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Ziggurat - The e-Newsletter of the UEA Alumni Association February 2018 View in browser
Ziggurat February 2018

With more than 5,000 of you completing this year’s alumni survey, it has been an interesting task analysing the feedback that we have received. But one thing that has been clear from the range of responses is that our alumni are keen to hear about what’s going on at UEA, and to read news about their fellow alumni. We endeavour to share stories that you’ll find interesting in each month’s Ziggurat, but if there’s anything else that you’d like us to cover, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

The alumni survey also reinforced the fact that our alumni are keen to maintain a two-way relationship with UEA, and to share their knowledge and experience with current students. In this month’s Ziggurat, we have information about the ongoing alumni call campaign, a request for volunteers to help with UEA Outreach summer schools, and details of the upcoming Working with Words careers event.

We’re also looking for new photos to keep Ziggurat looking bright and fresh, so if you have any pictures of UEA that you’d like us to feature, please do email them to us or tweet them to us @UEAGrads. Last month’s fantastic snowman shot, taken by Sarah Reeves in 2013, proved very popular on social media too.

Featured Stories
London Lecture March 2018

2018 UEA London Lectures

The second of this year's London Lectures will take place on Thursday 8 March with a talk from the Head of UEA’s School of Education and Lifelong Learning, Prof Richard Andrews.

Despite global efforts to improve literacy and teach communication skills, some of these basic competencies are still underdeveloped in very young children. This attainment gap has an increasingly negative effect through the stages of education.

In this presentation, Prof Andrews will explain how literacy and communication skills are used in our multimodal world, in which literacy is no longer just being able to speak, listen, read and write, but also involves the ‘reading’ and creation of images, moving images, gesture and other modes of communication. Add the increasingly multilingual nature of the world, and the demands of being a literate global citizen are greater than ever.

You can watch Prof Andrews give a short introduction to his lecture in this YouTube trailer.

Book tickets  
Snoo Wilson archive

Award ceremony for the Snoo Wilson Prize

The winners of the Snoo Wilson Scriptwriting Prize 2017 were announced at an award ceremony last month, held at The Garage in Norwich.

The prize rewards the most inventive and imaginative formally achieved piece of scriptwriting as a dissertation by an undergraduate or postgraduate student in the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing.

Drama students gave performances and readings from each of the shortlisted scripts before the winner was announced by judges, who included alumna and scriptwriter Molly Naylor. The event was attended by members of Snoo Wilson’s family and friends, and an invited audience of students and families of the shortlisted entrants.

The undergraduate prize was awarded to Angie Peña-Arenas for her screenplay Oiga, Mire, Vea, and the postgraduate prize went to Ian Gonoude for his screenplay Cherrypicking.

The late Snoo Wilson read American Studies at UEA and was taught by the author and literary critic, Malcolm Bradbury. He was one of a handful of playwrights who reinvented British theatre in the 1970s and 80s.

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UEA campus

UEA awarded for ongoing commitment to sanctuary seekers

The University has been awarded ‘University of Sanctuary’ status by The City of Sanctuary, an organisation which promotes action to support refugees and asylum seekers.

One of only a few universities in the UK and Ireland to receive the accolade to date, UEA has been recognised for its ability to offer sanctuary seekers a culture of inclusivity, respect and sanctuary through a broad range of schemes and activities, including scholarship programmes, educational activities and events.

Last March, Ziggurat featured the case of Enana Alassaf, a 26-year-old Syrian refugee who spent much of her undergraduate degree at Aleppo University surrounded by war. Through UEA’s partnership with the Asfari Foundation, Enana applied for a scholarship and has been able to continue her studies, and is currently studying towards a PhD in the School of Pharmacy.

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Keep in touch


Privacy policy update

You will have recently received an email notifying you of changes to our privacy policy, which you can read here.

Our privacy policy explains how UEA collects and uses personal data for engagement, fundraising and alumni relations purposes. The privacy and data security of our alumni, friends and supporters is important to us at UEA, as is ensuring we are communicating with you as effectively as possible.

To make sure you always receive the latest news, invitations and updates from UEA, please keep us updated with your contact information.

News in Brief
Investment helps to reduce carbon footprint of UEA campus

The University is reducing its carbon footprint by producing its own energy to power and heat campus facilities, after investing £4.5 million into low carbon-emission engines.

UEA lost property funds donated to East Anglian Air Ambulance

The University continued its tradition of donating funds collected from campus lost property to local charities, by presenting a cheque for £1,300 to the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA).

Study highlights importance of vertebrate pollinators

The importance of birds, mammals and reptiles for pollinating plants around the world is the subject of a major new study involving UEA.

More Stories
Jiang Shuying

Alumna greets UK Prime Minister during China trip

Last month, actress and alumna Jiang Shuying accompanied Theresa May during her visit to Wuhan University as part of the UK-China Spirit of Youth Cultural Festival.

Jiang is an ambassador for the British Council’s Spirit of Youth campaign, which promotes Britain’s creativity and innovation in China. Last year this ambassador role included a trip the UK, during which she was able to come back and visit UEA - much to the excitement of many of her fans among the student body.

There was a further UEA connection to the Prime Minister’s trip to China when Professor Chun-Ming Liu, formerly of the John Innes Centre, escorted Mrs May on a tour of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.


Alumnus tackles housing crisis

When Josh Graham graduated from UEA with an Environmental Science degree in 2015, his burning ambition was to make a difference by tackling the global housing crisis. Now, he’s on his way to fulfilling this dream after setting up Ehab, which is unique in the UK in its approach to creating sustainable, eco-friendly housing.

Ehab is a project management platform which brings together eco-friendly housing developers and individuals or communities who want to build their own homes. Josh and his team have just signed their biggest agreement to date, with the Cambridge-Norwich Tech Corridor, who plan to build 20,000 new eco-friendly homes and office space for 24,000 jobs using the platform.

Ehab uses crowdfunding to enable individuals, organisations, schools and local governments to co-create and fund new housing developments. Investors who want to fund a project can do so by purchasing Ehab tokens from the website. The tokens work in the same way as buying a gift card for a shop, and you can put them towards any housing project on the platform.

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Student caller

UEA calling

The spring alumni call campaign is off to a great start. After one week, the team of 40 student callers have spoken to 320 alumni and have already raised a staggering £11,500 to support the Difference Campaign funds.

The campaign is a great opportunity for the University to re-connect with alumni, find out what you are doing now and update your details. If you are yet to receive a phone call, the campaign will be running until Sunday 25 February, so there is still time to hear all the latest updates from UEA, share experience, and even some career advice with the callers.

Calls will be made in the evening on weeknights, and during the day on the weekend. You can find out more about the campaign and the funds UEA is seeking support for here on the website. If you would like to donate over the phone, please contact Rosie on 01603 453704.

Thank you to everyone who has supported the campaign so far and taken time to speak to the student callers.

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Working With Words 2018

Working with Words

Now in its fifth year, Working with Words is a careers event that brings over 40 UEA alumni speakers back to campus to participate in a day of workshops and panels with current students.

Speakers from the worlds of journalism, publishing, marketing and PR, arts administration, music journalism, TV and radio share their experience and advice with over 300 students, giving them real insight in to the possible opportunities open to them, and practical advice on how to make the most of internships and work experience.

This year’s event emphasises the importance of collaboration, and the flexibility to work across a range of industries and roles. Tolu Ogunlesi is among the alumni returning to campus to inspire current students. Tolu is a Nigerian journalist, poet, photographer, fiction writer, and blogger who was appointed to the role of Special Assistant on Digital/New Media by the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016.

The careers team are always keen to hear from people who would like the opportunity to come back and share their knowledge and experiences with the student community, no matter what stage of your career you are at or how long ago you graduated. Advice on the first year after leaving university can be as helpful as a whole career overview. If you’d like be involved in this event in the future, email the careers team who will be very happy to hear from you.

Students hoping to work in the creative industries sometimes struggle to get an insight into different careers and understand how to get a foothold. Careers events like Working with Words can help, but mentoring opportunities for students in creative industries are also hugely important. So if you are too far away from Norwich to contemplate a visit, or can’t bear the thought of public speaking, please do think about becoming a mentor and add your experience to the mix. You can find out more about UEA mentoring here.

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Inaugural lecture series

How languages shape our thinking, memory and judgment: a linguistic journey into the mind

Can language differences cause different judgments of innocence or guilt in a legal context? Can speakers of a certain language have better memory for some events than speakers of another language? And what about bilinguals: do they always think and remember in both languages?

In this lecture, Prof Luna Filipovic from the School of Politics, Philosophy and Language and Communication Studies will shed light on the intricate links between language and cognition that are crucial to our understanding of how the mind works, and which have some surprising real-world consequences.

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

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SISJAC newsletter

Centre for Japanese Studies spring newsletter

The Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Culture's spring newsletter is out now, full of news and events.

Explore the Institute’s innovative programme of fellowships, exhibitions, lectures, and more.

To keep up with goings-on at the Centre for Japanese Studies by following them on Facebook and Twitter.

Read the newsletter  
Jenny Baxter

UEA Chief Operating Officer announced

The University has appointed former BBC divisional chief operating officer and major programme director, Jenny Baxter, to a new senior leadership role.

Jenny Baxter has been appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO) and will help lead professional services in support of the University’s teaching and research and delivery of the UEA 2030 Plan. The COO is a member of the University’s Executive Team.

Jenny is currently working at the Open University but began her career at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) as a graduate trainee.

During a thirty-year career, she held a number of senior positions at the BBC including Live News Editor, Head of Foreign News, Controller of Production and Head of Change Delivery for the News Division. After overseeing two major projects for the BBC, she was promoted to COO BBC England, managing the BBC’s biggest base outside London – BBC North.

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Outreach volunteering

Get involved and help inspire young people with UEA Outreach summer schools

UEA’s Outreach team work with young people who traditionally wouldn’t consider higher education, running programmes in-school and on campus to help raise aspirations and break down barriers to social mobility.

Each year the team run residential summer schools for young people in years 9, 10 and 11. These events give students a taste of university life through interactive taster sessions, a tour of the campus, clubs and societies sessions, along with the opportunity to stay in UEA halls of residence overnight.

The team are looking for local alumni to help inspire these young people to aim high and realise that university can be an achievable goal. This would involve delivering a short presentation to students and their parents, focusing on your journey from school to your current role, how you found your university experience and any advice you have for young people considering higher education in the future. And if inspiring the next generation isn’t motivation enough, you will receive a £20 Amazon voucher for taking part.

The summer schools run from the end of July and throughout August. If you are interested in getting involved, email with a brief bio on your route from school to your current position, and the dates you are available to take part.

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Innovation and Impact Awards

Alumni among UEA Innovation and Impact award winners

Winners of the inaugural Innovation and Impact Awards were announced earlier this month at the Sainsbury Centre.

The awards, hosted by Chancellor Karen Jones CBE, celebrated staff and students who have shown a strong commitment to innovation and impact, and recognised collaborations between UEA and organisations outside higher education.

One of the highlights of the night was the presentation of the award for Student or Graduate Innovation and Enterprise, which was won by alumni Paul Donati and Lottie Michael, owners of eco-friendly clothing brand, Catching a Fish in Norway. The pair began their business in 2014 with £500 from a UEA grant, and are now turning over around £40,000 a year.

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Scholarship applications now open

UEA is lucky enough to have a number of donor-funded scholarships open to students in many different areas of study, and applications are now open for all of them.

There will be ten Difference Scholarships for 2018/19 (five for undergraduate students and five for postgraduate students) funded by the University’s generous community of alumni donors and friends, as well as many scholarships financed by philanthropists to UEA.

Donor-funded scholarships are available in many subjects, and the roster of scholarships available is growing every year.

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Sophie Thomas

New role to focus on performance sport

UEA’s top student sporting talent is receiving more support with the appointment of Sophie Thomas to the new role of Student Performance Sport Manager.

In 2017, UEA was awarded Participation Programme of the Year from the British Universities and College Sport (BUCS) in recognition of the opportunities available for students to get involved in sport. This led to an increase of students participating in sport and therefore a greater number going on to perform at the top level.

“I’m really excited by the prospect of this new role and the chance to grow performance sport at UEA,” said Sophie. “There are just under 4,000 students participating in clubs and I will be working with the highest level of these students. This can range from finishing within the top 10-12 in the country right the way through to competing internationally for team GB.”

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UEA CHamber Choir

UEA Chamber Choir Concert: Orpheus Britannicus

UEA Chamber Choir, under the direction of Choirmaster Tom Primrose, will explore the music of Henry Purcell with a performance of Orpheus Britannicus, on Sunday 11 March at 6.30pm at St George's Church, Tombland, Norwich.

In November 1695, Henry Purcell died in London at the height of his career. During the three-and-a-half decades of his short life he had established a position for himself, both in contemporary society and in the history books, as one of Britain’s greatest composers. The programme will explore not only Purcell’s choral music, but also that of his teachers, contemporaries, and the generation of composers who succeeded him in the early eighteenth century.

The concert is free to attend and all are welcome.

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Could you inspire the next generation?

UEA will be holding two open events in March for anyone considering training to teach, at either primary or secondary level.

From those making a tentative initial enquiry, to those who have already made their decision and are on the verge of making their application, all are welcome.

Both sessions will start with a general information talk, and will be followed by the opportunity to speak directly to subject tutors, current students and newly qualified teachers. Members of the admissions team will also be available to offer advice on all admissions related questions.

Read More and register your interest  
Norwich Business School

Could you inspire the next generation MBA Open Evening

Do you want to explore new ideas, develop your business skills and learn to think and communicate with greater clarity and confidence?

Norwich Business School regularly hold Open Evenings and Taster Days throughout the year, so why not put a date in your diary to find out how a full-time or part-time Executive MBA can progress your career and help you realise your professional ambitions?

The next Open Evening at the Norwich Business School will be on Tuesday 17 April, 6pm-8pm. Please register your interest by completing the online booking form.

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Keswick Hall Lecture

Keswick Hall Lectures: Being kind in a cruel world

There’s no doubt that kindness is a positive trait that we would like to instil in children as they grow and learn. But is kindness something that can be taught? And, if so, should the responsibility to do fall with schools, with parents, or elsewhere?

Join us to discuss kindness and to define its place in today’s world; with a diverse range of speakers from education, religious groups and charitable organisations. The first of this year’s Keswick Hall Lectures will consist of three TED-style talks on kindness in education by Laura Biggart from UEA, Sheila Eagle from The Missing Kind, and educational consultant Mary Myatt.

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What's On

UEA Live: Joe Dunthorne

Thursday 15 February, 7pm (doors 6.30pm)
Dragon Hall, Norwich, NR1 1QE

The second event in this spring's UEA Live line-up sees novelist and poet, Joe Dunthorne headlining, with special faculty guest reader, poet and creative writing lecturer, Andrea Holland. Plus, the usual array of new talent from the UEA Creative Writing programmes.

Joe Dunthorne is a graduate of the Creative Writing MA at UEA. His debut novel, Submarine, won the Curtis Brown Award, was shortlisted for the Wodehouse Prize and Commonwealth Writers Prize, and was long listed for the Wales Book of the Year and the Desmond Elliot Prize. It was subsequently made into a feature film, directed by Richard Ayoade. His second novel, Wild Abandon, won the Encore Award and was shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year 2012. His latest novel, The Adulterants, has just been published.

UEA Live, in collaboration with Writers' Centre Norwich, present a series of readings showcasing the past, present and future of UEA writing talent. Admission is free.

Lunchtime talk with Jo Poppleton

Thursday 22 February, 1.15-1.45pm
SCVA (meet at gallery reception)
Included in price of exhibition ticket

Join Jo Poppleton, Senior Lecturer in Literature at UEA for a lunchtime talk in exploring Satire in the work of Roger Law.

Part of a series of special events running alongside the major exhibition: Roger Law: from satire to ceramics. For further information email, visit the Sainsbury Centre website, or call 01603 593199.


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

Michael Paulson-Ellis (HIS99)

Brian Edwards (EAS71)

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