HRH The Princess Royal visits Bournemouth University

Posted on Wednesday, December 12 2012

HRH The Princess Royal met with students and staff at Bournemouth University.

She toured facilities at the university’s Talbot Campus – including the state-of-the-art HD TV studio in the Media School – and spoke to some of the BU students who worked on outside broadcasts at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The Princess Royal watched BA (Hons) Multimedia Journalism students produce a TV programme about students’ memories of the 2012 Olympics and participated in a live panel discussion in the studio about the London Games.

Second year BA (Hons) Multimedia Journalism student Jasper Taylor presented the panel discussion.

Jasper, 19, who is from Guildford and lives in Winton while studying, said: “I was really excited but quite nervous as I didn’t want to mess up, but it all went really smoothly.

“The discussion she was involved in was about the general impact of the Olympics and what it meant for the UK. It felt very relaxed and her answers were brilliant.

“It was a really great experience, and I want to be a TV presenter, so it will be great for me personally to have on my CV and showreel.”

Alex Smith, a third year BA (Hons) Multimedia Journalism student was one of over 250 BU students who worked on outside broadcasts during the Olympics.

Alex, 22, of Peterborough, worked as an electronic newsgathering assistant at Wimbledon during the Games, and was involved in the panel discussion.

“It was really interesting and good that she was here as it shows that we have got a lot of talent at BU,” said Alex, who lives in Westbourne while studying.

“It was great to share our experiences with her and it was amazing to be part of the Olympics and the historic moments in Wimbledon.”

The Princess Royal then went on to see some of the projects produced by Digital Media Design students – which included apps for mobile phones and website ideas.

Third year student Kimberley Cook, 21, spoke to The Princess Royal about her idea for a website called the Beauty Lounge, where users can review beauty products.

Kimberley, of Southampton, who lives in Winton while studying, said: β€œThere aren’t that many girls on the course, so it was nice speaking to a woman about it, and she agreed with me.

“I guess it shows that even royalty have that problem of not knowing which beauty products to buy! It was amazing, but very surreal.”

The Princess Royal saw work produced by the National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) – which is based at BU and was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize earlier this year – and watched Professor Jian Zhang, Professor of Computer Graphics at the NCCA, carry out a simulated bowel operation using animation software he has developed.

She also saw presentations about some of the other ground-breaking research taking place at the university.

Dr Kate Welham, Head of Archaeology at BU, demonstrated the Google Under the Earth project – which allows people to see images of their excavations, geophysical surveys and discoveries at Stonehenge using the virtual environment of Google Earth.

Dr Welham said: “She seemed extremely interested and extremely knowledgeable. We discussed the neolithic village that we found and we also had a conversation about disposable rubbish and how important it is for archaeology.”

Psychology lecturers Dr Julie Kirkby and Dr Jan Weiner showed the Princess Royal their work using eye-tracking devices, which can record exactly where people are looking.

While Dr Kirkby is using the software to particularly focus at developmental dyslexia, and where children look while they are learning, Dr Weiner is working with places such as Poole Hospital to see where signs can be optimally positioned to help people find their way around complex and unfamiliar places.

She also heard from Professor Siamak Noroozi about the work his team are doing into prosthetic limb technology and how they can be improved.

Before she left the university she was presented with a gift by third year psychology student Lisa Marshall, who has cerebral palsy and has been named NUS Student of the Year.

Lisa, 20, who was also an Olympic Torchbearer near her home in Essex, said: “It was such an honour and I was really surprised to be asked.

“She asked me why I chose to come to Bournemouth and what I plan to do when I finish.

“I have had such a brilliant year and this has just topped it off. I didn’t think anything like this was ever going to happen. It’s amazing, and BU made it possible.”

“It was an honour to welcome Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal to Bournemouth University and demonstrate the fantastic work that our staff and students are doing,” said Vice-Chancellor Professor John Vinney. “This has been a wonderful year for the University, which started with the award of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for our world-leading National Centre of Computer Animation.

“We have invested millions in our estate and IT facilities this year to make sure our students have the best experience possible.

“The visit of the Princess Royal was a wonderful end to a very successful year, which gave us the chance to showcase our excellent research and explain how we prepare our graduates so well for the world of work.”

Photo taken by Joseph Kent.