Buzz Issue 76 April 2005
Speedy students 2
Home Secretary tops bill 3
Spin cycle 4
Sports shorts 6
Absinthe and intrigue 7
The future of the BBC from the man at the top Birmingham goes wi-fi 11
Director General of the BBC, Mark Thompson, visited campus last month to deliver the Royal
Television Society's Inaugural Baird Lecture. Mark's lecture focused on 'Why On Demand
Changes Everything' and described how the new technologies will create a 'very different BBC'
that is able to fulfil its fundamental public service mission more effectively than ever before. Read
more on page 10.
Birmingham graduate wins
double Commonwealth gold
Birmingham alumnus Paul Manning is riding high after clinching two gold medals in the
Velodrome for track cycling during last month's Commonwealth Games.
Paul, who graduated in 1996 with a BSc in Earth Sciences, Current commerce student Simon Mantell and alumni Jonathon
took gold in the men’s individual pursuit with a time 4:23.799. Ebsworth (Philosophy) and Helen Grant (History and Sport)
He was joined on the podium by fellow England team members represented England in the hockey. Helen gained a silver medal
Rob Hayles and Steve Cummings, in an England clean sweep at the last Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002 and
of the medals, and was back on the top only 2 days later with managed to pick up a bronze this year, with the men narrowly
his team-mates after winning the men's 4km team pursuit. missing out on doing the same.
Paul adds his Commonwealth double to an already impressive Fellow alumna Julie Crane, who graduated in 1999 with a masters
haul of medals from previous championships, including a silver in in Mathematical Sciences collected a silver medal for Wales
the Team Pursuit event at the Athens Olympics, a bronze at the with a high jump of 1.88m, and 20 year-old Sport and Materials
2000 Olympics and silver at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. science student Luke Gunn represented England in the 3000m
Paul was not the only Birmingham University-linked athlete
who took part in the Games. Three current and three former Finally, 20 year-old Sport and Exercise Sciences student Elena
Birmingham students also travelled to Melbourne to compete. Johnson represented Guernsey in the badminton singles and
Fellow cyclist Rachel Heal, who graduated in 1995 with a mixed doubles events. This is Elena’s second visit to the
Masters degree in Chemical Engineering, participated in the Commonwealth Games, after being the youngest competitor
Alumnus Paul Manning won two gold medals at last month’s
women’s road race. Despite being involved in two crashes, at the age of 16 to perform in the 2002 Games. Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia
which left her trailing behind, Rachel powered through to
come an impressive 5th.
Racing to the finish line
Students from the School of Engineering made a hasty dash to the chequered flag when Chris
Aylett, Chief Executive of the Motorsports Industry Association, joined them in Chancellor’s Court
for the launch of their new racing car.
After months of hard work on the part of 38 mechanical and Daniel Kitchin, team leader, says: ‘The team has worked up until
electrical engineering students, this year’s car improves on the last minute to get the car ready and we are very proud to
the previous model in weight saving measures, better have built a car that features so many improvements on previous
drivability and all round reliability. This is the 9th racing car models. We are very much looking forward to racing it in
to be designed, made from scratch, raced and tested by the summer.’
Birmingham’s engineering students. The students are asked
A quick word to assume that a manufacturer has commissioned them Birmingham graduates who have taken part in previous race
to produce a prototype car that will be evaluated and put car projects have gone on to work for Ford, Jaguar, Jordan F1,
After the colour and pageantry of the Commonwealth Games’ into full production. The car must have high performance Williams F1, Maclaren F1 and Rolls Royce and many more.
opening and closing ceremonies (not to mention the action acceleration, braking and handling characteristics while Professor David Hukins, Head of Mechanical and Manufacturing
in the Games themselves), I thought Buzz deserved a little other factors such as aesthetics and driver comfort must Engineering, says: ‘This is an excellent opportunity for students
Spring colour of its own so this issue is brought to you in also be taken into account. who want to follow a career in engineering. Not only do they
technicolour throughout. And while I’m on the subject of benefit from the expertise Birmingham has to offer in the field of
the Commonwealth Games, congratulations to all 6 of the This year an innovative front shear plate design makes up the automotive engineering, but in learning how to design and build
Birmingham alumni/students who travelled to Australia bulk of the weight saving measures, eliminating the need for a a race car, they are acquiring many other skills such as budgeting,
to compete, especially Paul Manning who added 2 gold separate pedal box and vastly reducing the number of brackets team working, decision making and management issues that are
medals to his impressive medal haul (see front cover). required on the chassis. Unreliable components from previous so vital to the modern world. These experiences are what make
designs have been analysed and improved to increase reliability. Birmingham’s engineering students appealing to employers.’
With the advent of high definition (HD) TV and other advances Drivability of the car has been greatly enhanced by the
in television and broadcast technology, the BBC need to react development of a pneumatic gearshift system and the After the launch the car will be put through its paces during
to changes in demand in the digital age in order to continue to cockpit size increased without increasing the overall intensive testing sessions at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground in
stay at the forefront of the broadcast market. Director General dimensions of the car. Other new developments include Leicester where the team will take part in the Formula Student
of the BBC, Mark Thompson, chose the University as the optimisation of the exhaust dimensions to aid combustion, competition from 5 – 8 July. The car will be raced against 80
venue for this year’s Royal Television Society’s Inaugural and improvement of the design of the intake manifold. other teams representing universities in 18 countries.
Baird Lecture in which he spoke about the BBC’s plans
(more details on page 10).
In other news around campus, industrious engineering
students launched the 9th race car to come out of the
University’s race car project. Future engineering students who
take part in the project will have the benefit of the University’s
new Design Centre; based within the School of Engineering
(read more about what the centre will offer students opposite).
Topping the bill of the Law School’s annual Issues in Criminal
Justice series, the Home Secretary, the Rt Hon Charles Clarke
MP, visited campus to deliver a speech outlining measures that
the government will introduce to cut crime and re-shape the
criminal justice system (see page 3 for details).
Spring is finally here. Enjoy
Designing the future and recreating the past
email@example.com The School of Engineering last month unveiled a light, bright learning and teaching environment that will
0121 414 6948 help students to understand every aspect of design. The new facility, which was opened by the Vice
Chancellor, will be a one-stop shop for students from any University department to learn about design
in relation to function and manufacture. It will also include facilities for representation that
archaeologists will use to recreate objects from the past.
The vision for the Centre is that students will be able to sketch scan it and create a file that can then be used to make a scaled
their design ideas, create a computer (CAD) file and then model. Or an archaeology student can recreate an ancient vase
manufacture a prototype as well as evaluate the ‘look and feel’ and or artefact by using scanning and modelling equipment.’
performance of the product. Archaeologists will be able to build a
picture of the past by recreating artefacts that no longer exist or Professor Vince Gaffney, Director of the HP Visual and Spatial
cannot be handled by creating a 3D picture or model. Technology Centre, says: ‘Culture and heritage in Britain is now
worth more than £50 billion pounds per annum to the UK
Dr Mark Jolly, Head of the Centre from the School of Engineering, economy. In an increasingly visual society our future commercial
says: ‘It is important for students to understand how crucial the success hinges on how we present and recreate contemporary
design function is in the manufacturing process and to the end society and past environments.
user. The Design Centre will enhance the student experience by
providing a relaxed, stimulating environment that will encourage ‘The Centre is an exciting initiative to bring together Sciences
discussion and collaboration between students’. and the Arts in an innovative, collaborative environment which
can realise the full potential of our young designers. From 3D
‘It is intended that anyone from any discipline who has an interest scanning to virtual worlds the designers of the future will use
in design can use the centre’s facilities. For example, a civil their skills not to reflect the world, but to form it.’
engineering student could build a cardboard model of a bridge,
The future’s bright for young scientists Home Secretary tops bill
in criminal justice lectures
Some of the country’s bright sparks of the future last month exercised their scientific muscles when
they visited the University for a day of hands-on activities to mark National Science Week.
The Home Secretary, The Rt Hon Charles Clarke
MP, last month visited the School of Law to
Over 300 pupils aged 14–16 from across the country took part in perceive when thinking about post-16 education and deliver a high-profile speech as part of the
workshops, practical sessions and lectures run by students and studying at a Russell Group university like Birmingham. School’s sixth annual series of lectures on
lecturers on subjects as diverse as robots, cars, colour, bubbles Issues in Criminal Justice.
and health. The day focussed on presenting science topics ‘We hope that the pupils will gain some valuable
in a fun and engaging way, using activities such as building knowledge and insight, which they will take back to their Entitled Protecting the Public and Reducing Reoffending,
remote powered vehicles to constructing and racing motor schools and share with their friends. We also want the Mr Clarke’s speech outlined measures that the government
powered buggies. students to have fun, experience the vastness of a will introduce to cut crime and reshape the criminal justice
university campus but most importantly, enjoy the system. The public, he stressed, rightly expected to be kept
University medical students ran interactive health tests, science on offer during the day.’ safe from serious, violent and dangerous offenders. However,
while the School of Physics celebrated the birthday of Albert recent failings by – amongst others – the National Probation
Einstein (14 March 1879), by holding a ‘Physics Big Quiz’, and Service had served to undermine the public’s confidence
demonstrating the smoking, shrieking and foaming properties that the criminal justice system was able effectively to catch
of liquid nitrogen. Dr Sandra Woolley from the School of and convict criminals, protect the public from dangerous
Engineering led the main session entitled ‘Seeing is Believing’ offenders and reduce re-offending. The government, he said,
on the evolution of photography and how vision works. was addressing these deficiencies and seeking to make our
society ‘stronger and safer for everyone.’
The day culminated in a balloon race, under the shadow
of the clock tower in Chancellor’s Court. A prize will be Convened by Professor Stephen Shute, the lecture series
awarded to the person whose balloon travels the furthest – focuses on the most pertinent and problematic issues in
last year’s winning balloon ended up in Skegness, but will criminal justice today. It has previously featured lectures
climate change have affected how far this year’s winner by other acclaimed names in the field of law, including Lord
will travel? Falconer QC (Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs);
Lord Goldsmith QC (Attorney General); Lord Ramsbotham
Outreach Officer Mohammed Ansar, who has organised the (when Chief Inspector of Prison) and Sir Robin Auld (Lord
event said: ‘Raising the profile of science and getting young Justice of Appeal).
people to think about Higher Education is important for the
University and the country as a whole. This day is about More than two hundred people attended the lecture and
breaking down the barriers that some young people the audience included senior members of the judiciary, the
Raising the profile of science and probation service, the police, the prison service, the Crown
getting young people to think about Prosecution Service and the Criminal Cases Review
Higher Education is important for the
University and the country as a whole The Issues in Criminal Justice series is now firmly established
as an un-missable occasion for students, professionals and
practitioners of law to engage in high-level debate on the
shape and structure of the criminal justice system. The final
lecture in this year’s series will be given by Baroness Helena
Kennedy (leading UK Human Rights lawyer) on 4 May.
If you wish to attend,
please contact Miss Kelly Chilton
Tel: 0121 414 6282
Spin Cycle Howzat! for business success
English’s Sue Blackwell made a brief appearance on the
BBC’s Politics Show on discussing free speech and its Edgbaston cricket ground was the venue for BRDL, University’s technology transfer company, to mark
limits alongside Labour MP Ian Austin. She was also ‘60 not out’ in its quest to boost high-tech jobs in the region through a West Midlands business fund.
quoted in the Birmingham Post in her role as AUT press
officer commenting on the current pay dispute; Head of The Technology Transfer Fund, backed by Advantage West to benefit the region. We’re working hard with our partners to
the School of Law, John Baldwin’s research on small Midlands and European money, helped 60 local companies make sure we can build on the positive impact the Fund has
claims was mentioned in the Guardian (Money section) create new posts and protect existing ones during the last made in such a short time.’
in an article on ‘How to tip the scales of justice your year. Aimed at medical and advanced materials companies,
way’; Business’ David Bailey spoke to Sky News about its grants of up to £25 000 are designed to assist with a Paul Sadler, Managing Director of BRDL, said: ‘Seeing
the Rover situation; Chris Ham of Public Policy (HSMC) range of business activities. this popular and effective scheme give a boost to the
took part in BBC Radio 4’s PM Programme for a piece local economy has been fantastic. We hope our successful
on NHS deficits; Robert Beckford of Historical Studies Norman Price, AWM deputy chairman, told more than 80 applicants will go on to play a major role in the
was a guest on BBC 5 Live; Richard Green of the delegates at the celebration event: ‘The Fund is a great region’s future’.
School of Social Sciences contributed to a BBC example of the public and private sectors working together
Midlands Today piece on Carbon footprints; Richard
Gray and Keith Wheatley from Medicine spoke
to BRMB, BBC Radio WM, Sky News and the BBC
Asian Network about the clinical trials; Toby McLeod
from the Centre for Lifelong Learning spoke to Kerrang!
about terrorism; Jon Glasby of Public Policy (HSMC)
appeared on BBC Breakfast speaking about the costs
of an average healthcare visit to the NHS; Engineering’s
Costas Constantinou spoke to a journalist from the
Sunday Times for a piece about mobile phone
infrastructure and masts
A modern hotel
within an elegant
(L-R) Mark Abrams (AWM), Alan Folwell (Central Technology Belt), Norman
Price (AWM), Paul Sadler (BRDL), and Michael Powell (Warwickshire County
All rooms ensuite, multi-channel TV, and radio Cricket Club)
and hospitality tray. Garden within walking
distance of University. Free parking.
Full English breakfast – Evening meals
Special University rates – conference,
mid–week and weekend
Daniel gets to the heart of the matter
AA ** 72%
Daniel Espino, from the School of Mechanical Engineering, was among a group of scientists and
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org engineers selected to present their work to MPs and invited guests at the House of Commons during
Fax: 0121 415 5655 March’s National Science Week.
The 27-year-old researcher is combining biological science Daniel said he was ‘thrilled to be representing the vital heart
and engineering skills in a two-year British Heart Foundation- research that is carried out every day by young researchers
funded study which aims to improve heart valve repair across the UK.’
techniques for cardiac patients.
The mitral valve allows oxygenated blood to flow from the left
atrium to the left ventricle which then pumps it around the
body. If the small cords connecting the valve to the heart’s
muscle wall become damaged, the mitral valve can fail and
remedial surgery is needed. Around 5,000 such operations
were performed in the UK in 2000.
Daniel is working with a heart surgeon based in the city and
has developed a computer model of how healthy and failing
mitral valves work. This will eventually be used to perform
‘virtual surgery’ to predict the success of various types
He was chosen to present his research at a Science,
Engineering and Technology (SET) for Britain event at the
Commons in March. A key factor, he said, was understanding
the various stress points in this part of the body which the
Predicted flow patterns through the left ventricle of the heart
computer model was able to represent.
Richard’s prize-winning vision A taste of post-
of the future production at
Birmingham Computer Science undergraduate Richard Long
has won a prestigious national award from Motorola. The
Tom Dunmore, one of the judges of the competition, said:
‘We liked Richard’s entry because it combined a great
MOTOFWRD competition, launched by Motorola to all UK understanding of what is already possible with an imaginative
students in higher education, asked the young minds of the leap into the future, never losing sight of the experiences Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes
UK to create and submit a seamless mobility vision of the for the family who were central to the story’ at the BBC? A group of staff and students from the
future. Richard’s entry was based around the concept of University were recently given the chance to find out
a futuristic wrist-worn mobile portal that gives access to Presenting Richard with his prize (a Bluetooth car, £5,000 exactly that when they attended the ‘taste of post-
information on the move. His winning essay told the story of and a 6 week internship with Motorola next summer) Sir production’ course at the BBC’s Mailbox home.
a 14 year old boy receiving his first wrist-worn mobile portal, David Brown, Chairman of Motorola Ltd, said: ‘We have
allowing him to interact with almost anything, from vending been astonished and delighted to see the imagination and The hands-on course gave the group – a mix of staff and
machines to entertainment screens based in public buildings creativity shown by the student population towards the students – an overview of the post-production process, from
like cafes, libraries and airports. News, entertainment, location concept of seamless mobility in this competition.’ rushes in to finished programme ready for transmission and
services and even health and welfare monitoring were all a chance to get involved in the process from digitising and
easily accessible from the wrist-worn device through its editing to commentary recording, sound mixing and final
interaction with a series of intelligent networks covering compilation. The course is one of many initiatives intended
the UK. to forge close links between the University and the BBC.
Richard, who heard about the competition through the School ‘It was an amazing opportunity to get such a hands-on
of Computer Science’s Business Development Manager, experience of a professional post-production outfit.’ Ellie
said: ‘After the department announced the competition I Rowling’s appreciation of the course, with its emphasis on
spoke to my personal tutor and he said that it would be good learning through practical experience, was echoed by fellow
practice for my essay writing skills’. His concept was judged attendee Dr. Michele Aaron: ‘I feel I benefited considerably
to be the best from the scores of ideas presented for the from the course and learnt a lot about the editing process.’
national competition. With such an enthusiastic response the BBC are hoping
to run similar courses later in the year.
Richard shows off his prize after
winning the National Motoroll a
Behind the scenes at the BBC’s mailbox home: (back row) Ian Braznell (Media
Centre), Pete Shannon (BBC Resources, Duty Manager), Andrew Trevis-Smith
(Media Centre), Eleanor Rowling (Guild TV), Steve Bird (eLearning Team)
(front) Dave Mason (BBC Resources, Dubbing Mixer) and Kirsty Watts
Double debate success
Birmingham signs up to safety
Two teams from the University’s Debating
Following many months’ consultation, the University formally Safety Representatives, to ensure effective health and safety Society recently reached the finals and semi-
signed the new ‘Safety Reps Charter’ at a meeting of the management.’ finals respectively at the Manchester Inter-
Joint Safety Advisory Committee (JSAC) last month. Varsity Competition, hosted by the Manchester
The charter also defines the consultation process between Debating Union.
The landmark charter lays out the rights and responsibilities the University and the trade unions over health and safety,
of the University as an institution and the trade union Safety and the competency and training standards expected of 44 teams from around the country competed and both
Reps and is one of the first of its kind at any University in the Safety Reps. Birmingham teams scored highly in the 4 preliminary rounds,
UK. It also represents the truly collaborative nature of JSAC, finishing in the top 8. David Forbes (History and Political
a forum at which the University and trade union reps from Birmingham has long been committed to collaboration over Science) and Peter Zeidman (Computer Science) reached
across the University meet to discuss and resolve health health and safety. Under the guidance of the new charter the the semi-finals while Braphus
and safety issues of every kind. University is looking forward to taking its relationship with Kaalund (Law) and James Hooley
safety reps to even higher levels of co-operation and (Political Science) went on to be one
There are almost 60 trade union Safety Reps, from all the understanding, as both University and trade unions seek to of the 4 teams in the final, narrowly
academic and support staff unions recognised by the work in partnership to raise awareness among all staff over missing out to a team from LSE who
University, covering most areas of the University. This new health and safety issues, and continue to address these won the competition. Birmingham
charter, in its own words, ‘recognises the vital contribution through joint working. and LSE were the only institutions
that Safety Representatives make towards improving health to have two teams each in the
and safety standards at work when working in partnership The Safety Reps charter will soon be available on the semi-finals.
with the University. It seeks to promote the benefits and University’s Health and Safety web pages.
emphasise the importance of consulting with and involving
I row ‘ergo’ I am Sports shorts
Super-fit rowers from the University’s Boat Club They say a picture is worth a thousand words so here are a few shots of some of the sporting action
made a splash – albeit on dry land – during their from on campus over the last couple of weeks.
gruelling ‘Ergo Challenge’ last month.
With the club enjoying increasing local and national recognition
as its competitive success continues, members took turns in
rowing (totalling 100km in just over 8 hours) and fundraising
activities to raise much-needed training funds.
Around 80 club members braved the cold to stage the
ergonomic endurance test, to spur one another on during the
challenge and to carry on other fundraising activities outside
Joe’s bar in Mermaid Square.
Rowing is a particularly expensive sport to fund. ‘As annual
membership of the club grows, demand for equipment –
both for land and water training – is great’, explains Women’s
Vice Captain Larissa Matley. ‘With more funding, we would
be able to invest in new equipment, matching that of
Club members are currently training hard for forthcoming
race fixtures including the Women’s and Men’s Eights Head
of the River event (the Oxbridge Boat Race backwards) and
the British Universities Sports Association (BUSA) regatta.
The University’s boat club
Pussycats win again
The University's Cheerleading squad – the Pussycats – last
month continued their impressive run of success after taking
first place in the University division at the Midlands Regional
Championships competition. The squad beat their nearest rivals
in second place by a massive 38 points and came away only
twenty five points behind the UK's leading cheerleading squad
the Ascension Eagles, who competed in a different division.
The Ascension Eagles coach, who is taking her team to the
World Championships this April, said: ‘This was the best routine
I have ever seen the Pussycats perform. They have improved so
much since last July - they never fail to amaze me and they are
the only university team I would consider working with.’
The competing team was made up of thirty five girls with many
of the girls competing for the first time after only four and a half
months of training. This incredible result highlights the amount
of hard work that the girls put into their ten hours a week
The squad were also awarded a ‘Sprit Award’ by their fellow
competitors for the team that was most sportsman-like, friendly,
approachable and enjoyable to watch. The squad were thrilled
to have been recognised for this award after putting in significant
effort to support other university teams that are setting up.
The Pussycats’ next competition is the National University
Championships in Telford on 15 April.
There’s more to historic Mason Croft, home of the Shakespeare Institute, than
meets the eye, as Jenni Ameghino discovers.
Absinthe and intrigue
in house of Corelli
The sprawling creepers and fragrant blossom that once
graced its walls are long gone, but Mason Croft in Stratford
upon Avon has an air of faded grandeur that makes it easy
‘For many years
to conjure the ghosts of its Victorian heyday, when it was
home to the popular romantic novelist Marie Corelli. her name was
Today, the listed building houses the University’s
Shakespeare Institute and is a tranquil haven for scholars
almost a dirty
of the Bard from all over the world. An unobtrusive plaque
by the front door is the only indication that Corelli lived
here. Just as little is known about the enigmatic former
word in Stratford.
occupant who once wrote: ‘I have made up my mind to
be somebody and I’ll be as unlike anybody else as I can.’ She was certainly
‘We are right at the beginning of Marie Corelli becoming an
object of literary interest,’ explains Dr Maureen Bell, reader
in the School of English and joint organiser of a three-day
a thorn in the
conference celebrating the life and work of the woman
dubbed by one biographer as the queen of the side of some of
Held from March 30–April 1 at Mason Croft, the conference,
the civic leaders’ The University’s Shakespeare Institute at Mason Croft in Stratford-upon-Avon.
entitled Marie Corelli and Popular Women Novelists
1880–1910, gathered literary experts and academics to
explore the collective identity of female writers of the era.
belt and a fan-base band of readers who refused to be
swayed by the critics’ poison pens. A diminutive figure in ‘On the one hand
In 1898, the Woman at Home magazine listed 22 female her Victorian dresses, she was a feisty woman who became
authors whose work testified ‘to many sleepless nights
caused by the exciting scenes in these novels.’ Corelli
involved in several high-profile campaigns to save buildings
she felt preserved Shakespeare’s heritage. This only
she thought votes
was foremost among them. added to her celebrity – or notoriety, depending on
Her books – including Wormwood: A Drama of Paris and
your political stance. for women were
the bestselling Sorrows of Satan – were an often breathless
cocktail of absinthe and seduction, betrayal and spiritual
awakening. While modern comparisons have been made
‘For many years her name was almost a dirty word in
Stratford,’ grins Dr Bell. ‘She was certainly a thorn in the side
of some of the civic leaders. She also bought Harvard
a bad thing, yet
with the popular romantic fiction of the late Barbara Cartland,
Dr Bell’s studies suggest that Corelli may have aspired to
House and oversaw its restoration as a rendezvous for
visiting Americans.’ on the other she
engage with higher literature ‘such as the work of Zola and
the French Realists. She remained at Mason Croft for 23 years. In Vyver’s
Memoirs of Marie Corelli, published in 1930, Vyver recalls
was arguing for
No surprise, then, that on the agenda for debate at the that despite the dwelling being in a dilapidated state when
conference – co-organised by Nickianne Moody, of Liverpool
John Moores University’s Association for Research in Popular
they arrived, ‘together we set to work and in good time
it was improved out of all recognition; and after a few
Fiction – were such themes as: Ethical Aestheticism and years….it became the charming and homely house that
Desire in the Decadent Works of Marie Corelli and Vernon
Lee, and Pleasure without the Guilt: Corelli and the Socially
it is today.’ to be recognised.
Transgressive Reading Practice. Corelli died in 1924, bequeathing the house to her friend.
On Vyver’s death it became a trust ‘for the promotion of up,’ she says. ‘On the one hand she thought votes for
Echoes of the author linger within the walls of Mason Croft. science, literature and music among the people of Stratford women were a bad thing, yet on the other she was arguing
A grand fireplace in the Music Room bears the initials MC upon Avon.’ Post-war it housed the British Council and was for women’s artisic abilities to be recognised.
and BV, testimony to the lifelong friendship Corelli enjoyed later acquired by the University.
with her live-in companion Bertha Vyver. A gazebo in the ‘My hope is that the conference opens up another area
grounds overlooks an old archway which once supported an A significant Corelli archive exists at the Shakespeare of study that can be linked with the Institute and helps to
elegant double sundial, while an airy conservatory, now sadly Birthplace Trust’s Record Office while the Shakespeare place this woman, who has always been seen as a slightly
bereft of its original wrought ironwork, is now a venue for Institute retains a few items, including the manuscript of bonkers figure, in a literary and cultural context. I’d like to
refreshments known as the Winter Garden. her novel, Life Everlasting. think it is helping to speed the process of taking Marie
When Corelli took up residence in 1901, she was at the Dr Bell is fascinated by the apparent contradictions in
peak of her popularity, having some 15 novels under her tiny Corelli’s philosophy. ‘There are many things that don’t add www.shakespeare.bham.ac.uk/life/corelli.htm
Dahl’s Moonlights eclipse Research reveals need for employment
support for students
Education can be an expensive business. Top of the list of concerns for many students and potential
students is the worrying amount of debt facing students during their studies and when they graduate.
Aimhigher (Birmingham and Solihull), the Student Employment Service based at the Job Zone in the
Guild, and NASES (National Association of Student Employment Services) have undertaken a joint
research project to survey 16 to 19 year olds at six local Further Education Institutions (FEI’s) to explore
the role student employment plays in overcoming financial barriers to learning.
The research revealed that just under 40% of further confident more young people will stay in learning, improve
education students are currently undertaking paid part-time their achievements and progress to higher levels of study.
work; around 57% of respondents not working stated that They will also be more employable, having had a positive
A new record is being set at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts this was due to not being able to find a suitable job; over early experience of the world of work’.
– despite the star of the exhibition being unknown to the vast 11% of students surveyed worked over 20 hours (the
majority of visitors! recommended maximum amount of time to work so as Workshops held at the launch event gave attendees the
not to affect studies is 16 hours per week as advised opportunity to make suggestions and recommendations
Even the masterpieces of the great British Romantic painter JMW by the Job Zone); and around 7% earn less than £4 per about the potential for development and collaboration work,
Turner are being put in the shade by the work of his Norwegian hour, below the minimum wage for 18 – 21 year olds. to support student employment within the FE sector.
counterpart Johan Christian Dahl, as visitor figures released last
month show. NASES Director, Alison Clark, says: ‘It’s a fact of life now that Keynote speaker and Principal of Bournville College, Norman
students have to work – this research provides lots of Cave, commented: ‘this excellent research is a good start, but
The exhibition Moonrise over Europe: JC Dahl and Romantic interesting data that will help develop support packages to more work needs to be done’.
Landscape is currently attracting an average of 239 visitors per assist students find suitable work that pays well and fits in
day to the Art Deco gallery – awarded the accolade ‘Art Gallery with academic commitments’ Aimhigher and the Job Zone are planning to follow up this
of the Year’ by the most recent edition of The Good Britain Guide research with a working party, consisting of local college
– an unprecedentedly high figure. The research was officially launched at the Hippodrome last members, in order to take these recommendations forward
month. The event was attended by around 60 delegates to meet the needs of those FE students who have to ‘earn
The previous record was set at the Barber two years ago, during including Careers and Support staff from a number of to learn’.
the exhibition The Sun rising through Vapour: Turner’s early colleges in the Midlands region, alongside local Learning and
Seascapes, when visitor numbers for the exhibition averaged 232 Skills Council and Advantage West Midlands representatives. The ‘Earn to Learn’ Student Employment Survey is available
visitors a day, with a phenomenal 1,550 people visiting on the online at: www.bugs.bham.ac.uk/earntolearn.asp
closing weekend. Mike Thompson, Area Coordinator for Aimhigher, stressed the
need for colleges to help students find appropriate part-time For further information on the project, please contact Dawn
Senior Curator Paul Spencer-Longhurst said: ‘It’s good that we jobs that compliment rather than clash with their studies. ‘If Roberts, Student Employment Manager at the Job Zone.
can give Dahl the status he deserves, and obviously it’s a sign of the recommendations in this report can be implemented I am Email: email@example.com Tel: 0121 251 2500.
his greatness that the exhibition is ranking in popularity with – if
not exceeding – those shows featuring other great landscapists
of the 19th century such as Turner. This is a rare chance to see
so many beautiful ‘moonlights’ together in one exhibition in Britain,
let alone the Midlands.’ Looking for affordable
‘Moonrise over Europe: JC Dahl and Romantic Landscape’ runs
at the Barber Institute until 23 April 2006, and is open daily
accommodation this summer?
(closed Good Friday 15 April), Monday – Saturday 10.00am
– 5.00pm; Sunday 12noon – 5.00pm. Admission is free.
To check out some of the pictures at the exhibition online, visit:
The University of Birmingham The University offers comfort and convenience for individuals
or groups looking for affordable accommodation, starting
offers a wide variety of self-catering from £23.50 per night or £20 per night for group bookings
accommodation during the summer of five or more.
vacation period: 12 July to 19
Members of the Guild’s Ethical Trade Society welcomed a coffee Tel: 0121 415 8400 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
grower and coffee packer from Nicaragua to the University during
Fairtrade fortnight. The visitors spoke (through their translator)
to staff and students about how selling to Café Direct (Fairtrade
coffee suppliers) has changed their lives. Through the Fairtrade
scheme, the growers and packers are guaranteed a minimum
12 July to 9 September 2006
price for their product.
IS update Language courses for staff
Changes to Computing Helpdesk opening hours
The Computing Helpdesk has extended its opening hours. This Birmingham International Business
is in line with the University’s objective of ensuring we are an Communications (BIBC) offers a range of
efficiently run University and the IS objective of ‘getting it right’. language courses for staff at the University.
The Helpdesk is aiming to offer two levels of service. Service
level 3 (Monday – friday 8.00am–6.00pm) will operate at the BIBC can organise bespoke courses for your department that
same level of service as previously offered during these hours. combine development of language skills and cultural
The extended opening hours will be categorised as service level awareness. If you are travelling overseas or working on
2, (details below). international projects, being able to take the first steps in a
A trial period last month allowed users to make use of the language will help you to develop a rapport with your
Service Level 3 web cam feature on MSN. Web cams allow users to work counterparts.
Support for major incidents affecting key university computing collaboratively on group study exercises, as well as keep in
services and applications touch with family and friends. Plans are in place to roll out Course options range from a one-day introduction to the
Contact by telephone only web cam use to further locations within the Main Library language and culture to a term-long programme with weekly
Escalation of major incidents computer facility and Mason Lounge. sessions at a time to suit your department.
Deferment of all other problem reports
The introduction of web cams is part of a wider project Natasha Hedley (International Office) benefited recently from
Available Monday to Friday 8.00am – 6.00pm to support students’ ability to work collaboratively using joining a four-day Chinese course organised by BIBC: ‘I
advancements in technology. studied Chinese (Mandarin) in a group with four other people
Service Level 2 from organizations that had a need to conduct business with
Support for all university computing services and applications Chinese speaking countries. I found working in a group fun
Contact by email, telephone, web and in person (Learning Celebration of Christian Youth Movements as we could practice speaking, reading and listening together
Centre only) The Special Collections Department recently hosted a and have a good laugh when particular words were difficult
Best efforts problem resolution within Helpdesk team reception to celebrate the launch of the ‘Christian Youth to pronounce.
Escalation of major incidents Movements: Their History and Significance’ conference.
‘The course has helped me immensely in my work and I have
Monday – Friday 6.00pm – Midnight The conference, held in commemoration of the 150th already had the opportunity to put some of what I learned into
Saturday 9.00am – 7.00pm anniversary of the founding of the World Alliance of practice. I am not yet able to have an in-depth conversation
Sunday 10.00am – 6.00pm YMCAs and the centenary of the death of George in Chinese, but even basics like being able to order food or
Williams (founder of the YMCA), was jointly sponsored to express thanks in Chinese is always appreciated. It also
The Helpdesk can be contacted via www.helpdesk.ac.uk, by the Royal Historical Society, YMCA England and helped me to understand more about the Chinese culture
by placing your own call at http://ehelpdesk.bham.ac.uk/eua Birmingham’s Special Collections department and and etiquette.’
by telephoning ext 47171 or by visiting the Main Library or was held at the University. A number of items from
Learning Centre. the archives of the YMCA, the Student Christian A range of open courses are also offered by BIBC, including a
Movement and other Christian youth movements, course in German, which takes place on Thursday evenings at
which are housed in Special Collections, were the ERI from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. This course is ideal if you
MSN messenger is here on display. already have a basic knowledge of German and you want to
MSN messenger is now available in IS managed refresh your knowledge and develop skills to use in work-
computer clusters. Sue Worrall, Head of Special Collections commented: related situations. During the summer vacation there will also
‘The reception was a great success and the exhibition be four-day intensive courses for beginners in Chinese, French,
To improve student provision IS has installed MSN of YMCA archives generated much interest. We German, Japanese and Spanish.
messenger on computers in the Learning Centre, Mason were very pleased to work with the YMCA on
Lounge and Main Library computer facility. MSN messenger promoting the collection which still has much For further information or to enrol on a course please contact
is a free instant messaging service and is used increasingly to offer for original research.’ Jayne Sharples or visit www.bibc.bham.ac.uk
as a means of quick communication. Tel: 0121 414 6179
Birmingham takes leading role
in national efficiency programmes
The School of Engineering is carrying out a leading role in two new national government funded
resource efficiency programmes to help companies save money.
Dr. David Boardman and Professor Lynne Macaskie and Dr Boardman were thanked personally for their considerable
have supported the transition of the Mini-Waste Faraday efforts in helping to make the KTN a reality.
Partnership into the new DTI funded Resource Efficiency
Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN). This new national network, Dr Boardman, who is also a Knowledge Transfer Manager for the
managed by Dr. Andrew Rowley of C-Tech Innovation Ltd was KTN and the Deputy Technical Director of NISP, helped to broker
last month launched at the House of Commons with the aim of the partnership between the KTN and NISP to roll out innovation
stimulating more efficient use of resources to the commercial support across the country by creating a team of regional
benefit of UK businesses. This is part of the Government’s Technology Managers. He says: ‘It has been a great pleasure to
£370 million Technology Programme designed to maximise be able to work on such an important and current agenda and I
UK competitiveness in the growing global economy. am looking forward to new staff joining the University to develop
innovation opportunities across the UK. The University and
During the keynote addresses at the launch the KTN was praised Engineering should be justly proud of what it has delivered so far
by Barry Sheerman MP, Co-Chair of the Associate Parliamentary in these programmes and the future for growing our involvement
Sustainable Waste Group, Peter Laybourn, Programme Director is hugely exciting’.
of the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP) and Peter
Jones, Director of Biffa Waste Services. Professor Chris Rogers, For more information see:
the Principal Investigator for the project, Mr Greg Howard and Dr www.nisp.org.uk
Milla Shah were present at the launch where both the University www.resource-efficiency.org
Retail Culture and the Arts
April events highlights
Staff House sale Winterbourne Gardens
The Events page highlights the variety of
events and activities taking place across Shoes and bags 28 April
campus. You can access a full list of events 4 April
at www.events.bham.ac.uk or find specific The newly refurbished Winterbourne Gardens will reopen
details about any event by phoning Katy Prakash, for the summer season on Monday 3 April. The restored
Events Assistant on 0121 414 2950 or Japanese Bridge (pictured below) and visitors café are just
email@example.com Staff House sale two elements of the works that have taken place over the
last few months. The gardens are open Monday–Friday
Riva Fasions 11.00am – 4.00pm.
Miscellaneous 11 April
On Friday 28th April, John Craven, presenter of BBC’s
Countryfile, will be guest speaker at an event officially
Know your Maradona from re-opening the revitalised garden.
your Madonna, Mozart from Staff House sale
your Pop Art? Sock Man
General Knowledge, Sports and Music Staff Quiz
at Raising the Bar in the Munrow Sports Centre Staff House sale
Contact James Hyde Scent to Go
Tel: 0121 414 4768 27 April
Richard Tomlinson, Head of the Department of Ancient History and Archaeology
from 1971 - 1994, last month returned to Birmingham for an event laid on to
thank him for donating his collection of Ancient Greek vases to the Institute of
Archaeology and Antiquity. Richard, pictured left with David Symons (Birmingham
Museum and At Gallery) and Professor Ken Dowden, Head of the IAA,
toasted the event with champagne from a replica of one of the urns from
the Department's collection.
Mark Thompson (BBC)
Nearly 200 students and media professionals packed into the to get the right content in front of the right licence-payer. They
Business School's lecture theatre at the end of March to hear weren't in, or they were watching or listening to another
Mark Thompson, the BBC's Director General, deliver a channel, or they didn't know about the programme or know
stimulating lecture entitled ’BBC 2.0: Why On Demand how much they'd value it if they did catch it…On demand
Changes Everything’. changes all of this. It means you can potentially consume
BBC content at a time and on a device which suits you.’
The evening focussed mainly on the BBC's new service, My
BBC Player, which will enable the viewer to access and watch Following the lecture, an inspiring Q&A session allowed both
BBC TV on their PC, on demand. Mark looked at the future of students and professionals to delve further into exactly what this
the BBC in the Digital Age, how they are going to react to new technology would mean for them both at home and at work.
changing technology, and how the BBC could lead the market The event, which was the Royal Television Society's Inaugural
in new ways to acquire content in the home, on demand: Baird Lecture, is set to become a regular feature in the
‘The BBC model is conceptually very simple. The public give
us the licence-fee. In return we give them - or try to give them - You can download a full transcript of Mark's lecture by following
outstanding, distinctive content. Historically, it was quite difficult the link on www.bham.ac.uk
Log in without plugging in By Jenni Ameghino
For sale: Well-appointed, 4/5-bed detached house
You don't have to be a compulsive blogger or a chatroom junkie to understand how the Internet has situated in quiet cul-de-sac in Halesowen. Close proximity
come to play a crucial role in our lives. Whether it's using email, accessing websites or selling an item to good school. Easy distance from university. £290,000.
on ebay, we are using online services ever more frequently. And now so-called wireless hotspots are Tel: 0121 602 1376
springing up all over the country, we don't always have to be shackled to a socket to do so.
Country cottage. Cheshire/Staffs border. Sleeps 5.
Ideal for walking/climbing. Tel: 0121 354 5343.
Appropriately, the University is at the forefront of directory will be able to log in securely using their normal www.cottageguide.co.uk/old-post-office
developments in Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) which are giving user names and passwords not only on campus but at
staff and students more flexible and convenient access to participating institutions of the JANET Roaming Service. House to rent. Kings Norton, close to railway station, shops,
online services. And under a trial being run by Information Services they will buses. Unfurnished 2 double bedrooms, 2 reception rooms,
also have guest access to JANET Roaming. This is a national white goods included, clean modern. £545pcm. Contact
A wireless network infrastructure is now providing wireless initiative between 35 UK academic institutions to simplify Clare Tel: 07799740148
access zones in key areas, meaning that we are well on the network access for visitors and share their networks
way to becoming a wireless campus. If you want to catch up and information. Pretty village near Ludlow, St Milburga Chapel has been
with emails, plan an online lecture or surf the Web on your converted to a two-bedroom luxury holiday let. Ideal for
laptop while, for example, eating your lunch under a tree, you The University's wireless access project is a large-scale walking – unwinding – gastronomy. Summerhouse
only have to look for the striking blue wireless zone signs version of small wireless networks which many people now with terrace and fantastic views, c/w BBQ.
(see below, right). have in their homes. Businesses, too, are installing them in www.stmilburga-holidayhomes.com
cafes, hotels, railways stations and other areas of high public Tel: 01584 823626. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
So far there are more than 100 access points across the traffic. One company is creating a wireless broadband
campus and over the next 12 months this is set to double, network in a range of UK cities, including Birmingham, Family house to rent for next academic year, available from
including remote sites, allowing anyone with a Wi-Fi enabled allowing people to access the Internet in a range of areas August 2006. Lovely, quiet location in Bournville – near to
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New areas of coverage are coming on stream all the time, is great because it means staff and students who use a Contact K.Longhurst email: email@example.com
the latest of which include parts of the Medical School – laptop can access materials from many different locations Tel. 0033144404124
including the student cluster area and Dean's office – and work together in groups more easily,’ says Michele
the Main Library and Special Collections, the European Shoebridge, Director of Information Services. Wanted: Room to rent for 2–3 nights a week
Research Institute, the Selly Oak Campus, Chemical (not weekends) near University during May–June.
Engineering and the Aston Webb building, incorporating ‘Rolling out wireless across the campus is a high priority Tel: 07837 747434
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spaces - indoor or outdoor! We have a plan but would Tuscany holiday cottage. Superb setting near mountains.
All staff and students registered in the University's active welcome suggestions from Buzz readers about areas that Florence, Siena, Arezzo easily accessible. Ideal walking,
you think would really benefit from the Wi-Fi treatment.’ sight-seeing, swimming, etc. http://freespace.virgin.net/gp.ck
Tel:020 8699 8883, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Regular updates on further University areas to become
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which also gives information about how to use the network. Victorian terrace house in quiet road in Selly Park, walking
We’re constantly cleansing our data and updating our records. distance to University and Cannon Hill Park. Mature garden.
Please let Sam (below) know if you want extra copies of Buzz Further details phone Gordon Tel: 0775 439 9749
or if you think we need to amend your distribution details.
Printed Version Services
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Deadline: 13 April 2005 mid-day offer a local, personalised accountancy/tax advisory service.
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News, Views, Pictures
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Views expressed in the newsletter are not necessarily those of the University
Services 0121 785 0553. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or a statement of University policy. The publication of advertisements does not
imply any endorsement by the University of the goods or services advertised.
All submissions may be subject to editing. The Editor’s decision is final.
Picture of the month Pastoral
This month's painting celebrates the return of spring with the Claude Gellée,
picturesque Pastoral Landscape by Claude Gellée, more called Le Lorrain
commonly known as 'Claude Lorrain' or simply 'Claude'.
This stunning sunlit scene is arguably the only painting in the
Barber’s collection capable of challenging the luminosity of the
paintings in the exhibition Moonrise over Europe: J C Dahl and
Romantic Landscape, which runs until 23 April.
Claude was a French artist, originally from Lorraine, who spent
most of his working life in Rome, a city to which many young
French artists were drawn to study.
Traditionally, landscape was considered a lower form of painting
than religious subjects or portraiture, as it was thought to be less
creative. However, during the seventeenth century, landscape
gained considerable momentum and its popularity eventually by the grandeur of the surrounding foliage, figures are integral to
disrupted this hierarchy. the composition. They serve to humanize the landscape, and their
leisurely pursuits emphasise the idyllic ambience that evokes a
Landscapes produced at this time were innovative in their use of Golden Age, when man and nature lived in harmony.
natural light and attention to topographical detail and were heavily
reliant on observational studies from nature. Claude was at the However, the true beauty of this painting radiates from Claude’s
forefront of this reform and produced a plethora of landscapes poetic use of sunlight. The morning sun floods the picture,
during his lifetime. The distinguished patrons he was attracting – illuminating the foreground and saturating the background,
for example Philip IV, King of Spain and the Marquis de Fontenay, encompassing the distant village, as it gradually dissolves
French ambassador to Rome (who commissioned this painting) – into a pastel blue haze.
are testament to the growing popularity of this genre.
When Claude died he left a substantial legacy. Firstly, he left a
Claude’s landscapes may be Italianate, but they have no actual pictorial record of all of his paintings from the 1630s in a series
geographical or topographical roots. To produce these effects, of drawings called the Liber Veritatis, a ready-made chronological
he relied on intuition and copious sketches from nature, which catalogue of his work. Secondly, his work greatly influenced many
he then combined to create perfect, classical landscapes. In artists in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, such as JMW
Pastoral Landscape he presents a harmonious composition: the Turner, Richard Wilson and Samuel Palmer – all of whose work
combination of the imposing tree on the left and castle on the is currently on display in the Barber galleries.
right provides a natural frame, while the winding river allows the
viewer’s eye to progress though the landscape at leisure, tracing Pastoral Landscape can be seen at the Barber Institute of Fine
the natural flow of the water. Arts, open from 10.00 am – 5.00 pm Monday to Saturday and
12.00 noon – 5.00 pm on Sundays.
It is only once the eye roams across the vista that it becomes
apparent that the population consists of more than the three Provided by Lucy Dagger, Gallery Assistant at the Barber
pastoral figures found in the foreground. Despite being dwarfed Institute of Fine Arts
Coining it Centre for Lifelong Learning
Spring and Summer
Byzantine coinage on the eve of the fourth crusade Programme
Alexios III Angelos, emperor of Byzantium (1195 - 1203), was, of the seventh century, when Justinian II (685 - 95) introduced Building on the success of the 2005 – 2006
unlike his famous uncle Alexios I Comnenos, a corrupt and weak elegant images of Christ onto his gold solidi. In 843, after the day school programme, the Centre for Lifelong
ruler, dominated by his dynamic wife, Euphrosyne Doukaina. restoration of icons, there is a proliferation of representations of Learning is offering a number of one-day and
Christ on gold and copper coins, which continues into the late weekend courses between June and August
He gained power by deposing and blinding his brother, Isaac II. In Byzantine period. On the reverse of Alexios III's coin, the figures which focus on the history, culture and heritage
order to strengthen his position, Alexios led the empire into near of the emperor and St Constantine, standing side by side, each of the Midlands Region. The programme is
bankruptcy, while the Turks overran eastern parts of his realm. His holding a sceptre topped by a cross, further convey messages designed for anyone interested in the subject
nemesis came in the form of the Fourth Crusade, whose leaders, of earthly and divine protection. According to the inscription, and no background knowledge is assumed.
upon their arrival in Byzantium, brought Alexios's blinded brother ALEXIOS DESPOT AND CONSTANTINE, they are both the
back to power. Any attempts by Alexios to recover his throne protectors of the empire. St Constantine, the canonized emperor, Courses explore a range of subjects and areas including
proved unsuccessful. who is remembered for moving the capital of the Roman Empire the contributions of significant people to the West
from Rome to Constantinople in the fourth century and for Midlands, Edwardian Birmingham and the Arts and Crafts
During his short-lived rule, Alexios III tried to project the image embracing Christianity, represents the heavenly power next Movement and Buildings of Birmingham (following the
of perfect ruler through the most effective means of to Alexios's earthly one. Tresham Trail).
Moreover, the combination of Christ and St Constantine For a full list of courses, fees and details of how
This particular coin type was struck in 1195-97, before the suggested to the coinage's intended audience that Byzantium to enrol see
Crusaders' arrival in Byzantine lands. It is an aspron trachy coin, was a safe haven guarded by divine powers. www.cll.bham.ac.uk/Courses2005/summerschools.htm
an alloy of 20% gold and 80% silver, the latter giving the coin its or contact Sue Rosten Tel: 0121 414 5932,
characteristic white colour and name (aspron = white). The figure email: email@example.com
of Christ enthroned occupies the obverse, and the accompanying Provided by Anna Giannoulou
inscription is an invocation for divine assistance: LORD, HELP. MA in Byzantine Studies
Heavenly powers did not appear on Byzantine coins until the end Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity