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BFX Festival draws to a close


The BFX Festival came to an end following five days of movie screenings, animation workshops and industry insights into some of the best movies of 2014.

The Festival, in its second year, celebrated the best in animation, computer games and visual effects from the last 12 months, with talks and workshops from industry professionals offering a ‘behind the scenes’ look at how films and games are made.

Graduates and students from Bournemouth’s universities joined industry professionals and members of the public for the Festival, designed, in part, to inspire future generations to enter the booming creative industries.

This year, industry experts took to the stage at the Bournemouth International Centre to talk about their work on movies such as The Lego Movie, Maleficent, Godzilla and Guardians of the Galaxy. Legendary computer games such as the new installment of Elite (Elite: Dangerous) were also featured – with delegates learning about what it takes to create the visual effects for games and movies and just how much of our films are digitally created.

Framestore’s Ben Lambert, a Bournemouth University graduate, spoke about his modelling work for the Oscar-winning movie Gravity, which won the visual effects Oscar at this year’s Academy Awards. Another BU graduate, Miles Green, who works for Australia-based visual effects house Animal Logic spoke about his work on The Lego Movie and how they tried to stick to the limitations of the Lego world while creating the movie.

The Festival is the idea of the International VFX Hub; a collaboration between the award-winning National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) at Bournemouth University and the Faculty of Media and Performance at the Arts University Bournemouth (AUB).

Weekend activities had a more family-friendly flavour, as children and parents descended on the Festival to create their own animations, during a free workshop. Children were invited to make a model out of clay before using a stop motion camera to bring their creations to life. The talks and workshops were complimented with evening screenings of popular movies, including Maleficent and Frozen.

A special art exhibition, featuring concept artwork from 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent were also on display during the Festival, loaned from Walt Disney Animation Studios in California.

Sofronis Efstathiou, Senior Lecturer at Bournemouth University and the BFX Festival Director said, “It was great to see so many people learning more about visual effects and animation and their importance in cinema, TV and game making.”

Sofronis continued, “BFX Festival 2014 was a great opportunity to review some of the best visual effects and animations from the past year – I was in astonished by the quality of speakers and their presentations this year, and delegates seemed to enjoy the range of activities on offer – from screenings and workshops to talks from industry professionals on movies such as The Lego Movie and Gravity.”

Bournemouth University has a long history with the visual effects industry, with many graduates going on to work on award-winning movies and games. Over 80 BU graduates worked on the film Avatar, while around 60 BU graduates were involved in the visual effects for Gravity.

Plans are already underway for the BFX Festival in 2015, and alumni are encouraged to join in, as Efstathiou comments, “We’ll be back again next year and would love our alumni to join us so watch out for communications about BFX in 2015.”

For more information about the BFX Festival, or to keep up-to-date with the latest information about next year’s Festival, visit www.bfxfestival.com.

The Faculty of Science & Technology wins an award

The Faulty of Science & Technology wins the SUBU School of the Year Award SUBU-Cup-small

Following a successful integration of our Applied Sciences and Design, Engineering & Computing Schools into the new Faculty of Science & Technology, no one could have predicted the the immediate impact this transformation would make.

Judged by a panel of senior student representatives and student union staff, the criteria for this award is based on student experience and showing a real desire to involve students in improving their university experience.

This award is a testament to all the Faculty staff and cross department teams who are passionate about improving our student experience.

Congratulations to the Faculty of Science & Technology.


Double whammy win for Bournemouth University researchers

Bournemouth University (BU) can boast success once again as two PhD students have received awards for their outstanding research.

Their research focussed on photogrammetry – the use of photography in mapping measurements between objects – from the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPS).

Emily Norton was given one of the most prestigious awards, the Presidents Cup, for the best presentation to be shown at the RSPS Annual Conference in Glasgow. Emily’s research looks at how satellite imagery can be used to locate concealed and undiscovered mass-graves from wars or genocide.

To further add to their success, Heather Papworth was given the Wiley Award for Best Photogrammetric Contribution. Her award was given due to her research concerning the 3D measurement of damage and loss to archaeological sites using old aerial photos from World War Two to the present day. Regarding the future of her research, Heather has said: “I believe that my work can now be taken forward for use by heritage bodies to better plan their management and conservation work on these important archaeological features.”

The pair received their awards at the RSPS Annual Meeting in Aberystwyth and they were accompanied by Andrew Ford, a lecturer of geoinformatics at BU, who told us he was “so very proud and just over the moon” about his students’ success. Papworth recalled that she was “shocked but elated” on the announcement that she would receive the award.

By Charlotte Cranny-Evans

Charlotte is a graduate of Budmouth College in Weymouth, who is working at Bournemouth University in the Press and PR Department. She joined BU on a Sir Samuel Mico Scholarship, which provides 10 students from the college with work experience for four weeks over the summer.

BU welcomes delegation from Beijing Intellectual Property Office, China

On the 16th September BU welcomed Mr Yang Jiuming, Associate Counsellor of Beijing Intellectual Property Office (BJIPO), Ms Li Chunling, Consultant of Industry Promotion Division, BJIPO and Ms Wei Xinya, Deputy Director of Fengtai District Commission of Science and Technology of Beijing Municipality.

The visit, hosted by the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management (CIPPM), marked the beginning of long term collaboration in Intellectual Property between the two parties with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Specific areas of future collaboration include staff exchange, educational training, joint seminars, work placement opportunities for BU students and information sharing.

Dr Sonal Minocha, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Global Engagement officially welcomed the delegation and presided over the signing of the MoU.

During the visit delegates from BJIPO took part in an Intellectual Property Symposium, led by Professor Maurizio Borghi, Director of CIPPM. They also visited LUSH, the handmade cosmetics company at its headquarters in Poole and met with the Group Intellectual Property Manager, Alex Leonini and Patents Advisor, Stephen Solomon, both BU Law graduates.

Beijing Intellectual Property Office is directly affiliated to the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality and is responsible for the city’s patent affairs and the organisation and coordination of the city’s IPR protection.

The collaboration with BJIPO is timely as the UK and China are collaborating closely in the area of Intellectual Property.  The UK-China Intellectual Property Symposium held in Beijing earlier this month provided an opportunity for businesses from both countries to engage directly with government officials in order to better understand the Chinese and UK intellectual property systems.

For further information about CIPPM, visit the website.

Oscar-Winners and Disney are Hitting Bournemouth


Top experts specialising in visual effects and animation will be hitting Bournemouth this month to spread their knowledge at the BFX Festival organised by Bournemouth University (BU). Guests to the festival can look forward to a series of workshops, expert talks and screenings of films such as Maleficent. The event aims to celebrate the British talent in visual effects, animation and games whilst educating its guests.

The director of the event, Sofronis Efstathiou, is ‘delighted’ to be hosting the second BFX Festival after the success of last year. He endeavours to encourage the local community to visit the festival saying: “There is truly something for everyone from industry experts to hobbyists, animators to technical directors.” The event will be held in the Bournemouth International Centre from the 24th to 28th September.

Other masterminds present at the festival will include graduates from BU who were part of the team behind the visual effects in the Oscar award winning film ‘Gravity’. The brilliance behind Disney’s animation will also be revealed in exhibitions held over the course of the festival with artwork from Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent.

Naturally, the event has sparked up interest amongst many media outlets such as BBC Radio Solent and ‘The Daily Echo’. Gaming blogs such as ‘The Bearded Trio’ also ran stories on the event. The event was also mentioned in the online gamer’s website ‘Gamasutra’ where Bournemouth Council Councillor Lawrence Williams says: “We are delighted to support the BFX Festival. It is a fantastic opportunity for people starting their career to speak to the experts and gain insight and inspiration to enter the industry.”

By Charlotte Cranny-Evans

Charlotte is a graduate of Budmouth College in Weymouth, who is working at Bournemouth University in the Press and PR Department. She joined BU on a Sir Samuel Mico Scholarship, which provides 10 students from the college with work experience for four weeks over the summer.

BU academic uncovers Stonehenge truths in BBC documentary

Dr. Miles Russell, an academic from Bournemouth University (BU), has given comment on Stonehenge during a BBC documentary, Operation Stonehenge: What Lies Beneath.

In the programme, archaeologists take a high tech approach to discovering the history of Stonehenge and have started to explore the surrounding areas using 21st century technology to study over ten thousand years of human development.

Dr. Russell’s research has discovered that flint found underground in Grime Graves were also found in the form of prehistoric tools when the digging up of the surrounding areas of the Stonehenge.

The mining of the flint was an incredibly complex and dangerous process with the mines reaching sizes of 12 and a half metres deep. Russell said during the documentary: “These mines are quite an achievement when you think the people excavating these mines were only using stone and bone tools.”

Russell, who is also director of Regnum and co-director of the Durotriges Project, has given evidence that shows these prehistoric communities who built the mines were capable of large scale and complicated projects, furthering the discoveries of how the Stonehenge was created.

The programme is available to watch again on BBC iPlayer.

By Charlotte Cranny-Evans

Charlotte is a graduate of Budmouth College in Weymouth, who is working at Bournemouth University in the Press and PR Department. She joined BU on a Sir Samuel Mico Scholarship, which provides 10 students from the college with work experience for four weeks over the summer.

Face Blindness research sparks interest once again

Bournemouth University’s (BU) research directed by Dr. Sarah Bate has received even more attention as Dr. Rachel Bennetts featured on two different radio shows this week. The research looks at a condition called prosopagnosia, or face blindness, where sufferers are unable to recognize familiar faces including those of their friends and families.

Dr. Bennetts, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Centre for Face Processing Disorders at BU, has recently been a guest for two radio shows, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio 5 Live. She said in the interviews: “Most of us recognize faces on a daily basis without even having to think about it. But with sufferers of face blindness, it’s a whole different story.” In her interview, she talked about the recent developments in their research and how they have informed policy, with the NHS recognising the condition on the NHS Choices website.

The research by BU has been paramount in raising awareness of the condition; before this, prosopagnosia did not receive enough attention to be registered as a life effecting condition even though 1 in 50 UK individuals are believed to suffer from prosopagnosia. Taking part in interviews such as those on the radio and giving quotes for national newspapers, the team have been able to spread the word about their successful breakthroughs, allowing them to go even further into the developments of their research.

By Charlotte Cranny-Evans

Charlotte is a graduate of Budmouth College in Weymouth, who is working at Bournemouth University in the Press and PR Department. She joined BU on a Sir Samuel Mico Scholarship, which provides 10 students from the college with work experience for four weeks over the summer.

Students help Colombian communities move on from violent past


Five students from Bournemouth University (BU) have just completed four-week internships in Medellin, Colombia to volunteer with families and communities hoping to change perceptions of their country.

The BA Social Work students had the opportunity to complete their work placements in a kindergarten or an elderly person support centre. The kindergarten offers free placement for children under six, enabling them to give support and advice to families and communities who want to free themselves from the violent troubles of their past. The students were also able to work for Fundicol, a housing and support facility that helps elderly people that may have been abandoned or can no longer live alone.

The group was made up of first and second year BU students Karen Sampson, Gemma Chiverton, Georgia Foy, Cassie Dando and Michelle Lillywhite who were guided by the local Colombian social workers during their trip. One student, Karen Sampson said “We were told more don’ts than do’s. The warning of safety issues and possible hostility to tourists by local ‘guerrillas’ could not have been further from the truth.”

As well as the local social workers, the students received support from a local university as well to help them bridge the language gap. This allowed them to explore how organisations were coming together to overcome their historic issues. Sampson continued, “We were asked if it was safe and actually yes it was; as safe as anywhere here in the UK. It was suggested that we did not venture into certain areas alone at night but that is not dissimilar to some areas within the UK.”

The students were able to fund their trip thanks to the BU Global Horizon Fund, securing them £1,500 each to go towards their visit. Michelle Lillywhite said, “The whole experience was amazing and we need to bring back the message from Colombia  that asking for help is a positive move and does not mean people are weak or to be shunned. Families and individuals should be celebrated for understanding when support can make all the difference to empower themselves to be more independent.”

Jill Davey, a Social Work lecturer at BU, commented, “This was a great opportunity for our students to be exposed to the social work profession in different countries; to see the issues and care solutions in rural communities is a once in a life time opportunity. Our Social Work curriculum is centred around globalisation of the profession, but for these students to see it first hand and then share their experiences will be a great learning experience for other students too.”

By Charlotte Cranny-Evans

Charlotte is a graduate of Budmouth College in Weymouth, who is working at Bournemouth University in the Press and PR Department. She joined BU on a Sir Samuel Mico Scholarship, which provides 10 students from the college with work experience for four weeks over the summer.

BU academics create first text book of its kind

Two academics from Bournemouth University (BU) have put their heads together to create the first textbook to extensively focus upon the theme of green economy. During the creation of their own postgraduate course, the pair discovered that there were very few textbooks that discussed both the practices and principles of the green economy.

‘An Introduction to the Green Economy’, created by Adrian C. Newton Director of the Green Economy MSc and Elena Cantarello a teacher on the course,  aims to educate its readers by giving them an in depth explanation and scientific background to the green economy. As both the authors are lecturers on the course, they wanted to encourage and educate their readers as Newton says: “We believe that the green economy offers some tremendous opportunities for people wishing to develop careers in this area, so hopefully this book will help get them started.”

The eco duo also aimed to educate their readers to feel comfortable about debating the topic so, rather than telling readers what to think, they wanted to encourage them to think for themselves and decide their opinions based on a well-educated foundation of knowledge. As well as being the first of its kind, the book is different in that it also ties in the many different aspects and subjects that can affect the green economy such as psychology and law: “Bringing so many different subjects together is part of what makes the green economy so interesting as a subject, and hopefully this is reflected in the book.”

Adrian C. Newton, who is also a professor at the university, intertwines case studies to clearly show how effective the theories of green economy can be when put into practice, urging us to learn from other communities and focus on the potentials of the different disciplines of the green economy.

The pair have identified how overwhelming and disheartening it can be to focus on the state of the global economy but hope their use of case studies can inspire their readers to feel more positive towards the future of both their local and global economy. The book examines how large investments in disciplines such as green technology and renewable energy, could become the solution to current global economic and environmental crises.

Green economy is a very powerful, modern concept and this book is a positive representation of the hard work and efforts they have gone to in order to keep their readers and students green and keen!

Newton and Cantarello have also donated a number of their books to a good cause in Africa. Newton said, “We have waived royalties in return for a donation of copies to Book Aid International. 150 copies have been donated so far, which will be distributed to organisations throughout sub-Saharan Africa, including public and community libraries, and libraries in schools, universities, refugee centres, NGOs and prisons.

“Users of these libraries are often some of the most vulnerable and underprivileged in society. Our hope is that this book will support the development of green entrpreneurship and innovation in Africa, and thereby contribute to sustainable development within the region.”

The book is published by Earthscan/Routledge.

By Charlotte Cranny-Evans

Charlotte is a graduate of Budmouth College in Weymouth, who is working at Bournemouth University in the Press and PR Department. She joined BU on a Sir Samuel Mico Scholarship, which provides 10 students from the college with work experience for four weeks over the summer.

Climate change could drive rise in debilitating disease


A disease prevalent in developing countries could be spread by the changes in rainfall patterns according to a new study.

Buruli ulcer affects thousands of people every year, mainly in developing countries, and in the worst cases can cause fatality or permanent disability. The devastating bacterial infection starts with an area of swelling that becomes ulcerated, causing painful open wounds and necrosis of the skin. It is unknown how the water-borne disease is transmitted.

The study, published in Emerging Microbes and Infections, found a strong link between Buruli ulcer outbreaks in French Guiana, in South America, and changes in complex rainfall patterns, including extreme rainfall events driven by the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).  ENSO refers to warm and cool ocean-atmosphere events that take place off the coast of Western South America – with the study showing that this atmospheric anomaly can affect the spread of disease in this area.

Researchers from Bournemouth University found that outbreaks of Buruli ulcer can be triggered by changes in climate, with rainfall playing a large part in the spread of the disease.

Bournemouth University’s Aaron Morris was lead investigator on the research project as a part of his PhD. Aaron said, “Understanding how infection levels respond to climatic factors is hugely important, particularly with poorly understood, emergent diseases such as Buruli ulcer. These links help us shed light on their ecology and enable us to more accurately predict outbreaks. They are also vital in understanding how climate change will affect the dynamics and emergence of pathogens in the future.”

The research has focussed on the link between biodiversity and the spread of diseases in humans, with field research conducted in French Guiana focussing on Buruli ulcer. Biodiversity is an unpredictable and under-researched driving force in the prevalence and transmission of diseases, and this study shows the link between changing ecosystems and the occurrence of disease.

Bournemouth University experts Demetra Andreou, Rodolphe Gozlan and Hossein Hassani were also instrumental in researching Buruli ulcer.

As a result of the research, it may be possible to predict and prevent future outbreaks of the debilitating infection by predicting future weather patterns in countries that are susceptible to the disease and to fluctuating patterns of rainfall. The research also paves the way for future research into the impact of biodiversity and climate change on the spread of diseases.