Students Staff

What’s on

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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2 March 2018

Make a runner smile

Filed under: Latest news, What's on — ckeitch @ 1:07 pm
Charlie likes sweets

A runner grabs some jelly babies

It’s the Colchester Half Marathon on Sunday 25 March and we’re looking for volunteers to join our team of marshalls.

We’re going to be turning Langham pink with our hi-vis vests and woolly hats, and helping to cheer all the runners up as they start to make their way back towards the finish line at Weston Homes Community Stadium.

We need marshalls to help man our water station, dish out some much needed jelly babies and give all of the runners a huge cheer.  Take a look at our photos from last year to see what a great day it is.

The race is organised by a group of volunteers from Colchester Colne Round Table, alongside some dedicated individuals from the Colchester community.  Over nine years it has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for local charities. These have included MSUK, Headway, The Robin Cancer Trust Robin and the Tom Bowdridge Foundation.  In 2018, the race is raising money to support Essex and Herts Air Ambulance and MSUK.

Take a look at what ‘s involved with being a volunteer and contact us if you’d like to help out.

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27 October 2017

You’re invited: Citizenship and civic engagement 

Filed under: Latest news, What's on — Communications, CER @ 11:29 am

Do you feel disengaged and disconnected with the political system? What barriers are preventing you from being more involved, locally and nationally?

Come to our event and let us know what you think. Your views will help shape the House of Lords inquiry into citizenship and civic engagement.

The big issue

British society is changing. People have low levels of confidence in the political system. We now need to find new ways of building bridges within and between communities.

At the event, we will be asking you:

  • If you feel connected to the local community
  • If you feel government listens to you
  • How you could be supported to participate more in public life

How can you help?

Are you someone who feels disconnected and disengaged with the political system? If so, come to our event and help shape the inquiry.

When and where?


Date: Tuesday 31 October

Time: 1-4pm

Venue: Community Voluntary Services Tendring, 22 Rosemary Rd, Clacton-on-Sea, CO15 1NZ

The event is free to attend, but please book using our Eventbrite page as places are limited.

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6 October 2017

Score a discount on your next car

Filed under: Sport, What's on — Communications, CER @ 2:27 pm
Pictured are Jon Neill from Sportsafe, Mark Farress from D Salmon Cars and Dr Dave Parry our Director of Sport along with our basketball scholars Ellie Shazon, Catherine Lutz, Stanley Kadzunge and Findlay Wood.

Pictured are Jon Neill from Sportsafe, Mark Farress from D Salmon Cars and Dr Dave Parry our Director of Sport along with our basketball scholars Ellie Shazon, Catherine Lutz, Stanley Kadzunge and Findlay Wood.

D Salmon Cars, sponsors of our basketball teams, are offering our staff and students a discount on new Fiat, Abarth, Alfa Romeo and Jeep cars.

The discount is worth between  £1,250 and £10,000 on the purchase price of new vehicles.

Take a look at the D Salmon website offers page for more details.

If you would like to catch our basketball players in action, take a look at  this season’s National league home fixtures. Everyone is invited – so come along and cheer on our Essex Blades.

Date Women 5pm Tip Men 7pm Tip
Saturday 7 October Lancashire Spinners Greenwich Titans
Saturday 21 October University of Nottingham
Saturday 28 October Cardiff Met Archers
Saturday 4November Team Solent Kestrels
Saturday 18November Loughborough Student Riders Oxford Brookes University
Saturday 2 December Southwark Pride East London Allstars
Saturday 9 December Oxford Brooks University Southwick Pride
Saturday 16 December BA London Lions 2
Saturday 13 January Reading Rockets Swindon Shock
Saturday 3 February Team Birmingham Elite Northants Tauras
Saturday 17 February Anglia Ruskin University
Saturday 3 March Bristol Academy Flyers Team Solent Kestrels 2


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3 October 2017

Give your wellbeing a work out

Filed under: Campus news, People pages, Sport, What's on — Communications, CER @ 10:53 am
To join the Wellbeing Workout programme: contact Jayde on

To join the Wellbeing Workout programme: contact Jayde on

If your wellbeing could do with a work out – why not join the Wellbeing Workout Programme?

This special wellbeing initiative is looking for new recruits to take part in three different activities over the course of the year. They are:

  • Circuit based gym sessions
  • Green Exercise
  • Mindfulness sessions

You can also get involved in green exercise sessions:

Next Session: Tuesday 10  October (the sessions are weekly – each Tuesday until 14 November)

Time: 11am (the duration of the activity will be 1 hour and 15 minutes for each session)

As part of the research you will be asked to fill out a short questionnaire.

For more information and to sign up – please email our post-grad researcher Jayde on

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9 August 2017

Welcome 2017 needs you!

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news, Student experience, What's on — Communications, CER @ 12:17 pm
We can all do our bit to help our new students feel they belong at Essex.

We can all do our bit to help our new students feel they belong at Essex.

Welcome 2017 is fast approaching and this year we want to deliver an even bigger and better Welcome experience; giving everyone the opportunity to get involved in creating a warm and friendly atmosphere for our new students.

This year’s welcome theme is belonging. We want every student to enjoy a smooth arrival, to feel that we care about them, that we’ll help them settle in and find friends – and that they belong at Essex.

But creating a sense of belonging, in so many different people, from so many different places and with so many different backgrounds isn’t going to be easy – and that’s where you come in.

We would like everyone, no matter what their role or position within our University, to be part of our Welcome team. We want our new students to be greeted by smiling faces, by staff that are willing to help, to help them find their way around campus and to make them feel like an important part of our unique community.

Research conducted by our own Dr Gillian Sandstrom has shown that students who feel a stronger sense of belonging are more likely to complete their degree and demonstrate higher achievement in their studies.

You can read more about Dr Sandstrom’s fascinating research in her interview on Essex Daily. Our Head of Residence Life, Victoria Frost, also shares her thoughts on how students who feel they matter to their university are more likely to succeed – and how all of us can play our part no matter what our role.

If you are able to take this one step further and volunteer for an official role as part of Arrivals Day, registration or Welcome, please fill in our quick form, letting us know your availability during the Welcome period and the kind of duties you’d be happy to perform. Take a look at Registration roles to see which you could volunteer for.

Graduation 2017 was a fantastic example of what a great event we can run if we all pull together. If you volunteered for Graduation – we’d love your help during Welcome, and if you didn’t – now’s your chance to lend a hand.

We very much appreciate any help you can give during this exciting time for our University. Welcome is our chance to show our Essex Spirit at its finest; to work together to show what a warm and welcoming place our campus is.

We hope everyone will embrace the chance to get involved.

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28 July 2017

Discount ticket offer to see GB’s top basketball stars

Filed under: Latest news, Sport, What's on — Tags: , — Communications Office @ 10:09 am
GB Basketball in action

Photo credit: Mansoor Ahmed/Ahmedphotos

The University is partnering up with British Basketball for the GB vs Greece Senior Men’s International game next month at the Copper Box Arena in London.

And as an official partner for the game on Saturday 19 August, staff and students at the University can enjoy a third off the price of the tickets.

The University is also extending its relationship with British Basketball as a training venue for its Under 20 Men’s team.

British Basketball Chief Executive, Lisa Wainwright, said: “The University of Essex has always provided us with outstanding facilities and services whenever we host camps or events there. We’re looking forward to working with them on the game.”

The University’s Director of Sport Dave Parry added: “The University of Essex is proud to be a commercial partner of British Basketball for the match against Greece. We are committed to supporting the game of basketball from grass roots to elite performance, through our community projects and junior teams, up to our basketball scholarship programme.

“We are delighted that we are again hosting Great Britain teams for training camps at our facilities, and hope to continue to do so in future, particularly when our new £11m three-court facility opens later this year.”

• Check the British Basketball website for further details of tickets with the discount code.

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24 May 2017

Webinars to make the most of data

Filed under: Research impact, What's on — Communications Office @ 11:50 pm

Free webinars on making the most of data

The UK Data Service, based at the University of Essex, is contributing to a series of free one-hour webinars aimed at helping you get the most out of research tools and key national and international surveys, on topics ranging from politics to aging.

The sessions, aimed at beginners, include an introduction to bio-markers: what they are and how they can be used, and an overview on sharing data through the ReShare repository.

For details and bookings, see the links below.

Wednesday 7 June – 2pm

Data in Europe: Political behaviour

Tuesday 13 June – 3pm

Guided walk through ReShare

Wednesday 14 June  – 3pm

Data in Europe: Ageing

Thursday 15 June – 2pm

Introduction to Biomarker data

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27 January 2017

Essex Book Festival 2017 hits Loughton

Filed under: Latest news, What's on — Heather Leathley @ 5:19 pm

This year’s Essex Book Festival runs throughout  March with events around the county.

Budding authors should head to Loughton Library on Saturday 11 March when Ann Cotterrell from Northway Books will be sharing insights and anecdotes to illustrate the joys and pitfalls of publishing.

Come to Loughton Library to take part in this year's Essex Book Festival.

Come to Loughton Library to take part in this year’s Essex Book Festival

She’ll also be sharing some wise thoughts on self-publishing including advice on design, the processes of production, distribution and new media.

The talk, which starts at 2.30 pm, is accompanied by a display from the National Jazz Archive’s extensive collections.

More details for this event and the many others featured during the month can be found on the Essex Book Festival website.

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20 January 2017

Book up for Essex Book Festival

Filed under: Latest news, What's on — Communications Office @ 2:52 pm

We are at the heart of Essex Book Festival.

The Festival’s inspiring director Ros Green is one of our graduates and is based in the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies. Thanks to Ros’ vision, backed up the Festival’s amazing managing board, Essex Book Festival is pushing back the boundaries of that a book festival can do and also delivering a packed programme of events throughout March.

You’ll find University of Essex academics, graduates and current students closely involved in many events – talking about their work, reflecting on the creative process or offering their expertise. You’ll also find our Colchester Campus and Southend Campus hosting exciting events.

We’re even staging the launch event at the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall at our Colchester Campus with award-winning novelist A L Kennedy (Costa Book of the Year 2007, Booker Prize Longlist 2016).

So here is a rundown of the many Essex Book Festival events with a direct link to the University of Essex, but please remember there many, many other events taking place in March and you can see the full details on the website.

The University of Essex at Essex Book Festival

Wednesday 1 March, 7.00pm, Essex Book Festival Launch: Serious Sweet, A L Kennedy

Essex Book Festival is delighted to welcome award-winning novelist A L Kennedy, who has just moved to Essex, to launch this year’s festival and share insights into her latest book, Serious Sweet: a poignant, funny and beautifully written story about two damaged people trying to make moral choices in an immoral world.

Saturday 4 March, 11.00am-12.00pm, The World in a Grain of Sand: Writing In Progress

Join the University of Essex’s Creative Writing team – including James Canton, Kate Worsley, Adrian May, Chris McCully, Philip Terry and others – as they share some golden nuggets from their current works-in- progress. A unique opportunity to join in the creative process and savour a taste of things to come! This event is part of Essex Book Festival’s Place Weekend in Colchester on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 March.

Sat 4 March, 2.00-3.30pm, Hidden Stories: place and memory in the Essex Landscape, Ken Worpole, Alan Hockett and Judith Wolton

Presentations about the Essex landscape and the new publication Words from the Edge and other Drosscapes. Ken Worpole is an acclaimed author on architecture and landscape; Alan Hockett, an artist and photographer who produces magical pinhole images; and Judith Wolton is a poet who explores coastal margins and other edgelands. This event is part of Essex Book Festival’s Place Weekend in Colchester on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 March.

Saturday 4 March, 3.45-5.00pm, Writing the Place: Phil Terry, Sarah Perry, Wioletta Greg

A rare opportunity to hear three very different award-winning writers explain why PLACE matters in their work. These include Essex-based Polish poet Wioletta Greg talking her about her wonderful memoir Swallowing Mercury, our writer-in-residence Sarah Perry of The Essex Serpent fame, plus poet Philip Terry whose new volume Quennets will take us from Berlin to the Essex Estuary. This event is part of Essex Book Festival’s Place Weekend in Colchester on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 March.

Saturday 4 March, 11.00am-1.00pm, Essex Children’s University: Junior Literature Lectures

Join Essex Children’s University for fun, practical and interactive Junior Lectures with a literary theme. Taking place on the same day as their Graduation ceremony, the CU Lectures are an opportunity to come and find out more about Essex Children’s University.

Sunday 5 March, 10.00am-12.30pm, Walking the Roman Wall: Ruth Raymer and Chris McCully

Essex-based writers Ruth Raymer and Chris McCully take you on a literary journey following Colchester’s Roman Wall. An adventure for the curious, Ruth and Chris will tell stories, and contemplate and question this ancient structure as they go, with the aim to develop a range of short writings about the wall, and about walking and exploring. This event is part of Essex Book Festival’s Place Weekend in Colchester on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 March.

Sunday 5 March, 3.00-5.00pm, Wild Writing Masterclass: Chris McCully

Enjoy a fresh vision of Essex, its cultural history and its living legacy of wilderness and imagination with acclaimed poet and writer Chris McCully, who teaches a range of Creative Writing courses at the University of Essex Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies. This event is part of Essex Book Festival’s Place Weekend in Colchester on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 March. ‎

Sunday 5 March, 1.00-2.00pm, Trieste: In-between states: Tereza Stehilikova in conversation with Professor Sanja Bahun and Roma Tearne

Following a screening of her impressionistic short film Trieste: In-between states, director Tereza Stehilikova discusses the allure of this liminal city. Positioned on the crossroads of different cultures and political states, it explores the nature of belonging, displacement and the meaning of home. A collaboration with writer Deborah Levy, the film is interwoven with excerpts of Levy’s short story, Swallowing Geography. This event is part of Essex Book Festival’s Place Weekend in Colchester on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 March.

Wednesday 8 March, 7.00pm, Incarnation: Clare Pollard

Clare Pollard, Royal Literary Fellow at University of Essex, shares poems about our children and the stories we tell them. Fairytales and modern myths make appearances alongside biblical tales, exploring innocence and responsibility, asking what it means to bring new human beings into this world and how we shape them through our words.

Friday 10 March, 7.30pm, The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise: Brix Smith Start

The extraordinary story, in her own words, of Brix Smith Start. Best known for her work in The Fall at the time when they were perhaps the most powerful and influential anti-authoritarian postpunk band in the world, Brix spent ten years in the band before a violent disintegration led to her exit and the end of her marriage with Mark E Smith.

Wednesday 15 March, 7.00pm, Estuary: Out from London to the Sea, Rachel Lichtenstein

From the acclaimed author of Brick Lane and Rodinsky’s Room, Estuary is a thoughtful and intimate portrait of a profoundly British place: the Thames Estuary. With a clear eye and a sharp ear, Rachel Lichtenstein captures the essence of a community and an environment, examining how each has shaped and continues to shape the other.

Wednesday 15 March, 6.30pm, Refugees and Peacekeepers – A Patrician Press Anthology: Penny Simpson, Kathy Stevens, Anna Johnson and others

An evening to celebrate the result of a writing competition held in 2016, introduced by Patricia Borlenghi with readings by two of the prize-winners Penny Simpson and Kathy Stevens and others. In association with the Centre for Creative Writing at the University of Essex.

Thursday 16 March, 7.00pm, Inside Story: Politics, Intrigue and Treachery from Thatcher to Brexit: Philip Webster

Philip Webster wrote for The Times for 43 years, being at the centre of all the big stories of the past four decades. Who better to share with us exclusive insights into some of the biggest scoops and the many politicians, great and small, he has encountered. “One of the greatest political journalists of my lifetime” Fraser Nelson, editor of the Spectator.

Friday 17 March, 2.00pm, The Joyce Girl: Annabel Abbs

This St Patrick’s Day, we ask why was James Joyce’s daughter written out of history? In her debut novel The Joyce Girl, Annabel Abbs explores the little-known life of Lucia Joyce. Inspired by a true story, this is a compelling and moving account of thwarted ambition and the destructive love of a father.

Fri 17 March, 11.30am-1.00pm, How to write an internationally acclaimed novel in 10 steps: Annabel Abbs

Annabel Abbs, winner of the Impress Prize for New Writers, will show you how to write a successful novel in ten simple steps.

Her debut novel, The Joyce Girl, explores the little-known life of Lucia, daughter of James Joyce. Inspired by a true story, this is a compelling and moving account of thwarted ambition and the destructive love of a father. The Joyce Girl won the 2015 Impress Prize and was longlisted for the 2015 Bath Novel Award and the 2015 Caledonia Novel Award. Her short stories have been long and short­listed for various awards, and she is now completing her second novel, based on the life of Frieda von Richthofen, wife and muse to D H Lawrence.

Saturday 18 March and Sunday 19 March, 10.30am-4.00pm, University of Essex Mini Book Festival

A brilliant place to celebrate children’s literature: family activities include storytelling with Grandma Sally and Auntie Angie, book making with artist Alison Stockmarr, story writing with the University’s Writing Society, drawing, bringing your stories to life with the Theatre Arts Society, and exclusive access to the University Library.

Saturday 18 March, 10.00am-3.00pm, Essex Authors’ Day

This exciting day of workshops, stalls and events brings together readers, writing groups, Essex based authors, publishers and organisations supporting writers, and anyone interested in writing or reading. Listen to readings of adult or children’s books, pick up top tips in mini workshops, take part in the writing challenge, meet other writers, or simply browse and buys books.

Wednesday 22 March, 7.00pm, Granta Magazine: Best of Young American Novelists, Ros Porter with A L Kennedy and Ben Markovits

Ros Porter, Deputy Editor of Granta Fiction, the UK’s leading periodical of new fiction, poetry, photography and essays, talks to two of its contributors – award-winning writer A L Kennedy and US author and essayist Ben Markovits – about the role of literary magazines, and today’s best young American novelists.

Friday 24 March, 7.30pm, Discovering England: Adrian May & Face Furniture and the Extensions

In the songs and poems of his new book and CD, Adrian May takes a wry, left-wing look at the vexed questions of English identity, ranging from the comic to the poignant, where ‘Nobody hates the English as much as they hate themselves’. This launch includes a performance by Adrian with the band Face Furniture and the Extensions.

Saturday 25 March, 7.30pm, The Long and Winding Road: Alan Johnson

From the condemned slums of Southam Street in West London to the corridors of power in Westminster, Alan Johnson’s multi-award-winning autobiography charts an extraordinary journey. Volume Three tells of Alan’s early political skirmishes as a trade union leader, where his negotiating skills and charismatic style soon came to the notice of Tony Blair. A Sunday Times best-selling author.

Wednesday 5 April to Friday 7 April, Essex Radical Writing Retreat

The Inaugural Radical Writing Retreat in partnership with the University of Essex and Radical Essex. Based at the Othona Centre in Bradwell-on-Sea.


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