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Ziggurat - The e-Newsletter of the UEA Alumni Association December 2017 View in browser
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VC in India

Message from the Vice-Chancellor

It is hard to believe that we are nearly at the end of another year at the University of East Anglia. Our 2017 got off to a notable start with the world’s media descending on the UEA campus to cover a visit from The Queen to the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in what was Her Majesty’s first public engagement of the year.

This year has flown by and, as ever, I have been struck by the sheer creativity, commitment and dedication shown by UEA staff and students alike. There has been much to celebrate over the past year, ranging from welcoming back our latest Nobel Laureate in alumnus Kazuo Ishiguro, being awarded Gold status in the teaching excellence framework, our highest ever ranking in the university league tables, and the recognition recently afforded our pioneering School of Environmental Sciences by the award of the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.

Inevitably there have been lows as well as highs. We cannot be complacent and, as an institution, we need to continue to improve and evolve. The pace of change around the world continues to be relentless, competition globally in the higher education sector grows ever more intense and there will undoubtedly be fresh challenges ahead for us.

Looking ahead to 2018 and we will be celebrating another special year in the history of the University with the 40th anniversary of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. The Sainsbury Centre is a real cultural jewel in the crown for Norwich and if you come back to campus please do pay a visit to the centre.

Finally, as we prepare to see out 2017 and see in 2018, I want to wish you all a peaceful, healthy and happy Christmas and New Year.

Professor David Richardson

Featured Stories
Christmas LCR

The Christmas LCR is here!

This Saturday will be the Alumni Christmas LCR, so why not get your friends together and come back to campus for a festive celebration? 

Spring Literary Festival

Spring Literary Festival

The line-up for the Spring Literary Festival has been announced.

The festival opens on Valentine's day with Stephen Fry, whose latest book Mythos retells the Greek myths for a contemporary audience.

Other speakers include UNESCO City of Literature Professor, Caryl Phillips, who will be in conversation with Margaret Drabble; Jon McGregor, described by The New Yorker as a novelist of 'visionary power'; Madeline Miller, who won the Orange Prize for Song of Achilles, and Jesmyn Ward, whose latest book Sing, Unburied, Sing won the National Book Award, America's premier literary prize.

The festival will close by welcoming back two graduates of the UEA MA in Creative Writing who have gone on to great acclaim: Christie Watson, whose personal account of her experience as a nurse, The Language of Kindness, is set to be one of the most talked about books of the year; and the final event will mark the publication of Emma Healey's Whistle in the Dark, the follow-up to her best-selling debut, Elizabeth is Missing.

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Gig history

Gig history

It’s been an interesting year. The UEA Gig History project began on December 3rd 2016 to mark the 40th Anniversary of UEA’s cancellation of The Sex Pistols with a celebration of everything the university had hosted before and since. The bold decision to draw attention to the part UEA played in punk music history has been rewarded with award nominations, academic interest and, more than anything, a delightful response from alumni, gig goers and performers from across the decades. 

In the spirit of a ‘70s Christmas TV Special, project manager Ruth Selwyn-Crome has had a Mike Yarwood-esque “and this is me” moment in this month’s Memory Box on the UEA Gig History website. UEA’s Professor of Punk – George McKay – duets with Ruth on the site in his Guest Blog about seeing the Stiffs Live Stiffs gig at UEA in ’77 as a newly fledged 16-year old punk. Meanwhile the UEA Memorabilia box showcases a Vision On-ish gallery of particularly special moments from public and performers alike. The Photo Booth has a brand new photo of the wonderful Ian Dury by one of the project’s star photographers Tim Richards.

@UEAgighistory has joined in the ‘70s fun with a #UEAgigs Advent countdown from the site’s Story Archive and Spotify playlists.

#UEAgigs HQ has enjoyed receiving a Blue Peter Appeal-style digital sack of letters enquiring about The Gig List publication, limited copies of which are now available to purchase online. See The Gig List box on the website for details – it’s the perfect Christmas present to keep a *difficult* relative quiet for a few hours. 

A very big thank you to all of you who’ve sent in anecdotes, tickets and memories to over the past twelve months.

And so 2017 ends and it’s time to say “goodnight from me” and goodnight from #UEAgigs. Wishing all of you a very Happy Christmas and a New Year which brings you sunshine, smiles, laughter and great music – all the while.

News in Brief
MPs look to history for answers to today’s refugee plight

Historians from the University will meet with MPs to discuss parallels between Britain’s responses to the plight of refugees in the 1930s and today, and look for policy solutions.

UEA becomes the Digital Preservation Coalition’s newest member

The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) is delighted to welcome UEA as its latest Associate Member.

East Anglian Film Archive achieves national accreditation

The East Anglian Film Archive (EAFA), owned and managed by UEA, has been awarded Archive Service Accreditation.

More Stories
Karen Jones CBE

Chancellor Karen Jones speaks at ResNet event

Gender equality, innovation and her role as Chancellor were among the topics covered by Karen Jones when she spoke at a ResNet event last month, hosted during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Karen said: “As the Chancellor at UEA I hope to create a platform for innovation and entrepreneurship and have been working closely with Fiona Lettice, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation. There is so much great stuff happening at UEA, it’s about bringing it all together and having clarity. If we say we ‘do different’ then we must.”

Through a calendar of events, ResNet promote gender equality and fairness. Speaking on this Karen said: “In this day and age, why are we still talking about gender equality? We need to encourage each other and young women to have ambition. Being in a position where we are able to make women see they can do whatever they want is a privilege – but we have a real job to do.”

London Lecture

UEA London Lectures return

The University is delighted to announce the programme for the 2018 UEA London Lecture series. The lectures will cover topics including the decline of pollinator numbers, literacy in our multimodal world, and the changing experience of exile.

The series will begin on Thursday 1 February with Dr Michael Grey's research into concussion in sport.

Recent high-profile incidences of concussion in professional sport have highlighted the need for greater awareness of the issue, and for better assessment tools that can be applied at all levels of sport to assist this difficult diagnosis. In this lecture, Dr Michael Grey will discuss the mechanisms and pathophysiology of concussion, and address issues associated with the ‘return to play’ decision. This talk will also highlight some of the work being done in the UEA Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, including the development of new virtual reality tests to aid pitchside decision-making.

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Student caller

A big thank you

The University would like to say a huge thank you to all the alumni who supported this year's Call Campaign, and to everyone who gave their time to talk to the team of student callers.

Donations large and small came together to raise an impressive £82,670 – the largest amount raised yet.

This year's campaign supported three areas: scholarships to help talented students from low-income backgrounds come to UEA; research into the causes and possible cures for prostate cancer; and The Alumni Fund, which supports student- focussed projects.

There will be another Calling Campaign in February, so if you didn’t receive a call you’ll have another opportunity to speak with student, share your memories of campus and your experiences as a graduate, and be updated on news from UEA.

If you would like to give to The Difference Campaign, you can donate online or by calling 01603 453704 and speaking to the Regular Giving Officer, Rosie Tarleton. There are plenty of other ways you can stay involved, which you can read about on the alumni webpages.

ENV Queens award

Royal accolade for ground-breaking environmental science

The School of Environmental Sciences will be awarded a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.

The announcement comes as the department celebrates its 50th anniversary. Since its foundation in 1967, UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences has become one of the largest and most fully-developed interdisciplinary institutions of its kind in Europe, providing a stimulating, innovative and active research environment for the study of natural and human environments.

Research and teaching in the School addresses climate, ocean and atmospheric interactions, the governance of resources and sustainability, the geosciences and natural hazards.

The School will be awarded with a silver gilt medal and certificate signed personally by Her Majesty the Queen at a prestigious event at Buckingham Palace in February.

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Scholars reception

Celebrations for scholarship recipients

In October, a reception was held to welcome new students receiving prestigious donor-supported scholarships.

More than 50 new undergraduate and postgraduate students attended the event held in The Enterprise Centre. They were joined by returning students who also received donor-supported scholarships, and had the opportunity to chat about their experiences and find out what to expect during their time at UEA.

Current Medical Aspirations Scholarship recipient, MED student Jay Aldous, spoke to guests about what holding a donor-supported scholarship means to him and explained how he felt when he met his donor for the first time: “I always remember the first time I met my scholarship donor. When I was told that my donor and his wife were taking me to dinner, I was so nervous – I was expecting some kind of posh fine-dining with at least six different types of cutlery. But they were so down-to-earth and were lovely people to speak to; they were excited to get to know me.”

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Working in Development

UEA Working in Development Forum 2018 - get involved

The School of International Development are looking for UK-based development alumni to be guest speakers, and to share their professional expertise at the Working in Development Forum at the University on Thursday 22 February. 

The event will be an afternoon of informal panel discussions led by development practitioners, sharing insights from their own career journeys and discussing current trends relevant to working in particular sectors, including, but not restricted to:

- routes into international NGOs
- impact evaluation
- humanitarian response
- environment and development
- careers in research and consulting
- media and development
- private sector and social enterprise
- gender and development
- fundraising and activism

If you are interested in being a guest speaker on one of these topics, or can recommend a contact, please email Dr Sophie Bremner at

Global Opportunities

Global Opportunities Week

UEA CareerCentral is running the successful Global Opportunities week again in 2018, from the 12th – 16th February.

If you are a UK national living in Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, North America, Europe or South East Asia the team would be delighted for you to take part in the week via Skype. They are also keen to hear from Japanese and Chinese nationals who would be willing to share their experiences in their own language to students from Japan and China respectively.

You would simply be asked to join for 15 minutes to talk about your career story since leaving UEA and be prepared to answer some questions.

If you are interested in being involved, then please contact Lisa-Rose at

Sync The City 2017

UEA graduates on Sync the City winning team

In November, a team led by alumnus Callum Coombes, and including two further UEA graduates, Nichita Misin and James Rogers, won the judges’ choice prize of £3,000 at Sync the City. 

Their business concept LoneSafe aims to keep lone workers in touch with their employers and improve employee safety via an easy to use app. Callum said: “It was my first time taking part in Sync the City, and it was absolutely amazing. The mentors were fantastic at coaching us through the full pitching process.”

The event, which is run by UEA and SyncNorwich, gives entrants a chance to pitch their business concepts to leading industry figures and win cash prizes. Bringing together Norfolk's entrepreneurs, product developers, software developers, designers and digital creatives, with students from UEA, teams were challenged to build and launch a start-up in 54 hours.

SyncNorwich was founded in 2012 as a virtual community to support the growing digital economy in and around Norwich and is now one of the biggest and most active tech meet-up groups outside of London.

Children's Christmas Lecture 2017

Watch this year’s Children’s Christmas Lectures online

UEA’s annual Children’s Christmas Lectures are the highlight of the festive calendar for many families, with tickets often being snapped up within days. This year’s lectures have been no exception and the talks, which will take place on Saturday 16 December, are now fully booked.

For those who have missed out on tickets, Santa has a special gift: this year’s lectures will be live streamed on the website so that you can watch them from the comfort of your own home. The lectures will also be recorded and uploaded to our website so that you can watch them during the Christmas holidays.

This year’s lectures are on the dual theme of ‘animal tracks and treasure maps’. The first lecture, by Prof Claire Jowitt, will take a journey through history to find out who became a pirate and why, ‘exploding’ some myths about pirates along the way!

The second lecture, by Dr Simon Butler, will take a look at the different surveillance and animal tracking tools used by scientists – from binoculars and a notebook to mobile phones and satellite technology – and how they can reveal fascinating insights into the behaviour of animals around the globe.

Inaugural Lectures

Spring season of inaugural lectures

The programme for the spring season of inaugural lectures has been announced, with an exciting range of topics including water security, linguistics, workplace stress, microbes, and climate change.

In the first lecture of the season, Prof Jenni Barclay will speak about her career as a volcanologist and will explain how she and her fellow volcanologists piece together information to try to understand volcanic eruptions. She’ll also examine how sparkling insights into volcanic behaviour can come from a surprising range of people: from meteorologists to sociologists, historians and writers.

Prof Barclay will give her inaugural lecture on Tuesday 16 January at 6.30pm, in the Julian Study Centre lecture theatre. There will be a free drinks reception after the talk, with the chance to talk to Prof Barclay about her research.

Inaugural lectures at UEA are free to attend – with no need to book – and are open to everyone.

Costa book award

Professor shortlisted for Costa Book Award

Prof Rebecca Stott has been shortlisted for the prestigious Costa Book Awards. The awards celebrate some of the most outstanding books of the year and Prof Stott’s book, In the Days of Rain: A Daughter, A Father, a Cult, is shortlisted for the Costa Biography category.

Described by the judges as “a vivid and truly unforgettable family story of life in a cult”, the book is a shocking, deeply personal family memoir. It is a first-hand account from Rebecca and her father of their family’s experience of growing up in, and breaking away from, a fundamentalist Christian cult in Brighton in the 1970s.

A novelist, non-fiction writer and broadcaster, Rebecca is professor of literature and creative writing in the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing.


New agreement strengthens links between UEA and VU Amsterdam

A partnership designed to build new opportunities for students has been signed by UEA and the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam.

The MoU cements the relationship between the two universities and will lead to the development of joint teaching programmes and joint summer schools, enabling students from both universities to spend time studying in Norwich and Amsterdam.

The agreement was signed in November during a visit to UEA made by the VU executive team. Both universities are founding members of the Aurora network of research-intensive European universities.

Christmas carol concert

UEA Choir and Chamber Choir perform a feast of festive favourites

UEA Choir and Chamber Choir will perform their ever-popular Christmas Carol concert on Thursday 14 December, at 7.30pm, at St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Cathedral, Norwich.

Under the direction of UEA Choirmaster, Tom Primrose, the 170-strong choir, and 30-strong chamber choir, will perform music by Rutter, Vaughan Williams and Holst, as well as a host of well-loved Christmas carols for the audience to join in.

The concert will also feature performances from UEA’s new Community Choir and a solo by organist William Falconer.


Postgraduate open event

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

If you’re thinking about further study, come to the open event on Wednesday 24 January and meet with current Master’s students and academics, and get advice on the application process and funding opportunities.

Education MA

Master’s Level CPD for teachers and educationalists

Starting in January, the MA Educational Practice and Research aims to build on participant’s existing interests and expertise.

The course is specially designed for school teachers, further education lecturers and all other education practitioners working in the UK who wish to extend their CPD activities and career advancement through Master’s level study.

Participants can study for up to 3 years to complete the full MA. There is also opportunity to apply for Accreditation for Prior Learning (ie for PGCE Master’s level credits). Flexible and personalised study patterns have been designed to complement professional work commitments, with many of the taught modules being delivered during evening sessions or on Saturdays.


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

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. Thank you to everyone who has already taken part.

Norwich Business School

Business Breakfast events at Norwich Business School

Norwich Business School holds a number of free events throughout the year, giving you the chance to network with local organisations and learn more about the School’s research and innovation programmes.

Starting in the new year, the business breakfast topics include workplace wellbeing, the financial industry and consumer insights. On Thursday 11 January, the event will focus on the business case for employee health and wellbeing, led by Prof Olga Tregaskis and Prof Kevin Daniels.

On Wednesday 25 April, Prof Raphael Markellos will lead an event for the financial industry, discussing the development of the banking, insurance and finance sector in Norfolk. The last event will be held on Thursday 12 July, with Prof Andrew Fearne looking at the impact of sharing shopper insight with small food and drink producers.



Please note the University will be closed for the Christmas holidays on Friday 22 December 2017 until Tuesday 2 January 2018.

The alumni team wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

What's On

UEA Live - Sarah Perry

Thursday 14 December, 7pm
The Flamingo at The Pig and Whistle, Norwich

Local author Sarah Perry will be talking about her latest novel The Essex Serpent at the final event of the year from UEA Live.

Perry - who describes her home city of Norwich as the "world's greatest place" - is also the author of After The Flood, which tells the story of a man who wanders into a strange world while seeking out his brother amidst a drought.

The Essex Serpent, Perry's second novel, explores themes of goodness, friendship, superstition and love. It was named Waterstones Book Of The Year 2016 and was placed on the long list for the 2017 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction.

The Russia Season: Royal Fabergé and Radical Russia

The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
Until Sunday 11 February

Now in its third month, The Russia Season at The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts contrasts Russian life before and after the Russian Revolution. Welcoming visitors to the exhibition before they enter the building is a ten-metre high model of Tatlin’s Tower, one of the most iconic architectural projects to have been designed in the Soviet era.

Inside, visitors will find the Royal Fabergé exhibition, which explores the extraordinary production and glittering saga of the leading artist-jewellers during the decades preceding the First World War. Alongside it is the Radical Russia exhibition, which includes pre-revolution works and demonstrates the way in which Russian abstraction included specific Russian themes - especially relating to the Russian peasantry.


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

Alison Fuller (NAM05)

Sarah Maguire (EAS84)

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