• Linked Applications
    Loading…
The AboutUS space is using the Blog Mode!
View this blog in blog mode

Drums rolled out across the University of Sunderland’s city campus as international students marked Nigerian Independence Day.

In what has become an annual tradition at the University, music, food, speeches and students wearing traditional dress helped mark the day in colourful style.

The event is a key feature in the University’s multi-cultural calendar and is growing bigger each year.

Return to AboutUS

Chidi Ahamuefula, Treasurer of the Nigerian Society, said: “This marks the 58th year of Nigerian independence and we are proud to be celebrating at the University of Sunderland.

“Through music and dance, speeches and celebration, we are bringing everyone together.”

Chidi was dressed in traditional Senato clothing, while others wore the Agbada – traditional to the western part of Nigeria – and the Ishi Agu, which displays a lion or lion’s head. Many of the women wore the Ashobi style of dress.

The event only further cements the close links between the University and the African country.

Earlier this year, we told how an international friendship agreement – or Memorandum of Understanding – between the University and Edo University, Iyamho, in Nigeria, could help provide a multimillion pound boost to the city.

University leaders in Sunderland say the partnership could bring in up to £2million a year to the city as Nigerian students get the opportunity to study in the region.

Nigerian student Bryan Pepple, President of Activities at the University, said: “This is all about celebration and vibrancy, about marking, every year, our independence in an event at the heart of the University.”

Sunderland has a significantly diverse international student community with a strong student support network of over 100 nationalities. It is already working with several academic institutions across Africa in countries including Ghana, Cameroon and Kenya.

Gabrielle Nwadinobi, 21, former President of the Nigerian Society, is currently studying Public Health at the University. She is hoping to go on to work for the United Nations.

She said: “This is an opportunity for everyone to come together, no matter where they are from, to mark this special day in the Nigerian calendar.”

Speakers at this year’s event included new University of Sunderland Vice Chancellor, Sir David Bell, as well as Nigerian politician and philanthropist Ugwumba Uche Nwosu and Osita Chidiokaa former Minister of Aviation in Nigeria.

Nigeria gained independence on October 1, 1960 through constitutions that were legislated by the British government. The new Constitution established a federal government system with an elected Prime Minister and a ceremonial head of staff.

Students - your Uni needs you!

We're looking to create a branded hashtag that students and staff can use day to day that embodies who we are as an institution.

This will be our primary hashtag and we will encourage all to use to it to support their University-related content.

Please follow the link below to vote for your favourite or comment with an alternative suggestion on our Facebook page.

http://www.easypolls.net/poll.html?p=5bbb57abe4b05c14e32440da

Return to AboutUS

Smoking on Campus

Stoptober, the 28-day stop smoking campaign from Public Health England, is back this month.

Research shows that if you can stop smoking for 28 days, you are five times more likely to stay smokefree for good.

The University operates a strict no smoking policy on Campus. Smoking (including e-cigarettes) is not allowed on all University owned or leased land on the City Campus and St Peters Campus; in all areas within University owned or leased buildings; within vehicles owned or leased by the University; within private or leased vehicles used during University business to transport University employees, visitors or students.

Details on the full policy can be found here.

Return to AboutUS

There a lots of ways to quit and Stoptober can help you choose what works for you. Stoptober offers a range of free support to help people on their quitting journey including an app, daily emails, Facebook Messenger and lots of encouragement from the Stoptober online community on Facebook. In addition, you can get expert face-to-face advice from local stop smoking services. Those who use stop smoking aids and who get face-to-face support from their local stop smoking service are up to four times more likely to quit successfully.

Click here to visit the Stoptober website. 

 

Saturday, 13 October, 9am-4pm, Hope Street Xchange, City Campus - FREE to attend, but you will need to book a place through Eventbrite.

The end of the First World War is to be commemorated with a thought-provoking conference at the University reflecting on some of the key issues which influenced the global conflict.

Hosted by the University’s School of Culture to commemorate 100 years since the end of one of the bloodiest conflicts in human history (1918-2018), keynote speakers will include Peter Hart (author of The Last Battle: Endgame on the Western Front 1918) and Taylor Downing (author of Secret Warriors: Key Scientists, Code Breakers and Propagandists of the Great War).

As part of the conference there will also be three exhibitions available to view which includes: John Buchan Director of Intelligence 1918 (The John Buchan Story Museum Peebles), Finding the Women: German Revolutionaries 1918/19 (University of Leeds) and Sunderland and the Great War (Sunderland Antiquarian Society).

Return to AboutUS

Steve Watts, head of the School of Culture, says: “We are delighted to be hosting this conference. Most people will know somebody with connections to that terrible conflict and our conference intends to acknowledge the stories of those who endured, suffered and led us to victory on November 11th 1918. 

“The School of Culture has an excellent record of working with the community and this conference is open to the public and free so that we can all share in marking this momentous event. The conference also looks to address what happened immediately after the war in both Britain and Germany and reminds us that the struggle on the Western Front and other theatres of war might have ended that November, but there was still a great deal of conflict at home as the soldiers returned and the peace still needed to be won.”

The conference coincides with Sunderland's annual Literature Festival, celebrating the city's rich literary talent with local authors, local artists and local themes. The festival is organised by Sunderland Libraries Services in partnership with the School of Culture, and begins on Friday 28 September and runs through until Saturday 3 November 2018.

Propaganda, Revolution and Victory is FREE to attend, but you will need to book a place through Eventbrite.

For more information go to http://bit.ly/UoS-1918-2018 or download the conference programme.

For more information about the School of Culture and updates on the conference, please visit the School of Culture blog.

School of Culture

Culture at Sunderland is a large School within the University of Sunderland’s Faculty of Education and Society. It is made up of academics in English language and literature, creative writing, modern languages, history, and politics. The team works in a rich and diverse intellectual environment, the manifestations of which a blog has been archiving since June 2012.

World War One facts

  • World War One was one of the largest wars in history with more than 70 million soldiers involved over a four-year period.
  • Over nine million soldiers lost their lives.
  • Approximately 16,000 British conscientious objectors refused to fight during the war
  • 12 million letters were delivered to the front every week
  • WW1 sparked the invention of plastic surgery as shrapnel was the cause of many facial injuries. Horrified by the injuries he saw, surgeon Harold Gillies, took on the task of helping victims and pioneered early techniques of facial reconstruction in the process.
  • The map of Europe was redrawn due to the war. Germany was forced to give up territory to several other countries including Belgium and Czechoslovakia.
  • After the war the League of Nations was formed to help avoid future large scale conflicts. With World War Two beginning a few decades later it was unsuccessful.
  • The end of World War One laid the seeds for World War Two. The treatment of Germany after the war led to conditions that allowed fascism to rise and eventually for the Nazis and Adolph Hitler to gain power.
Make US your #1

The WhatUni Student Choice Awards are asking for your vote.

The Whatuni Student Rankings are based on averages taken from thousands of reviews submitted by students and recent graduate and published on Whatuni.com. The rankings offer prospective students an unbiased, student-led alternative to traditional university ranking systems. 

So vote now, and make Sunderland your #1.

whatuni.com/review

Return to AboutUS

until 28 October - Showcase Space, Priestman Building 

An exhibition of work by visiting professor Shahidul Alam and to raise awareness of the international campaign for his release from detention in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (see story below)

The exhibition runs 16-28 October 2018, as part of the UK-wide exhibition of work by Shahidul Alam, initiated by the Northern Centre of Photography, University of Sunderland, Autograph, London and Drik, Bangladesh. 

#FreeShahidulAlam

Return to AboutUS

The University of Sunderland is backing international calls for the release of its visiting Professor of Photography from a Bangladeshi jail.

Shahidul Alam, an internationally-renowned Bangladeshi photographer, photojournalist, activist, and friend of the University has been in police custody since August 5, 2018.

He was arrested following an interview he gave to Al Jazeera in which he spoke about the government following issues raised during the then-ongoing student protests in Dhaka.

This month staff and students from the University of Sunderland, along with 19 other UK universities, exhibition spaces, and colleges, will display photographs taken by Shahidul in a bid to raise awareness of his imprisonment. The campaign is backed with the hashtag #freeshahidulalam

The University is also leading calls for others to join the many international voices already demanding Shahidul’s release. These include 12 Nobel Laureates, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Hollywood actress and activist Sharon Stone, Amartya Sen, and several British MPs.

Other creative voices, including the film-maker and artist Steve McQueen, the dancer and choreographer Akram Khan, and the artists Antony Gormley and Anish Kapoor, have also joined an international call for justice and transparency about Shahidul’s alleged crimes.

Shahidul’s photography focuses on exposing abuses of power, including images of the genocide of the 1971 Bangladeshi war of liberation. He founded the picture agencies Drik and Majority World, and the photography school Pathshala South Asian Media Institute.

Viewed as a leader in his field, Shahidul has played a key role in educating and empowering Bangladeshi’s to photograph themselves, presenting their lives in a way which opposes western stereotypes and images.

The 63-year-old, who has been a long-standing visiting Professor of Photography at the University, was taken from his home in the Dhanmondi neighbourhood of Dhaka by more than 30 members of the Dhaka metropolitan police and arrested for damaging “the image of the nation”. 

Shahidul is now being held under the controversial section 57 of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act, which carries up to 14 years in prison, and which has been used in more than 20 cases recently involving journalists.

In court, the photographer claimed he was tortured in custody, an allegation which the police have denied but which has not been independently investigated.

After a seven-day remand, he was denied bail and sent to Dhaka Central Jail on August 13, where he has been remanded in custody pending the completion of the police investigation. His imprisonment was extended and he remains incarcerated.

Now, universities and venues across the world are asking visitors to add their voice to the campaign demanding Shahidul’s immediate release, by emailing support for Shahidul to Bangladeshi authorities via Amnesty International at www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/free-shahidul-alam

The images displayed across the UK are from the exhibition recently shown at Drik in Dhaka, Bangladesh: A Struggle for Democracy - A Photo Journey by Shahidul Alam.

Arabella Plouviez, Professor of Photography and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries at the University of Sunderland, is a good friend of Shahidul.

She said:  “Shahidul has been a respected colleague and friend since we met in Bangladesh in 1989. I have tremendous respect for his use of photography as a peaceful – yet powerful tool for emancipation and to highlight social injustice.

“Shahidul is calm, driven and unfailingly just – we are concerned for his safety and join his family and many friends in demanding his release from injustice.

“There has already been huge international support for the #freeshahidulalam campaign, which we know Shahidul is aware of and appreciates. We need to keep up the momentum and amplify the voices appealing to the Bangladeshi authorities.”

Sofia Karim, Shahidul’s niece who lives in the UK, said: “Since Shahidul’s imprisonment, we cannot communicate with him directly. One message he did receive was that exhibitions of his work were spontaneously springing up across the world. Through the three layers of prison bars, amidst the din, he smiled and said, ‘a big thank you’.

“Shahidul started his photographic career in the UK. Over 40 years later, this mass exhibition celebrating his work means the UK joins other countries in deploying his art in the campaign for his release.  Yet Shahidul would be most pleased if the exhibitions revealed the plight of those who have been imprisoned, tortured, abused or disappeared in his beloved Bangladesh – in the past and alongside him now, including the students he supported.

“Shahidul’s life has been devoted to witnessing the complex history of his beloved country, paying homage to its truth of beauty and pain. These mass exhibitions document the current episode of Bangladesh’s history and tell the story on behalf of the witness who remains behind bars.

“After his torture, Shahidul was briefly paraded in public. Unable to walk, he waved to the photographers and said, ‘The camera should be in my hand’. Denied his lens, we must tell the story on his behalf to the best of our ability.”

Universities taking part in the #freeshahidulalam exhibition which runs until October 28 include:

University of Sunderland

Ulster University

University of Lincoln

University of Wolverhampton

London School of Economics and Political Science

Nottingham Trent University

Edinburgh Napier University

Coventry University

Royal College of Art

Northumbria University

University of South Wales

Manchester Metropolitan University

University of Cumbria

University of Plymouth

Blackburn College

University of Gloucestershire

Birmingham City University

University of Salford

Northern School of Art

Anglia Ruskin University

Durham University

International

Photo Romania Festival

Galerie Lichtblick/Kolga Tbilisi Photo, Georgia

RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. 

Encontros da Imagem - International Photo Festival, Braga, Portugal

People can email their support for Shahidul Alam’s release by visiting here

Images from the #freeshahidulalam campaign will be displayed in the University of Sunderland’s Priestman Building from October 14

New coins celebrating Paddington Bear will soon start showing up in people's pockets and wallets - not bad for a homeless immigrant who arrived in the UK with nothing.

The Royal Mint has announced that two 50p coin designs featuring the beloved bear will enter UK circulation from October.

The move was welcomed by University of Sunderland culture expert Professor Angela Smith who has labelled the bear as a “pioneer for racial equality”.

Return to AboutUS

In a time of political turbulence, where immigration remains a controversial topic, the move to recognise Paddington on a UK coin reflects the continuing popularity of the character and coincides with his 60th anniversary. He was first introduced to the nation in 1958 in Michael Bond’s A Bear Called Paddington.

The coin designs depict the Peruvian bear in two locations from his adventures - sitting on his suitcase at Paddington station and on a day out at Buckingham Palace.

Professor Smith said: “It's great to see Paddington joining the ranks of other beloved children's fictional characters in being commemorated on a 50p piece. 

“As any reader of the books will know, Paddington is very careful with his money and to find him on the highest value silver coin is something of which I am sure he would approve.

“The original Paddington books were published in a pre-decimal Britain, where a shilling (5p) was seen as a huge amount of money for the little bear. 

“Somehow, when updating the books in the 1990s to be more 'modern', the translation of this into decimal currency didn't quite have the same effect.  However, to see Paddington on a shiny 50p piece is something I think he would find very prestigious as he could buy a lot more sticky buns with 50p.”

The Royal Mint has previously released collectors' versions of Paddington coins for people to buy, with prices ranging from £10 to £60.

Silver proof and brilliant uncirculated coins are still available to buy on the Royal Mint's website as well as an album in which to store the coins.

And now, Paddington fans will also be able to get their paws on plain-metal coins celebrating the bear - free of charge.

The first plain-metal circulating versions of the coins will soon be found in people's change, the Royal Mint said.

Professor Smith is based in the School of Culture at the University. In her research paper, Paddington Bear: A Case Study of Immigration and Otherness, the academic went back to Paddington’s origins, Britain in 1958, a time of widespread racism, and growing multiculturalism, into which a small bear from ‘Darkest Peru’ arrives with a unique perspective on British life.

“Michael Bond’s Paddington books deal with immigration at a very subtle level,” says Professor Smith. “Today those kinds of books are aimed at older children who, it is assumed, are better able to cope with the complex political and psychological issues.

“But that first book, A Bear Called Paddington, published in 1958, presents issues of anti-racism in a deceptively simple story.”

Paddington’s latest accolade cements how this homeless immigrant has impacted on British life and how, from nothing, he has become a pivotal part of our culture.

Nicola Howell, director of consumer coin at the Royal Mint, said: "If you enjoy collecting coins, then keep your eyes peeled for Paddington Bear in your change and keep them safe in their own special collector album.

"Paddington Bear is well-loved and a part of British popular culture, and we're incredibly proud to be playing a part in the 60th anniversary celebrations."

A new exhibition running this week is shining a light on a little-known and misunderstood section of society – people who are living with dwarfism.

The exhibition, ‘You’re Just Little’, is at the Spectrum Cultural Hub in Seaham until 14 October, and will reveal the challenges, obstacles and assumptions that people with dwarfism face on a daily basis.

Return to AboutUS

The exhibition was created by Steph Robson, an MA Radio graduate from the University of Sunderland, who is the writer of the blog ‘Hello Little Lady’, which celebrates and gives a voice to people in the dwarf community – and is now branching out into photography.

“The exhibition was born out of frustration of having my experiences with a rare form of Dwarfism, Russell Silver Syndrome, dismissed and not recognised as a disability,” says Steph. “The exhibition evolved into including photos of participants from the dwarf community to reflect the collective difficulties of a much misunderstood and mispresented disability group.

“The feedback from visitors and online has been incredible.

“You can see the penny drop as average height people begin to realise the everyday difficulties people with dwarfism encounter while moving around the environment that non-disabled people take for granted.”

The exhibition came about after Steph met University of Sunderland BA Fine Art graduate Kathryn Barnett at the University’s monthly Artworks-U meetings. Kathryn is Studio Director for The Spectrum Cultural Hub, a creative learning centre which provides low-cost studios, project space and exhibition areas.

Kathryn explains: “The Spectrum Cultural Hub is committed to learning, mentorship and supporting emerging artists. A little while ago, Steph approached me with some of her ideas. Spectrum saw the potential and agreed to host what will be Steph’s first photographic exhibition. As far as we are aware, this will also be a first for Disability Art in this area.”

The exhibition, “You’re Just Little”, includes a participatory element, consisting of contributions from members of the dwarf community worldwide alongside Steph’s photographs and an interactive installation in the gallery space.

Steph added: “Kathryn encouraged me to put a proposal together and subsequently mentored me through this exhibition. 

“The exhibition has started some very interesting discussions that I hope will inform public policy and influence how people with dwarfism can be more positively portrayed in arts, culture and media.”

“I would love for the ‘You’re Just Little’ exhibition to tour nationally to have a greater impact. We need to create more participatory projects that enable people with dwarfism to share their stories.”

‘You’re Just Little’ is at The Spectrum Cultural Hub, 2 Lighthouse View, Dawdon, Seaham until 14 October. You can read Steph Robson’s blog ‘Hello Little Lady’, which celebrates and gives a voice to people in the dwarf community, at: https://www.hellolittlelady.com/

DOSH: Larnie mixes it up

Larnie Moles, who graduates MA Radio this winter, features in our new DOSH poster campaign.

She was awarded a Silver Fund Scholarship, one of the many scholarship available from DOSH (Development Office Scholarship).

Larnie writes about how his scholarship impacted on his studies - and the wider student community - below.

Pop along to our weekly drop-in session to find out more about DOSH:

• Wednesday 17 October – City Campus, Gateway, 9.30am-12pm

• Wednesday 24 October - David Goldman Building, Ground Floor seating area, 9.30am-12pm

If you would like to find out more about the scholarships available to current student from our Development Office go to:

sunderland.ac.uk/dosh

Return to AboutUS

"When I began to study for my Masters in Radio I saw there was a lack of DJ equipment available for students, so I applied for the Silver Fund Award for industry standard DJ kit."

"Since the kit arrived at the David Putnam Media Centre the decks have provided a space for everyone who studies in the building to practice their mixing.  Industry stand kit offers the difference between what students usually practice on at home; which is essential when making the transition from a bedroom DJ to a radio or club DJ.

"Students from our Uni, as well as from Newcastle, come in and get their music played on Spark. This year has seen two specialist music shows going on air, with DJs using the kit to mix live.

"The University's fashion show contacted the DJ Society earlier this year and three of the club's members to mix their fashion show. This was a great collaboration, and a professional commission for the DJs - I hope that continues.

"Applying to the Silver Fund made a big difference to me, and to the student community. The new DJ equipment sparked interest among a massive range of students, mixing all sorts of music, from country to rock to jungle. It really has formed a great community feel, and is a real asset to the student experience."

Every year the University’s Development Office awards tens of thousands of pounds in scholarships. Development Officer Scholarships (DOSH) are exclusive to current students, both undergraduate and postgraduate studying at the University of Sunderland. Scholarships are free money that is non-means tested that you never have to pay back. If you’d like to find out more now go to:

sunderland.ac.uk/dosh

From hiking through the North East countryside to surfing off the coast at Roker – students are changing their lives with help from the University of Sunderland.

This year’s World Mental Health Day on Wednesday October 10 brings attention to the wellbeing of young people.

Return to AboutUS

The UK government has this week expressed a desire to make student mental health a top priority.

The University of Sunderland is playing a key role in ensuring its students are healthy, resilient and work-ready thanks to a series of services and initiatives geared towards supporting them.

Tracey McKenzie, Head of Wellbeing at the University, said: “Student Wellbeing is here to support students in relation to their physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. 

“Wellbeing is a team of highly qualified and experienced professionals and we work with students, creating a personalised approach to meet their wellbeing needs.  We can help them to build their emotional resilience and resourcefulness, develop their self-awareness and to create positive changes.  This can be truly life changing.”

Wellbeing say they are also aware of the relationship between physical health and mental health and so work closely with the University’s Institute of Sport.

Rob Graham, Sports Development Officer at the University of Sunderland, said: “We recognise the unique way in which sport and physical activity can positively affect our students’ mental wellbeing.

“In light of this, working in unison with the University Wellbeing department we offer students free access to our ‘Wellbeing through Adventure’ programme, hiking across the North East, surfing our coast and kayaking our rivers and bays. We also offer access to fitness facilities for those referred through the exercise referral scheme.”

This week a 200,000 strong petition calling for employers to provide mental health first-aiders at every work place was handed into 10 Downing Street. The petition asks the Government to update the Health and Safety at Work Act to make sure employers are obliged to provide first aid-trained staff to support colleagues suffering from mental health issues, in the same way they have to make sure staff are trained in physical first aid.

This is something the University of Sunderland is already tackling.

Rob added: “Our latest initiative is to provide our Team Sunderland Sport team committees with Mental Health First Aid training, giving them skills to recognise potential warning signs amongst their friends and peers and breed a culture of transparency and support for students suffering such issues.” 

Mental Health is back in the headlines this week after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a summit in London aimed at helping to improve mental health around the world. William and Kate joined Health Secretary Matt Hancock as they arrived at the first Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit.

The University of Sunderland Students’ Union is supporting World Mental Health Day by hosting a number of activities at St Peter’s Campus. Find out more here.

What our students are saying about the mental health support they are receiving:

“Coming here has been fantastic and I just wish I had met you years ago.  I know it’s not going to be easy but I’ve got my backpack of resources and I’m ready for the climb.”

“I have felt supported throughout the last few months and have the courage to admit to myself how my upbringing has affected my life. 

I have come to understand that in times of stress I can ask for help and support and will not be rejected.  If I didn’t have the excellent experience I have had, I would not have been able to continue my third year and would not have been able to cope at home.”

“Over this short time he has helped my thinking change dramatically and gave me some amazing recourses which I am going to continue using.”

“I am eternally grateful to you and the whole team at wellbeing, you guys are my lifeline, I would not be still here fighting if not for your service.”

“I can’t believe the changes in me. I was ready to drop out of Uni. Just couldn’t handle it all anymore. You helped me to break it down and put things in perspective.  You challenged me and that’s just what I needed as you supported me to realise the only person who could make a difference, was me. Here I am, a Year 2 and raring to go.” 

Find out more about the wellbeing services offered by the University of Sunderland here

Find out more about the Wellbeing through Adventure scheme at the University of Sunderland here

 

With two recent deaths alleged to be linked to allergic reactions to ingredients in sandwiches from the Pret A Manger chain and the Government "urgently" reviewing food safety and labelling laws, a Sunderland academic says the whole food industry needs to look at its culture of working practices.

Dr Derek Watson, a senior lecturer in the University's Institute of Business, Law and Tourism whose research focuses on food safety cultural compliance, believes the food sector is failing to win the war against food contamination.

“Such failings are not ring fenced to third world micro businesses but include first world multi nationals who invest significant revenues in the pursuit of food safety,” he says.

Return to AboutUS

“Before those executive decision makers in grey suits shake their fingers at the title of this article, reflect on the key issues; the statistics are more than concerning with over a million cases of food poisoning that result in approximately 430 deaths in the UK.

Dr Watson says tragedies linked with incorrect labelling could sadly be replaced with a poisoning and or loss of life due to failures in food safety systems associated with chocolate, frozen vegetables, baby milk, etc.

He adds: “Having reflected on the statistics, we must ask the question: how effective are the food quality systems embedded in your organisation and when was the workforce asked the question of ‘if you were in charge what changes would you make to enhance food safety’?

“The stark reality is that employees are the first line of defence and a proactive food safety culture requires more that the attainment of a certified quality system. It necessitates the full and enduring support of their executive team, not just words but tangible commitment, such as: interactive food safety tours, active participation in food safety committees and a clear wiliness to network with employees to clearly communicate that their opinions are valued and not suppressed.

“The key challenge facing organisations concerning food safety culture is that senior management, historically, over anticipate the level of commitment and underappreciate the level of resources required to establish and maintain a proactive safety culture, in terms of control, co-operation, communication and competence.

“The reality is that an organisation’s proactive cultural plans often fail to gain traction due to work pressures and failing to nurture a proactive cultural mindset.

“Executives need to appreciate their pivotal role in the pursuit of a positive food culture. They ultimately have the power to regulate the company culture rather like a thermostat. It is the minority that fosters the culture that in turn affects the majority of the workforce. They are ultimately the cultural engines of the organisation.

“Failure to appreciate the importance of culture at a boardroom level will lead to breaches in food safety at the ultimate cost to the consumer.”


Dr Derek Watson Dr Watson is a senior lecturer in the University of Sunderland’s Institute of Business, Law and Tourism.

He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, founder of the Faculty ‘Business Clinic’ and the Doctoral lead for the University’s ‘Research Fridays’ programme.

Dr Watson has experience of mapping skills requirements in emerging sectors. He also has extensive links and networks as a result of sourcing and embedding external engagement opportunities across the curriculum, with an international portfolio of clients and contacts, such as the British Cabinet Office, Indian Government Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Dubai Police and Canon International.

His research focuses on academic-industry collaboration, investigating the impact of knowledge exchange on practice and food safety cultural compliance.

The University of Sunderland is today backing international calls for the release of its visiting Professor of Photography from a Bangladeshi jail.

Shahidul Alam, an internationally-renowned Bangladeshi photographer, photojournalist, activist, and friend of the University has been in police custody since August 5, 2018.

He was arrested following an interview he gave to Al Jazeera in which he spoke about the government following issues raised during the then-ongoing student protests in Dhaka.

This month staff and students from the University of Sunderland, along with 19 other UK universities, exhibition spaces, and colleges, will display photographs taken by Shahidul in a bid to raise awareness of his imprisonment. The campaign is backed with the hashtag #freeshahidulalam

Return to AboutUS

The University is also leading calls for others to join the many international voices already demanding Shahidul’s release. These include 12 Nobel Laureates, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Hollywood actress and activist Sharon Stone, Amartya Sen, and several British MPs.

Other creative voices, including the film-maker and artist Steve McQueen, the dancer and choreographer Akram Khan, and the artists Antony Gormley and Anish Kapoor, have also joined an international call for justice and transparency about Shahidul’s alleged crimes.

Shahidul’s photography focuses on exposing abuses of power, including images of the genocide of the 1971 Bangladeshi war of liberation. He founded the picture agencies Drik and Majority World, and the photography school Pathshala South Asian Media Institute.

Viewed as a leader in his field, Shahidul has played a key role in educating and empowering Bangladeshi’s to photograph themselves, presenting their lives in a way which opposes western stereotypes and images.

The 63-year-old, who has been a long-standing visiting Professor of Photography at the University, was taken from his home in the Dhanmondi neighbourhood of Dhaka by more than 30 members of the Dhaka metropolitan police and arrested for damaging “the image of the nation”. 

Shahidul is now being held under the controversial section 57 of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act, which carries up to 14 years in prison, and which has been used in more than 20 cases recently involving journalists.

In court, the photographer claimed he was tortured in custody, an allegation which the police have denied but which has not been independently investigated.

After a seven-day remand, he was denied bail and sent to Dhaka Central Jail on August 13, where he has been remanded in custody pending the completion of the police investigation. His imprisonment was extended and he remains incarcerated.

Now, universities and venues across the world are asking visitors to add their voice to the campaign demanding Shahidul’s immediate release, by emailing support for Shahidul to Bangladeshi authorities via Amnesty International at www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/free-shahidul-alam

The images displayed across the UK are from the exhibition recently shown at Drik in Dhaka, Bangladesh: A Struggle for Democracy - A Photo Journey by Shahidul Alam.

Arabella Plouviez, Professor of Photography and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries at the University of Sunderland, is a good friend of Shahidul.

She said:  “Shahidul has been a respected colleague and friend since we met in Bangladesh in 1989. I have tremendous respect for his use of photography as a peaceful – yet powerful tool for emancipation and to highlight social injustice.

“Shahidul is calm, driven and unfailingly just – we are concerned for his safety and join his family and many friends in demanding his release from injustice.

“There has already been huge international support for the #freeshahidulalam campaign, which we know Shahidul is aware of and appreciates. We need to keep up the momentum and amplify the voices appealing to the Bangladeshi authorities.”

Sofia Karim, Shahidul’s niece who lives in the UK, said: “Since Shahidul’s imprisonment, we cannot communicate with him directly. One message he did receive was that exhibitions of his work were spontaneously springing up across the world. Through the three layers of prison bars, amidst the din, he smiled and said, ‘a big thank you’.

“Shahidul started his photographic career in the UK. Over 40 years later, this mass exhibition celebrating his work means the UK joins other countries in deploying his art in the campaign for his release.  Yet Shahidul would be most pleased if the exhibitions revealed the plight of those who have been imprisoned, tortured, abused or disappeared in his beloved Bangladesh – in the past and alongside him now, including the students he supported.

“Shahidul’s life has been devoted to witnessing the complex history of his beloved country, paying homage to its truth of beauty and pain. These mass exhibitions document the current episode of Bangladesh’s history and tell the story on behalf of the witness who remains behind bars.

“After his torture, Shahidul was briefly paraded in public. Unable to walk, he waved to the photographers and said, ‘The camera should be in my hand’. Denied his lens, we must tell the story on his behalf to the best of our ability.”

Universities taking part in the #freeshahidulalam exhibition which runs until October 28 include:

University of Sunderland

Ulster University

University of Lincoln

University of Wolverhampton

London School of Economics and Political Science

Nottingham Trent University

Edinburgh Napier University

Coventry University

Royal College of Art

Northumbria University

University of South Wales

Manchester Metropolitan University

University of Cumbria

University of Plymouth

Blackburn College

University of Gloucestershire

Birmingham City University

University of Salford

Northern School of Art

Anglia Ruskin University

International

Photo Romania Festival

Galerie Lichtblick/Kolga Tbilisi Photo, Georgia

RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. 

Encontros da Imagem - International Photo Festival, Braga, Portugal

People can email their support for Shahidul Alam’s release by visiting here

Images from the #freeshahidulalam campaign will be displayed in the University of Sunderland’s Priestman Building from October 14

Vice-Chancellor's Blog

Week beginning 8 October 2018

A major attraction for me in coming to Sunderland was the opportunity to work in partnership to make the University, the city and the region succeed even more.

Return to AboutUS

All that came to the fore for me last week when I attended my first meeting of the City’s Economic Leadership Board which was chaired by Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council. Bringing together partners from the private, voluntary and public sectors, the Board is focused on creating the best possible conditions for investing in the city. 

A major part of the discussion was around how Sunderland might benefit from the proposed UK government Shared Prosperity Fund which is designed to replace European Structural Funds - from which Sunderland has received significant monies previously - when our country leaves the European Union. That relies on creating a common understanding - or vision - of what Sunderland could become in the future. Such a vision will help attract private sector investors, as well as identifying projects which could be bid for under the Shared Prosperity Fund. 

What does this mean for the University of Sunderland? Well, we are one of the largest organisations in the city and what we do can have a real impact for the good. We provide well-educated graduates who are valuable to the economy and wider society, our research supports businesses and encourages innovation, and we help to develop arts, culture and heritage.

In addition, when we build new buildings or improve the ones we have, we make the place even more attractive. Put simply, Sunderland is a university city and that is a major asset when it comes to creating a positive message to potential investors, private or public.

Finally, I had an opportunity last week to meet Natalie Gray who is the first-ever President of Team Sunderland, the ‘umbrella’ under which our 34 sports clubs operate. As a recent graduate of the University, Natalie is putting her skills to good use as she oversees, advises and motivates our many and varied teams. Here’s to a great season ahead!

Sir David Bell

Clash of the Minsters 2018

Clash of the Minsters 2018 host Team Sunderland were narrowly defeated 41-38 by York St John.

After a highly competitive day of sport in which the two universities faced off in 12 different sports only three points separated Team Sunderland from their counterparts.

The twelve different sports incorporated both male and female fixtures and was spread across five different venues around the city.

Return to AboutUS

The competition started positively for Team Sunderland with the Women’s Futsal team comfortably winning the first event of the day at CitySpace by a score of 9-4. Unfortunately, the men couldn’t match this winning start with both the 2nd and 1st team suffering defeats.

Next on the agenda at CitySpace was Netball and after Team Sunderland’s 3rd and 2nd teams were comprehensively beaten came arguably the match of the day as Team Sunderland and York St John’s 1st teams took to the court.

The game remained evenly poised throughout the first three quarters with York St John rarely extending their lead beyond four points.

As the final quarter drew to a close Team Sunderland were still within touching distance and reduced the lead to just two points with less than two minutes to play.

Goal shooter Caitlyn Owens first put Team Sunderland within a point of York St John and then with just eight seconds remaining drew the hosts level to secure a thoroughly deserved draw against a team several divisions above them.

Elsewhere Team Sunderland’s American Football team took the points in a flag football match at Ashbrooke Sports Club while York St John took the spoils in the Tennis at Silksworth Tennis Centre.

Washington Leisure Centre hosted the Badminton fixtures where Team Sunderland’s 1st team were victorious while York St John secured the points in the 2nd team match up as well as the women’s fixture.

York St John took a narrow victory in the swimming at Raich Carter before action resumed at CitySpace with the men’s and women’s volleyball where Team Sunderland obtained maximum points with two 3-0 victories.

The football fixtures up at Silksworth Sports Complex proved to be a mixed bag for Team Sunderland with the men’s 4th, 3rd and 2nd teams all suffering heavy defeats but the men’s 1st team put in a superb performance to emerge 3-2 winners with goals from Lewis Coatsworth, Matty Harris and Joe Tunc securing the win.

The women’s team were equally impressive, defeating York St John 4-1 in a game they completely dominated.

Over at Sandhill View Academy York St John were convincing winners over Team Sunderland in the women’s hockey, before Team Sunderland came from behind in the men’s fixture to lead 3-2 and held on for well-deserved victory.

The final events of the day were back in CitySpace with the dance followed by women’s and men’s basketball. Team Sunderland’s Dance squad set the tone for the evening with victory before the women’s basketball team raced into a strong lead which they maintained to take the win by a score line of 67-53.

After the men’s 2nd team had been defeated earlier in the day at Raich Carter the 1st team were hoping to exact revenge and did exactly that with an impressive 117-54 victory.

After the competition had finished the event moved on to Revolution in Sunderland for the official after party where the scores were announced and both teams celebrated a great day of sport.

Facilities manager Kevin Ludlow said: “Clash of the Minsters is an excellent opportunity for our students to experience the competitive nature of sport and activity at The University of Sunderland.

"Both our students and the visiting York St John teams enjoyed the day and were excellent ambassadors for their Universities. Being successful is important regarding any competition but so are the friendships that develop in a club environment.

"It was a good start to our season with some great performances.”

Team Sunderland President Natalie Gray said: “Clash of the Minsters had a brilliant atmosphere from start to finish we had some fantastic performances throughout the day.

“Women’s Futsal got the day off to a flying start bringing in the first points for Team Sunderland, the Netball 1sts were involved in a tense but brilliant match and got a draw against a team several divisions higher.

“Men’s football 1st team were another highlight, producing a superb victory while the Men’s hockey lads also delivered a wonderful result.

“Finally a big shout out to the Dance team who won their first varsity match in three years. Overall it was a brilliant start to the season despite the overall defeat, I am excited to see what Team Sunderland can deliver across all sports this season.”

A new one-day training course, specially designed for care staff in Sunderland, is helping carers to identify and prevent pressure ulcers.

The training is part of a Sunderland-wide research project called PROACT, which aims to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of pressure ulcers in health and social care settings, and with the public.

Return to AboutUS

Sunderland CARE Academy, a collaboration of partners from health, social care, education and the voluntary sector, have been working closely with carers in Sunderland to deliver free training on skin care and pressure ulcer prevention and management in care homes across the city

Pressure ulcers, also known as pressure sores or bedsores, are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue that are primarily caused by prolonged pressure on the skin. They can happen to anyone, but usually affect people confined to bed or who sit in a chair or wheelchair for long periods of time.

Delivered in care homes, the training focuses on:

  • Understanding and identifying the risk of pressure damage
  • Pressure ulcer prevention
  • How/when to escalate and to who
  • How to effectively communicate the knowledge around pressure damage prevention to colleagues and the public

Once a carer has completed the training, they will become ‘pressure ulcer champions’ within their own organisations. Pressure ulcer champions will be tasked with encouraging co-workers and patients’ relatives to make a positive difference to reduce the risk from pressure damage.

Ann Fox, Director of Nursing, Quality and Safety at NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, and Visiting Professor at our University, said: “It is estimated that just under half a million people in the UK will develop at least one pressure ulcer, in any given year.

“In many cases, pressure ulcers are often preventable, so recognising and being aware of the signs and symptoms of pressure ulcers is key to preventing this painful condition.

“This training initiative is a great example of how the CARE Academy is collaborating with all partners and the public to improve care delivery across Sunderland.

“By educating frontline staff, patients and their families and carers and showing them what interventions can be put in place, they will be better equipped to prevent pressure ulcers from developing in the first place.”

Professor Tony Alabaster, Academic Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing at the University of Sunderland stated: “PROACT is an excellent example of how academic research can have a positive impact on patients’ health and wellbeing. The CARE Academy partners are committed to working together for the benefit of patients, public, clinicians and those working in health and social care”.

Angela Richardson, Network Development Officer at Sunderland Tyne and Wear Care Alliance, said: “We want to develop strong leaders who will be supported to drive their workplaces’ pressure prevention strategy and improve care for the people they support.

“This initiative equips staff to cascade knowledge around pressure ulcer prevention to their peers. We believe that by teaching key care staff how to do something, instead of just doing it for them, is more helpful to them and the organisation they work for in the long run.”

Emma Openshaw, Tissue Viability Nurse at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This training will be very beneficial for local carers and equip them with the skills and confidence to identify areas of skin damage that could potentially lead to pressure ulceration.

“We want our pressure ulcer champions to gain from the mentoring and support that our specialist team can offer. This encourages more collaboration between independent community care and the NHS and provides a network of support that places the needs of the patients at its very heart.”


The Sunderland CARE Academy is a collaboration of partners from health, social care, education and the voluntary sector working together to improve the quality of care delivery across the city.

CARE Academy partners include City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, University of Sunderland, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Patient and Carer Involvement (PCPI) members.

PROACT is a research project, launched by CARE Academy that aims to identify gaps in care across health and social care settings, and provide staff with the skills to make sure we prevent people suffering unnecessarily.


Allison Watson, Sunderland Care and Support, Emma Openshaw, Tissue Viability Nurse, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and Michelle Lazenby, Sunderland Care and Support.