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    Archive for the 'Global' Category

    Radically changing food habits with new undergraduate course

    By Guest Blogger, on 10 June 2017

    ­Written by Francis Lecomber, student on UCL BASc2096

    csfoodHow can we change our relationship to food? That’s been the central question for the new UCL Arts and Sciences BASc course “Citizen Science for Radical Change: Co-design, Art and Community” (BASC2096), which ran for the first-time last term. At a pop-up exhibition this week, selected students from the course showcased final projects exploring the factors that affect our decisions over what to eat.

    The course brought together multiple disciplines to explore food, based on an open source interdisciplinary method developed by our lecturer Kat Austen for her project Vital. Incorporating elements of chemistry, citizen science, community co-design and philosophy, the course encouraged students to think both analytically and creatively in their approach to learning, whilst embracing the overarching theme of food as a unifier of different peoples. The learning process itself is studied throughout the course, as we were encouraged to investigate the many different forms of knowledge and the hierarchical structure in which they exist – a structure that often places quantified data far above sensory perception in terms of value. This overarching theme continuously shaped and changed our approach to knowledge acquisition.

    Throughout the course, we worked with students from Newham’s NewVIc Sixth Form College, where we ran workshops and scientific experiments. At the end of the term, we co-designed exhibits and performances with the NewVIc pupils, which helped inform our personal designs for our final projects.

    In these final projects, the diverse threads of the course are woven into a major design piece. These designs were exhibited here, at the UCL Art Museum, on Monday 5th June as a part of the university’s theme of Transformative Technologies. In their diversity, they capture the multiple meanings food has to us, and the effect of engaging with it in an interdisciplinary way.

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    Beyond the headlines and hyperbole: Young people and Brexit Britain

    By Natasha Downes, on 6 June 2017

    Written by Natasha Downes, Media Relations Manager, UCL

    Young people have a complex relationship with politics, and they are often described as disengaged and apathetic.

    With Brexit expected to hit young people the hardest, what would the outcome of the referendum mean for them? How would it affect their attitudes, aspirations and sense of identity?

    These are the questions Dr Avril Keating (UCL Institute of Education) is seeking to answer through her research project, ‘Being young in Brexit Britain’. On Monday 5 June, Dr Keating presented the emerging results of her research in a talk entitled ‘Growing up Global’ as part of the UCL Festival of Culture.

    “Most young people voted Remain, but what we wanted to do was look beyond the headlines and hyperbole, to find out if those results would inspire a youth revolution”, said Dr Keating.

    In fact, what the emerging results of Dr Keating’s research has so far highlighted is that there are many diverse reasons why young people voted Remain, and that both the In and Out camps had two important things in common: a sense of uncertainty and a lack of information.   As a Millennial myself, I can really relate to this feeling of uncertainty.

    An uncertain future

    The results so far represent London and the South East, but they have covered a wide demographic of young people including elite students and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. While the vast majority of 15-29 year olds voted Remain, perhaps unsurprisingly, few were enthusiastic Europhiles.

    Instead, many young people voted Remain because they thought it was in their best interests, while others voted Remain by default. These young Remainers-by-default felt ill-informed to make their own decision, and as their friends and family were voting this way, it seemed like the safe option to maintain the status quo. When young Leavers were asked about their decision, they also had varied reasons for doing so, including protecting Britain’s sovereignty, addressing immigration and the view that the EU is a costly burden to the UK.

    One year on, the Remainers are largely resigned, albeit anxious, while the Leavers are a split between the nervous and the optimistic. But there is a consensus among both camps of having low knowledge about the specifics, and feeling uncertain about what all of this really means for the future of Britain.

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    Brexit minister Rt Hon David Jones MP visits UCL

    By Guest Blogger, on 30 March 2017

    pencil-iconWritten by Conor Rickford, Senior Partnership Manager (Europe)

    On 16 March 2017, UCL hosted a visit by a UCL alumnus and someone who will be about as close to the Brexit negotiations as one can get. Rt Hon David Jones MP, formerly a UCL Laws student and Minister of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union, one of the key departments involved in negotiating the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, spent an afternoon speaking with a number of UCL staff and students.

    David Jones MP Minister of State, DExEU

    David Jones MP
    Minister of State, DExEU
    Credit: Wikimedia Commons

    With the “Brexit Bill” having received Royal Assent earlier that morning and David Davis MP, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, naming the UK a “science superpower” at the Brexit Select Committee just the day before, it was a great opportunity to show the breadth and diversity of UCL’s expertise, outline some key concerns of students and staff and look at what the future might hold for UK universities.

    Over the course of the day, the Minister met with many students and researchers, some of whom remain unsure as to what the future might hold for those EU nationals currently residing in the UK.

    The Minister emphasised that resolving right to remain is a “top issue” for DExEU negotiations and when Article 50 is invoked, it will almost certainly be among the first matters that the negotiators from both sides will want to resolve.

    With more than 20% of our staff and around 12% of our students being EU (non-UK) citizens, I am sure that the vast majority at UCL would very much welcome an early declaration on this matter.

    At the London Centre of Nanotechnology, the Minister met with students and research staff from both the LCN and UCL Mechanical Engineering.

    Following a crash course in atomic force microscopy and quantum computing, he heard how existing EU research schemes have facilitated the creation of valuable collaborative networks across Europe.

    The Minister pointed to Theresa May’s statement that the UK would “welcome agreement to continue to collaborate with our European partners on major science, research and technology initiatives” as a good indication that the government will seek to protect those strong research links after the UK’s departure from EU.

    In my role in the Global Engagement Office, I often have to fall back on European funding stats to quickly summarise UCL’s research excellence (175 ERC grantees so far, more than €750m received in 2015…!), so it was refreshing to hear how our researchers value the opportunities to seamlessly collaborate across borders just as much as the funding itself.

    A thorn in the side: launch of the UCL Centre for Gender and Global Health

    By Guest Blogger, on 6 March 2017

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    By Dr Geordan Shannon, UCL Institute for Global Health 

    UCL is known for challenging the status quo. It was with this sentiment that the UCL Centre for Gender and Global Health was officially launched on the 16th February 2017.

    Led by Professor Sarah Hawkes, the centre will reach beyond academia to work with policy-makers and policy-influencers to address the complex relationship between gender and health.

    A global community of change makers and thought leaders converged to discuss innovations in gender and global health research. The daylong event included keynotes, interactive panels, film screenings, Q&A sessions and a networking reception.

    IMG_6307

    Images: Ilan Kelman ilankelman.org

    Keynotes

    The keynote panellists spoke about key challenges to gender and global health research, policy and action.

    Rachel Jewkes, the Director of the South African Medical Research Council’s Gender and Health Research Unit, shared new directions in gender-based violence interventions and highlighted feminist approaches to resilience.

    Benno de Keijzer, Professor of Health and Masculinities at Universidad Veracruzana and co-founder of the NGO Salud y Género, challenged the concept of hegemonic masculinity and how it relates to both men’s and women’s wellbeing.

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