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    UCL Events blog

    By Nick Dawe, on 6 May 2011

    Reviews of UCL public lectures, debates, exhibitions, shows, and more…

    Sir Michael Marmot in conversation: “Social injustice is killing on a grand scale”

    By Guest Blogger, on 6 October 2015

    pencil-icon Written by Helen Stedeford (UCL Life & Medical Sciences)

    Sir Michael Marmot speaks to audience members

    Public health expert Sir Michael Marmot introduced his book The Health Gap by sharing the story of Mary, a First Nations Canadian who hanged herself aged 14. Every case is tragically unique, however the suicide rate among young First Nations members is five times higher than for other young Canadians – why? The suicide rate for Indian cotton farmers is much higher than for Indians in other rural occupations – why? Poverty – at least that’s part of the answer.

    Using case studies and population statistics, Marmot illustrated the social gradient in health, which is found in all societies; those at the top of the income ladder have low levels of disease and long lives, and with each step down the ladder the chance of physical and mental illness, and early death, increases. So began a fascinating evening of discussion between Marmot, The Lancet’s Tamara Lucas and audience members.

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    Frantz Fanon: the man behind the mask

    By Guest Blogger, on 1 October 2015

    pencil-iconWritten by Marchu Girma and Dauda Barry

    Professor Lewis Gordon speaks to attendees

    Professor Lewis Gordon speaks to attendees

    It’s a Saturday, and yet the infamous Pearson Lecture Theatre at UCL (named after Karl Pearson, the ‘father’ of Eugenics) was filled with excitement. The long awaited conference and workshop on Frantz Fanon organised by the UK Sartre Society and Rethinking Existentialism project, was about to begin.

    We were a widely diverse group from all walks of life and from near and far. To my right sat a sister who travelled all the way from Amsterdam just for this conference, while to my left was a brother and a student from the University of Leeds. We made this journey and sacrificed our Saturday to hear something new about Fanon.

    The honoured guest, Professor Lewis Gordon, an expert on Fanon, was a very down-to- earth, softly spoken academic, wearing a t-shirt that said: “If you do not stand for something you will fall for anything.” He stood in the centre of the room, shoe-less, and spoke to us as if we were long lost friends.

    The main topic of his lecture was Fanon’s thoughts on violence. At the age of 14, Fanon witnessed an autopsy of a dead woman. This became a defining moment in his life. For Fanon, it was not a corpse that was being dissected but a woman who was being violated. Later, when attending medical school, he found the act of performing an autopsy difficult. His professor’s advice was to think of it as if it were ‘a dead cat’.

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    DPU SummerLAB: Common Grounds, Mostar

    By Guest Blogger, on 29 September 2015

    pencil-icon Written by Hannah Sender, Projects and Communications Officer at UCL Institute for Global Prosperity

    The UCL Development Planning Unit’s SummerLAB aims to bring together a group of people from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to work on a single project over a week, confronting major challenges facing contemporary urban life in four different settings. This is no simple task. Having recently returned from the Mostar-based SummerLAB – Common Grounds – I can attest to the numerous struggles and successes of some 20 participants faced with the challenge of creating a common ground in the still divided city of Mostar.

    Although several of our group were former DPU students, the SummerLAB also had in its cohort a theatre producer, an established architect and a forestry student.

    Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina (credit: Renata Summa)

    Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina (credit: Renata Summa)

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    Round table on the refugee crisis in Europe at UCL SSEES

    By Kilian Thayaparan, on 22 September 2015

    The refugee crisis has been a global issue for a long time, but never has it been more at the centre of the world’s attention than over the past month. The media has been saturated with shocking and often distressing images that highlight the challenges faced by refugees; there has been a flood of opinion and increased debate among influential figures and the general public alike; and political action has been taken on a national and global scale.

    With such an overwhelming amount of information, and from so many sources, simply understanding the situation and the issues that underpin it is by no means an easy task.

    That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to attend a roundtable panel discussion on the subject, held at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) on 15 September, featuring scholars and activists who looked to explore the various dimensions to the complex situation.

    Chaired by Sherrill Stroschein (UCL Political Science) before a large, captivated and expectedly passionate audience, the event was kicked off by Rouba Mhaissen (SOAS), who addressed the key question of why Syrian refugees are trying to enter Europe. To do this, she asked the audience to put themselves in place of Najah – a happy, pregnant mother-of-two living in Syria in 2010.

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