Soapbox Science’s first visit to Brighton

Head down to the seafront between 1-4pm on Saturday 29 July and celebrate women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) with Soapbox Science.

Soapbox Science hosts events across the UK and the world raising the profile of women in science – breaking down barriers and challenging stereotypes about who a researcher is. And they are coming to Brighton for the first time this summer.
Chantal Nobs, a PhD student at the University of Brighton, was one of 12 women selected to participate in the Soapbox Science London event on London’s Southbank in 2016.

Find out more about the Brighton event here.

Your country’s air needs you!

“Everyone has a part to play in reducing air pollution that is killing as many as 50,000 people every year in the UK,” says Dr Kevin Wyche, lecturer on our Geography BA(Hons) course.

He was commenting on BBC Sussex Radio about latest figures showing pollution levels in parts of Brighton and Hove remain above EU and UK standards, and how London breached its limits for the entire year only a few days into 2017.

Dr Wyche, who with Dr Kirsty Smallbone launched a £250,000 advanced air quality monitoring station at Falmer in 2015, said reducing pollution was a complex issue: “It’s politically sensitive – should we ban all cars from city centres? It’s not politically favourable for a politician to say that.”

All of us, he said, has a part to play in cutting pollution: “We all like to use our cars and we all have gadgets at home which use electricity which comes from power stations which are pumping out all sorts of different gases and particles into the atmosphere.”

The Joaquin Advanced Air Quality Station (JAAQS), opened by Brighton MP Caroline Lucas, is the first in the UK which can detect harmful nano-sized particles and their gaseous precursors.

Dr Wyche expects to publish its first year’s findings from the station in the next few weeks and there are plans for UK’s first outreach programme taking their work into primary and secondary schools. A website on the station’s work is scheduled to be launched next month. Continue reading

Award win

Congratulations to Dr Susie Maidment, senior lecturer in our school, who received the Hodson Award at an awards ceremony this week from the Palaeontological Association.
The Hodson Award is presented to a palaeontologist within ten years of their PhD for notable contributions to the science.
The Palaeontological Association was founded in 1957 and has become one of the world’s leading learned societies in this field. The Association is a registered charity that promotes the study of palaeontology and its allied sciences through publication of original research and field guides, sponsorship of meetings and field excursions, provision of web resources and information and a program of annual awards.

Studying and socialising in our nationally recognised building

estates_cockcroft_aw_048The recent, multi-million pound project transforming the Cockcroft building into a state-of-the-art research, teaching and information building has been recognised in the prestigious Green Gown Awards for 2016.

Our university and the architects we worked with Fraser Brown MacKenna were named Finalist in the Built Environment category for what was one of the largest retrofits of an occupied academic building in the UK.

The transformation was described by judges as “an innovative approach integrating architectural, building services and structure design” which unlocked the environmental potential of the 10,500m2 building using the latest technology.

Innovations include an aquifer thermal energy store, potentially reducing energy demand, CO2 emissions and fuel savings. The system stores and recovers thermal energy beneath the ground and provides heating and cooling.

A spokesperson for the awards told the university: “On behalf of the Green Gown Awards Team we wanted to congratulate you on your achievement. Being a Green Gown Awards Finalist is something to be extremely proud of.”

Earlier this year the Cockcroft project won in the Higher Education category of the Architects’ Journal Retrofit Awards 2016. Judges called it a bold project and a model for future similar projects. Continue reading

£8m boost to green business growth in East Sussex

The University of Brighton’s Green Growth Platform and East Sussex County Council are launching an £8m-plus initiative to support the growth of green businesses.

The Low Carbon Across the South East (LoCASE) project is funded by the EU’s European Regional Development Fund and is a partnership between Kent County Council, East Sussex County Council, Essex County Council, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Thurrock Council and the University of Brighton. It will receive a total of £8.8 million to support business growth across Kent, Essex and East Sussex.

The programme will provide grants and business support to low carbon small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them grow and develop new products and services. It will also provide grants and free environmental audits to any type of SME to help improve their environmental performance, such as reducing energy costs or installing renewable energy systems.

The programme will also be providing support to the community energy sector, and will be developing renewable energy and low carbon projects across the county.
In East Sussex, the programme is open to SMEs which pay their business rates to Eastbourne Borough Council, Hastings Borough Council, Lewes District Council, Rother District Council and Wealden District Council.

Zoe Osmond, Director of the Green Growth Platform

Zoe Osmond, Director of the Green Growth Platform

Zoe Osmond, Director of the Green Growth Platform, said: “We are delighted to announce this funding for East Sussex businesses. It will make a significant contribution to business growth and innovation in the region, as well as help in reducing our environmental impact and moving us towards a low carbon economy.”
Businesses can find out more and register for the support by visiting the Green Growth Platform, emailing greengrowthplatform@brighton.ac.uk or calling the Green Growth Platform on 01273 641949.

An award winning dissertation

imogen-foxHuge congratulations to Imogen Fox, who has just graduated from our Geography BA(Hons) course for her award-winning dissertation!

Imogen’s dissertation on how she supported a friend with special needs won the Royal Geographical Society’s Social and Cultural Geography Research Groups Undergraduate Dissertation Award and £100 prize money. Titled ‘Meltdowns in the mud – a spatial, emotional and relationship approach to the experience of care in the micro-spatialities of Glastonbury Festival’ Imogen wrote an account of her experience in supporting her friend Rona when the pair attended the Glastonbury Festival this summer.

“I am in complete shock and disbelief about winning the prize,” said Imogen. “I feel extremely grateful for all the amazing support I received from both academic staff from my course at the university who have boosted my confidence in my own academic abilities and also my wonderful dyslexia tutor who kept me calm throughout the writing process.”

Imogen also praised the Sussex organisation which teamed her up with “my new close friend” Rona, Gig Buddies, which matches adults who have a learning disabilities to volunteers who have similar interests, to go to events together that they both love.

Imogen, now studying for her MSc in Social Work, said: “I question the word and activity of ‘care’ because that ‘care’ goes both ways and is often an act of friendship, thus defining mine and Rona’s relationship as a ‘muddy relationship’ which can be impacted upon differently in different spaces.”

What’s Geography got to do with it?

kath-browne-inaugral-lectureWhat’s Geography got to do with it? Sexualities, Gender and Place
Inaugural lecture from Professor Kath Browne.

Geography is often associated with maps and mountains.  This lecture asks for a different consideration of what geography has to offer and shows it to be crucial to understanding Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer (LGBTQ) lives.

Professor Browne starts by using her work on women who are mistaken for men and their exclusions from public toilets designated for females to explore how places are an integral part of understanding sexed bodies.  However, inclusion that rests on sameness and fitting LGBTQ people into the ‘normal’ is not enough. Thus, the possibilities and limits of equalities laws are illustrated by looking at Brighton, the ‘gay capital of the UK’, and then transnationally at what makes lives liveable in the UK and India. The lecture then turns its focus to transnational ‘heteroactivism’, resistances to LGBTQ rights, that are often overlooked, but are key to engaging with the fallout from Brexit, as well as Global North same-sex marriage debates.

Kath Browne
Professor of Human Geography

Wednesday 26 October 2016 at 6.30 pm.
Sallis Benney Lecture Theatre
Grand Parade

Free event. All are welcome. If you would like to attend please register online no later than 48 hours prior to the event.