Students Staff

26 June 2018

Why wouldn’t you donate your pennies?

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 4:18 pm

We spoke to Katherine Powis from our Research and Enterprise Office to find out  more about our popular Donate Your Pennies scheme and what inspired her to sign up to the scheme.

Katherine Powis

Katherine Powis

What inspired you to sign up to Donate your Pennies?:

As someone who remembers what it was like to be a mature post-graduate student and see my own daughters through their university education, I am very aware of the financial constraints that add to the other pressures on studying at university. Later, when teaching, I was often impressed by the perseverance and resourcefulness of the students I encountered. Now, although I work in professional services and therefore am no longer directly involved with students, I still want to offer something as a token of solidarity with them.

Why do you think supporting education is important and what impact do you hope your contribution can make?:

Education is a life changer. It changed my life and if my pennies can help towards changing the lives of others for the better, why wouldn’t I?

 What would you say to anyone thinking about joining the initiative?:

Why wouldn’t you?

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22 June 2018

Supervisor success

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 12:33 pm

A new Supervisor of the Year Award to recognise the excellent work undertaken by our supervisors to support and encourage our postgraduate researchers, attracted a large volume of nominations from students.

The students who gave their Doctoral Inaugural Lectures

Professor Martyna Sliwa, Dean (Postgraduate Research and Education) chaired a selection panel, consisting of all four Deputy Deans (PGR&E) who had the hard job of narrowing the nominations down to a Supervisor of the Year for each Faculty and an overall winner for the University in 2018.

The winners were:

  • Prof Ismene Gizelis – Supervisor of the Year – (Social Sciences)
  • Dr Leanne Andrews – Supervisor of the Year – (Science and Health)
  • Dr Susan Oliver – Supervisor of the Year – (Humanities)
  • Dr Marie Juanchich – Overall Supervisor of the Year 2018

Their awards were presented at a special celebration event which recognised the achievements of PGR students and staff during the academic year. Doctoral Inaugural Lectures by recent graduates from all three Faculties, Dr Tuesday Watts, Aviah Day and Dr Saranzaya Manalsuren, showcased the diversity of postgraduate research carried out at Essex.

“The Doctoral Inaugural Lectures highlighted the diverse range of research areas at Essex. It was delightful and inspiring to hear about the experiences of our recent doctoral students of their postgraduate research study, about how the doctoral degree has allowed them to develop and progress professionally, and about the plans they have for the future” said Professor Martyna Sliwa.

The Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster welcomed everyone to the event: “Essex is a dual-intensive University – Gold-rated in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework and in the top 20 for research in the Research Excellence Framework – and we are fundamentally committed to ensuring that our world-class research, and the transformative education we deliver, complement and feed into each other.

“In the case of postgraduate research education, in particular, these two pillars of our University’s mission meet, as we cultivate future generations of cutting-edge researchers who, throughout their lives, will strive to make the world a better place.”

You can see all the photos from the event in our flickr album.

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15 June 2018

Exhibition on the women’s refuge movement

Filed under: Latest news, People pages, What's on — Communications Office @ 2:02 pm
June Freeman

June Freeman

A fascinating new exhibition in Colchester tells the story of the women’s refuge movement in East Anglia and the tenacious grass-roots campaigners who pioneered these vital oases in the struggle for gender equality.

Interviewers recorded the memories of 35 women who fought against the dismissive attitudes of the 1970s and 1980s to lift the lid on domestic violence, helping to establish nine refuges, including those in Ipswich, Chelmsford,  Norwich, and Colchester, between 1974 and 1981.

The free exhibition, “You Can’t Beat a Woman”, runs from 18 to 30 June at The Minories in Colchester. It is accompanied by an illustrated booklet, a workshop and a free talk.

Thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, Dr June Freeman, an Essex alumna and founder member of Colchester Refuge, spent two years overseeing the oral history project which tells the history of the refuges in the founding women’s own words. June worked with Ravi Thiara, focusing on the campaign to change attitudes to domestic violence in white British and British Asian communities.

Author, researcher and lecturer June explained: “Many of the pioneers of the refuge movement are now in their 60s and 70s, with some in their 80s. If we were to capture the story of the early days of the refuge campaign from the point of view of the women who instigated and were involved in it, we needed to act immediately.”

June adds: “Refuges are now an accepted feature of the social landscape. The dismissive condescension of the 1970s belongs to a bygone age. But, with many refuges heavily dependent on central and local government funding, government policies threaten both the stability and culture of refuges, which were established as organisations run by women for women.”

The challenge for campaigners seeking to establish a refuge was to provide hard evidence of the need for it. Initially Essex’s Social Services department, the police and the local media were unconvinced. A turning point came when the Colchester refuge group liaised with local solicitors to establish how often violence was discussed in their dealings with matrimonial cases.

The group took their story to the press. A 1976 report was headlined “400 wives need refuge from violent husbands”. The article revealed that – in the past year – social workers had dealt with “At least 20 cases of severely beaten women. Two women had broken jaws, two had broken noses, one suffered brain damage, two suffered attempted strangulation and one had 38 stitches in her face.”

The Colchester group also gathered information about women murdered by a husband or partner, uncovering staggering evidence that the criminal justice system was failing to protect them.

In one case, a man tried for strangling his wife was cleared of murder after claiming she was always complaining and had shouted at him with a “vicious look on her face.” Sentencing him for manslaughter, the judge said he had never come across a case where anyone had endured so much provocation and gave him just three years’ probation.

As the campaigning women uncovered more horror stories, a groundswell of public opinion pressurised local councils to find properties they could rent. In the early days these were frequently run-down buildings where the women and their children endured squalid conditions. Campaigners helped to decorate them, appealing for furniture and utensils to try to establish safe, supportive and welcoming accommodation.

Black, Asian and ethnic minority women were a critical part of the struggle for women’s rights and they developed specialist women’s refuges to serve the different needs of their communities. Interviews focusing on British Asian experiences form part of the exhibition, which moves to a gallery in Bethnal Green Road, East London, in January.

‘You Can’t Beat a Woman’ is open from 9am to 5pm from Monday 18 June to Saturday 30 June at The Minories, High Street, Colchester. Admission is free.

A workshop led by Mell Robinson entitled ‘A Woman’s Voice: 100 years of women’s empowerment’ takes place at Firstsite, Colchester from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 23 June. Places are limited and tickets cost £10.50 including lunch.

A free talk by Roxanne Ellis, entitled ‘The Making of the Femicide Census Quilt’ takes place at Firstsite on Monday 25 June from 2-3pm.

For more information, see:

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Walk and Talk with Sustainability

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 10:54 am

Keeping on the move will be the focus of two Sustainability activities at the Southend Campus starting on Tuesday 26 June.

You can learn good techniques for walking and pick up some tips on posture to make sure you are comfortable at work from Karen Turrell of Simply Stride. She will be delivering two one hour sessions for Southend staff to encourage activity that’s good for your body and your brain on Tuesday 26 June and Thursday 28 June 12.30pm to 1.30pm.

Participants can book a place through HR Organiser – just search for ‘simply stride’ and choose the date you’d like to attend.

Sustainability Engagement Officer Daisy Malt said: “The two sessions will be identical, we’ve just created two options to allow for as many people as possible to join. Featuring advice on good posture and a walk outside, Karen will equip you with the basics to improve wellbeing and hopefully encourage you to walk more on breaks.”

On Wednesday 27 June, through the South Essex Active Travel Ideas in Motion programme, there will be drop in sessions on cycle training, security and safety, personal travel guidance, bus and rail ticket discounts and car-sharing.

You can find out more at the Gateway Building reception 12.00pm to 12.50pm and in TF.2.27 1pm to 2pm.

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8 June 2018

Rethinking waste

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 11:49 am

Recycle today, for a better tomorrowAround 1,100 tonnes of waste is produced across the University every year, equating to around 73kgs per person. All that material has to go somewhere, and while very little of it actually goes to landfill, we want to encourage you to rethink waste and be a part of the effort to reduce the University’s impact on the environment.


Waste, on the whole, isn’t actually waste at all, it’s simply material that could potentially be reused or recycled. The basics like paper, card, glass, cans and plastic bottles/containers can be remade into new products to make the most of these resources. We have a target to reach a 60% recycling rate on campus, but obviously we need your help to do that. Separating recyclables from general waste ensures that those materials are easily treated, but it’s more cost efficient too.

Save paper and cardboard

While recycling is important, not creating waste in the first place is actually the most environmentally responsible thing you can do. Think about a takeaway coffee cup, for example. It takes resources and energy to make that cup, transport it to campus, and then dispose of it. By using a reusable cup you are cutting out those steps – and what’s more, you get 10p off every hot drink when you take yours to any outlet on campus. That means more money to spend on fun things.

Reduce plastic

Plastic pollution became big news after it was featured on the BBC’s Blue Planet. You can do your bit by making small changes to your habits. Tap water in the UK is safe to drink, and we have been making it easier for you to get free, chilled, filtered water to refill a bottle, with over 45 fountains in communal areas and departments across campus.


Finally, there’s the bigger stuff too. Small ads is a popular way for staff and students to rehome items they no longer need, and Accommodation run a No Waste Graduation scheme with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) which has so far raised £42,000 for BHF and prevents lots of useful items going to waste. There is a BHF collection bank opposite Eddington Tower all year round, with extra banks installed when students are moving out for the summer.

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NCOP – Making it happen in Essex

Filed under: Latest news — Communications, CER @ 11:19 am

Our NCOP team work with young learners across Essex to help them consider higher education as an option.

To celebrate the publication of the first year’s report, the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) has been shining a spotlight on the work of the consortia around the country. Their work delivers tailored activity in areas where the HE participation of young people is both low and much lower than expected based on GCSE attainment.

Make Happen is the name of the consortium for Essex and the team is based here at the University. The programme is dedicated to inspiring young people, raising their aspirations and promoting interest in higher education as a route to young people achieving their ambitions.

With a team of seven Outreach Officers based at partner institutions across the county, Make Happen has developed an innovative school and college-led model that provides events and activities tailored to the specific needs of the targeted learners.

Since December 2017, Make Happen has engaged with 16,000 students, 9,000 of which are identified as NCOP learners (39% of all NCOP learners in the county). With more than 150 different events and activities, learners have experienced motivational and inspirational talks and assemblies, Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM), medical and healthcare workshops, Sports Science, Art and Design, Teaching careers and Revision Skills sessions, to name but a few.

Watch this short film to get a taste of what has been achieved so far.

In the next few weeks, students from our local communities will get a taste of what university is all about at a Make Happen Sports Science Summer School at our Colchester campus. They will share the ‘student life’ in halls with those attending the University of Essex’s Summer 18 Residential Experience.

Year 10’s from around the county are also invited to a fantastic progressive campaign “Change Your World” which launches with an event for up to 300 learners at Colchester Zoo. This event aims to inspire students to change their own world through the opportunities offered by a university degree. The project links students with sustainability researchers from the University of Essex and focuses on Climate Change, Conservation and Global Health.

For more information about the programme please visit or call Sian Thomas on ext 3168.

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Successful Community engagement for Social Work students

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 10:23 am

Collecting sanitary products for homeless people in Southend is just the latest in a long line of successful community projects by undergraduates on the BA Social Work at Southend Campus.

Every year students are allocated areas of the borough to explore and engage with local people as a valuable part of Community Study, often resulting in innovative partnerships which leave a lasting impression on local people.

This year Melissa Dube, a first year BA Social Work student, from Laindon, linked up with South Essex Homes, the arms length housing Management Organisation for Southend Borough Council. As part of their work together Melissa asked staff and students to donate products to Homeless Period and collected three boxes of sanitary items.

Melissa Dube

Melissa said: “Everyone was very keen to donate. I plan to get involved in this in the longer term and it is important for students and staff to get involved in the local community.”

Lecturer Gert Scheepers said: “It is a vital part of the student experience for the undergraduates to engage with their local community.

“We capture all the information they gather and share it with Southend Borough Council. It is used to influence their practice in the borough and brings different voluntary organisations to their attention.”

Nick Constantine (Transformation Manager) for Southend Borough Council said: “Working with the tutors and students of the University of Essex Social Work degree course is an important part of the Adult Services Transformation programme which has immediate impacts on the workforce and practical applications.

“Through the Community Study the students experience having strength-based conversations, get to know the community assets and needs and share those with social workers, partners and the transformation team, through the mentoring relationship, workshops and presentations throughout the year.

“The students benefit by honing their skills and generating attitudes aligned with the transformation programme so that when they enter the profession this approach comes naturally to them while their enthusiasm and stories ripple across the existing workforce supporting the change process.”

Gert Scheepers

Another first year BA Social work Community Study project included an equally beneficial encounter when a student got chatting to allotment holders, puzzled about what to do with their surplus fruit and vegetables.

She connected the green-fingered gardeners with a local group that is able to share fresh produce with those in need.

During the 2016/17 academic year, the Social Work team also organised a bra collection for the local branch of Soroptimist International which sends the garments to Kenya to be sold by women to empower them to be independent.

FollowSocial Work on @C4SW_UoE


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6 June 2018

Meet the new Business Development Manager for Essex Sport

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 4:25 pm

Meet Simon Lister, the new Business Development Manager for Essex Sport

Simon, can you tell us about your role?

I look after the membership of Essex Sport; the customer journey and usage of the Essex Sport Arena. I am also responsible for corporate sponsorship for our performance sport teams and the Arena.

Simon Lister

What did you do before taking on this job?

I began my working life as a cartographer for the Royal New Zealand Navy. After completing my surveying diploma, and seeking a greater challenge I moved into Conference and Events, producing business to business conferences and developing corporate sponsorships. More recently I worked for General Motors in New Zealand and was involved in sport sponsorship on an international scale, particularly focussing on motorsport and golf. My latest tenure was in the non-profit sector working with the Employers and Manufacturers Association in corporate partnerships, membership retention and loyalty programme implementation.

In my other life I am a professional dancer and have represented New Zealand on the world stage.  I was the 10 Dance Champion in New Zealand for three years and finished in the Top 30 in the World Latin Championship in 2003. That’s the reason I first came to the UK as London was, at the time, the home of the best dance teachers.

For the last four years I have been a full time Dad which has been the best thing I have ever done. I have been teaching Latin American and Ballroom dancing on Thursday nights at the University and I continue to build students confidence and skills on the dance floor. The dream is to one day have enough dancers to compete in the intervarsity dancesport competition circuit.

Why do you like working here?

I think Essex is an incredibly empowering place to work. I already feel part of the Essex family.

Do you have any secret ambitions?

I invested in a rather expensive classical guitar many years ago. It has slowly gathered dust over time but I would love to one day get up on stage and rock out some great Fleetwood Mac covers!

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Sizzling summer season ahead for Event Essex

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 3:15 pm

As many students prepare to depart for the summer, everyone in Event Essex is getting ready for their busiest time of year.

Over the next few months the team at Colchester and Southend will be welcoming a varied selection of guests to Language School residential courses and academic conferences as well as ramblers on walking holidays and beach lovers.

General Manager Elisa Aylott said: “Throughout July we will have more than 1200 guests per night staying on the Colchester Campus. We are busy throughout the year but ninety per cent of our revenue comes in during the summer.

Surplus is reinvested for the benefit of the students and the thousands of visitors help raise awareness of the University and our tremendous facilities.

“We use The Towers, South Courts and North Houses for the accommodation and our guests bring in revenue to Accommodation Essex, Essex Food and Essex Sport, with the facilities a big attraction to the Language School children.”

On top of the permanent team of ten people in Colchester, which includes delivered catering, and three in Southend, nine students have full time roles for the summer, staffing the reception desk which is open seven days a week 8.00am until 8.00pm.

“Every week is varied,” said Elisa. “In Southend we have individual bookings from tourists making an escape to the seaside as well as conference business.  In Colchester it is primarily group bookings but we do have private groups, including some alumni who return every year to relive their time at Essex.”

The team at Southend

This year will see students from Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Portugal, China and Poland basing themselves on the Colchester Campus while they improve their English and see the sights. On top of academic events and summer schools, the Colchester Campus will be home for walkers who have travelled from Holland and enthusiastic gardeners on a Beth Chatto Gardens symposium.

Elisa’s favourite time is graduation: “I love the buzz. The whole University comes together to ensure each and every ceremony and reception is a success.

“Over the week we have 10,000 people visiting Campus and every event has to be as good as the last.“

“Our guests always feel very welcome and we would like to thank the University community for being so supportive.”

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The Essex Women’s Network hosts its first Menopause forum

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 2:24 pm

As The Essex Women’s Network prepares for its first forum on the menopause on Thursday 14 June, Lecturer in EAP and History Fiona Elsted looks at the momentum behind this event.

‘Personal experience of the impactful nature of menopause coupled with my surprise at the silence which appears to surround this issue in the workplace in particular, recently led me to ask colleagues in the Essex Women’s Network how they felt about it all. The answer was clear: there was a real appetite for discussing all things menopause and urgently at that. And so The M Festival was created!

For our former Chancellor, Shami Chakrabarti, menopause is:

“[a] moment in female development that is too little discussed  and is fraught with both physical and psychological challenges that too many women must face with insufficient medical, social and emotional support.

We aren’t taught about it in school, our mothers maintain the conspiracy of silence and even female friends and colleagues who could make such a difference with their shared experience, understanding and empathy, are slow to talk about this completely natural transition in a woman’s life. There is so much discussion, debate, advice and solidarity around reproduction itself. Why may not some of the same energy, advice and adjustment be offered to women who have themselves so much still to offer?”

To be held in Senate Room 4.722 Square 1, starting at 12.30pm this half day event will aim to demonstrate that actually when given half the chance, we at Essex are not at all ‘slow to talk about’ menopause. In fact, we’ve got lots to say and this is just the forum in which to express it.

Professor Jo Brewis

Three key speakers will be at the festival. Professor  Jo Brewis,  co-author of the 2017 government report ‘The effects of menopause transition on women’s economic participation in the UK’, will be talking at 12.45pm, Dr Tracey Loughran from the Department of History will be speaking at 2.15pm and at 3pm writer Sue Dawes will be running a workshop.

Come and join us. You’re very welcome to drop in when you can and please contact me  for more details.’

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