There’s nothing like a great piece of music, fashion or a movie to set the scene of the 1960s some of the most exciting and creative times in modern history. Earlier this month I was lucky enough to take part in an event in London where a group of De Montfort University staff and students recreated the 1960s cinema experience from the findings of research of more than 1,000 people sharing their memories. The research project was led by DMU’s Dr Matthew Jones and was brought to life in collaboration with staff and students from DMU’s Drama studies course.For me, it was great to see such an innovative way to disseminate research findings. This podcast was recorded at the event, held at the Picturehouse Cinema in London’s Piccadilly Circus. It features first year DMU Drama Student Sophie Dolling, Senior lecturers in Drama Kelly Jordan and Alissa Clarke and Lecturer in Cinema and Television History, Dr Matthew Jones. Read the full blog about the event here. I hope you enjoy the podcast, if you have any questions please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
I don’t know if it was the offer of a free sherbert lemon from an usherette or the constant flashing of torches throughout the film, but, on a wet Wednesday in London, the experience of sights, sounds and colour of 1960s movie-going was convincingly brought to life by staff and students of De Montfort University, Leicester. In terms of attention to detail, it couldn’t have looked better. The Picturehouse in Piccadilly Circus, London, still exhorts the splendour of a classic cinema of yesteryear, so it was the ideal location for a group of DMU academics and drama students to take a venue back in time.
So my Project May 2016 is over and we are now a few days into June so I have had time to reflect on how it went. To recap, I got tired of reading life hack after life hack and wanted to put some to the test. There were some trends I wanted to put to the test. These were:
- Small changes are habit forming
- A healthy diet would probably make me feel better
- More exercise would probably make me feel better
- Organising my time better would lead to benefits – particularly to my PhD study
- Getting up earlier – because it is supposed to make you superhuman
- And loads of other stuff that I can’t possibly believe but hey, let’s see…
I charted my progress weekly here But let’s take these point by point on reflection, now the month is over:
I’m in to week 3 of my experiment in May. Last week I was seriously questioning whether this had actually been of any benefit of all. However in the past few days, things seem to have taken a positive turn and I’m starting to feel smug. Not quite American Psycho smug (pictured) but not too bad either. The running seems to be paying off. I’ve now completed 45 miles for the month against a target of 62 with nine days to go. Stupidly I forgot to do an official weigh-in on Friday, but I’ll do one this week. (more…)
Last week I blogged that I wanted to make a few changes – partly in light of things I’d read, but partly because I wanted to make a few changes. Bluntly I want to eat/drink a little less, exercise a little more and increase my PhD inputs/outputs. There is some reoccurring advice from the motivation gurus and life hackers that I’m trying to adopt to make positive changes over the next four weeks. I believe if I put some of these to the test it might 1) prove such advice is totally useless or 2) prove these people are highly annoying but were right all along. Even Leicester City winning the league (pictured) hasn’t stopped my quest for the truth… (more…)
I am sick of motivational quotes and “life hacks” that, if followed, are potentially going to make me the world’s greatest person that ever lived. In fact I’ve read so many of those lately that if I’d spent the time in the gym, or reading something of worth, instead of searching for a quick fix to my general lack of fitness and my inability to cram all the things I want to achieve into a seven-day week, I’d be probably be sorted. I have therefore come up with my own little experiment to see if there is any value in the advice I’ve been reading lately or whether those that achieve such a superhuman lifestyle are indeed, just not of this planet. There are keyboard Yodas everywhere – Facebook is a rich ground where these motivational thoughts are shared and shared again by those who, I assume, want to position themselves as some kind of low-rent enlightenment guru. Add to this to some of the people who write on @Medium – who share their secrets of success, or other people’s success and really do position themselves as upmarket lifestyle gurus, and in some cases, charge you good money for it, then you realise free advice is everywhere. From reading all this stuff, I have noticed some trends that I want to try adopt over the next four weeks. (more…)
I recently presented at the Annual Conference of the University Association of Life-long Learning at the University of Oxford. As I am not an academic, rather a practictioner as Head of Public Engagement at De Montfort University, I do not present things too often. In fact this was the first time I presented anything related to my PhD research. The University of Oxford was one of the pioneers of the University Extension movement in the United Kingdom. My presentation was in Rewley House, Oxford’s home of extramural activity where for over 100 years academics and communities have undertaken learning activities together (see photo). I was very proud to be presenting my work in such historic surroundings, if a little nervous. In my verbal introduction to the delegates, I explained that this research, done specifically for this particular conference, was an opportunity for me to investigate something that had been bugging me for a while. Namely, do the great things universities say are happening when they work with communities actually happen? Or do they assume they happened? As it was a conference for academics and practitioners, the research was written for a broad audience and the presentation was not particularly framed in the language of social science. With this in mind, if you have any questions about the detail or methodology, please tweet me @TheNewStatsman – otherwise here is the corresponding article I wrote for the presentation:
I looked out of my hotel window – five, six, seven dogs ran through the street, a gentle warm January breeze tossed dozens of kites caught in a tree and cars continued to peep their horns loudly at 2am. An old man walked by eating ice cream and the lights had finally gone out on a nearby slum. Ahmedabad, India, had given me an insomniac’s welcome that was far from restful. The stiffest drink in the hotel bar, a can of Diet Coke, was not going to help me fall asleep so I sat staring at the road below, reflecting on my day.I was thinking about that cliche of Indian life – where extreme poverty and wealth live side by side. (more…)
There is a growing interest in how universities work with the public to pursue projects that aim to deliver mutual benefits through engagement (Owen and Hill S, 2011; Watson, 2007; NCCPE, 2015) and while public engagement in higher education is not a new concept (Robinson F, Zass-Ogilvie I, Hudson R., 2012), there is now a need for greater accountability from funding bodies and authorities, increasing the need for universities to demonstrate how they connects their work with people beyond the campus (Wellcome Trust, 2011). This literature review aims to discuss two elements. It sets out to provide analysis of the existing literature around university-community engagement. It also identifies a gap in the literature around evaluation of engagement activities. Higher Education sees its third mission, beyond teaching and learning, as sharing its knowledge to benefit the wider public (Goddard J, 2009) (Boyer, 1990). How this is achieved can take many forms, from people taking part in research, school children participating in Higher Education taster days to community groups using campus facilities (Robinson F, Zass-Ogilvie I, Hudson R., 2012).How universities engage with people from outside their organisations differs from institution to institution (Universities UK, 2010) and how this is described is inconsistent across the sector, nationally and internationally (Hart & Northmore, 2011), (Mason O‘Connor K, et al 2011).