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

This month has plenty of news, including award-winning staff, a new UEA-sponsored Science Museum exhibition, enterprising students, and the line-up for the 2018 London Lecture series. We also continue to celebrate our alumni, from their fundraising impact and award-winning businesses to the Global Gathering events around the world.

The gig archive strikes a chord, regularly proving to be the most popular story in Ziggurat and generating plenty of discussion on Twitter, so please keeping sharing your memories and photos! And don’t forget our archive of photo galleries on social media. We’d love to hear from you if you have any photos you’d like to include. 

Featured Stories
Aurora network

UEA Vice-Chancellor announced as President of Aurora

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof David Richardson, is the new President of the Aurora network of European universities, succeeding Prof Jaap Winter of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. 

The announcement was made last week at Aurora’s three-day bi-annual conference, hosted by UEA for around 150 delegates.

“I’m privileged and proud to be the next President of Aurora and I would like to pay tribute to the excellent work our founding President Jaap Winter has done getting us to this point,” said Prof Richardson. “The challenge now is for Aurora universities to get to understand each other even better, celebrate the fact we are dedicated to difference and work together in a focused way on finding solutions to some of the problems our world needs to solve.”

Aurora was launched in 2016 and is a network comprising research-intensive universities that can learn from one another and are all committed to helping solve society’s problems. The universities in the network excel in producing internationally relevant research as well as first-class teaching and student experiences.

Read More  
Tokyo Global Gathering

Global celebrations

Thanks to the fantastic efforts and enthusiasm of the volunteer hosts, this year there have been 27 Global Gathering events held all around the world.

With events held in new locations like Berlin, Delhi, Nairobi, New York and Beijing, and more established reunions held in San Francisco, Kathmandu, Dhaka, Melbourne, London and Tokyo (pictured above), this year has been a great success. And there is still an event in Accra to look forward to later this month!

All the photos that have been sent in from the events can be found on our Facebook page and on our website.

Each year these events, organised by alumni, demonstrate the connection that the alumni community feel with the University, and provide the chance for former classmates and long lost friends to reunite, as well as the opportunity to make new friends.

Read More  
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 16 December at the Christmas LCR? 

Book your tickets  
Gig History

Gig history project

UEA gig history – the project that charts the waters of 54 years of gigs hosted by UEA – navigates sweetness and light to filth and fury in its report for November.

There is a very special father and son Memory Box from author and LDC academic Stephen Benson, who talks about handing over the baton of going to see live music, in the shape of De La Soul. Musician, artist and diarist Louis Vause – currently on tour with Rhoda Dakar – provides this month’s Guest Blog about giggling with comedian Paul Whitehouse before seeing the Stiffs Live concert in 1977. 

November of course brings the year to a near close. The gig history project began its life on 3 December 2016 to mark the 40th anniversary of the cancellation of the Sex Pistols with a celebration of live music hosted by UEA’s Union before and since.

Fittingly, an event to mark the 40th anniversary of the Sex Pistols playing elsewhere in Norfolk will take place on Thursday 23 November in the bar of the Norwich Arts Centre. Punk in the Provinces will be hosted by Prof George Mackay and will include a mini-exhibition by UEA Gig History. The event has prompted the pressing of a proper bound copy of the Gig List – updated to June 2017. 

Copies of the book are earmarked for the first twenty alumni to write in to with a photo of themselves from ‘back in the day’ to contribute to the site’s Photo Booth by Monday 27 November. 

Meanwhile, connections continue to grow with a call for help from the East Anglian Film Archive who would like to digitise a large tape collection from Nexus TV. If anyone worked for Nexus in pre-digital times then please get in touch – your memories will be very useful. 

News in Brief
2017 likely to be third warmest year on record

According to research from the University, 2017 is likely to be one of the warmest years for global average surface temperature.

Academic launches ‘Chopping Board Economics’ initiative

A UEA academic is combining his love of cooking with economics in a bid to highlight the importance of the subject to a wider audience.

Fish provide insight into the evolution of the immune system

New research from UEA and Dalhousie University in Canada reveals how immune systems can evolve resistance to parasites.

More Stories
Prof Nicholas Talbot

Alumnus named new executive director of The Sainsbury Laboratory

The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) has launched its new vision and announced the appointment of alumnus Prof Nicholas Talbot FRS as executive director.

Prof Talbot is a world-renowned expert in molecular plant pathology. He is currently the deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Impact at the University of Exeter, and leads an internationally renowned research group. He will be joining TSL in September 2018.

He said: “I am greatly honoured to be joining the world’s premier laboratory for the study of plant-microbe interactions. TSL is home to some extraordinarily talented scientists and I am looking forward to working with them.”

The appointment ushers in a new era for the world-leading research institute - cementing an updated governance structure, refreshed vision, and renewed research and capital funding from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation. The new vision will be further enabled by an even closer partnership with UEA, where Prof Talbot was awarded his PhD in 1990.

Read More  
Karin van der Wiel

Alumna to receive the 2017 James R Holton Award

Karin van der Wiel will be one of two co-recipients of the 2017 James R Holton Award at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting next month.

The award recognises ‘outstanding scientific research and accomplishments by early-career scientists’ who are ‘no more than three years past the award of the PhD degree.’

Karin has been recognised for her contributions to our fundamental understanding of how the Earth's climate system works. In particular, she developed theories of how bands of rainfall over the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans come into being, and how extreme precipitation is represented in global climate models.

Read More  
Chaplaincy reunion

Reunion celebrates anniversary of chaplain’s arrival on campus

In October 1992, Revd Dennis Lloyd arrived at UEA as the new Anglican Chaplain. Last month, Dennis and his wife Melva returned to the campus for a 25th anniversary reunion with nearly forty students from the Anglican Chaplaincy and Christian Union.

The day started with a thanksgiving service opened by the current Chaplain, Revd Darren Thornton and included a short update on the current work of the Christian Union by their President, Robin Emmanuel. Worship was led, as it was back in the 1990s, by Rachel Friend-Goetz and her husband Mike Goetz along with members of their band Coast to Coast and Bridget Lee. 

Lunch was followed by a slideshow of old photographs and a video of Coast to Coast and the afternoon was spent catching up, reminiscing and renewing friendships.

BBC Food Wards

Alumnus receives BBC Food and Farming Award

Along with partners Nick Saltmarsh and William Hudson, alumnus Josiah Meldrum (pictured above, third from left) founded Hodmedod in 2012 to source and supply sustainably sourced beans and other products from British farms.

Last month they were presented with the award for being Best Food Producer, by chef, writer and presenter Giorgio Locatelli at the 2017 BBC Food and Farming Awards.

Endah Trista Agustiana

Alumna calls for more female leaders in Indonesia

Alumna Endah Trista Agustiana is a prominent gender expert and avid advocate of women’s and girls’ rights in Indonesia, and has been featured in The Jakarta Post for her work.

“I just want to share my childhood stories with others, especially with young girls, that no matter what adversities you face growing up, you have to believe in yourself. With hard work, discipline and a positive attitude, you can achieve any dream you create for your life.”

Louise Doughty

Louise Doughty's UEA crowdfunded BAME writers' scholarship

Apple Tree Yard author and alumna Louise Doughty has set up a crowd-funding initiative to create three scholarships on the University’s MA Creative Writing (Prose) programme for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students.

With one in four students declining offers for the course due to financial hardship, Louise is leading the campaign to help ensure that all voices are heard within literature. 

“Taking the MA in Creative Writing at UEA was transformative for me and I credit it with turning me into a novelist,” she said. “Neither of my parents had been to university and nobody in our family had had a literary career. Now I'm an established novelist, I can't think of anything I want to do more than encouraging others to follow the same path - particularly people who come from groups that are under-represented in our literary culture. 

“I'm particularly proud of my fellow writers and the enthusiasm they have shown in joining me in this project: donations have come from authors as varied as Andrea Levy, David Nicholls, Victoria Hislop, Aminatta Forna, Ayobami Adebayo, Tracy Chevalier, Paula Hawkins, Mark Billingham, Jojo Moyes, Bernadine Evaristo, to name just a few.  Some are connected with UEA, some are not, but all share our passionate belief that we need diverse stories and want to help new writers tell them.”

Fibl wins award

Alumna wins international business award

Alumna Lauren Razavi had been working as a freelance journalist, but just over a year ago she founded Flibl, along with her business partner Jesse Onslow Norton.

Flibl is a strategic communications consultancy firm, working with technology and business, and last month the firm was named the winner of a Silver Stevie® Award in the Business Service Industries category.  

The International Business Awards recognise organisations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, celebrating outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide.

Read more about the firm  
Legacy tribute

Dutch ambassador visits UEA

His Excellency the Dutch Ambassador, Simon Smits, visited UEA last month as part of a visit to Norfolk to encourage trade and investment.

He attended the presentation of a legacy bequest to UEA of €330,000 left by Dutch pianist Dick van der Ven. The executor of the bequest, Baron Otto Bentinck, unveiled a plaque for the newly-named Dick van der Ven Practice Rooms alongside Mr Smits and the Vice-Chancellor Prof David Richardson before visiting the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts.

Coincidentally Baron Bentinck is a distant relation of UEA graduate the Earl of Portland, Tim Bentinck, who plays David Archer in The Archers radio show, and they met for the first time at the Rembrandt: Lightening the Darkness exhibition at the Norwich Castle Museum opened by the Ambassador.

The legacy fund will be used to replace all the pianos in the Music Centre practice rooms to improve student experience, to stage a concert in memory of Dick van der Ven during 2018, and part will be invested to support future soloist performances for the UEA Symphony Orchestra.

British Academy

UEA historian recognised with British Academy Award

Prof Tom Williamson has been honoured by the British Academy for services to academia by being presented with the Landscape Archaeology Medal at the 2017 Prizes and Medals ceremony in September.

He was among the academics, broadcasters, writers and entrepreneurs recognised for their distinction in and dedication to the subjects that make up the arts, humanities and social sciences.

“I was surprised and delighted to receive this award, which I take as recognition of the work of all the members of the Landscape Group in the School of History - and of the importance of landscape history itself as an area of growing academic significance,” said Tom. The Landscape Group comprises four landscape historians as well as a number of researchers and honorary fellows studying all aspects of the historic environment and archaeology.

London Lecture series 2018

London Lectures return

The University is delighted to announce the programme for the 2018 London Lecture series. The lectures will cover topics including the decline in 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 then 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.

Read more and book  
Student caller

UEA calling

This year’s autumn call campaign is well 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 are taking place on weekday evenings and weekend afternoons until mid-November.

Read more about the campaign  
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 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.

Take the survey  

Norwich Business School students find global recognition with start-up app Grabbit

In September, a group of friends, including current PhD student Lucia Murgia, and Master’s alumnus Alex Schroffenegger, both from Norwich Business School, accepted an invitation to exhibit their recently launched, social delivery app Grabbit at TechCruch Disrupt: San Francisco.

After being awarded funding from the UEA Enterprise Fund earlier this year, the Grabbit team were able to cover the costs of the trip, allowing them to introduce their app to top industry professionals at one of the world’s leading events for debuting revolutionary start-ups and game-changing technologies.

Once back in Norwich, Lucy shared insight into the team’s memorable experience on the NBS blog. 

Read the blog in full  
Inaugural Lectures

Food supply sustainability and Google Translate: inaugural lectures at UEA

Two of UEA’s newest professors will present their inaugural lectures in the coming weeks, giving an insight into some of the impactful research taking place at the University.

On Tuesday 21 November, Prof Andrew Fearne from Norwich Business School will explain how climate change, ethical sourcing, food integrity and food-related illnesses are casting a veil of uncertainty over the future of our food supply.

On Tuesday 5 December, Prof Duncan Large from the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing and the British Centre for Literary Translation will examine recent advances in translation technology, and will ask whether it is only a matter of time before we can expect Google to come up with a decent translation of Shakespeare. 
Inaugural lectures take place at 6.30pm in the Julian Study Centre, UEA.

You don't have to be an expert to enjoy these open, public lectures. They are free and there's no need to book; simply turn up on the night. Each lecture will be followed by a drinks reception with the opportunity to meet the speaker and discuss their research.

Campus accessibility

Making the concrete jungle accessible

Soon after becoming Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Richardson made a commitment that the campus should be accessible for everyone. The Access All Areas (AAA) team worked with staff and students with disabilities and created an accessible design guide for the campus. 

AAA prioritised improved physical access to buildings and teaching spaces, installing 162 powered doors across campus and a £250,000 lift in Union House which makes the whole building fully accessible. 

Investments in evacuation chairs, fire safe lifts, and evacuation ramps have substantially increased the number of fully accessible teaching rooms. The SportsPark improved access with a new pool hoist and more powered doors. UEA is currently designing “the most accessible laboratories in the UK” on Chancellors Drive. This building will include a Changing Place – an accessible toilet with bench and hoist.

More improvements are needed and planned, but UEA now has a highly accessible campus.


Great memories of Students’ Union events during your time at UEA?

The Students’ Union continues to help provide a top quality student experience for today’s students, and they are currently looking for a professional with an interest in human relations to join the Trustee Board. External Trustees provide expertise from the wider world outside university to support the elected student officers in the governance of the Union.

As an External Trustee, you will be providing strategic guidance on the Union’s relationship with its stakeholders and advising our political leadership on the development of their staff resources. The Board meets quarterly with an HR committee meeting in between Board meetings. 

If this sounds like an ideal opportunity for you to give something back to UEA, and you would like to find out more or wish to apply, please contact Jim Dickinson, UEASU Chief Executive, by calling 07449 903618 or emailing

SCVA evening event

Russia Season special event

Due to the fantastic response to The Sainsbury Centre's Russia Season so far, an 'after hours' event will be held from 6-8pm on Thursday 23 November.

Enjoy a fascinating guided tour and gain exclusive access to both the Royal Fabergé and Radical Russia exhibitions. Make an evening of it with friends and sip award-winning vodkas and gins at a free tasting with Adnams. The Gallery Shop will be open specially, with its range of eclectic Christmas gifts, cards and books, with 10% discount available on selected items. 

The Russia Season marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution with exhibitions that offer a unique insight into contrasting art from before and after World War I. 

Find out more and book tickets  
Athena Swan

Athena Swan award success

The University is delighted to announce that the School of Environmental Sciences (ENV) has achieved a Silver Athena Swan award and School of Economics (ECO) a Bronze award.

The Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine employed in higher education and research.

Science Museum exhibition

UEA sponsors major new Science Museum exhibition

UEA is sponsoring and contributing to a major new exhibition that has just opened at the Science Museum in London. Superbugs: The Fight for our Lives, examines the response to the unprecedented global threat of antibiotic resistance and includes scientific discoveries from across the globe.

UEA’s involvement has been spearheaded by Laura Bowater, Prof of Microbiology Education and Engagement (MED), whose book, The Microbes Fight Back, will be available in the Science Museum’s shop, as well as through the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Research led by Matt Hutchings, Prof of Molecular Biology (BIO), is featured as part of the exhibition, with a display of South American leafcutter ants, who use fungi and bacteria to produce antibiotics that can kill superbugs such as MRSA. It also features colonies of bacteria, the story of a superbug survivor, examples of how healthcare professionals are trying to prevent infections, and examines the use of antibiotics in agriculture.

The exhibition will run until spring 2019 and is free to attend.

Sync The City 2017

Local teams challenged to create tech firm in three days

Start-ups and entrepreneurs are being challenged to build and launch a start-up in 54 hours following the success of the last three years of Sync the City.

The sold out event, run by UEA and SyncNorwich, gives entrants a chance to pitch their business concepts to leading industry figures and win prizes of £4,000 as well as three month hot-desking at St Georges Works and one year associate membership of Norfolk Network.

The event gets going with individuals presenting initial pitches which must last no more than one minute for each pitch. Over the next two days teams build their business before presenting to the judging panel on the final evening.

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 2018, 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 Norwich and 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.


Fully-funded PhD opportunities at UEA for Chinese students

Applications are now open for an exclusive programme of four-year fully-funded science PhDs for Chinese citizens. Successful students will carry out research at both UEA and at SUSTech (Southern University of Science and Technology) in Shenzhen, China. 

Funding is available to support jointly developed projects between UEA and SUSTech academics in Chemistry and Environmental Sciences for projects starting in October 2018.

To be considered for funding, candidates wishing to apply to the UEA-SUSTech Split-Site PhD Programme should send an application package to SUSTech by Thursday 30 November. Selected applicants will then be invited to apply to UEA. If you have any questions on the application process please contact Audrey Heppleston, International and Postgraduate Research Funding Manager, by emailing

Apply now for PhDs starting October 2018  
Chamber Choir

UEA Chamber Choir take a tour through five centuries of European Christmas music

UEA Chamber Choir will present their European Christmas concert on Sunday 10 December at 6.30pm at St George's Church, Tombland, Norwich.

Under the direction of new conductor, Tom Primrose, the 30-strong chamber choir will take a tour through five centuries of European Christmas music, from rustic medieval carols to thought-provoking contemporary works. Highlights from the programme include: Mateo Flecha el Viejo’s Riu Riu Chiu; Jacob Handl’s Mirabile mysterium; William Byrd’s Puer Natus est Nobis; Michael Praetorius’ Es ist ein' Ros' entsprunge; Franz Xaver Gruber’s Stille Nacht; Gustav Holst’s This have I done for my true love; Francis Poulenc’s Quatre Motets pour le temps de Noël; and Michael Head’s Little Road to Bethlehem.

The concert is free to attend and all are welcome.

Norwich Science Festival

Norwich Science Festival

Last month, UEA and the Norwich Research Park had two dedicated days of the Norwich Science Festival.

Watch the film made during the event to find out more about the research demonstrated to the public and the exciting activities staff and students had to offer.

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 our 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, or perhaps even as you digest your dinner on Christmas Day.

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.

PG scholarships

UEA. Find your place.

Enhance your career choices with a postgraduate degree.

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

What's On


Saturday 18 November, 1pm
King’s Head Theatre, London

Written and performed by alumna Shey Hargreaves, Sick is a storytelling show about one receptionist’s journey through four years of cuts to the national health service.

Based Shey’s real experiences of working on an emergency medical unit, the show explores the impact of policy changes on patients, staff, and their families and friends. Sick brings to life the bizarre, hilarious and heart-breaking nature of an emergency department through comedy, music, storytelling and a lot of phone calls.

Inaugural lecture: Dancing with dinosaurs - behavioural change and the elusive pursuit of sustainability

Prof Andrew Fearne (Norwich Business School)
Tuesday 21 November, 6.30pm 
Julian Study Centre lecture theatre, UEA

The sustainability of our food supply is something that many of us take for granted. Yet climate change, ethical sourcing, food integrity and food-related illness are just a few of the myriad of challenges that cast a veil of uncertainty over the future of our food supply.

This thought-provoking talk will explore behavioural change at all stages of the food chain, without which some of its stakeholders risk suffering the same fate as the dinosaurs.

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:

William Baisden (EAS68)

Emeritus Professor Keith Briffa (BIO71)

Stephanie Carter (SOC79)

Paul Cox (SYS89)

Robert Lardi (LDC12)

Hazel Prichard (ENV76)

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