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Issue 07 Summer 2014


University of Wolverhampton alumni magazine

Creating art from handwriting GRADUATE FEATURE Annemarie Writes

INTERNATIONAL NEWS Nigeria, India and Bangladesh

RESEARCH FOCUS Caste in Britain

Alumni volunteering opportunities We’re looking for talented volunteers to support the University now! As a former student, you have a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience to boast about. Supporting your University by volunteering your time can be a very rewarding experience. It’s a great way to meet new people and old friends, allows you to share your knowledge and your story with the University community, and provides invaluable opportunities to enhance your skills, experiences, and boost your CV. Volunteering opportunities include: • Open Days Attend and share your experiences of university life and your career since graduating with prospective new students and their families. • Visiting local schools and colleges Accompany our team of graduate interns to local schools and colleges and inspire students to strive for higher education. • Guest talks and lectures Contribute to our understanding of the industry you work in by sharing your reallife perspective with students, graduates and staff. • Alumni events Help us to organise and promote alumni events, for example our annual alumni reunion. • Writing a case study or testimonial Feature in University publications and recruitment campaigns, sharing your positive messages about the University and giving an insight into your current world of work. • Careers fairs Is your organisation looking to recruit? Take the opportunity to meet the next generation of graduates. • Student mentoring Support students. As a mentor you can help students make the most of their student experience as well as prepare for life after graduation. For more information about becoming a volunteer, contact Rebecca or Jermaine: email: tel: +44 (0)1902 323 056 or visit:

Life. At Wolverhampton. After Wolverhampton. For Life. Welcome to the Summer 2014 issue of WLV Life - the magazine for graduates of the University of Wolverhampton. Sit back, relax and catch up on all the latest alumni and University news. In this issue, you can read about graduates Annemarie Wright and Matt Jones who are making a name for themselves in the field of art and illustration and Richard Sebro, who works at the Ministry of Energy for the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. There are features about our student mentoring programme and the building work now underway on the new Business School as well as an update on international news and business success stories. Our University has areas of research ranked among the best in the world and this issue highlights the work of our Brain Tumour Research Centre as well as research commissioned by the Equality and Human Rights Commission about the law and caste in Britain, which is being led by the University.

Keep in touch! Are your details correct? Remember you can update your details online in the Alumni pages on the University’s website. We’d love to hear from you and please contact us with any news, updates or enquiries you may have at: Alumni & Development University of Wolverhampton, MX Building, Camp Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1AD Email: Tel: +44 (0)1902 323 056 Like us on Facebook Join us on LinkedIn Follow us on Twitter @wlv_alumni Wlv Life Editorial team Rebecca Morris, Amy Roberton and Jermaine Leslie-Stouph. With thanks to all contributors.

Cover Image: Love is a losing game – a portrait of Amy Winehouse by Annemarie Wright (2012) Text: Complete lyrics from Amy Winehouse albums Frank and Back to Black © University of Wolverhampton 2014


10 20 11

Handwritten art Annemarie Wright

02 04 06 10 14 16

In the news

18 20

Leading the field


International news


Business Success VOiD Games


My Life Richard Sebro

What’s been happening at your University?

Famous faces inspire Wolverhampton students

Featuring Dr Rowan Williams, Robert Llewellyn and Lord Digby Jones.

Bringing stories to life

How graduate Matt Jones became a book illustrator.

Employment and Volunteering Awards 2014 The winners of this year’s Graduate Intern Award.

Investing in business

The latest campus developments at Wolverhampton.


Research focus

Exploring a new study about the law and caste in Britain.

In the news: Roger Milla’s visit to the Walsall Campus

Looking at the work of the Brain Tumour Research Centre.

Student mentoring programme How you can become a mentor.

Exploring how the University is linking up overseas in Nigeria, India and Bangladesh.

WLV Life Summer 2014


Spring Graduation 2014 A former Dragon and one of the world’s leading fashion artists shared the stage with over 800 students at this year’s spring graduation in April. Hilary Devey, CBE and David Downton received honorary degrees in recognition of their achievements in their careers, alongside our postgraduate students and undergraduate students from our Institute of Health Professions and Institute of Public Health, Social Work and Care.

Business Inspector. Jokingly declaring herself ‘an honorary yam-yam’, she said: “I hope I’m gazing out on to the next generation of entrepreneurs who will keep this country as great as it is. Sincere congratulations to all of you. I think you’re all wonderful.”

The two-day event held at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre also saw the annual awarding of professorships to members of the University’s academic community.

David Downton, who was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Arts, is also a former student of the University having graduated in the 1980s with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Illustration and Graphics. Throughout his career, David has established himself as a fashion illustrator, with a client list including Tiffany & Co, Bloomingdales, Harrods, Top Shop, Chanel and Dior.

Hilary Devey, who received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration, has become a familiar face on British TV, known for her pivotal roles in reality shows including Dragon’s Den, The Intern, The Secret Millionaire and The


In the news...

Just because you’ve graduated doesn’t mean you should be made any less aware of what’s going on at your university. Here is just a small selection of our leading headlines from the past few months…


Top speed ahead as University helps pupils in F1 project

Youngsters tasked with building model Formula 1 cars were given a crash course in Computer Aided Design (CAD) by the University to improve their chances in the F1 in Schools Technology Challenge. The competition, organised by Formula 1, challenges pupils from secondary schools, sixth form colleges, colleges of further education and other organised youth groups to design and manufacture carbon dioxide-powered miniature model racing cars. Student teams then compete against each other at the World Championships to determine the best-engineered and fastest car in the world.


Academic wins top honour for University

Dr Megan Lawton, Deputy Head of Academic Practice, has become the University’s first senior fellow in the Higher Education Academy (HEA). The HEA is an independent UK body that supports and helps improve higher education institutions throughout the country. Dr Lawton was recognised for her learning and teaching practice, which included teaching in Sri Lanka, developing a programme to train staff in international teaching, and helping to found a new centre for deaf education.


World Cup Star in visit to University

World Cup legend, Roger Milla, paid a special visit to our Walsall Campus as part of a new partnership between the University and his foundation, Coeur d’Afrique, which helps under-privileged children in his home country, Cameroon. Last year, the University sponsored a new Multimedia Centre in Yaoundé, which will help promote English language and ICT skills and will give children from disadvantaged backgrounds free access. His visit included an eagerly anticipated recreation of the 1990 World Cup match between England and Cameroon, which was held at our sports centre.


Course to tackle tongue-tie treatment

The University has joined forces with the Dudley Group of hospitals to develop a new training programme for treating a congenital condition in babies commonly known as tongue-tie. Around 3% of babies suffer from the condition, which restricts the movement of the tongue, can prevent new-born babies from breast and bottle feeding effectively, and may lead to longer term difficulties with speech. Midwifery Senior Lecturer, Hilary Lumsden, teamed up with lactation consultant and tongue-tie practitioner, Jenny Sutherland, to develop the advanced clinical skills in tongue-tie management course which will run twice a year at Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley.


Andy Lane, Professor of Sports Psychology, starred alongside renowned former football players, Matt Le Tissier and Glenn Hoddle, in the making of a set of online films by Adidas examining how to take the perfect penalty. The films, produced as part of the Adidas Get Ready campaign, look at the science of penalties, how to take the perfect penalty, the psychology of penalties and the expert’s guide. Professor Lane gave an insight into how players can handle the pressure through practice and simulation and also what type of coping mechanisms they can use in order for them

08 05

PhD student wins prestigious Chinese government award

Research student, Peng Liu, has been awarded the Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Students Abroad for his PhD research into breast and brain cancer. He has been involved in the development of a novel use of an anti-alcoholism drug, Disulfiram (DS), in the treatment of breast cancer under the supervision of Dr Weiguang Wang. His study demonstrated that DS destroys breast cancer cells and reverses anti-cancer drug resistance and has contributed to the development of new therapies for cancer patients.

Burma partnership agreed to help regenerate economy

The University is to sign an academic partnership agreement to provide training and courses in Burma. The University has been working in the country for the past 18 months, initially providing special educational needs training to Burmese nationals. The agreement includes a joining of forces with the country’s only private university, Victoria University College, to provide top-up courses in Engineering and Business from July. It will also see the University help develop skills and education in the country, including upgrading the curriculum of Government Technology Colleges and providing teacher training programmes to help build capacity.

Law students take up benefits fight on behalf of vulnerable residents

Students from the Law School are volunteering to take up the fight on behalf of Wolverhampton residents who are in dispute with the Department of Work and Pensions over benefits. Wolverhampton City Council’s Welfare Rights Service is working with Wolverhampton Citizens Advice Bureau and the University of Wolverhampton to equip the 21 law students to provide free representation for disabled and vulnerable people in Wolverhampton who are challenging decisions over the payment of Employment and Support Allowance.

09 06

Sports psychologist stars in penalty films

Sport Awards 2014

Olympian Kristian Thomas helped celebrate the success of sports students across the University at our annual Sports Awards ceremony. Kristian, who is from Wolverhampton and won bronze at London 2012 and silver at the 2014 European Championships, gave an inspirational talk to the crowd of 200 students who were being awarded for their improvement, performance, dedication and commitment to their own personal development. Winners included Sportsman of the Year, which went to James Preece for ice hockey, Sports Women of the Year, which went to Ebony Drysdale and Jodie Myers for judo, and Team Captain of the Year, which went to Lewis Thompson for men’s rugby.

WLV Life Summer 2014



Famous faces inspire Wolverhampton students In February, the University welcomed Dr Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Red Dwarf star Robert Llewellyn and business guru Lord Digby Jones on to campus as part of a series of free talks and debates aimed at students, staff and members of the general public. Dr Rowan Williams spoke about the subject of poverty at an event at the Arena Theatre organised jointly by the University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton City Council and Pat McFadden MP. This event was hosted by the Bishop of Wolverhampton and formed part of the series of WLV Debates. Previous speakers have included former Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, and Liam Donaldson, former Chief Medical Officer for England. To a packed audience, Dr Williams spoke about poverty. Known for his forthright views on contemporary society and issues as diverse as the role of women bishops, homosexuality, nuclear weapons and international diplomacy, his lecture examined what is meant by poverty, nationally and internationally, and at some of the ways in which religious ideas help - and occasionally hinder - effective understanding and response to it. Dr Williams was born near Swansea to a Welsh-speaking family, and served as Archbishop of Canterbury from 2002 to 2012. In 2013, he was appointed Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and became Chancellor of the University of South Wales.

Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, said: “The University is delighted to welcome high profile guests such as Dr Williams to Wolverhampton, particularly to talk on the subject of poverty. Wolverhampton Debates is all about showing people what we as a city and region have to offer and how all the different partners are working together to identify the key issues affecting the Black Country and how we can aid economic regeneration.” Red Dwarf star Robert Llewellyn gave a talk at a business support event on the innovation of engineering at an event backed by the University of Wolverhampton and organised to help small and medium-sized businesses in the West Midlands with intellectual property and product development. The actor, famous for his role as Kryten on the sci-fi comedy, presented a keynote session around the importance of innovation. Robert, who now presents Channel 4’s Scrapheap Challenge, gave a lively

and insightful talk called ‘Engineers see problems as challenges’. The event took place at the Manufacturing Technology Centre at Coventry University and was hosted by the Innovative Product Support Service (IPSS) project, which is managed by the University of Wolverhampton and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The event focused on the tools, technologies and public sector support programmes that can improve a business’s capacity to successfully negotiate the new product development process and offered a range of free workshops on topics such as intellectual property, tax credits within research and development with talks given by speakers from both industry and academia. Universities from across the region, including Coventry University, the University of Wolverhampton, Keele University and Staffordshire University were present to showcase their innovation support programmes and their advisors were available throughout the day to assist companies looking to introduce new products or processes. Delegates also participated in a tour of the Manufacturing Technology Centre, a high quality environment for the development of cutting edge technologies into manufacturing processes. Business guru Lord Digby Jones, the former Director-General of

Dr Rowan Williams the CBI, inspired local businesses with a talk at a free event hosted by the University of Wolverhampton. His speech ‘Doing it a Different Way’ was the centrepiece of a business seminar held at the University of Wolverhampton Science Park. Lord Jones’s talk formed part of a programme of items arranged for the day and delegates were able to participate in a question and answer session and buy a signed copy of his book, Fixing Britain. Lord Jones spent 20 years with Edge & Ellison, a Birmingham-based firm of lawyers, where he worked his way up from Articled Clerk to Senior Partner. In 2000, he joined the CBI and spent more than six years as Director-General, before being appointed Minister of State for UK Trade & Investment and becoming a life peer taking the title, Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham. This business seminar was organised by the University’s Innovation 1st project, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and set up to help small firms explore business opportunities through the innovative use of technology. The day also included speeches from Geoff Layer, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, and Cheryl Bradburne, representing Birmingham-based charity Ladies Fighting Breast Cancer. Tours of the new University of Wolverhampton Visualisation Centre at the Science Park were also available for businesses to explore the innovative technology and find out how the Innovation 1st project might be able to support them with a minimum of 12 hours’ free assistance.

Lord Digby Jones

For more information on the University’s Innovation 1st project, please visit: If you would like to find out more about the University’s programme of events and talks, keep an eye on our website or sign up to the Alumni Association’s monthly e-zine packed full of campus news and alumni stories at:

WLV Life Summer 2014


Graduate Feature

Bringing stories to life Matt Jones BA (Hons) Illustration, 2011 MA Digital and Visual Communication, 2013 Many of us remember being handed Puffin Book Club leaflets at school then running home and nagging our parents to buy us a book or two. For Matt Jones, the iconic puffin logo stood out and he dreamt of one day seeing his illustrations and designs appear on book covers. Now years later he is designing and illustrating for one of the most respected publishers in the UK, Penguin Books.

In 2013 after your final year studying MA in Digital and Visual Communication, you were a runner-up in the Penguin Design Award 2013, Puffin Children’s Book Prize. What was the design brief and what did you come up with? “The brief was to design a fresh, contemporary piece of artwork for Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 classic The Wind in the Willows. One that would capture the imagination of both children and adults alike and jump off of the bookshelves, at the same time staying true to the story. The tale of The Wind in the Willows was one of my favourite stories growing up and I wanted my design to capture the friendship between the main characters Ratty and Mole and how they quite simply ‘love messing about in boats’ whilst the invention of the automobile terriorises the countryside. Drawing inspiration from the warmth within E.H Shepard’s original Illustrations and my own interpretation of the book growing up, I wanted my cover to be a modern but true interpretation of a classic.” Penguin and Puffin are at the forefront of children’s literature – was designing for Penguin something that you wanted to do? “It had always been a goal of mine to see my illustrations and designs on book covers in stores and online, and to do this for Penguin and Puffin books especially. Even more so after coming so close in 2010 after being shortlisted for the Penguin Design Award the first time, for my cover design of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. From a young age, I remember receiving book club leaflets at primary school. The publisher that stood out to me even then was Penguin and their iconic puffin illustrations dotted about the page advertising their latest books. Now I have the pleasure of being one of the people actually illustrating for what is one of the most prestigious publishers in the UK.”

As runner-up, part of your prize was a work placement for Penguin Books. What did this entail? “Right from the beginning of my work placement, the Puffin design team got me illustrating, designing and coming up with ideas and concepts for new titles both for Penguin UK and Penguin US. To have the opportunity to work so closely on live projects with them, coming straight from University, was a real pleasure.”

“A beautiful, traditional evocation of messing about on the river - very delicate and delightful.” Jacqueline Wilson, Author and Judge And after doing so well, they offered you a post as Junior Designer. What is a typical day like for you? “Each day varies from the next depending on the stage of each project I am working on. One day I might be designing book covers and contacting illustrators for commissions, the next I may be illustrating for others in the team along with researching, collecting ideas and techniques for the covers I am designing. It all depends on what is best suited for each specific title. There are several meetings to attend where group decisions are made across editorial, design, sales and advertising to determine the best possible direction for the book’s overall feel and promotion. Other meetings are where agencies come and pitch us their clients for potential future titles.” Could you explain the process of putting together an illustration for a book cover? “I think everyone has their own way of putting together illustrations and artwork, so there is no right or wrong way. For me, the process is simple. I read the book I am illustrating to get a feeling of what it’s about and the characters within. When doing this, I take note of the most important visual aspects of the text and the things I find personally interesting about the story. From my notes, I begin to build a picture in my head and start loosely sketching them, playing with different compositions to make my initial ideas as interesting and eye-catching as possible. Most importantly though, I have to like the idea and see myself wanting to pick it up in store or online. If you don’t believe in it and become excited about your ideas, then others probably won’t either.”

You have also taught at schools within the UK. Can you tell us about that? “I attended Telford Collage of Arts and Technology (TCAT) before studying at the University of Wolverhampton. Whilst studying for my MA, I became a guest lecturer at TCAT and I share my experiences and knowledge of working as a freelance illustrator/designer in what is a tough business to find your feet in and become established.” Is lecturing something that you would like to move in to? “In the future yes, I don’t see why not. Before being offered the job with Penguin Random House, my plan after my MA was to move into lecturing whilst working as a freelance illustrator/designer. It’s something I enjoy and can see myself doing one day.” What was your overall experience of studying for both of your degrees at the University of Wolverhampton? “It was an incredibly enjoyable experience for me. The tutors are amazing, and their knowledge and expertise in each of their specialist areas was a real inspiration in helping me find my way within the design industry.” See more illustrations by Matt at:

WLV Life Summer 2014


Graduate Feature

The business of making games Chris Carter - BSc (Hons) Computer Science, 2012 Jake Rogers - BA (Hons) Computer Games Design, 2011 Neil Cooper - BA (Hons) Interactive Media and the Web, 2011

United by a love of games and an ambition to craft a career in the games and mobile applications industry, local company VOiD Games is a business success story with four apps now available on the Apple Store. We spoke to Chris Carter, Jake Rogers and Neil Cooper who set up the business nearly two years ago through the SPEED Plus programme.

Where did the idea for Void Games come from? Chris: “We all wanted to create video games and be in the industry but we know how hard it is with no experience. At the moment, we haven’t got many responsibilities so we just thought let’s go for it.” SPEED Plus was instrumental in helping you set up VOiD. How did they help? Chris: “We knew nothing about business and without SPEED Plus we wouldn’t be here. They helped us set up and gave us advice, training and an office space to work in.”

How did your degrees help? Neil: “Everything I learnt on my course I use now. I’m really happy I did it. Graphic design wise, I created the branding, the business cards and the websites.” Chris: “If I hadn’t gone to university, I wouldn’t be a programmer now. Although, there’s been a lot of self-teaching, my course laid the foundations.” Your game Super Tap gained a lot of media attention and was voted the top five app of the week at Why do you think it’s has been so popular? Jake: “I think the visual style of it jumps out the screen at you. I just think people are drawn to it.” Neil: “It’s accessible as well. So, regardless of whether you play games or not you can get into it.” Chris: “According to feedback people have said it’s addictive.”

How long does the process take from the initial idea for a game to it being available for the general public to purchase? Jake: “Every app we release seems to get better and the process usually takes approximately three months from paper to the finished product.” When you send a game to Apple, how long is the turnaround to the app being for sale? Does it have to go through a lot of processes? Jake: “It goes through some smoke and mirrors! You send them your product and if it’s fine, they send it back to you and it’s ready to go. This process normally takes seven days. If not, they send it back with a generic feedback sheet, which is around 15 pages long explaining what the problem could be.” Do you have beta versions for reviewers to test? Neil: “Yes. We’ve got Test Flight where we can send out open or closed betas. Basically, people sign up to our mailing list and we can send them the game to try out. We did some testing with the University of Wolverhampton year two Computer Games

VOiD Games Top Facts Founded 23 August 2012. Winner of SPEED Plus Entrepreneurs 2012 Award.

Left to right: Chris Carter, Jake Rogers and Neil Cooper. Design students with lecturer Jim Davis and received a lot of positive feedback. We did the same process with students from the City of Wolverhampton College.” What advice would you give budding students who would Iike to follow in your footsteps? Chris: “We’re going to sponsor the course at the City of Wolverhampton College and give our input into what they’re learning, offering help and guidance. My advice to anyone is to increase your portfolio, it’s all about self-learning. For me, with programming for instance, we would learn something about the programming language and once the module was over we moved onto the next thing. It’s up to you to carry it on and learn more. Also, if you’re doing a technical degree, go to your lectures!” Jake: “Doing the assignments is just 10% of your course; the other 90% is to do something off your own back to increase your portfolio. Always listen to feedback from people.” Neil: “Build a rapport with your lecturers and then you can always talk to them in the future. We still talk to our lecturers and they’ve helped us along the way.”

VOiD isn’t just a computer games based company; besides the games you also offer other services? Neil: “Yes, there’s another side to our company, which is a subsidiary called ‘VOiD Applications.’ Through that, we take on corporate briefs such as mobile applications, websites and design work.”

Four apps available on the Apple Store: • Super Tap – furiously fast-paced and addictive puzzle game. • Guess The Game 2 – video game logo quiz sequel with more games and levels. • Guess The Movie – film quiz using logos, posters and iconic movie shots from past to present. • Guess The Game – the original video game logo quiz.

In five years from now, where would you like to see VOiD as a company? Chris: “Realistically, we want to have a steady income from VOiD and have a couple of employees such as a programmer and a designer.” Neil: “In the Caribbean! I think we all agree that we’d like to have our own premises with a workforce behind us.” SPEED Plus is a business start-up project part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, which aims to help create new businesses in the West Midlands. The project is led by the University of Wolverhampton, in partnership with Keele University, Birmingham City University, Staffordshire University and Coventry University. For more information about SPEED Plus, visit:

VOiD Games Technology Centre University of Wolverhampton Science Park Glaisher Drive Wolverhampton West Midlands WV10 9RU

WLV Life Summer 2014



The University of Wolverhampton celebrated the achievements of its students and graduates at an annual award ceremony. The Employment and Volunteering Awards took place in May 2014 at the Wolverhampton Science Park and over 150 students and graduates received awards in 10 different categories. This year, four new categories; including the Graduate Intern Award; were introduced to reflect both the diversity and greater reach of volunteering activities. Due to the high standard of entries, two graduate interns’ achievements were highly recognised and received the award jointly. We spoke to them about their internships.

Samantha Fleming

Alumni Relations graduate intern BA (Hons) English

Alex Robinson

Faculty of Arts graduate intern BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science Graduate Intern Awards 2014 runners-up Carl Longmore Chloe Wilson Kiren Bains Kirstie Speed Nicola Faulkner Sarbjit Mankoo Sonia Sunda Stephanie Higgins Thomas Huntbatch and Tomasyn Azu.

Employment and Volunteering Awards 2014 Why did you decide to do an internship at the University? Samantha: “One of my friends had gone for an internship in Registry and I quite liked the idea. I thought it was a stepping stone into something else. I saw one in Alumni and Development and there was a lot of communications involved so I thought why not go for it?”

What did you gain from the experience? Samantha: “My communication skills are a lot better and I’ve gained a lot of skills working in marketing and communications. Before it, I had never considered marketing but I had great support, which made me decide that marketing is what I want to do.”

Alex: “I didn’t know the University offered internships and Laura Padwick from Here to Help in Walsall recommended the vacancy to me and emailed the details. I think it’s a great way to be involved with the University.”

Alex: “I think my communication skills have got better. When you go from being a student to a member of staff you have to alter how you communicate with student. I’ve had to do presentations in front of groups of about 50 to 200 people! It has made me think about applying for a Graduate Teaching Assistant position, which starts here in September.”

What was your role? Samantha: “My role as a graduate intern in Alumni and Development was ideal as I studied English. I honed my communication skills quite a lot with Wlv Life Magazine. It required a lot of confidence and you get to meet a lot of people, which was quite nice.” Alex: “My main purpose is to monitor attendance tracking and offer student support through a drop-in session. They can talk to me about any issues that they may have. I also do admin work and I’m helping a lecturer with her PhD.”

What advice would you give to students thinking about applying for a graduate internship? Samantha: “It’s the perfect stepping stone into another job. I now work as the Marketing Officer at Arena Theatre and I’m pretty much their first port of call.” Alex: “Just go for it. There’s no-one who is better than helping a student than someone who has been a student.”

Graduate Feature



Annemarie Wright BA (Hons) Fine Art and Printmaking, 2002

Annemarie Wright is one of the UK’s most exciting young artists and she has exhibited widely throughout the UK and USA. Her artworks are produced using ink and paper and from a distance they look like black and white images. However, up close, you realise that the image is made using handwritten text that always corresponds to the person or image depicted in the artwork.

Annemarie, how did the whole concept of your art come together? “All the images are made from my own handwriting; it’s written text in lines creating the actual image, using different pens to create the depth. I actually started doing this at the University of Wolverhampton. Before I went to university, I did an art foundation course at college and I became really interested in how different colours reflected emotions. So, I started screen printing people’s facial emotions and then writing over the top about how colours reflect emotions. WLV Life Summer 2014


Graduate Feature

I am not here for your amusement. You’re here for mine - a portrait of John Lydon by Annemarie Wright (2011) Text: John Lydon quotes

Eye spy, Annemarie Wright (2011) Text: Amazing facts about the London Eye

Then at university I started experimenting with just the text and changing it round to create the face so to speak, rather than screen printing just a plain image.”

There was also a Twitter campaign involving David Cameron, asking your followers what they thought of him. The response was immense and you created various portraits and even a book comprising messages answering the title question. How did all that come about? “At first, I thought about setting up a website where people could click on a button asking just one question, “What do you think of David Cameron?” and email their response. I set up the website and then decided to get on Twitter and ask people the same question - I got thousands of responses! The first piece I did of David Cameron was life size, which was about six foot one. It was displayed in a gallery window while the Conservative Party Conference was on in Birmingham but I don’t know if he saw it or not. Apparently that particular piece was purchased by an unnamed member of the House of Lords who liked the idea.”

Your aim is to challenge people’s perceptions through your work and make them realise that first impressions can in fact change. Some of your work is quite edgy, for instance, the Tony Blair portrait using handwritten names of fallen British soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan. What inspired it? “The Tony Blair one came about just from speaking to friends really. I was round someone’s house for dinner and we were talking about it. It was very much in the news at the time as well. I know it’s quite a controversial subject to broach - both remembering the soldiers and putting forward the public perception that Blair should be held accountable. All the proceeds from the prints and the sale from the original went towards Help for Heroes.”

Previous Page: Fergie - a portrait of Sir Alex Ferguson, Annemarie Wright (2014) Text: Names of 218 Manchester United players who represented the club between November 1986 and May 2013.

Has David Cameron ever commentated on the piece? “No. We did a marketing campaign around Westminster, placing flyers all around the area. I also wrote a letter to David Cameron, offering him a print of the piece, but I never received a response. Through the Twitter campaign, there were many different responses, some were good, some were funny, and obviously some from people who didn’t like him. The book is a collation of all the responses. I did get some printed but they sold out; it’s still available as an eBook on Amazon.”

Steven Fry re-tweeted your web page featuring a portrait you created of him, garnering 8,000 hits to your site. “That was amazing, I love Stephen Fry and I made his portrait out of his tweets. My friend tweeted him the picture, asking him, “What do you think of this?” and he replied with a tweet saying “Clever Annemarie Wright - this is all made of her handwriting.” It had so many hits, it was unbelievable.” Have any celebrities commissioned you to create a portrait of them? “I was commissioned by Adele a couple of years ago to do a portrait of her. She bought one of my artworks from the Woolff Gallery in London; I think it was of Obama. She phoned a couple of years later and just asked for a commission; it was made up of lyrics from the tracks of her second album. Several large companies have also bought my artwork; Legal and General have commissioned a couple of pieces, Ernst and Young, and just last week Morson International. Also, the Hyatt Regency Churchill commissioned a piece of Sir Winston Churchill for their hotel bar.” So how do you go about finding an image to create? “I try and get images of people that are interesting and that I think will work using text. Amy Winehouse is interesting because of her tattoos, and they make her portrait look really good. I like people who have their hands in the picture, which can work quite well.”

In order to achieve the portrait, how do you make the handwriting create the image? “I literally draw it out in pencil first, and then I’ll write across the image in pen. I usually use three different thicknesses of pens; the most I have used in one piece is five. I buy a lot of pens! It can be a little bit stressful actually and I have to be very careful not to make mistakes.” As well as portraits you also create landscapes and buildings such as the World Trade Centre. “I have done the landscape of London, the New York skyline, the World Trade Centre, the inside of Baker Street tube station and the London Eye. I also did the Abbey Road street sign; the original is actually hanging in Abbey Road Studios. That particular portrait was created using the names of the different artists who have recorded there.” You’ve now gone on to sell your work through London’s Woolff Gallery, who exhibit worldwide. “I’ve been selling through galleries since 2005, firstly in a gallery called The Artlounge at the Mailbox in Birmingham and now through the Woolff Gallery, London, which started to represent me in 2009.”

King Elvis, Annemarie Wright (2012) Text: Lyrics from the songs on Elvis’s anniversary greatest hits album

Most of your work is in black and white. Have you ever thought of doing more art in colour? “Yeah, I have done. It’s difficult to get different colours in the style of pens that I use. The pens can come in blue, sepia and a red colour. I’m a bit limited, unless I was to scan the image in and then change the colour but then it would be a print rather than an original. I have created Margaret Thatcher in blue - Conservative party colours - and Naomi Campbell in red - after the Blood Diamonds scandal - but that’s about it.” You’re originally from Cambridge so why did you come to the University of Wolverhampton to study? “I wanted to do printmaking but there weren’t many places in the UK that did it. I applied to Sheffield, Cheltenham and Wolverhampton. I got in at Cheltenham but I wanted to go to Wolverhampton because I’d been there; I’d met the course leader and he seemed really nice. All the equipment and the building were top of the range, so I thought, “Yeah this is the place for me.”

What do you think of David Cameron, Annemarie Wright (2012) Text: The people’s opinion of David Cameron, collected over nine months.

To find out more about Annemarie’s artwork, go to WLV Life Summer 2014



City campus developments Take a quick walk around the city centre of Wolverhampton and you’ll see plenty of evidence of building and redevelopment work taking place on the University’s Molineux and Wulfruna Campuses. A new Business School and Science Centre are at the heart of this major development for the University and both projects are part of an investment of around £45million, which will provide new facilities for future generations of students. The appliance of science New science facilities are taking shape in Stafford Street where the University’s existing MB Building is being redeveloped and extended. The new £25million Science Centre is converting the current building into a bigger, six-storey building covering more than 6,000 square metres. This contemporary look building will feature state-of-the-art laboratory facilities alongside teaching and meeting rooms for around 2,500 undergraduate and

postgraduate students and be home to around 150 staff. It will also include an area from Stafford Street through which the public can view the inside of the building and see experiments and teaching in action. The Science Centre, part of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, is due for completion in 2014 and will open as part of a phased approach in September and December 2014.

Professor Ndy Ekere, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, said: “These are exciting times for the University and the investment in our facilities means we can provide an industryfocused curriculum to ensure we are producing skilled graduates that meet the requirements of employers. There is a growing demand for well-trained, skilled graduates in manufacturing, engineering, construction, life sciences and pharmaceuticals, and helping economic growth and economic regeneration is our focus.”

Investing in business Established for over 80 years, the University of Wolverhampton Business School has trained thousands of local and regional managers and has a distinguished history of supporting businesses in the West Midlands and the Black Country. It was one of the first business schools in the country to offer an MBA programme and coaching and mentoring qualifications and has a tradition of innovation in developing courses which meet the needs of business and managers. It has over 70 full-time lecturers and professors drawn from a wide spectrum of business and management disciplines and backgrounds, many of whom have held senior positions in multinational and blue chip organisations or in non-profit organisations. Work is now underway on a brand new Business School building situated at the junction of Molineux Street and Camp Street, next to the Wolves grounds. Designed by Manchester-based architects Sheppard Robson, one of the Sunday Times Top 60 Best Green Companies, the £18million development incorporates a six-storey building providing bespoke undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and social learning spaces. The lower floors will be the location of undergraduate tutorial and workshop rooms and an IT laboratory. The middle floor will provide a forum and social learning space where all students, staff

and businesses can meet. Student consultation rooms will provide areas where students can work with businesses and a pitch room will allow students to present their business ideas. Bespoke postgraduate teaching floors with a postgraduate common room and PhD student facilities add to the mix, while the upper floor will provide an executive education suite with a training board room, observation and CPD training rooms as well as video conferencing facilities. The new Business School is due for completion in May 2015 and Dr Anthea Gregory, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, which incorporates the University of Wolverhampton Business School, is positive about what it will mean for the University and the wider business community as well as the city and the local economy. “The design of the new Business School reflects our aspirations for students. A vibrant business school is vital to generating growth and jobs and our plans demonstrate the University’s commitment to supporting and driving economic regeneration in the region. It will allow an increased level of engagement with local and regional businesses through internships, mentoring and knowledge transfer projects and our advisory board, made up of senior managers of regional and national businesses, has been very positive about the impact the new building will have.”

Making a difference The University’s investment in the Science Centre and the new Business School has been considerable, highlighting its commitment to science, business and research, and responding directly to industry calls to provide graduates with the right skills required for today’s workplace. There are still opportunities to financially support both projects. If you are interested in making a donation, please contact Claire Shaw, Head of Alumni and Development, for an informal discussion. Tel: 01902 321 108 Email:

WLV Life Summer 2014



Caste in Britain This spring, the University of Wolverhampton led on significant research into caste in Britain involving academics from a number of different institutions including Manchester Metropolitan University; Middlesex University; the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and Goldsmiths, University of London. The independent study entitled ‘Caste in Britain’ was commissioned by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), and the research team was led by Dr Meena Dhanda, Reader in Philosophy and Cultural Politics at the University of Wolverhampton. WLV Life spoke to Dr Meena Dhanda about the project, which included a detailed review of the law and caste, together with two separate academic and stakeholder events. What was the aim of the project? “In April 2013, Parliament decided that the Equality Act 2010 must make caste ‘an aspect of’ the protected characteristic of race and ministers agreed to introduce legislation to make caste discrimination illegal in Britain. Our team was awarded the contract to undertake important research for the EHRC with two main aims. “Firstly, we set out to undertake a review of the law in relation to caste and caste discrimination, within the domestic as well as the international context of legislation against the backdrop of what we already know about caste discrimination in Britain from previous research.

“Secondly, we gathered expert opinion and stakeholders’ views on the prevalence and forms of caste discrimination in Britain, the definition of caste for legal purposes, the best way forward for the inclusion of caste within the Equality Act 2010 and the concerns about implementation of the expected secondary legislation on caste discrimination.” Can you explain the meaning of caste? “Caste is a form of identity that is used as a basis for social differentiation and usually involves inequality. The simplest definition of caste is given by Dr B.R. Ambedkar, who describes it as an ‘enclosed class’. One is assigned to a particular caste (jati) by virtue of one’s birth, and caste boundaries are maintained by endogamy (marrying within a restricted group). “Some people embrace an idealised version of caste, in the form of varna, which Gandhi called ‘a natural order of society’ and this assigns a ‘hereditary occupation’. There are others, who like Ambedkar, think of caste as ‘a graded inequality’, consider it a bane and want to restrict its negative influence in people’s lives. Caste does have considerable fluidity but its reach is global.” Is caste a significant issue in Britain? “For the victims of caste discrimination, caste is an extremely significant issue and protection against unlawful discrimination is their right. It is undeniably significant as

Dr Meena Dhanda was awarded runner-up for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Research’ at the Vice Chancellor’s Staff Excellence Awards.

a marker of identity for some, especially in determining the ‘suitability’ of a marriage partner. This is not only true for successive generations of people of South Asian origin from a variety of religious backgrounds, but also true for some descendants of African communities living in Britain. “The significance of caste varies across different regional and diaspora communities, generations and spheres of life and the issue of caste and legislation in the UK is controversial. In benign forms, caste manifests itself in the formation of community organisations, which some value as a source of communal solidarity. In troublesome forms, caste surfaces in disputes connected with control of places of worship. It emerges as a cause of ostracism from families, including subjection to violence when norms of endogamy are broken. “Unlawful discrimination associated with caste ranges over many arenas of life in Britain. It manifests in harassment, bullying and victimization within workplaces and educational

settings, domestic violence and even refusal of service. Beyond discrimination, there are extreme forms too. Just this week, I met with a young Sikh woman who has suffered violence at the hands of her family members because she wants to marry a man of a so-called lower caste. “A distinct feature of caste, unlike class, is the idea of ‘untouchability’, which is not always eroded by social or economic advancement. We have some evidence in Britain of humiliations inflicted on people as a result of belief in this idea.” How did you garner information on caste? “There have been many years of research, fieldwork and community engagement on the experience of caste in Britain and on the link between caste and the law. We reviewed the available socio-legal research, including academic works on the meaning of caste, case reports, court and tribunal judgments, legislation and case law. This review was conducted over three months in 2013 and it informed the questions for participants of the academic and stakeholder events. “The later was a unique event and it was the first time in Britain that community groups, with diametrically opposed views on the understanding and legal positioning of caste were brought face-to-face; 43 different organisations were represented at the event and 26 organisations submitted written

statements. The academic experts represented a variety of subject disciplines including anthropology, cultural studies, development studies, economics, gender theory, history, human geography, religious studies, sociology, philosophy and psychology as well as lawyers with expertise in discrimination and equalities and human rights law. Their responses fed back into the review.” Is it significant for caste to be included in existing equality legislation to protect against discrimination and harassment? “Yes, the equalities law cannot deal with all manifestations of casteism, just as it cannot deal with all manifestations of racism or sexism, but its inclusion in the Equality Act 2010 provides an explicit statement prohibiting caste discrimination. Until caste is made an aspect of race as required, there is no legal clarity on how cases of caste discrimination must be interpreted within existing protected characteristics. When brought into being, which is now likely to happen after the 2015 general election, the legislation in the UK will make it the first country in Europe to legally prohibit caste discrimination.” For more information about EHRC research and to download pdfs of the Caste in Britain socio-legal review (report 91) and the report of the experts’ seminar and stakeholders’ workshop (report 92), please visit: www.equalityhumanrights. com/publications/our-research/ research-reports

WLV Life Summer 2014



Leading the field Researchers at the Brain Tumour Research Centre at the University of Wolverhampton are carrying out vital work to find new ways of treating brain tumours, often dubbed the ‘Cinderella’ of cancers due to poor funding, late diagnosis and limited treatment options. With cancer now affecting one in three people, it’s likely that all of us will, at some point in our lives, experience it personally or through a loved one. Every year in the UK, around 300 children and 8,500 adults are diagnosed with a brain tumour. It’s a rare and complex disease with one of the lowest cancer survival rates despite advances in medical science. The Brain Tumour Research Centre is leading the way in identifying the molecular causes of brain tumours and developing treatments and new drugs to improve survival rates. It opened its doors in October 2009 and is home to some of the world’s most important work in brain tumour research. Its team of experts includes Professor John Darling, a leading neuro-oncologist and the University’s Dean of Research and Head of the University Research Policy Unit, and Dr Tracy Warr, Reader in Neuro-oncology and Co-Director of the Centre. Their vision is ‘Research - Awareness Engagement - Outreach’ and the team investigates both childhood and adult

tumours in collaboration with scientists and clinicians around the world including Brain Tumour North West, Duke University (United States), Imperial College London, Royal Preston Hospital, the Walton Centre in Liverpool, University of Birmingham, University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), University of Nottingham, University of Plymouth and the University of Portsmouth. Research focuses on three areas: childhood brain tumours, glioblastoma multiforme, the most common malignant brain tumours in adults, and low grade gliomas, which typically affect adults in their 20s and 30s. In both childhood and adult tumours, the team is using novel combinations of drugs to target aberrant metabolic pathways in cancer cells whilst sparing the normal cells. “Childhood tumours appear to be relatively sensitive to treatment and there’s been a big therapeutic change in the way you treat those tumours over the last 25 years,” explains Professor John Darling. “Now, we’ve got to a situation

The Realf family from Rugby, along with their friends, presenting a cheque to Professor John Darling at The Brain Tumour Research Centre.

where about 70% of children are cured but you have to be very careful about their treatment, particularly those under the age of three. If you treat them with aggressive chemotherapy regimes, like you treat an adult tumour, you might do something to the tumour but what you will almost certainly do is damage the child and the unwanted side effects would affect the future quality of their life. We are getting more successful at treating some of the paediatric tumours and we feel there is important work to be done looking at low dose treatments that are still effective. “Unfortunately, with adult malignant brain tumours there hasn’t been as much progress. The trouble with cancer cells is they’re almost indistinguishable from the normal cells. They have the same antigens and that’s what makes it really difficult to treat because what kills the cancer cells also kills the normal cells. We’ve been looking, as everyone has been looking, for something that occurs almost uniquely in glioblastoma cells that constitute the highly aggressive brain tumours in adults. The good news is that we have identified a marker that appears in about 95% of glioblastomas and we are looking at specific drugs that target it.” The Professor believes there are exciting times ahead for brain tumour research. “I don’t think we’re ever going to have a single drug to treat cancer - a ‘magic bullet’ like Penicillin and bacterial infections. It’s not impossible but it’s more likely to be a multi-factorial approach. In cancer treatment, we hardly ever use a single drug anymore and we usually use combinations of two, three, four or five drugs. That’s been very successful in breast cancer so we are concentrating on drug combinations. “I think the most exciting things will happen in the next decade and we will make significant progress, predominantly with adult tumours. We have a wealth of scientific knowledge and clinical material and it’s slowly beginning to permeate through to new treatments. Our Brain Tumour Research Centre will go from strength to strength too, engaging a large group of people across the medical sciences that will have lots of different skills and lots of different things to offer cancer biology and contributing directly to new treatments.” But there is still much to be done to find out more about the disease and develop better treatments. “Ongoing funding for our work is making a real difference to brain tumour research,”

continues Professor Darling. “We benefit from funding for fellowships, studentships and posts, capital projects and equipment but building a world-class team and boosting our vital research into brain tumours requires ongoing funding and investment. “Supporters are crucial to the work of the Centre and we work with a wide range of partners ranging from organisations such as The Brain Tumour Charity to regular, individual donors who contribute anything from £1,000 to £10,000 a year. People who have lost family members to the disease contact us and their fundraising efforts also help the Centre. Understandably, they are grateful to know that somebody is doing research so hopefully other families won’t have to suffer in the same way. We value all our supporters and encourage them to come and visit us at our regular open days so they can meet our researchers, go around the laboratories and see for themselves how their donations are being spent. Every contribution makes a difference and we are grateful for their support.”

How you can help To support our work and make a donation, please contact: Dr Tracy Warr The Brain Tumour Research Centre University of Wolverhampton, Wulfruna Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1LY Email: If you are a UK tax payer then please make sure you ask for a Gift Aid form so the Centre can reclaim tax on donations.

Thank you to our supporters Wolverhampton owes its excellence in brain tumour research and teaching to the commitment and generosity of partners and supporters including: • The Colin Oliphant Charitable Trust • The Adrian Pope Foundation • Balls to Cancer • Bill O’Sullivan Memorial Fund • The Brain Tumour Charity (formerly Brain Tumour UK) • The Harry Lance Memorial Fund • The Karen Davies Trust • Trudy’s Trust And individuals Rod Barrett, Roderick Marsden and Peter Realfe.

WLV Life Summer 2014


Student mentoring

Student mentoring programme Launched last year, the University of Wolverhampton’s student mentoring programme matches a graduate (mentor) with a student (mentee) to help guide them through their university journey as well as prepare them for life after graduation. This 9-month programme runs from October to June and is open to any student or graduate. The success of last year’s pilot programme has led to it now being rolled out to students in any year and we are very grateful to our alumni for their continuing support. Becoming a mentor is a very rewarding experience, both for you and your mentee. Your journey through university and since graduating means you will have encountered first-hand some of the challenges facing students today. By sharing your knowledge, insights, skills and experience, you can help students make the most of their time at university, gain a crucial understanding of life after graduation, and better equip them to succeed in an increasingly competitive jobs market. What’s more, it gives you the opportunity to develop your own personal and professional skills, and enhance your CV for your own career. Read on to find out more about experiences of participants in the 2013-14 student mentoring programme. Mentee: Rebecca Chauhan Undergraduate LLB (Hons) Law “I heard about the mentoring programme through e:Vision just before my third year started. I signed up because I wanted to see what it was about. Having a mentor was so beneficial for me but I was slightly taken aback when I first met Rob. I thought I was going to be paired with someone close to my age group so initially I was bit surprised. However when I got to know Rob, I realised he was a perfect match for me. “Our meetings were regular and focused on certain issues. Rob helped me mentally and emotionally to prepare for my exams

Rob Nelson and Rebecca Chauhan

and my coursework, and he helped with my time management skills and allowed me to conquer my stress levels in a productive way. The experience of this programme has been so beneficial I cannot describe it in words. As a student, it has been emotionally and mentally satisfying and I feel like I can conquer many obstacles. I’ve gained confidence in how I approach things and this has been fantastic. “I remember Rob telling me that his happiness came from seeing me doing well, which made me feel so happy. I would love to become a mentor for students; to be able to help other students and see their confidence grow would be extremely exciting. Also, I would say to any student who is considering having a mentor, don’t be nervous and don’t throw out the idea of being a mentee

- it does not mean you’re stupid. It’s the best thing I have ever done since being at university and I would recommend it to everyone!” Mentor: Rob Nelson MA Coaching and Mentoring “Disseminating subject specific information whilst teaching a course is only part of the learning process. Students not only have to learn their subject, they also have to learn other ways of interacting with others as well as dealing with problems that they’re unfamiliar with. I’ve found that it’s not only the success of the student that is rewarding but seeing their increased self-efficacy through the coaching and mentoring process. “The process of pairing worked in this instance as there was a lot of groundwork done before the programme had started. I’ve worked with an excellent mentee

and I’ve enjoyed working with the University. To graduates thinking about becoming a mentor I would stress that in your sessions you think only of the person that you are mentoring. Be aware of the effect that you are having on the individual; you can’t have bias or influence on your mentee. Don’t give solutions; challenge your mentee to see how they can change things for themselves. Go on a course! The units on coaching and mentoring offered by the University are invaluable.” Mentee: Preet Bhachu Undergraduate BSc (Hons) Psychology, 2014 “A friend told me that she was planning on joining the programme and showed me the advertisement on e:Vision. I needed reassurance from someone outside the situation that I was on the right path to achieve my goal of becoming an Educational Psychologist. “When Carol walked in she looked so professional and prepared, it was like she knew exactly how to help me. I remember saying to my friend that I hoped she’d be my mentor. I was very excited to work with someone who had so much experience. Carol helped me with my confidence, and encouraged me to take up opportunities that were available to me. She was very prepared and organised and worked through a detailed plan with me, to outline my goals and how to achieve them.

Looking back, I can now see that whilst Carol started off the process, I developed and started coming to the meetings with a list of things to add and tick off. “My experience has been a positive one, and I’m so glad I decided to join the programme. I know for a fact that I would not have taken advantage of the resources available if it wasn’t for Carol. She encouraged me to register for the University’s Employability Award, as well as attending several workshops to improve professional skills like CV writing, interview skills, and using social media to promote myself. This helped me so much, as I think it was important for me to develop and become more confident professionally. “I think it’s so important for new students to have a positive role-model whilst studying for their degree, and to talk with someone that has been through it all. I would say to any student considering having a mentor - go for it! You have nothing to lose but so much to gain. I have learned so much through my mentor, who has helped me improve both academically and personally.”   Mentor: Carol Reilly MSc Professional Studies in Healthcare, 2013 “I’ve worked with the University on several projects for a number of years and I’ve been honoured and privileged to be awarded an Honorary Research Fellow and two Honorary Senior Lectureships

during that time. I wanted to give something back and when I met Preet, she came over as a student who wanted to do well and further her career, but needed some confidence building and support. “We got on from our first meeting. Preet needed help with writing her CV, job descriptions, personal development portfolio completion and interview skills. Identifying tools to help her move forward from finishing her degree to getting a job and moving on to the next stage of her career. “I’ve gained valuable experience too including teaching skills, integrating with young people, and being updated on systems used within the University. I like would to be a mentor again and I enjoyed the teaching aspect and seeing what young people really want from life. Graduates - go for it, grab every opportunity, you learn together and from each other.”

Interested? The 2014-15 student mentoring programme begins in October 2014. If you would like to register as a mentor, please contact the Alumni and Development team by the end of September 2014. During the nine months, ideally you will need to be able to commit one to two hours per month to meet face-to-face with a student, in addition to any communication you have over email or telephone. You will also be required to attend three review sessions. Email: Tel: 01902 32 1157/3056

Preet Bhachu and Carol Reilly

WLV Life Summer 2014



International relations With alumni in over 100 countries around the world, the University of Wolverhampton has boosted its strong international reputation by launching a new overseas Alumni Association and holding a series of business networking events in India and Bangladesh.

In January, the University held a launch event in the Nigerian capital of Abuja for its new Nigerian Alumni Association. The latest in a string of international alumni associations including those in Hong Kong, India, Mauritius and Malaysia, it provides a point of contact for the University’s Nigerian alumni to get back in touch with friends and colleagues, and take advantage of business contacts and networking opportunities. More than 80 alumni were present at the launch event, which was attended by the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Geoff Layer, along with other dignitaries from Wolverhampton. A keynote speech on ‘Entrepreneurship in Nigeria’ was given by Dr Paschal Anosike, Wolverhampton alumnus and Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management and Leadership at the University of Wolverhampton.

“Over the last few years nearly a thousand Nigerians have studied with us in Wolverhampton,” explains the ViceChancellor. “This has been invaluable not only for the Nigerian economy but also in creating strong relationships and partnerships. Our international associations have proven to be the jewels in the crown of our international alumni programme and following our successes elsewhere in the world we are keen to reunite our Nigerian alumni with lost friends and colleagues. The association will enable alumni in Nigeria to form personal and professional relationships and provide networking opportunities that can last a lifetime.” “We’re always keen to interact and meet our international alumni,” continues Claire Shaw, Head of Alumni and Development, who was present at the launch. “Membership is free and open to all graduates from or currently living in Nigeria and our members benefit from access to a highly skilled network of Wolverhampton graduates, businesses and experts.” In April, the University’s Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor travelled to India and Bangladesh to raise the profile of the University on the Indian subcontinent and strengthen education, business and friendship links. The University hosted two alumni business networking events in Delhi and Mumbai in conjunction with the Federation of India Chambers

of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), as well as an alumni business networking event in Dhaka. At the Delhi event, MBA alumnus Prashant Dubey delivered a keynote speech on commerce and spoke about his experiences of studying in Wolverhampton and going on to set up a successful business. For a second year, the University also awarded scholarships to support disadvantaged Indian children by providing educational scholarships through Government schools. Working through the charity Child & Women Care Society, the University provides opportunities for twelve intakes of five children from disadvantaged backgrounds and the most deprived areas of the city.

Vice-Chancellor Geoff Layer, Dr. Paschal Anosike, and Claire Shaw.

The networking events attracted business leaders, education providers and government officials and focused on how universities can work closer with business to help economic growth. The Dhaka event was held for University and Centre for International Development and Training alumni, which incorporates a course developed to train civil servants from Bangladesh. This meant that many of the alumni in attendance at this event now work for the Bangladeshi Government in the Ministry of Education, Defence, Commerce, and Home Affairs. Vice-Chancellor Geoff Layer concludes: “As a University we seek to provide

opportunities not only for people in the UK but also around the world. For us, it is all about creating sustainable communities. What we mean by that is by helping people obtain the education and skills so they can contribute to their own communities, whether in Wolverhampton, India, or another country in the world.

Prashant Dubey.

“We believe universities should be and are at the heart of economic regeneration. This was highlighted by the recent Universities UK report which showed that universities in the West Midlands contributed £2.9 billion to the region’s economy. At a time when India is seeking to develop its infrastructure we can play a role in sharing knowledge and expertise to help provide the skilled workforce to be the driving force in its growth.” Dr. Paschal Anosike.

WLV Life Summer 2014


Graduate Feature

My Life Richard Sebro

MSc in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 2011 When Richard Sebro was researching universities in England, he found the University of Wolverhampton. Richard was attracted that it wasn’t in London as he was looking for a quiet English town where he could meet real British people and experience the culture. He now lives in Trinidad where he works as a Research Officer at the Ministry of Energy in the Government of Trinidad and Tobago as well as lecturing part-time at the College of Science Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago. In 2013, he was one of the winners of the Prime Minister’s Awards for Scientific Ingenuity.

Studying in a foreign country “At first, it was a surreal experience. I was very excited to be achieving my goal of studying in a foreign country and at first I stayed in Middlesex Hall, which I found to be very comfortable. I made lasting friendships there and even had my first snowball fight! It became very real when I moved off campus and my heater broke during winter. By this point, the novelty of the chilly air had completely worn off, and apart from Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, I was also learning how to sleep in three layers of trousers! “The science was fascinating and I really enjoyed the lectures but it was difficult to stay on track because I had so many questions. The lecturers were very interesting characters - the type of people who only a lifetime of dedication to science would create. Richard Sebro being presented with his certificate by Joycelyn Lee Young, NIHERST Registrar.

“The West Midlands and the landscape looked like the quiet English town that I had envisioned on the plane journey but when I looked around the classroom, it looked exactly like a classroom in Trinidad. This was most shocking for me because of the number of international students from India and Africa. I immersed myself in the cultures of each group; I made friends with Malaysians, Europeans, Turkish and Greek Cypriots.

Back to life back in Trinidad “Having come back to Trinidad with a slightly more mature eye, I can see that there are many things that need improving. Not everyone has had the same opportunities I‘ve had along the way. So, although I’ve not stopped pursuing my own goals and ambitions, it feels good to give back to the people and the community in which I live. “As well as working at the Ministry and lecturing part-time, last year I became self-employed, working with a team of friends from my undergraduate degree. We started a small construction company called Build Modern Tech and we utilised government initiatives for innovation and entrepreneurship and were successful in obtaining £15,000 of start-up funding.

Winning award “The Prime Minister’s Awards for Scientific Ingenuity were one of the highlights of my year. The idea behind my experiment was the controlled release of methane gas by microbial degradation of the heavier hydrocarbon components, with which Trinidad is replete. I sought to complete the digestion of these hydrocarbons in a homemade bioreactor using microbes obtained from a pitch lake and to demonstrate the controlled release of methane. My presentation impressed the judges but there’s still a lot of work to be done in this area. “I would say that studying for my MSc has definitely helped me approach projects of this sort, because as well as technical experience, I also developed scientific confidence in my work. Going forward, I hope to attract bigger and better projects and contracts and to be able to improve research and development in Trinidad and Tobago, and pave the way for young people to have rewarding careers that utilise their knowledge and passion for science.”

Where are you now? We love to hear about where life has taken our graduates – the next steps they have taken and the joys and successes they are experiencing. Why not tell us where you are now and be featured on our alumni website or maybe even in future editions of WLV @lumni e-zine and WLV Life magazine. You could write about your: • career success or further study since graduating • travel experiences and adventures • hobbies and interests • personal life such as marriage and children • any other fantastic experiences you have had! To find out how to send us your story, and to read where some of our graduates from the past 50 years are now, visit:

WLV Life Summer 2014


WLV Alumni Association – benefits and services. We offer you great benefits and services long after you’ve left the University. • • • • • • • •

WLV Life alumni magazine and WLV@lumni e-newsletter. Alumni reunions and social events. Careers advice and guidance from our dedicated team. Access to our online jobs database. Professional development workshops and networking opportunities. Up to 20% discounted fees on taught postgraduate courses*. Discounted library and sports centre memberships. Volunteering opportunities.

* Terms and conditions apply

Join us online You can join thousands of fellow alumni online. @wlv_alumni

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Wlv Life Magazine  

The bi-annual alumni magazine for all graduates of the University of Wolverhampton

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