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Status: ACTIVE. PR Officer

Calling all businesses: BU needs you…

Are you struggling to manage your business social media accounts and online presence?

It wouldn’t be so bad if you didn’t think that all your competitors are online and doing a better job than you are. This could be easily solved by allowing our students at Bournemouth University to propose solutions to your problems as part of an assessed unit assignment this Autumn.

Whether you need to increase traffic to your website, keep customers on your website for longer, make people read your blog more often, improve your Facebook page engagement, increase Twitter customer service positive replies or introduce new social media platforms into your marketing and communication mix (YouTube, Vine, Instagram, Flickr, LinkedIn, Forums) our students can help.

2nd year Advertising, Marketing, PR, Politics and Media undergraduate students at Bournemouth University will be working offline and in pairs to pitch solutions to your social media marketing and communication challenges. You can then implement any of proposals by working with the pairs who created them as an “extra-curricular” project.

Please contact Liam Toms for further information (ltoms@bournemouth.ac.uk) if you are interested in participating.

BU academics research featured in The Times Higher Education

Researchers from Bournemouth University have made links between the changes in weather patterns to an infectious disease, as reported in The Times Higher Education (THE) magazine.

Their extensive research has led them to believe that the El Nino Southern Oscillation Phenomenon (an unusual climate pattern) could be the cause of Buruli ulcer, an infectious bacterial disease that affects thousands annually in French Guiana.

Aaron Morris, the lead investigator of the team and a PhD student studying at Bournemouth, has stated in the article that the research is “vital in understanding how climate change will affect the dynamics and emergence of pathogens in the future.”

The team hope this research will allow them to predict the outbreaks of the disease by observing the weather patterns.

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.

Visual Effects and Animation Festival returns to BU


The BFX Festival returns to Bournemouth this summer to celebrate British talent and creativity in animation, computer games and visual effects and inspire the next generation of people to enter the booming industries.

Last year’s BFX Festival was a fantastic celebration of visual effects, animation and games and this year’s event is aiming to build that success, with experts and enthusiasts from across the UK and beyond presenting an amazing selection of material and leading a range of Festival activities that will appeal to all.

Tickets are now on sale for the Festival, which will take place across four days from 24-28 September 2014, hosted at the Bournemouth International Centre.

Talks featuring movie titles such as The Lego Movie, Gravity, Maleficent, Godzilla, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Edge of Tomorrow will be on offer, giving delegates an insight into the range and quality of visual effects needed to create such blockbusters. Legendary computer games, such as the new instalment of Elite from Frontier Developments, called Elite: Dangerous will also be presented.

As well as talks from industry experts on some of this year’s best VFX and animation there will also be a large concept art exhibition direct from the vaults of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Pictures; featuring concept artwork from the movies Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent.

A series of workshops will be available for those wishing to explore animation and VFX techniques further and a number of family activities are also on offer, including children’s animation workshops and public cinema screenings. Talks and workshops have been created with all levels of expertise and knowledge in mind, and the Festival is open for all members of the public to attend.

The Festival is being organised by 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).

Sofronis Efstathiou, Senior Lecturer at Bournemouth University and the BFX Festival Director said, “We are delighted to be hosting the second BFX Festival this year and to celebrate the best VFX and animation in the world. There is truly something for everyone; from industry experts to hobbyists, animators to technical directors. Come and learn more about this amazing industry and the hard work that goes into creating some of your favourite movies and computer games.”

Companies such as Animal Logic, Framestore, Double Negative, The Mill and MPC will be speaking at the Festival, along with Festival partners The Foundry, Chaos Group, Next Limit and AMD.

At the heart of the Festival is the BFX competition – where students from around the country will be competing to create the best animation and visual effect from a selection of briefs and screenplays given to them. The competition, which is held on Bournemouth University’s and Arts University Bournemouth campus, replicates a film studio with participants working in groups of up to six to create a short visual effects or animation sequence. Teams are mentored throughout by industry practitioners, with a panel of industry judges picking the winning team and awarding prizes.

The competition is currently underway, with teams from 10 higher education institutions taking part, competing for a variety of award and prizes across a number of categories, with winners due to be announced during the Festival itself.

Tickets for the BFX Festival can be purchased on Eventbrite with Early Bird discounts available.

More information about the BFX Festival (including ticketing), and the BFX Competition, can be found at www.bfxfestival.com.

Bournemouth University Master’s student directing feature film


Bournemouth University student Norman Gregory, currently reading for a Master’s Degree in Film, has been in Tuscany directing his first feature film ‘A Reason to Leave’.

Film and Television stars Claire King (Emmerdale, Footballer’s Wives) and Mark Wingett (The Bill) take the leading roles in Gregory’s directorial debut. Cast and crew recently completed a fortnight of filming in Dorset, and have travelled to Tuscany for two more weeks of filming – with the film set between both locations.

Originally an actor, Gregory has decided to pursue a career in directing. He chose BU to complete his Masters in Film, as he believed the degree is the ‘best in the country for directing’. ‘A Reason to Leave’ is a part of Gregory’s final project.

The film, described as a ‘tragic redemption’, follows mother and daughter Sarah (King) and Bethany (played by Alice Bird) as they emigrate to Tuscany, and their involvement with Harry Webster (Wingett). Their reasons for their relocation are revealed as the film progresses.

The script was co-written by Gregory and BU Scriptwriting Master’s student James Cottle. Gregory lauded the strength of the script, which attracted King and Wingett. He said: “This is a really exciting project and I am delighted that Claire, Mark and Alice are playing the leads together with Simone Spinazza who joined us in Tuscany. They are all highly respected and established actors and are taking the film to another level. We have a wonderful script, co-written by James Cottle who is on the BU Scriptwriters Master’s course, the strength of which enabled us to attract Claire and Mark.”

A number of BU Master’s students have also had the opportunity to work on the film as crew members, providing vital experience as they finish their degrees.

Gregory’s tutor, Subject Leader in Film and Television Trevor Hearing, is expecting a positive response for ‘A Reason to Leave’.

Trevor Hearing said, “Norman’s debut feature film is the latest in a line of feature films to have come from graduates of Bournemouth University’s Media School in the past few years and this film looks to be just as successful. It is emotionally gripping story-telling at its best, with a recognisable cast who deliver powerful performances. Norman has drawn on his own acting career to get the best from his actors and he has delivered them a script which gives them a lot to work with. The film shows a distinctive directorial voice, combined with international locations and outstanding camerawork from a world class cinematographer. I am confident this is a film which will be talked about.”

Picture: Cast and crew on set in Tuscany, including Norman Gregory, Claire King and a number of BU students.

By Harriet Gilbraith

Harriet is a student at 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 WWI Film Set for Leicester Square Premiere


A film created by Bournemouth University students and set during the First World War is to premier in Leicester Square.

The Journal is a fiction film about a man called Blake, who finds a diary written by his Great-Grandfather during the First World War. The film is a flashback account of deception and honour.

The film was created by Bournemouth University Television Production students eager to enhance their learning through the summer months. Keen to tie in with the 100 year anniversary of the First World War, the team set about creating the film.

First year student and Journal Director Tim Mizon said, “We wanted to create a film that can catch the eye of the audience. We took on crowd funding first and raised nearly £3,000 – getting sponsorship from a number of executive producers. The team were so dedicated that they also contributed to the funding of the project. We are all passionate film makers and we wanted to make a film that we can take away and be proud of.”

The film is due to be premiered at Leicester Square on 25th October, and the first screening sold out within two hours of ticket release.

Tim continued, “A group of television 1st year students wanted to create a film during term time to create more opportunities for ourselves and to really take advantage of creating films before we depart from student life.

“We filmed in France and Belgium within the grave sites. I found a trench that was constructed by BBC Time Team’s investigator Andrew Robertshaw. He supported us with the 60ft trench, with costumes and weapons. We then moved location to Yorkshire to film the final scenes inside a house.”

Looking back on the film so far and how far it has come, Tim concluded, “We are very pleased with the success we have had so far, we still have one more scene to go but we are really proud with what we have achieved.  As a crew we are excited to be showing our film in such a prestigious area where Hollywood films are premiered.”

You can view the trailer for the film on YouTube and more information about the film can be found at www.thejournalfilm.com.

Students: New social media policy announcement

social-mediaStudents: A social media guidance document has been created to encourage and promote responsible use of social media at Bournemouth University.

This document is designed to support, protect and encourage your use of social media. All students should familiarise themselves with the document, which can be found on the Student Portal under the Conduct and Welfare tab of the Rules and Regulations page.

If you have any questions about social media procedures at Bournemouth University, please refer to your Programme Administrator in the first instance.

BU ambulance adds touch of reality to paramedic training

Paramedic Science students at Bournemouth University will be training in the most realistic of environments as an ambulance has been donated by the South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.

The ambulance, which will be situated in the car park of Studland House, will be used to teach Paramedic Science students how to react and respond to emergency situations.

Martin Handford, Facilities Manager in the School of Health and Social Care, said “This is a brilliant piece of equipment for the university and makes us one of the few universities in the country to have its own ambulance as a skills training centre. It will greatly enhance our students learning experience, giving them the most realistic skills environment to practice in.”

The ambulance is the latest in a series of equipment additions within the School of Health and Social Care and will give students the chance to hone their skills in realistic practice scenarios.

Martin Handford continued, “It shows the commitment of Bournemouth University in providing up to date skills training facilities and is a great addition to the 15 practice skills rooms that we already have.”

Pictured: Emma Church and Ian Mulhall, first year Paramedic Science students at Bournemouth University, Martin Handford, Ursula Rolfe, Programme Leader in Paramedic Sciences and Andrew Sanders, Fleet Engineer at South Western Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust.

Changing the World with Media Literacy: the UNESCO Forum and Declaration

LSE’s Sonia Livingstone and Bournemouth University’s Julian McDougall share some of the challenges and outcomes of the recent UNESCO Media and Information Literacy forum and question how we advocate for truly critical media literacy education in the current political environment. 

Researchers, educators and a broad range of stakeholders met in Paris at the first UNESCO Media and Information Literacy (MIL) forum on this week (May 27-28) to agree on and adopt a declaration with ambitious and far reaching aims – to create a ‘future proof’ strategy for MIL, towards a more civically responsible networked media landscape in twenty years’ time.

A new report on UK media and information education, authored by the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice in consultation with LSE, along with reports from 28 European Union partners, formed a key strand of the forum as Divina Frau-Meigs and Sonia Livingstone disseminated the outcomes of theCOST / Translit project.

Consensus, fragmentation, and a paradoxical approach in the UK

The conference, over two days, set out its very ambitious vision for an ‘augmented MIL’ to inform education, corporate media policy, public sphere and civic society initiatives and the protection of young people in social media spaces. Alton Grizzle, of UNESCO, observed the dilemmas – a hitherto overly fragmented field, with limited adoption of quickly outdated policies; the challenge of moving beyond protectionism to a converged approach between the internet, education and libraries and the importance of keeping literacy (“reading to lead”) at the heart of the project.

As has often been the case over decades of such discussion, there was broad consensus over intentions but fragmentation over the viability of implementation. In the UK, we have a paradox. We still lead the way in the media education curriculum, with established courses from secondary to higher education, but we argue that the UK is now trailing our European neighbours in policy mandate, political support, teacher training and funding for the broader project of providing media and information literacy as an entitlement for all citizens. Media education in the UK is currently vulnerable as policy makers favour an instrumental approach to coding that moves away from critical (and arguably political) dimensions of media literacy. In other countries, there is sometimes stronger political support but generally weaker curricular development.

Agreeing on recommendations and finding solutions

At the forum, there was no doubting the passion and force of argument. The Declaration, soon to be released, and on which Julian worked on late into the evening with a team led by Divina Frau-Meigs, calls for ten recommendations, including:

To foster MIL to address issues of access, privacy, safety and security and the ethical use of information, media and technology, informed by human rights standards, and to recognize the role of MIL in relation to cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and the protection of citizens in countries with fragile social capital and weaker democratic political culture.

… and

To encourage media and ICT companies to integrate MIL priorities in their strategic planning and governance with incentives, to include criteria in CEO pay such as collection of specific indicators, dialogue with stakeholders (customers, employees, academics, the financial community, young citizens and civil society) and to work within clear and transparent accountability frameworks.

It calls on educators, researchers, corporations, librarians and civil society to advocate media and information literacy as a response to the problems of civic engagement, as well as an instrumental means of fuelling the ‘digital economy’. Whether these objectives are themselves in tension was the subject of much debate. Among those who work with private sector corporate funders, or undergraduates who go on to work with multinational film producers or teachers who seek foster youth civic engagement, critical literacy and voice in the public sphere, these are real dilemmas in a discursive-political minefield.

And then, how to achieve these aims – which go as far as to nurture a culture of peace and respect across the globe – is, as always, less clear. The clearest fault lines are between delivery as a stand-alone mandatory school subject (favoured by Matteo Zacchetti from the EC) or a cross-curricular or informal / lifelong context implemented through multi-faceted dialogue (favoured by UNESCO). Whether the campaign for global media literacy is explicitly counter-hegemonic or more neutrally egalitarian was also contested. The perennial problem of talking on behalf of but not directly with young citizens pervaded.

However, there is global consensus among experts that media and communication technologies are more complex every day and that it is increasingly vital that young people can navigate this complexity to participate fully and fairly as digital citizens now and the future.  As we stated at the forum, in agreement with Divina Frau-Meigs, coding is not enough. Decoding today’s media – to recognise misleading and exploitative content, to appreciate what is available and to grasp the emerging opportunities – doesn’t come naturally. It needs to be facilitated, in mainstream, mandatory education. It must also be aided byuser-centred design else the task of decoding illegible interfaces will elude even the most media literate users.

The challenge is this: In contexts where a neoconservative hegemony undermines critical thinking, media literacy is marginalized and education is increasingly commodified by and for corporations, how can we lobby for MIL? Should one be more or less explicit about the political, counter-hegemonic objectives that are underwritten in the UNESCO declaration or instead stress the instrumental elements of MIL that serve the information economy discourse? Discussion at the forum positioned the reference to left and right as unhelpful and outmoded, but in the week of the European election results, might we be in grave danger of allowing a creeping anti-egalitarianism to masquerade as democratic ‘neutrality’ or to foster more of what Paolo Celot (leader of the European Association for Viewers’ Interests and involved in the Emedus project) referred to as ‘the globalization of ignorance’?

This blog post was taken with permission from the LSE blog site and gives the views of the authors, and does not represent the position of the LSE Media Policy Project blog, nor of the London School of Economics.

Epidurals PhD researcher wins coveted EPSRC award

BU’s Dr Neil Vaughan has won the EPSRC’s ICT Pioneers ‘Transforming Society’ award. The accolade, which recognises the most exceptional UK PhD students, was awarded to Neil at a ceremony in Westminster last week for his innovative epidural simulator project.

Dr Vaughan developed the medical device alongside anaesthetists at Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The simulator uses software to replicate the epidural process, thereby assisting in training for this delicate procedure that is performed over 1000 times each day in the UK.

The clinical project was proposed by the senior consultant anaesthetist at Poole Hospital, Professor Michael Wee, who also co-supervisor the PhD along with BU’s Associate Professor Dr Venky Dubey.

Dr Dubey said: “This is an exceptional achievement for BU and the collaborating partner Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Neil was up against stiff competition from top universities, including the University of Oxford, University College London and the University of Bath.”

Dr Vaughan’s work was judged by a panel of technical experts from academia and industry. He triumphed through a rigorous selection process over a six month period, which included a written proposal, video and poster presentation. This culminated in a high-profile research showcase, where finalists pitched their project to representatives from the EPSRC, Hewlett Packard, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), BT and an audience of hundreds.

The project

The winning device uses software to replicate the epidural procedure, incorporating ultrasound with MRI images to assist training epiduralists in determining the position of the epidural needle. This has not been done in previous or current epidural simulators.

Unlike existing epidural training technology, this prototype simulator incorporates patient weight, height and BMI. This is more realistic and, coupled with a physical manikin, gives a realistic model for training. An accompanying training package allows epiduralists to monitor their improvement.

Future impact

This prototype simulator allows epiduralists to practise on something that closely resembles the real person. If widely adopted this could reduce the learning curve, making epidurals more effective and potentially reducing the risk to patients. This may be translated into savings to the NHS in the form of a reduction in compensation claims.

The team are currently in discussions with industry partners to develop the simulator further. They are working with NHS Innovations South West, who develop and take forward new innovative ideas – both products and services – to enhance healthcare delivery.

The research team’s ultimate aim is to create a high fidelity epidural simulator with incorporated sound and vision true to the labour environment. This will increase the realistic experience of training, similar to that of a flight simulator.

Related links

Working with our local MP

NHS Innovations South West

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

About Professor Michael Wee – Senior Consultant Anaesthetist at Poole Hospital

About Dr Neil Vaughan – Researcher at Bournemouth University

About Dr Venky Dubey – Researcher at Bournemouth University

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

National Security: Advancing Capabilities to Meet Current and Future Threats

On Thursday 3rd July, the BU Cyber Security Unit (BUCSU) will be exhibiting at the National Security: Advancing Capabilities to Meet Current and Future Threats conference in London.

The conference will offer delegates an opportunity to investigate the key threats and risks to the UK’s national security. They will also learn of the latest developments in developing the UK’s cyber security and the role technology can play in protecting infrastructure and ensuring business and service continuity.

Facing the issue of developing the UK’s cyber security, there are two important areas which need to be tackled – the shortage of security practitioners and the increasing skills gap between existing knowledge and new cyber threats.

In response to these issues, BUCSU will be launching at the conference its ‘job retention through education plan’.

The unit is already working closely with the Police and there is traction to work with other government agencies too; this conference will provide an excellent opportunity to engage with these agencies and UK businesses.  See more on the blog.