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:


Metropolitan Universities Journal latest issue now published, includes an article from Cupp: Exploring shared spaces in Community University Partnerships

 Metropolitan Universities

Campus and Community in Shared Spaces

Guest Editor:

Heidi Lasley Barajas
Associate Professor and Chair
College of Education and Human Development
University of Minnesota

Full Issue

View or download the full issue PDF

Table of Contents


Heidi Lasley Barajas


Ceri Davies, Nick Gant, Angie Hart, Juliet Millican, David Wolff, Bethan Prosser, Stuart Laing
Michaela Hynie, Wanda MacNevin, Cheryl Prescod, Barry Rieder, Lorna Schwartzentruber
Heidi Lasley Barajas, Lauren Martin
Angela Towle, Kathleen Leahy
Sara Woods, B. J. Reed, Deborah Smith-Howell
Deborah Smith-Arthur, Amy Spring
Maureen P. Hall, Christine M. Panarese
Mark A. Kinders, Myron L. Pope
D. Gavin Luter

Book Reviews

Daniel J. Shipp

More brains?


After running our first successful series of Brains at the Bevy (more details below), funded by the Sussex Learning Network, we are planning a second series in 2017 April to November 2017.   So we are looking for academics to pitch in ideas for talks.  We will be collecting ideas until the end of January when the Bevy community will be asked to choose which 6 they would like.  If you would like to suggest a topic that you would like to present, based on your research, please email with the title and a 2-3 plain language description.

‘Brains at the Bevy’ is a partnership  of the Community University Partnership Programme at the University of Brighton and The Bevy,  Britain’s first community owned pub on a housing estate. The Bevy is so much more than just a pub and already hosts a range of community groups and health services including for seniors and those with disabilities.  The Brains talks are intended to be informal, yet research based, that both engage and inform.  This project seeks to develop a low cost model that connects with research at universities, which can be sustained because it supports research impact and community engagement.

6 talks were held between April and November 2016

–  ‘No to Modern Football’, Mark Doidge, an analysis of the global transformation of football
–  NHS privatisation and local democracy, Carl Walker
–    ‘The Joy of Sex’, Angie Hart  exploring  what we teach our children about positive sexual expression
– ‘Britfix or Britbroken’, Phil Haynes, an examination of the recent referendum.
– Organ donation, Bobbie Farsides,  an exploration of how to address the shortage
–  Reading retail, Harvey Ells, a whirlwind tour of changes in retail practice.

Attendance averaged 20 people per session with a good mix of local residents, university students, and university staff. Talks were free, started at 6pm and lasted for an hour, with ample time for questions and discussions. Tea and coffee were provided with drinks on sale.  It is openly acknowledged at the start that there are many brains in the room, bringing different kinds of knowledge and perspectives, and the value of sharing these.  There is a commitment to using language that is respectful, jargon free and accessible.

Participants were asked to complete a short evaluation form with likes and dislikes of the session and we received 68 completed forms.  Overall the response was overwhelmingly positive with people particularly liking the model, accessing good quality research, the level of informality and interaction and especially the venue.  Responses included:

Informal, comfortably intimate. Accessible venue. Speaker presented some material to get our discussion going, without overbearance – just right. After the discussion people were able to linger, eat drink and continue the discussion or not. Great model.

Absolutely great. Communities need more events like this to connect people together. Well presented, well publicised. Glad I made it.

Speaker was incredibly knowledgeable and engaging. She pitched the whole talk perfectly. A thoroughly wonderful evening. More of the same please

Great talk, inspired venue – should certainly be supporting in the future

Brains at the Bevy has been shortlisted for a national award by the University Association for Lifelong Learning.

British Science Festival

The University of Brighton and the University of Sussex are hosting the British Science Festival in September 2017. This is a big and diverse event and presents an excellent opportunity to disseminate your research to a wide public audience.

To take part please take a look at the attached FAQ and follow this link to propose and book a session:…

There is quite a tight deadline – 0900 16th January 2017.

All social science topics and subjects are very welcome.

Developing Community University Partnerships Course 2017, University of Brighton. ** early bird reduction if you book before 15th January**

The University of Brighton’s Community University Partnership Programme (Cupp) has been involved in brokering and developing partnerships with their local communities for the past eleven years. These partnerships are concerned with the exchange of knowledge and prioritise those that tackle disadvantage.

The Cupp programme’s work involves building links between local community groups and academics, students and support staff.

The programme is concerned with mutual working between universities and communities, identifying ways in which study and research might link to current issues of local, national and global concern. This includes:

  • How knowledge is created
  • Dissemination of knowledge
  • Different forms of knowledge
  • Skills of knowledge brokering
  • Knowledge exchange

This course provides an opportunity for those wanting to take forward their own community engagement work. This could involve:

  • Reviewing an institution’s vision and mission
  • Restructuring disciplinary relationships
  • New approaches to the ways in which knowledge is generated and transmitted

Through a detailed study of the Cupp approach, alongside other relevant models and strategies, we will support participants to develop something bespoke that fits the needs of their own locality.

Dates: 10th – 13th April 2017 inclusive Brighton

Follow up online seminars will be held: 7th June, 5th July, 6th September and 27th September. (All online seminars will be recorded and available at a later date).

Individual tutorials: by arrangement, one per month.

Please note: Follow up online seminars and tutorials will be delivered via Skype for business.

Museum University Partnership Initiative: message from Sophie Duncan, National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement

I wanted to share a fantastic opportunity to form strong, mutually beneficial partnerships with small and medium sized museums in your area. The Museum University Partnership Initiative (MUPI) is funded by Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Fund. In partnership with Share Academy and Paddy McNulty Associates, the NCCPE is hosting a series of regional networking events called ‘MUPI Matches’. These are free one-day events that bring together museum staff and academics, using a tried and tested methodology to stimulate new connections and new projects. Participants can then bid for ‘thinking funding’ – to enable them to do desk research; have conversations; test ideas; and work together to plan their potential project. This thinking funding provides a critical part of the process, helping people to work out if and how to work together and refine their ideas. Teams will be supported to develop their partnership, and find effective ways to fund their project in the future.

The South East Region MUPI Match event will take place on 8 February 2017 at Woburn House, London. For further details and to apply, click here.

You may also have colleagues in other areas of the country who would like to get involved. The next events are:
The North West Region MUPI Match which will take place on 17 February at Manchester Museum. For further details and to apply, click here.
The East of England Region MUPI Match event which will take place on 21 February at the Fitzwilliam Museum. For further details and to apply, click here.
Please do share this opportunity with other researchers who might be interested and get in touch with Claire ( if you have any questions.

Showcasing the university at annual Eastbourne Strategic Partnership event

The Eastbourne Strategic Partnership (ESP) recently invited Associate Professor Anne Mandy (Health Sciences) & Bethan Prosser (Community University Partnership Programme) to discuss their  local community-university engagement activities and to showcase the Eastbourne e-bike scheme at their annual event. The event brought together ESP members across statutory, public and private sectors to share and learn about each other’s’ work including Sussex Police, the Community Safety Team, East Sussex Better Together, The Eastbourne Business Partnership and 3VA.

Bethan commenced the presentation by introducing the ways the university and community come together for mutual benefit – research collaborations, student community engagement and community knowledge exchange.  Anne provided an overview of the Eastbourne  e-bike scheme, a collaboration between ESCC, Southern Rail and the University of Brighton, which was funded by a  Dept of Transport grant.  The success of the scheme had attracted interest from an external new business partner and negotiations are currently in place to extend the scheme across Eastbourne for local residents and employees. There was plenty of opportunity to network and Khadija Khan from Active Student joined us at a stall gaining several new volunteering opportunities for students. A lot of interest and new connections were also generated for the e-bike scheme.