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Run Sunderland is back on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 May

The 2019 Siglion Sunderland City Runs Weekend returns with a BRAND NEW 5K event on the evening of Saturday 11 May, with a course that includes running across the new  Northern Spire! 

Entry to the 5K run is free for the first ten students who email their name, programme details and telephone number to

Your details will only be used to contact you about the Siglion Sunderland City Runs.

The 10K and Half Marathon will be taking place on the morning of Sunday 12 May. With spectacular coastal views and a brilliant atmosphere, a superbly organised event is guaranteed, with plenty of support on the route and an army of enthusiastic volunteers to make it a great day for all taking part. All participants will receive a t-shirt, medal and goody bag. There is ample city centre parking, baggage services and plenty of fun activities for those not taking part.

Sunderland students can take advantage of an exclusive 10% discount on the 10K.

Discount code:


(Please note the code will only work when entering as unaffiliated).

Enter now and be InSPIREd in 2019

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No more heroes

Game of Thrones returns to our screens for its eighth and final series next Monday (15 April). Perhaps the most anticipated show of the decade, the popularity of the show in which virtually every character lies, cheats and commits murder, is a fascinating phenomenon.

A global research group of university academics, which includes the University of Sunderland’s Professor Clarissa Smith, have taken a journey into the fantasy world of Game of Thrones, speaking to 10,000 people worldwide to discover what makes this ground-breaking television series so culturally significant and important.

The research has taken place over the past two years, and, says Professor Smith who is now working on book based on the project, some fascinating findings have come out of the research particularly with regard to how viewers feel about the characters, none of who are straightforwardly heroes or villains. 

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She says: “We wanted to get a sense of which characters were favourites, but then also why viewers liked them. And what we got wasn’t just a top ten of the popular characters.

“The notion of people identifying with characters that they admire or would like to be like, that notion goes completely out of the window with Game of Thrones. Viewers’ feelings about a character are really complex. No one is uniformly nice and no one is uniformly horrible. So, for many of our respondents their choices of favourite are about the ways in which that character has gone on a journey, what has shaped them, what have they learned?

“And we found that there was real appreciation for the complexities of a character, it’s not just a case of liking someone because they are good or pretty or embody some virtue – because every one has to behave badly at some point in this drama!”

Game of Thrones is often compared to The Lord of the Rings, but, the research argues both are very much products of their time. In The Lord of the Rings, characters such as Frodo and Sam are relatively simple.  Frodo, for instance embodies suffering and self-sacrifice, while Sam embodies loyalty and friendship. In Tolkien’s world there is true evil, embodied by Sauron – but Game of Thrones is a very different beast – there is no single truly ‘good’ character and equally no villain is completely ‘evil’.

Asking viewers who was their favourite character and who their favourite survivor gave some fascinating insight to the ways people relate to characters and their place in the storyline.

“Tyrion Lannister comes out on top for both of those answers. Very consistently he’s seen as a mix of intelligence and humour. He’s smart and wise, funny and cheeky, and for many viewers he offers light relief. They also like his courage, and endurance, and his self-awareness.  He’s a fully rounded character, a very contemporary man in this ancient world.

“The second favourite character is Jon Snow – but he’s the fifth favourite survivor. And viewer’s feelings about him are very complicated. For many, Jon’s the most obvious hero of the series, but people don’t find him particularly interesting. They say he’s a teenage choice of hero and not very complex compared to other characters such as Jaime Lannister.”

And when it comes to some of the villains there were interesting contradictions too.

“Characters such as Ramsey Bolton is a sadist but also has this creepy obsequious relation to his dad. And the story of his birth tempts viewers to feel sorry for him. People talked about liking him precisely because he was so vile and that his nastiness meant it wasn’t easy to predict what he would do next! Petyr Baelish was both a favourite character for many people and a favourite survivor, they love the way he manipulated the action throughout the last seven series and even though they hated him, they also loved his skill at playing the game!”

Professor Smith says that one of the most surprising outcomes of the research is that there seems to be no real opposition to the very idea of monarchy, though viewers expressed considerable insight into the complexity of the political manoeuvring in the show, and commented on how it reflects the real world, this didn’t suggest any anti-monarchist sentiment.

“People talk about the battle for the iron throne of Westeros is like elements of Trump’s presidency, or even that it’s akin to Brexit. But they don’t then say that we need to really smash the wheel. Monarchy is still an important political dimension in this world. Its intriguing when the series offers us such a very clear picture of how little ordinary people matter in these games of strategy, revenge and death played by royal households!”

Professor Smith says she is looking forward to the final season of Game of Thrones, and discovering who will survive and who won’t.

“Without a doubt Game of Thrones is a cultural phenomenon. It has spawned so many theories, and people will be talking about it for a long time to come.

“The idea that people are interested in “dark television” and are immersed in a world of misery, death and destruction for pleasure, is really fascinating.”

Watching Game of Thrones: How Audiences Live with Dark Television is a research project conducted worldwide by Martin Barker (Aberystwyth University), Feona Attwood (Middlesex University), Sarah Ralph (Northumbria University), Maria Ruotsalainen (University of Jyväskylä), Clarissa Smith (University of Sunderland) and Liza Tsaliki (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens).

Professor Clarissa Smith is Director of the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies and teaches on topics such as media consumption and everyday life, film and feminism, and representing sexualities. Her research focuses on sexually explicit media and includes examining identities and pleasures, censorship, class, race, gender and sexual orientation, and the development of porn studies. Clarissa is a founding co-editor of the Routledge journal Porn Studies and is a member of the editorial boards of Journal of Gender StudiesParticipations and Sexualities.

For more information go to:

Toxic TV?

An academic who studied for her PhD at the University of Sunderland has accused popular drama series Peaky Blinders of “unashamedly glorifying criminality”.

Dr George S Larke-Walsh examined the male brutality within the TV series as part of a paper published in the Journal of Popular Television.

The paper: ‘The King’s shilling’: How Peaky Blinders uses the experience of war to justify and celebrate toxic masculinity argues that the programme legitimises destructive behavior by presenting the protagonists as romantic outlaws who only oppress others because of a desire to succeed in a corrupt world.

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According to the paper, the drama effectively excuses the gang’s brutality by presenting them as damaged by The Great War.

Dr Larke-Walsh, who says she comes back to visit the North East every year from her current home in Texas, states: “It utilises nostalgia for nationalism, enacted within displays of extreme aggressions as well as promoting regressive masculine ideals, specifically British ‘lad-culture’.

“In the current socio-political environment, and associated concerns about the prevalence of toxic masculinity, such presentations no longer feel safely confined to fantasy.”

Dr Larke-Walsh, who obtained her PhD in Film Studies from Sunderland before moving to America, has also explored connections between The Godfather and The Sopranos in past research.

The academic, originally from Leicestershire, also accuses the show of eliciting homosexual desire with images of actor Cillian Murphy’s naked body, as well as clips of men at work, while at the same time rejecting this desire by asserting the heterosexuality of the characters.

Despite this Dr Larke-Walsh is a fan of the programme but says she wanted to highlight the complex nature of its depiction of violent masculinity.

The show won best drama at last year’s Bafta TV awards.

Speaking about her time at the University of Sunderland, Dr Larke-Walsh, who now works at the University of North Texas, said: “I still retain friendly ties with the Media and Cultural Studies department through faculty.

“I studied and worked at the University when we were housed on Chester Road.  I remember the department as a very vibrant group of researchers, who were very friendly and supportive. 

“My early training at the University of Sunderland taught me to be an open-minded and supportive teacher.  The principles of HE pedagogy I learned at Sunderland are ones I practice to this day.

“While I'm originally from Leicestershire, I lived for quite a while in the North East of England.  I miss it very much and take time to visit every summer when I am in the UK.”  

To find out more about media and cultural studies at the University of Sunderland, click here

The Dovre Fund will award up to two annual scholarships of £1,000 per student.

Students must be full time, undergraduate level and studying an engineering subject discipline, and graduating in 2020. The award is non-means tested, and non-repayable.

The Dovre Alumni Community are an active alumni group based in Norway and continue to meet and support each other as a professional networking body. Formerly engineering students of Sunderland Polytechnic, the group continue to advocate their passion for Sunderland by providing financial support to this programme.

Apply by Friday 3 May

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Is your mate great? Have they gone the extra miles to help you? Are they dealing with family, work and Uni, and still smashing it? 

 Rate Your Mate aims to shine a light on hard working students who go above and beyond in their studies, life and work while studying at the University of Sunderland.

The scheme is unique, as nominations are made by you the student – so Rate Your Mate is for and by students.

If you would like to nominate a your mate you can nominate using this form and email it to  

You can also nominate by filling in a form at the Studio and Riverside cafes - look out for the Rate Your Mate nomination boxes.

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University graduates who benefited from a multimillion-pound North East growth fund are repaying the favour with their filmmaking talents.

Hope Street Xchange, the University of Sunderland’s £10m centre for enterprise and innovation, received £4.9m from the Local Growth Fund – which is investing more than £270m in major capital projects across the North East LEP region.

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The centre is designed to encourage entrepreneurial growth in the city by supporting fledgling start-ups. Start-ups just like video production company Second Draft.

Comprising of Mark Stuart Bell and business partner Glen Colledge, Second Draft were commissioned to produce a film showcasing the impact of the £270m Local Growth Fund; using their storytelling talents to illustrate how the fund has benefited its many recipients.

Winning the contract was a major step for the fledgling business, which recently moved from the Enterprise Place at Hope Street Xchange into new offices at Sunderland’s Business and Innovation Centre (BIC).

Providing funding to major capital projects in all seven local authority areas, the Local Growth Fund aims to create jobs, boost the economy and improve the quality of life for people living and working in North East England.

Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “More than 50 individual projects have received funding through the Local Growth Fund.

“Funding was awarded to projects that helped achieve the objectives set of out in the region’s Strategic Economic Plan, which aims to support economic growth, improve productivity and increase the number of people employed in high quality jobs.

“All the projects make the North East a better place to live and work, and the improvements will be felt for generations to come. It’s not just about improving our economy, it’s also about improving quality of life for everyone that lives here.”

With help from the Enterprise Place at Hope Street Xchange, Mark and Glen were able to launch and build Second Draft. Mark, who studied for an MA in Journalism at the University, first met Glen when they connected 8,000 miles away on the Falkland Islands.

Mark was researching a documentary and needed a collaborator and a guide. Glen, at the time, was a cameraman and editor on the Island’s TV station.

Six months later the filmmakers were working together back in the UK, before taking the big step into starting up their new business.

Mark said: “It’s a big responsibility to showcase the North East, particularly when the aim is to attract investment and create jobs.”

You can watch Second Draft’s four-minute feature video for the North East LEP here

In Sunderland, projects supported by the Local Growth Fund include:

  • Business growth: Hope Street Xchange
  • City renewal: The Beam, Vaux
  • Social enterprise: Beacon of Light
  • Strategic employment site infrastructure: IAMP

Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry MP, said: “We are investing in the future of communities across the Northern Powerhouse and the whole country through the Local Growth Fund.

“The projects already delivered by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership with their share of the fund are changing lives by building the infrastructure, skills, jobs and confidence people need to thrive.”

The £270m Local Growth Fund - secured as part of the North East Growth Deal and delivered in partnership with the Northern Powerhouse - supports major capital projects across the North East LEP region (Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland) that help achieve the objectives set out in the LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan.

Projects and schemes supported by the Local Growth Fund are helping to boost the local economy, create more and better jobs and improve the quality of life for people living and working in the North East.

Sport & Exercise Sciences student Cameron Park was delighted with his top ten finish at last week’s Taekwondo Europe European Poomsae Championships in Turkey.

The competition took place in Antalya from 2-4 Apri and saw Cameron gain his second Great Britain representative honours.

Competing in the Team Poomsae, Cameron and his teammates were judged on their technique and synchronicity.

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The 21 year old said of the experience: “I knew what to expect having represented Great Britain in the last European Chapionships, I knew there was going to be a lot of big countries there with big names and you recognise people from previous competitions.

“I said before that I wanted to make the top 10 but I didn’t know how it would pan out as there’s a lot of good competitors there.”

Park was competing in the Under 30 category and at just 21 has many years to work his way up the leaderboard.

He said: “Under 30s is probably the toughest category as you have people from 18 to 30 and I’m only 21 so competing against 28 and 29 year olds who have so much experience is tough.”

Cameron and his teammates progressed through three rounds before eventually falling short of the final but they were pleased with their efforts.

“To finish in 10th is great, a medal would’ve been fantastic but I’m still young in this sport so top 10 is definitely something to be proud of.”

Great Britain had a fantastic Championships and picked up the 2nd place Overall Best Male Team Trophy.

Cameron, who is on the university’s Elite Athlete Scheme praised the support he has received from the university going into the championships.

“The support from the university has been huge, the initial support has helped me qualify for these Championships and since my selection was announced they have helped with the finances for getting there.

“I also use the strength & conditioning room almost every day and having access to these facilities is a massive benefit.”

His next big championship isn’t until the end of 2019 but he has plenty of competitions between then to get himself in the best possible shape.

“The National championships are in December and we’re hoping to host an international in Britain or travel to a competition in the summer. Then we’ll have quite a few domestic competitions to keep me ticking over.”

Team Sunderland’s Elite Athlete Scheme helps support numerous high performing athletes at the University every year.

Can you help uncover more facts about historic Bishopwearmouth?

 Sunderland City Council is working in partnership with The Archaeological Practice on a new community project called the Bishopwearmouth Village Atlas.

 The work is part of the Bishopwearmouth Townscape Heritage Scheme supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

 The project will investigate the historic core of Bishopwearmouth in the heart of Sunderland city centre, exploring its archaeology, architecture, geology and landscape.

 Local volunteers will get involved in researching old maps, photographs and documents, and recording key features of the historic buildings, learning new skills and widening our understanding of the history of this important settlement.

 Everybody is welcome to the information session on Monday 15 April from 2-4pm at Sunderland Minster to share more details about the project, and the wider Townscape Heritage Scheme.

Anyone wishing to get involved or learn more about the project should contact The Archaeological Practice on 0191 273 0777 or email

For more information, please go to 

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About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

 About the Bishopwearmouth Townscape Heritage Scheme

Sunderland City Council was awarded £1.9m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund in June 2018 to deliver a Townscape Heritage Scheme within the Bishopwearmouth Conservation Area.

 This five year scheme will provide grant assistance to owners and tenants of historic buildings, undertake improvements to the open space which forms the medieval core of the conservation area, and host a range of activities and events to promote the heritage of the area.

A graduate is putting himself front and centre of the North East arts and creative industries’ scene in order to help other young artists.

Vincent Todd – known to friends as Vin – graduated last November after completing an MA in Curating.

Seeing the multitude of creative talent in the region, Vin wanted to establish an environment in which burgeoning young artists could flourish without having to move from the North East.

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So, in January, the 26-year-old approached the University of Sunderland’s Enterprise Place for help to start up his own Community Interest Company (CIC).

Skip forward a few months and Vin, originally from York, has now set up Norfolk Street Arts in the heart of Sunderland City Centre, providing a 17-strong studio space where visual artists can explore, experiment and cultivate their talents.

Vin said: “The Enterprise Place played a key role in helping us through the extensive paperwork needed to start up the CIC. It was challenging and they provided the support we needed, at the time we needed it.”

Now it is Vin who is supporting other artists when it comes to applying for grants and funding. His support and expertise allows them to keep working and ensures Sunderland and the North East remains at the centre of creativity and culture.

He added: “I’d noticed that a lot of artists were unaware just how much support and funding there is which they are entitled to access, while those who were aware of it were struggling to fill out the forms in a way which would ensure success.

“There was also a real need for creative space which quickly became obvious when we launched Norfolk Street Arts. Within the first hour of us launching, 15 of the 17 studios were full – and we are now working at full capacity.”

So, is Vin enjoying his new career in helping support the artists of the future?

“It’s an exciting time,” adds Vin. “We have PhD students, MA graduates, self-taught, grass-roots’ artists, all using the studios.”

And what was it which made Vin decide to come to the University of Sunderland in the first place?

“Before I decided to study in Sunderland I visited a few other places. I also considered London but the fees alone were so expensive that it was just not going to happen.

“Then I met Professor Beryl Graham from the University of Sunderland and, for the first time, there was somebody who was able to answer all the questions that I had. I thought to myself if there was anybody who was going to be able to help me, it would be her.”

Beryl Graham, Professor of New Media Art at the University of Sunderland, said: "It was great to visit Vin at the studios and see such a thriving hub in Sunderland.

“Vin moved to the region for the course, and he has really made the most of all of working curators that we visit, both in the region - and in London as part of our one-week professional development course. I'm very proud of him, and of our other alumni now working in the arts from Penrith to Ohio."

A spokesperson for the Enterprise Place said: "Vincent joined us in 2018 towards the end of his MA. His determination to set up a successful arts based business was clear from the start and Norfolk Street Arts Community Interest Company was born shortly after joining us.

“Vincent has taken full advantage of the workshops and support available through his membership with the Enterprise Place, including regularly attending 1-2-1 business advice sessions.”

Norfolk Street Arts has been supported by MBC Arts Wellbeing, Media Savvy & Sunderland Culture.

Rebecca Ball, Creative Director of Sunderland Culture, said: “The work that Vin Todd and his colleagues at MBC Arts and Media Savvy are doing to build a vibrant hub for artists in Sunderland City Centre is really exciting.

“We are delighted that Sunderland Culture has been able to support many artists to present their work at Mackie's Corner. These sorts of developments are vital in encouraging more creative graduates to stay and develop their careers here in Sunderland.”


The Enterprise Place project is receiving up to £1,344,431 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regeneration. For more information visit

Belonging and You

Thursday 2 May, 4pm-5.30pm - Riverside Cafe, Prospect Building

What do you think it means to belong to a student community?

What does it even mean to belong to a university? Are there ways to build stronger student communities which enhance a sense of belonging? What do you, as a student, value in terms of your relationship with the University of Sunderland? These are just some of the question we wish to explore with you at Belonging and You.

Come along and give us your ideas and feedback and you could win a £25 Amazon Voucher.

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Student Clubs do battle

Last Wednesday saw Team Sunderland host their Battle of the Clubs for 2019.

With BUCS fixtures completed for another academic year CitySpace played host to a fun day of activities to reward the clubs for their hard work and performances this year.

With great prizes available to successful teams and challenges ranging from Gladiator Battles to Assault Courses it proved to be a highly popular and competitive day.

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There was also a trip to Sunderland Marina with Adventure Sunderland to race on the Bell Boats.

Sports Development Officer Laura Hockaday said: “Our teams have performed really well all year so we wanted to give them something back for the dedication they have shown to their sports this year.

“Battle of the Clubs is a great concept because it allows teams that wouldn’t compete against reach other normally to showcase what they can do over the fun events available today.”

The overall winners on the day were Men’s Football and Athletics who took home Sports Ball tickets and O’Neills clothing vouchers respectively.

There were also prizes for other categories. American Football were brilliant on the Bell Boat race down at Sunderland Marina and won a table at Revolution Sunderland for the fastest time of the day.

There was also a prize for the best fancy dress which was won by the Airsoft team for their Hawaiian outfits and landed them vouchers for The Studio from our friends at Elior.

Women’s Basketball picked up the prize for Most Improved Assault Course Time after knocking over a minute off their initial time which saw them rewarded with three-month gym memberships.

The final prizes were for the best individuals; Best Male Performer went to Dodgeball’S Dante West while Best Female Performer was awarded to Rosie Dawson of Netball.

The pair picked up all-inclusive memberships for next year which incorporates their BUCS membership and also gives them access to the gym.

Team Sunderland is run by the Institute of Sport as part of Student Journey and will continue to support our students in their sporting endeavours.

Thousands of international students are changing their lives after gaining qualifications from the University of Sunderland.

Currently there are more than 6,000 students in different countries across the world studying for a UoS qualification.

The figures are revealed as the University’s new Vice Chancellor, Sir David Bell, makes his first visit to the institution’s Hong Kong campus.

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Sir David said: “The University rightly prides itself on being a global institution. As well as students from over 100 countries studying in Sunderland and London, we have a strong presence overseas.

“Our Hong Kong campus has over 600 students studying there. We offer a wide variety of programmes, usually to people in work who want to enhance their job prospects. Our location in the business district puts us in an excellent position to respond to the changing needs and demands of both employers and employees.

“I am also meeting some of our transnational education partners in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. Through these relationships, and many others, over 6,000 students worldwide are studying for Sunderland qualifications. Add in over a 1,000 students who are independent distance learners with us and you get a sense of the scale of our operation internationally.

“Making all of this happen requires dedicated staff, both in the UK and elsewhere. Fortunately, we are very well-served in that respect.”

Two years ago the University’s international footprint took a big step forward when it launched the Hong Kong campus.

Officially opened on March 2, 2017, the campus helped break the mould in terms of international student opportunities.

Based in the heart of Central, Hong Kong, the campus enables students to attain a globally recognised degree from a UK university.

Students who are based in the Asia campus are encouraged to take that important step in broadening their own international footprint.

The learners can opt to study a semester or two in the UK – at either the university’s London Campus or in the North East – gaining vital networking opportunities and future career contacts.

The campus offers a variety of courses for students from Bachelors’ degrees with honours to top up degrees and post-graduate programmes.

No stranger to Asia, the University has had long-standing success for the past 20 years, having partnered with HKU Space and Hong Kong College of Technology.

For more information on The University of Sunderland in Hong Kong, click here.

Case study.

Name: Sham Kin Tat Kinder

Campus: University of Sunderland Hong Kong

Programme: MSc Data Science

Job: System Analyst, China Life Insurance Ltd

Winner of: ‘Best New Innovation 2019’ at the 2019 MPF Awards

Sham helped develop a customer service robot for China Life called “Jarvis”. Jarvis can answer questions, queries about fund prices, and take photos with customers. He also uses speech-to-text to identify whether the client speaks Mandarin.

So, Sham, how did you feel when found out you had won the Award?

I’m happy because I spent more than a year researching and improving the speed of the response.

What inspired you in your work?

This is a special opportunity. At the end of 2016, I moved from the infrastructure team to the innovation team for special reasons. The first project was the Pepper robot - the original name of Jarvis. At that time, I felt that the robot's response was not ideal, I improved it and changed it.

Did the programme you studied at Sunderland HK contribute to your success and winning the award?

Yes, for example, the data I collected can be used for analysis and making improvements.

Why did you choose University of Sunderland in HK?

Because I am very interested in machine learning, when I saw the advertisement on Facebook, I asked and then signed up.

What advice would you give to other students?

Don't be afraid to fail. If you don't try, you will never know the result.

Hong Kong is the world's most densely populated city. But did you know:

1. The name 'Hong Kong' is Cantonese for 'fragrance harbour'.

2. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region consists of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the New Territories, and several other smaller islands.

3. The Hong Kong's Peak Tram became the first rail tram in Asia in 1888. About 11,000 people ride the tram every day translating into 4 million people annually.

4. The main languages (official) spoken in Hong Kong are Chinese Cantonese and English.

5. Unlike what many people think, about three quarters of Hong Kong's landmass is rural. It consists of 24 parks, woodlands, reservoirs, hills and a coastline. These beautiful parks are easily accessible from the city.

6. Hong Kong is one of the richest cities in the world. It has more Rolls Royce’s per person than any other city in the world.

7. Did you know that the father of fiber optics, the glass cables that have so significantly changed how we communicate is called Professor Charles Kao from Hong Kong? The professor is also a winner of the Physics Nobel Prize in 2009.

8. HK has more skyscrapers than any other city in the world. A skyscraper is any building with more than 14 storeys. It has twice as many as its nearest rival - the New York City.

9. Poon Choi, Chinese New Year's Dish that has 10 different ingredients that are served into one pot is the most popular dish in HK's restaurants.

10. Since the Opium War of 1842 to July 1st, 1997, Hong Kong was under British Rule. Today, it is a special administration region of China.

Market proves ideal canvas

A North East market and shopping centre proved the ideal location for University of Sunderland students keen to show off their talents.

The 2nd year Photography, Video and Digital Imaging students have a module requiring them to research and negotiate a public presentation of their work.

A number of them are now exhibiting work across different locations in Sunderland city centre.

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Two of the students, Zarron Barnes, 20, and Mica Mota, 26, opted to display their work in The Bridges and Jacky White’s Market.

Zarron Barnes and Mica Mota

Mica, originally from Pombal in central Portugal, first became interested in Jacky White’s Market when he visited to take photographs of the people and businesses there.

He then negotiated to temporarily take over one of the shops so he could display his artwork.

Mica said: “I’ve always been a supporter of independent shops over the bigger chains.

“At first I asked permission to take some photos in here then, when it came to the exhibition I decided to display objects from the market.”

From footballs to empty sweet containers, Mica picked items which represented the other stall and the people from Jacky White’s as part of his work.

Zarron, from Hartlepool, decided to bring to life his passion for the environment as part of his exhibition - Litterally - inside The Bridges shopping centre.

The 20-year-old’s pictures reflect litter and plastic pollution on the Seaburn and Roker coastline.

Zarron said: “I wanted to look at the problem particularly in our coastal areas. This is such a big issue and the environment is something I feel very strongly about.”

Dr Carol McKay, Senior Lecturer in Photography at the University of Sunderland, said: “Our second year students studying BA Photography, Video and Digital Imaging have been busy working on new projects about the city, the people who live and work here and the things that are important to them.

“We are really proud that so many local businesses and organisations have recognised their creativity and supported them to achieve their ambitions.  A special thanks to The Bridges and Jacky White’s Market for showcasing work by two of our students”

To find out more about Photography, Video and Digital Imaging programmes at the University of Sunderland, click here

A Sunderland partnership celebrated for paving the way to a better future for looked after children is sharing its best practice at an international level for a second time.

The University of Sunderland, Together for Children (TfC) working on behalf of Sunderland City Council to deliver children’s services in the city, and Priory Education and Children’s Services have been collaborating on a range of work to ensure young people in the care system, awaiting a permanent home, and those in special education provision at Priory Hurworth House School are given the best possible support to deal with their diverse needs - work which has received praise nationally.

As a result of the partnership, the University, TfC and Priory Education and Children’s Services were invited to present at the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ACAMH) conference that took place in Malta in 2017 and again this April.

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Steph Hunter, Senior Lecturer at the University of Sunderland, Carole Young, Senior Adoption Worker at TfC, who is a specialist in therapeutic intervention for children in foster care and children who are adopted / placed for adoption, and Sharon Pearson; Operations Director for Priory Education and Children’s Services are jointly presenting at the conference.

The partners presented a paper that focused on helping children with complex needs make successful transitions in their childhoods. The emphasis was on innovative practice that has been developed to improve transitions for children with complex neurological conditions and/or adopted or children in care or special needs education provision.

The development of the initiative focused on adopted and looked after children, some of whom had autism and other conditions.  Children with complex neurological conditions, face additional challenges which impacts upon them in terms of preparing for and making transitions.

The partnership’s working group developed transitional objects, in the form of sensory toys that the children call “Alien Allies”. These help children to explain their emotional state and how it’s possible to feel alien when you experience lots of changes.

Stephanie has been working with the local crafting community who have developed patterns and have been working successfully to knit the transitional toys.

Sharon Pearson, Operations Director from the Priory Group and Senior Lecture Steph Hunter

Attendees at the conference included therapists, psychologists, academics, social workers and those who have a professional and personal interest in the topics. There was also an opportunity for Maltese social work staff to engage and discuss their practice in this area.

ACAMH is keen to improve the standard of Malta’s children’s mental health services and reduce the number of looked after children who receive in-patient mental health care.

Stephanie said: “We again met motivated staff who manage children’s homes, plus healthcare practitioners. We also further developed a knowledge transfer partnership with the Maltese professionals. I was impressed by the warmth of the relationships with children described by staff.” 

Carole Young, Senior Adoption Worker at TfC, said: “The opportunity to review practice at an international level has been inspirational. I am confident that learning will come from the knowledge transfer that will benefit children and young people in Sunderland.”

Sharon Pearson, Operations Director at Priory Education and Children’s Services, said: “This initiative has had such a positive impact for some of our children in the school, one young person has spoken on the radio about this and his parents were thrilled with his response.  The ability to share these experiences and learn from others at an international level is a great opportunity.”

Dr Nigel Camilleri, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, founder and chair of the ACAMH Malta branch, said: “We have a number of well-meaning professionals working within social services and mental health services, however, there are two main areas which we believe needs improvement; the first is raising the standard of provision of care through evidence-based practice. The other area is improving collaborative care and improving communications between professionals and services, one way of achieving this is by increasing staff number, reducing caseloads, and giving time to professionals to adequately discuss the cases of young people.”

For more information on the University of Sunderland’s social care provision please visit.

Anyone wishing to find out more about Together for Children should visit

Anyone wishing to find out more about Priory Education and Children’s Services should visit:

¿  Together for Children was formally established on 1st April 2017.

¿  The company works in partnership with Sunderland City Council and the Department for Education to give Sunderland's children and young people the best possible life chances.

¿  Together for Children delivers a range of services for children and their families, including Early Help, Social Care and Education.

¿  Together for Children has an independent board of directors, who set the direction of the company and hold the management team to account.

¿  The company’s main priorities are to:

o   improve the lives of children and their families

o   keep children safe from harm

o   ensure they have the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

To many his name might not be familiar, but a radio revolutionary is set to be remembered thanks to a University of Sunderland academic.

In the week that would have marked his100th birthday, broadcast legend Charles Parker is celebrated in a special Radio 4 programme on Saturday.

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Charles Parker: Radio Pioneer will be broadcast at 8pm as part of the Archive on 4 series. Produced by University of Sunderland’s Andy Cartwright, Programme Leader for MA Radio, the hour-long episode will examine all aspects of Parker’s life.

Andy, himself an award-winning radio producer with more than 30 years of experience, spoke to Parker’s two children, Sarah and Matthew, about memories of their father, as well as radio critics and those who worked with him.

Parker was a BBC Radio producer based in Birmingham from 1954 to1972, playing a pivotal role in introducing a more documentary style of radio and theatre. He is perhaps most remembered for the 1958-1964 series of Radio Ballads created in collaboration with Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger.

One of the programmes won an Italia Prize for Radio Documentary in 1960 and they are generally seen as a landmark in radio history.

Andy, who organised the annual Charles Parker Day celebration on Friday to mark the pioneer’s birthday, said: “Parker really believed in the power of bringing the extraordinary experiences of ordinary people to the radio - hearing the voices and the testimony of working people from their own environments.

“He merged these voices with music in a unique and completely integrated way, this becoming the signature of the Radio Ballads which were produced by Charles, along with Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger.

“In total there were eight Radio Ballads produced over a seven year period. They were new, exciting and like nothing that had come before. But they were also expensive to make.”

“I was honoured to be asked to produce this programme because I liked Parker; I like that he made beautiful radio, integrating music and voice. The production of something like the Radio Ballads was so refined and skillful. There was an authenticity there that was unique.”

Parker, who died in 1980, was also a founder, writer, singer and actor with Banner Theatre in Birmingham from 1974 right up until his death.

Andy said: “His passion for the oral tradition is reflected throughout his body of work. He was a revolutionary, starting out politically with a very Conservative approach before, ultimately, becoming a Marxist.”

Andy has played a pivotal role in helping organise the annual Charles Parker Day for the past 10 years. On Friday, marking Parker’s centenary, the event was held in the radio pioneer’s hometown of Bournemouth.

Among those competing this year for the Charles Parker Prize were University of Sunderland students Jordan Blyth and Sam Ross.