Tag: University of Nottingham

Beeston Tales: Storyteller Rachel Rose Reid breathes life into an Arthurian legend

On the second Wednesday of the month, the folks from Beeston Tales gather in the upstairs space of The White Lion for an evening of storytelling, and this month they’ve got an extra special guest for a remarkable (and very local) tale…

Credit: University of Nottingham

Tomorrow, Beeston Tales will be presenting their audience with Roman de Silence, which has local significance as the manuscript was originally discovered at Wollaton Hall in 1911, where it had been waiting for around 700 years.

These days it’s kept at the University of Nottingham, but its discovery came at the height of suffrage protests, and due to the story containing themes of female emancipation, the story was silenced.

But, thanks to the hosts Tim Ralphs, Mike Payton, and the internationally renowned storyteller Rachel Rose Reid, the story will have life breathed back into its dusty pages, to reveal a tale that is very relevant to issues being raised in society today.

“Themes of gender identity make this an interesting story for modern audiences, and gives the tale a prescient quality.”

The main character, a twelve-year-old named Silence has been brought up as a boy, despite being an incredibly beautiful girl. Being the young age she is, and the upbringing she’s had, she can’t decide whether it would be better for her to be a boy or a girl. This simple-sounding concept is packed with societal questions, gender politics and the question of nature vs. nurture, where Nature is a character in the story.

It’s an adventure in identity, an exploration of what the roles were for boys and girls, and an ultimate dilemma for Silence and the society she’s living in. These themes of gender identity make this an interesting story for modern audiences, and gives the tale a prescient quality.

Rachel storytelling takes her all over the country, and she’s currently touring, but is stopping off in Nottingham (and Beeston) especially to visit and research the manuscript.

The event will take place tomorrow, Wednesday 11th July, at 7:30 pm at The White Lion.

Tickets £5 in advance, £6 on the door, available from The White Lion, or online at www.timralphs.com/beeston-tales.

Inclusive tapas and tales ticket £12, available only in advance from The White Lion. All advanced tickets including meal ​tickets must be purchased at least 24 hours before the show.



Taking a step in the right direction…


We’re all familiar with the phrase ‘reduce your carbon footprint’ when it comes to doing your best for the environment and climate change by recycling, watching your energy usage, and re-thinking how you travel. But there’s now a project taking that idea and applying it to food and food waste, appropriately named Foodprint. I met up with the project’s team leader Sam Deuchar for a chat.

Sam, 20, is a third year psychology student at the University of Nottingham and originally joined the Foodprint team as Marketing Director after one of his best friends in first year was HR Director and advised him to get involved. Originally named ‘Zest’ the project is part of Enactus Nottingham, who help set up a variety of social enterprises such as this one.

“We’re trying to tackle food waste and food poverty in Nottingham,” says Sam. “The UK throws 10 million tonnes of food waste every single year. That’s the equivalent of enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall every single day. At the same time there are so many families that can’t afford to feed themselves. The food is there so those two problems shouldn’t co-exist. This is just one step along the way to try and tackle that.”

The model consists of Foodprint working with businesses such as supermarkets, cafés and other places which end up with a surplus amount of food. The business will donate what food they can, and Foodprint will sell it on at a vastly reduced price at their very own supermarket which is due to open in Sneinton. Their supermarket will be ideal for people who may be uncomfortable with going to food banks, and instead can enjoy a shopping experience without having to count the pennies.

“Ideally we’re looking for food that’s still packaged, past it’s best before date.”

Since the project was originally set up around a year and a half ago, the team have built strong connection with the council, and have managed to gain a substantial amount of funding from various organisations. “We’re very lucky with the amount of funding we’ve had to start us off,” Sam tells me. “We’ve had £8000 from the Uni of Nottingham, £3000 from the Ingenuity 2017 competition, and then we got £5000 from Ford. We also did a crowdfunding campaign with Jumpstart which got £1,300.” That comes to an impressive total of £17,300 which they will use towards the rent for the supermarket, employing a van driver to transport the donated food, and for the general upkeep, employee wages and food supply.

They’ve already had a great response from businesses, including the café at Middle Street Resource Centre in Beeston who donated some leftover bread (and recently offered Sam 130 boxes of eggs which, obviously, he had to turn down at this point), and allotment owners near Beeston Marina are letting them harvest their allotment and take away the produce, because there’s more than he needs. “Everyone’s been so supportive and helping us out so much. It’s exciting, it makes me happy that people are even thinking of us,” says Sam.

The main objective is for Foodprint to secure a strong network with local businesses who can offer them a supply of food which can be sold on. “Ideally we’re looking for food that’s still packaged, past it’s best before date. So many cafés might have cookies that are in packets and for the sake of quality purposes get thrown away,” explains Sam. “Whereas we’ll take them, we’re selling lower quality food but for a cheaper price.”

For example, if you were to go to the Foodprint supermarket, you can expect to find prices such as 40p for a can of beans, and 50p for a bag of pitta bread. They’re also working on future plans to implement a member’s scheme.

“We’ve got partners in Advice Nottingham, a number of social eating events, and social housing organisations,” reveals Sam. “The council work with Age UK where people might be disadvantaged. They’ll have access to a member’s scheme where they can get discounts on their shop, so if they couldn’t afford it they’ll get 50% / 75% off. Our objective is to ensure the food is going to the people that need it most.”

He adds: “We’re trying to bridge the gap between foodbanks and standard supermarkets. You can get caught in a cycle of dependency on food banks, so by giving a cheaper alternative to supermarkets you can work your way back on. You’re getting your choice back, you’re getting fresh food, and there’s no limit on how often you can go.”

Their slogan sums up perfectly what they’re trying to do: Eating for today, thinking of tomorrow. Not only will they save surplus food from being thrown away, they’re offering a more positive alternative to foodbanks for people who can’t afford to put food on the table. The contracts for the physical store have been signed, and by the time this article comes out, the social supermarket should be up and running.

You can increase Beeston’s support of Foodprint by working with the team. They’re always looking for volunteers, and you can contact Sam directly on 07769312531 or visiting the website at www.foodprint.io. The physical store will be located at: 101 Sneinton Road, Nottingham, NG2 4QL.

The best way for this project to reach its maximum potential is through social networking. If you know a business who could donate food, tell them about Foodprint.


The Living Wage

“World Class” University of Nottingham should do the right thing and pay the Living Wage say campaigners


An alliance of trade unions, student organisations and other campaign groups has called on the new University of Nottingham (UoN) Vice Chancellor Professor Shearer West to do the right thing and officially commit the university to paying the Living Wage to all its staff.

Last week [Tuesday 14 November 2017] demonstrators brandishing mops, buckets and brushes held a “clean-in” demonstration to show solidarity with the hundreds of university workers, including cleaners and catering and estates staff, they say are being “underpaid and undervalued”.

The Nottingham University Living Wage Campaign (made up of trade unions UCU, Unison and Unite, together with Nottingham Citizens, Nottingham University Labour Students, UoN Feminists, Socialists Students Nottingham, Young Greens and UoN Left Society) says that hundreds of university employees are struggling to live on pay levels below the “real” Living Wage rate of £8.75 an hour (or around £17,000 per year). This hourly rate is set independently and updated annually each November by the Living Wage Foundation and is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. It is the minimum that employees need to get by and considerably higher than the statutory National Living Wage rate of £7.50 an hour (which only applies to those aged 25 and over).

One cleaner explained how she is struggling to make ends meet as a result of being paid less than the Living Wage:

“My wages here just cover my Council Tax and rent. I’m paid on Thursdays at the end of the month, by Saturday I am already overdrawn again. I cut down on all bills as much as possible, I use the car only to go to work, all my expenses have to be tightly calculated. I depend on bargains when shopping for clothes and food, things on half-price, the sales. I don’t go out, I simply can’t afford to go out.”

Campaigners estimate that the maximum cost to the university in raising the pay of all its staff to at least the £8.75 an hour Living Wage rate would be about £1 million in the current financial year. This represents less than 6% of its £18 million surplus (in 2016) and around 0.3% of the total amount spent on staffing (£324 million in 2016).

The campaigners believe that signing up UoN as an accredited Living Wage employer could be massively influential in promoting the Living Wage both locally and across the Higher Education sector.

“The University of Nottingham prides itself on being a World Class University, a member of the “elite” Russell Group and one of the most popular universities in the country for student admissions,” said Nottingham University Living Wage Campaign member and UCU UoN Vice President Andreas Bieler. “The quality of education is closely linked to fair working conditions of members of staff. But despite paying the previous Vice Chancellor a basic salary of £295,000 and holding a surplus of £18 million in the financial year ending 31 July 2016, the University has failed to commit to paying all its staff a Living Wage. We are calling on the new Vice Chancellor, Professor Shearer West, to do the right thing and make a commitment for the university to become an accredited Living Wage employer   today.”

According to Shearer, UoN “paid the equivalent of the Voluntary Living Wage in the 2016/17 pay round and has every intention of doing so again in the 2017/18 pay round”. But the campaigners point out that because the Living Wage is re-calculated every November to take into account rising living costs and inflation, the cleaners’ wage is below living standards for nine months of the year.

Following the demonstration Shearer, UoN’s first female vice chancellor, confirmed that she will meet with some of the cleaning staff. The campaigners believe that signing up UoN as an accredited Living Wage employer could be massively influential in promoting the Living Wage both locally and across the Higher Education sector.

To find out more about and get involved in the University of Nottingham Living Wage Campaign see https://www.facebook.com/UoNLivingWage/ or contact Andreas Bieler: andreas.bieler@nottingham.ac.uk

For more information about the Living Wage campaign across the UK see www.livingwage.org.uk


The Twelve Days at Uni…

On the first day of Christmas my Uni sent to me: A nine grand tuition fee

(Imagine starting out with a 9 grand tuition fee…

…oh…and technically of course it’s the government that means we have the fees, but it doesn’t scan as well.)

But less of that grumpy stuff, ’tis the season to be jolly, so forthwith, a carol of our times:

On the twelfth day of Christmas my Uni sent to me:
Twelve student e-mails
Eleven impact pathways
Ten masters projects
Nine grant rejections
Eight Moodle mandates
Seven 4 star papers
Six weekends marking
Project xxxxxxxxxxxxx *
Four strategies
Three 9 a.ms
Two peer reviews
and a nine grand tuition fee.

Wishing you all an admin free Christmas and a grant filled New Year.

* feel free to include a 2 syllable project of your choice here.

Prof J

University of Beestonia

September. Blimy it’s come round quick again.

The new academic year will just about be on us by the time we go to print and as I write there’s a clear shift in gear around the university as staff begin to fill their diaries with teaching commitments for the coming year. The summer as ever has flown by and as we look towards the new term we can also reflect on goals for the summer fulfilled, or not. It’s a cliché in academia for a reason, back in June the summer vacation always seems like a wonderful clear sunny space for pushing back global research agendas, only for September to arrive and well… it was sunny for at least one or two days…

All our time is becoming more squeezed and in our industry this is no different, there’s been some interesting media talk over the summer about 2 year degrees, and market forces not working, or at least not how government envisaged they would work, which maybe isn’t exactly the same thing. Maybe, or hopefully, just silly season talk.

Either way new students will roll into our universities, and into Beeston, over the next few weeks. University is a great opportunity for them and I encourage all students reading this to embrace the opportunities the experience will give you, in terms of training both formal and informal. Enjoy and respect our wonderful town of Beeston and please make the most of our fantastic places to eat, drink and shop.

New academic years also see changes in personnel in many universities, and east of Broadgate the Vice Chancellor of the University of Nottingham Professor Sir David Greenaway will retire at the end of September after serving the University for 30 years, with 20 of those as a member of its Executive Board. That’s quite a stint and we at the Beestonian wish Sir David all the best for his retirement. We also welcome Professor Shearer West who will be the University’s new Vice-Chancellor.

A new year, old and new challenges, the odd glimpse of sunshine… bring it on!

Prof J

The Friends of University Park

Since 2004 the Friends have been encouraging the local community to visit University Park to enjoy the attractive well laid out gardens and grounds.

Each year we organise a series of events which are open for anyone to take part in.

This year we have already had a Wildlife Walk in conjunction with Notts Wildlife Trust in April and took part in the University’s Wonder event in June. In July we welcomed over 300 people to our annual Picnic in the Park, which was held in the Millennium Garden with live music from the Newstead Brass Band and activities for all the family.

Coming up is our Summer Spectacular on Sunday the 20th August 1.30pm to 5pm. This is part of the National Garden Scheme. A free of charge bus will link various gardens including the Walled Garden which is not normally open at weekends. Mini walking tours and refreshments will be available. There will be free parking available at the Millennium Garden.

On Friday 1st September, we have a Bat Walk from 8pm and in October we have 2 events. On Saturday 7th we will be Foraging for Wild Food looking at different edible species to eat from berries, nuts and fungi, herbs and spices, roots and flowers. On Saturday 28th we have a demonstration of Propagation Techniques, showing us how to increase our stock of favourite plants.

In addition to these public events we can also offer guided tours of the gardens and a Heritage Walk to look at historic buildings in the Park and the people who lived in them. These are suitable for horticultural societies, social clubs and other interested organisations. To find out more please email:

Heritage Walk: BW-FOUP-ArchTours@exmail.nottingham.ac.uk
Garden Tour:  BW-FOUP-GardenTours@exmail.nottingham.ac.uk

University Park, which has been awarded a Green Flag every year since 2003, is open to the public at any time although there is a charge for parking on weekdays. At evenings and weekends parking is free.

For information on any of our events please email BW-FOUP-Events@exmail.nottingham.ac.uk

Our website is www.nottingham.ac.uk/go/friends where you can find further information and also download 4 free booklets:

University Park garden guide and tree walk
Historic Houses walk
Winter Tree walk
Geology walk “Rock around the Campus”

We look forward to seeing you at any of our Events.

David Henson

University of Beestonia

Wonder superbike

Curious minds will be amazed and inspired by Wonder 2017 

Have you ever wondered what Mars looks like, what your skin’s made of, how planes can fly, why T-rex had tiny arms or how Vikings fought?

It’s now less than a month to go until you can find out at Wonder 2017. On Saturday 17 June 2017 between 11am and 5pm, the University of Nottingham will be throwing open its doors to the local community to uncover and answer the questions you’ve always wondered about. The free event, formerly known as May Fest, held at University Park, gives curious minds the chance to try a huge variety of fun and hands-on activities.

Visitors are invited to explore the University’s ground-breaking research and world-class teaching first-hand by taking part in a vast array of exciting family-friendly activities, split into zones and by age range to ensure they get the most out of their day.

We’d encourage anyone interested to come and join us for what promises to be a stimulating and fun-filled day

Debbie Henthorn, Deputy Director of Campaign and Alumni Relations, and a team from across the University are organising Wonder.

She said: “We are delighted to be welcoming the community back into the University of Nottingham this June, for our incredible brand new event.

“We care deeply about the University’s connection to the community and appreciate how many local people, businesses and partners in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire are involved in making what we do at the University possible. What better way to showcase the contributions that the University makes to education, research and business than opening up the campus to our community who are such an important part of our success.

“We will bring children and grown-ups from all backgrounds together at University Park, for a fantastic free day out with some very exciting activities, experiments and demonstrations. We’d encourage anyone interested to come and join us for what promises to be a stimulating and fun-filled day.”

What makes you wide-eyed with wonder? 

Events and activities throughout the day will include:

  • See Vikings battle Anglo-Saxons in fearsome re-enactments.
  • Solve clues on the Raiders of the Lost Park treasure hunt around Highfields.
  • Watch extreme experiments, which burn, cut, smash and crush materials.
  • Discover how your body works with hands-on activities.
  • Learn new skills with the University’s futsal team.
  • Get crafty and help create our mini sculpture park.
  • Wow at our race-winning electronic motorbike.

A full list of all the Wonder activities is now available to explore on the website, along with a new app which will go live in early June, to guide visitors around University Park Campus to the many exciting activities on offer throughout the day. Users of the app can collect points on their journey and pick up rewards along the way.