Contribute to the Ziggurat enewsletter


We are always looking for stories and ideas for Ziggurat, if you wish to submit an article or contribute to the next edition please contact us:


Previous editions 




Ziggurat - The e-Newsletter of the UEA Alumni Association October 2017 View in browser
Autumnal campus

As you may already know, the biggest news this month is that last week Creative Writing alumnus Kazuo Ishiguro was awarded the 2017 Nobel prize in literature, an incredible honour. And the University itself is also celebrating, as the latest rankings place us in the top 200 universities in the world for the eighth consecutive year, and in the top 13 of the one of the most prestigious national league tables. 

The School of Environmental Sciences celebrated their 50th anniversary last month, and as part of the Global Gatherings, alumni have been holding reunions around the world to celebrate UEA’s anniversary, their time here on campus and the friends they made. These events show how alumni still feel connected to the University and to each other – a connection that is as important to the University as it is for our graduates. 

This month’s Ziggurat also brings you plenty of news and events from the University, including the gig history project, alumni successes and the Norwich Science Festival.

As always, thank you for reading, and please do let us know your thoughts on what you would like to see in future Ziggurat emails.

Featured Stories
Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro awarded 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature

Alumnus and author Kazuo Ishiguro has been named winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Mr Ishiguro, author of novels including The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, was praised by the Swedish Academy for novels which “uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world” and were driven by a “great emotional force”.

In an anthology compiled for the 40th anniversary of UEA’s Creative Writing programme in 2011, Mr Ishiguro wrote of his first weeks in Norfolk and on campus: “I had that autumn arrived with my one suitcase, a guitar and a portable Olivetti typewriter in Buxton, Norfolk – a small village with an old water mill and flat farm fields all around it. I’d come to this place because I’d been accepted on a one-year postgraduate Creative Writing course at the University of East Anglia.”

Mr Ishiguro will be appearing at the UEA Literary Festival tomorrow, Wednesday 11 October, and is also giving a masterclass to current MA students.

Read More  
UEA Global Gathering

Global celebrations

Every year, alumni get together in September and October to mark the University’s anniversary with a Global Gathering of their own, and this year's celebrations are well underway.

The first of this year’s 27 events was held in Kenya, and reunions in Delhi, Mumbai and San Francisco all took place in mid-September. A bumper weekend marked the University's 54th birthday with events in London, New York, Newark and Berlin all held on Friday 29 September, followed on the Saturday by events in Kyoto, Norwich and Manila. 

Tokyo and Frankfurt both took place last week, and there are still events planned for Ghana, Nepal, Beijing, and three in Australia - in Canberra, Perth and Melbourne. 

The full list of events and locations can be found on our website, and you can view photos from the events on our Facebook page. If you are interested in hosting a reunion near you, email Claire Eden in the alumni team at

Read More  

UEA retains top 20 league table position five years running

The University has ranked 13th in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide. This is UEA’s highest ever ranking in this league table, climbing two places from last year.

This is the fifth consecutive year the University has featured in the top 20 in the guide, which ranks universities from across the UK.

UEA has also been ranked in the top 150 for social sciences, business and economics in the Times Higher Education 2018 World University Rankings.

Elvis ticket

Gig history project

Many students begin their own personal experience of gigs at UEA in Freshers’ Week. The UEA Gig History project was delighted to have been given the chance to take part in a media trail for new and returning students. 

Aided by a large quantity of blue tack and some UEA-branded ribbon, the project filled a room in the brand new Media Suite with hard-copy photos and posters, complete with a ‘washing line’ of anecdotes, 60s posters and listings from ancient times.

An eclectic Spotify playlist, with tracks inspired by six decades of gigs, hand-picked by some of the @ueagighistory Twitter followers, provided an alarming soundscape to a good, old-fashioned Powerpoint display about the project history. Questions were posed such as “what do we do now?”, with answers varying from “what is a gig?” to “can we make a fanzine please?”. The students were as wonderfully varied as the soundtrack and the project has some new followers and contributors, which is all good.

Meanwhile on the UEA Gig History website, October sees the return of two of the project’s guest bloggers; Professor John Street recounts the time when Robbie Williams played one of his first gigs as a solo artist in 1997 in his Memory Box, while Richard Balls evokes backstage memories from the Elvis Costello gig in 1984 – or the night when Elvis fell in love with one of the Pogues (guess which one?). 

UEA Gig History was recently thrilled to have been shortlisted for a CIPR Award for best use of social media in the Anglia, Thames and Chiltern area but, on the night, narrowly missed out to another deserving campaign. #UEAgigs considered a rock-and-roll style storming of the stage at the awards ceremony but managed to regain its composure and catch the last train back to Norwich, with gallant support from Andrew Stronach, UEA’s Head of Corporate Communications, and Baz from the Farmers Boys.

In other news, Saturday 7 October marked the 50th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix playing in Dereham – see the heartwarming blog  – in itself reminiscent of some of our best #UEAgigs stories. Were you there? We’d love to hear from you.

News in Brief
Completing the drug design jigsaw

A powerful new way of analysing how drugs interact with molecules in the body could aid the design of better treatments with fewer side-effects.

Increased risk of severe turbulence due to climate change

Flights will be encountering much more turbulence in the future, according to the first-ever global projections of in-flight bumpiness from the Universities of East Anglia and Reading.

UEA and NNUH awarded £1.4m for pioneering medical research

Research teams from UEA and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital have been awarded a total of £1.4m by the Medical Research Council to continue work on potentially life-changing research initiatives.

More Stories

Calling all graduates!

Did you know you can continue to use the Careers Service for up to three years as a UEA graduate?

On Thursday 19 October the annual Recruitment and Opportunities Fair will take place from 12-4pm at the Sportspark, UEA. This year’s event looks set to be the best yet, with over 90 organisations represented from a variety of sectors including accountancy, finance, creative industries, and many more. 

If you’re struggling with the next step, get in touch with a careers adviser for one-to-one advice and guidance. They can help with careers queries including application reviews, mock interviews, and CV advice. You can also visit MyCareerCentral where you’ll find a brand new MyResourceHub full of useful information, video resources, a full events programme, and brand new graduate opportunities - everything from volunteering and internships to full-time graduate positions.

Go to MyCareerCentral  
Jiang Shuying

Chinese film star visits UEA for international campaign

UEA alumna and award-winning Chinese actress Jiang Shuying visited UEA last month as part of a trip to promote the benefits of links between China and the UK.

Jiang Shuying, who graduated from UEA with a Master’s in Media Economics in 2012 after spending a year at INTO, visited Norwich as part of a week-long UK trip supported by the Department of International Trade. She came in her role as an ambassador for the UK government’s Spirit of Youth campaign, which promotes Britain’s creativity and innovation in China. 

Despite the rain, there were plenty of excited fans keen to catch a glimpse of her during the visit.

Read More  
ENV50 field trip


For 50 years, UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences has been at the forefront of crucial environmental research that will shape the future of the world. Last month the School celebrated their anniversary with two flagship events. 

A weekend of events began with a panel discussion on Friday 15 September: 'The road from Paris to Norwich: linking circular economy and climate action'. The panel was chaired by Rt Hon Lord Deben (John Gummer). The public event saw alumni coming back to campus to hear the discussions, led by 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).

You can watch the video of the event online

On Saturday 16 September a special field day trip took ENV alumni to the North Norfolk coast. First off was Salthouse, followed by a visit to the Weybourne Atmospheric Observatory to discuss regional and global air quality and greenhouse gas issues. 

See photos from the field trip  
Callum Metcalfe

Alumnus shortlisted for Nursing Times award

Alumnus and nurse Callum Metcalfe is one of just 12 nurses shortlisted from more than 1,000 applicants in a ‘rising star’ category of the Nursing Times Awards.

Callum qualified 18 months ago, and worked at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for a year before joining Attleborough Surgeries, where he currently works as a practice nurse.

He hopes to become an advanced nurse practitioner and establish himself as an expert in diabetes and wound care, two fields that he focuses on at the surgery. He said “I am very dedicated to my career and trying to become the best practitioner I can be.”

Award winners will be announced at a ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House on Friday 2 November.

Alexa Li

Alumna celebrated for community work in Hong Kong

In a new blog post, INTO and UEA alumna Alexa Li (pictured above, left) shares her experiences including being a finalist for a British Council Alumni Award earlier this year in Hong Kong. She also discusses why being passionate about what she does gives her the motivation to work hard and to achieve her goals.

Currently working for a social innovation hub called The Good Lab, Alexa supports young people in carrying out their own community projects. Her earlier work at an NGO working with young children in Hong Kong, running story-writing workshops for local primary schools and community centres across the city, which led to her nomination for a Social Impact Award the Alumni Awards.

Read Alexa’s blog  
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. Nominations close on Monday 16 October (two weeks later than the original deadline), for all countries except China (still 2 October).

Read more about eligibility and enter  
Student caller

UEA calling

This year’s autumn call campaign will soon be underway.

Current students will be phoning alumni to bring you up-to-date with student life today and hear all about life after UEA. They may even ask some advice for their future. Whether it’s talking about your time as a student, what you have gone on to do, or even a catch up about favourite academics, they are looking forward to speaking with you soon.

This year’s campaign is raising support for The Alumni Fund, The Difference Scholarships and Prostate Cancer Research, and all levels of support are welcome. Calling will take place on weekday evenings and weekend afternoons during late October and early November.

Alumni survey

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.

Take the survey  
Norwich Science Festival

Norwich Science Festival

From the science of gin through to the scientific secrets of Doctor Who, there is something for everyone at this year’s Norwich Science Festival, which returns during half term from Saturday 21 to Sunday 29 October.

The bumper programme – featuring over 125 events – includes nine days of celebrity talks, inspirational shows and exhibitions, hands-on family fun, cutting-edge research, and science activities for all ages and all levels of knowledge.

Scientists from Norwich Research Park will be filling the Forum’s ‘Explorium’ with exciting sights, sounds and smells on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 October, as they invite visitors to make friends with a robot, test their garden soil for antibiotics, and get up close and personal with mucus! There will also be a range of ticketed talks from NRP scientists taking place in the auditorium, plus drop-in presentations on the Explorium’s ‘atrium stage’.

Plus there’s a dedicated learning programme with activities, talks and workshops running between Monday 16 and Friday 20 October for schools, colleges, home‐educated learners and youth groups.

Online MMOC

Environmental Justice online course

We can all recognise that the world faces challenging environmental problems. UEA’s Global Environmental Justice Group, an interdisciplinary mix of scholars interested in social justice and environmental change, is launching a new Environmental Justice MOOC (a free online course), run by the University of East Anglia and FutureLearn, designed for people who are already working on environmental problems or are familiar with environmental issues.

Through a series of films shot in Africa, Asia and Latin America, you’ll meet environmental activists and find out how justice can be a powerful motivator for environmental action. You’ll share your own experiences with other learners around the world, thinking about how you can put academic theory into practice through course discussions, quizzes and assignments.

This free online course, starting on Monday 16 October, will help you understand how injustice is a common feature of many environmental problems. Over five weeks the course will look at deforestation, biodiversity loss, climate change and other environmental issues.

Register for the course  
Open Day October 2017

Open Days 2017

Following three busy and successful events, there is one more undergraduate Open Day this year, on Saturday 21 October.

If you know someone thinking about applying to university, whether they’re just starting to think about ‘A Level’ choices or they’ve already started the UCAS application process, why not take the opportunity to come back to UEA to show them around and give them an insight in to campus life? If you want to show what university life looks and feels like, why not start with the one you know best? It’s a great opportunity to indulge in a little wander down memory lane while potentially inspiring a student of the future. 

If you can't make it back to campus, you can still enjoy some of the highlights and social media fun from this year's open days on the website.

Inaugural lectures

Do not feed the stereotype: Native Americans now

The second lecture in the 2017 autumn series, by Prof Jacqueline Fear-Segal from the School of Art, Media, and American Studies, will place contemporary Native nations in historical context, and will show how an awareness of their presence is vital for a proper understanding of the USA and our contemporary world. The lecture will take place at 6.30pm on Tuesday 17 October in the Julian Study Centre, UEA.

You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy these free public lectures, which are a great chance to broaden your horizons and learn more about topics including the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance, recent developments in literary translation, and the future of our food supply.

Each lecture in the series will be followed by a free drinks reception, with the chance for guests to meet the speaker and discuss their research.

Sainsbury Centre

The Russia Season at the Sainsbury Centre

This month the Sainsbury Centre will mark the anniversary of the Russian Revolution with the Russia Season, which will contrast Russian art and life before and after the Revolution.

One of the highlights is the dramatic model of Tatlin’s Tower, one of the most iconic architectural projects to have been designed in the Soviet era. The ten-metre high model arrived on campus last month and is now on display near the Sainsbury Centre.

Royal Fabergé
explores the extraordinary saga and glittering production of Fabergé, the leading artist-jewellers during the decades preceding the First World War. 

Radical Russia will show how, in a few short years, a new approach to art emerged. The exhibition includes pre-revolution works, showing the way in which Russian abstraction included specific Russian themes, especially relating to the Russian peasantry.

Christmas LCR

We've got your Christmas plans sorted

It's getting closer to that time of year again and we're already starting to get into the festive spirit.

Why not get your friends together and come back to campus to celebrate on Saturday 12 December at the Christmas LCR? 

Dragon Hall debates

Will automation steal your job?

Science fiction, we are told, is on the verge of becoming science fact, with robots of ever-increasing intelligence performing increasingly sophisticated tasks. But what happens to our jobs when automation takes over? Will it lead to huge advances in productivity, bringing prosperity and infinite leisure time, or will we lose control of our automated workers, and descend into chaos?

At the second of this year's season of Dragon Hall Debates on Monday 23 October, UEA’s Rudy Lapeer will talk about the past, present and future of robotics. Fiona Lettice will discuss technology’s disruptive effects on business and her collaborator, James Duez (Rainbird), will join the panel, discussing the use of artificial intelligence to augment human abilities in the fields of data analysis, efficiency and automation.

These free events, held in partnership with Writers’ Centre Norwich, are open to everyone, and no prior knowledge is needed. The speakers will talk briefly and then the audience are invited to ask questions and offer opinions as the discussion opens up.

This year's series will be relocating temporarily to the Millennium Library at The Forum, while Dragon Hall undergoes renovation to open as the National Centre for Writing in summer 2018.

What's On

Norwich Science Festival: Mitigating climate change - what are our options?

Saturday 28 October, 11am
The Forum, Norwich

The world’s leaders have agreed that we must try to keep global warming to less than 1.5 degrees in order to limit the catastrophic effects of climate change on the planet and society. But we cannot achieve this simply by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and staying within agreed carbon budgets. In fact, we will need to rely on novel, and in some cases unproven, techniques to actively remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

In this talk, UEA’s Dr Nem Vaughan will explore the possibilities and pitfalls of tackling climate change with negative emissions technologies. 

This is event is free to attend but please book in advance.

Penguin event: In Conversation with Reggie Yates

Thursday 2 November, 7.30pm 
Lecture Theatre 1, UEA

At the forefront of the new generation of immersive documentary journalism, Reggie Yates has travelled to some of the most dangerous and isolated environments in the world, questioning extreme ideologies and providing authentic commentary on a wide range of hard-hitting social issues.

In this Penguin event, Reggie will be discussing his first book, Unseen: My Journey, which takes readers behind the scenes of his story so far. From DJ and TV host to investigative broadcaster, Reggie has become the face of fearless documentary filmmaking for the Y Generation, examining everything from gun crime in Chicago, being LGBTQ in Russia, to life as a refugee in Iraq.

Initially resistant to documentary making and convinced his point of view as a young, black working-class man with a history in music and entertainment would not make his films credible, Reggie has turned the very thing he once saw as a weakness into his strength on camera: being the eye of the everyman and the voice of the audience.

Reggie will be in conversation with Edith Bowman. Ticket prices vary.

Is the move towards diversity in the legal profession too slow?

Thursday 9 November, 5.30pm
(for drinks, canapés and networking; panel discussion from 6pm)
The Enterprise Centre, UEA

This free event is a joint initiative of the UEA Law School, Inner Temple, and the Norfolk and Norwich Law Society, and is a rare opportunity bringing students and academics together with both branches of the legal profession in the region.

The keynote speaker is Lady Justice Gloster, a judge in the Court of Appeal. The panel of speakers will represent all aspects of diversity, and will include Julie Condliffe, the Social Mobility Ambassador for the Law Society of England and Wales.

This event is free to attend but please book in advance.

UEA Choir and Symphony Orchestra concert: Dvořák and Elgar

Thursday 23 November, 7.30pm - 9.30pm
St Andrew's Hall, Norwich

UEA Choir and Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Stuart Dunlop (UEA Director of Music), warmly invite you to join them for their autumn concert, ‘Dvořák and Elgar’.

The concert will feature performances of Dvořák’s euphoric Symphony No. 8 in G major Op. 88, Elgar’s meditative The Music Makers, Op. 69 and a world premiere from UEA Music Centre Award holder Caitlin Woods.

UEA Choir and Symphony Orchestra will be joined in their performance of The Music Makers by ENO regular, mezzo-soprano Samantha Price.

Tickets prices vary.


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

Danielle Booth (HSC12)

David Rothery (SOC80)

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Events

Have news to share via Ziggurat?

Contact the Alumni office on 01603 591567 or email:

Do we have your current address?

Please visit or email: to update your details.