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MA Radio producing BBC Radio 3

In March this year MA Radio Students worked with BBC Radio 3 producers as part of the Free Thinking Festival which took place at Sage Gateshead.

They broadcast live from the Sage, and also made packages about inspirational young musicians and composers. 

This week these packages will be broadcast on BBC Radio Three.

Dr Caroline Mitchell, Associate Professor of Radio and Participation, said: "This is a really good indication of the quality of our students' work and the kind of relationship we have with the BBC."

Their work will be broadcast as part of a series of live concerts beginning at 9.30pm on BBC Radio 3 on the following dates:

Monday 10 June,  Producers James Barker and Adam Lee - Musician Sarah Fisher

Tuesday 11 June, Producers Oliver Obiukwu, Jonny Goldsmith and Jacob Kirkbride - post-live concert Seamus Fogarty 

Wednesday 12 June, Producers Iv Marks and Chantal Herbert -  post-live concert Colm O'Braoin 

Thursday 13 June, Producers Sam Ross, Beth Donkin and Lewis Harrower - post-live concert Beth Higham-Edwards 

Melanie Fryer, Learning Manager, BBC Proms, Symphony Orchestra and Concert Orchestra, said: "They are great and it’s brilliant they’ve been able to get into this week."

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New league tables show the University of Sunderland’s Education programmes are the best in England – and second best in UK.

In the publication of the Guardian’s University Guide 2020: League Tables for Education, Sunderland pulled out some of the UK’s most impressive scores.

Professor Lynne McKenna, Academic Dean of Faculty of Education and Society, said: “I congratulate the School of Education staff for such a fantastic result.

“This is the icing on the cake after almost four years of continuous improvement I am very proud of the professional way in which this has been achieved.”

The University scored an overall 93.2 out of 100, placing it second only to the University of the West of Scotland.

The Guide also revealed that 88.8% of students were satisfied with the course, with 91.3% satisfied with teaching.

Susan Edgar, Head of the School of Education, added: "The Guardian's University Guide recognises the excellent work and dedication of the School of Education Team."



Susan Edgar

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27-year-old Councillor Katie Corrigan has become the youngest person to be elected as chairman of County Durham's local authority - she is the youngest elected member to hold the office in the council’s 120-year history.

Cllr Corrigan, who graduated BA (Hons) Sociology and Politics in 2013, has represented the Belmont ward since being elected to the county council in 2013. She also represented the Carrville ward on Belmont Parish Council from 2013 to 2017.

She worked at Belmont Community Association for five years, assisting with the administration and running of the organisation across two sites, and recently completed the Government Association’s Leadership Academy Programme, from which she is due to graduate in June

She has chosen Age UK as her charity for the year.

Cllr Corrigan, who will also serve as Mayor of Durham, said: “I am thrilled to be chosen to represent our county as chairman of the council.

“During the past 12 months, I have enjoyed my role as vice chairman and am now very much looking forward to continuing that work, meeting residents, spreading the message about how amazing our county is and raising money for my chosen charity.”

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CHARM offensive

Dr Neil Ewins, Senior Lecturer in Design and Contextual Studies, won the Stanley C. Hollander ‘Best Paper Award’ at the 19th Biennial Conference on Historical Analysis & Research in Marketing (CHARM) 2019.

Stanley C. Hollander is considered to be a founder of new marketing history in the USA.

The conference consisted of fifty papers, over three days, presented by worldwide scholars and PhD students interested issues relating to marketing. This year, the conference was held at Ottawa, Canada, hosted by Carlton University and Sprott School of Business.

Dr Ewin’s paper ‘Variations in American marketing practices pf early nineteenth-century ceramic importers and dealers, reflecting culture and identity’ was is published in CHARM’s proceedings, and he was presented with the award by Dr. David Clampin, CHARM President, John Moores University, Liverpool.

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Dr. David Clampin, CHARM President, with Dr Neil Ewins


The following student has been awarded the degree of Professional Doctorate:

Dr James Kevin Gallagher

'University Teachers as Guides & Master’s Students as Aspirant Researchers: An Exploratory Case Study of Teaching Research Methods.'

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Lionesses ready to roar

The Women's World Cup is underway, with two of our Honorary Graduates - and more than our fair share of North East talent - joining the Lionesses. 

The competition is in France and runs until Sunday 7 July.

The England squad includes University Honorary Fellows Stephanie Houghton and Jill Scott  alongside five other layers who rose through the ranks of girls and women's football at Sunderland AFC Ladies.

England have been ranked as one of the favourites. In their opening match again Scotland England won 2-1 and will now face Argentina in Le Havre on Friday at 8pm.

The Sunderland seven are: Goalkeeper Carly Telford (Chelsea); Defenders: Lucy Bronze (Lyon), Steph Houghton (captain, Man City), Demi Stokes (Man City); Midfielders: Jill Scott (Man City) and Lucy Staniforth (Birmingham City); Forwards: Beth Mead (Arsenal).

The England flag will be flying at Sunderland Civic Centre throughout the tournament.

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Young people who have little or no support from their families but dream of going to university can turn those dreams into a reality thanks to a £2,000 a year scholarship from the University of Sunderland.

From September 2019 the We Care Scholarship will offer more support to marginalised young people studying at Sunderland.

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Wendy Price, Access to Higher Education and Scholarships Manager at the University, says: “We recognise the additional challenges faced by our care experienced and estranged students and are committed to providing the highest possible levels of support. This increased funding for students will mean that each student receives an additional scholarship payment during the summer period, which we know is a time when many can experience financial difficulties.

“Our aim is for every single one of our students to achieve their full potential during their time at university. We consult regularly with our students and they have told us the difference this additional funding will make, not just financially, but also to their mental health and wellbeing.”

The University of Sunderland’s We Care Support Team meet with each of the University’s care experienced and estranged students to produce a bespoke support plan. This is based on the student’s individual needs and can include help with finding accommodation 52 weeks a year, wellbeing support, additional financial support and finding part time work.

In March this year Government minsters set out the need for a ‘cultural change’ at universities to encourage more care leavers to stay in higher education.

Currently just six per cent of young people leaving care go on to study at university by the age of 21, and those who do are more than twice as likely to drop out.

Case Studies:

Judith Cossey, 25

Judith is studying for a Masters degree in Practice Development at the University of Sunderland. She has overcome childhood neglect, growing up in care and issues with drugs and drink.

One of the things that students like Judith value most is always having someone looking out for them on campus, whether this is to help with academic support or just for a coffee and a chat.

“The Care Experienced Students Support Team were a massive support for me during my studies,” says Judith. “I completed my top up degree in Health and Social Care in 2017, and then proceeded onto my Masters.

“The best advice that I would give anyone thinking about studying at Sunderland is to stick at it. Although things may seem impossible at times, there is always a way to resolve it. If you are feeling down, talk to people. Friends you make at university are friends for life.

“Never feel as if you are alone during your time at university. No one is ever alone.”

William Graydon, 21

William is in the second year of his BA Media Production degree. A combination of determination, self-belief, and the right support has brought William to where he wants to be in his life.

“When I was in the care home they asked me what I wanted to do, and I told them I wanted to go to university – and they laughed, they thought I was joking.

“If it wasn’t for the Care Experienced Students Support Team I would have quit university. I’ve had amazing help from the university, particularly last year when my dad died and again this year with my granddads passing, they were there for me.

“Anytime I’ve needed help they’re there. They have no idea how much they’ve helped me. It’s amazing to know that there’s someone there to help and support me, and who I can trust.”

Kelly Stanley, 21

Kelly is in the final year of her BSc Social Sciences degree. Following her father’s death Kelly was put into care, where she quickly realised that she wanted to make something of her life, and education was her best route to change.

“My dad died when I was 12, and my mum ended up at home on benefits. I didn’t want to end up like that, I wanted to have a proper career, and I wanted to show my brothers and sisters that they could too.

“There are thousands and thousands of people like me who leave care every year, and while university isn’t right for all of them, I think they need to be encouraged more. A lot of the support you get just vanishes when you leave care.

“I plan to start an MSc in Inequality and Society after my degree. I want to get a step ahead of everyone else.”

The University of Sunderland is a member of the NNECL (National Network for the Education of Care Leavers), supports the Care Leaver Covenant and was first university in the region to sign the Stand Alone Pledge, a commitment to support students who are estranged from their families and studying without the support of approval of a family network, helping them to succeed in higher education.

The following student has been awarded the degree of Professional Doctorate:

Dr Robert Hall

'An Application of Stakeholder Theory and Co-Creation for the Validation of Higher Degree Programmes: A Case Study of University of Sunderland Accounting and Finance Programmes.'

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Art & Design Degree Shows 2019

From 15 June - various venues.

Museum & Winter Gardens - 15 June to 7 July

Animation and Games Art; Fashion Design and Promotion; Games and App Design; Graphic Design; Illustration and Design.

National Glass Centre - 15 June to 23 June

Art and Design Extended; Foundation Diploma in Art and Design; Glass and Ceramics.

Priestman Building - 15 June to 21 June (not Sundays)

Fine Art; Photography; Video & Digital Imaging.

FREE and open to all.

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John Peter Askew: We

15 June - 18 August - NGCA at National Glass Centre - FREE and open to all

BA (Hons) Fine Art (1997) graduate John Peter Askew presents photographs from Russia 1996 - 2017

For the past 30 years, the artist John Peter Askew has travelled to the easternmost city in Europe, Perm, in Russia. We is a kind of epic Russian novel told across multiple generations, based on the lives of a single family, the Chulakovs.

The exhibition reveals this landmark body of work for the first time. It is accompanied by a major 384 page book published by Kerber, with new writing from leading photographic historians and curators including Ian Jeffrey and Fatos Ustek.

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Student nurse's oath to serve

The very first University of Sunderland student nurse to complete her Army Reservist Training marks an important milestone in a partnership with the Armed Forces.

Hayley Fairweather, 26, took her Oath of Allegiance during a special ceremony on campus before officers of the 251 Medical Squadron, the University’s Vice Chancellor, Sir David Bell, and academics from the nursing team.

The University has a longstanding relationship of mutual support with the Army’s Medical Services and in particular 251 Medical Squadron at Seaburn. The University has supported military training events with staff and equipment, and the Medical Squadron has attended University Open Days to promote the Reserve Service.

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Students interested in the Reserves take part in team-building activities, leadership exercises and trauma days, creating an awareness of medical careers in the Armed Forces. Working with the Defence Medical Services offers skills aimed at those wishing to join the military after qualification.

“It’s such a proud day for me to take the Oath of Allegiance,” beamed Hayley, a third-year nursing student who comes from a family of military personnel, her father was in the Royal Marines and brother is in the Royal Navy.

“I always had a big interest in the Armed Forces, but never previously had the guts to go and do it. But once I found out about the link-up between the University and 251 Medical Squadron, I signed up for the team-building days and it went from there.

“I would recommend that any student to sign up, it’s great for building confidence, teamwork and leadership skills.”

Recruitment Officer WO1 Dennis Mustard said: “Hayley took her Oath of Allegiance after completing her training package, passing her medical and fitness tests, and is now a fully-fledged Army Reserve Soldier.

“She is the first student nurse that we have attested into 251Medical Squadron, thanks to a partnership we embarked upon over two years ago, with the University, which is fantastic.”

The University signed their Armed Forces Covenant with a pledge to establish employment opportunities for Service leavers and recognise the unique skills many possess, directing them to suitable educational programmes and courses.

The University was also recognised with an Employer Recognition Scheme Silver awards for the major contribution an organisation is making with initiatives such as employing veterans, supporting individuals transitioning out of the Armed Forces into a new career and providing flexibility for Reservists.

WO1 Mustard added: “As we’re a Medical Squadron, we focus on nurses and paramedics through the Reserves.

“The students who sign up learn command, leadership and communication skills, they gain confidence which is great preparation for them to work in the NHS as part of a big team under a lot of pressure.

“It’s also an extra hobby for them, they get paid and the minimum commitment is to serve 27 days per year.”

Former nursery nurse Hayley was attested by Major McDermott-Moses and was followed by another nursing student, Gavin Middlemass, who has also taken his Oath of Allegiance and is now able to serve his country as an Army Reservist.

Simone Bedford, Team Leader for Undergraduate Nursing, said: “Attestation of our first student nurses is an incredibly proud day for us all.

“As a veteran myself I recognise the importance of team building and leadership skills especially within nursing, so for us to have the opportunity to work with the Army Reserves and give us their expertise in that field is fantastic. It complements the partnership work we’re doing with the Armed Forces and reinforces the Employer Recognition Scheme Silver award we achieved.

“The team building days helps students integrate with others and brings other cohorts together.”

Gavin Middlemass, 32, from Sunderland, was inspired to become a nurse after caring for his elderly relatives, and seeing first-hand the work the community nurses do.

Now in the second year of his nursing course, the former contact centre worker joined the Army Reserves after speaking to WO1 Mustard at an Open Day. “I looked at the opportunities available and it’s been fantastic. You’re pushed to your limits which gives you the confidence to go into any kind of pressure situation.” 

Sue Brent, Head of School of Nursing and Health Sciences, added: “This is fantastic news for our School of Nursing and demonstrates the dedication of our staff in support of our students and the Armed Forces. They are encouraging our students to go a step beyond their nursing studies and to take every opportunity that they can. We are incredibly proud of what they’re achieving.”

Gavin Middlemass and Hayley Fairweather

Putting Sunderland on the map

A graduate who is bringing historic Sunderland to fictional life has praised the continued support of the University as she launches her second novel.

Glenda Young’s debut novel, Belle of the Back Streets, was released in November last year, and now her second novel, The Tuppenny Child, has been published in hardback, and Glenda will be signing copies of her novel in Waterstones Sunderland this Saturday.

Glenda, who graduated from the University of Sunderland with a degree in Journalism, is very proud to be putting the village where she was born on the literary map.

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She says: "The Tuppenny Child is my second novel set in Ryhope in 1919. As in my first novel, Belle of the Back Streets, this book has a fantastic heroine at its core. This time, the central character arrives in Ryhope with no money, no friends and no family. She is there to find her baby who has been stolen from her in Hartlepool.”

Glenda says her character Sadie Linthorpe is “a wonderful feminist icon”. She becomes the first woman in the village in trousers, to ride a bike, and sets up her own business - all the while she's searching for her stolen child. 

“It's a rollercoaster of a ride and the story includes a fantastic Women's Christmas, the traditional Irish custom of Nollaig na mBan, done in pure Ryhope style.”

Glenda adds: “I'm hugely grateful to the University Alumni Association for allowing me use of the University’s library, which I've used extensively when I've been researching my novels. Not only that, but the University’s Murray Library is where I base myself when I plan out my novels. It's the perfect space and it's great to keep my academic link to the University.”

Glenda Young will be signing copies of The Tuppenny Child at Waterstones in the Bridges Shopping Centre on Saturday 8 June from 11am-2pm.

The following student has been awarded the degree of Professional Doctorate:

Dr Keith Marriott

'An Exploration of the Way in which the use of Heuristics & Cognitive Biases Affects Entrepreneurial Decision-Making & Venture Success, & of the Dissemination of the Understanding of these Issues in Undergraduate, Business Education.'

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A shining light

It has been a tough year for University of Sunderland student Abigail Marshall.

The 20-year-old, from Gosforth in Newcastle, has been juggling her Film and Media degree with helping support her mum who is recovering from neurosurgery.

But despite her “run of bad luck” Abigail is proving a true fighter and has now been nominated for an award from her fellow students at the University.

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Abigail said: “Mum got ill around Easter time and things got so bad that she lost the use of her legs.

“She had to undergo neurosurgery at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle and although she is now recovering, it was a worrying time.”

While supporting mum Nikki, 41, Abigail was still coming into University and attending lectures, as well as helping look after younger sisters Georgia, 18, and Olivia, 15.

Abigail and her mum Nikki

She said: “I’m the oldest of three daughters so it kind of fell on my shoulders to look after mum.”

Now, friend and fellow University of Sunderland student Karis King, 20, has nominated Abigail for a Rate Your Mate Award. The initiative aims to shine a light on students who go above and beyond their studies to help others.

Karis, of Bearpark in Durham, said: “To start with, Abigail had a rough time last year, before I knew her, but she persevered and decided to re-do the first year of her course.

“She really made the effort to work hard this year, particularly on her amazing TV script which I can’t wait to read the finished draft of.

“Unfortunately, she was then hit by bad luck again when her mum fell ill over Easter. Abi took on the responsibility of looking after her post-surgery, as well as her younger sisters.

“Despite all of this, Abi has been in the library working hard in her spare time. Even though it’s been a rough time, Abi is still smiling and a pleasure to be around.”

Abigail is now looking forward to the future.

She said: “Ultimately, I’d like to be a screenwriter, that’s the dream.”

Abigail Marshall and Karis King 

The winner of the Student of the Year award will be announced on June 27.

Organisations across the UK are signing up to powerful new charter a year after its North East launch to increase employers’ commitments to becoming HIV-friendly.

The University of Sunderland was the first to volunteer and sign up to the Positive Allies Charter Mark, designed to demonstrate that an organisation is friendly towards, and inclusive of, people living with HIV and that they are actively challenging HIV stigma.

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Positive Allies is the first of its kind in the world, and the concept behind the charter was based on the results of a research project undertaken by academic Drew Dalton in 2015 called ‘Silent Scream?’. Drew’s study highlighted what life is like in the UK for people living with HIV and the barriers they faced. It found that those with HIV were still facing stigma within their working environments despite the introduction of the workplace Equality Act (2010).

Since its launch in April 2018, Positive Allies has signed up a variety of organisations from schools, universities and business parks, to not-for-profit organisations and small businesses, ensuring people living with HIV, as either staff or volunteers, are safe and that key staff undertake training, review policies and consider practices and resources, which demonstrate equality and openness about HIV.

Drew, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Sunderland, says: “We have been delighted with the response across the UK since launching Positive Allies. Our University was the first to apply and has really set the standard, but more work needs to be done.

“While the Equalities Act (2010) added further protections to those living with HIV, many employers are still unaware that HIV is included within this legislation. So not only is there a moral case for organisations to achieve Positive Allies but it is also signalling to others their commitments to equality and diversity legislation.

“By everyone signing up, we can ensure that workplaces become better places for people living with HIV and to tackle some of the stigma that people continue to face today.”

One of those organisations to fully embrace the new charter is Risedale Sports & Community College in Catterick, North Yorkshire.

Principal Colin Scott said: “We are determined to ensure that all of its workforce and pupils are treated with the same dignity as each other regardless of gender, orientation, faith, culture, background or disability and to do so in such a way as to remove all stigma through prejudice to any and all people. The school does not just ensure it meets its obligations through the Equality Act but goes beyond that. This has been our mission for the last few years and it will continue with its inclusive ethos in the years to come.

“Positive Allies is one way in which the school actively demonstrates its support for all and we are proud to have achieved this award as a check that we are indeed doing all we can for the community.”

The Charter Mark provides a free online training course for key staff and volunteers and an HIV Staff/volunteer policy for organisations to tailor around their current policies.

Drew explained: “There are two levels to adopting the charter, and attaining either of these levels allows employers to advertise to others that they are making a conscious effort to improve the ethos of their organisation, and more importantly to reduce stigma.”

Positive Allies is maintained by the University of Sunderland and an adjudicating panel, to award the Charter Mark, is made up of a range of industry experts and of people living with HIV. Once gained, organisations can use the Positive Allies logo on their websites, letterheads and social media channels.

Justine Gillespie, Human Resources manager at the University of Sunderland, said “We were delighted to support Drew with his project and used it as an opportunity to become an HIV friendly employer. With his advice we developed our HIV/AIDS staff policy, which we launched last year, and also invited Drew to carry out a number of training sessions for staff and students. The feedback we have received has been overwhelmingly positive and so would encourage any employer to sign up to the principles of the Charter Mark.”  

The Positive Allies Charter Mark was officially launched at Canary Wharf in April 2018 at the University of Sunderland in London campus. The keynote speech was given by Roland Chesters – a recognised disability and inclusion expert; coach, consultant, workshop leader and motivational speaker. Roland is about to publish a book: ‘Ripples from the Edge of Life’, which documents the stories of 14 people with HIV and AIDS and the impact on their lives.

To find out more about the Positive Allies Charter Mark, and how to sign up, go to:


Twitter: @PositiveAllies


Silent Scream?

Academic Drew Dalton’s research project in 2015, ‘Silent Scream?’, highlighted what life is like in the UK for people living with HIV and the barriers they faced, revealing worrying trends:

  • the U.K. Stigma Survey (2015) found that a significant proportion of respondents felt stigmatised and had experienced HIV-related discrimination at work;
  • this had a substantial effect on wellbeing; with around half reporting feelings of shame, guilt or self-blame in relation to their HIV status in the last year, while one in five reported having felt suicidal;
  • despite being a named condition in the Equality Act (2010), a fifth of respondents who had disclosed their HIV positive status at work had experienced discrimination in their current or previous job;
  • 12% of participants had decided not to apply for, or turned down, employment or a promotion due to their status;
  • 41 people in the study reported losing their job or another source of income due to their HIV status in the last twelve months, and one in nine reported being denied insurance products (for example, job protection) in the last year, which is illegal.
  • over half (52%) of working respondents reported they had told no one in their workplace about their HIV status (Stigma Survey, 2015).