Campus round-up - 6 June 2013

June 6, 2013

Source: Arts University of Bournemouth

Express yourself

Twenty budding creatives have been crowned the winners of a university-developed art competition that “supersizes” the best entries on to billboards in London and other major sites across the UK. Who Are You?, developed by the Arts University of Bournemouth, gives 14- to 19-year-olds the opportunity to express themselves by asking them to create a poster expressing their identity. On hand to judge the entries were a host of big names in the creative and advertising industries, including photographer Rankin and artist Stuart Semple. The shortlist of potential winners was put to a public vote on Facebook, with around 11,500 people responding. One of the winners, 16-year-old Sophie Lloyd, said she was “ecstatic” at seeing her work on such a large canvas. “I’m proud of my achievement and it has given me even more motivation to further my activities in…creative subjects,” she said.

Loughborough University
Hive of activity

A university in the Midlands is now home to thousands of bees thanks to an apiary developed on its campus. Staff from Loughborough University teamed up with local beekeepers to create the site as a contribution to efforts to reduce the national decline in the honeybee population. The group, which has sought advice and training from the Leicestershire and Rutland Beekeepers Association and Friends of the Bees, prepared a secluded area for the apiary and made a range of traditional and natural hives from spare wood found on campus. Loughborough is believed to provide an ideal base for bees, given its wide variety of pollen, nectar-rich trees and bee-friendly shrubs.

University of Edinburgh
Healing waters

A discovery made in fish could throw unexpected light on motor neuron disease. Spinal nerve cells control muscle activities such as speaking, walking and breathing, so when they stop working it can lead to paralysis and death. Yet while humans cannot replace motor neurons when they break down, an international team led by researchers at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Neuroregeneration has found that young zebrafish use the hormone dopamine to trigger the development and regeneration of spinal cord cells. The results, published in the journal Development Cell, may aid efforts to create neurons from stem cells in the lab and support further research into a devastating disorder with no known cure.

University of Salford
Unlock the welfare ‘prison’

Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus has used the platform offered by a university summit to champion the concept of social business as a way to release deprived people from the “prison” of welfare. The Bangladeshi economist, dubbed the “world’s banker to the poor” for founding microfinancier the Grameen Bank, urged delegates at the University of Salford’s Building Social Business event on 18 May to use business for social and community benefit. Professor Yunus, Glasgow Caledonian University’s chancellor, also praised Salford’s plans to create the Salford Centre for Social Business, which will develop research, teaching and projects in this area.

University of Birmingham
Free vote? If not we’ll spot it

Computer scientists have devised a system to identify e-voting that could have taken place under coercion. University of Birmingham researchers unveiled Caveat Coercitor, an internet-based system that aims to detect coercion in internet and postal voting, at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy 2013 on 21 May. Mark Ryan, professor of computer security at Birmingham, said: “Instead of building in mechanisms that prevent coercion, our system tolerates [it] so that an evidence trail can be built up…then the authorities can see how much coercion is taking place.”

Coventry University
Skin-deep standards

A university programme is set to become the first in the UK to offer accredited qualifications for the cosmetic-enhancement industry. The foundation module in aesthetics practice has been developed by Coventry University and the British Association of Cosmetic Nurses. A recent NHS review led by medical director Sir Bruce Keogh in the wake of the PIP breast implant scandal identified a need for accredited training standards to be set for cosmetic procedures. Coventry’s module will be offered from October as part of its continuing professional development programme and is based on standards drawn up by the BACN and the Royal College of Nursing.

Kingston/St George’s
Inspirational example

The final survivor pulled from the wreckage of the Piccadilly Line train destroyed in the 7 July terror attacks in 2005 has been made an honorary doctor of science. Gill Hicks, 45, lost both her legs in the bombing, which claimed 26 of the 52 people killed in the attacks. She has been honoured by Kingston University and St George’s, University of London for her determination to overcome her injuries and her work to raise awareness of disability. “The courage and perseverance Gill has shown…are inspiring,” said Iain Beith, head of rehabilitation sciences at Kingston and St George’s. “From the outset she has been determined to push herself towards living as normal a life as possible, despite suffering life-changing injuries.”

University of Bedfordshire
Be at peace, little ones

The skeletal remains of children from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries found when a university in the South East was being built have been respectfully reinterred. The remains of eight children aged from newborn to four years of age were uncovered when the University of Bedfordshire’s Luton Campus was being constructed in 2009 on what is believed to be the site of a small cemetery belonging to St Mary’s Church, which is located next door. Each child was buried in a separate grave, with coffin nails, mineralised wood and copper alloy pins found in many of the plots. Most of the skeletons were only partially preserved. The reburials took place on 23 May at the town’s Crawley Road Cemetery.

Queen Mary, University of London
Latin primer

A play inspired by an academic study into London’s Latin American community has received its premiere in the capital. Juana in a Million is a one-woman show starring Mexican actor Vicky Araico Casas, who wrote the play with director Nir Paldi after reading No Longer Invisible: The Latin American Community in London by Cathy McIlwaine, professor of geography at Queen Mary, University of London. The report, published in 2011, examined the fourfold rise in London’s Latin American population since 2001. The production will run at Southwark Playhouse until 15 June.

University of St Mark and St John
Apples of its eye

The final tree has been planted in an orchard designed to celebrate campus biodiversity at the University of St Mark and St John. The orchard, which includes 21 trees of local varieties of apple, is part of the institution’s green agenda, which also includes enlarging the campus duck pond, creating a nature trail, protecting orchids growing near its tennis courts and developing a “forest school” area. Vice-chancellor Cara Aitchison said that the final tree, which yields a cider apple known as the Fair Maid of Devon, characterised the institution well: “a good vintage, small and highly productive”.

Imperial College London
Extended shelf life

A library that has played host to princesses, operas and balls as well as students has been given a new lease of life. The medical library at Imperial College London’s St Mary’s Campus has reopened after six months of refurbishment. Work on the library, which was first opened in December 1933, cost £3 million and was funded in part by the St Mary’s Development Trust. Renamed the Fleming Library, the building was once used not only as a space for study but also for student plays, operas, concerts and balls, and hosted a production attended by Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret in 1945.

University of Sussex
Exhibition grade

A research student at the University of Sussex has been selected to exhibit her work at this year’s Venice Biennale. Elgibreen Eiman is already an award-winning artist, journalist and academic in Saudi Arabia, where she lectures at Princess Norah University in Riyadh. At Sussex she is working on a doctorate about the pioneering Saudi female artist Safeya Binzagr. Of Ms Eiman’s work, which sets out to portray “veiled women in different and surprising contexts”, a sculpture titled Does a face make a difference? and a series of six photomontage paintings called Do not judge me, just look at my work! were chosen for the Rhizoma (Generation in Waiting) group exhibition in Venice.

Memory lane: diversion ahead

People can “beat” guilt detection tests by suppressing incriminating memories, a study has found. Research by psychologists at the universities of Kent and Cambridge, the Medical Research Council and the Otto von Guericke University of Magdeburg in Germany has shown that people can voluntarily suppress incriminating memories in tests that seek to detect guilt by looking for brain activity when participants are reminded of a crime. The findings suggest that the use of such tests in legal settings, already occurring in several countries, could be of limited value. Researchers add that not everyone is able to suppress their memories well enough to beat the system, and that more research is needed to identify why some people are more able to do so than others.

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