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Archive for the 'Student life' Category

Thinking beyond sectors for sustainable development: How to make sustainable development happen

By ucyow3c, on 8 July 2015

pencil-icon Written by Lucien Georgeson (UCL Geography)

We have to break out of the silos; it’s clear that the success of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will depend on effective cross-sectoral governance and institutions. That is the powerful conclusion of a new book, Thinking Beyond Sectors for Sustainable Development, launched on Wednesday by UCL Grand Challenges and the London International Development Centre (LIDC).

Thinking Beyond Sectors examines the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and analyses the complex interactions between them. The main concept (see diagram below) is that the goals exist at three levels: ‘Well-being’, ‘Infrastructure’ and ‘Environment’, and we must understand the complex interactions between and within all levels. Now that the SDGs and their targets are more or less decided, the big issue for the coming year is the challenge of designing institutions and governance structures to actually implement the SDGs.

The ‘Levels’ of the Thinking Beyond Sectors approach

The ‘Levels’ of the Thinking Beyond Sectors approach


The Bloomsbury Studio – a new UCL performance space

By Ben Stevens H P Stevens, on 26 June 2015

UCL students and staff now have a brand new, flexible performance space in which to explore new ideas and take risks – with the only limit being their imaginations.

That’s how Simon Cane, Director of UCL Public & Cultural Engagement (PACE), framed the Bloomsbury Studio at its official launch on 17 June.

Simon Cane. Director of PACE. Credit: Richard Davenport.

Simon Cane. Photo: Richard Davenport.

He described his PACE team as “the air moving between things” and “a unique offer in higher education” in the way that they bring together teaching, performance and museums at UCL.

As a result, the team is perfectly placed to manage the programme of the studio, which seats 60–80 people, and they will be looking particularly for performance and activity that puts the spotlight on UCL research.

Speaking at the launch event, President & Provost Professor Michael Arthur praised the Bloomsbury Theatre as “an integral part of our being and the student experience” and a venue at which he had seen dance, opera and musical theatre productions that were “spectacularly professional”.

So he was very pleased that the Transforming UCL programme had provided an opportunity to improve the Bloomsbury Theatre through the creation of an additional studio space – describing it as “a tremendous development for us” and “an opportunity to work with students to generate a vibrant cultural life”.

The studio will also provide a permanent home for popular events run by the Public Engagement Unit such as Science Showoff and Bright Club.

And as a Bright Club stalwart, Professor Sophie Scott (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience) was the perfect choice to speak next about the benefits of being involved with public engagement activity.

Describing herself as someone who has “always been a massive show-off”, she admitted that when she first heard about Bright Club, she thought it was “the single worst thing I’d ever heard of”. However, a colleague egged her on to take part and, immediately after her first Bright Club, she said to herself: “I’ve absolutely got to do this again”.

She went on to explain how it had helped her not only to improve as a speaker – leading to radio appearances and talks at TED conferences – but also as a scientist in the way that interacting with the public had prompted her to ask different questions.

Professor Scott also mentioned how she encouraged the younger researchers in her team and we saw how this could bear fruit in the form of a short set by linguistics PhD student Nick Neeson, who gave us a witty, engaging introduction to his specialism, phonology – the study of sound patterns in speech.

The final speaker of the evening was comedian and presenter of Radio 4’s The Infinite Monkey Cage, Robin Ince.

Remarking on how he had been coming to the Bloomsbury Theatre for nearly 30 years and performing at it for 10, he hailed it as a place that had enabled him to combine “the ridiculous and the experimental”, while exuding “a fantastic sense of people working together”.

In particular, he said, it had given him the chance to work with UCL scientists such as Jon Butterworth and Andrea Sella while incorporating everything from bongo playing to tap dancing and wave particle dualities – often in the same evening.

As an example of just how eclectic the studio’s programme is likely to be, the launch event was rounded off by a performance from ukulele cabaret group, Martini Encounter.

Watch a slideshow of the event:

2015 UCL Scholarships and Bursaries Reception

By ucyow3c, on 18 March 2015

pencil-iconWritten by Luana-Maria Totea, Information Management for Business BSc student

Maurice Watkins, Professor Dame Hazel Genn, Leon Veal, Samantha Leung and Professor Michael Arthur

Maurice Watkins, Professor Dame Hazel Genn, Leon
Veal, Samantha Leung and Professor Michael Arthur

On Monday 9 March, UCL held its fifth annual Scholarships and Bursaries Reception to celebrate the positive impacts of philanthropy. There was a wonderful, vibrant atmosphere as students and guests came together in the North Cloisters for the event, which was a fantastic opportunity for scholars to thank donors for their generosity and support.

Professor Michael Arthur, UCL President & Provost, opened proceedings by welcoming guests and delivered some good news concerning UCL’s developments over the last year. This was followed by several speakers who talked about philanthropy from their personal points of view, emphasising how donors’ generosity has an impact, on a personal, institutional and community level.

The first student speaker, Samantha Leung, a bright and ambitious final-year law student from Canada, shared her experiences of UCL and spoke about the influence bursaries have, both on the individuals themselves as well as the wider community:

“My bursary, kindly and generously provided by the Jirasarunya Family, allows me to take on less paid work during the academic year in order to fund my education. With the extra time I have as a result, I can do more pro bono work: I volunteer in law-related charities and outreach programmes, educating children and youths about the law, as well as giving legal assistance and advice to those in our society who cannot afford legal services.


UCL Global Citizenship Lecture 2015: Shami Chakrabarti on Liberty

By Kilian Thayaparan, on 26 February 2015

Shami Chakrabarti speaking at the UCL Global Citizenship Lecture 2015

Shami Chakrabarti speaking at the UCL Global
Citizenship Lecture 2015 (Credit: Kirsten Holst)

Shami Chakrabarti’s now infamous description in The Sun as “the most dangerous woman in Britain” was referenced several times during this year’s UCL Global Citizenship Lecture, first by Dame Nicola Brewer, Vice-Provost (International), who described it as “quite an accolade”, and then by Chakrabarti herself, calling it “the gift that keeps on giving”.

Such an extreme epithet set the scene for an intriguing hour of discussion about civil liberties and how global citizenship can make a positive difference to the world.

The lecture comes at an important time in UCL’s Global Citizenship activities with the recent opening of registrations for the UCL Global Citizenship Programme – a two-week programme available to all undergraduates.

It allows students to engage with the world as ‘global citizens’, becoming not only experts in their fields, but also people who are understanding of, responsible for and engaged with the global community.

As Director of Liberty, a non-governmental organisation that campaigns for civil liberties and human rights in the UK, Shami Chakrabarti is, as Dame Nicola Brewer described, “a brilliant advocate for getting involved and making a positive difference to the world” – and, therefore, an ideal figure to inspire others to think about global citizenship.