Leading youth charity calls for greater focus on empathic relationships

Anne-Marie Douglas, founder of social justice charity Peer Power, visited Edge Hill University to talk at an event about the health and wellbeing needs of young people in the justice system.

The event was held by The Institute for Public Policy and Professional Practice (I4P) in association with the Faculty of Health and Social Care. Along with Anne-Marie, guest speakers included Youth Engagement Co-ordinator Ebi Lyere and Peer Leader, Seth Khan.

In an engaging and interactive session, the speakers discussed their work influencing system change, by promoting young people’s meaningful involvement in services at an individual and policy level. Peer Power, who specialise in empathy development, co-production and social and emotional learning for practitioners and young people, urged delegates to do more to ensure that the voices of young people, especially those most vulnerable and marginalised, are heard and acted upon.

“At Peer Power we believe that the relationship IS the intervention. It is what young people tell us, and it is what research tells us. The antidote for trauma is empathy and a secure trusted relationship. It is relational care that heals relational trauma. We are biologically wired to connect, as babies we do not thrive without connection and that this does not stop at childhood, we have a deep need to belong, to be seen, heard and understood,” said Anne Marie.

“Rather than focusing on young people’s criminality, practitioners could seek to understand that perhaps young people in their services have potentially suffered numerous losses in their lives, for example, bereavement of family or friends, loss of identity, loss of previous practitioners in their lives, and this might be a real factor in their engagement with services,” added Ebi.

The event, welcomed and introduced by Dr John Cater, Vice-Chancellor of Edge Hill, attracted high profile representatives from the sector, including Cheshire Youth Justice Services and Cheshire Police. The event was also supported by the Rt. Hon Lord Bradley, who is a Non-Executive Director at Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, a Trustee of the Centre for Mental Health and a Trustee of Prison Reform Trust.

Lord Bradley said:

“As was highlighted in my review of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the criminal justice system, there can be a lack of adequate assessment and identification of problems at an early stage. I recommended more training, for both health and criminal justice professionals. Discussed at their Edge Hill University event, social justice charity Peer Power made recommendations to improve the emotional support and wellbeing that young people receive in the youth justice system. Crucially, Peer Power called for greater focus on empathic relationships and more emphasis on ensuring young people’s voices are listened to and acted upon throughout the system”

Sean Creaney, Lecturer in Psychosocial Analysis of Offending Behaviour at Edge Hill University, added:

“It was a privilege to welcome Anne-Marie, Ebi and Seth to the University. The Peer Power event was interactive, engaging, authentic and powerful.”

Esteemed Polish researcher will visit Edge Hill thanks to British Academy

Edge Hill’s Mooting Room

A top expert in human rights, social policy and criminology has received a British Academy Visiting Fellowship and will spend three months at Edge Hill University working on a research project.

Professor Witold Klaus, Head of the Department of Criminology at the Institute of Law Studies at the Polish Academy of Sciences will be working on project titled Polish Migrants Deported from the UK, as well as looking to develop new research collaborations.

He will be progressing the project in co-operation with Dr Agnieszka Martynowicz, Lecturer in Criminology at Edge Hill. As part of his Fellowship, Professor Klaus will also be developing a collaboration with Edge Hill’s inter-departmental Migration Working Group.

British Academy Visiting Fellowships provide outstanding academics based in any country overseas – and active at any career stage – with the opportunity to work at a UK higher education or other research institution of their choice for up to six months.

This year the British Academy, an independent fellowship of world-leading scholars and researchers, and a funding body for research, nationally and internationally, has awarded 89 Visiting Fellowships of up to £33,000 to academics from 34 different countries.

Visiting Fellowships are supported by the Government’s Rutherford Fund, which was launched in July 2017 and aims to help maintain the UK’s position as a world leader in science and research by attracting the most talented researchers.

Professor Ash Amin, British Academy Foreign Secretary, said:

“We are delighted to announce this cohort of British Academy Visiting Fellows. The new Visiting Fellowships scheme is timely, ambitious and exciting. By funding 89 of the world’s most talented academics, the British Academy aims to build new – and enhance existing – international research links in the humanities and social sciences. In this way, the scheme will yield new insights and understanding for culture, policy and research agendas both at home and abroad.

“The programme attracted more than 750 applications worldwide, demonstrating that the UK remains an attractive and competitive place to carry out research. We wish the Visiting Fellows every success with their projects.”

Lawyer and criminologist, Witold Klaus is President of the Board of the Association for Legal Intervention and Secretary of the Board of the Polish Society of Criminology. In 2008 he was awarded a Social Nobel Prize by Ashoka Foundation and in 2009 won second prize for the best legal Ph.D. thesis awarded by one of the leading Polish legal journals, State and Law. He is also author and editor of number of publications on human rights, refugee and foreigner rights, criminology, restorative justice and discrimination issues.

Researchers search for extreme life in Cabo Verde

Salt pans of Pedra de Lume, Sal Island, Cabo Verde

Academics from Edge Hill University are exploring extreme environments in the hope of discovering new species of microbes that will help conserve the salterns in Cabo Verde, and assist future developments in biotechnology.

After devoting most of his research life to the study of microbial communities thriving in marine and extreme environments, Dr André Antunes, Senior Lecturer in Microbial Genetics, is leading the project which has received funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund.

André is working with Dr Marta Filipa Simões, Junior Research Fellow in the Biology department, Dr James Rowson,, Lecturer in Earth Sciences in the Geography department, and they are collaborating with Aires da Moura and Hélio Rocha from the Jean Piaget University of Cabo Verde (formerly known as Cape Verde).

This year-long project will survey microbial diversity in salterns on three islands in Cabo Verde (Sal, Boavista, and Maio), formerly used for the production of salt but now mostly abandoned and under threat from construction pressure in coastal areas. These are neglected areas that have seen a decrease in jobs and increase in poverty, and this project will help reverse this process, promote the conservation of the sites and their natural biodiversity, while contributing to increasing their scientific and economic value.

Once samples are collected, microbes will be isolated, characterised, preserved and made available for future studies. They will also be screened for biotechnological potential including production of enzymes, bioplastics, biominerals, and anti-microbial compounds.

“Extreme environments such as these are unique sources of exotic new microbes, which are frequently seen as the solution to many of our current issues: feeding, fueling, and healing the world,” said André. “This funding will give us vital insights into the microbial communities of these threatened high salinity environments, and allow us to capture and preserve relevant new microbial species as well as identify potential applications.”

As they are analysing locations that have never been studied before, André thinks it is highly likely that they will make significant new discoveries, including the isolation of novel microbial species..

The samples will be collected at the end of May and brought back to the UK for analysis. The researchers and microbiologists from Cabo Verde will spend the summer on campus working alongside academics from Edge Hill in the Tech Hub’s new Microbiology facilities.

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK Government in late 2015 to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries.

Deadline approaching for 2018 Scholarship applications

The deadline is approaching for Edge Hill students who may be eligible for Scholarships worth up to £2,000.

Excellence Scholarships
Our Excellence Scholarships reward excellence in areas such as creative arts, enterprise, ICT, performing arts and volunteering. These are just a few ideas, however there is no restriction as we are always looking for new and diverse applicants that showcase the variety of talent across the Edge Hill community. The Scholarships have nothing to do with your financial situation, degree subject or academic achievement.

If you are joining a full-time undergraduate degree, PGCE or foundation degree, or if you are a current full-time year 1 or year 2 student on an Undergraduate Degree  then you may be eligible for an Excellence Scholarship worth up to £2,000.

So, whether you volunteer or fundraise, shine in dance, drama or music performance; run your own business; blog or design your own websites; display promise as a writer, produce your own films or get creative artistically, you may be able to apply for an Excellence Scholarship.

For all you need to know about applying for an Excellence Scholarship, including full eligibility criteria, visit https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/scholarships/excellence-prospective/ for prospective students and https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/scholarships/excellence-current/ for current students

The closing date for applications for the Excellence Scholarships is Friday 25th May 2018.

Sports Scholarship
If you are talented at sport and, participate, coach or officiate at a competitive level you can apply for a Sports Scholarship at edgehill.ac.uk/scholarships/sports-prospective/ and edgehill.ac.uk/scholarships/sports-current/ for current students.

The closing date for applications for a Sports Scholarship for current students and for prospective students is Friday 25th May 2018.

Did You Know?
If you’re a current full-time student you can also now apply for the Rhiannon Evans Poetry Scholarship, Mark Flinn Scholarship and be nominated for the Adam Bell Scholarship or a Chancellor’s Scholarship (subject to eligibility).

If you have any queries about any of the University’s scholarships, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Scholarships Officer by emailing Scholarships@edgehill.ac.uk

Edge Hill students dance their way to New York

Students in Edge Hill University’s resident dance company 3rd Edge travelled to New York last month to perform at the US launch of the Oxford Handbook of Dance and Wellbeing.

The event was hosted at New York University by the Drama Therapy Programme, Dr Nisha Sajnani and Professor Vicky Karkou. Students Emese Allen, Amelia Shallish, Ruby Rose Tate, Georgina Fowler, Lauren Green, Gabrielle Orr, Maria Mortimer, Sophia Thomas and Scarlett Primrose, closed the event with a performance of So Love…, choreographed by renowned dance artist, Mathieu Geffré.

Co-editor of the book, Professor Vicky Karkou, Chair of Dance, Art and Wellbeing at Edge Hill University said:

“Our students gained not only an experience of performing in a different venue such as New York University, but an international experience of performing in one of the most exciting cities in the world in terms of contemporary dance.  They had opportunities to meet students and professionals from the dance and related fields, to try out dance classes at well-known dance studios, to wander around the city and get exposed to different cultures, offering them opportunities to try and taste an international career beyond the boundaries of the UK and substantially advancing their employment opportunities. They impressed our hosts and the audience of the Oxford Handbook of Dance and Wellbeing launch.”

Watch the video of the trip, edited by Amelia Shallish:

Directed by Debbie Milner, Senior Lecturer in Dance at Edge Hill University, So Love… is the portrait of a generation looking at tomorrow’s adventures. Negotiating in between expectations and authenticity, this piece gathers a cast of young women building the path towards their empowered future.

The performance was met with phenomenal feedback. 3rd Edge dancer, Amelia Shallish said:

“Many people found the piece extremely moving and really commended us on how well we performed as a team. Diane Amans, who we were all familiar with, having quoted from her books numerous times within our essays, told us that our performance was the best thing she had seen in a long time.”

The trip was paid for by the Student Opportunity Fund (SOF), which enables students to take advantage of career enhancing and life changing opportunities. The fund also allowed the students to partake in one-off classes during their visit and to soak up the culture that New York City has to offer.

Speaking about her experience on the trip 3rd Edge dancer Maria Mortimer said:

“Attending and performing at the launch was not only a rare and greatly valuable experience, it also gave us the opportunity to talk to industry professionals and those who had been published in the book. Not only was it a meaningful event and beneficial to our studies, but it gave us the chance to perform in front of academics, allowed us to make international links, experience America and represent the University.”

The fund ensures that costs are not a barrier to students making the most of their experience at Edge Hill. It allows undergraduate students to apply for up to £2,000 which can help towards the cost of activities designed to prepare them for the future and enhance their employability skills.

3rd Edge dancer Emese Allen said:

“I enjoyed everything about the trip, it was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. The Student Opportunity Fund completely made this possible for us. To be able to network and discuss arts related topics with people at the event, some of which I know as authors and practitioners, was amazing.”

Register for Your Graduation Ceremony

The registration process for the July 2018 graduation ceremonies is open from 9am on Monday 16th April – 5pm on Friday 11th May 2018.

If you wish to attend your graduation ceremony it is essential that you apply, irrespective of whether you know your final results at this stage. Any applications submitted after the deadline will not be processed.

If you apply by Friday 11th May you are guaranteed attendance at your ceremony, providing you are not in debt to the University and have successfully completed your programme of study. To register simply:

  • View your Student Record here.
  • Follow the ‘Book Ceremony’ link to register your attendance and book guest tickets.
  • View the ‘Before you Graduate’ link at edgehill.ac.uk/graduation/before-you-graduate/ to ensure you are familiar with what you need to do next.

You must ensure that all your contact details including your home address and email are up to date with Academic Registry because information about your ceremony and certificate will be sent to both.

Visit the Graduation Ceremonies website from the 16th April for full details about the graduation process.

Research into past inspires better futures for local communities, believes new head of department

Edge Hill University has a new Head of Department of English, History and Creative Writing.

Paul Ward is a professor of modern British and public history whose own research is inspired by the communities in which he has lived and worked.

He describes the University as being an ‘Anchor Institution’, it is an organisation based in the community, bringing a positive cultural, economic and social impact to their local community, but also being able to react to its needs.

Paul shares this ethos with his approach to managing the department, with teaching and research being integrated with staff carrying out research, but also all teaching and involving students in that work, and being able to link that research to the communities where they are based.

He describes his own studies as the ‘Coproduction of historical knowledge’. His research is concerned with national identities in the United Kingdom since the 1870s. In particular, Paul is known for his historical study of Britishness and his research explores the way communities think about their past, and he is keen to involve his students and his new location in this work.

He joined Edge Hill from the University of Huddersfield where his location and local communities inspired research into topics such as Sound System culture and Bhangra.

He anticipates his latest move will inspire further research based on community heritage in West Lancashire and Merseyside, including the link between identity and new towns such as Skelmersdale, and also Britishness and Black History.

“I research Britishness and community heritage. If people know about their past they can imagine better futures out of it, and I have worked with community groups to get them to think about what would make their lives better,” he said.

“My research responds to what the community and organisations are telling me,” said Paul. “Depending on what I learn, my research is pushed in different directions and I respond to what people feel passionate about.”

He added: “I’m looking to get our students involved in my research, and want to inspire creative responses to the past. Being able to think like this helps students with employability- enabling them to think about their future.”

Paul has been involved in a major ESRC-funded collaborative project called ‘Imagine: Connecting Communities Through Research’ under the Connected Communities programme. He has also recently researched representations of the Beefeaters at the Tower of London as icons of Englishness and/or Britishness.

Paul has written four books: Red Flag and Union Jack: Englishness, Patriotism and the British Left 1881-1924, published in 1998 (re-issued in paperback in 2011); Britishness since 1870 in 2004; Unionism in the United Kingdom in 2005; and Huw T. Edwards: British Labour and Welsh Socialism, published in 2011 (funded by a British Academy Major Research Grant).  This year he has a number of publications coming out, including Re-imagining Contested Communities Connecting Rotherham through Research Policy Press), a book that challenges contemporary images of ‘place’, through co-writing with people from Rotherham in South Yorkshire.

One of his plans in his new role is to examine Edge Hill’s history during WWII with students involved in the research to identify the past in a building they are based in and how it relates to them.

Find out more about studying English, History or Creative Writing here (https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/englishhistorycreativewriting/)

Suffragette inspired performance scheduled for Sound City

Continuing the centenary celebrations of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, and as part of Edge Hill’s Wonder Women campaign, Liverpool’s electro-pop trio Stealing Sheep will present their Suffragette Tribute at this year’s Sound City.

Co-commissioned by Edge Hill University and Manchester based creative music charity Brighter Sound, the tribute performance will bring together female musicians from the Liverpool area with design, audio-visual and production students to create a marching band and procession featuring brand new music from the band themselves.

“The procession is a celebration of women and responds to the centenary of suffrage with female dancers from Edge Hill University. We’re working with choreographer Kate Cox and with map projections – which will be installed in the Blade Factory during the festival,” said Stealing Sheep.

The performance will be the culmination of a five-day artistic residency led by the band themselves at Liverpool’s Invisible Wind Factory. The residency is part of Both Sides Now, an initiative led by Brighter Sound to support, inspire and showcase female artists based in the Merseyside region.

Stealing Sheep said:

“We want to work with women from different ages, backgrounds and a mix of musical influences and styles, with a shared vision for celebrating women and suffrage. This incredible anniversary has inspired us to create a new piece of music that will come alive during this residency. We want to make a bold statement, bring women together and get loud!”

Edge Hill University is Sound City’s Innovation Partner and has an on-going partnership that provides career-enhancing connections to students. Edge Hill is committed to producing industry-ready graduates with real-world experience of working in the creative sector, which is essential in the UK’s competitive job market.

Click here for Edge Hill’s full Sound City programme.

Graduate’s latest work wins big at Film Festivals around the UK

Jack Leigh, who graduated from Edge Hill’s Film and Television Production course in 2012, is celebrating success after shooting a series of award winning short documentaries.

His career has gone from strength to strength since graduating and has seen him acquire jobs as a production assistant, runner and third assistant director on various British films and television shows. His impressive CV features work on Fast and Furious 6, ‘71, This is England ‘90, Peaky Blinders, Get Santa, X + Y, Skins, Last Tango in Halifax, The Syndicate and a range of commercial work for companies such as Reebok and Lucozade.

Later, Jack left drama in search of more creative involvement and took a job as Assistant Producer at Riverhorse. The company landed a contract with the Department of Foreign Development to produce documentaries around Non-Governmental Organisations working in hostile environments across Europe, Africa and America.

Jack said:

“I couldn’t have been in the position to have made these films, or work in the film industry without the training I received at Edge Hill. I got a great foundation of film making education there and met some people who I still work with today.”

During his time at Riverhouse, Jack met Tim Baxter who was director of photography on several of the projects. The pair bonded quickly and when Jack’s time at Riverhouse came to an end he went on to work alongside Tim at his company Eight Engines. Together they were commissioned to produce video content for a new production of the acclaimed War Horse at the Royal Albert Hall. This then led to them producing Quake, a twelve part animated web series for the BBC.

Through their success, Jack and Tim were then able fund their own creative project: The Human Nature Series, which takes a close look at human stories, filmed in the style of nature documentaries. Their directorial debut, Rich is the Life, tells the story of Marko Lauronen, who after being diagnosed with manic depression decided to withdraw from mainstream society and to pursue his boyhood obsession for gold prospecting. The film follows Marko’s search across the frozen tundra of the Arctic Circle as he contemplates the true value of gold.

L-R: Tim Baxter, Spesh Maloney and Jack Leigh at Manchester Lift-Off Festival

As well as picking up a London Independent Film Award for Best Short Documentary earlier this year, Rich is the Life premiered, and won Best Documentary at Manchester’s Lift-Off Festival last month. The documentary is due to be screened at film festivals around the world, with Amsterdam Lift-Off Festival as their next stop. You can watch the trailer and read an interview with Jack and Tim here.

Since filming Rich is the Life, Jack has gone on to work as First Assistant Director on the poetic drama Men Who Sleep in Cars for BBC 4, starring Maxine Peake and alongside Tim, completed another Human Nature Documentary Getting the Miles in the Legs.

Talking about his experience at Edge Hill in relation to his success Jack said:

“I think the most important thing that Edge Hill does is help develop people skills. It’s such a social campus and really sets you up for doing things like flying to the arctic to spend a week making a film with a crazy gold prospector! I had an incredible time at university, more than anything it helped me to develop a love for what I do. I’m really proud to call myself an alumnus.”

You can watch Getting the Miles in the Legs, over on their Vimeo here.

For full course information on BA (Hons) Film and Television at Edge Hill click here.

Funding provides behind the scenes glimpse at film industry


A group of Film and Television Production students got first-hand experience of working at a European film festival thanks to the Edge Hill Student Opportunity Fund.

Four second and third year students attended the Thessaloniki Film Festival in Greece to develop behind the scenes knowledge of a film festival by volunteering, attending masterclasses, concerts and exhibitions and the European professional industry pitching forums.

The group were able to attend the renowned festival and enhance their CVs following a successful bid to the Student Opportunity Fund which covered the cost of attending.

Third year student Shelby Keating (20) from Manchester travelled to the festival and took part as a volunteer.

She said: “I went to the Thessaloniki Film Festival because I anticipated that it would be greatly beneficial for my career, however I also thought it would be a very fun and entertaining adventure and be very interesting to see and learn how these sort of things work in the real world.

“Whilst at the festival I learnt many things, I learnt that the industry isn’t as ‘scary’ as it seems, and that with film and television it is all about who you know and about networking which we were all able to do successfully at the festival.

“It also opened my eyes to how to industry really works, and made me realise that it isn’t as hard as it seems to get to that place – and  it was also great to find that the directors are very open to talking and networking with students and young filmmakers like ourselves.”

Yiannis Koufonikos, lecturer in Film and TV production added: “This was a great opportunity which allowed students to experience the setup of one of the main documentary film festivals in the world. They had the chance to make connections with filmmakers and industry contacts and experience sessions with acclaimed industry organisations. During the festival the students completed a reflective journal which was shared with others on their return to Edge Hill.”

The Student Opportunity Fund enables students to take advantage of career enhancing and life changing opportunities.

The fund ensures that costs are not a barrier to students making the most of their experience at Edge Hill. It allows undergraduate students to apply for up to £2,000 which can help towards the cost of activities designed to prepare them for the future and enhance their employability skills.

Students from all departments have been awarded funding for a range of activities from interning overseas at the Ann Arbor Film Festival in America and the Computational Biology Department in Tokyo, to placements at the BBC and volunteering with local charities.

Find out more here.