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July 2010 | Issue 9 | University of Wolverhampton |

A GREENER FUTURE Committing to carbon management

A UNIQUE TALENT High profile exhibition for graduate

NEW HORIzoNS FOR CYPRUS Regional office opens


Welcome to the latest issue of WLV Dialogue. The need to protect the environment is a hot topic and with this in mind July’s edition has a green theme. The University was delighted to welcome one of the UK’s leading eco experts, Rob Holdway, to share his experiences and insights at the launch of our Carbon Management Plan recently.

We have drawn on University expertise to consider one of the country’s favourite topics of conversation – the weather. Dr Ken Addison explains how forecasters predict the weather and the effects of climate change. The University is proud to hold Fairtrade status and BBC News presenter George Alagiah was invited to chair a panel debate on some of the issues. He talks about the role of individuals in international matters and his experiences of interviewing some of the world’s best known figures on pages four and five. This summer the University says a fond farewell to our chaplain, Reverend Prebendary Geoffrey Wynne. After 44 years of dedicated service to students and staff, Revd Preb Wynne shares his highlights and memories. Our graduates go on to a range of interesting careers, and on pages 16 and 17 talented mixed-media sculptor Yasemen Hussein talks about her achievements, which include a national exhibition alongside renowned milliner Philip Treacy. Two current students have been out on the beat working as Specials for West Midlands Police as part of their degree – check out their stories on pages 14 and 15.

The University’s Blended Learning Unit has enjoyed significant success recently, winning two prestigious awards. Find out more about how the University has integrated new ways of learning into the curriculum on pages eight and nine. We hope you enjoy reading this edition of WLV Dialogue. If you have any feedback for us please get in touch at: Our next magazine will be out at the end of October. Best wishes Vickie Warren WLV Dialogue Editor










A greener future – Eco expert helps University launch Carbon Management Plan


And the beat goes on – Students experience life as Special Constables


A fair debate – News presenter George Alagiah chairs discussion on International Fairtrade Day


A unique talent – Successful graduate Yasemen Hussein


Counting the cost – Assessment of the impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill


Tough triumph – Business award success for Shropshire company

RESEARCH Finding the perfect blend – Focus on the University’s Blended Learning Unit Weathering the storm – A look at climate change

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PROFILE Dedicated service – Record-breaking chaplain shares his memories


INTERNATIONAL New horizons for Cyprus – Regional office opens its doors



Art Matters – Q&A with Corinne Miller from Wolverhampton Art Gallery


Graduate success story – Leisure management graduate Paul Watson


What’s on guide – University events



A Greener Addressing a packed audience, one of the first questions Rob Holdway poses is: “What are we leaving for future generations?”. Rob is one of the UK’s leading eco experts and shared his environmental insight with University of Wolverhampton staff and other guests when he spoke at a recent event. His question proved thought-provoking, especially when backed up by statistics. Revealing that the average UK household wastes £480 each year on food which ends up in the bin makes people stop and think about their own actions. “We have to think about our legacy; our children’s children,” he says. “At the moment, people’s lives are so far from sustainable.” With the human race already living beyond what the earth can carry, Rob’s ultimate objective is that we can become resource efficient. He is passionate about changing attitudes and is on a mission to raise awareness of ways to reduce carbon emissions. Rob advises companies and Government in the UK and around the world on how to reduce the environmental impact of their business and has led a number of high-profile initiatives.

He works with companies as diverse as Dell, Selfridges and L’Oreal but stresses that individual actions are as important as major projects. He firmly believes that small changes can make a big difference. And he praised the University of Wolverhampton’s Carbon Management Plan, which is focused on reducing the University’s carbon emissions by 25% over the next five years. “Universities are trying to reduce their impact and are engaging their students,” he says. “They have an important role to play.” Rob, who is known for presenting the Channel 4 reality show Dumped, where 11 unsuspecting people were marooned on a landfill site and had to forage to survive, gave a leadership seminar at the launch of the plan. He offered advice and insight in keeping with its ethos and inspired staff and business people with ways to reduce carbon emissions, both in the workplace and at home. The event was organised by the University’s Leadership and Development (LEAD) in partnership with the Core Team. Representatives from energy/utilities supply industries and sustainability and environmental consultants were also among those who attended.

Rob’s consultancy, Giraffe Innovation, advises on carbon management and resource efficiency and has identified savings of more than £75 million and 50,000 tonnes of CO2 for clients. Rob was also Project Director for the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Man Sculpture. This seven metre high, three tonne installation made out of electronic waste, represented what one British person will get through in a lifetime. The aim of the project was to highlight the scale of the environmental impact we all have. The sculpture was launched outside London’s City Hall and is now on permanent display at The Eden Project in Cornwall. He is currently planning a new sculpture event for Trafalgar Square, which involves calculating the carbon footprints of 1,000 people and then creating 1,000 sculpted creatures to represent them. Rob, whose background is as an industrial designer, says that businesses are becoming much more aware of their carbon footprint and are more open to change and new ways of working. But that doesn’t mean every venture is successful. Using natural materials where possible is a good alternative but an attempt to pioneer lactic acid printers resulted in them melting in a hot climate.

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Future We have to think about our legacy; our children’s children “I’m interested in creativity,” he says. “Not every green initiative will be a success but it’s important to look at different options and try new things.” The UK government has identified the university sector as key to delivering carbon reduction across the UK and Rob agrees that higher education institutions are vital in terms of influence, research and leading by example. The University of Wolverhampton’s Carbon Management Plan will raise awareness of issues such as climate change and encourage collective responsibility and action among staff, students and visitors. The plan has been driven by the Estates and Facilities department, with input from across the University.

Projects include installing a combined heat and power unit on City Campus, staff and student recycling initiatives and awareness campaigns, improving timetabling efficiency and extending the use of Building Energy Management Systems. When staff were asked for feedback last year about ways to be greener, the number one issue raised was about the number of PCs left on overnight. IT Services will be undertaking a new project to manage this problem. Jane Nelson, Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Affairs, is chairing the University’s Carbon Management Core Team. She says: “These projects alone will achieve more than half of what we need to do. There are 35 projects planned in total and there is a lot of exciting work ahead. “Carbon management enables the University to make a significant contribution to the environment, benefiting current and future generations.” Which brings us back to Rob’s question; there is much that can be done individually and collectively to ensure that there is a positive legacy for future generations.

FACTBOX Since April 2009, Wolverhampton has been one of 11 universities participating in the Carbon Trust’s fifth HE Carbon Management programme. The 40+ universities that have participated so far have achieved an average reduction of 25% in their carbon emissions. The overriding aim of the programme is to help the higher education sector tackle the threat of climate change, and to achieve significant reductions in energy costs. Since April 2010 any organisation that consumed more than 6,000 Mega Watt hours of half hourly monitored electricity during 2008 is legally obliged to participate in the Government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment. The Carbon Management Core Team consists of staff from across the University, including Executive, Estates and Facilities, Finance, IT Services, academic staff, Marketing and Communications and also student representatives.




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The University of Wolverhampton is proud to hold Fairtrade status, and staff and students enjoy an array of tasty products on all of our campuses. As part of our commitment to Fairtrade, we held a panel discussion covering a range of issues, chaired by BBC News presenter George Alagiah. The event was held to raise awareness of International Fairtrade Day and was organised jointly with the Wolverhampton City Fairtrade Partnership.

There are not many occasions when you can go to school dressed as a banana. But one of the pupils who attended the University’s panel discussion on International Fairtrade Day did just that. Bananas are just one of the many products associated with the Fairtrade movement, which seems to be growing in momentum all the time. The Wolverhampton school pupils who attended the event are not only eating and drinking Fairtrade – they are also learning about it in their lessons. Tackling the issues of the day was a panel of experts from Wolverhampton, which is a Fairtrade City. They were Dr Brian Shiplee, an expert in Environmentalism and Sustainable Development at the University; David Fulljames from Wolverhampton Fair Traid; and Charles Jackson-Houlston, formerly of the Wolverhampton City Council Sustainability Unit. Chairing the event was George Alagiah OBE, who has travelled the world as a Foreign Correspondent and now presents the BBC Six O’ Clock News. Dean of Students, Jon Elsmore, said: “The University held a number of successful activities during Fairtrade Fortnight 2010 in March, and we aimed to keep up the momentum with a vibrant discussion to mark International Fairtrade Day.” Topics under the spotlight included whether the large supermarket chains should be doing anything different to encourage people to buy Fairtrade products and what individuals can do to support the movement.

Having reported on civil wars in Afghanistan, Liberia and Sierra Leone and the plight of the marsh Arabs in southern Iraq, George Alagiah has witnessed the many challenges and troubles faced by people around the world. “As a reporter covering the conflicts in Somalia or the genocides in Rwanda, or the earthquake in Haiti, I came to understand that economic empowerment is as important, or possibly more important, than political empowerment. When people have money in their own back pocket they have choices that we take for granted.” During his time as patron of the Fairtrade Foundation, George visited a project in Nicaragua. The scheme was a particularly memorable one, as it demonstrated the additional impacts of Fairtrade, other than funding. The people of the community had used a Fairtrade premium they had received to buy a truck to transport coffee from the farm to a depot. As it was a communal truck, they held a meeting to decide if it could also be used to take the children to school. George is a specialist on Africa and the developing world, and has interviewed figures including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan and President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. But the most memorable person he met was Nelson Mandela. “When I sat next to him, what I remember most was not that he was the most famous man on the planet and that he had this impact on these people. It was that he was at peace with himself and that was really interesting. I asked

him, ‘How do you not hate what has happened to you?’ He said, ‘I have taught myself to think through my brain, not through my blood’ and I thought that was very wise. He had applied his intellect and got to this place where he was at peace with the world. I think that was why he was able to bring together people with such opposing views.” But it is not just great leaders that hold the key to building a better future. At the panel discussion, University students sat alongside school pupils, and it is clear that issues such as Fairtrade interest and challenge young people. George says: “As I have travelled around the world as a correspondent some of the greatest ills I have seen have been engineered by leaders or elders. I think we should not be scared of allowing young people to have a greater say. They may make better decisions than people of my generation and you do see that in the developing world – young people take more responsibility.” When asked what individuals can do to support and promote Fairtrade, the panellists and the audience had a range of interesting responses. One person said we should buy lots of Fairtrade products, another suggested encouraging shops that don’t sell Fairtrade items to consider doing so while one of the panellists believed eating dark chocolate was one of the easiest ways of supporting the mission. But perhaps one of the school pupils summed up the simplest means of supporting and promoting the Fairtrade ethos. Spread the news.


Counting the The oil spill caused by an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in April this year has been described as the United States’ worst environmental disaster. The catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico claimed the lives of 11 crew members and the estimated cost of cleaning up the oil slick reaches into billions of dollars. Here we draw on University expertise to look at the impact of the incident from a tourism and business point of view. Tourism Fishing and tourism are the area’s two key industries – both of which are adversely affected by the oil spill. Visitors generally travel to the area in search of sunny weather, nice beaches, relaxation and leisure rather than active holidays. Peter Robinson is Senior Lecturer in Leisure Industries and says that perception is key to the effect on tourism. “Most disruption relating to travel and tourism, whether it is the volcanic ash cloud, an oil spill or 9/11, is centred round people’s perceptions of what a place is like and how it may have been changed or damaged as a result. People will weigh up whether a place is safe and if it is going to live up to expectations,” Peter, from the School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure, says. “Some people will go ahead with their planned holiday and have a good time – but that positive experience does not get reported. The media is very powerful and it is easy to put people off travel. But when you watch reports on the news, it is from an environmental and not a tourist perspective, so it is difficult to

know how far reaching this imagery is in the way it influences travel decisions.” The long term impact on tourism depends on a number of factors – how long the disaster lasts, how much money is spent on both the physical recovery and how the destination is promoted in other ways. Some people will continue to support areas affected by crises due to basic loyalty for the community or the fact they don’t know where else to go. In time, additional tourists may visit, including those who have been to an affected area 20 years prior to such an incident and go back to see how it has changed. But there is also an element of ‘dark tourism’, which refers to visitors heading to a place where people have died or there has been significant destruction. These, however, will mainly be domestic visitors, and Peter believes that in the case of an oil slick, there is unlikely to be much of this due to the nature of what there is to see. Recovery is the key and Peter says there needs to be investment to regenerate and then promote the destination, and the sooner the better. The longer it takes to invest in tourism, the longer it takes to mitigate the effects. The media has a role to play here as well, as positive coverage of how a community has rebuilt can serve to draw visitors back. There are a number of examples of places that have suffered a disaster but have been able to recover. Extensive damage was caused by flash floods to Boscastle in Cornwall in 2004, but the area has largely been able to

recover and draw visitors back. The Severn Valley Railway between Shropshire and Worcestershire suffered major structural damage due to a landslide in 2007, but an emergency appeal and grants helped ensure this attraction got back up and running. But some areas never recover. Hurricane Katrina tore through New Orleans in southern America in August 2005, claiming the lives of more than 1,000 people and destroying homes and businesses. Peter Robinson explains the area had been seen as a niche and bohemian place to visit. Although work has been completed to regenerate the area, some places remain untouched and in desperate need of repair. But as Peter says, fixing a small British village is very different to repairing vast areas of American cities or coastline.


Business BP rebranded itself in 2000 in a bid to appeal to environmentally aware consumers. The logo was changed to a green and yellow sun and the company adopted the slogan ‘Beyond Petroleum’. On its website, the company explains its ethos as, “We help the world meet its growing need for heat, light and mobility. And we strive to do that by producing energy that is affordable, secure and doesn’t damage the environment”. But the oil disaster has once again highlighted the potentially dangerous and damaging nature of the oil industry. Professor Mike Haynes is the Joint Head of the Management Research Centre at the University of Wolverhampton Business School. He says there will be short term and long term impacts for the company following the disaster. “In the short term, the share price took a tremendous hit, the company has had to pay compensation and sacrifice dividend payments.

In the long term, the oil spill has exposed a degree of brand manipulation. BP was branded as being more environmentally aware, but that brand has been damaged. “The only defences seem to have centred on the fact that BP is no worse than any other oil company, and that this incident is not as big as the one during the First Gulf War in 1991,” Mike explains. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) refers to practices whereby companies can make a profit by being good. Concern for the workforce, community and environment is complicit with a healthy bottom line. Supporters of CSR argue that ethical business is good business, but critics view this as ‘greenwashing’ as it is sometimes used to manipulate an image and still centres on making a profit.

Professor Haynes says: “The claims around CSR do not always live up to the reality. “Looking ahead, the company could rebrand, but while BP was trying to put a cap on the oil, the story ran and ran. They can clean it up, but the legacy will be long lasting. “Everybody is using this in their own way but the bottom line is that worse environmental incidents have happened, but is that a justification? And if this had happened somewhere else, would it receive the same reaction?” Only time will tell how the company and tourism in the area emerges from the aftermath of the oil spill.

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perfect blend The expectations of the modern student are high. Many of today’s learners have round-the-clock access to the internet wherever they go, on their mobile phones or on laptops. They demand a system of learning which recognises they may need to fit their studies around a part-time job or family commitments. Students want to access their learning, their peers and feedback from lecturers electronically, whenever and wherever they like. But the need for, and an appreciation of face-to-face interaction has not disappeared, and support from teaching staff is a key approach to encouraging students to learn, develop, and grow. The University of Wolverhampton has for a long time recognised and championed the need for a combined approach to learning. The task of ensuring that such an approach is successfully delivered lies with the Blended Learning Unit. Part of the Institute of Learning Enhancement, the team has expertise in designing curricula that blend e-learning with face-to-face education. This has been a particularly important aspect of the Learning Works project, which has seen the University refocus its curriculum to prepare students for the world of work. The choice and uses made of technology vary depending on the subject and learning outcomes, but examples of widely-used blended learning include providing all module related documents in an electronic format; students collaborating using WOLF, PebblePad or even their own sites such as Facebook or via blogs; interactive materials in podcasts and vodcasts and submitting and returning coursework online with electronic feedback. Success on a global platform The success of the Blended Learning Unit was recognised by two awards recently. The team beat off tough international competition to clinch a platinum award at the IMS Learning Impact Awards. Held this year in California, the

awards recognise highly successful uses of technology to support learning and where they have had a significant impact on achievement. The University teamed up with Pebble Learning, the company behind the e-portfolio PebblePad, for its submission, which focused on the use of electronic personal development planning (ePDP) in the curriculum. In winning this prestigious award, the University was acknowledged as a world leader in the area. Emma Purnell, Blended Learning Advisor, describes the award as a real team effort. “The IMS Learning Award has given us the opportunity to bring together and recognise the impact of our ePDP innovation and the range of best practice that exists across the University,” she says. “It celebrates and recognises internationally the institution-wide achievements in the area of ePortfolio-based learning.” The second achievement was a National Teaching Fellowship for Dr Paul Brett, Head of the Blended Learning Unit. The award from the Higher Education Academy recognises Paul’s outstanding contribution over his career to student learning. He has led the successful integration of e-learning into the curriculum, and will receive £10,000 for his professional development in teaching and learning. Dr Brett said: “It is a great honour to have gained this award and I am absolutely delighted. It could not have been achieved though without the support of many, many colleagues at the University who have worked with me over the years.” Paul’s research illustrates the opportunities that are opened up to students by blended learning. His recent work has included the use of text messaging to support module-based learning through the Mobiles Enhancing Learning and Support (MELaS) project. With all aspects of blended learning, there is a need to investigate

what does and doesn’t work for students, and this project looked at the learning potential of text messages. More recently his research has centred on the potential of student-led and controlled e-learning using Web 2.0 applications, which may assist staff with their workloads and better support fellow students. Facing the future Providing a curriculum that is interesting, diverse and challenging is important, but essentially the University wants to equip graduates with the skills they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive job market. At the heart of the Learning Works project are three key graduate attributes which are the skills required to meet the needs of future employers. As well as being knowledgeable and enterprising and having an international outlook as a global citizen, graduates will be digitally literate. This means they will be confident using advanced technology, understanding the latest professional software and creatively using digital information sources. In order to achieve this, the Blended Learning Unit has been instrumental in helping staff across the University to redesign the curriculum. They have provided ideas about what works in e-learning tasks and assessment and have offered staff practical advice. They also organise a continuous programme of workshops in the academic Schools and on all campuses, and can provide bespoke sessions on specific aspects of blended learning. Combining and aligning face-to-face and online learning opportunities can be a challenge, but one that is worth the work. Education becomes more interactive and exciting, and meets the expectations of learners who have grown up with the internet and do not see technology as something separate from their lives. With such skills at their fingertips, University of Wolverhampton graduates will stand out in the crowd as people who can make a real difference.

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It is the nation’s favourite topic of conversation. Whether we feel it is too hot or too cold outside, or there has been non-stop rain or not enough to keep our gardens alive, the Brits love to talk about the weather. But putting aside debates about the next Bank Holiday being a washout or a scorcher, the changing climate is an issue that has got the world talking. This winter saw the most severe weather for this season in the UK for 30 years. The snow seemed almost endless, with reports of people being stranded in their homes or on motorways and schools being forced to close. But even after the snow melted, the country soon faced a new challenge in the form of a volcanic ash cloud blown over from Iceland which grounded flights and left holidaymakers struggling to find a way home.

Trying to predict the unpredictable The two events are the result of regionalised weather ‘eddies’ over the UK, which work within global currents of air and affect our short and medium term climate. Dr Ken Addison from the University’s School of Applied Sciences explains that within the last six to eight months, more northerly air has been brought down towards the British Isles than normal by the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), a climatic phenomenon which revolves around the precise location of low and high pressure systems in the Atlantic. Its behaviour was behind the substantial clouds of ash which entered the European atmosphere, the harsh winter and also the relatively dry and good weather of late May and early June.

the storm But how easy is it to predict the weather? The Met Office famously forecast a barbecue summer for 2009, only to be greeted by an extremely wet July. Dr Addison says meteorologists use computer models to compare current trends against long term recordings to look at the probability of circumstances and weather types over a period. However, it is never 100 per cent certain, and is subject to change.

“Britain is at the equivalent of the spaghetti junction of some of the earth’s big weather systems. One of the most predictable things about our weather is that it is unpredictable,” Ken says.

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Climate change Climate change is high on international agendas, even though a global agreement at the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit in December 2009 fell short of what many countries including Britain had hoped. Notably, America President Barack Obama gave a speech to the United Nations earlier that year in which he said, “the threat from climate change is serious, it is urgent, and it is growing.”

Ken, who specialises in earth and atmospheric sciences, says: “What is involved here is the extent to which climate scientists can distinguish between long term natural climate variability and effects superimposed on this by human actions which change the energy and moisture balances of the atmosphere – most noticeably through what we call greenhouse gases. “Most people are aware that earth has gone through a series of ice ages and interglacial periods and that weather can also be very variable from one year to the next but the science is now as certain as science ever can be that there is a marked human impact on climate. Without any mitigating actions such as large reductions in greenhouse gases, climate change may accelerate beyond a certain threshold to potentially catastrophic and irreversible consequences.” Despite this, there remains a level of public scepticism about climate change. Ken argues that some of the distrust results from the frequent short term changes in weather, such as recent particularly rainy summers. There was also a level of doubt about the integrity of scientific data just before the Copenhagen summit took place.

But Dr Addison, who has worked at the University for 35 years, says: “The uncertainty about the data has largely been dismissed and it is important that we get back to the impetus for concerted global action that was lost at Copenhagen. “Most international governments accept the need for, and have targeted, large reductions in greenhouse gas emissions but there is currently no international political machinery capable of developing and enforcing worldwide action. Not only will we therefore delay in taking the mitigating actions but we will increasingly have to operate crisis management for climate induced disasters.”

Looking ahead In the long term, Ken says the UK could find itself with a climate similar to the Canadian sub-Arctic region of Labrador, which is on the same latitude as the British Isles. The Labrador Sea is filled with icebergs for eight months of the year, with cool winds and light rain and drizzle in summer while winter is characterised by severe sub-zero temperatures and frequent snow flurries. But before you start reaching for your ice picks and snow tyres, Ken says that if this did eventually occur, it would not be until or beyond the end of this century. In the mean time, he believes we will experience the kind of warming that other parts of the world get – warmer summers that are generally drier but with more intense thunderstorms and milder winters which are probably a lot wetter. One thing seems certain – the Brits will continue to debate, argue and complain about our unpredictable climate, whatever the weather.


Dedicated Service The University’s chaplain Reverend Prebendary Geoffrey Wynne retires this summer after 44 years of service – believed to be a national record. Staff and students said a fond farewell at a special lunch held in his honour. In 1979 he instigated an appeal to build an interdenominational Chaplaincy Centre on Wolverhampton City Campus. After many years of public fundraising, over £100,000 was raised to build what is now The Faiths Centre, well-used for pastoral care, counselling, social activities, teaching and worship. He has also organised the University’s annual carol service at St Peter’s Church which appeals to everyone, regardless of faith, and has done much work in Wolverhampton to foster multi-cultural harmony. Last year, he received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from the University for his dedicated service to the spiritual, social and welfare needs of staff and students. Here, he recounts some fond memories of his career and what he will miss most about University life.


What have been the highlights of your time at the University?

My highlights have been seeing students grow and being a part of that. Feeling that I’ve made a difference to staff and students – and even conducting some marriage services for them because many people have met their partners through the chaplaincy. I have also enjoyed lecturing, delivering a degree in Applied Theology for 10 years.


Tell us more about your early career….

When I was 17 and told my mother that I wanted to be ordained, she told me: ‘I know, you said that when you were three-yearsold’. I studied at King’s College in London and helped Franciscan brothers who were working with homeless people in the East End. At one point, we were in a derelict house at 3am, surrounded by hostile drunks, with one man waving a broken bottle at us. I felt very vulnerable but when he saw the Anglican Franciscan in his habit he said ‘Sorry, Father. Now I know what you’re all about’. I’ve worn my dog collar ever since.

I later went to the London School of Economics to do social policy – I wanted to be a good parish priest. I did a three-month placement in Gorbals in Glasgow. It was a very deprived area and when the taxi driver dropped me off he asked if he should wait. I worked with youth clubs and gangs and it was challenging but the people took me to their hearts and I felt very safe.


What are some of your fondest memories from your time with the University?

The weekends away are always memorable experiences. We had a number of famous retreat conductors including Archbishop Michael Ramsey, whose addresses on transfiguration were incredible – he filled the room with his quiet voice - and Rowan Williams, the current Archbishop of Canterbury.


What will you miss most?

When I leave I will miss the people the most. When I get up in the morning, I find myself wanting to get in to the University; I get such a buzz.

Running throughout the whole of my ministry has been a certain quiet joy, which brings chuckles so often.


What are you looking forward to about retirement?

I will be spending more time with family – my wife Gaynor, son Andrew, daughter-in-law Sarah and two grandchildren Charles and Lydia. I owe so much to Gaynor; she has been so supportive over the years. Living on site, she has dealt with students when I haven’t been there and has done a lot of unseen work. I also enjoy caravanning and gardening – simple pleasures. After about three months I plan to spend some time helping in parishes.


What would you study if you were at university now?

If I had an opportunity, and couldn’t do theology, I would concentrate on philosophy. Also, I’d love to do research on religion as a form of intervention in mental health.



Who do you admire?

I admire the current Archbishop of Canterbury who I have worked closely with on various committees. He is so humble, yet so brilliant and so kind.


What is your farewell message to staff?

We have something so precious in this University which comes from the devotion and integrity of staff. We have a tradition of being a caring university and that has been built up over many years; we change people’s lives for the better. The whole country is facing difficult times and we need to focus on the good things.

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And the

Beat goes on Drug raids, domestic violence and protest rallies are all in a day’s work experience for a group of students at the University of Wolverhampton. The students – all working towards their BSc (Hons) in Policing – have been signed up as Special Constables by West Midlands Police as part of the course. Developed in conjunction with West Midlands Police and the National Policing Improvement Agency, the University offers a programme for those contemplating a career in policing or related areas which require graduates with forensic investigative skills, knowledge of the law, appreciation of mental health issues and a wider understanding of the social context in which policing is conducted. The University’s Dr Martin Wright, who leads the course, is a former West Midlands Police inspector. He said: “This is a vocationally focused degree that equips individuals to become police officers. “The syllabus provides our students with a whole range of thinking skills. Course members study forensic science, mental health and criminal law alongside students in those individual faculties at the University. “We are delighted to be providing high quality students to become Special Constables and as a result get some fantastic feedback from West Midlands Police.” Twelve University of Wolverhampton students gained experience as Specials in the West Midlands during the academic year. All benefited from a bespoke force training programme developed to meet the needs of individual communities. Topics covered include powers of arrest, stop and search, force intelligence and policing ethics.

An additional 32 first-year students have recently gone through the interview process, with a view to becoming Specials in the next academic year. Sergeant Steve Coxon, who developed the current Specials training programme, said: “Each force trains its Specials very differently and each uses Specials in a different way. In the West Midlands, the policy is to place them with permanent neighbourhood teams where they will have the opportunity to get involved in a range of duties – carrying out stop and search practices, investigating thefts and making arrests.”

Case study 1: Kirsty Smith Day one as a Special, and Kirsty Smith made her first arrest while helping to execute a drugs warrant. Since then the 19-year-old has been involved in a raid on a brothel in Dudley and more recently took part in neighbourhood policing support during the English Defence League (EDL) protest in the town centre. Kirsty, from Kingswinford and a former King Edward VI College pupil, said: “I love it. I volunteer for an eight-hour shift every week and get included in everything the team is doing that day.” Referring to the EDL protest, she added: “I thought it was handled really well. I was patrolling the Russells Hall neighbourhood, reassuring residents, and it was interesting to hear progress reports over the radio.” She has been part of the St James neighbourhood policing team for five months. “Signing up as a Special makes you more aware of what is happening in your area, for better or worse. You just don’t realise what is

going on so close to home,” she said. “It also highlights the relevance of the university course – being able to put into practice what we are learning helps make sense of it all.”

Case study 2: Richard Brown Twenty-year-old Richard Brown stumbled on the course while he was considering studying psychology with a view to joining the police. “The syllabus is ideal for what I want to do with my life,” he said. He spent three weeks last summer ‘fast tracking’ the West Midlands Police Specials training and has been out on the beat around Brierley Hill every week since November. “I have had quite a lot of fun with the neighbourhood policing team, taking part in vehicle crime and drugs investigations as well as general patrols. The work has been very interesting, but it’s not all action-packed – we have our fair share of paperwork to do, which is an equally important part of the job.” And Richard is getting used to the less than complimentary comments that he sometimes attracts, out on patrol around the Merry Hill Centre. “The first couple of times people fired off abusive comments I was a bit shocked, but I’m used to it now,” he said. Richard, who comes from Pensnett, added: “The regular officers I work with are really interested in what the University course offers. Some of them have been Specials themselves and they appreciate the work we put in to equip ourselves with a better working knowledge of the demands of policing. “Being a Special enables me to put into practice what I am learning, week by week. It is a great way to link together the theory and the practice.”

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Philip Treacy and Yasemen Hussein. Museum of London. John Chase

A unique


With her own studio, high-profile commissions and a national exhibition, Yasemen Hussein still can’t quite believe how things have turned out.

The talented mixed-media sculptor attributes her success to a lot of hard work – with a little bit of luck thrown in. After graduating from the University of Wolverhampton in 1994 with a BA (Hons) 3D Glass degree, she developed her unique pieces while spending time waitressing, restoring antiques and working in a theatre.

Since setting up her studio in Sydenham, London, in 2009, her career has rocketed.

“If someone had told me 10 years ago what I would be doing now, I’d never have believed them,” she says. One of her most exciting projects to date is the Pleasure Gardens, an exhibition at the Museum of London alongside the renowned milliner Philip Treacy, which opened at the end of May this year. Yasemen designed 22 striking metal hairpieces to wear his hats, forming a permanent exhibition at the venue.

It is billed as the perfect example of when fashion worlds collide, as Philip Treacy’s 21st century hats are seen as the contemporary accessories for a Georgian masquerade, circa 1760. The backdrop to, and theme of, the Pleasure Gardens is a masquerade in a Georgian Pleasure Garden. One of the party-goers wears a copper ‘antlers’ head-dress, created by Yasemen, and inspired by Diana, the goddess of the hunt and the moon, which was a popular fancy-dress costume of the era.

‘Diana’ Hair&Antlers by Yasemen Hussein. Museum of London. John Chase

Feature 17

Yasemen fizzes with energy and enthusiasm and is delighted with the response the exhibition has received. Other notable work includes catwalk shows for American lingerie giant Victoria’s Secrets. It was at one of their shows that she saw Will-i-am from chart-toppers the Black Eyed Peas. She plucked up the courage to ask him to look at her work, which included striking neckwear. The result was a commission for a gold collar for the star, with Yasemen flown out to LA. The singer is wearing the collar on his worldwide tour. Yasemen can turn her hand to many different materials – welding steel, copper, brass, concrete, wax, clay, wood, glass, even wool – to fashion her intricate creations. She also takes private commissions and actor Rupert Everett collects her work. Always busy, another potential project in the pipeline is for hair stylists Toni and Guy, showcasing hairstyles that made them famous in the 80s.

Originally from Castle Bromwich, Yasemen is full of praise for the skills and advice she gained at the University of Wolverhampton’s School of Art & Design. She enthuses about her lecturers, Stuart Garfoot and Keith Cummings, and they are delighted with her success. “I loved it at Wolverhampton. I had a lot of support,” says Yasemen. Stuart praises her talent and says she continues to inspire students at the School: “She was an absolute and total individual. Her work is unique and has influenced students here today.” He came across some of her work by chance after she graduated and has stayed in touch with her. After graduation, Yasemen went on to Illinois State University in America where she completed a Fine Art Master in Glass Sculpture.

Will-i-am. Tour 2010

Impressive commissions then started to come her way, including striking garden sculptures. Awardwinning designer Fran Forster commissioned her to make an art-deco style glass window for her perfumed garden at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and as her profile grew, more opportunities presented themselves. Living and working at her studio, Yasemen is consumed by her creative drive and is passionate about everything she does. She says: “I am always eager to be in the process of making, I get energy from the decisions to be made from physically working with materials. “The learning process keeps the fire in my belly burning and the sense of joy I get out of creating something that is beautiful to my eye is my whole impetus – just because I can.” For more information about Yasemen see: To find out more about the exhibition see:

Hair by Yasemen Hussein. Hat by Philip Treacy. Museum of London. John Chase

Miranda Kerr. Victoria Secret Catwalk Show .NY.2009

Alessandra Ambro. Victoria Secret Catwalk Show. NY.2009


Tough triumph Small businesses face a number of tough challenges in the current economic climate. Restrictions on Government funding and plans to cut schemes that support small and medium enterprises are far from the spotlight. But one hurdle that doesn’t receive a lot of attention is that faced by an established and successful business which is still doing well – but has limited manpower and expertise to drive forward the next stage of a business plan. Tough Furniture Ltd in Craven Arms, Shropshire, is one such successful business. The company specialises in strong but attractive furniture to suit the special needs of environments where abuse, carelessness or challenging behaviour can occur, such as bail hostels, residential homes and hospital wards. Led by Managing Director David Vesty, the team wanted to accelerate their development plan and harness new technologies to draft and design new products. This is where a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) managed by the University of Wolverhampton came in. Graduate Associate Rhys Thomas, who studied Product Design, is employed on a two-year Classic KTP to transfer technical knowledge from the University and help to increase skills within the workforce. He is mentored by academic Rob Cooksey, a furniture design and development specialist from the School of Art & Design with strong commercial experience.

The company benefits from having access to University facilities, such as rapid prototyping and specialist training in photography and Photoshop to benefit its in-house sales and marketing output. The partnership is clearly a success, as Tough Furniture recently won the Technology, Enterprise and Innovation Award at the prestigious Shropshire Business Awards. David Vesty was delighted with the award, and the support provided through the KTP. He said: “The recognition of winning an award for Technology, Innovation and Enterprise is a real boost for the company. What we are able to achieve in a competitive marketplace is being greatly assisted and accelerated by the graduate and professional skills and resources made available to us from the University through the KTP scheme.” The KTP scheme is a UK-wide programme which aims to help organisations improve their competitiveness, productivity and performance through a partnership with an academic institution. David is very positive about how the scheme is benefitting the company. “The KTP scheme is an excellent way of getting that extra shot of manpower and expertise and has enabled us to accelerate our plans. It is essentially about finding a match that works between what the university has to offer and what the business needs,” he says.

“It is a difficult climate for all businesses but we have been able to upgrade the quality of the designs we put in front of the customer. We have a standard catalogue but we also customise furniture, and once we had the graduate and the right software in place, we were quickly able to improve the quality of the drawings we produce. This is something we are developing very strongly and this has enabled us to keep ahead of competition from larger companies.” Tough Furniture is one year into the two-year KTP and David says there are other aspects of the project that are yet to be developed.


So far Rhys’ work has focused on design and customer presentations for direct selling purposes but the next stage will involve looking at marketing material, photography and advertising. David recommends the KTP programme to other businesses which have a suitable need. “It has been cost effective, as we have had a known outlay. I would recommend it to other companies where it is appropriate – it is working very well for us and I have encouraged other businesses to consider it.” Business Development Manager at the University, Nigel Jordan, is also pleased with the success of the partnership with Tough Furniture.

He says: “This KTP is the School of Art & Design’s third programme with a furniture manufacturer and is testimony to the applied research expertise and Associate mentoring by Rob Cooksey and Dave Henley from the School’s product design division. “We are absolutely delighted that Tough has won such a prestigious award and that we have contributed towards their success.” For more information about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, visit:

The KTP Scheme is an excellent way of getting that extra shot of manpower and expertise.


New horizons for

Cyprus The island of Cyprus is well known to many as a holiday destination, with over 1.1 million British nationals visiting the country every year. Known for its sandy beaches, historical sights and beautiful scenery, the Mediterranean island has a huge amount of appeal for people seeking a relaxing break. Cyprus was a British Colony until 1960 when it was declared independent but strong links still exist between the two countries. The UK in general is a popular destination for Cypriot students, and since the country gained membership to the EU in 2004, the number applying to higher education institutions in the UK has increased dramatically. There are currently 200 Cypriot students studying at the University of Wolverhampton, and the International Centre is keen to take advantage of this emerging market for student recruitment. The University launched its new regional office in Cyprus earlier this year to provide information and advice for potential students from the region. The Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO) is centrally located in Nicosia, which is the capital and largest city on the island. This provides a great opportunity to expand and strengthen links within Cyprus and the surrounding area. The new office has two members of staff, Anthie Panayidou and Tina Theophanous, who offer advice and support on a range of subjects

such as courses, bursaries and scholarships. Their role is to provide prospective students and their families with any help they need to make the transition to education in the UK as smooth as possible. And Wolverhampton is certainly a popular destination for Cypriot students. According to figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the University of Wolverhampton was 3rd in the top 30 universities for the number of Cypriot students recruited in 2008/09. Jo Gittens, Director, International, attended the opening of the new office, along with Jane Nelson, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Student Affairs and Dr Bryony Conway, Dean of the School of Art and Design. Jo says the University is keen to build on the success of other regional offices. “We are delighted to have opened our new regional office in Cyprus, which is an important market for us,” Jo explains. “We hope that the office will enable us to build on our success in Cyprus and reach out to International students in the Eastern Mediterranean region by raising awareness of the range of courses we offer students, including at postgraduate level. “We already have regional offices in China, India, Nigeria, Malaysia and Poland that offer a valuable service to our international students

We hope that the office will enable us to build on our success in Cyprus. and their families. This new presence in Cyprus is the latest exciting step in our international development agenda.” Despite a Government cap on undergraduate EU recruitment for 2010/11, the University still hopes to attract highly motivated, good quality Cypriot students.


As this cap does not apply to postgraduate studies, the University is aiming to grow this activity with the assistance of the new regional office staff. Links between the University and the island also include student and staff exchanges. The Erasmus scheme enables students to study in a European country, usually in the second or third year of their time at university. Wolverhampton currently has links with the University of Nicosia through the Erasmus programme and is keen to expand its interests in Cyprus. The next phase of development is to deliver University of Wolverhampton programmes in Cyprus itself and talks are currently taking place with potential partners. Education and qualifications from the UK are held in high esteem and a degree from a British higher education institution is deemed to provide better prospects for employment in Cyprus. There has been a steady increase for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the UK with the highest population of

Cypriot undergraduate students enrolling in the subjects of business studies, law, engineering and technology, and computer science. The island is close to Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt which have also been identified by the University’s International Centre as potential areas to develop student recruitment. With the new academic term just weeks away, staff in the International Centre will already be preparing to welcome a host of new students travelling from a range of countries to study in Wolverhampton. In the run-up to this busy and exciting time of year, the new Cyprus office will be a useful source of information and support for those making the move. For more information: visit international

FACTBOX • Full name: Republic of Cyprus • Population: 871,000 (combined) • Capital: Nicosia • Area (combined): 9,251 sq km (3,572 sq miles) • Major languages: Greek, Turkish, English • Monetary unit: Euro from 1 January 2008; Turkish lira used in north • Life expectancy: 77 years (men), 82 years (women)

22 people

Art Matters

Corinne Miller is the Head of the Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Museum Service. She has worked at the gallery, which has strong links to the University’s School of Art & Design, for four years. After studying Art History at the University of Manchester and completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Museum and Galley Studies, Corinne worked in museums and galleries in Bury, Allerdale in Cumbria and Wakefield, before taking a post at Leeds Art Gallery, where she worked for 20 years.


What made you want to work in art and museums?

I have wanted to work in art galleries and museums since I was tiny. My mother painted a bit and was arty and a lot of her friends were passionate about art. Art History is my discipline, and I was a Young Friend of the Tate as a child, so I have always wanted to do it. I remember receiving a children’s magazine that always had a work of art in it, and I would put them on my wall alongside George Best.


How has the sector changed since you started?

It has changed massively over the last 30 years. I came into the profession when it was dominated by a connoisseurial approach to art history. I was fortunate to go to University in the 1970s, training with a new generation of curators who were interested in the opportunities for collections for a wider audience. I have seen the sector move from being mainly aimed at connoisseurs and academics to becoming something that is far more accessible. The start of Lottery funding has also led to major capital investment in the sector.

Our collections are now better managed and we are more rigorous in the way we collect, adopting a more audience-focused approach.


What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most?

What really interests me is the interaction between people and collections. Being part of that dialogue, or interventions in that dialogue, is what I find inspiring – seeing people respond is always a great motivator.

people 23


The University and the Art Gallery have close links – why do you think it is important to support up-andcoming art students?

The history of the Art Gallery articulates the relationship between study and collecting. The Municipal School of Art was here and the art gallery was founded alongside it to provide a source of inspiration for students. The relationship between education and collections was strong from the very beginning.


What advice would you offer to students who may wish to one day run an art gallery?

You have to be tenacious about pursuing that career. It is tough, the pay is not good and it will be quite challenging at times. If you are not absolutely dedicated and passionate you will probably fall by the wayside quite quickly! It is not for the faint hearted.


What would be your dream exhibition to have in Wolverhampton?

I don’t really have a dream exhibition. I like to think every exhibition has something to offer. It is important to create a programme of wide interest. We show the work of new artists as well as historic artists. This year at Wolverhampton we have shown the work of Vered Lahav and we are working on a show of Victorian artists from the Cranbrook Colony in Kent. I love this eclectic programme which you find in public galleries. I am also interested in the role of art outside the space of the gallery. To this end we are working on a project around the city for viewing in the early evening.


If you were at University today, what would you study?

I would still study art history. For me it was interesting at the time and has sustained my interest ever since. I have been able to carry on my academic interest in art history alongside my career. I do a lot of management work now but nonetheless I do still have occasion to research and talk and go to exhibitions. The subject is like a jigsaw. For example, I studied English watercolours and have discovered a view of Wolverhampton by Turner. Now I am fascinated about why Turner came to Wolverhampton in 1794. I have worked with Turner’s art for many years but did not know his work on Wolverhampton – another bit of the jigsaw.


What has been your greatest achievement?

The things I have enjoyed have been the big exhibitions I have done including Cotmania and Mr Kitson and a survey show of the work of Franke Brangwyn in Leeds. I was also privileged to act as the lead on the development of the contemporary collection at Leeds to include some digital media and sound works. Commissioning works for that was an extraordinary experience which allowed me to work with artists like Bill Fontana and Georgina Starr.


In your opinion, what makes a great piece of artwork or museum exhibit?

I think it has to be the immediacy. Then you need to be drawn into staying with the work and for it to sustain you on multiple levels, so that every time you come to it gives you something different. I don’t think you should have a formulaic view of artwork. Alan Bennett said you know you have found a great piece of art when you want to put it under your raincoat and take it home with you and I would subscribe to that. You want to be with it a long time.

At Wolverhampton, we can show challenging works which deal with social issues. People have remarked how much they have enjoyed their visit because they have been challenged. Something has made them think differently and they have walked out of the building with a new understanding of something.


Should people have to pay to visit art galleries and museums?

I would like to see services like art galleries remain free because that allows the widest range of people to visit and realise the real potential of the collections. Galleries like this have taken generations to build up and they do represent our collective history. It would be a real pity to levy a fee. Inevitably the number of visitors would drop and it is an unhealthy way to think about visiting a gallery. When I was young, I would just pop into the National Gallery and look at Piero della Francesca’s Baptism of Christ and that would be enough. If you had to pay you would feel you have to slog around for a couple of hours to get value for money. Art should not be relegated to a consumer activity, it should be recognised as a vehicle for us to come together to share our experiences of life and living.

24 success story

Graduate success story

Paul Watson Paul first entered the leisure industry in 1984 when he joined Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council as a Recreation Assistant. Throughout his career Paul has held a variety of positions including Manager of Wombourne Leisure Centre at South Staffordshire Council, and Leisure Development Officer at Lichfield District Council. He has progressed to a double role at Lichfield, which comprises General Manager of Burntwood Leisure Centre and the district’s Sports Development Manager.

Name: Paul Watson Course: BA (Hons) Leisure Management Year of Graduation: 2008

From electrician to semi-professional footballer and a lengthy career in leisure services, Paul Watson has now fulfilled a lifelong ambition by successfully completing a degree. Paul was a mature student when he completed his BA (Hons) in Leisure Management at the University’s School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure in 2008. His advice to those considering going back to University is: “Just go for it, it is the best thing I have ever done. The freedom of learning was far better than at college.”

He admits he was nervous about taking on a University course. But his time at Wolverhampton ensured he had a great experience of higher education. He says: “At first I was apprehensive of tackling a degree, but the relaxed atmosphere and experienced staff made my time very enjoyable.” Paul says that his degree has definitely had a positive impact on his career. “Today, my remit is much wider and I am now part of the senior management team.” He adds that his time at the Walsall Campus was very positive, describing it as “absolutely brilliant, the students were delightful and lecturers very helpful”. Paul believes the London Olympic Games in 2012 will have a major impact on the leisure industry. He says: “The sport and leisure industry is growing. In the run-up to 2012 there appears to be a picture emerging that more people are taking an interest in sport, and in particular embracing the opportunity to improve their personal well-being which will contribute towards a healthier nation.

“There is a great synergy between sports, leisure and health. With this merge of interest, the future of the leisure industry is set to grow even bigger.” He recommends the University of Wolverhampton due to its modern facilities and knowledgeable staff. And although Paul is currently very happy at Lichfield District Council, he relishes the challenge of one day becoming Head of Leisure Services.

The relaxed atmosphere and experienced staff made my time very enjoyable.


What’s on

Guide August



University of Wolverhampton Open Day – Find out about a range of courses, meet the lecturers and current students and tour the excellent facilities.

2010 University of Wolverhampton graduations. Students from all Academic Schools receive their awards.

University of Wolverhampton Open Day – Find out about a range of courses, meet the lecturers and current students and tour the excellent facilities.

Date: Saturday, 21 August 2010 Time: 10am – 3pm Location: Wolverhampton City and Walsall Campuses Contact: Enquiries team on 0800 953 3222* Or visit:

Date: Wednesday, 1 September to Friday, 10 September 2010

Date: Saturday, 9 October 2010

Location: The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton

Time: 10am – 3pm

MA Degree Show – Students from the School of Art & Design exhibit their work.

Contact: Enquiries team on 0800 953 3222*

Date: Monday, 6 September to Friday, 10 September 2010 Time: 9am – 5pm Location: School of Art & Design, MK Building, Molineux Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1DT Contact: Bhavna Parmar Call: 01902 322058 Email: New Bottles, Old Wine? A Debate on the Ethics of Educational Interventions In Popular Digital Technologies – A Learning Lab hosted session as part of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) Conference programme. Date: Tuesday, 7 to Thursday, 9 September 2010 Location: ALT Conference, Nottingham University Contact: Abi Redmond – Learning Lab Website: Call: 01902 322362

Location: Wolverhampton City and Walsall Campuses Or visit: ‘Brave New Worlds – the Ethics of Education in Popular Digital Technologies’ – As part of Higher Education Academy funded activity a one day event is planned to examine the informal ethics of educational interventions in popular digital technologies. Date: Wednesday, 27 October 2010 Time: 10am – 3pm Location: Glasgow Caledonian University Contact: Abi Redmond – Learning Lab Website: Call: 01902 322362 *If you are calling from a mobile you may incur a charge. The charge may vary depending on your network provider



University of Wolverhampton Wulfruna Street Wolverhampton West Midlands WV1 1LY tel: 0800 953 3222* fax: 01902 32 25 17 web:

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*If you are calling from a mobile phone you may incur a charge. The charge will vary depending on your network provider

WLVDialogue - July 2010  

Welcome to the latest issue of WLV Dialogue. The need to protect the environment is a hot topic and with this in mind July’s edition has a g...