Students Staff


4 July 2017

Fun in the sun

Filed under: News — Heather Leathley @ 12.54 pm

An image of students at our Southend BarbequeNearly 100 students enjoyed a barbecue at University Square to herald the start of the summer break.

Residence Life Coordinator Rosie Carpenter, who arranged the event with help from Residents’ Assistants and Students’ Union staff, said: “It was a chance to get together before students left for the summer and also an opportunity to share some time with the students who are staying here over the break.

“Everyone really enjoyed themselves and appreciated all the work that had gone in to make the barbecue such a success.”



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13 June 2017

Meet Magdalena

Filed under: News, Southend — ckeitch @ 11.24 am

If you’re thinking of starting up your own business, now’s the time to book an appointment with our new Essex Startups consultant, Magdalena Mahdy.  We met her to find out more. 

You run your own business, was it hard to get it going?

An image of Magdalena Mahdy

Magdalena Mahdy

I started my own business, Love That Smile Photography, four years ago with a website and some images.  As a photographer it took a little bit of time to build up a portfolio and get my name out there. However, it picked up quite quickly and I have been running my business successfully ever since.

Why run your own business?

I absolutely love being my own boss and love the entrepreneurial spirit.  There is a lot of hard work involved but the rewards go far beyond any money that can be earned.

Why did you get involved with Essex Startups?

Sharing my own knowledge with students and helping them with starting and running their own businesses, and essentially with realising their own dreams, is very rewarding and a lot of fun.

As part of Essex Startups we are offering advice to any students who are thinking about setting up their own businesses. This can be anything from marketing help, to very specific questions on how to register a business, or help with idea finding.

Students can book 1:1 appointments on CareerHub, which are customised to their own needs.

From your own experience, what advice would you give?

The entire process, and what is involved in starting and running your own business, can be very overwhelming at first – so my best piece of advice to students is to take one step at a time.  Look at the big picture but don’t let it get you down.  Break down each step into bite-sized mini ones and take it one day at a time.

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2 June 2017

Get off to a fine start with jobs plus

Filed under: News, Southend — Heather Leathley @ 9.43 am

Residence Life and the Students’ Union teamed up for the first ever Jobs and More fair at the Southend Campus.

The successful event saw students flocking to the SU Lounge to hear more about jobs on campus, such as the Residence Assistants posts, roles within the Students’ Union and other local opportunities, and enjoy a free slice of pizza.

Essex Startups and Aideen Sadler from Employability & Careers were also on hand to help students starting on their job search.

Residence Life co-ordinator Rosie Carpenter said: “The day went really well for everyone involved and we will be looking to host a similar event next academic year.”

Find out more about the help and support available from The Essex Startups Team.

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22 May 2017

Meet Adeseye Ogunlewe

Filed under: News — ckeitch @ 3.27 pm

Adeseye Ogunlewe studied Law and Politics at Essex and graduated in 2016. He qualified to represent Nigeria in the 100 metres at the Rio Olympics, and was recently named as our 2017 Alumni Sports Award winner.

An image of Adeseye Ogunlewe with Professor Anthony Forster.

Adeseye Ogunlewe with our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Anthony Forster

How does it feel to receive the Essex Alumni Sports Award?

It feels good. It feels good to be able to come back to receive this award. It shows that you guys cherish what I’ve done and what I’m still doing. It feels good. My parents are happy, I’m happy, and hopefully you guys are happy with me as well.

Wow! Could you tell us a bit about what Essex means to you?

Essex means everything to me because when I came here I was no-one. I came as an amateur athlete in 2011 and you guys grew me from where I was then, to where I am right now. I’m grateful to you guys, as without you I wouldn’t be where I am today. So, Essex means the world to me.

You knocked 0.7 seconds off your time while studying here, how instrumental were the staff and facilities at Essex in supporting you?

The staff at Essex were instrumental in my development. The Human Performance Unit put me on a path which has brought me to where I am today. I can’t thank them enough. They gave me access to a very good nutritionist in Chris McManus, and a lot was done to track what I was doing in the gym and on the track. I had a strength and conditioning coach as well. Everything was monitored. The best part of everything is that they believed in my ability, which meant so much to me.

Your next major tournament is the World Athletics Championships in London this summer. This will be Usain Bolt’s last race. What are your thoughts on his career, and has he inspired your own?

Bolt has definitely inspired me. In 2008 I watched him win and break world records in a very calm way at the Olympics. One of my friends said to me that Usain Bolt reminds them of me because we are both so chilled! He is the greatest track athlete and I am honoured to have watched him compete. He has been an inspiration, not just to me, but to a lot of other people.

How does it feel to travel the world doing what you love?

I travel a lot because of what I do. We  race in various countries around the world. Unfortunately, I never get to go sightseeing so I buy fridge magnets to remind me of the places I’ve been. I have quite a few and I hope I can collect many more!

You mentioned that the thrill of graduating was on the same level as Rio! Really?

It was for me! Going to the Olympics was a goal I set in 2008. Making it was overwhelming because I put in a lot of work for a lot of years to get there.

It was the same with getting a degree. It was one of my life goals, and I come from a very educated family so the pressure was on! My Dad was all about school before sports, so when I graduated with my degree in Law and Politics it felt like a huge relief, as I had spent a long time balancing track and school.

Both achievements mean everything to me.

Do you have any top tips for students graduating this year?

Set your goals. Set your goals before you graduate. Don’t just come out of school and set your goals. Set your goals before you come out and go for it! Don’t shy away from anything. Go for anything you set your mind to. It can be done. I set myself the goal of going to the Olympics and I did. If I can do it, anyone can do it!

What’s your everyday life like, now you’ve graduated?

I wake up at 5am every morning to go for training. I have weights in the morning, then I have track, then I have physio.  It’s exciting, being able to do what you love and do it at the highest level. It’s a bit intense, so I have to be disciplined. I’ve set my goals high and hopefully I’ll achieve them.

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4 May 2017

Powerlifting success for Tremayne

Filed under: News — ckeitch @ 2.56 pm

We spoke to Tremayne Williams, a second year Criminology and American Studies student, about his recent successes at  Powerlifting.

How did you first get into Powerlifting?

An image of Tremayne Williams

Tremayne Williams

I first started watching and studying Powerlifting in January, mainly through YouTube. I knew a guy that happened to be a junior world champion,  so decided to quiz him on the sport and how to get into it. Then, in early February, I decided to give it a go and see where it took me.

Why did you decide to enter your first competition so soon?

After watching famous powerlifters on YouTube, they all suggested that the best way to get into the sport is to dive in head first and sign up for a competition. So I joined a federation based in the Midlands called the British Powerlifting Federation (BPF) and entered a competition on 12 March. I competed in the Junior Raw 90KG Class, weighing in at 87.7KG. I also had a massive helping hand from Dan Amey and Mick Amey, who are both powerlifters themselves. They taught me everything I needed to know about how the competition was run and how I should prepare.

How did you get on?

I managed to come first in my weight class which was amazing considering it was my first ever competition.

Wow. Congratulations! And that led to a place in the British Powerlifting Championships?

Yes, I qualified for the British Championships which was held on 15 April.

What was that like?

The whole experience was amazing, and I learnt a lot from other lifters and coaches. I also learnt a lot about myself from seeing the flaws in my performance, so I know where  I need to improve, to seeing where I’m excelling so I know what to look out for in future competitions.

So, what’s coming up next?

I’ll be competing in the European Championships on 1 July in Holland, which I’m very excited for. It’s a huge competition and I’m going to be competing against people from all over Europe.

Alongside that, I’m going to try to get more people into the sport of powerlifting at the university, and I’m hoping to start a society or university powerlifting team in the near future.

Do, you regularly train at our Evolve Gym?

I train at the Evolve Gym around four to five times a week, depending on my training cycle. It’s definitely one of my favourite gyms to train at. The staff there are a great help, assisting me with exercises and helping document my journey on Instagram.

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2 May 2017

Last chance!

Filed under: News — Heather Leathley @ 3.18 pm

LAST STRAW Draft Poster WebIf you haven’t managed to catch our theatrical stars in the making at East 15 yet this academic year, you had better be quick! The final season begins on Thursday 11 May – Saturday 13 May when East 15 Acting and Stage Combat student present The Last Straw, an exciting programme that celebrates their skills and abilities.  Thursday 18 May to Saturday 20 May East 15 Physical Theatre presents 4 Solos, 2 Duets and 1 Quartet telling stories through word, song, mime, circus and more.

Three brand new one act plays, performed by East 15 World Performance students  take to the Clifftown Theatre floor  Thursday 25 May –Saturday 27 May and the grand finale is with East 15 Community Theatre presenting three community plays in Act Locally Thursday 1 June until Saturday 3 June. Tickets are available from the box office or via


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Team changes

Filed under: News — Heather Leathley @ 3.16 pm
An image of our Chaplains

Viv Owen, Dan Crooks and Jim Kilpin

Welcome to Dan Crooks who has joined the Chaplaincy team at our Southend Campus, based on the second floor of The Gateway Building. Dan will be working across the University campus and South Essex College alongside his role as a youth worker in Southend.

Dan, a talented musician, is from Southend  and has returned to work in the town, after several years in London and Australia. He is pictured in the middle with fellow chaplains, Viv Owen and Jim Kilpin.

He said: “I’m looking forward to meeting everyone. This is a great opportunity to support young people either through creating music together or just being here to listen.”

“I love being back in Southend, I missed being near the water when I was living in London.”


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28 April 2017

Green Day

Filed under: News — Heather Leathley @ 8.35 am

An image of students at our Southend Sustainability day From recycling to cycling, students and staff who took part in the Sustainability Day across our Southend Campus could win an array of green goodies, including re-usable coffee cups and bike locks and learn about cycling opportunities around Southend and waste recycling.

Local businesses supported the day with Comfy Saddle, based at Southend Central station, offering cycle maintenance tips and they donated bike locks.  As an ongoing environmental initiative Lemon Witch café in Queens Road is now offering hot drink discounts if you bring in your own cup.

Students living in University Square were encouraged to take part in the Student Switch Off and  visitors to the SU Lounge could sign up for free coffee cups. Organiser Daisy Malt , the University’s Sustainability Projects Assistant, said: “It was brilliant to see so many students and staff at the various events.  We had great support from organisations in the town too and  I hope the Sustainability Day is the first of many in Southend.”


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19 April 2017

Love democracy?  Make sure you’re registered to vote on 8 June, 2017

Filed under: Colchester, Loughton, News, Southend — Communications, CER @ 2.58 pm
Don't lose your voice - make sure you're registered to vote in 2016. Go to

Don’t lose your voice – make sure you’re registered to vote in  the general election on 8 June 2017. Go to

The Prime Minister Theresa May has called a general election – and it will take place on 8 June 2017.

In order to vote in the general election, your name must be on the electoral register. To do this, you must register yourself online at the Gov.UK website.

Online registration is quick and simple. Do it now online.

Have your National Insurance number to hand, as you will need to enter it on the form.  If you can’t find, or don’t have your National Insurance number, call 0300 3502 or Textphone: 0300 200 3519.

Visit the Gov.UK website now.

Don’t delay, register today!

Want to know more about why it’s so important that students register to vote? The BBC website has more.

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30 March 2017

Reviewing famous family photographs

Filed under: News — gemmachilds @ 10.31 am

Art History student Chisara Agor writes a fascinating review of Art Exchange‘s most recent exhibition, Order Out of Chaos by Richard Billingham. Have a read below

A true to life family snap-shot

By Chisara Agorlaunch

I cannot tell you how to judge Richard Billingham’s Order out of Chaos exhibition at Art Exchange. Some may find the cheap instamatic camera shots aesthetically displeasing, with their harsh flash and even harsher edges. But I would rather begin by asking you to think about how you would choose to capture your own family. Would you soften the edges?  Add an Instagram filter over the family feuds? Opt for a professional set up or would you try and be honest, even if it meant revealing the darkest aspects of the people closest to you?

Art Exchange’s latest exhibition brings together photographs and video from Richard Billingham’s iconic Ray’s a Laugh series which catapulted him to fame in the 1990s. All without the sheen of today’s constant re-branding and re-imagining of ourselves and the ones we choose to spend our intimate moments with. Billingham’s composition is a close-up of wrinkles, tattoos, lipstick application, inaudible mumbles, gasps and deep breathing. After a few moments in the gallery we begin to consume as much as we observe. We are brought in so close it seems intrusive for the viewer, who will surely be left mystified that the subjects appear to be seemingly unaware of the probing cameraman. Slowly gliding over these extremely intimate moments with ease. This intensity of closeness would be unthinkable for an outsider, so it is no surprise that hours of patience and practice enabled Billingham to truly personify what we could jokingly name a “(familiar)fly on the wall.”

This isn’t your average exposé of exploitation of a working-class family’s day to day. Rather it is a much more personal project. It is the journey of the artist; Richard who seeks to bridge the gap between himself and his family. The snapshots litter the gallery and take us directly into the lives of those for whom he cares about the most. They are a far cry from the aesthetically pleasing and epic photos of the last exhibition by Ori Gersht. Billingham does not shy away from the clutter filled, nicotine drenched, cramped confines of his council flat. Everything is photographed as it was; imperfect and chaotic. This exhibition is not remotely “attractive” or “pleasing to the eye” by commercial standards of beauty, therefore there is no pretence or frippery. But isn’t this the true essence of the everyday? An uncompromising attitude towards the reality of the subjects themselves as they are, without projecting any particular gaze or desire to beautify.

A short walk around the exhibition propagates the constant tension. A drunken Ray mid stumble, a closed fist mid argument. There is always just enough money, there are always bills to pay. The dog stares longingly at the door handle waiting to escape. But there is no escape. We witness the alcoholism, laughter, hate and ultimately love play out in a cyclical chaotic order. The often dizzying, half-blurry frantic film sequences are contrasted with times of stillness and intense observatory scenes. Ray in Bed and Liz Smoking provide us with moments of stillness in an otherwise constantly moving world. Giving us the impression that both husband and wife could find undisturbed moments of peace apart. Whereas, in Fish Tank we witness not only their arguments and daily routine but also moments of their togetherness.  One stand out moment for me is where Billingham captures the couple lying together in bed, with the mid-day sunlight streaming through the walls. We are overcome with this instance of their subtle and loving intimacy (Liz also burps throughout this scene, there is no idealised romanticism here!)

To conclude, Billingham offers no critical distance. He does not infuse the photographs or film with his own opinions or emotions, nor are they painted with the sensationalising gaze society often offers us in the forms of reality shows and social media. Rather, Art Exchange contains these fragments of time together, almost like a capsule in the gallery space. We enter Richard Billingham’s fish tank and observe the order of chaos. A must-see indeed.

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