March '18 bulletin
A distinctly alumni-oriented round-up of news, events and opportunities for March 2018, updated throughout the month.
1. Events to tackle health questions
Two upcoming events will put the University firmly at the centre of global discussions surrounding health. The MERH 2018 Congress - on 17 - 19 May in EICC - aims to foster the international exchange of research, policy and practice on some of the most important and high-profile health issues of today. Then on 29 - 31 May in McEwan Hall, the Planetary Health Annual Meeting will bring together new communities around the world to stimulate interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaboration towards ground-breaking solutions to major planetary health challenges.
2. International Women's Day
The University marked International Women's Day on 8 March with a public lecture in McEwan Hall by alumna Anne Richards, Chief Executive of M&G Investments. Ms Richards - a graduate of electronics and electrical engineering - used the event to explore how the financial sector might help close the gender equality gap. Elsewhere, a Wikipedia event to celebrate 100 years since women were given the right to vote took place with those attending being asked to research the lives of important women from history that are not included in the free online encyclopaedia.
We also took a look at some of our alumnae who made their mark in history:
3. Going for Gold on the Gold Coast
University of Edinburgh students, staff and alumni have a proud history of participation and success at the Commonwealth Games and we are delighted to once again have a strong contingent already nominated to take part in the Gold Coast 2018 Games, from 4 to 15 April.
4. Expert advice for online learners
More and more alumni are virtually returning to the University to undertake online postgraduate study. And now a day has been dedicated to expert advice for those considering doing the same.
5. Graduates scoop top craft awards
Two Edinburgh College of Art graduates - Robin Crawford and Halina North - have been recognised in the prestigious Inches Carr Awards that celebrate the work of recent graduates who have advanced the craftwork industry in Scotland.
6. Purple is the colour
Staff and students teamed up with local organisations to turn Edinburgh purple on 26 March. Purple Day was founded in 2008 to raise awareness of epilepsy worldwide. In Edinburgh, University staff, students and local people supported this initiative by wearing something purple, baking something purple, eating something purple and letting others know by posting photos online. Supporters also donated directly to the University's Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre.
7. Banking on your voice
Speak:Unique is a University of Edinburgh research project that aims to create personalised digital voices for communication aids, simply and efficiently. The ultimate ambition is for people to be able to use communication aids that speak for them in their own voice. This multidisciplinary project is a team effort, with clinical researchers from the Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research working with speech scientists at the University’s Centre for Speech Technology Research. The team is now gathering volunteer healthy donor voices with a range of regional accents. This is to build up our bank of voices, which are then merged and edited digitally.
8. Treasured volume saved for nation
Annotated plays by influential English dramatist Ben Jonson – earmarked for sale in North America – have been acquired by the University. The rare book was printed in 1640 and features manuscript annotations from the time, such as stage directions, details of props and textual corrections. An export bar was imposed on the book by the UK Government to give British libraries the chance to acquire it on the condition that they met the purchase price of £48,000. With support from Friends of Edinburgh University Library, Friends of the National Libraries and John R Murray Trust, the University of Edinburgh was able to purchase the volume.
9. Pollution has higher impact in deprived areas
Pollution tends to cause most harm to people in more socially deprived groups, according to University scientists. Sources and higher concentrations of air, light and noise pollution are typically found in more socially disadvantaged areas, research showed. Edinburgh researchers’ findings have been included in a report from England’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Professor Dame Sally Davies, which highlights the dangers of everyday pollution.
The CMO’s annual report says pollution is driving chronic sickness and must be recognised as a health risk.
10. Have a heart
Edinburgh College of Art alumnus Will Anderson's BAFTA nominated animation 'Have Heart', which follows the story of a GIF's existential crisis, has been released in full online. The film has also just been chosen as a Vimeo Staff Pick.
11. A pledge to the community
Initiatives to help people who are experiencing homelessness, to enhance digital skills amongst community groups and to back social enterprises are included in the University’s latest commitment to local communities. The aims have been set out in the University’s renewal of the nationwide Social Impact Pledge, a government initiative that encourages organisations to deliver projects of public benefit.
12. The Pathway to Enlightenment
On Saturday 17 March, over 100 supporters of the Pathway to Enlightenment and their guests returned to the newly refurbished McEwan Hall. They were given a tour of the building by Student Ambassadors and took in the stunning artwork high on the ceiling, the repaired stonework and improved access facilities. The highlight, however, was the Victorian Concourse. It is here that tiles featuring the donors' name are located. Each name is accompanied by a decorative motif sourced from the University's collections - an idea from two Edinburgh College of Art students.
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