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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.

    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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    Translation in History Lecture Series: The politics of rewriting Haitian translation

    By Guest Blogger, on 19 March 2015

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    Written by Joanne Tapper, Translation Theory and Practice MA student

    Tower of Babel illustration

    What can we learn from practical investigations of the relationship between postcolonial translation theory and postcolonial writing?

    Translation can never be purely aesthetic and will always remain complicated by ideological problems, argued Professor Andrew Leak (UCL French), as he gave the final lecture of this term’s Translation in History Lecture Series. Consequently, both translation theory and postcolonial studies are inherently political, embedded as they are within cultural systems.

    He went on to quote from translation theorist Maria Tymaczko’s interrogation of the relationship between postcolonial translation and postcolonial writing, and framed the beginning of his lecture within the context of André Lefevere’s work, who stresses the political and ideological natures of rewriting: “rewriters adapt, manipulate the originals they work with to some extent, usually to make them fit in with the dominant, or one of the dominant ideological and poetological currents of the time.”

    However, a kind of rewriting, not considered by Lefevere – but one that this lecture looked at in detail – was that of authors rewriting their own work. In order to do this, Professor Leak looked at the case study of a work rewritten for an international and metropolitan readership – Gary Victor’s A l’angle des rues parallèles, first published in Haiti in 2000 and republished in France in 2003.

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    Sexual Health: Intersections in politics and society

    By Guest Blogger, on 18 November 2014

    pencil-icon Written by Michael Espinoza, PhD candidate, UCL Institute of the Americas

    HIV virology testing form“By then, it was too late to hate him [for being gay].” – a self-described ‘former gay-basher’ reveals how he unknowingly befriended a gay man.

    This testimonial, part of a research project by Dr Richard Mole (UCL School of Slavonic Studies and Eastern European Studies), shows how a lack of human understanding can dictate how people relate to others whom they perceive as ‘different’. The difference in this instance involved sexuality and its relation to sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

    The first presenter was Professor Jonathan Bell (UCL Institute of the Americas), whose paper was titled The Economic Closet: healthcare, sexuality, and the politics of respectability during the AIDS crisis.

    Professor Bell discussed how healthcare politics in the 1980s saw gay rights leaders face two difficulties – one was the struggle against private health insurance companies and the other was the attempt to “adapt the socially-regressive and gendered New Deal safety net to their needs”.

    Not only did they have to accept that HIV positive gay men “had to be classified as disabled and unable to work to be entitled to welfare”, they also had to fight against profit-driven private health insurance companies who sought to portray HIV positive gay men as unproductive citizens who have “sexually promiscuous lifestyles” in order to deny their claims.

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