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Genius of da Vinci inspires

Art and design students have been imagining what Leonardo da Vinci would have been working on, had he been alive today.

Based at the University's FabLab in Hope Street Xchange on City Campus, the project is part of a wider programme organised to complement the much-anticipated Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing exhibition which opened at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens on 1 February.

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The exhibition features 12 drawings from the Italian master and is part of a national tour to mark the 500th anniversary of his death. Sunderland is one of 12 UK venues chosen by the Royal Collection Trust to simultaneously host the exhibition, which will feature a total of 144 of Leonardo drawings.

Heather Chambers, studying an MA in Design at University of Sunderland said: “We were asked to respond to the drawings and think about what Leonardo would be doing now and what he would be thinking about if he was alive today and had access to the capabilities and opportunities presented by the University’s FabLab.”

Niyla Claire Javaid, also studying an MA Design, added: “A group of us have worked on this project outside of our degree work. We’ve no doubt that Leonardo would be looking at the major challenges facing the planet and its inhabitants – so he’d be looking at solutions to issues such as global warming.

“Thinking about this, some of our group have been working on artwork around ‘lungs for the earth,’ a machine that would help purify our air. It’s been a really interesting project to work on, something a bit different that has got us thinking as well as learning more about Leonardo da Vinci.”

The project was funded by the Silver Fund, created to give students studying at the University of Sunderland unique opportunities they would not otherwise have the chance to enjoy. The fund has supported dozens of students’ creative ideas – from installing equipment that allowed media students to set up their own DJ Society, to taking glass making out to the public on Roker Beach, to creating a hiking club; created for students who are not interested in traditional sport but want to stay fit.

If you have an innovative idea you can apply for a Silver Fund today by clicking here.

The ethos behind the FabLab is that anyone can make, just about, anything. Using the FabLab’s facilities, including a 3-D printer and a laser cutting machine, some of the group produced artwork on to layers of acrylic which appears to animate their artwork when lit.

Students have been working in groups or as individuals on the Leonardo projects. Most were inspired by Leonardo’s anatomical drawings, several of which will feature in the Sunderland exhibition, and another by the mirror-writing that he used to describe his drawings and inventions.

Another student project used a Leonardo’s drawing of a face side-on to help create a 3-D version of the woman’s head, again using FabLab’s technology.

Jo Cunningham, Exhibitions, Collections and Archive Manager at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, explained:“We’re using the exhibition's drawings as a catalyst to inspire and educate through a programme of projects and activities for people of all ages – the University’s FabLab project is a great example of how Leonardo can continue to inspire people.

“We thought it would be really interesting to see how students would respond to the question ‘if Leonardo was alive now, what would he create?’"

The students’ finished work will go on display in the World Art case at the Museum during the exhibition’s run.

A spokesperson for the University of Sunderland said: “This is unique opportunity for our talented Art and Design students to be involved in one of the most highly anticipated exhibitions to ever come to Sunderland.

“The first in the North East, the University’s FabLab offers a diverse range of specialist digital design and fabrication equipment in an environment designed for innovation. We’re excited to see the ideas our students have brought to life within this creative space, when they are featured alongside the work of Leonardo da Vinci.”

Following the exhibitions at the 12 venues, the drawings will be brought together to form part of an exhibition at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, the largest exhibition of Leonardo's work in more than 65 years. A selection of 80 drawings will then travel to The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse in November.

Tickets for Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, costing £2.50, can be pre-booked online  or purchased at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens. Entry for under-16s is free, but they will need a ticket.

For information and updates on the supporting activities and events, log on to the museum’s website or check social media using the hashtags #SunderlandLeo and #Leonardo500.

'Leonardo da Vinci: A life in drawing' with Martin Clayton from the Royal Collection Trust, 6.30pm-8pm, Wednesday 27 February

Please note this event is now SOLD OUT.

To mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens has been selected by Royal Collection Trust to be one of 12 UK venues to host simultaneous exhibitions of 12 Leonardo da Vinci drawings. The exhibition will be on display at the Museum from Friday 1 February – Monday 6 May 2019.

‘Love’ and University life

New mum Konstantina Chatoupi is performing the ultimate juggling act – being a new mum and fulltime student.

Daughter Agape – which means ‘love’ in Greek – only arrived in the world eight months ago, just as her mum was working on her dissertation.

It means University of Sunderland student Konstantina is now working round the clock completing her MSc in Human Resource Management while caring for the new love of her life.

Now, Konstantina has been nominated for a new campaign – Rate Your Mate - which aims to shine a light on hard working students who go above and beyond in their studies, life and work while at the University.

Any student who would like to nominate their friend can email and let us know what makes your mate amazing

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The 25-year-old was nominated by her friend Athanasia Palentza, also 25, who has been impressed with the way Konstantina has adapted to her busy life.

Athanasia said: “She manages to come to all her classes, to participate in weekly presentations, to help and support us with her previous experience - she also studied her BA here - and to study for exams and assignments.

“Overall, I think she is an amazing person, with excellent time management skills, courage and determination; a person who doesn't quit.”

Konstantina, who originally comes from Chalkida in Greece, is more modest about her achievements.

She said: “In the beginning, when I was pregnant it was quite tough, then when she was born I didn’t get too much sleep either.

“Finding the time to study has been quite hard but I’m lucky in that my partner has been brilliant.”

The mum is now looking forward to her future, finishing university and hoping to go on to get a job in the human resources department of a big hotel.

She added: “Even though Agape has a Greek mum and dad, she has never been back to Greece yet. We like it here in the North East and are hoping to stay in the country once we finish at Sunderland.”

Any student who would like to nominate their friend can email and let us know what makes your mate amazing

The University of Sunderland will soon commence a pilot scheme to enable module choice options to be completed online.

This new way of choosing your module choices will be available through our student portal, e:Vision.

The University has recently implemented a ‘Digital First’ strategy and one aspect of that is to provide electronic solutions to current manual processes.  This new way of choosing optional modules fits within this innovative strategy and will, in turn, improve the service that you receive as a student of this university.

The University is always looking at ways in which it can help the environment by increasing its green footprint and this development will contribute in this respect also, as it will replace the paper-based system currently in use.

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This digital solution will streamline other processes such as module registration, Canvas accessibility and timetable creation.

The roll-out of this system will take a phased approach, with the pilot taking place this semester for module choices to be studied in 2019/20.  An evaluation of the pilot will then take place through the summer with a view to rolling out the system further in the 2019/20 academic year.

Programme Leaders for pilot academic areas have been contacted already and system instructions for those students on these chosen programmes will be provided in the coming weeks.

More detailed information on the pilot will be communicated to all relevant individuals in due course.

Ben’s animated views

Ben Whiteley has brought new life to student feedback with a video he created – and made his fellow student Caitlan into an animated star.

Every year the University of Sunderland runs Survey US, a chance for students to feedback and give their views on the University, how well their studies are going, and what can be improved.  This year student Ben has brought the survey to the small screen and social media with his 35 second video.

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Ben, 20, who is in the second year of his BA Graphic Design degree, was chosen by a panel of student judges and marketing experts from dozens of entries for this year’s competition.

Ben’s video incorporates film and animation to encourage students to get involved and share their views, with the help of fellow Graphic Design student Caitlan Wright.



“For me it was important that students shouldbe the main focus of the video,” says Ben. “I felt this was best achieved by having live footage of a student saying how people feel surveys may be a waste of time, and then transitioning into animation to show how students’ opinions can open a door of opportunity.”

Ben’s prize is to spend a week working alongside the professional filmmakers in the University’s award-winning Digital Team – but he says that the process of making the video has already had a real impact on his professionalism.

“I learnt a variety of new techniques when animating,” adds Ben, who hopes to go into animation and 3D design after university. “This will undoubtedly be very useful in future.”

Fellow BA Graphic Design student Caitlin Wright, 20, is the star of Ben’s video – first appearing in person, and then transforming into an animated version of herself.

She said: “It was interesting to see how Ben used his skills to animate a character that was me. It was a fun and exciting experience.”

Survey US runs from 4 February to 17 May, and takes place in Sunderland, London and Hong Kong.  In 2018 almost 5,000 students filled in a survey, directly influencing new initiatives including the introduction of 20% fee discount for students moving on from undergraduate to masters study, and the introduction of free guest tickets for graduating students.  At the University of Sunderland 88% of students’ fees are reinvested in enhancing the student experience.



Survey US 2019

Survey US 2019 is now live

Make sure you take part in our annual survey of all Sunderland students, and make your voice heard

Survey US is a survey of all Sunderland students* – from Freshers to Postgraduates.

With your help we want to make sure the Sunderland experience is the best that it can be.

Your feedback really does make a difference in everything from how your course is delivered, to major changes in the University. Recently we have invested over £33 million in your campus – we have introduced a 20% discount to students progressing to Postgraduate study, and two free guest tickets for graduations.

88 per cent of your fees are reinvested in improving and enhancing the student experience.

But what’s your view?

Remember that every student’s opinion matters to US – so we want as many of you as possible to fill in Survey US 2019. So login, and make sure your voice is heard.

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*Taught students. Postgraduate student will be contacted about the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES).

Partnership takes off

A world-leading airport passenger and cargo service has announced an exclusive partnership with the University of Sunderland.

Swissport International Ltd, a global leader in aviation passenger ground services, ground and air cargo service, are set to play a key role in supporting students seeking careers in the aviation sector.

The Tourism, Hospitality and Events department has become a member of the Swissport Academy which will provide exclusive graduate recruitment opportunities for the University’s students.

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The collaboration will also explore continuous learning opportunities; airport visits, experiential learning, and guest speakers from Swissport to develop in-demand skills in the industry.

It comes as the University prepares to recruit Tourism and Aviation Management students from September 2019 onwards.

The guarantee of an interview for a graduate scheme of an international business will help provide a clear route to employment for students taking this programme.

Professor Lawrence Bellamy, Academic Dean, Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism at the University of Sunderland, said: “The partnership between the University and Swissport represents the very best of opportunities for our students to gain experience and develop their career with a truly global company.

“Students will come into contact with the cutting edge of industry operations and gain highly valuable managerial insight from Swissport, a world-leading organisation. The organisation will also benefit from a supply of talent who have been developed specifically to serve the needs of this fast-moving industry. It’s a really innovative approach.”

 Nicola Beveridge, Swissport International Ltd, Recruitment Services Manager, said: “We are delighted with the partnership with the   University and to offer students the opportunity to join our business in a variety of different roles.  It gives them a stepping stone that often many students lack at the end of a hard few years studying.

“We hope this is a long partnership that teaches students that real opportunities lie at the end of their hard work.”

Dr James Scott, University of Sunderland, Head of Department of Tourism, Hospitality and Events, said: “We are delighted to be working with Swissport, their input to our curriculum design has been essential in providing a course that embeds real world scenarios into the programme.

“Being part of the Swissport Academy provides students with an opportunity to graduate and work in an area directly related to their study.” 

Serkan Uzunogullari, Senior Lecturer in Hospitality and Tourism at the University of Sunderland, said: “We are extremely proud of our partnership with Swissport, which will allow us to embed higher-level and aviation-specific skills and knowledge to our Tourism and Aviation Management programme.

“The partnership will also ensure that the Tourism and Aviation programme content meets the aviation employers’ needs and opens students’ eyes to exciting career opportunities within the industry.”


To learn more about the new Tourism and Aviation Management programme at the University of Sunderland, visit here

About Swissport International Ltd

Swissport International Ltd., on behalf of more than 850 client-companies, provides best-in-class aviation ground services for some 265 million passengers annually, and handles approximately 4.7 million tonnes of air cargo at 133 warehouses world-wide. With a workforce of 68,000, the world’s leading provider of ground and air cargo services is active at 315 airports in 50 countries across all five continents. Swissport has a long established commitment to be a people-focused organisation which believes without its people it simply cannot meet its goals and achieve its vision. As an organisation, Swissport has a strong emphasis on the principles of sustainability and compliance, living by the “Three Ps”: People, Professionalism and Partnership.

About UoS, Department of Tourism, Hospitality and Events

The Department of Tourism, Hospitality and Events is ranked 2nd in the UK according to The Guardian University league tables 2019, offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in tourism, aviation, hospitality and events management. Its programmes are delivered across three campuses and many partner institutes.  With its global presence, UoS - Department of Tourism, Hospitality and Events is teaching a diverse student population and fostering experiential learning to provide competitively advantageous graduate opportunities for all students.

A decision to quit her job as a dental nurse and return to University has led Hannah Scrafton to the frontline of the NHS.

The 22-year-old will begin her new role at City Hospitals Sunderland’s Emergency Department (ED) once she completes her Adult Nursing Programme at our University in the Spring.

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Hannah had always wanted to become a nurse, but after completing a Health and Social Care course at college she didn’t feel the time was right to go to university and began working as a dental nurse. Over the next two years she gained as much patient experience as she could, which helped lay the foundations for her next career move.

“When I saw that Sunderland was starting a new nursing programme I leapt at the chance to apply,” explained Hannah, from Sunderland. “It was close to home, many of my friends had been studying there, and I felt ready to go to university, so it was ideal.

“After two years in the dental industry I’d also felt I’d gained enough experience with patients to be confident to train to become a nurse.

“It’s one of the most satisfying jobs, and makes you feel great helping people at their most vulnerable time.”

It was the care for her patients that she believes helped her successfully apply for a position at City Hospitals Sunderland before she has even graduated – one of the first on her course to do so. During the course she spent time on placement within Sunderland’s emergency department and knew that was the place she wanted to be making her mark.

“They were such a great team in ED, I enjoyed how busy it was and learned so much from the staff,” said Hannah. “You never knew what was going to come through the doors, and that’s what made it so interesting. So I’m delighted to now become part of that team when I finish my course.”

Hannah says the University of Sunderland certainly didn’t disappoint when it came to her training.

“There was so much confidence building from the start, and any concerns we had were taken on board and addressed, you felt really looked after. The facilities were so state of the art that they really helped prepare you for the real world. I’d also advise any student nurse about to begin their course to take every placement you can get, it’s just helps make you a more rounded individual.”

Hannah says eventually she’d like to advance her nursing role further and become an emergency care practitioner.

Simone Bedford, Team Leader for BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing Practice, said: “Hannah gained some excellent life skills as a dental nurse which have transferred into her nursing programme.  She is caring and compassionate and will be an excellent addition to team in ED.”

Hannah joined Sunderland in April 2016, as one of the first students to join the newly introduced Adult Nursing Practice programme. Completion of the course leads to registration as an adult nurse.

Sue Lane, Matron at the Emergency Department in City Hospital’s Sunderland, said: “We are delighted that Hannah has chosen to start her nursing career in our Emergency Department. Winter is a particularly busy time for us as we see more seriously ill patients come through the door, but we are lucky to have a very dedicated and experienced team and I am sure they will welcome and support Hannah in her new role and future development.”

Already the programme is having an impact after the University’s School of Nursing saw off opposition from across the UK last year to be named Post – registration Education Provider of the Year in the Student Nursing Times Awards. The national awards celebrate the very best in student nurses and nurse education.

 The School of Nursing is supporting NHS providers to fill nursing vacancies. Sunderland CARE Academy partner organisations collaborated to develop the programme. CARE Academy partners include City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Patient Carer and Public Involvement (PCPI) members.

Future Leaders Fellowships

Two Sunderland academics have successfully applied to become members of an innovative UK organisation that benefits society through exchange of knowledge, talent and ideas.

Dr Kalliopi Dodou and Professor Donna Chambers are now members of the UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowships (UKRI FLF) programme Peer Review College (PRC).

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UK Research and Innovation is a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish.

Panel College members must have significant experience or understanding of assessing the quality and validity of major research and innovation projects across a range of areas, beyond their own specialist area, and experience of assessing interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research will also be valuable.

Both Kalliopi and Donna are experts in their field. Kalliopi is Associate Professor in Pharmaceutics and Programme Leader for BSc Cosmetic Science, while Donna is Professor of Tourism.

Donna said: “I was very excited to see the call last year for applications to become a member of the Peer Review College for the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowships (FLF).  I was attracted to this programme as it seeks to support early career researchers within universities and talented people outside of universities to develop innovative research projects. 

“I firmly believe that being a Professor, one of my key roles is that of providing support and leadership to colleagues who are seeking to advance in their academic careers not only within the University of Sunderland but locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. The role of peer reviewer for such a prestigious programme therefore offered me an excellent opportunity to do just that.  In addition. The role will expose me to novel and creative research ideas in my own field of study and related areas; and it will allow me to learn more about excellence in writing funding applications all of which will be invaluable in my role as a research Professor. According to the invitation from UKRI, peer reviewers would need to commit to undertaking about four reviews per year and while this was a bit daunting to me in terms of the significant time commitment that this entailed, I felt that I could not pass up this fantastic opportunity to support others and to have a view of cutting edge research in my own and related fields.”

She added: “I am committed to using this role to provide detailed, critical and constructive reviews of the funding proposals that I receive and I would be ecstatic if even one of the proposals that I review results in world-leading research which has a significant impact on our society.  Being a member of the UKRI FLF Peer Review College will enhance my knowledge and expertise about the crafting of research funding proposals which will then enable me to further support research active staff in my own department, Faculty and across the University.”

Kalliopi said: “I have been reviewing grant applications for the EPSRC, BBSRC and MRC for several years, as an anonymous reviewer, being approached directly by these funding research councils.

“When membership for the UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowships was advertised I decided to apply as this would be a formal recognition of my knowledge and ability to make informed critical evaluations on multidisciplinary research. Via my recognition, the University's name is listed on the membership register, making the University visible for its Research expertise."

The objectives of the FLF scheme are:

  • to develop, retain, attract and sustain research and innovation talent in the UK 
  • to foster new research and innovation career paths including those at the academic/business and interdisciplinary boundaries, and facilitate movement of people between sectors
  • to provide sustained funding and resources for the best early career researchers and innovators
  • to provide long-term, flexible funding to tackle difficult and novel challenges, and support adventurous, ambitious programmes.

It is expected that Peer Review College members will be asked to take part in the panels that sift applications, making recommendations on which applicants should be invited forward to the interview stage of the application process, and to sit on the subsequent interview panels.

About Dr Kalliopi Dodou

Kalliopi has been an academic at the University of Sunderland since 2004 and teaches on the MPharm and undergraduate and postgraduate pharmaceutical sciences courses.

She recently designed and currently leads BSc (Hons) Cosmetic Science.

Alongside her teaching, she leads research on the design and quality control of transdermal dosage forms including hydrogels, the stabilisation of drugs via amorphous solid dispersions, and the design of cosmetic formulations.

Professor Donna Chambers

Donna is interested in how people and places are represented primarily through cultural and heritage tourism, the link between heritage and national identities, postcolonial and decolonial epistemologies in research and teaching, visual methods, sexuality and in critical and innovative approaches to tourism research. More recently she has been engaged in gender research generally and specifically within the context of tourism with a particular focus on the intersections between gender and race. Prof Chambers joined the University of Sunderland in 2013 and I'm currently the Head of the newly established Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism Research Institute.

At the University we celebrate and honour the lives of students and staff who die during their time studying or working with us.

For staff, the University may have been the place where they spent many years, and colleagues want to recognise their contribution to the University community and make sure that they are not forgotten.  Their family, too, may wish to remember the connection their loved one had with the University.

For students, the University is often a very important place in their lives, one where new friends and accomplishments have been made. It plays a key role of the memory of friends or family when a student dies during their time of study.

The death of a current student or member of staff highlights the importance of a place where friends and colleagues can go to mourn their loss and remember the person who has died.

A Book of Remembrance, which has been made specifically for the purpose, is now kept in a display cabinet at the Interfaith Chaplaincy Centre, close to St Peter’s Church on our riverside campus.

Each year, the names of those who had died are entered in the book.  The display case can be opened at any particular page and viewed by arrangement with the Chaplain.

St. Peters Campus
Interfaith Chaplaincy Centre
Wearbank House
Charles Street

Telephone: 07846 099643

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Rate Your Mate

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

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  

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

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Nathan is flying high

Nathan Todd is determined to fly high in all aspects of his life.

The University of Sunderland student has fought tooth and nail to achieve his dreams of becoming an accountant.

But the 22-year-old has always known the importance of helping others.

Now, the Accounting and Finance student has been nominated for a new campaign – Rate Your Mate - which aims to shine a light on hard working students who go above and beyond in their studies, life and work while at the University.

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Nathan has been nominated by Lauren Alexander, 20, who says she is continuously inspired by his determination to overcome every obstacle presented to him.

Lauren, a Sociology student, said: “Ever since I have known Nathan he has gone above and beyond what is expected, everything he sets out to do, he achieves.

“It’s inspiring to me to see someone go after what they want with such determination, while also finding time to think about others.”

Flying high in life is something Nathan, from Killingworth, has wanted to do from an early age.

“When I was younger I wanted to be a pilot; that was the dream.

“But, coming from a working class background, it wasn’t realistic to pay for the £150,000 worth of training that would be needed.”

Any student who would like to nominate their friend can email and let us know what makes your mate amazing

But that hasn’t stopped Nathan pursuing his flying dream as a hobby, and he has even had his first flying lesson.

The former George Stephenson High School pupil is now working at Durham accountancy firm Mullen Stoker in between completing is fourth year of studies at the University.

“To be honest, I didn’t want to come to university back in 2015,” recalls Nathan. “I didn’t think I was good enough, I didn’t think I’d have the right qualifications.

“I’ve always seen myself as being more practical than academic and I do like to take risks.

 “Then I came to Sunderland for a summer school and I ended up really enjoying it so decided to apply here.”

During his years at the University Nathan has kept himself busy. He has gained as much work experience as possible at different accountancy firms, while also carrying out charity work and volunteering.

Lauren said: “Nathan has also been an active and passionate student rep for his programme, as well as a student ambassador for the University. He was also briefly the treasurer for St Johns Ambulance.

“He’s not only a truly amazing student, but also an incredible individual, he is so hardworking, a real asset to the University of Sunderland.”

Don’t forget to Rate Your Mate at and let us know what makes your pal brilliant.

Women Leaders and Aspiring Women Leaders came together at the University to take part in a conference jointly hosted by the University of Sunderland, WomenEd and Women Leading in Education.  The theme of the conference was: 'New Challenges 2019: Preparing for a Leadership Role.'

Delegates were able to find out about the ways in which WomenEd and Women Leading in Education can support them at all points on their leadership journey.  

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The Dean of the Faculty of Education and Society, Dr Lynne McKenna, is a regional leader of WomenEd, supporting their “10% Braver” motto and encouraging women to pursue leadership opportunities.  She conceptualised the conference, recognising the regional importance of hosting it at the University of Sunderland – an organisation which prides itself on supporting women leaders and aspiring women leaders.

The conference was opened by Melanie Bear (WomenEd North East Leader) and Nikki Smith (from DfE Women Leading in Education) who gave excellent presentations on the work of their organisations and the ways in which leaders and aspiring leaders can become involved and get support – including through being linked with experienced leadership coaches to support their journey.  

Delegates were very enthused by inspiring presentations given by Sarah Dixon- Jones (Executive Head of Mill Hill and Houghton Community nursery Schools), Helen Mather (Assistant Principal of Southmoor Multi Academy Trust) and Monica Shepherd (Principal of St Anthony’s Catholic Academy for Girls and director of Schools North East).  

Sarah talked passionately about her route into leadership and the ways in which her leadership roles have progressed.  She shared the challenges she had faced along the way and how she was able to overcome them in order to reach her goals.  

Helen talked about her leadership journey and future aspirations.  She discussed finding paths into leadership and knowing what she wanted from her career.  In giving delegates a flavour of her own work since she qualified, Helen (a former University of Sunderland trainee) was able to demonstrate a very different leadership path to Sarah and show how it is possible to progress in one MAT if you have a passion for it.

Monica gave some invaluable advice to delegates about how to identify and apply for suitable leadership roles and the ways in which aspiring leaders can plot their career aspirations and follow them.  She identified where challenges may lie, but also the ways they can be overcome if you are passionate about what you want to achieve for yourself. 

Closing the event, Dr. Lynne McKenna drew the inspiring messages of the other speakers together and re-emphasised the “10% Braver” message.  She spoke about her own passion to develop leaders within the Faculty of Education and Society and the importance of supporting her staff in their own career and academic development.

The conference was exceptionally well received and opportunties for delegates to network led to them being able to make new connections to support them in their future goals.  Comments about the inspirational nature of the event were received through feedback and via the WomenEd hashtag (#WomenEd), such as:

“…congratulations on a great event. I certainly left feeling inspired by the speakers.”

“Such a great event this evening!  Thank you to the wonderful speakers…”

WomenEd NE and Women Leading in Education run a range of events regionally and nationally which can be booked free of charge via EventBrite.  



10 young artists have been announced as the finalist for the 2019 Gillian Dickinson North East Young Sculptor (GDNEYS) award - including two Sunderland graduates and a current undergraduate.

Each young sculptors has been awarded £300 to develop their ideas for an installation or sculpture. Our winning three are: 

Amelia Gray, BA (Hons) Fine Art (2018), Kelsey Lynn Mayo, MA Glass and Ceramics (2018) and Rayanne Noble, who is the final year of BA (Hons) Fine Art.

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In 2018 Sienna Giffin Shaw, who graduated BA (Hons) Glass and Ceramics, 2017, and Jonny Michie who graduated BA (Hons) Glass and Ceramics last summer, were finalists to create a work for Cheeseburn Sculpture based in Northumberland.

Graduate Dan Gough (BA (Hons) Glass and Ceramics, 2016) won the first Gillian Dickinson North East Young Sculptor Award in 2016, creating his ambitious sculpture ‘Scurry’ comprising 2,000 red and grey squirrels.

Matthew Jarratt, curator and mentor at Cheeseburn said, “We are delighted to have received a record number of applications to this year’s Gillian Dickinson North East Young Sculptor competition. We present a diverse selection of proposals from ten young artists, who come from a range of backgrounds, courses and institutions across the North East. What is particularly of note is that, this year, 70% of our shortlisted proposals are from female artists.”

With funding from the Gillian Dickinson Trust confirmed until 2021, the GDNEYS award provides opportunities to artists aged between 18 and 25 years old, who work or study in the region. The shortlisted artists for 2019 will present their proposals at Cheeseburn this spring, and the winner will receive £6,500 to develop their proposal into an installation or sculpture to be sited within the grounds of Cheeseburn.

The ten finalists are:

Jamie Hammill, who graduated from Newcastle University’s Fine Art course and is based at NewBridge Studios; Susannah Curran, a fellow Newcastle University Fine Art graduate based at Cobalt Studios; Northumbria University graduate, Bethan Williams; Sunderland University graduate, Amelia Gray; Sunderland Master of Glass and Ceramics graduate, Kelsey Lynn Mayo; Northumbria University graduate, Amy Matthews; Sunderland University graduate, Rayanne NobleMatthew Dowell, who is from Sunderland, but who studied at both Kingston University and the Royal College of Art; Newcastle University Master of Fine Art graduate, Ella Jones, and Teesside University graduate, Cameron Lings.

The University of Sunderland has launched a new project worth more than £1.3million to help student and graduate entrepreneurs turn their business dreams into reality.

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) scheme at the University’s Enterprise Place will expand on the many success stories from their previous projects that ran from 2015 until 2018.

The Enterprise Place acts as the perfect environment for students, graduates and staff of the University to start their own business, bringing together budding entrepreneurs at all stages of their development and providing free hot-desking space, business advice, structured interactive workshops, up to £1,000 of funding as well as PR and networking opportunities.

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Based at the University’s Hope Street Xchange Building, the Enterprise place has already helped scores of students and graduates get that vital first step on the career ladder to building their own business.

Graduates like Robert Banerjee who, in August last year, co-founded Korp Talent, a recruitment agency working in the Swedish market.

Robert, who graduated with a degree in Criminology, set up office at the Enterprise Place after a friend told him about the hot-desking facilities on offer.

The 24-year-old said: “Because my work is based in Sweden, I was able to work from home to begin with, but after hearing about what the Enterprise Place can offer graduates, it seemed like the right opportunity.

“It gave me a chance to get out of the house and work in an office environment surrounded by other people.

“It also provided the opportunity to access some of the support services they offered, like the workshops and training they held in areas like marketing and branding. This type of help has been invaluable.

“We are hoping to take on new staff members this year and, by the end of the year, will be looking towards moving into our own offices.”

Amy Armstrong and Marie Donnelly were both studying an MA in Public Relations when they decided to turn their business dream into a reality.

Between their studies the pair had been working with local DJs and cinemas when they decided to take the plunge.

“I suppose if we’d sat down for too long and thought about it, we might never have done it,” said Marie, from Gateshead.

“Yes, I think it’s just because we decided to go for it that we managed to get everything off the ground,” added Amy, originally from Bradford.

The pair founded MAD Communications and, in 2013, moved into offices at the Enterprise Place.

Since then the business has gone from strength to strength, with the pair later relocating to St Peter’s Gate before moving into their current offices at Design Works in Gateshead.

“It’s been incredibly hard work but we love what we do and we enjoy getting up every day to do it,” adds Amy.

“We offer all different kinds of communication services for all different types of businesses.

“It’s been an incredible five years and we have been able to take on another member of the team, Beth Waldron, through the Graduate Internship Scheme.” 

The team of UoS graduates say the support they received from the Enterprise Place was pivotal in helping launch their careers.

Amy said: “You were in a place with other young entrepreneurs, starting out on their own, so to be able to share experiences was incredible.

“We were all in the same position and we were all there to support each other on our journey. We know we wouldn’t have been able to get that kind of office space without their support.”

Marie added: “The other key thing was the help we got on the business side. We did not have a business background in terms of knowing about keeping your own accounts etc. We got some valuable help from the Enterprise Place in this area.”

Laura Foster, Internships and Enterprise Manager at the University of Sunderland, said: "It's fantastic to be able to help students and graduates like Robert, Amy and Marie realise their start up ambitions.

“To see them develop their businesses from concept to taking on their first employees through our subsidised Internship Scheme, is a huge privilege and we wish them every continued success.

“We are also pleased to be able to support SMEs in the region, through this funding, to recruit our graduate talent.

“For many businesses, taking on a new member of staff is a big step. The Graduate Internship scheme not only supports SMEs financially by paying a proportion of the graduate's salary, but the team can also guide business owners through the recruitment process if required.

“Employing a graduate can really make a positive impact, bringing new and innovative ideas into the business. I would urge any small to medium business looking to grow their team to get in touch."

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

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

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

For more information on the Enterprise Place, visit here

For more information on Journalism and PR courses at the University, visit here

The Gateway at Sir Tom Cowie Campus have launched an exciting new interactive self-service kiosk - lovingly named Kiosk Ken.

The Kiosk is a quick and convenient way for you to access all the information you need. It’s so easy to use with the answers to your questions a simple click away.

When you find yourself unsure as to which classroom you’re supposed to be in, you can quickly check your timetable at the kiosk by logging into the CMIS ePortal. You can even reset your University account password if you’ve had a particularly forgetful day!

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If you don’t have time to visit our fantastic team at the Gateway desk, but have a question, you can submit your enquiry at the kiosk. You can find plenty of information through the FAQs page, but if you want more information, you can simply log into Compass and ask away. Your questions will be sent straight to our Gateway team who will answer as quickly as possible. You can even use the kiosk to check any updates and solutions to enquiries you have submitted - so useful when you forget to check your student email.

The kiosk has some fantastic features designed to make your time at University so much easier. You can also see the availability of our International Student Support team, Student Adviser and Progression Teams if you need advice and support. The kiosk enables you to book your own appointment, all you need is your student number and an idea of when is the best time for you. The computer availability feature is also useful when you’re weighed down by library books and need to find an available computer to submit your latest assignment.

The great thing about the kiosk is that it is ready to help over the weekend too, meaning these fantastic features aren’t limited to Gateway opening hours. This allows you to access important contact details, services and information when it suits you.

We hope Kiosk Ken will see you soon! If you have any questions or thoughts about the new kiosk, contact or pop in to see our Gateway team at City Campus or at the Prospect Building.