Fit to print
A group of illustration students are bringing traditional printmaking skills back to the defunct press room of a local newspaper. The former press room at the Bournemouth Echo building, now a restaurant called The Print Room, will display an installation of the work by second- and final- year students from the Arts University Bournemouth, who have formed the Fingerprint Club, a collective dedicated to the artisan skills of printmaking. Launched on 24 April and on display until the autumn, the exhibition, A Sign of the Times, includes representations of popular culture, iconic objects, signs and symbols using traditional printmaking techniques such as screen printing, linocuts, monoprinting and lithography.
Spread your love
It is one of the most divisive topics in the UK today, loved by admirers and loathed with equal intensity by detractors. But now the bitter dispute over its legacy can finally be concluded: more Brits love Marmite than loathe it, researchers at Harper Adams University have found. A study has taken place over the past year to determine what proportion of the population likes or dislikes the sticky yeast extract. Research continues, but initial findings indicate that around half of the people surveyed love Marmite, a quarter hate it and the rest have no opinion either way. In addition, 77 per cent say it is “iconic”.
Two hundred and fifty years after the creation of Birmingham’s Lunar Society, which brought together leading industrialists, academics and philosophers of the day to debate the biggest issues affecting the world, an institute has been launched with a similar remit. The Institute of Advanced Studies, unveiled by the University of Birmingham on 10 April, aims to address some of the biggest challenges facing society by combining academic expertise from across the institution and the globe with insights from business, non-governmental organisations and policymakers.
There’s a wouse in the house
The first eco-friendly computer mouse, made of wood and known as a “wouse”, has gone on sale after being developed by three undergraduates. The University of Buckingham students came up with the idea as part of their BSc in business enterprise, a programme that gives students access to £5,000 to help them develop business proposals. The wouses (or should that be wice?) cost £49.99 and are hand-carved in Vietnam at a factory that employs underprivileged people while providing them with education. One of the students, Giang Tran, who hails from Ho Chi Minh City, came to the UK in January last year to take the course, and joined forces with fellow students Kate Murphy and Andrew McIntyre to develop the product. Mr McIntyre has since left the team.
Early warning warning
A dementia expert has called for plans to routinely screen for the condition to be put on hold. Chris Fox, clinical senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School, told the TEDMEDLive healthcare conference in Bristol last week that the stigma and anxiety caused by early diagnosis would greatly outweigh any benefits. “Routine screening means that people will be diagnosed long before they start to show symptoms,” he said. “The problem is that a diagnosis can turn someone’s life upside down years before dementia itself does. The main thing that comes with a diagnosis of early dementia is a deeply unfortunate label.” As well as increasing personal stress, large-scale early diagnosis would also put an unnecessary financial burden on the healthcare system, Dr Fox added.
High, wide and handsome
Baseball players with wide faces are more likely to hit home runs, research suggests. Psychologists from Goldsmiths, University of London examined the statistics of 81 batters in Japan’s Central League Pennant over two seasons and found that those with wider faces were more successful. Other studies have indicated that people with wider faces are more ambitious and successful in business, but this research is the first to show a link to sporting success, the researchers claim.
Two cultures become one
Arts and science students are working together to stage an exhibition inspired by the disciplines. The show, titled Data, Truth & Beauty, is organised by the University of Westminster’s Broad Vision project, which promotes interdisciplinary collaboration and research. It will feature digital investigations into data bending and glitch art, biological experiments with bacterial portraiture and self-illuminating sculpture, and psychological studies on the perception of beauty. The show opens at the GV Art gallery in Marylebone, London on 23 May and will run until 29 May.
Helping you breathe more easily
Emergency asthma admissions have dropped by nearly 2,000 a year in the wake of the introduction of smoke-free legislation in England, research has found. The study from the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, based at the University of Bath, found there was an immediate 4.9 per cent reduction in adult admissions in the wake of the introduction of the law, which made enclosed public places and work spaces smoke-free from 1 July 2007. Published this week in the journal Thorax, the research takes into account underlying trends in admission rates, such as seasonal illness and temperature, and is the largest study of its kind.
The stage is set
A university is launching a master’s degree in playwriting that for the first time will be run in partnership with some of the country’s leading theatre houses. The University of Salford will team up with Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre, the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Theatre and the Octagon Theatre Bolton. Each playhouse will take charge of two modules. Students will get the chance to study at the theatres and receive first-hand insights into the industry. Jennifer Tuckett, course creator, programme leader and lecturer in creative writing at Salford’s School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences, said the course was the “culmination of a new approach” to industry-partnered teaching that Salford had been pioneering for the past five years.
Magical labour of love
A senior lecturer in midwifery has created a series of children’s books, the first of which has been published. Andrew Symon, from the University of Dundee’s College of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing, created the Jack Shian trilogy, which features the story of a 12-year-old boy in a magical world. The books are aimed at the 9 to 15 age group. “The idea came to me when my children were around Jack’s age,” said Dr Symon. “I’d had a thought in the back of my head for a while that I’d like to write a contemporary fantasy adventure with a Scottish background.” Comparing his fiction and academic writing, he said it was striking “that even though the styles are very different, the skills are complementary”.
That black, frozen feeling
Injections of Botox to reduce wrinkles can leave people feeling more depressed, research suggests. A study at Cardiff University looked at people who had received the injections and found that treating certain facial lines can determine how depressed the participants feel afterwards. It found that those who have treatment for crow’s feet are left feeling more depressed. Michael Lewis, reader in Cardiff’s School of Psychology, said: “The expressions that we make on our face affect the emotions we feel; we smile because we are happy, but smiling also makes us happy. Treatment with drugs like Botox prevents the patient from being able to make a particular expression.”
A short film based on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew has been shot almost entirely in a university library. Unimaginably Tamed aims to put a modern slant on the play’s depiction of gender roles by following two characters as they squabble over a rare copy of the play found in the University of Leicester’s David Wilson Library. The characters are played by Leicester performing arts student Sorcha Newby and up-and-coming actor Isaac Leafe. The director, Farid Ahmed, plans to show the film at major film festivals such as Sundance and Cannes.
Right-on savage pilgrimage
A previously unpublished manuscript by D.H. Lawrence savages a writer who claimed to be revolted by beautiful women. The 185-word manuscript, discovered in a New Zealand archive by University of Nottingham lecturer Andrew Harrison, responds to an article arguing that every woman contains “a seed of terrible, unmentionable evil” so subtle that “only a beautiful face can transmit it”. Lawrence responds: “The hideousness [the writer] sees is the reflection of himself, and of the automatic meat-lust with which he approaches another individual.” Dr Harrison, who published the piece in The Times Literary Supplement, said it “reveals Lawrence’s enlightened attitude to gender issues”.