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Cardiff Met

Alumni Magazine Issue 5 | 2013

Inside  Wales captain and alumnus Ryan Jones talks to us about his testimonial year  How to turn your dissertation into a new business

 Grizzly Gruffalo spotted on Cyncoed Campus  WANTED International Alumni Ambassadors

 The one billionth passenger  The relationship between Ceramics and Sculpture

 PDR and Tenovus working together on breast cancer prostheses

Welcome to the 2013 edition of the Alumni Magazine We are delighted to share our new style Alumni Magazine for 2013. Throughout the magazine we have featured stories from across the five schools and beyond. We were very fortunate to get a chance to speak to Wales’ most capped captain about his time at Cardiff Met plus we learned a little more behind the man wearing the red shirt. We speak to two other inspiring alumni, one who has been exploring the Arctic, the other setting up a business in keyhole surgery. We encounter the Gruffalo in Cyncoed woods with a class of primary school children. Product Development and Research (PDR) explain to us about their involvement in developing improved breast cancer prostheses plus much, much more…

Credits Written and edited by the Alumni Team with thanks to Cardiff Met Communications and Marketing, Effective Communication and those mentioned throughout. Design by Jaime Fitzgerald, Cardiff Met Creative Services.

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For the Welsh version of this magazine go to:

Competition Time Win tickets to see the Stereophonics and a night’s stay at Radisson Blu hotel.


ur friends Motorpoint Arena and Radisson Blu have pulled a corker of a prize out of the bag. Our alumni have the chance to win two pairs of tickets to see the incredible Stereophonics with a night’s stay at Radisson Blu Hotel so you can carry the party on after the show!

How to Enter nisurvey and fill in the survey. (Your details are treated with the strictest confidentiality under the Data Protection Act.) We are finding more and more that students and recent graduates like to know about the career destinations of those who graduated before them. After all, your success is a great indicator of their potential success! The closing date is Friday the 30th August 2013.

partnership with students; the development and embedding of technology-enhanced learning, social learning and assessment; and research-informed teaching. Our objective is to develop creative, resilient, and sought-after graduates with aptitudes, skills and experiences that will help them with their chosen profession or pathway. We want our students to have developed a selfsustaining mindset so that they are able to adapt to a fast-changing world.


elcome to our new look Alumni Magazine. Since the last edition in July 2012 the University has had to face the potential threat of merger between three institutions in South Wales making a proposed ‘super university’. I am pleased now to report that on the 6th November 2012 the Welsh Education Minister announced that he had taken the decision to cancel his consultation on the proposed dissolution, meaning that we were now clear to focus on the future, delivering the Welsh Government’s agenda for Higher Education in a reinvigorated spirit of collaboration as well as continuing our work in national and international areas in which which we excel.

Over the past year there have been many developments and many achievements and now, in the knowledge that the future is secure, Cardiff Met will continue to thrive as an autonomous institution. We must stress, however, that whilst maintaining its autonomy, this University is committed to playing an integral role in Higher Education in Wales. More than that, Cardiff Metropolitan is committed to continuing its key role in society. In 2012 we produced our 2012-2017 Corporate Strategic Plan, which is the cornerstone of our future development. The summary of the Strategic Plan is to continue in the University’s approach to Learning, Teaching & Assessment being underpinned by: High quality academic standards; working in

Work on the new, purpose–built facility for Cardiff School of Art and Design is underway on Llandaff Campus. The new £14m building will promote cross-disciplinary dialogue and exploration through more extensive engagement with idea and techniques. We will be welcoming the first students to this new building in early 2014 and it will play a major role in the University’s 150th anniversary celebrations in 2014-15. I hope many of you in our Alumni Network as lifelong partners of the institution will help us to celebrate such a momentous occasion.

Professor A J Chapman Vice-Chancellor

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Alumnus Ryan Jones and his Testimonial Year

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2013 has been a rollercoaster of a year for Ryan Jones. A part of the Championship-winning six nation’s squad, Ryan is also celebrating his testimonial year. In spite of a hectic schedule, we managed to meet with Ryan (and his two lovely children) in Mumbles. How does it feel to know you’ll be remembered as one of the rugby legends such as JpR, JJ Williams or Gareth Edwards? “Rugby is very much the norm for me: it is my job. When I go out of the door my children say ‘Daddy’s going to rugby’ so in that respect it’s not so strange as it is such a big part of my life. It’s all-consuming, so when you are playing/training you don’t really have time to think about being remembered as a top class rugby player. You are just doing your job and you keep looking forward. Having said that, as I’m now coming to the end of my career, it is nice to be able to reflect on what I have achieved, and celebrate those good times with family and friends. When I was young it wasn’t just my dream to play for Wales, it was my Father’s dream and Father’s Father too and it seems like a lifetime away since playing on the fields in UWIC, but all the same it is an achievable dream you just have to work hard and have the determination to do it!”

How have you dealt with any setbacks in your career, such as injury? “Injury is very much part and parcel of rugby and that is the same for most sports. There is a process to getting ‘match fit’ again that you go through. It is extremely difficult sitting on the side-lines recovering when all you really want to do is get on the pitch and play. In 2007 I missed the Rugby World Cup due to a shoulder injury and that was hard but it’s about your attitude towards it: You can mope about all day complaining, but it isn’t going to sort your injury out any quicker. Injury and age are the worst things about sport but they are both things which are inevitable and there is nothing you can really do about them.”

What do you see yourself doing after your rugby career? “I would really like to give something back to rugby. The sport and my club have been really good to me so I feel it is something that I would like to do. I don’t think I’d go into coaching as I have a young family and to be a coach you need to give up a lot of time. As for potentially doing any commentary I’d like to be more of a Gary Lineker type, in a studio rather than commentating here, there and everywhere. Essentially, rugby is extremely anti-social and I don’t want to be too far away from my family now. Deciding what to do after a rugby career is very difficult for us rugby players. It is one of my greatest fears to wake up and realise I have nothing to do. As a rugby player you are looked after, told where to be, what to do and what to wear. You just turn up at the airport with your passport, as everything else is done for you. So when you retire it is a shock to the system and as strange as that will be I’m looking forward to seeing where I go when the time comes.”

What are your fondest memories of your time at uWiC? “Meeting my wife at UWIC is one of my fondest moments, but the whole experience at UWIC was brilliant for me. Like most people at that time going to University, it was my first time away from home. Most of my best friends that I made in Uni’ are still my best friends now. Ten years on when we meet up we tell the same stories and they keep getting funnier. I am also extremely grateful to the University for helping me with my passage into rugby.”

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lots of rugby players are moving to France to play. Have you ever thought of moving to France? “I would never say never, but my roots are in Wales; my wife has a career here and the rest of my family are here. I wouldn’t ever want to move to a city, that’s not what I want. A lot of the players are going to France. Some enjoy it, some not so much, and they come back. I guess it depends on what you want in life. I would never criticise anyone for moving for a better deal. Everyone has to make a living and take their opportunities, but for me I’m happy here.”

What would you say the greatest moments in your rugby career have been? I have so many, but obviously captaining Wales is at the top! The Wales v New Zealand Haka Stand-off is pretty high up there. Gatland was talking to us the night before and spoke about the Haka and how New Zealand wait for you to turn around so we decided that this time we’d hold our ground. It was a special moment and the crowd got right behind us. In a way we are entertainers (as most sports people are) and I think we definitely added to the theatre of the occasion that day.”

Did you ever think you would be celebrating your testimonial year? “No, never! I don’t think anyone thinks they will ever be celebrating their testimonial year. It is a real honour to be gifted this. As I mentioned, rugby and my club, the Ospreys, have been good to me and to be recognised for my services and loyalty to rugby is a real privilege. It’s also been an opportunity for me to show myself through the testimonial events not just as the rugby player, but as Ryan Jones. Although I still sometimes think I’m 25, I’m not anymore and to have this year to celebrate my career to date is fantastic and I’d like to thank everyone involved.”

questions for the number eight  Favourite film? Forrest Gump  Best piece of advice somebody has ever given you? The true measure of a man is with how he deals with adversity not success. Or my father always used to say ‘ no matter how bad things are today the sun will still come out tomorrow’.  Favourite take-away meal? Fish and chips in the car looking at the sea or a Curry at home.  in a dream world, if you weren’t a rugby player what would you like to be? Either the President of the USA or a rock star. Sometimes I think these can be the same thing.  Who was your favourite tutor(s) Dave Cobner and Richard Tong.  Apart from your car or house what is the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought? My Rolex watch, I bought it when we won the Grand Slam in 2008 as a reminder of that time.  Who were your role models growing up? Mum & Dad but also family.  What is your musical guilty pleasure? Disney songs with the kids but I do also love a musical!

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The one billionth passenger: A cause for concern or celebration? Since graduating in 2008 Christy Hehir has gone on to become an award-winning researcher and has just published her first book, Arctic Reflections. The Alumni team catch up with her to see just how she’s managed to step foot on every continent and swim in both polar regions!


012 saw for the very first time, the one billionth international passenger – and while this is a cause for celebration and success in the travel sector, should it also not come with a warning? We face a dilemma. How can we align a desire to visit other cultures and far away shores alongside a conscience that calls for the reduction in our everyday carbon emissions? Tourism for many people has become a race to tick

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off trophy experiences and destinations. We collect the passport stamps and the digital photos, and then move on to the next 'unmissable' sight. Am I one of these people? Yes! At 26 I have already stepped foot on all seven continents and swum in both polar region - yet it is exactly these experiences that has opened my eyes to the pace of tourism development. Imagine you are writing a postcard back home from your holiday in Svalbard in 2020. The Arctic has become a cruise ship capital, with luxury hotels and airstrips for daily flights. There is a nature park to ensure the sightings of polar bears and walrus which can be now viewed from inside the world’s most northerly Starbucks. Now imagine your postcard if there has been a quota for the number of tourists that can visit in any one season.

Quests to find a polar bear are rare but the magic of your first sighting will stay with you for a lifetime. Now compare the two postcards and think how influential we, the tourists who demand travel, can be! It’s these thoughts, along with my UWIC lecturers - the late John Dodson shark studies that sparked my passion for wilderness tourism research. During my final year at UWIC I became the UK’s student representative of International Polar Years 2007-2008 and after a journey of a lifetime to the Antarctic Peninsula, I graduated with a dissertation entitled “Young Tourists as Antarctic Ambassadors.” This subsequently led to my MSc study at Bournemouth University, “The future of Antarctica. Is tourism an ally or an enemy?” In 2010 my research then took a northerly turn and I contributed to the British Council’s ‘Action for the Arctic’ Seminar Report.

Christy Hehir studied BA (Hons) Tourism Management, 2007

Christy currently works for VisitBritain as their Research and Evaluation Specialist. To order your copy of Arctic Reflections or for more information, please contact Christy directly at: Follow Christy on twitter @christyhehir

Photographed by Luka Tomac

Myself and new friend Luka Tomac (Croatia) joined forces to create a moving and insightful book capturing the experiences of our Arctic journey. Through personal testimonies collected as part of my research into how travel can act as a stimulus to influence lasting environmental behaviour, and photographs taken by Luka of the sights witnessed, this book goes beyond simple impressions and acts as a poignant reminder that our planet is at great environmental risk.

Importantly, the book is filled with personal testimonies written by participants who share their work e.g. in electric cars, climate law, earth satellite observations… and encourages the reader to join their projects or start their own… the ‘we can do it, so can you approach’. At the book’s European launch in Brussels, the Norwegian Ambassador Niels Engelschiøn gave the opening speech. His Excellency said, “This is a beautiful event. The Norwegian embassy is delighted to support such a project which engages youth in taking action towards the Arctic. Thank you, Christy and

Photographed by Luka Tomac

Luka.” Now launched, the book will be distributed to European Members of Parliament and there are plans for exhibitions in Zagreb, London and Olso. I am optimistic that the future of tourism can overcome its hedonistic tradition and become both sustainable and responsible. With a focus on preserving identities and cultures, celebrating the unique, and conserving what is locally distinctive, destinations can create meaningful and lasting relationships with their visitors,and in turn the visitors will begin to have a more personal, meaningful relationship with the places they visit. Cardiff Met Alumni 2013 | 9

It’s never too late to return to education Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Widening Access Team aims to ensure that people of any age, background or ethnic group are given a fair and equal opportunity to study here in a supported manner. We are committed to ensuring that everyone with the determination, skills and desire to access Higher Education should be able to do so. Julian Hall tells us how Widening Access helped him achieve his goals.

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y name is Julian Hall, and I am 38 and a fulltime-student. I am also disabled from birth, and use a wheelchair full-time. Between the age of five and 12 I was in Special Education. From that point I entered mainstream education, leaving school in 1989 with one A level in Computer Studies. At the time I felt disinclined to return to school again, and not knowing that I had options other than a degree, I opted to look for work. In retrospect I do feel this was a mistake, but had I been properly advised in school I would have known of the OND/HND options available to me. So during my first employment I studied for a part-time HNC

in Business & Finance at CIHE (Cardiff Met’s former incarnation). During this time, due to my A level, I found I was being sought when the computers broke down, and this rekindled my interest in IT. My second job therefore was in IT Support, an area I initially found much more to my liking. However, after almost seven years I left due to stress, at which point I had choices to make. Do I work for myself, someone else, or improve my qualifications?

I opted for Cardiff Met as having studied their previously I was familiar with the place and aware of the friendliness and professionalism of the staff, and the course content was of interest to me. I also made use of the Student Services department specifically due to my disability, and also bereavement, having lost my father previously. I graduated with a First Class BSc (Hons) in Software Development. The benefits of Higher Education are, to me at least, fairly obvious. Firstly, you gain a recognised qualification which employers will look favourably on. Less tangible is the networking that occurs both with other students and with teaching staff. In closing, I would say to any potential adult learner - do it! You may initially find the balance awkward but the support and teaching staff all have the goal of helping you achieve your aims. They are not here to teach you and then test you to find out what you don’t know; they are here to aid your learning in order to prove what you do know.

For more information on Widening Access go to: Cardiff Met Alumni 2013 | 11

WANTED: International Alumni Ambassadors Canada (62 Ambassadors)

Pakistan (417 Ambassadors)

Europe (2146 Ambassadors) America (109 Ambassadors)


 Amount of International

Alumni Ambassadors in the region South America (109 Ambassadors)

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If you want to find out more about Cardiff Met Alumni in your area or about becoming an ambassador: web: InternationalAlumni e-mail:

China (302 Ambassadors)

India (1916 Ambassadors)

Austrailia (42 Ambassadors)

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My encounter with the ghastly Gruffalo! it’s a pretty grey day in April and i have my wellies, waterproof coat and hat on, i’m going out to meet Chantelle Haughton, lecturer in the School of Education; lee Thomas, alumnus and head teacher and the children from Meadowlane primary School but little do i know what awaits me…

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Photographed by Tin Lee


t was in our 2010 edition of the alumni magazine that we featured an article on Forest Schools, a Scandinavian approach to learning that emphasises child-centred and child-led discovery in an outdoor setting. Today is a perfect opportunity to see how the project has developed over the past three years as Lee Thomas, head teacher at Meadowlane primary school has been involved with this project for a whole year and I’m interested to see what he thinks,

“It has been an absolute privilege to see a class of children visit the Forest School area of Cardiff Met for a whole year. This enabled them not only to do the many things that I was able to do as a child, but they were able to see the seasons come and go and the way nature dealt with the seasons. They have had to use their hands to learn new skills, to build dens, ladders, tools, beds, tents, and fires, to name but a few. They have to solve difficult problems and make decisions that have an immediate impact on others within the class or group. They have had to take lead roles within their groups while being diplomatic, and sometimes take a back seat and listening to ideas. The children have learnt so many new skills and thoroughly enjoyed every minute.” The project itself is not only about helping local school children but also benefiting current students at Cardiff Met Melissa Almukhtar, BA(Hons) Education and Early Childhood Studies, tells us how this experience has been for her:

“It has allowed me to understand and witness that every child is different and will experience the outdoor environment in a way that is personal to them. It was also interesting to see their emotions before heading out into the forest, many showing excitement, showing apprehension which later passed throughout the project.” There certainly didn't appear to be too much apprehension when I wondered over to see the group, where Mr Thomas was reading the Gruffalo to them in the wooden story chair. Once finished, the children broke off into teams to forage, collect and gather twigs, leaves and plants to make their own terrifying Gruffalo, claws and all! With today’s, some might say overally health and safety conscious attitude to teaching, I thought how apprehensive some of the students might be with such young children out of the confines of a classroom, Miriam Bowen BA (Hons) Education and Early Childhood studies explains: “It taught me that children that young can be safe in the woodland area, how to manage a small group in an outdoor environment, and gave me the confidence to lead my group in searching for materials and so on. It also taught me how to bring out a child's imagination by letting them express themselves and also to ask certain questions to help improve their development as well as their skills.”

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As we adventure in Lee Thomas tells me how it is an honour to return to his old University and see the next generation of teachers working with the children, “I feel very qualified to evaluate their roles within the lessons and help them to develop their teaching of the young children.” Finally we reach a clearing in the woods and there are wooden logs for benches where the children sit and milk and biscuits are handed out and a contended silence falls over the group. Being outside is nothing new in the grand scheme of things but holding classes outside is a far cry from the traditional set up of what some might consider formal learning, although I have seen nothing but learning and creativity from this class, I am interested to find out what Lee thinks of the sceptics out there.


fter each group had made their Gruffalo from what they had gathered and explained it to each other, we headed off deeper into the scary, dark wood. But I am assured by a few of the children that there is no need to fret. Thankfully they are there to protect me from anylurking Gruffalo that might be hiding in the over bushes.

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“It is a shame that some people still see this type of learning as not formal enough to raise standards but I strongly feel that to raise standards within education in the schools, it is extremely important that children understand the basic skills we need for life, and there is no better way than to use the outside environment where children feel free and have lots of fun in their learning.”

Martin Cook, another member of the Forest School team and leader of the ‘Teddy Bear’s Picnic’ project highlighted some of the future plans for the outdoor learning centre for local schools and university students, which is made possible by the Millennium Stadium Charitable Trust, The Waterloo Foundation and Simon Gibson Charitable Trust: “An outdoor learning centre would provide opportunities for a range of courses plus skill sessions for University staff. The Forest School training would develop through offering English and Welsh medium training for level 1 and level 3 Forest School awards. Continuing professional development would be provided to teachers and support staff on aspects of outdoor learning, such as managing a site; developing green woodworking skills; enhancing emotional literacy and many more. School parties would be able to visit the wooded area for programmes such as Teddy Bears’ Picnic, an Earth Education programme that helps young children understand the needs of life. During the summer holiday ‘junior bush craft camps’ could be run with support from University students, allowing them to hone their skills of working with children and thus increase their potential employability.

Photographed by Tin Lee

As we slowly make our way out of the terrifying woods, thankfully unscathed from the Gruffalo, Lee holding tightly to one of the children’s hands, I think he is as scared as I am, tells me that he hopes the project will continue. There has been a marked difference in the attitudes and behaviour of the children that were involved in the projects, and it has been a pleasure working alongside some fantastic people.” So to finish, I would like to add what Ceri Nicolle, BA (Hons) Education and Early Childhood Studies, said me as a true insight into the Forest School: Teacher: So children what creatures do you expect to find in these woodlands? Boy: GRUFFALO!!! Cardiff Met Alumni 2013 | 17

The relationship between Ceramics and Sculpture Jeffrey Jones is sitting in his cosy office on the second floor of Cardiff School of Art & Design’s Howard Gardens Campus. in front of him is a meticulously arranged stack of paper. “I did a degree in Fine Art long time ago. That was in Trent Polytechnic in Nottingham. Afterwards I did a teacher training course and I did various things. After a while, I ended up working in the Health Service as an art therapist in mental health for nearly 20 years,” he says in an incredibly soft Bridgend accent. “Towards the end of that time I took a year out and came here to CSAD to do an MA Ceramics. I went back to the job at the Health Service part time and started to do a PhD. That was on the history of 20th Century studio ceramics. I did that in Aberystwyth University. As I was finishing my PhD, a post came up here as a Research Fellow. That was in 1998. I was in the fortunate position of changing career at a late stage in my life. It’s worked out fine for me.”


esearch has formed the majority of Jones’ recent work within the School, as well as during the fellowships which he has completed. That means that he hasn’t practiced as an artist for a long time.

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“I originally trained as a fine artist in sculpture. When I did my MA, it was in ceramics and studio practice. My background is in making, but my PhD was an entirely theoretical piece of work,” he says. “One of the things that happened when I came to CSAD to do my MA was that I discovered I liked writing. That was quite a surprise to me. Ever since, my research has been written rather than practical. Perhaps in my retirement years, practice as an artist might be something that I return to.”

Jones’ research for the last few years has been about the relationship between ceramics and sculpture. This interest stems from the research that went into Jones’ book Studio Pottery in Britain 1900-2005, which was published in 2007 and revealed that during the 105 years discussed, the interests of potters and sculptors in Britain has overlapped on several occasions. “I was fortunate to be awarded a visiting research fellowship at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, which is an institute for the study of sculpture. They are very interested in exploring how sculpture overlaps with other visual arts disciplines; so they are interested in, for example, the relationship between sculpture and architecture,” he explains. “It appealed to them that I wanted to look at the relationship between ceramics and sculpture..”

The interest in the relationship between ceramicists and sculptors centres around the idea that ceramicists often struggle to become part of the world of sculpture, despite their disciplines being convergent to a large degree. “There are lots of examples of potters and ceramists who make work they consider to be sculpture. They find it difficult to be accepted and place it in those galleries and exhibitions where sculpture is normally shown,” Jones says. “I’m interested in the reasons why that’s the case. It’s partly to do with the suspicion of the material. It’s a strange thing to say, but clay as a material isn’t always accepted as an authentic material for sculpture. Or if it is, it’s transformed into something else: made in clay, cast in bronze.”

Marianne de Trey Shinners Bridge Pottery earthenware coffee set mid 1950s

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Waistel Cooper three stoneware pots 1960s - 1980s.

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ou would be forgiven for not understanding the difference between sculpture and ceramics. In fact, it’s a question that many people have.

“The main difference is that ceramics is defined according to the material. Ceramics means things made out of clay. There is a huge range of things that ceramicists make: some will make traditional vessel forms, some will make work that can be legitimately described as sculpture, but it all comes under the umbrella term of ceramics,” he says. “There are societies and foundations, journals and magazines that all support ceramics. It’s quite a thriving discipline. Whereas when you think about sculpture, it’s not defined by its material. A long time ago it might have been expected that sculptors carve stone, but that’s not the case now. The term sculpture covers so much and it’s not limited in any sense. Ceramics is defined because it has to be made in a particular material, whereas sculpture has no such requirement.” This question of material will also form the basis for the future of Jones’ research in ceramics.

“I want to look much closer at the attitudes towards the use of clay. Going back to the 1920s and 1930s, I want to look at the kinds of ways that people were using clay, and the attitudes that critics and commentators had towards the use of clay,” he says. “I want to try and trace a history of that through to the present day and see what’s happened there. My focus is much more on the material itself. That’s the way it’s going.” Given his post at the School of Art & Design, it’s only natural that ceramics is a subject close to Jones’ heart. He’s full of praise for the School’s decision to continue its support for the ceramics courses at a time when other UK art schools did not. “We’re the last in the UK really, in terms of strength and depth, and in terms of it being a single subject. There’s lots of places where you can study ceramics as a broader degree course. This is the last significant place in the UK where you can study ceramics intensively as a single subject and I think that gives a wonderful working experience to the students who come here,” he says. “The subject area of ceramics is a great strength within the School. It’s a real credit to the staff that it’s survived and a credit also to CSAD who have continued to support it at a time when other ceramics courses in the UK have disappeared or struggled.”

Robin Welch three stoneware pots late 1960s, early 1970s

With thanks to Marc Thomas for writing the piece and to the CSAD online magazine

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How to turn your dissertation into a new business Every year, final year students complete their dissertations and we are often surprised and impressed by the quality of work and the rage of interests that students show. Sometimes, though, the projects keep growing.

Here Jordan answers some of our questions Where did the idea come from to look at surgery? This is a long story but I’ll do my best to give you the shorter version.


n 2010 Jordan Van Flute started his final year project looking at the performance of keyhole surgery. Since graduating Jordan has turned his dissertation into a new business supporting the training of surgeons.

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At the time we chose our dissertation topics I was very much considering the thought of one day becoming a surgeon. I was conscious of the fact that my academic past was less than stellar and so needed to do something standout in order to gain acceptance into medical school.

What did the dissertation look at? I wanted to find out if it was possible to predict how well someone would perform at keyhole surgery, or Laparoscopy, using a battery of cognitive tests. When you operate using new keyhole surgery techniques the surgical field is located on a screen which is remote from the surgeon, as opposed to open surgery where the incision is made and the operation performed directly in the surgeon’s line of sight. Most, if not all surgeons, struggle with the loss of three dimensional perspective and depth perception.

What we wanted to do was replicate these conditions to see how they affected performance on simple tasks. A real problem was gaining access to the surgical equipment required to measure performance. In the end I built a homemade version of the £10,000 simulators used in hospitals. (To be completely honest it was just a wooden box with a webcam inside). However, when you insert a pair laparoscopic forceps into the box to perform basic drills the same experience is achieved. >

For more details on Jordan's company:

We then timed all participants on these basic tasks and compared the results with those of the cognitive tests. What were my findings? The results indicated that visio-spatial ability was the most accurate indication of baseline performance, with manual dexterity following closely behind. It would be interesting to see how these tests might fit into the application process for surgical positions. How were you supported? Perhaps I should start with Dr Walker. He gave me more support than I could have ever asked for, believing in me from start to finish with such a risky project. The University were incredibly supportive, and offered me all the help and resources required to complete the project. All in all I couldn’t have received much more support. In fact, I can’t remember a single staff member that ever told me it wasn’t possible, even though they may have thought it! When did you think you might have a business? I didn’t! It was two of my closest friends, and now business partners, that suggested we enter a young enterprise competition. They pointed out to me the distinct lack of time that surgeons spent training due to the inaccessibility of the training equipment. The idea was simple, we wanted to make simulators more accessible, and so we set-out to create the world’s first take-home surgical box trainer. How is the business developing? We have been growing from strength to strength since we first started trading in August of 2012. We now have a range of simulators from the USB and iPad take home versions, to our more advanced trolley

version that is of more interest to hospitals and institutions.From the initial trainer, we have now started work on simulators that focus on other areas of surgery, such as endovascular and arthroscopy. Sales are doing really well both online to individuals and also to hospitals. We completed work on our first surgical skills lab just a few weeks ago, with two more on the way in the next month. The trainers have opened up the door for surgical trainees by allowing them time on equipment they would have ordinarily been unable to use. Supposedly, we need around 30,000 hours of training in a specific field to become proficient, even in sport. So if we can help surgeons to achieve that target then I guess on some level we are also making a difference to the lives of their patients. The response to the company and our products has been exceptional, not only because of what we have achieved but because we did it as two medical students and a graduate of psychology Are you working full time on it? I started to work full time for the company back in November after leaving a rather large pharmaceutical company in pursuit of bigger and better things. How do you see the initial idea developing? We have already started work on a number of other simulators. Who knows? I mean, we have so many ideas of what we would like to do but only time will tell. All I can say at the moment is that we intend to completely revolutionise surgical training worldwide.

simulation could be done under the guise of “other cognitive topics by negotiation”. It piqued my interest from the start as an interesting application of cognitive psychology to an important real-world problem. However, I was aware of the considerable challenges that Jordan would face, particularly in getting hold of a suitable apparatus to do the testing with. Therefore, I was very impressed when he wheeled in the first prototype he had built himself. and from there I knew it was ‘game on’. It remains the most creative undergraduate project I have supervised during my time in Psychology. I am extremely proud of Jordan’s achievements after graduation. We are hoping to work together soon (perhaps a project for another keen student?) to do more research in this fascinating area.” Geraint Davies, our senior technician commented: “I am proud to be part of the Department of Applied Psychology at Cardiff Met and it gives me immense satisfaction in being able to help all our final year students to successfully complete their final year projects. It is quite exciting to see what they will do. It’s fantastic to see the success Jordan has achieved after graduating regarding his final year project. I am really pleased to have been able to provide support in some small way on this, and who would have thought a wooden box would have lead to such a successful surgeons training aid.”

With thanks to Cardiff Metropolitan University Psychology for the article. psychologyproject

Jordan’s supervisor, Dr Walker said: “Jordan came to me before dissertation project choices were made and asked if his idea for surgical Cardiff Met Alumni 2013 | 23

Developing a user-centred approach to delivering improved breast cancer prostheses


ver 50,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, resulting in around 20,000 breast excisions (mastectomies). The majority of women will be offered a brassier-retained prosthesis as a permanent or temporary solution to restoring symmetry and aesthetics. The vast majority of these prostheses are ‘off the shelf’ and therefore a compromise in terms of aesthetics, comfort and fit. This project brings together researchers at PDR and the Breast Care Nurse team at Singleton Hospital, Swansea, to better understand the user needs for breast prostheses to inform the development of a superior solution.

PDR’s Medical Applications Group develops individually tailored products and services that improve clinical outcomes by meeting the rigorous demands of medical professionals, industry and the research sector. Previous research undertaken between the Maxillofacial Unit at Morriston Hospital and PDR has 24 | Cardiff Met Alumni 2013

demonstrated how computeraided technologies can be used to fabricate better fitting, bespoke facial and body prostheses, but less is known about user expectations, and how these technologies could be harnessed to better meet them. This project will employ a usercentred design approach to move the focus of user needs from the study of functionality and usability towards attempts to understand usefulness and experience. A multidisciplinary approach involving medical professionals, researchers and designers will be used to examine, analyse, interpret and synthesise user needs and behaviours, and translate these to designed artefacts. These superior solutions should result in improvements to quality of life for those undergoing breast cancer treatments and a more efficient service for the NHS.

The research has been funded by the cancer charity Tenovus, which offers support, advice and treatment for cancer patients, information on cancer prevention, and funding for research to improve the outcomes for people with cancer.

Related links: • Tenovus: • Direct project link on Tenovus website tenovus • CARTIS: The Centre of Applied Reconstructive Technologies in Surgery (CARTIS): (describes PDRs links with Morriston Hosptial’s Maxfac unit)

Development News Since we started fundraising in 2009, we have received over 2,300 donations, totalling more than £1.2million. The donations we receive do not replace government funding, but enable projects and activity that otherwise wouldn’t go ahead. Recent projects include the outdoor learning and Forest School Centre (page 14), Disabled Gym and ongoing scholarships and bursaries for students of all disciplines. if you would like to find out more about the projects that have benefitted from your generosity, go to horizons where you can read our supporters’ newsletter. Jack Rees, student caller during the 2011 Telephone Campaign


uring this year’s two week telephone campaign our alumni pledged over £25,000 to the Development Fund. This will make a huge difference to current and future students through providing new scholarships and bursaries, funding world-leading research, and supporting new resources and equipment.

It also gave current students an opportunity to gain a valuable insight into a particular career path, or receive advice on what to do following graduation. We do try and match the students to you by degree and interests, so that they can provide as much relevant information to you as possible, and vice versa.

We are keen to get as many alumni involved as possible but unfortunately we lack the correct details for many people. Please get in touch to update your details and let us know if you would like to take part in next year’s telephone campaign by emailing:developmentoffice@

Donations during the 2012-2013 academic year

Where do our donations come from?

Charitable Trusts


Where do our donations go?

Scholarships and Student Prizes


Businesses 59%




Resources and Equipment


Research Cardiff Met Alumni 2013 | 25

Fancy a Reunion? Reunions are fantastic ways to gather all your class mates together, catch up and renew old friendships. if you are thinking of organising a reunion their success depends on plenty of effort and organisation in the early stages. When thinking about organising a reunion we advise you to consider the following pointers, and we’ll be happy to help make your event a success.  Planning - such as who you’d like to invite, class mates, sporting clubs.  Invitations and publicity  Ticket prices, venue  Catering and accommodation These are just a few tips to consider but for a full checklist, and how we can help you make your reunion great then go to:

Class Gifts Many reunion groups are choosing to make a class gift to the University’s Development Fund. This is a very special way of marking the anniversary of your graduation. From scholarships and student resources to significant world-ranked research, there are many areas where your gift can make an impact.

26 | Cardiff Met Alumni 2013

upcoming dates for your diary: Saturday 20 July 2013 - Class of 1973, 40th reunion The 40th reunion will be held on Cyncoed Campus in the Students’ Union from 4pm with a buffet, tour of campus and a real chance to reminisce and catch up. Saturday 27 July 2013 - Class of 1972 This annual reunion will be taking place in The Village Hotel, Cardiff. It is promising to be as special as it was last year. For information on any of the above events contact: Alumni Office, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cyncoed Campus, Cyncoed Road, Cardiff, CF23 6BN, email: tel: 029 2020 1590

“When i grow up i want to be a scientist...” The gift of education can be life changing. With your help we can change lives together. After providing for your family and friends, please think about leaving a gift in your will to support scholarships at Cardiff Metropolitan University. You will be supporting a tradition of opportunity, achievement and innovation.

Did you know that by leaving 10% of your taxable estate to charity you could actually increase the amount that your other beneficiaries will receive? If you would like to discuss any aspect of leaving a gift in your will to support us, please contact the Development Manager on 029 2020 1590 or Cardiff Metropolitan University is a registered charity, number 1140762

Cardiff Met Alumni 2013 | 27

 further your career... We pride ourselves on having a strong reputation in applied research and active engagement with business and industry, offering first-class taught courses and unique research opportunities across our five academic schools: • Cardiff School of Art & Design • Cardiff School of Education • Cardiff School of Health Sciences • Cardiff School of Management • Cardiff School of S port

Further Information and full course list:

029 2041 6044


Postgraduate Scholarships available:

Alumni magazine 2013 14  
Alumni magazine 2013 14