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Drawing over the colour line

news editor22 October 2012

Florence Mills by Alexander Stuart-Hill, 1927.

Written by Henry Green, intern with UCL Communications

For the uneducated, and I would very much plonk myself in that sprawling mass, awareness of the story of black and Asian people in the UK is patchy at best: jumping from slavery to post war immigration without too much in between.

As such, it was a real treat to attend this lecture, in which Dr Caroline Bressey (UCL Geography) ably used photographs, artwork and letters to illuminate the role that Black and Asian people played in the changing social, cultural and political scenes emerging in interwar London.

Her research has made full use of UCL’s gargantuan collection of paintings, collages and sketches, and some of these works featured on beautifully printed postcards distributed outside the lecture theatre. These were a welcome change from the usual bundle of black and white lecture notes and set the tone for a fascinating and visually stimulating hour.

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Mice People: Cultures of Science

Clare S Ryan9 March 2012

Gail Davies (UCL Geography) travels around the world looking at laboratory mice, and the scientists who study them. To find out why a geographer would be spending her life doing this, I went to hear her in conversation with Steve Cross – Head of UCL’s Public Engagement Unit (and a closet geneticist) – at the event Mice People: Cultures of Science organised as part of the Humanimals season at the UCL Grant Museum of Zoology.

Gail is a human geographer interested in how science works, both in terms of the interface between nature and culture, and the spatial aspects of science.

A big part of her work is looking at how science varies internationally. Taking an extremely broad view of science, there have been two big “science migrations”. The first was after World War II when many European scientists moved to America. The second is happening now, with a huge shift in science going towards south-east Asia.

However, scientists don’t move around the globe alone. In the case of quite a few biologists, they take their mice with them. In fact, as Gail explained, if you take away apparatus, knowledge of standard methods etc., “the international knowledge economy looks rather furry”.

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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…)