Brains at the Bevy – a series of short and enlightening talks from local academics

After running four successful series of ‘Brains at the Bevy’ talks, we are delighted to announce a fifth series for 2020.

These talks will take place at the Bevendean Community pub:

They start at 6pm and last for an hour, including lots of time for questions and discussion.  Tea and coffee will be provided during the talk and all are welcome to stay on afterwards to enjoy food and drink available at the Bevy.

Wednesday 25th March 2020 at 6pm: Dr. Neil Singh

‘What’s making you sick? How society shapes our health’

As a GP, I get trained to wag my finger at patients and tell them off for their unhealthy ‘lifestyles’. Similarly, public health campaigns that promote healthy behaviours assume all individuals have equal agency and that we everyone has equal choice. Is this true? My clinical practice has made me acutely aware that people make choices within limits. Join me to discuss a big question: How much of our health is in our control, and how much is determined by the society we live in?

Wednesday 29th April 2020 at 6pm: Prof. Chris Joyce

‘Are we in the midst of a mass extinction event?’

According to the international environmental movement Extinction Rebellion, we are facing an unprecedented global emergency, a mass extinction of biodiversity of our own making that threatens the future of all life on the planet.  This talk examines current species loss in relation to past mass extinction events by introducing the concept of biodiversity, assessing human impacts on nature, and considering whether we need a radical rethink of nature conservation.

Wednesday 27th May 2020 at 6pm: Dr. Rian Manville


24th June: Dr Ben Fincham (University of Sussex)

‘Are you having fun?’

What is fun? How is it distinct from happiness or pleasure? How do we know when we are having it? Ben Fincham provides an entertaining account of this often taken-for-granted phenomenon.

Wednesday 29th July 2020 at 6pm – Dr Jess Moriarty and Christina Reading

‘Finding the inner compass: creative recovery from cancer’

Following our experiences with cancer, we felt lost. Trying hard to get back to the people we were before our illness and creatively stuck – Chris with her fine art and Jess with her writing – we chose to adopt an autoethnographic approach that we hoped would be transformative and also help us resist conventional academic research practices that seek to deny the personal (Moriarty, 2016). We engaged in a process of walking, writing and critique that we hoped would restore our creative processes. By trying something new, taking risks and being vulnerable in our work, we believed we would find a way back to the artist/writer and people we thought we needed to be. Instead, we identified a method of mapping a new way forward that helped us to accept the women we are post-cancer and shift and evolve our creative methods. We will offer insights into our work and engage the audience in creative tasks that helped us to map a way back.

Wed 30th Sept: Prof. Mark Yeoman

‘What can old snails tell us about how our brain ages?’

Studying the nervous system of snails has enabled us to more deeply understand the mechanisms by which nerve cells communicate and how changes in communication are fundamental to our ability to learn and remember.  My research group uses the pond snail to understand how the ageing process impacts cell signalling and the consequences this has for learning and memory formation and motor function.  This talk will focus on how ageing affects learning and memory in snails and the relevance this work has ageing in the human nervous system.

Wed 28th Oct: Dr. Mel Flint

‘Too stressed out for cancer therapy?’

Patients diagnosed with cancer often experience considerable psychological distress, and activation of the psychological stress response has been linked with a poor response to chemotherapy. The psychological stress response is mediated by fluctuations of the stress hormones such as cortisol. Stress hormones are responsible for signalling a wide range of processes involved in cancer spread and immune function. I will share research on our understanding of stress and stress hormones and how we may be able to improve both chemo and immune therapies for highly stressed cancer patients.

Wed 25th Nov – Prof. Bhavik Patel

‘Measuring gut health’

Over 20 % of the population suffers from some form of gut disorder. This talk will focus on how devices that are used to measure chemicals in our gut help us understand particular diseases and how we might be able to treat them.




Brains at the Bevy is back!

Brains at the BEVY 2019
A series of short and enlightening talks from local academics

After running 3 successful series of ‘Brains at the Bevy’ talks we are delighted to announce a fourth series in 2019. These talks will take place at The Bevendean Community Pub in Moulsecoomb and are open to all!  They start at 6pm and last for an hour, including lots of time for questions and discussion. Tea and coffee will be provided during the talk and all are welcome to stay on afterwards to enjoy food and drink available at the Bevy.This programme is funded by the Widening Participation team at the University of Brighton.

The Bevy is at 50 Hillside, Brighton BN2 4TF -the 49 Bus stops outside the pub. Talks are free and all are welcome but booking is essential! Please RSVP to and clearly state which talks you would like to attend.

6pm 24th April: Arianne Shahvisi, Brighton and Sussex Medical School:
The NHS and the hostile environment

The government is making it more and more difficult for migrants to access the NHS. Is this fair? What is the actual cost of health tourism? What about the migrants who staff the NHS? Which countries do they come from, and why do they choose to work here? This talk asks whether the current rules are fair, and explores the way in which the NHS in fact relies on the rest of the world.

6pm 22nd May:  Josh Cameron, University of Brighton
Why work should be good for our health not make us sick – and how!

Research shows that work can be good for our physical and mental health. But it also shows that work can make people sick. In this session I will invite people to discuss this and, crucially, what research says about how we can make more work better for our health and well-being.

6pm 3rd July:  Mark Devenney, University of Brighton
Being Improper.

We live in world organised around explicit and implicit rules which determine the proper ways of living, speaking and acting. In this talk I argue that the proper in all its forms limits possible ways of thinking the future – and I defend the idea that democracy is always improper.

6pm 25th September: Sarah Cork, University of Brighton
Stop telling me to eat 5 a day and help me do it!
We can’t open the newspaper, turn on the news or look at Facebook without seeing someone telling us to ‘eat this’ or ‘don’t’ eat that’ or ‘move more’ or ‘move differently’. Yet we know that giving people information doesn’t change behaviour. This talk will explore taking a social marketing approach to health behaviour change – using the way we sell the ‘bad things’ to sell the ‘good things’.  To make change we know we need to develop the right products, and make them easy to get hold of, affordable and attractive. Hear from social marketing and behavioural science about ways to encourage healthy behaviours that makes it easier to ‘do the right thing’.

6pm 30th October: Ilse Pienaar University of Sussex
What makes a brain cell vulnerable in the face of brain degenerating disease?
The brain contains hundreds of thousands individual units called cells. This talk will explore what makes a brain cell vulnerable to brain degenerating diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease? What makes the diagnosis so tragic is that most of us also know that once diagnosed, modern medicine cannot cure a patient, and a patient faces a long and slow decline in everyday functions they previously took for granted.  I will share research that can help in designing more effective therapies to restore the abilities of specific cell types, allowing for improved benefits for patients, whilst producing fewer side-effects.

6pm 27th November Frances Stenlake
Flora Merrifield and the Brighton and Hove Women’s Franchise Society.
This talk tells the little-known story of Flora Merrifield of 14 Clifton Terrace, Brighton. Her parents were Millicent Garrett Fawcett’s earliest supporters in the town, and Flora devoted her entire life to campaigning for women’s equality. As honorary secretary of the non-militant Brighton and Hove Women’s Franchise Society, she led the Brighton Road contingent in the Great Suffrage Pilgrimage to London in 1913, acted as secretary of the local War Relief Committee and of the 1916 Patriotic Housekeeping Exhibition, then chaired the Brighton and Hove Union of Women’s Local Government and Equal Citizenship.


The role of University Community Partnerships in research on economic insecurity and wellbeing

Wednesday 6 March 2019, 14:00.  Brighton Falmer Campus, Checkland C218

The role of University Community Partnerships in research on economic insecurity and wellbeing

David Wolff (Director) Community University Partnership Programme, University of Brighton
The prototype of university partnerships, CUPP has been in operation since 2003, helping to fund a wide range and huge volume of partnership projects,   enabling academics and students to work together with local communities for mutual benefit. The Director of CUPP, David Wolff, will give a short introductory talk on how the CUPP model works and the current programmes they are working on. 

Dr Paula Black (Director)Nottingham Civic Exchange, Nottingham Trent University
Nottingham Civic Exchange is a university think tank which has been established by Nottingham Trent University to maximise research, policy and practical impact by bringing together university expertise with partners seeking to address the needs of local communities. This means working with our staff and students to facilitate debate, act as a bridge between research and policy debates, and develop practical projects on a local, city and regional level.

We have focused our work on the key policy area of what have come to be known as ‘Ordinary Working Families’ or the ‘Just About Managing’. Whatever the preferred term, the challenges facing people on low to medium incomes have remained high on the political agenda in recent years. The debate is not simply about the level of household income. Iencompasses practical matters around access to housing and good jobs as well as the physical and mental health impacts of insecurity. Although the terminology used by commentators, researchers and politicians may vary, the core issues appear similar. However, there is little dialogue with communities themselves on the lived experience of economic insecurity and on what initiatives might help to reduce vulnerability to economic shocks. In this session we will look at the background to the debate on Ordinary Working Families and watch a short film commissioned by Nottingham Civic Exchange which listens to one single working parent talk about her experiences of insecurity, wellbeing and resilience.

To watch the film, see our website:


Announcing the 2017 Conference Call for Proposals, September 14 – 16, 2017

The International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE) is pleased to announce that proposals are now being accepted for the 2017 conference in Galway, Ireland. The conference will take place September 14 – 16, 2017 and is hosted by NUI Galway. The conference program chair is Lorraine McIlrath.

The theme of this year’s conference is Gateways – Charting New Territories & Forging Authentic Relationships.

NEW THIS YEAR: IARSLCE will be holding a free webinar for those planning to submit proposals on Tuesday, February 21 at 10AM CT. It will be led by 2017 Conference Chair Lorraine McIlralth and IARSLCE Vice-Chair Marshall Welch.  Space is limited, so to reserve your space, please click here. A weblink will be provided via email the day before the webinar.

For more information about the 2017 conference as it becomes available, to view the call, or to submit a proposal, please visit Proposals will be due on Friday, March 10, 2017.


Blindspots in the Global Agenda – Sussex Global Health and Development Conference – 18th & 19th March, Sussex Uni


The Sussex Global Health and Development Conference is an annual two-day international event that encompasses discussions and expert insight on contemporary global health and development matters and inspiring action on the local, national and global stage. Arranged by students and staff from a collection of global health and social science institutions at Sussex and takes place on 18-19th March in the Jubilee Building at the University of Sussex.

The 2nd annual conference is entitled ‘Blind Spots in the Global Agenda’. This year, the conversation is around neglected health and development issues with a focus on Nutrition, Mental Health and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). The event will feature over 50 guest speakers representing a broad spectrum of backgrounds in global health and development. Delivered through plenary sessions, panel discussions, breakout sessions, small-group seminars and film screenings, the weekend will focus on a selection of key issues such as Water Security, Mental Health Effects of Conflict, Childhood Obesity and much, much more.

We have confirmed staff and faculty from Harvard, UK Government’s Department for International Development (DfID), the BBC, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge and Public Health England, to name a few.

There will be extensive opportunities to network and there will be a careers in Global Health and Development session on both days.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased on Eventbrite or via our Facebook Event.

Blog on Cupp seminar: Orchestral music making and its real impact with Andy Sherwood

This week we hosted Andrew Sherwood for a well-attended seminar on music-making and its relationship to wellbeing. Andrew is Professor of Violin at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance and conductor of many ensembles, including the Brighton Youth Orchestra. He shared his wealth of national and international experience as a violinist and conductor, through which he has supported many young people and witnessed the impact of orchestral music making. Andrew took us through a brief history of the orchestra and its current composition of instruments that creates a perfect vehicle for all musical arrangements and collaborations. This sparked some interesting discussion around what the future of the orchestra looks like, including the relationship with digital music.

Andrew also spoke to the growing research body around the impact of of music and its relationship to wellbeing. We have certainly witnessed a growing interest locally in this relationship with many local groups focusing on music-making such as Open Strings and Audio-Active. This year our CUPP seed fund is supporting a collaboration between New Note Orchestra, the first ‘recovery’ orchestra in the world and Arts & Humanities academic Conall Gleeson.

The university has a longstanding partnership with the Brighton Youth Orchestra, which rehearses at our Falmer site every week. There are possibilities for further collaborations, such as with students on our Digital Music & Sound Arts course, some of whom attended the seminar. We look forward to seeing what these collaborations around music may bring…

Orchestral/ ensemble music making and its real impact on us with Andy Sherwood, 7th Feb 12.30 – 1.30pm, M2 boardroom Grand parade campus

Andrew Sherwood has performed in many parts of the world as conductor and violinist. Born and educated in Africa, he then studied violin and composition at the Royal College of Music in London. He has been, since 1991, a Professor of Violin at TrinityLaban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London (formerly Trinity College of Music). Sherwood is now best known as a conductor especially for Brighton Youth Orchestra but is currently principal conductor and musical director of several British orchestras including the Sinfonia at Trinity Laban and European Youth Summer Music. This seminar will ask what difference it really makes, its impact on well-being, social cohesion, its relevance to academic and scientific research and its influence towards better understanding of how we learn.

Refreshments will be available! Places are free and open to all, but must be reserved in advance.

To book on to this event please RSVP to

Recent International Developments in Community-University Engagement: a conversation with Budd L Hall, Co-Chair of the UNESCO Chair in Community Based Research, 21st March

Date: Tuesday 21 March, 12.30 – 1.30pm

Location: Room 102, Edward Street, City Centre Campus, University of Brighton

Budd Hall, a long time friend of the CUPP programme at the University of Brighton will share information and invite a conversation on two of the most recent studies and reports that he and Rajesh Tandon have been involved with under the aegis of their UNESCO Chair. The First is their study/book on “Knowledge and Engagement: Building Capacity for the Future Generations of Community Based Researchers” and the second is the newly released GUNi 6th World Report on “Higher Education: Towards Socially Responsible Higher Education – Balancing the Global and the Local.”

Refreshments will be available!

Places are free and open to all, but must be reserved in advance – to book on to this event please RSVP to