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Time To Talk Day

time to change

‘Time to Talk’ Day encourages us all to be more open about mental health, to talk about mental health and listen to others. It took place this year on Thursday 1 February 2018. At the University, we encouraged staff to have conversations about mental health on this year’s ‘Time to Talk’ Day.

So how did staff get involved on Time to Talk Day this year?

Several Institutes and departments hosted a pop up cafe…

We heard from staff in the Institutes of Sport and Exercise Science and Education, Comms and Postgraduate students in IHS who all hosted ‘Time to Change’ pop-up cafe sessions which encouraged colleagues to stop for 15 minutes in the workday to meet up, chat and share ideas and experiences in relation to supporting wellbeing and positive mental health in the workplace:

“Thank you for supporting the ISES pop-up café, for Time-to-talk day yesterday. I am aware that other staff will have had commitments preventing them from attending, but at least we were able to contribute to challenging ‘the elephant in the room’ in terms of talking about MH.” (Paul Castle, ISES)

One email, received from Suzanne Allies in IOE, summed up the intentions of the day:

“The Primary Education team (about 10 of us) met on the 2 Feb and had a good chat about MH and the strategies we find useful to cope in the workplace. We also discussed our forthcoming away day and what staff would find useful- which was surprisingly varied. Overall, staff commented that it was wonderful to have been given this opportunity to talk about MH- we are looking forward to the next ‘Time to Talk’ day!”

In Mulberry House, Laura Dhesi from ASU shared a photo of the WBS ‘five minute focus’ notice board promoting ‘Time to Talk’ day:

“I just wanted to let you know that having seen the item on the staff news weekly blog, we have used our WBS five minute focus board located in the kitchen of Mulberry House at City Campus to try and raise awareness of ‘Time to Talk’ Day and making ‘Time to Talk’ in general. I’ve attached a photo of our board!”

time to talk board

We received several emails from staff colleagues sharing useful resources on the topic of mental health at work

The Time to Change campaign this year launched a new film In Your Corner which shows straightforward ways anyone can be there for a friend or work colleague. Do feel free to share this film link with others.

Hilary Causer, IHS PGR student, shared an interesting report published by Student Minds about the impact on academics of having to give mental health support to students. The findings were based on 52 interviews across 5 universities. The full report can be accessed at:

Gill Slater shared a new toolkit to help University staff support students with mental health problems. The toolkit developed in conjunction with AMOSHE aims to provide a single resource which can be used by all University staff to increase their knowledge, understanding and confidence to help and support students to maximise their academic potential: http://staffresources.uhi.ac.uk/mhc/

Sarah Pittaway in Library Services shared an interesting link about creating a workplace culture that supports positive mental health and wellbeing:

“I was just reading the Time to Talk piece in the staff news and was reminded of an article I read last year. You may have seen it – it was about a tweet which went viral when a CEO responded positively to one of his team taking a couple of ‘mental health days’. This made me reflect on institutional culture and how employees feel about taking sick days for their own mental wellbeing. There’s an awful lot of stigma surrounding it, and I would guess that here, like many places, people only take time off when issues become very serious and they develop terrible anxiety or depression, for example. There’s certainly nothing that relates to it on our absence reporting form. I don’t know whether it’s relevant to what you’re hoping to achieve, but if we’re starting a conversation about mental health and wellbeing, I think this is something that would be well worth discussing”.

Jenny Hope shared her poem ‘Split’ which was written for World Mental Health day 2010:

“Following on from your email regarding #Time to talk on 1st February, I’ve enclosed a copy of my poem, Split, which was written for World Mental Health Day 2010, when I was visiting poet for the day @ The University of Worcester”.


You move on.
You pack your life, fold it down.
It cuts your fingers. Your room
is three sizes too small and stills your breath.
The cold distance of miles keep tugging
you back, stops you from tuning into new voices.
Your past re-enters as the door yawns
open. One day your old skin won’t fit.

This will happen.

One day your skin won’t fit. Your past
re-enters as the door yawns open.
Stops you tuning into voices. The cold distance
of miles still tug you back. Your room
is three sizes too small and stills your breath.
It cuts your fingers.
You repack your life. Fold it down.
You move on.

Jenny Hope

Written for World Mental Health Day 2010 @ The University of Worcester

Several staff emailed to indicate their personal interest in continuing these conversations on a more regular basis and offering their support to establish a staff peer support group/ online forum. We plan to hold an initial meeting to take this forward shortly. Any other staff who may be interested in helping, please do still email as its not too late to get involved!

If you want to share an email or blog or would like to help to establish a staff peer support network, please email Professor Jo Smith: j_smith@worc.ac.uk using the email header #Time toTalk

A further opportunity to carry on conversations around mental health will be on University Mental Health Day which takes place on Thursday March 1 2018 this year. A varied programme of events have been planned across the day including the opportunity to experience brief taster sessions led by mental Health and Counselling Staff on mindfulness and relaxation, mindfully walk the University Mile and to visit the newly refurbished University Labyrinth located at the bottom end of Woodbury by the car park on St John’s Campus which provides a paved walking meditation area in which to reflect and relax…do join us at some point during the day!


Charity Quiz 11 April

We are pleased to announce, for one night only, the return of
The Quiz Master: Chris Dunn

Chris will be chairing a charity quiz:

Wednesday 11 April
7pm for a 7.30pm start
Edward Elgar: Cotswold Suite

All money raised is for the University Challenge: 100 Miles for Joel

Entry fee: £16 per table – teams of 4

Entrants may bring their own drinks and snacks but there will also be a small bar available to purchase drinks on the evening.

Please send team entries to chrisdunn49@live.co.uk as soon as possible as places will be limited.

The evening will also include a raffle, if you have any prizes to donate please email CharityChallenge@worc.ac.uk

Get more for your money with Worcester Rewards

The Burger Shop Worcester (adjacent to Jenny Lind Building) is offering staff 10% off the bill (not to be used with other offers) under our Local Offers scheme. Just show your staff card or call to reserve a table on 01905 613498.

Worcester Rewards is also currently offering the following fantastic discounts:


House of Fraser 10%
Debenhams 12%
Currys PC World 8%
M & S 7%
Argos 7.5%
B & Q 8%
Specsavers 10%
The White Company 10%
Gap 10%


Humanities & Arts Research Seminar – “Return of the Living Slave: Jordan Peele’s Get Out as Zombie Film”

Please see attached details of the inaugural IOA/IOH Research Seminar for this semester where Dr Mikel Koven, author of several publications on the Zombie Film genre, will be presenting:

“Return of the Living Slave: Jordan Peele’s Get Out as Zombie Film

Date/Time: Tuesday 20 February @ 5.15pm

Location: St. John’s Campus, Conference Centre CC 007 (Malvern Room)

IHS Research Seminar – 28 February

On 28 February 2018, Ros Weston (Midwifery) will be presenting a session entitled ‘Stories and Storytelling: An Ancient Way of Learning that is still valid for HEI Students in the 21st Century. Why the findings of this phenomenographic study are significant for curriculum development ’.

The seminar will take place 1.00pm-2.00pm in BY1147.

Please see the attached flyer for further information.

ISES Research Seminar on 26 February

Staff and students are invited to attend a Research Seminar being held on Monday 26 February 2018. This will take place in EE G089, St John’s Campus from 13:00-14:00.

Metabolic Responses to Acute and Prolonged Hypoxic Exposure

Dr Ben Duncan
Sport & Exercise Science University Tutor

Since the observed decreases in body mass of mountaineers travelling to and spending prolonged periods at altitude, the cachexic effects of such an environment have been considered. This presentation will focus on the responses to both short term and long term hypoxia in relation to its potential benefits on human metabolism. More specifically the presentation will focus on the potential use of reduced oxygen availability, such as that experienced at high altitude, as an effective method to induce favourable changes in body mass amongst an unhealthy population. The increased interest and research in this area has occurred in response to the global growing prevalence of obesity.

Humanities & Arts Research Seminar – The Value of Value, or: The (Un-)Thinkability of a Postcapitalist Order of Things”

Please see attached details of the second IOA/IOH Research Seminar for this semester where Gerold Sedlmayr (Technische Universität Dortmund), will be presenting:

“The Value of Value, or: The (Un-)Thinkability of a Postcapitalist Order of Things

Date/Time: Tuesday 27 February @ 5.15pm

Location: St. John’s Campus, Conference Centre CC 007 (Malvern Room)

Centre for Violence Prevention 2018 Annual Conference


4 – 5 June 2018

University of Worcester, Worcester, UK

The aim of this conference is to draw together practitioners and academics from all disciplines in order to advance discussions and understanding around the complexities of preventing all forms of violence, when violence and violence prevention efforts occur at the intersections of identity and experience.

Call for Abstracts

Abstracts are invited from academics and non-academics who work in the broad field of violence prevention, including primary prevention through to tertiary prevention strategies. We are particularly interested in submissions on the following topics in relation to victim and offender positions:

Hate crime                           Stalking                                                      Knife violence

Child abuse/exploitation          Gang related violence                 Childhood violence

Child abuse and neglect      Child to parent violence    Workplace violence and abuse

Violence in older age      Technology-mediated violence    Domestic violence and abuse

Violence and gender                      Violence involving firearms and guns

Honour-based violence                 Violence prevention in the context of war

We would love to have submissions by practitioners or third sector workers discussing any aspect of their work in these areas so that we can complement the academic content with practice based knowledge. In addition, we would value input concerning learning and teaching developments in these areas.

Abstracts of proposed papers should be no longer than 250 words and provide general context and rationale to the presentation, and should describe the main argument/case, and where appropriate summarize findings. Implications for practice should be noted. Please contact us to discuss if you are unsure whether your work fits our brief.

Submission deadline: 31 March 2018 | Submit to cvp@worc.ac.uk

*PLEASE NOTE: if your abstract is successful, you will still be required to pay an attendance fee.

Bookings – please see attached flyer for further details.

To book a place, please go to:


*Early bird rates apply to bookings made before 30 April 2018.

If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Best Wishes,

Esther Dobson
Study Day, Conference and Events Co-ordinator

TEL Share and Inspire

The Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Working Group is hosting a ‘share and inspire’ on members examples of innovative practice. Colleagues are invited to join the next session where topics covered will include:

Publishing animated videos on YouTube to help students to meet the success criteria for their assignments

Using OneNote for Co-Learning

Discussion about the synchronous use of the blackboard virtual classroom and live lecture.

The next session will take place on Wed 28 February 2018, 11.30 am to 1.00 pm (room BY G198). Please make your booking via the staff development webpages. A light lunch will be provided – please contact Charlotte Taylor if you have any special dietary requirements, other than vegetarian.


Student Volunteering Week

Student Volunteering Week

Student Volunteering Week is here! Various events will be occurring in The Hangar throughout this week with the aim of celebrating the contribution and impact of student volunteering and encourage even more students to get involved. Stalls will be held by Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK, Organ Donation, Macmillan Cancer Support and various others. Each day will have an individual theme and you can check the Students’ Union website for daily information. Read our news article to find out more: https://www.worcsu.com/news/article/6013/Student-Volunteering-Week/

Union Awards: Students’ Choice

Students' Choice

The Students’ Choice awards are back! Students have until 23 March to nominate University teaching staff and support staff in various different categories. This year the categories include:

  • Outstanding Lecturer Award
  • Module Excellence Award
  • The Extra Mile Award for Support Staff (Non-Teaching)
  • Sustainability Award – Individual or Departmental Achievement
  • Award for Exceptional Personal Academic Tutor (PAT)
  • Excellence in Doctoral Supervision Award

We at the Students’ Union are appealing for staff to encourage students to fill out our short survey so those outstanding members of staff can get the recognition they deserve! The deadline to submit nominations is the 23 March and can by done by following this link: bit.ly/SCAs2018. Those shortlisted will be notified prior to the winners being announced at the Union Awards on 22 May.

As usual all shortlisted staff will receive a complimentary ticket. Colleagues are encouraged to also attend what promises to be a fabulous evening by purchasing tickets which will go on sale in March.

Please save the date to avoid disappointment!

Recommend someone! Nominations for the Students’ Union Elections are now open

SU elections

Nominations for this year’s Full Time Officer Elections here at the Students’ Union are now officially open! If you know a student who would be perfect for the role of either President, Vice President Education or Vice President Student Activities, we urge you to recommend them during this nominations period (19 February – 1 March).

To find out more about the individual roles as well as what the elections are all about, visit http://www.worcsu.com/elections. If you would like to recommend someone, follow this link: https://www.worcsu.com/yourvoice/elections/recommend/

Food for thought with David Syring: UMD

Tuesday 20 February – EE1100 12:30 – 13:15

The Blended Life in a Transnational World: Anthropological Insights on the Good Life from an Andean Indigenous Community

How are working lives intertwined with other aspects of our existence as humans?

How are the arts essential to cultural vitality for indigenous cultures?

In a world of frictions created by transnational phenomena, what insights might a cross cultural perspective bring to the question of what makes a good life?

Dr. David Syring is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota Duluth. His research focuses on globalization and craft-making in indigenous communities in Ecuador (see his most recent book, With the Saraguros: The Blended Life in a Transnational World) and in the United States. In this informal presentation he will share insights from his 12 years of work with the Saraguro people of the Andean highlands.

He also has done research on regional food systems. Under the auspices of the Participatory Media Lab@UMD he and his students have increasingly been using digital tools for participatory research (see the PML’s Youtube channel as well as Northern Roots: Growing Food in the Western Great Lakes Region, and a number of videos from Ecuador found on David’s Youtube channel). He is also the lead co-editor of Anthropology and Humanism, an international journal sponsored by the Society for Humanistic Anthropology, which focuses on the intersection of the social sciences and the humanities.


Share and Inspire Session – Developing Students’ Academic Skills

Tuesday 13 March, 12.30pm – 2.00pm, room EE G164

This Share and Inspire will showcase successful initiatives from the Institute of Sport and Exercise Science which have aimed to develop students’ academic skills. The first part of the session will model one successful initiative and be delivered through Blackboard Collaborate. When you sign up to the session you will be sent a link which will provide you with access and further information. Following the ‘remote’ session, lunch will be available and further examples will be showcased through short presentations. The session will provide a range of ideas and approaches to develop students’ academic skills and offer the opportunity to question the benefits and challenges to such approaches. It is particularly relevant to those who are looking for inspiration to develop the academic skills of the students they teach.

‘Agents of Development’ Conference – Saturday 17 March

In this year’s Beacons conference we step back from addressing some of the bigger contemporary themes in development, and instead take a more personal focus on what development means for different actors engaged in the development process.

In particular, we are keen to explore the relationship between individual experiences of ‘doing development’ (whether in a professional, voluntary, field practitioner or education-based capacity), and how this shapes our individual perceptions and guides our agency of what should be done, where and with whom.

At a time when the international development agenda is dominated by the overarching strategic aims of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is critically important not to lose sight of the individual roles that all development stakeholders can play – from the top-level of policy-making to grassroots activism – in influencing and delivering sustainable development.

Download the poster for more details.

Magic, Angels and the Cosmos at Harvington Hall

darren-oldridge-harvington-hallMagic, angels and the cosmos were among the fascinating subjects discussed during a mystical lecture at Harvington Hall by University of Worcester’s Professor of Early Modern History Darren Oldridge.

Visitors to the 16th century Roman Catholic Pilgrimage site in Kidderminster were left spell-bound  listening to Prof Oldridge’s interpretation of ancient texts unearthed at the moated medieval manor house.

Many of the books, now kept at St Mary’s College, Oscott in Sutton Coldfield, comprise works of devotion and controversy relating to the Church of England since the Reformation.

Prof Oldridge said the collection was an important record of Catholic life and includes a number by Jesuit, Franciscan and Benedictine writers.

“Some of the texts were published 350 years ago when the world was natural and people believed in orderly law governed by the cosmos,” he said.

“Catholics and Protestants alike accepted the existence of good and bad angels. The Stewarts and the Tudors accepted hidden forces and miracles were understood as supernatural.”

One text Christian Astrology written and published in 1647 by Parliamentarian William Lilly, who was said to have predicted the Great Fire of London, refers to the invisible influence of the stars and popularises the study of cosmology.

“Lilly had a pretty disreputable past as a young man mixing with doubtful magicians,” said Prof Oldridge. “But he made a fortune restoring the reputation of astrology from its murky origins.”

Another text by 17th century philosopher and witchcraft defender Joseph Glanvill brings tidings of “another world” and refers to “invisible spirits comprised of vaporous substance.”

Prof Oldridge said Glanvill was so keen to experience and record evidence of supernatural stories that he once visited the home of New Model Army soldier William Drury to witness singing coming from a chimney and the chamber doors of young children opening and closing.

Call for Papers: Worcester Journal for Learning and Teaching: Issue 12 (2018)

We are inviting submissions for Issue 12 of the Worcester Journal for Learning and Teaching (WJLT). We welcome contributions in the form of academic papers, project reports or personal perspectives.

WJLT is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal published electronically by the Quality and Educational Development Department at the University of Worcester. Our aim is to disseminate academic articles, project reports and personal perspectives about Learning and Teaching.

As a community of practitioners we welcome papers from colleagues at all Higher Education institutions.

Staff at the University and its partner institutions wishing to submit material to be reviewed for the next issue should read the Notes for Authors.

In case of queries, or to discuss potential contributions informally, please contact Barbara Mitra (b.mitra@worc.ac.uk). Further information and previous issues of the Journal can be found at https://rteworcester.wordpress.com/resources/worcester-journal-of-learning-teaching/

The submission deadline for the next issue is Monday 9 April 2018.

Please email potential contributions to the Editorial Assistant, Elizabeth Bessant (e.bessant@worc.ac.uk)

Lecturers’ fundraising for two West Midlands sexual violence charities

Two best friends with the same surname, both from Droitwich, have set themselves the extreme challenge of completing the London Marathon this year, in aid of two West Midlands sexual violence charities.

Kerrie Best, associate lecturer from the Institute of Health and Society and Becca Best, guest lecturer, have been friends since their sons met at nursery, and the pair started running together two years ago.

They completed the Worcester Half Marathon in 2017 and started training for the London Marathon in November in order to raise money for the Children and Young People’s Services at West Mercia Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre (WMRSASC) and Coventry Rape & Sexual Abuse Centre (CRASAC).

Kerrie works as a Counsellor at WMRSASC in addition to her lecturing work. She cites her reason for the challenge as being due to “seeing young children come across our doors at WMRSASC. They shouldn’t have to come, however, as long as they do need support it should be available, no waiting list, for as long as it takes.”

Both women have described the challenge as the hardest they have ever signed up to but are determined to see it through and raise as much money as they can. They currently train three times a week with a mixture of aqua aerobics, gym and running, with an additional long run every weekend, where to date they have surpassed 16.5 miles.

As part of the fundraising, there will be an online auction of a beautiful necklace donated by Anja Potze which will begin on 25th February and end on 4th March, further details can be found on the WMRSASC Facebook page: www.facebook.com/wmrsasc

To donate, visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/Besties4

Kerrie and Becca

Production Print Services switching to Digital Storefront

Dear colleague,

Please note that Production Print Services will be switching to Digital Storefront as its only job submission method from 31st January 2018 onwards.

Over the past year we have been developing and testing an alternative to submitting requests via email which offers a number of advantages to make the process of submitting work to the Print Room far easier, including an “Amazon style” online shop front to make it easier to select what you need.

The Digital Storefront can be found on the Staff homepage under “Production Print Services Portal” or by using this link

Should you require training on using any of its features please log a request via the IT Service Desk.

Please note that any email submissions to Production Print Services will cease to be actioned as of January 31st 2018. The only exception to this rule is for general enquires or business card orders*  which can be placed by emailing print@worc.ac.uk along with a completed UW Business Stationary form found on the O: drive here

Many thanks

Production Print Services

*Please note that business stationery orders are produced during the 1st week of each month subject to demand.

Library news: Resource Lists: reminder of the basics, New view for Resource Lists

New view for Resource Lists

Talis have refreshed the student view of Resource Lists in response to user feedback.

New features include:

  • additional item details which display within the list itself, instead of a separate screen;
  • book jackets where available;
  • the ability to change referencing style within the list;
  • a button to report broken links next to each item.

The new list view keeps all your notes and sections. It also works in Blackboard, so you can still link to a list and embed sections of a list within different parts of your Blackboard module.

Ready to take a look? Log in to http://resourcelists.worc.ac.uk and find your list. You’ll have the option to switch your list over to the new view. Once you’ve logged in and clicked on the List beta button, you will see the new list view displaying. To ensure it also displays in Blackboard, click on List beta on the top right corner and select 2.0 as default.

All feedback welcome: please email your Academic Liaison Librarian.

Winter Equality and Diversity Event

The University and Unison Celebrate Women’s International Day 2018.

Free Film Evening on Tuesday 6 March at 6.30pm

University of Worcester Riverside Building (free entry to event, parking available)
Pre-film refreshments served from 6.30pm

Bucket Collection in aid of West Mercia Women’s Aid
Everybody welcome!
Info: unison@worcestershire.gov.uk

International Women's Day

Events at The Infirmary

Medical Book Group: The Physician by Noah Gordon

Date: 22 Feb Time: 7pm
Venue: The Infirmary Cost: FREE

Gather in the exhibition to discuss the epic classic novel charting the 11th century journey of Robert Cole from London to Persia to learn about medicine. The group discussion focusses on the medical story and how that might be interpreted today. Booking preferred at www.bit.ly/TheInfirmaryTickets

The Physician

Bones, Bricks and Buildings

Date: 20 Feb and 23 Feb Time: 11am & 1pm (both days)
Venue: The Infirmary Cost: FREE

Have you ever wondered about the stories behind the architecture? Who built it? When? Why? Take a walk around City Campus to look at the range of Georgian, Victorian and contemporary buildings. Also, discover more about the bone pits found on site and what we think they were used for. It will take place outside for 40 minutes. Free with booking required at www.bit.ly/TheInfirmaryTickets

An event during Love Worcester Heritage Festival.


Dissection of a heart

Date: 21 Feb Time: 11am & 1pm
Venue: St John’s Campus Reception Cost: FREE

During love and infatuation, the heart gets the blame. What is a heart? How does it function? Undertake a guided pig heart dissection with friends and family to find out more! FREE. Suitable for all over six years old, all children must be supervised. Booking essential at www.bit.ly/TheInfirmaryTickets

An event during Love Worcester Heritage Festival.

The Infirmary Dissection Kit 2.png

National Museum & Wellbeing Week

Date: Week 12-18 March Time:
Venue: The Infirmary and George Marshall Medical Museum Cost: FREE

The medical museums of Worcester will be hosting various events this week to highlight the wellbeing. Activities will include sessions to focus on body and mind through yoga, walking, mind challenges, etc. Stay updated by following The Infirmary and George Marshall Medical Museum on Facebook or Twitter. Booking required at www.bit.ly/TheInfirmaryTickets

Social Media in the Workplace: Lessons in Employment Law

Stephen Hurley (Solicitor & Senior Lecturer in Employment & Equality Law at University of Worcester

Date: Wed 21 March 2018 Time: 6pm-7.30pm
Venue: The Hive Cost: Free

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube … the list grows and grows. What does the law say about an employee’s ability to use social media at work? Is social media use at work a basic human right or a dangerous luxury, liable to end in tears?

This lecture will suggest some lessons we can all learn from the caselaw. (Note: The talk is for educational purposes only. It will not be legal advice.)

Booking required via the Hive website at http://www.thehiveworcester.org/business-events.html

Nominations for Honorary Doctorates and University Fellowships 2018

Dear Colleagues

Each year at the annual Award Ceremonies in November, the University confers a number of Honorary Doctorates and University Fellowships. The awards are based on nominations made by staff, students, Governors and Fellows of the University. All nominations are considered by the Honorary Awards Committee, which then identifies the most outstanding to take forward.

The criteria for nominations are explained on the attached forms: Honorary Degrees Nomination Form – 2018, University Fellowship Nomination Form – 2018.

How to make a Nomination

Please complete the relevant form and return it to me via email (d.fisher@worc.ac.uk) by Friday, 16th March 2018.

It is very important that nominees should not be approached prior to consideration of nominations by the Honorary Awards Committee and should not, in any circumstances, be informed that they are under consideration.

You can find information on the awards made in 2017 on the University Website: https://www.worcester.ac.uk/community/honorary-degrees-fellowships.html

Kind regards

Di Fisher
Secretary to the Honorary Awards Committee