderland! “We moved to Durban, as it was more cosmopolitan, and I joined the Medical School at the University of Kwazulu Natal and started work in the Department of Paediatrics.” After the birth of her two children, Gita studied for her Master’s Degree, and then her PhD, ‘Kidney diseases of childhood’. She then joined the Medical Research Council as a scientist and progressed rapidly to senior scientist, division head, chief specialist scientist and then director of one of the largest units of the Council. As the Director of the HIV Prevention Research Unit, Dr Ramjee built the unit’s

scientific staff from 22 to 350, and helped it gain an international reputation. Dr Ramjee’s commitment to HIV prevention research and attention to high quality data and ethical research was instrumental in gaining the unit substantial international donor and sponsor support. Lifetime Achievement Award In 2012, Dr Ramjee received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Microbicide Conference for her major contribution over two decades to global scientific knowledge in the field of HIV prevention. “Women are the hardest hit by HIV in this region, and there is still a lot to do to address health issues in developing countries,” she says. “There is a need for a more holistic approach to HIV prevention which should include reproductive health care for women. I will continue to work with international donors to set the global health agenda and prioritise areas of research that will have the greatest impact on the lives of young women, and on public health in general.”

“We worked hard but had a lot of fun too especially in the first two years – and I met my husband in Sunderland.” | Bridge | 11

Business Partnerships Passionate people, passionate partners

Passionate people, Passionate partners

The Sage Gateshead

With the Government-enforced closure of regional development agencies, some organisations are determined to build on the good work that One NorthEast did in creating a strong regional identity.

 ere are many organisations h in the region that have realised the benefit of partnership working, not only for their own sakes but for the sake of maintaining that regional togetherness. The University of Sunderland, for example, has forged strong working relationships with three of the NorthEast’s most high-profile organisations. The University now has official partnership agreements in place with The Sage Gateshead, Sunderland Football Club and Durham County Cricket Club. Although the aims and objectives within the partnerships are different, they all have one constant – a commitment to the North-East, from its communities and businesses to its arts and culture. All four organisations are extremely civic in their outlooks and a large part of their philosophies is about raising aspirations. While the University’s partnerships with the football club and the cricket club have a focus on expanding their businesses into new international markets, a key element is about supporting their communities. The University is working closely with both clubs in support of their exceptional community foundation programmes, which are doing so much to raise educational and sporting aspirations in Durham, on Wearside and beyond. The University’s partnership with The Sage Gateshead has a very similar feel, although with a more formalised academic structure. Together the two organisations

offer a BA in Community Music degree – the only one in the UK – aimed at people who want to use their musical talent to help and inspire others, especially hard-to-reach people who would not otherwise get the chance to engage with music. These partnerships will undoubtedly mean improved opportunities for all four businesses, and they are likely to lead to other organisations in the region following suit having seen the benefits they bring. However, it’s not only the partners that are the winners. The regional identity and togetherness that we enjoy, which some would say is now being severely tested by the coalition Government’s dismantling of the regional development agency, has a chance to be sustained.

“Although the aims and objectives within the partnerships are different, they all have one similarity – a commitment to the North-East.”

Durham County Cricket Club

The Stadium of Light, Sunderland AFC

Unversity of Sunderland | Bridge | 13

Business Partnerships Passionate people, passionate partners

Gary Hutchinson, Commercial Director, Sunderland AFC

“We share a number of common interests with the University of Sunderland and have enjoyed a fantastic working relationship for many years. We have tended to work with the University in a fairly informal way in the past. Spending time developing a more formalised working arrangement is something that we believe will be hugely beneficial to the Club, the University and Sunderland in general. Harnessing the collective reach and influence that both of our organisations enjoy will, I believe, create something extremely powerful and we look forward to implementing some of the measures we have agreed for the greater good of the city, and the region.”

David Harker Chief Executive, Durham County Cricket Club

Professor Peter Fidler Vice-Chancellor, University of Sunderland Anthony Sargent General Director, The Sage Gateshead

“Our relationship will hugely benefit the local community as the venture enables the Durham County Cricket Foundation to expand its education programme. The two businesses are committed to sharing their expertise in areas of mutual interest, which will provide an excellent basis for a long-term partnership.”

“We are very pleased indeed that the University is aligned with three such high profile organisations. All the partnership agreements make sense for a number of reasons. All of our ambitions to further internationalise our businesses means there is common ground among us all and we can support each other in this area, be it with marketing opportunities or stakeholder engagement. One of the most appealing elements for the University, and the other partners, is our shared commitment to the North-East. We are all passionate about our region and its people, and have a desire to support both. We see these partnerships as not only benefiting the four organisations, but the whole region.”

“Our experience of working in partnership with the University of Sunderland to develop the new BA in Community Music and, last year particularly, in helping to raise the profile of the University’s already highly regarded BMus in Jazz, Popular and Commercial Music degree has been all that we hoped, and more. Our teams have been working closely together with a high level of shared values and mutual trust. Amongst all our national and international partnerships, our relationship with the University of Sunderland holds a special place for The Sage Gateshead – for its high degree of mutual trust and professional friendship, as well as the contributions we are together making to the musical development in our region, and of the ambitious young people lucky enough to win places on the courses.” | Bridge | 15


Charlie Spedding Olympic medallist and honorary graduate Charlie remembers his time as an undergraduate Pharmacy student at the University of Sunderland.

Medallist and Honorary Graduate, Graduated BSc (Hons) Pharmacy, 1974


The early 70s was a time of very long hair for men. Nearly everyone had hair down to their shoulders! I have vivid memories of those days and of being in Sunderland when the football club won the FA Cup in 1973. The whole town was out on the streets celebrating. I used to go running through the city streets and Barnes Park every day and was constantly getting the mickey taken because it was so rare to see anybody out running then.” After graduating, Charlie went to work in London at St Thomas Hospital for a year and then came back to the NorthEast to work in the community. He left his pharmacy career to pursue a lifelong dream of running professionally – a dream that came to fruition in spectacular style in 1984. “In my late twenties I decided to concentrate on running and left pharmacy for a few years because I found it impossible to do both things to the best of my ability at the same time.” In 1984, Charlie Spedding won Bronze in the marathon at the Los Angeles Olympics – breaking a 20-year medal drought in that discipline for Team GB.

“I had been a runner for 16 years before I made it to my first Olympic Games at the age of 32. I remember being incredibly nervous for the entire week before the race. I had convinced myself that I was going to run the greatest race of my life, which meant that I didn’t know how well I was going to do. I was shaking with nerves half an hour before the start, but as soon as we began to run, I felt calm, clear and determined. “I remember standing on the podium, squeezing the medal in my hand to make sure it was real.” The Olympian returned to his career as a pharmacist in 1988, and is now a director of C Spedding Ltd. But recently Charlie has stepped back from the day-to-day running of his business to campaign for increased physical exercise for schoolchildren. “New research shows that physical exertion produces neurotrophic factors, that enhance learning and cognition,” he says. “Extra physical activity improves academic achievement as well as benefiting health.” As someone who has juggled a successful business in the highly competitive world of community pharmacy, and gained a medal in the history’s greatest sporting competition, Charlie Spedding certainly knows what he is talking about.

“Extra physical activity improves academic achievement as well as benefitting health.”

“I remember standing on the podium, squeezing the medal in my hand to make sure it was real.” | Bridge | 17

The New Northern Lights The BBC’s big move to Salford Quays has catalysed a creative boom in the north of England. On a tour of MediaCityUK, Nicola Sinclair is introduced to the changing face of modern media, and meets up with some of the University of Sunderland graduates forging successful careers with the world’s largest broadcaster.

f you had to choose one word to summarise the character of Salford Quays, it would probably be reinvention. As one of two ports comprising Manchester Docks, Salford was once the third busiest shipping port in Britain, supporting thousands of jobs and acting as a lynchpin in the economy of the north of England. When the docks closed in 1982, Salford dusted itself off, cleaned up its waters and became a desirable promenade destination complete with hotel, cinema, housing and offices. Waterfront regeneration is hardly a new idea today, but Manchester led the way for this urban trend as early as the ‘80s. Today, the reinvention continues in the form of MediaCityUK. The name may sound ostentatious, but a visit to the site immediately confirms the sheer scale and ambition of the project. This 200-acre development is home to the BBC, ITV, Coronation Street, satellite uplink provider SIS and the University of Salford, as well as 30 independent production companies. Facilities include one of the biggest HD studio developments in Europe, 378 apartments, a vast range of office, retail and leisure space, a hotel and a dedicated tram service. MediaCityUK’s stated vision is to become a leading international hub for the creative and digital sectors, and it’s in good company here in Salford, rubbing shoulders with the Lowry, the Imperial War Museum and (just as key to the local culture) Manchester United Football Club.

I | Bridge | 19

Cover feature BBC

Kicking off a career in BBC Sport

“We were absolutely committed to making a meaningful change, so we publicly set out our stall and started to plan big.”

“The University of Sunderland’s Media Department is such an impressive place,” said Peter Salmon in 2010, on the first of many visits he made to the University. “Sunderland students have passion for the media industries, which is going to stand them in good stead for building a career.” One such student the Director of BBC North met back in 2010 was Nadia Haif, just before she headed off for her first presenting job for the BBC, reporting from the World Cup in South Africa. Now, after graduating from the University of Sunderland with a degree in Sports Journalism, Nadia is a Team Assistant for BBC Sport at Salford.

Inside MediaCItyUK, Salford

Peter Salmon and Nadia Haif

Big impact The development has been a long time in the making – the BBC first touted the idea of moving some of its production to the north of England back in 2004, and from there the project grew bigger and bigger. The creative industries had long bemoaned the London-centric attitude of the TV sector, and the move to Salford was a chance for the BBC to correct the balance and make a demonstrative investment in talent north of the M25. The scale of the project took many by surprise, including perhaps the BBC itself. “We wondered whether it could actually be done,” recalls Peter Salmon, who was named the first Director of BBC North in 2008. “Could we change this radically? But we were absolutely committed to making a meaningful change, so we publicly set out our stall and started to plan big.” Peter was tasked with the epic job of relocating more than 20 departments including BBC Sport, BBC Children’s, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Breakfast, as well as departments including Comedy, Religion and Ethics, and parts of Drama, Entertainment and Future Media to the site. The project has gone remarkably smoothly, completing on time and £20 million under budget – a feat Peter attributes to very careful planning. “We have just completed 36 weekends of gradually moving 2,300 people north, and will have an additional 1,000 relocated here over the next 10 years. Additionally, one third of the workforce is new to the BBC and we’re working hard to ensure everyone settles into the new city and new offices.” Relocating 2,300 posts, including some staff with their families from the south of England, as well as embarking on a massive recruitment drive, was a major commitment

for the BBC. Was there any sense of reticence? “Again, it comes down to planning,” says Peter. “We spent several years preparing people for this day, so there were no surprises. People understood the vision and then I think there came a light bulb moment when they realised how exciting it could be, and really embraced it.” By moving everyone from technicians to commissioners to the north, the BBC has proved this is much more than a token gesture. “We have a real cross-section of the BBC family and economy here in Salford,” says Peter. “That means not only technical expertise and creative talent – such as the producers behind Dragons’ Den and Match of the Day – but also the people making the decisions. Part of our vision was to operate openly and enable people to work in more areas to reach their full potential. It makes great business sense but it also results in more innovation and better cross-fertilisation of ideas. So there’s collaboration not only in spirit but in practice too, and the staff here have really seized on that.” Revival begins The BBC’s output is already reaping the creative rewards. Peter points to comedy shows such as Jesting About by local producer Helen Spencer and sitcom Hepburn by comic Jason Cook; a new fantasy BBC Children’s series called Wolfblood, produced in Gateshead; a forthcoming costume

drama, The Paradise represents one of the BBC’s biggest commissions in years; and several other children’s shows picking up the mantle from the much-loved Byker Grove. “We’re beginning to see our investment in creative production in the north reflected in faces, places, names and talent both on and off-screen,” says Peter. In fact, the BBC’s move has had a catalytic effect, attracting further investment in the area. As we go to press, work is underway on the new Coronation Street set and rumours abound of companies such as Google and Yahoo establishing a base in Britain’s newest media hub. More than 30 independent production companies have taken up residence in the complex, benefiting from the close proximity to commissioners and fellow creatives. “We’re extremely proud of the early signs of revival,” says Peter. “Previously, the BBC had hardly any network programmes coming from the north. That’s all set to change. By 2017 we want to be producing 50% of our programmes outside of London – after all, we’re the BBC not the not the London Broadcasting Corporation, and people all across Britain pay their licence fee. There’s an abundance of creativity here that has been overlooked in the past, and it’s wonderful to tap into it now. I genuinely believe we’re creating a new centre of gravity for media production.”

“University prepared me very well for the real world.” “I knew from a very young age that I wanted to work in sport,” says Nadia. “University prepared me very well for the real world, and when I graduated I travelled straight to South Africa for the World Cup in the hope of doing some networking. “My time at Sunderland boosted my confidence and ability to work with people, so I felt I was ready to really go for it. I bugged all my contacts for work experience and soon landed an internship with the BBC in London, working on the Wimbledon coverage. “Today, I book guests, co-ordinate schedules and work in the live studio for programmes such as Fighting Talk on Radio 5 Live. I love it here, and it’s great to see people from outside London being given more opportunity to work in the creative industries.” | Bridge | 21

Cover feature BBC

Our friends in the South (and West Coast)

Sarah Cuthbert is Studio Manager for BBC Radio 3 and 4 and the World Service in London.

BBC North isn’t the only area of the corporation where Sunderland graduates are making a significant impact. Bridge caught up with three University of Sunderland alumni who have gone on to forge successful careers with the BBC both in London – and the USA.

“It’s hard not to enjoy watching TV for a living!”

Lord Sugar: Steve Meddle/Rex Features

World Service and am responsible for making the programmes sound the best they possibly can. I particularly enjoy working on documentaries where we have an opportunity to craft the programmes on SADiE, our digital editing system. “I would encourage anyone looking for a career in the media to take every chance they can to spend time in the environment. I spent three years after graduating applying for jobs whilst gaining more work experience at Wear FM – it’s important to stay focused and remember how competitive the industry is when it seems as if you can’t get a foot in the door.”

“The biggest contributing factor to my entering radio was the launch of the community station Wear FM at the University of Sunderland.”

Ashleigh Whitfield is a BBC Continuity Announcer based in London.

Ashleigh graduated from the University with a degree in Media and Cultural Studies in 2001 – and, though you may not know her name, you will almost certainly have heard her distinctive North-East accent as she introduces everything from EastEnders to Doctor Who.

Sarah graduated in Communication Studies in 1992, and met her husband Richard at the University of Sunderland. “I studied Communication Studies but without any real expectation that it would lead to a career in media. The biggest contributing factor to my entering radio was the launch of the community station Wear FM at the University of Sunderland. I was able to work as a volunteer in my spare time and try out all the different roles, such as the music library, newsroom, production and some presenting. “My job title is Studio Manager. I work on Radios 3 and 4 and the

Peter Bowes is US Correspondent for the BBC, based in California.

“As part of my degree I studied radio production, TV studio and journalism, which all gave me great experience for my future career. Radio in particular was very helpful, as the studio set-up was similar to what I went on to use at many radio stations. Journalism also developed my writing skills, which has come in handy since my current job involves scripting and creative writing on a daily basis. “As a Continuity Announcer for Red Bee Media, I’m one of the voices you will hear talking over the credits on one programme and then introducing the next. I announce on both BBC One and BBC Two, depending on what shift I’m on. I enjoy all of it. It’s hard not to

enjoy watching TV for a living! The most challenging part of the job is coming up with engaging lines that will make the audience want to keep watching. It’s difficult writing for something like the final of The Apprentice because your lines have to sum up the excitement of a whole programme in just 10 seconds. On the other hand, it’s often harder to write for a programme over and over again, like Bargain Hunt or Cash in the Attic. “I have many friends who graduated in the same year and also carved successful careers in a very tough industry, and obviously I’d recommend any of the media degrees at the University of Sunderland.”

“I value my education at Sunderland enormously.”

Peter has reported on everything from the Oscars to earthquakes, but arrived at the BBC via an unusual career path… “I actually studied Applied Biology at Sunderland. It wasn’t until later that I took a course in broadcast journalism, at the National Broadcasting School in London, and decided on a career in the media. However, I value my education at Sunderland enormously, and the elements of the course covering scientific writing actually proved very useful. Dr Robert Barrass, one of our lecturers, gave some invaluable talks on the art of clear and concise writing. The discipline and attention to detail associated with scientific research can be applied to many aspects of my current work in the media – whether I’m reporting on politics, crime or natural disasters. “As a news correspondent I can be called upon at any time to report on breaking stories in the region that I cover – which is much of the western US. Over 17 years in LA I have reported on earthquakes, floods and wildfires, major celebrity trials, the Oscars and the deaths of pop culture icons, such as Frank Sinatra,

Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Whitney Houston. Every story poses new challenges – gathering the facts and quickly relating them to audiences on TV, radio and online. I enjoy the variety of stories and, of course, being in a privileged position to meet notable people, from all walks of life. I was particularly moved by an interview I did last year with the country music legend, Glen Campbell, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. “I became aware of other societies, lifestyles and professions, before stepping inside a newsroom, and have no regrets about pursuing a short career in biology and science before embarking on a career in journalism.” | Bridge | 23

Cover feature BBC

A bit about the beeb

Our friends in the North-east Saul Nassé, Controller of BBC Learning, explains why he’s thrilled to join the University of Sunderland’s Board of Governors; and University Honorary Graduate, former Director General of the BBC, and Chancellor of York University, Greg Dyke, tells us why he is a supporter of the BBC’s shift North.


was very pleased to come onto the Board of Governors,” says Saul Nassé during one of his frequent visits to the University of Sunderland’s David Puttnam Media Centre. “In my capacity as Controller of BBC Learning I recently moved to Salford, and my place on the Board gives me a connection to the north of England, allows me to keep track of the changing higher education landscape and plugs me into a new scene in the North that’s vibrant and cultured. “The University’s Governors provide a broader perspective beyond academia, acting as advisors and also cheerleaders. By joining together, educational and cultural institutions can have a greater impact. Partnership is high up on the agenda at the BBC. Universities bring us expertise around subject areas that might form the

“When it comes to a career in media, the BBC wants people who are well informed and can take a critical view of what they love and loathe.”

The BBC is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff.

BBC was the world’s first national broadcasting organisation, founded on October 18, 1922.

The company was orginally a group of six telecommunications companies— Marconi, Radio Communication Company, Metropolitan-Vickers, General Electric, Western Electric, and British ThomsonHouston — created to broadcast experimental radio services.

The first transmission was on November 14, 1922. basis of a TV show; they offer cutting-edge research; and they put us in touch with the next generation of future employees. For their part, universities gain from the exposure the BBC can provide, access to an industry viewpoint and job opportunities for graduates. “When it comes to a career in media, the BBC wants people who are well informed and can take a critical view of what they love and loathe in current output. My background is not in media but in science, and that knowledge got me my first job at Tomorrow’s World. I also wrote for Marvel Comics in my spare time, which gave me the creativity to pitch a few well thought-out ideas in my interview. Sometimes, having a unique insight and voice is just as important as your educational record. “I’m delighted to see a new creative centre of excellence springing up in Salford.

It means that the bright graduates coming through from Sunderland and other universities can create an entire media career based right here, instead of having to move to London. That’s quite unusual in the global media industry, and I think we will quickly reap the creative benefits both on and off screen.” Greg Dyke agrees. “I believe in the BBC’s move North massively,” he says. “The BBC was much too South of England biased and moving production to Salford is a good solution. Similar efforts in the past failed because producers in the North were still trying to sell to the South, whereas this time they’ve moved the money to Salford too. That’s what makes all the difference. “Universities like Sunderland are now playing a big part in journalistic training. Employment statistics show that media

Greg Dyke

graduates are more likely to find jobs. Students can train in one area and then freely move around, but the key thing is to have a strong understanding of the industry as a whole.” Saul Nassé sees a bright future for University of Sunderland students, and for BBC North as this talent begins to translate from the classroom to the studio floor. “What sets the University of Sunderland apart is the hands-on nature of the education it provides. Looking around the media department when I took on the role of Governor, I saw equipment that matches that of the BBC, and programmes being made by students who I felt I could place in a newsroom, magazine format show or radio station and see them thrive. Their aptitude comes from gaining direct experience of media production, not just learning the theory.”

BBC has the second largest budget of any UK broadcaster with an operating expenditure of £4.26 billion in 2009/10 (compared to £5.9 billion for British Sky Broadcasting).

The BBC’s nickname, “the Beeb”, was coined by legendary comedian Peter Sellers in The Goon Show in the 1950s.

13.2 million people in the UK visit BBC Online each day.

MediaCityUK houses seven high-definition TV studios, the largest such facility in Europe. | Bridge | 25

Breaking through the Arctic’s mysteries

Delving into the logbooks of the earliest Arctic adventurers not only provides a fascinating flavour of their pioneering spirit, it also offers valuable data for measuring global warming.


hroughout history, ships’ logbooks were the main resource used to record the weather in the oceans. Officers kept careful records of the daily, and sometimes hourly, climate conditions. And perhaps the most comprehensive of these valuable scientific and historic resources are whaling logs. A groundbreaking research project at the University of Sunderland is analysing the historical logbooks of explorers, including those of renowned Arctic explorers such as William Scoresby Jnr and Sir John Franklin. The Arcdoc project, led by world-renowned climatologist Dr Dennis Wheeler, is examining these logbooks to increase our understanding of climate change in the Arctic. | Bridge | 27

REsearch in Sunderland Arctic adventures

Whalers travelled further north than any other sailors, in a period that pre-dates the emergence of greenhouse gasses. Now a Sunderland PhD student is taking that research in a new direction. Armed with data from whaling logbooks from 1750 to 1850, Matthew Ayre is joining the US’s last operational polar ice break, the Coast Guard Cutter Healy, to unlock vital information about the Arctic’s melting ice cap. “These are the only books in history which seek out the ice edge in great detail and follow it,” says Matthew. “Using this data, I can map the ice edge, which has never been done before in any great detail because it melts and freezes every year - which is happening further and faster than ever before.” In Scoresby’s wake Among the logbooks Matthew has researched is that of William Scoresby Jnr (1789-1857), commander of the whaler Resolution which, in 1806, reached the highest northern latitude of the Arctic Circle. In 1820 his book An Account of the Arctic Regions and Northern Whale Fishery gathered many of his observations, and led to the eventual discovery of the North West Passage. His final voyage in 1822 charted over 400 miles of the coast of Greenland. Matthew is analysing 60 logbooks belonging to whaling vessels, between 1750 and 1850, which contain descriptions of sea ice advancing and retreating, recorded by whalers who ventured farther north than anyone else and lived on the ice edge. To understand how the data relates to today’s ice cover decline, he has translated the whalers’ archaic terminology into the first ever sea ice dictionary in standard 21st Century observational vocabulary. Matthew will be testing out the accuracy of his dictionary first-hand on board the Coast Guard Cutter Healy, the world’s newest

and most technologically advanced polar icebreaker. Healy has more than 4,200 square feet of scientific laboratory space, accommodating 50 scientists. The ship is designed to break through 4 ½ feet of ice continuously at three knots and can operate in temperatures as low as -50 degrees. “I’ll make observations every four hours using Scoresby’s definitions, comparing them to my dictionary and the Healy researchers’ own daily records, testing how accurate our data is and hopefully validate what is in the sea ice dictionary.” The three-year project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, is being led by the University of Sunderland’s Dr Dennis Wheeler in collaboration with the Scott Polar Research Institute, The Met Office Hadley Research Centre and Hull University’s Maritime Studies Unit. “Matthew’s research is going incredibly well and hopefully this will be validated on

“Using this data I can map the ice edge, which has never been done before.”

board the Healy,” says Dr Wheeler, whose own research into climate change won the Royal Meteorological Society’s 2009 Jehudi Neumann Prize. “The whaling logbooks are the most interesting given that the crews were not trained naval officers; they often ventured farther north than any others.” ARCTIC MELTDOWN Recent research by NASA and by the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre suggests that, if current trends continue, it is likely that, within 30 years, the Arctic will be largely ice-free in the summer months – 40 years earlier than anticipated in the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment report. “The Arctic environmentally is a hugely important area,” says Dr Wheeler. “But we need to know how it behaved in the past in order that we can assess how it’s going

to behave in the future; you can’t look forward without looking back.” Dr Wheeler says the 100-year period being researched is important climatologically because it pre-dates the emergence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, providing information about the Arctic under natural conditions. “But the picture is not wholly clear and we already have noticed some conflicting reports from the ships’ logs about ice advancing and retreating,” he says. “We need to know what’s happening, because changes in the Arctic today are important as they feed back into the global climatic system and if the ice change isn’t responding to temperature, then to what does it respond and what is the background to it?” The team’s findings will be presented at a series of international conferences in 2014.

Tales of the Arctic the greeks got there first The word “Arctic” come from the Greek word “arktos” meaning “the bear”, which refers to the constellation Ursa Minor, “the Little Bear”, which includes the North Star. The ancient Greek sailor Pytheas is recognised as the first polar explorer, writing about stumbling on the Arctic ice shelf while looking for a source of tin in 325 BC. Franklin’s tragedy Though popularly recognised as the discoverer of the North West Passage, Sir John Franklin failed in his attempt to map that region in his ill-fated 1845 expedition, with his ships becoming trapped in the ice and he and all of his crew lost. The exact location of Franklin and his crew’s remains have never been discovered. peary’s claim On April 6, 1909, Robert Peary claimed to be the first person in recorded history to reach the North Pole – though many believe that Peary fabricated his journals and never actually made it. The first person to have been proven to make it to the North Pole over land was American Ralph Plaisted, who reached the Pole by snowmobile on April 19, 1968, and whose position was verified independently by the US Air Force.

Ralph Plaisted

measuring change The Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research has measured Arctic ice since the earliest twentieth century, and has recorded a significant yearly decline in Arctic sea ice over the last 50 years. Reliable measurements of sea ice began in 1978 with the deployment of the three satellites: SMMR (the Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer), Seasat and Nimbus 7. A new NASA study, which compared satellite images of the Polar Ice Cap from 1980 to those of 2012, revealed that the oldest and thickest Arctic sea ice is disappearing at a faster rate than the younger and thinner ice at the edges of the Arctic Ocean’s floating ice cap. Matthew Ayre | Bridge | 29

The University of Sunderland’s investment in the National Glass Centre is helping to restore Sunderland to its rightful place in the history of glassmaking.



r o m f e y l d l


g e a t i r e

“Glass has been as important an industry as shipbuilding, but it’s a heritage that has been somewhat forgotten. It’s our job to tell Sunderland’s story.”

rom the splendour of the windows of Sainte Chapelle in Paris, to the precision lenses that make possible modern science, glass has long been a source of wonder and has played a vital role in the development of human society. Places such as Murano and Waterford may have etched a name for themselves in the history of this unique material, but what about Sunderland? It is here that decorative stained glass was first introduced to our shores, over 13 centuries ago, and since that time, glass has continued to play a major role in the city’s fortunes over the centuries. Yet Sunderland’s glassmaking heritage and cultural heritage had remained one of the region’s best-kept secrets. The University of Sunderland expects this will soon change having taken ownership of the National Glass Centre. Originally created in 1998 as a focal point for regional regeneration, the Centre is now home to the University’s renowned Glass and Ceramics Department, and is undergoing a major redevelopment programme. A new vision The University’s involvement with the National Glass Centre began with its opening. Taking up a tenancy at the Centre, the University relocated its highly-regarded Glass and Ceramics Department there. And with the closure of the Ashburne campus in 2012, the University is now investing significantly in the Centre with a two-phase development programme. The first of these phases will see the relocation of the University’s Art and Design Foundation Programme to the Centre, thereby strengthening the Centre’s role as a ‘living place of learning’. The second will

see a major renovation of the gallery and exhibition spaces, which will transform the Centre into an arts and public education venue of national importance. “There are many different aspects to what we want to achieve, and where we want to take the Centre,” explains National Glass Centre Director James Bustard. “We want to deliver a high degree of public benefit, and to do that we need to attract a high number of visitors to the Centre. We are also planning to invest a great deal in our virtual presence, to enable people to engage with the Centre remotely. And it would be great to think that the Centre will contribute to student recruitment by offering prospective students a further incentive to study here. But we also want to ensure that when people come here, they leave with an absolutely unequivocal understanding of why there is a National Glass Centre here in Sunderland. At times, it has been as an important industry as shipbuilding, but it’s a heritage that has been somewhat forgotten. It’s our job to tell Sunderland’s story.” To ensure this, the revamped exhibition spaces will include one gallery dedicated to the history of glass in the North-East of England, while space for education, learning and engagement rooms for both children and adults will be doubled. Another key element of the University’s vision is to increase the Centre’s peer credibility, to enable it to attract world-leading exhibitions and develop collaborations with world-class international institutions. There will therefore also be a bespoke museum gallery created, to house dynamic, contemporary and innovative temporary exhibitions from around the world. “When you describe something as ‘national’ in the world of the visual arts, that normally implies a collection of international | Bridge | 31

A beaut i f

National glass cenTre

Northern exposure on a national scale

A beautifully-formed heritage

“There is a great story to tell about Sunderland’s contribution to glass.” James Bustard

Forged in the north-east


he tradition of glassmaking in Sunderland began in the 7th Century AD when Northumbrian noble Benedict Biscop set out plans to build two monasteries at Wearmouth and Jarrow. Now patron saint of Sunderland, Biscop travelled an astonishing seven times to Rome, largely via the French canal system. Inspired by the craftsmanship he witnessed on his travels, Biscop sent to France for the best stained-glass making craftsmen to work on his new monasteries, and in doing so introduced the art of glass working to Britain. Sunderland’s oldest industry, glassmaking, has continued to be important to the city over the centuries. The modern Wearside glassmaking industry

began in the 1690s, but began to boom in the 18th Century, thanks to the region’s plentiful supplies of coal and access to high quality sand coming in from the Baltic through the city port. Some decorative items were produced, but much of the output was focused on plate and industrial glass, and bottles. The industry peaked in the 19th Century, thanks to the advent of modern, less labour-intensive production techniques, and in the 20th Century Sunderland firms were major producers of Pyrex ware. Today the heritage of glassmaking in the city survives in the work of a number of small, artisan producers.

or national significance,” explains James Bustard. ‘”Our intention is not to build up our own collection, but rather to be able to show key moments in glass by developing partnerships with leading national and international institutions and showcasing world-leading exhibitions,” James explains. “We would like to move to a position where we are perceived as making an important contribution to that discourse and debate.” The Centre has already been working with the National Museums of Scotland to bring the late Dan Klein’s world-renowned collection of studio glass to the Centre on a three-year loan. It is also building a relationship with the Victoria and Albert Museum, which has agreed to lend its exquisite collection of Oliver Goldsmith spectacles frames, worn by iconic figures such as Princess Grace of Monaco and Marilyn Monroe. It is hoped that the high calibre of exhibitions will help to attract people from across the region and further afield, boosting visitor numbers from the current 175,000 a year to around 200,000. A living craft When the National Glass Centre was first conceived, it was with the idea of incorporating the workshops of local glass producer Hartley Wood, and the practice of live glassmaking remains at the heart of the centre. As well as bringing together two hot shops for teaching and student work in the south-east of the building, the redevelopment will also see the creation of a flame-working studio within the museum shop. Occupied by one of the Centre’s tenant artists, who include small companies and recent graduates of the University, the hot shop will enable visitors to witness artisan glassblowing even closer than before. “One of our unique selling points is the fact that people can come here and actually see glass being made. Glassblowing is magnetic to watch and we’ll be able to provide that experience far better through an integrated hot shop,” James explains. “We also run a huge number of courses from silversmithing to lamp-making to glassmaking in all its manifest forms. So visitors can engage with glass here on many different levels, whether it’s exploring an exhibition, enjoying a one-to-one glassmaking experience, taking a course, or studying a degree and doing a PhD here. It’s all here, from a brief interaction with glass to a five-year rich relationship.” James adds: “There is a great story to tell about Sunderland’s contribution to glass. We are in a fantastic position to make a very strong contribution to the North-East’s heritage and history.”

Sunderland-born Lauren Laverne is an Honorary Graduate of the University of Sunderland. Lauren is an author, journalist and presenter, and host of BBC’s The Culture Show.


s someone who is proud of my roots in the North-East, it’s wonderful to see a cultural venue such as the National Glass Centre thrive in my home town. Sunderland has a rich history in glassmaking, which deserves to be recognised both at a regional and national level. This heritage mustn’t be confined to the past, however. A successful future must be mapped out, and the University of Sunderland’s plans for the National Glass Centre, unveiled last year, will play a hugely important role in supporting this. Like many cultural institutions up and down the UK, the Centre was facing difficult times last year. With the announcement that Arts Council funding was being dramatically reduced, it was evident, sadly, that many worthwhile organisations were going to go to the wall. The key to the National Glass Centre’s successful Arts Council bid for National Portfolio status – the reduced funding pot, which concentrates on venues with national importance – was the intervention and

“With the drive and direction of a new Director of the Centre, the University aims to put the venue firmly on the national map.”

vision of the University, supported by the Sunderland-based National Gallery for Contemporary Art. Last year’s successful bid secured around £1m funding for three years. This security allowed the University to develop a plan that will not only maintain the National Glass Centre’s current status, but will take it to a significantly higher level. With the drive and direction of a new Director of the Centre, the University aims to put the venue firmly on the national map, with a multi-million pound investment and fundraising plan. The outcome will be a venue that is able to hold the most important and high-profile exhibitions from around the world; forge partnerships with leading museums and arts organisations; proudly show the region’s heritage in glass and ceramics, as well as be a first-class destination for glass students and artists. The National Glass Centre will also extend its reach into the community – running programmes within the city and with local schools, offering opportunities for people to learn new skills. Over recent years, the North-East has raised its game and delivered on the national stage in arts, culture and industry. The National Glass Centre is about to take its place on that stage, further cementing our reputation as the most creative region in the United Kingdom. | Bridge | 33


4 2

23 17

11 5

1 Canada (4 Partners) 2 USA (12 Partners) 3 Trinidad (1 Partner) 4 Europe (64 Partners) 5 Morocco (1 Partner) 6 Botswana (1 Partner) 7 Zambia (1 Partner) 8 Tanzania (1 Partner) 9 Kenya (1 Partner) 10 Egypt (1 Partner) 11 Syria (1 Partner) 12 Jordan (1 Partner) 13 Bahrain (1 Partner) 14 Mauritius (1 Partner) 15 India (1 Partner) 16 Sri Lanka (1 Partner) 17 China (16 Partners) 18 Hong Kong (4 Partners) 19 Vietnam (5 Partners) 20 Malaysia (3 Partners) 21 Singapore (2 Partners) 22 Philippines (1 Partner) 23 Japan (1 Partner) 24 Australia (2 Partners)

12 10



15 19


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Boldness brings global benefits

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With the increasing challenges facing higher education, universities are going to have to adapt if they are going to remain strong. Pam Tatlow, Chief Executive of higher education organisation Million+, says some institutions are adapting well while others are off the pace.


owhere is this more evident than in the international student market, which is one of the most complicated and challenging environments within which to operate, writes Pam. Understanding its complexities is the key to success for universities. Performance by universities in this market is varied – some simply fail to grasp the vagaries, while others see them vividly. The University of Sunderland is firmly in the latter. It is one of the sector’s high performers, particularly in transnational education – the delivery of UK degree programmes in overseas partner institutions. In fact, last year, it was recognised as one of the top five performers in the UK in this area. The University has been recognised at the highest levels over the past few years – particularly by Government and the British

Council – for its innovative international activity. People’s perceptions of international students studying for a UK university degree is one of being on campus for three or four years, graduating and then returning home to start their careers. To some extent this is still very much the case. However, things have moved on. It’s not as simple as that any more and this is where the University of Sunderland has taken a lead. The University has adapted its strategic approach to collaborate with partners abroad. Over the past 12 months, the University has been driving this partnerships strategy – forging lasting links with carefully selected partners that are accredited, experienced and of like mind to Sunderland. The main appeal is that students in a variety of countries, who for financial or other reasons cannot travel to England to study, can study either wholly in

“The University of Sunderland constantly has one eye to the future.”

their home country, or partly there sandwiched with a year or two in Sunderland. Sunderland is not the only university delivering in this area, but it is at the forefront of this ever more popular style of academic delivery. The University of Sunderland was the first UK university to receive a licence to operate in Vietnam, having built a credible reputation in areas such as Hong Kong, mainland China and Malaysia. It is now partnered with colleges in countries across the globe. Today’s educational environment is continually changing and the key for any university is to adapt to change. The University of Sunderland constantly has one eye to the future. Its success over the past 12 months, coupled with its on-going approach of looking to new markets, will ensure that it is a key global operator in the future. | Bridge | 35

Alumni: Out and about

If you would like to know more about the societies featured go to: www.wearunited. org or contact

News Round-up Pioneering student research

Nigerian Reunion The University will be spreading its message across Nigeria following the appointment of our first International Alumni Ambassador. Terese Mbama held the first reunion in Lagos with fellow Nigerian Alumni. 1978 graduate Golden Iruayenama told the group of his experiences on his first visit to Sunderland. All members also pledged to work with the Alumni Ambassador to ensure that this group would grow even bigger and better. Terese Mbama said: “Members connected to one another very easily, as we created an environment for family, friendship, and networking. I look forward to our continuing relationship with the Alumni Association and each other.”

Barbarians take on Bahrain A group of former University Rugby team members met up after 14 years for a tournament in Bahrain. The idea for the trip came after meeting up at the University of Sunderland, when Stuart Greaves, who lives in Bahrain, suggested a tournament. Paul Carrington and Chris Mace provided sponsorship for the kit, accommodation, local transport and of course some beer and food money, leaving only flights and the rest of the bar tab to be paid for by the members for their adventure in the Gulf. The Royalty Barbarians squad consisted of Alumnus Frazer Moore, Adrian ‘Adge’ Birden, Nick ‘Expensive Haircut’ Matheson, Morgan Hamilton, Simon

‘Dodge’ Mander, Phil ‘Shooem’ Stephens, Gavin Ames and Stuart Greaves. Following relaxing hours by the pool upon arrival, the tournament kicked off against HMS Daring before two further matches that evening against Doha and the Bahrain Vagabonds. However, injuries took their toll with a dislocated knee cap as well as a hamstring and a chest injury. The tournament was eventually won by the Bahrain Vagabonds, and the talk is already of where the next worldwide tour will take place. Frazer Moore, said: “One thing seems certain – the welcome we received and the quality of the event means that we most definitely plan to return to the Middle East again in the future.

Hope Winch deliver Potions and Passion

Old Teachers on the road

The annual Hope Winch reunion celebrated 90 years of pharmacy, holding their annual reunion for the first time at the University’s new Sciences Complex. Members enjoyed sparkling wine and afternoon tea and toured the new £8.5m Complex, with Associate Dean Professor Tony Alabaster revealing exciting plans for future development for the Fleming and Pasteur Buildings, before the party headed over to the Stadium of Light. Dr Ray-Anne Lutener, who lectured at the School of Pharmacy from 1987 to 1989, and now makes her living as a romantic novelist under the pen name Nina Harrington, gave an excellent talk about her unusual career path, ‘From Potions to Passion’.

The Sunderland Old Student Teachers Society enjoyed a day out at Crook Hall and gardens as part of their reunion. The group enjoyed the beauty of the Hall, its gardens and the spectacular view of Durham Cathedral – and afterwards enjoyed a cream tea!

Four Sunderland pharmacy students were part of a team testing a range of drugs to treat eye problems in patients suffering the rare genetic disease cystinosis. PhD student Lisa Frost led the final-year Pharmacy students, who received an £80,000 grant from the America Cystinosis Research Network charity to carry out a three-year study to investigate what happens inside cystinotic cells, and how the cell processes change when treatment is given. Cystinosis is a disease that occurs when the body’s mechanism to remove the amino acid cysteine breaks down. Untreated, the inherited illness can result in kidney failure before a child reaches the age of 10. bringing the Spark back Sunderland graduate Paul Elliot returned to his old university to help run our award-winning radio station. Paul was named Station Manager for the University’s community radio station, 107 Spark FM. He previously worked on Metro Radio, TFM, and on CFM after graduating with MA Radio Production and Management in 2005. Paul’s expertise had a clear impact; Spark was named Best Student Radio Station in the World at the 2012 New York Radio Festival.

placed on the joints to communicate wirelessly with a computer to capture every twist and turn of the body. Now researchers and undergraduates at the Faculty of Applied Sciences are using the device for research into a wide range of programmes, from riding a horse with the correct saddle to helping nurses lift their patients safely. OLYMPIC CAMP FOR GRENADA Sunderland opened its first ever Olympic training camp in 2012, when the University welcomed athletes from Team Grenada. Grenada boasts international stars including Kirani James and Janelle Redhead among its number. The team lived and trained at the University over the summer, and celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee on campus. BEST NEW UNI IN NORTH EAST Sunderland was ranked the best new university in the North East for the second year running in the Guardian University Guide 2012. Sunderland was placed 4th nationally among new universities in the guide. Star helps with Butterflies

A new dimension in research

A biomechanical bodysuit used by the military, and by filmmakers to bring CGI characters such as Tintin and Gollum to life, is now being used by Sunderland researchers to help sporting and healthcare professionals. The MNV Biomech is a 3D human kinematic, camera-less measurement system that has small tracking sensors

Bafta-winning actress Wendy Craig helped students get the ball rolling for a month-long creative partnership between a North East theatre and the University. Arts students took over the Customs House in South Shields for a month to stage an exciting programme of theatre, dance and visual arts. Durham-born actress Wendy Craig, an Honorary Graduate of the University, is probably best known for her role in the classic sitcom Butterflies. She said: “I was delighted to support these students who are just starting out in their careers. SunFest is a wonderful and unique opportunity which I’m sure will inspire them to greater things.” | Bridge | 37

Alumni: Where are you now?

David Amofah BA Accountancy & Financial Management (2010) I am currently working at Takoradi Polytechnic (Ghana) as Principal Audit Assistant. I am a very proud Alumna of Sunderland!

As Sunderland celebrates 20 years as a University, Bridge catches up with some of Sunderland’s alumni to see what they’ve been up to since graduating.

Michelle Castles graduated BA Art and Design (1998) and now works as a professional artist, based in Cumbria.

Alex Lee BEng Digital Systems Engineering (1992)

Ruth Ashton-Ward BSc Environmental Studies (1997)

Chris Markwick BA Business Computing (1992)

Studied at Benedict Building and after a summer being a volunteer ranger on the Wirral, I realised the job prospects were not great, so I came straight back and did a full-time one-year Water and Environmental Engineering MSc (with Dr Andy Wose at Benedict Building again!). I spent three happy years in Water Licensing, roaming Northumberland getting shouted at by farmers! I have lived in Leeds with my husband for the last 10 years working first for the Countryside Agency on rural Market Towns development, and then at Yorkshire Forward, where I have worked for the past seven years, latterly as the Environmental Assets Manager – looking at how to link economic development with the management of our environment and landscapes, which got me back to the original topic areas of my degree! I am now working at Defra, on the Flood Management programme, as the Environmental Specialist. The team is based in London (Whitehall) as it is part of central government, and it’s very exciting being at the heart of policymaking. If it wasn’t for the University of Sunderland I wouldn’t be where I am today!

Currently I am working for a large insurance company in the United States – in Cleveland, Ohio.

Mike Howarth BA Media Production (Television and Radio) (2002) Currently entertaining British troops for the British Forces Broadcasting Service. I am presenting the ‘Ops Breakfast’ programme, providing a vital two-way link between troops on operations and their families back home. Prior to deploying, I hosted the UK Breakfast show for BFBS on DAB Digital Radio, as well as presenting the children’s television show ‘Room 785’ for BFBS. I also lived and worked for BFBS, entertaining the troops in Cyprus, Gibraltar, the Falklands Islands, and Bosnia. I started my radio career while studying for my degree, where I co-hosted the Breakfast show on 107 Utopia FM. BFBS Radio is such a unique station – where the listeners go, we go! We’re a vital link back home and to be able to live and work alongside our British Armed Forces for a few months is a dream come true.

David Kidd BSc Mathematics Education (1999)

I spent 10 years (1992-2001) in the engineering field. I focused on the semiconductor (integrated circuit) design industry. Between 1997-2000, I worked in Motorola Semiconductor as Senior Design and Application Engineer. From 2001 to 2011, I worked for semiconductor companies in Hong Kong, Silicon Valley, Israel and China. Now I am running my own company as operation consultant to companies of HK/China/ US/Europe. 

I am now working at a teacher training college in Woldia, Ethiopia. We are a new college training primary school teachers and we have the only course in the country dealing with early years education. Before I came here I worked for four years as a teacher trainer and school supervisor (inspector) in Eritrea dealing with basic (grades 1-8) education.

Richard Cuthbert BSc Environmental Studies (1993)

I have worked for a large Finnish timber company for the last 13 years and now head up the technical development team. I am responsible for areas such as Integration, ERP & Web programming and I have a team of developers located throughout Europe. I spend a great deal of time travelling to our sites in various locations. I am now married with two children. I am still the same gadget man I always was and have had a few ‘toys’ since University including motorbikes, boats. Last year I also bought a nightclub in my home town and am currently working (literally) day and night! Would love to hear from anyone who remembers me!

Paul Clavering BSc Technology Management with German (1996)

I am Head of Rights of Way for Hertfordshire County Council. My career has blossomed since those early days of environmental tasks with CEED (Community, Environmental and Educational Development) and the University Conservation Volunteers Club.

David Bowen BSc Technology Management (1993)

Sarah Cuthbert BA Communication Studies (1992)

I met my wife Rachel (then Harris) at the University. We both book the same degree and graduated ‘93. 20 years later we have two children and live in Berkshire.

When I arrived, Sunderland was still a town but soon to become a city and still had a brewery. I started out at Wear FM when it first began in the Forster Building and I am now with the leading

radio network in the world, working as an Assistant Senior Studio Manager (Sound Engineer) with BBC Radio 4 and the World Service. On my last visit to Sunderland, over five years ago, we barely recognised the city centre with its revamped bus station and new Metro terminal. | Bridge | 39

Dominic Watkins BSc Environmental Studies (1993)

Suzanne Smith BSc Physics and Maths (1994) If I remember rightly, the Physics department closed down the year I left hope it wasn’t anything to do with me! I’ve been teaching maths for 16 years now. I taught in London for 12 years but am living in Lincolnshire now. My first and second years in Sunderland were spent living in a shared house with six girls. We have been meeting up together every year since we left. We met up in 2010 in Sunderland to celebrate 20 years since we started there.

Following a Masters degree at Anglia University, in 1995 I joined landscape architects and environmental planning consultants Chris Blandford Associates based in East Sussex. I have been a Director at CBA since 2003, leading teams in the planning of major projects such as the New Stonehenge Visitor Centre and the London 2012 Olympic Mountain Bike Course.

Tony Dowling PGCE (1993)

Jo Wooster BSc Social Science (1992)

David Fletcher BSc Civil Engineering (1994) I am now a Technical Director at a Civil & Structural Engineering Consultancy.

Judith Hope BA Business Computing (1994)

Matthew Leedam BSc Pharmacy (1995)

Stuart Maddison BA Communication Studies (1992) I was among the first to graduate from the University of Sunderland, having started at Sunderland Polytechnic three years before. I’d secured a place for my first year in halls – or ‘Wearmouth Scrubs’, as the tower block was affectionately known. No-one knows what a ‘polytechnic’ is now – and none of the youngsters I work with these days can believe it when I say that I did my degree without once touching a computer! I got my first full-time job back down south and commuted into the capital to spend my days editing crosswords for The Puzzler, and was still working in magazines - everything from Heritage Today to brochures for Rolls-Royce up until summer 2010. Now working in London for an advertising agency.

Applies to a range of full-time courses starting in Sept 2012

Have taught in Newcastle primary and middle schools, Gateshead Hospital and Home Tuition Service, and Gateshead Primary Pupil Referral Unit. I am currently working as a liaison teacher for Gateshead Behaviour Support Service in the In School Support team.

After graduating I gained a PGCE in Business Studies at Sheffield Hallam Uni and went straight into Special Ed teaching. I left the UK a couple of years later, teaching Special Ed and then ESL for three years in Singapore, ESL for a year in Jakarta and moved to Sydney, Australia in 1999. I have been teaching Special Education at High School ever since. Ironically, a fellow student who I shared a house with in our final year, Ruth Chambers, lives a couple of minutes down the road from me!

I completed my pre-registration training at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and qualified as a Pharmacist in 1996. I am the third generation of pharmacist in my family and this year we are celebrating our 90th Anniversary of providing Pharmacy Services to the public of East Lancashire. Alongside running the family pharmacy practice, I am Chairman of East Lancashire Local Pharmaceutical Committee and Past Chairman of the Burnley & District Branch of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

£750 postgraduate fee discount for Sunderland UK/EU alumni

L-R: Alex Gibson (BSc Pharmacy), Jean Murray (BSc Biomedical Sciences) and Suzanne Smith (BSc Physics and Maths) on their way to the 1994 Freshers Ball

I have worked at the University for many years. I started at the Polytechnic in 1977 as a Clerical Assistant in the Faculty of Science. I had various admin jobs and then left the University in 1990 to start on the HND Computer Studies course and then transferred to the second year of the BA course. When I graduated in 1994, I was applying everywhere for a job but noticed that there was a job going as a Systems Development Officer. In 2000, I was promoted to my current job, as a Business Systems Analyst, and am responsible for HR-related computer systems.

Andrew Dorrian BSc Technology Management (1994) After a short period as a Network Analyst for a small company in County Durham, I gained a position at an American Multinational in 1995 with a site in Washington (Tyne and Wear) – Littelfuse. I ended up as Network Infrastructure Engineer for them with responsibility for the UK’s IT Network & Servers, and overall IT responsibility for the sites in Philippines  and China. I left Littelfuse in 2001 to go to an HP (then Compaq) and Microsoft Partner called Coniston IT (currently based in Boldon, Tyne and Wear) where I am currently employed as a Technical Consultant.

Find out more at: Jo RIDDLE BA Combined Arts (1992) After graduation I worked in the Geography department of the University before studying for an MA in East European Studies at Bradford and then I changed direction and did a PGCE (Early Years). I have now been teaching for 14 years and I am the Nursery Teacher at a school in Hitchin, Herts. I absolutely love teaching nursery. I am also the Senior Teacher for FS/KS1 and the SENCo. I have just finished studying again for the SENCo award. I have been married for 10 years to David who I met on an internet dating site! We have two children: Oliver (7) and Harriet Willow (6).

Maggie Harrison BA Art (1994) MA Art in Context (1996) I work in stained glass and painting, now living and working in France. I am opening a studio in France soon.

Thanks to all of our alumni who emailed us. We had a fantastic response but could not feature all of your replies. Keep us updated with your stories and successes at | Bridge | 41

Futures Fund: Jonny Carlisle The Futures Fund award meant a lot to me. It meant that I didn’t have to worry about how much money I spent and I could concentrate on my swimming, writes Jonny Carlisle. The scholarship allowed me to take part in the British Swimming Championships. It wasn’t my first championships, but it was a chance to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. It is the highest competition in Britain, where all the top athletes compete, and it was a great experience for me. It was a very unusual competition, as obviously everyone wanted to do well and, for many people, that one race is the culmination of four years of hard work. It was a very nervous atmosphere, but at the same time everyone was thrilled to be swimming in the pool where the 2012 Olympics would take place. I didn’t qualify for the Olympics, but I did achieve a personal best in the semi final of the 200m backstroke with 2.00.51. Getting texts from people who watched it on TV at home was one of the best feelings of my life. I was happy with my swim, and it was great for my development as an athlete to race in a big competition with a lot of pressure on you. 5,000 people were watching me – not counting the TV audience – and it was fantastic coming

out of that with two Personal Bests and having had the opportunity to compete in two finals. Gaining Future Fund sponsorship meant a lot to me and the people who supported me. My head coach Danny Thompson has worked as hard as me, and has done an awesome job both with me, and with City of Sunderland ASC. He has made me super confident in my ability, and really pushed me to do my best in every session every day. Without the scholarship I would not have been able to gain such a valuable experience. The lessons I’ve learnt I’ll take to my next competition and use them to grow, and I hope I’ll be ready to compete for Team GB in the 2016 Olympics. Jonny Carlisle is studying BSc Sports Coaching

To find out more about the Futures Fund go to: or contact:

“I was happy with my swim, and it was great for my development as an athlete to race in a big competition with a lot of pressure on you.”

Boundless possibilities Morgan Sindall is a leading UK construction, infrastructure and design business operating across the public and private sectors.


Morgan Sindall 3 Chancery Court Belmont Business Park Durham County Durham DH1 1TW T 0191 374 4500 A part of Morgan Sindall Group plc

Bridge 2012  

Annual magazine for friends of the University of Sunderland

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