Staff Blogs: University of Leicester

Welcome to the University of Leicester academic and staff blog site.

From Royal Society Fellows to early-career researchers, corporate services to academic related – all members of staff are engaged in creating new knowledge, whether in the sciences, social sciences, business, the arts or wherever their interests lie. This wealth of research expertise means Leicester has a unique and critical role to play in helping to overcome major challenges faced by society.

This site aims to provide a platform for University of Leicester staff – whether early-career, established or somewhere in between; whether researching and rehearsing ideas, networking with peers, or an early form of publication. As you would expect from Leicester, it’s inclusive and accessible so we look forward to your comments.

Latest posts from the staff blogs

Deborah Toner

Tequila: Pulque’s Friend, Cousin, Usurper?

My route into the history of alcohol in Mexico took me through pre-Columbian, colonial and nineteenth-century history, so for me, this area of research has always been synonymous with pulque, the alcoholic beverage that predominated throughout this long time period. But, whenever I introduce myself as a historian of alcohol in Mexico, the first word […]

Sarah Tarlow

Welcome to the Criminal Corpse Blog

Speaking as an old and ugly academic, I’ve come to realise that sometimes it takes a transfusion of young and energetic blood into an established project to liven it up. In the case of our five-year project, ‘Harnessing the Power of the Criminal Corpse’, funded by the Wellcome Trust, it is the arrival of new […]

Oliver Brett

Ghirri Research Project 2013-2015 – Ghirri UoL Conference September 2014 – Giulio Iacoli – ‘Registrazione disturbata. Di alcune tendenze della narrativa italiana contemporanea dinanzi al paesaggio.’

Andrew Dunn

LGBT History Digital Collaboratory

Exciting project based at the University of Toronto, in collaboration with the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA), the Digital Transgender Archive (DTA), the Transgender Archives and the Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony (ALOT).  It is seeking to build a network for LGBT oral history digital archives online across North America.  It is supported by […]


Google Flu Trends

I am always on the lookout for interesting medical data sets that I can use for teaching and the other day, quite by accident, I came across “Google flu trends”. This is an internet project operated by Google that estimates the numbers of cases of influenza each week in 25 different countries. The records go back to […]

Martin Parker

Conference World and the Avoidance of Thought

Having just returned from another major international conference, Professor Martin Parker is coming to suspect that they’re rarely worth the fuss At the beginning of August, what must surely be the largest social science conference on the planet met in the glassy towers of Vancouver, Canada. Over ten thousand delegates occupied a convention centre as […]

Stephen Walker

Is your Blackboard site fit to be seen in public?

With the new academic year looming, you will want to make sure that your Blackboard course is in a fit state for students to use. I know there is a widely held view that Blackboard is not fit for purpose, and it’s a view that I am sympathetic to, but that’s a discussion we can […]


A passion for researching public policy and management

Certain branches of the social sciences, especially those associated with the goals of social justice, have a long tradition of bearing witness to suffering and, as Aaron Wildavsky expressed it ‘speaking truth to power’, i.e. providing policy-makers and other powerful actors with what might be uncomfortable messages. This can require courage and conviction. So, although […]

Sarah Hodgkinson

Countdown to the ‘Reflections on Revenge Conference’, University of Leicester, 4th September 2015

Just a few weeks to go now until our innovative new interdisciplinary conference. We have an exciting line up of speakers including a keynote address from leading international human rights lawyer Philippe Sands. Please see our latest press release for more information, and the finalised programme will be released very soon. Booking for delegates is […]

Simon Dixon

Caring for our Special Collections

Visitors to Special Collections often ask how we preserve the rare books, manuscripts and archives in our collection. Much of what we do could be described as preventative care. This starts as soon as someone visits us to consult an item, as we ask them only to bring pencils or digital devices into the reading […]

Behind the Scenes at the 21st Century Museum – a look back…

Last time I posted, we had just opened up registration for our Massive Open Online Course (or ‘MOOC’). Back then, just a few months ago, we could only imagine how successful it would be. Over 11,000 people signed up for the six week course, and between them they have posted 43,500 comments in total. These […]

Clare Anderson

Convicts, Collecting and Knowledge Production in the Nineteenth Century

In previous blogs, I have explored some of the circulations and connections that linked nations, colonies and empires, and wove together practices of punishment and penal labour across polities and imperial spaces. This included the sharing of official reports, the spread and adaptation of particular modes of convict punishment, and the intra-colonial mobility of personnel […]

Martin Coffey


Along with the University’s team, I attended the final of Engineering YES 2015. The post event talk was given by Lord Digby Jones, former head of the Confederation of British Industry. One of his central pieces of advice to the audience, comprised mainly of PhD researchers from Universities around the UK, was “whatever you do […]

Barbara Cooke

July Book Group: A Little Learning

A Little Learning is the first of Waugh’s planned autiobiographies, and the only one he finished before he died in 1966. Join us to discuss the book with the editor of the new OUP edition. When: Saturday 25 July, 11am-1pm Where: Leicester Central Library Contact: New members always welcome. Refreshments provided.

Alberto Fernández Carbajal

Impossible Desires: the Novels and Films of Shamim Sarif

As part of my Queer Diasporas project, I’ve been researching the work of the still not too widely known British novelist and filmmaker Shamim Sarif, whose existence I’ve been alerted to by my kind colleague at the University of Leicester, Emma Parker. A British citizen of Indian Muslim heritage, Sarif’s family migrated first to South Africa and then to […]

Philip Shaw

Witnesses, wives, politicians, soldiers: the women of Waterloo

Witnesses, wives, politicians, soldiers: the women of Waterloo By Katherine Astbury Associate Professor and Reader of French at University of Warwick Visit The Last Stand: Napoleon’s 100 Days in 100 Objects: The nature of warfare 200 years ago made the Battle of Waterloo a predominantly male affair. But, two centuries on, the history of […]

Grant Denkinson

What to ask users?

We want to make the process of depositing, finding, reading and acting on our research as simple and efficient as possible and to remove barriers to access. A good way to improve usability is to watch real users perform real tasks. To do this, we need to pick a few tasks and some sample users. We […]

Two upcoming festivals

Over the next couple of weeks, I (Jonathan Taylor) am taking part in two Literary Festivals, both of which are open to the public. On Saturday 20 June, 12-1pm, I’ll be chairing a session at the Tablet Literary Festival in Birmingham. The panel, which is entitled “The Spirit and the Story,” will include well-known and award-winning novelist, […]

Ana Verissimo

Takeaway Tuesdays are back!

To improve our working lives and promote informal and relaxed interaction between all staff and students, we have introduced Takeaway Tuesdays at RKCSB. Once a month, we choose what takeaway to order and we all get together for lunch at the newly refurbished seminar room. Everyone from the department is welcome to join us, and […]

Maria Rovisco

Workshop Arts and Citizenship, 3 June 2015, University of Leicester

This is a public workshop and all are welcome to attend.   Workshop Arts and Citizenship, 3 June 2015 Venue: Department of Media and Communication, Bankfield House, 132 New Walk (Lecture Theatre) This event is sponsored by the Department of Media and Communication and the College of Social Science at the University of Leicester. The workshop […]

Norman Housley

A tale of three cities: Constantinople 1453, Belgrade 1456, Olomouc 1468

A tale of three cities: Constantinople 1453, Belgrade 1456, Olomouc 1468 In my essay ‘Giovanni da Capistrano and the crusade of 1456’, published in 2004 in Crusading in the Fifteenth Century, ed. Norman Housley, I briefly (pp. 112-13) made reference to a fresco in the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Olomouc. The church, which […]

One down… seven to go

Things are charging ahead here in the Law in Children’s Lives project. Just to recap, last autumn we worked with children, experts and games company Enigma to design and build our tablet game ‘Adventures with Lex’. The game is a fun way (alien included) to find out what children understand about the Law. In March, […]

Kerry Dobbins

Creating an effective e-learning resource: some helpful tips for a challenging process

One of my initial tasks when I started on the ‘Learning Outcomes Project’ was to develop an online resource that aimed to improve students use of their learning outcomes.  My brief was as general as that, however, I knew that we wanted a resource that students would find useful as a learning support and would help them to […]

Paul Boyle

Student experience at Leicester

In this video blog, I discuss the strengths of the student experience we offer here at Leicester. Having met with a number of students since I arrived, I am extremely proud of the experience we provide to our students and the reputation we have for student satisfaction. Of course, there is always room for improvement […]

Laura Dean

Congratulations to Mindhacks has won the British Psychological Society’s Public Engagement and Media Award.  Whilst this site aims to increase engagement with academic research by ordinary members of the public, it is also a useful and interesting resource for psychologists in training too.

Amy Jane Barnes

The ‘China Dream’: conference programme and registration

Planning for ChiSRA’s inaugural conference (24th/25th September) continues apace. A provisional programme is now available to download from our website. The presentations will cover a range of themes and subject areas, including literature and film, visual arts, design and marketing. We are delighted to announce that Professor Zhong Xin from Renmin University will be delivering […]

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