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

Andrew Dunn

Comics about social and human rights issues

Positive negatives:  an interesting example of comics being used to communicate key social issues. The website has articles, podcasts and videos which describe its aims and the charities it works with. There are also good examples of graphics, for example the Amnesty International ‘I welcome’ campaign to end violence against refugee women and Almaz which highlights […]

Stephen Walker

An Academic Literacies Approach to Digital Literacies

  This is an account of my initial attempt to find learning theory to underpin and inform the development of our Digital Literacies framework and its implementation, as part of the LLI’s involvement in the university’s Digital Campus strategy.  I drew upon literacies research and on the conclusions from my own MSc research into the […]

Joe Orton: Behind the playwright

The 9th August 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Leicester born playwright Joe Orton The past few years have seen heightened interest in Joe Orton’s literary career and personal life, explored through an array of mediums varying from: lectures and talks, art exhibitions, revised stage productions, and televised documentaries.   For previous Orton related […]


5th August 2017 Sol 1777 – 5 years on Mars

The 5th August marks  5 Earth years since the successful landing of Mars Science Laboratory.  During the landing I was at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.  We were all nervous but the signals for successful atmospheric entry, parachute deployment, Skycrane operation and then landing all came through.   The first image of Mt Sharp […]

Martin Parker

Professor Alan Bryman: 1947-2017

  Alan Bryman, Emeritus Professor in the School of Management (now Business School) at the University of Leicester died on Thursday the 20th July 2017 at the age of 69. According to his wife, Sue, the cancer progressed very quickly in the last few weeks. He was not in pain, was very peaceful, and his […]

Keep you titbits, let’s have full equality, inclusion and representation

50 years ago today, the Sexual Offences Act became law. It partially decriminalised homosexual acts between men. The ‘partial’ is important here as inequality still existed. There was still inequality in terms of the age of consent (that was rectified only as recently as 2001). Inequality still existed in terms of the circumstances in which […]

Leigh Fletcher

Ten Facts about Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

In honour of Juno’s close encounter with Jupiter’s Great Red Spot (GRS) on July 11th 2017, here are some quick facts about the Solar System’s most famous storm system:   The Great Red Spot is a very long-lived spinning vortex: drawings show the GRS in the Victorian era, but it might have persisted for even […]


Studying antimicrobial resistance: Interdisciplinary research is critical, but challenging

In March 2017 I travelled down to Bristol for a two day meeting on interdisciplinary research into antimicrobial resistance (AMR), organised by Helen Lambert (ESRC AMR Research Champion), University of Bristol. Around 50 researchers had come together for the workshop, and they were a diverse group – over coffee and dinner I spoke to lab-based […]

Katy Roscoe

Chinese Prisoners on Cockatoo Island, Sydney

  The small sandstone island of Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour is best known as a convict stockade which held the ‘worst’ of the convict system: former-Norfolk Islanders and bushrangers are its most famous inhabitants. However, from the 1850s onwards Cockatoo Island acted primarily as a local prison for those convicted in the colony of […]

Evelyn Waugh: Reader, Writer, Collector

Over 5-6 May 2017, the Huntington Library hosted a symposium entitled ‘Evelyn Waugh: Reader, Writer, Collector’. The gathering was made possible through the generous donations of Loren and Frances Rothschild, the Evelyn Waugh Society and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. We had come together to celebrate the Rothchilds’ donation of their own Evelyn Waugh […]

Marina Spunta

Luigi Ghirri and the Photography of Place

Our book on Luigi Ghirri has just been published:   M. Spunta and J. Benci (eds), Luigi Ghirri and the Photography of Place. Interdisciplinary Perspectives (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2017)   Many thanks to all the contributors and to all those who supported our research project.   Please share this with interested colleagues.

Martin Coffey

Communication and Influence – An Essential Transferable Skill (or is it skills?).

“The meaning of communication is the response you get” – Anthony Robbins. Growing up in a rural community in Ireland, our farm would, very occasionally, be visited by sales people, selling a variety of products literally out of the back of a car. Items included household decorations, clothes and many more. As a small child […]

Grant Denkinson

Automated concept / keyword generation for journal articles in repositories

I was checking out a research paper in the ACM Digital Library: SibylFS: formal specification and oracle-based testing for POSIX and real-world file systems and spotted something interesting: a “Concepts in this article” drop-down “Powered by IBM Watson” For more on Watson, see IBM Watson: Beyond Jeopardy! Q&A I’ve been thinking what calls to action a user […]

The University Leadership Team

International Women’s Day – The Gender Pay Gap at the University of Leicester

Today March 8th 2017 marks International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day is a global day of celebration that marks the struggle for gender equality. It provides a forum for celebrating the role of women and their achievements, identifies challenges for the future and campaigns for change.   We know that one of the greatest challenges […]

Marie Muir

Waffle…not the good kind!

You are in an interview, you are nervous, there are three interviewers and they are all staring at you in suspense. One of them is asking you a question, but your too busy trying to conceal your nerves so you hear ‘Tell me about…experience….school…team?” You launch off in to an answer about your netball teams’ […]

Emma Battell Lowman

Being Disturbingly Informative. By Shane McCorristine

  Last year I visited a fine old building nestled incongruously close to the skyscrapers and busy financial offices of Market Street in downtown Philadelphia. The building houses the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the oldest private medical organisation in the United States (founded in 1787). Today, Philadelphia’s heyday as the centre of medical and […]

Alberto Fernández Carbajal

Tehmina Kazi reading and Muslim LGBT activism

As the final event of the Queering Islam events series for 2015-2016, Tehmina Kazi, the Director of British Muslims for Secular Democracy, visited us at the University of Leicester to do a reading of her story ‘The Tulip Asylum’, a story about homosexuality in contemporary Iran. Below you can find an excerpt of her reading and […]

Helen Dexter

A legal war is no less lethal.

The question of the legality of the war in Iraq was, quite deliberately, beyond the scope of Chilcot Enquiry and the report published yesterday makes no direct comment about legality. Never the less, for many the question of the legality of the war is crucial. The initial response to the report is that it indirectly […]

Stephen Walker

Student Perceptions of ‘useful’ Digital Technology

“Now, what I want is, Facts….Facts alone are wanted in life” (Mr Gradgrind) A recent Australian study by Henderson, Selwyn and Aston (2015) found that students use digital technologies to support the logistical aspects of their learning : time-saving; finding out about and fulfilling course requirements; mobile and remote access; researching information; getting organised. Where students […]

Ana Verissimo

Staff away day

The latest staff away day took place at Stamford court, with university and departmental updates, a group activity over coffee to reflect on how the department could improve various aspects of the working environment via the working lives committee, bite-sized research presentations and lunch. In the afternoon, departmental staff got competitive at the sports hall. […]

Memorial Page

Mark Pluciennik died on 7 May at the age of 62, following a battle with a progressive neurological condition. Mark joined the School of Archaeology and Ancient History in 2003 and was the second Director of Distance Learning in Archaeology and Ancient History at Leicester, retiring in 2011. He subsequently held the title of University […]

Looting the Archives: Joe Orton

Dr. Samantha Mitschke has been working in the School of Arts as an AHRC Cultural Engagement Fellow since February. Working with the archives held in Special Collections at the University of Leicester, she has curated a public exhibition taking place in September 2016 as part of the fiftieth anniversary celebrations of the London premiere of […]

Paul Boyle

Why Open Access?

We are committed to undertaking research which inspires and delivers change for the better.  So, it is vitally important that our research findings are freely available to the world.   To achieve this, we need to embrace Open Access.  In this short video, I consider the benefits of Open Access and how it can help […]

Philip Shaw

Daring Deeds of Valour

Daring Deeds of Valour By Dr Rachel Bates, University of Leicester The 29 January 2016 marks the 160th anniversary of the Victoria Cross, a key legacy of the Crimean War (1854-56). Over the past four years, I have been looking at how the Crimean War shaped British understanding of war, violence and nationhood. The creation […]

Marie Muir

New Year, New Career, New Outlook

January is rubbish. It’s cold, wet and dark and your holiday is over. You are back, revising hard for your exams and assignment deadlines are coming in thick and fast, so how do you motivate yourself to get back on the job/internship search. Ten members of the Career Development Service Team tell you how; “Plan […]

Maria Rovisco

Dancing With Strangers: Body and Otherness in the Experience of Citizenship – by Rita Marcalo

This post is authored by Rita Marcalo, dancer, choreographer and Artistic Director of Instant Dissidence, as a response to the Workshop ‘Arts and Citizenship’ held at the Department of Media and Communication in June 2015. Since 2013 I have been developing a performance series entitled Dancing With Strangers. The first instance in the series took the European […]

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