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Ziggurat - The e-Newsletter of the UEA Alumni Association January 2020 View in browser
UEA in the news
Rose Tremain at graduation

New Years Honours recipients 

Several of UEA’s graduates and staff were recognised in this year’s New Year Honours list.

Among them is Professor Tim Jickells, who has taught at the University for over 30 years, and was awarded an OBE for services to marine and atmospheric sciences. A recognised international expert on the chemistry of the oceans and atmosphere, he joined the University as a lecturer in the mid-80s and was appointed to be a Chair in Environmental Sciences in 1998.

Meanwhile, from the humanities, Rose Tremain, who was Chancellor between 2013 and 2016, has been made a dame. A multi-prizewinning author, Rose was in one of UEA's first cohorts of students, studying English as an undergraduate in 1964 and returning to teach Creative Writing from 1989-95. She was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2000.


Investigating the impacts of the beautiful game

A new study by researchers at UEA will further investigate the higher rate of dementia sufferers among professional football players in a £1m, part-crowd-funded study.

The pioneering work follows a University of Glasgow study into the link between Alzheimer’s and retired male football players. The UEA team will go several steps further: shining a light into when exactly players start to show signs of the disease, and looking into the effects on female players. Considering football is the world’s most popular game the results of the study could have a far-reaching impact.

The team is now seeking £1m for the SCORES study, 10 per cent of which it’s hoped will be crowd-funded.

Update your record

We’re here to help…

Let us help you start the year as you mean to go on.

Committing to the gym? Get money off at Sportspark. Keen to volunteer? Come and help out and share your knowledge of UEA at an upcoming Applicant Day.

Or simply update your details and ensure you hear about all the wonderful UEA alumni events taking place near you in 2020, from London Lectures to Global Gatherings and one-off reunions.

News in brief
Exploring the realities of life for Gypsies and Travellers

Researchers from UEA and other institutions are looking into the crime and criminal justice experiences of members of the Gypsy and Traveller communities. Funded by a £1m grant, the project will recruit researchers from these communities to conduct interviews around the country. The study will look to understand why these groups have become entrenched in the popular imagination as criminal predators when there has been no rigorous evidence assessing the validity of these claims, and explore why there are no systematic assessments of Gypsies and Travellers' experiences as victims of crime.

Finding the 'i' in team

New research suggests it's important for individuals to feel personal ownership towards a team project in order to be more creative. The study, led by Dr Ieva Martinaityte of Norwich Business School, suggests that this also drives each team member to invest more time and effort into the project. At the same time though, managers should be aware that individual ownership minimises collective effort. 

Confirmed: Climate change increases the risk of wildfires

New research has confirmed that human-induced climate change promotes the conditions on which wildfires depend and increases their likelihood. In light of the Australian fires, a group of scientists including those from UEA, conducted a review of 57 peer-reviewed papers published since the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report in 2013. All the studies show links between climate change and increased frequency or severity of fire weather, though some note anomalies in a few regions. Observational data shows that fire weather seasons have lengthened across approximately 25 per cent of the Earth’s vegetated surface, resulting in about a 20 per cent increase in global mean length of the fire weather season.

News from our network
Christie Watson

Christie Watson on health humanities

Best-selling author, nurse and Creative Writing graduate returns to campus later this month to give two talks on the intersection between health and the humanities.

Should health professionals learn poetry during their studies? Or can an understanding of prose improve care? There is perhaps no one better qualified to talk about the intersection between health and the humanities than Christie Watson - a nurse, Costa First Novel Award winner and author of the best-selling book, The Language of Kindness.

On Tuesday 28 January she’s back on campus to give two talks. The first, a lunchtime seminar hosted by the school of health sciences, will discuss the question of whether it’s time ‘we taught poetry and prose to all healthcare students.’ (1-2pm; Edith Cavell Building Lecture Theatre).

Then, that evening, she’s joined by Tessa McWatt, Professor of Creative Writing at UEA, and Heidi Gure-Klinke, a Norwich-based GP, as they ask ‘Where next for Health Humanities at UEA?’ (7-9pm; Julian Study Centre; register to attend). Both talks are open to all and free to attend.


'Question the inevitability of waste'

Two graduates are providing ‘shareable, sustainable starter kits for students’ – and aiming to effect change far beyond the kitchen cupboard.

Kipple was co-founded by Ismat Imaan and Jana Belovicova, both Masters graduates who met at UEA in 2018. It’s a small business with a far-reaching vision to reduce waste and inspire wider industry change by providing recycled, returnable kitchen starter kits to students and promoting the values of the circular economy.

Now based in the Enterprise Centre on campus, Ismat spoke to us late last year about the inspiration for the company, what the future looks like for Kipple, and how a five year old pen provided the crucial starting point.

Jade Cuttle

Where science and poetry meet

Poet, musician, songwriter, poetry editor, Costa Books Prize judge, tree listener… The multi-talented grad Jade Cuttle is one to watch.

Jade Cuttle completed her MA in Creative Writing (poetry) at UEA last year – adding yet another string to her burgeoning bow of talents. And, earlier this month, with support from the Enterprise Centre at UEA, she’s released her second EP, Algal Bloom, a folk music collection that puts poetry and the poetry of nature at its heart.

Jade recently spoke to the Alumni team about her work, the album, the support she received and her favourite thing about trees (“If you stethoscope a tree – on a warm enough day, that is – you should be able to hear the hum of its heartbeat shivering down each sinewy spine.”)

Baby Chimp Rescue

Baby Chimp Rescue

Following his popular series Secrets of Skin, Professor of Evolutionary Biology at UEA Ben Garrod returned to our screens this January with Baby Chimp Rescue, a three-part series exploring the lives of orphaned chimpanzees.

The BBC series sees Prof Garrod visit Jimmy and Jenny Desmond at their home in Liberia – a home they share with 21 young, orphaned apes.

Wild chimpanzee mothers in parts of West African are often killed for bush meat and their young are sold as high-value pets, which in part explains the reason the species is critically engaged. The unique orphanage teaches the chimps vital lessons that their mothers would have taught them in the wild, allowing them to live more independently in their new home. It’s an important documentary with a hefty dose of endearing animal content.

Int development MOOC

What is International Development?

There’s still time to join the School of International Development’s free online short course and learn more about the world around you.

The five-week course, entitled ‘What is International Development?’, kicked off on Futurelearn this month. It provides a foundation for any aspiring development practitioners, or prospective applicants of Global Studies, Geography, Politics, or Economics courses at UEA, and offers a truly global perspective with learners from Algeria to Mozambique, Mexico and Uganda taking part.

The course requires approximately two hours of study a week, and is designed to be an informative look at some current topical issues such as gender, the environment, population, and much more.

News from our network
London Lecture: How algae help bacteria clean up oil spills

London Lecture: How algae help bacteria clean up oil spills

Regent Street Cinema, London
Thursday 13 February, 6.30pm 
Free, booking required

To clean up oil spills, should we be looking to the ocean? Algae produce hydrocarbons similar to the compounds found in diesel - and the large scale algal hydrocarbon production in our oceans is equivalent to annual Saudi Arabian oil production. However, recently identified populations of hydrocarbon producing and degrading microbes in the Mariana Trench - the deepest known location on Earth - may play a role in limiting oil pollution in this unique environment.

Join Dr David Lea-Smith at the Regent Street Cinema in London as he explains how algal hydrocarbon production may support populations of microbes that degrade oil spills.

Photo credit: NOAA Office of Response and Restoration

Dragon Hall Debate

Dragon Hall Debate: Rubbish

National Centre for Writing, King Street, Norwich
Monday 27 January, 7pm (doors 6.30pm)
Free, booking recommended

We know that our planet faces serious waste issues, but what if we redefined rubbish?

In the first Dragon Hall Debate of the season, Dr Lorna Richardson from the Interdisciplinary Institute for the Humanities will explore the value of preserving our digital heritage, while poet Dr John Wedgwood Clarke takes us down to the poetic landfill. Meanwhile, Norfolk County Council’s Alun Housago will argue that solutions lie in behaviour change; and Norwich FoodHub’s Rowan Van Tromp will challenge us to think about how our economy can work for us... one tin of beans at a time.

Public lectures

Public lectures: dramaturgy and infinite change

We're starting the year with two of UEA's newest professors, who will share their research findings when they give their inaugural lectures this month.

In the first lecture of the spring series is today (Tuesday 14 January) playwright Prof Steve Waters from the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing will question what is happening to drama in a world of on-demand storytelling. In an age of stories as franchises, narratives without limit and globalised reach, what happens to tragedy or dramatic intensity? And is the primacy of plot eclipsing the true meaning of stories?

The second of this year's lectures, on Tuesday 21 January, will be given by Prof Sally Hardy, Head of the School of Health Sciences, who will discuss the sustainability of the unrelenting change taking place across health and education sectors on a global scale, providing oversight - and insight - into the ways in which change can affect those immersed within these sectors.

Inaugural lectures recognise and celebrate the promotion of UEA academics to the position of professor, whilst giving audiences the chance to hear about their research and its impact on society. These lectures are free and open to all, and there's no need to book; simply turn up on the night, or watch live on YouTube.

Concert series


Lunchtime Concert series 2020

UEA Music Centre invites you to take a break from work or study and join them for their free spring 2020 Lunchtime Concert series.

Concerts will take place on the first Wednesday of the month (starting on Wednesday 5 February), from 1.10-1.55pm, in the UEA Music Centre (Strode Concert Room). Entrance is free and all are welcome, up to the capacity of room.

The concerts feature an array of Music Award holders, acclaimed tenor Ben Johnson and prize-winning pianist and UEA Choirmaster, Tom Primrose.

For further information about the spring 2020 Lunchtime Concert series, please visit the Music Centre website; phone 01603 593948; email; or follow @UEAConcerts.


In the past month the University has sadly been informed of the death of the following alumni:

Dominic Carney (DEV 1973)
Paul Howe (SYS 1981)
Suzanne Palminteri (ENV 2006) - read her obituary

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