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Alumna Lesley Dalziel speaks of her strong belief in hard work to succeed / 12–13 Meet the new Principal — Professor Craig Mahoney / 15 ISSUE 5   AUTUMN 13 UWS Alumni play pivotal roles in XX 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games / 10–11 Alumni Craig and Tracey Macdonald on life, loves and careers / 6–7 Drug culture and drug policy in Scotland / 8–9 PLUS WIN ONE OF 2 APPLE IPAD MINIS AND TICKETS TO SEE DEACON BLUE IN CONCERT / 2 UNIVERSITY NEWS / 4 INNOVATION AND RESEARCH OFFICE NEWS / 5 POSTGRADUATE STUDY OPPORTUNITIES / BACK COVER



FOREWORD A warm welcome to the fifth edition of ‘West’, the magazine to inspire alumni of University of the West of Scotland. I am happy to report another successful year with a number of significant milestones achieved. The alumni database has now reached around 25,000 records, establishing a worldwide alumni community. Membership of the Alumni Group on LinkedIn has also grown from around 400 members last year to over 600 members. This year has also seen major changes in senior management at the University, with the appointment of a new Principal and Vice Chancellor, Professor Craig Mahoney in August. Read his first ‘West’ interview on page 15. The University has also appointed a new Chancellor, Rt Hon Dame Elish Angiolini, who was installed in September, see page 4. The University continues to seek support for its activities from alumni. If you would like to “give back” to the University, whether you can help with providing careers advice, mentoring or work placements to our current students, or provide job opportunities to our graduates, then please contact me. Alternatively, I would be delighted to hear from you, if you would like to make a financial donation to University activity as part of our Alumni Relations and Development work. I look forward to another fruitful year, and wish you all a very successful and prosperous year ahead.


Lesley Dalziel

Jim Prime



Treading A Successful Path

Totally Into Music

Alumna Lesley Dalziel, Group Finance Director for Axle Group Holdings, on her successful career.

Commercial Music Lecturer Jim Prime talks about his dual life as a UWS Lecturer and a keyboard player of Scottish rockers Deacon Blue. (See competition below)

Loves, Laughs and Lab Coats Husband and wife Craig and Tracey Macdonald talk of their lives, loves and careers.  Pages 6–7

The XX 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games Three of the University’s alumni will be playing key roles in Glasgow 2014.

Pages 10–11

Food For Thought Gillian McKnight talks of her exciting job in the food industry and the importance of work placement as part of her University degree. Pages 18–19

Global Citizens Some examples of our recent international exchange activity. Page 14

FEATURED ARTICLES Crawford Wilson Marketing Manager Alumni and Development

Meet the New Principal Professor Craig Mahoney Page 15

T: +44 (0)141 848 3336 F: +44 (0)141 848 3333 E:

Drug Culture and Drug Policy in Scotland UWS Senior Lecturer Dr Iain McPhee Pages 8-9



Alumni and Development University of the West of Scotland Paisley Campus Paisley, Scotland PA1 2BE, UK

Articles and Features Olga Wojtas Stacey Hunter Ashley Lennon Dr Iain McPhee Gary Marshall PHOTOGRAPHY Tim Morozzo Helen Cassidy DESIGN Freight Design, Glasgow

fsc logo University of the West of Scotland is a registered Scottish charity. Charity number SC002520. This publication is available electronically and in alternative formats, if required.

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Alumni Profiles Pages 3, 17, 22

University News Page 4 Innovation and Research Office News Page 5 Face Time Have Smartphones taken over the world? Page 23

Postgraduate Study Opportunities BACK COVER

UPDATE YOUR DETAILS AND WIN 1 OF 2 APPLE IPAD MINIS OR TICKETS TO SEE DEACON BLUE IN CONCERT Have we got your latest details in our database? If you have moved house, changed jobs, got married or completed a new qualification, we would like you to let us know. Please use the Contact Details Sheet enclosed with this copy of the magazine, and return it in the Free Post envelope supplied. All completed forms returned to the University by 5pm on Monday 3rd March, 2014, will be entered into our Free Prize Draw to win 1 of 2 Apple iPad Minis or tickets to see Deacon Blue in concert in Glasgow. See page 21 for details. See for full terms and conditions. Best of luck to you all!


Never Too Late


Ashley Lennon speaks to David Munro about his career from Graduate to Business Consultant to Debut Novelist.  Photography Tim Morozzo For a man who says he’s only read a handful of novels in his life and has never undertaken a creative writing course, David Munro is certainly making an impact on the literary world. For the former graduate has just published his first novel, ‘The Time Jigsaw’, and signed a two-book deal with a London publisher. Though David hasn’t had any formal creative writing tuition, he’s a marketing professional through and through and says that these skills, gained in part whilst studying for his BA Business Administration at the University of Paisley (now UWS), have been invaluable when it comes to promoting the book. A business consultant by profession, specialising in advising firms on their marketing strategies, David’s client list was hit by the recession and, with more time on his hands, he started to write. “I’m not someone who has always wanted to write,” David says, “but I’ve always been interested in time travel and whilst watching an episode of ‘Doctor Who’ one evening, I got an idea for a short story about a man who faints and wakes up in a different time zone. What started as a short story quickly grew into a novel, because I was so gripped by the story that I wanted to keep writing just to find out what happened.”

And David believes that readers will be similarly gripped by the tale, which sees hero James Carsell-Brown move from Nice, in France, to Scotland as well as through the centuries, and has a mystery at its heart, surrounding the body of a young woman washed up on a beach. “It’s a romantic mystery, as well as, a time travel novel,” David says. “There’s something in it for everyone!” ‘The Time Jigsaw’ was inspired by a coach house close to David’s leafy home in Ardoch, a small hamlet near Dumbarton, where he lives in a Victorian property with views of the sea. “It’s the perfect home for a writer,” he says, “and there’s an air of mystery around the place too. The nearby property inspired me to imagine what life must have been like for a Victorian coachman and that’s at the heart of the novel.” Now, as well as enjoying success with his debut novel, published by London-based Austin Macauley, David is now editing his second book and is also busy jotting down ideas for novel number three. He says, “I mull over my ideas for a while, but when I start to write I do chapter outlines and work at it methodically. My years in business, writing reports and so on, really help me to structure my books.”

He also had fun using his marketing know-how to give a sixties high street a makeover in his book. “In one chapter,” he explains, “my hero time travels back to 1967 and uses his knowledge of modern marketing to rebrand a small Highland village. That’s the great fun with writing fiction — you can bring in all your own life experiences and basically do whatever you want, as long as the story remains focused!” Despite David’s recent publishing success, he says that one of the proudest days of his life was when he graduated from the University of Paisley in 1994. “I was the first in my family to go to university and graduating was an incredibly proud day for both me and my family. I came to university as a mature student, having already worked for quite a few years, and was delighted to get my degree and to make my whole family proud. The day I got the first copy of ‘The Time Jigsaw’ through from the publisher, and held it in my hands, also ranks high in my proudest moments — and I can’t wait to do it again with novel number two!” To find out more about ‘The Time Jigsaw’, visit

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University Installs Dame Elish Angiolini As New Chancellor The Rt Hon Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC was installed as the University’s new Chancellor at a ceremony in Paisley on 12 September. The ceremony, which took place at Thomas Coats Memorial Baptist Church was attended by University staff, students and representatives from Scottish universities and colleges together with guests from business and industry. Chancellor Dame Elish will represent the University at the highest level and hold formal powers to confer degrees, diplomas and academic distinctions. The ceremony also saw Dame Elish being presented with the award of an Honorary Degree of the University (DUniv) for her significant, ongoing contribution to the Scottish legal system and public life.

Dame Elish, who is Principal of St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford, has extensive experience of public administrative, criminal and civil law, as well as Public Inquiries and Fatal Accident Inquiries. She is the former Lord Advocate of Scotland — and prior to this was Solicitor General for Scotland. She was the first woman and the first solicitor to hold either position. As Solicitor General for Scotland (2001–06) and then as Lord Advocate (2006– 11), she was instrumental in reforming the justice system in Scotland, making it more responsive to the victims of crime. Dame Elish; renowned for her championing of equality and dignity in the justice system, has supervised some of the most significant prosecutions in Scotland, and acted as the Scottish Government’s legal

Lanarkshire Born Businessman Officially Opens New Mechatronics Laboratory Businessman Les Hutchison officially opened the new laboratory at the University’s Hamilton Campus in May. The £78,000 industry standard mechatronics equipment was gifted in 2012 by Les, a graduate of the former Bell College, now UWS. Les, now retired, was Vice Chair and a Director of Canadian energy services company, ShawCor Ltd. He was also appointed a Globalscot in 2002 by the then First Minister to assist Scotland and its people. He graduated from Bell College in 1974, with an HNC Electrical Engineering and also completed a Higher Supplementary (HS) in Control Systems and Mathematics in 1975. After further study he became an Incorporated Engineer. In addition to the new lab, which is based in the University’s Centre for Engineering Excellence Building, his donation of over £100,000 also includes the establishment of the annual

advisor during a period of major change. She was awarded the DBE for services to the administration of justice in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2011. In the same year, she was granted a Special Achievement Award by the International Association of Prosecutors. This five-year appointment will see Dame Elish acting as an ambassador for UWS. Dame Elish said: “The University plays a key role in the economic, social and cultural development of Scotland, and I am delighted to represent UWS to promote the University’s values and vision.” Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, said: “The post of Chancellor is a hugely important one and Dame Elish, who is a great supporter of Higher Education, will be a great ambassador for University of the West of Scotland.”

Careers and Employability Sign Post

Les Hutchison and wife Virginia, far right.

‘Hutchison’ Prize for the best student on the University’s Mechatronics degree, which is delivered at the Hamilton Campus. The winning student will receive a prize of £5,000 to assist in their career development. Les commented: “It is very rewarding to see the course come to life and witness the enthusiasm of the staff and students toward the new equipment. I wish all participating students and staff my best wishes for the future.” Professor Paul Martin, Depute Principal of the University, said: “Les has had a hugely successful career and is a great role model to all of our students. This new facility will provide our students with access to the latest mechatronics equipment.”

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The Careers and Employability Service (CES) is running a high profile poster campaign to raise awareness of the range of activities that successful graduates have engaged in while at UWS. The Higher Education Career Service Unit’s (HECSU) Futuretrack report, which tracks transitions into employment and further study highlights how both extra-curricular and work experience have become an increasingly important way for graduates to distinguish themselves within their graduating cohort. Through their stories the CES hopes that current students will feel encouraged to seek out similar opportunities for themselves. Every poster features a snapshot from each graduate, which can be read at If you would like to feature on a poster and share your story, please contact


Beyond the Classroom



Professor John Struthers

Pictured: Catherine Hunter (Barrhead Academy), Rachael Bishop (Loudoun Academy) and Kerry McMahon (Barrhead Academy) worked closely with members of IBEHR’s Centre for Musculoskeletal Science participating in experiments and conducting research which directly contributed to PhD research projects.

As part of the University of the West of Scotland’s Equality and Diversity Agenda we have committed to achieving Athena SWAN accreditation by 2014. Athena SWAN promotes opportunities for women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine (STEMM) and encourages career progression. It is being broadly adopted by the Higher Education sector across the UK. The University is embarking on a wide programme of initiatives to provide opportunities for employment and promotion for women in STEMM areas. To assist with career advancement UWS has introduced a specific Mentoring Programme targeted at women in these disciplines. Athena SWAN Champions will promote awareness of the Athena SWAN principles and charter and act as a conduit between staff and the UWS Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team — driving the agenda. Focus group sessions have already been run across four campuses to gather information from women in relevant subject areas to identify barriers to progression that they have encountered or believe may hinder their career development. It will also look to identify what additional support or interventions may be helpful to address any barriers. As part of on-going actions to support and encourage engagement and progression of young female scientists, UWS’s Institute of Biomedical & Environmental Health Research (IBEHR) accepted three school pupils from Barrhead High School and Loudoun Academy into its recently launched

Work Placement Scheme. Newly appointed lecturer Dr Anne Crilly explains: ‘’I believe that to encourage young people to follow careers in science, it is important that they have the opportunity to spend time in a research environment. This experience not only allows the individual to engage with working scientists, but gives an insight into what this particular career path has to offer.’’ The students collectively agreed that “the experience reinforced [their] plans to pursue a career in science with a view to working in research in the future” and that “the nature of the placement allowed us to expand our knowledge of science outside the classroom and allowed us to experience what we have learned about in school first-hand.” Reflecting on the Work Placement Scheme the Director of IBEHR John Lockhart said: “All three students performed well, presenting at research group meetings in the Centre for Musculoskeletal Science, actively engaging in on-going research projects and successfully completed all assignments and were each awarded the IBEHR Certificate of Distinction” To find out more about Athena SWAN visit:

University of the West of Scotland is delighted to announce the launch of the Graduate School, a newly created community for PhD, MRes and MPhil Research Students led by Professor John Struthers. The Graduate School is a virtual centre at the heart of UWS’s dynamic and rapidly growing research community and has been developed to support the University’s 450 research students from their first day at the University to graduation through a programme of events, research activities and training sessions in partnership with researchers, supervisors and Research Institutes to help produce well-rounded early career researchers. Professor Struthers said: “The creation of the Graduate School is a timely development for the University due to the large increase in the number of doctoral students in recent years. A key objective of the Graduate School will be to raise the profile of the doctoral student population within the University and externally. This will involve enhancing training opportunities for research students, encouraging engagement with doctoral students in other universities and working closely with organisations such as the Council for Graduate Education and Vitae”. The Innovation and Research Office will work closely with the Graduate School students and academic supervisory teams through this transitional period actively encouraging high-quality innovation, academic leadership and an enhanced student experience promoting the next generation of academics.

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Love, Laughs and


Ashley Lennon interviews Alumni Craig and Tracey Macdonald on their lives, loves and careers together.  Photography Tim Morozzo


raig and Tracey Macdonald are an incredible pair. Though, at first glance, they seem like a regular West of Scotland married couple, under the surface lies an incredible focus and determination, which they’ve used to work their way up from factory jobs to successful careers as a Chemist and Ecologist, all whilst raising three children. Childhood sweethearts who married young and had their first child at 21, it was returning to study as mature students at the University of Paisley (now UWS), that brought them the opportunities and success that they now enjoy. Craig and Tracey, now 37, met on their first day at secondary school in Erskine. “Craig was my best friend throughout high school,” says Tracey. “Towards the end of our time at school we got together, and more than 20 years later, here we still are.”

Though Tracey wanted to go to university after school, personal circumstances meant that she had to work instead and she took a job in the toll booth at the Erskine Bridge, near Glasgow, whilst Craig studied for an HNC Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Reid Kerr College, in Paisley, then for an HND Biomedical Sciences, at James Watt College in Greenock. By the time they were 21, they were married and had welcomed their eldest son Kyle, (now 16), into the world. They were also working twelve-hour shifts at Compaq in Erskine, assembling PCs, whilst juggling caring for Kyle. Craig says, “Tracey used to work a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday at Compaq and I used to work a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, so that we could take turns looking after Kyle. We also worked alternate Saturdays and overtime as money was tight, which meant that we only had two days a month to spend together as a family. Looking

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back it’s amazing that we got through that period intact.” At the age of four, Kyle was diagnosed with autism and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and caring for him inspired Craig to work with other children with additional needs. He joined Castlehead High School, Paisley as a Special Needs Tutor, and when Kyle’s two younger brothers — Craig, now 11, and Lewis, now 9 — were born, Tracey looked after the children full-time at home. Craig said, “I loved working with kids with additional support needs. After a spell at two Renfrewshire high schools in the Support for Learning Department, I decided to train as a teacher and applied to the University of Paisley.” His initial desire was to study Educational Psychology and, after he signed up for a Psychology degree, Tracey decided to join him. “When Craig told me that studying for


a degree could be flexible — not necessarily nine ‘til five Monday to Friday — I decided to find out more,” she says. “So I went along to an Open Day, and when I learned there was support for childcare available, I signed up straight away!” “I’d always wanted to go to university and suddenly here we were, both 29, with three young children, committing to four years of study. It sounds daunting, but with the childcare in place, we knew that we could make it work.” Tracey signed up for a Biology degree, whilst Craig added Biology to his Psychology studies and together they embarked on what they describe as the best four years of their life. Every morning the couple would cycle from Johnstone to Paisley, each with one of their younger sons on the child seat of their bikes. Their elder son, Kyle, was by this time attending a special needs school in Johnstone, and, after dropping their younger boys at nursery, Craig and Tracey went straight into lectures and labs. There, they embraced every opportunity for learning. “My time at university was without a doubt the best of my life,” says Tracey. “The facilities were terrific, we made friends for life and, as mature students, we were able to really relate to the lecturers, who treated us with tremendous respect.” Between third and fourth years they spent a week at a Marine Biology Centre in Millport, near Largs, as part of their course, and loved it. Tracey and Craig are both keen fishers and relished the opportunity to go trawling in a seaboat, to scour the shore and to examine their catch in marine labs. Whilst studying, Craig and Tracey volunteered at the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) Reserve at Lochwinnoch, in a bid to add more practical skills to their CV, and were also leaders with the Scouts and Beavers. In the summer between second and third year, they studied for the European Computer Driving Licence as well, via distance learning, in a bid to improve their employment prospects. “I don’t think I slept for four years!” Craig says, “but it was great fun and we made the most of every single opportunity.” In 2009, both graduated from UWS with BSc Honours Environmental Biology, Craig having rediscovered a passion for sciences whilst studying. But they were hungry for more learning, and keen to study for a postgraduate Diploma in Waste Management with Environmental Management. “The stumbling block was finance,” Tracey says. “Then we discovered that there were four funded places available on the course at that stage and decided to apply.” It’s a testament to Craig and Tracey’s focus and abilities that

they ended up securing two of the four funded places, meaning that their fees for the course were waived. After a year of further study, both gained a postgraduate Diploma in Waste Management with Environmental Management and started to look for work. Within weeks, Tracey had secured a sixmonth contract as a Laboratory Manager, where she gained valuable experience. Following this, she was hired by Augean Plc in Paisley as a Site Chemist. As the only Laboratory Chemist on site, Tracey’s role is to analyse the waste that arrives at the plant to determine which chemicals it contains and how it can be disposed of safely. “It’s such a diverse role,” she says, “we take in spillages from petrol forecourts, contaminated sea water from submarines, and all sorts of chemicals. It’s like being a detective sometimes; trying to work out what each new delivery contains and advising on the best way to dispose of it without harming the environment. I’m directly using the skills that I gained in my degree every day.” Meantime, after gaining a distinction in his postgraduate Diploma, Craig was hired by VG Energy in Galston, near Kilmarnock, which installs wind turbines and solar systems, initially as a Planning Consultant, then as an Ecologist. For someone with a lifelong interest in wildlife, the role is perfect. He explains, “As an Ecologist, I carry out studies to determine the impact to wildlife and animal life from placing wind turbines and solar systems.” “It’s such a varied role: one evening I can

be carrying out a bat survey and the next morning be up early to monitor breeding birds in wetlands. Fortunately, my degree was very diverse, so I’m equipped to deal with whatever the job throws at me. And it’s the perfect role for me really: I’ve been a keen bird watcher, since the age of eight, and finally I’m doing it for a living.” “It’s been a struggle at times,” Tracey says, “but it’s been worth it. Going back to UWS, as mature students, changed our lives, and opened up so many opportunities for ourselves and our family. When we think back to the early days, working shifts in a factory and barely seeing each other, we know we made the right decision to go to university.”

Going back to UWS, as mature students, changed our lives, and opened up so many opportunities for ourselves and our family.

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DRUG CULTURE AND DRUG POLICY IN SCOTLAND Senior Lecturer Dr Iain McPhee investigates the widening gap between drug policy and research evidence.  Words Dr Iain McPhee


ddressing the issue of why people use drugs would seem to be the central question on which drug policy in Scotland should be based. Like the question of motive in a criminal investigation, it ought to be the key which unlocks evidence allowing us to assess strategies to reduce the harm drugs can cause to individuals and communities. Instead, it appears to be one of the most superficially considered aspects of drug policy, directed by largely unquestioned assumptions. One widely held assumption is that drug use is a medical problem identified or diagnosed by harmful patterns of compulsive drug-seeking. The primary hallmark or symptom is a ‘loss of control’ over decisionmaking concerning the use of drugs. This creates an expectation that some drugs are inevitably pleasurable, while withdrawal and craving have overwhelmingly the opposite effect. This powerful discourse describing the

effects of craving, which, once established, leads inevitably to a loss of control, stigmatises drug users as the foolish prey of dealers, victims of biological destiny or deviant criminals. It is common to believe that drug taking is so risky, that anyone using them cannot be normal. It is believed that only certain plants and chemicals are ‘drugs’, while other substances are not. If drugs were the cause of addiction, then everyone exposed to them should inevitably develop problems. This does not happen. It is a politically embarrassing fact, and one commonly ignored by many anti-drug campaigners, that drug problems disproportionately affect deprived neighbourhoods more than the most affluent. Anti-drug campaigners often claim that poverty is caused by drugs, drug dealers, or drug crime, rather than inequality and an uneven distribution of wealth. The evidence is unequivocal, the more unequal a society

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in terms of income, education, and social mobility; the more drug problems are evident. My research has revealed that Scotland imprisons a larger percentage of drugs users for drug dealing than England, Wales or Northern Ireland. Historically, anti-alcohol crusaders or Temperance Groups campaigned government to ban alcohol, which they believed caused much of the poverty that characterised the living conditions of the poor. Both in Great Britain and in the USA, Temperance Groups believed that banning alcohol would reduce poverty. Their greatest achievement was alcohol prohibition in the USA from 1920 until 1933. After the repeal of prohibition, the same ‘demon rum’ alcohol myths were later used to demonise drugs and drugs users. This temperance thinking underpins our popular beliefs about the nature of drug problems, and in particular addiction.


Despite decades of research that demonstrates that the most common patterns of use are controlled and intermittent, the myth that drugs are always dangerous, and that addiction or death is inevitable persists. A great deal of alcohol and drugs research concentrates on problem users, recruiting easy to reach service users or ex-addicts, who are not typical of all drug users. It is from these non-typical groups that much of the addiction literature is based. My book ‘The Intentionally Unseen’, published in February 2013, reveals that drugs users are like anyone else, some good, and some bad, many of them responsible risk assessors, who use drugs relatively safely, hidden from view. Facts about drugs are muddled by conflicting political interests, ideological posturing and disinformation. As a result the public are confused and prejudiced. Drug users are most often described as weak, hedonistic, unreliable, depraved,

and dangerous. Decades of scientific evidence demonstrates this to be untrue and without foundation, and yet such beliefs underpin drug policy and treatment interventions in Scotland. After 25 years working with problem drug users, my research demonstrates that a life of crime and addiction is not inevitable after the use of illegal drugs. Drug problems show a clear and distinct socio-economic difference. As a result, drug prohibition which has a laudable aim of preventing drug problems disproportionately affects the poor. The evidence indicates that the greatest risk to drug users remains a drug conviction, not drug addiction. There is much public support for government policy which makes smoking in restaurants, planes and public transport offences punishable by law; yet we do not criminalise the smoker for being in possession of a cigarette. Drinkers are punished for the consequences of their acts, like drink driving and public disorder. Yet we do not make it a crime to be in possession of alcohol, or to transport a month’s supply of alcohol in a car to our homes. Yet, that is exactly the structure of drug prohibition, which does not penalise the harmful consequences of drug use, but the mere possession of the product. When we see the penalties for gun possession, revealing state secrets, or engaging in terrorism, we begin to see the category of criminal that we place drug users with in prison. Our drug policy diverts focus and attention away from inefficient social policies that label users as deviant ‘addict criminals’. We have created expensive drug enforcement agencies that seize large quantities of drugs and hugely inflate ‘street prices’ to appear successful, and yet fail to prevent drug problems or reduce drug related deaths. Recently police in Scotland warned people attending music festivals that they should avoid using any drug as some were implicated in drug deaths. All drug deaths are tragic, and yet many could easily be avoided with some credible information. Research demonstrates that advice on safe use saves lives. It is bizarre that we use drug deaths as a ‘warning’ of what will happen if people use drugs. Deaths from drugs are widely reported, and as a result people believe they occur regularly, they do not. More people die in the UK from crossing the road than from all illegal drugs combined. In my opinion as a Social Scientist, our society must understand why we are so hostile to some drugs and not others. I have in previous research, I have published,

taken a resolutely historical approach to this question, establishing that temperance propaganda, rather than scientific evidence drives Scotland’s draconian drug laws. This remains the focus of my continuing research.

Dr Iain McPhee

Dr Iain McPhee is a Senior Lecturer at UWS and teaches on the postgraduate MSc. programme in Alcohol and Drugs Studies (ADS). This programme began in 1979, and quickly became recognised for its excellence in research and teaching in the field of substance use and related problems. The ADS critical stance in teaching and research is designed to counter unfounded theory and specious argument and set the record straight explaining what is known about substance use and problems and separate this from speculation and opinion. The research interests of Dr McPhee focus on hidden drug use, the negative effects of drug policy and prevention and he has conducted numerous studies on the negative impact of drug prohibition. Iain is an expert witness in criminal cases, and publishes extensively on pedagogical issues related to blended learning and the use of technology in Higher Education. Iain and his ADS colleagues Ken Barrie and Dougie Marks are currently engaged in research investigating the relationship between poverty and drug problems in the UK for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. He has recently published two books, one on Scottish social policy after devolution with Dr. Murray Leith, and one on exploring hidden drug use in Scotland. ‘Scottish Devolution and Social Policy: Evidence from the first decade’, is available from Cambridge Scholars Press, and ‘The intentionally unseen: illicit and illegal drugs use in Scotland: exploring drug talk in the 21st Century’, is available from Lambert Academic Publishing.

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Image from left to right: Neil Devenny, Julie Griffin and Denis McIlroy

THE XX COMMONWEALTH GAMES With less than one year to go, three UWS Alumni hold pivotal roles delivering Glasgow 2014. Words Stacey Hunter | Photography Tim Morozzo


WS alumnus Denis McIlroy is responsible for the delivery of the business applications required to deliver a successful Games. General Manager of Business Technology Services, Denis is based at the Games Headquarters in Glasgow’s Merchant City, where he oversees the complex logistics of 21st century Scotland’s first sporting mega-event. “As an organisation we require almost fifty different business applications. Given that we have an absolute deadline for the Games we have to ensure these applications are delivered right first time, which is a massive challenge. Also, as we are growing at approximately ten people a week and staff will eventually number around 1,300, we need to ensure these applications are intuitive and easy to use.” Software engineering had always

interested Denis, who was born in Govan and raised in Crookston, a suburb of Glasgow. Aged just nine, he received one of the earliest home computers; the revolutionary ZX Spectrum 48K, which allowed him to learn about programming and computer coding at a young age. He went on to attend Lourdes Secondary in Cardonald, where he was amongst the first cohort to study the then newly established Higher Computing. He continued on to the University of Paisley (now UWS), where he gained his BSc Software Engineering in 1998. “My favourite course at the University was Artificial Neural Networks; designing computer programmes that use historic data to predict trends.” says Denis, “I really liked the hands-on programming we did.” Denis’ hands-on approach has served him well securing him positions at SAIC (Science

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Applications International Corporation), Strathclyde Police and the Scottish Police Services Authority where, along with fellow alumnus Neil Devenny, he helped to create a single, secure national IT infrastructure. Now, he says “We have to meet the expectations of what London 2012 delivered during the Olympics, take the learning from that and make what we do a bit better, there’s no wiggle room!”. With 15,000 volunteers arriving next year, Denis is quick to praise their commitment, which he describes as “extraordinary”. Using an online application system staff are taken through their interview, training and scheduling, “Right through to checking them in when they show up for a shift”, confirms Denis. A proud Glaswegian, Denis is most looking forward to “Seeing Glasgow in such a positive light worldwide.” He describes a vibrant social scene at Glasgow


2014 headquarters and enjoys cycling to work from the home he shares with his partner in Hamilton. “My partner has children, so I can’t see myself working on the XXI Commonwealth Games or the 2016 Olympics” (in Australia and Rio respectively). “So another job in Glasgow would suit me rather well after a very wellearned rest!”, he laughs. General Manager of City Operations, Neil Devenny, is striving to ensure the XX Commonwealth Games delivers an athlete centred and sport focused Games. As General Manager of City Operations, Neil facilitates the integration of the Organising Committee work-streams (Transport, Security, Venues and Environment and Sustainability) into the operational world of the Local Authority. A true ‘Paisley Buddy’, Neil was born and bred in Paisley, attending both Camphill and Gleniffer secondary schools. He secured a place at University of Paisley (now UWS) in 1991, to pursue a BA Business and Management. Neil went on to work with Barclays Stockbrokers acquiring professional qualifications in project management along the way. “I left to join the Scottish Police Services, where we realised the vision of having an amalgamated single IT infrastructure, accessible to all police officers and staff.” He says that the learning he gained at UWS informs his career to this day, with a particular emphasis on interrogating business concepts. “My lecturer Dr Galloway used the famous Kipling poem to encourage us to ask about the ‘What, the Why and the When?’ and the ‘How, the Where and the Who?’ It holds true, because in project management you are always looking to understand; it’s a systematic approach to planning and delivering.” With shooting events taking place in Carnoustie; diving events in Edinburgh and Strathclyde Country Park hosting the triathlon, Neil ensures that local authorities are fully aware of what they need to do to prepare for the smooth running of the Games. “If Usain Bolt gets a good night’s sleep in the Athletes’ Village and the transport system works seamlessly to get him to the stadium and he goes on to win a gold medal, then 1,000 of our people made that happen and did a terrific job. Ultimately, we all hope that our new venues are where athletes will break world records.” Neil credits the Games with having a positive effect on the hobbies he shares with his three sons who have attended events like the recent Junior World Championship Cycling, the Netball Championships and Gymnastics. His career aspirations post-Games are

focused on the public sector, developing what he has learned in terms of integration, building teams and team spirit. “I left banking because you work for the shareholders; when you work for the public sector, you get to give something back.” Coordinator for the Queen’s Baton Relay, Julie Griffin put’s her BA Events Management to great use at Glasgow 2014. UWS alumna Julie became a pre-Games volunteer in 2012, getting local people involved in Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games. Born in London, 25 year-old Julie has lived in Glasgow most of her life and attended Holy Cross High School in Hamilton, Lanarkshire. After two years backpacking around the world she began her UWS BA Events Management in 2011, and volunteered to work for the Glasgow 2014 Games. Julie recognised that income from tourism and events was a growing sector in the economy and, she says, “I wanted to study at UWS, because it was one of the few universities to offer Events Management in Scotland.” The course is a highly specialised business degree, which provides both the knowledge and practical tools to strategically plan and manage mega-events. “My event management modules can now actively be put into practice as a coordinator for the Queen’s Baton Relay”.The Baton, containing a message from Her Majesty The Queen begins its 190,000 kilometre journey around 71 nations and territories, and will be used at the Opening Ceremony, where the Queen will officially declare the Games open.” Julie describes learning from her colleagues, who have experience to share from previous Games all over the world. “It’s a very multi-cultural and diverse workplace, and I enjoy being able to learn from experts in their roles. It’s amazing to see how it all comes together from strategic planning and operational planning to going live.” What attracted her was the excitement generated by Glasgow winning the bid to host the Games in 2007. “I remember being at George Square when Glasgow won the bid and thinking — I want to be involved in this”. Julie describes her Glasgow 2014 workplace as a “social place with a great working culture.” There are regular masterclasses on at lunchtime providing opportunities to learn about the rules of the seventeen different sports that will be showcased at the Games. Like Denis, she also plays lawn bowling “We won one game and lost one last night”, she says “and there are also running clubs, and a rowing regatta.” The Games-related infrastructure being built articulates how the sporting legacy has

already begun in Glasgow. Julie refers to both the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome and the Emirates Arena, and describes a growing excitement about the lasting impact the Games will have. “The Games has a lifespan of course” she smiles, “I’d love to continue a career in sport and encourage a positive culture in Scotland and the UK. I love seeing the legacy of the Games starting to get integrated into Scottish life. My aspirations are to stay in sport and build on this great opportunity.” UWS is proud to have been a supporter of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games from an early stage, encouraging students and staff alike to take up the opportunity to volunteer for this once-in-a-lifetime event. With a year to go to the start of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, UWS has received a grant worth £167,977 from the Big Lottery Fund to support the University’s Digital Commonwealth Project. The Digital Commonwealth Project aims to encourage as many people as possible, including schools in every local authority in Scotland, being co-ordinated by UWS’s School of Creative and Cultural Industries to cover the key events of the Commonwealth Games using social media. Get involved at: Contact:

XX Commonwealth Games Mascot, Clyde the Thistle.

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Treading a SUCCESSFUL PATH Alumna Lesley Dalziel talks about her belief in hard work and the value of a University qualification.  Words Olga Wojtas | Photography Tim Morozzo


esley Dalziel, Group Finance Director at Axle Group Holdings Ltd, in Glasgow, makes a startling admission about her workplace: “They call me Mrs Thatcher.” It is difficult to imagine anyone less like the former Prime Minister. But she continues: “I make the rules, and they’re the rules, and that’s it. The reason we’re successful is because of our strict controls and procedures.” Axle Group of companies incorporates National Tyres and Autocare centres. With 250 outlets across the UK, 1,500 staff and a £200 million turnover, Axle is undoubtedly successful. And that is due in no small part to Lesley, who has worked there since 2004, in charge of

the Group’s finances. She is personally responsible for sixty staff and reports directly to Axle’s owners. Lesley greatly believes in mutual respect in the workplace, and has earned respect throughout the company for her hard work. “My role is very diverse. I deal with company strategy, but at 10 o’clock every working day, I have a meeting with the Cash and Banking Team to check the bank balance. That’s why retailers fail, because they’re not on top of cash flow.” Axle takes in around £500,000 a day, and Lesley remembers the first ‘Million Pound Monday’, now a regular occurrence. Hard work was bred into Lesley. She has lived in Elderslie in Renfrewshire for the past eleven years, but until then lived in Paisley. She was born into a working-

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class family: her father was a Civil Engineer in the local firm Eadie Brothers, and her mother was a School Meals Auxiliary. “When I was born, my dad won the Pools, sufficient to buy the family a bungalow in quite a salubrious area. “My parents had a very hard-working ethic. They struggled, despite where we lived. We were brought up with a work ethic, and respect for people in positions of authority. We totally appreciated the value of things, and you never bought anything until you had enough money to pay for it. When we got our pocket money, half went into savings stamps, and the other half we could spend.” At school, she claims she “didn’t raise her head above the parapet,” but she excelled at French and German, usually


getting 99 per cent. There was little or no careers advice, and she left school at 16 to work for the Scottish airline Loganair as an Office Junior. “I did all the things kids turn their nose up at now, sorted the mail, made the coffee, filled the vending machines, did the photocopying. Then they created a Junior Clerkess position for me, but when I moved on to purchase ledger accounting, I felt I didn’t fully understand what I was doing, so I went to night school at Reid Kerr College, in Paisley.” She completed an HNC Accounting and in 1991, went to work for the NHS as a Costing and Pricing Accountant. “It was a new Greater Glasgow project, and I was allocated Yorkhill, The Royal Hospital for Sick Children. I had to audit every Department and do a standard cost for every single activity they did. You can imagine how unpopular that was!” Yorkhill, the hospital for sick children, including those who are terminally ill, had a huge impact on her. “When you saw these wards, you’d think ‘And I’m feeling a wee bit sorry for myself today, why?’ It was a fantastic place, the hospital was always cheery, making an effort because of the children’s illnesses. The people working there were inspirational and gave me a different perspective on my working life.” Seeing her potential, the NHS sponsored her to become a Certified Accountant through the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, the public sector equivalent of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Her marriage sadly over, she combined a demanding two-year fast-track course with a full-time job and family life. She found a fresh challenge working for the then private Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank (which meant repaying the cost of her CIPFA training). She was rapidly promoted to acting Finance Director. She was so successful in the job that she was head-hunted by the global health insurance company, Cigna, becoming European Financial Manager and then Financial Controller. At Cigna, Lesley decided to study for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the then University of Paisley in 2002 (now UWS). “I recognised that being a qualified accountant wasn’t enough, given the strategic role I had in the company, and that I needed a well-recognised management qualification.” Her American bosses, who set great store by the qualification, offered to fund her. But she refused, remembering her NHS

experience, and wanting to leave herself free in her future career choice decisions. “I chose the University because of the flexibility of the course. It was online with weekend workshops, and that was a real pull. It was two and a half years with no breaks, which was good, because there was a momentum once you started the course.” She found the course reinforced her working practices, giving an academic rationale for doing things in particular ways. Never having gone through a degree course, she found academic report writing a steep learning curve, but enjoyed it and has found it invaluable in her current role. “It was a very diverse study group, with people from different career backgrounds — community nursing, the police, the electronics industry, the theatre. I really enjoyed the chat and the shared learning,” she says. While writing her dissertation, she left Cigna and took some time out to decide what to do next. A friend pointed out the job of Group Financial Services Director at Axle Group Holdings and told her she would be perfect. Just as she graduated from the University in 2005, she took up the Glasgow-based post. Two years later, she was promoted to Group Finance Director. “We invest heavily in staff and have very low turnover in a high-turnover industry. We’ve got four training centres around the country. We have around twenty apprenticeships a year, going through all the recognised qualifications in a three or four year scheme. They usually all stay with the company and go on to become Branch Managers. This year, we’ve just started a two-year Tyre Fitter Apprenticeship, with fifteen places,” she says. The company is looking to grow and open at least another fifty branches over the next few years. “Because we’re ownermanaged, any cash we make is ploughed straight back into the business.” Young staff also have the opportunity to undertake qualifications in management and accountancy. “People don’t appreciate how academic some of the things they actually do are, and this lets them see that. I’ve created a career path for them to follow, so if they want to, they can work hard and progress. People encouraged me, and I want to encourage the younger ones, because they think they can’t achieve, but they can,” says Lesley. “It’s about application and dedication. I would strongly say to everybody that anything’s possible, if you apply yourself and you want it enough. Some people think

they just deserve it, but you have to work for success. Hard work pays off in the end, in my opinion.” Lesley is unimpressed by the culture of ‘presenteeism,’ with employees coming in early and leaving work late at night. She is interested in quality of work, not quantity, she says. “I totally and utterly value my home life. My husband is very, very supportive. We’ve been together twenty years now, and he’s probably pushed me through my career more than I would have pushed myself.” For relaxation, she enjoys going on holiday to different destinations, and spending time with her three grandchildren. She also loves keeping fit at Zumba dance classes. This summer, there was another UWS family celebration when her daughter Kirsty, 23, graduated with a BA (Hons) Human Resource Management. Lesley says Kirsty was brought up with the expectation that she would go to university. “Once you have an academic qualification, you’ve always got it. To me as a prospective employer, it’s also about life experience and maturing as a person to have the best prospects for a successful future career.” Lesley is the perfect role model for her daughter for that!

I would strongly say to everybody that anything’s possible if you apply yourself and you want it enough.

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Global Citizens…‘THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME’ In early September, ten UWS civil and mechanical engineering students took part in a 10-day ‘trip of a lifetime’ visit to UWS partner institution Changchun Institute of Technology (CIT) in Jilin province, northeast China. Giving a glimpse into the Chinese education system, experience in some of the sector’s finest engineering facilities, and insight into Chinese life and culture, the trip was an experience the students say they ‘will never forget’ and one that will have a real impact on their future careers. Part of the University’s growing range of exchange opportunities to give students a global outlook to their studies, the CIT visit was part-funded under the Scottish Government’s Saltire Mobility programme. Third year mechanical engineering student Neil Charlton was one of the group and here’s an excerpt from his travelogue: “During the trip we hooked up with the CIT students we’d met in August at UWS when the CIT students spent 4 weeks at the University on an ‘English for Engineers’ summer school. It was good to catch up and share our experiences. Throughout, the hospitality of our CIT hosts was fantastic — from the enthusiastic welcome committee who collected us from the airport, to our guides and lecturers. Our itinerary featured a programme of engineering sessions and tours of the CIT facilities — including a huge machine shop, rapid prototyping lab, automation simulation rigs and an indoor football pitch for robots. The robots were programmed to chase a red-coloured football. Unfortunately, they also liked fellow student Greg’s red UWS tee-shirt, so the match was called off due to impending spectator injury!

The factory tour at one of China’s largest car manufacturing companies, First Automotive Works (FAW), started in the onsite museum and was followed with a tour of the vehicle assembly and test facilities. Changchun’s population is roughly 8 million, and it is the car manufacturing capital of China. This status was underlined by the fact that almost a third of the city’s area is devoted to FAW facilities alone! Construction site visits during the trip also kept our civil engineering classmates happy. On the cultural side, our hosts at CIT really pulled out the stops: calligraphy and art demonstrations; a sublime Chinese green tea tasting ceremony; martial arts demos; and a talent show were organised for us. The talent show did come with a certain cost attached though; we were expected to perform in return. I suspect after our group’s rendition of ‘Flower of Scotland’, our audience may have felt the cost a little too high! Our visit was rounded off with a stay in Beijing. Tours of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden Palace gave an amazing glimpse into this diverse and ancient culture. The Great Wall, though, was our highlight and I was able to tick-off one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Walking up the mountain to the Wall is considered a rite of passage for Chinese men; we took the cable-car. After a couple of hours taking in the scenery we descended, ready to head to another Beijing marvel — the 2008 Olympic Games venue; in particular, the ‘Bird’s Nest’ stadium. Our admiration for this engineering marvel was considerable. Our end-of-visit meal of traditional Peking Duck was excellent and eating with

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chopsticks had become a lot easier. But the trip was drawing to a close and everyone knew it. The first round of goodbyes started at the restaurant, with the hugs and “I’ll miss yous’” continuing in the hotel lobby. Our poor CIT host Sally had ten emotional students and one slightly more restrained lecturer to say goodbye to. We were very sad to leave her behind, and also very sad to say goodbye to China. It really had been the trip of a lifetime: the people had all been fantastic; the food, sights, sounds and even the traditional Chinese white wine, all experiences none of which we will ever forget.”

NEW PERSPECTIVES Nine UWS School of Education students and recent graduates visited Yad Vashem, the Centre for Holocaust Studies in Jerusalem, in June to participate in the annual international education workshop. A powerful programme included personal insights from Holocaust survivors and sessions designed specifically for primary teaching of Holocaust Studies. The UWS group agreed that the trip was ‘a life changing experience’ and that their pupils would benefit greatly from what they, as teachers, had learned at Yad Vashem. Over the coming session Yad Vashem colleagues will provide input to the UWS School of Education’s online MEd in Enhanced Educational Practice.


Meet the New PRINCIPAL Olga Wojtas interviews Professor Craig Mahoney.  Photography Tim Morozzo What are your priorities? My first priority is to understand the University. I’ve not come in with any assumptions. Engaging with all our stakeholders is fundamental to learning about the University and being part of a modern university sector. What ambitions do you have for UWS? Big ones! I’m keen that we raise the University’s profile in everything we do. I strongly believe that success is built on clear vision, support and empowerment, and growth. I’m keen to diversify our sources of income through partnerships, research, enterprise and consultancy, and internationalisation. What are you looking forward to most? I will have the luxury and privilege of being able to work with the Scottish Funding Council, Ministers for Higher Education, and other Principals of other universities. The door-opening potential of my position will let me help UWS achieve its objectives. When did you officially start? Thursday 1st August. But I had a few visits to the University after my appointment on 7th March.

What was your reaction when you were offered the post? It was very emotional. I was told I was the unanimous choice.

What were your first impressions? It’s a stunningly beautiful part of the country. But there are deprived areas in the West of Scotland, which have needs and opportunities for change. It’s been unbelievably rewarding meeting people, who without exception, have been incredibly positive, and extremely encouraging of taking the University forward, and full of fantastic ideas.

Tell us a bit about your background. I grew up on my grandmother’s farm in Tasmania, Australia. When I was 13, we moved to a town of 10,000 people — Ulverstone, on the north-west coast of Tasmania, where my parents owned a small grocery store. My parents both had to leave school at 11 for financial reasons, and were very keen for me and my elder brother to gain a good education. I studied Chemistry and Maths at the University of Tasmania, and became a teacher for three years. I then came to the UK to play professional squash. But after injuring my knee and having to have an operation, I did a Masters degree in Sports Science at the University of Birmingham. I was then offered a PhD place, which was incredibly flattering, and started my career in Higher Education.

What attracted you to apply for the post? A delightful match between the experiences I’ve had and what the University is trying to achieve. I’ve worked in the UK for over 26 years, mostly in teaching-led universities with a wider access mission, something I’ve been very focused on. I also saw the opportunity of UWS doing more of things I felt my experiences could help them achieve. It’s not just about widening access, but ensuring that students succeed and are able to get a good job.

What job did you have before this? I was appointed Chief Executive of the Higher Education Academy in 2010, having previously been Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Northumbria University.

How important are alumni in helping to shape the University’s strategy and achieve corporate objectives? Alumni are crucially important. I hope we can build a much closer relationship with our alumni, to get them to be spokespersons for the University. Alumni networks are enormously powerful in raising aspirations and making people aware of how Higher Education can change lives. But if any alumni become millionaires and want to support University activity, I won’t say no! What family do you have? I have a partner, Thelma, and four children — two at university and two in between! Ciara (20) is studying Journalism at Leeds Metropolitan University and Jordan (18) is studying Electronics at college. Kadin (6) is in Primary 2 and Ella (3) is at nursery. How do you relax? I don’t know whether I do! I love travelling. I love playing sport. I love music, particularly The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Joe Cocker, Bryan Adams and the Dixie Chicks. Also eating out and socialising — I’m quite gregarious.

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LIFE-CHANGING PROFILE Ben Parry, PhD Researcher, School of Creative and Cultural Industries Reclaiming Mumbai’s Slum History.  Words Olga Wojtas | Photography Tim Morozzo

UWS has been very supportive of the fieldwork and helped in building a strong network in Mumbai. The acclaimed Danny Boyle film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is set in the notorious Mumbai slum of Dharavi. Perhaps its most iconic image is the massive Dharavi pipeline, which supplies water to south Mumbai and has been home to hundreds of families for many years. The fate of these families led UWS PhD Researcher Ben Parry to question the ethics of his research and transform the project he was working on. Ben, aged 37, is already a noted Visual Artist and Curator, Co-Director of the visual and performing arts organisation Jump Ship Rat. Born near Liverpool, he came to Scotland to study Environmental Art at Glasgow School of Art, then followed this with a Masters in Urban Planning at University of Liverpool. He is a champion of public art, works of art which are not confined in galleries, but are in public places, often in the streets. While collaborating with artist Peter McCaughey, who is creative adviser to the Glasgow Housing Association, Ben spotted an advertisement for a funded PhD studentship in the University’s School of Creative and Cultural Industries. He was keen to investigate ‘informal urbanism’ — the way deprived areas develop through local people’s initiatives, which have nothing to do with official rules and regulations. His practice-based PhD, ‘Cultural Hijack: Rethinking Intervention’ investigates at the role of art intervention and art activism in social change.

“Halfway through my PhD, an opportunity arose to do a residency with URBZ, an urban research unit in India, which includes architects, anthropologists and designers, and conducts research into informal urbanism in Mumbai,” Ben says. “UWS has been very supportive of the fieldwork and helped in building a strong network in Mumbai. I’ve been lucky to have brilliant supervisors who have gone beyond what could be expected.” He found himself living in the Dharavi slum, where URBZ is based. But he adds: “Our notion of living in a slum can be very misleading. They are a conglomerate of old villages, neighbourhoods and transit camps. But most buildings are brick and concrete, with tiled floors and kitchens, and off the chaos of the main streets, everywhere is very clean.” “It’s a hyper-productive place, very dynamic and frenetic.” He spent four months there in 2012, another month this year, and is returning in November, just as he finishes writing his PhD. He went to look at how street vendors were creating public space in an area where this was not officially designated, but his focus changed radically while he was there. He found Dharavi had become a magnet for researchers from developed countries, but that their research was not being made available to the local community. Last year, around 2,000 people were evicted from their homes on the pipeline,

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the majority of them ragpickers, the lowest tier of society, who make a living by recycling rubbish. Many were members of the Acorn Foundation, a charity concerned with their welfare, which aims to win recognition for their work in protecting the environment. “This was one of the most marginal communities in Dharavi, which disappeared without trace, suddenly and brutally. It had no recorded history of its own, while at the same time becoming one of the most documented and researched sites on informal urbanism in the world today,” says Ben. Questioning his own role as a researcher, an outsider and a westerner, he launched a new project, ‘Dharavi: Reversing the Gaze’. Through this, six women aged between 16 and 50, who lived on the pipeline and work in recycling, are tracing the displacement and how this has affected their lives and ability to earn a living. Helped by Ben, Acorn Foundation, are creating a record of where homes and businesses used to be, and recording who used to live there. The women are also able to interview foreign researchers as a way of understanding the outside gaze and the intentions and methods of research. Ben hopes they will share their findings through, for example, story-telling and film. “It’s reclaiming history,” he says.


Where Are They Now? Ashley Lennon discovers how three Alumni have developed their careers, since graduation.

Michael Sunday

Mari-Claire Riley

Stuart Forsyth

MSc Waste and Clean Technologies with Distinction Class of 2013

MSc Waste Management with Environmental Management (Commendation) Class of 2010

HND Journalism Studies, Class of 1999

“I’m from Nigeria and after graduating from university there with a First Class (Hons) degree in Industrial Chemistry, I wanted to undertake a postgraduate course, in the UK, to give me further knowledge and skills in my area of specialisation. After searching the internet, the high standard of education in Scotland caught my attention and UWS was an easy choice for me, as my proposed programme — MSc in Waste and Clean Technologies — was fully accredited by the relevant professional bodies. I enrolled, and I am very happy to say that my student experience expectations on the course were exceeded! It was my first time leaving my home country, and from the moment I arrived in Scotland, I found it to be welcoming and friendly. The taxi driver, who took me from the airport to the university, was very friendly, and I knew then that I’d be okay in this country! I’d rate the quality of education in Scotland, and at UWS, very highly. Lectures were informative and interesting, and the external speakers really helped to bring the industry to the classroom. In my class, I had students from Poland, Spain and China, and I made some strong friendships, which I still treasure and I keep in touch with them. In the future, I’d like to study for a PhD and, based on my experiences at UWS, I have every reason to choose Scotland again”.

“Without my qualification, I wouldn’t have got my first job in the waste industry. It wasn’t just the course learning that was so valuable — once you qualify, students obtain automatic enrolment into the Chartered Institute of Waste Management, and it opens doors to some great contacts in the industry. Following my undergraduate degree, I chose the MSc as a stepping stone to get into climate change. It’s a growth area, and one that increasingly touches all aspects of our lives. I was lucky to get my first job with SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency), before I finished my Masters. Now I’m a Climate Change Officer with Falkirk Council, where my role is to help the council to be as sustainable as possible. That can involve anything from spearheading energy-saving campaigns for schools, to helping decide which council vehicles to purchase from an environmental perspective. I also advise on making council buildings more energy efficient. When I’m not working, my two young children keep me busy, but I don’t think I’m finished with studying yet. I’d like to move into lecturing in future, so who knows? I may well return to UWS to study for a PhD!”

“I wanted to be a journalist since I was 14, and chose a course that would teach me the nuts and bolts of how to be a reporter. On the HND I studied news writing, page design and interviewing techniques, as well as the dreaded shorthand — necessary, but the bane of every journalism student’s life! We also got the chance to sit professional exams run by the National Council for the Training of Journalists, which are highly valued in the industry. Not long after graduating, I got a Trainee Reporter’s job on a local newspaper, ‘The Cumbernauld News’, where I did court reporting, sports, news and interviews. From there, I moved to an evening paper and its sister titles in Essex, before returning to Scotland to work for ‘The Daily Record’ and ‘The Herald’. Then in 2004, I decided to move into PR, helping businesses and organisations to improve their media profile, and worked for a couple of Scotland’s biggest public relations agencies, before gaining an in-house role with the University of Glasgow in 2008, as Senior Communications Officer. PR isn’t all about spin. It’s a serious business; managing reputations and coming up with new ideas all the time. Currently, I liaise with media from all across the world, so I’m as likely to be talking to a TV station in Singapore as in Scotland!”

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Food FOR THOUGHT Assistant Brand Manager, Gillian McKnight, of Baxters Food Group talks about her exciting job and the importance of work placement as part of her University degree.  Words Stacey Hunter | Photography Tim Morozzo


illian McKnight credits her yearlong University work placement for giving her the crucial edge she needed to secure a top job in the competitive food brand management sector. As Assistant Brand Manager at Baxters Food Group, Gillian works for an international food company that is also a Scottish family business spanning four generations, and has been established since 1868. Gillian plays a critical part of a team, where she is involved in developing and implementing brand marketing activity, such as new product development (NPD), packaging design, PR, advertising and events, and she is delighted to be there saying, “It is a pleasure to work for such a well-established Scottish brand with a reputation for creating great-tasting products, including soups, preserves, condiments, chutneys, pickles and beetroot. I love the variety that my marketing job provides.” Gillian is involved in the development of Baxters soup and meal plans. She is also involved in the new product development process, which entails tasting recipes for

flavour and consistency, and selecting new products that will complement the existing portfolio. She works closely with the Category Management Team to identify key trends in the UK food market and helps build a supporting case for new products, to convince retailers to list Baxters products over competitors. “I work closely with our in-house Designer to develop new packaging designs, and marketing literature. It’s important to ensure that all packaging designs are in line with the brand and portray the right image for the product.” “It’s a proud moment seeing a new product on the shelf in store and a great feeling knowing that all your hard work has paid off.” Born in Glasgow, Gillian moved to Ayr, and has lived there since she was three. She attended Belmont Academy in Ayr and says: “I had always wanted to study marketing since getting a taste for it in Business Management in sixth year at school. I applied to the University of Paisley (now UWS), in 2005, for a place on the International Marketing degree programme.”

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Gillian describes how the University stood out to her immediately: “When I attended the Open Day, I got a great feeling about the campus; the lecturers were so knowledgeable and approachable.” The most interesting part of the course for Gillian was Integrated Marketing Communications module, due in part to, “The high quality of the lecturers and the case study materials that we were given with real life marketing examples to better understand the practical principles of marketing.” Between years two and three of Gillian’s course, she undertook a one-year work placement at Lactalis McLelland, a cheese manufacturing company. Gillian played a key role in the development of all four of the cheddar brands: Seriously Strong, Galloway, Orkney, and McLelland Mature, and provided daily support to the Brand Managers and the National Account Managers.


  My placement has been invaluable and definitely helped me to get a good job. The first thing interviewers ask is: “Do you have any relevant work experience?” 

“It was a very worthwhile experience, but a difficult decision to make at the time. Choosing a placement meant that my degree would take a year longer, and I would have to make new friends when I returned to study.” says Gillian. Despite knowing that a one-year placement and a summer placement would be worthwhile in the long run, Gillian admits she still had some reservations. “I was enjoying being a student, and I was worried about going into the big bad world. I had met a great group of friends at university and was reluctant to leave them behind.” Happily she has no regrets, and she graduated in 2010 with a BA (Hons) International Marketing with First Class Honours. She and her friends kept in touch and met up regularly throughout the placement year, while lecturers and staff in the Careers Service offered her advice and reassurance. “My placement has been invaluable and definitely helped me to get a good job. The first thing interviewers ask is: “Do you have any relevant work experience?’’ says Gillian. During her placement, Gillian was responsible for organising exhibitions and trade shows, co-ordinating in-store sampling campaigns, and website content management. “Other tasks I was involved in were market research and new product development, including the launch of Seriously Strong Spreadable cheese, analysing and evaluating marketing activities, and developing new packaging and promotional materials.” Gillian also feels she gained strong project management skills from her experience of planning and executing exhibitions and tradeshows that Lactalis McLelland participated in, such as The BBC Good Food Show and The Royal Highland Show. “I also developed excellent time management skills from co-ordinating in-store sampling campaigns for two new product launches nationwide in over 100 stores.” says Gillian. Her placement also enabled Gillian to experience working in a real-life marketing environment. Overall, she says, “It confirmed that the fast-paced and dynamic nature of marketing was for me. It also helped to improve my understanding of marketing and my grades improved, when I returned to university to complete my degree.” Highly successful Scottish food brand Baxters has over 1,000 staff, based in Fochabers, near Elgin, in north-east Scotland, and in their Glasgow Office. Gillian describes what attracted her to her current position with the company, based at the Glasgow office. “What particularly appealed to me was

Baxters’ heritage and established reputation for premium food. I got a good feel from the company website; it was obvious that they were passionate about what they do. I thought I would fit in well, and the opportunity to work with various business functions appealed to me. Learning about their growth development plans for the future was also exciting.” Now having been at Baxters for just over a year, Gillian says she really enjoys the variety involved in managing the branding of so many different products, which she describes as being, “...always new and never boring; you’re always learning and gaining more experience all the time.” Gillian’s career aspirations have also been influenced by her time at university; she sees her long-term plans involving the possibility of going into lecturing. However, she’s quick to maintain that some of the best lecturers she had were the ones that had indepth industry experience in their field. “I want to build up my own experience in my present marketing career, to ensure I would be an experienced lecturer, who can bring course material to life with real-life marketing examples.” Meanwhile, she sees her future work as being firmly ensconced within the Baxters brand. “I’ve got the opportunity to grow within a well-established company, and I’m very happy where I am.” When she’s not working, Gillian likes to relax in the evenings by cooking, reading or watching TV. At weekends, Gillian enjoys eating out, going to the cinema and walking the dog. “I love walking my Cairn Terrier Archie along the sand at Ayr Beach.” Her advice to other students is to get as much practical experience as possible saying, “It will really make you stand out from the crowd and help you to secure a graduate job. Don’t be scared of challenging yourself by getting involved in new experiences and opportunities.” And, Gillian notes that staying connected helps to keep you in the loop. “The UWS LinkedIn Alumni Group is a great way to build your professional network, which could prove invaluable in the future.” If you haven’t already, improve your future employability by joining the UWS Linkedin Alumni Group at: and keep connected to us on Facebook UWSAlumniNetwork

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Totally INTO MUSIC Stacey Hunter speaks to Jim Prime on his dual career as Lecturer on the University’s Commercial Music course, and keyboard player with Scottish rockers Deacon Blue.  Photography Tim Morozzo


im Prime, best known as the keyboard player in Scottish rock band Deacon Blue, is also a Lecturer on the highly acclaimed UWS Commercial Music course, now in its eleventh year. His wide-ranging musical career has brought incredible insights into his role as a Lecturer, and WEST travelled to Ayr Campus to meet up with Jim and find out more. Originally born in Kilmarnock, Jim was raised in the Glasgow suburb of Newton Mearns. He first showed promise as a musician, aged just seven, when he began playing the piano, though, in those days, he says, “My feet couldn’t even reach the pedals”. Jim describes growing up in a musical family, where his sisters played piano “much better than me!”, and his Canadian father was a jazz aficionado. “He loved Glen Miller and Benny Goodman.” His mother, a physiotherapist, was highly influential to Jim’s musical education; he played her Reader’s Digest box of classical music nonstop and developed an ability to listen to music and play it immediately by ear. “By the time I realised that I could play by ear, and had the curse of perfect pitch, I was hooked on keyboards. My mum used me as the entertainer, whenever anyone came round, which was highly embarrassing.”

Bill Ritchie was the Music Teacher at Jim’s high school, Glasgow Academy. “He played church organ at Glasgow Cathedral. He really pushed me into forming a band, rehearsing and also getting involved in all the school shows and plays.” After high school, a stint working at the Cumbernauld Unemployed Youth Theatre Association proved pivotal for Jim. Alongside the theatre’s Musical Director John Baraldi, the association formed the On Yer Bike Theatre Company, leading to the successful revue B’roo-ing. “John Baraldi, is the second most influential person in my life. Nearly all of those kids went on to college and got their degrees, and it’s one of the things I’ve done that I’m most proud of.” Jim went on to attend Paisley College of Technology (now UWS) to study Politics and Social Sciences, however he left to tour with legendary British songwriter and guitarist John Martyn. “I was in a band and the guitar player, Alan Thomson, switched to bass in order to get the John Martyn gig. Alan tried to convince me to ditch college and join him. I was terrified, but followed blindly not realising that when John offered me a world tour and an album he was extremely drunk. It all turned out well in the end, though I couldn’t have joined his band full time; it was

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too stressful, he was a handful and I was only twenty.” Next up was a coast-to-coast tour of the US with Scottish band Altered Images. The opportunity was brought about by serendipity says Jim. “I was in the right place at the right time, working in a well-known pub The Granary, in Shawlands, in Glasgow when Rab Andrews, the owner of the local studio Park Lane (who co-managed bands like Texas, Gun and Hipsway) put me forward for the job.” Andrews knew that Ricky Ross was desperately seeking a keyboard player for a rapidly disintegrating unsigned band named Deacon Blue. “All that remained was a very young Dougie Vipond (aged seventeen) and Ricky, plus a few guest players. I joined and we had only played about six gigs, when we were offered a deal with CBS/Columbia, which went on to become Sony Music.” Jim describes how the band were signed up to their first record deal in 1985, underneath the historic Finnieston Crane on the river Clyde in Glasgow, and drove away in a Cadillac to record ‘Raintown’ at George Martin’s AIR studios, in London. Jim describes the moment that, whilst playing a classic Bösendorfer piano and looking out at the Christmas bustle, “Through the headphones


a voice said: ‘That’s the piano that Stevie Wonder wrote ‘Superstition’ on.” Despite the magical experiences the band were nearly dropped by their record label “We didn’t have a successful single”, shrugs Jim. Conscious of the need for a hit, the band played a gig in Glasgow University’s Queen Margaret Students’ Union, with a band called Lone Justice, featuring Maria McKee. “She was extraordinary and inspiring; Ricky and I both stood rapt in that audience and went home that night to write ‘Real Gone Kid’ and ‘Love’s Great Fears’ respectively.” Deacon Blue were selling out venues everywhere, but a hit was still elusive, until suddenly the news came through that the band were finally in the Top Ten Singles Chart. Deacon Blue were held off the number one slot for three weeks sitting at number two, with ‘I’ll Never Fall in Love Again’. They later knocked Madonna’s ‘Like a Prayer’ off the number one spot with their second album, ‘When The World Knows Your Name’, in 1989. Nowadays, Jim finds balancing working in the music industry with teaching at UWS straightforward, and clearly feels an affinity with his students saying, “I see my musical career as real-life practice research to help me teach. And I truly know what my

students feel like because music is simply in their blood.” The course came about when a project championed by Benny Gallagher, one half of the legendary Scottish duo Gallagher & Lyle, was picked up by the University of Paisley (now UWS). UWS colleague “Allan Dumbreck, was approached to write ideas for the project, and I assisted him over the summer of 2001. The University’s Media Department was formed, and they offered me a full-time job. The staff were so friendly in Ayr, and I loved the atmosphere.” UWS is one of only two academic institutions (the other being the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts) affiliated with the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Artists, who present the Ivor Novello Awards, in the UK. Jim describes how his students are “immersed in the industry from day one”, and are taught by a team of music industry professionals. Jim has taken his own considerable experience of the industry and applied it to new research aimed at exploring the effects on mental health that the stresses and strains of musicianship can put you under. “I believe we should look at coping strategies for managing the stress of touring and performing.” Interested in the gap in provision for mental health support for musicians, Jim is developing a paper that focuses on competency-based training to educate young musicians to cope with this. Deacon Blue released their current album ‘The Hipsters’ in 2012, to much critical acclaim, and the band performed at this year’s T in the Park, Scotland’s biggest open air music festival at Balerno, in Fife. “For someone my age to hear 50,000 people singing along to your songs is just incredible, and to have my son Oscar watching from the side of the stage as the whole park surrounded us was just the icing on the cake.” “At the festival, I was taken with the amount of our ex-students working in the industry, including Lori Duncan, our first-ever graduate and now a Senior Researcher for the BBC’s, ‘Later with Jools Holland’.” And, he says, UWS is very keen to reconnect with all of its former students, “The message is: get in touch with me, if I can’t find you because your contact details are out of date, I can’t connect you to industry insiders who want to give you work!” Update your contact details at Jim’s son Lawrie (26) lives in London and writes songs for bands like One Direction, while his sister Madison (24) is working in Thailand. Jim calls Oscar, his 13 year-old son, “My dearest friend. We go on holidays

together and we love the TV programme, ‘Horrible Histories.’” To relax he enjoys growing his own vegetables and enjoys gardening, “It’s the new rock ‘n roll” he jokes. “I have always been totally committed to music. I really enjoy the band, but I’m equally dedicated to using my experience to educate Scotland’s up and coming talent to establish their own successful careers in the music industry.”

I really enjoy the band, but I’m equally dedicated to using my experience to educate Scotland’s up and coming talent...

Deacon Blue’s ‘The Hipsters’ Tour culminates in a special Christmas gig at the SSE Hydro, Glasgow’s newest arena. For a chance to win tickets, answer the following question: Which artist held Deacon Blue off the number one spot in 1990? Their single ‘I’ll Never Fall in Love Again’ stayed at number two for three weeks. The winner will receive 4 tickets to the gig, which takes place on 20th December 2013, bringing the curtain down on Deacon Blue’s 25th anniversary tour celebrations. Two runners-up will receive a signed copy of ‘The Hipsters’ limited edition 180g Yellow Vinyl LP, which includes an exclusive download card with bonus tracks and mixes. To enter the Deacon Blue competition, see details on the Contact Detail Sheet provided with this magazine. Closing date 5pm Monday 9th December 2013.

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On the


Ashley Lennon speaks to Community Mental Health Nurse, Gillian Coupland, about her studies, career, and what it’s like to be chosen for ‘The Fast Track’.  Words Ashley Lennon | Photography Helen Cassidy Gillian Coupland has always been interested in what makes people tick. Even as a new mother, on maternity leave with her son Jack (now 17), she spent her evenings studying for a distance learning Diploma in Child Psychology. However, it was the prospect of redundancy after nineteen years working with the Post Office that inspired Gill to return to study in 2007. Six years on, not only has Gillian graduated from the University’s Dumfries Campus with a Distinction in BSc Mental Health Nursing, and class prizes for being an outstanding student, she has also been selected for a fast-track NHS programme designed to train leaders of the future. Now back studying for a Masters at UWS, Gillian, juggles her demanding course with her full-time job as a Community Mental Health Nurse, supporting older people across the Dumfries area. And Gillian credits her undergraduate degree with providing not just the theoretical background that she needs to do her job, but many of the practical skills

too. Indeed, Gillian’s first two jobs came directly as a result of the placements she undertook whilst a UWS student. Gillian says, “The degree course was a 50:50 split between classroom learning and community placements, which gave me loads of experience. Training to become a Mental Health Nurse can be daunting, and the first time I visited a nursing home it was a real eye-opener. But because I did placements at University, as well as nursing shifts, by the time it came to my first real job I was very familiar with it.” After graduating, Gillian’s first job was at Crichton Hospital, Dumfries, in a busy, Acute Mental Health Ward. This was followed by a job in Nithview Day Hospital, caring for older people with mental health issues, where she stayed till the hospital closed in 2011. Now Gillian works as a Community Mental Health Nurse, in the Older Adults Team. “Mental health can be misunderstood and there are a lot of myths around it,” she says, “but many people simply need some support. I find initial assessments really interesting and I

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enjoy building up trust with people over a period of time. To see people getting better and being able to move on with their lives is so rewarding.” Recently, Gillian has been seconded to a Band Six role, where she will take on more supervisory responsibilities and facilitate initial assessments for people coming into the service. She says that it’s all happened quicker than she could have imagined. “When I graduated,” she says, “I thought I’d start in a ward and then work up to being a Band Six Nurse in the community, but within just a couple years, to my great surprise, I’ve already achieved that!” Having graduated with Distinction and the final year class prizes for Outstanding Achievement in both Practice and Theory, Gillian had shown plenty of flair whilst at UWS. So when lecturer Lisa McNay urged Gillian to apply for the Early Years Clinical Fellowship, run by NHS Education Scotland, she decided to give it a shot. This programme, open to all Nurses and Midwives in the first three years of their career, is focused on identifying and developing NHS leaders of the future. As well as a range of masterclasses and development opportunities, the programme also funds Masters courses for successful applicants. And, after two days of gruelling psychometric tests, exams and formal interviews, Gillian was delighted to beat hundreds of applicants to gain one of only twenty places in Scotland. Now, as part of the programme, she’s back studying with UWS doing a Masters in Dementia Care. Who knows what the future will hold for Gillian? If her track record’s anything to go by it’ll be a bright one.


FACE TIME Smartphones are so smart they’ve taken over the world. Who’s really in charge — you or your phone?  Words Gary Marshall It turns out that faces don’t just exist in carefully composed selfies. They’re real, threedimensional things on the front of people’s heads that you can talk to when you’re not reading something on your smartphone. I’m no Luddite — if you want my iPhone you’ll, er, probably find it quite easy to grab from my RSI-weakened hands — but I think, that in addition to their many joys, mobile devices have also made some things worse. If you’ve ever had your view of a gig blocked by an iPad you’ll know exactly what I mean. If the only negatives were the odd idiot blocking your view then it wouldn’t be so bad, but unfortunately there’s more to it. Smartphones have made us more selfish, more ignorant and considerably — stop checking Twitter I’m still talking — more distracted. We’ve all seen the couples who walk into the pub, pull out their phones and spend the next hour ignoring one another. We’ve all been bumped into on Sauchiehall Street by people who aren’t watching where they’re going because they’re studying their Samsung. We’ve all been annoyed during a night out by someone checking us in to Facebook or worse, uploading an unflattering photo. And we’ve all considered sellotaping an iPhone to the centre of our faces so that people will pay more attention to us at parties. Oh. Apparently that last one’s just me. What worries me is that sometimes, it seems that we’re so involved with our

screens that we see real people as poor relations. I was at an event recently, an intimate songwriting masterclass, and on three separate occasions ringing phones ruined magical moments — because of course, all phone calls are the most important thing ever and if the call goes to voicemail everybody you know will die. You see it in shops too, people completely blanking shop assistants at the checkout because — OMG she said and I know and he said and I know! I know! It’s horrible, insulting and demeaning, and the only time it’s acceptable is when the person is a bomb disposal expert and the caller is trying to save New York from catastrophe. You see it on buses, everybody studying their screens because the alternative is — OMG a stranger totally asked me if the next stop is the right one, how can I ever show my face in public again? And you see it in cars, because if there’s one time to check Twitter, it’s when you’re driving a two-ton killing machine at seventy miles per hour. Our devices have created a paradox: they’ve made the world smaller than ever before, enabling us to communicate as easily with people in Frankfurt or Fukuoka as with people in Falkirk. But they’ve also increased the distance between us, making it easier to ignore, demean or even hurt the people we’re close to. I worry that we’ve entered into a

dysfunctional relationship. We built these things to communicate better, to make the world more fun, but increasingly it seems that they’re the masters of us: if aliens were to invade tomorrow, they’d probably conclude that these shiny rectangles were the dominant life form and that humans were their oddly-shaped and rather dim transporters. Why else would we ignore our fellow beings, but respond instantly to the slightest buzz, click or chirp of our mobiles? We built these things as tools, devices to bring us together, but all too often we use them to keep our distance from everybody else. I think we’re in danger of forgetting something important, and that something is us.

Freelance technology journalist Gary Marshall is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Scotland, and MacFormat. He’s been writing about technology since 1998.

UWS Alumni Magazine  /  FEATURE ARTICLE / 23







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Profile for University of the West of Scotland

West Magazine Autumn 2013  

West is the alumni magazine for University of the West of Scotland.

West Magazine Autumn 2013  

West is the alumni magazine for University of the West of Scotland.