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Do you have an idea that could improve student experience? You can turn your idea into reality with a Silver Fund grant.

The University has launched a new scholarship to celebrate our 25th anniversary.

Students can apply to The Silver Fund. The Fund supports life-changing experiences which benefit our students, the campus and the regional community.

If you or your fellow students have got the right idea you can apply for a grant of up to £2,500

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Scholarships are limited* and awarded in line with specific criteria.

If you have an idea to enhance the student experience and need some financial support to achieve this, contact the Development Office to discuss your application.

Information including how to apply and application deadlines are available online at:


For advice and guidance contact the University's Development Office team on 0191 515 3664 or development.office@sunderland.ac.uk.

*Applications which meet the scholarship criteria are not guaranteed as successful; funding is allocated each term and awards are limited.

Colin's for the chop

Spark Early Breakfast presenter Colin Cunningham is getting the chop for charity.

Colin, who is in the final year of his BA Media Production degree, is getting his hair cut off in support of The Little Princess Trust

You can donate online here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/head-2-head

The big chop takes place at East Coast Inc. 82B Sea Rd, Sunderland SR6 9DB from 7pm-10pm on Thursday 22 February in conjunction with “The Takedown” on Spark who will be live from this location. The Event is free to attend but donations would be greatly appreciated. All proceeds go to the Little Princess Trust. 

Colin says: “I've been growing out my hair for just over 4 years - I really like rock and metal music, so the long hair kind of goes with the image.

"To me donating my hair means that I can help someone who might need it and that I can do some good." 

The idea for this event has been a year in the making when Colin got his hair braided for an event and was asked if he’d ever cut it.  Colin is also working on a project with fellow Media Production student Andrea Elder, highlighting hair loss through cancer treatment, so felt was the perfect time to go for the big chop. The event will raise awareness and help those that experience the awful ordeal of having to lose their hair alongside the struggle of battling cancer.

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A Sunderland graduate’s live and on-demand service which allows people to join fitness classes from the comfort of their own home has attracted the attention of the lucrative American fitness market.

Since Elliott Perry, from Washington, founded Flex in 2015, his business has gone from strength to strength with up to 3,000 sign-ups. The streaming service allows leading fitness instructors to host live and interactive classes, broadcast into the home via internet TV boxes and supporting casting devices, as users link up through a heart-rate monitor to keep check on their workout and compete against others.

As a result of the London-based Flex’s growth, Elliott and business partner Matthew Quinn have been accepted onto US based Techstars, a worldwide entrepreneur support network that runs three-month long start-up school bootcamps known as ‘accelerator programmes’.

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Elliott, who graduated in 2012 with a first-class degree in Business Computing explained: “Having moved from Sunderland to London I'll now be moving again to Boulder, Colorado - the fitness capital of the US - to focus on American expansion for Flex.

“We’re delighted to have been accepted onto Techstars(link is external), the equivalent of an ivy-league university in the tech start-up world. Techstars comes with $120,000 in funding and by joining the programme we'll have access to world-class mentorship from the founders, executives and employees of the world's most successful technology companies such as Amazon, Google, Twitter and Airbnb. We'll also have access to Techstar's investor network, providing the funding necessary for us to accelerate development of the company. By joining the Boulder programme specifically we'll be located in Colorado, the fitness capital of the US.”

Flex works by calculating your maximum heart rate using the HUNT fitness study model (calculating your maximum heart rate after analysing important factors such as: age, weight, gender and height) and scores you points per minute. These points and your overall percentage are then stacked in a leaderboard in real-time throughout the class.

Combined with music, classes including bootcamp-style training, calisthenics, cardio and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), are broadcast at a specific date/time and everyone tuning in works out at exactly the same time. The instructor engages everyone by shouting out encouragement by calling out individuals by name.

Natty Zola, Managing Director of Techstars Boulder, said: “We’re super excited to have Flex join us here in Boulder. The Boulder programme has attracted many health & fitness technology start-ups over the years that have gone on to be successful companies. We’re looking forward to working with Elliott and Matt to turn Flex into the Netflix for fitness.”

Elliott founded his first technology start-up, an accelerator program in the North East, at age just 23. Specialising in B2B online events marketing and analytics, Elliott sold the company to a London firm and moved to the capital in 2014.

Explaining the concept behind Flex, the 27-year-old said: “Both myself and Matt had difficulties balancing our professional careers with a healthy lifestyle. We had both tried ‘at-home’ workout websites and apps as we thought it was the obvious solution to packed gyms, overbooked peak time classes and traveling back and forth. But we found that the ‘at-home’ exercise space was such a lacklustre experience compared to, say, boutique studio classes. The poor experience meant that we didn't stick to it and build those all-important healthy habits, but we saw no reason why technology couldn't be used to make at-home exercise far more social, engaging and fun. That's when Flex was born.”

He added: “We are on a mission to make at-home bodyweight exercise as exciting as boutique studio classes. We combine wearables with live and on-demand video workouts to deliver a fun, immersive, gamified fitness experience that quickly becomes addictive.

“Technology for live streaming is coming of age and it’s an exciting time for our team, but I’ll never forget my roots and where it all started as a concept in Sunderland!”

There are plans in the pipeline to connect Flex into smart home voice assistant devices such as Alexa and Siri, as well as considering the future of the fitness experience as developments in 3D augmented reality take shape.

Asked how his University experience shaped the person he is today, Elliott said: “I studied Business Computing, rather than computer science, because I knew my interests lay at the intersection between business and technology, I wanted to be able to commercialise my ideas. That said, I still had no idea which areas of computing interested me most.

“It was only throughout my four year journey with Sunderland that I really discovered what I was passionate about. My placement year at Sage, which the university sourced for me, was pivotal in developing the foundational skills necessary for my start-up journey that was to follow. I keep in touch with the university because I really think Sunderland offers a lot of opportunity for students in the IT sector.”

For more information about Flex, visit:

Website: https://www.sweatflex.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sweatflex

Twitter: https://twitter.com/flexsweat

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sweatflex/

For information about Elliott Perry, visit:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/elliottjperry

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elliottjperry


Arrival of the fittest

February's monthly Hike saw students explore the North Durham Coast whilst getting fit!

The Institute of Sports monthly hiking program has seen students take advantage of the local landscape and get out and about in the stunning scenery whilst getting fit and active at the same time.

The program has seen a rise in students getting involved from 8 hiking Hadrian’s wall in October to highs of 26 climbing Roseberry topping in January.

This month’s hike saw 21 students hike through Castle Eden Dene to the North Durham Coast, including Blackhall Rocks.

The next hike will be to Hadrian's Wall, on Thursday 15 March - contact Laura for more details/to book a place.

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The new Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art will reopen on 24 March with a major new commission by artist Fiona Crisp: Material Sight. 

After closing at its former home on Fawcett Street 18 months ago, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art will reopen in a new 3,200sq ft exhibition gallery at National Glass Centre, part of the University of Sunderland, creating a spacious new home for the visual arts in Sunderland.

Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019 having been one of the very first contemporary art galleries in Britain. It has provided major international figures with their first UK exhibitions, including Harun Farocki (Germany) and Cory Arcangel (USA), and exhibited fourteen Turner Prize nominees.

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In Material Sight, Fiona Crisp uses photography, moving image and sound to explore how we might encounter spaces where the frontiers of knowledge are being expanded. This new, large-scale commission examines the environments where experiments that challenge the limits of our imagination are carried out.

For nearly two years Crisp has worked with three world-leading research facilities for ’fundamental science’: Boulby Underground Laboratory, sited in the UK’s deepest working mine; Durham University's Institute for Computational Cosmology; and Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso, the world’s largest underground laboratory for particle physics, housed inside a mountain in central Italy.

Boulby Underground Laboratory is over a kilometre beneath the Earth’s surface and is, in the team’s own words, “a special place: a quiet place in the universe where studies can be done almost entirely free from natural background radiation.” Within environments such as these, some of the most complex questions about the structure and history of the universe are being trialled, yet the sites themselves, as well as the science that is performed in them, are often invisible or inaccessible to the public at large.

Indeed across all these sites knowledge is pursued at a scale and distance unseen by most - from the macro scale of the multiverse to the micro scale of the sub-atomic world. In Material Sight, Crisp explores how we might overcome this sensory remoteness by placing us into the spaces and laboratories where the science is performed; building a landscape of image and sound with large-scale photographs and moving image works.

Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art at National Glass Centre, Liberty Way, Sunderland SR6 0GL

Open daily 10am – 5pm

0191 515 5555 ngca@sunderland.ac.uk www.ngca.co.uk


Fiona Crisp is an artist known for creating installations of large-scale photographs that question the presence of the photographic object as an unstable and deeply equivocal phenomenon. Her projects have been created by spending intensive periods of time in particular locations. Previous projects have included working in the Early Christian catacombs of Rome, and in a Second World War underground military hospital. Crisp studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and has exhibited both nationally and internationally. The project Material Sight has been supported by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship. Crisp’s work is held by several national collections of contemporary art, including Tate, the British Council, Arts Council and Government Art Collection. Fiona Crisp is represented by Matt’s Gallery, London.


HPV Vaccine

Boots in the Bridges, Sunderland now has the stock of the HPV Vaccine (Gardasil 9)

Patients can phone to make an appointment 0191 567 0933 (Option 3 for Pharmacy) or they can make the appointment in store.

About the HPV Vaccination

In the UK young girls (on NHS) get vaccinated against the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) which causes a range of cancers such as cervical cancer. However this is not the case in many other countries and we have had a large demand from overseas students wanting to purchase the HPV vaccination.

Full details of the HPV Vaccination service can be found online:


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Student Opportunities Fair

Thursday 22 February, 11am-1pm - National Glass Centre, Sir Tom Cowie Campus

Interested in earning some extra cash and picking up some valuable skills and experience whilst you study? Then the Student Opportunities Fair is for you.

University of Sunderland: Sunderland Futures team will host this great event where you can meet local employers recruiting now for paid, part-time and voluntary work. You don’t even need to sign up, just come along on the day.

Taking place in the Riverside Suite at the National Glass Centre students can come along and find a variety of opportunities including part-time jobs, internships and volunteering that will enhance your employment prospects now - perfect with the long summer break on the horizon.

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Housing Fair

Tuesday 27 February, 10am-2pm - CitySpace, City Campus

If you are looking for a new home for September then 27 Feb should be in your diary!

The Students' Union's Housing Fair in partnership with University of Sunderland is back. There will be a whole host of housing providers and experts on hand to give you all the information you need and answer any questions. 

Make sure you attend this event before you sign anything to find out everything you NEED to know. Let us know that you're attending HERE.

This event is sponsored by Hackett Property

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Tuesday 27 February, 4pm-6pm - Room 007, Prospect Building, Sir Tom Cowie Campus

A series of lectures about how artists work, live and thrive in the arts and creative industries.

Emma Baker
Emma completed her BA(Hons) degree in Glass and Ceramics in 2014 from the University of Sunderland. She has had the opportunity to work at various glass studios and has assisted many talented makers and learn first-hand from their skill. She is now settled in her current position at Devereux & Huskie Glassworks assisting artists, designers and makers alike, alongside making and exhibiting her own work.

Ine Poppe
Ine is a Dutch artist, journalist and writer. In 1984 she created an art project called Mothers Milk Cheese, producing a cheese of her own milk. She has worked as a documentary film maker, script writer, and since 1997 contributor to the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad.

Free and open to all.

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Founded by Turner Prize winning design collective Assemble, Granby Workshop is a Liverpool-based manufacturer of architectural ceramics. 

You are invited to a talk by the innovative community arts project, 1-2pm, Wednesday 28 February, Prospect 007.

Granby Workshop was set up as part of the community-led efforts to rebuild Granby, a Liverpool neighbourhood that was nearly made derelict by decades of poorly-planned regeneration initiatives.

The workshop's first range of products were designed for the houses being renovated and included bathroom tiles, door handles and fireplaces - new architectural features made in Granby and reflecting the care, value and creativity invested in these homes.

The Workshop has since grown considerably, a process accelerated by being awarded the Turner Prize in 2015, and now undertakes a range of commissions, supplying its distinctive architectural ceramics worldwide. These have been widely exhibited and are held in the permanent collections of the V&A and the Crafts Council. The business remains strongly community-orientated, operating from its premises on Granby St, participating in the monthly community market, and continuing to contribute to ongoing local renovations. 

Following the talk, the Granby Workshop team will lead a series of group tutorials open to students on the Artist, Designer Maker: Glass and Ceramics BA as well as MA students in Glass and Ceramics.

For further information on the talk, please contact joe.woodhouse@sunderland.ac.uk

Supported by Mike Davies and the University of Sunderland Development Trust, Registered Charity No: 1041658

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Wednesday 28 February, noon-1pm - Room 1, The Gateway, City Campus

In all clothing, but especially protective clothing, the micro-environment (micro-E) is the most important environment for user safety and comfort. Of late, the micro-E is increasingly inhabited by wearable measurement devices. The aim is to make clothing safer, more comfortable and workers and sports people more productive.
The seminar will discuss the micro-environment, innovation in wearables and key opportunities for innovative thinking and research.

Prof Bishop is a Professor of Exercise Physiology in the College of Education at the University of Alabama. He has been a visiting scientist for NASA, US Military Academy, Swedish National Winter-Sport Center, Fulbright Fellow at the University of Botswana. Prof Bishop has provided consultancy to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes for Health, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, The International Standards Organization and UK Fire Services.

Free and open to all

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Wednesday 28 February, 3pm-5pm - Room 009, Prospect Building, Sir Tom Cowie Campus

Hosted by the Sunderland University Branch of the University and College Union (UCU)

  • Do you believe that our educational curriculum should be more inclusive?
  • Do you believe that a more inclusive curriculum is essential to addressing the attainment gap of students from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds?
  • Do you want to debate/ be informed about these issues?

If your answer to these questions is YES, then you are invited to attend a discussion on ‘Decolonising Education’ hosted as part of the UCU Day of Action Against Workplace Racism.

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Professor Uvanney Maylor, Professor of Education at the University of Bedfordshire

Professor Maylor’s research interests include race, ethnicity, culture, educational equity, inclusion and social justice. She is particularly concerned abort the impact of race and culture on educational practice/leadership and student and teacher experience, identities and outcomes.

Marsha Garratt – Project Manager, All in Youth Project. All in Youth Project is a voluntary organisation based in Middlesbrough that works with young people aged 11-25 to deliver culturally aware, fun and positive youth sessions and events for BME, Asylum seekers and Refugee young people so they can get involved and have their voices heard.

With Contributions from:
Tosan Velor (pictured) – Vice President Well being and Engagement, Sunderland University Students’ Union

Bryan Pepple – Equality and Diversity Officer, Sunderland University Students’ Union

Free and open to all.

Thursday 1 March, 2pm-4.30pm - Room 107, Goldman Building, Sir Tom Cowie Campus - book your place

In celebration of University Mental Health Day 2018, the University of Sunderland Wellbeing team have arranged a talk about mental health to incorporate this year's theme of Community.

Book now and come along to our FREE event and listen to our two guest speakers:

  • Sunderland Legend Kevin Ball will talk about Mental Health in relation to football, the impact this has on the wider community, the community of the team, how they deal with any issues and maintain their mental wellbeing.
  • One of the University’s Patient Carer and Public Involvement Participants will talk about his lived experience of Mental Health.

Your University, Your Community, Your Mental Health

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A Sunderland undergraduate and a graduate have been named among of shortlist of 11 artists and sculpturors who will compete to be named the third Gillian Dickinson North East Young Sculptor of the Year.

Sienna Giffin Shaw, who graduated BA (Hons) Glass and Ceramics, 2017, and Jonny Michie who graduates BA (Hons) Glass and Ceramics this summer, are finalists to create a work for Cheeseburn Sculpture based in Northumberland.

Graduate Dan Gough won the first Gillian Dickinson North East Young Sculptor Award in 2016, creating his ambitious sculpture ‘Scurry’ comprising 2,000 red and grey squirrels.

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Thirty artists, aged 18 - 25 years old applied from across the region, and the shortlist of 11 sees a number of the region’s universities represented. Matthew Jarratt, Curator and Artist Mentor at Cheeseburn said,

“We have shortlisted 11 young artists from a strong application of 30 and we will now provide support and mentoring for them over the next three months. Which will help them to develop ideas for installations at Cheeseburn. It is the first time these artists have had a budget to work with and an outdoor site to consider and we’re happy to be able to support young artists to develop their creative skills to meet the challenges of making sculpture in the environment."

The successful artists on the shortlist will each receive £300 to develop a proposal for a sculpture or installation to be sited at Cheeseburn in 2019, the shortlisted artists comprise six female artists and five male artists who have all studied and/or are practicing in the region. They are:

Jed Buttress (Newcastle University), Clare Townley (Newcastle University graduate, now at New Bridge Studios), Alexander Nicholas (Northumbria University graduate, now at Baltic 39), Jenny Alderson (Goldsmiths graduate, now at New Bridge Studios), Thomas Tyler (Teesside University graduate, now at New Bridge Studios), Charlotte Palin (Teesside University), Emily Chapman (Teesside University), Sienna Griffin-Shaw (Universty of Sunderland graduate), Jonny Michie (University of Sunderland), Jenny McNamara (Newcastle University) and Theo Scott (Northumbria University, now at Baltic 39)

Visitors to Cheeseburn this May will be able to see the proposed installations and sculptures and vote for their favourite. A public vote will also take place on the Cheeseburn Facebook page, in addition to input from a selection panel, before the winner is announced on 1 July 2018.

Cheeseburn Sculpture will open for its first weekend of 2018 on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 May, quickly followed by its second open weekend over the May Bank Holiday weekend, Saturday 26 – Monday 28 May.

Joanna Riddell, founder of Cheeseburn Sculpture says: “We are delighted to be able to continue to showcase the work of emerging young artists within the grounds at Cheesburn. Thanks to the generous support of the Gillian Dickinson Trust we are able to offer this special opportunity to young artists in the North East each year, it is a chance to celebrate the talent that is being nurtured in our northern universities.”

Charlotte Pallin, Emily Chapman, Jenny McNamara, Sienna Griffin-Shaw, Jenny Alderson, Jonny Michie

Ice cold in Durham

Two of our most successful graduates returned to the North East this week to carve a name for themselves on the streets of Durham.

Graduates Mat Chaloner and Mat Foster run Glacial Art, a company that specialises in ice sculptures - and whose clients have included MTV, and the producers of Game of Thrones and the James Bond franchise.

They have populated the the flame-lit trail for Durham City's Fire & Ice festival.

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The Gruffalo and William Shakespeare, the leader of the Game of Thrones' White Walkers, The Night’s King, joined other characters on the free trail, which also includes Paddington Bear, Mr Earthworm from James and the Giant Peach, Snow White, Gandalf from Lord of the Rings and more.

The two Mats, who both graduated BA Model Making and Design in 2002, worked for London-based ice sculptor Duncan Hamilton after graduating, when Mat Chaloner's unique life-sized Subutteo model of David and Brooklyn Beckham caught the media's attention - going on to establish their own business, Glacial Art in 2006.

Matt Chaloner with David & Brooklyn Beckham in 2002