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PREVIEW: Friday 5 April, National Glass Centre - Exhibition runs 6 April until 15 September

 National Glass Centre is 21 years old this year. We will celebrate our anniversary with an exhibition featuring work by artists who have helped to establish Sunderland as an international centre of excellence for Studio Glass.
 
Drawing on our close working relationship with the University’s Glass and Ceramics department, we will present examples of work by current and past teaching staff, previous exhibitors and notable graduates. Major names in Studio Glass including University Honorary Graduates Stanislav Libensky and Jaroslava Brychtova, and Bertil Vallien and Ann Wolff will be represented alongside a wide range of other artists. These include Erin Dickson (PhD, Glass & Ceramics 2015) and Jade Tapson (MA Glass 2016), who have been selected to create new works for the exhibition as two of the most outstanding graduates of the last five years.

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A Sunderland lecturer is launching his debut novel this week based in the aftermath of the world’s biggest nuclear disaster.

Almost 33 years ago – On April 25-26 1986 – the No4 reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the now-abandoned town of Pripyat, exploded.

The event occurred during a late-night safety test and resulted in an international disaster unlike anything seen before.

For his debut novel, the Chernobyl Privileges, Dr Alex Lockwood, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sunderland, evokes the spectre of the tragedy, combined with the continuing controversy of Britain’s nuclear deterrent programme.

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The Chernobyl Privileges is a psychological drama that depicts the traumatic experience of surviving disaster, exploring the consequences of decisions people are forced to make, and how those decisions shape their lives.

Dr Lockwood said: “In 2016 it was coming up to the 30th anniversary of Chernobyl and I wanted to find out a bit more about it all.

“My protagonist is a Chernobyl survivor who works at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, where Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons are kept.

“I think the book has turned out to have quite a strong anti-nuclear stance, which I suppose is very much my view. In fact the last page of the book is a House of Commons Early Day Motion, written by Jeremy Corbyn, in regards to Trident.”

Already struggling to keep his marriage together, the book’s main character, Anthony Fahey, finds himself at the centre of an emergency when an accident on a Trident submarine throws the base into crisis.

But as the situation worsens, Anthony’s history threatens this opportunity to finally prove himself in the world of nuclear power. Old memories and buried secrets from his childhood reach into the present, as Anthony begins to understand that it isn’t only radiation that has a half-life.

Dr Lockwood added: “As well as the bigger picture, this is very much a book about family relationships and surviving trauma.”

The book has already received critical acclaim and was shortlisted for the Impress Prize for New Writing, 2016; as well as chosen in the Valley Press First Chapter Competition, 2016.

Alex will be at WHSmith’s in Edinburgh on April 6, New Art Social in Newcastle on April 8, Waterstones in Sunderland on April 13, and WHSmith’s in Newcastle on April 16.

The Chernobyl Privileges is published by Roundfire Books.

Chernobyl effects:

Health: Twenty-eight of the workers at Chernobyl died in the four months following the accident, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), including some workers who knew they were exposing themselves to deadly levels of radiation in order to secure the facility from further radiation leaks.

The prevailing winds at the time of the accident were from the south and east, so much of the radiation plume travelled northwest toward Belarus.

Within three months of the Chernobyl accident, a total of 31 people died from radiation exposure or other direct effects of the disaster, according to the NRC, UNSCEAR and other sources. More than 6,000 cases of thyroid cancer may eventually be linked to radiation exposure in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, though the precise number of cases that are directly caused by the Chernobyl accident is difficult (if not impossible) to ascertain.

Environmental impacts: Shortly after the radiation leaks from Chernobyl occurred, the trees in the woodlands surrounding the plant were killed by high levels of radiation. This region came to be known as the "Red Forest" because the dead trees turned a bright ginger color. The trees were eventually bulldozed and buried in trenches.

The damaged reactor was hastily sealed in a concrete sarcophagus intended to contain the remaining radiation: How effective this sarcophagus has been — and will continue to be into the future — is a subject of intense scientific debate. Plans to construct a safer and more permanent containment structure around the reactor have yet to be implemented.

Chernobyl today: The region today is widely known as one of the world's most unique wildlife sanctuaries. Thriving populations of wolves, deer, lynx, beaver, eagles, boar, elk, bears and other animals have been documented in the dense woodlands that now surround the silent plant.

To find out more about the work of Dr Alex Lockwood, click here

Payments Desk Closure

The Payments Desk in The Gateway, City Campus will close permanently on Friday, 29 March.
 This is part of the transformation of City Campus Gateway, and is the first step towards creating a cashless campus.

payportal is now live. This is your place to pay for everything from tuition to accommodation, library and print credits, field trips and art materials.  Simply select what you need to pay for and follow the steps. payportal is easy, secure and available any time day or night.

Our move towards a cashless campus will have many benefits for you:

  • No queuing.
  • No cash handling.
  • Quick and easy online payment solutions.
  • Available from anywhere across the world.

If you have any questions contact finance.revenues@sunderland.ac.uk or on 0191 515 2455.


More than 50 years ago three Norwegian students formed lifelong friendships when they began their engineering courses in Sunderland.

This month the friends made a special visit from their homes in Oslo, Norway, to rediscover their old stomping ground where fond memories were forged at the University of Sunderland.

The three graduates and their wives, who also lived in Sunderland between 1967 and 1972, while their husbands studied, made the three-day trip, taking a tour of Sunderland’s campuses to see the changes that have taken place since they studied their HND,CNNA and Newcastle degrees in Mechanical Engineering four decades ago, when the university was still a polytechnic.

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The group, who carved out successful careers since graduating, running their own individual engineering businesses before retiring, were impressed by the new developments on campus and changes in the City itself, since they first arrived and were taught in Wearmouth Hall, which is now the University’s CitySpace sports and social facility in Chester Road.

So great was the impact the place and people had on them, that this is the friends’ second reunion at Sunderland in 30 years. They have also been sharing photos, stories and even poems from their happy time on campus, from ragweek, to their students union, even a translation book on ordering beer.

Carl Frederik Selmer and his wife Kirsten, whose son was born while staying in Sunderland, lived in Roker.

“We absolutely loved it here, the people were so friendly, we loved the city and the seafront, there was so much to do - the memories we made have never left us,” explained Carl.

Oyvind Kirsebom who also studied a degree in Engineering in Newcastle, eventually working across Europe in the concrete plant industry. His wife Tove loved their flat off Chester RoadTove was editor of the Norwegian paper Dovre, while her husband studied.

Tor Samuelsen, whose business was in corrosion in water pipes in the oil industry, said: “Coming to Sunderland had a great impact on all of us.

“When we began studying here 50 years ago we didn’t know each other but became lifelong friends. The people were incredibly friendly and welcoming and we have nothing but good memories. We loved a drink in the Wearmouth bar and a walk along the beach!”

He added: “We have been so impressed with the changes that have taken place at the university, the facilities are fantastic.

“The city also looks great now, but we were shocked the Vaux Brewery was no longer there.”

Tor Samuelsen, who met his wife Karin after returning to Norway, said: “It’s been great to be back, we had such a great time and remember there was such a large community of Norwegian students at the Sunderland at the time.”

As part of their tour, the Norwegians also visited the University’s state-of-the-art engineering facilities at the Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s. Dave Knapton, Acting Head of School for Engineering, delivered the tour and explained how developments in engineering technology have changed since the 1960s, and the international research that takes place, from manufacturing and maintenance engineering to material science.

Dave said: “It’s great to see students have such strong links and fond memories of their time in Sunderland and return after all these years.

“I was very proud to offer the tour of the faculty and show the recent and ongoing developments that have been made since they first studied here. It was also fascinating to hear of the visitors stories from their time studying in Sunderland and in their professional careers.”

Sunderland’s Alumni Officer Elena Perez said: "It has been a pleasure to see our former students back on campus after all this time and they have such fond memories.

“We often take alumni members on a tour of the university and also organise many reunions. It's my job to keep graduates in touch with the university."

To find out more about the Alumni office, contact 0191 515 3664 or email alumni@sunderland.ac.uk

You can also register to join the Alumni Association directly on the website https://alumni.sunderland.ac.uk/

Carl Frederik Selmer, Oyvind Kirsebom and Tor Samuelsen

 

1 million moves

CitySpace have now passed the 1 million moves mark in the Let’s Move for A Better World Challenge.

The challenge which began on March 11 and runs until March 30 sees CitySpace pitted against other facilities that use Techno Gym around the world to see who can accumulate the most moves.

The challenge is open to both gym users and non-gym users and if you haven’t already joined you can do so by following these simple steps:

1)      Go to www.mywellness.com/cityspace and create your account

2)      Download the mywellness app from the app store (IOS or Android) and log in with e-mail

3)      Once your account has been verified, join the challenge and track your activity using the ‘Outdoor Activity Tracker’ in the app to contribute your moves to the challenge.

The top movers within the university can win prizes ranging from free gym memberships to O’Neills sportswear.

CitySpace have also opened their doors to Team Sunderland club members by granting them free gym access for the duration of the challenge when they present their sports card to the CitySpace reception.

The offer to join the gym and get a month’s gym access for just £10 is also valid right up to the end of March for students, staff and the public.

For more information on how to get involved contact CitySpace on 0191 515 2009 or email at cityspaceenquiries@sunderland.ac.uk.

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You shall go to the ball

Kirsty Thompson had always dreamed of being a fashion designer, and had gone to university to follow her dream. But illness put a stop to her studies, and she resigned herself to working in a bank for the rest of her life.

But two years ago, with the encouragement of her sisters, Kirsty took the plunge and returned to full time education – and has now been chosen to create a gown for the Mayor of Sunderland, and is on the verge of seeing her dream of making her living as a dress designer become a reality.

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Kirsty, 30, from Ryhope, is in the final year of her BA Fashion Design & Promotion degree at the University of Sunderland, but until recently she was working for Virgin Money, and her dreams of becoming a designer had all but been forgotten.

She says: “Ten years ago I went to De Montfort University, in Leicester, and studied for a year and a half, but then I fell ill with IBS.  I couldn’t leave the house, and my mam and dad persuaded me to come home.

“I just left education behind, and I got a job in a bank.”

Kirsty was quite happy in her career, and then her sister, who is ten years younger than Kirsty, began apply to university. “She offered to fill in my application form for me,” says Kirsty, “and my other sister, who’s a teacher, advised me to mention the study I’d already done, and they took me straight onto the second year of the course.”

Thought Kirsty admits it has been a hard road, going back to university has changed everything – even leading to her landing a new job while she was still studying.

“Are part of the Fashion Design & Promotion degree you have to do a placement, and I did my placement at House of Mooshki in Seaham, the bridal occasional wear shop. They design the product for their customers, and I offered to work there for free for two months, just to get some experience for my CV.

“Then just before Christmas they asked me to come along to the staff Christmas party, but when I got there they offered me a job.”

Kirsty handed in her notice at the bank, and now she is covering maternity leave doing the shop’s accounts, as well as sewing two days a week.

“The dresses come in from China, and we have to take them apart and put them all together again so that they’re perfect for our clients.  That’s someone’s wedding dress, and that means so much. It’s a lot of work, but I really enjoy it.

“When I was studying years ago I was focussed on pattern cutting and sewing, whereas now I am studying everything including design and promotion, which has really helped me with my future plans to go freelance.”

A further boost to her ambitions came when Kirsty volunteered to undertake a paid project to create the Mayor of Sunderland’s gown for the annual Mayor’s Ball.

Kirsty admits creating the Mayor’s gown was a tough gig – at House of Mooshki from consultation with a client to delivery of a dress takes at least six month, and she only had a month to design and create the Mayor’s gown, working nights, alongside her studies and her full time job.

“I’ve got help from Jill Kirkham (Programme Leader for Fashion Design and Promotion at the University of Sunderland) and from people at work, so I was very confident I would get it finished in time.

“Designing and creating the Mayor’s dress has really catapulted me into the real world, but thanks to my background in sewing, and my studies in design, I am really confident. “

Kirsty is now focussed on her future, and the day before the Mayor’s Ball was in London at the Drapers Sustainability conference, thanks to funding support from the University of Sunderland’s DOSH (Development Officer Scholarships) scheme.

Kirsty says: “Sustainability is so important in fashion at the moment.  Fashion is the second largest polluter in the world, and we’re not really doing anything about it.  My final project is about sustainable evening wear, I’m calling it Access Couture.

“I want to make couture fashion accessible to people to would never really consider it is for them.”

After graduation Kirsty is planning to go freelance as a dress designer.  But before that she has her graduation to look forward to – and is aiming to spend her summer in a Paris fashion house.

But Kirsty says she will always be grateful to the Mayor of Sunderland, who helped her take the next step.

“Lynda took me on faith, without seeing any of my work, and I’ll be forever grateful.

“This has given me the perfect opportunity to start my professional practice and take on more clients – and helped make my dream of becoming a designer come true.”

The Mayor of Sunderland Councillor Lynda Scanlan, said: “As Mayor of Sunderland I was keen to help promote the creative talent we have here in our city, and approached our partners at the University who were delighted to help.

“The fashion and design department is excellent and put me in touch with Kirsty who I paid to work with me on ideas for the dress. I’m proud to support local businesses such as the one Kirsty has set up, and couldn’t be more pleased with what she created for me to wear at the charity ball.

“It was a pleasure to meet Kirsty who has worked so hard to design and actually make the dress herself, and I hope it helps showcase her remarkable talent and skills.”

The Mayor added: “I’m sure that we all wish Kirsty the best of luck in her future career, her story shows what people can achieve with determination, ambition and the right kind of support.”      

Kirsty will graduate from the University of Sunderland this summer, and has just been accepted as a member of the University’s Enterprise Place to launch her new business ARUNA COUTURE. The Enterprise Place is managed by the University of Sunderland, and allows new businesses to use co-working office space for up to a year.

The University of Sunderland Development Office Scholarships (DOSH)

Every year the University of Sunderland offers tens of thousands of pounds worth of funding to current students, to help improve their studies, professional practice and employability. DOSH, the Development Office Scholarship scheme, offers students studying at Sunderland non-means test, not-repayable scholarships from £250 to £10,000.

sunderland.ac.uk/dosh

The Enterprise Place

The Enterprise Place is managed by the University of Sunderland, and allows new businesses to use co-working office space for up to a year. Facilities are free and include: Business advice and support, a desk equipped with PC or Apple Mac, internet access, desktop printing, photocopying and use of presentation space/ meeting room.  Support is available through a team of business advisors and companies can also access external and University academics, agencies and networks.

The 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 regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confrontation is the name of the game when it comes to 21st Century television, according to one University of Sunderland professor.

From The Jeremy Kyle Show to Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares; from The Apprentice USA to Dragons’ Den, all these programmes possess the ‘in-your-face’ factor designed to provoke and entertain.

But is this good for us as an audience? Why do we take pleasure in watching them? And is it time for some official regulation?

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Angela Smith, Professor of Language and Culture at the University, discusses the issue in her book Belligerent Broadcasting, which is now available in paperback edition from publishers Routledge.

She said: “Confrontation on TV is a safe space where the audience member can join in, taking part in something they would not normally be involved in.

“During our day-to-day lives we generally avoid argument and confrontation, we negotiate, so a programme like Jeremy Kyle allows us to escape that normality of civil society and enjoy things like lie detector results.

“There is confrontation in all aspects of television but a lot of it appears to be done for entertainment purposes when it comes to reality TV.

“There is a formula with a show like Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares which sees Gordon Ramsay confront people, shouting at them and winding them up, then, as the programme progresses, the viewer is supposed to learn that he has been doing it for their own good.”

But, with so many similar shows now being broadcast, how can we account for the fact that TV seems to have become a sphere of anger, humiliation, anger, dispute and upset?

And to what extent does belligerence in broadcasting reflect broader social and cultural developments?

Professor Smith added: “In order to understand what is happening today, we have to look back to the past.

“There used to be a greater respect during TV interviews. There would be a certain deference to those who were more high-ranking, or perhaps deemed more intelligent. This started to get chipped away in the 1960s with the rise of a less deferential culture.

“Suddenly political interviewing started to change, it became more challenging, more direct.

“Then, with the more recent rise of right wing populism, this has spread out to other communities where people are become more confrontational in a way they never have before. This is perhaps most currently evident with Brexit and the way it is being debated.

“The question to ask ourselves is this - is belligerent forms of TV now spilling out into the community? And do regulators like Ofcom have a responsibility to step in and regulate?”

But perhaps the shift is already happening, according to Professor Smith.

“Look at a programme like Top Gear,” she adds. “A few seasons ago that was very confrontational but today, while the banter is still there, the animosity appears to have fallen by the wayside.

"Likewise, we see the rise in popularity of shows like Call the Midwife which are almost an antidote to those ‘in-your-face’ reality programmes.”

Belligerent Broadcasting by Angela Smith and Michael Higgins is now available in paperback from publishers Routledge. 

A bid to unlock a potential £33million in funding, creating new jobs and establishing the region as a UK leader in manufacturing innovation is underway.

UK Research and Innovation has awarded £50k to the consortium of partners behind the Centre for Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing. The seed funding will be used to develop a full business case for up to £33million from the Strength in Places fund. 

The plans would see the Centre for Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (CeSAM) established at the heart of the new £400m International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP).

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The Centre for Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (CESAM) is one of 24 ambitious projects to receive early-stage funding to develop full-stage bids that could lead to significant economic growth in places across the country.

A proposal for Strength in Places funding was submitted by the University of Sunderland on behalf of the consortium, which includes the North East Automotive Alliance members and Sunderland City Council.

Steve Knight, Chief Operating Officer at the University of Sunderland, said: “This is great news for CeSAM and for the city. Having led the initial bid on behalf of the consortium the University will continue to offer its support with developing the full business case for Strength in Places Funding, ready for submission to UK Research and Innovation in September.

“CeSAM will enhance the region's capacity to innovate, which in turn will have a direct economic impact. We want to get the best possible deal for the North East.”

Welcoming the award, Patrick Melia, Chief Executive of Sunderland City Council, on behalf of the consortium said: "CeSAM is a critical component of the North East's plans to create more and better jobs through innovation-led growth in smart and sustainable advanced manufacturing.”

What happens now?

The CESAM consortium has created a Steering Group, chaired by Sunderland City Council’s Chief Executive, Patrick Malia. This consortium will work with other businesses and organisations across the north east to agree the scope of CESAM, the projects it will deliver and how it can best support growth in jobs and investment in the region’s advanced manufacturing sector.

Q&A – CeSAM project explained.

What is the Strength in Places Fund?

The Strength in Places Fund will target innovation and investment in research and development (R&D) at a specific place. Investment in R&D is lower in the North East than in other areas.

Announced in the modern Industrial Strategy in November 2017, the Strength in Places Fund will benefit all nations and regions of the UK by allowing and helping them to tap into the world-class research and innovation capability that is spread right across the country.

The fund brings together research organisations, businesses, and local leadership on projects that will deliver significant economic impact, high-value job creation and regional growth.

What is CeSAM?

The Centre for Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (CeSAM) will work with companies, their suppliers and customers to develop, test and prove digital manufacturing technologies on full-scale, moving production lines. The centre will tackle the difficulties associated with introducing digital and manufacturing innovations across multiple markets and their supply chains. There is no similar facility in the UK.

Initially focusing on four key areas: sustainability; additive manufacturing; robotics and artificial intelligence; and digital manufacturing, CeSAM will address an unmet industry need for support with emerging technologies across multiple markets, including:

  • automotive and transport
  • energy
  • aerospace
  • healthcare,
  • food and drink
  • pharmaceuticals
  • infrastructure and construction.

A pioneering app that aims to tackle abuse on social media has won funding from search engine giant Google.

Academics from the University of Sunderland have received the money to help towards the SMART – Social Media Abuse Research Tool – project which aims to support journalists investigating online hate speech.

The project is a collaboration between journalism and computing specialists at the University. They will make a prototype app that will be usable by journalists who have little or no knowledge of coding or programming.

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The app will allow users to filter and locate abusive social media posts according to time-frames, types of abuse, and various other factors.

Last year, University research played a key role in revealing how high-profile Tory women were targeted for more sexist abuse on Twitter than their Labour counterparts, during the 2017 General Election.

The research found 93% of the misogynistic tweets sent to frontbench female politicians during the campaign were directed at Conservatives - mainly the Prime Minister.

The study, in partnership with Creative Fuse North East, saw researchers capture tweets and log them instantly. It is hoped the new project will build on this work.

A huge amount of hate speech, threats and abuse are published every hour on social media platforms, posing one of the major social problems of our generation.

While it is important that journalists report this growing issue, they often do not have the tools needed to analyse the enormity of the issue.

Google’s Digital News Innovation Fund (DNIFund) is a European organisation created by the search engine giant to "support high-quality journalism through technology and innovation".

The University has been awarded 41,867 Euros - £36,089 – from DNI towards the year-long project. It is the first time the institution has received this type of funding.

Dr John Price, Senior Lecturer in Journalism at the University, said: “We are delighted to receive this funding from Google DNI which will enable us to put our ideas into practice.

“Abuse, threats and hate speech on social media pose some of the major problems of our era and it is important journalists play an effective role in investigating this subject and holding policy makers and social media corporations to account.

“Collaborations between journalists and computing specialists have the potential to create useful tools for doing journalism in new and interesting ways. We hope our project will be part of that process.”

As well as Dr Price, academics working on the project include Lynne Hall, Professor of Computer Science, Dr Kate MacFarlane, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science, and Chris Bowerman, Professor of Data Science (Artificial Intelligence).

They’re topics many of us will avoid discussing, but a group Sunderland students are bringing suicide and dementia to the stage in powerful performances designed to enlighten.

Final year Performing Arts and Drama students from the University of Sunderland will perform their double-bill at Arts Centre Washington, on Wednesday, March 27, at 7.30pm, as part of the Sunderland Festival.

Sunderland Festival showcases students’ work across a range of Performing arts modules in venues throughout the North East, including Arts Centre Washington and The Custom's House in South Shields. 

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While the subject matter will challenge the audiences, students and lecturers hope they will offer information and support for those who may find themselves having to deal with the connected issues.

For their first act Hidden in Plain Sight, the students worked with specialist counsellors in Sunderland, gaining an insight of their work around suicide, what behaviours they’d expect to see and ensuring the correct terms of reference are used. Above all, they have ensured that the subject matter is sensitively dealt as the students focus on one man’s story.

The second act, Forget me Not, uses real-life stories, interviews and accounts which deal with the life and struggles of living with someone who has dementia. Featuring scenes of a medical nature asking questions of the dementia patient about their condition, the voices of their friends and family, interspersed throughout with physical theatre, depicting the emotions of the piece.

The students chose the subjects as part of their final-year mark for their contemporary performance module. 

Adelle Hulsmeier, Senior Lecturer in Drama and Performing Arts, explained: “The students are looking at the kind of behaviours that come with both of those issues, so that someone can move from being a passive bystander to an active bystander, so if they see the behaviours and want to help make a change.

“The performances are episodes of different scenes that depict the issues, which the students have thoroughly researched from previously published interviews, case studies and stories. Working with Sunderland City Council has also been an invaluable source of information.”

Adelle added: “Both performances have an educational element to them, it’s important the students did their research to make sure it was honest but also truthful in terms of how professionals deal with these situations in a more encompassing way.”

Matthew Blyth, Audience Development Officer at Arts Centre Washington, said: “We are delighted to welcome back the drama students from the University to take over Arts Centre Washington for a night of contemporary theatre. 

“Arts Centre Washington and Sunderland Culture are committed to supporting young and emerging artists living and working in our city, so that’s why it’s so exciting to see these students creating two brand new pieces which take on two poignant, emotive and extremely relevant subjects.”

To book tickets got to: https://sunderlandculture.org.uk/events/hidden-in-plain-sight-10/

Battle of the Bands

Battle of the Bands is your chance to get on the bill alongside some of the biggest names in music today. 

We are looking for a band to open Stage 2 at the This is Tomorrow Festival on Friday 24 May – in front of a potential audience of 15,000 people.

The University of Sunderland is the key sponsor for the This is Tomorrow Festival, and we’ve created this unique and potentially life-changing opportunity just for our students.

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To qualify for Battle of the Bands your band must include at least one University of Sunderland student, graduate or member of staff. 

Battle of the Bands is not limited to bands – solo artists can enter too.

To enter you must submit a link to a 30-60 second video of your band playing to events@sunderland.ac.uk by midnight on 7 April.

A team of judges will choose four bands to go head to head at the Battle of the Bands night at CitySpace on 1 May - with the ultimate winner playing at the This is Tomorrow Festival in Exhibition Park in Newcastle on the opening night.

https://www.sunderland.ac.uk/bands/

The University sponsoring the This is Tomorrow Festival featuring live music from Noel Gallagher, The Vaccines, Stereophonics and many more.

Staff and students can claim an exclusive 30% ticket discount, off a pair of one-day tickets, or 30% off a pair of three-day weekend tickets.

BOOK TICKETS

To claim use the discount code SUNDERLAND30, and ensure that you place your order using your staff or student email address to confirm your purchase. You will need to present your staff/student ID on the day to gain entry. The discount is non transferable and the discount is limited to a maximum of one pair of tickets.

A pioneering app that aims to tackle abuse on social media has won funding from search engine giant Google.

Academics from the University of Sunderland have received the money to help towards the SMART – Social Media Abuse Research Tool – project which aims to support journalists investigating online hate speech.

The project is a collaboration between journalism and computing specialists at the University. They will make a prototype app that will be usable by journalists who have little or no knowledge of coding or programming.

Return to AboutUS

The app will allow users to filter and locate abusive social media posts according to time-frames, types of abuse, and various other factors.

Last year, University research played a key role in revealing how high-profile Tory women were targeted for more sexist abuse on Twitter than their Labour counterparts, during the 2017 General Election.

The research found 93% of the misogynistic tweets sent to frontbench female politicians during the campaign were directed at Conservatives - mainly the Prime Minister.

The study, in partnership with Creative Fuse North East, saw researchers capture tweets and log them instantly. It is hoped the new project will build on this work.

A huge amount of hate speech, threats and abuse are published every hour on social media platforms, posing one of the major social problems of our generation.

While it is important that journalists report this growing issue, they often do not have the tools needed to analyse the enormity of the issue.

Google’s Digital News Innovation Fund (DNIFund) is a European organisation created by the search engine giant to "support high-quality journalism through technology and innovation".

The University has been awarded 41,867 Euros - £36,089 – from DNI towards the year-long project. It is the first time the institution has received this type of funding.

Dr John Price, Senior Lecturer in Journalism at the University, said: “We are delighted to receive this funding from Google DNI which will enable us to put our ideas into practice.

“Abuse, threats and hate speech on social media pose some of the major problems of our era and it is important journalists play an effective role in investigating this subject and holding policy makers and social media corporations to account.

“Collaborations between journalists and computing specialists have the potential to create useful tools for doing journalism in new and interesting ways. We hope our project will be part of that process.”

As well as Dr Price, academics working on the project include Lynne Hall, Professor of Computer Science, Dr Kate MacFarlane, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science, and Chris Bowerman, Professor of Data Science (Artificial Intelligence).

The University’s timetabling systems (CMIS and ePortal) are due to be upgraded in April 2019.  

To complete the upgrade process it will be necessary to interrupt service to the timetabling systems for a short period of time.  This interruption will take place from 9am Tuesday 23 April until 9am Friday 26 April 2019.

During this time you will be unable to access your personalised teaching timetables in ePortal or via the University of Sunderland Application.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

If you have any concerns please email - timetable@sunderland.ac.uk

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We have had lots of great nominations for Rate Your Mate - but we want more.

We want to shine a light on students who go above and beyond their studies to help others.

Is your mate great? 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 students – so Rate Your Mate is for and by students.

If you would like to nominate a student you can nominate using this form and email it to rate@sunderland.ac.uk  

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A rare disease of the jaw which causes pain for sufferers and can lead to reconstructive surgery could be prevented if healthcare professionals improve their communication, research has revealed.

Osteonecrosis, which means death of bone tissue, can develop in the jaw following certain dental procedures, such as tooth extractions, in some patients who are prescribed certain medicines, known as bisphosphonates, for the treatment of osteoporosis and cancer.

A team of researchers at the University of Sunderland carried out a study into the disease, and the impact it had on patients’ lives, funded by Pharmacy Research UK and a UK Clinical Pharmacy Association Clinical Research Grant.

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The study found that much more communication was needed between those GPs prescribing the medicine to patients, pharmacists supplying the medicines and dentists managing patient’s oral health.

Lead researcher Andrew Sturrock, Principal Lecturer and Programme Leader for the Master of Pharmacy(link is external) programme, explained: “Osteonecrosis of the jaw is a really rare side effect that some patients taking particular medicines experience if they require a dental extraction, in rare cases the bone dies. It causes significant pain and is incredibly difficult to treat, it can be quite disfiguring in some cases.

“All of our evidence suggests that the best way to treat this is to prevent it happening in the first place, making sure a patient prescribed these medicines have any dental treatment done before they start taking the drug and ensuring they maintain good oral hygiene and good oral health whilst taking the medicine.

“Our findings, however, established that this was not being done. GPs and pharmacists weren’t telling people about the risks for all sorts of reasons; because the disease is so rare, it wasn’t a priority, it’s been forgotten about, or in some cases the patient didn’t disclose they were taking the medicine when needing to have dental treatment.

“Ultimately, the patients were poorly informed about the disease and the preventive measures that should be taken. This is a communication issue and dentists are definitely out of the loop, they want to be more involved in the care of this patient group at a much earlier stage.

“The patients just expect the system to work and it’s up to healthcare professionals to improve and make sure there is good communication to prevent osteonecrosis of the jaw.”

The team interviewed 23 patients nationwide who described significant physical, psychological and social consequences as a result of developing this disease, from suffering depression due to the pain, to feeling embarrassed eating in front of others.

Their only treatment is pain relief, or sometimes surgery can be performed in which the dead bone is removed, this can be a small operation or can lead to patients needing reconstructive surgery. Patients can become prone to infections and sometimes require regular courses of antibiotics and ongoing dental management.

Andrew said: “Although it’s a rare disease, there are still big costs to the NHS in terms of on-going treatment. Yet it is fairly simple for prescribers and pharmacists to say ‘this is your new drug, this is how you take it and ensure you see you dentist before taking it’.”

Andrew explained that dentists are receptive to getting referrals from other professional groups, as he explains it is easier to treat their dental needs before they begin their medication.

Philip Preshaw, a dental professor and a consultant in restorative dentistry, said: “Medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw is thankfully quite rare, but when it does occur it has a profound impact on patients’ quality of life and can cause significant levels of pain. It is also very difficult to treat, as surgical procedures to remove the necrotic bone can sometimes fail due to poor blood supply in the region.

“Prevention is always better than cure, and better communication between doctors, pharmacists and dentists would ensure that the dental team know which patients are going to start taking the implicated medications, so that they can assess and optimize their oral health before they start taking them, to reduce the risk of osteonecrosis developing later.”

Professor Scott Wilkes, Head of the University’s new School of Medicine, added: “GPs see a lot of patients who take bisphosphonate medications to protect against osteoporosis and Pharmacists dispense a lot of these medications every day.

“There are two opportunities missed for relatively simple interventions. The first is brief advice from the GP or Pharmacist to attend a dental check-up and the second is fully informed consent about the risk albeit uncommon. Pharmacy may have an opportunity to embed such a service into a New Medicines Service. Although rare, it is a devastating disease and any reduction in the number of cases is welcome.”

The research has now been published in the BMJ Open: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/3/e024376