Students Staff

8 May 2019

Helping shape the university of tomorrow

Filed under: News — ckeitch @ 1.46 pm

We hear from Tanki, our SU President, as he tells us more about how the Student’s Union helped shape our new University Strategy and why it’s so important that students understand what the plan is all about. 

Tancrede Chartier

Tancrede Chartier

What role did you play in the development of this University Strategy?

The Students’ Union has been very involved in the making of the new Strategic Plan. Throughout the process we were involved in coming up with ideas, taking some pieces out and really engaging with the University to help shape the plan and make sure the final version was delivering the University of tomorrow.

Is it something you’d like other students to read? Is it important?

I think it is important for students to read it. Every member of our community had a chance to contribute to this plan, so the final document includes a bit of everyone. It spells out what the University will look like in the future, so it’s an important document for you to understand.

Were there any points in it that you were particularly pleased or disappointed in? Anything you really dug your heels in on?

Overall I think it’s a very good document, especially taking into consideration that it’s really everyone’s Strategic Plan. I was very pleased with all the work around community and people. It is so important for any community to focus on their people first. Without people you have nothing, so it’s really important to ensure that people are at the very centre of your plans for the future. We’ve also done lots of work to make sure the plan focuses on our whole community and that Essex remains a place where we can truly live our values around inclusion.

The strategy says we are going to ensure every student gets a transformational education. Did you? If so what about you has been transformed?

Sometimes transformational education can feel like a buzzword. It feels like one of those words that means everything but nothing at the same time. But actually, when you think about it, it’s so instrumental to the work we do here at Essex.

I really do feel like I have had a transformational education, not just from the academic side of life at Essex, but also from all the other great experiences I’ve been able to access like societies, sport teams, and volunteering opportunities.

Like we say at Graduation, an Essex education isn’t just about shaping students, but about shaping graduates who will go out into the world and make a difference.

What does this new University Strategy mean for our students, both now and for the future?

This is a very challenging plan, especially as we’ve put it together at a time when Universities are facing so many challenges and uncertainties. This plan really puts Essex on the map and is an incredible statement. At this time of uncertainty, our values remain stronger than ever, and our vision is to provide the best experience we possibly can for our students at the same time as challenging the norm.

What does the Essex Spirit mean to you? Have you discovered your unique Essex Spirit? Tell us about it? Is it something that will remain with you even after you leave Essex?

Essex Spirit is everything. It’s anything that you want it to be. It’s embracing what we stand for and delivering it. I have discovered the will to give a voice to those who don’t have one, and this was very much shaped by my time at Essex. This will stay with me forever.

What are your plans for after your time as SU president is over? How will you use your Essex Spirit to make your mark on the world?

I’m currently applying to go to acting school, so fingers crossed. (To East 15 as well, so I might become an Essex student again). I want to use theatre as a medium to empower people and to give them the voice that has been taken away from them.

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2 May 2019

Nominate your research supervisor for a national award

Filed under: Colchester, Loughton, News, Southend — Communications Office @ 3.47 pm

If you have an inspirational research supervisor you can nominate them for this year’s Times Higher Education Awards.

You have until Wednesday 5 June to nominate Essex academics for the title of Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year and entries can be submitted by Essex students or colleagues of the nominee.

The Times Higher Education Awards website says: “This award will be given to the individual who has created the most supportive, stimulating and inspirational research environment for doctoral students. Entries will be accepted from institutions, supervisors themselves or their students or colleagues, but in all cases the institution must support the submission and student testimonies must be included in the supplementary documentation.”

Qualities judges might be looking for in nominees might include

  • Evidence of outstanding results of their supervision over a number of years (Have students from a range of backgrounds been encouraged to pursue a doctorate? What have they gone on to achieve?)
  • A pioneering approach to supervision: what has the nominee done above and beyond that which is expected of any good supervisor?
  • Demonstrable enthusiasm for the role and going the extra mile to help students navigate through difficulties, academic or otherwise.
  • Challenging students intellectually and helping them to make substantial contributions to their academic field.
  • Providing additional support and facilities to give greater scope to their research.
  • Providing supervision to an exceptional number of candidates over time.
  • Offering constructive employment and career advice post-graduation

If you are planning to nominate a research supervisor please let our Communications Office know at: as the Communications team can help you with the application and can check the University will back the nomination.

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17 April 2019

A message from East 15’s Director, Leon Rubin

Filed under: Loughton — Tags: , , , , , — Laura Mathias @ 8.17 am

I rarely write more than a few words for our blog as I am too busy chasing around, collaborating with many friends and colleagues. However, as many of you know, I will be stepping down as Director of East 15 Acting School on Tuesday 23 April 2019. I planned this over a year ago and have been gradually organising everything for my successor. April 23 is, of course, a special day as it is Shakespeare’s birthday, although according to the records of the time, it could actually be April 22- also my birthday!

Professor Leon Rubin

So, it seems like the right time, after 12 years, to make a change. It has been the happiest role in my life so far and it is an amazing school full of extraordinary students and staff. It was named the number one school for drama in the UK this year in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide and so it is the right time to hand over.

No, I am not retiring and never will; I am fortunate enough to be among the few in this world who love my work.

I now have a two-year sabbatical to focus on directing and writing and will travel around the globe to do this. I also have a commissioned book to write and other projects to pursue. I will remain part of the team at East 15 and will return here to teach and research after the sabbatical.

So, thank you to all of you across the world who have made the last 12 years so rewarding, stimulating and life-enhancing and I will see many of you on my travels in the UK and overseas. I cannot express the pride and joy I have reading and hearing about all the alumni careers and, as always, I will follow the stories as they continue to light up the sometimes dark skies around us.


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5 April 2019

Meet the winners of our PGR Interdisciplinary Conference Fund Competition

Filed under: News — ckeitch @ 9.14 am

We meet the winners of our first PGR Interdisciplinary Conference Fund Competition to find out more about their winning proposal and the upcoming Essex Cross-disciplinary Experimental Methods conference.

How do you feel after winning the competition? Can you tell us more about your winning conference proposal.

The team behind the conference

The team behind the conference

It’s really exciting to win the competition and have the means to put together this interdisciplinary conference on Experimental Methods. We are a team that spans two faculties (Social Science, and Science and Health) and five departments (Economics, Psychology, Computer Science, ISER, and Government), which highlights the interdisciplinary nature of our collaboration.

The first edition of the Essex Cross-disciplinary Experimental Methods conference will take place in June, with three keynote speakers and two interactive workshops on using eye-tracking and game theory in research. There will also be presentation and networking opportunities for participants.

How did you come together?

Our project manager, Elisabetta, gathered the group through EssexLab’s researcher network. Most of us have used the lab at some point in our research, and we were all inspired by the idea of sharing our different approaches to experimental methods. Hence it made a great pitch for the interdisciplinary conference. Plus, we all shared the enthusiasm to get more students on board to produce interdisciplinary research. There’s no better starting point than an event like this one.

Has it been difficult to work across disciplines and collaborate across faculties?

Collaborating across the five disciplines has certainly been an eye-opener, and we have already benefited from understanding differences in how each discipline organises events. We had to accept different perspectives on how things should be run, but everyone on the team is open to new ideas. Having a common purpose and a deadline also helps immensely in moving things forward.

When and where will your conference take place?

The conference will be here at Essex, over June 20-21 and registration is open now.

What do you think would be the benefits of your event for the larger University of Essex communities?

We think the conference will greatly benefit the PGR community in three key areas:

  1. As research students, learning about cross-disciplinary experimental methodology can help provide a novel perspective on our own research;
  2. Understanding different methods improves our competitiveness in the academic funding and job market;
  3. The conference provides an excellent opportunity to network with researchers from other disciplines.

We also welcome participation from undergraduate and Masters students, who might be considering joining our research community. They could benefit from learning about the type of work they might be doing as a research student. Staff are also welcome, and we hope that the conference can foster greater inter-departmental and interfaculty collaborations in Essex.

In addition, thanks to funding from the Eastern Academic Research Consortium (Eastern ARC), we will be able to offer travel support to postgraduate researchers from the University of East Anglia and University of Kent to attend. We’re excited to have this chance to support collaborations among the local research community.!

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21 March 2019

Lots of love from the Library

Filed under: Loughton, News — ckeitch @ 10.33 am

We ran a ‘Love or Break-up Letter’ activity last month to get some feedback on our library services and were thrilled to receive 22 love letters.

That’s right, none of you wanted to ‘break up’ with us, which is fantastic news.

Thanks for all your kind words and suggestions, which we have already started to implement.

Book swap corner

Book swap corner

Book Swap Corner

First up, you told us that you want more fiction in the Library.

We have now created a Book Swap Corner, which you can find near the newspaper rack to the left of our library entrance.

Just bring along any books that you have read and want to pass on, and pick up a couple of others to read.

If you don’t fancy picking up a book, you can still drop off any you’re finished and want to pass on.

It’s really easy to use and completely free – two very good reasons why you should get involved.

Some of our new books

Some of our new books

More, more, more

In your love letters you also told us that you want more modern plays as well as more international texts. Well, good news…you will now find more than 200 new titles.

For the next few weeks, we will display a selection of new texts for you to browse through.

So what are you waiting for, get yourself to the library to see what’s new.

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15 March 2019

The Essex Cross-disciplinary Experimental Methods Conference is coming your way

Filed under: News — ckeitch @ 2.36 pm

Are you starting your research and wondering about your study methodology? Are you in completion and want to increase your employability by expanding your repertoire of experimental methods?  Whatever your stage of study, The Essex Cross-disciplinary Experimental Methods Conference (ECEM) is for you.

Grant funders increasingly prize early career researchers with skills and networks beyond their primary discipline. A wider knowledge of experimental methods opens doors to forging competitive interdisciplinary collaborations.

The first ever ECEM Conference will take place on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 June, bringing together researchers from multiple disciplines to share the varied and complementary aspects of their experimental methods. Get ready for two days packed with exciting workshops, multidisciplinary keynotes speakers, and plenty of networking opportunities.

This conference is organised by postgraduates, for postgraduates and supported by the Essex PGR Interdisciplinary Conference Fund Competition and Eastern Academic Research Consortium.

Registration is free, and will open in April.

If you would like further information, email with ECEM Conference in the heading.

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13 March 2019

Imagine more in our Green Thumbs garden

Filed under: News — ckeitch @ 4.44 pm

Find out more about our Green Thumbs garden, and the positive impact it can have on your mental health, from Héloïse Kroband, the secretary of our allotment society.

Héloïse Kroband

Héloïse Kroband

Imagine a beautiful, secluded garden, sun-kissed and surrounded by a wooden picket fence. Imagine people laughing while trying to work a manual lawn mower, imagine people eating delicious late raspberries under the cold sun of November. Imagine people sitting down and chatting around a picnic table, imagine people harvesting peas and carrots. Imagine planting pear trees and imagine making delicious pear pies in a few years, when the fruits have grown. Imagine building a wooden shelf from start to finish, imagine the reward of knowing you grew all those fruits and vegetables and imagine contributing to the earth.

I know what I am describing sounds like the Garden of Eden, but it does exist, and on campus too! It is the Green Thumbs’ garden. The Green Thumbs is the allotment society on campus. If you are intrigued or curious, do not hesitate to come check us out, or drop us an e-mail, we would love for you to join us.

You might be thinking: “I don’t know the first thing about gardening!” But let me reassure you: most of the time, we don’t either, we just come to have a good time. We are all learning, and there is not one gardening expert in the society. So what if you are the kind of person who kills every plant they get? In 19 years of existence, I have killed many a plant, I even managed to kill a cactus (overwatering is apparently a thing). Whether you are an expert in gardening or a relative beginner, we would love for you to join, and you may even learn a thing or two about how to keep plants alive.

No matter who you are, there are several reasons why you will love the garden. To start with, it is incredibly soothing to garden. I love going there. It is the most peaceful and positive time of my week: being outside, connecting with nature and with people, building things and growing things. It just makes me feel so uplifted. And it’s not just me – all the members of the society can confirm the good side effects of gardening. Better still, it’s not just the members! Several studies show the benefits of gardening for depression, mental health, stress and self-esteem.

Let’s delve into mental health issues for a minute here: sometimes, life at uni can be overwhelming and stressful. And sometimes, life in itself is hard. I can perfectly relate to this. In those moments I stop taking care of myself. I isolate myself and I stew in my own unproductivity and self-hatred. And yes, sometimes, when I feel bad, all I want to do is binge watch How I Met Your Mother for six hours to forget about my crippling anxiety.

In those moments though, I have noticed that forcing myself to get out of the house to go to the garden is a self-care act. It makes me feel better, it makes me feel productive, and it makes me feel like I am in control of my life. Of course, going to the garden is not a magical fix to a problem or a mental health condition, and gardening is not a substitute for counselling . But it does help.

Moreover, socialising with the beautiful people from the society is always enjoyable. The case I want to make here is simple: the members of a gardening society are necessarily chilled and nice. Don’t get me wrong, we are not all the same. We are a very diverse group, but from what I have noticed, everyone is really friendly, really genuine, natural and humble.

In summary, gardening is fun, good for your mental health, instructive, social, and you will even score some free organic vegetables and fruits as a result of doing it. Want to try? We meet every Saturday in the garden at 1pm. If you don’t know where the garden is, drop me an e-mail or message us on Facebook, and we’ll arrange to meet you to show you around. Looking forward to meeting you!

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27 February 2019

International Women’s Day 2019

Filed under: News — ckeitch @ 10.36 am

We’re hosting a range of activities and events during the week of International Women’s Day on Friday 8 March.

Tuesday 5 March

Wednesday 6 March

Thursday 7 March

  • Back Class 1.15pm to 2.00pm NTC.1.05, Colchester Campus
  • Fitness Yoga: Unwind 5.15pm to 5.55pm, Essex Sport Arena, Colchester Campus. Contact Sports Centre Reception to book 01206 873250.

Friday 8 March

  • Beyond Barriers 12pm to 2pm, Essex Business School, Colchester Campus
  • Refusing Ideologies of Conversion in Carceral Publics: Gender, Genre and Justice in Spain 2pm to 3pm 6.300, Colchester Campus
  • Intersectionality 101 6pm to 8pm LTB8, Colchester Campus
  • Women in Action 7pm to 8pm, The Forum Lecture Theatre, Southend Campus
  • Girls Night In – Sports Centre, Colchester Campus

Saturday 9 March

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18 January 2019

Happy New Year from VP Andrea

Filed under: News — Heather Leathley @ 10.22 am

Happy New Year to you all. I hope your holidays were merry and that the gym memberships you started on 1 January are still being used.

Your VP, Andrea Lungay

At the SU we are excited to say that it is New Year Same Us – only with some extra cool stuff planned.

First and foremost, the Leadership Race is here! Now is the time to put yourself forward to be the voice of our Southend student body. There are many part-time roles such as BAME Officer, LGBTQ+ Officer, Disabled Students’ Officer, Student Parents’ Officer, Women’s Officer and of course the big full-time role of VP Southend, *cough cough*, that’s me. Nominations close at 4pm on Friday 25 January so make sure you get involved and start planning your campaign!

Last term also saw a few wins in our Big 4. In case you missed it, the SU asked what are the four most important things to students and you chose

  • Mental Health
  • My Course
  • SU Lounge
  • Environment

We are pleased to say that not only did we secure many wins last term, we have ultimately completed one of our Big 4 objectives. We have introduced new paper takeaway packaging in the Lounge, new SU travel mugs and of course the SU Bike Hire Service to become much more sustainable. We hope to take more steps towards becoming even more environmentally friendly.

So Welcome back and Welcome home!

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17 January 2019

Three Minute Thesis competition 2019

Filed under: News — ckeitch @ 9.49 am

The Three Minute Thesis competition is back. We spoke to Dr Tuesday Watts-Overall, who’s just got a job as a lecturer at the University of East London, to find out more about her experience of winning the competition in 2017.

Dr Tuesday Watts-Overall

Dr Tuesday Watts-Overall

How did you first get involved with the Three Minute Thesis competition?: I entered the 3MT competition when I was in the final year of my PhD.

What was the best thing about taking part?: Being able to confidently and concisely explain 3 years worth of work to a layperson, which I’ve done quite a lot since then.

Do you think the Three Minute Thesis competition helped you once you’d finished your PhD?: Yes, definitely. I became quite good at summarising my research speciality in job interviews, interviews with the media and at conferences.

Can you tell us a bit more about your current research? : My current research builds on that of my PhD, investigating the factors that contribute to the development of sexual orientation and gender related expression.

Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to people thinking about entering the competition, what would it be?: Go for it! It’s a great, confidence-boosting experience, which will come in handy in a range of situations throughout your PGR study and long afterwards.

If you’d like to enter this year’s competition just email a 300 word summary of your research to

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