Students Staff

30 November 2018

New research posts at East 15: Dr Tara McAllister-Viel

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 1:27 pm

New research centred posts have been created at the East 15 Acting School, as part of a team led by Director of Research and Head of Creative Producing Professor Rosie Klich.

Rosie said: “Our new research staff champion both practice-as-research and more traditional research methods. Key areas of research in the school currently include vocal training and movement training for actors and immersive, participatory and feminist performance. As our East 15 research team develops we are keen to continue building relationships with departments across the university and work with industry partners to produce interdisciplinary, public-facing projects that promote socially engaged, conceptually challenging, and highly experimental arts research.

We meet team member  Dr Tara McAllister-Viel, Head of Voice and Speech, based at the Southend Campus.

Tara, what does your role involve?

Dr Tara McAllister-Viel

I am responsible for curriculum design and development on the Southend campus of East 15 for all voice and speech classes within all specialist acting courses and Cert He strands. I supervise a team of voice and speech staff, visiting lecturers and teaching placements as well as teach voice classes within the BA (Hons) specialist acting courses. I liaise with NHS and private ENT [ears, nose, throat] specialists, Speech Therapists and Speech and Language Pathologists on students’ behalf.

My research area is theorising voice training practices that address multicultural/multilingual classrooms and developing alternative pedagogical approaches.

What did you do before joining East 15?

I led the voice programmes on two of the three undergraduate acting training courses at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. More recently, I returned to East 15  after a year away completing a fully-funded Research Fellowship at the International Research Centre, Freie University-Berlin, Germany. I was the first voice theorist/practitioner to be invited to the IRC, which investigates ways of interweaving performance cultures within the arts.

Are you working on any particular projects?

I just had a book released:  Training Actors’ Voices: Towards an Intercultural/Interdisciplinary Appproach. London: Routledge, 2019. This is part of Routledge’s Voice Studies series.

I will also have several book chapters published soon:

“The Role of ‘Presence’ in Training Actors’ Voices,” in Intercultural Acting and Actor Training, (ed) Kapur, A., Sasitharan, T., Zarrilli, P. London: Routledge, forthcoming publication 2019.

“Transmitting voice pedagogy through different embodiment traditions: Interweaving Korean p’ansori and Western voice training modes in contemporary acting conservatoires,” in Theatrical Speech-Acts. (ed) Fischer-Lichte, Erika; Jost, Torsten.  London: Routledge, forthcoming publication 2019.

“The use of touch in training actors’ voices,” in Somatic Voices in Performance Research and Beyond, (ed) Kapadocha, C. London: Routledge, forthcoming publication 2020.

I am also developing a grant proposal to fund an international practice-as-research project with colleagues in Cape Town, South Africa,  which aims to create ways of theorising a notion of “cultural voice” (Brown, 2000) through verbatim theatre practices and vocal techniques.

What are you looking forward to most in your enhanced role?

Up until now, I have been on a teaching-only contract, so the majority of my research and writing has been on my own time without institutional support. I’m really looking forward to meeting other researchers, exchanging ideas, and accessing the support systems in place for researchers at University of Essex.

What do you enjoy most about working at East 15?

I have been with East 15 since leaving Central in 2011. I have found the students to be extremely focused, talented and hard working.  I really enjoy teaching and pastoral care support . Now that I have an official research component attached to my role, I’m looking forward to increasing the integration between research and practice in my classrooms and within the overall voice and speech curriculum, particularly addressing the many cultural perspectives my students bring with them that enriches training environments.

Meet fellow researcher Dr Christina Kapadocha and Professor Rosie Klich.



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29 November 2018

Tribute to Emeritus Professor Ray Meddis

Filed under: Latest news — Tags: , , — Communications Office @ 6:16 pm
Professor Ray Meddis

Professor Ray Meddis

It is with great sadness the Department of Psychology announces the death of Emeritus Professor Ray Meddis.

Ray joined the Department in 1996 and retired in 2011. The Department remembers Ray for his intellect, his ability to inspire colleagues and students alike, his willingness to discuss ideas, and in particular for his friendliness and kindness. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and colleagues.

Ray was recognised internationally for his research on hearing including the development of computer models of hearing.

The BioAid hearing aid app Ray helped develop was shortlisted in the Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology category of the national Times Higher Education Awards in 2014 and was downloaded thousands of times.

A full obituary will be published in due course.

Please feel free to leave a tribute or memory about Ray in our comment section.

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Welcoming them home for Christmas

Filed under: Latest news — mh17332 @ 12:33 pm

Julie Brotherton, from our Student Wellbeing Inclusivity Service, provides an insight into what to expect when students return home for the Christmas break.

The end of autumn term is fast approaching and it is likely your loved one will be returning home for the Christmas break.

Apart from the obvious piles of washing it is an exciting time to catch up and hear about their time at University. They may be looking forward to the usual home comforts but returning home can often be difficult for some students as they have become accustomed to their new environment and new-found independence. This can pose a challenge for you all! This QS Good Universities article advises students on how to cope with you!

You can help make the transition easier by being open about any expectations you have of them from the outset. Some might think being home means being totally looked after again. If you have other ideas – let them know.

It’s good to talk

Being back home may also be the place where they open up and talk about any issues they have about being at University. It is quite common for students to have doubts about whether they’ve made the right decision to be at University. Taking time to listen to their concerns can be a helpful starting point to help them identify what the issues are and assist them to seek the right support.

If they are unsure about their course or are feeling overwhelmed with their studies they might find it helpful to speak with their personal tutor or someone from their department. These study resources may also prove useful. If they are preparing for exams these exam tips may help. Time-management advice is available from The Fridge.

The most important thing is for them not to get too worried about impending exams or work-loads – re-assure them there is plenty of help on hand through our 24-hour wellbeing support line.

What’s new for 2019

And there’s plenty to look forward to in the new year. They should contact the VTeam or SU if they want to get involved in volunteering or try something new for 2019.

And Essex Sport has lots of free trial sessions planned to encourage students to get active and have fun at the same time! Annual membership could make a great Christmas present. Or check out this Which list of gift ideas students will love.


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23 November 2018

Our new travel suppliers

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 3:38 pm

Our Registrar and Secretary, Bryn Morris, tells us more about the work we’re doing to help make sure you can easily book all your travel arrangements for work.

Bryn Morris

Our Registrar and Secretary, Bryn Morris.

We’ve just appointed two new travel suppliers to help you book your travel arrangements for work and we’ll be working with all departments and sections to help them choose their preferred new supplier.

The chosen suppliers are Diversity Travel, an award-winning company, and Key Travel, who provide travel management for the humanitarian, faith and education sectors.

Working with these providers will ensure that we:

  • Have access to 24/7 emergency and crisis management service and traveller tracking.
  • Receive support from a 24/7 online and offline support desk
  • Reduce our use of expense forms
  • Can access economies of scale and special academic air fares

Secure access to and Expedia

This is the first time we’ve worked with two different companies to supply our travel arrangements. Each department can choose their preferred supplier from these two, so over the next few months, we’ll help you decide.

The first part of this process will take place between 26 November and 31 January, when both suppliers will run sessions to help you understand how they work and the services they can provide. The Suppliers will contact nominated departmental contacts individually to let you know when these sessions will be taking place.

Procurement will be working with all departments to help them pick their preferred travel supplier. If you’d like to help your department choose a default supplier, please contact your Department Manager.  Each supplier has their own strengths, so giving you this choice means you can select the company which best suits your own requirements.

At the end of this Evaluation period, each department will be allocated an account manager who will provide a bespoke service for your department and make sure you get all the support and training you need.  The new arrangements will come into effect from 1 February.

Our contract with STA Travel, who currently provide travel management for the University, comes to an end on 31 January.  From 1 February you will no longer be able to book travel through STA, although they will continue to provide a full travel management and duty of care service for any existing bookings made on or before 31 January.

If you have any questions please email our Central Procurement Team.

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22 November 2018

Working to reduce our impact on the environment

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 5:39 pm

Daisy Malt works in our Sustainability team. She talks to us about the progress we’ve made to reduce our annual carbon footprint and the things we can all do to lower our impact on the environment.

Daisy Malt

Daisy Malt

Climate change, plastic pollution, rising sea levels and melting ice caps… There’s so much in the news about the impact human beings are having on the environment and it can all seem quite overwhelming, especially when you don’t tend to see those impacts in your own daily life. The University of Essex has a responsibility to reduce its impact where possible, through things such as the efficiency of its buildings and equipment, provision of infrastructure such as bins, the products it buys and sells and even educating our community to be more conscious consumers. Financial savings can be made, but the environmental gains in the long term are crucial.

In 2010, we made a commitment to reduce our annual carbon footprint by 43% (based on energy usage, known as Scope 2 emissions) by 2020, compared with 2005 levels. In numbers, that means going from 17,210 tonnes of carbon (tCO2) down to just 9,810 tCO2 (that’s roughly 15 equivalent return flights from London to New York, fully loaded with passengers). With the University growing both in terms of student numbers and new buildings, it is a tough challenge.

We’re pleased to report, however, that we are making good progress. Against our target, our emissions have fallen by a third, due in part to an increase in our energy coming from renewables, but also as a result of installation of energy efficient equipment such as boilers and lighting. This is great progress, but we know we cannot be too confident when we there is still a long way to go.

The entire University community has a role to play, with each and every person possessing the power to make a difference. The simple things like switching off unused equipment or reporting faults such as flickering lights or inefficient radiators add up to a huge amount when you consider the collective effect of 15,000 students and 2,500 staff. But go further too – embrace changes that by their very nature push forward efficiency, like the introduction of ‘follow me’ printing which will see a switch from 1,000 individual printers to around 180 energy efficient machines.

We know that we aren’t perfect but we are striving to make things better. The bigger changes will take more time, but right now there are things everyone can do to adopt habits that lower your environmental impact, because we truly believe that little choices add up to big changes.

  • Reduce energy – switch off lights, unplug devices and use heating and hot water efficiently.
  • Reduce plastic – refill at a water fountain or choose canned water in Essex Food outlets.
  • Choose sustainable transport – if you can, cycle, walk, car share or use public transport.

We all see the benefits when everyone succeeds, and more than ever we want to encourage every member of the University community to contribute.

To discuss climate change and what you can do, join the upcoming THINK series event Apocalypse? Now? Your Survival Guide to Climate Change on Wednesday 28 November.

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16 November 2018

Why we need a conference on modern slavery

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 1:09 pm

On Wednesday 12 December, The Centre for Social Work and Social Justice at our Southend Campus is hosting a conference to raise awareness of modern day slavery and what we can do about it.

A similar conference two years ago in The Forum brought together students, local practitioners in health and social care and the police. Dr Steve Jordan explains why it’s time to return to this important issue.

Dr Stephen Jordan

What is the aim of the conference?

Recent press reports have shown that modern day slavery is flourishing on the streets on South East Essex as it is in many towns and cities in the UK.

The Centre for Social Work and Social Justice, in partnership with Southend Against Modern Slavery Partnership, is hosting a free half day conference in The Forum on Wednesday 12 December at 1pm to raise awareness of modern day slavery and what to do about it.

What will the conference be looking at?

The conference will focus on setting the local scene and explaining the key issues;

  • the Modern Slavery Act
  • the role of the Salvation Army and experience of supporting victims of modern slavery
  • what is the professional response and experience of social workers and other agencies
  • what are the indicators
  • what can you do
  • the importance of a joined up response across statuary agencies
  • the role communities can play in combatting modern slavery in South East Essex today

Who will be there?

The conference will involve key national speakers such as Kathy Betteridge from the Salvation Army which  provides specialist support for all adult victims of modern slavery. She will explain the Modern Slavery Act and the National Referral Mechanism.

Other key speakers will be Fatema Islam, who will be talking about the social work experience of working with migrants and refugees, who often include survivors of modern slavery, and The Rev Dan Pratt who is co-ordinator of the Southend Against Modern Slavery Community Partnership.

How do I get a ticket?

You can register for this free event at Eventbrite:



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15 November 2018

Meet Daniel Martin from our International College

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 4:21 pm

University of Essex International College offers students all over the world the possibility to attend preparatory courses before studying at the University of Essex. We spoke to Daniel Martin, Director of University of Essex International College, about his experience working here.

What are the main responsibilities of your role

Daniel Martin

Daniel Martin

I am responsible for ensuring the College delivers an exceptional educational experience to each and every one of our students. This includes ensuring we have teachers who are doing their utmost to facilitate our students’ learning and making sure they remain motivated and engaged at all times. Ultimately, I want students to be ready to progress to the University after having a very positive experience at the College, where they were supported by all members of our team.

What previous roles have you had before joining the International College?

Prior to moving back to the UK, I worked in China for Pearson where I was the Regional Service Operations Director for a language training business they owned called Wall Street English. I had a team of over 400 teaching and customer service staff and together we were responsible for the daily operations of 25 language schools providing service to over 23,000 students. It was a very fast paced and challenging operation but extremely rewarding to see the progress that students made by the end of their courses.

Tell me something about yourself

I have been fortunate enough to live in eight different countries in my life and have spent more than half of my life living abroad, which has given me a great understanding of the challenges of being an international student in a new environment.

What is the role of the International College?

The University of Essex International College was launched in partnership with the University to provide new routes for students wishing to study at Essex. We are located in the Constable Building and deliver Undergraduate Foundation, International Year One and Pre-Master’s programmes and through these programmes we help to give students the tools that they need to go on and be a success at the University. We do this by offering a wide range of classes pitched at different levels to help students develop their subject knowledge, academic skills and language ability. We aim to make the transition to the University as seamless as possible for our students so that they hit the ground running when it is time to progress and will be working closely with colleagues from around the University this year to make sure we achieve this.

How many students do you have currently and from which countries?

We are growing steadily and look forward to welcoming our second cohort of students in January. As it stands, we have 30 different nationalities and counting! We have been really impressed with how well our students have settled into their new lives and their studies in the UK.

What would be your message to any student wishing to apply to the University of Essex International College? 

Go for it! The University of Essex is a forward thinking, inclusive and diverse place to study where you will not only get the chance to achieve a good qualification from a well ranked University, but also the chance to develop a mindset to be bold, brave and to challenge everything which will leave you well prepared for your life ahead. There is always something to do, to see and be a part of at Essex and we will do our best at the University of Essex International College to help you open the door to your undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

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2 November 2018

Wellness Fair

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 1:21 pm

To mark Stress Awareness Day on Wednesday 7 November, we’re hosting a Wellness Fair to raise awareness about mental health and wellbeing among our community.

The Wellness Fair will include a range of information stalls from across the University and external organisations and charities that are working towards improving and raising awareness about mental health and wellbeing.

At 1pm our Registrar and Secretary, Bryn Morris, will sign the Time to Change Pledge to signal our commitment to changing how we think and act about mental health at Essex.

On Stress Awareness Day and throughout Wellbeing Week, we’ll be holding various wellbeing workshops and classes to provide an introduction to how different wellbeing activities can aid and improve mental health overall.

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Call for nominations – Honorary Graduates, Alumnus of the Year and Honorary Fellowships

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 10:48 am

Here is your chance to ask the University to officially recognise and celebrate the work of someone who inspires you.

We would love to hear your ideas for who you would like to be named as our Honorary Graduates and our Alumnus of the Year at our graduation ceremonies in 2020. We are also seeking your nominations for Honorary Fellowships.

We try to make it as easy as possible so it should only take a few minutes to nominate someone.

We are looking for looking for change-makers, rule-breakers and world-shakers – people you think could help us promote our values and our commitment to excellence in education and research to the world.

Honorary Graduates

We’re seeking inspirational people who shape the world around them and help others to do the same. We hope they will also inspire our graduates and contribute their time, ability and experience for the benefit of our University community.

Our recent honorary graduates have ranged from famous film directors like Stephen Daldry and David Yates to human rights campaigners such as Dr Flavia Bustreo and Obiageli Ezekweseli.

We’ll follow up your suggestions with further research so you will not have to do anything else and do not worry, you will not have to deliver the speech at their graduation.

You just need to follow a few basic rules:

  • The person you are nominating should not be made aware of the nomination;
  • The person you nominate can’t be a current member of staff or student at the University or at any of our Partnership Institutes;
  • You cannot nominate yourself.

Make your nomination now on our Honorary Graduates webpage.

Alumnus of the Year

The Alumnus of the Year award recognises the achievements of former students who have made a substantial contribution to the community; to the arts, to the sciences; to business, sporting, public or academic life; or in some other way made a positive impact to the lives of others.

Recent alumni of the year include Aaron Jones, Jianwei Zhang and Amy Woolf

Make your nomination now on our Alumnus of the Year web page.

 Honorary Fellowships

Our Honorary Fellowships are awarded at our Annual Meeting to someone who has distinguished themselves in the fields of study represented at the University, or who has given conspicuous and exceptional service to the University. In recent years Honorary Fellowships have been awarded to former officers of the University, long-serving members of staff and other members of the University community.

Make your nomination now on our Honorary Fellowship webpage.

The deadline for nominations for all awards is Friday 7 December 2018. In accordance with Ordinance 32, these nominations are considered by the Honorary Degrees and Honorary Fellowships Committee and recommendations are made to Senate and Council for approval.

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