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Ziggurat - The e-Newsletter of the UEA Alumni Association August 2017 View in browser

This month’s Ziggurat has alumni stories and University news, as well as all the highlights from this year’s graduation. If you’re feeling a little nostalgic, our photo galleries on Facebook are always on hand as well as the gig history, and Livewire’s new archive project.

The Global Gatherings are next month. These are reunions held by alumni all over the world to mark the University’s anniversary - so if you are looking for one near you, check out our event page. If you are interested in hosting one in your town or city, please email

Featured Stories
Doctors for a decade

Doctors for a Decade

Last month Norwich Medical School celebrated the 10th anniversary of the graduation of its first MB BS cohort. More than 60 alumni and guests joined both the founding and current Heads of School for the celebration, along with other founding members of staff.

A Saturday afternoon visit to campus featured a tour of the MED building and took in the expanded anatomy facilities and new Bob Champion Research and Education Building. In the evening, alumni and staff danced the night away at a black tie dinner… even those who had taken part in a rather challenging football match against current students that afternoon.

UEA is immensely proud of the difference that Norwich Medical School makes to health care in the region and further afield, and of the impact made by its alumni working in fields as diverse as psychiatry, paediatric rheumatology, palliative care, emergency medicine, and clinical research.

Read More  
Global Gathering

Global celebrations to mark UEA’s anniversary

Each September, alumni across the world get together to mark the University’s anniversary.

Planning is already underway for this year’s events, with venues including Berlin, Beijing, Mumbai, Nepal and Tokyo. The events come in all shapes and sizes, from drinks or dinner, to a theme park, and even to a day of charity work. No two events are the same!

A list of planned events will be updated on our website as the events are confirmed. If there isn’t one in your city, and you are interested in hosting your own event, please email Claire Eden in the alumni team at

For inspiration why not take a look at some of the photos from last year’s reunions?

Read More  
Graduation 2017

Graduation week

This year over 3,900 students graduated across five days, enjoying the sun and the celebratory atmosphere on campus. The alumni team was on hand, with a marquee outside Congregation Hall, meeting new alumni and giving out mugs.

If you have one of our mugs, we’d love to see where you've taken it. Send us your photos to, or post them on social media using #ueamugshot

While you’re enjoying a trip down memory lane, don’t forget our archive photo galleries on Facebook, as well as new photos from all five days of this year’s graduation.

See the social media highlights  
Gig history

UEA Gig History

UEA Gig History has donned its wellies and continues to wade through the summer festival mud for the month of August. Seek out music business aficionado, Cally Callomon (The Tea Party, Nick Drake and Bill Drummond) lurking in the corner of the Memory Tent as he recalls his surprise transfixion with The Guillemots in 2007.

Author of John Peel’s Shed, John Osborne, takes over the Main Stage to talk about growing up with The Bluetones across the years and why hanging out with someone doesn’t automatically make you best friends. Albion Fair and festival organiser, John Marshall-Potter, pleasantly disrupts the gentle strumming coming from the Folk Club with his memories of very early gigs.

UEA’s famous LCR hasn’t only hosted music over the years of course. Its concrete walls have witnessed the likes of comedians Jack Whitehall, Mark Lamaar, early Cambridge Footlights stars and the Comic Strip crew (Bad News pictured above). It’s notoriously difficult to get a seat in the comedy area at festivals but luckily #UEAgigs offers the chance to browse the Comedy Corner at your leisure. Read on, enjoy and do get in touch.

News in Brief
Tiny Greek island starts green energy revolution

Tilos, a tiny Greek island nestled between Kos and Rhodes, is at the vanguard of a renewable energy revolution thanks to an initiative by UEA and the University of Applied Sciences in Piraeus that has just been recognised by two important EU Commission awards.

UEA research to revolutionise animated characters' speech

Computer programmers have identified a way of creating natural-looking animated speech that can be generated in real-time as voice actors deliver their lines.

New UEA team encourages young people into higher education

UEA has just created a new team to encourage young people from disadvantaged areas to move on to higher education.

More Stories

Alumni in Kenya

UEA’s International Office are interested to know if any of Kenyan alumni currently have positions in Kenyan universities.

If you are currently employed by a university in Kenya, or know of others who are, please email Jack Whaley at


ENV50 anniversary celebrations

In September the School of Environmental Sciences will be marking its 50th anniversary with two flagship events.

On Friday 15 September there will be a panel discussion held in the Enterprise Centre on campus. Titled ‘The road from Paris to Norwich: linking circular economy and climate action’ the panel for this open, public discussion will be chaired by Rt Hon Lord Deben (John Gummer) and include Prof Sir Bob Watson and Prof Corinne Le Quéré (Tyndall Centre UEA), Laura McGillivray (CEO, Norwich City Council), and Andy Brown (Head of Sustainability, Anglian Water). 

The second event is a special field day trip to the North Norfolk coast on Saturday 16 September, open to ENV graduates. The trip will give an overview of modern coastal landforms, particularly gravel barrier systems, in the context of modern active processes.

Booking for the field trip will close on Wednesday 30 August, but there are still a few places available.

Read More  
Olasaji Fagbola

Alumnus speaks at Commonwealth Youth Ministers’ Meeting

Last week, UEA alumnus Olasoji Fagbola was in Kampala, Uganda, taking part in the 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers' Meeting (9CYMM). 

Whilst there, he presented his paper ‘Empowering Young People: Fuelling the Pursuit of Passion'. He described the meeting as “an awesome experience that will linger for a lifetime.”  

The high-level summit, held every four years, came as the world’s youth population reaches a record 1.8 billion people aged 15 to 29. The theme of the meeting was 'Resourcing and Financing Youth Development: Empowering Young People'. It brought together government ministers and senior officials to share good practices, debate emerging issues, take stock of pioneering initiatives and forge new partnerships for resourcing youth development.

Olasoji is the volunteer coordinator of the UEA Alumni Association group in Nigeria as well as being a programme manager for the Sahara Group in Lagos.

Foona Marston

Alumna’s portrait of innovation

Alumna Fiona Marston was recently included as a subject in the exhibition 'Female Innovation: What does a female innovator look like?' at the Getty Gallery in London.

Fiona is Chief Executive of Absynth Biologics Limited, which aims to combat antibiotic resistance by developing vaccines to prevent bacterial infections. She was inspired to follow a career in medical research by her mother's battle with a rare degenerative illness.

The exhibition was a project for the Innovate UK agency, with photographer Amelia Troubridge shooting portraits of ‘genuine innovators’ that ‘play an integral part in shaping a better world for us all’.

"I wanted to capture the spirit of these women and contribute visually to the re-defining of who women are today," she says. "To step away from the disempowering imagery of women that dominates the mainstream that we have become accustomed to seeing."

Prof Michael Balls

Interview with Prof Michael Balls

When Ed Balls received his UEA honorary degree earlier this month, it marked a return visit to the campus for his father, Prof Michael Balls, who was a lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences from 1966 to 1974.

Born and bred in Norfolk, Prof Balls studied Zoology at Oxford and his academic career took him all over the world, including long stays in Switzerland, the USA and Italy. 

Prof Balls notes the change in the campus over the intervening years. “When I arrived here, UEA was still a very new university and we were based in the Village while our building was being constructed,” he said. “We moved into the teaching wall during the summer of 1967, and the great thing about it was that it brought all the biological sciences together.

Paramedic graduation

First cohort of paramedics graduate from UEA

The number of paramedics working in Norfolk and Suffolk has been boosted by almost 100 after the first cohort of Paramedic Science BSc and DipHE students graduated from the University.

BSc graduate Tom Paddock became a paramedic after volunteering with St John Ambulance and will join EEAST in October and begin teaching at UEA from September. “I spent a summer volunteering alongside paramedics and realised that the profession was so much more than I’d thought,” he said. “I switched from a Natural Sciences degree. It was very exciting that, as a new course, UEA wanted our input in developing the content and that their aim was to make us as good as we could be rather than just as good as we needed to be.”

Hong Kong Alumni Awards

Education UK Alumni Awards 2018 

Are you, or do you know a UEA graduate who has gone on to great international success?

The British Council Alumni Awards honour the outstanding achievements made by professionals, entrepreneurs and community leaders who can demonstrate how their UK education has had an impact on their subsequent success. So if this sounds like you, or someone you know, why not submit an application?

The awards are open to alumni living outside the UK and who studied to degree level at an institution in the UK within the last 15 years.

Read more about eligibility and enter  
John Innes 50th

John Innes Centre 50th anniversary

This September the John Innes Centre (JIC) is marking 50 years since it was established in Norwich. They are celebrating with a special alumni event on Sunday 17 September for former JIC staff and students, welcoming alumni from all five decades of the Centre’s time in Norwich.

The Centre, which has a rich and distinguished history of scientific discovery, continues to undertake ground-breaking research with the aim of addressing key societal challenges: securing food for our growing population by increasing crop yields, stopping the deadly ash dieback disease from irrevocably damaging ancient broadleaf forests, and finding new ways to fight antimicrobial resistance. 

The event will be a chance to meet old friends as well as current members of staff and students. The day will include a chance to hear about some of the current research being undertaken at the Centre, a buffet lunch with limited edition JIC beer, and the opportunity to visit some of the Centre’s cutting-edge facilities. Spaces for the day are limited, so please book early. 

If you would like to attend, please email or telephone 01603 255328 to confirm your attendance. To find out more about current JIC research, read the Institute’s magazine, Advances.

READ the magazine  

Share your opinion – take the alumni survey

All graduates are invited to take part in our alumni survey and tell us about themselves, their university experience, and their perception of UEA today.

We only do this survey once every five years. Your responses will help to shape what we do over the coming years, so please help us by taking the survey.

Your UEA experience is important to us. Understanding your attitudes and preferences will help the University support current students and plan for the future.

Your responses will help us communicate with you more effectively and offer services and events that our alumni really want.

All answers will be anonymous and kept in the strictest confidence. The survey should take approximately 20 minutes to complete.


Young entrepreneurs support dementia charity

Young entrepreneurs from Norwich Business School have presented Wymondham Dementia Support Group with a cheque for just under £450 – the profits from businesses they set up as part of their studies.

Over 12 weeks, the three teams of Enterprise and Business Creation Master's students established very different enterprises. One sold iPhone cases with UEA logos, another organised a music event and the third set up an international food delivery service on campus.

UEA choir

Opportunities to join UEA Choir, Chamber Choir and Symphony Orchestra

UEA Music Centre’s choirs and orchestra are looking for new members. If you are a keen singer or orchestral player, please come along and audition.

UEA Choir, Chamber Choir and Symphony Orchestra rehearse weekly on campus in the UEA Music Centre and perform a number of concerts each year in some of Norwich’s most prestigious venues. 

All three ensembles are open, by audition, to all. UEA Choir, directed by Tom Primrose, welcomes singers of all abilities and levels of experience. UEA Chamber Choir, also directed by Tom Primrose, welcomes singers with some vocal training and/or choral experience. UEA Symphony Orchestra, directed by Stuart Dunlop, welcomes players of Grade 7 standard or above (however, there is no need to have passed any exams). 

Auditions for all three ensembles will take place on Friday 29 September and Monday 2 October in the UEA Music Centre. Please email or phone 01603 593948, to arrange an audition.

Dragon Hall debates

Temporary new home for popular debate series

The popular Dragon Hall Debates series will be relocating to the Millennium Library at The Forum for its 2017-18 events, while Dragon Hall undergoes renovations. The centre will reopen as the National Centre for Writing in summer 2018.

This year’s programme of sparky exchanges on contemporary controversies will cover a range of issues including populism, automation, anxiety, and gene editing. The first event on Monday 25 September will explore issues around digital media, particularly fears of ‘fake news’ manipulating public opinion.

Speakers in the series include UEA academics from a range of disciplines, as well as guest experts such as writer and broadcaster Iain Dale, political economist Will Davies and ‘business angel’ James Duez.

The events will begin with a brief presentation from each speaker, after which the audience will be invited to ask questions and the discussion will open up. The bar at Café Marzano will be open during each event for refreshments. These events are free to attend and open to all, no prior knowledge is needed.

Venturefest East 2017

UEA sponsors Venturefest East for the second year

Venturefest East takes place on Thursday 21 September at Newmarket Racecourse and aims to generate new business opportunities and help innovative businesses to grow. 

This is only the second time that the national event, created by Innovate UK and the Knowledge Transfer Network, has come to the East of England. UEA is a sponsor as part of its commitment to innovation, and nurturing the entrepreneurial potential of our students.

Professor Fiona Lettice, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation and Professor of Innovation Management, said “This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the exciting innovation happening in our region, and bring pioneering entrepreneurs and investors together to make connections, share ideas and forge new collaborations.”

buy tickets  
LiveWire archives

Looking back at Livewire

Founded in 1989, student radio station Livewire has been a cornerstone of UEA life ever since. The society is looking to bring all of that history together for everyone to access. If you were involved in Livewire during your time at UEA, perhaps you could help.

Their plans include building of an online historical resource, and hosting alumni reunions and workshops with the current team. To make this happen, Livewire are seeking members from across the last 27 years to get in touch with their memorabilia, stories, information and media. 

At this stage, gathering contacts is key, so please send them a (re-)introductory message to You can join the Facebook group, and follow @LivewireArchive on Twitter for updates (and to see what they've uncovered). Be sure to say hello and let the team know you're happy to get involved.

READ the blog post  
Erasmus 30 years

Happy birthday Erasmus!

UEA will be celebrating 30 years of Erasmus and European mobility in October.

As part of the festivities, the Study Abroad team want to hear from you. Did you venture overseas to Europe while you were studying at UEA? Were you a pioneer of the Erasmus programme’s early days at UEA? 

If you would be interested sharing your Erasmus experience, how it may have helped you to land your dream job, or inspired you to relocate to another country, the team would love to hear from you.

Contributions can be simply a quote or a short video message, or you may want to submit a blog post, or even a longer testimonial. Please email the Study Abroad Team at to take part in this milestone project.

INK festival

INK festival

INK is a festival that showcases and springboards new short scripts for theatre, radio and film by writers with an East Anglian connection.

The festival was established four years ago by two UEA alumnae, Julia Sowerbutts and Emma Struthers. Each year the festival has included and produced plays by UEA students and graduates, as well as employing alumni as actors and technicians. They would love to hear from you if you have a script you would like to submit, or are interested in working at the festival in some capacity.


You don’t have to leave to go far

There’s still time to apply for a range of postgraduate scholarships for entry in September 2017.

With a reputation for world-leading research, dedicated teaching that challenges you to reach your full potential, and supportive funding including alumni tuition fee-reduction scholarships, there are some excellent opportunities to take your learning further at UEA. 

A Master’s or Research degree can provide you with an enhanced professional skillset and experience to help you stand out in a highly competitive job market.

Adult Nursing

Thinking about becoming a nurse?

UEA has developed a fast track route into nursing – the two-year MSc Adult Nursing programme is perfect if you already have a degree in another subject, relevant experience in health or social care and are looking to change career.

With the NHS constitution at its core, the MSc Adult Nursing programme provides rigorous training, fantastic placement opportunities and is fully approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). UEA Adult Nursing graduates are highly sought-after healthcare professionals. 

The course is fully funded and starts in January 2018. The deadline for applications is 4 September 2017.

Find out more  
What's On

Rana Begum: Space Light Colour

Runs until Sunday 1 October 
Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts, UEA

Rana Begum is one of the most exciting artists working in Britain today. She has completed commissions in Dubai, Cambridge, and King’s Cross in London. Her use of space, colour and form transforms the mezzanine gallery of the Sainsbury Centre with wall-mounted reliefs and an immersive installation, taking advantage of the light and space of Norman Foster’s architecture. This is her first museum show anywhere in the world.

Val McDermid launches Noirwich Crime Writing Festival

Thursday 14 September, 6.30pm
The Pantry Restaurant at Jarrold

With crime currently dominating all other genres in the worlds of film and literature, fans will find plenty to thrill them at the fourth annual Noirwich Crime Writing Festival.

Opening this year's festival is Val McDermid - author of over 30 novels and the creator of genre-defining characters including Lindsay Gordon and Kate Brannigan. In this 'in conversation' event with Carrigan and Miller author Stan Sherez, Val will discuss her body of work, particularly her most recent novel Insidious Intent in which two of her most distinctive and iconic characters - Carol Jordan and Tony Hill - hunt for a sinister killer who has the power to inflict untold fear and pain upon their victims.


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

Farnaz Ali (EUR86)

Helen Cadbury (EAS84)

Sam Carr (ENV09)

Prof Peter Hill 
An obituary for Prof Hill, written by his son Ralph can be found here.

Ramesh Kasaraneni (MED13)

Janet Sutton (EDU01)

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