Forest 404: Bristol Drama alumni across generations come together in ambitious BBC Radio 4 ecothriller

Four Bristol alumni take part in BBC Radio 4’s recent ambitious podcast projects, Forest 404 – a 27 part podcast series starring alumna Pearl Mackie. The series is accompanied by a national experiment looking at how listening to natural sounds could boost wellbeing.

The BBC is launching an innovative 27-part sci-fi podcast series, which imagines a futuristic world in which forests have been erased from history. Forest 404 is described as a first for BBC podcasts. Its three-tiered structure creates a new listening experience which aims to draw the audience deeper into the world of the podcast.

At its heart is a classic sci-fi thriller set in the 24th century following a data crash called The Cataclysm. The action follows the character Pan (Mackie), a sound archivist who uncovers some sound recordings from the early 21st century that haunt her. They are recordings of rainforests, places which no longer exist, and Pan feels compelled to hunt down the truth about how the forests of the old world died.

Award-winning writer Timothy X Atack, Becky Ripley, award-winning BBC producer and director, and Pearl Mackie who starred in Dr Who, and Pippa Haywood who starred in Bodyguard and the Green Wing, all read their BA in Theatre and Drama at the University of Bristol. The project is a first for BBC podcasts in that it is part of a wider academic research project too. The series offers an additional dimension to an Arts and Humanities Council (AHRC)-funded project looking at the world of wildlife filmmaking over the last 25 years, particularly the world-famous BBC Natural History Unit in Bristol.

Led by Alexander Smalley, a Virtual Nature Researcher at the University of Exeter, Forest 404: The Experiment hopes to develop a unique insight into how the British public respond to nature-based sounds. Peter Coates, Professor of American and Environmental History from the University of Bristol’s Department of History, is the wildlife filmmaking project’s academic lead.

Professor Coates and his colleagues see the podcast and BBC project as part of an emerging area of academic research – the environmental humanities – whose starting point is the belief that a scientific perspective is not enough to do full justice to our complex and many layered relationships with nature.

 

About Forest 404: the series

Each of the nine talks is delivered by a wide range of speakers including musicians, biofuturists, bioethicists and anthropologists. They delve into the themes which inspired the drama, such as:  “Why should I listen to trees?”, “Would you vote for an AI government?” and “What is death in the digital age?” to explore the real-life ideas which inspired the drama.

The soundscapes designed by Graham Wild and Becky Ripley, which bring each episode of the thriller to life, are mixed to create an immersive 3D experience for the listener. A rainforest symphony, an orchestra of frogs, a montage of whale song and a sonic woodland walk make up some of the sounds of nature which sit alongside more experimental soundscapes as the narrative unfolds.

About Forest 404: The Experiment

The podcasts are accompanied by an ambitious online survey devised and operated by researchers at the University of Exeter and The Open University which hopes to develop a unique insight into how the British public respond to nature-based sounds.

This survey promises to make a major contribution to what we already know about how contact with nature benefits our physical and mental wellbeing. It will contribute new knowledge by exploring how people respond to various sounds of nature; previous research has concentrated on the visual.

Alex Smalley said: “A large body of evidence shows that spending time in natural environments can have positive effects on people’s wellbeing. But we know very little about the importance of sound in this relationship.

Could simply listening to birdsong or waves lapping on the beach be enough to help people recover from a stressful situation? The effects won’t be the same for everyone so we want as many people as possible to take part in this study, helping us uncover what works and why.

Anyone over the age of 18 can take part in the experiment. Participants will be asked to listen to several different sounds and will need to have headphones or speakers at the ready. It’s hoped the study’s findings will form the basis for bringing the benefits of nature to people who might not be able to access them, such as patients in hospital, older people in long term care, or those who work in stressful situations.

Take the survey: https://nquire.org.uk/mission/forest-experiment/contribute

Listen to the series on BBC Sounds: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06tqsg3

 

Top 7 Happiness Hacks

Bristol became the first UK university to launch a ‘Science of Happiness’ course in 2018, designed to teach students a set of science-based strategies for living a more fulfilling life. It’s being led by eminent psychologist Professor Bruce Hood, who has carried out world-leading research into how the brain works and how human’s think.

Here’s his top 7 Happiness Hacks for International day of happiness [19 March]:

The course draws on the latest results in psychology and neuroscience to get to the root of what happiness is and how to achieve it, as well as teaching tangible practices which students can apply in their everyday lives. It’s being led by eminent psychologist Professor Bruce Hood, who has carried out world-leading research into how the brain works and how human’s think.

The Science of Happiness (SoH) course has been an extremely popular voluntary 10-week lecture series with over 800 students signing up in the first year. The course combines weekly lectures with weekly happiness hub-meetings run by undergraduate senior students who meet with 6-8 attendees to discuss mental health and well-being.

Professor Hood said: ‘Feedback on the course has been extremely positive. On measures of mental well-being, those who took the course maintained their levels of well-being over the 10-week period leading up to exams, whereas those in the waiting list control group dropped significantly on mental well-being scores over the same period.

This evaluation tells us two things: 1) the first-term is a time associated with reduced mental well-being over the 10-week period for students, and 2) those who attended the course proved to be more resilient.’

It comes amid growing concerns around the mental health and well-being of students, with 94 per cent of universities experiencing a sharp increase in the number of people trying to access support services (IPPR Report – Sept 2017). The course is one part of Bristol’s wider approach to improving wellbeing and pastoral care across the University. Bristol’s new course was inspired by Yale University’s highly-successful ‘Psychology and Good Life’ course – the most popular in its history, with one in four students enrolling.

Thank you so much for this inspiring course. It came just at the right time for me as I returned to my studies to reassure me that ‘hiccups’ are normal but to always persevere through to make your dreams come true, knowing people around you care, no matter how hard it is to love oneself at times(!)

Student taking the Science of Happiness course.

Classes address a series of core issues such as whether happiness is in the genes and can really be changed, how our minds distort happiness, the role of culture in happiness, pursuing experience rather than possessions and how to reset happiness levels. Alongside the theory, students will also learn a variety of exercises to practice and reflect on how these effect happiness-levels through weekly Happiness Hubs.

Most people think that the path to happiness is success in jobs, salaries, material possessions, and relationships. While these goals are associated with happiness, they do not necessarily guarantee happiness and indeed, the relentless pursuit of these may actually contribute to unhappiness.

Professor Bruce Hood.

“The course is aimed at all students and not just those who might identify as having challenges with their wellbeing. Ultimately, the aim of this course is to give students a greater understanding of what happiness is and how the human mind often sabotages happiness. Greater awareness amongst the student body will equip students to pre-empt and improve the mental health of themselves and others.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, Professor Judith Squires said: “This new course is pioneering in the UK. We hope it will be hugely beneficial to our students, not just during their time at university but throughout their lives.

“It’s an example of how our own research can directly benefit the wellbeing of our community, equipping them with the personal skills to thrive and grow in an increasingly complex world. This course is linked to our Bristol Futures initiative, which offers a range of courses and events to support our students’ wellbeing. We look forward to hearing students’ feedback on the course and to working in partnership with our students to develop it further in future years to help them flourish.”

‘Get engaged to save planet’ Sir David Attenborough urges young people as he receives a Lifetime Achievement award

Sir David Attenborough has urged young people to ‘get engaged, come together and do something’ about the threats facing the natural world.

The much-loved broadcaster was speaking at the University of Bristol’s inaugural Alumni Awards, where his achievements were celebrated with a Lifetime Achievement award in recognition of his exceptional career which has spanned more than six decades, inspiring and educating millions by bringing the natural world into our homes.

Sir David has a long association with the city of Bristol through his work with the BBC’s Natural History Unit, which was honoured by the University awarding him an honorary degree in 1977.

He has subsequently worked with Bristol academics for his television series, given talks at the University and opened its £56.5 million Life Sciences Building in 2014, where students are studying the very subjects highlighted in his documentaries.

Sir David said: “Young people are much more aware of how important the natural world is than they were 60 years ago when I began my career. The natural world is under greater pressure than it has ever been, not just in my lifetime but since humans existed.

“This is the first time ever in the history of Homo sapiens that we have had the power to actually transform and protect the world – or to destroy it.

“Your generation knows that, and your children and grandchildren will either be thanking you or blaming you. To an extent we do not have any excuse.

“The history of humanity is a disaster – of arguing, of quarrelling, of wars. That’s got to come to an end. My message to young people is ‘get engaged, come together and do something about it’.”

In his acceptance speech, Sir David acknowledged that the University was a great source of zoological expertise, as well as a talent pipeline, for the BBC’s Natural History Unit.

The University of Bristol Alumni Awards, held at Mansion House in London, celebrated the exceptional achievements of the University’s alumni. Other winners included Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo and many other works, gold medal-winning netball player Eboni Usoro-Brown (nee Beckford-Chambers), and recent graduate Chanté Joseph, who has championed the importance of diversity and equality through a variety of roles.

The 10 winners represent national and international success in science, literature, business, sport, social justice, public health, journalism and broadcasting.

Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bristol, said: “There’s no one more deserving of a Lifetime Achievement award than Sir David Attenborough. Throughout his incredible career, he has educated, guided and inspired generations to care about our planet – achievements which are synonymous with our own mission at Bristol.

“All the pioneers, innovators and leaders we’ve celebrated through these awards are inspiring role models for our students and we’re thrilled to honour them all at our inaugural Alumni Awards.”

Professor Brady co-hosted the event alongside alumnus Peter Estlin, the current Lord Mayor of the City of London. Peter studied Economics and Accounting at the University of Bristol, graduating in 1982 before embarking on a 30-year career in finance.

Sabbatical Officers Vanessa Wilson and Stanford compered the evening, presenting the awards in front of a 245-strong audience, who also enjoyed live entertainment from the University of Bristol Gospel Choir.

Full list of winners:

Alumni Awards for Arts and Media
Recognises significant achievements of alumni in the world of arts and/or media

Julia Donaldson CBE (BA 1970, Hon DLitt 2011) is one of the UK’s best-loved children’s authors, famed for writing favourites such as The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom and Stick Man. Having studied Drama and French at the University of Bristol, Julia’s varied career has seen her create 184 published works and in 2011 she was appointed as Children’s Laureate.

Alumni Award for Achievement in Sport
Recognises significant achievements or contribution by alumni to the field of sport

Netball player Eboni Usoro-Brown (LLD 2009, MSc 2011), known as Eboni Beckford-Chambers before she got married, secured a place in sporting history as part of the England team who won gold at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. She made her international debut for England in 2008 while studying as an undergraduate at the University of Bristol Law School, where she also completed an LLM in Commercial Law in 2011. Eboni is captain of the Team Bath netball team.

Alumni Award for Business and Industry
Recognises the outstanding success of alumni in the world of business

Nigel Wray (BSc 1970, Hon LLD 2005) studied Economics at the University and is now a director of over 50 companies, as well as the owner of Saracens rugby club. He has been described as ‘Britain’s most successful living investor’. While he is known for his business acumen, he is also renowned for his ability to spot potential and talent in people and his commitment to investing time in them.

Alumni Award for Community Impact
Recognises the personal contributions alumni have made to the enrichment of society through services to their community

Annie Hudson (BSc 1972, Cert 1997) received her BSc in Politics and Sociology and returned nearly 25 years later to study for her certificate in Advanced Urban Studies. She is a prominent social care leader in the UK, who has made a significant impact through her previous role as Director of Children’s Services in Bristol and now at the London Borough of Lambeth. She also held the position of Chief Executive of The College of Social Work and is one of the most admired leaders in UK children’s services. A truly extraordinary person who has been passionate, vocal and integral to improvements in her profession for the last 40 years.

Alumni Award for Innovation and Enterprise
Recognises the outstanding achievements of alumni in the field of innovation and enterprise

Dr Harry Destecroix (PhD 2014) co-founded University spin-out company Ziylo whilst studying for his PhD at Bristol.  As part of a team led by Professor Tony Davis in Chemistry, he helped to develop a glucose binding molecule which could be the key component of ‘glucose-responsive insulin’ which brings genuine hope to diabetes patients of a ground-breaking treatment. In August last year, pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk purchased Ziylo, providing investment and commitment to the team to conduct further research and clinical trials. He has also established Unit DX, a science incubator in central Bristol which ensures that scientific companies in the South West now have access to the facilities they need and are part of a burgeoning science community.

Alumni Award for International Impact
Recognises the significant impact made by alumni internationally

Andrew Sheng (BSc 1989) is a chartered accountant by training and holds a BSc in Economics and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Bristol. He has had many achievements in global finance which have been acknowledged and recognised around the world. In 2013, Time Magazine named him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. His career began in Bank Negara, Malaysia, where he rose through the ranks to become Chief Economist and Assistant Governor. He has published widely on monetary, economic and financial issues and he is a regular contributor to leading economic publications throughout Asia. He is deeply committed to the development of his native Malaysia. He and his wife have a passion for the role of higher education in providing opportunities for young people in their home states.

University of Bristol Friends and Supporters Award
Recognises an individual’s service, advocacy and commitment to the University

John Rutley (Hon LLD 2013) is an entrepreneur and businessman who co-founded the hugely successful company A-GAS in 1993 and received an Honorary Degree in 2013. After many years of being at the helm of his burgeoning company, he chose to give back to his home city and work in partnership with the University. The community sports programme was co-developed and personally funded by Dr Rutley to benefit young people across the city, alongside University of Bristol students. Since its inception, in excess of 6,000 children have taken part in the annual Bristol Festival of School Sport and the programme has also helped more than 500 University of Bristol students gain nationally-recognised coaching and leadership qualifications.

Alumni Award for Transformative Philanthropy
Recognises significant strategic and enduring impact on the institution through inspirational philanthropic support

Hugh Sloane (BSc 1977) graduated from Bristol in 1977 with a First-Class degree in Economics and Politics and is today a highly successful businessman. He established one of London’s most successful asset management companies in 1993 and is renowned in particular for his knowledge of the Japanese markets. He and his business partner George Robinson went on to create the Sloane Robinson Foundation and made a commitment to support the advancement of the education of the public. In 2017, he and his Foundation gave a landmark gift of £10 million in support of the new Temple Quarter Enterprise campus – the largest philanthropic gift from an individual in the history of the University.

Vice Chancellor’s Award
Recognises the aspirational work and notable achievements of a recent graduate that benefits local communities and wider society    

During her time at Bristol, Chanté Joseph (BSc 2018) championed the importance of diversity and equality through a variety of roles. In her first year, whilst studying Social Policy, she was elected as the chair of the student council with the largest margin in the history of student council elections.  In her second year, she launched ‘Bristol is the New Black’ – a project dedicated to giving black students in Bristol a voice, which received funding from O2. During her final year, she founded the BME Powerlist which recognises Bristol’s 100 most influential Black and Minority Ethnic People. Her dedication to effecting change in such a positive manner brought national recognition with a place on the TAB Future 100 list, which describes itself as ‘a definitive list of women at UK universities who are set to achieve incredible things in the future’. Since graduating, she has written for numerous high-profile publications and has her own website with commentary on political and cultural issues.

1 person, 2 degrees and 30 years of perspective: Paul Lindley OBE (BSc 1989)

On 9 February, the University of Bristol awarded an honorary degree to alumnus Paul Lindley OBE (BSc 1989), founder of Ella’s Kitchen, which is now the UK’s largest organic baby food brand. Paul reflects on just how much Bristol has had a hand in shaping his life, how much has changed and what he’s learnt in the time he’s been away.

It was a surreal experience, getting robed up and entering the Great Hall to receive a degree exactly 30 years after I had first done so; and then giving a public lecture in the very building I attended lectures in, with my undergraduate textbooks and dreams.

Some things have irreversibly changed: my 1980’s mullet, the Cold War, Apartheid and the revolutions that are the internet, smart phones, social media and reality TV. Other things haven’t, seemingly at all:- my childlike belief in a better future, the Queen as our head of state, Gary Lineker popping up on our screens every weekend, the dominance in the news of a wall built to divide people (albeit one then coming down and another now going up), and a seemingly un-ending and irresolvable fight over our relationship with Europe.

And I stood there reflecting on where those 30 years had gone, how I could never have planned for where my life has taken me and how unlikely it all seems to be in a position to be honoured and humbled in this way.

Being humbled, makes you feel small.

I felt small because I was there in front of the people I love: my parents who never got the opportunity to go to university; my wife, who I met at this very university all those years ago, and my children who are now at the university stage of life, and who belong to a generation to whom all purpose in my life points.

I also felt small because I was in front of the university itself, not just any university – but THE University of Bristol.  With all its history of people who had been in that Great Hall and who led better lives because of what they learned -and learned about themselves – at Bristol.

So, I felt small because all these people, and thousands more, known and unknown to me have influenced the opportunities in my life, have seeded ideas and taught me both compassion and ambition.  And so, I have realised that my big learning in life – learnt between last leaving The Wills Memorial Building and now returning – is that it’s people that matter – and that they are pretty much the only thing that matters.

Each young graduate in that Hall was capable of doing remarkable and extra-ordinary things in the years to come. But whatever brilliance that is within them – it can only get out, only have the impact it could have – only ever even be found – with the care, time, love, and selfless-ness of other people.

To achieve anything – we need each other.

As an entrepreneur, people often say to me – ‘oh you had such a great idea’, ‘your brand is spot on’, ‘the products are so innovative’, ‘it’s changed my life’ – but I know that although the initial idea was wholly mine, its delivery relied on the energy, ideas, passion and hard work of others – and that without a team, without community and without the civic space that enables entrepreneurs to thrive – our roads, schools, safety, and NHS – and everyone who works within them – nothing would happen from a just great idea.

This idea that we need each other, and we are connected – that we are all just human beings, each stumbling through life trying to do the best for our families and our communities – is real.  As is the fact that we have the best chance of fulfilling our passions, our life’s purpose and of leaving a little legacy that says we were here, when we know we have more in common with each other and feel better about ourselves because of it. We can put ourselves in others’ shoes and understand that they too are stumbling through their life, trying to make the best of it for themselves and others.

I absolutely believe that our tomorrows will be better than our yesterdays because the spirit of youth is full of optimism, collaboration and a can-do attitude and it is a university’s role to find, direct and amplify such a spirit. If a man in his fifties like me can claim that spirit of youth –  as a state of mind rather than a stage of age – then as a member of that younger generation, I think that not only do universities have the ability to light passions and fires in young people’s bellies in the academic subjects that they study whilst in their care, but also they have the power to ignite each student’s zest for life, and their belief in their ability to question and then change things – for the betterment of the world around them, for nurturing that sense of togetherness, interconnectedness and of ‘more in common’. Especially in this volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world where so much is designed to divide us.

Universities hold the responsibility for forming the whole person in these young adults and the ability to forge them into true leaders of tomorrow. They are also one of the last institutions in our society that still retains the trust and credibility that they have always had in contributing to our communities and moving us forward. In such hands pass our future leaders and so also an opportunity to create a culture and environment to maximise inclusiveness of opinion, diversity of experience and create influence in shaping our society’s future. That is daunting, but I know – and I shared – that a university like Bristol is more than up to the task.

Back in 1989, I had Bob Marley posters adorning the walls of my undergraduate room; and 30 years later I still look to his words to make sense of my journey in life:

The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.

Some things don’t change.


Paul graduated from the University of Bristol in 1989 having studied Economics and Politics (BSc). He went on to found Ella’s Kitchen in 2006, which is now the UK’s largest organic baby food brand.

Paul also co-founded The Key is E, supporting African entrepreneurs whose social businesses benefit children. He was recently appointed Chair of the London Child Obesity Taskforce and is also Chair of the non-profit Robert F Kennedy Human Rights UK, a Trustee of the educational organisation Sesame Workshop, and sits on the Board of social enterprise Toast Ale.

Celebrating women: The first female lecturer at Bristol

To mark the 2018 centenary of the first British women winning the right to vote, we are honouring Bristol women who have changed our institution, and the world. From our first woman lecturer to the first British woman to have won a Nobel Prize, these activists, educators and agitators now take their rightful place on the walls of the Wills Memorial building – along with ten of the women in today’s University community to who continue to be inspired by their legacy.

Mary Paley Marshall, the first woman lecturer at University College Bristol, with Professor Sarah Smith, Head of the Department of Economics

“Mary Paley was a pioneer in the field of economics. She was the first woman to pass finals in political economy at Cambridge
(although barred from graduating due to her gender) and in 1875 she was invited to return to her former college, Newnham, as the first woman economics lecturer at Cambridge.

“Mary arrived at Bristol in 1876 with her husband, the economist Alfred Marshall, after being forced to leave Cambridge because of regulations preventing college fellows from marrying. Marshall became the first Principal of University College Bristol and Professor of Political Economy, while Mary became one of the first female lecturers. Although Bristol was the first higher education to admit women students on an equal basis to men, Mary’s salary was paid out of that of her husband.

“While at Bristol, Mary co-wrote The Economics of Industry with Marshall after being asked to turn her Cambridge lectures into a book. Her influence was evident from the book’s discussion about gender pay inequality, putting forward the argument that men and women may be equally productive but receive unequal pay because of “custom and general opinion”.

“Mary remained an active champion of women’s education and of the increase of their employment, particularly in the domains of teaching and business management. She herself continued to lecture and was an inspiration to many generations of her students. Given that Mary wasn’t permitted to graduate from Cambridge, it was very fitting that Bristol presented her with an Honorary degree in 1926 for her lifelong work as a teacher of economics

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The University of Bristol was the first higher education institution in England to welcome women on an equal basis to men, but our commitment to gender equality reaches far beyond this milestone. The wooden panels of the Great Hall in its Wills Memorial Building have been an all-male domain thanks to hosting portraits of its Vice-Chancellors. But now, thanks to a project specially-commissioned to mark 100 years since the first women in Britain won the right to vote, a series of ten portraits redresses the balance and celebrates notable Bristol women who have changed the institution – and, indeed, the world.

Celebrating women: Bristol campaigner for women’s rights

To mark the 2018 centenary of the first British women winning the right to vote, we are honouring Bristol women who have changed our institution, and the world. From our first woman lecturer to the first British woman to have won a Nobel Prize, these activists, educators and agitators now take their rightful place on the walls of the Wills Memorial building – along with ten of the women in today’s University community to who continue to be inspired by their legacy.

Enid Stacey, Socialist and campaigner for women’s rights, with Dr Sumita Mukherjee, Senior Lecturer in History

“An able scholar, Enid won a scholarship to study Advanced Latin at University College, Bristol, between 1887 and 1890. It was during
a wave of strikes in Bristol in 1889 when Enid heard an inspiring speech from Labour leader Tom Mann, prompting her to join the Gasworkers’ Union.

“Despite her middle-class background, she empathised beyond her immediate experience
and became one of the best-known female propagandists for British socialism in the late 19th century.

“Enid was a regular public speaker, using her voice and her connections to raise awareness of equality issues. She spoke at 122 meetings in 1894 alone and toured the USA in 1902, taking her activism beyond the bounds of the UK and Ireland.

“We don’t know if Enid recognised how international the fight for social equality was at that time and how global the suffrage movement had already become by the time of her death. She didn’t live to see many of the victories of that movement, but she also didn’t see many of the ongoing struggles women, especially working-class women of all ethnic and racial backgrounds, would continue to face.

“Enid recognised that the vote was not the only barrier to true women’s equality, as has been proved today. However, as a socialist she fundamentally believed in the need and fight for equal suffrage. It is in her recognition of some of the complexities of the women’s rights movement in the late 19th century – in the early stages of a national feminist movement – that Enid really stands out.

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The University of Bristol was the first higher education institution in England to welcome women on an equal basis to men, but our commitment to gender equality reaches far beyond this milestone. The wooden panels of the Great Hall in its Wills Memorial Building have been an all-male domain thanks to hosting portraits of its Vice-Chancellors. But now, thanks to a project specially-commissioned to mark 100 years since the first women in Britain won the right to vote, a series of ten portraits redresses the balance and celebrates notable Bristol women who have changed the institution – and, indeed, the world.

Celebrating women: A champion for people with learning disabilities

To mark the 2018 centenary of the first British women winning the right to vote, we are honouring Bristol women who have changed our institution, and the world. From our first woman lecturer to the first British woman to have won a Nobel Prize, these activists, educators and agitators now take their rightful place on the walls of the Wills Memorial building – along with ten of the women in today’s University community to who continue to be inspired by their legacy.

Norah Fry, champion for people with learning disabilities, with Beth Richards, researcher in the Norah Fry Centre for Disability Studies

“Norah, a member of the Fry family famed for its chocolate and cocoa, was born and educated in Bristol. Her family’s wealth meant she never needed paid employment, but throughout her life she committed herself to work on behalf of those less fortunate than herself.

“After completing her studies at Cambridge University and an apprenticeship with the Charity Organisation Society – a home-visiting
service that formed the basis for modern social work – Norah focused her attention on improving the lives of people with learning disabilities.

“She also had a very close relationship with the University, being a member of Council for over 50 years. When she died in 1960, Norah left money to the University to be used for teaching and for finding out more about the needs of people with learning disabilities and mental illnesses.

“The Norah Fry Research Centre was created in 1988 and has pursued a programme of research which has helped us to see people with learning disabilities in a new light and challenge our preconceptions about their identity.

“People with learning disabilities, like myself, now work as co-researchers in some studies – something which would have been unimaginable 100 years ago. The centre makes a positive difference in the lives of disabled children, young people and adults. We hope Norah would have approved of what we have achieved since she handed down the challenge.

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The University of Bristol was the first higher education institution in England to welcome women on an equal basis to men, but our commitment to gender equality reaches far beyond this milestone. The wooden panels of the Great Hall in its Wills Memorial Building have been an all-male domain thanks to hosting portraits of its Vice-Chancellors. But now, thanks to a project specially-commissioned to mark 100 years since the first women in Britain won the right to vote, a series of ten portraits redresses the balance and celebrates notable Bristol women who have changed the institution – and, indeed, the world.

Run in the family: Get up, get together, get active

Get your 2019 goals off to a running start this year by running the Great Bristol 10k with the University of Bristol team.  On 5 May, Bristol students, staff and alumni will come together to run The Great Bristol Run 10K. Whether you’re looking to get fit for 2019 or looking for that next challenge, together we can make sure it’s a home run for everyone. 

We have discounted places for all our runners as well as training plans, Run Leaders and more, to keep you lacing up your shoes and flying the flag for Bristol. Never run before? No worries! The Great Bristol 10K is for everyone, from complete beginners to elite athletes. 

Why run with the University of Bristol? 

  • You’ll get a limited-edition t-shirt to wear during the run, and exclusive access to our couch-to-10k package. 
  • You can meet and train with people just like you by joining one of our social running groups to support your 10K journey and meet people from across the University, including our students, staff and alumni like you. You can choose a run group aimed at your ability, led by a friendly, England Athletics Certified Run Leader.  
  • Get access to a selection of Training Plans online to help you prepare for race day. 
  • New to running? Join in with the 5K fun run on Sunday 24 March 2019, a great first test of your fitness and support to your training. 
  • Explore inspiring case studies from our community, describing personal journeys where exercise has brought real benefits to the lives of our students, staff and alumni. 
  • You can run alongside students, staff and other alumni on the day if you chose to be part of the Bristol Wave. You’ll have the same start time together and will take part in a group warm-up beforehand. 

Sign up with friends and colleagues to make the most of a package of activities and resources, all of which are included in the cost of your entry fee. 

Our 10K runners have the option to combine their training with fundraising for the University of Bristol’s Healthy Minds programme. Physical activity has been proven to boost mood and reduce feelings of anxiety, stress and depression, and this idea is at the heart of Healthy Minds: it taps into the proven benefits of exercise to support Bristol students affected by mental health difficulties. 

If you choose to get involved, you’ll receive regular updates on the programme as well as fundraising tips. It’s easy to find out more and get started – after booking your place in the race, just go to our JustGiving page and click ‘start fundraising’.  

Sign up today! 

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Any questions? 

The Healthy Minds programme helps University of Bristol students affected by mental ill health to get more active and maintain this behaviour in a supported, friendly environment. The three-month user-led programme includes sessions with a mentor, a tailored plan and support for future health maintenance, as well as access to a range of classes, clubs and sporting opportunities. The programme has yielded clinically significant improvements in wellbeing, positively impacting on more than 150 students over the past two years. You can choose to raise money for Healthy Minds by running the Great Bristol 10k, find out more on the JustGiving page. 

Celebrating women: Bristol’s first female Chair

To mark the 2018 centenary of the first British women winning the right to vote, we are honouring Bristol women who have changed our institution, and the world. From our first woman lecturer to the first British woman to have won a Nobel Prize, these activists, educators and agitators now take their rightful place on the walls of the Wills Memorial building – along with ten of the women in today’s University community to who continue to be inspired by their legacy.

Professor Helen Wodehouse, the first female Chair at the University of Bristol, with Dr Peggy Styles, the University’s oldest graduate aged 86

“Helen was appointed Chair of Education in 1919 – one of the first women in any British university to hold such a post. She went on to shape the University’s teaching of education and, as someone who studied for my postdoctorate within the School of Education, I can testify that her work has had a lasting legacy.

“In 1925, she led the merger of the separate men’s and women’s Departments for Education against some opposition. She also initiated a system of regular assessment instead of a final examination for the Diploma of Education. This system has continued ever since. She established one of the leading departments in the country, both for professional education and for research.

“In 1964, when she died, Helen Wodehouse was still the only woman to have held a Chair at the University and it was therefore fitting that the new Graduate School of Education building in Berkeley Square was named after her that year.

“My dissertation looked at how attitudes towards the education of women have changed in living memory. Helen played a major role in this; her teaching not only inspired future generations of teachers, but her attitude showed that women were able to achieve senior roles and influence positive and lasting change.

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The University of Bristol was the first higher education institution in England to welcome women on an equal basis to men, but our commitment to gender equality reaches far beyond this milestone. The wooden panels of the Great Hall in its Wills Memorial Building have been an all-male domain thanks to hosting portraits of its Vice-Chancellors. But now, thanks to a project specially-commissioned to mark 100 years since the first women in Britain won the right to vote, a series of ten portraits redresses the balance and celebrates notable Bristol women who have changed the institution – and, indeed, the world.