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University of Salford news

The latest study and research news from the University of Salford

September 2012

August 2012

May 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011


Fashion students’ designs to hit the high street

Two graduates from the University of Salford’s School of Art & Design will see their fashion designs and photography in clothing stores nationwide after scooping both first prizes in a prestigious fashion industry competition.

Natalie O’HareNatalie O’Hare, who graduated this year with a BA (Hons) in Fashion Design, won the design award of the fourth Warehouse Design Competition, while BA (Hons) Fashion Image Making and Styling graduate Rachel Hannaway was chosen as winner of the photography category.

Organised by clothing label Warehouse and the British Fashion Council (BFC), the competition was open to students from the 34 institutions across the UK which are members of the BFC’s Colleges Council, who were invited to submit their graduation year portfolios.

Rachel HannawayA judging panel including representatives from Warehouse, the BFC and Grazia magazine chose the winners for their impressive design ability and creativity, and Natalie and Rachel will now join Warehouse for a six-month paid design placement. Natalie will then see designs from her collection produced and sold in selected Warehouse stores across the UK, while Rachel will be responsible for photography for the collection’s campaign.

The University’s Fashion programme leader, Bashir Aswat, said: ‘Both Natalie and Rachel were very talented and determined in their studies and the quality of their work was considered and professional. We’re really pleased for them both and wish them all the success in their future careers.’

Natalie commented: ‘Winning the graduate competition has been a fantastic experience. I’m really excited and very lucky to be given the opportunity to launch my collection with Warehouse. Having my designs sold in top high street stores is something many students dream of and for me this is now a reality.

‘I hope to gain as much real industry knowledge as possible and develop all aspects of my design skills while working at Warehouse, to help me make further progress towards my future career in the fashion industry.

Back to UK student news.


Net gains as University signs deal with Manchester Magic

The University of Salford has formed a new partnership with basketball team Manchester Magic to create more opportunities for young players and improve performance.

Salford hopes to play at the top level of national university basketball and aims to attract top players from all over the country. Joe Kilpatrick and Muftau Akintoye are the first Magic players to enjoy the benefits of the partnership, studying at Salford and playing for both the University and Magic teams.

Magic coach Peter Paraskeva will take the reins of Salford’s men’s team and the University will share its expertise in sports science, strength and conditioning, the management of injuries and rehabilitation during the long-term collaboration.

Performance analysis will take place at the University’s state-of-the art Human Performance Laboratory which contains an extensive range of biomechanical and physiological equipment.

James Crowley, Head of Sport at the University, said: ‘This is an excellent partnership for the University which will raise the standard of sport at Salford while also developing the wide range of mutual opportunities in working with Manchester Magic.’

Joe Forber, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Amaechi Basketball Centre (the home of Magic) said: ‘Dealing with the University has been a fantastic experience. Salford has shown a real desire to create a true and enduring partnership.

‘Everyone at the Centre is excited about the potential of this partnership to augment the opportunities and development of all the young people who participate in our ­programme.

Back to UK student news.


Local people needed to dig historic hall in Chadderton

The University of Salford is looking for volunteers to help them excavate historic Chadderton Hall as part of Greater Manchester’s biggest ever archaeological project.

Chadderton Hall circa 1900. Image provided by Oldham Local Studies and ArchivesVolunteers of all ages and abilities are needed between 10 and 22 September 2012 to find out the secrets of the Hall which was thought to have been originally built in the 13th Century and went through several incarnations before being demolished in 1939.

The University archaeology team believe there is the potential for a number of very exciting finds since the Hall was variously used as a stately residence, menagerie, boarding school and even a pickle factory. During World War One, the nearby park was also used as a barracks for Australian and New Zealand troops.

The project is part of Dig Greater Manchester, which will see over 9,000 people taking part in archaeological projects over four-and-a-half years in 11 boroughs in the region. It is being funded by the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities and managed by the University of Salford.

Digs have already been carried out in Leigh, Radcliffe and Tameside where hundreds of people unearthed large numbers of artefacts relating to the history of their local areas.

Brian Grimsditch from the Centre for Applied Archaeology at the University of Salford said: ‘It doesn’t matter if volunteers have no previous experience of archaeology – all that is required is interest and the ability to get yourself to the site.

‘It’s a great opportunity to learn some new skills, meet people and take part in a major project investigating local history.’

To sign up as a volunteer, please contact Debbie Atkin(d.atkin@salford.ac.uk 0161 295 3821).

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Robots on a mission to visit old people’s homes

More famous for trying to wipe out humanity (in science fiction at least), robots can in fact improve our quality of life considerably, according to a University of Salford researcher who’s been taking them on visits to old people’s homes.

Antonio Espingardeiro has been bringing robotic cats, seals and humanoid robots to a series of retirement homes in order to address the isolation and boredom often felt by their residents.

By programming his robots with a range of interactive games and activities, he’s not only entertained the elderly, but has also helped to bridge the gap between them and younger generations as the robots become a source of fascination and discussion during visits.

The project is part of his PhD, which is about the ethics of human and robot interaction. Antonio is particularly focused on the elderly because they can suffer from an ‘emotional deficit’ – not having enough interaction with younger people. According to his research these machines can provide cognitive assistance, supervision and entertainment which can be translated into an immense set of benefits for vulnerable groups.

He said: ‘The population of the UK is growing older and, as a result, a lot of people are being left isolated and lonely, even in the best care settings.’

Antonio has worked with over 74 people plus carers, relatives and managers in care and extra care facilities during 45-minute sessions stretching back eight months. During this period he has been able to record remarkable improvements in the happiness of the people he’s been working with.

‘The robots are a novelty at first,’ he said. ‘But they are also less threatening than entertainers or other people who come into homes to interact with people. And since you can programme them, I’ve been able to make sure that something different happens every week, so the visits never become stale.’

Antonio is also conscious that his project isn’t just about ‘buying a robot for granny’, but a meaningful way of bringing generations together and improving everyone’s quality of life.

‘Robots aren’t the only solution to this growing issue, but they can be a part of it,’ Antonio concluded. ‘It might seem like a strange thing to be doing at first, but my results show how much of a difference this can make.

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Salford launches new international nursing and healthcare management courses

The University of Salford has extended its range of courses to include postgraduate nursing and healthcare management programmes specifically designed for international students.

The nursing simulation laboratoryA unique one-year Graduate Diploma in Health will offer international students a pathway to further study by teaching them the English language within a health context. It will also introduce different styles of learning which encourage critical and independent thinking.

On successful completion of the diploma, students can choose from one of two new courses which will develop their skills to postgraduate level and encourage critical comparisons of health concepts.

The MSc in International Nursing teaches advanced research skills and offers practical experience in Salford’s state-of-the-art simulation laboratory. Students learn how to deal with medical scenarios in a safe environment by training with computer-controlled mannequins that can display various symptoms and have a pulse, bleed, cry, sweat and talk. They also have an observational placement in a clinical environment.

Students who choose the MSc in International Hospital and Health Service Leadership and Management will study subjects such as health economics, decision making and project and change management. They will also work alongside NHS managers during a placement to learn best practice.

The courses build on the existing MSc in Leadership and Management for Healthcare Practice which was created for NHS professionals but also proved popular with international students.

Senior lecturer Dr Debbie Roberts said: ‘These courses are uniquely tailored to international students who want to develop their careers, and the wider advantage is that highly skilled nurses and healthcare professionals will return to their home countries to share the benefits.’

The MSc programmes begin in September 2012 and the Graduate Diploma in Health begins in January 2013. For more information or to apply go to the University of Salford website.

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BBC showcase win for six student scriptwriters

Six budding student scriptwriters from the University of Salford have won the chance to see their work performed at a special showcase on Wednesday 21 March thanks to a joint project from the University and the BBC celebrating the opening of MediaCityUK.

Over the last six months ‘Write by the Quays’ offered students the opportunity to work with BBC Writersroom North to develop short plays about or inspired by Salford. And now six winning students, whose names will be revealed on the night, will see their works performed at the BBC’s new MediaCityUK home in front of an audience of BBC staff and members of the public.

More than 130 entries were received for the competition from Salford students studying subjects as diverse as Law and Social Work as well as Creative Writing, English and Drama.

Judges included actress Shobna Gulati, who plays Sunita Alahan in Coronation Street; Creative Director of New Writing at the BBC Kate Rowland; Omar Elerian, Associate Director at the Bush Theatre in London; and University of Salford Lecturer in Creative Writing and deviser of the project Jennifer Tuckett. They had a difficult task selecting the winning plays, which will performed by professional actors and directed by Elizabeth Newman, Associate Director at the Octagon Theatre Bolton and head of the theatre’s new writing department.

Shobna Gulati said: ‘This project is a unique celebration of the opening of MediaCityUK, offering students an important opportunity to work with the BBC, learn about the industry and see whether scriptwriting might be a possible career for them.’

Jennifer Tuckett commented: ‘Over the course of six months over 500 students at the University have participated in workshops with the BBC and 80 students have taken part in a targeted course focused on producing work for Write by the Quays.

‘The chance for all of these students to see that one day they could be working for organisations such as the BBC at MediaCityUK has been invaluable. Many have said that they now feel that writing and working for the BBC might be future career paths they could seriously consider.’

The Write by the Quays showcase will take place at BBC Quay House at MediaCityUK on Wednesday 21 March, with doors opening at 6.30pm for a 7pm start, finishing at around 9.00pm. A limited number of free tickets are available for the public and further details can be obtained from the University of Salford Events team by emailing s.l.bowker@salford.ac.uk.

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Enter World Book Night writing competition for chance to win a Kindle

The University of Salford is running a ‘flash fiction’ writing competition with the chance to win a Kindle as part of its World Book Night activities.

World Book Night logoWorld Book Night is a celebration of reading which involves thousands of volunteers giving away copies of their favourite books to people in their local communities. It will be held on 23 April in the UK, Ireland, Germany and USA.

The University’s flash fiction competition is open now to staff, students and the public in two categories: six word stories and 100 word stories. One of the earliest and most famous examples of the six-word story was reportedly written by Ernest Hemingway: For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

The winner will be presented with a Kindle at an event in the Clifford Library on the evening of 23 April. The runners up will each receive a £10 book voucher and their entries will form part of the evening’s celebration of books.

As World Book Night is all about sharing books, the University’s library will also be hosting a book exchange during the week of 23 April. The library is currently accepting readers’ old books so that exchanges can take place during the week of 23 April.

Head of community and student engagement, Linda Richings, said: ‘We’re really looking forward to reading the flash fiction entries. The evening of 23 April will be an entertaining celebration of the words people have written and the books that have given their readers great pleasure.’

Entries to the flash fiction competition can be emailed to studentlife@salford.ac.uk.

For the competition rules please visit the University of Salford website.

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North West is the ‘write’ place for inspiration

From Beryl Bainbridge to Anthony Burgess and William Wordsworth to Jeanette Winterson, the North West of England has been home to some of the country’s greatest novelists, screenwriters and poets.

Now the University of Salford is searching for new talent to enter a creative writing competition with stories, poems and memoirs inspired by their experiences of the region.

Entrants to Write Northwest can interpret the theme in any way they choose but judges, including The Curry Mile author Zahid Hussein, will be looking for a distinctive ‘Northwest’ flavour to the writing.

The overall winner can look forward to a free semester of teaching on a University of Salford Creative Writing MA course of their choice, and the work of the winner and runners up will be published in an anthology by Liverpool-based writers’ co-operative and small publishing house Erbacce Press.

Works can take the form of a single poem or a short story or memoir of up to 1,500 words and there is a £2 fee per entry. The competition closes on Friday 9 March with results announced on Saturday 31 March.

Competition organiser Dr Ursula Hurley, Senior Lecturer in English and Creative Writing, said: ‘This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the heritage, culture and unique spirit of the North West of England. We hope to inspire new and established writers to create something special. All the shortlisted authors will be published in an internationally-available anthology, and we hope to work with the winner to develop their talent even further.’

For full details of how to enter Write Northwest and competition rules, visit the University of Salford website.

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Scheme to boost graduate employability re-launches

The University of Salford’s Graduate Gateway scheme will be running again at the beginning of February, providing intensive skills coaching to boost employment prospects to any North-West-based graduates.

The three-day course takes place on the 1–3 February 2012 with 25 free spaces. Based at the University, the graduates, who must be unemployed or ‘under-employed’, will receive coaching from business experts in skills such as presenting, building their personal brand and will take part in intensive workshops.

One of the highlights of the scheme is a day of leadership training run by the Army at a centre in Hulme.

The Graduate Gateway has been running for Salford graduates since 2009, funded by the European Social Fund, but is now open to a wider pool of people as the University believes it can help boost regional skills in a difficult jobs market.

Mary Macfarlane from the University’s Careers Service explained: ‘We recognise that many graduates are unemployed or “underemployed” – working in roles not suited to their skills.

‘This scheme provides a solid grounding in skills such as leadership and communications and practical job-seeking skills to help the participants get onto the career ladder.’

One such graduate is Chris Burrows. ‘I’ve ended up working for 5live on the Breakfast Show,’ he said. ‘It’s directly linked to the contacts I made during the Graduate Gateway and further networking I did. I had a few offers from the Gateway networking event and I definitely chose the right one.’

Applications are now open and the deadline for to the Graduate Gateway is 25 January. For the full criteria and to apply go to the University of Salford website.

This is part of a broader partnership project supported by the European Social Fund, which includes nine partner universities. More information about this partnership is available online.

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Career-changing SEO and social media course comes to MediaCityUK

A social media marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO) course run by Salford Business School has now come to the University of Salford’s new state-of-the-art facility at MediaCityUK.

Starting on 26 January, the Manchester SEO and Social Media Marketing course provides the key knowledge and skills people need to work in the growing SEO and social media marketing industry. Participants have the opportunity to learn from leading experts in the Manchester SEO community and the programme leads to internationally-recognised certification by the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organisation (SEMPO), all offered right at the heart of the region’s digital and media economy.

Anthony McLoughlin from Accrington graduated from the course in November last year and has already found that it has helped him completely change his career path for the better.

While working as a technical clerk at a conservatory roofing company, he began to take an interest in digital marketing. He explained: ‘I didn’t mind my job, but I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. I started to read up about Pay Per Click advertising and then progressed into taking an interest in SEO. I found it so interesting that I decided I wanted to develop a career in the SEO industry.’

Commuting from home once a week and participating in online discussions and self study using the online training material from SEMPO, it was not long until Anthony was able to write a blog post about a career in SEO using his newly gained knowledge and skills.

‘The Search & Social Media Marketing course has helped me tremendously,’ Anthony continued. ‘Before the course I barely knew anything about SEO and social media marketing, and now I can talk confidently about the subjects and give advice to people.’

And, it was not long until Anthony was offered a job as a Digital Project Co-ordinator at Burnley-based Tone Digital Marketing Agency.

‘Learning from industry speakers from the Manchester SEO community was the main highlight of the course,’ he said. ‘They gave me some fantastic advice and inside knowledge that only people in the industry know, and I’m adopting the advice and “secrets” in my new role right now.’

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Salford research makes top ten of physics breakthroughs 2011

Work on making objects disappear from vision by the University of Salford’s Professor Allan Boardman has been named the third biggest physics breakthrough in 2011.

Professor Boardman worked with colleagues from Imperial College London on a paper which outlined how it is possible to bend light around objects to make them appear invisible.

The paper was judged by physicsworld.com to be third in the list of ten most important breakthroughs in 2011.

Physics World is the world’s leading physics magazine. Every month, it publishes features from the world’s top physicists and science writers and the top ten list was compiled from these articles.

Professor Boardman’s theoretical work involves the use of meta-materials which are tiny coils which have the ability to bend light around them. This means that when light strikes an object which is covered in meta-materials, it moves around it rather than reflecting – causing it to be invisible.

The applications of this technology are wide-ranging. Being able to control light has enormous potential for computing, medicine and for communications with processing speeds being able to be hugely increased.

Professor Boardman said: ‘I’m proud to be part of a team that has been included in this list. Meta-materials and work with light has the potential to make a huge difference to people’s lives and, by establishing some of the theory we have made an important leap in making this a reality.’

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Study of pregnant women in China reinforces raw food advice

Twenty years’ worth of studies into the rates of parasitic infection among pregnant women have found that women in the West are far more likely than their Chinese counterparts to carry organisms which have been linked to miscarriages and infant physical and mental damage.

The University of Salford’s Professor Geoff Hide and his colleague Professor Zhao-Rong Lun, of Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, looked at all studies of Toxoplasma gondii incidence in pregnant Chinese women between 1990 and 2010, comprising thousands of women, and discovered that around 10% were infected.

In contrast, 20-60% of women in continental Europe were found to have the parasite which is transmitted by cats and in undercooked meat.

The researchers put this difference down to the way in which food is cooked in the two regions since raw meat (such as smoked ham) is far more commonly eaten in the West. In the US and UK, infection rates are also higher, at around 20%.

Toxoplasma gondii is generally harmless but with large numbers of women infected, some experience miscarriage or give birth to children with physical defects. Some studies have also linked it to schizophrenia.

The findings represent a first because most of the Chinese studies were not translated into western languages – a barrier Professors Hide and Lun were able to work together to overcome.

‘These findings represent a first look at regional differences in the distribution of this parasite,’ Professor Hide said. ‘Our theory is that, especially in continental Europe, women are eating much more raw meat than in China.

‘Although the risk to each woman is low, with infection rates of up to 60% the study certainly reinforces existing advice about avoiding cat litter and raw meat products.’

Toxoplasma gondii infection in pregnant women in China was published in the journal Parasitology.

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Be part of the art as Lowry painting comes to life

An iconic Lowry painting will come to life in Manchester and Salford on Saturday 12 November 2011, thanks to members of the public and some stunning digital technology brought together to celebrate the opening of the University of Salford’s new MediaCityUK building.

Manchester artists Alastair Eilbeck and James Bailey have created ‘Lowry to Life’, a unique art installation combining LS Lowry’s 1954 painting ‘Piccadilly Gardens’ with cutting-edge technology and digital projection. The installation is part of the University’s ‘Believe’ free multimedia event opening the doors of its MediaCityUK facility to the local community.

Visitors to Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester city centre and Salford’s MediaCityUK can literally become part of the art as cameras and motion capture technology transfer their movements to specially-illustrated characters taken from Lowry paintings which will appear in a giant projection of the original Lowry work at MediaCityUK.

With deep roots in Salford and Manchester and his position as one of Britain’s pre-eminent painters of life in the industrial North of England, Lowry was an obvious choice for former University of Salford student Alastair, who now works for marketing and technology company Amaze, on which to base the installation. ‘I’m very interested in art in public spaces,’ he said, ‘and much of Lowry’s art depicted people in public scenes, so there was a common link from the start.

‘During my research into Lowry and his work it became clear that he was very interested in the characters in his paintings, and in fact many of the figures in group scenes were identifiable as real people he knew.

‘It made me think that, if we could somehow use members of the public to animate Lowry figures in a painting, it would be an appropriate way to celebrate his work and bring it to a new audience.’

Having received the blessing of the Lowry estate, and working with creative software developer James Bailey, Alastair developed Lowry to Life, an extremely ambitious art installation involving motion capture, skeleton mapping, projection and networking across sites in Manchester and Salford. He chose Piccadilly Gardens, one of Manchester Art Gallery’s collection of Lowry works, as the basis for the piece as it depicted a street scene which for the most part still exists in Manchester city centre today.

Motion sensor cameras set up in front of canvases in Piccadilly Gardens and at MediaCityUK will film members of the public moving and, in real time, will reproduce their movements in a digital Lowry figure. In Piccadilly Gardens, the Gardens themselves will be the backdrop to the moving figures while over at MediaCityUK, characters from Piccadilly Gardens and MediaCityUK will be combined and integrated into a digital projection of Lowry’s Piccadilly Gardens painting on a screen at the University’s new facility.

The end result will be a reimagining of Lowry’s artwork with moving characters walking through the painted version of Piccadilly Gardens. And each of the animated figures will be based on actual people from some of Lowry’s most famous paintings, including ‘The Lying Man’, ‘The Cripples’ and ‘A Day Out at the Prom’, all produced by Lowry around the similar period to Piccadilly Gardens. Wirral illustrator Maria Pearson has painted each of the characters from four different views so they can be shown from differing angles on screen when reacting to the movements of visitors.

‘The effect of the moving figures in the painting will be similar to split tin puppets,’ said Alastair, ‘which I think will capture the spirit of Lowry and I hope it’s an interpretation of his work of which he would have approved.’

Alexandra King, Piccadilly Partnership Director at CityCo, Manchester’s city centre management company which is supporting the event, said: ‘It’s great to be involved with this innovative project which brings a much-loved painting of a familiar public space to life. We hope visitors will take part and have the image of themselves in the modern day gardens beamed over to the Salford screen. Working with the University of Salford and Metrolink, we’ll be able to demonstrate just how close Piccadilly is to MediaCityUK.’

Lowry to Life is just one of many exciting experiences on offer at the University of Salford’s Believe event at its MediaCityUK site. From being filmed with creatures from BBC’s Dinosaur Planet to playing video games on huge iPad-like touchscreen tables, there will be a wide range of digital showcases and entertainment for visitors to enjoy.

Believe is free of charge for visitors and is also supported by BBC Radio Manchester. And thanks to Salford City Council, Metrolink and Transport for Greater Manchester, there will be free tram travel from Piccadilly Gardens and Eccles to the event, plus a free Salford QuaysLink bus service from Salford Crescent railway station and Salford Shopping City.

Believe is open from 10.30am–5.30pm on Saturday 12 November at the University of Salford, MediaCityUK, Salford, M50 2HE.

Visit the University of Salford’s website for more information.

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University and BBC have the ‘Quays’ to unlock student new writing talent

The University of Salford and BBC Writersroom North are launching a talent search on Tuesday 18 October to celebrate the opening of their new sites at MediaCityUK.

‘Write by the Quays’ will offer the University’s students the opportunity to write ten minute plays about, or inspired by, Salford. Entries will be judged by a panel including actress Shobna Gulati (Sunita Alahan in Coronation Street); Kate Rowland, Creative Director of New Writing at the BBC; Tamara Harvey, Associate Director at the Bush Theatre, London; and Jennifer Tuckett, Creative Writing Lecturer from the University’s School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences.

Six winning plays will be produced by the BBC and performed at its recently opened MediaCityUK facility in March next year, giving students a unique opportunity to work with the BBC and giving the audience of BBC staff the chance to learn about Salford through the students’ work.

Earlier this month the University of Salford also opened the doors to students at its new MediaCityUK campus, which provides a wide range of courses and qualifications at one of the UK’s most advanced teaching and research spaces, encompassing state-of-the-art facilities including HDTV and radio broadcast studios, digital media and performance lab, editing and post-production suites.

Jennifer Tuckett said: ‘This talent search builds on the work the University of Salford has been doing for the last three years on creative writing courses as part of the Playwriting Network, a range of partnerships between the University, leading theatres and BBC Writersroom North, which we now plan to expand.

‘Write by the Quays develops the relationship between students, the University and the BBC and also celebrates our joint move to MediaCityUK.’

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Doors open to hundreds of students at MediaCityUK

On Tuesday 4 October, the University of Salford threw open the doors of its new MediaCityUK facility to hundreds of students as teaching started for the first time.

Among the 9am starts were those studying broadcast systems and digital audio technologies. Overall 1,500 students and staff will be based for all or part of the time at the new building.

Sited next door to the main BBC buildings which contain six national departments including Sport, Children’s and Five Live, the University facility is also close to the many digital and creative businesses located in the Greenhouse.

To take advantage of this growing media hub in Salford, and help secure further research and placement opportunities, the University has formed partnerships with a number of major digital and media companies: including Adobe, Avid, and Carnegie Mellon University in the USA.

New student Antonia Bolcas, who’s studying journalism and broadcasting, is hoping to use these partnerships to her advantage. ‘MediaCityUK is one of the reasons why I chose Salford University, along with its good connections with the BBC,’ she said.

‘The building is very striking and impressive – it’s like nothing I’ve seen before in my life! I’m really looking forward to studying here and hope to use the opportunities available to eventually work for the BBC.’

The new facility boasts workspaces such as HD TV studios, radio broadcast studios, an immersive research facility, a digital media and performance lab and integrated post-production facilities at the very cutting edge of what is used in industry.

‘I think the building is amazing and very high tech – it gives students the chance to see what it would be like working in the industry,’ said Kirsty Hunt, who’s studying TV and radio production.

And for Dr Andrew Cooper, the Academic Director of MediaCityUK, the first day of teaching marked a major milestone in the development of the whole site. He said: ‘For me, the excitement of today is the students arriving and making the whole of the MediaCityUK environment come to life.’

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Volunteers help the fight against HIV and AIDS in Uganda

Staff and students from the University of Salford have returned from Uganda where they helped a children’s charity reach over 2,000 people for HIV and AIDS testing.

Uganda has one of the highest HIV/AIDS infection rates in the world but testing and education levels are low, especially in remote communities. The charity Teams4U uses sports to reach children in rural Uganda, allowing them to experience something of a normal childhood while also carrying out the wider health agenda of educating and testing people for infection.

Fourteen volunteers from the School of Health Sciences spent 11 days in the Jinja, Kumi and Dokolo assisting the Teams4U school sports programme. They coached youngsters in team games and lent their expertise to the project’s medical team.

Lecturer Wendy Munro explained the impact: ‘The local medical team had been testing about 10 people a day, but this increased to over 200 a day while we were there. Of the 2,000 people we tested around 40 were positive.’

The trip was Dr Phil Graham-Smith’s second time in Uganda supporting the Teams4U project. He described the experience: ‘At times it was an emotional rollercoaster; we spoke with men, women and children who tested positive and we heard tragic stories about children being orphaned because their parents had died of AIDS.’

Liam Mahoney, a third year applied sports science student, said: ‘We realise the difficulties that children face in Uganda and how privileged we are to have a university education. We all feel that we’ve helped to make a difference in the communities we entered.’

Third year physiotherapy student, Adam Newall, was similarly affected: ‘This has been the best and most rewarding 11 days of my life which made all the fundraising worthwhile.’

For more information visit the Teams4U website.

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Salford studies highlight complex causes and solutions to homelessness

Two University of Salford studies of over 250 homeless people and those who work with them have contributed to a major new report into the complex causes of homelessness in the UK and proposes solutions to the problem.

As part of the ‘Understanding Complex Lives’ report which was launched last week at an event chaired by Channel 4’s Jon Snow, researchers from Salford carried out interviews with homeless people in Stoke-on-Trent, Nottingham and London.

They discovered that homelessness was often the culmination of a long process which could include drug and alcohol addiction and abuse which started early in life, and that most people they spoke to had only become homeless later on in their lives.

The University of Salford contributed two separate studies to the report which highlights first findings from four projects that make up the ESRC’s Multiple Exclusion Homelessness Research Programme.

The first project, which had input from the University of Lincoln, interviewed 104 homeless people in Stoke-On-Trent. The research team uncovered a range of complex lives which often included severe childhood traumas, unsettled early lives and dysfunctional social relationships.

The researchers concluded that simplistic solutions based solely on the provision of housing were ultimately ineffective without specialised targeted support work.

In the second project carried out with colleagues from Nottingham Trent University, researchers conducted interviews with 108 homeless people and 44 service providers in Nottingham and London.

The researchers found that support agencies which routinely interact with homeless people identify a range of priorities and approaches in their work. Projects that were most successful in helping homeless people were those able to offer flexible personalised encouragement and support at the service user’s own pace.

Dr Phil Brown led the Stoke-On-Trent study. ‘There are a number of popular myths about homeless people – that they chose to be there or that they don’t care about what happens to them,’ he said. ‘Our research has challenged this perception. Many people are extremely motivated and are far from victims, but people need opportunities and, most importantly, people who are willing to help them turn their lives around.’

Professor Peter Dwyer led the Nottingham and London study and echoed his colleague’s views: ‘Working with agencies we found that there is a mixed approach. All of the support workers are extremely dedicated, but the most successful were permitted to spend a lot of individual time and work flexibly with their clients to tackle the formidable barriers that homeless people face in overcoming their social exclusion.’

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New train technology will save time, energy and money

Research at the University of Salford is on track to solve the age-old problem of leaves on the line delaying trains.

Leaves, as well as snow and rain, cause problems for trains because they reduce traction and cause wheels to spin on acceleration or to lock when slowing down.

Wheel slip/slide protection (WSP) measures in traction and braking systems are currently used to overcome the problems, but do not give instant data about the conditions of the track to the drivers and train operators. This means that drivers rely on rough estimates based on weather reports or track-side sensors which tell them to drive more carefully.

Salford scientists are working on a solution using sensors on the train that will show contact characteristics and conditions of the track – including the maximum adhesion available in real time.

The information obtained can not only be used by drivers to determine the maximum acceleration or braking forces they can apply, but also to enhance the advanced control and condition monitoring for trains of the future that are also being researched by the scientists at Salford.

Professor of Control and Mechatronics at Salford, TX Mei said: ‘Train driving isn’t like driving a car. Loss of traction is much more difficult to feel and more difficult to compensate for.

‘The contact mechanics at the wheel-rail interface are extremely complex and difficult problems demand sophisticated solutions in order to deliver reliable and accurate results.’

The technology being developed by the Salford team involves the use of a number of carefully selected mathematical models of a rail vehicle to mimic train dynamic behaviours in response to different track conditions.

Those models are compared with the real vehicle (through the measurement output of vehicle mounted inertial sensors) and the best matched outputs are then processed using an artificial intelligence decision making method to give live information about the track conditions.

The result is that wheels don’t spin on the tracks, preventing damage and increased costs. It also saves time because drivers can be optimally efficient in the speeds they travel at rather than using the current guidelines.

Furthermore, the system will make better use of energy – which will save on carbon emissions and fuel consumption. Trains will also be able to stop more precisely at stations and won’t overshoot platforms.

The Salford team is currently at the final stage of completing its study and is looking for an industry partner to help develop the system further.

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Work experience student’s designs go on sale in John Lewis

A University of Salford Product Design student has seen his coursework successfully turned into a sales success after his work experience company placed it at John Lewis stores.

Paul Humphreys spent eight weeks on placement at audio visual furniture company Alphason, working one of the designs he’d created during his course into a real product.

Alphason Designs run a live design brief with the University each year and during this project Paul came up with the ‘Pebble’ TV stand which he worked on with the design team at Alphason in order to simplify, manufacture and create a feasible mass produced product for market place.

The design team at Alphason continued the design process of ‘Pebble’ after Paul left and it has now been launched into the market with major retailers including John Lewis already having placed firm orders.

Paul said: ‘This placement was a real eye-opener for me. It took the theoretical work I’d done at Salford and put it into practice. Working with Alphason’s design team was a great experience.’

His tutor on the BA (Hons) Product Design course is Craig Despard. ‘Paul’s high energy and commitment has resulted in this excellent achievement, something his tutors are very proud of. It also reflects the Product team’s emphasis on the employability of our students.’

Alphason’s commercial director Paul McCarthy said: ‘At Alphason we are particularly proud of our ‘Designed in Britain’ label and so we are delighted to foster and nurture the talents of some of the country’s young designers in this way. We were delighted with the standard of entries submitted which made judging difficult. But Paul was a clear winner with his Pebble stand.’

You can see more of Paul’s designs at www.paul-humphreys.co.uk.

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World first course brings animation to medicine

The University of Salford has secured £300,000 from the European Union to take technology widely used in the games and movie industries to the health care professions, by developing an MSc in Clinical Gait Analysis.

The new Masters will train physiotherapists and clinical scientists to use gait analysis equipment to examine people who have difficulty in walking and interpret the results to provide more effective treatment.

Though originally developed almost 30 years ago for healthcare, the gait analysis technology struggled to become widely adopted. Instead it was seized upon as a quick way of creating animations – notably in computer games and movies – and has become much more advanced and widely re-adopted for medicine.

Despite this, there is no specialised training in the use of the equipment – a lack which Salford’s new course is designed to solve.

The course, which will be developed throughout the next year ready for 2013 admissions, will sit alongside a large portfolio of gait analysis at the University headed by Professor Richard Baker.

The University’s facilities are already used by local surgeons and professional sports teams to treat walking problems and improve an athlete’s speed and, as similar facilities become more common in medical settings, the course will provide skilled operators.

The course will be developed alongside two other leading centres in gait analysis: VU University, Amsterdam, and the Catholic University, Leuven, Belgium. The grant has been awarded by the EU’s Lifelong Learning Programme.

Professor Baker said: ‘This grant acknowledges Salford’s position as a European leader in clinical movement analysis and our commitment to becoming a centre for excellence. Providing training in this area will help bring a far better standard of treatment to people with walking difficulties.’

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Salford opens up successful graduate job scheme

For the first time the University of Salford is opening up its successful Graduate Gateway scheme to all North West based graduates – providing intensive skills coaching to boost employment prospects.

There are two, five-day courses available which run in November and January with 25 free spaces in each. Based at the University, the graduates, who must be unemployed or ‘under-employed’, will receive coaching from business experts in skills such as presenting, building their personal brand and will take part in intensive workshops.

One of the highlights of the week is a day of leadership training run by the army at a centre in Hulme. The graduates will also work on projects which they present in front of employers who, in the past, have included Deloitte, and web company UKFast.

The scheme has been running for Salford graduates since 2009, funded by the European Social Fund, and is being opened up to a wider pool of people as the University believes it can help boost regional skills in a difficult jobs market.

Mary Macfarlane from the University’s Careers Service explained: ‘We recognise that many graduates are unemployed or ‘underemployed’ – working in roles not suited to their skills.

‘This scheme provides a solid grounding in skills such as leadership and communications and practical skills to help the participants get onto the career ladder.’

One such graduate is Chris Burrows. ‘I’ve ended up working for 5live on the Tony Livesey and Stephen Nolan shows,’ he said. ‘It’s directly linked to the contacts I made during the Graduate Gateway and further networking I did. I had a few offers from the Gateway networking event and I definitely chose the right one.

‘Getting into media jobs is quite tricky and I’m finding it relies very heavily on networking to progress. Although I’m not quite where I want to be yet I’ve made big strides since graduating.’

Applications open on 1 September and the deadline for application to the Graduate Gateway is 30 September. For the full criteria and to apply go to the University of Salford website.

This is part of a broader partnership project supported by the European Social Fund, which includes 9 partner Universities. More information about this partnership is available on the University of Salford website.

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Permission granted for new student and public arts venue

Salford City Council’s planning panel has unanimously granted planning permission for the development of a £38m Arts Building for the University of Salford which will provide state-of-the-art performance and teaching spaces for students and the local community.

Featuring a theatre and performance spaces, the new building will house students studying in areas such as music, design and performance and forms part of a major redevelopment of the University campus.

As well as student spaces the new building will also include a café, and the theatre and studio facilities will be used to give performances and exhibitions open to the public. There will also be tuition and social learning areas to help students achieve their full potential in the best possible environment.

The new building is just part of an ambitious plan that is already underway with the refurbishment of the existing Chapman Building. The Arts Building will be sited adjacent to this development – creating a welcoming public space in the centre of the campus which will become a hub for students, staff and local people.

And, as part of the University’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and improving campus sustainability, the new building will have the world-leading BREEAM accreditation status.

Students from the School of Media, Music & Performance and the School of Art & Design will be the predominant users of the building, vacating the current Adelphi and Centenary Buildings. Students from these schools will also be housed in the new facility at MediaCityUK which opens on 4 October 2011.

The project is being worked on by planning consultants, Turley Associates and work will begin in the autumn of this year for completion mid-2014.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Martin Hall said: ‘This building and our wider Campus Plan are part of the University’s strong commitment to the regeneration of Central Salford, in the context of the City Council’s vision for this area and the work done over many years by the Central Salford Urban Regeneration Company.

‘It will be an important cultural centre for the people of Salford and will provide our students with a space to allow them to fully develop their skills.’

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Salford launches Robotics and Embedded Systems course in India

The University of Salford will be the first higher education institution to offer a master’s degree in Robotics and Embedded Systems taught in both India and the UK, when it launches an MSc in Robotics and Embedded Systems in September 2011.

Salford’s postgraduate course has been developed in partnership with Mumbai-based science education provider, ThinkLABS, in order to meet the demands of the Indian market which has seen a massive increased shift to the use of robotics and intelligent systems.

The degree will combine four months’ teaching in embedded systems – computer systems designed to do one or a few dedicated and specific functions – in Mumbai, with the remaining eight months at the University of Salford’s Centre for Advanced Robotics headed up by Professor Samia Nefti Meziani who has led academically on developing this partnership.

There is significant market growth forecast in the area of robotics and embedded systems across sectors including aerospace, nuclear, automotive and petrochemicals.

A recent study by the Indian National Association of Software and Services Companies predicted the industry will triple its market size by 2015. Robotics and embedded systems are essential for creating sustainable manufacturing and autonomous systems businesses in India.

Salford Vice-Chancellor, Professor Martin Hall said: ‘We are very pleased to be partnering with ThinkLABS. We intend to provide excellent technical education with an appropriate blend of practical exposure.

‘The course being taught at two locations and environments will help the students take in the nuances of industry developments in both countries and will be a great tool for knowledge transfer.’

ThinkLABS is a pioneer in the fields of hands-on science and technology education in India, and is an incubated company of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) Bombay.

Gaurav Chaturvedi, Director Vice-President of ThinkLABS, added: ‘The robotics and embedded systems arena is set to witness a high growth stage. Currently, the embedded space is witnessing a gap between the skill set required and that which is available.

‘We are collaborating with the University of Salford to bring in their technical expertise – with robotics at Salford being one of the leading courses in the UK. We believe that this reputation, together with ThinkLABS’ established technical expertise in the field of embedded systems, can lead to an instrumental part of the growth story of this industry.’

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University of Salford Students’ Union awarded £149,000 to encourage student sport

Students who don’t fancy joining organised clubs are to be given the chance to try sports on a drop-in basis, thanks to £149,298 of funding from the National Lottery Fund.

The Give Sport a Go programme is run by the Students’ Union and will last for three years – allowing Salford students to take part in six sports in an informal way without having to commit to joining student teams or get involved in competitive play.

Students interested in basketball, football, netball, badminton, squash and racquetball will initially be able to attend drop-in sessions held by coaches from the governing bodies, including the Football Association and England Basketball.

Following the initial sessions, the students will have the option to increase their participation in any of the sports up to the level of friendly competitions and leagues.

The whole year’s programme will conclude at Easter with a festival of sport where local clubs will be able to recruit the newly enthusiastic students as participants, coaches, volunteers or officials.

Tracey Robert, the Activities Manager at the University’s Students’ Union said: ‘The reason that we bid for this funding is that our research has shown that many students have to juggle their studies with jobs and childcare responsibilities so they can’t commit to regular organised sport.

‘Give Sport a Go isn’t competitive and is extremely flexible, so that even the most reluctant student can get involved. We’re really pleased to have won the funding and we firmly believe that it will help many more students keep active both during their time with us and for the rest of their lives.’

The Salford project, which was bid for jointly by the Students’ Union and the University’s Development team, is also being supported by Salford Community Leisure who are providing facilities, and Swan’s Travel who are helping with transport.

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Student volunteer nominated for Heart of Salford Award

A University of Salford student has been nominated for a Heart of Salford Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to volunteering in the city.

Jessica Prosper, 23, is an MA Human Rights student who is originally from Miami, Florida. She was an active volunteer in the USA and continued to make a difference when she arrived in Salford.

Jessica volunteers for Revive – a local charity that works with asylum seekers and refugees – and she is basing her dissertation on her experiences there. She also volunteers for the University of Salford Community Action Teams, helped to write Salford Volunteer Centre’s charter and is a fundraiser for Victim Support.

Julia Spencer of the Student Life department explains why she nominated Jessica for the award: ‘Every time I speak to Jessica she has found another way of helping a valuable cause and getting involved with the local community.

‘Her boundless energy and positive attitude make a real difference to the organisations she volunteers for and the lives of others.’

Heather Walker from Victim Support also sings Jessica’s praises: ‘Jessica is a much valued volunteer for Victim Support. She is very enthusiastic, full of ideas and has done a fantastic job as a fundraiser.’

When she finishes her course in September, Jessica plans to volunteer for the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program which works on behalf of Florida’s abused and neglected children.

She will remember her time in Salford fondly, saying: ‘Everyone I have spoken with has been encouraging and supportive, and always willing to provide advice or suggestions.

‘Working with such a strong and innovative volunteer community here in Salford has been an inspiration and I am honoured that I was able to contribute during my short time here.’

The Heart of Salford Awards will be held at Buile Hill Park Hall on Wednesday 29 June from 1.00pm and 4.00pm.

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Basketball research finds foreign workers boost domestic skills

A comprehensive study of the number of foreign basketball players across Europe over the last 30 years has revealed that countries with higher numbers of overseas squad members perform better at international tournaments – with important implications for not only other sports, but other skilled occupations.

The study by University of Salford sports economist Professor David Forrest with colleagues from Spain and Italy, looked at basketball as an example of skills ‘spillover’.

Using statistical analysis they were able to demonstrate that European countries which were more open to overseas players – particularly those from North America – saw a benefit in the skill levels of their players, as demonstrated by results at international level.

Professor Forrest explained: ‘There are many arguments over whether imported labour is good for economies, however by using sport as an example, we are in the unique position to be able to measure international success empirically.’

Professor Forrest and his colleagues believe that their findings can apply equally to other skilled professions such as media or medicine where different skills and methods are passed between workers.

It also impacts on the major football leagues across Europe, though Professor Forrest believes that the English premier league is a special case.

‘Unfortunately for the national team, English football, unlike European basketball, attracts the very best players from around the world,’ he said. ‘In this case the numbers of foreigners is high enough that the Premier League actually benefits all countries by passing shared skills outside England.’

The study comprised every European country’s player records and international results between 1986 and 2007, and included the countries formed by the break-ups of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. All in all they found that the average number of overseas players increased from just over two per team in 1986 to 5.5 in 2007.

This was particularly heightened by the impact of the Bosman ruling in 1995 which allowed sports players to move freely between clubs when their contracts expired.

Professor Forrest concluded: ‘While we can’t say what an optimum number of overseas players in a squad would be, these findings do show that a larger number of people from a highly skilled culture does make a positive impact on their domestic colleagues.

‘We’d be confident that this would apply as much to a British IT firm as it would to a Croatian basketball team.’

Impact of importing foreign talent on performance levels of local co-workers, J Alvarez, D Forrest, I Sanz, JD Tena is published in Labour Economics, the Official Journal of the European Association of Labour Economists.

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Salford University unveils hi-tech cancer scanning facilities

The University of Salford has officially launched a suite of hi-tech radiography scanners which will help train the next generation of radiographers to diagnose life-threatening diseases such as early and late stage cancer.

The 24 May launch of the University’s new Susan Hall Imaging Facilities means that Salford is now one of very few universities in the UK which have a CT scanner to train radiography students in diagnostic scanning and research techniques.

The event – which attracted over 60 high-profile radiography experts – saw the unveiling of a new £300,000 Toshiba Aquillion CT scanner, as well as two new computed radiography x-ray rooms.

The facilities will be used to train radiography students to diagnose diseases such as breast, colon and lung cancer using life-like dummies called ‘phantoms’, which mimic human tissue.

As well as radiography practice, the equipment will also enable students and academics to further their research into issues such as appropriate pressure used in breast cancer screening, as well as emotional intelligence in the mammographers who perform these procedures.

The facilities are named after Susan Hall – a radiographer who spent all her working life in the Manchester area before she passed away last year. Friends and members of Susan’s family joined staff, students and industry professionals to celebrate the new facilities at the official launch event.

University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Martin Hall said: ‘I am extremely proud of the role our radiography students and academics play. These excellent new facilities will be a huge boost to their study and research, as they work hard to research and detect a range of serious diseases.’

As well as making use of the hi-tech University facilities, radiography students at Salford spend around 50% of their time in clinical departments, learning how to apply the theory they have learnt at the University during their studies.

Professor Stuart Mackay, representing the Directorate of Radiography at Salford, continued: ‘These new facilities will enhance our students’ learning immeasurably, by providing them with the very latest technology, and as realistic an experience as possible, to diagnose diseases and injuries.

‘Our academics and industry partners, too, will benefit from this scanning technology, through improved research opportunities that have the potential to make a real difference to the experiences of patients undergoing scanning treatment.’

More information about Salford’s radiology courses is available on the University’s website.

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Compost heap’s prestigious film award nomination

A student film from the University of Salford has been nominated for a national Royal Television Society Award – despite its slightly fragrant subject matter.

Creatures of the Compost by MA Wildlife Documentary Production student Justine Allan has been nominated in the Postgraduate Entertainment section of the student awards to be held on 20 May in Bradford.

Her film is aimed at children, and focuses on the wildlife which lives in and around a compost heap at the bottom of a garden. It takes in the whole ecosystem which depends on the heap: from fungus right up to badgers.

Justine, who’s from Bramhall, had to make a few sacrifices for her film. She was advised that to film badgers she should wear a pair of socks for a week, then leave them for a further week in the place where the badgers were so they could get used to her scent.

She also had to fill her parents’ shed with rotting fruit for some of the sequences in the film, which also includes footage of insects, slugs and hedgehogs.

Having graduated last year, Justine now works for a government communications department. She says that she wanted to make a film about something which is commonplace but often goes unnoticed. ‘A lot of wildlife films focus on exotic animals,’ she said. ‘But I wanted to show people, especially those who live in cities, that there are interesting things happening right at the bottom of the garden.

‘Children particularly love slugs and creepy-crawlies and I certainly had them in mind when making Creatures of the Compost.’

Salford has a strong tradition in the RTS awards, both at professional and student levels, having won at least one award every year for the past six.

Head of the School of Media, Music & Performance, Professor Erik Knudsen said: ‘We’re thrilled for Justine who is continuing a proud tradition for the School. The creativity of our students is a constant source of pride, and their achievements will only be strengthened when we start teaching in our new facility at MediaCityUK from the end of the year.’

All of the films from the Wildtrack series including Justine’s were broadcast on Sky and through the University’s partnership with Channel M.

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Budding archaeologists needed to dig Bronze Age and Roman site

The University of Salford’s Centre for Applied Archaeology is giving people from Greater Manchester the chance to join them on one of their digs at a site which has previously uncovered thousands of Bronze and Iron Age and Roman artefacts.

The two, five-day sessions at Mons Pool in Nottinghamshire will take place over two weeks in August and will include full training for even the most inexperienced excavator as well as transport from Manchester.

Mons Pool and Ferry Lane Farm are located on the sand and gravel terraces of the river Trent in Nottinghamshire, close to Newark. The site is to be quarried by Lafarge Aggregates Ltd and so, for the past ten years, they have funded commercial archaeological works.

The site itself is a 12 hectare rural Iron Age and Romano-British settlement landscape, and includes Bronze Age and Neolithic occupation phases. Over the last three years alone over 10,000 pottery shards as well as tools, coins and brooches have been found, and even human and animal remains.

As part of their work to help people gain an understanding of archaeology and the techniques involved, Salford’s professional archaeologists will be providing full training, equipment and accommodation as well as travel from Manchester.

Senior Archaeologist, Brian Grimsditch explained: ‘The Mons Pool site is a great place for beginners to learn about archaeology. It has dry sandy soil and you are almost guaranteed to find something at every dig.’

There is a £100 cost for each five day session which meets the costs of accommodation and travel. Week one is 8–12 August. Week two is 15–19 August.

The deadline for applications is 30 June. Please email b.grimsditch@salford.ac.uk.

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