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Embracing failure

Katherine Aitchison27 July 2012

Once a month, something beautiful happens in a dark room behind the Wilmington Arms pub in Islington. Now don’t let your imagination run away with you – I’m talking about Bright Club, the alternative comedy night from UCL.

On this night, researchers, academics and otherwise serious folk gather in the tiny room and, for two hours, tell silly stories and generally make fun of their chosen careers.

The event is understandably popular; tickets had sold out and I was glad that I got there early enough to grab a seat on a rickety wooden bench. By the time the metaphorical curtain went up, there were people leaning on all the walls and my bench was surrounded by those who had been further back in the queue and were forced to stand through the acts.

Each month’s gathering has a theme and the chosen topic for July was “Failure” in order to tie in with UCL’s series of Olympic-themed events, Exercise your brain. The idea being to take the edge off all the talk of winning and medals inspired by the Games by celebrating the fact that not everything always goes according to plan.

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Night of nearly 1,000 stars

news editor18 November 2011

Dr Martin Zaltz Austwick, (UCL Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis) recounts his experience of taking to the stage at the UCL Bloomsbury Theatre.

Last Friday, I was lucky enough to be small glimmer amongst a constellation of researchers as Bright Club: Stars took to the stage of the Bloomsbury Theatre. For the uninitiated, Bright Club was originated by Steve Cross at UCL, and is a night where researchers and academics perform ten-minute ‘sets’ about their work.

The spots have to be funny, engaging and entertaining – Bright Club is not a conference, and the sets aren’t lectures – so not for nothing has it been called “research stand-up”. Of course, a researcher doing mother-in-law gags would be no funnier than any other new comedian doing mother-in-law gags – what makes it come alive for me is the way the researchers instead create stories, jokes and explorations of their subjects, with all the passion and absurdity that comes with them. (more…)

UCL Awards for Enterprise

uczxsdd24 May 2011

Award ceremonies tend to be mainly of interest to recipients and their families, but for me the UCL Awards for Enterprise Awards – held on 15 May in the UCL Bloomsbury Theatre by UCL Advances – was an informative experience, enlightening me as to the rich diversity of UCL entrepreneurial engagement.

As Professor Richard Catlow (Dean of Mathematical & Physical Sciences) put it, it is assumed that most entrepreneurs come from computer science and engineering departments. However, there were nominations from across the board from UCL Arts and Humanities, the Bartlett, Mathematical & Physical Sciences and Laws.

Watch a video about how UCL has championed enterprise in London throughout its history:

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