The AboutUS space is using the Blog Mode!
View this blog in blog mode

Thursday 24 October, 6.30pm - Sir Tom Cowie Lecture Theatre - this event is free but must be booked via Eventbrite

Rufus Norris is Director of the National Theatre, the country’s most prominent publicly funded theatre company. His productions of Cabaret, Festen, Tintin and The Country Girl have all played in the West End and toured nationally, and he directed Les Liaisons Dangereuses on Broadway. 

His opera work includes Dr Dee with Damon Albarn, and his debut feature film Broken was premiered at Cannes in 2012; with his second film London Road released in June 2015. 

In 2016, Rufus collaborated with Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller on we’re here because we’re here – a modern memorial to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. This UK-wide event involved over 1,400 volunteers, who took to the street dressed as First World War soldiers to remember the fallen.

Return to AboutUS

Students are invited to a special view and book launch at the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art.

Friday 25 October

Artist Talk 5 - 6pm
Special exhibition view and book launch 6 - 8pm

The Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art's current exhibition - Tim Mitchell: Product - brings together two bodies of photographic artwork created over a decade that together track the birth and death of our clothes. The paired bodies of work involved tracing the ‘origin-myths’ of fashion at Paris and Milan‘s Fashion Weeks‘, through to tracking thousands of garments emigrating from the UK to the Indian subcontinent, to be broken down and finally recycled.

Product is accompanied by a 356 page monograph published by Kerber, Berlin, with texts by Luc Boltanski & Arnaud Esquerre, Mike Crang, Nicky Gregson, Emily McMehen, Helen James, Carol McKay, Michalis Nikolakakis, Lucy Norris, Alistair Robinson. Design by Brighten the Corners. For further information see

Please come along to the artist’s talk: 5 – 6pm with Tim and cultural geographer Professor Mike Crang, Durham University, and Naomi Austin, senior lecturer in Fashion Design and Promotion at the University of Sunderland.

The event is organised with and supported by North East Photography Network at the University of Sunderland.

Return to AboutUS

Bright Sparks Family Fun Day

Saturday 26 October, 10.30am-2pm - Sciences Complex, City Campus - Booking is essential as spaces are limited. Click here to book.

Bright Sparks STEAM Club is an award-winning club for young people aged 11-16 offering interactive sessions linked to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM). 

Our Bright Sparks Family Fun Day will give young people the chance to find out more about Bright Sparks and win prizes! 

Return to AboutUS

Activities will include:

  • Build to Express - Tallest Tower Challenge

Have you got the best engineering skills around to build the tallest tower using only Lego against the clock? Think you’re a master builder when it comes to working out how best to fit the pieces together and win the prize?

Take part in this challenge and test your skills.

  • Batak Wall

Test how fast your reaction times are with the Batak Wall. See if you’ve got cat-like reflexes, when a button lights up, all you have to do is tap it and be ready for the next one. The higher the score, the more chance you have at winning the prize.

Sounds easy? You have 30 seconds to try and beat the challenge.

  • Rocket Machines

Fire up those neutrons and get ready to blast off all that creativity and imagination when you get the chance to build and blast off your very own rocket machine. Learn about how the forces can help speed your machine up and how to make it more aerodynamic.

  • Doctor’s Toolkit

With the opening of our brand new Medical School, it’s the perfect time to think about whether you might want to study medicine. What better way to do it than to take a look at a doctor’s toolkit and maybe even have a look at some of the practices that took place in medieval times.

  • Junk City

With recycling of great importance on planet earth, you can use your creativity and engineering skills to build a Junk City. A modern day jungle made entirely of recycled material. Think about what you can add to the city to make it vibrant, sustainable and exciting.

  • Bath Bombs

Do you like relaxing after a hard day at school or work? What better way to do it than sinking into a nice warm bath and watching a bath bomb fizz before your very eyes. Choose what colours and fragrances you want to take home with you at the end of the day. 

  • Lava Lamps

Have you ever looked at a lava lamp and wanted to know how exactly they work? What is it that makes the motion so hypnotic and mesmerising? You can find out how to make your very own lava lamp and see how easy it is to create.

  • Stop Motion

Have you seen Wallace & Gromit, Coraline, Chicken Run or Shaun the Sheep? Did you know they were all made through the technique of stop motion? Find out for yourself how easy it is to do at home and have your chance to be involved in making a special Bright Spark stop motion short film.

Download the Bright Sparks programme (.pdf)

Bright Sparks STEAM Club is free to join and offers a range of exciting activities and events throughout the year. 

If you would like to join Bright Sparks STEAM Club, complete this webform, email or call 0191 515 3000. 


Sunday 27 October, 1.30pm–5pm - Bonded Warehouse - Adults £10 VIP £22.50, Child £5 VIP £12.50 (students can use code FORBRAD for 50% off a standard ticket) - tickets available at Eventbrite

Can you solve the mysterious fate of Anastasia? Her circumstances are intriguing, her friends and family even more so. Join us for an afternoon of exceptional entertainment at our murder mystery hosted by Tall Tales Mysteries, and organised by Events Management students in support of the Bradley Lowery Foundation.

If you can’t make it but would like to make a donation visit

All proceed are going to the Bradley Lowery Foundation, supporting children with cancer and their families. 

Return to AboutUS


Friday 8 November, 10am-2pm - CitySpace, City Campus - book your place

The University’s biggest careers event is back - have you booked your place?

 The Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair - organised by the Sunderland Futures team - is a brilliant opportunity to meet and network with 70+ top employers. At the event you’ll find:

  • 1,000s of jobs, placements and internships,
  • options for postgraduate & further study,
  • advice on freelancing and working for yourself,
  • voluntary work opportunities

Register your free place at the event and find information about all of the employers attending.

Return to AboutUS

If you’re in your final year or studying a Masters, the event is perfect because:

  • this term is the best time to sort out what you’ll be doing when you graduate
  • it will make things easier after Christmas break when you’ll be really busy with exams and assessments
  • It’s a great way to find out what’s out there and learn about what you could do with your degree
  • You can find out what you can do with Sunderland Futures to give yourself the edge   

For second years the event is also perfect if you’re looking for a placement or some work experience to show off on your CV.

Get started with Sunderland Futures

More than 380,000 people graduated from UK universities* in 2019. That’s a lot, so you need to be able to stand out from the crowd, and that’s exactly what the Sunderland Futures team are here to help you with.   

And, it’s really easy to get started in three easy steps:

  1. Follow @UoSFutures on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  2. Get logged in to online services where you can search the latest jobs and opportunities, book 1-2-1 appointments and events, and ask your career questions
  3. Visit the team at either campus - you’ll find them in The Gateway at City campus and Prospect building at Sir Tom Cowie campus.


*Graduates completing full-time, first degree courses at UK Universities;


Register to vote

Students who are eligible to register to vote may register at both their home and university addresses - though you can’t vote in the same election twice.

Registration requires each new person to supply their date of birth and National Insurance Number to verify their identity.


  1. Go online at

    This is the easiest way to register to vote.

  2. Alternatively, call us on 0191 520 5550

If you have any queries, please contact Sunderland Electoral Services on 0191 520 5550

The deadline to register to vote at an election is no later than 12 working days before polling day

Return to AboutUS



Students are invited to a special view and book launch at the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art.

Friday 25 October

Artist Talk 5 - 6pm
Special exhibition view and book launch 6 - 8pm

The Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art's current exhibition - Tim Mitchell: Product - brings together two bodies of photographic artwork created over a decade that together track the birth and death of our clothes. The paired bodies of work involved tracing the ‘origin-myths’ of fashion at Paris and Milan‘s Fashion Weeks‘, through to tracking thousands of garments emigrating from the UK to the Indian subcontinent, to be broken down and finally recycled.

Product is accompanied by a 356 page monograph published by Kerber, Berlin, with texts by Luc Boltanski & Arnaud Esquerre, Mike Crang, Nicky Gregson, Emily McMehen, Helen James, Carol McKay, Michalis Nikolakakis, Lucy Norris, Alistair Robinson. Design by Brighten the Corners. For further information see

Please come along to the artist’s talk: 5 – 6pm with Tim and cultural geographer Professor Mike Crang, Durham University, and Naomi Austin, senior lecturer in Fashion Design and Promotion at the University of Sunderland.

The event is organised with and supported by North East Photography Network at the University of Sunderland.

Return to AboutUS

A Sunderland graduate is helping lead efforts to eradicate polio in some of the most deprived parts of the world.

Wondu Gebresilasie, who completed his MSc in Public Health at University of Sunderland in 2018, is now working for the World Health Organisation (WHO) in a bid to save lives.

The 40 year old is playing a key role in WHO’s Global Polio Eradication initiative, one of the most ambitious global public health initiatives of our time.

Wondu believes the skills he picked up at the University are now helping him as he works in Pakistan, one of the three countries in the world still with an endemic circulation of poliovirus.

Return to AboutUS

Originally from Ethiopia, Wondu was born and raised in Arero, one of the remotest districts in the country characterised by, among others, under-development, high rates of extreme poverty, and low access to primary health care, education and clean water.

He said: “Before joining WHO Polio program in Pakistan, I was working on various global public health centred programmes in different developing countries including Ethiopia, South Sudan, Liberia, Uganda, Nigeria, Malawi, Pakistan, Lao PDR, Lesotho and Swaziland, with different international development organisations.

“I decided to Join WHO because I was fascinated by the Global Polio Eradication initiative. In August 2014, WHO accepted my job application that I submitted one year earlier and proposed me to work in Pakistan as technical officer/filed epidemiologist for the polio initiative.

“I happily accepted the offer and decided to go to Pakistan mainly for the reason that the country was, and still is, one of three with an endemic circulation of poliovirus and characterised by complex challenges, such as security issues, hard-to-reach areas, and multidimensional social barriers to global public health initiatives.”

After working with WHO for three years, Wondu decided to take up an MSc in Public Health at the University of Sunderland, which he believed would enhance his knowledge and skills in global public health practice and research.

He added: “I felt this would prepare me to take on more complex and challenging roles in the field.

“After finishing my MSc, WHO called me join the programme in Pakistan once again; however, as I was rather motivated to further my studies to doctoral level, I could not accept the offer at the time.

“WHO again called me for the same programme and this time I accepted the offer, not only because my doctoral study program is at stage where I can be more flexible, but also the programme in Pakistan is at a critical juncture challenging us to think critically and reflect purposefully in order to bring things back on track.

“I needed to be part of it, as I believed I could contribute more significantly using my new skills and knowledge I gained from the University.

“My time at Sunderland was very enjoyable and productive for not only did it exceed my expectations, but also supported me for the kind of life I hoped to live.”

The world is almost free from polio, with the exception of three countries. Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the last areas for the virus. Nigeria, however, is on the path to becoming a polio-free country, as of 2016, the country has not witnessed a single case.

The latest surge in polio cases across Pakistan is both problematic and worrying at the same time. Given the country’s last year’s polio performance, policymakers were hopeful of its total eradication. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

Blinded by Brexit

A psychological breakdown of how the issue is playing with our minds

You might be a staunch remainer, an ardent Brexiteer or, quite frankly, someone who has given up caring.

But whatever your position on Brexit, the term, and the turbulence it has caused, has seeped into all our lives – and our minds.

Return to AboutUS

Now, in a crucial political week, a psychology expert from the University of Sunderland has told how we, as human beings, are reacting to one of the most divisive issues of our time.

Dr Vanessa Parson, a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University, said: “Nobody likes the current situation, on both sides, so responses are resembling the fight or flight response.

“But this basic dual stress response was updated a while ago to include a ‘freeze’ option.

“Many people now accept the position we’re in and aren’t fighting back because they believe it’s a foregone conclusion. Freezing in the face of the issue, because it’s daunting and overwhelming.

“Some individuals are simply accepting what will happen, this is happening on both sides of the debate. Either because they haven’t read anything on it, or they are simply so mentally fatigued reading and hearing about it, they feel they can’t do anything anyway.”

But, as Dr Parson explains, it is not all apathy, as demonstrated by millions of people from both sides of the argument, who are taking to the streets to make their voices heard.

Why are passions so high; and what makes us become so vocal about one issue?

Dr Parson said: “Protests and petitions are clear evidence that many people are fighting back.

“As we get closer to the deadline, people are getting angrier that their views are not being heard and the emotionally charged nature of the situation is leading to people rejecting authority, and the demonstrations could well escalate as we go through October.

“Brexit is an emotionally charged issue, but this means people on all sides are more prone to dig their heels in and resent those disagreeing with them.

“Brexit has become very much an in-group vs out-group situation, but with both sides thinking they’re right. High levels of emotions can hinder communication at all levels, and leads to disagreements and potential problems with relationships.

“But it is also solidifying relationships between individuals, where beliefs match. We are a social species and navigate the world more confidently when we think the same as those around us. Shared beliefs strengthen bonds – but this can create a more powerful in-group vs out-group scenario that leads to tension.”

Dr Parson also suggests that the more our individual view is challenged, the more entrenched we become.

 She said: “When an issue is highly emotive, we can become almost more committed to it, because of various psychological mechanisms. To change our minds at this point, on either side, requires a huge re-evaluation of what we believe in, and this can lead to something called cognitive dissonance.

“This is a cognitive situation where we hold conflicting beliefs about actions and views/thoughts/emotions, so we have to resolve it in some way. This either means by changing our mind or by solidifying our position.

“It’s actually much more common for people to resolve cognitive dissonance by becoming entrenched in their beliefs, because the alternative means they have to accept being incorrect. They then fall foul of confirmation bias, which is where only those views which match what they already think are heard, and all other beliefs discounted.

“As a result Brexit has become almost like a self-sustaining view for a large proportion of people, what’s known as a monological belief system, which seems to be made up of mutually supportive beliefs with no room for alternative arguments because everything comes back to a central point of ‘get Brexit done’ and ‘the will of the people’. “

Become a FutureMe Mentor

Apply by Friday 25 October

As part of the FutureMe team, you will have the opportunity to support young people in years 9-11 through one of our structured mentoring programmes that focus on raising aspirations and increasing awareness of higher education, through a paid Student Mentor's role.

We’re recruiting Student Mentors to work between November 2019 and November 2020*. 

If you are interested in becoming a FutureMe Mentor please email for an application form.

Applications close at noon Friday 25 October 2019.

Successful applicants will be invited to attend an assessment centre 11 or 12 November 2019.

Contact or call 0191 5153457 with any questions.

Return to AboutUS

You must be available for at least 5 hours per week, including preparation and travel time, for the duration of the mentoring programme. You must also attend a compulsory training session on 7–8 December 2019.

Your responsibilities:

  • Be a positive role model who inspires young people to think about the opportunities available to them.
  • In-school year 9 mentoring – deliver small group and one to one sessions.
  • In-school year 10 or 11 mentoring – a series of small group sessions.
  • Support FutureMe staff with large group workshops, assemblies and on-campus events.


*Please note that as this is a year contract, students due to graduate in December 2019 are not eligible to apply.

Brexit update

If you are an EU citizen and a University student you may have some questions about what Brexit could mean for you. 

So what did the events of last week mean for Brexit?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson reached a new deal with the EU which needed to be approved by Parliament.  The outcome of Saturday’s Parliamentary vote means that the new deal was not passed, with MPs adopting an amendment requiring the Prime Minister to ask for a further extension to the UK’s planned departure from the EU on 31 October 2019.

We now must wait to see if the Prime Minister manages to secure a second attempt to vote on the new deal, and if the EU agree to a further extension.

In the meantime if you have any specific concerns about how Brexit may impact you, you can access the International Student Support webpages at:

In addition to providing up to date information around Brexit, you can use the ‘submit an enquiry’ button to contact an ISS adviser directly.

As ever, Gateway staff at each Campus are ready to signpost you to advice and guidance to answer your questions.

You can also contact the Students’ Union at:


Social Media (Facebook): @supreswellbeing

General SU Social media (Facebook, Instagram and twitter): @sunderlandsu

Return to AboutUS



Student Mental Health Survey


We want your views on mental health support and provision at the University.

Even if you have not been personally affected, we want as wide an understanding as possible of issues impacting upon our students, so please do give us your views.

It should take you around 10 minutes to complete the survey:

As a thank you, you can choose to be entered in into a prize draw (on completion of the survey) to win either a Fitbit Blaze, a £50 or £25 Amazon voucher.

Closing date Sunday 17 November.

Return to AboutUS

Kicking off for Cameron

Police officers and staff will pull on their football boots today in memory of a “gentle giant” who recently passed away.

Northumbria Police will take part in a charity football match against the University of Sunderland to honour the late Detective Constable Cameron Scarratt, 44, who sadly died on July 3 following a short battle with cancer.

Cameron graduated BSc Economics in 1996, and went on to pursue a career in the police force. To ensure Cameron’s legacy lives on, his friends from the Force’s men’s football team have teamed up with the University of Sunderland – where he used to study – and organised a special fixture in his memory.

Return to AboutUS

The teams will go head-to-head for The Cameron Scarratt Trophy on Monday (October 21) from 7.30pm at the Nissan Sports & Leisure Complex, on Washington Road, Sunderland.

Cameron’s wife, Lisa, will be among those in attendance along with sons Charlie, 11, and Harvey, 8.

“He would have been absolutely over the moon,” Lisa, 45, said.

“It came as a total surprise to the family but it’s such a lovely and thoughtful thing to do and the night will incorporate Cameron’s love for football, his 20 years’ service with the Force and his time at the University of Sunderland.

“Cameron was a wonderful person - funny, he had a very dry sense of humour and was a very sociable guy. He was a gentle giant, somebody who quite simply loved his life, his family and all those around him.

“It’s going to be an emotional night, and we hope it can raise money for fantastic causes.

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Macmillan Cancer Care and all the staff on Ward B28 at Sunderland Royal Hospital who provided such wonderful care and support to Cameron and the whole family.”

Proceeds raised at the event – which is free to attend - will go towards Macmillan Cancer Support, Mind North East, the Blue Light Foundation, and Show Racism the Red Card.

A raffle will be held on the night with a range of prizes that have been donated by local organisations including Sunderland AFC, The Rabbit Sunderland and Sunderland Honda.

A number of other organisations have shown their support for the match, including Northumbria Police Federation, Northumbria LGBT+ Association, Total Sport North East and Let the fun be FIN.

Officers will also be on hand to chat to any members of the public who are interested in volunteering or joining the Force.

Superintendent Brad Howe, of Northumbria Police, said: “Cameron was a well-liked and much-loved colleague who served as a Detective Constable in the Priority & Organised Crime Team when he became poorly.

“After speaking with the university, we thought it would be only right to dedicate the game in Cameron’s memory and it’s wonderful to have Lisa and Cameron’s two children coming along on the night.

“We are all looking forward to the event and hope it will be an unforgettable occasion as the whole community comes together to remember Cameron and raise money for some fantastic causes in the process.”

The game will be attended by a number of special guests, including Black Cats legend Gary Bennett, Southern Area Commander Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sunderland, Sir David Bell.

Lee Bratton, president of football at the University of Sunderland, said: “This event is a fantastic chance for the university and the community to join together and do something good for charity.”

Sunderland academics stepped onto the stage this week to collect their awards after being recognised in the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme and the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence.

The awards, hosted by the Higher Education Academy, last night in Manchester, recognised learning collaborations that capture creative, innovative practice and benefit the student experience.

The University of Sunderland’s Dr Adele Hulsmeier and Nicholas Glean, in conjunction with Northumbria Police and their Sexual Assault Referall centre, Melissa Sheridan and Julie Tekkin, have won a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) - a hat-trick for our Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries, which has twice before received the national accolade.

Return to AboutUS

The CATE project plays an important role within the University and beyond. Led by Dr Adelle Hulsmeier, it represents a unique collaboration between our drama and media production teams, Northumbria Police and various organisations involved in supporting victims of crime.

Part-funded by the Police and Crime Commissioners Community Fund the project allows students studying both drama and media production to work on a live client brief, enabling them to gain practical experience and important skills to promote employability. The project has been running for the past six years – more than 500 students have taken part in the production of 23 films on a variety of serious crimes.

Uniquely, the films have been used to raise awareness amongst children, health professionals, the police and other university students - making a significant contribution to the lives of victims and helping with prevention and awareness raising. The project has received widespread acclaim, from the media industry, from forensics experts and those dealing with the victims of crime.

Adelle, Senior Lecturer in Performing Arts and Programme Leader for Screen Performance, said: “Our CATE award win is just fantastic. Over the past seven years the team have worked incredibly hard to make sure a diverse and hard-hitting project has impact for teaching and learning, the policing sector and the wider community. We could not be prouder of what we have been able to achieve, and the CATE award is such a wonderful way to recognise this.”

Andrew Sturrock, Principal Lecturer in Pharmacy, has become our latest National Teaching Fellow.

Throughout his time at Sunderland and in Higher Education, Andrew has successfully driven improvements to the student experience. Under his leadership, the University’s Master in Pharmacy (MPharm) programme has been wholly transformed, both in terms of student success, learning and teaching approaches and assessment.

Andrew said: “I am delighted to have received this award and to represent the University at the Teaching Excellence Award Ceremony. The National Teaching Fellowship scheme provides great recognition for the teaching and learning developments that I have been involved with. It will act as a springboard to further develop my own career and to continue working with the outstanding MPharm programme team to continuously improve the student experience and quality of our graduates.”

The event, hosted in Whitworth Hall, was also attended by Dr Abigail Moriarty, who joined the University in August as the new Pro Vice-Chancellor of Learning and Teaching.

Dr Moriarty said: “Last night I was very proud to be the PVC for Learning and Teaching at the University of Sunderland! It was an amazing event for Higher Education to see the transformational activities happening across the sector. It was inspirational for me to see OUR staff winning these accolades for their teaching excellence, each one make a positive impact on our students and the wider community."



An exciting line-up of media professionals working at the cutting edge of new and innovative journalism techniques has been revealed for this year’s Journalism Skills Conference.

The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) flagship event brings together educators and employers from across the UK to discuss the latest developments in the industry, and journalism education and training.

The two-day conference will this year take place on Thursday, 28 and Friday, 29 November at the University of Sunderland.

Return to AboutUS

The Awards for Excellence ceremony will take place on the evening of the 28 November at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, presented by Sky Sports Premier League presenter David Jones and sponsored by The Independent. Attendees will have the opportunity to take a tour of the stadium, as well as participating in a Q&A with Kevin Maguire, associate editor of the Daily Mirror and Visiting Professor at Sunderland, during a drinks reception.

Lee Hall, Head of School of Media and Communications at the University of Sunderland, will welcome attendees to the prestigious event. He said: “It's a real honour and feather in the cap of our University to be hosting the NCTJ's Journalism Skills Conference, which brings together leading media thinkers and practitioners from across the UK.

“There has never been a better time to study and debate the media, thanks to the disruption to traditional news models and the extraordinary news agenda we are witnessing.

“This conference will have a real Sunderland flavour, with graduates of our highly-rated courses speaking and our outstanding staff hosting key discussions.”

He added: “I'm also delighted that we will be showcasing the Kate Adie archives, held by our librarians and containing some real treasures from her frontline reporting.”

Luke Bidwell, content and communications executive for cricket at Lancashire Cricket Club, and Joe Nicholson, digital sports specialist at the Sunderland Echo, are among the latest names confirmed to explore the future of sport journalism in a digital age at the conference.

Abbie Scott, deputy managing editor at the Financial Times, will chair a panel discussion on keeping resilient and understanding personal safety, including looking after mental health, safeguarding and online trolls.

Abbie will be joined by Andy Commins, staff photographer at the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror, Adam Crafton, reporter for The Athletic, Amy Fenton, chief reporter at The Mail, and Elizabeth Pears, news editor at BuzzFeed.

Other panel discussions will look at social and mobile video journalism, the power of podcasting, and the changing jobs landscape for NCTJ graduates.

The conference will also give an insight into how the Community News Project and its reporters are making an impact in their newsrooms and neighbourhoods.

Click here for the full line up.