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UCL events news and reviews


UCL in the Middle East: crossing cultures

By ucyow3c, on 21 September 2016

pencil-iconWritten by Sophie Vinter, Global Engagement Communications Officer

“When we talk about the Middle East we’re talking about many places and very different contexts – what goes for Qatar is not the same as for a refugee camp in Syria.”

The panel of the inaugural ‘UCL in the Middle East’ event nodded in agreement at the words of Dr Seth Anziska (UCL Hebrew and Jewish Studies), who was joining in a lively discussion by Skype from the USA.

Jonathan Dale (right) talks with attendees at UCL in the Middle East

Jonathan Dale (right) talks with attendees at UCL in the Middle East

Focusing on a range of contemporary issues – ranging from urban development and cultural heritage to healthcare and education – ‘UCL in the Middle East’ was the second regional-specific event that had been organised by Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu, Pro-Vice-Provost (Africa & the Middle East) and the Global Engagement Office. The first event, Knowledge Africa, took place in June.

Open to academics and professional services staff from around the university, these events have offered the opportunity to hear from a range of speakers, network and take part in panel discussions to share ideas and learn more about UCL’s collaborations in a specific area of the world.

Questions from the audience encouraged thought-provoking debate on some hot topics in the Middle East, including the balance of encouraging entrepreneurship while also allowing for intellectual property ownership and the idea of post-conflict ‘interventionism’.


UCL Festival of Culture: Urban Well-being

By utnvlru, on 31 May 2016

urban-wellbeingAs part of the UCL Festival of Culture, Dr Gustav Milne – Honorary senior lecturer in the UCL Institute of Archaeology –  gave a talk on Tuesday 24th May, entitled ‘Urban well-being: How to live paleolithically-correct lives in a 21st Century City’.

The idea that we as humans are not necessarily designed for the urban environments that many of us now dwell in is not necessarily a new one, but the extent to which this affects our health and life expectancy is more strikingly marked than might be expected.

Gustav began by outlining how our biology evolved thousands of years ago to support the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, and explained that while the environments we live in have changed, our basic physiology hasn’t. We were told that our biological legacy dates back 6 million years – our physiology and lung system have not really developed since then.

Gustav mentioned the Grand Challenges project that UCL Archaeology has partnered in with Transport for London and Arsenal football club, along with several other organisations, which examined the health profiles of different social groups and populations within Greater London.

The research carried out for this project discovered a noticeable difference in life-expectancy between residents in boroughs with large areas of green space, from those who live which are densely built-up and populated. Contrary to what we often hear, the figures obtained during this research indicate that it’s not about social class or income but where you live.


Apocalypse in 2012? History, myth and science.

By Katherine Aitchison, on 21 December 2012

As you are no doubt aware, the world is scheduled to end today (21st December 2012). At least according to a lot of interpretations of Mayan calendars.

But how likely is this impending doom? And is that really what the Mayans were prophesising? These are the questions that were answered by Prof Elizabeth Graham of the UCL Institute of Archaeology and Dr Francisco Diego Quintana, UCL Department of Physics and Astronomy at a Lunch Hour Lecture on the 6th December.

Prof Graham is a Mayan archaeologist who talked about the accuracy of the ‘prophecy’ and the facts behind it. She began with a warning: some interpretations claim the end of the world will actually happen on the 23rd December so don’t get too excited when you wake up tomorrow – there’s still time for an apocalypse.

After attempting to explain the intricacies of the somewhat complicated Mayan calendar we got down to the business of the actual prophecy.


Archaeological ghost stories: M.R. James at the Petrie Museum

By Katherine Aitchison, on 30 July 2012

Petrie Museum events are fast becoming a firm fixture in my diary, not least because of the ghostly subject matter that they tend to cover. I’ve been to talks about psychics and curses, but for the latest event (on 19 July) we turned to some archaeological ghost stories.

The action centred on one man: M.R. James and the stories he was inspired to write during his career as an academic at Cambridge and Eton.

James is famous for bringing ghost stories out of their customary Gothic setting and into more contemporary, everyday locations and for being one of the first authors to use antiquarians as the main protagonists.

Dr Gabriel Moshenska of the UCL Institute of Archaeology took us on a journey through his research into the inspiration behind James’ stories and showed how elements of James’ extraordinary life were reflected in many of his works.

As the son of a rector, James spent much of his childhood in or around churches in Suffolk, which served as the settings for many of his stories.